Ringleader

As moms we generally feel like the ringleader of the circus called our family. Not only are we responsible for keeping the circus going we need to perform all the acts. We need to know how to walk the tightrope of  the sensitive feelings of our kids or the tightrope of asking the husband to do another DIY project that would make Chip and JoJo proud. Being the lion tamer of the littles come nap time or bedtime. Maybe the bearded lady if you haven’t had a shower, your eyebrows done, or time for some makeup? The juggling act when it comes to taking the kids to school, making breakfast, packing lunches, meal prepping, paying the bills, doctors appointments, sports practices, making time for Jesus, the husband, the kids, the family, and friends. Man I’m exhausted just listing all that. Here’s something I want you to hear me say (or type) and this is as much for me as it is for you, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE. Now lets start with what I’m not saying. I’m not saying don’t be the wife, mother, daughter, and friend God has called you to be. All these things are important roles but you don’t have to run yourself in the ground managing the circus and being all the acts. Your kid does not have to be in 12 sports at once. You do not have to have pinterest party favors for every class party. You do not have to have it all together. Now if sports is your thing awesome! If you love being crafty GREAT! But do those things because you genuinely have passion and love for those things not because you feel like you HAVE to do those things. Learn to juggle what’s important! Not everything is a priority. Take time to figure out what is important for you and your family and then make it work. If your child excels at sports but you want to make family dinners a priority in your household get creative, have a picnic in the back of the van. If family weekends are a priority you might just have to say no to something else to make that happen. You know the phrase not my circus, not my monkeys…..well this is your circus and these are your monkeys, and you have a say in how it runs. Sit down with your husband and discuss what you’ve juggling and decide to juggle what’s important not everything under the sun!

in grace and love,

amber

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Savor Prompt #3

Every time I think I have the time to focus on writing/blogging, life happens so I thought this prompt from Savor was fitting.

{Why do you keep yourself busy? What would it look for you to lay down busy, both the drug and the defense?}

I use busyness as a distraction. A distraction from God and a distraction from myself. If I keep myself distracted I don’t have to slow down and process through what God is asking me to notice or do. Stay busy and maybe I won’t hear what God is whispering to me. Keeping the schedule busy, keeps my mind busy. The message had a beautiful verse in Jeremiah 2:25, “”Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway? But you say, ‘I can’t help it. I’m addicted to alien gods. I can’t quit.” Yes just what I am after. What are you after by keeping yourself busy?

We also live in a world that promotes busyness. The busier you are the more important you must be because your calendar is full. What often gets ignored are the people and things we love the most. There is sanity in the slowdown. And if anything I need more sanity in my life. What if I only filled my calendar with things that filled me up? We all have responsibilities and obligations, I get that but not everything in our calendar is a have to. I want to slow down to sweeter pace of life so that I can take company with not only Jesus but my family.

 

in grace and love,

amber

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Savor Prompt #2

{Whose story has helped bring you to a new of understanding and living? Who has been helped by hearing your story, your hard-won understanding?}

The easiest answer to the first questions is Jesus. His story completely transformed my life and Dave’s. His story is constantly revealing a better understanding of God’s grace. Now those other stories that bring me new understanding are friends around me. God created us each uniquely which allows us to interrupt our experiences uniquely as well. Hearing friends share their lives in their own voice gives me new understanding on a variety of topics. This is one of reasons I feel so strongly about being authentic in relationships. Being who we are and open about how living our own unique story has affected us can not only help us understand one another but also you never know who needs to hear your story.

The older I get the more I realize that the life I have lived to this point and the life I am living now can potentially help those around me. Sharing a part of story may help bring clarity or comfort to those around us. While parts of our lives can be painful I feel like those are were the most powerful lessons for ourselves and others. Be confident in the story God gave you and share it with others.

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Savor Prompt #1

{How often are you using the word should? Even if your thoughts? Where are you in the continuum between living and drowning? Be honest with yourself about that, and then with God, and with the people you love and trust.}

Should can be a debilitating word. The list of shoulds can take away from the list of CANs. I use the word should to shame and scold myself: I should be a better mom, I should be a better wife, I should be reading right now, I should be making baked goods and homemade crafts with my kids. The list goes on and on. I am drowning in shoulds instead of living in the world of what I can be doing. Taking little steps of what I can do vs. the endless list of shoulds can change my perspective of what God has planned for me into something tangible not out of reach. God wants me to thrive in His kingdom and right now I’m in the process of getting there but before things can thrive they need to grow. What I can do right now is hand over those dark parts of my life, those should zones, to God. He is the creator, the Great I AM. I want to replace my shoulds with not only cans but I am. I am a child of God. I am given the gift of grace. I am enough. The bible list several I am verses but I want to leave you with this one:

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. – John 6:35

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Savor by Shauna Niequist

I started the 365 day devotion book Savor by Shauna Niequist and have been really loving it.At the end of each day there is a question that pertains to the devotion so I’ve decided to write some blog posts answering these prompts. I think this will be a fun way and meaningful way to get in the habit or writing and also deepening my faith walk. I’m not sure if I’ll go back and write the 16 previous questions but my posts regarding this topic will be under the Savor page at the top of the blog. Here is the first one. 

 

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Making Space

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I started an intensive bible study last Friday that has already been eye opening. One of the things I read was about in order to to be disciple of Christ you need to be disciplined. It defined discipline in one’s spiritual walk as making space for God to work (at least that’s the gist). When I read that a huge lightbulb went off. I’m often complaining and wondering where is God and why isn’t He doing anything. The problem isn’t God, the problem is me. I do not provide God space to work and do what He does. I have become addicted to the busyness of this world. When my calendar is full and I’m constantly running around like a chicken with my head cut off I’m pushing God out of the way. My goal for the rest of this year and for 2017 is to make space for God. Making space for Him FIRST will allow all the other things in my life to fall into place.

