Back to the Basics

Written by: Angela Mercer

It seems to me that parenting has taught me more then almost anything else in my life. One thing I have learned is that I place a high priority on excellence (a job WELL DONE) and sometimes unfortunately—perfection, which, we all know is impossible.

When I was growing up I knew very quickly what made my parents proud or at least what I thought made them proud. I knew what I was good at and what people would praise me for. I knew what made my parents happy and I made sure I did lots of those things.

I recognize this same behaviour in my kids. They will clean up the kitchen or empty the dishwasher after they are home from school. Sometimes when I come home they will go the extra mile and tidy up the whole main living area and light a candle (they know I am a sucker for a beautifully scented candle). They love to see the look on my face when I realize I no longer have to spend time cleaning (and every mama said AMEN!) My kids light up with pride as they see how pleased I am with what they have done. If you are a parent, you know that while you appreciate that clean living room and the added touch of a lit candle, it doesn’t increase your love for that child. You already love them more then they’ll ever know.

Unfortunately, we can take that same approach with our relationship with God. It can be tempting to think that God will love us more and that we will make Him happy with all the awesome things we do. We can work so hard to please Him that we forget He doesn’t require that of us at all. It doesn’t seem to matter how long we’ve been a Christian either, we can still fall back into this trap without even thinking.

I once heard someone say: “There is nothing you can do to make God love you more and there’s nothing you can do to make God love you less. He just loves you”.

While I know that to be true (head knowledge) it is sometimes hard to remember in day to day life and actually live like I believe it (heart knowledge).

My favourite verse in scripture says: The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

When God looks at you, He rejoices. In other words He is GLAD AND FULL OF JOY. I like to picture God laughing.  It’s kind of like watching my son and daughter doing something they love. It is hard to not watch them with pride and a big smile on my face. I love watching them do what they were created to do and it gives me great joy!

God loves watching you, His child, and He is so full of joy He can’t contain Himself. And there was nothing you did to get that kind of reaction from Him. It is purely and simply because you are His and He loves you.

So, what do we do now?

We just simply receive that love and REST in it.

Can I Have Your Undivided Attention?

Written by: Angela Mercer

For the past few years there has been an influx of articles and blogs on how social media and electronic devices are taking over the world and leaving us feeling more disconnected then ever and that kids today have little to no social skills due to the amount of time spent on these devices. While I don’t want to be yet another voice that addresses this issue, I do want to address the issue of listening. Our little fingers can go a mile a minute and text responses so quickly that, when in person, we sometimes lack the skills to truly listen to people.

When others tell you that you are a good listener, it can be tempting to give yourself a check mark after “Listening Skills” and forget that we probably should revisit that and see if there’s room for improvement.

I have had to improve in my listening skills. Always wanting to share my two cents can really get in the way of listening. I heard one author say that most people listen to respond, rather than really hear and understand. And so the latter, has been my focus this year. I want to slow down and really hear what people are saying.

When we take the time to listen are we giving the person our undivided attention? We have become pros at multitasking. Adam McHugh in The Listening Life talks about how our devices are changing the way our brains commute,

“What is less obvious is how the Internet, smartphones and social media are changing the physical characteristics of our brains by rerouting our neural pathways. We like to think that we are the ones acting on our devices, but the truth is that our devices also act on us. Many neurological studies demonstrate that our technology is reshaping our brains so that it not only seems more difficult to concentrate on one thing, it is harder to concentrate on one thing. If we’re immersed in technology day after day, our brains are automatically branching out to do several tasks at once, making it difficult to focus our attention on any one thing. Technology writer Linda Stone says that our brains seem stuck in “continuous partial attention.””

In other words, our brains are taking on the form of our technology. Hearing a million things at once, buzzing from one message to the next, in a constant state of hyper-awareness, over stimulated and unable to concentrate on one single thing.

As Christians, there is the added concern of what this is doing to our relationship with the Lord. Do we listen to him like we listen to people? Do we wait long enough to hear what he is saying in the silence? Or do we rush right onto the next thing as we aren’t hearing from Him quickly enough? Is our relationship with God all one sided telling Him all our woes and giving Him requests or are we allowing time for Him to speak to us as well? Are we so distracted we can’t hear Him anyway as we are thinking about our do-lists and that we forgot to take something out of the freezer for supper.

We live in a time when people more then ever feel disconnected and lonely, desperately seeking their purpose and we have the privilege of knowing a personal God who wants to spend time with His children. He wants to come alongside to nurture, love and tell them all He has planned for them!

