How to See Jesus when You Serve at Home

“How do they have no clean socks again, Did I not just wash clothes yesterday?!” – I think to myself as we have T- minus five minutes to head out the door.

As a mom, it feels like my work is never done. I’m never caught up at home and never enough. With five people living in our home, something always needs to be prepared, washed, bought, unloaded, put away… etc.

I’m sure if you run a household, you can relate. There is so much to be done, always.

I know in my gut I am super – dooper blessed to have a full house. (And many of you have a much fuller house than me).

But sometimes- OK, a lot if times, my face doesn’t show it… because my heart isn’t feeling it.

It’s disconnected the fact that whatever task I’m doing is for somebody.

Jesus rocked my world this week by reminding me how we were made to serve.

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.”

‭‭John‬ ‭13:3-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“If I then, your LORD and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14

Jesus – King of Heaven – took off his entitlements along with His outer garments, and He tied a towel around His waist.

We, His heirs, take off our “rights” to have a lighter load, and we put on the character of Jesus.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Jesus served. He put on the “work apron, rolled up his sleeves, and did the work the servant would have done.

Jesus served in a way that touched the people intimately and tenderly. His example of washing the disciple’s feet is so beautiful. He could have made this example for us to follow by filling empty wine glasses, clearing the dishes, or sweeping the floor. Yet he chose, on purpose, to wash dirty feet. He made it so personal, cleansing their skin, touching their toes, and piercing their hearts by His humble love.

Jesus taught us to serve with the intention of touching the heart

The people in our homes have needs, spiritual and tangible, just as the disciples did. But Jesus, reached through to their hearts when he kneeled down before each of them.

I see him now, standing before one of them. Bending down, one knee, and then, another. Locking smiling eyes with them, knowing the cross was coming, but knowing three days later, their future in heaven with Him would be secured.

I see him taking his time. He knew this moment was special. He knew he had 24 feet, 120 toes, to wash. Yet I know he took his time. He didn’t rush. He knew the gravity of the moment with each of them.

I see us, looking to Jesus, and taking in these moments of serving in our homes. We are only given this moment. This plate handed to a hungry husband. This clean pair of socks handed to a child excited to play. This moment. This act of serving and loving is the only one we are surely given.

As you take hold of the work in your homes this week, see Him taking hold of another dirty foot. King of glory, bowed low, smiling eyes, tender touch.

Pray for the ones you’re serving. Thank Him for them. Call heaven down over them and cover their needs in prayer as you sweep, mop, fold, cook, and clean for them. He is with you as you do, smiling and cheering you on.

What chores do you feel behind on as you start this week? Ask Him to help you see Him beside you, and picture “washing feet” together with Him as you do them. He is with you and all you need.

The WAY they should go

This weekend I was in a “warrior III” yoga pose in a small motorhome with my 3 kids who had the Disney Channel blasting to hear their show over the extremely loud race cars that were buzzing around us. (My husband is a chaplain for the sport of NASCAR). Yes, I was being a warrior to even attempt to get a workout in at this point. I had asked the kids to just let me do this twenty minute workout and try not to trip each other if they had to walk by.

I couldn’t hear the instructions of the yoga instructor, I was merely copying her and trying to breathe deep. I was extending my leg and trying to balance when one of my daughters knocked into me, and to be honest, I was totally annoyed that occurred (grace for my honesty, here). I growled something at her and immediately felt bad and apologized.

My kids know I’m not perfect. They are my great grace lavishers. I’m glad, because for a while I think I had the misconception that if I wasn’t perfect, they wouldn’t turn into decent human beings. But the LORD showed me something in the mothering department that I’d like to share with you today.

“Train up a child in the WAY he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

I used to think “training them up in the way they should go” meant putting a lot of road signs on their path like “listen the first time, don’t talk with your mouth full, always be nice, basically, don’t ever do anything wrong.”

But guys, that is just teaching them that they have the power within themselves to “be good.”

Which is not at all what the Bible teaches. In fact, Jesus tells us this:

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” Mark 10:18

The only true hope of our kids turning out to “be good” is the only ONE who is GOOD.

So to simplify our hopes of our kids being good, the LORD gave me an easy way to remember:

“to train up our kids, train them to fall down before Jesus.” 

How do we train them to do this?

We do it.

We stay totally dependent on Jesus at every turn.

They see us praying.

They hear us praying,

Asking God for help.

Asking God for forgiveness.

Asking them for forgiveness (when yoga doesn’t calm us;)

When they do something “bad” leading them humbly to the throne to ask for forgiveness or you asking for forgiveness on their behalf while sincerely thanking Jesus for taking the punishment they deserved. Lingering there, so thankful for His suffering on our behalf. (Maybe even giving them grace from a punishment to help them experience this)!

