Monday, May 22, 2017

A Social Media Addiction

Yes, it is true. I am obsessed...addicted...whatever you want to call it. From constantly checking my phone in between my baby's cries, to wasting an hour nap time browsing Instagram with no purpose in mind.

It all hit me once again. This time I am not ignoring it. I had yelled at my toddler to 'hold on a minute because Mommy is busy' when really I was just checking the latest news on Facebook, probably for the 10th time that day (and it was only 9 am). Then there was my baby. My littlest was standing at a play table, babbling away. She had only begun to stand at anything about 4 days ago but I thought I would just quickly check my phone once again, just for one minute. Well of course, in that 'one minute' my little baby fell and hit her head smack on the floor. While perhaps I could not have prevented this, my reactions could have been quicker, my arms could have been open to grab her, and I simply would not have been distracted, had I not been on my phone for no good reason. My sweet little girls needed my attention and I chose to ignore them yet again. Why? Simply to disappear in a world of 'likes' and 'comments'. A world separate from making snacks, wiping bums and cleaning up messes and all the other 'mundane' and 'boring' tasks that a stay-at-home mom has.

I am truly obsessed. And while I am completely ashamed to admit it, I am admitting it. I am going out with it, because it needs to stop.



My addiction is taking over. My addiction is turning me into a less loving Mom and a much more distant one. My addiction is taking me away from precious moments with my two beautiful little girls. It is stealing my time and robbing me of true joy. Most of all? My addiction is against God's will for the way I spend my time and for how He wants me to live my life. (Ps. 90:12 - 'So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom')

It is talked about a lot. The Social Media Addiction…ways to combat it, why it is so horrible, how awful those moms are staring at their phones while their kids are at their feet. Judge me all you want – I judge myself. Because what I am doing IS terribly selfish and incredibly wrong.

I want to put this out in the open. Perhaps to remind another mom that you are not alone in this addiction, perhaps to speak up in a community of others who also struggle, or perhaps to simply encourage a community of support between us Moms.

It is true and obvious – motherhood is not easy. Staying at home with my beautiful children is tough. It can be long, boring, exhausting, and lonely. And yes, social media 'helps' in so many ways with these feelings. It makes me feel connected. It takes me away from the long days, allowing me to escape for 5 minutes. It brings me into another reality, apart from the one I am in that can feel so draining. I think that we all know this. I wonder though, is this really a help or a hindrance to our work as moms?

Does it truly fulfill? Does it take away my feelings of loneliness and my dissatisfaction? Not in the least. I try to fulfill this emptiness in my heart with 'likes' and 'comments' on Facebook or following someone else's life on Instagram, yet I am only left wanting something else. I am left feeling just as lonely and dissatisfied as I was at the start. Yet I try again and again and again…

Through planning and accountability and continually working at it, I can try to overcome this addiction. But in truth, there is only one way that I will overcome it. Through total surrender to Christ. Instead of filling a void with Social Media, I can and I need to fully fill this void through the love of my Saviour, by giving it up to Him and leaning on Him for that fulfillment that I need so desperately. 

I am positive that I am not the only mom struggling with this 'addiction'. I am sure that because I am not alone in this, I have sisters in Christ who are here working along side me combating this. If you are also struggling with this, are interested to know how I am working on surrendering this to Christ, interested in working along side me to combat this, or have any sound advice as to how to overcome this struggle, please do reach out.  Let us not let this 'small thing' become a big thing that takes over the joy we can have as mothers.

Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


**For some tips read my post 5 Ways to Get Unplugged 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Making Devotional Time Count

Devotional time can, at times, feel daunting.  You sit down with a hot cup of coffee, the sun is just coming up and the rest of the house is sleeping.  Peace to start your day.  Or perhaps it is the afternoon nap time and you finally have a minute to sit and think.  Or maybe it is bedtime and the day has just been one thing after another and finally you have a minute to read... or sleep?

