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Hey Girl…our Bodies are Incredible…

Yeah, I said it!

All of God’s creation is amazing and He claims several times in the first few verses of the book of Genesis that His creation is good…He loves His creation!

As a woman: mother of three daughters, mentor to young women in college, friend, sister, and wife…I want to celebrate how amazingly incredible a woman’s body is! Not because my body is perfect, but because I know I’m perfectly made!

A woman’s body is capable of so much!

We are created with the capacity to grow and nurture, to rise up and protect, and to create and teach.

There are several phenomenal women in my life who have given birth recently or who will be soon. And the Mom’s bible study that I’m a part of, it seems like every week someone is announcing a new pregnancy. I’m completely fascinated by baby belly’s ~ my own three and all the rest of them out there! I mean, just the fact that God created our skin to stretch like it does to hold that burgeoning belly!! Dang!!

A woman’s body is made to be a place of shelter as she literally grows a baby in her womb. God created her to have all the parts she needs. I want to be sensitive here and say that although I have not personally gone through the loss of a child, I have personal experience in losing a brother due to SIDS when he was only 3.5 months old, and I have several friends and family members who have gone through miscarriages and the realities of not being able to become pregnant. It is a very tender subject and my heart goes out to all who have suffered in this way.

What I do believe is that because God made our bodies to create, our God is not limited to use those qualities in only one way.

You may have cradled your a swollen belly and felt your baby kick, you may have been handed a newly born answer to prayer as you adopted a sweet baby the day they were born, or you may have held countless hands as you prayed for the young women in your life who have become your spiritual children. All of these paths to motherhood are significant and all of them carry the beauty and privilege that God has ordained us as women to carry!

We have a unique privilege in that our heart just keeps growing as God places people in our life to minister to ~ more full of His love that can be poured out!!

Our bodies are incredible for so many more reasons other than carrying a child too.

A woman has been fashioned by God with His Mother Heart. 

  • Judges 5:7 says, “The villagers ceased to be; they ceased in Israel Until I, Deborah, arose, Until I arose, a mother in Israel.”
  • ~ If you have not read the story yet of Deborah, one of the Judges of Israel, you’ve got to do that asap! God gave her the ability to listen and discern the issues of the people of Israel and bring down judgement on them befitting the requests. God’s heart leans toward us when we come to Him with our life issues and He discerns what is best for us. In this same way, Deborah was able to rise up and lead the people to a place of victory and healing…as a mother. She saw God’s people in pain and her heart could no longer take the inaction. God created women to be caretakers.

A woman has been ordained to carry spiritual truths to the next generations.

  • 2 Timothy 1:5 says, “I remember your sincere and unqualified faith [the surrendering of your entire self to God in Christ with confident trust in His power, wisdom and goodness, a faith] which first lived in [the heart of] your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am confident that it is in you as well.”
  • ~ Not only to our own children, but to all of those in our sphere of influence, are we to share the truths of scripture with. You are probably a mentor without even knowing it! Whether it is your daughters, the young mom at church who asks you questions about motherhood, your friends that you meet for coffee, or the college student you hang out with, your grandchildren or the little ones in children’s church on Sunday mornings…you are mentoring them by sharing your life and letting them see what it means to allow God to work in your life.

A woman has been given the power to protect.

  • Exodus 2 shares the story of a mother who has what I like to call the “Mama Bear” protocol, absolutely sewn into her very being. {And we all have it by the way!} These verses (1-4) say, Now a man of the house of Levi [the priestly tribe] went and took as his wife a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and gave birth to a son; and when she saw that he was [especially] beautiful and healthy, she hid him for three months [to protect him from the Egyptians]. When she could no longer hide him, she got him a basket (chest) made of papyrus reeds and covered it with tar and pitch [making it waterproof]. Then she put the child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. And his sister [Miriam] stood some distance away to find out what would happen to him.”
    ~
    We do not know the name of Moses’ mother in these verses, but find out later in Exodus 6 that her name is Jochebed. This woman knew that there was something special in her son Moses and she was going to do whatever it took to protect him.     ~ I can only imagine what she went through in those months of keeping him safe from execution. But how beautiful that God provided a way for her to care for him and nurse him, even after he was found and adopted into the Pharoah’s house. This is one of God’s amazing kindnesses we see in scripture. 

