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

Heart Cleansing

“Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

This is the last week of “Spring Cleaning for your Heart and Home” bible study!  This week has the potential to be a powerful week of cleansing, especially for the heart.  We will be studying one of the most well-known passages in scripture when it comes to confession and forgiveness of sin, Psalm 51.

This psalm was written by David, after he had stolen another man’s wife and then arranged to have her husband killed.  Wow.  That sounds really bad, doesn’t it?

Adultery and murder.

Think about that for a few minutes.  David was had just really screwed up his life. And where did he turn?  To the Lord, where he knew he would receive mercy and cleansing.

Where do you turn when you know you have screwed up? Do you cry out to the Lord like David did here?  And when you do, do you really feel whiter than snow?

A friend and I were talking about our children’s behavior yesterday.  We were discussing our expectations, and I told her I was trying to let go of expecting them to

act perfectly.

Am I going to have high expectations for them?  Yes.  But I am going to continue to shake down every behavior to the heart of the matter. This is how our heavenly father parents us.  He wants to get past the behavior, to our hearts.   The past can’t be changed.

But the heart can be cleansed.

Our hearts can be cleansed.  We can come to The Cleanser and let the power of his word and his blood wash away the shame and the guilt of the biggest screw ups.

So this week, I invite you to do just that.  Come dirty.  Leave clean.  How you ask?  Commit to memorizing and meditating on this passage this week:

Monday:  7Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Tuesday:  8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Wednesday:  9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Thursday:  10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Friday:  11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit  from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.

Make David’s words your own heart’s cry.  Commit to the house cleaning in the study book as well and by Friday we will be seeing and feeling RESTORATION! This is it ladies, the LAST week!

The study guide is available below:

http://www.amazon.com/Spring-Cleaning-Your-Heart-Home/dp/1530583446

Fun Tips for Spring Cleaning with Kids

This crazy picture is my life. My kids are at a fun age, and this is how we roll. My daughter, Arabella is wearing a strainer on her head as she posing for a pic in the middle of her daily chore, unloading the dishes. If you look behind her, you can see her “castle” made out of the clean dishes.  She is not tall enough or skilled enough to reach the cabinets yet, so she is supposed to just set the dishes underneath the cabinets they go in.

I heard her saying, mom, can I make a castle out of the dishes instead?  I really wanted to say, “No, just put them underneath where they are supposed to go! But I just couldn’t. Her little voice sounded so cute, and I know the days of building castles of any kind will be gone in no time.  So I gave in.  And I enjoyed watching every second of her castle building!

As we journey through “Spring Cleaning for Your Heart and Home” together, I want to encourage us to Spring clean the way Jesus would.  One thing Jesus was adamant about was including children in his ministry.   It would be so much easier to turn the disney channel on and sit them in front of the t.v. for the majority of this journey, or to lock the doors of the house and make them stay outside! Below are some alternatives to those two last resorts.

Cleaning out closets/drawers:

Dress up/Fashion shows

Clothes basketball:  shoot the clothes in the basket

Peek a boo with young children

Cover kids in a pile of clothes

Conquer the clothes mountain (climb on top of the pile)

Windows:

Kids go outside, and you clean inside of windows, They go outside and pick which window you are cleaning and see if they get it right!

You clean outside windows while you they hide and you seek.

Walls:

Everyone gets a bucket and scrubs their section.  When you are done, you go outside and toss the soapy water at each other.

Lights:

Sing “This Little Light of Mine” with them.  If they are old enough to help, have them cover up the light with the rag while they sing “hide it under a bushel”  and then uncover it when they sing “shine.”

For older kids, talk about how we can be the light of the world to those around us.

Doors:

Make up “knock knock” jokes together.

FOR SPRING CLEANING ANYTHING:

Turn some fun music on and dance while you clean.

Set a timer and see how much you can get done with your kids in 15 minutes!

I hope these ideas help you look forward to spring cleaning with your kids.  The idea is to include them and make it fun.  This doesn’t mean they can or need to help you every second of your spring cleaning journey.

If you haven’t purchased the bible study book yet, it’s not too late to join us.

Click the link to Amazon below:

>>>http://www.amazon.com/Spring-Cleaning-Your-Heart-Home/dp/1530583446/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459542400&sr=8-1&keywords=spring+cleaning+bible+study>>>

Mary Gone Martha

 “It looks like a tornado hit in here!” Sam is so subtle, and he loves to point out when his sisters’ room looks worse than his.  Lately, the girls’  room was looking like a cyclone picked up all their clothes and spun them in the air to land all over the floor about once a week.  Here’s why:

They are girls.  Trying on outfits and finding just the right one is part of their daily life.

