Today is Monday, June 10th. I am writing a quick post before I hurry off to class at Laramie County Community College. Class, you may be asking? What class? I am excited to say that I have been given the opportunity to take a nursing course at LCCC this summer which will allow me to become certified as a nursing assistant. I start week three of class today, and then I get to do clinicals next week. I have really enjoyed learning medical techniques and getting the chance to be a student again. Nursing is a career I have been interested in for a long time. I love the idea that my job will allow me to care for people and let them know they are valued and loved on a daily basis.
With all that being said, I have decided to take a short break from writing new posts while I concentrate on studying for my certification exam. I had a few sweet readers message me last week to let me know they didn’t see a post on Monday. Last Monday was the first Monday I have missed in 28 weeks. I am so thankful for my friends and family who check in each week to read my words. I know God has used my blog to help others, and I believe he has plans to continue to use it. I will be back on in August to continue my weekly posts. I hope you all have a wonderful summer.
This story begins during my college days. College was an interesting season in my life. I had great friends, lived in one of the most beautiful parts of Texas, spent most weekends floating the river, and I did well in school. On the other end of the spectrum, I had a constant feeling of emptiness that I tried to fill up with partying, attention from guys and an eating disorder. I was desperate to find the guy I would marry and be able to start creating a life with. This desperate search for love and acceptance didn’t go over well. I was looking for love in all the wrong places and didn’t hold very high standards for myself. Because of my past, I felt like I was damaged goods and believed I didn’t deserve the best in a relationship. This quest for love turned into a cycle of rejection and heartache that made me feel less and less worthy.
One day I had an emotional breakdown in my car. I felt so alone, hopeless and empty. I knew I was done living the way I had the past 3 years. I cried out to God for the first time and asked him to take away my pain. He was there immediately. I didn’t hear an audible voice or see an angel, but I felt the presence of God so strongly in my little car. I felt surrounded by His love, and a sudden peace came over me. I promised God in that moment that I would stop trying to pursue relationships with guys and I would start getting to know Him. That very weekend I found a church to go to all by myself. Seeking a relationship with God turned out to be exactly what I needed. My emptiness was filled up by the love of my Savior. God built me up and showed me that I was worthy, I was loved, and to Him I was precious.
A few months later my mom was going on and on about this guy my parents had met at our family Thanksgiving. She kept saying that there was something different about this guy and I just had to meet him. At this point I was still swearing off men and really didn’t think letting my mother set me up was the key to happiness. Turns out, my Mom is always right…. We were traveling up to Cheyenne, Wyoming to watch my dad rope at Frontier Days. My mom kept on me that I should meet up with Jeff while we were there. I finally gave in and messaged Jeff (who had been sending me messages since Thanksgiving) to let him know we would be in town. He quickly replied with a rendezvous spot for that very night.
My sister and I drove over to the Albertson’s parking lot Jeff had requested we meet him at. I was very skeptical as we pulled in. Jeff was already there and stepped out of his truck with a big grin as we parked. I know it sounds weird, but I could tell from the moment we made eye contact that this was the man I was going to marry. It was like God was telling me Jeff was the reason all those other relationships didn’t work. It wasn’t because there was something wrong with me; it was because God had someone so much better in mind. God knew I needed to find Him before I would be ready to find the man he had planned for me. God waited on me through all of my mess. He never gave up on me and He was there with open arms when I came running back to him.
God’s plan is always better than our own. Your story may look very different then mine in the end, but one thing will always be true. God will never give up on me or you.
Spoiler Alert: Jeff and I didn’t ride off into a beautiful sunset of a courtship. We had heck working out our differences and making it through a long distance relationship. The story just begins here, come back next week to see how it all went down.
Who else loves the footnotes in your bible? Anytime I stumble over a line that doesn’t make sense or a term I don’t know the definition of, the footnotes are there to give me an explanation of what I just read. I thought it would be a fun idea for me to create my own version of footnotes for the last section of Romans 12. I have notes from different sections of the bible that I have studied in the last five or so years. It is so interesting to go back and look at my summaries and compare the differences in my thoughts from then to now. I thinks it awesome how God grows and matures us as Christians. My discernment of God’s word has grown so much from the baby like understanding I had in the beginning. I think it will be interesting to go back in a few years and read these blogs to see how I’ve grown in wisdom and understanding, and what things still ring true. So here it goes, my first attempt at a “Tatum’s Translation” Bible commentary. (I’ll type my words in blue) . I hope you enjoy.
