This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”
(Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”
(Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)
Some of us anticipate it with joy and excitement. Some of us cringe and want to hide. Some of us don’t really care because it’s just a number. We get old and life goes on 🤷🏽♀️
As I was planning our European getaway for my 30th, I was so excited. I had begun planning it a year out and as the year went on, it still felt so far away. Then the week before came, the day before and at last it was the day of! (I can’t believe it’s already been a month, now)!
I was so nervous, and it all felt so surreal. Was it really happening?! After what felt like the longest travel experience ever (long story, but let’s just say Trump
is literally to blame 😂), we finally arrived in Rome.
I wish I could say it was all rainbows, birds chirping, and wind blowing in our hair. Instead, I was bawling my eyes out, because they lost our one checked bag that had all of my husband and my clothes and shoes in it. I didn’t even have extra underwear in a carryon because I was too busy worrying and making sure all of the girls’ things were packed in them.
I was so mad and angry and began thinking that everything was going to go wrong. That it was a mistake going there and I wanted to immediately go back home and crawl into bed!
We were at the airport making the claim for what felt like forever, and by the time we were finished, our pre planned driver had left. So we stood around waiting for a taxi that would take our family of 5, to our hotel.
My husband, through it all, remained cool and kept reassuring me that it was ok; It would all work out.
That night we showered, hopped into bed and I began to reflect for a few minutes before conking out from exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
The next morning I woke up, put on the same clothes and opened the windows…
Wow! I realized we were in freakin ROME, ITALY! We had a room with a quaint and beautiful little terrace and from it you could see St Peter’s Basilica and roofs lined with terra cotta tiles. So picturesque and dreamy.
I took a deep breath, and thought about the events that transpired in our travels. I realized that the devil was trying to steal my joy, my peace, and my excitement. In that moment I literally said, “oh no devil, not today!”
The night before I thought God was punishing me for something. I thought he didn’t want me to have a smooth, fun and sweet time visiting Rome and Paris and turning 30 with my family.I felt like I was out of his protection because our bag got lost. And as I really thought on that terrace
and as I’m typing now, I realize how completely ridiculous it sounds.
I know that the God I serve is a loving, compassionate, joyful God who wants nothing but the best for us. And what the devil tries to do is trick us into thinking that we’re being punished and deserve whatever mishap or unfortunate circumstance comes our way.
What a jerk, right?! 😡
If you’ve followed me long enough, you know that I’ve struggled with anxiety. Anxiety about the future and wanting to control things so that I know what will happen and how it will happen. I’m not God, though. Through this I’ve learned that I need to allow God to be in control of every single situation. Big or small.
Allowing God to be in complete control sets us up for being completely okay when things don’t go our way. When I realized that the devil was trying to egg my anxiety on, in order for me to lose sight of what was right in front of me, my perspective changed.
Come on, just being in Europe, safe and sound, with actual clothes on my back, dirty or not, was blessing enough! Every material thing is replaceable… and guess what y’all… two days later, our bag showed up and was delivered to our room!
I mean won’t he do it?!
So, as I embark on this 30th chapter of life, I just want to encourage you. Shift your perspective to see through the eyes of gratitude, contentment, joy, faith, TRUST that God has your back and release full control over to him.
Whether you have a good day or a bad day, as long as our hope and our trust is in the Lord, nothing can separate us from his love, his goodness, and his promises!
“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:34-35, 37-39 NIV
I absolutely H A T E clutter. Yet, as I type, my coffee table is cluttered with folded laundry. The chair next to it is cluttered with more clean, not yet folded laundry.
This type of clutter is ok, since it’ll soon be folded and put away neatly, Konmari style. If you haven’t seen Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, on Netflix, go now. Seriously, she is an organizational wizard.
Anyway, I’m in the middle of de-cluttering the mess in our home. Digging through piles and piles of the girls’ clothes, that seems like if I lined each piece, it would go on for miles and miles!
