The Danger of Needing to Escape

Being the leader of children, has its share of challenges.  Life in general has its share of challenges.  These challenges can cause a desire to escape.  A need to get away from it all.  And it is in these moments of needing escape… that we can easily be led to danger.

Where do you go to escape the stress of life?

The need for a getaway can cause our minds to head down dangerous paths.  This is when we can begin to crave drunkenness, drugs, more food than what is healthy, sleeping longer than we should, buying things that we don’t need, or sexual immorality.  After all, these activities have the power to provide the mental escape we long for.

However, these escapes most often come with negative side effects.  They can be hazardous to our health, both mentally and physically.  The choices we make for ourselves make a great impact on our kids, and it’s important to never lose sight of that.  They learn by watching our actions, and follow in our footsteps.  Our patterns and habits become theirs’.

But this does not eliminate the need to escape stress.  This for me, has been one of the greatest benefits of having a relationship with God.  Allowing him to be my life coach, teaching me how to think and deal with stress, most of the time I am capable of making sure my thoughts stay on his track for my life.  I could throw caution to the wind at any moment, and indeed, I am tempted at times.  It is the big picture goals and vision, that help me to keep my eyes on the prize.  A focus on what really matters, and letting go of what I should.  This one simple step of jumping my thoughts into the future eliminates the need for escape 95% of the time.  The stressful situations really are not so bad with the right perspective.

The other 5% of the time I make myself wait for whatever dangerous escape I am craving.  I imagine the goals that I would like to accomplish, and how stupid I would appear in front of my kids.  By intentionally avoiding whatever it is that I am craving, the desire subsides.  Self-control to not jump at the first thought in my brain does wonders for staying away from danger.

Roll out the caution tape mamas!  I have found Ephesians 5:17 to be one of the best “life verses” in the Bible.  It states, “live purposefully, worthily, and accurately; making the very most of time and buying up every opportunity.”  I have been able to filter through and eliminate many of life’s distractions in order to continue pursuing goals by holding my actions accountable through that verse.  So many hours and problems can be avoided altogether by simply listening to the wise voice within… even when it’s really hard to do.  Those stressed out moments do not have to lead to disaster… they can be opportunities to grow in wisdom and strength.  If we want our children to choose wisely and maintain self-control in difficult circumstances (such as when a sibling steals their favorite toy), we must be the first to demonstrate how it’s done.

The Mean Mom

Being a good leader of our children is best done when we, as moms, are not out of control of our emotions.  However, we are women.  We are human.  And sometimes, emotions do in fact get the best of us.  Yesterday was one of those days for me.  I was an angry mama bear.

My anger was not caused by my kids, it was another situation I was dealing with, but when kids start fighting, resist to clean their rooms, or whine in addition to my already stressed out mind, I risk explosion.  When I do explode, I feel bad for them.  It’s not their fault that mom is having a meltdown.  Even if the anger is caused by the child, what is a mom to do in the heat of the moment?  There was a point yesterday that I mentally could not be a mom.  But for some reason, kids don’t understand that!

I wanted to explode, it was any minute that something needed to come out of me (ok, didn’t mean for that to sound gross).  Either a scream, the F word, something needed to burst.  But little eyes are watching my every move.  My actions affect my children’s hearts.  My words have the power to damage their minds.

So what can we do as moms?  How can we handle our emotions with wisdom?

This is how I handle these moments:

  1. I put myself in time out.  I make sure everyone is safe (I have babies and a toddler… many things can happen without an adult in the room) as quickly as possible, and I get myself into another room.
  2. I let the emotions pour.  I have tried bottling it all in, but inevitably this results in explosion or some other ugly behavior.  Typically once I am alone, the anger melts into tears.  I do not advice punching walls or throwing chairs for obvious reasons.
  3. If it’s a really rough day, I take a shower.  There’s something about crying in the shower that helps to wash away all of the sadness.
  4. I lie down and pray.  I ask God to give me strength in my weakness.  To make me what I naturally am not.  To pour so much love into me that it overflows into my children, my husband, and any person that I meet, especially those who are difficult to love.  I pray for peace for all of us.
  5. Finally, I get on with my day.  Proactively pursuing my goals, getting back to business, living my life intentionally focused on things that are good.

 

Currently in my journey through the Bible I am reading about Samson and sheesh, he was angry!  I believe God includes these true stories to show us that even though we love God, we are still prone to outrageous tempers.  But, he still loves us.  He can still use us for his great purpose.  And for me, for now, my great purpose is… being a mom.

What about you?  How do you handle emotions when you’re kids are depending on you as a role model?

 

 

 

Get Equipped for Your Job!

Today I have the privilege of directing you to an awesome equipment package to LEAD your family!  As a mom, or any caretaker of the home, in order to LEAD our families, we need to learn from and be inspired by other leaders.  I am currently reading the book of Judges in my personal Bible studies, and what I am seeing through this book is the necessity of having a leader.

Our children NEED a leader.  In the book of Judges, when the people have a leader (or judge to fairly rule over them), they live in peace!  When they do not have a leader, their cities fall away from doing what is right, which leads them to destruction.  Every single time.  There is not one instance where by chance, careless living leads to peace and success.  Never.  In order to have a life of peace, for the people in the Old Testament and for the people today, we need order!  We need fair rules.  We need plans.  We need a VISION for the future.  Proverbs 29:18 states:

“Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he who keeps the law, happy is he.”

A leader provides the vision for those who are following.  As a mom, part of our responsibility is to provide a future vision, with goals, for our children.  The classic question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, inspires a vision to take place.  From the future vision, we can begin to develop goals and determine tasks needed to accomplish today that leads us into the future plans.

What if I don’t have a vision?

