Encouraging Video (One) ~~ When "Wait" is Your Answer

A few months ago, my sister bought a movie she’d really wanted to watch. The trailer had piqued our interest, and so had the fact that Fireproof actress Erin Bethea was in it. When we finally got it, I was excited to watch it with my sisters.
But I was not prepared for how God would use it to bless and encourage me!
The movie is called This is Our Time, and I highly recommend it, especially for any young adults out there who are trying to “decipher God’s will” for them in this crucial and extremely stressful point in their life. 
However, there are a few pivotal scenes that spoke to me more than others, and over the course of a few blog posts, I would like to share them, and a few others, with you!
I wanted to share these with you a few months ago, when the inspiration was still fresh in my heart, but I slacked and let it die. But a recent conversation with one of my cousins reminded me so much of this film and the encouragement wrought by it, that I've finally decided to post these! 

With this new school year fully in gear and everyone finally either back in school or in the swing of homeschooling, I've heard a lot about the pressure put on seniors (in high school) to suddenly have all these plans about where they’re going to college, if they’re going to college, what they want to do, what they think God’s will is for them, and all these pivotal, intense decisions—suddenly, as soon as you hit 12th grade, you’re supposed to have the answer to all of these! And then, regardless of what your passions and desires and even God’s will for your life, are the expectations put upon us as young people: by our friends, church family, teachers, peers, and even, our parents! You may not be very sure at all what God wants you to do, but you certainly know what everyone ELSE thinks you should be doing!
And that causes stress and no end of pressure. My sister and her best friend (who are both senior this year) have definitely been feeling this pressure. But so have I, because of recent developments in my life, and so is one of my cousins, and we are past the ‘graduation’ phase of life.
But what if, when searching for God’s voice and will for this next phase of life, all you hear is “WAIT”??
Then what?
You’re not wrong. 
You’re not a failure or a “less-than”.
 If this is you, whatEVER season of life you’re in and no matter what unfair expectations are being placed upon you, while everyone else seems to have their act together? YOU DO TOO. Just in a completely different way than they do. Because God’s will is different for everybody. And He’s using us all in different ways. Even if that means you don’t feel used or important, God is still using you! Yes, we must "search" and pray for God's guidance and try to stay close to Him. But just because the answer is "wait" doesn't make you less important or mean you're doing "nothing". :)

God’s will is not limited to a four year college degree
and God’s will/timing is not limited to what everybody else thinks you should be doing. 
God’s will often looks like nothing you would have chosen for yourself or expected you would do.

I cannot word it any better than the professor does in this clip. I hope this encourages you as it did me <3 

video

(I in no way claim any rights to this movie and all credit goes to Pure Flix Entertainment and Director Lisa Arnold!)

A Week in Skirts "Wrap-Up" ;-)


 This past week I took part of a blog challenge to wear skirts for an entire week. The challenge was Libby's from A Noble Calling blog; she contacted some different bloggers and I thought it sounded fun :)

I usually spend 4-5 days of my week in a skirt anyway, so it wasn't much of a change for me :)


 1st Day of Challenge:
Navy blue Northern Reflections T-shirt with fall and country-type decals I acquired from Salvation Army
My lavender cami underneath (I like to wear camis under most shirts for comfort and a layered look) was from a garage sale.
Long Khaki Skirt ( Old Navy brand ) I received this from a sweet Titus 2 mamma at my church
(The shoes I wore throughout the week are brown Sketchers Go-Walks that my parent’s bought me for my 21st birthday :D)
2nd Day of Challenge:
Navy blue and white Christopher & Banks shirt
(I’ve had that shirt for a long time)
White Stag jean skirt
(Again from the same Titus 2 Momma at church :D)


3rd Day of Challenge:
I had to work all day so I wore something cute but comfy that wasn't a big deal if I got a bit dusty
PURPLE! Cedar Point T-shirt
(Bought there last summer!)
Lavender cami
(So brand name, I believe I received it for Christmas)
Jean skirt 
4th day of challenge:
I was at work all day and I forgot to take a picture :( So I shall describe it the best I can. I wore a teal T-shirt with a logo of the continents with the caption “Preach the Word, Reach the World”, given to me by my friend, and Southern Gospel singer, Gabrielle Allen (they sell these T shirts at their concerts to raise money for the Compassion International children they sponsor!!) and a dark purple cami. Also, I wore a purple Aeropostale hoodie overtop, and I wore a jean skirt again.

