“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.” Proverbs 10:11

Realizing my life-long dream of being a stay at home mom, has left me a bit shell shocked. My ideas of what motherhood was supposed to be reflected more of a Disney movie and less of reality. It is not easy being the disciplinarian, cook, housekeeper, bookkeeper/money manager, doctor, teacher, potty trainer, and diaper changer. There are constant interruptions and the work is never done. Even though my husband is a tremendous help, I still feel so overwhelmed.

When the stress of juggling the mommy and wife responsibilities gets overwhelming, my mouth is the first thing to reflect it. The words I speak are not “a fountain of life” but that of anger and frustration. Proverbs 10:19 tells us, “when words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” I must be in constant prayer and ask God to hold my tongue and give me the right words to speak to my family.

I love my children and my husband more than life itself. More than anything, I want to reflect Jesus to them. I know that I’m not perfect and I won’t be until Heaven, but I hold on to the promise in Romans 8:28, “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

 
 
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24

Good Morning! Oh how I’ve missed blogging the last few days. My family and I spent four days visiting my sister and then with Easter preparation yesterday morning, I’ve been out of my routine. It feels so good to sit down and write again.

We had a wonderful time visiting with family the last several days, but now I’m now faced with the aftermath. You know what I’m talking about: the piles of laundry, the bags of “stuff” dropped here and there, dishes to be found and washed, and just that overwhelming feeling of chaos.

Has anyone ever read the book, “Men are like Waffles and Women are Like Spaghetti?” Well, today, I’m a total spaghetti thinker. One little task leads to three more. The mess left from our trip, reminds me that I really wanted to get our office/toy room organized today. Thinking about organizing the office makes me think about paperwork in general and the fact that I still don’t have our taxes prepared and I really need to get back on track with our family budget. The family budget triggers the thought that I need to go to the grocery store but not until I check for store deals. Even if I check for store deals, I still need to get my coupons organized. For some reason organizing coupons reminds me that Seth has a meeting tonight that I wanted to bake cookies for. Oh nuts, and Jadon leaked through his diaper this morning, so I need to make sure to wash his bedding. Speaking of Jadon, his pants look horrible after crawling around on the floor, I really need to clean the floor. Oh, and Seth needs his suits dry cleaned this week and wants to go to Muscatine today, which would be a great opportunity to get that grocery shopping done. Nuts, I really need to get that menu done, my nieces will be here for supper tonight and we are providing the meal for Bible Study Wednesday night, but I have no idea what to fix. Fix...Oh, I need to get those names and numbers entered so I can let everyone know my new phone number. **Sniff**Sniff** Do I smell a poopy diaper?

Of course, all of these thoughts run through my mind in 5 seconds, giving me no time to really focus on any of them, but get incredibly overwhelmed by all of them. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10. I know that way too often I run through life jumping from one thing to another and never think about exalting God in any of it. Has not God called me to motherhood and all the crazy joys that come along with it?

Taking a moment to “be still” and then choosing to exalt Him in all that I do, doesn’t remove the burdens of being a wife and mother; but it certainly helps keep it all in perspective. As a mom, I am serving the Lord. As a housekeeper, I’m serving the Lord. As a cook, I’m serving the Lord. As a bookkeeper, I’m serving the Lord. As a pastor’s wife, I’m serving the Lord. As a child of the risen King, I am serving the Lord.

May my ramblings today help you know you are not alone in your craziness and encourage you to think about serving Him as you tackle the to-do list. My first 'to-do' for the day: serve the Lord at the diaper changing station.

 
 
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Today’s a day that I’m in awe of God’s immeasurable goodness. As I look back on the last eight years of my life, I’m amazed at all that He has done.

Eight years ago I was a single woman who was a workaholic. If I wasn’t working, I was serving in the church and loving on the children. My greatest desire was to be a wife and mother, so to serve the children of the church, was a tremendous blessing.

Since I worked, went to church, and lived in the same small town where I grew up, I was a bit sheltered, and didn’t really “get out” much. When I did venture from home, it was usually to a training I’d attend with a co-worker or a drive to a mall that was 30 miles away. FYI...that drive usually left me a nervous wreck because I wasn’t used to all the traffic.

God shook my little world when He called me to a short-term overseas mission trip to Belarus. The conviction to go was so great I had no choice but to echo the words from Isaiah 6:8, “Here am I, send me!” With that act of obedience, my life was changed forever.

