You Are Loved- Week 4: God Loves You

DSC_0281

I bought into that lie for way to many years, you know the one about God only using “perfect” people…you may have too. I thought in order to really serve God, I had to be perfect, I had to really have my act together… sweet friends, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ll admit to you that chapter four was my hardest chapter to write and caused me so much fear I almost didn’t turn You Are Loved in to be published. I struggled with the thought of sharing with so many women my deepest, darkest pain….a personal “thorn” I had hidden for most of my life…..from almost everyone in my life. But this past year God has been doing a mighty work in my heart and I came to realize that I was being disobedient to Him by keeping silent. And so there you go, as an act of obedience and out of love for our Lord and for you, I share with you in chapter four one of my deepest, darkest struggles. I do so because I want YOU to know, that no matter what your “thorn” may be, God can use you. God uses imperfect people to do His perfect will.

I’ve learned through my life that it is in our weaknesses where we can find the opportunity to give God the most glory.

Join Sally and me today over at GoodMorningGirls.org where you will find our Monday video, weekly reading plan, memory verse and this week’s challenge! Thank you so very much for joining us this summer as we discover God’s amazing love!!! you-are-loved-spine

You can find our book: You Are Loved on Amazon here. 

Love God Greatly!

Angela

Previous post in our summer book club/Bible study

Week 1- He Calls Us Beloved
Monday- Let’s Get Started
Wednesday- You Are Not Alone
Friday-We Are Loved!

Week 2- Knowing God
Monday- Chapter 2: Knowing God
Wednesday- He Gives Us a Heart to Know Him
Friday-Knowing God: When Doubt Comes…

Week 3-The Rival
Monday- Chapter 3: The Rival
Tuesday- A Personal Message From the You Are Loved Contributors
Wednesday-No Condemnation…
Friday- The Great Deceiver

Want to join our study? You still can! Purchase a book and jump on in! You can go at your own pace! You can purchase You Are Loved on Amazon here.

Let’s Talk:
What stood out to you the most in chapter four?

 

 

When You Need a Bit of Warmth to Get Through the Winter {Mom Heart Conferences in 2014 are Just the Ticket!}

bg-collageby Kristen Kill

The pudgy fingers of my toddler clings to my shoulder as I to type this, a bit slower than my usual speed as I listen for the cues in her breath that tell me she is still sound asleep. Her other arm is stretched across her brother. Yes, there are two of them that have taken over tonight, friends, finally sleeping soundly after one of those drag out bedtimes. Its not every night that my children collapse in my bed, but stretching back into a school routine has us feeling rather harried and just plain worn out. I’m weary and find myself wondering if you might be just a bit weary today too?

Ruth and Misty

The lists don’t ever end and as Autumn blazes on, we are already planning for Thanksgiving and then Christmas and up the hill for one final push to get us back on routine once again. The beautiful part about the cold of winter though? Tea and knitting and movie nights with popcorn….and Mom Heart Conferences. Because mamas,  bit of refreshment is in order for our own hearts and souls. At a time when several of us often feel the cold seems the bear the greatest chill and we aren’t sure we are cut out for this life you are carving and crafting at home, there is a place where you can come to be reminded of beauty and friendship. A retreat for your soul to be warmed and to exhale and recommit your heart to being a bearer of beauty and light and Jesus to our families. Maybe When you need a bit of warmth to get through the winter , you’ll think about joining us?

Our band who represent momheart and itakejoy,  love big and hug long and share openly. We’d love to get to know you; because maybe even more important than the rest (I’m talking sleeping through the actual night and eating a full meal and nibbling on chocolates kind of rest), is the linking of arms and gathering of hearts that want to live this life together.

This year, our conferences have some of the most encouraging speakers ever, a beautiful book table that is full of all the Clarkson Family favorites and opportunities to nurture your heart along side kindreds.

And friends? Right now, we are Giving AWAY a ticket! If you register before midnight on October 31st, you’ll automatically be entered to win a drawing on November 4th. If you win, your ticket price will be fully refunded- how cool is that?! Check out the details for the conferences below and visit www.MomHeartConference.com to register.