If you don't have a plan as to where to open God's word, you may feel stuck.  You may even feel too exhausted to even bother trying to figure out where to start.  So you either open the Bible at random, pick a quick passage, pray and move on with your day.  Or maybe you find a passage you know well, read it, pray and again move on with your day.  Or perhaps you feel too overwhelmed to think about where to read and so you don't even bother.

You need a plan.  




There are so many awesome devotionals out there, which I am sure many of you know about (If you need any tips on these give me a shout).  But there is something good and something righteous about coming straight to the Word of God; Letting Him speak to you through His words directly.  While devotionals are great guides, it is the Word of God that needs to be penetrating our hearts more than anything.

It was when I read through the Psalms that I really began to read God's word in a way that had a huge impact on my life.

I used to have a difficult time reading through the Psalms specifically.  While the writing is incredibly beautiful, at times I felt I could not relate.  How wrong was I!  Once I started reading through the Psalms differently I saw how relatable they really are, and how much God uses them to speak to us.  God opened up my eyes to see the beauty of the words written.

How I really began to see the Psalms differently was by praying the Psalms.  Whether it be a Psalm of praise or of crying out to God, this is how I saw much of the Psalms beginning to have an impact on my every day life.  Once I began reading the Psalms this way I started seeing more of how God was speaking to me through the text.

Here is an example of steps I now take when reading a Psalm (or any passage in the Bible):

1.  Pray that God would reveal to you His will, His desire, and His love for you through the Psalm.

2.  Read over the Psalm once.

3.  Go back through the Psalm and underline every word that describes God.  Use this to be reminded of the truths of who God is and how you can praise Him that day.

4.  Go back again through the Psalm and underline (in another color perhaps) any word that may describe yourself.  This isn't always applicable but it can help you to see yourself and your current situation in the text.

4.  Pray that God would show you those truths and remind you of those truths in whatever circumstance you are in.  Often when praying in this way God would reveal to me something I had been missing or had forgotten about His truths in either a specific situation or simply in my every day living.

God's glory has been made known through the Psalmists and it is incredibly beautiful to recognize and be able to relate to in our own lives.  I challenge you to pick a book of the Bible and begin an intentional study of that book, so that you truly begin to see God's words come to life in your daily living.

See my post Regular Devotions are NOT Easy for another idea of how you can make devotion time count.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Your Spouse Needs You

Your spouse needs you.  




All day long you are filling the demands and requests of these little people that fill your home. From snacks to diaper changes to spilled milk to band aids. From clean ups to cooking to laundry. From hugs and kisses to time outs. After all that, your husband comes home from a long day at work and the first thing you want to do is blurt out everything that went wrong in your day and the last thing you want to do is serve him. Yet that is what we are called to do. As mothers and as wives we are called to serve. That is what your husband needs from you, his helper, and that is what God requires from you.

His helper. Yes, his helper – that is what you are. And what a beauty that is. God has called you to be there for your husband and only you.

But honestly? Who has the energy for that!? By 5 O'clock my energy levels are down to .5 and I am in no mood to hear about his day. In fact 5 minutes late and instead he gets the brunt of my grumpiness taken out on him after his long commute. Poor guy.

Seriously though. Poor guy. Does he deserve that? No. Definitely not. He deserves so much better and more than that – He needs so much more. Specifically, he needs so much more from me.

Does that sound like just another responsibility, another duty, another task, another thing to do? At times it does for me too. Oh, how we need to rethink this...how we need to be reminded of the beauty and joy that serving our spouses can be if we let it.

Instead of it being another task, think of it as being an honor. An honor meant only for you. This is an honor and a service that does not have to seem overwhelming. Because when he comes home from a long day at work, all he really needs from you? A hug, a kiss, and possibly a small acknowledgment that shows him he matters to you, he's worth it. The funny thing about that? You need that too. From him. You need that 5 minutes to reconnect, to be reminded that you are each others and only each others. You need to be reminded that no matter what happened throughout that day and whatever will happen that evening, you have each others backs and each others love.


