8 Years…..

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wedding images courtesy of Kerry Brooks Photography

http://www.kerrybrooksphotography.com

Eight years, 3 children, a dog, 3 towns, 1 deployment. Yesterday was my birthday, tomorrow our anniversary. I would say we are in our best year yet, and I’m so thankful that God has brought us to this place! Tonight, as we were spending time together in his workshop, God was teaching me. You ready??

My husband is an amazing craftsman. He has great attention to detail and creates beautiful pieces. Some things he researches what others have done and creates his own plan to meet the projects needs or just dreams up, sketches and builds. Tonight, he called me to come see the table he has built for his Big Green Egg. People, I didn’t know such a functional piece could be so pretty! He asked if I would like to help stain it.

I said yes.

You see, my husband’s hobby is woodworking. He thoroughly enjoys it. He takes our girls to his workshop and lets them build things (and they LOVE it!). Tonight at 9 pm with laundry and dishes to be finished, I could have easily said “No.”, but it was such a blessing to work along side him to finish up something he had made. I was being his help-mate. The role God gave us as wives is so much more than housework, child raising and sex. We are supposed to be our husbands best friend. He is supposed to come second only to the God we serve whole-heartedly (and if you are not in that place in your relationship with God, submitting to and loving your still in the flesh husband as your second priority will be daunting).

Genesis 2:18 says:

“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.

I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

You were made “just right” to be your husbands helper, to be his mate. We bond with girl friends over things that we have in common. Our husbands are not women! We are going to have to study our man. To join him in the activities that we may not initially find appealing, but go along because we love him. And we love Jesus. I don’t follow Rob out to his workshop every single time he goes (not by a long shot!) but I do my best to come and see his work when he asks. I don’t get upset with him for working outside for a few days on his project. I embrace it as part of who he is, and I find ways to be a part of his thing. I had a blast staining wood tonight because I was alongside my husband, admiring his work. My feet and legs are a little splotchy. No, I didn’t botch self tanner. But I don’t mind the stains (seriously, they wont come off!).

I want to encourage you to study your man, take time to just be together and talk about things other than the children, schedule and your hectic life. Talk dreams, matters of the heart, etc. And the other biggie is this: find women who you see loving and honoring their husbands. It’s pretty evident who these women are. Spend time in their presence– you will be blessed as you learn from them!

To end today, I want to leave you with a song I heard for the first time at my cousin’s wedding. LOVE it! This is John Waller’s The Marriage prayer.

I love you Rob! Here’s to 80 more years!

Ephesians and an Old Journal

I found an older journal the other day I have not used since early 2012. I found a prayer that I wrote in response to Ephesians 1:6-11. It blessed me so much to read it, and I hope it will bless you too! This was during a hard struggle with food for me. I am going to leave a blank where I had written food because this could be true of anything we have not given complete control to God about.

Lord, thank you for choosing me and allowing me to belong to Your dear Son. Your word tells me that because You are so rich in glorious grace and loving kindness that You purchased my freedom with the blood of Jesus and forgave my sin! You purchased my freedom yet there are areas i am finally learning to hand over the chains of my enslavement to my sin. 

Lord I want to walk in that freedom and  remember it cost something – SOMEONE! Lead me in your righteousness Lord. 

Please bring brokenness over my rebellious heart. Create in me a clean heart O God,  and renew a right spirit within me! Forgive me for turning to ____ instead of You! You are faithful and true O Lord!

I want to live in ALL areas of my life as a Jesus girl! Let me live my days seeking refuge in you! Please give me your supernatural strength in my battle with _____. 

I AM a daughter of the King! 

I don’t struggle with food the way I used to. Yes, there are still moments or days, but it doesn’t consume me. Yet as I read these words this morning, I still see a rebellious heart in places that should be His. We will never be perfect while we walk on dirt. BUT God does call us to surrender our flesh in response to HIs grace and mercy. Live intentionally, seeking after Him!

Before we go, here is a new edition of Just As I Am that we sang at Impact! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!! Be blessed by all He has done sweet friends!

Where’s Our Focus?