The challenge presented is acquiring the vision.  Often, this is where confusion can begin and from confusion, stems frustration and depression.  It’s not always easy to keep our eyes on the big picture in the midst of the chaos of today, right?  So what is a mom to do?  We are supposed to be providing our kids with a hope and plans for the future, though if we cannot get that for ourselves, we meet a dead end.

And this is why it is crucial for you to plug in to a leader for yourself, in order to lead your children.  A leader can help to keep you accountable, guide you when you feel lost, and inspire you when you feel like quitting.  This is my goal for sarahstrausbaugh.com, to empower moms for their job!  Ultimately, we ALL (including our children) need to be led to God so that he can lead over us.  He is the number one leader over all, and we can rest and have peace in that.  But God designed families, churches, and organizations to have leaders within their groups.  Without proper leadership, we have chaos.

Ask yourself mom, what kind of a leader do you want to be for your kids?

Proverbs 28:15-16 shows us what kind of mom we DON’T want to be:

“A wicked ruler over a helpless people is like a roaring lion or charging bear.  A leader who lacks understanding is very oppressive…”

We can learn a couple of things from this.

  1. The ruler needs to have herself together.  She needs to be living in a way that is upright, in order to not become that charging bear of a mom.  And we all get that way (well, MOST of us)!  We must ask ourselves, “am I roaring at my kids?  Are my children helpless to mama bear’s anger?”  It’s not good leadership.
  2. In order to not be that way, we require understanding.  Understanding is the key ingredient to proper leadership!  If we want to be a good parent, we need to learn how.

This package of books is one full library of tools to equip us for this purpose!  These books provide a vision where we are lacking, for every area of our lives as homemakers.  The list includes books on meal ideas, healthy living, parenting, educating, and running a home with efficiency.  The goal of my own eBook (Pieces of Mommy: Putting Yourself Together) included in the package teaches how to live a stress-free, purpose-filled life as a mother.

I am getting to know many of the other authors of this digital library, and each of them are longing to inspire, lead, and provide a vision for homemakers.  They are an incredible group of ladies, and with only 6 days to purchase this offer, don’t wait!  If you were to buy these books individually, it would cost over $850.  But through Monday, you can have them ALL for only $29.97!

Get equipped today!  Gain a vision for your role as a leader!  To purchase, click this picture below.

A couple more things about this sale…

having 78 eBooks (plus the bonuses), provides you with an excellent source at your fingertips.  There is no pressure to rush and read them all, so enjoy thumbing through at your leisure.  Having them in digital format is the perfect solution for living clutter-free, while having access to 78 books of knowledge and understanding, to equip you for proper leadership!

Also, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, you may want to consider the option to buy 2, get 3.  What a perfect gift for the other moms in your life!

$29.97 for the PDF set, or $59.90 for THREE sets! :)  $39.97 for the Kindle version.


 

Dear God,

I am praying for moms today.  Please help us to gain the understanding we need, so that we may raise the children you have blessed us with, without oppression and frustration that can be compared to a roaring lion.  Give us your peace and vision for good leadership in our homes, so that we can equip our children for the futures you have for them.

Thank you God for the opportunity to connect with one another and learn from each other, and for giving us leaders in each field to gain knowledge and understanding through!

 

 

Is There a God? Part 3

“Only carefully obey the command and instruction that Moses the Lord’s servant gave you: to love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, keep His commands, remain faithful to Him, and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.” –Joshua 22:5

For an atheist, this verse sounds like a command to be in love with an imaginary friend.  But for a person who has spent some time walking with God, you get it.  The way that the people in the Bible talk about God, is the same way that you see him working around you.  You have witnessed people get healed, marriages restored, and financial problems resolved.  Things came together that otherwise would not have.  And then there are the little things that happen throughout your day that just tells you “God loves me”.  My most recent “God is real” event happened three days ago.  I was asking God if I really should blog about these things.  I feel like, who am I to discuss the meaning of life?  To be honest, it’s intimidating.  So I said “God, if you want me to follow through with these posts, please give me a sign.  Please let me dream about it, and wake me up at 5:30 feeling awake and ready to write.”  And do you know what happened?  I did dream about writing this, and I woke up at 5:29, feeling wide awake.

(Sidenote: Asking God to give me a sign for something I believe he is calling me to do, is something I learned from reading the Old Testament.  Many times, the people that God gave an assignment to, asked him for a sign saying “if this is really you God”, and made their requests to him.  Now, I would not say “God, if you’re real, make that chair move across the room or you’re not real”, because at that point you are mocking the Bible.  God knows your heart and your intentions behind your requests.  He is faithful and if you feel him leading you to something but are experiencing doubts, ask him to give you a sign of certainty.)

OK, so what if you do believe in God but you have not seen him do anything in your life?  In fact, what if everything in life is going completely wrong?  What if you feel like God hates you?  Let me introduce to you Ephesians 6:10-18, if you are not already familiar with it.  Spiritual warfare.  Remember the devil who was banished from heaven?  Well, he is roaming the earth (1 Peter 5:8).  And the devil does hate you.  He hates you because God loves you and God made you.  Satan has power on the earth, and as we get closer to the end of the earth which is told about throughout the Bible, Satan’s power will actually get stronger before he is thrown into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night forever.

More questions?!  I thought so!  Why is God waiting to destroy the devil?  Why doesn’t he do it now?  Yeah, I ask these same things.  I honestly don’t know why.  In the book of Job (pronounced “Jobe”) we can see that God allows us to be tested by the devil.  And I also know that right now I am on earth, and I never would have been given a life if the world had already ended.  So I choose to appreciate life for what it is, even if I have an enemy.  God gave us an enemy but he also gave us authority over that enemy in the name of Jesus Christ, because Satan and all of his demons cannot stand to be around even the name of Jesus!  So if you are experiencing a problem of any sort, start speaking life into that area and say “Jesus”.  Say it again and again.

