Customer Service Continued

Ha! I knew I would be tested in the worse way with all my big talk about customer service. Well, I think I passed the test - at least I feel good about my reaction to the test. I came home from my half of a part-time job last night to a kitchen full of dirty dishes. They were stacked neatly next to the sink and the food was put away, but I wondered if the dirty dishes were stacked neatly just for me. Hmmm...maybe hubby is going to wash them! After all, I did leave him with a clean kitchen and dinner before I left for work.
Well, when I got home and saw the dishes, I didn't react at all. Hubby and the boys went outside to play basketball and I followed them to watch. I didn't give those dishes a second thought nor did I mention them. When we all came in the house, I exercised, took my shower, and went to bed - peacefully. When I awoke this morning and walked into the kitchen, the dirty dishes greeted me with a nice "GOOD MOOOORNING!" Wasn't that nice for them to wait so patiently for me? How sweet. Well, I cooked my husband breakfast at 5 a.m. and the dishes still didn't phase me. It's okay...they're just dirty dishes in the form of the enemy wanting me to GO OFF on my husband - but I won't.
As I said previously, I am not responsible for anyone's actions except my own. I will eventually wash the dirty dishes - in the name of Jesus. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me - in the name of Jesus. I can maintain my PEACE of Mind - in the name of Jesus. I can hold my tongue - in the name of Jesus. Have a good day ladies and remember...what are your actions saying about Jesus? "Hi, my name is wife and mother. How can I help you today?"

My Actions Speak

I had a conversation this morning with a Mom about giving our husband 100% customer service. She mentioned it's difficult to continue when they don't react to our service (the way we want them to). The key here is to remember why we are giving customer service. We don't give customer service to receive kuddos, pat on the backs, or favors in return - we do it because it's the RIGHT thing to do. God will make sure I am taken care of - yes, I'll get mine!!

We can't concern ourselves with how our husband responds; we can only do our part and let God handle the rest. This is where our trust and faith come in. It's so important for me to consider what my actions speak about Jesus. This thought process keeps me humble and in check in regards to everything I do and say. Yes, I get tired and become frustrated from feeling like a maid sometimes, but as I said before...if I can provide good customer service and a warm smile to people outside my home, surely I can do if for those entrusted in my care - for people I love and live with. Next! How can I help you, today?

Wake-up Call

The Holy Spirit nudged me earlier than usual this morning to pray. As I got on my knees, my children were heavy on my mind, so I began to pray for them and also included my husband. I pray for my family daily, so I began to wonder why the Lord called me at 4 a.m. this particular morning. Well, it really doesn’t matter and the wake-up call was welcomed. I thank God for waking me to prepare for the day. He knows I’ll need extra grace and mercy. He knows what my children will be faced with while out of my sight. He knows what is in store for the family and that we’ll need extra covering. While we are sleeping, the enemy is at work planning and plotting traps for us and a Mother must always be on guard. We can’t afford to have a complacent prayer life or become distracted with busyness. The enemy stays on his job looking for available opportunities to attract our children and our husbands, so we must stay on our job of covering them in prayer - without ceasing. I use to think these early morning wake-up calls meant something bad was going to happen, but now I know my prayers, in the name of Jesus, protect and shield my family. We are protected from dangers seen and unseen. We are covered with the blood of Jesus and armored for the battlefield. I’m ready to face the day! Thank God for the wake-up call and the call to cover my family in prayer!

Psalm 64:1(NIV)
Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy.

Circle of Emotions

We awake with a different emotion each morning. I don't know what happens during the night, but each waking day brings upon a different mood. We live in a cycle of emotions. It's great to awake full of joy, but it's a pain to feel like you've awaken on the wrong side of the bed - whatever that means. This morning I woke up FOUL. Yea, I'm a little tired and have a right to blame it on the peri-menopausal/PMS monster hormones, but if I had to meet a group of people for a meeting, I'd immediately change my attitude. If my doorbell rang, I'd greet the guest with a smile. If I was at work, I'd have a warm smile for each customer. Soooo, I really can control my emotions when I need to. With that being said, I will not put my family through my foulness just because I can. Sure, they understand me and will love me in spite of my mood, but they deserve the same warm smile and demeanor I would give a stranger, customers, or co-workers. It's not fair to them nor is it fair to my Self. Fellow Mothers, SMILE and have a good day!

Morning Moon

When I consider the amazing creations of our awesome God, how can I complain?

When I consider the beautiful morning moon glowing against the blue sky, how can I grumble?

When I consider the beauty of God's creation, how can I not praise Him?

Heavenly Father, I thank you for this new day. Thank you for giving me access to your holy throne of mercy and grace - in spite of my mess. Thank you for my health, strength, and energy. Thank you for renewing my mind. Thank you for my husband. Thank you for my children. Thank you for our home. Thank you for our food. Thank you for our clothes. Thank you for our finances. Thank you for keeping my mind. Thank you for loving me in spite of who I am. Thank you for the blood you shed. Thank you for my salvation. Thank you for all my blessings - even the ones I fail to recognize. Thank you for this new day full of new opportunities to give you glory, praise, and honor. Praise the Lord!

