It's been a hard year - emotionally and now physically. I was really looking forward to the summer. So many parts of it have been so great. People tend to think that when you are a teacher, that you lay around all summer with nothing to do and have all of the time in the world. If only that were true. Teachers spend a big amount of their summer working on graduate school, and if they are like me, they may not have 25 kids to teach everyday, but they have their own little rugrats at home to chase around. I do crazy things with my kids. 2 days ago, I dug red crayon out of Isla's molars. I had to use a suppository on Adia because she hadn't pooped in 4 days. Even when life isn't crazy, life is crazy. Amidst the bruises, bug bites, and bathtubs full of sand, it's been so nice to have time with just my little insane family. We went to the beach and it was amazing. We had help from Micah's sisters and we have been able to spend a lot of time with some family and some friends. Since we are both off for the summer, we try to cram in as much family time as possible. In the fall, we both start working full time, Micah is going back to school full time, and I am working on some tough graduate courses. We'll hardly get to spend time with each other at all between the work, school work, bath time, clean up, dishes, you name it. Over the summer, I was enrolled in a pretty time consuming graduate course, but I passed with a 100% and my 30 page paper, presentation, and multiple other assignments paid off. Shew!
I've been going through a lot both emotionally and spiritually this summer. I decided to stay home this upcoming school year to watch a few teachers' kids and have the opportunity to stay home with my own. So far, this has been great, but making the decision was so hard. I sobbed more that week than I think I cried when Jack died on Titanic + when Simon Birch died. That is the equivalent to 832 gallons of tears. I do want to teach again in the future, but right now, I want to spend time with my kids during the day and work on my masters in the evenings so that I can just get that done this year. I feel like such a grown up!
I feel so loved. So many people have been praying for me and I can definitely tell. I really hurt my back last weekend. To make a long story short, after a couple of days in the hospital, several rounds of morphine and other pain killers, an MRI showed that I have a disc protrusion between my L5 and S1 on my spine. I don't need to remind myself of just how bad this hurt. Holy mother of all things painful... I couldn't walk for a couple of days and when I finally was able to gimp around, I had to use a walker. I actually own one now. For real. My birthday is next month and I'm turning 28.... not 88. 28. Fortunately, I am healing and some physical therapy should help. I will always be more prone to injury in that area and I will always wrestle with some lower back pain, but I hope to never go through the disc issue again. I'm so thankful that I can move more now and that I've had so many friends and family who have taken care of my daughters, taken care of me, and who have brought us food and just loved on us during this time. And nurses... I can't even begin to tell you where these people come from. A good nurse is an angel. I was not able to use the bathroom by myself while I was in the hospital. I felt like my 2 year old as I'd sit on my portable potty and have to yell, "I'm all done!" (as if I'd get a treat) for the nurse when I was finished so she could help lift me off of the seat and onto my bed. I wish I could give all of the nurses I had in there a million dollars because each of them earned it.
This summer has also brought a lot of spiritual growth in me and has helped me to get to know myself better. I'm so thankful that God loves me and molds me every day. I'm learning that my affirmation comes from the Lord and the Lord alone. I'm learning to have tough skin and a soft heart. I'm learning what it truly means to love people and to be loved by God. I've been so blessed through reading through some of the New Testament and by reading my short little Joyce Meyer apps each day on my iPhone. Here are a couple of scriptures and/or devotions which have touched me. I wrote "Dear Self" at the top of this blog for a reason... I feel like these words were written directly for me and for my heart and God prepared my eyes to see them exactly when He knew I needed them.
What causes us to lose our peace? Lots of things—running late, traffic jams, spilled coffee… That’s why it’s so important to “exercise” walking in peace every day. For example, you have to decide when to close your mouth and not be easily offended. And you have to be OK with being wrong sometimes.
You can’t just sit back and wish for peace, wish the devil would leave you alone, or wish that people would do what you want. The Bible tells us to actively pursue peace. You have to make up your mind to crave peace.
For God’s Word to bear fruit in our lives, it must be sown in a peaceful heart of someone who works for and makes peace. All believers have a responsibility to maintain a spirit of peace so God can spread His Word in and through them.