My son had the worst night terrors when he was five.  He screamed in his sleep a scream that I have never heard from any of my kids while they were awake, let alone sleeping.  Tears pouring from his eyes and shrieks of horror.  He was seeing something in his sleep.  I don’t know what, but the thoughts were tormenting him.  I could not wake him up, I could not do anything.  I tried hugging him, turning lights on, yelling his name, but nothing worked.  This went on for a few months, not every night, but maybe once a week.  Finally I realized that if they were in fact demons, because the way he screamed made me believe that they were, that at the name of Jesus they would have to leave.  I said “Nolan, say Jesus.  Can you say Jesus?”  He did hear that and did start saying “Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus”, and the screaming stopped within seconds.  It happened a few more times after that, and again just fought it with the name of Jesus. We now pray every night “in the name of Jesus, please God protect our minds as we sleep.”  He has not had a night terror in over a year.

Why Jesus and the Holy Bible?  How do we know Jesus is the Son of God?  How do we know Christianity is the right religion, and all the others are wrong?  That’s a pretty bold statement, right?!  If these are some questions you are sorting through, I encourage you to read through 31 Reasons to Believe in the Bible.  In that series, I explain why I believe that the Bible is the only truth.  The short answer is that the Bible was here first.  The historical bloodlines and geography listed throughout the pages all match the facts of today.  The borders of each country is boring to read, but they are included so that we can look at the map of the territories 5000 years ago, and see that those borders are the same today.  This book was written about this world.  It is the greatest history book of all time.  It dates back to the same time that there is solid evidence of the first human being, and the book begins with a discussion of how the earth and the first human beings were created.  No other book compares.  Other religions try, and other religions have stolen wisdom that the Bible offers without giving credit to the original Author.

The thing is, we have an enemy that is doing everything in his power to keep us from believing in Jesus.  He knows that there is something within us that desires to believe there is a God, so deception through other religions offered that remove Jesus is the perfect solution for the devil.  And this is why I advise you, to be careful who you learn about the Bible through.  There are deceivers and liars working at the hands of the devil.  They probably don’t even realize it.  The only way to fight against the enemy is to READ THE BIBLE FOR YOURSELF, and make sure the people you learn from are matching exactly what the Bible says.  If they leave out Jesus Christ, find somebody else to listen to.

This is the deal, and this is why many of my posts talk about fighting the devil… if we believe that God is real and the Bible is real, then we can also know that Satan is real.  Look at the world!  Look at your own life!   Look at your own thoughts!  You may shock yourself sometimes at the horrible thinks you think (Dr. Seuss… I’m around little kids all day), but the thing is, the devil puts evil thoughts into our minds.  What we do with those thoughts is up to us.  That is where knowing what the Bible says comes in.  It teaches us how to think, and how to fight.  It shows how life is one battle after another, and each battle is a test.  We continue to be tested by God until the day we die.  We are tested in our faithfulness to him, and each test that we experience has the potential to help us develop into perfection.  Life is a refinery process.  If you are going through one trial after another, stay strong in your faith, and remember that you are being tested.  Galatians 6:9 is my favorite verse for hard times.  It says, “do not grow weary in times of acting noble and doing right, for in due time you shall reap.”  In other words, do not give up!  You will be rewarded for a life serving and following God!

Once you admit that you did not create the universe, do not have control over life and death, and need Jesus to save you from your imperfections, something within you begins to change.  It’s the best change ever!  The things that used to matter suddenly aren’t such a big deal, and the big deal becomes something bigger than you had ever imagined before as you begin to realize that you are a part of it.

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and most important command.  The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  What does it mean to love God?  Do you find it interesting that we are commanded to love?  Isn’t love an emotion?  We can’t choose who to love… or can we?

I believe that since it is a command, it is a choice.  How can we choose to love God if we’ve never seen him?  This is where our relationship with God begins… the more often we connect with God and learn about him and from him, the more we appreciate all he has done for us, the more in awe we become of his greatness, and the more we truly love and respect him as a heavenly Father.  The more you love him, the more you truly long to follow after him and keep his commandments.  Following the Ten Commandments goes from a “do this in order to be good” way of living to an “I love you so much God, please tell me how I can show my love for you”.

This is why new Christians need to start with teachings about God and his love for us, instead of how to follow the Ten Commandments.  Love must be first!  The Ten Commandments are there for those who want to know how to live in a way that is pleasing to God, because their love for him has been established.  God did not present those commandments to his people until after he had saved them.  He did not give them to the Israelites while they were in slavery to the Egyptians.  He did not set them up as orders to fulfill in order to be set free.  He freed them first!  He established his power and love over them first.  He made it clear to them that he was capable of performing miracles for them!  And then he said, “remember all I have done for you.  I am the Lord your God.  These are the commands I have for you.”

By starting people on the “how to live”, without first introducing God’s love for his people, only causes confusion and is out of God’s perfect order.  Love is always first.  In order to give love to others (especially people who are extremely difficult to love), a person must first receive love from their God.  Jesus explained that the first command is to love God, so that God could pour love into their hearts and make them capable for doing the rest.

And the second command of loving people, is what we all need to get busy doing.  If every Christian would love people the way we are supposed to, and get off of the religion mentality, the presence of Jesus in our lives would be obvious to the world.  It is the ultimate way to fight off the attacks of the enemy.  To continue to love people regardless of how they behave.  To not fight back in the same way that they fight against us, but to understand that our battle is a spiritual battle that has already been conquered through the love of Jesus and that our purpose as Christians is to continue to move forward in His LOVE!  The Holy Bible is not about religion, it is about LOVE.  Churches, ran by humans, have turned it into religion.  And then they split it up into hundreds of different “types” of religion, because they could not agree on the details.  That sounds typical of human beings, doesn’t it?  What we’re forgetting is that when we take on the name “Christian”, we are working in the name of Jesus.  So when we make mistakes, we give God a bad name and turn people away from him, rather than draw people in to him.  That’s a big “whoops”, and counterproductive to what our goal as Christians is supposed to be!

