Archive for the 'hope' Category

Focus

black binoculars

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I teach middle school. This statement says a lot about my constant struggle to keep people’s focus. If you were to peek in my classroom you’d think a crazy woman was in charge. Sometimes I’m acting out vocabulary. Other times I’m clapping and dancing around the room – all in an effort to keep people focused and with me.

God doesn’t go to such dramatic efforts. He is consistently available and is always capable. Nothing we bring in our chaos will cause Him to lose focus. As my education has continued, so has my insight. I am very aware of how much I don’t know, and yet I’m anxious to apply what I do know. I’ve been applying for jobs. I’ve been having great conversations with people, but nothing has come to be.

So I’m focusing on what I can do, where I am, with the situation that is in front of me. Sometimes the enemy tries to get us to focus on issues or situations that are out of our control. He wants us to panic or become anxious. When we focus on the unknown, we forget to focus on the KNOWN.

Here’s what I know:

I know God created me. He made me from the inside out and He knows me better than I know myself! (Psalm 139:13-14)

I know God is here to give me real and eternal life – more abundant life than I ever could have hope for! (John 10:10)

I know God provides my identity, fogiveness, healing, satisfaction, and redemption! (Psalm 103:3-5)

I know God can do more than I could ever ask or imagine. His power is at work within me! (Ephesians 3:20-21)

I know God is with me everywhere I go – I am not alone! (Joshua 1:9)

I know God is my shield. No matter what the enemy tries to throw at me, I have a shield. I can relax and breathe. (Psalm 115:9-11)

I know God is my refuge and strong tower. I can lean into Him. I can rest in His presence when I feel weak. (Psalm 61:3)

So no matter what you’re facing today – whatever fear is lingering in your thoughts and spirit – I beg of you – focus on what you KNOW to be true, and the unknown will have less power and influence over you.

Focus on your faith so you can limit the fear. I don’t know what awaits me in life  but I’m choosing to focus on the Creator, not the chaos.

Will you join me? Share your faith journey below in the comments and allow us to feel encouraged through you! Thankfully we don’t have to dance around or clap our hands to get God’s attention. He’s listening. He’s here. He’s in control.

Kasey

Fear

bare feet boy child couch

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Fear. It’s a four-letter word that can paralyze us and limit our joy. Fear evolves as we grow. It morphs as our experiences intensify, but at its core…fear never changes.

It is a tool the enemy uses to create doubt. Doubt about others, about ourselves, about God. Doubt brings darkness.

Taking a step in the darkness is so scary. Anyone else stubbed a toe or stepped on a noisy toy while trying to navigate a dark room? Walking through a dark place is exhausting! Always waiting for that unknown thing to pop up and take us by surprise – ahhhh!!

If fear brings doubt and doubt brings darkness, why would we allow ourselves to love there? Well – because fear is REAL! It’s real and sometimes we can’t get rid of it all on our own. Instead, we need help. Hep from others, hep from God, we can’t do it alone.

Having faith God can break through the fear and darkness is not easy. It’s a choice.

I often remind my children that their feelings and emotions are very real, but sometimes they just can’t be trusted. Instead, of “feeling” they have to choose to “know”.

To know who they are in the eyes of their Creator. To know how much they are loved. To know they have been called to live a life that consists of more than immediate victories or easy roads.

So let’s replace the four-letter word, FEAR with another one, KNOW.

Here’s what I know:

  1. I know God is ALWAYS working on my behalf, even when it seems nothing is working out. He works ALL things for the good of those who love Him.
  2. I know my strength has limitations. My physical, mental, and emotional limits are very real. So why would I think I can do this thing called life on my own? I need my people around me. Scripture tells us we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. I have people in my life who have witnessed me at my lowest, most vulnerable moments and they still love me. They have also witnessed how God brought me out of the darkness and helped me grow.
  3. I know life is not fair. I have been hurt so badly by people who called themselves Christians. I’ve been judged, lied about, and even misrepresented by people who called themselves my friend. Did I handle myself perfectly in those situations when I was hurting? Nope. But boy did I learn. I learned that in the dark moments, I have to focus on the light. Not on the people trying to drag me down into a dark place of fear and failure. Grace is REALLY unfair. God extends it to really nasty, awful people too. Sometimes that’s hard for me to accept. But maybe if I keep focused on the light, they will see it to and retribution and forgiveness can happen – just maybe.
  4. I know God is enough. Throughout the Psalms we learn read God is our Rock, Fortress, Shelter, Strength, Peace, Hope…the list goes on and on. He promised to be what I need Him to be and that can be enough, even in the darkest of times.

So as we head into this Halloween season with the haunted houses and costumes, I hope we can look at fear in a new way. Maybe we can name what really frightens us and give it to God. He never asked us to walk this road of life alone. He can handle it. Whatever it is – cry out to Him. Start to KNOW your Savior in a new way. KNOW the promises found in scripture and in return, fear will have to loosen its hold on your spirit and life.