My quiet time today landed me in Proverbs 17. Verse 24 says

“Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” (NLT)

Lately, God has really been impressing on my heart about seeking Him and His wisdom, not the wisdom of the world. It is easy to fret about cleaning schedules, doing all that my day requires of me with 3 kids, and just life. Maybe if I read this book on housekeeping it will stick? …Oh maybe THIS lady has the right method for (x,y,z). I came very close to buying that huge wonderful “bundle” of a gazzilion ebooks for such a great price..and all of its bonus materials! Is the bundle bad? No. It had a lot of great information I am SURE! (I just LOVE LOVE LOVE everything I have read by Sarah Mae…and she had quite a few books in there! That alone would have been worth it).

But you see, sometimes I still struggle to get in my daily quiet time (gasp!). It’s easy to get busy. It’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s version of how we should do things. But when I am plugged into Jesus first thing in the morning, that long list of to do’s and little hearts to lead all just falls into place. There is no set order, but he allows me to get done what matters in the day. My husband will tell you he can see a difference… on the days my eyes are glued to God’s wisdom, he comes in from work to a clean kitchen, good supper, and happy family. Verses the other days..yeah..we just wont go there. I’m a mess without Jesus! Are you?

I ended up writing down the commentary on Proverbs 17:24, it says:

“Wisdom is not a natural ability- but must be pursued. Sensible people cultivate wisdom, but a fool’s eyes cannot stay focused”

Yep… I’ve been there. And “fool” is a good term for those days.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy pintrest and other great DIY information (we even made Kool Aid play dough today!).   And it’s all well and good on its own. But just like food, it can easily become god in our lives. But when we seek God’s wisdom daily, He is so faithful to help us find a “balance” to life.

As a new mom, I followed babywise to a T. Being on a schedule seemed to work great for us. Chloe was an only child at that point, so it was so EASY to follow. And we had great results. She slept by 8 weeks all night long; I knew when she would do what each day. I was SET….so I thought. But after 2 and 3, a deployment, and just growing as a family, I have learned that I don’t want to “follow” a method (on either side of the spectrum). God will be faithful to reveal the heart of each child to us, and lead us, through HIS wisdom, the best way to train their hearts and raise them up in the Lord. I still enjoy a bit of a routine in our daily lives, but we are not scheduled… and I’m okay with that. I am thankful that God gave me Rob, and the amazing leader he is in our family.

My friend Kara and I do things a little bit differently parenting wise (although we had Molly in our room until she was 14 months old this last time). But her honesty and wisdom in what I am about to share with you is so deep and just real. She was our children’s pastor in our last town, and she along with a few others,  were used by God to shape me into the mom I am.

“I am going to say this at great risk, but I feel it is good when in leadership at a church to be very clear. Are you scared yet? Hahahaha! Brandon and I have five kids, number six on the way. They are normal children, generally well-behaved, but definitely need grace and discipline, as you all have seen regularly. People assume because we have five children, that aren’t terrorists yet, that we used Babywise and Growing Kids God’s Way as our method of parenting. Oddly enough, we get this question or statement all the time. So, let me be completely honest and upfront. I breastfed our babies on demand and napped our babies on demand at ballfields, in church gyms, in car seats, etc. I held my babies hours on end and if I wasn’t holding them, Brandon or a sibling was. Our babies sleep in our room until the next baby comes and then they have each happily moved into a kid room. I know some of you are picking yourself up off the floor right now:) I sort of feel like I’m coming out of the closet. As they grew, I watched their cues and introduced them to the table with the family and happily encouraged our family meal behavior. As they grew, I expected immense amounts of age-appropriate self-control and discipline and self-sacrifice. And believe it or not, our kids all sleep really well; we have wonderful, happy family meals, even in restaurants, and Brandon and I have a normal, happy marriage. But the truth is, I have no idea how our kids will turn out in the end; I am trusting God for that. I am hopeful and scared. I follow no book or method. I talk to older moms, my mom, my aunts, my grandmothers. I talk to women who have adult children who love the Lord and great relationships with their parents. It’s no wonder older women don’t want to get involved in our lives…we always prefer the advice of a book or “expert” to women who have actually done it well. I talk to God  and I trust Him to reveal the heart of my children to me. Though I love to hear from other young moms, I do not rely primarily on their advice. Let’s be honest; we are all in the experiment stage. I say all of this, NOT AS ADVICE, but because I want to end the judgmental mommy wars that go on in the Christian community. I want all of you to be free! I feel that some of you may be in hiding for fear that your method is unacceptable or for fear that you are failing. The truth is we are all failing and any method that accurately reflects the deep love of God for His children is exactly right. We will all do this differently because we are gloriously different. Just as God parents each of us differently, we will each parent differently and this does not mean it’s wrong. Find your strength and confidence in scripture and in Christ. Ignore the pressure to follow a method out of fear. Perfect love casts out all fear. And last but not least, one piece of advice I can give: relax and enjoy your babies; it goes so fast!”