5th day of Challenge:
Another day at work
Yellow smiley face T-shirt (Family Christian Bookstore-It says "smile, Jesus loves you" and John 3:16) over black cami (Salvation army)
Jean Skirt
6th Day of Challenge:
Again, was unable to take photo, so I took a snapshot of the blouse and skirt yesterday. (the pictures don’t really do it justice, though :( ) The blouse is a deep purple with magenta strips, and the skirt (white stag brand, again from my Titus 2 mamma) is actually an olive green color. (These two pics really do the outfit an injustice :( lol) 


Day 7 of the Challenge was Sunday, Mother’s Day, so I’m a bit more dressed up
Lavender shirt (Old Navy brand, purchased at Salvation Army)
Lavender/ purple floral skirt (again from my Titus 2 mom!!!)
I wore white sandals with small wedge heels and a round decal on top to church, but I had chucked them by the time I took pictures :)
Make-up worn: Cowgirl dirt 
(See those lovely flowers I'm standing by? My thoughtful brother bought those for our mom for Mother's Day!) 



This was definitely fun-- probably easier for me than most. However, my sister did save my hide Sunday by reminding me to spend the entire evening in my skirt! lol After church, I was ready to be outta my skirt and into my lounge pants for the rest of the night; but thanks to her reminder, after my nap (yes, I take naps on Sundays, thank you very much! LOL) instead of donning fuzzy Superman PJ pants for the rest of the night, I slipped into a jean skirt for the rest of the evening. :) 


These are the links to the other girls who participated in this challenge! Take a minute to check them out! :) 

Elyse at Elyse Lauryn
Caroline at Life as Caroline
Abigail at Jubilant Joys
Rebekah at Lively Laughter
Libby at A Noble Calling
Libby and Emmy at The Dutch Umbrella

Filled to be Emptied

Lately, I've been longing to do blog-post.
To write
To encourage
But often, when the desire hits, I have nothing to write about; or I have plenty to write about, but I feel unworthy because I've just gotten over a ‘blew it’ moment (yelling at a sibling, slinging a sarcastic remark at a parent, forgetting a chore, whining or complaining, simply) whether great or small. Something will impassion, inspire me to write, but satan smites my heart with, “oh you can’t write about thus-and-so… I mean, look what you just did! You’re such a horrible person, such a wicked sinner! How dare you write a blog post or a letter encouraging others to do right or keep their chin up when you cant even do it!?!?!?!?!”
Also, recently I’ll occasionally become discouraged by the fact that whereas four years ago, I was able to offer advice and encouragement to my friends, family, and other young ladies, I now am without Biblical insight to offer them.
And that is what they need
BIBLE INSIGHT
BIBLE ENCOURAGEMENT
Not my opinions. (Although, yes—I can certainly get up on my soap box from time to time and dish them out!) Because my word on its own, no matter how heart-felt and presumable Scripturally drawn it may be, is just that.
Mine.
It could be wrong. (Often is!!!) and I've recently been impressed with the importance of reading the finely printed ingredients on a package of “Biblical health-food” to check for sneaky, unwholesome ingredients before devouring the entire thing. And then finding out later what sounded Biblical at the time was, even if just slightly, off kilter.
But I've had no Godly advice or encouragement, Blog-posts or emails, letters or Sunday school lessons or special musics to offer lately…
Because my well. Is. Dry. :(
I cannot give what I do not have to offer.
And I can only get what I want to give by spending time with Jesus.
Something, which, through various circumstances, lack of determination on my part, and what honestly may be just blatant spiritual-warfare, has become very. hard. for me.
And somehow, I got it into my warped head that WANTING to blog, to post, to (maybe even write and encourage?) was impossible or wrong.
… ...
… ... ...
WHY?????
I’M. NOT. SURE.
But as I began to finally, by God’s grace, take a step in the right direction the other night
It hit me! there’s really nothing wrong with having the DESIRE to (blog) post! There’s nothing wrong with WANTING to write!