Romans 12:9-21 NIV
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
You can’t fake it, love for real. Pray to be more like Jesus- the one who loved perfectly. Hate the Devil and all of his dirty schemes. Cling to good. Cling to God. Hold on for dear life to His promises and to His goodness. Look for His light everywhere and when you find it soak it all in. Devote yourself to loving others. Focus more on the needs of those around you than your own. Be humble and praise others freely.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Don’t half-(you know what) your way through life, be tenacious in your quest to serve the Lord. Hustle! Let the hope of the Lord’s promises be your joy. When times are hard be patient and keep your eyes on the Lord. Draw near to God by staying in constant prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. That means give them your time, your prayers, and your money— don’t just talk about it. Care for others, invite them over, feed them, learn more about them, find out if they know Jesus. If they don’t know God it’s your job to teach them through your words and actions.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.
Be kind to everyone, even the people who aren’t nice to you. Bless the bully’s. This is easier said than done, but be loving even when it’s hard. Your light shines bright for Jesus when you are able to bless and love people in difficult situations. Celebrate with the happy; cry with the brokenhearted. Do everything in your power to get along with everyone around you. Don’t be a problem starter; be a peacekeeper.
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Don’t be “too good” for anyone. Be friends with everyone around you. Jesus was friends with the outcasts; you should be too. Two wrongs don’t make a right. If someone hurts you do not try to hurt them back. Always find a way to do the right things because you never know who is watching and learning from you. You are a reflection of the God you serve. Go to Him for strength to rise above conflict. Do whatever you can to live at peace with everyone.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Revenge is not your job. Leave that part up to God. Love your enemy and care for them. Think of how much it confuses the Devil when you trade love for hate. That is a victory in itself. God will take care of the rest. Fight evil with good.
That is the end of the breakdown of Romans 12. Did you enjoy my favorite chapter? If I had only one chapter of the bible to use as a manual for how to live my life, Romans 12 is what I would chose. I may not have a future in bible commentary, but I sure enjoyed pretending. I hope you all have a wonderful first week of May. We are buckling down for what I hope is the last snow storm of the season. Check out the adorable picture below of my girls and their cousins Vivian and Max that was taken at the Berry Branding this past weekend.
Happy Easter week my friends. I am feeling especially excited this year because my oldest daughter, Gracie Jo, is really starting to understand the Easter story. We made resurrection eggs, in my MOPS group, that each hold an item that represents a different part of the story. JoJo loves taking them out one-by-one and explaining their meanings. I can’t describe the joy that comes from seeing your child begin forming a love for her savior. It is amazing to watch. Ella ate the crackers that were in the Egg that represented “the body of Christ”. So there is that too… Love her just as much!!
Let’s begin our breakdown by reading the second section of Romans 12.
For by the grace given me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously, if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12: 3-8
I enjoy this section of Romans 12 because I think it is fun get introspective every once and a while. Coming to the realization that I am a unique individual with a “one of a kind” set of gifts given to me by the creator of the universe is a pretty big deal. Don’t worry I didn’t skip that first line that instructs me not to not “think more highly of myself than I ought.” I will make sure it is with sober judgement that I consider the things God has and has not created within me. Just for a second though, I will celebrate the fact that He took the time to make me an individual “part” who fits perfectly into the intricate “body” of believers. He thought me through. I FIT. We all FIT. We belong to each other and with each other we are complete and fully equipped. There is no problem or circumstance we as believers can not come together to solve. GLORY TO GOD.
God has given each one of us a measure of faith to fulfill the plans he has prepared for each of us to do. Since this faith is given to us by God, and is not something we have built up on our own we have no room to boast or become self righteous. Generally, my problem is not having a self righteous or boastful attitude, but I am more worried that I don’t have what it takes to fulfill my purpose. This verse can easily be flipped to show that we can depend on God to give us exactly what we need to complete the tasks he has prepared for us. Just as we are not to think too highly of ourselves, we should not think to low of ourselves because God is our foundation and our strength and he is in control. He will doll out the exact measurement of faith we need, therefore we will never come out short if we put our trust in him.
Just as each part of the body has a different role to keep the body working properly, we each have a different and equally important role in the body of Christ. I am going to list a few examples of what my gifts in case you need a little help in discovering what yours are. I’ll also throw in a few things I have learned through experience are not my gifts, maybe they fit you better than me?
