living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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Busy

“So, how have you been?”

“Busy”,  I replied and then went on to list the next 100 things that I needed to finish that week.

I, in turn, asked my friend how she was doing and she replied with the same dialog.

You see, busyness is almost a badge of honor in motherhood.  We identify who we are by what we are doing.

Image result for list… but this is a lie that the devil keeps trying to make us believe.

It is NOT about what we are doing but WHO we are.

I am first and foremost God’s daughter and if I am too busy to spend quality quiet time with Him, then something is terribly out of whack.

I am my husband’s wife.  I am the only one who can Biblically provide for his needs.

I am my children’s mother.  I am the only one who can really truly do this job and do it well.

It is not so much about what we do but who we are.  You see my child runs to me when he gets sick or hungry.  Why?  Because I am his mom.

So with all these responsibilities we can safely assume we will be busy, BUT we often overlook an important gift that God gave us.

Let’s go back to the beginning of Genesis….

Have you ever sat down and really meditated on creation?

We often teach little kids that there were 7 days in creation. Ok, then, what did He create on the 7th day?

Why didn’t God just say He created the world in 6 days?   If that is the way that it was written then we would most likely infer that He was done after the 6th day and that He rested.

Have you wondered why He put the 7th day in the creation story?

What did He create on the 7th day?

He created Sabbath.  Sabbath means peace, tranquility and rest.

He didn’t simply just take a rest.  He created a whole day to rest. He was busy working and then he set up boundaries so that REST was a part of that plan.

If God Almighty, the omniscient, omnipresent Creator of this world decided that rest was important enough to take a whole day for it, then why do we feel we don’t need it?

Why is busyness next to godliness?  Why do we walk around acting like our long list of stuff to do somehow makes us better moms?

Well, first off it doesn’t.  I don’t know about you, but I can be constantly doing and doing. That accomplishes nothing but stress for my kids and family dynamic.  There are days that life is so crazy that my quiet time gets skipped and I am fighting life all day with an empty tank.

Ladies, please let me encourage you to slow down.  You need your rest.  I am not talking about ME-TIME.  I’m talking about family-time.  I’m talking about God-and-you time.  I’m talking about simply relaxing and enjoying people.   I am talking about making cuts in your life so that your family gets more of you.  This doesn’t have to be a special activity.  Just simply being together.

One of my favorite quotes is this:  “Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.”

As the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19 learned, God is not always in the storms and the busyness and loudness. Sometimes, He is in the quietness.

If we are not getting the rest and quietness we need, then we are living a crazy lifestyle that God is not a part of.

Ladies, do you want rest?  Do you want peace?

Then make sure to block out a specific time every day to spend with God in His Word.

For me, this is quiet time.  My daughter takes a nap and my son plays quietly.  During that time, I make a hot drink, grab my blanket, a heating pad and my devotions and curl up on the couch.  I place the heating pad on my neck, curl up in the blanket and open the Word of God.  It is such a relaxing time every day; when I get up from that time of rest, the energy that I have is like no other. I am physically relaxing my body as well as spiritually refreshing it.  IT IS POWERFUL!!!!!!

As a pastor’s wife and homeschool-mom with lots of stressors, there is nothing ….NOTHING.…that provides more energy to my broken-down body and mind than that time every day.

We have to learn to say no.

We have to learn to prioritize and create that rest-time.  If God thinks it’s important, then we should too.

One last thing to think about is this.  God CREATED peace.  Rest doesn’t come when I am done with my list.  (Is it ever done?)  Rest comes when you INTENTIONALLY create the time.  If we want Sabbath, peace and tranquility, we must be intentional.

Friends, we must learn to say no and to question our reasons behind what we do.