As this thought bonked me between the eyes, another sort of thought meekly stepped in with it.
“Lord, fill me so that I may fill others.”
I've been hurting. Hurting. Dealing with the bitterness that “why God?” trials can bring. And with it, (only by the AMAZING GRACE of God), I've been given an entirely new perspective for others—on a number of levels.
And with that new perspective comes a “you’re hurting too!? O my goodness, you are SO not alone! There is some bigger purpose behind all of this, but for now just let me hug you and assure you that you’re not alone!” type of encouragement that I want to impart…
…and feel totally unworthy to do so.
as though I’m not good enough.
How could God possibly use a young woman like me who doesn't “have it all together” for Him?
Who isn't in her Bible like she knows she needs to be? Who often simply has no motivation for anything! Who so often wants, not necessarily to die, but to just. give. up. who is so SICK of this darkness and confusion and READY for it to be OVER! How could God use that?!
WHY WOULD HE WANT TO!? :( :( :(
I have told those closest to me, who know my current inner struggles and unfounded fears, how I hate feeling “forced” to serve, “forced” to minister, because while those asking me to serve and minister have no idea of the turmoil inside, I feel as though I have nothing to give!! :( I’m “running on empty”—I’m empty, I tell them! I’m dry! I have nothing of God to offer because lately… I “have nothing of God” myself :(
And yes. I know there are problems with my attitude and often lack of effort. The darkness is real and unrelenting, but that doesn’t excuse my giving up. I’m not glossing over that.
But I do want to showcase something bigger than that.
Because when I am in those places. When I feel worthless. When I feel inadequate, ‘not good enough’, as though I don’t currently measure up. When I am there,
God does something unmerited amazing.
From an empty cruse, He anoints with oil.
From a parched well, He gives water; quenches someone’s thirst.
From a tank running on fumes, He squeaks out an “extra mile”.
And I’m blown away and humbled that He could—and would want to—use someone as unworthy as me!!!
But it kind of hit me.
What is so wrong with asking to be filled up so you can then be poured out?
What is so wrong with asking God to bless you so you can bless and encourage others?
To FILL YOU so He can then USE YOU?!
(And no—I’m not saying that God can’t use you unless you’re “worthy” because A) NO ONE IS WORTHY (Isaiah 64:6b) and B) He deign to use the “unusable” (see above!)
So, what is wrong with all these things????
NOTHING!!!
However, while there is nothing wrong with this concept, there could be…
…if you were doing it with selfish motives; to receive all the attention and glory for yourself.
But! If to the best of your knowledge, your motives are pure, and if you genuinely have a desire to minister in a specific way, but truly know your ineptitude without the amazing grace of Almighty God?? ?
By His grace and with His help—
            GO. FOR. IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I don’t say “ineptitude” to belittle, demean, or offend. I say it because the more and more aware of my sinful, fleshly state I become (“for without Me {Jesus} ye can do nothingJohn 15:5b); the more aware I become that my attempts at “goodness” (think filthy rags); at being “good enough” are worth nothing.
A big, fat nothing.
I am worthless apart from Christ’s worthiness in me.
The more I realize how BAD
WORTHLESS
CONFUSED
And HOPELESS
I really (on my own)????
The more I realize JUST. HOW. GOOD—how amazingmy God is!!!!!

What about you, sister? What has God been showing you, even through darkness? How has He been revealing or reminding you that, even when it doesn't seem so, He.Is.Good? Have you ever asked God to fill you up with the specific desire to be poured out?

The Answer to Hopelessness

Yesterday morning, during my time with Him, God gave me something that I hope, by His grace, I can adequately share with you all. If you have your Bibles handy, why not grab them and do your devotions with me? :D (However, if your Bible isn’t close by, you can hover your cursor over the Scripture references I have listed, and a tiny window should show up with the Bible verses I’m speaking of there for you!! :D)

My current devotional material had me read Ruth 1:19-22.
“So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them and they said, Is this Naomi?” Ruth 1:19
I got this far and then stopped. :D You see, I am a habitual cross-referencer, so when I got to the phrase, “Is this Naomi?” and there was that tiny reference letter above it, I turned to the two Scriptures that my Bible listed. They were Isaiah 23:7 and Lamentations 2:15. Now, these verses might make little sense or mean very little to others; but during our time of (nearly) nightly family devotions, our family has just struggled through the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and we are now in Lamentations, so I had recent insight as to what was going on and when the prophets were referring to in the Scripture I cross-referenced.

You see, the entire book of Jeremiah is about God’s people, the Jews, rebelling against Him and going after other gods, and the Lord pleading with them to repent and return to Him; He warns them time and time again, through Jeremiah, His prophet, that if they do not abandon their evil ways that He will be forced to punish them. Despite chapter after chapter after chapter of pleading and warning, God’s people continue to rebel, rebuff Jeremiah, and ultimately, God is forced to punish them by allowing them to be taken into captivity. He loves them dearly and wants to bless them, but their behavior is wrong and so God’s plan is to refine them and draw them back to Him through captivity.
Isaiah 23:7 and Lamentations 2:15 are verses containing the raucous laughter of the heathen, or unbelievers, to the children of Israel after they were taken into captivity. They’re basically laughing at the Israelites in their humbled position saying, “Hey! Aren’t you that great nation who supposedly served the True and Mighty God? Well, where is your God now? You’re not so high and mighty any more! Where is all that ‘glory’ you used to take such pride and joy in!? Oh how the mighty have fallen!”
Basically, they’re kicking God’s people while they’re down.
Ever been there, Princess?
But when I read Lamentations 2:15, I could not stop. I read all the way to the end of the chapter, and into the next. Lamentations 2:15-22 pretty much encapsulates the Israelite’s punishment as I mentioned above; but the tone changes somewhat when I got to Lamentations 3:1-19

And it broke my heart.
Why?
Because I've been there
I’m still there
That’s where I am
I’m not so sure I’m being punished for any wrong decisions—perhaps you’re not either.
But tested?
YOU BET
“He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his had against me all the day…” Lamentations 3:2-3
I am with Jeremiah when he says in verse 8, “Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.”
(I would like to point out that, unlike Israel, the prophet Jeremiah has stayed faithful to his God, and has not sinned, yet he has to be punished along with the rest of them :( That is why it is so unfair!)
I identified with Jeremiah... until he got to verse 21. He is remembering all these terrible things he’s been made, seemingly at the hand of the Lord, to suffer, and he feels hopeless and shut off. But then he says,
Remembering mine affliction and my misery… My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in my. This I recall to my mind, therefore HAVE I HOPE.” (Lamentations 3:19-21)
Umm… whoa. Affliction and misery I get. Humbling I understand. Depression and discouragement and despair I can identify with. But somehow getting HOPE out of all of the misery and affliction!? Where did that come from!?
If we continue reading, we now come to some of the most familiar and comforting/reassuring of all Scripture. There’s even an extremely common hymn taken directly from this passage that you probably sing all the time. 

