Smudgy Memories

Faith

MandyWritten By: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Motherhood is one of those privileges that offers a mixed bag of emotions. I was thinking about this recently as I recalled an experience I had a couple of years ago.

I watched the excitement on my two-year-old son’s face as he smeared his adorable little handprint…..all over my freshly Windex’d window. How quickly we lose sight of the many reasons we have to give thanks— when something doesn’t go as perfectly as we had envisioned!!

Nooooo!” I said as I watched my efforts fade away into a smudged mess. As quickly as I said it, he turned and walked toward me offering me a tender hug of apology. Afterward he returned to his fresh canvas and continued to make the window ‘his own’.

As I watched Spencer completely discount the work I put into making my window sparkle….I couldn’t help but sit back and thank God for his precious life and his incredibly adorable smile! As I observed from my spot on the couch, I realized just how proud he was of this ‘mess’ he was making! He was bursting with pride as he’d look from the window to me, summoning my approval! I walked over and sat beside him and played along filling his little heart to the brim. “Mommmmmy” he’d say, pointing to our works of art.

Sisters, when those fingerprints start to fade away, I don’t want to look back and regret wasting so much time trying to wash them away! I want to embrace each moment, each smudge, each smile and tuck them all away in my heart.

My daughter brought home a Christmas ornament from school a few years ago with this beautifully fitting poem tucked inside:

Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small,
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls.
But everyday I am growing,
-I’ll be grown up someday,
And all these tiny handprints
Will simply fade away.
So here’s a little handprint
Just so you can recall,
Exactly how my fingers looked
When I was very small.

Yes, motherhood is a mixed bag of emotions! Some days that bag is overflowing 🙂 But, even on the hardest of days, I want to be found thanking and praising my God for every single moment.

Thank You, Jesus, for the the precious lives that You have aligned with mine. Thank You for every smile, every finger smudge, every tender hug. I pray that we will always give thanks; in all of our circumstances. I am overwhelmed by Your love and the many blessings You have given to me— thanks doesn’t even begin to cut it! I love you so much, Jesus, amen!

How Does An Online Book Study Work?

I have received multiple inquiries this week as we approach the start of our Online Summer Book Study on how a book study like this actually works.

I hope these FAQ’s will help with your questions 🙂

Q: Do I need to commit to certain times?
A: No. Our study is crafted in a way that leaves room for flexibility. We understand that not everyone is available at the same time of the day and we also recognize that most people have a certain time of day that works best for them when working on their spiritual growth (…and maybe even a special place in which to do it in.) We want to encourage you to read the book, participate in discussions and journal any thoughts or revelations that you may have at a time that works best for you.

Q: What do I need in order to participate?
A: You will need the book God Is Able by Priscilla Shirer, the internet and a device to acquire our daily online study material (found on our website: weareHisdaughters.com), paper & a pen (for note taking) and a heart that desires spiritual growth.

Q: What are the fees for the Online Book Study?
We are happy to offer you participation in our study at no cost. FREE.

Q: It seems like a lot? What if I fall behind?
A: One of the beautiful things about a study like this is that you can choose to participate in whatever you wish. There will be discussion questions for you to participate in every day right on the website— you can join in whenever you wish, or not at all. There will be some extra fun things in our study group (on Facebook) during the week and we encourage you to join in and make some new friends and get to know the other ladies doing the study— but it is not required. And we have divided the book up into six sections to make studying more manageable for time.

Q: So…how exactly does it work?
A: Every Monday morning at weareHisdaughters.com (our website) there will be a teaching post from our Director of Online Book Studies; Doretta Zinck. It is here that Doretta will highlight the week’s reading schedule as well as key points to remember from the chapter(s) being covered. Doretta will also have a few discussion questions at the end of her post to start some dialog within our online community of ladies. Tuesday-Sunday, our regular writers will also be sharing thoughts on that week’s readings and will pose an additional question for contemplation and discussion at the end of their post. In addition to our weekly readings we have a private Facebook study group (https://www.facebook.com/Summeronlinebookstudy/?fref=ts) where we will socialize and nurture friendships by means of icebreakers, discussion questions, worshipping together and praying together, to name a few.

I hope that this email helps you better understand what our summer together will look like! If you haven’t signed up for our study yet, I encourage you to do so!

Much love,
Mandy Lawrence-Hill
for Team WAHD

 

**CLICK IMAGE TO REGISTER**

{Ministry Mom} Worth More Than Diamonds

MandyWritten by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

….worth far more than diamonds. (Proverbs 31:10 MSG)

The definition of worth is: “the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.