I’ve been separating the sentimental pieces, from the heavily worn, no longer suitable to wear even at the playground, pieces. When on earth did I get THAT crazy with kid clothes?!
Our coat closet is filled with toys, their playroom filled with more toys than a toy store. It all seems so excessive, and I feel guilty. It’s way more than my husband and I ever had growing up.
Then, I think about the clutter in my heart. I let the outer clutter, invade my heart and I become a grouch, grouchier than the main man, Oscar himself. Haha
It’s a lesson I teach myself over and over, it’s just a season. The girls will make a mess, over and over. They’ll spill, leave trails of crumbs and run around enjoying their childhood.
I remind myself that I do the same with God. I’ll snuggle up to his word, pray, worship and love on him and let him love on me. Yet not before long, I make a mess, leave trails of crumbs and run around like a mad woman, yelling at the girls to clean up their mess. Scolding them for not eating their food.
Let them snuggle up to me and just be. The way the Lord wants us to just sit with him and be. Letting him lavish his grace, his love and his blessings over us.
His word and his presence de clutters our hearts and minds and frees us from what the world tries to tie us down or burden us with. The world leaves us jaded and annoyed, while God gives us peace and joy.
Peace in the midst of chaos and clutter and joy in the midst of struggles and the not so good days.
So here’s a reminder, to clear the clutter in our hearts. To not allow what’s going on around us to determine our days and our attitudes. In motherhood, to not worry so much about the piled up laundry and overflow of toys, but know we’re blessed with a family, a home, food and clothes on our backs.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 NLT
How many times have we been asked, have we asked or have we wondered, how can/do/should we balance it all?
Marriage, motherhood, work, ministry, friendships, etc.
The older I get, I have begun to realize that it’s actually NOT about balance, it’s about priority.
You see, balance is holding two things, were the weight is equally distributed and you don’t lean one way or the other, BUT what two things are you holding at equal weight?
We can only balance two things at a time, right?
Unless we’re some kind of cirque du Soleil act, most of us can’t also use our toes to hold more things and keep our balance with our heels and/or our elbows. Lol
(And if you CAN do that, I wanna see, bc I love cirque du Soleil type things 😆)
If I’m balancing my marriage on one hand and my girls on the other, my relationship with my parents/brother/friends, will suffer. I won’t much have time for ministry, personal development, or other things either.
My marriage and my children are the things I hold closest to my heart, they are the most important persons in my life. However, only focusing on them, pushes Jesus to the side as well.
What good am I to my husband and my daughters, if my time with Jesus is scarce?
Because He’s the only one who can calm my crazy, fill me with peace and refresh my heart, mind and soul.
I don’t know about you, but when I’ve gone days without really spending time in God’s presence, it shows, and it shows big time!
My temper is short, I’m easily agitated, I feel exhausted, I’m stressed, I get a little selfish 🤦🏽♀️, my anxiety revs up to level 100, and the list goes on…
Anyway, having said all that, is what has brought me to the conclusion that it really is about priority.
The number one priority, above anyone and anything else in this life, should always be Jesus.
Number TWO priority, is my husband and our relationship.
Number THREE priority are my girls.
And then everything else, all other relationships, friendships, ministry, duties, etc., are what follows.
When I start my day, this is how my focus should be directed. I wish I could sit here and tell you that I do this consistently.
Truth is, I don’t and I then fall into the, well let me balance it all, trap.
I say trap because I have this mental note of EVERYTHING that needs to get done, only to find that I accomplished like 2 things. It leaves me feeling like a failure at the end of the day, and like, why do I even bother with anything?!
Am I the only one? I don’t know, I hope I’m not ha!
We cannot balance it all! It’s not possible, to balance all of our relationships, duties and responsibilities. There is always going to be one, two or three things that suffered today.
The trick is realizing that it’s OKAY.