When they keep doing the same thing that needs correcting, keep bringing them back with you before the LORD in prayer.

Yes, consequences are important because they teach our children to remember and hopefully not repeat the same offense. They also teach our children the reality that when guidelines aren’t followed in life, there are real consequences.

But let’s remember The WAY we are directing them to. We are directing them to JESUS THE WAY, to walk hand in hand with Him. We are directing them to a relationship with their Savior who is waiting for them with eyes locked and an open hand for them to hold.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the WAY, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

When my children leave my nest, I don’t want them leaving with a list of rules to be a good Christian. I want them leaving with a grip on Jesus’ hand that’s so tight, I know when they stumble they won’t fall. They will make mistakes but the ONE whose hand they hold will receive glory for it all when he uses their lessons learned for good.

The only path I’m concerned about leading them on is straight to Him, at every turn. Makes it simple. Jesus brings freedom in every step.

I’m looking forward to sharing something next Monday on “Refocusing on Home.” I hope you’re enjoying this God – Marriage -Motherhood – Home cycle. I so appreciate you reading & pray it blesses you!

Sharing your Heart with your Husband

How has your week been, friends? This week’s post is on MARRIAGE and I want to share something the LORD has been growing in me and in my relationship with my husband – sharing my heart fully with him. I’ve been focused for a few years on hearing his heart, and really listening. But then the Lord pointed out to me that I’m not always sharing what’s going on in my heart – whether that be a dream he’s stirring in me, a hurt I’ve experienced, or a worry in my mind. I have been consistently but not perfectly sharing things with the Lord that are on my heart daily, but I don’t always get a chance or grasp the opportunity to share with my husband.

God is so good to grow us closer to Him and each other!

In this fallen world, it is easy to hide our true selves and what is really going on in our heads and hearts from those closest to us – even our husbands. Lots of things get in the way of sharing with each other – busy schedules, fear of response, or patterns of communication that aren’t the best.

I know I have had trouble processing through hurt or conflict openly and honestly with my husband at times. It may feel easier to phone a girlfriend, since she may be able to relate to your female state more easily, right?

Don’t get me wrong, girlfriends are a gift and so needed in our life! But I am afraid we are missing out on the Oneness or “echad” (in Hebrew) that God desires married couples to have if we don’t go to our husbands with what’s on our hearts.

In Genesis, we see the “Nakedness” and therefore total and full “transparency” between husband and wife before the fall:

“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25

Naked.

They had no clothes on.

But also – they had nothing hidden in their hearts from each other either.

This was before the bite. Before the fall. Before clothes and secrets and lies. Can you just imagine, sister? THIS is the fullness of unashamed living God designed between husband and wife.

Am I saying we should be hasty with our words and bare our fleeting thoughts with our spouses as soon as they cross our minds? NO!

Here is what I am suggesting an see evidence of in scripture: God desires us to be continually growing towards Him and our spouses through the restoration Jesus’ cross offers us. Restoration that looks more and more like what we see in the garden in the beginning.

How do we move that direction?

 

  • First of all, we need Holy Spirit to help us process through things as we experience them. We process through prayer with Him about our feelings and he shows us truth. Instead of phoning a friend first thing, we seek our Father. Pray about whatever is going on in your life, your marriage, everything! Many times this will erase things from our hearts and minds before they even need to be discussed! But if not, move on to the next:
  • We bare our hearts before the Lord prior to bearing them before our man. If we have wronged our man in any way, we ask the Lord to forgive us first. Then we ask our man to forgive us. Kneel transparent before the your Savior and then stand humbly before your husband and apologize; nobody is perfect!
  • NO matter how our husband responds, we stand with a confident heart knowing we belong to the Lord. Your husband may respond super graciously the first time, but since he’s human, he may need grace and patience from you. Don’t go with expectations of how he will react. Go with confidence that you’ve sought the Lord about the situation and He’s shown you to talk with your husband about it. Have tons of grace for your man. Consider what’s going on in his life and don’t be offended if he doesn’t respond like your Closest girlfriend would. He is your uniquely created partner! Just be so thankful that you have the love of your life to share with while others are still praying for theirs.
  • An easy way to remember this pattern for communication in marriage is
  • “share before you bare.”
  • Share with the Lord what’s on your heart, and process it with Him before you share it with your husband. Of course, you won’t always run to your prayer closet before you talk to your guy; that would be dramatic. Just get in a habit of inviting Jesus into your conversations with your man.
  • Communication in marriage is so vital. We want The Lord’s help in this area, so our marriages can continue to grow into the design God originally had for us.
  • Reflective Questions:
  • Am I sharing my heart with God in prayer?
  • Am I sharing my heart with my husband in conversation?
  • Have a great week! I look forward to sharing a post on motherhood next week!
  • If you haven’t done Refocused Bible Study in the past, you can get your copy here:
  • https://www.amazon.com/Refocused-Fixing-Jesus-married-children/dp/1540656241

     

    Beauty in this Season

    “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

    “A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.”

    ‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    1) Look back at last season

    As the season changes from summer to fall, let us reflect on His faithfulness behind and gain greater faith in Him for the stretch of road ahead. As you read through the list above, which season do you feel like you just walked through with the Lord?

    “A time to laugh.”

    This was my season during the summer with my kids. We swam, we jumped, we traveled. We read funny books. We laughed together. I quit writing, as I usually do during the summer, and I just was with family and the LORD, soaking up the summer until I could not bear to untangle another knot from my chlorine-dry hair. I can truly say, it was a season of a lot of laughter and fun.

    But we can’t stop time. I heard someone explain eternity like this lately: today is one small dot on a never-ending line. We just have the dot. We have today. We can’t hold on to yesterday and expect today to be just like the day before; especially since they closed the pool down and now, it’s green 🙂

    Plus, what kind of life would it be to just laugh every day, every season? Sure, it would be fun, but what about reaching out to those who are suffering, and accomplishing work, and having purpose? Those are all meaningful things God has instilled in our hearts too.

    2) Look for Potential Beauty in this Season

    I think it is just beautiful the way God has arranged seasons in our years, and seasons in our lives. As the leaves turn into an array of sunset before they fall, so let us feel the changes taking place in our hearts and lives, declaring they are good and needed and ask the Lord what He wants us to focus on this season.

    Use this prayer or pray your own words and ask the Lord what he has for you to hold onto and focus on this season.

    Lord,

    I am seeking you first this fall season. Please, show me the priorities you have for me over the next weeks and months.

    What rhythms do I need to put into place to walk closer to you this fall?

    What rhythms do I need to put into place to grow closer to my husband this fall?

    What rhythms do I need to put into place to grow closer to my children this fall?

    What rhythms do I need to put into place to create more peace in my home this fall?

    3) Invest in this season for Beauty next season

    Look at your answers, and now re-read Eccelsiastes 3:1-8. What verse or part of a verse is the Lord highlighting to you after reflecting on this season of your life? What is it time for?

    Sisters, this can create so much peace, freedom, and room for Jesus. We have got to be intentional about asking the One who knows what He has for you and your family this season.

    For me,

    it is a time to plant.

    I took the summer off. I’m rested and ready. I want to plant more seeds of faith and goodness in my marriage though prayer. I desire to see God’s Word be heavily planted in my children’s hearts this school year. So it’s time to get to work.

    I’m clinging to this verse,

    “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”

    ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    And I’m trusting as I plant, others water, and most importantly God is going to bring growth.

    My husband and I growing closer to Him

    My children growing closer to Him

    My home reflecting a place in heaven where peace is growing.

    I’m expecting a beautiful season of planting here at Refocused Bible Study, too!

    I plan on sending out a weekly blog post on God, marriage, motherhood, or home every Sunday night to get the week started Refocusing on Him together where it matters most. I hope you are encouraged from my heart to yours.

    Which verse from Ecclesiastes 3 sums up what it feels like it’s time for in your life this season? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

    Growing as God’s Daughter, Part One: Father the Provider

    Watching a young girl who used to be an orphan transform into a confident daughter under our roof has inspired me to evaluate my growth as a daughter of God.

    As we encouraged her to trust us and built a relationship with her based on the foundation of unconditional love, we watched her confidence blossom.

    There is a journey shown in scripture that has a similar effect on us as we trust our Heavenly Father and build our relationship with Him built on His unconditional love for us.

    First, we are adopted and born again into His family through His son Jesus. We become actual children of God- daughters of God.

    “So have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:15-16

    But after we become His daughters through Jesus, how do we grow into that identity and transform into a person with confidence in their Father being the King of Kings?

    Go to your Heavenly Father FIRST for all your needs.

    As His daughter, He is your provider! Honestly, I often fret and panic trying to figure out how I will obtain “needs” for myself or family, when My Father already knows exactly what I need and wants to reveal Himself again as provider to me! Can you relate? Do you find yourself anxious over things before going to the Lord in prayer over them and asking Him to provide?

    We see in the passage below that our Father already knows what we need and He wants us to trust Him and go to Him before we try to figure it out on our own.

    Matthew 6

    “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

    He has blown me away with His provisions – physical, emotional, and spiritual needs – when I have gone to Him first and prayed, voicing my needs to Him, (though He knows them already, He’s after relationship with us!) the more I pour my heart out to Him, trust, watch, and see Him move, the more dependent on Him I continue to become; growing in this daughterhood of God.

