Treasure What You Have by Sonya

It is so easy to take for granted what you have and forgot to be thankful over the big and small things! I find we overlook the things and we have a hard time with being content. After being in Ghana, Africa this summer I realized how much we have and how little they have and how to be thankful for our everyday things. ​

God is so good that He gives us more than we need each and every day and treasuring that as a gift from Him is so important. Seeing the people in Africa truly have a heart of gratitude of what they have and be so thankful for what God has provided each day opened my eyes to being so thankful and not complain about what we don’t have.  When I looked around at the villages we served in and noticing that these kids had no toys to play with but the rocks and sticks on the ground and they were completely content and joyful. It made me think, are we that joy filled to treasure what God gives us, not asking for more, but being thankful for what we have each day? The people in Ghana were thankful every day for the one meal, for the same clothes on their backs that they wear over and over again and their mud hut that didn’t have air conditioning or electricity in their 100 degree temperatures.  It was a wakeup call for me to make me realize to appreciate the big and small things and not take things for granted. ​

Jesus said to him, “if you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21. This verse sums it up to let go of the earthly things and treasure what is important and what we have which is Jesus and our treasure in heaven. Wow treasure in heaven, that is the greatest gift we should be thankful for and not allowing the things of this world to distract us from that.  God showed me that in Ghana where the people in this one village lived that out and fully trusted God for their everyday needs! They don’t have medicine close by if they get sick and easy access to transportation or food, but they had Jesus and to them they have everything. Do we find our treasure in Jesus alone?  Because He is the only one worth everything to us and to have our treasure in heaven should be our greatest gift. I have this plaque in my home that reads, “Every day is a gift from God that is why it is called the present.” God is our treasure and our Gift and that is all we will ever need! AMEN!!!!

 

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The Great Divide by Trish

 

It’s amazing to me that just by human nature we gravitate to what is familiar, common, “safe” to us and in doing so we build our network of friends, associates and community around such. In essence, we build our world with a pretty picket fence that only lets certain people in.

Yet we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves. The Bible doesn’t give prerequisites or qualifying credentials for what “neighbors” we are to love. Love your neighbor means just that…whoever you are around!

I was taught from an early age to love people, all people. To look beyond what may be different and celebrate the heart of a person. I was also taught that just by being biracial I would encounter people who could not get past what they saw as different but for that not to stop me from being me, or allow it to hinder my vitality for life. I was no less than anyone else just because I may have been the only little brown girl in my class or neighborhood. I was taught to celebrate the best of the worlds I came from and honor the fact that I was a designer’s original. No one was like me and for that reason, I had something to celebrate and honor.

Coming from that mindset I have very little tolerance for those who exclude themselves from people because of differences such as race, economic status, political views, religion or dare I say it, sexual orientation. I know what the Bible says and I’m not suggesting we compromise values to appease people. However, I do struggle with those who are called to love as Christ loves us and yet sometimes the most hateful things are spewed from those who call themselves Christ followers.

I’m not interested in your bank account, I’m interested in your soul and where your destiny lies. I don’t have to vote the same way as you to have respect for you as a person. I don’t celebrate cliques but rather honor community. I don’t want to change your life, I just want to introduce you to a love that will fulfill you!

I’m not persuaded to reduce my convictions to be your friend. However, I will love you and walk with you in this life and hopefully show you a love more powerful than the things that we don’t agree on. I’m not suggesting we engage in dysfunction or stay in toxic relationships for the sake of love. I do believe in boundaries, but I also know I don’t have to agree with you to love you.

The only way that this love walk can be mastered is when I acknowledge my need for Christ. I’m flawed, broken and in need of love that looks beyond my many imperfections. To me that is what makes grace truly amazing. I get to be an extension of the same love shown to me to someone else.

When we look at the life of Christ, He could be found among those who were considered outcast and the overlooked. When He chose His disciples, He didn’t take a vote on who was most popular or, in today’s culture, who had the most social media followers. He looked at the heart of the person and His presence in their life caused them to turn this world upside down with a revolutionary movement that is in motion to this day!

His love has come to conquer all. His love has come to heal the brokenhearted. His love has come to restore the faith of the hopeless and helpless. His love has come to bridge the great divide.

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A Mother’s Heart by Sonya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Mother’s Day approaching, I wanted to share my heart as a mom and what I have learned from being a mother. This role is one of the hardest things I will ever do in my life but the most rewarding. When I say hard, as a mother you have to be intentional and can’t sit on the sidelines when you raise your children. As a mother, God wired us to be the nurturer and feel compassion for our children. God has given us qualities that we are to bestow on our children and Proverbs 31 explains it.

As you learn and understand Proverbs 31, here are some key things: “Who find a …woman (with a mother heart)? For her price is far above rubies… She … works willingly with her hands… With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard… She reaches out her hand to the poor… Strength and honor are her clothing… She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looks well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” (Prov. 31:10, 13, 16, 20, 25-27) These verses show a mother’s heart and how unselfish and hard working she is for her family. Motherhood is not for the selfish and lazy! You give of your time and talents each and every day and don’t ask anything in return.