Forgiving quickly: ever since I was a little girl I have never been able to “hold a mad” as my mom would say. I can’t stand being angry with someone. I am usually the one who says sorry first. This used to drive me crazy, but now I have come to appreciate this gift.
Compassion- feeling the emotions and needs of others has always come easy for me.
Connecting: I describe myself as an outgoing introvert. One thing that I love to do is make connections with strangers. I love being a greeter at church. It is so fun to find ways to compliment people as they walk in and see a smile light up their face.
Serving: I am a helper and a caregiver. If there is something I can do to pitch in I am on it. God has given me a strong desire to help children in need and young mothers.
Here are a few things that I have found out are not my gifts:
speaking in tongues- there was a time I was led to believe that if you do not receive the gift of tongues you were not fully saved. I prayed and prayed that Holy Spirit would manifest in me through speaking in tongues so I would know I had the spirit. It never happened. I now know the important truth that the Spirit of God is present in me even if it doesn’t materialize in an outward form.
public speaking- not my strong suit. sweaty palms, cracky voice, no memorization skills, black hole….just not my thing.
hospitality- I know some women who really shine at this. I am more of a “let’s meet at Texas Roadhouse so we don’t have to do dishes”, or a “I’ll grab a fruit tray from the store instead of making a quiche, kind of girl.”
I think it is also important to realize that God will mature us as we grow in Him and what may not be a gift when we are baby Christians can become a gift later on. I love the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” God has given us all different gifts and the different measures of faith to be able to use each gift in unique ways. I would love if my readers would message me with what gifts they have been given and the ways they are using them.
I hope you have a blessed Easter as you celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for you and for me. He is risen, the war has been won!
Hey y’all, Im going to cut the introductions and get down to the truth of the matter.
I’ve been in a funk.
The kind where you feel like you are in a hole and you can’t dig yourself out. On and off for the past couple of weeks, I have struggled mentally, emotionally and physically. Now please don’t worry too much about me, I am not writing this for pity or for attention. I have an amazing support group that I run to when I need help digging myself out of the pits of self destruction I sometimes get lost in. The reason I feel the need to let my readers know the struggle I am going through is I think there is a pretty good chance that you might have or will go through a similar thing. Maybe you’re struggling now as you read this. God has a mysterious way of getting us to stumble onto reading the thing we need to read, right when we need it.
You might sometimes, like me, find yourself crying in your closet for no particular reason other than you can’t get that negative, self-hating voice in your head to be quiet. You, like me, might have felt so alone in these moments. Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t explain this to anyone else. How could anybody understand, when you don’t really get it yourself? It’s like everything in life can be going along quite nicely, but for some reason your mind gets caught up in a cycle of negativity and frustration and you feel like you might never be able to get it back on a positive course. It’s ok friend. I have those days, those weeks, those ever repeating “off” moments too. The good news is I’m starting to figure out ways to get myself out of them more quickly than I used to. I believe my strategy might help you get out of those blue moods a little quicker, so you can get back to enjoying life and seeing the beauty in all God is doing around you. The Lord gave us two tools we can use whenever we are struggling with anxiety or any other mental battle.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
These are simple things that don’t require me to get out of my bathrobe, I can do them even when I’m in the middle of a blubbering break down, and they start working for me immediately.
Prayer: This seems like a no-brainer, right? Prayer is the answer for everything. It’s our lifeline to our savior. Yes, of course. But the type of prayer I am talking about is especially powerful in those times when you need help getting out of your head.It’s easy, PRAY FOR OTHER PEOPLE. Get alone, get on the ground ( I like to pray in childs pose), and start praying for every single person that comes to mind. Pray for every person that has asked for prayer recently, pray for the ones that haven’t asked, pray for the loved ones that you desperately want to find Jesus, pray for the sick, pray for those who are hurting. If your mind is blank ask God who needs prayer and he will bring you the names. Pray for the orphans, pray for the widows, pray for the hungry, pray for those enslaved, pray for the broken, pray for those addicted to drugs or alcohol. Pray until you have nothing else to pray. You will end your prayer in a different state of mind. I promise. The beautiful thing is you will have spent precious time in the presence of God petitioning for the people who need it the most, while at the same time changing your focus from your own mental issues, to the needs of others. Phillipians 4:6
Thankfulness: Another no-brainer, I know. But it works. Get out a pen and a paper and start writing down the things you are thankful for. Thank the Lord for each little blessing as you go. Think about the good things, the little things that make you happy, the people, the sunsets, the cup of coffee, the full nights sleep, the compliment, the smile, the text. Think about it all, write it down on your list, and then thank God for it.
