Monday, September 30, 2013

Ministry Opportunities for the Stay-at-Home Mom

Earlier this month, I offered some ministry opportunities for those who are single. Today I am shifting to stay-at-home momma's. I was raised in ministry and I grew up traveling the road. Now that I am more at home than out and about, I can understand the mothers who don't believe that they have much of a mission field. Let me tell you, YOUR POTENTIAL IS HUGE! And you are needed. 

Here are just some of the ministry opportunities for a Stay-at-Home Mom.

  • Use your gifts in your Church. Can you teach? Do you sing? Can you play an instrument? Can you help clean? Do you have organizational skills? There are so many ways we can use our natural, God-given gifts and talents to bless our Church. Look around or ask your pastor where a need is in the Church, then pray and see if God wants YOU to meet that need. It may be working with children or teenagers. It may be a mentoring ministry. Or it may something as "small" as keeping the kitchen stocked with plates and cups. Pray and let God show you what to do.
  • Practice hospitality. My husband and I have been talking about this recently. Probably because we are finally about to move into our home! Hospitality is a ministry. I have walked into a home where I felt uncomfortable and afraid to touch anything for fear that I would break it. It left me feeling stressed and, quite honestly, like a burden - even though I was invited there. I have also walked into a home that felt warm and where the conversation felt like cool water on parched lips. Practice welcoming people into your home. Invite that exhausted new mom over for tea or coffee and a long heart-to-heart. Invite that family with five little children over for dinner and genuinely love on them. Open up your home with warmth and it will go a long way in blessing others.
  • Sponsor an Orphan. Anyone - single and married with children - can sponsor a child. Current statistics show that there are over 150 million orphans in the world today. If they are not helped, they will continue in poverty, human trafficking, slavery, and other desperate circumstances. You can help them. Visit Cry of the OrphanHis Little FeetWorld OrphansDanita's Children whom we support, or All God's Children to learn how you can sponsor a child. It usually doesn't require much money at all. Make it a family project and include your kids in the process.
  • Help the slaves. Take a good look at your children. Can you picture your precious little boy brainwashed and turned into a solider? Can you imagine your sweet little innocent girl enslaved and sold into prostitution? It's happening every day to millions around the world. Human trafficking is the 2nd largest criminal enterprise in the world. So what can you do? We support Project Rescue which rescues and restores victims throughout India, Nepal, Moldova, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, and Spain. Consider Project Rescue or visit Glue BoysSlavery No MoreU Count CampaignInternational Justice Board, or She Has a Name to learn more about their ministries and how you can help.
  • Foster/Adopt. If only one family in every Church in the United States adopted one child out of the foster care system, there would no longer be any children waiting for adoption. Let that sink in. Now, I understand that not every family is able to foster or adopt. But those that can, should! James 1:27 tells us to look after widows and orphans. Pray and ask God to show you how you can do this. If He leads you to adoption, visit Hope for Orphans, All God's Children, Adopt Us KidsBethany Christian ServicesLifesong for OrphansProject 1:27, or Christian Alliance For Orphans. You can't do everything. But you can do something.
  • Donate to Shelters/Give to Orphanages. I regularly go through my kids' toys and clothes (as well as my own) and give away what isn't needed. I encourage you to do the same. Pass it on to another family. Donate to shelters or ministries. You can also give to Orphanages. At Orphan's Heart, you can see a list of materials needed. Buckner has a gift catalog where you can choose the amount you are able to spend, and then shop online for supplies, care, and gifts. Shoes For Orphan Souls is a ministry that provides shoes for poverty stricken children. Gain USA is another place where you can give aid to children and children's homes.
  • Go into the prisons. My husband has a prison ministry and I remember being humbled when I first went with him. In the late 1700's and early 1800's, Elizabeth Fry - a wife and mother to 11 children! - worked to reform the prisons of England. She brought clean clothes and food to the prisoners, she began a Bible study, and she founded a prison school for the children who were incarcerated with their parents. Maybe the Lord is calling you to minister to women in prison and bring them the Gospel. Another way you can help the imprisoned is by writing to them. In more than 40 nations around the world today Christians are being persecuted and imprisoned for their faith. In Hebrews 13:3, Paul instructs us, as believers, to remember our brothers and sisters who are in chains "as bound with them." You can go to to learn how you can 1) write to fellow Christians in prison for our faith, how you can 2) contact government officials to ask for their release, and learn how you can 3) give money to support the prisoner's families. "...I was in prison, and ye came unto me." Matthew 25:36
  • Write/Blog. If you enjoy writing, then open up a Blogger or Wordpress account (both free hosting blog domains) and get to it! Share your testimony. Share Bible devotionals. Write candidly of what Christ is teaching you i your journey as a wife and mommy. Be an inspiration to others. Share Biblical wisdom that can help and reach hearts. I read blogs every day - my favorites are sent straight to my email account. Some of my favorite blogs to read are: Revive Our HeartsGrowing HomeBiblical Homemaking, I Take Joy, and The Modest Mom. 
  • Bake to bless. Are you a good cook? How about baking a cake or cooking a meal for a widow? Has someone in your community or Church recently had a baby? Bring that momma some food so she won't have to cook. What about a family that might be struggling? Someone who recently had surgery? Bless them with some goodies.
  • Disciple your children. Sarah Mae wrote in the book, Desperate, "The God who gave you your gifts and talents is the same God who gave you souls to bring up, train, invest in, and disciple. I don’t know what His “dream” is for you, but I know that Scripture is filled with admonitions for a mama to make her home her focus and bring up her children. A mama’s primary domain is her home. This doesn’t mean you don’t have another purpose that God wants you to fulfill while you’re breathing on this earth, but your first and main purpose is to deeply invest in the souls He’s given you….” I can't put it better than that. No matter what He calls us to do, we can't neglect our prime responsibility which is to raise up Godly men and women who will be followers of Jesus Christ. In truth, that is the whole reason God designed us to procreate. It wasn't to simply experience the miracle birth or snuggle with cute kiddos. It was to bless us with the opportunity to disciple and train our little ones to love Him and make Him known to the world. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sally Clarkson on Motherhood

