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The Gift of Motherhood

Happy Mother's Day

Today, Sunday, May 10, marks Mother’s Day of 2020. It is one of the most special days of the year and is the most popular holiday of the entire year to dine out, with nearly half of all Americans hitting a restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Mother’s Day started as an anti-war movement, with Anna Jarvis credited with founding it in the U.S. to promote global unity after the horrors of the American Civil War and Europe’s Franco-Prussian War. I can see why it was started that way–after all, we as moms are in a war with the enemy satan over our children! That’s why it is so important to pray every day over them!

Our three beautiful daughters Eden, Leah, and Heather

Our three beautiful daughters Eden, Leah, and Heather

When I was a child, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a mom and a writer. That’s exactly what happened. Today I am the mom of three beautiful, precious daughters, Heather, Eden, and Leah. I’m also the author of 20 books. I believe that being a mom is the most important, sacred job in the world.

mom and her baby

A mom and her baby

No worldly success that I could ever achieve as a speaker and a writer would matter if I didn’t have a close relationship with my children. Next to my salvation through Jesus Christ, my children are the greatest gifts God has ever given me. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” I so agree with this!

Jesus Christ oil painting

Jesus Christ oil painting

I’m 110% positive that I’ve made lots of mistakes as a mom. Our daughters are grown now and on their own. Since they moved out, I repented to God and our kids for any sins I committed as a mother as Ray and I raised them. I think it’s important to let your kids know that you’re so not perfect and you mess up, too, and that is why we need Jesus as our Savior and the Holy Spirit as our Helper. As I saw on a T-shirt on Etsy, it’s often a“Messy mom bun, Coffee Run, Get it done” kind of day!

Our beautiful daughter Eden with her "mom bun"

Our beautiful daughter Eden with her “mom bun” & her daughter Piper

But I also let our daughters know how very much I love them and how important they are to God and me, and that He has a great plan for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11). They may be grown now, but they’re forever on my mind. Sophia Loren said, “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”

My precious daughter Leah and me and flowers for Mother's Day

My precious daughter Leah and me and the flowers she bought me for Mother’s Day

One of the hardest things about the Coronavirus and the Shelter in Place orders has been that I haven’t been able to see my kids and my grandkids for over a month now. It’s been so hard! With the curve flattening, Missouri’s governor has begun to re-open the state for business. Yesterday I was able to see and hug our youngest daughter Leah! I picked up cheeseburgers and fries at Freddy’s and we went to the park, eating at a picnic table in the sunshine and fresh air. I was so happy to finally be able to hug her! To my surprise, she bought me some beautiful, fresh Azaleas flowers. 

I was so blessed she did this for me, but I told her the best gift was seeing her! I wasn’t able to see Heather and Eden too, but hope to see them and my grandkids very soon.

Ray also bought me some nice gifts: long-stemmed red roses, a Dove chocolate bar, Ghirardelli Chocolate Caramel squares, a pretty coffee mug, and a sweet card. 

Gifts that Ray bought me for Mother's Day

Gifts that Ray bought me for Mother’s Day

Washington Irving said, “A mother’s love endures through all.” This is so true. It’s not always easy being a mom. It is both the greatest and hardest thing in the world.

When they’re sick, all you want is your child to be well. When they hurt, your heart hurts. If they’re stressed out and worried about a relationship, their job, their finances, or the Coronavirus, then you’re worried for them, too. And if they get mad at you over something and stop speaking to you for awhile, you feel as if you’re going to literally die. Yes, this has happened to me with each of our kids at times when they got upset with me over something!

As their mom, I can get on their last nerve sometimes, especially when I’m being a “helicopter mom,” hovering over them and being overprotective. One way I know that I’m irritating them is they will say, “Oh, mother!” (They only call me mother when they’re annoyed; otherwise, I am just “mom” to them!) I’m still very much in process with this, learning to let go and let God, entrusting them into His tender care. He loves them even more than I do!

I’m so glad and grateful that we are closer now and that God reconciled us from past hurts. My children are my very heartbeat and I don’t know what I’d do without them in my life. I praise God for them!

