by Louise Shuster
When thinking of 2020, we all thought of a New Year with new possibilities and growth, well we all got that. Being home during this time has taught me that I can grow in any situation. How can we take being told to stay home with our families 24 hours a day a good thing? Not all situations are good. It is what we make of them. You can look at being home with everyone as a bad thing or as a way to start new traditions. We can also think of those that are home alone. They have no one that they can yell at for leaving the toilet seat up again.
Staying home has given me more time with God. I learned about a new app that I love. It is called the Harvest App. I can live stream church services and bible studies. It has been a positive thing for me. My home church is very small and has no online presence. This has also helped me to say "Ok everyone Mom is having alone time" then I go in the closet and hear my thoughts and talk to God. Yes the closet is my spot. I have 4 daughters all at home and a very loud husband. I started going in the closet after my son died to just ground myself and get some peace and quiet.
Grief during this time has taught me that my God can get me through anything when I put all my trust in him. I am trying to be the wife, mother and keep everyone happy while still being a grieving mother. When I feel myself slipping is when I stop and pray. I think about the things my son would say about us staying home. How he would handle this situation? Then I thank God that he chose my son to be called home and for allowing me to be his mother.
It is so important as women to take time for ourselves. Not just physically, don’t get me wrong working out is great but mental exercise is just as important. My sister is always telling me to put my oxygen mask on first just like they tell you on the plane. You can not help your child if you can not help yourself. During this time we literally have to put our own mask on first to go get groceries. We also have to take time for ourselves and have alone time with God. As a mom your children are your everything but don’t forget to stay connected to God after all he gave you those crazy wonderful children.
Enjoy your time at home and know that one day you will look back and not have the memories of being stuck at home. You will have the memories that you made with your family. I have been cooking with my third oldest daughter and I know her and I will never forget the time we spent together. Do things that make each other smile! I promise you will never regret building the largest blanket fort. Make memories, spend quality time, and most important through all this trust in the Lord.
Louise Shuster is mother of five very individual people. One was called home to Heaven September 2018. She is trying to deal with her grief so that one day she can help other moms navigate the rough waters of loosing a child. She lives in sunny California. She home schools one of her daughters while wrangling an enthusiastic toddler. All this while trying her keep her perspective positive and open. Trusting in God to lead the way.
By Nicole Lofton
There is a taboo when it comes to questioning God and it makes people very fearful. I come to find that many people feel as if questioning God demonstrates a lack of faith or that it will result in some kind of punishment. I, for one, used to be one that did not want to question God because I didn’t want to demonstrate a lack of faith. I mean, after all, we are supposed to fully trust him right? So, if I were to question him, would I really be trusting him? This was a battle that many others and I have gone through.
Once I started developing a deeper relationship with God, I began to realize that it is ok to question him. In fact, it is a good thing. Various scriptures in the Bible support this, but one that comes to mind the most is “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”(Matthew 11:28, NIV). If we break down this scripture Jesus is saying to come to him, meaning come to him with your concerns, come to him with what is bothering you and even who is bothering you, and yes come to him with your questions. We can talk to God just like we talk to our friends and family. It’s about the relationship. If we can have regular conversations and ask questions to our family and friends, why can’t we do so when it comes to God?
Now, also pay attention to the end of the scripture “I will give you rest. Why the emphasis on rest? Jesus could have said anything in this scripture, but he decided to put rest. I believe I have a good idea why, it’s because we hold stuff in and try to figure things out on our own. We then begin to worry and stress ourselves out. Those worries and stressors then lead to conditions such as anxiety and depression. However, if we come to him, he will relieve us. We will not have to worry or wonder anymore. We won’t have to try to figure every little detail in that particular moment. We won’t have to continue to cry ourselves to sleep. We won’t have to be fearful, because God will give us rest.