    So grow in your is identity as His daughter- bought by the precious and costly blood of Jesus Christ- by running to your daddy first with all your needs.

    When you feel tired, ask for strength and rest in Him.

    When you feel insecure, ask for affirmation.

    When you see physical needs and the budget doesn’t compute- ask.

    Become less independent.

    This growth as a daughter in the Kingdom is counter-intuitive to growing up as a daughter to an earthly father.

    As daughters grow and mature they become more and more independent of their earthly Father.

    As you grow as a daughter in God’s Family, you become more and more dependent on your Heavenly Father.

    As you see Him provide, you will just fall more in love with Him as an actively loving, Good Father

    More on falling more in love with Him as Father coming soon.

    – Amy

    Overcome Travel Anxiety + His Gifts Never Run Out

    Yesterday I was actually quite nervous about leaving the kids and flying across country. We have been watching those shows on plane crashes. Why?!?

    So when my alarm went off at 5:00am, I hit my knees and asked the Lord to take the fear away.

    And the fear was GONE.

    He is so good!

    As I got ready I listened to this very appropriate song & went from nervous to pumped about the trip!

    We rented two movies from redbox on the way:

    “I Can Only Imagine” – (Which was amazing!!!)

    And

    “Paul the Apostle of Christ” – (It was pretty good but the hubs dosed off so couldn’t have been that great ;).

    Around 6 and a half hours later, we touched down in Oakland, California, went to dinner and hubs was asleep by 6:45 pm west coast time!

    Friday Morning Run

    Our Friday morning run at Muir Beach was amazing!!! We ran the “California Coastal Trail,” which takes you on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the Pacific in all its glory.

    The incline was so tough; a lot of hiking, not just running, was done. The views at the top were so worth it!

    Nick and I are so enjoying some time away together. I’m also enjoying lots of quiet with the Lord while he’s working here.

    The passage I read in Psalms today was perfect to be paired with the views we took in of His magnificence on our run:

    Psalm 84 The Message

    One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin. All sunshine and sovereign is GOD, generous in gifts and glory. He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions. It’s smooth sailing all the way with GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies.”

    ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭84:10-12‬ ‭MSG‬‬

    Later at the pool, I spent some time with the Lord over this passage and wrote it out line by line, digging deeper by using synonyms for my key words.

    Sunshine – light, goodness, holiness

    Sovereignty – in control over every power- even dark & evil powers of the unseen places

    Generous /Gifts – He gives, gives, and gives to His children with His abundant riches in Christ Jesus.

    Glory – Great Beauty, splendor, majesty.

    He definitely does to “scrimp” (to be thrifty or parsimonious) on his traveling companions!

    He is so generous & his gifts never run out.

    May He open our eyes & hearts to more of His gifts today- whether walking with him beside beaches, or where I’ll be soon- home serving in our kitchens.

    Love from Cali,

    Amy xoxo

    The very God Who…

    I’m sitting on a plane heading to California thinking of the time I took this trip years ago, the day I had

    My first ever positive pregnancy test.

    For awhile, those words were some I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to type. Positive. A baby growing within me.

    I’d surrendered over to the Lord that He may never decide to put a child in my womb; and vowed I would still love Him if He chose that.

    My journal at the time was full of Hannah’s prayers from 1 Samuel 1:

    “10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 11 And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.”

    1 Samuel 1:10-11

    I reckon maybe the Lord got a little tired of my constant request (kinda like the persistent widow in Luke 18). Because He chose to reveal His secret that He was knitting our first child together in my womb the very day I was leaving to fly across the country to meet up with family who were also expecting their first child.

    So today, During a few quiet moments with the Lord before making the same trip to the same NASCAR race in California,

    He reminded me to REMEMBER.

    ““Listen, dear ones—get this straight; O Israel, don’t take this lightly. Don’t take up with strange gods, don’t worship the latest in gods.

    I’m GOD, your God, the very God who rescued you from doom in Egypt, Then fed you all you could eat, filled your hungry stomachs.”

    ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭81:8-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

    Amy, I’m God. Your God. The very God who

    put the child you wondered if you’d ever have in your womb.

    And for you, dear reader, He says REMEMBER:

    _________________(Your name), I’m God. Your God. The very God who ______________________(insert your past miracle.)

    He’s the very same God then that He is now. He never changes. He’s good. He’s working.

    He’s faithful.

    Today I kissed the freckles cheeks of our son, Sam, who’s now 10 years old, looked in his blue eyes and told him this story, once again.

    So he’ll also remember.

    Remember His miracles.

    From Cali

    Amy xoxo