Our family, Ray's 50th bday Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Our family
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Each of our daughters is so beautiful, spiritually gifted, highly intelligent, talented, funny, wise, and their own person. God made them “wonderfully and fearfully.” (Psalm 139:14) Heather being the wise, kind person she is, the adventure gal, and a leader. Eden with her Sanguine, zany, funny personality and her amazing singing voice. Leah with her quiet, peaceful ways, her love for her cat Jax and all animals, and her incredible artistic and musical gifts. I admire and enjoy our daughters. They are unique people, and I love how different they are, made in the image of God. 

Today on Mother’s Day, my prayer for our daughters are these verses:

3 John 4:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

Ephesians 3:20, The Message: “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

Heart on beach  Source: Unsplash

Heart on beach
Image Source: Unsplash

Thank you so much, Heather, Eden, and Leah, for the beautiful gift of motherhood. I love you with all my heart!

For all moms, whether biological, stepmom, adoptive, foster, or mentor to children, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day, one that is relaxing and fun. You deserve it! Your influence and your unconditional love are so important to your children. 

You can listen to my podcast, Nothing Like a Mom, by clicking here

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Blog, Faith, Family, Friendship, prayer, Stress, Travel

Coronavirus: If you feel alone

While the curve is flattening across the United States and the world (praise God!) and some U.S. states now are allowing more businesses to re-open, the Coronavirus crisis isn’t over yet.

Barber shop re-open for business
Barber shop re-open for business
Source: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/states-stay-at-home-orders-ending.html

It’s been so hard to deal with for everyone. I haven’t seen my 3 daughters or our grandkids for over a month now. I love and miss them so much, and just want to hug them!

Our family, Ray's 50th bday Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me
Our family
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

This week a woman on my website subscriber list emailed and asked me to pray for her, when I had my Virtual Coffee & Prayer Zoom meeting yesterday morning. She was alone, with it being 3 weeks until the first anniversary of her husband’s death, with no one around her to support her during this Coronavirus pandemic. She said she’d been crying for weeks.

Older woman alone
Older woman alone

I told her that I am praying for her. So many people, especially the elderly, are in her shoes right now. Others have lost their jobs, with 16.8 million filing unemployment claims in the U.S. in the last three weeks, and don’t have any income coming in right now.

What can you do to help them? Encourage them with these tips:

  • Pray to God first. Just as the children’s song says, “Jesus loves you, this I know.” God loves you so much and He cares about everything on your mind. Pour out your heart to Him, and tell Him what you’re worried about, discouraged over, your fears, stress, depression, and even anger. As my sister Maria (a therapist) says, anger is one of the five stages of grief. We are angry because we are experiencing many losses right now, such as those we love who died from the virus and loss of our freedom, with the Shelter In Place orders. This makes us angry. Spend time with God each day to pray, read the Bible, and worship/praise Him. You may not feel like doing this, but God is always here for you and wants to help you. He will never leave you alone. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV)

  • Get Christian counseling/therapy. To help prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC is recommending social distancing. To help prevent the risk of exposure to Coronavirus for either the therapist or the patient, some therapists are offering online counseling. One of my family members is doing this right now. If you already have a therapist, you might want to ask him or her if they can offer virtual therapy. If you’re looking for a counselor, check first with your family and trusted friends. You can call your local mental health center and/or search online for a therapist who is the right fit for you. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says the pandemic is increasing feelings of anxiety and traumatic stress. I know it has increased my stress (worrying about my family or I or others I love getting the virus; feeling “trapped” in my house from the Shelter In Place; the uncertainty of the future). I’ve talked with many family and friends who are struggling with similar fears. It’s important to recognize and act on mental distress to lessen the impact and find the help you need. 