So if you have accepted Jesus, get into the world and start showing his love!  Do things for people, expecting nothing in return.  You will be surprised how easy this is.  Go to the grocery store and let others have the closer parking space, take in the cart of the guy next to you, and let the one behind you with only 3 items go first.  Rake your neighbor’s leaves.  Let your husband have the last piece of cake.  Give your kids a smile.  Tell your friends you love them.  Speak life into those around you.  Emphasize on their positive qualities, instead of the things they do wrong.  Love is a choice.

Love is a lifesyle

I believe that once we get to heaven, we will see why we needed to experience life on earth.  But until then, there are some answers that we will not receive.  If we are being tested in our faith and trusting God, leaving out answers would be essential or it would not be a test.  I do believe that once we get to heaven, God has a great plan for us there.  I do not envision us all floating on clouds.  I picture us working joyfully in our gifts and talents for another great purpose.  These passions and abilities were put into us for a reason… and I am excited to see what that great purpose is!

 

Is There a God? Part 2

Today we’re answering this question of the 3-part series with another question:

What if?

What if…

I’m wrong?  What if it isn’t true?  What if God is not real?

I will have spent my life in peace, love, and joy as a result of following God.  I will have lived as a servant to people around me, blessing them with my gifts and my love to the best of my ability.  I will have poured into the lives of others so that they can continue living in peace.  I will have lived with wisdom and kindness.  I will have cherished my time with my family, believing we are individuals each with a great plan, living for a greater purpose.  I will die with peace in my heart, knowing that my time on earth is complete.  And then… I will not know that I was wrong, and it will not matter.  I will have had a good life.

What if…

heaven is for real?  What if a place with no pain, no tears, no problems, and no money needed to enjoy all of the riches truly does exist?  What if once we die, we could spend eternity in a place that everyone is filled with a genuine joy and happiness?  What if nobody argued?  What if everyone agreed and lived in peace all the time?  What if there was no time?  No pressure to get things finished?  No diseases, no illnesses, no sickness?  What if those who were there cared about you and loved you, and you knew it and felt it, and loved them all back?

What if it smells amazing and is more beautiful than the earth’s most magnificent sunset sky?  What if the streets are made of gold and the gates are adorned with jewels?  What if there is a room prepared there… just for you?  A safe room, with no fear of anyone or anything and no bills to pay for living there forever.  What if the bed were the most comfortable thing you ever lie down on?  What if the clothes were amazing?  What if you were truly royalty there?  A child of the King of kings?  What if the food was the best meal of your life… every single time you sat to eat?

What if all the things you love on earth were even better in heaven, and available for you to enjoy whenever you wanted?  What if you have a purpose in heaven?  What if the reason you never feel fulfilled on earth is because earth is not the place you are actually created for?  What if you are made for so much more?

What if people who tell you about heaven are right?  What if you could take your last breath on earth and not fear what would be next?  What if you were in peace about death?

And if heaven is for real…

What if hell is for real as well?

What if God is love?  What if God is not in hell?

There would be no love in hell.  Only hatred.

What if it’s filled with torment for eternity?  What if you do have an eternal soul?  What if all things good, lovely, pure, and excellent did not exist?  What if you could never hug or kiss or touch or love again?  What if pain was never-ending with no relief in sight?  What if evil beasts and creatures could torture you as they please?  What if there are huge spiders, rats, and snakes roaming around you, that you could not kill?  What if they hated you because you were created by God?  What if you were trapped there?  What if there was no rest, ever again?  What if God did not answer your pleas for help because he gave you the chance, he told you what would happen, and he is a God who means what he says and follows through, because a perfect God would be an honest God and a God of justice?

What if you had to live with “I had a chance, but refused it” forever?

What if there are people there now?  What if the center of the earth, which truly is so hot that we cannot go there, is hell?  What if the evil we see on the earth is a reflection of the devil’s demons?  What if spirits are real, even if we cannot see them yet?  What if there is a devil who hates us because God created us?  What if he is doing everything he can to deceive our minds to believe that God is not real?

What if you die tomorrow?  What if this is the moment to choose heaven or hell?

What if…

we have power over all evil in the name of Jesus Christ?  What if he is the Son of God who did come here to conquer death?  What if he really was dead for three days, and lived again?  What if all the people who said that they saw him alive three days after his death truly did?  What if the only reason some still say that he did not rise after his death was because the guards watching the door were paid to not tell?  What if that is the reason Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven… because he is the ONLY one who has conquered death?

What if he loves us more than we can imagine, and wants us to be saved from a hell that has no love?  What if all you have to do… is choose to believe in Jesus?  What if the Bible is real and accurate?  What if all God wants you to know is that you need him?  What if you could put your disbeliefs aside and spend a year getting to know God?  What if this is that chance?

These are the things I believe are true.  One fact we can all agree on… death is real.

What if LIFE is your test

Is There a God? Part 1

Slide1 

Over the next three days I will be discussing

 Life’s Biggest Questions:

  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Is God real?
  • Why does God allow evil?
  • Where will we go when we die?
  • What is my purpose?
  • Why does a loving God put people in hell?

I do not have a certificate or degree in Biblical studies.  My answers come from thousands of hours of personal Bible study in conjunction with life experiences.  I am still learning and will continue learning for the rest of my life.  I was raised in a non-denominational church led by imperfect people, as every church is led by imperfect people.  We cannot count on church leaders to be our only source of information of God, and any good priest or pastor will tell you that same thing.  A good pastor can give you a lesson to take home and continue to study on your own.  A good church provides a beautiful place to worship God with other people.  A good church provides a place to gather together in the name of Jesus.  A good church can be your Christian family.  A good pastor can help you sort through your questions and teach you what the Bible means.  But if you really want answers from God, you must get to know God for yourself.  I’m starting here because I believe many people have abandoned the idea of God because of the hypocrisy they witnessed in their churches.  We must first understand that churches are led by imperfect human beings, and only God is God.