My Last Day?

Lately, I've been trying to actually live as if it is my last day on Earth. Trying to love with the love of God, keeping a Christ-like attitude, my peace of mind, and not sweating the small stuff have been the few things important to me. Nothing else really matters. We say today could be our last day on Earth, but do we really believe it? If we did, we wouldn't fight so many simple battles, words of others wouldn't bother us, and family would be our priority to the highest degree. Last night, after getting off work, I went to a basketball game with hubby and the boys. I didn't think twice about my decision nor did I consider spending a couple hours at home alone, which is usually my ultimate goal (smile). Although I was tired and hungry, I jumped in the car without thinking about myself. When we returned home, the kitchen was a mess, as we left it, and although hubby volunteered to wash the dishes, I washed them and he was able to work out for a while. thought process is different. I'm trying to make this a habit because it's a feeling I can't describe to truly GRASP THE MOMENT and live each day as if it were my last. Today could be your last! Enjoy the day - grasp the moment!

Meet My Father

While sitting in church listening to the encouraging Father’s Day message, my mind kept drifting to thoughts of my own father who isn’t religious at all. He doesn’t believe in our risen Savior, yet he made sure my two sisters and I attended church with my Mother every Sunday – sleeping in was not an option. It seems ironic, but my spiritual walk is challenged because of Daddy’s lack of belief. Being religious means nothing to me, yet living a life reflecting Christ means everything. I can’t afford to have a mediocre walk, yet I must be set apart and peculiar in my boldness for Christ. Instead of being self-absorbed in my own spiritual world, I am obligated to be that living sacrifice that will draw others to the Father. My marriage and my mothering must also be used to draw others. I am called to be an example.
Sunday’s message was a reminder to me of the countless fathers and mothers who haven’t met the Father. It was also a reminder of the importance of my changed behavior; my life must show God is real. Help me, Jesus! I love and thank God for my non-believing father. God continues to use Daddy to increase my desire to live a life of holiness – for the sake of all unbelievers. I will continue to pray for him and will always be mindful of living a life that will introduce others to the Heavenly Father. Have you met my Father?

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Back to Work

I know quite a few mothers who were at home and are now being forced to work outside the home. Some have been embarrassed to share this, yet we all are feeling some type of financial stress on our wallets. We don't know what the future holds for our Nation, yet we know we can hold on to God's unchanging hand. The same God who has been with us is still with us. I too, am considering different avenues to market my cake business more. The most important thing is not to lose our joy of the Lord (our strength) and peace of mind through these trying times. We serve a living God and He owns everything - surely He will provide for His children. Have a joyful weekend, enjoy your family, love with the heart of God, and may you have perfect peace!

Come To Me

My devotion this morning was like receiving a second wind of life. The scripture was Matthew 11:28 and the study expressed how Jesus frees us from so many different burdens. The rest that Jesus offers is love, peace, comfort, healing, etc... He sustains us. He gets us out of our "condition of listlessness and exhaustion and being half dead while we are alive." He gives us the "spirit of life and vital activity." I imagined God saying, "Come to me, LaVender and I will give you rest. Come to me and I will renew your strength, energy, and power. Come to me and I will empower you to live your life more abundantly." The Word of God is definitely food for the soul. Have you come to Jesus?

Stepped On

Step Parenting can be an extremely challenging role and quite tasking on a marriage. Not all blended families blend well or even have backgrounds and personalities that are compatible with each other. Some step-mothers really go through the fire and I've been there myself. Years ago, when my husband received custody of his sons, we went through the fire. Well, I know I went through. It wasn't until years later that I realized why I went through such troubling times. It was to be a witness to other step-mothers going through. While speaking to one this morning, I was reminded of that step-testimony I rarely share. I would not have been able to share with her, if I had not been there myself. I had a difficult time and felt stepped on and unappreciated many times, but I just kept walking through the fire from day to day. Yes, my marriage was tested and so was my faith, which wasn't as mature as it is now. I wanted to walk out, but I thank God for his grace on our family and our marriage.
If you're a step-mother reading this, please know you are stronger than you could ever imagine. God would not put this on you if you couldn't handle it. This trying time is not about you, but God is strengthening you, grooming, and pruning you for His glory. He needs you to keep walking through the fire, so you can share with another step-mother when the opportunity presents itself. Keep praying and stay focused on the Peace Maker - He is your strength!
If I came through the fire alive; so can you! I didn't know Jesus like I know Him now! Stay strong, stay prayerful, and stay connected to your power source. It's already alright!