  • Stay in touch with your family and friends. Normal life has been suspended and it all feels eerily apocalyptic. Due to the virus and Shelter In Place orders, we can’t see and hug our loved ones. It’s painful. But thanks to technology, we can still stay in touch through calling and texting on our cell phones, Google Hangouts, Zoom meetings, Facebook, Twitter, and more. These virtual meetings don’t have to be long, but they can make such a difference so that people don’t feel as isolated and alone. Be sure to especially reach out to the elderly, children and teens, those who are physically sick, and the mentally ill. Check regularly on them. The multiple challenges from the Coronavirus has increased the risk of depression and PTSD. People don’t have other people to go to for their stress. The power of touch releases oxytocin, which is a natural “cuddle hormone.” People aren’t getting the same level of oxytocin release from human contact. I believe one thing the Coronavirus crisis is teaching us is the importance of our relationship with God and others–and how wonderful a hug is! 

family
family
  • You help others. When you are feeling stressed out, depressed, afraid, and anxious, it’s hard to reach out to others. But sometimes that is the very thing that will help us get out of our own funk. Although I personally believe the Coronavirus is from the devil, God is allowing the situation for His glorious purposes–through His people. Use this as an opportunity for good. Volunteer somewhere, either in person or online, such as at Meals on Wheels; donate blood at the Red Cross; give to charities; cook and deliver meals (our local Christian bookstore, The Carpenter’s Cup, is doing this for our community here in Butler, Missouri); sew masks for your community workers; or offer assistance such as creating a virtual storytime library for vulnerable children. One of the things I’m doing to volunteer my gifts and time is a Virtual Coffee & Prayer Zoom meeting on Saturday mornings, where Christian women pray about the Coronavirus and the Shelter In Place order. I’m asking God to eradicate this virus from the earth forever, protect me and my loved ones from getting it, to heal the sick, and for governors and mayors to lift the order(s) in their states and cities, when it is safe to do so.

This is a very difficult time for everyone. Just know that God loves you and is here for you, and this too shall pass. 

I’m praying for you. Please also keep my family and me in your prayers. 

*******

Need some encouragement to pray? Check out my ebook on prayer, Walking With God, available for just 99 cents on Amazon today. You can find out more here

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Blog, Faith, Family, Homeschooling, Marriage, Parenting, prayer, Stress, Travel

It’s still spring

When you read the news today or go on Facebook and other social media sites, almost all you see right now is centered around one word: Coronavirus. As of this post today, there are 14,611 deaths reported world-wide from the virus. In the small, rural town of Butler, Missouri, where I live, as a response to the WHO-declared pandemic, people have been panic-buying toilet paper.

People panic-buying toilet paper Image source: Marketwatch.com

People panic-buying toilet paper Image source: Marketwatch.com

Hand sanitizer, canned goods, frozen foods, bread, eggs, and even dog and cat food are flying off the shelves, too. A Walmart employee told me yesterday when I “just happened” to come upon (some call this “luck”; I call it God’s favor) one of the last few packages of Charmin toilet paper, that as soon as their delivery truck comes in the morning and the employees unload the boxes, the items disappear as soon as the employees put them on the shelves!

Dana Arcuri

Author/Speaker/Coach Dana Arcuri

My dear author/speaker/coach friend Dana and I, who keep in touch on Facebook, via email, and texting, agreed this week about not wanting to hear anymore on social media about “doom and gloom” news. Enough with the negativity! As believers, we are to share the GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST! God’s perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18)

Perfect love Image source: Unsplash

The Bible says in Philippians 4:8, NKJV, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Amen!

Cherry Tree
Image source: Unsplash

When I went to buy Saline solution today for my contact lenses, as I came back home and was walking outside, I noticed a few interesting things.

Despite the Coronavirus and the ensuing world panic, the sun was shining. Beautiful purple Iris flowers were already blooming in my little garden. The birds were singing in glory to their Creator God, not worried about a thing. Two boys were in the yard next door, happily throwing a baseball to each other.

Purple Irises

 

Yellow bush in our yard blooming – I think its name is a Forsythia.

 

Robin on a branch
Image source: Unsplash

Despite the terrible Coronavirus, it is still spring! God’s goodness is evident everywhere, all over the earth.

As Christian believers, we are to be the light of Christ that shines in the darkness. It is certainly spiritually dark right now on the Earth, and people need the hope and peace of God’s love and presence in these frightening, uncertain times.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11, KJV)

We can give that hope by sharing our story with others–our personal testimony. You can find mine in my memoir, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love, available for sale at Amazon here. I want to encourage you, friend, to keep shining for Jesus!

my memoir

my memoir

Today I recorded a video about the Coronavirus and my encouragement not to be afraid. God is bigger than this virus and we can trust Him. You can watch the video here.FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail