Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On Our Hearts: A Godly Home

Are you taking care of your home? I'm not talking about the dusting, cleaning, and the endless pile of laundry. Or the weeding, mowing, or trimming that gives our home curb appeal. Is your home walking in the will of God? You may have your child's extra-cirricular activities all planned out, or even your summer vacation plans booked but have you thought about what's truly important? Just as God has a plan for each of our lives, He has a plan for your family. He desires an obedient household that shows mercy and love not only to each other but to all on the outside looking in. Your home may need a fresh coat of paint on the exterior, but a covering of God's grace on the interior will ultimately increase your home's value.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We are so thankful that You are a loving and forgiving God. Lord we submit every area of our family to You. We ask that You be the head of our household. May we look to you for guidance and leadership. Show us how to be obedient to Your Word and fulfill the purpose that you have set aside for us. We also ask that there be peace in our home. May our words be filled with love and mercy. Let us be slow to anger, and quick to hear. Lord, let us rejoice and laugh with each other. May we freely forgive those in our home, just as you have forgiven us Lord. Thank you for the family that you have blessed us with. While our home may not be perfect, we can rest in knowing that You are, Lord. Let our front door be an entrance to solace and delight to You, God.


"He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built." Luke 6:48

Monday, March 29, 2010

On Our Hearts: Healed

We've all been hurt. Whether it's wounds caused by words or actions, we have all experienced pain caused by someone else. Some wounds we can cover up like a band-aid and forget about the pain. Other wounds are harder to hide; we may look like we've got it all together but when somebody touches that wound we realize just how badly we've been hurt. God wants to heal those wounds. We can be free from the hurtful things of our past just by simply asking for the Lord's healing touch.

Father God,

Thank You so much for Your ability to heal our wounds. We have been hurt and are unable to forget the pain that has been caused. People have broken our hearts, let us down, abused our trust, and rejected us. Lord, we no longer want to just cover up those injuries, we need a complete and total healing. Help us to forgive and forget the pain that was caused by others. We submit those damaging relationships to You, God. Give us freedom from the lingering pain that keeps us from fully being intimate with You God. We want to experience the joy that comes from letting go of past hurts. People will always let us down, Lord. But we rejoice in knowing that we can wholly rely on You. Your Word tells us that You will never leave us or forsake us. Show us how to rest in that promise as you anoint us with your healing power.


"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Scripture: His Promise

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds,
and it will be the sign of the covenant
between me and the earth."
Genesis 9:13

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Scripture: The Only Way

"With all your heart you must trust the LORD
and not your own judgment.

Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road
for you to follow."

Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On Our Hearts: Back To The Basics

Do you ever have days where you feel like the Lord is leading you but you don't know where? Or when life is so overwhelming you just don't know where to start praying? Sometimes we just need to get back to the basics. Lay it all down and let your Father pick it up. He knows what you need. He can work in us despite how we feel, what we do and where we're going.

"... for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

This, then, is how you should pray:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'"

Matthew 6:8-13


Monday, March 15, 2010

On Our Hearts: Dreams

When we were little girls we had dreams of what we would become when we grew up. A princess, the President, an astronaut, a movie star; all of us would fantasize what it would be like someday to do something important. Perhaps even not so long ago you had ambitions of becoming something more; maybe a teacher, a CEO, an entrepeneur or even a mom. But what about the lofty dreams of our youth? You might have even forgotten what your childhood dream was, but God hasn't. And even though it might be too late to become a princess or an astronaut, God knows the dreams of your heart and He wants to make them come true. Yes, even what we might label as unrealistic dreams that we have pushed away. God knows our heart and He can still see us as a little girl pining away at that fantasy.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You that You have not forgotten our dreams, no matter how silly. Thank You for the ability to love us and fulfill our dreams at just the right moment, and in just the right way. We may not wear a crown of jewels or fly in a rocket ship, but Lord You have blessed us in so many ways. Open our eyes so that we can truly see all of Your blessings. Fill our hearts with gratefulness and joy. And Lord, by our example let others around us also be filled with Your presence. May we raise children who are able to see joy in all things, bless those around them, and have a grateful heart. We praise You Father for the desires You have and will put in our hearts. Let us wake up each day with that same passion and eagerness to take on the world that we had as a little girl.


"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Real Moms: Brandie

Welcome to our newest feature "Real Moms". This is an opportunity for us to get to know our fellow praying moms. On Sunday we'll feature a different mom who will share her story of faith and salvation. What a blessing to be able to learn and grow from those around us who can relate to our journey of being a mom. So sit back, grab yourself a cup of coffee and be inspired by the true stories that illustrate God's grace.

Real Mom: Brandie

I first met Brandie at a playdate. Her little boy D is so full of energy and life, you instantly fall in love him. Not to mention his fantastic smile will just melt your heart. Brandie's story is a unique one. As a single woman she decided to adopt D which would take him out of the foster care system and give him a permanent loving home. Brandie doesn't let D's special needs hold either one of them back. She works diligently to make sure that all of his needs are taken care of and is dedicated to finding an environment where D can thrive. As a mother she is patient, loving, and joyful; qualities any mother would be challenged in while raising a very busy soon-to-be six year old boy.

We hope that you will be inspired by Brandie's testimony to her faith as a single working mom. Perhaps many of you can relate to that special calling that led you to become a mom; it is one of our greatest works here on earth. And don't miss Brandie's surprise announcement at the end of the interview!

