Balancing Act

elephant balanceI’ve not written on my blog for a few weeks and that is because I’ve allowed myself to get out of balance.  Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a work-away-from-home mom, motherhood is a balancing act.  I find it difficult to balance all my responsibilities AND keep my sanity.  At times I feel myself teetering between super hero status and falling to pieces – where there’s not enough super glue in the world to put everything back together.  I know these are extremes on both sides of the spectrum, but I constantly face the challenge to find balance between all my responsibilities.  I’m sure all of us can relate in some way.

I look at my precious boys and think how could God deem me able to raise and protect these little miracles.  Then I recognize, He never thought I was able by myself.  He knew I would need others to help me, but most importantly, I would need Him.   This is the problem we face at times, we feel we must balance all our duties in our own strength, but we can’t and God never intended for us to.

There are so many areas we are responsible for:  jobs, meals, house work, yard work, time with God, time with spouse, time with other family and friends, church, school activities, errands, volunteering, hobbies, pets, and the list goes on and on.  Even with all these things to focus on, we need time for ourselves and we need to know it’s okay to have this time.  Jesus took time to be by Himself and instructed His disciples to do the same, so I’m certain in an appropriate way this is the right thing to do.

As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer. Luke 5:16 (MSG)

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.  Mark 6:30-32 (NIV)

There are times when I must force myself to take time away from home and family and just be by myself or with friends, because I feel guilty for doing so.  Not everyone struggles with this, but I know many of us do.  If anyone can secure a ticket for a guilt trip with my name on it, it’s me – when I allow the enemy to invade my thoughts.  So, how do I accomplish this without feeling guilty?  I must confine those notions and conform them into views reflecting God’s Word.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

Maneuvering through this maze we call life is not easy, but God knows this.  That is why He has provided us with His Word containing instructions and encouragement.  He also gave us each other to confide in and build one another up.  It is very important that we have a good support group to lean on.  If you are not already a part of one, start your own.  Ask God to give you divine appointments that will flourish into healthy friendships.  If you ask Him, He will do it; however, a lot of times He will require us to step out of our comfort zones to obtain it.  When He asks you to step out, do it!  Even if you have to do it afraid.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.  Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

How do we learn balance when we feel like we are walking on a high wire?  How do we keep it together when we feel like we are falling to pieces?  I don’t know all the answers, and I certainly won’t pretend to.  However, I do know the One who does, and I do have the How-To Book He has provided.  I’m asking God to show me how to balance all areas of my life in a healthy manner.  Join me, and let’s seek Him together for His guidance in finding balance.

Next Steps

My boys are starting 1st grade today.  One day last week, we had been talking about school starting back and they had gotten excited about it.  However, later that evening, Joshua called me into his room.  Through tears, he said, “Mom I’m not ready for 1st grade.”  I assured him he was more than ready.  I began to encourage him by recalling all the things he had learned in kindergarten and how he had passed with very good grades.  I also reminded him he was my brave little boy and he could do anything with Jesus by his side.

After a bit, it seemed to make him feel better and he stopped crying.  In my mind, I tried to figure out what had brought that on.  Then I attempted to see this big transition through his little eyes.  God reminded me of times when He had asked me to move up to a different level, make a change that took me out of my comfort zone, or take a step of faith out into the unknown.  During many of those transitions, I realized I had been that scared little child crying and saying, “I’m not ready for this.”  However, my loving Father would not have instructed me to do any of these things if He had not first prepared me for the next leg of the journey. 

stepsSometimes it’s hard for us to see what big plans God has in store for us using our small vision.  There will be times when the direction may not even make sense in our minds.  However, it should be comforting to know our Heavenly Father has gone before us and made a way.  He knows what lies ahead even when we can’t see it.  He cares for us and would never send us into something without preparing us beforehand.  I am thankful for the times I stepped out in faith, even when I had to do it afraid.  I can look back now and see how far God has brought me, and I realize His mercy and grace carried me when I couldn’t see the next step. 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.  Psalm 37:23 (NIV)

I would like to encourage you to hold on to this promise for yourself and your children.  Teach them about how God orders our steps but more importantly teach them how to delight in Him.  Help them to always remember He provides the strength we need to continue our journey.