Let’s make this applicable–ask ourselves some questions.  These are some great questions for your husband and you to work through whenever you get offered new “busyness opportunities”:

  1. How does this activity better our family and or our ministry?
  2. Will this make my family stronger after I am done, or weaker?
  3. What can I take out of my life to create peace?
  4. What do I need to remove to make sure that I am having some refreshing time with God?
  5. Could someone else do this ministry?
  6. How many activities will we allow our family members to be a part of (great discussion to have with your husband about your kids, as well)?
  7. What is the most important ministry goal we have?  Are we staying true to that goal or are we adding other things that we could say “no” to?
  8. Is this what God had in mind for me?
  9. Do I have enough time that is quiet enough that God can speak to me?

I have had these discussions with other moms. Some moms would argue that they are just too busy but I truly believe that in EVERY stage of life, there is time for personal time with God.  God would not give you so much to do that you couldn’t have time to spend with Him.

At the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves:  God created rest on the 7th day, so what can I do to create rest in my home?

Rejoicing,

Joy

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What is Your Vocation?

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” -Ephesians 4:1-3
Ephesians 4.1-3 LoveWhat is your vocation?  In the Strong’s Concordance, the word “vocation” is defined as an “invitation” or a “calling.” In essence, the Lord asks us, “Would you do this job for me?” Marriage, singleness, secular work, ministry work, motherhood, infertility, sisterhood, etc. are some of our respective callings as women. These callings or invitations are from whom?

From God.

Now, you -and I- may say, “Well, I sure didn’t choose this one, and I don’t recall God giving me an invitation to this!” Or we may say, “I agreed to this job, but I missed some of the fine print. I didn’t sign up for the hard parts.” When we can view our work or circumstances as Divine invitations from God to let Him work in us and through us, we can then endeavor to do our work well. How can we serve Him well if we have not accepted His invitation or His call to _________________? [Fill in the blank with your specific vocations.]

How do I become a worthy servant of the Lord in my fields?

With lowliness. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” -Philippians 2:3

With meekness. “…Excellent disposition of soul, not easily provoked or offended” -Matthew Henry

With longsuffering. “…Bearing injuries or provocation for a long time; patient; not easily provoked.” – Webster’s 1828 English Dictionary

With forbearance in love. “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…” – I Corinthians 13:7-8a

With unity of Spirit. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” -Psalm 133:1

With peace. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” -Romans 12:18

If motherhood is one of your vocations, ask yourself these questions: Do I serve my family with lowliness of mind, with meekness, with longsuffering, with forbearance, with love? Do I serve them with the goals of unity and peace in our home? Does the Holy Spirit get called upon consistently for guidance?

If motherhood is not one of your vocations, ask yourself the same questions, inserting your own callings.

Think “chosen for this job” or “entrusted with this assignment.”

And remember… you and I can only “walk worthy of the vocation” that God has called us to – not the vocation of another. Embrace your personalized invitation to God’s individual job description for you! Then, serve Him well!

Serving the King of Kings,  Jeri Lynn

“We do not ‘walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called’ if we be not faithful friends to all Christians, and sworn enemies to all sin.” – Matthew Henry

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4 Things I’m Learning About Motherhood

Motherhood is so complex! The first baby brings so many challenges. When that sweet one becomes a toddler, all his needs have changed, and so have your methods of caring for him. Then the next one comes, and they are completely different! The routine you had settled into, and all the “tricks” you learned are now obsolete. How can two children be so different?

We just had our fourth sweet blessing a few weeks ago. And life is ever-changing. For me, the adjustment to four is easier than three. Chaos just reigns all the time! And we are learning, and trying to lean on Jesus to make us into the parents He wants us to be as we enjoy our beautiful children.

So, here are a few things I am learning about motherhood. 🙂

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1. Nobody has it all together.

I have a home schooling friend. When I first met her, I thought she was pretty near perfect. Her clothes were always nice and neat. And even though she’d just had her fourth baby, her figure was neat and trim. Her hair is shiny. She cooks from scratch a lot. She does Girl Scouts with her daughter, clean her church building, brings two of her girls to me to piano lessons. She does special projects with her daughter for the fair. She is always the least stressed in our group about home schooling and seems to always take it in stride.