A woman has been given the grace to carry life.

  • Psalm 139:13 says, “For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.”
  • John 16:21 gives this insight, “A woman, when she is in labor, has pain because her time [to give birth] has come; but when she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of her joy that a child has come into the world.” 

  • ~ There is pain in growth. Pregnancy can be precarious and there are no guarantees. I almost lost our third daughter at 16 weeks when I had an extreme gall bladder attack. Our doctor told us that even though carrying a child is a normal function for a woman, any time our body goes into distress (like a gall bladder attack) the body will seek out “foreign entities and get rid of them.” My brain could hardly comprehend what the doctor was saying…have the surgery to remove my gall bladder so I wouldn’t have another attack but possibly lose the baby, or wait till after birth to have the surgery but if I had another attack at another point in the pregnancy, I ran the high risk of miscarriage. What? The caring hearts of all the doctors and nurses involved in my emergency surgery were beyond amazing. My husband and I are so grateful to them and to the Lord who saw fit to keep our little one safe during surgery. But in the pain of that surgery, the pain of childbirth, it really does all go away almost quicker than it came. 

A woman’s body is incredible!

Our hearts break when we walk a hard road with a friend simply because their heart is broken.

Our hearts swell with pride at our child’s accomplishments or when we see the growth of one whom we’ve been mentoring as they reach their dreams.

We cry at every single “Soldier coming home” story, even if it’s for a coffee commercial.

We rise up and fight for those who do not have a voice, or the strength, to fight for themselves.

We encourage our people to grow and change, to mature and become world changers because we know how capable they are in their gifting’s to make a difference in this world!

We serve an incredible God, who has created us to be incredible!

Women ~ our bodies, our hearts, our minds, our emotions, our feelings ~ they are all important and they are all that encompasses the reality that we are incredible!!

Blessings,

René

Women are amazing!

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries, Writers

My Whole Life is Going to be Busy…

Ironically, I began this post two weeks ago…I should’ve known!  Every day is full of busyness and guess what…every day for the rest of your life will be filled with busyness!  It just cannot be an excuse any longer.  We will always be busy with something ~ even if that “something” is doing nothing.

I know that I make plenty of excuses as to why things don’t get done.  I also realize that there are times when I really need to get things done and accomplish specific tasks, but I can’t do them in a timely manner because I’m still dealing with something that should have been taken care days (or months) beforehand. Time just gets away from me and I’m sure you have experienced this too.

The times I feel the worst about being “too busy” is when I have not scheduled things in my day appropriately and the consequences are usually ones that my family has to pay.  Dinner is not ready at a decent hour.  Dishes are piled high in the sink for the third day in a row.  I’m late picking someone up, or dropping them off.  And the consequence I deal with the most is staying up far too late to finish up a bunch of little tasks that I could have done during the day so that I could go to bed early and stay healthy.

But this blog isn’t about all the “shoulda woulda coulda’s” in our life; and it certainly isn’t intended to bring on guilt.  We all do that to ourselves far too easily anyway!

My hearts desire is to encourage you to take a step back, breathe in deep, and know that through all the busyness of life there are ways to create space.  The Lord has been giving me great ideas on how to do this and I want to share them with you.

Now, if you have little ones and you’re reading this…trust me, I remember those days and sometimes your day (or your week!) just buzzes by in a blur and you realize you’ve been wearing the same clothes for a few days and can’t remember the last time you washed your hair.  But it’s all worth it when you look back and see all that you did for your kiddos.  You being present with them, reading a book or playing a game, just being WITH them is way more important that what you have on or what your hair looks like.  There are still ways to find those “spaces” in your day, so hang in there.  They look completely different than that of someone who doesn’t have little ones at home, and it’s supposed to.

Sometimes that “breathing space” is all in our head…and in a great way!  Romans 8:5-6 (NLT) says, “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”  

Simply by filling our mind with the Word of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our thought processes (ie…how we manage our time and daily tasks), then we will have peace.  Notice that this doesn’t say we will have perfection.  It means that we will be able to deal with all the craziness of life in a peaceful way.  It means that when we need to speak into a situation, we can speak life instead of death.  What I mean by this is that we can be encouraging instead of nagging to our children when they need to pick up their toys, or their disaster zone rooms.  We can peacefully find ways to let them know how important it is to pay attention to what you are asking of them instead of knee-jerk reactions of hollering at them to just get it done.