Now that I have a 13 year old daughter I want it for her too. When I see her scrolling through Instagram and I see the pains of her feeling left out or less than, the conversation of where our worth and identity come from is always on the table. We talk about it everyday it seems. I encourage her to stay in the Word of God, and ask God what He thinks of her and not leave that up to her friends or social media to decide. But hearing those thoughts from God won’t come to her at the swift click of a button it is going to be an investment and she will need to learn the art of listening.

So, how are your listening skills? Have they waned over the years? Do you find you are anxious for quick answers and if you don’t get the answers right away you go to people or social media for your encouragement? Do you find it difficult to give people your undivided attention? Maybe its time to take a look at our listening skills again and see if there’s room for improvement.

Her sister, Mary, sat at His feet listening to what He taught. Luke 10:39 NLT

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 NLT

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Lamentations 3:28-30 MSG

At Home With God

Written by: Angela Mercer

“Mom, you’ve never taught me to pray”. This was the statement that rolled off the tongue of my 12 year old. I tried to hold my facial expressions back a moment. For a child whose parents are both pastors, how could MY child say this.

Over the years we have been a very open family. Meeting together to discuss goals and our family vision have been something that is very common in our household. Family devotions are not uncommon and we have talked and prayed about many things and our kids have prayed too.

What I would learn through conversation was that my daughter was asked to pray out loud with other adults at a meeting for our children’s program and her nerves got the best of her. She was afraid of what might come out of her mouth and wasn’t sure if what she was about to pray would be good enough or even acceptable.

What a great conversation that was able to take place. How often do many of us make prayer about way more then it actually is. I don’t care about how my children approach me in conversation. I don’t worry about the words they use and if it is perfect grammar and spoken with great eloquence. No! I just want to be with my kids.

That, my friends, is the heart of our Heavenly Father. He just wants to be with us.

One of my favourite scriptures is the vine and the branches and Eugene Peterson in the Message talks about our being in God’s presence as “home”. I love that imagery so much as home is supposed to be the most comfortable place. When you get home you take your shoes off and put your track pants on (or is that just me ;)). You pour a cup of coffee or tea and you snuggle with a blanket in your favourite chair. There is no pretense at home. There is no fussing. When you are together as family you let your guard down. You are safe.

“But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.” John 15

I love home décor but my rule is that it still has to look comfortable and lived in. I want people to relax and feel at home. But there are those houses that look like a magazine and everything is absolutely perfect. The pillows are puffed and perfectly placed and you’re not really sure where to sit. So you sit propped up on the edge of the couch, you feel nervous, a little, as you aren’t sure what to do. They offer you a drink and instead of saying “yeah that’d be great” you say “Yes, that would be wonderful. Thank you”. You don’t dare sit back or even worse put your feet up on the coffee table.

But I believe God wants you to do just that. Put your feet up. Snuggle in close. Throw off the days demands and expectations and just be with him. Don’t think about your “list” of things you need to pray for. Don’t hurry through to the next thing. Be with Him. Just sit and pause for a minute or two.

I love the heart of my little girl. She and Jesus actually have such a sweet friendship and she really hears from Him. She doesn’t overthink it. It’s just a natural outflow of her faith. There are many times when she inspires me the way she hears God speak to her.

I encourage you today, wherever you are in your relationship to God, to make yourself at home in God. Do whatever you need to do to create a space where you can just relax and be yourself. Pick a chair or the couch, I like to light a candle and snuggle in a blanket. If you like to journal, buy a new one and write down your thoughts or prayers. There are so many great devotionals out there to get to the conversation going. But take the time to get to know God. He has so much to say to you and wants to overwhelm you with His love if you will just stop and lean in. Over time, I pray your moments with God will become like those characteristics of home.

Chapter Nine: Hurling Hate or Healing Hearts

Written by: Angela Mercer

Chapter 9

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

Let your gentleness be evident to all… Philippians 4:5

My husband is one of the most determined, disciplined people I know. Once he sets his mind on something, it is done. I have always admired that about him, as my mind always seems to resemble more of a battlefield. I am an early adapter. I love getting started but as soon as the excitement of starting wears off, it becomes WORK. But that is exactly where my husband loves to live. As soon as it gets hard, he is loving it.

We have two kids and one is an early riser and the other cannot get their butt out of bed in the morning. When she does get up, she is grumpy that anything should ever start in the morning. We have tried many different strategies with her but most end up with everyone yelling and heading out to work and school in worse condition then when she first got up. So, my husband tried something new.