My purpose in writing this is to encourage people to move forward in their own relationship with God.  Jesus told his followers to “seek and it will be given to you”, and this includes answers that provide peace in your heart about the burning questions of life.  Do you want to know if God is real?  Start talking to God and saying “God, if you are there, please reveal yourself to me”.  Your seed of faith starts with an “if”.  Open your mind to the possibility and just ask yourself, “what if God is real?”

For me, evidence of God begins within my own heart and soul, and moves out from there.  The Bible is relevant to me today, because the people in the Old Testament had experiences in their lives that are similar to those that I go through.  No, I have never needed to grab an oxgoad and charge after Philistines, but there are many battles in my life that I have overcome and continue to face.  The way that the people in the Old Testament reacted to their circumstances, are the way that people today in 2014 react to circumstances.  They doubt, they worry, they question God, they wonder if they’re good enough, they make mistakes and need fresh beginnings.  By reading their true stories, I can learn from their choices and actions, both good and bad.

So I want to begin with the recommendation of starting your search for all the answers to Life’s Biggest Questions by looking within yourself.  What do you feel?  What do you long for?  What are you passionate about?  What are you chasing after?  Do you feel anything?  Did you used to feel strongly for something, yet no longer do?  Are you at the point of feeling dead inside?

You see, I believe every one of us was created with a great purpose.  There is a reason we are here, and it isn’t to work our butts off until we’re too old to work anymore only to end up dead in the ground.  Our souls and inner beings did not evolve from tiny particles.  There is something in us that has been created to last for eternity, and there is a reason that we all want to believe there is more to life than what we can see.  When answering Life’s Biggest Questions, we cannot let go of those things within.  Even the pro-evolution scientists and atheists who want to prove God is not real, are filled with a passion and a fire about life… there is so much within them yet they continue to argue against it.  If you did not have a soul, you would not have a desire to express yourself.

As we move forward in answering the questions, tie each of them into your own heart, passions, and desires.  Your vision for your future is a key piece to the puzzle.  As a homeschooling parent, one of the first workshops I took in learning how to plan my child’s education, explained the need to start all planning by looking at the end of each year.  “What is it that you want your child to know by the end of the year?”  Each day’s lesson plans go under that question.  The same is for you and me today.  Where do you see yourself at the end of life?  Today is a puzzle piece of the big picture.  Each day is valuable.  Every breath matters.  Your life counts for something!

So let’s take that and dive into Life’s Biggest Question… what is the meaning of life?  What’s the point?  What is the purpose of this?  This answer is my personal opinion and observation and combination of experiences and what I have learned by reading the Bible.  I believe that the purpose of life is to be tested.  It began with the very first people in the Bible, Adam and Eve, and continues through to each of us today.  God told them, “here… I want to give you this entire garden!  Eat whatever you want!  Except that one fruit.”  It was a test.

The next question would most likely be, “why would God test us?”  That answer I believe comes from understanding the beginning of evil and the fall of God’s enemy, the devil.  By understanding his fall, even more questions can be answered.  God created all of the angels, including one named Lucifer.  Lucifer was beautiful.  He was adorned in rare gemstones.  Remember, God is the one who gave him his great beauty and made him who he was.

Let’s pause for a moment… did you make yourself?  Did you form your face, your body, your hands, your hair, your skin?  Did you put your cells together to form every part required to live and move?  Did you give yourself the breath of life?  Speaking of the garden, look at our whole foods.  Not the manmade crap, the fruits and vegetables that grow from the earth.  The beauty and creativity behind each one.  The tastes and flavors that appeal to our palates.  The colors, the variety, and the best nutrition available!  Humans require everything from the earth in order to eat.  Even the processed foods begin with what comes from nature.  We can’t even feed ourselves.

An entire human being starts with two cells.  Birth is a miracle!  By denying this miracle, you deny your own purpose.  Your gifts, your talents, your abilities, your body and even your food were all given to you by God.  He originally created the devil as an angel for good, and he originally created us for good as well.

But he also gave us a brain and an opportunity to choose.  Why did he allow us all to choose?  If God already knows everything, why didn’t he just create the good ones from the start? First, it’s important to point out that none of us are the “good ones.”  If God were only going to create the perfect people, he would not have created any of us.  And that is the whole point that we are getting to!  I do not know why God allows people to suffer in hell.  What I do know is God follows through with what he says he will do, and if God did not have the almighty power and ultimate decision and control over everything, he would not be God.  So now that I am here on planet earth without control over the universe, I have a choice to make.  I can choose to accept that I am not God and embrace his rules for my life, or I can fight against him because I don’t agree with his plan.  Hmmm…

Back to the story of Lucifer… in Ezekial 28:17 God is talking in reference to the devil in the garden of Eden, and says “your heart became proud because of your beauty”.  Isaiah 14:13-14 God is also speaking in reference to the devil and says “You said to yourself: ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will set up my throne above the stars of God… I will ascend above the highest clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”  And that was the beginning of evil on earth.  It was when the devil decided he didn’t need God and had a better plan.

Wow, God’s kind of bossy right?  He really likes to be in charge!  Let’s imagine you built a company from nothing, provided jobs for thousands of people, worked very hard to make it what it was, and one of your employees decided to become the new president.  They just went into an office, hung their name on the door, and announced they were the new boss!  Would ANY good leader sit back and watch it happen?  Just become passive and allow the guy who YOU hired and YOU poured finances into and energy into and education into, only for him to decide HE was demoting you?!

I believe that this life is our opportunity to choose… do we need God or do we not?  There is only one right answer, and if you know the truth, you pass the test.  If you insist that you do not need God, you are not accepted into heaven.  Imagine if we got to heaven and then decided that we were so amazing that we don’t need God, do you think the story of Satan would repeat itself?

