Worrying is overrated…try praying!

 

If I am not careful, I can think too much on a situation of concern.  I have been guilty of overthinking things which leaves me spiritually and emotionally drained.   Someone offends me and I play the offense over in my mind.   I said something to someone, and later start to think if I said too much.  Did I say it in the wrong way? Has this ever happened to you?

Thinking too much opens the door to worry.  If I am not careful I can find myself worrying through the pain, instead of praying through it. Worrying allows your emotions to get the best of you.  Living in your emotions can be deceptive.  Trust me, I can tell you stories on this one.  Worrying is an insult to God.  It says, “I do not trust you.  I do not believe you have my best interest at heart.  You do not know what you are doing so let me worry my little finite heart out and come up with a solution.”  Worrying makes no sense!

The Lord invites us not to worry about ANYTHING but to pray about EVERYTHING!

Worrying is tragic while praying brings a peace that is out of this world.  Prayer says, “Jesus not only do I want you to take the wheel but I want you to pick up this vehicle and carry it.”   I cannot even sit in the passenger seat yelling out which way we should turn because I don’t know.  Prayer is a liberating experience.

  • It lifts burdens that are too heavy to carry
  • Brings order where there is confusion
  • Gives hope for what seems hopeless
  • Affirms me when human words have torn down
  • Gives strength when my strength has failed
  • Reminds me that nothing is too hard for God
  • Helps me to close my mouth and allows God to do the explaining

God’s word tells me to mix in thanksgiving with my praying. When I begin to thank Him, I am reminded of all He has done in the past. This builds my faith and creates an expectation for what He will do in the future.  Thanksgiving chases worry away and welcomes in the peace of God, one that will guard my heart and mind.

Worry too much?  Today I invite you to join me in changing those thoughts to prayer and get ready to be overwhelmed with God’s peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Be Blessed,

Anika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Pray On

 

As you all know by now, I am expecting…great things from God.

In my first and only birthing class over 12 years ago, I learned that I should not let my emotions get the best of me when the pain from the contractions during delivery came.  It was recommended that I use a breathing pattern to help to keep me calm through the contractions. I did not understand why there was such a strong emphasis on staying focused and breathing until that faithful December morning over 11 years ago.  I had NEVER felt pain like that before, it was unreal.  The temptation was there to scream and totally lose it but I REMEMBERED!  I made up my own unorthodox breathing pattern when the excruciating pain from the contractions overwhelmed me.  The” breathing instead of screaming like a mad woman” approach did not cause the pain to go away but it helped to put me in a zone.  I knew that there was no going back, the baby had to be delivered.  The pain was a part of the package for life to come.  THE. PAIN. WAS. A. PART. OF. THE. PACKAGE. FOR. LIFE. TO. COME.  And so it is with life…

 

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Tyrone and I holding our first baby Naomi in 2003. Our 2nd day as parents, if we only knew what was ahead.

 

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Naomi meeting Joel for the first time in 2005.
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Naomi and Joel meeting their new sister Hannah in 2007.

 

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The older three hanging out with their new baby brother Elijah back in 2009.
The older 4 with baby Isaiah in 2011
The older 4 with baby Isaiah in 2011

 

 

Naomi's first time holding Faith. She was beyond thrilled!
The older five with our caboose, Faith Serenity in 2013

Many of my revelations come from my experiences as a wife and mother.

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God reveals so much to me in what may appear to be mundane.  But in my barefoot and pregnant, wiping noses, potty training, nursing, “I said no for the 10th time,”  “what do you want for dinner” seasons of life   I have come to get a greater revelation of Jesus.  Making the mundane magnificent. In life Jesus is teaching me not to get distracted by pain.  He is teaching me to keep calm and pray on.

The pain of waiting for an answer to prayer can cause you to lose it.

The pain of uncertainty and the realization that control is an illusion can cause you to lose it.

The pain from a negative diagnosis from the doctor can cause you to lose it.

The pain from too little money and too many bills can cause you to lose it.

The pain from lost dreams and disappointments can cause you to lose it.

The pain of life is inevitable. If you are not careful, you can be distracted by the pain.  You can forget that you are in labor and though the pain is great, something beautiful awaits you on the other end.  Do not get stuck in the middle of delivery and lose what God has promised.  Screaming and letting your emotions get the best of you can prove to be detrimental.  Today I encourage you to refocus, breathe in the goodness of God, and stand on His promises. Get in a zone and keep calm and pray on!  Prayer indeed birth great things!

“…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”  James 5:16 NLT

 

Guess what? I am expecting!

I am expecting!  I know you have questions, so do I?  When do I deliver?  How far along am I?  What am I having?   I am not sure of any of the above answers. I don’t know when or specifically what, but I know it is going to be big.  It is going to be great.  Bigger than what I can do in my own strength.

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The pain has been intense, at times unbearable. I have had moments where I thought miscarriage was inevitable and I just needed a hug.  I needed reassurance that it was going to be ok.

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But today the life within me kicked.  I am overflowing with purpose, infused with hope, running on faith.

I will give birth to this thing.  I will. I will.  I will.  In the name of Jesus I WILL. Speaking of will, that is all I want to give birth to, His will.   I am pregnant with the promises of God, I want His kindgom to come in my life.  I take on the best birthing positon ever…PRAYER! You did not know? Prayer births things.  Big things. Great things. Impossible things.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Elijah, Hannah, and my personal favorites Isaiah and Faith.