Every morning he got up a little earlier then he normally would. He went to the kitchen and began prepping for the day but not quietly like he used to. He did all he needed to do in the morning at a normal volume so that our daughter would hear that it is time to get up. One thing I should mention is that our daughter is very musical. She plays guitar and sings and is almost always found singing, playing or listening to music. It only made sense then that her daddy would choose to play music in the morning to serenade her into the day. When I asked him what he was up to his reply was “I am changing the climate of the morning in our home”. Whatever it was, it was working. She was waking up happy, entering the kitchen positively, getting her breakfast and lunch packed and out the door with only minimal drama.

But it is so easy to go back to the way it once was. Fighting frustration with frustration and anger with anger. How do we get out of the cycle?

I really appreciate the way Karen addresses anger in chapter 9. All our emotions are from God, even anger. It is what we do with our anger and the sin that results from our anger that matters. Anger in and of itself is not a bad thing.

I also loved the phrase “don’t be a gasoline queen”. If I was the one left to help my daughter get up in the morning, that is exactly how you could have described me. Just throw some more fuel on the fire and watch it burn! However, I saw how successful my husband’s approach was and I never want to be a gasoline queen again. It is not effective.

My husband approached the morning with my sweet girl with kindness and gentleness and he won the morning battle. My husband planned for a peaceful morning.

Truth be told, God has the wisdom we need in every situation we face. If we would be willing to go to the Lord and ask Him what we should do He will tell us. If then we plan ahead and approach each situation with gentleness and kindness the outcome would be drastically different then it has been in the past.

The other thing I learned from this chapter is that we really need to remember to die to self. So often what I want and need gets in the way of what really needs to happen. One thing we quote to our kids almost daily is that “being in relationship is more important that being right”. So, I want my daughter to control herself in the morning. I want her to change her attitude and approach the day better. But, as Karen so eloquently states, “mind your own sin sweetheart”. Gulp.

If we will learn to put our needs aside, die to our flesh, die to our rights, I think we will find that we don’t have as much to be angry about as we thought.

Chapter Three: Perfect the Art of the Pause

Written by: Angela Mercer

Chapter 3

I have never been good with pausing. Whether it is thinking through a solution or pausing in a game for the right strategy. In fact, I am so not good at pausing that my co-worker has called me “shot-gun Ange” at times, and we have joked that “it is a good thing that shot-gun isn’t loaded”! I can be trigger-happy. I like to make snap decisions and “get it done”.

I also like to talk. If I could bring you back to my childhood you would say that I have learned the art of the pause more then I think I have. I used to talk A LOT.

Early on in our marriage my mom once asked me if I was doing OK. She noticed that I just wasn’t as talkative as I used to be. I was actually doing just fine. I had just learned to not monopolize all the conversations. But compared to some people, I still do talk a lot.

My closest friend is very quiet. Until I get her in a car, for a long drive and we get talking about something she is passionate about, she is very quiet. This has been really eye opening for me to understand that people can just be less talkative. They have fewer words to speak in a day. At one time this would have made me very uncomfortable. I feel like people are having a good time when there is lots of conversation. During youth ministry days if I was in a carload of kids and it was quiet I would have assumed they were not having a good time and try to do something to encourage chatter. Now, I realize that chatter isn’t necessarily an indication that people are having a good time. People can be having a good time AND be quiet!

What my friend has also taught me is that if I want to hear her heart, know more about her and what is going on in her world, I need to pause. People who talk a lot and always have something to say can be very quick to monopolize conversation. When there is a pause it makes us uncomfortable and we feel we need to fill in the gap. However, when we do that, we may never really get to know our friends. I love how Karen Ehman references “heart drops”. One of her leaders taught that heart drops are “when someone drops a hint about something deeper going on without coming right out and saying it”. That really impacted me. I wonder how many times I have missed something a friend was trying to tell me because they didn’t have the courage to come right out with it. If I was really listening I may not have missed it.

What’s even worse is we take this same approach to our relationship with God. We get so good at doing all the talking we forget to just listen. To pause. And if I want to know His heart, and what He wants me to do, I have to perfect the art of the pause so that I can hear Him.

