“An Undeserved Love” #MomBlogger

I watched the sippy cup leave my hands and had an “out of body” moment. Out-of-body me stood there looking at sippy-cup-thrower me with that judgy-side-eye thinking “Really, you’ve stooped this low?” The sippy of juice splattered across the kitchen wall and my kids stood there as dumbfounded as I was when I realized I had just lost my ever-lovin-junk in front of them. Everyone was afraid to blink, breathe, cry, or laugh. Because what do you REALLY do in those moments? If you don’t laugh, you just cry.

Oh, motherhood. You bring out the best and unfortunately, the worst in all of us. I can’t remember what it was that made me lose my temper, throw that cup, and probably scare my children half to death. But what I do remember? My three-year-old walking up to me not moments later, hugging my leg (as I was sobbing on the kitchen counter at this point) and saying “I love you, Mommy.”

That, my friends, is a picture of grace and unconditional love. If we learn anything from our children, it’s forgiveness, grace, and love. I was hitting rock bottom, exhausted with three children under the age of three and losing it every second. But a little squeeze from a three-year-old reminded me of God’s love for me in those moments. He whispers to us through our children, “I love you.”

In our weakest, ugliest moments – He embraces us. When we have sore throats from yelling at our kids, when we can barely put a sentence together to talk to our husband because we’ve let our marriage fall apart. When the loneliness takes over because we’ve broken every relationship in our lives.

His grace, His love covers every inch of us – especially the ugly, weak parts. Redemption is such a gift, and every part of our life can be redeemed because He showed us that when He gave His life for us. He could walk away, and leave us crazy people to our cup-throwing ways – but He always welcomes us in and shows us His love.

Thank you, God, for not throwing our sippy cups against the wall and going to the cross for us instead.

Romans 5: 1-11

From a Devotional Study. By Thrive Moms.

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Afflicted but Not Crushed #MomBlogger 

“Afflicted but Not Crushed”

Afflicted. Perplexed. Persecuted. Struck down. My guess is that you can resonate with Paul’s words. What affliction is threatening to crush you right now? What suffering is testing your faith?

Maybe you’re fighting a malignant disease. Maybe it’s a short-term illness that is keeping you from carrying out your plans. Or maybe you lost your job this week, and you’re worried about feeding your family. Are you in the middle of a nasty relational feud? Or married to someone who is not following Christ?

Lyme disease threatens me. Because of Lyme and its ill effects, physical pain and weakness are my frequent visitors. There are times when, after an extended period of feeling well, stable, and hopeful, they rebound with a vengeance. I reach my limit during these regressions, as my faith feels pressed and my struggle to believe the gospel intensifies—and out pour the tears. I often cry because I’m angry, fearful, and worried. I wonder how much more I can take, if the struggle will ever end, and if any good will come of it.
I am tempted to believe that because I am afflicted in certain ways, I cannot get out of the downward spiral into being crushed in spirit as well as in body. How I long for my heart-cry in suffering to be like Paul’s! How I long to believe this beautiful truth: I am afflicted in every way, but not crushed.

Oh, don’t you want this? To have the confidence that the pressures of suffering will not defeat you?

So how can we learn to say along with Paul, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed”? We look to the cross, and to the One who was hanged on it. Jesus was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. He shouldered the burden of our sin upon his shoulders. Jesus willingly took the penalty of sin that we deserved, drinking the cup of spiritual death for us.
God has taken our gravest affliction—death—and has overcome it in Christ, so that we would never be overcome by it. The Father crushed his Son so that we would never be crushed by sin and death, so that we would spend an eternity of joy in his presence.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah‬ ‭53:4-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

post by Hope

WHEN HYPOCHRISY DISCOURAGES HIGH MORAL VALUES #momblogger

How many people in social networks do not preach through their posts, ideas completely contrary to their daily behavior? Many people talk about solidarity, but they refuse to provide any kind of help. Many people claim to value character and intelligence, but only relate to physically wonderful people. Many speak passionately about God and the importance of serving people, but they live in their small groups of friends, shutting themselves out for all other people who differ a thousandfold from their lifestyle, judging and hurting without mercy or pity.

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Who has never been hypocritical at least once in their life who please throw the first stone. Yes, it seems to be part of human nature to hide your real intentions and feelings to better fit into social life. Who has never pretended not to have some sort of prejudice so as not to be judged by the social group? Who has never omitted a personality trait or a socially unheard of habit to keep a job, a friendship, a love relationship?