Moms Blog: Tell us a little about your childhood. Were you raised in a Christian home? Did you have a strong Christian influence or someone you looked up to?

Brandie: I was raised by a single mom who wasn't there most of the time. So I basically raised myself. We did go to church, but it never really meant much to me. I was forced to go, and to me, it was dull. My grandma, who was a big part of my life, went as well but she had very conventional ideas of how children should be and it really turned me away at the time from wanting to be their version of "Christian". I understand now as an adult that my grandma's faith is deep, that she's just very old school in a lot of ways. But at the time, that church style did not appeal to me at all, so it turned me away. I knew there was a God, but just couldn't seem to figure out how to relate to Him. I was very blessed when I went to college to become friends with some awesome people who introduced me to their own church, and it really helped show me God in a whole new light. That there were churches out there that embraced a lot of praise and worship, that weren't so somber. And that it was ok to prefer that. It completely changed my thoughts on how to have a relationship with God, and He was able to use that to draw me closer to Him.

Moms Blog: Share a little about your decision to adopt a child. Where was your faith during that time? Was there something or someone that led you to make the decision to be a single mom?

Brandie: I had volunteered for three years at a shelter for abused and neglected children prior to getting D, and really, my heart is drawn to those kids. It was definitely a God-calling, to say the least. I fought it for awhile, but decided to go ahead and at least start the process and see where it went. I figured with a calling that strong, I needed to roll with it. At the time (well, and still today), my faith was pretty strong, and I wanted to be wherever God led me. To be honest, though, even believing that, I don't think I really believed at the time that what I was doing would end up with me being a parent. I was just taking the steps that He intended, and going with the flow of it, and then lo and behold, there was D. We truly were meant for each other, and I am shown that every day.

Moms Blog: Did you have any doubts about the call that God had on your life?

Brandie: I questioned myself a lot at times about the "how" of parenting a child (especially a boy!) by myself, but never really had doubts about the actual doing of it. I knew that I would know the child God had for me as soon as I saw him or her, and sure enough, upon first seeing D's picture, I knew. And, really, now, three years into this, I can definitely see the benefits to D in it. He gets all my attention. When I first got him, he was in a home with a lot of other kids who needed attention too. They loved him, but I think he was stagnating a bit. And so being able to have all my focus, has been so beneficial to him. And I see that now, and marvel at just another way that it's clear he was meant for me. There are times when things get really difficult with him, and I question if I should even vent about it to others, as I did make the choice to be a single mom, but...God never said it'd be easy. He said He'd be with me all the way through it, and I hold on to that and know that I'm doing the right thing.

Moms Blog: Was the adoption process easy or hard? Who or what helped you through that process?

Brandie: The process itself was lengthy, but it was not difficult. I did have to go through training classes, in which they try to prepare you for the child you might possibly get, giving you the worst case scenarios, but after having volunteered so long with children in the foster care system, it didn't phase me much. I had already seen it all. During this time, I was still volunteering at the shelter, and I had a lot of friend support. I didn't get a lot of support from my family until I actually got D, but I knew I was doing what was right, and that was what mattered.

The actual getting of D, was easy as well. He bonded so very quickly to me, and I have his foster parents, him, and God to thank for that. His foster parents were very experienced and so they prepared him well. They let me send pictures of myself and our house to start introducing me to him before I ever met him. And he, even at barely two years old, knew. The first time I met him, I picked him up when it was time for me to go, and he laid his head down on my shoulder, like it was the most natural place in the world to be.

Moms Blog: Talk a little about your son and how his life has impacted yours.

Brandie: D has definitely made my life interesting. With his special needs, I never quite know what the next day will bring, but to me, I love his personality, and his joy for life...and they just completely outweigh the bad. Sometimes it's hard to believe that I've only known him for three and a half years, but I can't imagine life without him.

Moms Blog: Is passing along your faith important to you? If so, what are you doing to share the word of God with him?

Brandie: Absolutely. I don't want D to have to struggle as much as I did to know who his Savior is. We pray together a lot, but also I let him hear me praying out loud as we go about our day. I want him to know that God is always there, not just at bedtime, not just at dinner time. I love sharing Bible stories with him, and talking with him about what God has done in my life. We do slack a little at getting to church, as for a long time it was difficult to find a church that could handle his special needs. The one we've found that can, is a ways from us.

Moms Blog: What would you like to share with other women who may be currently a single mom or thinking of adopting as a single mom?

Brandie: One of the biggest things, is that it is doable. There are times it hurts me to see moms who can stay at home with their kids, get them immediately after school, spend more time with them, but then I think, the time I do spend with my son, is even that much more special to me. It has been tough figuring out childcare for him that can handle him, but he's worth it. And adopting from foster care, the state has many benefits to support you. This includes (though they are based on the child's needs): monthly subsidies, Medicaid, adoption fee reimbursements, and even college benefits. With all of D's therapy, seizure meds, etc, knowing that it's covered by Medicaid until he's eighteen, is one less worry for me. The few fees I had to pay to adopt, were all reimbursed, so it's not expensive either. Well, the adoption part is not expensive, having a kiddo is, especially one who eats like a football player!

Moms Blog: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Brandie: I haven't made this super public yet, but this is as good a place as any to do it. I'm actually in the process of getting approved to adopt again. But this time it's going to be a pre-teen girl!

Brandie's photos were taken by Chera of Chera25 Photography.