Just recently I was driving to someone’s house for coffee and I knew that conversation was going to get heavy. I was already starting to rehearse some of the conversation in my head and I was getting ahead of myself. I began to pray and ask God to guard my mouth. To keep it shut unless I was supposed to say something. I asked him to give me grace and mercy and that I would only say what He wanted me to say. We had such a great conversation that day and God totally clothed me in His grace.

I am learning that at the end of the day, my opinion doesn’t really matter. What really matters is that the people I am with know my love and support. I pray that I will learn to approach every conversation this way. It is a beautiful thing and I believe God is honoured when we do this. I would hate to miss something my friend has to say because I was going on about something that doesn’t matter – just to fill a gap of awkward silence. We need to get comfortable in the silence. We need to become friends with the pause. We’ll never know what we may hear next.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing personal opinion. Proverbs 18:2 (NRSV)

Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak …  James 1:19

Community: Better. Together.

Written by: Angela Mercer

God’s heart for community is evident throughout so much of the Scriptures. Psalms 133 says “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”. Then in Hebrews 10:24 it says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another….”

These two verses beautifully represent God’s heart for his children to be rooted in community. I heard it said like this: “community is the intentional pursuit of being intertwined in each other’s stories”. I like that a lot.

Its being a part of the highs and the lows together, being hope for each other when needed, lifting each other up, having fun together, working together, encouraging one another, helping each other grow, pointing one another to Jesus.

Once a month on a Wednesday evening we all get together. Sometimes there are 8 or 9 of us, sometimes more. We all stroll in around 6 with food and children in tow and we dig into a delicious meal and cram around our small dining room table. This one particular night our friend made the largest pan of the most delicious lasagna I have ever eaten. I think prepared food is my love language. I think we all felt the nourishment and love that night as we ate.

We all enjoy each other’s company, and if I were to guess, there are some nerves about what the next hour conversation will entail. This group of people, these friends, we’ve been through a lot in the last year or more. There have been car accidents, cancer and few deaths among other things. It has been a difficult and traumatic few years.

After we finish eating we fill our coffee mugs and retreat to the living room for some conversation. Not everyone likes sharing. We try and keep a limit to how much one shares and there is no pressure whatsoever to share. Our last evening together I opened with a thought from Brene Brown from her book “The Gifts of Imperfection”. She talks about how many of us never learned how to lean in to discomfort as children. When stuff happens in our lives we tend to look for ways to “take the edge off” rather then lean into the situation at hand. For some, that could be drinking, for others food or social media or isolation. We would rather add something to soothe our discomfort than deal with the discomfort itself. I encouraged my friends that being in this circle in the first place was a form of leaning in. We all know during supper that this conversation is what follows. It can be very uncomfortable.

But even as an extrovert, I can see no better way to lean into discomfort then by being in community with people you love, and who love you right back and want to encourage you in your time of mourning and questions. The power of the phrase “me too” is so vital in times like these. We need reminders that we are not alone.

I am so saddened by the fact that so many in the church today, as soon as they are going through a very difficult time, isolate themselves from church. They stop coming. This is the very time when being WITH people is important.

I believe we will never reach our highest potential outside of community and God intended for it to be that way. We need each other. And we are better together.

So I encourage you to lean in. Whatever situation you find yourself in. Lean in. Lean in to church. Lean in to friends who love and support you. Lean in to God’s Word.

Community can look different for everyone. There are no rules. There is no right and wrong. It just has to be valued and intentional. It never just happens. So find your tribe and love them hard, let them love you… and lean in.

My Spirit, My Responsibility

Written by: Angela Mercer

We live in a time when emotions seem to trump everything. Truth doesn’t hold a candle to how one feels about a situation— I know I can be the same way. If something scares me, like the Leviathan rollercoaster at Canada’s Wonderland, it doesn’t matter how many times it has run safely. It doesn’t matter. I am scared to death and therefore I will not get on it!

A few years ago, God was challenging us to trust Him and have faith to purchase a particular home in an area we didn’t think we could ever afford. We were in a season of transition and we were already feeling stretched beyond our gifting’s and trusting God financially as well. Was God really asking us to trust Him with one more thing? Didn’t one more thing break the camel’s back?

It would be an understatement to say that we were overwhelmed and nervous and a little scared. Marriage can be challenging during these times but God made us partners and so He will often build up one’s faith so they can help carry the other. At least this is what we have found. In this case, God had shown his grace to me with an incredible, supernatural faith. I just knew we were about to see God do a miracle. He was about to move a mountain right in front of us.