In order to try and be as successful as I can be I’m going to iron out a few action steps. First off, I’m going to start by writing in time with God in my planner. I’m a HUGE planner person. I write everything else in there so why wouldn’t I carve out time for the one who created time. After that I need to have a plan with how I’m going to spend that time. I don’t need to schedule it in detail but at least have a general idea of how that time is going to be spent in His presence. Whether that be journaling, praying, scripture dissection, etc. Finally, I need to make sure that I have everything I need to make the time successful: bible, notebook, pens and whatever else I find useful in my quiet time.

I hope this post gave you some food for thought and some practical tips to help you make space for God so he can work in BIG ways in your life.

in grace and love,

amber

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Obedience

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Over last year God has been working on my obedience to Him. Not just in some aspects of my life but all of them. What I’ve learned so far is that the spirit of obedience is most necessary when it’s the most difficult. When God calls you to do something that you love and want to do, it’s simple. But when he’s called you to be obedient in adverse circumstances that’s when your spirit it stretched the most. It makes me think of my kids and if I ask them something easy to be obedient to like go pick out a cookie they’re going to willingly do it but when I say hey go clean your room there is resistance because it’s not with they want to do. The same scenario can be applied to us as believers, there’s resistant in being obedient to God’s calling when it’s something that we don’t want to do. My life looks very different then it did before Jesus got ahold of me. Being apart of HIS kingdom means following HIS will. I might not always want to do to what he is leading me to but I know that the Holy Spirit would not lead me against His will or against His word. His is continually stretching me and pushing me to become who he has called me to be, my job in all that is to get out of his way and be obedient.

 

in grace and love,

amber

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Boldness

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Today I was doing my write the word journal  and a verse that continues to speak to me was included in the today’s verses of Hebrews 10:35-39. After I wrote down the verses for today and moved on to the next page I became flooded with thoughts. I really feel that is the main purpose of the journal, to get you thinking about scripture and how it applies to your life. Right off the bat I wrote BE BOLD!! God wants us to be bold in his name. Who benefits when I retreat into myself and shy away from my faith and purpose? the devil (he does not need any help from me). As Christians we need to be confident in the Lord, His truths, and His promises. He is Holy, He is sovereign, He is Lord. I need to remember I am a daughter of the most high God.

I wilt at the sign of darkness instead of standing tall to catch the light. I need to BE BOLD, STAND TALL. The darkness is not our chance to wilt and die but to stand up in faith and love. God is light. God is love. When the darkness of the world creeps in I must be bold in my faith and my love of Christ. I need to stand tall to let the sun reach my face so that I grow in the love of Jesus.

in grace and love,

amber

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Overwhelmed

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I am typing this bundled up on my couch feeling sicker than I have in awhile, a double ear infection and a gnarly cold will do that to you. The word that has been constantly at the forefront of my mind in the last 8 weeks is OVERWHELMED. I am a person who doesn’t mind to busy and generally prefers to be doing something but lately even I have felt the weight of this kind of schedule and lifestyle. We have been living at a break neck pace for months and I can’t keep up. Typically after I dwell on the thought of being overwhelmed I hear God say, “BE STILL”. I have forgotten what should be at the forefront of my mind HIM. In all the ups and downs, scheduling conflicts, and strain to family time I forgot that, “the Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” Exodus 14:14

This verse draws my attention to that the fact that the Lord is with me and he will stand up for me. The biggest struggle for me is being still. I need to be still in all aspects of my life. I keep trying to take on all the hustle and bustle by myself and shelving my time with God because I tell myself that X,Y, & Z are more important, and if I don’t get this done so and so will be disappointed, and if I don’t sell this we can’t pay this off. The list goes on and on. The Lord is present in all these things regardless if I acknowledge it the difference is if and when I acknowledge Him in all aspects of my life then I am inviting Him into a relationship. A relationship where He is for me not against me and I no longer have to shoulder my burdens alone.

 

in grace and love,

amber

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Rise Up

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I just returned from a long weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina where we attended 2 days of Code Orange revival. God used this revival to encourage my spirit and I have tons to unpack from this trip. The first thing that I heard that really stuck with me was something Dharius Daniels said (I took two pages of notes during his sermon), “Could it be that God will allow us to live on whatever level we settle for.” This struck me so deep that I even wrote MIND BLOWN in my notes next to this quote. I struggle a lot with how I see myself. Often beating myself up with how I could’ve done something better or said something differently and this has really impacted how I see myself and how I view what happens to me. Love others is something I often tell my kids and is preached about on Sunday mornings but loving myself needs to happen first. I need to start seeing myself as God sees me. I am a child of God. I have been settling for who I think am versus rising up to the challenge of who God has called me to be. He didn’t call me be self loathing and critical. I need to RISE UP to God’s call not settle for the low opinion I have of myself.  The song Rise Up has been on repeat for me and these lyrics help me remember that I am to serve God regardless of bad days & self loathing:

I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you

I have been living in my doubt and not in God’s delight. Psalm 149:4 says, “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” He delights in us and I should focus on His image of me not that image I’ve let the world create of me. I am a daughter of the most High God and today I am rising up to be who has he called me to be for the glory of his kingdom. 

 

in grace and love,

amber

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