I believe that many of our worries and anxieties come from the lack of answers to our thoughts, desires, and questions. I also believe that many of our disappointments stem from expectations. If we would take a moment to ask God “why, who, what, and/or where” then most certainly he would provide an answer. The answer may not be what we expected, and it may not come instantly, but it will come. Answers come in various forms and sometimes one of those forms is silence. Silence is something that sometimes causes us to be frustrated, but silence is not a bad thing. Silence could mean waiting a little longer, it could mean to slow down, it could mean to trust what God has already given you. The key is to ask and watch what happens after you ask. That’s how you foster a relationship, God loves when we talk to him, but also when we listen.
Nicole Lofton is a anti-domestic violence advocate and certified christian life coach. After surviving domestic violence and other personal situations in life, Nicole felt led to advocate, educate, and empower others through her story. Nicole is also the founder of Faithful Deeds Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to restore hope by being faithful and committed to those in need. Nicole’s faith plays a big part in her personal and professional life. She seeks to be a beam of light that allows people to see the connection between their pain and their purpose.
By Augustina Sauceda
You’ve known for some time that God has His perfect plan for you. Like Samson, the mighty warrior of supernatural strength, your purpose too is God given. No doubt, His plan for you has been mapped out, scripted, and choreographed; with the perfect melodious soundtrack to keep tempo with His timing. Should be pretty easy to follow that beat and dance our way on through – from glory to glory. Then, what are you allowing to snag you up? What are you tripped up on, daughter of God?
Often times our greatest barrier to successfully carrying out God’s plan is returning to that snare that trips us up; once, twice, three times… or more. Each time, we confess it, profess to repent, but do not truly repent. Repentance literally means turning away and stepping away; never again following those steps that led you into the same old rusty-lusty trap. How many times have I known that the snare of temptation would lead me away from God’s will; yet, I allow myself to again be stepping into the muddy footprints on the path that I said I would leave behind? For many of us, that snare is social media – with all of its alluring, self-centered motivations. For some of us, it’s climbing that perpetually unattainable ladder of success – in pointless contrast to what God has planned. For others, our snag is the lust of the flesh – perhaps longing for a relationship with a certain someone we know is less than God’s best for us or flirting with lustful thoughts. We cannot get trapped in these things. Like hitting a sour note on an instrument, these snags take us out of harmony with God’s soundtrack for our lives… and, we know this!
What are we gonna do about it? Keep trippin’? Samson did, he tripped his lustful heart all the way to his destructive end – despite the fact that from the womb, the Bible says (Judges 13), He had a covering of grace and purpose over his life! You - do - too! Think of Samson’s glorious locks of hair (the instrument of his superpower) and compare that to the covering of glowing grace with which God has adorned you. Why then, do we take that grace for granted, and sometimes even use or abuse God’s gifts for our own selfish desires? That’s wrong, woman of God! Samson loved a woman whose name was Delilah; a woman sent for the enemy’s purpose of luring him away and getting into the deepest place of his heart - with the intention of tearing down his God-given strength. What is your Delilah’s name? What is that one thing that the enemy knows he can bait onto the hook and you’ll bite every time? Don’t just try to repent, rinse and repeat (That’s just trippin’)! Truly repent this time and do not repeat. Samson waited ‘til the end to repent, and God allowed one last victory for the kingdom’s sake; however, it cost Samson his life. Don’t wait that long, oh daughter of God. Shh! Listen… can you hear a steady backbeat playing… waiting for you to join in and groove to glory of God’s restful rhythm?
Read more about harmonious living in Philippians 4:1-9 (MSG)
Augustina Sauceda is a third-generation believer in salvation through Jesus Christ. She is in her thirty-third year of learning to walk out her faith. Augustina is the mother of two adult children and grandmother to one jovial granddaughter. In 2020, she and her husband, Ritchie, will be celebrating thirty years of marriage. Augustina has been in the field of education for twenty-three years; teaching K-12 special populations and serving in college administration. Augustina is native Coloradan, who considers herself a life-long learner. She is a contributing editor to a series of character-building children’s books, entitled Lovito. Augustina possesses a sincere desire to edify the kingdom of God through the opportunities afforded to her.
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