Mom Heart Conference 2014

Denver, Colorado- January 24-25, Denver Marriott South

Irvine, California- February 7-8, Irvine Marriott

Irving/DFW, Texas- February 21-22, Dallas Marriott Las Colinas

Click on the image below to see all the details about this year’s conference locations and speakers!

and this poster is printable or downloadable to share with your support group or blog!

MHC2014-PDF-PosterHOPE YOU CAN COME! WE WOULD BE SO PRIVILEGED TO HOST YOU, PRAY WITH YOU AND HAVE YOU IN OUR MIDST!

Would you help us please, and share with your friends on facebook, twitter and in your support groups? Thanks so very much! And please leave a comment and let us know if you have been to a momheart conference and how you enjoyed it!

 

When Life is Too Overwhelming to Ask for Help

Pam

Thankfully there are only a few times in life when things become so overwhelming, it seems impossible to ask for help. I know I need support but crises are coming like rapid fiery darts. As my being shifts from one difficulty to another, the thought rests in the back of my head to reach out for help. Yet, dodging the darts seems to occupy every second.

I think about sending out a prayer request email but quickly decide that the circumstances of my life presently sound like a bad soap opera. Realizing it would take forever to draft the email, I resolve to “lift my eyes unto the hills….where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and earth”.  I mouth the prayer believing it in my head while counting on it to make it’s way down to my heart.

My conversation with my Heavenly Father goes something like this, “Lord, I believe you are sovereign. You are aware of my problems. You have even orchestrated them. …(Well, I probably wasn’t ready to admit that at first, even though I knew it to be true)…. Father, I need some help but can’t get it together enough to even ask. Lord, I think I need about five Aarons and Hurs to lift me up. Father, I don’t even know who they are right now. But I believe I need about five. Would you send them?”  Then I just proceeded to dodge the next dart. He is still patiently waiting on me to embrace the fiery darts and welcome the trial as James admonishes us to do as believers.

Remember when Moses was fighting the battle of the Amalekites (Exodus 17) and as long as Moses held up his arms, the Israelites were winning. But as soon as he dropped his arms, they began losing the battle? So Aaron and Hur each held up an arm of Moses in order for the Israelites to win. I knew I needed some women friends holding my arms up.

I could go into details about the nature of our family’s problems to try and help others know things can get really bad even when you follow Christ. But then the problem gets glorified.

Or I can expound on what God continues to do in spite of my problems. And He gets glorified rather than our problems.

My situation bottomed out on Friday. But on Saturday, at my son’s football game, an old friend approached the bleachers. She did not even have any children playing. She simply came to support a mutual friend’s child.I jumped up to say hi and give her a hug not realizing I would fall apart in her arms. She listened and encouraged me but did not stop there. The following week she showed up at the store with flowers and a card letting me know she had been praying for me. My friend Kelly, who I only see sporadically at surprise times, became an Aaron for me.

Later in the week my first night of community outreach was to begin. Because of circumstances, I was feeling quite disqualified. Yet, God placed me here as leader. I took a deep breath and glanced over the parking lot as women and children arrived. A new attendee named Kay popped out of her car. I was so excited to have her even though it was a surprise.

I could not help but laugh out loud when I actually realized she was my next answer to prayer for an Aaron or Hur. As my story unfolded for Kay, she realized it was divine intervention for her to be there. Kay is the mightiest prayer warrior I know. Because it was our first night of outreach we were able to spend the full time in prayer.

One after another, the Father brought me my five…each a tangible expression of God’s loving kindness and care for his children. They were not the usual ones I reach out to on a regular basis. I was paralyzed. But they were the ones God desired to use.

Once the five prayed me through the first week, I was able to reach out online to long distance prayer support from women who have practiced being intentional to cultivate a relationship even if long distance. We share a common love for God and a common desire to see Him high and lifted up in our homes.

Sisters, NO MATTER your walk in life, your problems or pain, we need a support system, a community of believers to walk through life with.

I believe suffering is inevitable. God uses it to conform us to the image of His son as we depend on Him. And He is so very faithful to be present in the darkest times of our lives. Do you sense Him near you, caring for you, sustaining you during your times of difficulties? Would you ask God to send you an Aaron and Hur? And, like me, even if you don’t know who they are, God does. Ask Him, look and wait for Him to send them.

The battle you are in is not yours friend. It is the Lords, the maker of Heaven and earth. May our Maker be glorified in and through each of our trials.

Arms Held Up,
Pam

***The 24 hours of the .99 on Amazon is now over, but as an almost full length book, I think you will enjoy it and be blessed at the normal price of $4.99! We were so happy that we were able to do a 24 hour deal for so many of you. Thanks for making the launch such a wonderful blessing to us, who work on the blog and books just for you! You were amazing!

tuesday

 

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost–It has made all the difference!


Recently, at the webinar, a mom asked, “How did you face your friends and family who didn’t understand your ideals?”

Taking a risk to do life differently, better, following God’s trail by faith, has changed the course of the Clarkson history–but, by taking the road less travelled, we have witnessed the miracles and provision of the hand of God in amazing ways.

This, one of my favorite poems, (and I made all the kids memorize it) reflects the faith, following ideals, road.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both,
And be one traveler , long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
But as for that, the passing there
had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted I would ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two rods diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

IMG_0163

Since the first year Clay and I were married, we tried each fall to go drive through the mountains to see the aspen when they changed to the golden and read and bronze. A mother is the god-ordained professor who is to open the soul and mind of her children to the truths reflected in God’s creation. God has provided ample evidence of His wisdom, power and beauty in each season.

Last weekend, Clay said that he thought we should take the time to go for one day to the mountains before we left to make time to see the beauty together. Though we were all busy, we are so very thankful for the way it filled our souls to marvel at His handy work and to reflect that each season has its own beauty and evidence of God’s intimate involvement.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.” What a beautiful poem this is–and such a rich amount of wisdom to discuss and reflect with your children—choices have consequences, whatever decisions you make will determine much of the rest of your life–it is so important to let God’s word and truth direct your priorities and decisions. And I love the last line, “And I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Clay and I took the homeschooling road when no one thought we should. We moved our family into ministry situations with us all over the world when no one thought we should. We raised support when certain family members thought we shouldn’t. We left a good job and security and insurance and went 5 years without a salary to start Whole Heart Ministries when it seemed crazy. We committed ourselves to idealistic discipleship grace-based parenting when others thought we would ruin our children. Obviously we have not lived a perfect life and have made mistakes along the way. However, we made our decisions by faith, based on convictions we found in scripture. Our desire was to please God, to build foundations that could not be shaken. God has been so faithful to us each step of the way–we took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference.

Today, I celebrated the 93rd birthday of my oldest, sister type friend’s mom’s birthday. We had a chocolate party for her (brownies, cake, cookies, candy bars and mousse–it was her favorites) She has lived through two World Wars, the depression, breast cancer, the deaths of her husband and two of her three children. Yet, she has lived to see God’s faithfulness.

This summer, fire devastated and destroyed 500 homes. Now we are in the midst of a crisis of flood over our whole state. This year, 3 precious ones have committed suicide that are dear to us. Several of my best friends have had cancer.  We could all be tempted to panic when life feels so uncertain. 

Yet, taking the risky roads less taken has taught me that God is trustworthy. He is in control, He will be faithful to us as we walk roads of faith. It is an important for us to teach our children to have the courage of their convictions to take the road less taken-the road of faith, the road of ideals. Life does not always turn out as we would expect it to, but God is always faithful. We all only have one life to live in which to live by faith in God, to trust in Him and rest in His peace when we are tempted to panic. We are given one life to live for His ideals and for His convictions. Then we will see Him face to face.

Let us be bold before His throne in this challenging time. Let us be of those who do not shrink back. Let us be of those whose hearts remain steadfast even in the midst of trials. God will be faithful to us. We will grow and be stretched and become less selfish and more mature and give our children a better model –if we stay faithful to his call upon our individual lives. He will call each of us to different ideals, but He will call us to step out in faith, in courage and in ministry. May His goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives and may we resist fear and live by faith until we see Him face to face. May God give each of you a special gift of His grace and peace in the midst of your trials. May He allow you to reflect on His beauty in creation as an example of His seasons and may each of you have a peaceful heart. Many blessings of His grace.