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Be a Sunflower

There is a family farm in town called Batey Farms (BateyFarms.com).  They also offer a beautiful venue nearby called The Grove (@Williamsongrove), where there are two fields of sunflowers.  Last week, those sunflowers were in full bloom and the fields were open to the public.  Everyone was invited to come and admire them, take pictures, and even pick a bouquet. 

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My family along with some good friends of ours decided to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.  We walked through the fields enjoying all the beautiful sunflowers and took lots of great pictures.  The boys and I also picked three gorgeous sunflowers to take home and enjoy.  Once we got them home, we trimmed the ends and placed them in a vase of water on the kitchen table.  They lasted for a few days but then began to lose their petals and droop.

I so enjoyed having them on our table and really hated to see them fade away.  Not knowing much about sunflowers, except for their beauty, I decided to do a little research on them.  I found out some very interesting facts that I’d like to share with you:

  • When the sunflowers are growing, the flower buds and young blossoms will face east in the morning and follow the sun as the earth moves during the day. This is a behavior called heliotropism.  Essentially, they turn their face to the sun in order to grow to their full potential.
  • A sunflower head is made up of 1000 to 2000 individual flowers which are joined at the base. A single sunflower can have up to 2000 seeds.
  • Sunflowers can remove toxins such as lead, arsenic and uranium from contaminated soil. They are a natural decontaminator of soils, and have been used to clean up soil at some of the world’s biggest environmental disasters including Chernobyl and Fukushima.

This really got me to thinking, and I realized as Christians we can be a lot like sunflowers.  To grow strong, we must look to the Son, Jesus Christ.  To mature and reach our full potential, we must follow Him wherever He moves.  Even one person can have multiple seeds of greatness inside them.  As we grow and mature, we can plant those seeds  producing an exceptional harvest for the Kingdom of God.  Through Christ, we have the potential to bring life and healing to others who have been contaminated by the sin of this world.

So, go out and be a sunflower!  Seek the Son and keep your eyes on Jesus.  Allow the seeds of greatness God has placed inside you to grow and spread to countless others who need His touch.  Show love, mercy, and grace to those who have been poisoned by the lies of the enemy.  And finally, let us teach our children to do the same.

What I’m Thankful For

A few years ago, God placed a desire in my heart to bring encouragement to other moms by sharing my “mom” stories and poetry.  It was a long pregnancy, but my book was finally birthed last month. “Seasons of a Mom’s Life, is now available and I’ve been very excited to share it with everyone!

In my book, I thanked God, my family, and my publisher.  Today, I would like to publicly thank my friends, who have prayed for me, encouraged me, and cheered me on. Not just through the writing process but through many different seasons of my life.  God has blessed me with an amazing Mom, but I am also blessed to have so many other incredible women in my life.  Some of you I have known for as long as I can remember and some I’ve only known for a short time.  Each of you add something wonderful and unique to my life, and I am forever thankful for your friendship.  I cannot imagine doing life without you, my friends. 

As women, it is so important we have those in our lives that we can trust and confide in.  Those we can call at any time, who will be there with a listening ear and open arms.  Sometimes we just need to talk it out and sometimes we just need to cry it out.  There are times we need to pray together and then times we need to be prayed for because we can’t find the strength to do it ourselves.  At times, we need to seek reassurance from each other that we are okay and we’ll make it through whatever storm is raging.  Then sometimes we just need to be in each other’s presence, without even a word spoken.  There are times when just the company of the other makes everything okay (and sometimes adding in some coffee or chocolate helps too).

My FriendsAs moms, we need those women in our lives, who are more experienced and wiser, to encourage us and give us guidance because they’ve been where we are right now.  Sometimes we need to be that mom, who has been there, and give support and reassurance to the other because we’ve already weathered that storm.  We don’t know all the answers, but we do know the One who does.  If we seek Him, He will be found.

I cannot even begin to put into words how immensely blessed I am to have a magnificent group of women in my life.  Each one of my friends have a special place in my heart.  God knew that we would need each other on this journey.  I am forever thankful He made our paths cross and tie into a beautiful bow of friendship.