Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Letting God Use "ME"

I love when I am challenged to bravely be "me."  I must admit in the midst of motherhood, it is easy to forget some of those dreams or loves. But I am constantly trying to incorporate "me" into this phase of life, rather than just putting it off until the kids are grown.

Our theme in MOPS this year has be "Be You Bravely." And as I watched this testimony from Joanna Gaines of HGTV's Fixer Upper, I felt empowered to do just that. I love her style and after one episode (I watch them on the HGTV app), I find myself inspired in my decorating - but I love her perspective on the Lord's prompting and guiding even more!

This year, even in organizing the craft time at MOPS meetings, I have been reminded that God can use even a "hobby" of mine for His purpose and for His glory (like He did with this Book Page Wreath).

And so, last night, as I straightened the living room, I "shopped my house." After moving the coffee table back into the living room (it had been replaced by Hudson's picnic table for a while), I scooted a few little wooden chairs up to the table.

Once Nora starts pulling up and banging her head on furniture, I am sure this table will have to, once again, be removed. But for now, this "new" arrangement makes me smile. And this morning, it made Hudson smile. He felt like I had done this "just for him." He immediately looked through the books I had stacked on the table (even though he has read them 1,000 times).

I think he even sat a little taller as he ate his oatmeal. I want to find more ways to empower and encourage my kids.

You may not get a kick out of color coordinated children's books stacked on a metal tray like I do.

For you, it may be cooking a yummy dinner for your family or reading your kids a story with dramatic voices. It may be taking your kids on a run at the park. It may be mailing a care package to a friend who is sick or helping someone run errands. Or supplying someone's needs with your coupon skills. Whatever it is, let God use those little things about "you" that make you significant.

In college, I can remember trying to fit the mold of what I thought a good, Christian woman should be. I thought I needed to have a quiet demeanor, speak in hushed tones, and cook chicken casseroles. But then I learned about Deborah and how God used her leadership skills. God can use someone else's quiet spirit to bring comfort to another soul while He wants to use my strong personality for other things. My mom used to have this thought that all pastor's wives should play the piano. She doesn't play the piano...but God uses her gift of encouragement almost everyday (and she makes a mean chicken casserole).

It is so easy for me to listen to that lie "You aren't good enough for God to use you. You aren't the type of person God could use. You are too busy with children for God to use you." But I can also hear a mentor of mine, Joy Martin, speaking truth to me: "God made you in HIS image...He is creative."

I LOVE a clean home, but I often get bogged down with the huge to-do list. Instead, I am going to focus on serving my family by making time to wash the dishes and keep up the laundry. Instead of sitting on the couch once the kids are asleep, I want to work on fun activities for Hudson or rearrange his toys. Little craft/decorating projects may stress you out...but painting furniture or making wall art is what I love to do. I am vowing to incorporate those projects back into my day. I might just work on something a few minutes once the kids are asleep. Or I might let Hudson help me paint something. Or I might rearrange the house as I pick up each evening.

I LOVE to have people in our home. I often believe the lie that our home isn't big enough or fancy enough. But that isn't what God requires...So, today, I am going to text a few friends and invite them into my home.

I LOVE mail. Sending, receiving...all aspects. This week, I am going to write some encouraging letters and send a small care package with Dollar Tree items to a friend.

And, as a side note, the speaker at MOPS yesterday mentioned that if you have a plan for your day, your kids know what to expect and will generally behave better. It is so easy for me to get overwhelmed with the daily chores and aspects of life here at home - but if I plan the day, I think it helps me too. If I tell myself I am going to get all the dishes done right away, I am able to sit down and enjoy reading to my kids. If I plan what I will do during their nap times, I am always surprised by the amount of things I can accomplish. And I am building in a "reward" time for each day - if I get my chores done today, I can work on a little painting project for the kitchen!

I keep going back to that video. I am so encouraged to hear Jo giving God the glory and praise for His letting her accomplish her dreams. Sure, I may not be opening a cute store or hosting an HGTV show (which I totally wouldn't turn down an opportunity to do either of those things), but I love being reminded that God cares about our dreams and desires. After all, He put them in our hearts!

God has made you the way you are...He has given you those desires and talents for a reason. I'd like to challenge you this week to try to implement some of those "me" things into your day. Let God use who you are to minister to someone else.

And just think of the things your kids will learn when you teach them all the ways that God can use them! 

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