So if we are too fill our minds with scripture to draw from when we need, how are we to accomplish this?  Life is just so busy!

Here’s the best answer ~ our God is an incredibly creative God and He created you perfectly so He has the exact answer for YOU!  Ask Him to give you ideas that will blend in with your family activities and with your particular daily tasks.

Let’s face it though, it’s super easy to find time to scroll through social media or even sit and read a few blogs (thank you by the way!).  I’m right there with ya!

I want to encourage you to find what works for YOU!  One of the greatest benefits you will recieve is that the more time you spend with the Lord, the more time you will WANT to spend with Him.  The more you are filled up, the more you can pour out to others and then run back to the arms of your loving Father who will gladly fill you up again and again and again!

HE WILL NEVER EVER RUN OUT OF WHAT YOU NEED TO BE FILLED!!  EVER!!

Acts 2:25-28 (ESV) remind us what King David penned in the Old Testament, For David says concerning him,“‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’”

So…ideas…here’s a few that I will be implementing into my new schedule.  Take a peek and see what might work for you, or how you can tweak it to work in your schedule.

* After dropping off the kiddos at school, make a quick pit stop at a local coffee shop or park with the express intention of reading through your devotional…and NOT to meet up with a girlfriend, at least until after you have had your time with the Lord.

* Put your devotional time in your calendar to make sure you don’t over-schedule your day.

* If you have to sit in car-line (not gonna lie…super glad that part of my day is over!) go EARLY!  Take your Bible, devotional, or whatever study you are going through with you and work on it in the car for a bit without any distractions.

* Wake up earlier ~ I don’t like this one, but I know for me that God is asking me to give Him more of day and for me it means to wake up an hour early.  It’s gonna be a struggle for the first few days, but I’m committed to getting back to this. {As I write this, my last daughter is a Senior in high school and drives herself to school, so my “early” is probably a regular time for y’all}.

* While you are driving in the car instead of listening to the radio, take that time to pray to the Lord ~ share your day with Him…what you are doing, where you are going, how you would like direction for the tasks ahead.  Or listen to some praise music and allow the Holy Spirit to flood your soul with uplifting songs.

* As you sit down to the computer or to watch your favorite DVR’d TV show, ask yourself if you have spent time with the Lord yet.  If you haven’t, take that moment to read some scripture and pray.  And if you don’t know what to pray, pray aloud the scripture you were going to read.  And if you’re really stuck, look at the date on the calendar and find the chapter in Proverbs that has the same number and pray the verses you read.  I promise that even if you physically don’t feel refreshed, the Holy Spirit will refresh and renew your mind.  Scripture NEVER leaves you empty ~ it will always fill you up!

* While you wash dishes, do the laundry, finish up housework ~ you can spend time with the Lord too!  Thank Him that you have a home to care for and a family to fill it up.  And when you’re done, thank Him that you had the energy to accomplish all that you did.

Cheesy or not, there’s just a few to get started with and I bet the Lord is giving you great ideas already how to combat the busyness of life with the calmness of His Word.  I’d love to hear from you to see how God is working in your life to bring you peace and life.

I will always be busy.  You will always be busy.  That busyness will look different in everyone’s life ~ stop comparing yourself to others.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to sway your life in the direction of spending time with the Father will always result in the same thing ~ a life of peace and calm that will help you in your time of need as well as in the moments when you are needed by others.

When you hold the empty cup of your day to be filled with the everlasting joy and strength of the Lord, you will be filled to overflowing…and that’s a promise!