My first mission trip opened my eyes to the world outside my little bubble and taught me total dependence on God. It taught me that no matter where you are and no matter what language you speak, when you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, there is an amazing family bond that surrounds you with love, comfort, and peace. It showed me the great need of those less fortunate and that a smile and a hug can cross any language barrier.

I’ve since been on two more overseas missions. I’ll never forget my last trip in 2007, when a Belarusian pastor called all the single women on our mission team forward to pray over us. He prayed for our lives and that the Lord would bless us with life partners. I cried then because the desire of my heart for a spouse was so great. And I cry now out of thankfulness that God heard and answered the prayers of His children. God has not only blessed me with a loving husband, but also two amazing children.

Ephesians 3 has reminded me that the power that got me on the plane for my first mission trip is the same power that is working within me today. It’s easier to think of God giving me the power to do a great missions project overseas than it is to think of Him giving me the power to love and discipline my children each day while doing the laundry, making supper, and cleaning the house. But it is only by His power working within me that my life will be able to do immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
 
 
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” Proverbs 31:10, 17

Oh, the month of April: celebration of our risen Lord, spring cleaning, trees in bloom, and taxes. Tax time should come as no surprise, since April rolls around the same time every year; and yet, I have still not filed my taxes.

Those of you who are pastor’s wives know the joys of tracking your housing expenses. I’m afraid that I was not the most organized in my recordkeeping last year, so preparing for tax filing is a daunting task. I know once I sit down and do it, it won’t be that big of a deal, but in my mind it’s HUGE!

Isn’t that how it is with so many things in our lives? I’m so busy...when we are rushing to a church event and running late. Life is so hard...when the diaper bag gets stuck on the door handle while carrying my 8-month old son in his car seat on our way to that church event. The house is a pigsty...when there is one pair of socks that didn’t make it to the clothes basket and some Cheerios on the floor. There’s nothing to fix for supper...when I’m staring at a freezer full of meat and veggies. The list goes on and on. I have quite the flare for the dramatic, don’t I?

Now, what’s the most logical thing to do when things are SO overwhelming? Whine and complain about them or totally avoid them, right? Oops. I’m pretty sure that’s not the right answer, but that is definitely what I do. God tells us in Proverbs 14:23 “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

Being organized can be hard work. Making a weekly or monthly menu plan, can be hard work. Addressing the family about helping with household chores, can be hard work. Taking time the night before to prepare for the next day so we don’t have to rush, can be hard work. Making sure our family commitments get on a joint calendar so there are minimal surprises and we can all be ready on time, can be hard work. Keeping paperwork together so tax time isn’t so daunting, can be hard work.

But we all know what happens when we don’t do the “hard work.” Nothing. Well, nothing but make ourselves miserable. So today’s challenge: attack the paperwork.

 
 
“You yearn for a simplified lifestyle, so your communication with Me can be uninterrupted. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all.” Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

Is there anyone else who loves the start of a new month? I love the feeling of newness. The list of areas in my life that need improvement grow with each day of the month. But when the first day rolls around, whew, clean slate. This is the month I’m going to stick to my goals and fix all that broken stuff.

Well, I say that to myself every month and pretty much every month I once again fall short of my expectations. I yearn for a quick fix to make life easier or a pill that turns me into Super Woman so I can get it all done. But God is not calling me to “get it all done.” God knows I’m not going to “fix it all”

As I read my devotions this morning, I cried at the words of Sarah Young in her book, “Jesus Calling:” “Remember that your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you; it is to keep communing with me.” The desire to control and fix everything, is one of my biggest struggles.

God has blessed me with two amazing children, and you all know how unpredictable and uncontrollable life can be with two children under three. I get frustrated and impatient when their natural demands interfere with my to-do list. Why am I so obsessed with that stinkin’ to-do list?! Lord, forgive me!

Of course, I don’t believe it’s the to-do list that’s the issue. It’s my attitude. It’s my heart. There are always going to be things that need done around the house and for the church; and God wants us to be good stewards of what He’s given us. But more importantly, He wants us to “pray continually” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. He wants us to “acknowledge him in all our ways, and He will make our paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6

Personally, I’ve written those two scripture references on note cards and placed them in the two places I frequent the most: the formula cabinet and on the bathroom mirror. I need these constant visual reminders to keep my focus on Him and not my lists. How are you going to switch your focus this month?