That is all I’ve got. Don’t knock it until you try it. There have been times I have wanted to sit and sulk in my misery, and times I was too stubborn to follow my own simple two-step advice. However, any time I have committed to following my plan I have been able to change my mind set and pull myself out of that negative place.
I’m happy to report that I am out of that nasty funk now. The clouds have parted and the love of Jesus is shining down on me like rays of sunlight. I hope this post helps you when you need it. Life is full of the good moments as well as the bad ones. The key is staying close to God through every changing season.
Bombcyclone. That is what they called the blizzard that hit last Wednesday. We had plenty of heads up that this was going to be a big storm, but I honestly had no idea what we were in for. We spent Tuesday getting prepared.
Jeff and Garrett got pens ready so we could get all the calves in a barn and all the cows up into a windbreak for protection. I went to town and got us all stocked up on groceries so we had plenty of food and water and fruit snacks to ride out the storm. We went to bed Tuesday night not knowing what we would be waking up to. Wednesday morning was a blessing. The storm hadn’t yet hit so Jeff was able to go check on everything again and help his dad and brother for a little while before things got bad. Jeff picked the girls and I up on his way back so we could go lock my horses up about 8:30 am. The storm blew in right as we got to the horse pasture. It was crazy how it went from drizzling rain to blowing snow in a matter of minutes. I could barely see the horses coming. They were as freaked out as I was as they came running into the barn already pelted with snow. We quickly got them taken care and headed home. Driving back to the house, we couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of us at a time, but we made it home safe and sound and were happy to have all of our animals taken care of.
Everything was fine and dandy the rest of the morning. Sure the wind was howling outside and the snow was blowing like crazy, but I was getting my chili ingredients out and about to start a Netflix movie. Then the power went out…. Uh oh. I didn’t prepare for that. Suddenly I felt a little panicked. I started going through the groceries I had stocked up on the day prior and realized they all required electricity to cook. In my 5 years of living in Wyoming I had never had to ride out a blizzard with no electricity, and this was first big storm we had been through in our new house. Quickly it occurred to me that we were not very prepared for an actual crisis. What if we didn’t get electricity for a couple days? Would our house stay warm enough with just our gas fireplace going? I hadn’t thought ahead to fill up baths or pots with water. We didn’t have a back up power source. We had about 3 small candles to our name, and one flashlight that worked about half the time you needed it to. I did have plenty of bottled water and enough goldfish and tortilla chips to keep us from getting hungry, but all in all I felt pretty unprepared for a disaster.
I was so relieved when the power came back on a few hours later and then stayed on all night. I am so thankful for the people that risked their safety and went out in the terrible storm to fix the power lines. They really are heroes.
The bomb cyclone blizzard wasn’t easy to get through. It was hard on livestock and the ranchers that work so hard to take care of them. Thank God it didn’t last very long. Everything settled down Thursday mid-morning and the sun came out. Through this experience I learned a lot about how to prepare for a storm, and I have a list of things we need to improve on for the next one.
Exhausted by the events of the week and not feeling overly
creative, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to write about in my blog this
week. The first thing that popped into my head was to write about preparing for
the storms. Man, what an incredible lesson He was teaching me when I didn’t
even realize it. Preparing for real life physical storms is a lot like
preparing for the spiritual ones. It all comes down to a moment of truth when
you realize weather or not you are ready to face something difficult. After all God never promised life would be
easy. John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may
have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome
We can have peace even in the hard times if we keep God
central in our lives. He is our source- our “super generator” that will never
stop working. If we are connected to him we will always have light, strength, hope
and peace no mater how dark or devastating our circumstances may be.
Isaiah 54:10 promises, “Though the mountains be shaken and
the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my
covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord who has compassion on you.”
We must be constantly preparing for the storms. It is not a
question of if, but when they will strike. God’s word and time spent in prayer
are our most valuable resources. There is one thing even a girl from Texas
knows you are supposed to do before a big snowstorm: Fill up your gas tank. So
how you do you make sure your spiritual tank is full? You pour God’s word into
it. You make sure it never gets low by studying and memorizing and storing His
word in your heart, and by spending time thanking Him for his faithfulness and
asking him for protection.