“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.
 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope.
He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him; he is filled full with reproach.
For the Lord will not cast off forever:
But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of this mercies.
For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.
 To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,
To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High,
To subvert a man in his cause, the LORD approveth not.” Lamentations 3:22-36
Did you catch it?
Did you catch where that seemingly elusive hope comes from?!?!
The answer is found in verse 24: therefore will I hope in Him.”
Our hope is to come from Him
Even when it feels as though He is against us!!! :(
His compassions fail not" even though it feels as though we are being consumed. (verse 22)
We are to hope in Him 
To wait and seek for him
because "the Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him." 
As you "hope and quietly wait"; As you "bear the yoke in your youth"; as you sit and suffer alone; please, suffering sister, (or brother!) remember these verses! 
"The Lord will not cast off forever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of me...To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not." (Lamentations 3:31-36)

Memorize them. Post them on your mirror. Quote them often to yourself. By God's grace, draw that hope from them-- from God.
I know I need to. 
I hope this encourages you today. 

When You've Blown It...

For the past few weeks, the writer/sharer/encourager/writer (wait, did I already mention that?? :D ) in me has been deeply longing to do a post!! :( But, as I mentioned here and here, I have had little inspiration and no post “of substance” to write :(.  While I have been taking steps to ‘fixing’ that issue, the fact is that No. 1) the problem is not fixed (yet! :D) (Or at least not to Katie-perfectionist standards… :( … which is an entirely different blog-post in itself!!!) So No. 2) the well is still dry!

But, at long last, the other night, the inspiration for a blog-post hit…
In the form of an utter failure


Like, one of those, "hurt-your-testimony, be-a-terrible-example, two-year-old-reaction" type moments.
Yeah. It was bad. :( I embarrassed myself. Which added to the unpleasantness that caused my reaction in the first place. Not fun.

What happened, you may be asking?
I LOST MY TEMPER. Big time.

Now, none of us are perfect. We are but dust, born with a sin nature that fights against us every day, and are prone to falling (making mistakes)—over and over and over again. It’s normal. Often, it’s expected. Failing is even a big part of how we grow and become better and become more like Christ. As we make mistakes, when we do wrong, we learn what is wrong or what doesn't work and learn not to do those things again. (Or at least to strive not to!!!)
BUT THAT DOESN'T MAKE SIN OKAY. Just because it is human and everybody does it from time to time, it DOESN'T MAKE IT ACCEPTABLE or excusable. It doesn't make “blow it” moments less wrong, or less ugly, or as often happens, less hurtful. And it doesn't always erase the consequences either. 

My point being? Don’t be too hard on yourself (i.e. expect/strive overly hard for perfection and then beat yourself down into the dirt when you humanly miss the mark) but do own your mistakes, and yes *gulp*, even the occasional consequence.

Sin is sin. WE ALL DO IT (and God understands Psalm 103:14)
(But He is HOLY) and IT IS STILL WRONG.

DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF, BUT DON’T MAKE EXCUSES.

(This is one of those “fine line”, “let your moderation be known unto all men” situations. We can’t swing too far one way or to the other.)
 
This is part of what I learned through blowing it (And again, when I say “I blew it”, I mean, full out, disrespectfully cutting someone down—who had unknowingly offended me—and doing so in a raised and angry tone of voice. And ungracefully doing so in front of two of my younger and impressionable sisters … :( No. Definitely not one of my finer moments :( What is that verse about an angry woman??? Proverbs 21:19, Proverbs 21:9 and Proverbs 25:24, Proverbs 19:13; Proverbs 27:15-16, Proverbs 31:26)

I learned, am learning, that everybody messes up, nobody’s perfect, and not to berate myself when I do it. I shouldn’t wallow in how horrid I am for doing wrong. Instead I need to get up, go, and work on not doing that wrong again. (John 8:11) However, ‘blowing it’ is still wrong, whether I (we) mean to or not, and sometimes consequences need to be paid, occasionally restitution needs to be given, and almost always, apologies need to be said. Your mistakes can’t and shouldn't ruin your life (“I keep messing up! Why go on trying to do better? I never seem to succeed!” mentality) (Philippians 3:13-14) but they still need to be owned.