"Instead of being revered, respected, and supported by society, mothering is devalued. Even when lip service is paid to the value of family, there is still the underlying assumption that only “real” work - financial performance, career achievement, or some other contribution outside the home - counts in terms of value and success. Often, as a result, women feel confused and torn between the cultural messages they hear about what is important for them to do and the eternal message God has written on their hearts. The minority of mothers who choose to devote their lives to the nurturing of godly heritage by focusing on their homes as the center of life find themselves unsupported and unaffirmed by a culture that does not value their contribution. The hard, daily, repetitive work of making a home a haven, providing healthy meals, correcting and training little ones, and constantly cleaning up messes is perceived as menial labor instead of the stuff from which godliness is built.

~ Sally Clarkson

Monday, September 23, 2013

Choosing to be In Love

We tend to think love is a feeling that comes naturally and easily. And many of us go into marriage expecting regular sunset strolls, bouquets of flowers, and passionate thoughts. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but.... that's unrealistic.

Now, I am in love with my husband. But even in our short, three and a half years of marriage I have not always treated him lovingly like I should. Yeah I know, I'm human so it's okay. I'm excused from that. Right? Eh....wrong. Our culture is all about "feelings." Have you noticed that? Have you heard the songs? Seen the movies? When something goes wrong or when our rose colored glasses begin to show a more realistic picture, we are conditioned to go with our feelings. We get angry. We get selfish and refuse to meet his needs. We gossip to our girlfriends. We withhold our hearts. We snap and nag. We leave....