Trust me, if I could make sure that everyone was happy and not have something to whine or complain about in this house,
have not one speck on the floor,
have spent time in personal development
have met up with my friend I haven’t seen in a couple weeks
have worn something other than the same workout pants I’ve been wearing for the last 3 days
Actually work out in said workout pants
At least put some concealer on,
Have ALL… ALL the laundry done, folded, hung and put away with no more left to wash,
have dinner made and ready to eat as soon as my husband comes home from work
AND, AND, AND!!!
I would share with you all, my secret!!
I’d probably make millions off the book I’d write about it.
But I don’t, sadly 😩
My point is, write a list of the priorities in your life.
Then, write out how much time you are going to set aside for each one on a daily basis.
Sometimes, they won’t always be the same priorities for that day or week. (Aside from Jesus and family, they are always or at least should always be a priority).
When you get down to things like social media, you realize how much time you’ve actually wasted there and can then set aside time specifically for it when you just want to veg out. Cuz there’s nothing wrong with that!
Right now, one of my biggest priorities, is getting our house in order. Switching out the girl’s clothes, and organizing it all. De-cluttering and making sure everything has its place.
It’s hard, stressful and so so time consuming, but once that’s out of the way, I can then prioritize other things.
Ah there’s nothing I want more right now, then to not have to hang or fold one mo thang!! But if doesn’t get done now, and become a priority now, it’ll be a thing lingering around for months!!
Anyway, this was as much an encouragement for me, as I hope it has been for you!
In summary, don’t try to find the balance, just prioritize, it’s so much simpler that way. It doesn’t feel overwhelming, it’s just “a matter of fact,” in the present. I truly think, we are much happier when we realize that we cannot balance everything. We are human, and were not made to do everything alone or all at once because that would be kind of chaotic, right?
Lean on the Lord when you do find yourself overwhelmed and feel like giving up. Trust that you are not alone!
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 9-12 NLT
We all have goals. We all have desires. We all want to see that change.
At the start of every year, we jot all these things down, saying that “this is the year!” The year comes and goes, and we have one “check” here and there, and we’re back to the same habits, same routines, same, same, same… change didn’t really occur past January, at best, past February.
Is it just me?
During my social media fast, I learned a lot and gained lots of insight and a different perspective on how I’ve been functioning. I’ve been doing two different devotionals, with two different friends, we’ve had prayer nights and nights of revival at our church and the messages have been so on point, like daggers to my heart, my mind and my soul.
Monday night, Pastor Alex Seely spoke an incredible message about Breaking Camp (you can skip to minute 41 at the start of her message), I seriously encourage you all to head to the link to watch it, because, she killed it! She said, we keep expecting change to happen, but we don’t do anything different! How can we expect something different to happen, if we’re in the same spot, unwilling to move, or too lazy to move?
We’re too comfortable, right?
We have to get down on our knees and intercede for those goals, those desires, for that change.
Wow… intercede. When did I forget about interceding with God? When did I forget that prayer has to go deeper than the surface level?
God can call us all day long to the place we’ve been wanting to be in, but if we just show up and expect the rest to just happen and land in our laps, it won’t. We have to work.
Last night, the message was also amazing, the devotionals I previously mentioned, though different, have all spoken the same message to me.
We are on day 16 of the year and I can tell you that so far, I’ve been in the word every day this year. I want to be in the word every day for the rest of the year too, but I have to make sure that I am working towards that. I can’t allow myself to place instagram, Pinterest, facebook, tv shows, etc before making sure that I did something that day, to work towards accomplishing my goals for the year and working towards that change I want to see happen.
So my friends, I want to ask you: What are you doing different this year, to actually accomplish your goals? If you haven’t done one thing different, it’s never too late to start! Start today, with just one thing!
Let’s keep each other accountable, let’s revisit in March and see if we’re still doing something different to make this year our “best year yet!”
Let’s do it and really work hard and intercede with God for what He’s calling us to and for.