I wasn’t sure I could be her friend. 😉

Fast-forward a couple years. I know her better now. I still greatly admire how she seems to “get it all done.” But I’ve seen her weaker side several times now. I know it’s not always easy.  I know her kids lose their socks too. I know she sometimes loses her temper. I know she sometimes texts her husband and says she needs him to bring her some chocolate when he comes home from work.

Nobody is perfect. Nobody’s house is perfect. Nobody’s children are perfect. I need to breathe, and realize that I don’t have to be perfect, and I don’t have to appear perfect. Whew!

2. It’s all about grace.

Sometimes we know what we should do, and we just flat-out don’t do it. There are so many things I feel I should be consistently doing as a mother. I need to be training my children in character. I need to be helping them hide God’s Word in their hearts. I need to be praying for their salvation and for their growth. And although I do all these things, I fail to be consistent. I am human.

Then there’s grace. God loves my children more than I do and He gives them grace. He gives me grace to do a good job as a mother, and He gives grace when I fail.

I will never, ever be a perfect mother. That’s why it’s all about grace.

3. Ordinary days are anything but.

We all have highs and lows. A high would be like a family vacation, or big event at church. We had our fourth precious baby just a few weeks ago. We looked forward to her birth forever! It seemed that we planned everything around it, and couldn’t wait for her to come. When we finally held her in our arms, it was a definite mountain top, basking in the sunshine of God’s pure grace and goodness on our family! Highs are so refreshing, and our spirits need them from time to time.

A low would be children being sick, moving, financial struggles, stressful times that we all encounter from time to time. But those times are when we draw closer to the Lord and acquire more grace for our needs. We must have these times.

But the other 80% of life is full of ordinary days. It’s funny how perspective changes everything! If you’ve just been in the hospital with your little one for a week, an ordinary day looks amazing! But if you’ve just had a baby and that sweet experience has ended, you come home to “regular life” with piles of laundry still there. The kids still fight, they still need to eat. The cleaning still needs to be done. These are ordinary days.

But the ordinary is anything but. I love teaching my 6-year-old to read. It’s so precious to be his “teacher” and enjoy how he’s learning and how he pretends to be a tough, non-excited big guy. I love the comic my 4-year-old is when he’s playing. He is so silly, and we giggle at his expressions and raised eyebrows. I love watching my 2-year-old prance around. She literally bounces from room to room. I love snuggling my newborn, smelling that sweet baby smell. I love watching my children love their Daddy, and beg to hold their new baby sister. Yes, ordinary days are anything but.

{Happy Sigh}

I want a sign in my dining room that reads “Keep Calm and Enjoy Life” for it is passing me by. I get so caught up in the stress of keeping a house clean and keeping laundry done, that I forget to enjoy the sweet moments that are happening around me every single day.

4. More is “Caught Than Taught”.

Several years ago, my former pastor’s wife had a ladies’ meeting at our church. The theme was Proverbs 31 and she had a few ladies in the church share in areas where their strengths were. One sweet lady told about how she loves to cook for her family, and shared tips with how she planned big meals. Another lady’s strength was her gardening.

But I will never forget a sweet lady named Mrs. Grace, all bent over from a stroke, talking about her children. She was around 76 at this time. She is a wonderful mother and grandmother. All her grown children and grown grandchildren are faithful in church. Mrs. Grace had mostly raised her children alone, as her husband was in the Navy and not present in the home all the time.

But her testimony of “how to raise children”? I will never forget as she told us “It was a lot of prayer.” That was basically all she said.

Hands-prayer-black-white-e1264291882428

How does that work? I need a checklist of do’s and don’ts to be a good mother. Prayer seems so simple.

I believe it works like this: Yes, motherhood is a lot of work. But prayer transforms us. How many times have we heard that phrase? More is caught than taught. As we spend with the Father, He changes us. Children become so much of what we are.  So, become the woman God wants you to be, and you will be the mother God wants you to be. Prayer and God’s Word does that.

There is so much I am always learning.

What are some things you are learning about motherhood? Please share!

❤ Joy