They had an abundance of clothes (most girls do, right?)

They needed more storage.

So, in my Martha mentality (which is getting kind of bad since doing this spring cleaning study if I am being honest), we set out on Friday to some thrift stores to find a dresser for their room.  (I refuse to buy nice furniture until they are older). I told Sharon, my African American princess about thrift shopping; how we might not find a “dress-up” at these stores, but that we were going to search through junk to see if we could find one.

Three thrift stores later, she was in tears and we had no prospects of a dresser.  (First world problems she is still not used to.) We returned home with a defeated feeling of a wasted afternoon and I started searching on Ikea’s website for something.

Monday morning it hit me, the Holy Spirit hit me upside the head that is! Lol!  “Pray and ask me to provide a dresser, Amy.”  So, I did.

“Lord, please provide a dresser, like today.”

And guess what?  He did.  At our homeschool co-op that morning, a friend of mine poked her head into the classroom I was in and we talked about how our spring cleaning was going.  I told her about my predicament that had me at a standstill.  And she said:

“We have a dresser we were just going to set out by the road, you can have it.”

PRAYER ANSWERED.

(Tornado room on left, like that needed a caption!)

(New dresser on right)

I had set out  in a “get things done” mentality, on a mission that wasted an afternoon I really needed to be at home, and came up empty.   I asked Jesus and came home with what I needed.  A dresser that matches my girls’ bunk beds almost perfectly.  Of course, Jesus has been teaching me through the passage in the study this week as I have learned this lesson, for the up-teenth time:

Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds a house,
the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.

I had tried to build my own home without the Lord’s help, wasted an afternoon, and given my girls a fierce hatred of thrift shopping.

2 It is useless for you to work so hard
from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones.

I had worked hard and anxiously, when I should have prayed, trusted, and waited. It is not sinful to search and purchase things we need for our family, His word instructs us to do so. But He wants us to ask him to provide.  I had gone about my business, thinking I was being faithful, but taking away God’s opportunity to show himself to me as our Provider.

So keep on praying ladies, and let’s not turn into Martha, anxiously getting our tasks done while our Provider sits there, waiting.  He sits there, calling.  He has all we need.  Yes, there is work to do.  But let’s go to him every morning and set our to do list and our needs at his feet, and then let’s wait in expectation.  Let’s allow his Spirit to lead this thing.

Luke 10:38-42

Mary and Martha

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

He is faithful.

He will give us the right heart to work and serve our families.

He will provide what we need to serve them well.

Don’t go off on your own working anxiously.  Remember the theme verse of this whole journey,

“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30 MSG

He is alive.  He is a very present help.  Praying for you sweet spring cleaning sisters!

to purchase the study, click here:

http://www.amazon.com/Spring-Cleaning-Your-Heart-Home/dp/1530583446/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461153453&sr=8-1&keywords=spring+cleaning+bible+study

If Jesus Knocked on Your Door…

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What if Jesus was really standing there knocking at your door.  Would you care about what your house looked like?  Or would you be more concerned with what your heart looked like?

Of course, if you know him, then you would answer that you would be much more concerned with the condition of your heart at that moment. If you don’t know him, have never studied his word, or haven’t talked to him in prayer lately,  you might have been misguided to the perception that he would care about the physical surroundings and judge your worthiness upon them.  But no sister, he wouldn’t.

He would look into your eyes, and see the depths of your soul.  He would love you right that second with a grace-filled love.  Then he would sit down without bothering to brush the crumbs the kids left in the chair from breakfast.  He would insist on helping you make a homemade meal from whatever was in the kitchen.  Then, as the verse above states, he would sit down as your friend and share the meal you prepared together.  His gaze would not wander to the food splashed on the baseboards at your feet that you haven’t gotten around to scrubbing yet.  He would be so intently focused on your conversation and hearing your heart expressed that he wouldn’t notice the dirty blinds on the window that need attention.  Oh, what an amazingly full and joyous visit that would  be!