While the kids may be screaming, the toddler may be whining, the baby may be crying, and the dinner may be burning, when your husband walks through the front door, come to him first. With an exhausted hug and perhaps a passionate kiss, these will be the best ways to start your evening – reminding him and reminding your self where this all began in the first place and how that must stay firm throughout the chaos. Instead of spilling your complaints all over him when he opens that door, I challenge you to take 5 minutes to just be with him and find your peace and love with him, the man God created for you. This is how you can begin to serve your man after a long day and really, in the end you are being served as well. And perhaps, after beginning your evening with this small act, it will set the rhythm of service for the rest of the evening. For it so often comes twofold and this very small service that you begin for your husband may take on a much greater impact on your self, your marriage, and even your kids.   

Monday, April 24, 2017

Good and Faithful Servant

'Well done, good and faithful servant...' - Matthew 25:21

Well done.

Good. Faithful. Servant.

Is that me? This statement has been popping up in my head again and again this past week. It has been on my mind so much that at times I am questioning every task I am doing. From cleaning to cooking dinner to taking my kids places to teaching my kids etc. etc. Am I being good? Am I being faithful? Am I being God's servant? Am I doing these tasks for God's glory, God's will, and God's desire? Am I doing them to further His Kingdom?




Most of the time, probably not. They are duties that just need to be done and I power through and I complete them and look forward to the times of quiet and sleep.

But along with this statement that has been popping up in my head, so has the feeling of emptiness and questioning. Questioning of what I am doing with my life at this time and emptiness of uncertainty that I feel fulfilled and purposeful.  In truth, being a Stay at Home Mom can bring upon these feelings again and again.  

Yes, I have purpose. INCREDIBLE purpose. Raising two little girls is definitely not purposeless. And living for God no matter what I am doing is full of purpose, the only purpose I really need. I know these truths. But I need to reminded of them daily...sometimes hourly. These truths are so important to take the time to dwell on, no matter what our tasks are for that hour, that day, that month, that year.

These mundane tasks can feel so… mundane. So unimportant and at times so 'unfulfilling'. Yet they are tasks that are entirely full of purpose if we complete them in a way that is for God's glory. Yes, wiping down my baseboards and doing load after load of laundry and scrubbing my kitchen is included in that. Tasks that I all too often take as not important and would prefer to just 'lazily' and begrudgingly complete them.

When I look at my day, I often consider what tasks hold priority that day, what tasks really need to get done. (Like a bathroom that hasn't been cleaned in a month…;) ) But is the question I need to be asking first and foremost how can I do my tasks that God has designed for me this day and use my talents in a way that is glorifying to Him? I must think how I can do these 'mundane' tasks in a way that is good and faithful to Him and in a way where I am completely serving Him.


It is so funny. When I started this post I started it to write about how jobs like cleaning won't make God tell me I am 'a good and faithful servant' at the end of my life; How tasks like cleaning don't matter in the large scheme of life and so I should stop 'stressing' about it and focus on more important things. Ha.  Even as I write this post, God is working in me, changing me for His glory. 

No, our houses don't always have to be perfectly clean, nor do our dinners have to be perfectly homemade. Yes, there are days when our houses will be a disaster and we will order pizza because there will be days that God has placed other tasks for our time. But cleaning and cooking ARE tasks that we are given as moms and wives – tasks given to us by our Heavenly Father. While every day they may not take presidence, they DO hold importance. And I do believe that God does hold them as tasks that can further His kingdom if we chose to make them so.  How awesome it can be if we let God speak to us, soften our hearts, and change our every day ways for His glory.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Abide

(A continuation of a recent post Less of Me… )

I want to serve by telling others about Him. By expressing my need for Christ, my love for Christ and above all His love for me. I want everyone to know. I want the world to know. Christ is my passion and my life – why wouldn't I want people to know about that!?