This is a hard concept to grasp. It’s too slippery. (For me at least! If it is easier for you to grasp, then give praise to God that He has given you more maturity concerning this! :D) It is hard for me to grasp the concept that God is Holy and Just… and yet He is a God of grace and unconditional love! WOW! I belong to a Savior who is 100% Holy and therefore cannot tolerate my sin, yet 100% understanding Psalm 103:14, Hebrews 4:15, and 100% unconditional, sacrificial Love—Love that provided a way to atone, cover, and cleanse me from that sin!
I’m human. I’m flesh and blood. I strive to do what is right as laid out in God’s Word. But I make mistakes, and occasionally? I blow it. Ask my family. (okay, wait! one second thought, please don't! lol) I feel like a failure and like a mess. Totally ashamed of my behavior. But my God, who cannot tolerate sin, still loves me, picks me up, forgives me, and tells me to “try again”. No condemnation, but GRACE.


Is this you, dear sister? Have you blown it today? Yesterday? Last week?
Maybe like me, you blew up in anger…and then quickly regretted it. Perhaps you told that lie or snubbed that friend. Maybe you nursed that grudge (ouch!) or listened to that station or watched that show or picked up that magazine even though you've repented for it and decided “no more!” time and time again. Maybe you yelled at a brother, a sister, a spouse… Perhaps I haven’t named it, but you know. You know what you did.
Can I tell you something?
Yes. What you did was wrong. Call a spade a spade. But then confess it (to God and to the people you wronged), ask for forgiveness, and then forsake it!!!
Because GOD HAS!!!

You may have failed this time, this test, but that doesn't mean you failed the class—that doesn't make you a failure!! There will be another test, another day, and you’ll have another chance.

And perhaps, armed with His Grace and the lesson you learned this time, you’ll pass that test with flying colors! :D

PS just so you know, this post neither “preached easy” nor “lives easy” for me! It was hard to write because, *gasp* I struggle with this on a daily basis! So I promise that this isn’t written from a holier-than-thou perspective. It is written from the perspective of a sister-sinner, washed in the amazing, precious blood of Jesus Christ. Who loves her. Even when she least deserves it. 