Yes, sometimes people act in a hypocritical way, that is, by contradicting their way of life, their way of thinking, their belief system and values to defend themselves against judgments, social ostracism and other punishments. What really seems to me problematic is when a person uses moral values to destroy or try to destroy someone’s image out of sheer jealousy or totally petty personal interests.

Omitting, for example, smoking in a politically correct group is simply a defense. Not admitting homosexuals in an environment marked by homophobia is also a means of protecting oneself. Avoiding opinions on religious themes in groups that border on fundamentalism is also a strategy to avoid unnecessary wear and tear. In short, the person stops expressing himself, fails to tell what he really is or thinks not to destabilize his own life.

But going back to the case of people who take advantage of morals to harm those who obfuscate them socially is a very serious question and deserves a deep reflection. Is it at any point in our lives, out of envy, out of greed, to defend personal interests, not to disturb a person’s life, do we not deeply hurt someone?

How many people do not socially isolate colleagues, for example, because they are more fun, more talented, more promising in their careers? How often do we avoid certain social contacts simply because these people somehow stand out more than we? How many times do we go hunting for defects to justify a free antipathy we feel? Instead of admitting that we dislike each other gratuitously, for no apparent reason, we prefer to seek a concrete reason to justify our hostile behavior.

How many people in social networks do not preach through their posts, ideas completely contrary to their daily behavior? Many people talk about solidarity, but they refuse to provide any kind of help. Many people claim to value character and intelligence, but only relate to physically wonderful people. Many speak about the law of return, but they judge and discriminate people simply because they are different from them, as if they were an ideal of character. Many speak passionately of God and the importance of serving people, but they live in their small groups of friends, shutting themselves down to all the other people who differ a thousandfold from their way of life.

How many people do not pass themselves off as friends, but strives to sabotage the love relationship of the members of your group because deep down they want their friends just for themselves? Because they themselves cannot live a happy relationship, they need their friends always available. How many bosses do not cut the wings of very competent professionals, who in the future can stay in their place? How many people refuse invitations to develop professional projects with certain contacts because they know less creative, less expressive, less interesting?

Yes, hypocrisy often puts us in a comfort zone. In some cases, we omit attitudes and opinions simply so as not to be dismissed, criticized, ironically, socially isolated. But in many others, we could avoid certain attitudes that only reiterate our inability to accept the merit of the other.

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TRANSLATED  FROM ORIGINAL PUBLISHED BY SÍLVIA MARQUES

Power in Weakness 

Americans will do almost anything to appear strong, capable, and worthy of admiration. We exercise our bodies with intensity, climb the corporate ladder at the expense of integrity, and struggle to accept the help of other people. Our society works by the principle that the way up is the road to success and value. 

When we transfer this into our Christian faith, here is what happens: We believe that comfort is a right that Christ would never remove, and that success indicates a godly Christian life. This sense of entitlement has therefore deeply impacted the way Christians interpret and respond to suffering. 

Think about how we talk about and react to a trial. We try to avoid it. We complain about it. We think we don’t deserve it. We’re embarrassed by it. We commiserate with others about it. We believe that God is mad at us, or just plain angry. 

We hate weakness and will do almost anything to escape it. 

One big problem with this approach is that weakness is real. Behind our masks, everyone is weak. It’s inbuilt into our humanness in this world. We can’t run from it, and thankfully we don’t need to. What we need is a biblical understanding of the value of weakness (that’s a strange-sounding phrase!), and how suffering is the tool God uses to expose it (that’s another strange idea!). 

Everything changes when we see weakness and suffering in the light of the gospel. For it is through human weakness that God’s strength upholds us and is displayed to the world. 

Here is the Bible’s description of who a Christian is: “We [are those who] have this treasure in jars of clay.” What treasure? The glorious gospel: the work of Jesus Christ to save sinners by grace through faith. And what is clay? A brittle, easily broken substance. And that’s what I am. That’s what you are. 

God has a purpose in placing such a treasure in such a jar. We are unfit, breakable, disposable vessels, and God has decided to use our weaknesses to display his power and love. A jar of clay might be cracked in a few places, making it unusable in the world’s eyes, but God sees these deficiencies as a means to pour out and reveal more of himself. 

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“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of Godʼs glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

4 things to never tell a mother who has lost a child

You probably mean well when you are trying to comfort a grieving mother, but you can end up hurting her even more.

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  • Losing a child is one of the worst pains a mother can ever experience. In the middle of grief, many friends and family members try to help and offer comfort, but sometimes well-meaning people say things that end up really hurting. Provide real comfort by being sensitive and loving in this terrible time. Here are four things to never say to a mother who has lost a child, and some suggestions of things you can say instead that might be more helpful.
  • 1. You can have another child

    Just because a mother can have another child – or already has other children still alive – doesn’t mean that the pain ever goes away. Every child is unique and that loss is deeply felt. That particular child can’t ever be replaced, no matter how many other children there are in the family.