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Blessings,

René

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Women's Ministries

Do I have to be a “Stay-at-Home Mom” to be a Homemaker…

When I was a young girl, all I wanted to do was get married and have a house filled with children. That desire did not really dissipates the older I got. I went to college and earned my degree in Psychology; it wasn’t until partway through my senior year did anyone ever make me feel like I was wasting my time because I wanted to be a wife and a mom.
Upon return to campus after the Christmas holidays, glory be to the Lord, I did get engaged to the love of my life!  Let the wedding plans begin!!  During Spring Break that year, I was going to spend it planning the rest of our wedding that was happening in July. In one of my psychology classes, the professor was having everyone in the class share what they were going to be doing during spring break.
Wait for it….that was code for, “Have you bought your interview outfits and where are you applying for an internship.”  Also, he was wanting everyone to share how they were doing on their applications and what schools they were applying to in their pursuit of obtaining their masters degree. After about the first dozen people shared, it finally was my turn to share. I suppose naively, and thinking the professor would be happy for me, I gladly shared that I was going to plan the rest of my wedding that was coming up {and I was so excited to see my fiancé that I hadn’t seen for three months!!!}  I was so excited to finish up the last details for our wedding…why wouldn’t everyone be happy for me!
At that point, seeing the scowl come across his face, I realized I had gravely disappointed in him. He looked at me and said, “Good one, René.  That’s a pretty funny joke. Now why don’t you tell us what you’re really doing during spring break and where you were applying for your internship and grad school.”   And let me just interject here real quick….I went to a private CHRISTIAN college!!!
In that one moment I realized that in the modern age of 1990, a young woman was looked down upon if her goal, dream, and desire was to be an educated woman, who wanted to be a wife and mother.  A woman who wanted to have children and stay home with them. None of my friends in the psychology department at that time were engaged or anywhere near getting married. So unfortunately I really did not get any support from my friends in the class. I felt like I had to defend my dream.
I remember calling my parents , And of course I was crying, asking them if they felt I had wasted their education money that they had spent on me, because I wasn’t going to grad school. I asked them if they thought I was a failure because I wanted to get married and not continue into the field of psychology, pursuing full-time work in that area. The Lord was gracious and I was very thankful that my parents did not feel that one cent had been wasted on my education. They loved my husband-to-be as one of their own and they were very excited about our future together. I suppose it helps that my mother was also 21 when she married my dad, just like I would be.
I realized after that day, and talking to a lot of my friends at school, most of them said that their parents had pretty much set the mandate, that after paying so much money for so long, they were requiring their child to get a job in the field that they had studied in and have that job for at least several years before even thinking about getting married or having children.  Why did we have to choose the value of a full time job over the value of motherhood?
It’s not that I didn’t want to get a job or that I thought I would never have a job; I just knew that I never wanted to have a full-time career after having children, whenever that day ended up happening. I had two different jobs after I got married and was thrilled to be able to contribute to our joint savings account in that effort. After all that was, and always had been, part of my dream ~ to have a home with my husband and fill it with children! I am thankful that I married a man who valued the contribution I was making as well as someone who appreciated and wanted the same future I did…which meant that I would stay at home with our children instead of going back to work. This was my personal dream and my husband and I shared that dream equally. We knew making that decision, especially living in California, it would bring about sacrifices only having one income. I cannot express adequately in the immense joy and honor I feel at having the privilege of staying at home all these years with our three daughters.
I am content with my choice.  Just as I know that there are many women out there who are content with their choice at going back to work after having children.  I would never want any woman to feel guilty for that decision.  There are a lot of circumstances that go into that decision.  As much as I would not want someone looking down on me for staying home, I would never look down on someone who has gone back into a job outside the home.
I have great respect for all of the teachers who have helped to educate my three daughters.  My girls have had exceptional teachers who have made lasting impact on their life; and they continue year after year, to be a immense blessing to every student that walks through their doors.  I am thankful for my mother-in-law who worked incredibly hard as a single mom; to make sure that her children were taken care of.  I am thankful for my mom who, for the most part, was able to stay at home with my siblings and I.
But here’s where I want us to stop and really think about how we Mom’s treat each other.  Whether you work outside the home or not, we ALL have the toughest job around ~ motherhood!  Yes, I’m able to do fun things during the day like meeting friends for lunch or go sit by myself in a coffee shop and read a book for hours.  I am able to volunteer at my kids’ schools (yeppers…proud parent volunteer since September 1998 to the present) in a variety of ways.  And I appreciate my life everyday!  For my friends who either want to go back to work, or find themselves having to go back to work to make ends meet, I know many of them would much rather be at home bringing cupcakes to the end of the year picnic.  And many of them feel they are better moms because they have that creative outlet going to work.  Whichever end of the spectrum we find ourselves on, I believe we are all making the best choice for our personal family.  My story doesn’t have to look like yours, or vice-versa, in order for it to be complete and whole.
Ladies, let’s stop this crazy comparison deal!  If you work at home or you work outside the home (or a little of both!), we have the BEST thing in common ~
WE ARE MOTHERS!!!
The world does their best in throwing insults at us, as women, that we don’t need to bother throwing them at each other.  For heaven’s sake, just because your house doesn’t look like something out of Home & Garden magazine; or your kids birthday party doesn’t look “pinterest” worthy ~ do you know what is important to your children…YOU!
YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO YOUR CHILDREN!!
If you don’t believe me, sit down with your precious babes and ask them what matters most to them.  Depending on their age of course will determine their answers, and I think the younger they are, the more entertaining those answers might be.
My daughters are 22, 20, and 16 ~ when I’m fussing about something not being perfect or “as good as….”, they remind me all the time how the most important thing to them is that I’m their mom and they love me no matter what.  They would rather me laugh when their birthday cake gets stepped on, then freak out at the person who did the stepping.
{Yes…this actually happened!  I still don’t know exactly how a cake got stepped on when it was up on the counter.  I had to make a choice…freak out or figure it out.  I just cut a bit more off and made it into the first initial of the birthday girl…she thought it was more cool that way afterall.}
If you are a wife…
You are a Homemaker!!
If you are a mother…
You are a Homemaker!!
If you are a single mom…
You are a Homemaker!!
If you are an empty nester…
You are a Homemaker!!
The term “homemaker” came into verbiage somewhere between 1885-1890; the two words ‘home’ and ‘maker’ were put together.  To be considered a homemaker, the dictionary says, “a person who manages the household of his or her own family, especially as a principal occupation.”  However, it doesn’t disclude anyone from being considered a homemaker if it is not their principal occupation.
Consider these definitions:
* Home ~ a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household; the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered; any place of residence or refuge”
* Maker ~ to produce; cause to exist or happen; bring about; to cause to be or become; to put in the proper condition or state, as for use;fix; prepare.”
Go ahead and re-read those definitions above and take it all in.  Can you see the freedom in looking at the word “homemaker” now?  There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about to call yourself a homemaker.  As mom’s, we all work 24/7 at our job…yeah, I said it…motherhood is a job!  It’s hard work!  We have to mentally prepare ourselves for whatever emotional trail we find ourselves on each day…and every day is totally different!  We rearrange our schedules multiple times a day in order to get everything done and get everyone where they need to be.  But…take joy in each of those days!!  Even the ones where you are cleaning up poopy diapers and spit up ~ they will stop as your kids grow, but truly treasure each day!