Our situation looked impossible. And we felt pretty fearful, to be honest. What we learned through that time though, was something we will carry with us the rest of our lives. What we see and what we feel is not necessarily an indication of what God is doing. In fact, many times, it is not. That’s why it’s called faith.

I once heard Brian Houston from Hillsong Church preach a message called “My Spirit, My Responsibility”. I have quoted that to myself and to others so many times I have lost count. We don’t have to live by our feelings. We don’t have to be controlled by our emotions. Proverbs 25:28 says “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down without walls”. Brian preaches that “walls are for protection. If broken, we are vulnerable, we are open to attacks: poor choices, emotional roller coasters, vulnerable to anxiety and all kinds of negativity that want to rule our spirit”.

I am sure you can think of a time that you were an emotional roller coaster and experiencing anxiety or negativity. I have been prone to anxiety in my life, where I can actually feel my blood pressure rising. There were moments of some pretty severe anxiety and fear in that season. But I would quote this line to myself, over and over again: My spirit, MY responsibility. It is no one else’s responsibility to keep my peace of mind or my joy or anything else for that matter. It is my responsibility.

So, how do we do this? Here are three things you can do when you are overwhelmed:

  1. Pause and pray. Bring your emotions to God and ask for His peace to rule in your heart. Col 3:15
  2. Recount His faithfulness. Remember a time when you needed God to come through and He did. He is always faithful and He is always with you and He will be faithful again.
  3. Cultivate a grateful heart. Thank Him for what He is doing. Thank Him for always providing. Thank Him for never leaving you. Allow thankfulness to flood your situation and then watch how God changes your spirit.

I know there are times when things are beyond our control and we need to seek professional help. But I also believe there are many times when we are simply not taking our emotions to God and allowing Him to settle our spirits. So, this is what I am trying to do more of – My spirit. My responsibility. I want all God’s peace and comfort and strength and calm He can give me.

Jesus, let your love and peace rule in my heart. Amen.

Boldly and Confidently

Written by: Angela Mercer

Thursday morning is one of my favourite times of the week. This is the day I facilitate our ladies bible study at church. One of my other favourite things is the mixing of generations. I love the conversation that happens each week. I love how the older ladies love on the young mom’s who need some support and encouragement and I love how the younger mom’s look up to and respect the older ones. I love hearing their stories about how God speaks to them or what He is showing them lately. I love hearing another woman’s perspective on life and faith.

One morning as we were cleaning up, our conversation landed on the topic of confidence. More specifically, growing in confidence as we age. A dear woman whom I greatly admire shared that she has always loved the colour purple but she didn’t really like standing out in a crowd. She would purposefully wear beige, grey and black until the day she realized she LOVES purple. So, she started wearing purple.

Don’t we just do that sometimes? Maybe you can relate? I know I can. I have always said “I just like to fly under the radar”. I have always loved fashion and following trends, but at times I prefer to just wear what everyone else is wearing so that I don’t stand out.

A few years ago when we bought a new house I was determined for the first time to make it mine. Which means, be brave enough to do what I really want to do. Flying under the radar as I usually do seeped into my home décor as well. I would use beige, wood, nothing too trendy, a little more traditional approach. So, when we moved in I painted one wall a dark teal. I love the colour teal and I thought it would look so great. I actually did it! I also love yellow so I spray painted a few things yellow and painted a little side table yellow too. I was having so much fun I started not thinking at all about what people might think and started to only think about what I liked. It was so liberating!

Do you ever wish you could tell your younger self something? Well, I would tell my younger self “do it anyway, there is always going to be someone who doesn’t like it. If you like it– that’s all that matters”!

Oh how I wish I had learned this when I was younger. God created me with certain talents, likes/dislikes, desires and passions and they are all unique to me. When we try to please everyone around us by “flying under the radar” we really just become very unhappy people.

If we are not careful we can take this same approach to other areas of our lives. It is very easy in our culture of social media and connectivity to concern ourselves with what the masses are doing and not enough about what we are doing. We ask why everyone else is fine with this or that. We start to wonder if anyone noticed something we did. If we aren’t careful, we will be so wrapped up in what everyone else thinks, far from who we are, and forget about what our Heavenly Father thinks.

Just as we need to be more confident in who we are and be ourselves, our focus needs to remain on God and doing what pleases Him. I think what truly pleases Him is being exactly who He created us to be. With all your flair and colour! After all, He is the only One that really matters.

“I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139:14

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” Galatians 1:10

Stay Alert!