Yet I fail every day. And I get so frustrated by this. So overwhelmingly frustrated.

Another day at a play group, the library, an early years centre, the grocery store, the coffee shop...and another day where I did not mention the name of my Saviour to someone new. I pray for opportunity and wait. I go home and I question… God why? Why did you not provide me with opportunity? Why?! Or – I go home and I think of how I could have and should have mentioned the name of my Saviour. So begins the frustration, disappointment, and guilt. Feelings that bring me to a point of wanting to give up. I want to stop trying because it's not working. It's not working.

You know what's really not working? Trying so hard yet trying so hard on my own. Sure we pray before we do something, we come to God first – but do we always stick close to God throughout the entirety of the situation? Am I praying without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:16-18) ? Am I continually coming to God and allowing Him to truly work through me? 

Really, it is so much less about what I do and how hard I try and so much more about letting Him use me in His way.





Abide. Jesus says to abide and bear fruit (John 14).  Abide. Less of me, more of You. Less of me.

Quiet my heart.

Still my heart.

Abide.

I can hear God calling me now. Just abide. Don't worry. Stop over thinking it. Come to ME, and simply abide. I will do the rest. Abide.   

Monday, April 10, 2017

Less of Me...

I so badly want to serve. I want to serve Christ. I want to serve Him through serving others; through being an example of His love by being incredibly kind, incredibly gentle, and incredibly selfless.

I saw a man begging outside of the liquor store the other day. My heart reached out to him. And I thought...I want to care for him, I want to love like Christ loves. So, like a good Christian girl...instead of giving money I went to the nearest Timmies, bought a sandwich combo and drove back, only to find him gone. Embarrassed, ashamed, and confused I drove away. That is when I prayed. God, why? I was trying to be your hands and your feet… why didn't you let me?

Oh how funny it is when we think we can do God's work on our own. Without Him. Oh how funny it is when we think we have the best idea of how to serve, on our own. How funny when we think we know… because we don't know. We don't know how God is going to use us, how He wants to use us. We can't serve Him without Him. Obviously. Yet, so often we try!

If only I had prayed before I chose to try to help that man. If only I had asked God if he wanted to use me in that situation, what He wanted me to do at that point. If only I had gone to Him first. Who knows how the situation would have turned out differently.

It is so much less about us and so much more about God's work and God's plan...no matter what situation we are in. May it be less of me 'wanting to serve' and so much more of me wanting to come to my Lord and live with and for Him.





**Less of me Oh Lord and more...SO much more...of You.


John 3:30 "He must become greater; I must become less."

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Discipline of Writing

It has been a while. And even now, as I sit and write I am struggling. Struggling to get back into this focus and discipline. Isn't it funny how even though it may be something we love to do, it still at times takes discipline to do it? Our flesh would rather turn off our minds completely, eat some cake (Who are we kidding...I am still eating cake.), and binge watch something without thought until we no longer can keep our eyes open and we sink into our nice cool sheets. Ahh...I am dreaming of it now (the sleeping part..)

Discipline. That should be my word of the year. I have had to use this so much this past year in so many ways. Discipline in training my thoughts to be thoughts free of worry, training myself to stop being distracted and more in the moment, and training myself to look for and at the things and desires of God rather than the things and desires of self.

And now, here I sit. Disciplining myself to write. Again. Why? Because it is oh so good for my soul. It is oh so good for who I am and who I was made to be. I crave it. It has been a while and I feel rusty. But I also feel refreshed and revamped and renewed. I am ready to re-start this journey of writing.





Ps. What are you putting on the 'back burner' that you need to start disciplining yourself to take time to do?! Whatever it is – take a night out...sit in a coffee shop, or in a quiet room, or wherever you need...and just do it. Take time to revive yourself. You will be a better wife, mom, sister, friend, and/or employee for it.   

See post Be Disciplined for more talk about 'discipline'.