Let’s go back to what is going on within you today.  What are your dreams, visions, and goals?  What are you chasing after?  What do you long for?  Success?  Happiness?  In life, we have a choice.  We can chase after the material possessions of the earth, in order to prove ourselves and make ourselves happy, or we can chase after God, and allow him to bless us with everything.  This is the test. In order to choose the latter, we must be willing to say “I need God.”  It truly is this simple.

This is where Jesus Christ comes in.  God gave us the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament.  Jesus reaffirmed these commandments in his teachings, and even stepped up the notch of perfection in fulfilling these, by adding that even to think about any such things is the same as following through with them (Matthew 5:21-28).  Chances are if you were pushed away from God because of what happened in a church, it goes back to these laws.  The church people told you how horrible you were for not being able to live up to the guidelines.  And most likely these very people were not able to fully obey the law and be perfect either, yet they did not hesitate to tell you why God is disappointed in you.  Unfortunately, these churches miss the whole point!  So what is the point?!  Why does God make it so hard to meet his expectations?  Because he just wants you to say “I cannot do it.  I need a Savior.”  Because if we can’t put our pride aside in order to admit our need for Jesus, we’ll end up like the devil did!  Thinking we can be better than God.  Thinking our beauty and greatness came from ourselves.

God just wants you to know that you need him.  And that is why he sent Jesus Christ to save you and me.  All we have to do in order to be saved, is let our pride go and to say “I need Jesus.”  It is the ultimate test of life.

Once we know that we need God in order to achieve greatness, HE grants us the power to make it happen!  The power of the Holy Spirit is given to us when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  The fruit, or evidence, of the Spirit is listed in Galatians 5:22-23.  It is the ability to be loving, joyful, at peace, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and exhibit self-control.  You can try to do and be all of these things on your own, but you will not succeed.  You may desire to obey and want to follow the Ten Commandments and be perfect, but on our own, we cannot.  That is what God wants us to understand!  That if we want to be all that he has created us for, we must plug into his source of power, the Holy Spirit, and his source of wisdom and knowledge, the Holy Bible.  They are Holy, we are not.  By believing in this truth, something happens within us that we could not do on our own!

I need a Great Leader over my life or I would be failing at life.  With God working in me (that is the Holy Spirit), I am able to write these things.  He blesses us with an understanding that comes only from him.  All of the wisdom in the world originated in the Bible.  Yet people refuse to accept it.  All of the evidence that we need in order to believe that God is real, is present on the earth today.  But you have to want to believe, in order to see.

You see, you and I are a piece of God’s great picture.  We only have to admit our need for him, and once we can do that, we connect with God, learn from God, and his power is able to shine through us.  When I try to do things on my own, I fall apart.  Mentally and emotionally I am a disaster.  A ticking time bomb.  An angry and fearful woman.  But when I take the time to connect with God each morning, pray to him, talk to him, and learn from him… what a peace I have!  It is true freedom and victory on earth!

I know it’s a lot to understand and take in and accept.  But if we cannot admit how desperately we need God in this evil world, we will never admit that we need God in a perfect heaven.

 

A Fresh Start

Well, I did it!  I managed to give my blog a makeover, redirect hosting, add a new domain name, and a whole bunch of more boring, behind the scenes things that needed to happen!  I finished my eBook, Pieces of Mommy: Putting Yourself Back Together, which is currently available here, and will be sold next week in The Ultimate Homemaker’s eBook Bundle Sale.

Pieces Cover

That bundle includes an entire library of 72 books covering all things homemaking, available at your fingertips instead of piled around your house!  And, it’s a steal for less than $30. :)  Be sure to enter your email address to stay connected for details on that sale, and others in the future.

Equipping Moms to LEAD is the new focus for this site, and my hope is to continue to offer books, tools, and guidance for the very important career of motherhood.  If this is your first time, welcome, and thank you for stopping by.  Due to the backstage work over the last two months in preparation to launch the new book and mission, I have not been able to blog at all.  And although I would like to dive into topics related to motherhood, I must first finish a conversation that I agreed to post, discussing whether or not God is real.

Now of course, this is a heavy discussion.  In between the website design process and parenting my children and cleaning my home and a family trip to the mountains in Tennessee, I have been mentally developing this series of posts.  I have also been praying that God guides my words (my atheist people are finding this hilarious) and that I speak only truth.

What’s neat about all of my thoughts coming together for these posts, is how my own personal daily Bible study, currently in the book of Judges, is pulling in for a smooth transition to Equipping Moms to LEAD.  So if you’re here to learn how to lead your children with purpose and intention, please stay tuned, because it will all come together.  In fact, I have a feeling that I will refer back to this series in the future on more than one occasion.  Because if we, as moms, do not have a good understanding of our own beliefs and how we fit into life, leading with purpose would be close to impossible.  I tend to be a big picture thinker, and even with homeschooling, I needed to know in my own heart why I value education, in order to provide the best education for my children that I can.  What is my purpose behind doing what I do?  In all situations I believe it is important to ask ourselves Life’s Biggest Questions.

With Easter being this Sunday, this is the perfect time to seek answers for our questions. I don’t know where you are in your walk of life, but if you are looking for answers about your own purpose, whether or not God is real, why Jesus was important, or how Jesus matters to you today, please sign up to receive the emails and stay connected.  Answers to these questions lead to wisdom for peace in parenting, living as a strong leader of your child, and how-to’s for setting a good example when it feels like life is a mess.

Life is hard.  It is a series of one battle after another.  As soon as one problem is solved, another shows up in its place.  Will there ever be peace?  Will life ever be easy?  We just want to be happy, right?!  Life shouldn’t be like this… so why is it?  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why is it that no matter how hard we try, we can’t catch a break?

