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Bittersweet Goodbye Makes Way for a New Thing

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

By: Jennifer Mullen

Good morning, Sweet Mommas.

What a journey we have been on!  Since the day I received the calling to begin working on this project, I have loved you.  I have had a deep desire to encourage you…to strengthen you…to lead you ever closer to the Father.

This journey has been an act of obedience and blessings have resulted from that obedience.  And now I must humbly and obediently release this work to make room for something new.

Gretchen and I have prayed and discussed for months (really since the beginning) about the direction this ministry should go in.  We have acknowledged it is not ours to hold on to, but at times I wanted to because I thought I knew best. After many weeks of back and forth with Gretchen and with the LORD in prayer, one day out of the blue I felt a great burden taken off my shoulders. I knew I had been released from this project.

I know in my heart that this body of work, the blog itself, is complete.

In the stillness I have heard whispers of an all-knowing God, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19a).

So before I tell you the big news about what is to come, I just want to say a few thanks.

Thank you, Father, for taking me through this process.  Teaching me that even in the darkness you are there and your desire is for us to seek your glory.  I stand in awe of the work that you have done through this ministry…not just in the hearts of our readers, but the hearts of our writers as well.

Thank you to my husband, Michael, for you encouraging me for years to start blogging before I even knew what a blog was.  Thank you also for the countless hours of coding and website development.  You make us look good!

Thank you to my original writing team: Gretchen, Kerri, and Melissa.  What a blessing it was for you to come alongside of me and embrace the vision of my calling!  I will never forget the first few times we met to pray about this ministry and how clear it was that it was what we needed to do.

Thank you to the writers who finished the project with us: Dana, Sarah, and Jennifer. You all were so inspiring because you were our readers who caught the vision and wanted to be apart of the process.

Thank you to our guest writers, photographers, and giveaways sponsors.  Your contributions deepened and enriched the mosaic.

Thank you to our readers!  How could I forget you!  I will always cherish you in my heart.  As the Ecclesiastes 3:11 states, I will never know from begin to end what the LORD has done, but I know that He has taken this work of love and used it to encourage you.  You have blessed my live greatly even though I may not even now your name.

And last but not least, thank you to my co-admin, Gretchen.  It has been amazing to see how our friendship has developed through this process.  I can never express in words what your friendship, accountability, prayers, and countless hours on the phone has meant to me.  I could have never imagined what God would have taken us through in developing our characters and leadership skills over the past three years.

Ok, I better stop. It’s like I can hear the music at the Academy Awards telling me everyone is losing interest, but when you have your opportunity you have to take it. 🙂

So what about that new thing?

Well it is Gretchen’s idea.  We are not sure were the LORD will take it,  but like I said sometimes you have to weed out some things to make room for the new work.

We are starting a new site to widen our focus ministry from just moms to all women.

Brace yourself…we will be podcasting!  Please be gracious as we are amateurs. Also we will be networking several Christian blogs on our site.

Where can you find us?  We will be over at Women Living In Faith.  Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter too.

Click here to hear the details of our next big adventure!Facebookcoverwlif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dwelling Place

God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. Psalms 46:5

By: Gretchen Speer

067Every time we drive into a parking lot my kids get the speech.  “Wait for me to get out.  Stay close and hold hands.  DO NOT run away from me.  Listen for my voice.”  My older kids nod and shake their heads as I’m saying it.  I’m sure they are saying it with me in their heads, as they have heard it many times.  My younger ones barely acknowledge that I’m talking.  Either way, I still say it.  I still try to get the message across.

I am the Mom, I know what’s best and when I say to stay with me, it’s because I know that is what’s safe.  It’s what’s best for them whether they choose to acknowledge and obey…or not.

I want to give you my very best parenting advice today.  It’s the only nugget I have, it’s the one thing that I KNOW for sure is the best 055thing you can do for your kids, husbands, friends, extended family.  It’s a very simple thing, but so hard to do sometimes-and that is… Continue reading

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Perfect Timing

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  Isaiah 55:8 NLT

When I was engaged to be married my Granny gave me one piece of housekeeping advice:  Make your bed every day.  She said that even if you don’t have time to do anything else you will feel a sense of accomplishment every time you walk past that well made bed.  I have followed that advice and have made our bed every day for most of our marriage.

I now have a little helper.  As soon as he sees me heading for the bed he follows me.  As I start to pull up the sheets he brings me a throw pillow, “Here you go, Mommy.”  I say thank you and tell him, “Not yet bud.”  As I am walking around the bed, he runs after me with the throw that I put on the bed after it’s made.  “Mommy, here you go!”  Again, I thank him and say, “Not yet bud!”

This morning as I was tripping over him to finish. I felt that familiar whisper.  “His eagerness is sweet, but his timing and maturity need to develope-then he’ll understand how to go about it.”

It stopped me in my tracks.

For months I have been pleading for God to use me in a specific area.  “I’m ready!  I’m willing!  Lets do this!”  Every time I prayed that prayer I got this feeling that I was skipping steps.  His answer was always “You need to grow, you need to learn, you need to be faithful in the small things first.”  I would consider it, shake it off and go on to persistently pray for God to use me in this specific way.  “I’m ready!  I’m willing!  Use me!!”

I have felt unsettled about what to do with the consistent answer I’ve received, and then in a simple every day task God opened my eyes.  Does that ever happen to you?  Isn’t God just GOOD that way?!

