Introducing Thankful Thursday

Since the very beginning of time, the human race has exhibited its propensity for discontentment: in the garden of Eden, where all of creation was in its state of exquisite perfection and where Adam and Eve had everything they could ever desire at their immediate disposal, Eve surrendered to the temptation to be discontent with such perfection. Eve decided she wanted something more than what God had given her. As a result, she and Adam acted on this discontentment. The simple act of taking that single bite from the forbidden fruit is the event that changed this world forever.

Today, thousands of years later, we’re still suffering the consequences of that single act of discontentment.

Discontentment. It is still around today: Our social networks of Facebook, Pinterest, and the picture-perfect mommy blogs often contribute to our tendency to be unhappy with what we have. All too regularly, when I open any one of these websites, I find myself feeling grumpy, annoyed, and irritated with anything and everything around me.

Why?

I believe it is because I willingly buy into the lie of discontentment. I convince myself that if only I were as organized as this person, if I could write as well as that person, or if I were the thrifty and creative homemaker like this other person, I would be oh, so much happier than I am right now.

But I cannot blame Facebook, Pinterest, or blogs (or anything or anyone else for that matter) for this tendency to be discontent with my life. Rather, can I propose that this attitude of discontentment is simply the product of my lack of thankfulness to God for what He God has already so richly provided for me—be those things physical, emotional, or spiritual? That such attitudes of discontentment only flow from the spring of ungratefulness that already
exists in my heart?

Facebook, Pinterest and mommy-blogs are simply the means of causing my cup of unthankfulness and discontentment to overflow and spill all over the floor for me and all those around me to see. When this happens, it is not a pretty sight.

So what does it mean to be thankful? How can we cultivate a heart that is thankful? How do we give thanks in everything, even those things that are less-than-desirable? Why is it so hard to be thankful? What are
some practical ideas on how to cultivate thankfulness?

It is these kinds of questions that we at Hearts Refreshed want to consider during the month of November.

 

~Angie

What I’m Learning as as Mom

 

It all happened July 18, 2017, when that 8 pound 5 ounce human being made her grand entrance into this world.

Suddenly, I was Mom to a living, breathing human being who was entirely dependent on me for her every need.

“Wait a minute. I’m not sure I’m ready for this. Can I hit pause for a few weeks and return when I’ve done a bit more research on how to be a Mom?”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Ready or not, I was a Mom. Trial and error would become the new routine.
The poop splatters all over me and the bed quickly taught me that diapers must always be changed with a changing pad, even if it seems safe to do so otherwise.

I discovered that, in my case, the weeks of adjustment after birth were much more difficult than the labor and delivery.

I realized that this was not an 8-to-5 day shift job, but rather a job that included the 8-to-5 shift, the swing shift, and the night shift. And I had intentionally signed up for all three shifts.

And it is these sometimes humorous, day to day situations that are teaching me that being a mom includes more than simply keeping a child clean, fed, and happy: It involves my heart.

I think it is safe to say that in many ways, parenting is more about the parent’s sanctification than the child’s physical well-being.

What do I mean?

Well, it is the simple, mundane, and routine activities that most often expose the attitudes of my heart. I’m talking about those moments when the fork gets tossed over the edge of the table for the fourth time in a row or when the food on my plate gets cold before I have a chance to even take one bite of it because I’ve been busy feeding a hungry toddler.

Insignificant and ordinary events, but my reactions are oh, so often, a telling indication of what is in my heart.

More than any other lesson in parenting, God has shown me repeatedly that my actions and attitudes during such mundane situations are merely an overflow of what is in my heart.

With each frustrating parenting moment, I have a choice: am I going to allow my members–my mouth, my hands, my heart–to become provoked to exasperation and to sin? Or am I going to use this as an opportunity to glorify God, even in the most mundane and routine of activities?

But don’t get me wrong: parenting hasn’t just been about the frustrations.

There are plenty of smiles and hugs and kisses to go around. There are plenty of moments where I feel my heart could just burst from the love I feel for Talitha, the little cutie pie who has brought so much joy into our lives.

And for this reason, I am thankful that God gives strength for both the joys and the frustrations in each new day. Lord willing, Talitha will grow up to learn to love and obey God and in turn, her parents will grow to be more Christ-like.

~ Angie

Enjoying My Children Today

 

 

Have you ever heard the song “Cat’s in the Cradle”?

I grew up listening to the good ol’ blue grass singers like Ricky Skaggs and this song occasionally pops into my head, southern twang and all.

It’s actually a very sad song about a father and son. The father was too busy to spend time with his little boy and before he knew it his little boy had grown up into a man. Now the son is too busy with his own job and family to find time for his dad. You can almost hear the heart break of the father and the regret.

Dad’s often do work outside the home and they work HARD to provide the best for their family. It is tough for them to carve out time to interact with their children. One would think though, that as a stay-at-home mom it would be easy and natural to spend time one on one with my kids.