Constant Giving

I learned something I already knew last Monday! (And you already know it too, but it bears repeating so I'm gonna remind you anyway *bwah ha ha!* *winks*) 
My parents had been out a lot that day—spending time with each other and running errands—so Joseph and I were “in charge” while they were gone. I had a very busy day--a day leaving me with very little “me time”. My goals for that day? Well, they didn’t get done… exactly
After dragging myself out of bed and eating breakfast, I helped Nathan with his History homework. Then, before I’d finished my coffee, Nathan eagerly whisked me off to the living room to play Lego’s (so the coffee came with me *winks *). We played for a while, I made lunch, we played some more, mom and dad came home. I was then able to work out, eat lunch, and shower. Mom then gave me the run down of whose schoolwork needed to be checked and who still owed her what, before she and dad headed off again :D I wanted to go shut myself in my room, mess around on the computer, and get the grading/checking done, but Bethie so badly wanted to play Nancy Drew (PC games) with me, (and I had this blogpost poking around at my conscience *winks *) so I agreed to play with her. As she started to play, everyone decided they were hungry for dinner! :D So I finished potatoes (mamma started them!), heated up corn, and ‘sliced’ (read ripped) the meat off a rotisserie chicken mom and dad had brought home for us earlier. Bethie brought the computer up to the kitchen table where we continued our together time, as I went back and forth between watching her play, eating my dinner, supervising, and doing bits and pieces of kitchen cleaning in between. The winter Olympics came on, and as we watched them Hannah ironed clothes and I folded and delivered them, and Heidi did dishes during commercial breaks. Hannah made Puppy Chow and a (HUGE—I mean, seriously! She made them in cupcake tins!) Homemade Reese’s for me with my natural peanut butter for filling *smiles dreamily *. Nathan and Joseph played some battle game and watched the Olympics back and forth. It was fun. Not perfect—there were the sarcastic comments and sibling squabbles here and there—but overall it was a fun evening! When mom and dad came home, I settled down with those answer keys and homework notebooks and checked and corrected the kids’ work… … and then I was finished.
*Phew! *
A full, busy, productive, even fun day!
But I felt a tad bit weary!
I realized I hadn't really done much of what I had personally (selfishly?) hoped to accomplish today, (But, with such a good workout and long, hot shower, I really could not complain!:D) but it had still been a great, fulfilling day.
I also realized something about MOTHERHOOD. I had a head knowledge of it for some time, but today, I had a better heart knowledge of this fact: 
Mamma’s GIVE
They give A LOT
A lot of themselves,
A lot of their time,
A lot of their energy
Their focus
Every day
All. Day. Long.
And they don’t just GIVE.
They GIVE UP.
Not “give up” as in “wimping out” –huh uh!!
(they can't do that, although surely there are moments when they want to LOL!)
No! They give up their goals, their to-do lists, their time, their lives
To invest love, learning, and life into their families!
It’s fulfilling and wonderful <3
But at the end of the day it leaves a woman weary!!!
So for all you young ladies reading this right now, I encourage you to take a minute, go find your mom, and give her a hug. Thank her for all she gives every day in a million tiny ways (and moms are so good at giving of themselves to make the lives of their husbands and children better, that often, we don’t even notice all the work she really does, because she does such a flawless job!) And if your mom’s not around to hug and thank right now, purpose to do so later!!!!!
And, sweet sister, if your desire is to be a mother some day should the Lord will it, it would be an awesome idea to begin preparing for this constant giving of oneself by “practicing” a little! See if there is anything you could do daily or even just weekly around the house to lighten your mom’s load or to lift up your brothers and sisters! It would be a blessing to all those involved! :D 
And while most mothers are great examples of “constant giving”, and while it is great to follow their examples and even prepare to set our own—bear in mind our greatest Example of living a Life of constant giving! :D

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." 
~~Philippians 2:3-4~~ (verses 5 through 7 could also be applied!)

 PS!! I need your help! What other verses that apply can you add? After/while reading this post, what Scriptures (about Jesus being our ultimate Example of giving) pop to mind? :D

A Fun Sister

Hello, dear readers!
Since my last post, a handful of ‘mini-posts’ have been collecting into a little puddle in the back of my mind. I’ve been kicking myself to get back on here or to simply sit down, take time and write. them. down. *Sighs at self *
One of these inspirations came in the form of my Dad, my youngest brother, and mountains of snow.
You see, I work weekends at a consignment shop in a nearby town. I usually drive to and from work, but because of all this winter weather (AKA adverse driving conditions!!!) my Daddy drove me to work last Saturday. When he came to pick me up that evening, he brought my youngest brother, Nathan, with him :D
After Daddy puttered around a little with a router he wanted to buy and Nathan “shopped” and goofed off with me as I chatted online with a friend, we packed up and headed to Wal-Mart before heading home.
By this time it was about 8 o’clockish, dark outside, and snowing—fat, luscious flakes!—once again.
As we pulled into the parking lot, we were met with a mountain range! The snow once covering the parking lot had been plowed (probably numerous times!) into giant mountains of snow in several matching rows!
Whoa! Look at that!” Nathan exclaimed from the back seat. “It would be so cool to climb one of those! I bet I could do it!”

It’s cold.
It’s late.
It’s dark.
It’s past dinnertime… so we’re hungry.
It’s a public parking lot.
We have more important  things we need to do!