I Peter 4:7-11 is a wonderful example of how God intends for us to conduct ourselves, inside and outside the home ~ “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.”

These familiar verses in Titus 2:1-5 (Amplified version), I hope can be of great encouragement to you as well,But as for you, teach the things which are in agreement with sound doctrine [which produces men and women of good character whose lifestyle identifies them as true Christians]. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in steadfastness [Christlike in character]. Older women similarly are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor addicted to much wine, teaching what is right and good, so that they may encourage the young women to tenderly love their husbands and their children, to be sensible, pure, makers of a home [where God is honored], good-natured, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

After reading this definition and these verses, I don’t see anything in here about a woman not being able to be a homemaker if she only stays at home with her children and does not have a job outside the home. Whether you work at an office outside of your home, at an office inside your house, or you do not have a job outside the home…You are still a homemaker!  You have still been given the blessing and privilege of creating an environment that can be a healthy, happy, safe place for your family to retreat to.
We have a unique position as women to adjust the attitude and temperament of every person in our household. I’m sure we have all heard the phrase, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,!”  It holds more truth than we realize sometimes! Thank you for reading this blog today, I hope that it has blessed you.  I’m excited for you to start fresh today, no matter your circumstances, to breathe new life into your home.  YOU are the homemaker that God chose for your husband and for your children.  You have a special calling on your life as a homemaker ~ so enjoy it!!
Blessings,
René

I Peter 4 verse 10