Monthly Archives: February 2010

In Need Of A Savior

I can still picture him, a young man, in his early 20’s. He usually wore a gray pinstriped suit, with a crisp white shirt. He was always smiling. “What’s he so happy about?”, I often wondered. I was working my evening job at the dry cleaners. I greeted him with, “What’ll it be, starch or no starch?”

After about a month, he invited me to his Bible Study. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”  “A group of us meet every week and have Bible Study”.  As I leaned over the counter with my poor excuse for a tank top and my ripped shorts, I thought to myself, “This guys got a lot of guts, asking someone like me to a Bible study!” He obviously knew nothing about me. I couldn’t be caught dead in a church, let alone in a Bible Study.  Seriously, I’m the girl with the broken down life. I go to clubs and sports bars, not churches.

But he was persistent, that one. Or should I say that God was persistent. My life was a mess. Why in the world would this squeaky clean God want anything to do with a girl like me?  “Okay already, I’ll go to one”.  And something happened that night. I heard God’s Word for the first time in my life. And a light broke through a very dark place in my heart. His Holy Presence washed over me like a flood in the night. I realized that He died for me- a broken down mess in need of a Savior.

This story is for a contest hosted by Mary DeMuth. It’s exactly 259 words and the winner will win a Kindle!! If interested, Here’s the link: http://www.blogtourspot.com/2010/02/thin-places-blog-tour/

Safe Place

“How wide and deep is your love…”
The Lord wants you to find your safe place with Him. He see’s your pain. He see’s your brokenness. He see’s the walls that you have built up to protect yourself. And you keep building them higher and higher. Can I just tell you today that He is your safe place. Your place of healing and restoration. He comes before you with open arms. His embrace is  warm and gentle~ a safe place. Let Him wipe away the tears. He doesn’t care where you’ve been or what you’ve done. His love for you is right where you are at. Won’t you let Him in today? He won’t betray you. He will never turn on you. You can be totally vulnerable in His presence. Won’t you trust Him today?

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Me Time

“Okay, I really want to take some time for me. Is that wrong? Why do I always feel guilty for going to my monthly women’s dinner? Maybe I should just cancel since my kids really want me stay at home?” Does this sound like anyone you know? Or you?

I really hesitated at first regarding this particular blog. I mean, I’m not delving into world hunger, or the fresh move of the Holy Spirit here (maybe next week). This is so practical, yet, needed. How many of you reading this would say that you have a hobby of some sort? What about time to yourself every now and then? How many would say that you feel guilty when you leave your children, so you just try not to?

We all know that being a mom is a full time job. Unless we make an effort, we probably won’t get many breaks in between laundry, grocery stores, cooking, cleaning, car pool, sleepovers, homework, diapers, peanut butter and jelly (or almond butter for my health conscious friends!), and the list goes on.

For this topic, I was honored to interview someone who I admire greatly. I have watched her over the past twelve years not just talk the talk- but walk the walk. She is deeply in love with Jesus and quite the prayer warrior. She has successfully raised five amazing children, and just last year sent her fifth child off to college. She is my Mother-in-Law, Kay Barnard.  Here is her advice to either those going to be moms or already moms:

Celeste: Kay, what would you say to a mom who says she just doesn’t have the time to invest much in friendships or doing something she enjoys?

Kay: She has to. She has to set time for those kinds of things. It’s not healthy if she doesn’t. It’s important to have our priorities in order. Time with the Lord, time with our husband, time with our kids, time for ministry, and time for friendships.

Celeste: As a mom who just sent her 5th child to college, what was that like for you?

Kay: It was a very interesting life changing experience. To realize that after 33 years of being ‘mom’, that aspect of it was actually over. I had to process that.  Of course there were some emotional times that I went through.  There are seasons of life and I spent much time preparing for this season. You gradually let them go, preparing each time.

Celeste: Do you feel like you had invested time in yourself and in friendships, your marriage, and your walk with God- that you’ve been able to just continue doing the things you enjoy and have a passion for?  And wouldn’t you agree, that there are many aspects of ‘me’ time: My time with the Lord, my time with my husband, and my time with me?