So, to those of you I have recommended certain books to, yes, read baby whisperer – its got GREAT information. But seriously, just follow the mommy instincts God has given you. Follow what works best with your family as a whole. Seek God and His wisdom as you raise your babies. As a first time mom, I thought people were crazy who chose to not do it my way. (did I JUST admit that..yeah) But as I have grown I realize this: we all were fearfully and wonderfully made with different personalities, and some things work best for different people/families.

The point of it all: Put our focus on Jesus alone. Find our strength and confidence in Scripture and Christ. Be who HE made us to be, and no one else!

Next time we will be talking about Titus 2 and both finding women “a season ahead” and seeking to be a blessing to those who are “a season behind”. (and just so you know, its not our “finding” its God’s leading!)

Grace and Peace,

AdaKate

Cleaning the toilets….again.

Two of my three have been up most of the night with very upset tummies. The you-clean-the-potty-each-time upset (I’m not a fan of spreading germs!) Earlier this week, I was up with my oldest most of the night with a stomach virus. So, needless to say, I ‘ve done my share of (extra) laundry and bathroom cleaning.

It would be easy to be a bit grumpy this morning… I feel my flesh wanting to go there. But as I spent time in the Word this morning, this is the manna I was given for this day:

Ephesians 5:9, 17

* For the light within you produces only what is good and right.

* Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

So I know this may not sound like good advice for having a happy heart while trying not to get sick yourself. But stick with me for  just a moment….

The Lord longs to help us weigh our thoughts and choices. We still walk on dirt, and our flesh will try its best to get in the way– but the Lord produces only what is good and right. Its a choice to submit to the One who created us, and who knows exactly what we need.

My prayer is for God to guide me each and every day to complete the tasks for that day. I trust that He cares about all of my day- not just what is “spiritual”– but doesn’t our whole day become spiritual when we “work as if working for the Lord”. When we have a heart that is serving the Lord by cleaning the bathrooms to bless our family…that can be worship. And we are called to worship Him with our whole life.

I have lived too many days stressing over what to eat, what to fix my family to eat, cleaning schedules, homeschool schedules, being the wife and mom I need to be,  and getting life done. Psalm 37:34 says “Put your hope in the Lord, travel steadily along His path.” When my eyes are fixed on Jesus, I am traveling along His path. And He orders my day to complete the tasks He has before me. And allows me to love others, even when I’m tired.

That is some of what He has been teaching me lately.

I love this song by Aaron Keyes based on Psalm 62. Spend some time letting your heart worship. 🙂

Blessings!

AdaKate

Blessings

Wow! What an amazing weeekend Rob and I shared at Outback America!! We were blessed in so many ways through worship, speakers, being “un-plugged”, and just set apart time together with each other.

http://www.outbackamerica.org

I don’t want to share specifics, because you need to go..and I don’t want to spoil it! 🙂

Music is a huge part of my heart. So… here are some favorites from my home to yours. Be blessed as you worship the One who created all.

Grace and Peace,

AdaKate

Secrets?

I’ve been a bit quiet the past week.. Yet what is coming today needed time to roll around in my head 🙂 I hope you understand!

This is really not something I want to talk about. But isn’t that exactly what secrets are? But as I’ve processed over the past week, there is not doubt. Its time to talk. So here we go…..

I have struggled with an eating disorder since my early teen years. It was always about control whenever it reared its ugly head. Thankfully I was blessed with parents who kept a pretty close watch on me and never let me get so far down that I couldn’t recover. (seriously, Praise God for that one!) It is something that will be put to rest for a while, and then will “relapse” from time to time. After my second baby, I went a little bit in the other direction with over eating. It consumed me at times (coke and m&m’s anyone?!) And I ended up making an idol out of food. Kelly Minter in her book “No Other gods: Confronting Our Modern Day Idols” gives this definition for idol:”something other than God that we set our heart on, that motivates us, masters and rules us, or that we trust or serve.” Ouch. Does that hit you as hard as it hits me? No wonder Satan tries to hit us in the area of food and body image….its a good master and ruler huh?