Written by: Angela Mercer

1 Peter 5:8 Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up.

It’s been almost two years since God did a significant work in my life regarding a particular insecurity that has plagued me since I was a young girl.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. Screaming in my head for God to take every last bit of that ugly root out once and for all.

And He did.

If you’ve ever had that happen – you know. That feeling when there is an intense sense of relief and you know God just did a miracle in your life. There is such a sense of victory! And then, when you are faced with a particular situation where that insecurity rears its ugly head, all of a sudden, you realize you aren’t reacting the way you used to. It still stings but it doesn’t pain like it used to. It is the greatest feeling especially when you come to the conclusion that this is what spiritual healing and growth looks like. You’ve experienced victory over something.

I was ok with the sting. The sting reminded me of what it used to feel like. I would think “if God hadn’t healed me of this I probably would ______________ right now”. I am sure you have your own experiences to fill in that blank.

But the enemy is sneaky and he knows there are a few different ways to trip us up. So if one way doesn’t work he’ll just figure out another way to get a reaction out of you. We can be so naïve in thinking that we are “over” something. We get comfortable and then all of a sudden there it is again.

Carey Scott says it this way: “Victory doesn’t mean we’ll never struggle with insecurity again. Victory means that when we feel the knot begin to tighten, we are quicker to see it and faster to take our tangle to God.”

“…quicker to see it and faster to take our tangle to God”. That is exactly how I would describe this victory in my life. We can all too easily become discouraged when the feelings we have prayed to go away are still there. But how do we measure our growth or answered prayers? I think one way is when something happens and I realize that I am not in tears or full of anxiety – change has occurred. We need to celebrate the moments we notice our insecurities but are quick to pray and release them to God instead of getting caught up all over again!

I guess my real focus now is to not become so comfortable that I am shocked when those insecurities rear their ugly head from time to time. They will come but I will be ready for them and I’ll be quick to take them to God.

For Everything There is a Season

Written by: Angela Mercer

If you were to ask me what was a challenging season of my life, I would have to say the baby/early-child-rearing days were some of the toughest. I know some women who are just such natural nurturers and stay at home moms. I genuinely wish I was that kind of mom. The kind that have schedules and get their hair and make-up done by noon. The kind who don’t stay in their jammies until 4 PM and then quickly change before the husband comes home so you look like you did stuff all day. The kind of mom who makes banana bread and purees their own baby food, plans play-dates and makes homemade play dough. You know that mom.

I was more of the fake til you make it, hair all dishevelled, toys all over the place, too much TV and waiting until husband is home to figure out what I SHOULD have taken out of the freezer so we can eat dinner in a decent time before bath and bedtime routines begin.

If I could go back, I would embrace that season with both arms and legs, like a koala ☺ Why is hindsight ALWAYS 20-20? I would go back, snuggle my babies all day long, plan long play dates, invite people to the house more often, wear my sweat pants out and not worry about my hair or make-up ever getting done. I would make that homemade puree because I want to, not because it’s an expectation. And I would dig into my Bible and enjoy the extra time being at home.

I know those seasons have purpose and a place in our life, but they can be really challenging to get through. I have a greater appreciation for new moms in this stage. It can be a very difficult season personally and usually a difficult marital season as well. It can be straining on all sides. Everyone is just so darn tired!

I don’t know what season you are in right now. Maybe it’s a stay-at-home-mom season, maybe it is an empty-nest season. Maybe it is a sit-and-wait season – for a job, for a husband.

Whatever season you find yourself in I want to challenge you to not waste this time. This is not a holding cell or a waiting room. There is still much to be done and you can be productive in this season. There are people to be encouraged, things to learn that you don’t yet know. This can be a season of preparation.

So, what if we looked into our current season and asked: “God, what do you want to teach me in this season?

I often wonder if God has a particular time set for these seasons or if we, through our attitude, grumbling and complaining, prolong these seasons? My season at home seemed much longer then it was. I didn’t get to where I wanted to go very quickly. It was almost 10 years. I wonder had I approached my season with a different attitude could I have shaved off a few years? I’ll never really know.

From now on, I am determined that I do not want to go through a particular season any longer then I have to. And if any of that is dependent upon MY attitude, I will be better. I will be positive. I will embrace it for all its worth. I will ask God what He wants to teach me, what He wants to change in me, who He wants me to encourage and how I can receive all He has for me. That is what I want. I know it will be hard, but I don’t want to waste any time. God has something for me in every season. Because with God never is ever wasted.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:3