Are you looking for a breakthrough in your life but no matter how hard you try, it’s not coming? It’s more than likely because you are not living in peace. So I urge you—crave peace, seek after it, and go for it with all your might!
Prayer Starter: Lord, I can’t just sit back any longer, waiting for peace to materialize. I want to actively pursue it. Show me the way as I go after Your peace.
Another Joyce Meyer devotion:
First Corinthians 13:7 gives us a clear picture of what it means to really love people. I can honestly say that obedience to this Scripture has always been a challenge for me.
I was brought up to be suspicious and to distrust everyone, but meditating on the characteristics of love and realizing that love always believes the best has helped me to develop a new mindset.
Suspicion works against the very qualities necessary for godly relationships. Trust and faith bring joy to life and help relationships grow to their maximum potential, but suspicion cripples a relationship and usually destroys it.
Now, it's true that people aren't perfect, and sometimes our trust can be taken advantage of, but overall, the benefits of always seeing the best in people will far outweigh any negative experiences.
If you struggle with suspicion, remember today that we have the wonderful Holy Spirit in us to remind us when our thoughts are going in the wrong direction. Let's ask Him to turn our suspicious thoughts into thoughts of love.
Prayer Starter: God, I understand now that always distrusting and being suspicious of others is damaging to my relationships. Show me how to open my heart to others and to believe the best in ever circumstance.
2 Timothy 2:23-24
Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
Learn to Say "It's None of My Business."
Thousands of things we encounter every day are neither right nor wrong but are simply personal choices—choices that people have a right to make on their own without outside interference.
The devil stays very busy assigning demons to place judgmental, critical thoughts in people's minds. I can remember when it was entertaining for me to sit in the park or the shopping mall and simply watch all the people go by as I formed a mental opinion of each of them—their clothing, hairstyles, companions and so on.
But the Bible says that it's wrong to judge people this way. We cannot always prevent ourselves from having opinions, and there's nothing wrong with that, but the moment we think there's something wrong with other people because they don't share our personal preferences, we have a problem with judging others. In these situations, I tell myself, "Joyce, it's none of your business."
Don't let harmful judgments grow in you. Instead, realize that God made everyone different and it's ok for people to think differently. And when necessary, tell yourself, "This is none of my business."
Prayer Starter: God, I don’t want to judge or criticize others. When I encounter people who have different opinions and personal preferences than me, please help me to see them through Your eyes and remember that my opinions aren’t more important than theirs.
Since I deactivated my facebook for now, I'll close out the blog with some news and a music video from my sister in law, a new blog I am excited to share, and a few pictures.
Please follow me on my new blog!
Click here or go to ifyougiveamommyaminute.blogspot.com. I'm really excited about starting up a blog to show people how I try to save time and money in my makeup routine, in my kitchen, and some other DIY things I may write about. I've only got 2 posts up right now and it's definitely a work in progress! I'm not a pro at this blogging thing, but I'm hoping to catch on soon. My first video tutorial is not so great, but I'm ok with that for now. It was great practice for me and you can feel free to join me in laughing at my awkwardness.
Click on the link below to listen to my sis in law's new music video for "Bigger Than Your Fears." She is amazing. Seriously. Great voice, great soul, and one of my very best friends. I love this girl and I know that you will too.
Also, she is going to be leading worship for the Girls of Grace tour. You can check out the other artists who will be there as well and look to see if they will be at a city near you by clicking here.
Now some photos from our summer vacation. Of course, this is only like 14% of them, but here's a taste. :)
Charleston, SC 2013
|She hated the beach last year and LOVED it this year. I can't wait to take her again when she's got some cousins to bring with her! Hopefully that will happen next summer.|
|Adia adores her aunties.|
|This was our last night in Charleston where we had some delicious local food.|
|Isla had been feeding Brianna a lemon ice. Unfortunately, Isla fooled her and gave her a mouth full of sand for her last bite.|
|We rode a water taxi into Charleston one on the hottest day ever.|
|This trip wore this determined little girl out.|
|When a big wave would hit, Adia called it a, "Big daddy wave."|
|I have no words for this cuteness.|
|We saw dolphins! Like lots of them! Super close up! Within arms distance! Sooo crazy!|