As Sarah recently wrote, “Hard realities–broken hearted facts are not ignored but faced with grace. This rises up with a lifestyle of hard work and community that, while never denying grief, yet seeks to move through life with a fragile but real hope.”

Indeed, God led us to take the road less traveled, and that has indeed made all the difference.

The Discipleship & Discipline Webinar

Over 1,000 moms joined us on the Discipleship & Discipline Webinar! If you weren’t able to attend the live course, now you can get it on-demand. If you would like to get access to the Webinar, simply click here. It was so much fun, and we are so excited to share this with you.
webinar

 

No Time to Waste On Stress

180716_10150092251906879_6547458_n
“But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:40-42

As I approach 60 years old in another month, I am more aware than ever that life flies by. The most important investment I have made in my life is to seek to love deeply. Loving my children and husband has required sacrificing my schedule and expectations in order to have time to listen, to be a friend, to share mutual joys and to cry together. Taking time to love well usually requires a simpler life that has the flexibility to cultivate “best friendships” with those are most dear.

Much of my life was lived at such a pace, however, that I felt like I was always in a hurry to get some place or to complete a task. These overcommitted times turned me into more a drill sergeant  than a loving companion. How easy it is to focus on all of our “to do’s” and to miss the magical moments of childhood and celebrating it together rather than gutting it out in frustration.

Statistics show that 88% of mothers feel severely stressed and overcome with anxiety due to poor time management and difficulty prioritizing. In a hectic world that is over-stimulated on our phones, computers, social media, and Starbucks addictions, are we losing sight of what is truly important in the midst of the balancing act? My mind ponders the fact that we were simply not designed to multitask to this extent. We often try so hard to juggle one million ideals, and once we drop one of them, we feel defeated.

As mothers and wives, it is absolutely crucial that we learn to breath, relax, and focus in on what should be prioritized. Life is short and ideals are constantly interrupted, so be sure to focus on the most important. The people in our lives should be the priority. Do the priority people in your life (your children, your husband, your friends) feel that you are often distracted by all the things you do? Do they comment on how much they appreciate your ability to give full attention to them or do they complain that you are not listening?

Are you so stressed about making your home squeaky clean that you don’t make time for game night or a stroll at sunset? Is your mind so preoccupied with getting back to the kitchen to clean all the dishes that you forget to actually enjoy dinner with your family? Did you fill your day with so many errands and “have-to’s” that you ran out of energy to extend a kind word, an affectionate kiss and warm greeting to your husband?

184385_10150092251756879_2293756_n

Psalm 90:10,12 tells us:
“As for our days, they contain 70 years or if due to strength, 80, but soon it is gone and will fly away. So teach us to number our days that we might present to you a heart of wisdom.”

Worst of all, is the neglect of our Father. He is so ready to give peace, to guide us in wisdom through His gentle voice, but if we do not still our souls, we are likely to get into a snit as Martha did. We create our own snits by refusing to take time to be comforted in the presence of our living, loving Father.

We must make time to sit at His feet so we don’t get into a huff. If you are too busy, the consequences will be grumpiness, frustration, and missed opportunities. (What is causing you the most stress and depleting your life? What can you do about it?)

Being women of wisdom means setting realistic goals so that we don’t become drained. When we are constantly operating on a tank of gas that is almost empty, we have little in our hearts from which others may draw. It is so easy to listen to the voices of others and feel the guilt of performing up to other’s expectations, instead of committing to the limitations and strengths of our own puzzle of life.

Make a list today of what you can reasonably accomplish and cut out those drainers that are unnecessary. What do you need to cut out? What do you need to add to your life to give your children more of a sense of love, peace and affection? Getting our priorities in order enables us to be better mothers, wives, friends, and women of God.

Today, each of has a choice–will we take time to celebrate the joys that God has provided? the beauty that He wants us to explore? The sweetness of intimacy that comes from investing heart time with those we love.

Take time to experience His pleasure. Remember: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

The chores and responsibilities will always be there, but the time to invest in the ones we love, will soon be gone.

180714_10150092251281879_4346757_n