Kay: The number one thing that got me through parenting and raising five kids was my quiet time with the Lord. My time with the Lord was number one. And I would also like to address your marriage. We always made it a priority to get away together one or two times a year by ourselves. I know first hand that there is a lot of preparation involved.  We had to get a reliable babysitter, get the kids packed, pack our own items, make arrangements for activities, etc.  And I remember thinking “Will this be worth it?” But every time we came back, we always agreed it was so worth it! It kept our relationship vibrant and growing. We invested in our marriage first, and then the kids. As far as having time with other women, I loved to pour myself into the church, and people, and continue to do so today. Of course, I have even more time now. But it wasn’t like my life drastically changed when they all went off to college. I am still involved in my loves, Bible study and fellowship. It was never like “oh my goodness, how do I fill my time?” And now there’s just more time to do things I enjoy like learning new things. My husband and I are even taking a course on investing in stocks! It’s so important to do things like learning something new; keeping up interests- something that gets you excited. I have never felt like I’ve neglected my kids, never. I was actually a better mom because I took time off to do some things I enjoyed.  I would come back with more joy; excited to be home with my family; refilled.

Now it is a balancing act. There were so many things that I was asked to do at the church as an elder’s wife. I definitely had to say no to some things. Actually, a lot of things! I had to pick and choose. I would say yes to the things I knew I was called to do and that nurtured me like prayer and Bible study and pouring myself into others. Unfortunately, I always felt so guilty for saying no. If I could go back I would not allow myself to feel guilty when I had to say no. Do not feel guilty! Guilt weighs you down. Do not allow others (or even yourself) to put guilt on you. Know your priorities!

Celeste: What advice would you give to moms on this topic of making time for themselves? Please add anything else you feel would encourage us moms or moms to be on the topic of finding some ‘me’ time- and how that would actually enhance our lives and motherhood.

Kay: Enjoy the journey (love this), don’t let others manipulate you and put guilt on you for your decisions. Set your priorities and stick to them. If you have a plan, stick to it and don’t live in guilt. Please spend some time with your husband away from kids. It’s so important for the kids to see healthy parents being modeled. And finally, make time for vital friendships.

I hope you’ve been encouraged by our interview, I know I have. I hope this week you can sit down with your calendar and schedule in some ‘me’ time.  Whatever nurtures and energizes you, think about it. For me, it’s scrap booking, reading and writing, and cycling. And I have to put it on the calendar and see to it just like I would any other appointment. If you work full time, I know this will be a challenge, but it’s so worth it. You might need to schedule every other Saturday morning for something you enjoy. You will probably need to enlist either a babysitter or your husband. It’s important for women, especially mothers, to take regular time to do things that nurture our souls and keep us feeling alive; if we don’t, we could face burnout, and we won’t be very helpful to anyone! Be encouraged, and enjoy the journey!

Psalm 37:3-4 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Just Start With Today

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. -Lao Tzu       

There will always be someone out there to look up to and admire. Someone who does something really well. Someone who is amazing at their craft or talent. I love to read about people who are so in love with God and so connected to Gods Holy Spirit. But, something I think we all need to realize is that this doesn’t happen to people over night. You can’t just wake up one day and be an amazing actress. For most people they have studied their craft for years and years. They did the community acting for no pay and little audiences. They did the acting schools. They spent hours and months memorizing lines. And they were passionate about their dreams.

I didn’t loose all of my baby fat overnight. I wish it was that easy. It started with one run. Then another. Then another. Then one visit to the gym. Then another, and so on. I didn’t get so far on my scrapbooking albums by sitting at my table one time. It was day after day after day. And eventually, it has turned into years. I didn’t wake up one day and read my Bible and that was it. I just knew everything about God. No. It was one time. And then another. And then another. What was one day, has now turned into years. Someone doesn’t give their lives to Jesus and in one day say, “That’s it, I’ve arrived!”.

What happens is that days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into years. Learn the art of consistency. Thinking about things short term that end up long term. When you wonder if you are making any progress, think about it as this one day. And then tomorrow, think the exact same thing, and so on. It all starts with today. Remember, this life is a journey that we take.

Things great have small beginnings. Every downpour is just a raindrop; every fire is just a spark; every harvest is just a seed; every journey is just a step because without that step there will be no journey; without that raindrop there can be no shower; without that seed there can be no harvest.

– William Wilburforce