My prayer for you dear friend is that you are filled with
the peace that comes from knowing that know matter what storms you have to face
in this life, whether they be physical or spiritual, God is with you.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your
staff, they comfort me.
Thank you for visiting my blog. Today I want to share a story that took place almost 4 years ago. This is the birth story of our first daughter, Grace Josephine Berry (aka Gracie Jo, aka JoJo) Disclaimer: If you are pregnant you may want to come back and read this one after you give birth. I know I hated when people shared their horrible delivery experiences with me when I was expecting. Also, anyone else that doesn’t want to know personal details of my birth story, here is your chance to duck out and catch me on the next post as well.
The story takes place in March of 2015. It was an abnormally nice week in Wyoming, and I had spent every day walking at the park getting my body ready to deliver it’s first baby. The night of the 17th I woke up and it felt like I had wet my pants a little bit, but the doctor had assured me the day before that if my water broke it would be a huge gush, so I wrote it off as another embarrassing pregnancy moment and went back to bed.
The next morning I woke up and once again it seemed like I had a mini pants wetting episode so I told Jeff about it. He had been with me at the doctor office the day before and reminded me the doctor said we would know when my water broke. I told him I wanted to get checked out anyway, and in true rancher form he said, “Okay. Let me go feed the cows and check everything and then I’ll take you to town.”
He got back about 9:30 and we got ready and drove to town. We both felt silly walking into the doctors’ office and calmly telling them we think my water might of broke. They looked at us like the first time amateurs we were and said they would let the doctors know we wanted to be checked out.
We got to see Dr. Story a few minutes later and he checked to see if I was indeed in labor. He decided to run a couple tests and was back in our room in a matter of minutes. Sure enough, my water had not completely broken, but I was leaking amniotic fluid and there was a risk of infection if we did not get to the hospital quick for delivery.
The moment felt surreal, Jeff and I were excited that we would be meeting our baby girl that day! We drove straight to the hospital, checked in and prepared to deliver our baby girl. The doctor on call that day was Dr. VanKirk. I had never met her before, but I instantly loved her the moment she walked in. She was upbeat and made us feel she had everything under control. We were giddy and excited, not knowing that the experience would go down as one of the worst and best days of our lives.
My body was not in labor even though I was leaking amniotic fluid, so I had to be induced. Since we were now on a time crunch to deliver because of the risk of infection, we had to be pretty aggressive with the meds used to induce me. The contractions came on pretty quickly and they were extremely painful with little to no breaks in between them. I received an epidural about 4pm. After getting the epidural in, I was able to relax and calm down. Unfortunately my body tried to relax a little too much, and my blood pressure dropped so low that I was not pumping enough blood to our baby girl. The baby’s heart rate monitor starting beeping loudly as the nurses and Dr. Vankirk quickly came into our room. I had discussed with Dr. VanKirk early on that I didn’t want to have to do a C-Section. She said we would try an adrenaline shot, but if that didn’t work we would need to go straight in for a C-section. I agreed, my babies well being and safety being my first priority. The adrenaline shot kicked in quickly and baby girl’s heartbeat stabilized. We were all able to take a deep breath and settle in for a few more hours of contractions.
A little bit after 8 pm we had another scare, the same issue we had before of our baby girl’s heartbeat weakening happened again, but this time we completely lost it on the monitor. Dr. Vankirk calmly told me that I would have to deliver my baby right this minute because she was in danger. She yelled out that we needed more nurses in the room and the room filled up with too many medical people to count. Dr. Vankirk stayed calm and in control of the situation, but I could see the urgency in her eyes. Jeff also stayed calm and supportive, but I could tell he was freaking out on the inside. He grabbed my hand. I had multiple nurses on both sides of me holding my legs and feet. I remember in that moment a feeling of extra human strength as I began pushing my baby out with everything I had. Everyone in the room was yelling out encouragement, telling me she was almost out. It took only 3 pushes for me to deliver.
Doctor Vankirk lifted our baby up and was moving to put her on my chest when we all realized she was not in good shape. She was so blue that she was black. She was not making a sound. They cut the cord and immediately took her to the baby incubator to start working on her.
I remember pleading with everyone around me. Asking them, is my baby okay? Is she going to make it? Is my baby all right? Dr. Vankirk told me that for right now she had to work on me, and that my baby was in good hands, but the look on her face expressed her uncertainty.