I remember the days when my kids where little and I was so exhausted. I wondered if my children really appreciated all that I did for them. Now that my four kids are older, they write me notes and tell me all the time how much they love me and appreciate all I do for them. The notes that stand out are the ones saying I want to be like you and thank you for teaching me about Jesus. That is what brings joy to my heart to see them love Jesus more and more and become more like Him. What rewards your heart as mom? Are we mothering to bring joy to our heavenly Father?

Our children are a gift from God and we have a big assignment as a mother to share the gospel and love of Jesus. Our mother’s hearts should be on mission to share Christ through our love and actions. It isn’t to be done perfectly, thank goodness, as we serve a perfect God and believe me I mess up every day and there is no perfect mom. But we have God to guide our children and lead them in His perfect way and will for their lives.  Having a heart to teach your children the bible and how to pray is rewarding. It takes a lot of work to invest in your children but don’t give up on sharing the truth even if your kids reject it as you are planting the seeds that one day will harvest.

As moms you are on a mission field to guide and raise your children according to God’s word and it can seem overwhelming, but know that you don’t have to do it alone, as God will lead you! Learning to have a mother’s heart takes unselfishness, kindness, love, and boldness to not fit in like the world wants to mold us, but to be transformed into a mother that God has designed each of you to be. Moms you have a light that shines bright and are one of your children’s biggest role models. Be the influence and show the heart of our heavenly Father that gives grace and overflows with love. Have the heart of a mother that cultivates Godly character in your kids and allows them to dream big and fulfill the plans God has for them. Don’t underestimate your job as a mother because in the end, your children see you as their “Hero and #1 Fan.” Be blessed this Mother’s Day and hear the words ending in Proverbs 31: 28, “Her children rise up and call her blessed.” Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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Happy Hour by Bombi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever since I’ve entered back into the work force as a mom I quickly adopted a favorite time of day. It truly is the happiest part of my day. A time to let my hair down, let my guard down, and just let loose. My co-workers agree that this is their favorite hour as well. As a matter of fact, throughout the years I’ve been invited to enjoy happy hour with them. However, I have an ongoing decline to their invite.

You see, my happy hour isn’t the same as theirs. I have a happy hour all my own. Mine doesn’t include chips, salsa, and a martini at the nearby bar. No my friends, my happy hour is the hour I get to go home. It’s the first moments I get to see the faces of my kids and the man I love. Happy hour includes, “How was your day?” and, “Did you find out what grade you got on your test?” and also, “What did you guys want to eat for dinner?” I don’t know if you’ve found it commonplace to meet folks with families who are constantly trying to escape them, but I seem to find them all around me. They might not notice that in passing they air their frustrations about their “baby of a husband” or “annoying kids they can’t wait to send off.” If this is news to you, I apologize, but sadly it’s no exaggeration. These statements are ones I’ve actually heard, and more than once.  While no one’s earthly life is perfect, I can tell you that mine is blessed and an answer to prayer.

I can remember like it was yesterday, trying to be a good mom to my daughter, as a single mom at times it was hard and exhausting, and at times lonely, but I always loved being a mom, and I always desired in my heart to have a chance to parent alongside someone who loved and respected us both. I also desired to have a son, but I wasn’t about to go have a baby out of wedlock to fulfill this secret want. But in the midst of life God heard my heart and within time, I got a chance to know life as I experience it now. It’s one where I don’t have to escape my life and family by being at some neighborhood bar. It’s a life that I don’t dread or want to run away from. It’s one where my husband shares the same sentiment, so rather than run from his place as a leader in our home, he runs to home. It’s a life where I not only have a precious daughter, but also the son I longed for.

Life now isn’t all roses and sunshine at every moment. But it’s still a dream come true, and as I said earlier, it’s an answer to prayer. It’s one I could only daydream about at one point, but now experience it all the time. It’s a life that I know in just a few short years or so, my husband and I will transition into an “empty-nest” so to speak, but one where I don’t have to sit alone as I watch my daughter go off and live life as an adult. It’s a life where we can experience together sending both of our kids into the world to be the best they can be. It’s a life of lots of laughter, and sometimes tears, and prayers, and meals, and talks, and stay at home movies, and homework, and basketball practice, and choir concerts, and all and everything in between. It’s a life of happy hour every day. It’s a blessed life, and I thank God I get to be a mother to my Avery and Noel.  I also thank God I get to do it not by myself, but with my precious, passionate, servant-leader of a husband.

So for any parent reading this, or if you one day hope to be, I challenge you to change the worlds definition of “Happy Hour.”  I encourage you to realize that your life doesn’t have to be one where you’re daily yearning to escape your family to find a breather, but one where you’re experiencing and cherishing the blessing that God always intended it to be. Because in case you forgot, “those kids” aren’t a burden, they are your true reward.

Psalm 127:3-5(NKJV)

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,

The fruit of the womb is a reward.

4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,

So are the children of one’s youth.

5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;

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