I’m just a normal mom with six normal kids in a normal house with a normal husband.  We argue about normal being married stuff.  We have normal necessities to pay for.  We deal with normal sibling rivalry.  And we struggle to keep up with normal housework.  But, underneath all of the normal life stuff, I have peace, wisdom and strength for my roles.  I rarely stress out.  (Did you catch that?  Six kids [ages 8 and under], and rarely stress out.)  Fear is almost non-existent in my mind, and when it is, I know how to deal with it.  I do not worry about money.  I have fun with my husband and kids.  I have normal problems, but I am enjoying my life and the journey of each day.  Because that’s just it… life is a journey taking us somewhere.

 

What Are You Waiting For?!

There’s a fire of anger burning in me today.

I read this post yesterday about a book for 4th graders provided by Common Core.  The book, titled “It’s Perfectly Normal”, teaches our 4th graders about sex, different types of couples, and how to masturbate.  The article is further explaining how anti-Christian Common Core is in general.

Two Facts:

1. There are more Christians in America than non-Christians.

2. Most Christians send their children to public schools.

The reason I’m angry? Why are Christians not doing anything?!  Our children are our future.  Our future America will no longer be a Christian America if we don’t take action.  The government has removed God and prayer from schools, and is replacing it with anti-Christian distractions.  The more our enemy can get kids distracted with sex and lies, the less powerful the children will be for chasing what really matters in life.

What do I mean by that?  Well, this is where you come in.  Let’s step back a moment and look at the big picture of America: Violence. Destruction. Anger. Murder. Rape. Human trafficking. Theft. Hunger. Homelessness.

What are you doing about it?  Are you a Christian?  My heart is troubled by how many people I see who are Christians, yet they are not MOVING in their faith.  They say “thank you Jesus! You died for me! I can go to heaven even though I’m a sinner!” and it stops there.  They’re riding the “Jesus ticket” all the way to heaven.

But this is what JESUS has to say:

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will losed it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” -John 12:24-26

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me WILL DO the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” -John 14:12

If you believe in Jesus, if you are a Christian, you must be WILLING to DO something about it!

Parents read these articles about what their kids may end up learning in school and then say “Wow. I hope my kid never learns that.”  You HOPE?!  How about insisting they DON’T?  How about asking their teacher to see every book that will be taught over the year, before the year begins?  How about demanding certain books be eliminated?  How about getting together with some parents and teachers and having a meeting about Common Core?  How about organizing a day to meet in the lawn at the White House and tell THEM what your kids will and will not learn in school?

Or are you too distracted?  Is it “not that bad”?  Are you too busy?  You would rather watch your favorite show on TV?  You would rather sleep in?  You would rather go out for some drinks after work?  You would rather read 50 Shades of Gray?  You would rather not?

What are you doing with your time?  What are you doing with your life?  Does the world have such an influence on you that you are so distracted with the latest news headline… or are you making the headlines because you’ve taken ACTION?

Yesterday a woman was on the news because she bought every single shirt a store was selling on a particular display.  The t-shirts featured black and white large photographs of naked women posing provocatively.  This ONE WOMAN spoke to the manager about removing the display, though the manager said that all she could do was talk to corporate.  That answer wasn’t good enough so the woman bought every single shirt in the store.  She couldn’t leave it there.  It was pornography displayed in the window for every innocent child to see.  For your 14 year old son to see.  For your husband to see.  She had to take ACTION.  She DID SOMETHING.

What are you doing?  Hoping?  Praying?  I HOPE you PRAY for God to lead you and use you and give you strength and courage that compels you to take action!  I pray that we as Christians stop “wishing” and start moving!

The truth is, it’s not easy to actively live out Christianity.  One must be WILLING to lose their life on this earth in order to save hundreds more.  We have to be WILLING to be hated.  We have to be WILLING to look weird in a dark world that doesn’t understand light.  We must be WILLING to push our fears aside and do what is right.

Our America is so distracted by advertisements and sex, that our minds are turning to mush.  And now the sex is getting pushed onto our 4th graders and told “it’s perfectly normal”.  Unfortunately, the new normal consists of 12 year olds sending nude photos to their 13 year old boyfriends (that was on the news yesterday too).  But this new normal is far from perfect.  We get excited and compelled to take action, but quickly forget about it because we allow ourselves to get distracted by busy schedules and chasing after things that have no eternal value.

Come on Christians!  Do something!  Use your voice!  Speak up!  Stop getting angry at your husband for not taking out the trash (stupid distraction), and START getting angry at the government for wanting to pollute our kids’ minds with garbage!  Be WILLING to do something.  Our future America needs YOU to stand up for Christianity.  Stand up for Jesus… and take over where he left off, like he told us to.

When It Feels Like Too Much…

Anxiety. That panicky feeling that overcomes you. Like life is throwing too much at you at once. Like there’s so much to do and no way to get it done. Like the place of rest is no where in sight. Like a darkness that’s hovering around you. It is the opposite of peace. It is stress, frustration, and tears. It comes on like an attack to your mind. The pressure and nervousness of not being enough for the job, push in on your head.

Where do you go? What do you do? How do you get out of it?

This is how I handle mine, I hope these techniques can help you as well…

Eight Ways to Handle Anxiety:

1. Recognize the attack. The sooner the better. Do not try to run from it or avoid it, it will only come against you later, and probably stronger. Think of it as a prowling lion sneaking up for attack. Would you ignore the fact you are about to be devoured? Running from it will only make it chase you. You must face it. You must confront it. It is called an attack because it IS an attack.