Hold off, be patient, be ready to learn…

I will call a bird of prey from the east. I will call someone for my plan from a faraway land. I have spoken, and I will bring it about. I have planned it, and I will do it.   Isaiah 46:11

We can never stop growing, and learning about our Father.  Every season is preparation for the next. Is there something God is stirring in your heart right now?  Trust that His timing is perfect. His plans far exceed our imaginations, His power far exceeds our abilities and  His goodness far exceeds our expectations.

I’m so glad to be on this journey with you Mommas!  Blessings!!

~Gretchen

 

 

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Burnt Toast or the Bread of Life?

“Give us today our daily bread.”  Matthew 6:11

By: Jennifer Mullen

It is morning.  I am checking off tasks on my morning routine “to do” list.

  • Shower. Check.
  • Dress kids. Check.
  • Start breakfast.  Toast in the toaster oven. Check and check.
  • Fill sippys. Check.
  • Say our goodbyes to Daddy as he heads out the door for work.  Check.
  • Empty dishwasher. Fill dishwasher.  Check and check.

We are running late.  Today, time is against me. In the background I hear the fast paced tick, tick, tick of the toaster oven and my mind spirals….

Have I remembered everyone on the Christmas list? Tick, tick, tick.

Am I going to stay in budget? Tick, tick, tick.

Are we going to get to school on time? Tick, tick, tick.

Speaking of school, I forgot to put my daughter’s teachers on the Christmas shopping list. Tick, tick, tick.

Hummm…there goes the tight budget.   Tick, tick, tick.

What am I going to get my husband?  What is he going to get me?  Tick, tick, tick.

Can’t we just skip Christmas and pay some bills?

TICK…TICK..TICK…DING!

And the toast is burnt!

Time is up and we have to go to school.  Load up the kids.  Grab a Pop Tart.  Eat on the way.

In the back of my mind the persistent ticking continues…

TICK…TICK…TICK…

The LORD gently reminds me, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28.)

That sounds nice, Father, but I have too much to do to rest.  Let me tell you about it.  I have the blog.  I have my MOPS group.  I have to do my bible study.  I have to consider what is going on next year.  Will I go back to work?  What about our second car that won’t start?  Gotta get that fixed.  And what about my family.  It is Christmas.  I have all these traditions that I want to put in place.  I have Pinboards that I want to try out.

TICK…TICK…TICK…

He whispers, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” (Matthew 11:29a)

The choice is mine.  Am I going to continue to plow through my day on my own, or am I going to take upon His yoke?

Truth be told, this is my morning every morning.  The worries change, but the Father is consistent   He tries to speak peace into my wearied mind.  Some days I yield.  Most days I ignore.  What do I end up with? Burnt toast!  Figuratively speaking that is.

I get so caught up in all my worries of my life and circumstances that I ignore the things that are meant to nourish.  We have been taught to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”, but we  fail to realize what we are really requesting, what we are really needing, is our daily portion of Jesus not grain.   The Bread of Life has given Himself to me, and I squander that gift.  I settle for the less than satisfying fruits of this world.

It is my goal to always be real with you, my sweet sisters.  I daily struggle with the worries of this world.  I am easily distracted by the tactics of the enemy. I say all of this to encourage you and for you to know that you are not alone.  We are given a choice each day to take upon the burdens of this world or to cast those burdens upon the LORD.  (Psalm 55:22)

We are given a choice, sisters.  He leaves it up to us.  What a gracious God we serve!

Even Though

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

By: Jennifer Mullen

Have you ever felt as though you have had a calling on your life, but not sure how to execute it? 

Have you been standing still because you cannot fathom how it will all work out? 

Do the questions of the unknown paralyze you?

I think about Abram (a.k.a. Abraham).  He too must have felt that desperation when God called him to “go”.  (Genesis 12)

The conversation may have went something like this:

God: Go.

Abram: Go where?

God: Away from everything you have ever known to a new land I will give you.

Abram: I have no idea how to get there.

God: I will show you.

 So Abram had a choice: To walk in obedience or to stand in disobedience.

Hebrews 11 is known as the faith chapter.  In it we gain a deeper understanding for what Abram did as he took the first step. It says that he:

obeyed…

went…

lived in tents as a stranger in a foreign land…

trusted in God to fulfill what He had called him to do….

EVEN THOUGH!

Even though he did not know where he was going.

Even though it did not make sense.

Even though he would never see the full picture.

Even though he “did not receive the things promised; (he) only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” (Hebrews 11:13)

So what has God called you to do? How have you responded?

Are you willing to take that first step of obedience…even though?

Are you will to feel out-of-place in uncharted territory…even though?

Are you willing to trust God to fulfill His purpose in you…even though?

Your obedience sets into motion the fulfillment. But, like the heroes of faith, you may not see the fulfillment. “…none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)

So…EVEN THOUGH…are you going to step out in faith? Your work is a part of a grand scheme. Are you going to join in the effort? It is, after all, your purpose. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) He created you with a specific plan. 

His plan is not that you experience a life of great adventure for your own enjoyment. It is that you experience a life in His hand for His glorification.  Whether it be seasons of mundane routine (diaper after diaper) or it be a whirlwind adventure of worldwide travel or both, your obedience to do what He called you to do is about so much more than you!  It is

…. so that God be glorified.

…so that you can reflect on the path and testify to His sustaining power.

…so that others can peer into your life and KNOW that God is!

…so that those around you will see Christ through you and be redeemed.

I love you, dear sister.  Do not be afraid of the journey.  He is just waiting for you to help show the world His love. Take the first step. The journey is the thing!