Any of these statements could’ve been used as perfect “reasons” (read excuses) for a parent (or older sister!) to deflate Nathan’s enthusiasm, brush aside as unimportant, or shoot down as immature.
But my daddy didn't do that. :D
He said something to the effect of ‘well, let’s get our shopping done first’ (which was followed by ‘do you have on boots?’ ‘Any gloves?’—he, he! :D)
We completed our errand, and as I paid, Dad and Nathan headed out to the parking lot to conquer the snow peaks! Well, Nathan scaled their frigid heights. Daddy stayed in the car and supervised lol.
But this struck a chord in me. It blessed my heart, as the observer. I found myself thinking, I want my husband to be like that—a fun daddy. One who lets the kids go with their fun impulses (within reason and Biblical parameters) and goof off once in a while, whether or not it’s convenient in the moment or “grown up” enough. In fact, I want to possess those qualities as well as a {future} mother! The ‘fun mom’. Not the one who doesn't let her kids be kids because she’s so concerned with making them ‘perfect’. :(
Climbing Parking Lot Mountains could be considered a silly thing to do…
…But Nathan sure had fun!
And daddy let him. <3 :) <3
As I got in the van, I thanked Dad: for being the dad who let his kids climb in the snow (where every other customer could see that ‘crazy kid in the snow’ *wink *) jump in the puddles, play in the play place, stop for an unplanned play at the park, Take a short break from our schoolwork to goof off and get the squirmies out.
For letting us be kids.
What is the point, you may ask?
How often do we as elder sisters squash that enthusiasm in our younger brothers and sisters? :( How often have they come to us while we are knee-deep in a project (or project bent) and begged us to play Legos or a game of Set with them—but we were too busy?? Watch a movie or play computer together—but that wasn’t as important as what we wanted to do? Or how often have we been so ‘concerned’ with them behaving ‘properly’ that we missed out on a chance to bless them? How often have we been so insistent they ‘do things right’ that we forget that kids are and will be kids and probably need to be nurtured in that and loved because of it!? How many chances have we missed to invest in them, love on them in a random, silly way… yet a way they’re likely to remember the rest of their lives!? :(:(:(
I know I am so. guilty. of this :(:(:(
I want to be a fun mom one day.
But I need to be a fun and loving sister right now! It is the now that is preparing me for the future!!!
And it means. The. World. To our younger brothers and sisters when we take time to set aside our agendas (however valid and genuinely important as they may be!) for a while and focus—all of our attention, all of our love— on them! They may not even consciously think, “wow! My sister loves me! I’m important to her!” but rest assured it is buried deep within their subconscious! They won’t have to think it.
They will KNOW.
And no, I’m not saying we should not handle wrong behavior when it arises; that being silly or constantly goofing off is the standard we should seek to emulate; or that we should just chuck encouraging our siblings to be mature. No! I am simply saying, once in a while, as my sister Bethie would tell me, “Everything (or everyone) does not have to be “perfect” (what is perfect anyway!? lol).
So I encourage you today, big sister! Set aside ‘me’ time for a while. set aside ‘adult-ness’. And go love on your sisters! Go wrestle with your brothers! Invest (your time, energy, and love) in them and let them be kids (and o my soul, YES! I AM PREACHING TO THE CHOIR!!!! Ask nearly anyone!) And HAVE FUN!

"But I my sister and I don’t get along."
"Talking to my brother is like pulling teeth!"
"You don’t know my little sister! She is so weird!"
"But my brother can be so annoying!"

Trust me I know. :D
And they’ll be the first one’s to tell you that you’re too bossy. 
That you never play with them. that the things you do are weird to them too, and that they find it annoying when you hum while they’re doing math.
I once read a quote by a sister concerning similar thoughts: “God gave us siblings to develop patience… not because we already have it!” *winks * Your relationships with your brothers and sisters are some of the most important ones you will ever have! I promise you that they are so worth pursuing!

And one more thing: please! Don’t! Ever! Let your peers pressure you into feeling as though a close relationship with your sibling is uncool. :( Ever. :( 

What are some ways you ‘practice’ the art of being a fun sister? What are some ways you are preparing to be a mother? (Yes, you can even do this now as a single young lady!) Do you ever see good/Godly qualities in good, Godly men you hope your husband will one day possess? Please share!