Our culture is insistent that we find our ‘worth’ in various ways. Where do you find your worth?

Do you find worth in your education? Perhaps you have a degree or two from a prominent university, framed and boldly centered on your office wall. Do you find your worth in your job? Maybe you’ve climbed the ladder and have worked REALLY hard to earn the position you possess today. Do you find your worth in a growing platform? Maybe you have double the number of fans on Facebook or Twitter as your competitors. Do you find your worth in your family? I’ll bet you are pretty proud of the hard-working husband and beautiful children you call your own. What about a car? A boat? Your hair? Your home? Your passion? Your talent? Your ministry? (Ouch)

Now, what if the very thing in which you found your worth was stripped away. Would you still be worthy?

What if you have none of these things? Does that make you worthless?

1 Peter 1: 3-7 says this: God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear. You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do. On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while. Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns. (CEV)

Worth has nothing to do with anything you can possess or obtain in the physical sense. Nothing you can buy, earn or create on this earth will increase or decrease your worth. The value you feel in any of the things I mentioned above, or anything else other than God Himself will soon fade away.

It is only when you put your hope and faith in God, without reservation, without holding back, that your worth is far greater than diamonds, my friend.

Don’t settle for anything less.

{Father’s Day Event} 525,600 Minutes

Mandy

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

A tribute to my husband, Nathan Hill, the amazing Daddy of our four treasures.

During the long, agonizing years we spent trying to conquer fertility issues, I often wondered what my husband would be like as a Daddy. I daydreamed about being pregnant and how he would be during the labor and delivery processes. Most of all, I wondered what he would do— how he would react, when the doctor placed a brand new baby into his arms for the very first time— our baby.

525,600 is the number of minutes that are in one year. As I mentioned above we had difficulty conceiving. It turns out our patience was tested and over two million minutes passed between the moment my hubby and I decided to start a family— and the moment that we held our firstborn in our arms. That is a lot of time when you are passionately waiting for something to happen.

I remember the day our son Ben entered the world, so vividly. Watching the nurse hand my husband our first little one, this little man that was a piece of each of us, was maybe the very best moment of my whole life.

Most certainly worth the long wait.

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About five million minutes have passed since we began this journey called parenthood, and I can say without reservation that my husband has proven to be one of the best dads that I know. Not only does he care immeasurably for our four children, he loves them fiercely, and he extends more patience than most people are capable of.

My husband, my kids Daddy, embraces every moment he has with our children and makes every effort to be intentional with his time with them. Time is fleeting and is often the very thing we take most for granted.

A few years ago my husband purposed we set aside every Tuesday (for date night) and every Friday (for family night). Aside from the fact that he prioritized these weekly events in our budget, the greatest gift my husband has ever given myself or his children is the gift of his time. We never wonder about the next time we will get to spend with him because he is consistent and devoted to each one of us.

While so many of us are wishing time away in anticipation for something great to arrive or an event to take place, or while others are griping away that time stands still, I hope that you’ll be inspired by my husbands intentionality and simply enjoy every single minute that you have with your children. With your loved ones.

Time is truly an invaluable gift.

525,600 is the number of minutes that are in one year. How will you spend your minutes?

Mandy

Mandy is the founder of the ministry blog We are His daughters and thoroughly enjoys writing and providing leadership to this ministry. Mandy is an imperfect work in progress! She loves the Lord with her whole heart and counts it her biggest privilege to serve Him in ministry however He leads. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, she now resides in southern Ontario with her family. She has been married to her handsome husband Nathan for 11 years and together they have served in ministry for the entirety of their marriage. Nathan & Mandy have four beautiful children; Benjamin, Sophia; Spencer & Grayson. Mandy is passionate about singing, worship leading and music. She loves reading, writing, taking pictures, studying the bible and sipping salted caramel mocha’s at Starbucks while chatting with a friend! She strives to be tidier, more organized (yes, she is a little compulsive!), a little more Martha Stewart-esque, and a little less ‘unglued’. Most of all she seeks to be holier and to love God through serving her family and her community.

 

{Ministry Mom} Mom, Put Your Oxygen Mask On First

AshleyWritten by: Ashley Sigrest

One of the easiest ways the enemy wears down a mom is to plague her with guilt. As moms we feel guilty for things we haven’t even done. Just thinking about doing something for ourselves can engulf us into feelings of doubt and worry.