Let’s not let another year go by without actually changing our circumstance, situation or mindset!
Let’s win this year!
My mind is blown!
How is 2019 just a couple of weeks away?!
Where did 2018 go?! I mean, are we really sure we’re going into TWENTY-NINETEEN!!!
We were JUST entering 2009 like yesterday 😭
Anyway, since getting married, my husband and I begin planning out our goals, vacations and events for the following year, between October and December. It gives us structure and expectation, and I wanted to share with you, exactly how we plan out our year.
We separate it into these categories:
Here, we kind of brainstorm when and where we want to go. Typically, we separate them into a family vacation which is just us and the girls, an extended family vacation, a girls trip, guys trip, weekend get away (usually for the 4th of July) and a trip for just the two of us.
Next year, our biggest trip and our family trip, will be to Europe! It’s been a dream of mine(my 30th birthday wish).
We still aren’t sure about the other trips we’re taking, but we still write a budget for them, and really try to stick to it!
These are, birthdays, holidays, our anniversary, valentine’s day etc.
We set budgets for how much we will spend for each of our daughter’s birthdays, our birthdays and all other events. For our anniversary, we decide if we’ll make that our trip together or if we’ll just go out for a nice dinner and exchange gifts.
We also set a budget for how much we will give siblings, nieces, nephews, close friends and parents for their birthday(the amount is the same for all) . Same goes for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas presents etc.
If you are on the track to financial freedom, advisors will tell you to write out every. single. expense. Down to the penny.
We don’t track every penny, but we’re not that far from doing it. Thankfully the only debt we owe is our house and car. We like to plan and budget, so that we keep the discipline of being responsible and one day having our money go to work for us.
I mean, who doesn’t want the freedom to travel on the whim without requesting for the time at work?! 🙋🏽♀️ Amiright?!
Budget talk in and of itself is a topic all on its own, so anyway…
Planning all of this out, really helps us to see exactly where our money is going and gives us more discipline to stay within the budgets, in order to save what we set out to save.
It also gives us expectations on what our year will look like. Towards the end of this year, we were a bit more spontaneous than we would’ve liked to have been with our finances, and we fell short on achieving this years financial goal.
Though we had anticipated that adding our 3rd daughter, would change up what our “normal” looked like, we went a little bit further outside the lines LOL. It’s ok though, because life happens and it’s important to still live your life joyfully!
Smart, but joyful 😊
Can you tell we are planners and detailed people?
It also helps with being disciplined in other areas. Structure is better than chaos and sitting there wondering where your time and money went.
It shows you if you’re growing, because at the end of the year, we check off what we actually accomplished.
There’s something so satisfying in checking off on a list!
However, if it didn’t get done, we attach it to the next year and we try again. It’s a sign of success and perseverance to actually DO and not just SAY YOU WILL.
talk the talk AND walk the walk.
I truly hope you found this helpful AND encouraging!
Heres to an even better 2019!
It’s easy to be thankful when everything is going right; When everyone is doing well and everyone is happy.
The last few weeks, God has been showing me that I need to be thankful even when life isn’t going how I want it to. To be thankful, when we’re sick, stressed and overwhelmed with to do’s that didn’t get done.
I’ve always been quick to feel blessed when all is right, everyone is happy, we’re in the groove and life is “good,” but complain and whine about life when things don’t seem to be right.
The last few weeks, our household has had some rough times. It has seemed as though the situations we were going through weren’t coming to an end. It was thing after thing after thing… do you know what I’m talking about?
You ever feel like you can’t catch a break?
Then, it hit me. In the midst of it all, I stopped and gave thanks. I praised God, even in the midst of turmoil. I decided that I wasn’t going to let the enemy defeat me and make me feel like life sucked, in the moment.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says:
”Give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
He wants us to be thankful in any and every situation life hands us. Why?
Because He is sovereign.
He is good.
He is righteous.
He is faithful.
His promises are true.