Last Monday, my sweet family took a trip to Sweet Frogs for frozen yogurt. We do not do a ton of sweets at home and like to do special treats from time to time. This planned-a-week-in-advance trip was actually a celebration for our big girls learning the Lord’s Prayer (oh can I tell you how sweet it is to hear their little voices quoting scripture?!?!) So… I got a small bowl (same size as my girlies) and ate along with the crew. Out of nowhere shame hit me over what I had consumed. It confused me a bit because thats not an area I’ve ever dealt with. Like deep, ugly shame. Before I knew it I found myself in the bathroom sticking my finger down my throat (there’s another first!). And in the midst of it all I knew it wasn’t right. I didn’t understand what was going on in my head or my heart at the moment. Ugh. That night after my run I only ate about 2-3 bites of dinner because the thoughts were back and I just couldn’t take it..and I didn’t want a bathroom repeat. Ugly..I know. Thankfully, I knew I needed to reach out. Someone had to know because eating disorders are such a slippery slope. I was already having thoughts of keeping it all a…….. SECRET. But secrets can choke us out (like big HUGE nasty weeds!) When I’m clear headed, I want to be healthy. I want my kids to see their mom have a cookie, or frozen yogurt. They need to not only be told about enjoying things in moderation, but see it lived out in front of them as well. Thankfully they are too young to even grasp what went on that day….but they wont be for long. And the sad thing is Monday isn’t the only day I struggled. It happened again on Wednesday with dinner. But God is faithful, and He is carrying me through this place.

Satan loves to tempt us, cause us to sin, and then keep it a secret. So there are three areas we need to be standing guard:

1. Are we keeping any secrets? Today, I’ve opened up about eating disorders. But there are so many areas that Satan tries to get us: it may be a relationship that does not need to be, it can be a love affair with food..just wherever Satan keeps our battles with him. Ask the Lord to show you any place that needs to be visited.

2. Being a trustworthy listener for another. If it were not for a few people I knew I could trust this secret with, I don’t know where I would have been. We need to be willing to be there for each other (community is a common thing around here huh?) Be the friend that people know they can trust no matter what.

3. Always be on the look out, lest a secret be growing: 1 Peter 5:8 gives us this warning: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Peter wasn’t kidding. And it sounds like our great enemy has been at it for a very long time. Be on guard, always.

I want to leave you today with some encouragement. Here are some scriptures that have been a huge blessing to me:

2 Thessalonians 3:3  But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

We serve a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine. He longs to see us restored and to live each day walking in his presence and in his mercy. Praise God that His mercies are new every morning.

We’ve been singing this song quite a bit at our church lately. I love it! I don’t know about you, but music is such an avenue of worship and prayer!

Picture Perfect?

Do you ever have those days where one minute you are basking in just.how.amazing. it is to be a mom. How precious your children are… How well they do x.y.z….and before you know it, BAM! That “perfect picture” is shattered! That was our family earlier this week. The weather was amazing, we were all outside playing. My husband was doing some landscaping, while also taking breaks to blow bubbles with baby cakes, and then letting the big girls “help” him with the mulch. Bike riding, bird watching, chalk drawing (and spelling work ) and then it hit…..I’m not sure what the fuss started over, but it was big and ugly and time outs followed….ugh. And immediately that mean voice in my head starts blasting me about my mothering. (Please tell me I’m not the only one with a bully in my head!) I know logically that children are just that, children. Three girls all 5 and under are going to squabble from time to time!

You see, the problem here isn’t 2 or 3 girls fussing. Its the lie of “picture perfect”. its unattainable, by anyone. But if we aren’t careful, we can all get in the cycle of comparing ourselves to this standard…..and may I even say to each other? It is so important for us to be real with each other. Life isn’t a big pintrest board, filled of only the beautiful and crafty things we accomplish. It’s feeling like pulling our hair out and oh-my-gracious is it only 9am! Its struggling, some days, to be the spouse God calls us to be, to speak kindly to the little ones when we just want to scream.