We think about having a girls’ night with our friends and before we can get too excited we immediately think about all the ways our husbands won’t do things our way and shut the idea down. We desire to be healthier, but somehow rationalize that one hour at the gym childcare will cause abandonment issues for our kids.

Moms, mommas, mommies, STOP! This guilt is not from God. Especially fictional guilt. Mom guilt can be a heavy burden to carry, but Jesus said His burden is light. What you’re feeling is not from Him. Channel your inner-Elsa and LET IT GO!

I was reminded the other day that flight attendants tell us that in case of emergency, one should put on their oxygen mask first before helping others. This reason is simple. If you can’t breathe you can’t help others. Most moms have this natural nurturer inside that seeks to serve and care for others. We have somehow misconstrued the idea to mean we have to put our needs last …or never. We get so busy with serving our families and other ministries that we get overwhelmed, depressed, and covered in feelings of anxiety.

Take a deep breath sweet sister and put on your oxygen mask. Grab a coffee with a friend, take a long bubble bath, or plan that getaway with your husband. Making yourself a priority once in a while isn’t a sin. It’ll help you be a better mom!

If we allow ourselves to be burdened with mom-guilt all the time then we will never be the moms God called us to be. Our anxieties and frustrations will eventually leak over to our children. We will start losing our tempers more often, our patience will cease to exist, and exhaustion will take over in every area of our lives. We will get to a point that we are of no good to anyone because we can’t breathe. We start suffocating.

Put your oxygen mask on first.

In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Being a mom doesn’t change this. Your identity isn’t found in your kids or how good of a mom you think you are. Your identity is in Christ. He wants us to live satisfied and abundant lives. To enjoy the precious blessings He has gifted us with. Don’t let the enemy steal your joy as a mom and give you a false sense of self and a false reality.

When you take time to properly care for yourself, you will be refreshed and revived to properly care for your kids. About five years ago we had to have our foundation repaired and we had to move into a small room for six weeks. My boys were 4 months, almost 3 years old, and my oldest had just turned 5. Being in that tiny room with three small kids began to suffocate me. There were days I would drop them off at my gym’s childcare for an hour or so just so I could sit outside alone and breathe.

Having that time to myself allowed me to let go of the stress I was in long enough to get back and be there for my kids during that transition. There’s a difference in putting your wants before your kids needs, but making time for yourself isn’t in that category. When you hear the enemy condemning you for taking care of yourself, tell him to leave in Jesus Name and put on your oxygen mask and breathe.

{Ministry Mom} If Only the Lottery gave away TIME!

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

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As I was feeling overwhelmed with my list of things to do recently, I thought to myself that – if ever there was a lottery where the prize was time – I would be the first in line for a ticket. Do you ever feel like there are just not enough hours in the day, days in the week or months in the year?!

What I could accomplish with an extra couple of hours a week, even! Yes, time would certainly be an invaluable win for me.

As I joked with my friend over coffee that day, I silently felt deep conviction over my long list of work that needed to be done. When I got home I began to mentally brainstorm ways that I could fit in everything I needed to do. Imagine my frustration when my mental list kept being crumpled up with the many demands of my family:

“Mommy, look at this superman I drew. I think it’s my best one yet!!”

“Mommy, can you come and hear the song I can play on the piano? I bet you’ll think I’m so much better than yesterday!”

“Mommy, can you play with me?”

“Want to go for a walk to the park this afternoon with the kids?”

…wait. What!? You ask. You were frustrated with those things?! Those are wonderful things.

I’m over here– raising a guilty hand confirming a big, ugly: yes.

My life is filled with a whole-lot-of-wonderful. My guess, is that if you take a step back and look into your life using a different lens that you too will see that your life is full of wonderful things as well.

If we aren’t careful to budget our time wisely – ensuring there is a balance between work, play and rest- we will most certainly gain frustration as an end result. Instead of making those precious memories at the park with my family or playing tractors on the floor with my three-year-old, I stewed about how little time I have to do all I need to do.

We must be careful not to have our plates so full that we can’t make time for the precious lives that we are so honoured to be a part of.

God has blessed us all in incredible ways, friends. Take a moment today to thank God for your many blessings and endeavour to improve that balance between work, play and rest. (Yes, even rest, my friend.)

Father God, please help us to be better stewards of the time you have so graciously given to us. We love you and we want to honour you with each and every moment. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

P.S. My friend Christa Hutchins over at Do A New Thing offers great time-planning tools like:
• Mind-Mapping Tool
• Planning Six-Pack
• Tips and instructions
You will receive these downloads for FREE when you sign up to follow her blog HERE.