I cringe when I hear couples say, "We just fell out of love. We didn't mean for it to happen, but it did. We aren't in love anymore." That is all about feelings. Every couple is going to have some really hard times, but that is no excuse to end what God ordained to be a lifelong commitment.

Would you believe that I have not 
always felt in love with my husband?


Yes, that's true.

  • That day when he didn't meet my needs.
  • That time he wasn't romantic when I wanted him to be.
  • That moment he said something Prince Charming would never say!
  • That time when he was too preoccupied to show concern about my emotions.
  • That day when he was just mad and needed support....and I took it personally and got mad right back. 
....and so on.

It's silly to latch on to those very real moments that happen in every single marriage and view them as a lack of love. He didn't do this, so we are obviously not in love anymore! That's immature and believe you me, I have had my share of immature moments too. I'm ashamed of it, but it's true. 

Acting according to our feelings is a marriage killer. Love is not a feeling because, if you are a woman, you know full well that feelings come and go. We feel a lot of very different things every day. Ever had a day when you are overflowing with joy one minute, and then suddenly all seems lost and you end up crying your eyes out over the kitchen sink? Come on, let's be honest. We feel but that doesn't always mean our feelings are correct. And it certainly doesn't mean that we should act on them all the time.

Love a choice. To be in love is a choice. Let's look at 1 Corinthians 13.

Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:

In the real world, no one will ever feel patient all the time. Or kind. It is a choice to be patient, to be kind, to refuse to envy or be prideful. It is a choice we make to behave gracefully, to be sacrificial and giving of ourselves, to resist the urge to be provoked to anger, or to think evil of someone else - including our spouse. Choosing to be those things, regardless of our feelings, is what love is. I am in love with my husband, not because he is perfect or because I am perfect, and not because we "feel" like loving each other with 1 Corinthians 13 love, but because I chose to be in love with him. I make a choice every moment, in the good times and in the bad, to love the man God gave me. Or not to love him like He said.

That choice is yours too. And I encourage you - and oh golly myself too! - to get control over our feelings and make the right choice every single day.

Here's to a happy marriage! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Degree of Motherhood

My friend, Sarah, shares some wonderful insight on motherhood today. Read and be blessed!


Before I got married, I went to college and earned a degree.  I'm thankful I earned it and carried through with it as it gave me much knowledge and I even use its practical applications in my life today.  But in the last little bit of my life, I've been earning a totally different degree and a completely different skill set.  You'll laugh when you hear it.  It's called “Motherhood.”  Yes, really.  I fully believe it's a degree, skill, art, and science. I hadn't thought about it that way until my Mom told me this one day in response to one of my interesting adventures with my little boy:

“Motherhood is the art of flexibility with grace, and the science of behavioral studies while majoring in your children and your husband.”

Isn't that just rich?  As soon as I heard that I was scrambling for a pen to write it down.  It's written on a note that is stuck to my fridge so I can read it every day and just remember it – both in the fun and amazing times, and during those not-so-amazing times when life is overwhelming and I simply just want to cry or sleep it away.

Before we had our little boy, I thought I knew exactly how motherhood was going to be like.  I knew how I was going to raise my little boy, and it was just going to be perfect.  Well, it is perfect for our family, but it is NOT at all like how I was expecting.  I have had to be flexible and change my theories to practical implementation. I've had to major in learning my son's...and husband's...personalities.  Their strengths, their weaknesses, how to work with them, how to help them, how to love them.  We are all individuals, and no specific parenting technique is going to work perfectly.  For some people it might be pretty close, for our family – it was not. 