I looked up at Jeff and he was white as a ghost. He, unlike me, could see everything that was happening to our baby girl as the doctors and nurses worked so hard to get her to breathe. Immediately it hit me. “We have to pray! Jeff, start praying!” Jeff began praying a prayer that I will never forget. I actually remember thinking, “No! don’t pray that!” But I knew the words he spoke were faith filled to a God we trusted with everything.
Jeff prayed, “Father God, we pray right now for our baby girl. We know that she is yours. We know that weather you take her up with you or we get to keep her here with us that she is yours first. We want this baby girl so bad God! We pray your will be done.”
I continued praying as I looked around and noticed a couple of the nurses by me were praying as well! And then we heard it, the beautiful scream of our precious baby girl. God had so clearly moved in that room, he had opened the lungs of our baby. I busted out sobbing, letting myself go when I had been trying so hard to keep it together. We thought we would name our little girl Addison or Avery, but Jeff said right at that moment, “We are naming her Grace.” I was in complete agreement!
Our baby girl was completely fine. She had no health issues at all. They brought her over to me all bundled up and beautiful. Words do not express the love I felt for her and the relief that my baby girl was in my arms and everything was okay.
I share this story for a couple different reasons. First, I share it for myself. I want to document our story so I can always go back and remember the moment that we cried out the God of the Universe and He so clearly moved in that moment to answer our prayer. There is pain in this story, but it is washed away by the joy. I wish in the moment I would of had the same faith and firmness of my Husband to be able to pray God’s will be done no matter what the outcome. My heart breaks for the families that have prayed the same prayer we prayed but didn’t get the answer we got. I know we serve a God that in all things works for the good of those who love HIM, but sometimes His way won’t make sense until we get to be up with Him in heaven and understand that it was the best way. I thank the Lord for every single day I get to spend with the precious babies He has trusted us with. I know we are not promised tomorrow.
Lastly, I hope this story can be of encouragement and attest to the power and love of our God. He heard our cry and He cared about our prayer. He is the God of the entire universe, but He heard the prayer of just two of His children and He was with us. His presence was in that room. He wants to be there when you need Him too. He wants to hold you when you need comfort, He wants to give you strength when your situation seems impossible, He wants to love you when you feel unlovable. He wants to be with you through it all.
I pray that you know your value and how precious you are to our God. Until we meet again,
It’s the morning after Valentine’s Day as I sit here writing this post. Time is moving so quickly. My babies are growing fast. Life feels like a whirlwind, leaving me scrambling to get from one place to the next. I feel the world’s pull on me to do more, to be more. The weight of all my responsibilities build up, And I feel like I can’t keep up.
Then I walk away for a moment, and I open God’s word. The never ending cycle of life’s obligations come to a stop for a few minutes, while I seek wisdom from the perfect words of my savior.
My time with God has not always felt this way. In my early days of becoming a Christ follower, I would open the Bible and be so confused by the words. The Bible seemed too thick, too complicated, and to be honest, too far fetched for me to understand. That is when I learned about the power of Holy Spirit. I would pray for the spirit to give me wisdom and discernment to understand what I was reading. Once I had the help of the Spirit I started to better understand. Messages started to come out of the pages that were so applicable to my every day life. I believe the gift of discerning and understanding the Bible is available for anyone who asks for it. Once you have it, you will not believe the way the Bible comes to life.
The other thing I had trouble with when I first began studying the Bible, was knowing where to begin. My personality caused me to always want to begin at the beginning, in Genesis, therefor there are numerous times when I would set out to read the Bible cover to cover only to get lost and distracted before I reached Exodus, the second book.
My advice for beginners would be to start in the New Testament. The first four books are accounts of the birth, life and death of Jesus written from four different perspectives. They are easy to read and understand, especially with the help of Holy Spirit. These first four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John contain the actual words of Jesus. His words are written in red. We have the actual words of our Savior to read and learn from, that in itself is an amazing gift.
When shopping for a Bible there is no shame in finding a version that is easy to read. I would still be lost if I was trying to use the King James version. The version I use and love is the NIV Study Bible. There are many different versions out there to choose from. Lots of these contain commentaries and resources on every page to help you better understand what you are reading. I think the next Bible I buy will be “the Message” version which is probably the closest in translation to our present way of speaking.