Because He is Lord over all of our circumstances and sees us through, when we feel like the world around us has fallen apart.
No matter what we’re going through, let’s not forget to see the good and to give thanks.
As soon as I began thanking God for everything, even through sickness and unfortunate circumstances, things really started looking up. My attitude changed and I began to see that He really does “make all things work for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)
Don’t let the enemy steal your joy and steal your thanks! He wants you walking around thinking that your situation has defeated you. Don’t let him have the pleasure!
This morning as I was reading a devotional, I came across this quote I hadn’t heard before. Maybe you have, but it was the first time I’d read it and it really stuck with me.
“Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” -Bil Keane
I’ve been feeling convicted this week, as a mother. My responses to the girls, have been short. I’ve been quick to get angry and quick to speak.
My frustration has been evident. Because I am frustrated, the girls become frustrated. They act out even more and begin to see how far they can go until I really “lose it.” I yell, they scream out back. They don’t seem to listen, but the funny thing is, I never listened to them when they weren’t misbehaving.
I only gave them my full attention when they were doing the wrong thing.
What if God only gave us His full attention when we only did the wrong thing? We wouldn’t want to listen to HIs instruction with joyful expressions and open ears, to listen. We’d grunt, huff and puff and try to interrupt Him ONE HUNDRED TIMES before He could get just ONE sentence out!
That’s what it’s been like for me this week. Instead of taking a step back and giving them my undivided attention; to see them and hear them; to watch what their hearts need in certain moments. In the one moment they do something they aren’t supposed to, that’s when I “listen;” and perhaps, that’s why they did it in the first place.
As I sit here, hearing them laugh and play pretend with their dolls, I am both happy and sad. Sad because, how many of these precious moments have I missed? How much time have I wasted in correcting them over silly things, only because I am frustrated at all the to-do’s that “must” get done before lunch? Frustrated because they didn’t want their pancake cut in half, they wanted it whole. Frustrated because they’re just being a FOUR year old and a TWO year old.
How many times have I acted in the same way toward God? Did he bicker and sneer at me? Fuss and send me to time out? No. He’s always been gentle with his correction, gentle with his words… gracious and merciful.
I could and will pray more consistently for God to make me more like a James 1:19 woman. Even in my marriage, many times I am quick to get angry and not quick to listen or quick to forgive… or apologize for that matter. It just makes everyone frustrated. It’s not about being wrong or right. It’s about working things out peacefully and enjoying the fact that I… YOU are here.
Enjoying the fact God blessed me with motherhood. That He’s blessed me with an amazing husband. That He’s blessed me with our beautiful home…
Waking up every morning with a grateful heart, regardless of our circumstance.
Enjoying motherhood despite the fact that dishes need to get done, laundry needs folding, toys are covering the living room…
Simply listening to the sounds of laughter coming from those two little humans that God so delicately, lovingly and joyfully created inside of my body. Seriously, what a gift that I take for granted far more than I’d like to admit!
I’m reminded that TODAY IS A GIFT FROM HIM and I must be diligent in my role here on Earth.
To give more grace.
To be more gentle with my words.
To not allow negative circumstances to dictate my day.
To CHOOSE JOY and PUT ON LOVE the way GOD LOVES US, even when we do have our tantrums with Him.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF…dishes don’t have eternal weight, but how I go about raising my children does and how I go about being a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted me with, does too.
We live in a social media driven world. It’s so easy to get distracted by Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, the News app etc. We fall victim to their rabbit holes and before we know it, we’ve been scrolling through our phones for an hour!
I’m talking to myself here too. This verse says, “Seek FIRST…” not second, not when you have time, not when it’s convenient for you, but FIRST.
Lately, I find myself first thing, as soon as I open my eyes, reaching for my phone and opening Instagram or whatever app to see what I missed while I was asleep.
It became second nature, an addiction of sorts.