For one example, I had thought I was going to have a very healthy eating child.  Turns out, I have a very picky eater who oftentimes won't eat anything at a meal... I have five foods that I know he will eat...usually.  And of those five, I know that I have to serve the grapes before the strawberries.  Why? Because he likes the strawberries better.  If he knows strawberries are available, he'll avoid the grapes and only eat strawberries.  I could get frustrated and cause us both a lot of heartache by forcing him to eat both when I want him to...or I could give him the grapes and wait for him to eat them, and then give him the strawberries. But it definitely wasn't my vision of putting all the healthy vegetables on his plate and him eating everything with no complaints.
If you knew my husband and I, you might not personally agree with our way of parenting and that's fine! What works for our family won't necessarily work for you.  But that's the have to personally make decisions for your own family... You have to major in your child, your husband, the art of flexibility with grace, and the science of behavioral studies. You have to ask...BEG...God for help and guidance.  But don't be afraid to do something different just because it is unusual and unpopular.  Different is not inherently wrong. Wrong is disobeying God, but parenting will have many different looks.  If you are following Him, what is right for you is not going to work for someone else and vice-a-versa. Different is simply parenting at its finest because no two families are completely alike! And while we all should reach for that degree of Motherhood while raising our families...none of our degrees are going to be exactly the same.

Sarah is a wife to a Coast Guard officer, and a mother to an energetic 1-year-old little boy. She strives to serve her Lord and King, and a good wife and mother.  She loves photography, reading, cooking, exploring, and hiking and has a passion for purity as well as learning about healthy living and eating. Most often you will find her thoroughly enjoying time with her husband and son or making messes in the kitchen.

Monday, September 16, 2013

And That Changes My Life

"The God who created, names, and numbers the stars in the heavens 
also numbers the stars of my head. 
He pays attention to very big things and to very small ones
What matters to me matters to Him, and that changes my life."
Elisabeth Elliot

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ministry Opportunities for the Single

Even in Christian circles, many single young people are treated as though their lives haven't yet begun because they are not married. Well, I disagree. My single years gave me so much ministry experience. I was blessed with many opportunities to minister that would not have been as effective had my focus been on vain relationships. And had I believed that my gifts were not valuable nor needed until matrimony, then I would have missed out on so many life changing experiences where I was given the honor of helping and blessing other people.

I firmly believe that the single years are a gift from God. It's a chance to learn about yourself and the Lord. Without a boyfriend, I was able to fall in love with Jesus and make Him alone the source of my happiness. It prepared me for marriage and motherhood. When I kept my focus off of dating relationships, I was free to serve the Lord without any distraction. And in serving and ministering while single, I was unknowingly being equipped for my future - in serving my husband and my children.

So you are single. What can you possibly do? Here are some great ways that you can serve NOW as a single young person.

  • Visit hospitals and nursing homes. Have you seen the lack of visitors some people receive when they are undergoing treatments or care? I have. My homeschool group used to go and sing every year at a local nursing home. I will never forget how happy they were to see and hear us. Go visit. Read to them. Sing to them. Pray with them. Simply ask about their lives. That goes a long way to blessing their hearts.
  • Use your gifts in your Church. Do you sing? Play an instrument? Have a knack with drama? Can you teach children? Can you help clean? There are so many ways we can use our natural, God-given gifts and talents to bless our Church. Start a puppet ministry. Volunteer to clean the Church or the lawn. Sing or play specials. Pray and let God show you what to do.
  • Sponsor an Orphan. There are over 150 million orphans in the world today. If they are not helped, they will continue in poverty, human trafficking, slavery, and other desperate circumstances. You can help them! Visit Cry of the OrphanHis Little FeetWorld Orphans, Danita's Children whom we support, or All God's Children to learn how you can sponsor a child. It usually doesn't require much money at all.
  • Write to a sponsored child. If you are unable to give money to sponsor a child, pray about writing to one. There are some men and women who sponsor multiple children but do not have the time to write to them. That is something you can do! Compassion has a way that you can do just this!
  • Help the slaves. Human trafficking is the 2nd largest criminal enterprise and the fastest growing in the world. And it's here in America. We support Project Rescue which rescues and restores victims throughout India, Nepal, Moldova, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, and Spain. Consider Project Rescue or visit Slavery No MoreU Count Campaign, International Justice Board, or She Has a Name to learn more about their ministries and how you can help.
  • Give to Orphanages. At Orphan's Heart, you can see a list of materials needed. Buckner has a gift catalog where you can choose the amount you are able to spend, and then shop online for supplies, care, and gifts. Shoes For Orphan Souls is a ministry that provides shoes for poverty stricken children. Gain USA is another place where you can give aid to children and children's homes.
  • Street witnessing. Some of the greatest memories I have come from street witnessing. I did it in Brazil, in Israel, and here in America. You will learn a lot about how the world views Christ and have the honor of presenting Christ to a soul in front of you. Get a group together and hit the streets. Or if you are alone, witness at the gas station or at a restaurant. Lifestyle witnessing is fine and well, but nothing surpasses the power of words. Be willing, open your mouth, and let Jesus do the rest.
  • Begin a Bible study. Host it in your home or in a class at school if you can. Or maybe meet early or on a weeknight at Church. However you can do it, it is a great ministry opportunity to gather others to you and open up the Bible. You don't have to be a Bible scholar. You can simply discuss what God is doing in your own life and search the Scriptures to encourage and strengthen your peers.
  • Write/Blog. If you enjoy writing, then open up a Blogger or Wordpress account (both free hosting blog domains) and get to it! Share your testimony. Share Bible devotionals. Write candidly of what Christ is teaching you. Be an inspiration to others. Share Biblical wisdom that can help and reach hearts.