I bring this visual to you, sweet sisters, because we are halfway through our 4 week spring cleaning bible study series.  I don’t know where you are on your journey.  You may be like me, right on track heart-wise in your study book, feeling cleansed and refreshed, but a little behind on the house cleaning.  Or you may be breezing through the house cleaning but having trouble getting in the habit of praying while cleaning, feeling kind of distant from Jesus.  Or maybe, you are right on track.  Your cleaning list is up to date and you’re in constant conversation with Jesus in the midst of a home that is sparkling.  Way to go!

Wherever you are on this journey to a clean heart and a clean home, remember that Jesus is most concerned with the cleanliness of your heart.  His blood has the power to wash off the deepest, set-in stains.  The ones that you thought were utterly hopeless so you placed a perfectly staged pillow to cover them.  Those are the ones he would touch and heal if you saw him face to face today.

This afternoon, with a “magic eraser” and nail polish remover, I scrubbed away nail polish splotches on my bathroom counter and floor from my little girls.  I banned them from any use of nail polish. Ever.  Now my bathroom floor is clean.  Like it never even happened. I prayed for them while the chemicals tore the skin on my fingertips.  Oh I could have been so mad.  But instead, it was an opportunity for God’s grace to cover my precious little mini-women.  This is what I love about this journey.  Every dirty, greasy, stain is an opportunity for prayer, thankfulness, and a fresh start; that you can actually see with your eyes as your hands make your house clean, and Jesus makes your heart clean!

So keep praying and scrubbing sisters!  We are halfway there.

Buy the study and join in >>>http://www.amazon.com/Spring-Cleaning-Your-Heart-Home/dp/1530583446/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460854158&sr=8-1&keywords=Spring+Cleaning+bible+study

The Walls around Your Bedroom and Marriage

A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.” Proverbs 14:1

This week in “Spring Cleaning for Your Heart and Home” we are cleaning in our master bedroom and praying over our marriage as we go.

Today we prayed protection over our marriage as we scrub our walls and windows. Proactively praying for your marriage is a subject I am especially passionate about. We make sure that we protect so many other things in our lives, why shouldn’t we put as much effort int protecting our most important relationship on this earth?

A few years ago, my husband Nick & I spoke in a chapel service for the ministry he works for that serves Nascar about this topic.

You can build protective walls around your marriage, just as real and sheltering as the ones that enclose your home.

Here is a list of suggestions to plant protective a hedges to keep people and threats out of your sacred marriage relationship:

Hedge 1: Choose wisely.

Avoid unnecessarily spending time with someone of the opposite sex. For instance, if you’re looking for a personal trainer at the local gym, choose someone of the same sex.

Hedge 2: Share carefully.

If you find yourself sharing things about yourself or your marriage that you haven’t or wouldn’t share with your spouse, that’s a red flag. Not all affairs are physical-an emotional affair is just as damaging.

Hedge 3: Stay in large, public settings.

Determine not to meet one-on-one with anyone of the opposite sex. If your coworker asks if he or she can join you for lunch, ask a third person to join you as well. If necessary, don’t hesitate to share the boundary you and your spouse have agreed upon in your marriage. You just might lead by example.

Hedge 4: Don’t be naïve.

Most people who end up in affairs don’t set out to have one. Infidelity usually begins with an innocent relationship that, in time, moves to an emotional depth that crosses a line of fidelity.

Hedge 5: Increase your investment at home.

Solid marriages are built by spending time together, laughing together, and playing together. If you aren’t dating your mate, set up dates for the coming months and make spending time together a priority.

Hedge 6: Pay attention to your thought-life.

When all you think about is your spouse’s faults, any other man or woman will look better. Make a list of the strengths that initially attracted you to your spouse. Increase encouragement and decrease criticism.

Hedge 7: Don’t play the comparison game.

We all make mistakes, have bad habits and annoying behaviors. When we compare a “new friend” to our spouse, it’s an unfair comparison because we aren’t seeing that person in a “living under the same roof, taking care of kids at 3 a.m., struggling to make ends meet” reality.

Hedge 8: Seek help.

Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. A Christian counselor can provide valuable perspective and help set new strategies for a marriage that can go the distance.”

This list of  hedges came directly from the book “Hedges: Loving your marriage enough to protect it,” by Jerry B Jenkins.

So sweet sisters, as you evaluate the cleanliness of the walls & windows  in your bedroom, pray hard considering how to protect your marriage! God is faithful & his promises will affect the future of your marriage as you pray them.

To buy the study and join in, click here >>> http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1530583446/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1460486307&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=spring+cleaning+bible+study