Man oh man did conviction hit me like a ton of bricks! I felt God asking me where He stood in line in my life. Talk about a wake up call!
The funny thing about it all, is that most of what we miss while we’re asleep, is nothing but vain, negative Nancy, look at my flashy this or that news. It’s nothing that really fills your life with positivity, joy or encouragement.
Most of today’s news is depressing, aggravating, and honestly makes me mad that we live in such a world as this.
When we have access to Jesus news right at our fingertips; that talks about hope, joy, love, freedom, and all we have to do is go to HIM FIRST. How much better would our day go if we spend time with Jesus as soon as we open our eyes?
The answer is A LOT! “…and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Not that our days will be perfect by any means, but when we rely on Jesus as our main source of energy and fuel, we’ll be able to deal with our day a lot better than we do when we’re handling it on our own; when we first fuel our spirits with what social media has to say.
When God is first in every area of my life, I can be a better wife, mom, sister, friend… a better me. I can wage a better war against the enemy and his lies. I can better see the traps he tries to get me to fall to.
Even better… my relationship with Jesus is better, stronger and alive! Our faith is stronger, our anxiety is gone and peace can take over!
Let’s put God First every day and wake up with Jesus!
INTRO TO MY INTRO
I’ve taken a little break from blogging. In fact, I believe I’ve only posted once, so far this year. Lately, I’ve been really thinking and praying about this blog and where to go and what to do from here. With that being said, I really want to work on branding myself/blog and branching out into the social media world, mainly Instagram and Pinterest.
I actually manage an Instagram and Facebook account that on Insta, has grown to 60k+ followers in less than a year; so I’m confident that I can do the same with my own, maybe just not as quickly but who knows?!
It just makes sense for me to take my blog in that direction, and not really see it as a hobby, but as a job that I want to succeed at. If it doesn’t, I can at least say that I actually put myself out there and TRIED. I know that it requires me to really hone in and focus on my content and actually blogging, since, after all, I’ve been blogging every now and then about how I want it to take off, grow my writing and inspire/encourage others.
Without further ado, here’s the start of it all with introducing myself a little more than in my “About Me” section. My blog is called “The Mommy Diaries,” because I am a mom, obviously, to two beautiful girls: ages 4 and 2. At the moment, I am pregnant with my third, due at the end of July. We don’t know what baby is yet, even though I’m practically 21 weeks, but we find out at the end of this month.
This pregnancy has definitely stretched me and tested me in ways I haven’t known before. So, lets just say that if this was my first, I probably would’ve stopped there. 😬
I am happily married to my high school sweetheart. We met in 9th grade, began falling in love (unbeknownst to each other) in 10th grade and began dating our Senior year. I tell him that to me, he’s the best thing that I got out of the high school we went to! In 2010, we tied the knot and have loved every minute, good, bad and ugly, of our marriage.
We both practically grew up in church, Baptist and NonDenominational, and both began leading worship at young ages. Once we became engaged, we began leading worship together on a weekly basis, at our current church. Late last year, we also released our first album EP, which you can find on SoundCloud, Apple Music and iTunes, FYI. And we’re also working on putting a full album out later this year, hopefully.
Anyway, I love to write. I feel I’ve always had a knack for it and it’s also where I can really express what’s going on in my mind and heart. Growing up, I never really got much encouragement, and for so long I felt weighed down by negativity. Now, as an adult, wife, mom, worship leader, etc., I WANT to encourage those around me. I want to speak words of affirmation over those who feel weighed down the same way I did. I want others to feel encouraged and empowered to pursue their goals. I want others to succeed and accomplish things they never thought possible, especially my girls who look up to me so much, already at such young ages.
That’s my hope. That’s my desire for this blog. That’s my goal. I hope that you can come here and read something encouraging, helpful, insightful, fun and as a sigh of relief. Where my heart is not to judge and point any fingers or be jealous of other’s success.
So, here’s to a new start! Hope you can come back and see what happens next! ❤️