New Season of Motherhood by Sonya

As I think of Spring being here and the new season it brings, it reminds me of the new season of motherhood I have entered in. My oldest daughter is turning 14 and I know people told me to not blink and enjoy each moment because it goes so fast. I didn’t realize how fast it went until this new season of having a teenager and seeing how this last year has just flown by with her. I am feeling emotional and having a hard time letting go. Some days I may see her for a total of an hour a day because she is in school and sports activities. In these times, it makes me really appreciate and not take for granted the times I have with her. As a mom, you want your child to grow and mature but when they don’t need you as much it is hard to make that adjustment. It is natural for a mother to want to feel needed and wanted but as they get older their needs change and their time is divided as they want to hang out with their friends and are involved in activities. It can be hard entering in this new season raising teenagers and family time is precious when you get it.

Consistent and open communication is also key.  Allowing your child to be able to share anything is important to connecting with them in each new season. Something as simple as giving them an email or text to say you love them or hi can help stay connected while they are at school and can help your child feel loved that you were thinking of them. ​

This new season of motherhood has allowed me to focus on being their #1 cheerleader since they are not home as much but watching what they love to do and being present in their activities. Just supporting them in activities and knowing you are in their corner speaks volumes to your child. As a mom in this new season I am learning a lot and that I need God more and more.  Being a mom we want to nurture and comfort but I am learning I have to do that from afar in these teenage years as their needs are different. I am learning to be okay with that and pray more for God to guide me. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer in your new season of motherhood. God will carry you and give you what you need and the wisdom at that time. “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah: 66:13. Knowing this comfort in God helps guide me through this new season of motherhood. When you enter into a new season in motherhood, just know you’re not alone and God is with you every step of the way. ​

If They Only Knew by Trish

Recently I turned the big 4-0. My husband, Marc, and I had an amazing time in Miami for my birthday weekend where we were able to rest, take in the sights, and spend quality time together in such a beautiful city. It was everything I could have wanted. 

One night while driving around the city, we were listening to some worship music and I could not stop the tears from falling. I began crying and turned my head to the window so as to hide the nonstop flow of tears. As best as I could I tried keeping the sobs in, but I was overcome with gratitude and whatever song was playing was only cultivating the appreciation in my heart for God and all He has done for me.  God has been so good to me and I could never say thank you enough. While life is far from perfect, it is not short of God’s blessings and His faithfulness to me!

Marc said something to me and I managed to answer him without turning my head. He thought something was wrong and when I turned my head he was obviously curious as to why I was crying. All I could say was, “I’m just grateful.” I went on to say that people have no idea my story and all that God has done for me.

Earlier that day we had visited a friend in South Florida who my family actually lived with at one time in our life. We faced a devastating season in our lives and were forced out of our home not because of finances, but because of racial persecution in our small town. We packed up a U-Haul without knowing where we would sleep that night. My Mom said, “I can either take you kids to stay with family until I get on my feet or we can stay together in a family shelter.”  I remember knowing in my heart that I didn’t care where we slept as long as we weren’t separated.  As we put the final things into our moving truck to take to storage, our sweet friend drove by. When she learned of our situation, she opened her home without negotiation and we lived with her and her dear husband for a short period of time until we found our permanent home in the lovely town of Mt Pleasant. The name spoke for itself, our new season was one of pleasant restoration.

Sometimes you have to look back at where you’ve come from to offer God another “Thank you” for saving you and providing for you! At the age of 40 I’m mindful of my single mother who was on welfare, raising two biracial children in a community during a time that wasn’t as accepting as it is today. Statistics would assume I would be a product of the “system” but God’s love trumps any and all systems and statistics.

My tears were not of sadness, sorrow or pity, they were tears of joy and gratitude. My story is not more important than yours because we all have one, and all of our stories matter. It has led us to who and where we are today. 

If you only knew my story, you’d know why I love Jesus like I do. If you only knew, you’d know why quitting in life is not an option. If you only knew, you’d know why I am grateful for the past 40 years and look forward to the many years of His faithfulness to be revealed all the more in my life. 

Friendships That Last by Sonya

Friendships are key and a lot of times they are a reflection of who you are. I am finding as I get older that true friendships, which are solid, are a treasure. I truly treasure my friendships as they are the people that carry me through the hard times and celebrate the good times. We are not meant to go through life alone and Jesus always surrounded himself with close friends. His disciples were is backbone to help him in everyday life. Friendships build that community for you and they shape the person you are.​

Since friendships do have such an impact and influence in our lives and that is why it is wise to choose friends that will build you up and guide you to God’s truth and love. Proverbs speaks a lot about friendships and what type of friendships to have.  Proverbs 27: 6 says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Just think, your true friends that stick with you are the ones you can trust to be honest with you about areas you need to maybe grow in as a person. Those friends may share things that you need to work on and hold you accountable, and it can be hard to hear like a wound you’ve gotten when you fall, but it is worth the pain to refine you into the person God desires. Now opposite are those friends that can be deceitful and only looking out for themselves trying to tear you down.  These friends may seem they have your best interest at heart, like kisses you feel love from, but in the end they just want to take advantage of you. The enemy wants nothing more than to see you fail and that love is meaningless. Unlike a sincere friend who is always wanting the best from you and sees “you” for “you.”​

Therefore, pray and ask God to give you wisdom on your friendships.   It is so important because the type of friends you are invested in does speak volumes of your life. Proverbs 27:9 and 17, “the heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Having that wise friend that brings out the best in you is key and gives you strength! Don’t settle for anything less when you look for friendships because these genuine friends are built to last.  Look to those biblical friendships as they are a reflection of who you are and what you value. It takes time to find and invest in those lasting friendships but it is worth it to know you have friends that have your back! ​

Taking Care of Business by Bombi

Putting the needs of others before your own can be an honorable thing.  Sometimes though, the lines can get blurred. Like when you’re a parent, or in ministry, or you are in a place or position where you are constantly meeting needs, you might find you’ve forgotten your own needs. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep, or ate a proper meal, or even had a full glass of water.

“But I want to be more like Jesus!” I feel you, I do too. But if we are giving for a living, we need to remember to fill up. What I mean by fill up is to take care of ourselves in the natural and in the spiritual. Even God rested on the 7th day of His work. If rest was necessary to God it’s necessary to you. 

Many times we find ourselves giving out of our own need. I know there have been seasons when I needed something, but I had to give it first, I needed a friend, but I had to be one first. But when all we are doing is giving and not stopping even once to fill our own cup, eventually we run empty and find ourselves stranded, and in some cases we cease to really live.

Recently my husband has turned a new leaf. He pulled out his old running shoes, put them on, and just ran. He started changing his diet and drinking more water. The result is he’s sleeping better, he’s more energized and alert. He’ smiling and laughing more. He’s happier. Even his skin is glowing! He’s filling his cup back up.  He’s taking better care of himself and I love it, because I love him. I want him to be around for as long as possible and when he takes care of himself, he’s taking care of us. He’s taking care of business.

Taking care of business shouldn’t be a thought for just your boss, or your family, kids, spouse, etc. It includes you. You are a human being with the same needs you are helping to meet in others. In the midst of your daily hard work, don’t forget to help yourself. Treat yourself. Pray for yourself. Do for yourself what you would do for your loved ones. Okay, you read this whole thing, now go take a nap J

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” Genesis 2:2 (NIV)