What Matters Most

I walked in my bedroom last night and my husband was on his knees praying as he is every evening. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what he has said or done, what matters most to me is his connection with the Savior. Watching him pray reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a woman desperately wanting her husband to attend church with her. I suggested she first pray for her husband to develop a personal relationship with Jesus and his desire to attend church would come. I may sound backwards, but I'm a witness to having a husband in church and that was it – he was in church. Hubby was on the usher board, in the choir, and a few other ministries. He was busy, but he wasn't busy for the Lord. Our marriage was raggedy, our home was without peace, I was unhappy, yet he was in church every Sunday. My prayers for my husband changed. I no longer cared if he was in church or not. I wanted Jesus to be his priority – his life. I wanted a husband sold out to Jesus – not the church. I had to change also. I had to be the Jesus in my home to make a difference. I had to love and accept my husband right where he was. I had to talk less and pray more. I knew if his personal relationship was developed and nurtured, everything else would fall into place. Many years and two babies later, my prayers were answered. No, he isn't a perfect husband or a perfect leader, but striving to live for Jesus is his priority. We don't pray together as often as I would like, yet his personal prayer life is solid. I haven't stopped praying for my husband either. Even when he crosses my mind throughout the day; I pray for him. I know what it's like to desire a spiritual leader in the home; I also know what prayer can do; I'm a witness!

James 5:16 (TLB)
...The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Busy Living

It's sooo easy to become overwhelmed with the many responsibilities of the day as a wife and mother. We can get so busy with life that we forget to live. We transport our children, we work, we help our husbands, we volunteer, we're busy with church ministry, we clean, prepare meals, discipline, pay bills, help family and friends, plus whatever else we can squeeze in our day. Sometimes it's good to STOP being so busy living and enjoy life - enjoy living! Stop and smell the roses. Take a minute and look up at the beautiful blue sky and white clouds. When we stop to recognize and acknowledge God's creation, a sense of peace blankets us. Have you noticed the different shades of green in the trees? Have you watched the trees move and wonder why you can't see the wind? Can you appreciate the heat from the sun without complaining? Stress can be decreased just by taking a minute to embrace nature - by enjoying the beautiful environment surrounding you. The weekend is here and it may be full, but while we're busy living, let's enjoy living!

Time to exhale

The boys' homeschool evaluation was a success and I thank God it's over. Another year of home education is behind us. It's been seven years and I'm still scratching my head and wondering what I'm doing! The boys were so excited about their promotion and wanted to celebrate, but my excitement wasn't the same. I wanted to get back in the bed and exhale. I explained to the boys that Mama's feelings were a little different from theirs because I was mentally exhausted. I had no energy to celebrate, but promised them the family would do something this weekend. I hope every Mother is having an 'exhale moment' and celebrating another completed school spite of what we may have encountered. Celebrate with your children and affirm them of a job well done; they deserve to be recognized! They put alot into the school year and so do we! Time to exhale!

Is School Out?

I'm sorry. I know school is out, but first and second born will have to pick up a book everyday this summer. No reading? No math? No brain stimulation for the whole summer? No way! They will have an enjoyable and relaxing summer, but I refuse to work twice as hard to pull them back in to the learning mode when school starts again. They need a break and so do I, and I'll ensure we get one (especially me), but the books will not be neglected. First born will be volunteering at the library a few days a week just to ensure he doesn't forget what a book is (smile). I guess I have to blame my father for this high emphasis on books. Do I regret it? No, I'm grateful. Is reading for an hour a day a bad thing? Will doing a few fractions a day kill them? I don't think so; they'll be okay. Today is school evaluation for promotion for both of them and we'll take the rest of the week off to exhale from a year of hard work....oh yea, they'll still have to read an hour a day this week. Hey, it's in my blood!

Did You Pray?

While enjoying my relaxing Sunday evening, my doorbell rang. It was an anxiety-stricken friend who had been driving on a spare tire and the tire ripped. She just happened to be near my neighborhood, which made me part of her equation. Okay, Lord, what’s the plan? She asked for a phone book and called each nearby auto and tire store. Her situation became worse because the stores were either closed or didn’t have what she needed. I told her the answer wasn’t in the phone book and asked if she had prayed; she had not. She continued to come up with hasty scenarios of how she could possibly purchase a new tire fixed and get to work in the morning. I insisted she go into another room to sit quietly, pray, and allow God to give her peace. When she returned I made sure we spoke of something else besides that tire. Well, it’s Monday morning and her car still sits in my driveway – I’m still in the equation. I’ll be helping her find a tire before she goes to work this morning, yet I refuse to allow the spirit of anxiety to consume me – he is not welcome here! I have to get my boys to school, my husband has given me a list of things to do, plus I have my own to-do list. Have your way, Lord! It doesn’t matter what the day holds – God is in control. When we are faced with situations that need fixing, we welcome anxiety when we don’t ask for God’s guidance and trust in His plan. Our minds race aimlessly with no direction. How can we hear His soft voice with so much chaos going on in our heads? Every solution to every situation is already set in motion; we just have to listen and follow. I told my friend her evening wasn’t about the tire, but about God using that tire to draw her closer to Him – to seek Him, to trust Him, to follow Him.
What’s your situation today? Did you pray?

Proverbs 3:5,6 (NKJV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.