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Are you expecting as well?  I invite you to join me in prayer as you prepare to give birth.  Be Blessed!

Anika

 

 

Praise God Or Go Mad

Today was one of those days that I wish never happened.  It was hard…more than.  I cried till my eyes were swollen.  I tried to pray but could not even make sense of my thoughts.  Thank goodness He is able to interpret my tears.  It was not supposed to play out like this.  Shocked.  Numb.  A dark cloud was hanging over me most of the day.  I had three concerned ladies pray for me.  They prayed and I said Amen but the cloud did not go away.  All the “what ifs” ran through my mind and then the tears started to flow all over again.  I read devotionals, I put on hymns and back to trying to pray again. The cloud was still there.   THEN something happened, I began to praise.  Not because my circumstances had instantly changed but because I came to my senses.  God is good.  PERIOD.  And because He is good He is deserving of my praise.  As I began to praise, I was reminded that He is in control and I can trust Him.  COMPLETELY!  I can go mad playing out the ifs or receive His peace that comes through praise.  My praise brings back to remembrance how He has come through for me in the past, how He kept me even when He did not answer the way I wanted.  My praise put God in His rightful position and allowed me to take a seat in His peace.  Oh Lord, let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen

Quick and Effective Potty Training Method

I do not like potty training. At. All.  But it has to be done. I have often heard that you have to go when the child is ready but I think it is equally as important that the trainer is also ready.  Potty training a toddler is not for the faint of heart.  My almost two year old has been showing signs that she was ready, but I was not…until yesterday.  I was talking on the phone to a good friend and she encouraged me to not ignore the signs and miss this “great” opportunity to get number 6 out of diapers.  I had to get my head in the game.  So off to Walmart I went with all six kiddos in tow.  I was tickled by how excited the siblings were at the idea of getting Faith potty trained.  We picked out a potty and she was beyond thrilled.  She screamed if anyone touched her potty. It had to be in the front of the cart with her.  So one would think that she would immediately sit on it when we got home…not so.  She screamed and refused to sit on the potty last night. I backed off and decided to give it a try again today.  I was pleasantly surprised at how she “Embraced” this new adventure.  I think it may have had something to do with the fact that she did not have 7 people standing there cheering her on to go potty…yeah I suppose that was not a good introduction.  Today most of the crowd was at school so I think she was a little more relaxed.  I have used different methods of potty training but the one that I am choosing to go with has proven to be the quickest and most effective.  It is tiring and flat out gross but totally worth it. So what am I doing?

  1. Clear out my schedule and stay at home MOST of the time for the next three days.  Consider this potty training BOOTCAMP.
  2. Get rid of the diaper in the day and put on big girl underpants.  No pull ups?  Yes, no pull ups, it really makes a difference in the long run.
  3. For most of the day she is in her underwear and a T-shirt (diaper only at naptime and when she goes to sleep for the night).
  4.  Set the timer and every 30 minutes we take a field trip to the potty.
  5. We have toys and books to entertain when we are on the potty.  Believe me when I say the distractions help.  I like to have Legos on hand because the putting together and pulling apart takes a lot of time and is a great distraction.
  6. It can be difficult for a child to get used to the idea of sitting and waiting.  I do not have her stay on the potty for too long, the point is not to torture her.  When she begins to fuss, I let her get up.

This method was not my original idea.  You can read here and  here for more details.  Most promise that if you use this method you can have your child potty trained in 3 days… consistency being key.  I used this method with child number 5 and he was potty trained in a week and a half…not a bad deal.  This is not to say that we did not have accidents after the initial training.

The first day is the MOST DIFFICULT.   Be prepared to clean up messes and your patience to be tested in new ways.  But hang in there, it will click for your child if you remain consistent.  What is your favorite potty training method?

A Servant Motivated by Love

I am STILL thinking about that conference I attended.  I know I have talked about it quite a bit, but it was THAT life changing.  I have been thinking about what Bob Gladstone said about taking on the position of a servant.  Hope it doesn’t sound like I am rambling but I feel compelled to share my heart with you.

Service to the body of Christ is good…very good. However each time I serve I must ask myself questions that expose my motives. Am I serving from a place of genuine love or serving with the expectation of getting something in return?  Am I using my God given gifts to further the body or to showcase myself?  Is my service about me or about God?  Wrong motives can pollute a good thing.  I must confess that I have missed the mark more than once but now more than ever I am asking the Lord to give me the heart of a true servant.  This is my desire and it begins with love.

In all that I do, I must be motivated by love. I want to silence the voices of this world and position myself to hear the voice God, even the slightest whisper.  I want greater revelation concerning this love thing.  I want to get to the place that the Apostle Paul speaks of, a place of true love.  I WANT THAT JESUS.  I don’t want to back down from what you called me to, but I want to be filled up to overflowing with LOVE.  JESUS LOVE.  That sacrificial love that made you freely give up your place of privilege and come down to earth only to be CRUCIFIED for sins you did not commit…divine love.

I want the love that causes me to intercede for my brothers and sisters until something happens because we are family.  I want to hurt when they hurt and be concerned about their highest good.  And if they offend me?  I let it go…all of it…immediately.  I want that love that makes me immune to offenses and the praises of men.  The love that makes me give without any announcements or need to be acknowledged, because I know you see and that is all that matters.  The love that makes me filled with joy about serving others, not looking to be served.    Birth that love in me, then I can serve your people with greater power bringing you glory!

Be Blessed!

Anika