Are you ever a little scared to let others see the imperfections?

I am.

But when I’m hiding behind picture perfect, I’m believing the lie.

Yet its when my picture perfect is shattered that I am reminded that I don’t take a breath without Jesus. He breathes life into this mama when I’m tired, and weak, and lacking all of the fruit I’m supposed to be bearing. Its not pretty to look at the shattered….but thats not where my eyes are supposed to rest. Praise God for that! “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” – Hebrews 4:16

We belong in community with one another. And when we open up and let our imperfections show, that is where true friendship begins. We need friends who can speak truth into our lives, who can hold us accountable, and who we can laugh and cry with over the ups and downs of life. When we can actually be real about life with our girlfriends we stop hiding behind the lie….and sister, that is where freedom can be found! And as we receive Gods mercy and grace, it will overflow into our lives with our families and friendships.

So… the real joy that day came after the time outs: we talked about how the girls acted, I asked them to recall their actions and think about if thats how Jesus would want to see them act (that was a big NO!) And then getting to hear their answers of how Jesus wants us to treat our sister…and the giggles, and hugs and I’m sorry’s and thats ok..and hey– you want to go ride bikes together?? As their mom, I long to live out the words of Hebrews 4:16 before their eyes. That audience is really the one that matters. They see me on my good days, and my bad. Their lives are the ones on which I will have the greatest impact– whether for the good or the bad. And some days, its mama saying “I’m sorry”, and they get a small glimpse of just how much their mama needs Jesus, too.

Different day, but aren't they cuties!

Different day, but aren’t they cuties!

Weedless

Weedless is my God lessons. Curious about my title selection? Here’s the story:

One hot summer morning, about 5:30 am, a very pregnant me decided to go weed the garden. It had been a neglected task. If we waited past 7 am, the bees were everywhere and it was just too hot. Not to mention 2 sweet kids would be needing their mommy. I love gardening- it is one of the places I connect so much with God (and a lot cheaper than a trip to the beach– my other “special” God place). So, on this hot, muggy morning, I started at the last row pulling up weeds. some were small, just sprouted– man those were easy! Then there is the “ground cover” weed– it spreads like wild, but doesn’t take deep roots. Among these two “easy” weeds, were some monsters who had taken root over a few weeks and were buried deep. I had to be very careful to not disturb the root system of the plants we were growing as I dealt with those weeds. And over the next two hours, God really spoke to me:

  • the new sprouted “weeds” in life are so easy to pluck out. This could be the start of a bad habit, or temptation to sin. If its dealt with quickly, no real harm is done.
  • “ground cover” weeds spread quickly. Like, literally…overnight. This reminds me more of bad habits. Or things that we let take the place of our time alone with God. Hey, they might even be good things…..lets call them the “BUSY” weeds.
  • Ah…and then there is the dug-down-deep, can cause a crisis in life if you don’t do something weeds. These stink. Its when we’ve let temptation grow and lead to sin. But you see, there is a gradual change from the “sprouts” to the monsters. at the different stages, plucking those weeds might move a little dirt, or create a hole. But as I said before, once they were monsters, they could very well kill the plant by destroying its root systems.
  • There were a few deep, thick rooted weeds that I could not remove alone. Ah, what a lesson we see in scripture. James 5:16 says “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Confession of our sin to each other brings healing, it lets some much needed oxygen in. And then praying together, as well as the accountability allows us to lay ourselves open before Jesus, and BE HEALED. Will new sprouts come? Absolutely, but when we are grounded in truth and have accountability with the Holy Spirit that resides within us, and our fellow Christians, we don’t let them grow a single day.

Our quiet time with the Lord is made to bless us, and to keep the open lines of communication. An awesome Bible teacher once reminded me that “missing our quiet time does not wreck God’s plan”. And it doesn’t make Him angry at us either. One of my favorite verses in Scripture is found in 1 John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” It’s in the time I spend at the feet of Jesus that he gently opens my eyes to the sprouts of sin in my life. And He will even pick them out, and it really doesn’t hurt. The truth we see in 1 John 1:9 also applies to the monsters we quietly grow. The confession and removal may “hurt” a little, or even a lot. But He forgives us, and He cleanses us. And a life cleansed by  Jesus is a life worth living my friend.

Here’s to living WEEDLESS!