    Try saying this instead: Can I help you care for your other children? I want to help in any way I can.

  • 2. Everything will be okay

    This generalized statement isn’t helpful, and it undermines the importance of the mother’s feelings. This statement says that you don’t really care about present pain because you think the pain will go away in the future.

    Try saying this instead: What is something healing I can do for you today?

  • 3. Time heals all wounds

    This grieving mother shares her thoughts from her blog about that phrase: “To an extent PART of this is true, but it doesn’t ever help to hear, and it’s not a typical wound that eventually heals up completely…Please don’t use this one on us. It isn’t at all helpful, just cliché.”

    Try saying this instead: I’m glad your child got to spend some time on Earth with your family. What were some of your favorite moments with him/her?

     

  • 4. Just have faith

    When a tragic event happens, such as losing a child, the mother’s faith is already being tested. Saying “just have faith” is very simple to say but is very hard to do. Phrasing a trial so casually does not leave room for you or the mother to develop a deeper relationship with God through this time of tested faith. Faith is a personal matter, and it’s not something for you to interfere with.

    Try saying this instead: I’d like to pray for you. What are some specific things you would like me to pray for?

    By avoiding these four things and stepping in with loving and helpful phrases, you can prevent further heartache for the grieving mother. During times like this, love and support are most needed – not more sadness.

Article by Hannah Chudleigh

19 Valentine’s Day date ideas. #love #valentinesday

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Because you love his romantic side. And he loves seeing you smile.
  • After all this time, you are still each other’s favorite person to spend time with.

    So why not use this February 14th as just another reason to spend that time together doing something fun?

    Need some ideas? Here you are!

  • 1. Cook something yummy together

    Find a new recipe you both want to try. Or take a cooking class together. Watching his inner chef come out will be cute. And in the end, you get to enjoy a yummy meal together.

  • 2. Take a dance class

    So your cha-cha might not be the smoothest thing ever. But he thinks it’s cute. Try learning some new dance moves together that you can use at home later on when your favorite song comes on the radio.

  • 3. Visit a farmer’s market

    Pick out some fresh ingredients for salsa, or grab some fresh fruit. Or head to a winter market for squash and jarred goodies.

  • 4. Go on a dinner cruise

    A delicious dinner while surrounded by water and stars – need we say more?

    Or, if this doesn’t fit the budget at the moment, spend the evening planning the details of a future vacation, and then start saving so you can take it.

  • 5. Visit a museum or art gallery

    Pick one that you both think sounds interesting, and see what new things you learn.

  • 6. Go bowling

    Winner gets to pick where you go for dessert.

  • 7. Take a hot air balloon ride

    Unless one of you dislikes heights. You want this to be fun, remember?

  • 8. Re-create your first date

    Take her to the restaurant you first took her to. Talk about when you first met. Reminisce about the little details of that time together.

  • 9. Make s’mores

    And snuggle in a warm blanket under the stars.

  • 10. Go to a play

    Dressing up for a nice evening out can be refreshing and fun for both of you.

  • 11. Visit a new city or town together

    Go exploring and see what cool places you discover. Find an old town to walk around while holding hands, or try a new restaurant you stumble upon.

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  • 12. Make ice cream sundaes

    Go shopping together beforehand to pick out all the toppings. Or grab some root beer and ice cream for root beer floats.

  • 13. Go hiking

    If you go often, go to a new spot you’ve been wanting to try together. Maybe even bring along a picnic.

  • 14. Play tennis

    It’s a date and a great workout all in one.

  • 15. Go swimming

    Find a heated pool or some hot springs or hot tubs and relax.

  • 16. Have a spa night

    Book a couples massage or some facials.

  • 17. Have a perfume/cologne date

    Go out and smell some new fragrances, and then help each other pick one that you both like. You’ll have a cute date and get your Valentine’s Day gifts for each other picked out at the same time.

  • 18. Try a couples yoga class

    Because why not use Valentine’s Day to de-stress, stretch and feel great afterward?

  • 19. Attend a sports game

    A night out with a little cheering while eating good food may be just what you both need.

    Give one of these a try this Valentine’s Day – and then use the others for regular date nights with your spouse, and see how much closer you become.

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Article by  Kelsi Jones
Kelsi graduated with a journalism degree and is passionate about the written word and the power it has to bring more good into the world.