That reminds me, a must have for new readers is the YouVersion Bible app. This app is so handy. I prefer doing my daily studies in my real bible that I can hold, but anytime I don’t understand what I am reading, I can pull up my App and read that section in different translations until it makes more sense. The You Version app also is full of reading plans based on topic or plans for reading the Bible cover to cover. It is really an awesome resource!
I know this post may seem elementary and may not apply to everyone that reads, but I truly believe there is upmost importance for every single believer to become experts on the book God has written for us. We must learn for ourselves what God wants to teach us, not just hear secondhand somebody else’s interpretation. Paul tells the Philippians they must “work out their salvation with fear and trembling.
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,”
So I urge you to take responsibility. Make it your mission to not only read the Bible, but to know it. Your very salvation, and the salvation of those you love depends on it.
Good morning friends. I keep reminding myself that it is indeed a good morning. We are all alive. safe. warm. well fed. After that it gets a little hard to recall the things I’m grateful for as I sit here guzzling my third cup of coffee before 9 am. Last night was a nightmare, but not the kind you sleep through. It was a real life nightmare, spurred on by a 18 month old with a ponytail on top of her head and misery affliction in her eyes.
Jeff was scheduled to visit a customer up close to where my grandparents live, so we decided to jump in the pick up with him so the girls and I could spend some time with Gram and Gramps while he worked. We had a nice evening and a delicious supper. About 8:30 pm, I hauled the pack and play up the stairs and got it perfectly comfy and cozy to put Ella down in. We timed it just right so we were all ready to go to bed and wouldn’t wake Ella up after she was asleep. We layed her down with a sippy cup full of perfect temp lactose free milk. We sighed with relief as we shut the door to her room and tip-toed out and into our beds.
It lasted about 8 minutes, and then came the blood curdling scream. It sounded like she was being physically tortured. I rushed into the room thinking there had to be something seriously wrong for her to be screaming that way. Picked her up. She giggled. WTH… I rolled my eyes, bounced her around the room for a minute until she was yawning and rubbing her eyes. As I carefully laid her back into the pack n play, her eyes popped open wide and she crawled me like a cat. It was that moment I realized we were in for a long night. I could go on and recall the events of the evening that seemed to last a life time, but I’ll save you the anguish of reading it. I’ll just share a couple memorable moments.
At one point about 11pm Jeff and I looked at each other and cracked up laughing at the situation, if we wouldn’t of been laughing we would of been crying. We were of course worried my grandparents couldn’t sleep with all the ruckus Ella was causing in the bedroom above them, and about to lose our minds not knowing how to calm Ella down and maker her fall asleep.
At another point after Ella had screamed for about 5 minutes straight, she stopped abruptly and proceeded to happily chuckle to herself and crawl back and forth across the bed kissing me and Jeff on our foreheads. I thought to myself, “oh no, what if she has a multiple personality disorder.”
Then about 3 am she popped up wide awake from a 30 minute stretch of sleep. Desperate, I handed her my phone with a downloaded Netflix show praying for just another small block of sleep. She happily took my phone and began a cycle of watching the show for about one minute, pressing the home button which stoped her show and then pushing the phone in my face so I could get it back going for her. This lasted until my phone which was on 13% battery when we began, died a painful death. It was a special night.
I share this all in hopes that it will serve as an effective means of birth control for all of the young people reading this… only kidding. My main purpose for sharing is to let all the moms and dads out there in the trenches of raising small children, know that you are not alone. It is so easy to look at social media and the adorable pictures of kids being sweet and seemingly well behaved and think, “maybe I’m not good at this parenting thing.” Don’t believe that for one minute. You are absolutely killing it! You are “nailing it” as a parent. You are surviving the long nights. You didn’t throw the kid in it’s crib and drive far away at a fast rate of speed. You love that small, adorable, life sucker, with all your heart. Just like I love mine. You’re probably snuggling them right now as you read this. They are dozing off for a good nap, so they are rested up to cause terror once again tonight. Only kidding again…..kind of…. I remind myself often, that no one takes pictures when they are about to lose their mind and the kid is running down the hall after they dipped one hand in the toilet and unraveling the toilet paper with the other. No one posts moments like that. We only post the highlight reel, filled with the moments that portray parenthood as a blissful walk in the park. So don’t sweat it. Don’t compare. You are doing an incredible job.
I am going to sign off now, so I can find some more caffeine and spend some time alone with God. We are raising little world changers, little sons and daughters of the one true King. It’s a hard job, but it’s the most important job we will ever do. So keep up the good work. I’m praying for you and me both.