Sadly, that is not always true.

I often find myself guilty of being WITH my kids but not really spending time interacting with them on their level.

Little ones NEED so many things that are physical that it is easy to forget that they have emotional and spiritual needs just as I do.

Often I feel like I am doing OK if my girls are fed, clean, rested. They needs so much more though! They need love, care, acceptance, affirmation, friendship, a listening ear, and more!

Cultivating a relationship with children takes time, initiative and commitment.

Over this past summer I have been convicted of just trying to keep my girls entertained so that I can do what I want to do or feel like I “NEED” to do and missing precious opportunities to invest in their lives.

I have found myself bemoaning in my heart that I am “missing out” on something because my kids need a nap or that they take so much attention that I won’t be able to enjoy myself.

My selfishness glared me in the face and I saw how it is and will affect my children and the relationship I will have with them.

I am SO very grateful that God helped me realize this while my kiddos are still young!

I must take advantage of this precious time that I have my children’s undivided attention and love. Take advantage of the, oh so many, chances I have to get down at their eye level and interact with them there. Take the time to STOP and listen to what they are saying to me.

Their little conversation may seem so pointless and unimportant but, to them, it is important stuff! If I relay to them that what they are saying is not important, they won’t come to me with the truly important things later in life.

God is expanding thankfulness in my heart for girls!

God is giving me JOY in getting down to a one and three year old level to see what my little girls see!

God is always teaching us and molding us and these are the lessons He has been teaching me these past months.

These little ones are the beautiful GIFTS God has lavished on me!

These little girls are the MINISTRY God has entrusted to me!

These children of mine are the people that one day I will wish and long for more time spent with them, the ones I will want to hang out with the most!

Start NOW, momma!

It will be with it!

It IS worth it!

 

~ Rachel

Life is Hard….But Christ

 

Have you ever thought about Christ’s life here on this earth? He suffered, He was crucified. He is God but His life here on earth was hard.

As I sat down with the written Word, after the baby was down for the night, I asked God to teach me and show me a broad picture of the book of Philippians.

There is so much in this short book, so many deep things to dig into and Theological implications to contemplate. However, what I saw jumping out time after time throughout is that life is Hard. Paul had it hard, Epaphroditus almost died!  But Paul had a heavenly perspective and he addresses the hardships of this life in light of Christ and the eternal!

Life is hard BUT Christ is working in us!

Life is hard BUT Christ’s gospel is going forward!

Life is hard BUT we suffer with Christ – not alone!

Life is hard BUT there is confidence in Christ!

Life is hard BUT Christ is returning and will fit us with a glorified body!

Life is hard BUT Christ promises peace when we pray with thanksgiving!

Life is hard BUT Christ gives strength to endure even the hardest circumstances!

Life is hard BUT Christ provides everything we need!

 

Life IS hard…but regardless of this fact, in our hearts and minds we can rejoice. We can have peace. We can be confident. We can shine in this hard, temporary world because we have a kind, eternal Savior!!!

 

Stand Tall and Rejoice!

~ Rachel

One Thing Is Needful

I had a 7-week old baby to care for and both of my toddlers were sick.
Fevers. Lack of appetite. Uncontrollable crying. It was not fun.

Thankfully, I had people praying for me and God was sustaining. For some reason all I could think of was the verse in Luke 10 that says “But one thing is needful.”

In context, we find that Martha is stressed out about all the things there are to do while her sister is found at Jesus’ feet, listening to His word.

Jesus is heard saying “ Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:   But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Does that resonate with how some of your days go? Careful and troubled about many things?

Yes. I can relate.

However, one of the biggest lessons God has been teaching me lately is that I need Him.

Only Him.

On those days when my kids are sick, the to-do list stretches higher than I can see, bills are waiting to be paid, meals need prepped, kids can’t seem to stop fighting, and people are constantly needing me, the single most important thing I can do for myself and for them is to spend time with Jesus.

Have you heard of the song “Give Me Jesus” ? Lately it’s been stuck in my head like a hamster on a running wheel. I can’t get it out and it just keeps repeating itself over and over.

“In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus. You can have all this world,
just give me Jesus.”

I want this to be my hearts cry.

Sadly, my life is not often characterized by this. More often than not I would rather have this world. I would rather spend time on Facebook or binge watch on Netflix. These things provide me immediate satisfaction and require no work on my part.

And yet, whenever I do choose to prioritize time with God before pleasure or other things on my to-do list, etc., I find my soul is finally at rest.

“But one thing is needful.”

I don’t believe this means I let my house go to ruin, leave the dishes forever undone, or neglect my life responsibilities. However, more often than not I allow these daily things to completely push out any time for God.

So, on some days when life seems crazy and I don’t even know where to start, my only goals may need to be 1. Keep kids alive and 2. Spend time with Jesus.

“But one thing is needful.”

God, help me to remember this.

~ Chrystal