These are just a few ways that you can minister to the world - right now! - as a single young person. Embrace your opportunities and go be His hands and feet.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pita Bread Pizza

My little boy LOVES pizza. He's like his momma. :) I have been trying to revamp our diet, to exclude all white flour and sugars and introducing more healthy, whole foods. It's a slow, work in progress, but I am enjoying giving my family healthier meals.

Getting back to pizza. Yeah, my son loves it. And I do too. A lot. But I decided to try a healthy alternative.


Doesn't that look yummy? And get this - it is healthy. I'm serious. Now, hasn't your day just been made? The first step is the crust. It's really not the toppings on pizza that is unhealthy for us. It's the crust; that delicious, buttery, thick, bread crust. Yeah, it's not all that conducive for our overall health. To replace it, I used Lavash pita bread which is thin, delicious, and has a low glycemic index, which is the foundation for our new diet lifestyle. You can find Lavash bread at your local health food store. The rest of the ingredients can be found at any grocery store. 

I cut the pita bread into small squares, easy for little hands to hold. Spread the pasta sauce onto the pitas and put them into the oven (at 350) until they are slightly hard. It should take only a few minutes. Remove from the oven and add your cheese and other toppings. Place the pizza back into the oven and turn the broiler on for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

And that's it, friend! Enjoy this quick and easy (oh and delicious!) pita pizza.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Be Careful Mommy-Mouth What You Say

A few days ago Selah, my six month old, was tired and cranky. She was restless and couldn't settle down so she was crying. Loudly.

And I was irritated.

It was just one of those days when I simply wanted some quiet. As a mommy of little ones, quiet is like precious gold. Though I absolutely love the energy and excitement kids bring, sometimes I just want the noise to hush. Ever been there?? Well, this was one of those times. In my frustration I yelled, "Selah! HUSH! You're driving me crazy!" And then, to my dismay, I heard my two-year-old Nathan yell, "SAY! HUSH! Di-me-kazy!"

Kids have a way of showing you exactly who you are. They reveal sin in a way that I certainly was not prepared for. In that moment, I heard anger in his little voice. And I knew that came directly as a result of my lack of self-control. 

Oh be careful little mouth what you say

Remember that children's song? I  believe that that little song should be sung more often to adults. We are the ones that need to hold our tongue and watch our actions because we have little eyes and ears observing every move we make and every thing that comes out of our mouths. And that's a scary thought!

