In the Valley

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This has been our view today.

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Upset stomachs are us right now. And a random rash. And sniffles.

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And thankfully a couple healthy kids!

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“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

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With media reports of ISIS atrocities, stateside unrest between townspeople and police, relational pains in our extended family, allergies, unusual sicknesses and stressors with moving overseas I have felt like I am in the valley.

But thankfully the Psalmist ends…

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6

And I am going to hold on to that truth.

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A Biblical view of Stay-At-Home Moms

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S.Randall Photography

Before I share my thoughts, I want to be mindful of friends who are not able to stay at home.

I recognize their desire to love & care for their kids but the need for them to work full time outside the home.

Currently staying at home to care for our kids is one of the most important roles God has given me.

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S. Randall Photography The Third

In many ways our society discourages and demeans the work of stay at home moms.

However God sees mothering at home as a prestigious and very important work and uses this time to develop the fruit of the Spirit in ourselves and our children.

Full-time mothering is a period of life where you must lay aside many of your desires to devote your whole self into raising the future generation.

It involves cooking, feeding, cleaning, playing, organizing, driving, disciplining, mentoring, laughing, crying, comforting, reminding and hopefully a little sleeping, every single day.

Salary.com estimates that stay at home moms are worth 113,000 dollars annually.

Mothering is not a charity cause, it’s kingdom work.

It does involve a lot of self-sacrificing and sanctification on our part but the job is simple and eternal.

Mothers get to partner with God to share His Truth & hope to the youngest generation all day long and all night.

We have been given the responsibility & pleasure to raise our children and live out the Gospel to them.

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S. Randall Photography Joyful

Isn’t that wonderful news? I don’t have to be perfect. Christ died for the moms that mess up–BOTH the moms that stay at home and those that work.

The most important role as a mother is to recognize my sin and confess it, letting forgiveness and grace wash over me.

As I live out my faith and invite my kids in, they will witness what is essential in life.

Some exemplary mothers highlighted in the Bible provide us with clues on succeeding in such an intense task.

Hannah, who was accused of being drunk because of her fervent praying for a child became the mother of Samuel, one of the most influential priests to the Israelites.

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She prayed intentionally and intently.

Mary, the mother of Jesus was young and inexperienced yet God chose her to be the one to care for our Savior.

Luke 2:19 reads “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

She took note of the details in her son’s life realizing it was of great worth.

Exodus 2:3 says, “When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and dabbed it with bitumen and pitch.

She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank.”

Moses’ mother had to put her son up for adoption trusting God would care for her son.

S. Randall Photography Girls

S. Randall Photography Girls

These three mothers provide me with a few key reminders.

1. Pray without ceasing.

2.Be involved in your children’s lives.

3. At all times we must trust in the Lord, as we will be called to sometimes sacrifice our desires for the love of our children.

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One of the most vivid times this truth came to life for me, was while I was washing dishes.

One of my sons asked me to read him a book.

I replied that I didn’t have time.

To which he quickly replied, “ Oh Mama, I have time. I’ll give you some of mine.”

That’s just what I needed to be refocused.

Quality time with my children is of greater worth than checking another item off my to-do list.

S. Randall Photography B&W

S. Randall Photography B&W

Though I mess up more times than I care to remember, Romans 8:37-39 reminds me,

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.

Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I think one of the greatest struggles stay at home moms deal with is loneliness.

Yes mothers are surrounded by children, but real Biblical community can be lacking in the homes for moms.

Titus 2:3-5 tells us “They [older women] are to teach what is good and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled,

pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

We desperately need loving, gracious, experienced mothers to come along side and encourage us!

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S. Randall Photography Sweet Cheeks

We must continue to remind ourselves of God’s truth-our every day work is important, it’s kingdom work.

Let us not listen to our culture’s pressure to reduce our significant role in the world but uplift one another as the Bible says.

Every day presents new challenges, when to potty train your child, how to educate your children, what to say yes to and when to say no.

Our family has a lot of unknowns in our future.

We are planning to move to the Middle East, with the federal government financial problems and the sequestration,

my husband’s military career may end, we don’t know what tomorrow holds.

But we know who holds it.

So take heart moms,

“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:11-12

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S. Randall Photography Kids Shot

Finding Joy in Motherhood

In the American culture today, motherhood isn’t prized or valued. It’s seen as a necessary evil. I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. Joy can be found in mothering; we just need to look for it.

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Joy is found in the quiet moments of life when the first little one wakes and you have a precious moment to hold and whisper sweet nothings in her ear.

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It’s found when you are rushing out of the house and have to stop to help a child put on his shoes and he leans over and kisses your cheek.

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It’s found when you are wading into a rushing creek and are guiding your children across it while the baby is on your back and you hear her laugh with glee.

It’s found when you see your children’s eyes light up when they spot a new insect.

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It’s found when no one else is watching.

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It’s found when we seek it.

Easter Rehash

Wouldn’t it be nice if Easter was all pretty?
If everything looked exactly perfect?

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Like these boys, they are look so sharp. Ties, bright smiles and happy hearts!

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But on the original Easter weekend,

everything seemed to go horribly wrong.

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The Jews’ Savior was crucified.

And I bet the post-death environment was quite heavy.

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But then the impossible happened.

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On Sunday morning, Jesus rose again!

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He didn’t reveal himself to astute rabbis or Caesar.

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He first shows Himself to women

and then to close friends.

Simple, normal, joe-schmo people.

The ones who forget to put shoes on their kids.

The ones who spill food on the floor.

The ones who…you fill in the blank.

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Your season of Easter may not have been perfect.

Mine wasn’t.

We actually didn’t do any

(ANY)

Easter crafts or projects or readings.

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The day before Easter, we read the somber and most wonderful story from the Bible.

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Our family may not match.

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We may not wear trendy clothes.

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We may not have high-quality photos.

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We don’t grasp the full weight of His death and resurrection.

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But we do look for the eternal hope.

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Clearly our family history is a little unordinary.

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But reading the Scriptures leave us with little doubt.

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Our treasures are in heaven.

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And no matter how messy,

disorganized,

chaotic,

 discouraging life is,

we put our trust in hope

in a Savior who rose from the dead

to give us LIFE.

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And so we clench that Hope and Life!

Happy Belated Resurrection Day!

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As An Introvert I Like to Travel

This is a brilliantly silly post bent on encouraging the introverts

to step outside their house and try overseas traveling!

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 I grew up in Japan.

I have been to several other countries on various trips.

I married a guy who’s job (Lord willing) is to travel.

But I am an introvert.

Is it possible to love to travel and be an introvert???

Most certainly YES!

One of my childhood homes in Japan

One of my childhood homes in Japan

1. When you are traveling, you’ll likely be in places where there’s a lot of people.

But you don’t have to interact with those people!

You actually can stay incognito and people watch

because others are distracted by everything around them.

I like to people watch, do you?

My family many years ago

My family many years ago

2. If you are going to a country that doesn’t speak your language,

you have every excuse not to talk to anyone!

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh Vegetables

3. Have you ever tried ethnic food in its respective country??

That’s reason enough to go!

And it’ll give you some good conversation topics when you are back with society.

Little Me

Little Me

4. Ironically enough, traveling overseas allows me to meet new friends.

And it’s kinda nice, they typically live all over the world

so maintaining their friendships is easier

because you are reduced to social media and email.

(Pretend Skype & Facetime don’t exist!)

Are you an introvert?

Do you like traveling?