You are a blessing to so many and to me! If you have time, leave a comment below telling us how you overcame a fear in your life or maybe a fear you are struggling with. You’re not alone – I’m sure of it. Come out of the darkness and into the light.

Have a wonderful week!
Kasey

To Be or Not To Be

nature red forest leaves

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We teach our children that life is full of choices. Their choices have consequences.

As moms, we’re no different. I made a choice almost 4 years ago. A choice I made with my family’s support and knowledge. I went back to school. As long as I can remember I’ve wanted to earn my doctorate. This past May I walked across the stage in my funny cap and billowing robe. As I walked, I heard my sweet boys yell, “Yeah Mom!” It was the best moment ever!

I’ve had to learn a new “normal”. No more researching, writing, and reading in my spare time. I finally have TIME!

Now that my closets are cleaned out, drawers organized, and moving boxes unpacked (it only took a year!)…I’ve decided to embark on a new challenge.

I’m making a choice to focus my extra time on God’s Word and how it impacts the  unknown world I’m managing when it comes to raising teenagers. It is NOT easy. Not at all. I’m hoping some of you can relate, reply, and help me redirect my thoughts when things get to be too much.

I’m ready to get real – I hope you are ready too.

I’ve been away from blogging for a while now, it feels good to be back  instead of focusing only on my kids, I want to focus on my Savior and the promises found in Scripture.

I hope you’ll stick around and experiment with me as I approach this month in a new way. I’m choosing my focus. I’m choosing God’s calm over the world’s chaos.

Ready, Set, Go…

Along The Path

pathThink back to your high school years. What dreams or plans did you have?

Could you have ever dreamed your life would turn out like it has?

As a high school teacher I was constantly asking my students what their plans were and what was “next” for them.
Some had answers, others just wanted to make it through their high school career and couldn’t think beyond that milestone.
No matter what your “plan” was, it involved choosing a path. Our educational and professional paths can seem pretty clear when we begin, but sometimes the path for our relationships and spiritual life is a bit more involved.

He Will Do It

ohio group 2Last night I had a blast hanging out with the amazing women of Westerville Christian. They won a set of my latest Bible Study at #MomCon. I was so excited to meet with them and our time together took a really cool turn – one I hadn’t seen coming. I love when God comes in and decides to speak a word I was NOT expecting – it’s a beautiful moment when I’m reminded that God knows us better than we know ourselves.

We were focused on 1 Thessalonians 5:24…

“The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”

It’s a simple phrase until we take it apart.

“The one who calls you…” Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we’ve been CALLED. Being a mom is a calling! Sometimes it’s a really tough calling, but in the end it’s the most important part of our impact on this world. The thing is – we didn’t end up here by luck or because we were bored. Nope. God plucked us out of ALL His creation and allowed us to be called Mother.

“…[He] is faithful…” I can flounder, mess up, fall away and turn my back on God but He is always faithful. His love NEVER ends and He can be the source of anything/everything I need. God’s faithfulness in my life isn’t dependent upon my performance as a mom. Nope. I am going to try my best. I’m going to listen to my Creator and I’m not going to give up because I’m not alone. The Creator of the Universe is on my side and HE IS FAITHFUL.

“…He will do it” During our time last night I asked the ladies to think of their top 3 worries, concerns or fears. The things that are weighing heavily on them. We’re going to call those our own personal “its”. My “it” might be different from yours but it still affects us. It takes our energy and focus and that’s not good because our family needs ALL our resources.  Throughout scripture we read God’s promises to be our strength, hope, joy, rest, and peace. If I pray about a situation in my life I can know that God will take care of it. He’ll do it His way and in His timing but we remember that He’s faithful and He’s called us to this season and time – so HE WILL DO IT!

I don’t know what “it” you’re dealing with today but I hope you can speak our 1 Thessalonians scripture with confidence and find reassurance that God loves you, knows you and cares about the “it” you’re facing.

 While speaking to the group last night God reminded me of a lesson I had taught to my students just 5 hours earlier. In my Newcomer’s class we are learning about pronouns. Yesterday our lesson covered the pronouns I and YOU. My sweet students who are learning English struggle with this concept – I think mothers do too.

Sometimes we think it’s all up to us.

I have to make that snack, talk to that person, lead that activity, clean that room, participate in that ministry……..the list goes on and on.

When it comes to dealing with the struggles in our life and staring down any “it” that might come our way we might need to start using the pronoun “you” a little bit more.

What if we started saying, “Lord, You are my strength. You have my heart. Would You help me decide what to do….” again, the list could go on and on.

I don’t have to have all the answers. I don’t have to win all the battles. I don’t even have to prove anything – all I need to do is trust God and work on having child-like faith in my Heavenly Father – He’s got this.