Oh be careful little mouth what you say

It is an eye-opening moment when you hear or see the sin in your heart revealed in your children. It's terrifying, actually. And it really hit me hard. Immediately I said, "Nathan, mommy should not have yelled. You are not to yell at your sister. And mommy is not supposed to yell and be mad either." Oh when will I learn?

That afternoon, I remembered the verse in Proverbs that says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."

Have you ever became angry when someone spoke harshly to you? I'm not talking about firm words, I'm talking about words dripped with annoyance or disgust. Even things that are said out of exasperation and thoughtlessness can stir up hurt in one's heart. And sometimes the hurt becomes a load that person carries for a long, long time. Maybe even for forever. With children, it is imperative that we keep our mouths and our actions from tearing down their tender emotions, and destroying their trust and security in us by hatefully lashing out just because we are tired or stretched to the max with all of our day-to-day tasks. It's not worth it in the long run. I'm learning that. Years from now, when our children have children of their own, they will be able to speak more gently through having grown up with the right example.

We are fallen people. You are not Superwoman, Momma. But you do have the power of the Holy Spirit to help you. When your little tyke asks you "Why" for the 5,487 time, Christ promises to help us keep our cool. When the baby won', He enables us to be grateful for that little energetic blessing. Whatever stress or exhaustion you're facing, let's always remember to speak with gentleness and self-control.

It is easier to build up a child than it is to repair an adult.
Choose your words wisely.

Oh be careful little mouth what you say

Friday, September 6, 2013

Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

{that's a mouth-full}

Those that know me well know that I cannot -- I repeat, cannot -- turn down a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Especially a hot one. My husband and I are trying to loose some weight. I still have 10 lbs I need to loose. I have slowly started omitting white flour and sugar. Let me just say, if you have spent your whole life using white sugar and white flour, then it can be a life-changer when you stop. Anyway, yesterday I was craving chocolate chip cookies. I mean, BAD! So I did some digging and found a recipe, tweaked it a bit, and here is the result!

1 cup creamy almond butter (I used Justin's brand)
2/3 cup sugar (I recommend Stevia, Truvia, or what I used - Xylitol)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon Glucomannan powder

1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the almond butter and sugar. Mix in the egg, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and Glucomannan powder until evenly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop cookies by the tablespoon onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 5-10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. Yields about 16 cookies

I think I know what is on you mind. What in the world is Glucomannan powder?? Am I right? Yeah, I didn't know what it was either.

Don't worry, if you don't have it, the cookies still comes out delicious. I have only recently been introduced to Glucomannan and the benefits are amazing! You can pretty much only find this powder online. I bought it from Swanson Vitamins. It's a bit pricey but it will last you a long time and it is packed with fiber and other great health benefits. It is made from the Asia root, Konjac, and has NO carbs, NO fats, and is an amazing thickener that you can use for pudding, smoothies, and even ice cream! It is used for weight loss, type 2 diabetes, blood sugar control, and lowering cholesterol. It also helps curb appetite and makes you feel fuller. So yeah, it's worth the investment. :)

Like I said, if you don't have it (and you probably do not), you can still make these yummy cookies! Happy cooking! :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Freezing Figs For Later

Currently I am living with my sweet in-law family as my husband and I build our house. And they have a garden! ---totally cannot wait to have my own garden! They also have two fig trees!

I want to make some fig preserves and some strawberry-fig jam, but I'm limited on space and I don't have my caning supplies on hand as they are all still in storage. I just can't handle watching the figs fall off the tree! What?!? NO! After reading that figs can be frozen for up to 6 months, I decided to do the following. So, if you are short on time or are in a position similar to mine, here is something you can do.

Go pick the figs

my sweet Nathan helping me out
had to snap this classic picture of Selah watching us
sweet girl
counting the figs we picked

Wash them up

Dry them and place them on a parchment paper covered baking sheet

Freeze! Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or container and store until you are ready!


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