2. Understand WHO is attacking you. No, it’s not your boss. No, it’s not your spouse. No, it’s not your kids, or mother, or neighbor. “Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:8. If you want to overcome anxiety without prescription drugs, you must understand who your enemy is. Not so that you can be afraid, but so that you can OVERCOME. You are a creation of the Almighty God, and HIS enemy hates everything that God loves. God loves YOU, and therefore, his enemy is attacking you. Once you fully comprehend this, you can and will conquer. You see, the devil works in our minds. Because when he does that, he can control our actions. Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with all you had to do, that you did nothing at all? That’s exactly what the devil wants… ineffective people, huddling in tears and fear. So if that’s how you feel, it is he who is defeating you.

3. Understand that you are not alone. I’m going to assume that this happens to everyone. In some way or another, we all get attacked with worries, doubts, and fears. There is nothing wrong with you.

4. Resist the enemy, and stand firm in faith. The good thing about attacks from the devil, if there is such a thing, is the proof that he is in fact real. And if the devil is real, God is even more real. So when those attacks come upon you, do not be tempted to dump your faith… be MORE convicted in your faith! God is real, and he has an enemy. The enemy attacks the people of God. That is the message of the Bible. But there’s more…

5. Understanding your enemy, it is ok to talk at him. I say at because he’s not worth discussing anything “with”. Tell the devil that you recognize it is he who is attacking you, and you WILL NOT respond to his distractions. “I have a mission and you will not interrupt me with doubts and fears. I WILL be and do all that God has created me for.” It starts there. It may seem weird or crazy, but if you could see him and understand that his power is NOTHING to the power of God, you wouldn’t feel weird about it at all. Even if it feels weird or stupid, try it anyway. What do you have to lose?

6. Recognize your Savior. “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… in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8) You see, you are ALREADY MORE THAN A CONQUEROR. You have conquered death! You have defeated your enemy simply by believing in Jesus, and when you call on him in prayer, and when you repeat His Word, the Bible, in your mind when you’re being attacked, he WILL help you.

7. REST in Jesus. How do you do this? First, go to a quiet place. This is not always easy to find, but showers, the bathroom, climb out a window and sit in your car (nobody will know where to find you… yes, I’ve done this before), lock yourself in a room, sit in a closet… wherever you can hide. Second, acknowledge God. I need you God. Please help me God. I CAN’T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU GOD. Third, recite scripture or sing a song about God, or just say “Praise you God”. Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.” It’s a promise. Force yourself to say something good. Your “natural self” will want to stay stuck in the sadness, and sometimes you have to force yourself to focus on the goodness of God. Once you do, you can experience the fullness of Him!

8. Make a plan to tackle your tasks. Once you recognize the enemy and acknowledge your Savior, you are in position to continue about your business. To get done what you want to do. Continue to defeat that lion by doing exactly what he doesn’t want you to do… live with joy, be productive, spread love to others, and exchange that stinkin thinkin for positive thoughts.

**Another Note: There are a lot of false teachings in this world. Many religions teach about the power of positive thinking and meditation. They teach on the good energy and the negative energy. The difference between other teachings, and the teachings of the Bible, are the NEED FOR JESUS. Other religions teach you to focus on your inner self, self, self. The Bible teaches us to get your mind off yourself and rely on the strength of God. The “positive thinking and meditation” taught by other religions was FIRST taught by God himself in The Holy Bible. Everything else is an imitation designed to get you thinking of you. God wants us to think of others. How do I know the Bible was first? It’s a fact. It’s the oldest book in the world. Give me a positive quote from another religion and I will give you the Bible verse that said it first. Beware of cheap imitations of the Word of God. For more on my views of the Bible and why I believe it is true, check out the 31 Reasons to Believe in the Bible tab on the sidebar.

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The Night Before Christmas, From a Tired Mom

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas

and all through the U.S.

everyone was stirring,

the folks were a mess.

 

We parents were working

in last minute scrambles.

Still so much to do

the house was in shambles.

 

The children were jumping

in their rooms on the beds

too excited to rest.

I yelled “put down your heads!”

 

Me in my clothes

from two days before,

since the laundry was piled

so high on the floor.

 

When out on the drive

there arose such a clatter!

Dad got home from work

and tripped over the ladder.

 

The poor guy left it out

from hanging the lights

after working a long day

at a job he says “bites”.

 

God looked down on his people

and thought “why so much stress?

Have they forgotten

that I provide rest?

 

Their hearts are too focused

on all the wrong things.

They’ve put in Santa Claus,

removed the King of kings.”

 

“What can I do God?

Please help me out!”

I cried out to God

when my children would shout:

“We don’t want to sleep,

we can’t wait for our toys!”

as I tripped and fell over

cars left out by my boys.

 

God answered me kindly

saying “send them to me.

Before you go after

stuff under the tree.

 

Those children are mine

and I never intended

to give them solely to you

and then run empty handed.

 

I love each of my children,

that includes you and them.

Which is why I sent Jesus,

so your chaos can end.

 

It’s your job, weary mom,

to teach them the story

that ends with peace on earth,

in your homes, filled with glory.

 

Teach them the Bible,

it is My Living Word.

Much will try to steal you from me,

your loving Lord.

 

For distractions are aplenty

from my enemy, the Thief.

He disguises himself as ‘the good in the world’,

sends confusion to those who believe:

 

‘Nobody likes me’, ‘I’m not good enough’,

‘I have made too many mistakes’…

these are the lies Satan drops in your head

and inflicts you with pains and aches.

 

But that is not the life

that I have created you for,

I DO love you my child

and desire nothing more

 

than for you to gain control

over all that attacks you

both physically and mentally

and all you need to do

 

is to seek after the truth

search relentlessly, you’ll see

that I created you and have a true

abounding love for thee!”

 

It was right in that moment

when God spoke to my heart,

I chose to be a conqueror

and make a fresh start.

 

To appreciate the truth

that Jesus is the One

who was sent to save all people

who proclaim “He is God’s SON!”

 

And because of this great victory

from pursuing what is right,

I can have a mind of peace,

forever chasing love and light!

 

Merry CHRISTmas to all,

and to all a good night!