This is It!

w2wLet me be honest.

I wasn’t expecting our “Scripture Sunday” from last month to pose such a challenge in my life. You see, I’m currently learning how to do a new job and let’s just say I’m not a fan of starting over.

Have you ever had to start over and leave behind the wonderful feeling of knowing what you’re doing and feeling confident? Yeah – it’s not my favorite.

The “it” I’m currently dealing with is a necessary evil – it’s my job.  I’m struggling to remember that yes, God is faithful and yes, He will take care of my “it” no matter how difficult things become.

To help me accept these statements of truth I’m trying to make sure I do my part and obey scripture. I know God will fulfill His promise – so I’m working on fulfilling mine…

CLICK HERE to read more from my monthly posts for Woman to Woman Magazine – “Scripture Sunday”

Permission Granted: 8 Truths New Moms Need To Hear

permission slip 2Congratulations! You’re a Mommy!

You’ve given birth.

You’ve experienced what it means to sacrifice everything to bring another human into the world.

You’ve probably also discovered how quickly you lose any sense of modesty and/or control of your physical body.

But when you hold that beautiful child in your arms all the pain and fear just wash away…

 

And then you are home, alone, with your baby…

 

Feedings every 2 hours, Mastitis, Colic, uterine contractions, stitches, constant bottle washing, staples, extra weight, hormones, spit up, constant laundry, pumping, the list could go – on but we’ll stop here…

Even if someone TRIES to prepare us for what is to come we don’t understand until we live it.

So here’s my point… no, my PLEA to any new mom out there…

I beg you to ignore the celebrity moms who grace magazine covers and the voice in your head whispering doubt into your spirit.

Instead, please accept the following as a gift from me and other members of our Smarter Moms community – you are not alone and you’re doing great!

Dear new Mom,

You have permission to grieve. During your pregnancy you probably made a plan and had expectations. I hope all your expectations were met and plans came to be – but in case things turned out differently it’s okay to take time to grieve the loss of your expectation. Welcome to parenthood – where expectations are sometimes crushed by reality. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just part of the gig.

You have permission to have a messy house. The laundry, dishes, vacuuming and windows don’t have feelings. They don’t care if you ignore them and PLEASE HEAR THIS – real friends won’t care either!!! Don’t be afraid to have people over – sometimes you need conversation more than cleanliness.

You have permission to cry. You’ll cry at nothing and everything and all that emotion means one thing – you’re normal and you have a soul. The tears won’t flow forever so don’t see them as a weakness, see them as a release.

You have permission to ask for help. Enjoy the fact that people want to help you. Let them bring meals, do laundry and run errands for you – you aren’t superwoman so stop acting like nothing happened and you can do everything like you used to. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!!!!

You have permission to hate your body. It’s amazing to see parts of our body grow, change and flop in ways it NEVER has before. Some of us bounce back quickly – if that’s you, I’m very happy for you. For the rest of us it’s sometimes a year before we can wear regular jeans again. You can hate the way your body looks, but you gotta love what it’s capable of doing. You created a human being and that matters more than the size of your jeans. Soon you’ll have the energy and drive to reclaim your physique. For now, stay away from the chocolate and Twinkies and get some rest!

You have permission to tell your mother, mother-in-law and other well-meaning family members to go away. Their intentions are good but their follow through can sometimes be lacking. Sometimes they have more suggestions than solutions and their desire to support us begins to feel like they are suffocating us. Be kind, but be firm. They will understand – even if it takes a little time. Do what is best for you and your baby – trust yourself.

You have permission to call “cold cereal” dinner. When it comes to feeding others and yourself you want to keep things healthy and routine, but there are days when the exhaustion, sleep deprivation and physical strain are too much. On those days you don’t have to justify the pizza, cereal or frozen lasagna on the table (I’m not a new mommy and this STILL happens in our house – just keeping it real)

You have permission to mess up. While trying to trim my newborn’s nails I actually cut the skin on the tip of his finger. I felt awful! How could I hurt my baby!? Once I laid my newborn on the sofa and I didn’t place him far enough back – and he fell onto the floor! I don’t think I’ve ever admitted that to anyone, not even my husband – but ya know what? He’s fine. He’s a healthy, handsome sixth grader. Make mistakes, laugh at yourself, learn from them and MOVE ON! Don’t live with guilt or fear, they drain you emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. Guilt and fear don’t deserve to have the best parts of you – save those for your baby.

Having a baby doesn’t mean you will have the answers.

It does mean you have the chance to learn from your yesterdays, enjoy your today and look forward to your tomorrow.

And if anyone questions you or tries to make you feel guilty – just show them your permission slip – or as I like to call it, your baby.

Children are more important than our reputations or other people’s expectations…take care of yourself and you’ll be able to care for others.

One day, one hour, one task at a time. It’s better that way.

You are loved!

Kasey

 


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