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    Daily Thread

    Party Central: My Secrets, Soirée Go-To’s and Tips

    One of my absolute favorite things to do is host! Making the people I love feel special on a big day, anniversary, birthday or at a baby shower truly account for some of my happiest moments! If you’ve been following along, you know I don’t usually write about things like this, but over the years, we have been inundated with emails/texts/inquiries about vendors I use for parties I throw (especially the one’s we have thrown for our kiddos, as posted on insta). 

    That being said, thanks for asking! I take NO credit for anything below—I attribute all the beautiful and appearance of “togetherness” to the Dream Team of party vendors and friends of mine. I highly recommend each of them for any soiree (especially for you Houston ladies).

     

    Hayley Hardcastle // HH Design House
    hayleyhardcastle.com | Hayley@hhdesignhouse.com | @hhdesignhouse
    Creative designer, visionary and calligrapher. Maker of all customized party-ware, custom napkins and cups, favor tags, cupcake toppers, yard signs, door signs, food tent cards, bunting banners, signage, custom coloring pages and crafts. Her abilities are endless! Most of what you see here is ordered from Hayley! 

     

    Emerson Sloan
    emersonsloan.com | Houston@emersonsloan.com | @emersonsloanparty
    Adorable, pre-made party décor and my favorite oversized balloons and tassels in the whole world!

    Tonia Lineberry // Sweet Stories Cake
    sweetstoriescake@yahoo.com | @sweetstoriescake1
    Insanely talented baker! She does it all—multi-tiered cakes, custom cookies, cupcakes, cookie favors and more!

    Lindsay Horton // Horton Thompson Floral Design
    houstonfloraldesign.com | Lindsay@houstonfloraldesign.com | @hortonthompson
    Stunning floral designs and centerpieces for any occasion! I use her for both personal and professional events!! 

    Wendi Schoffstall
    wendischoffstall@gmail.com | @wendischoffstall
    Incredible photographer of the details and happiest moments! Having photos of our family memories is one of the most important things to me—I’m fortunate to have Wendi to make sure my kiddos are well documented. She also makes amazing photo books of the party!

     

    I usually always have a face painter or balloon artist and a craft for the kids to do, too. My go-to’s are coloring, glitter, glue, stickers and props (on theme) for the kiddos to wear, but if you want to do something fun and different, cookie decorating is always a hit!

    Thank you so much for your comments and kind words about these fun events. I hope this has inspired and helped you as you plan your future parties! I really couldn’t pull it all off without these talented women! For my visual ladies, I’m sorry for the photo overload, but here are some party ideas and examples from the different ones we’ve thrown over the years!

     

    McKenzie’s 2nd Birthday

    McKenzie’s 3rd Birthday

     

    Noah's 4th Birthday

    Graham’s 1st Birthday

     

    McKenzie’s 4th Birthday

     

    Noah and Graham’s 2nd and 6th Combined Birthday

     

    (The bigger the mess, the bigger the fun...right?!)

     

    Happy planning!

    UNCOM(MEN)

    It’s Father’s Day Weekend and the mere thought of ‘fatherhood’ evokes so many emotions in me that it’s hard to communicate. I’m so excited to celebrate and honor the wondrous fathers in my life this weekend!

    Today, I stand immersed in blessings and in awe of the unshakable and Godly men that surround my children and I. Our legacy is one of valor, faith, family, character, nobility, fierce protectors, humility, and prayer warriors.  By the grace of God, my father is one of the most Godly, purpose-filled, devoted, loving and intentional men I know.  My two grandfathers have been an example to me as I’ve watched them devote their entire lives to serving the Lord, sacrificially love their families, conquer hardships, encourage constantly and pour in to each generation below them.  And now seeing Ellis, my husband, rise up these last 6 years and become the most selfless, wise, dedicated and tender father to our children, I have chills thinking about how undeservingly blessed I am.  It is nothing short of astounding how steadfast and dedicated these men are to their personal relationships with the Lord, first and foremost, and to their families.  I am thankful we have a heritage of Godly men who start their days on their knees in prayer and die to self daily to lead their homes as wise men “who build their house on the rock.”

    “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

     

    None of what I mentioned above, however, has come easily or without tremendous testing and momentous struggles. But even on their darkest days and in their toughest seasons, the men in my life have been examples of what it means to be Christ-like, humble and servant leaders; they’ve proclaimed the Gospel through thick and thin, clung to the promises of God’s Word, and run repeatedly to the foot of the cross for wisdom, guidance and encouragement.  They have demonstrated the power of true forgiveness and that love protects, love hopes, and love perseveres.  And for that, I am truly thankful.

    I specifically want to put the spotlight on Ellis today, to honor him as the leader of our family and the father of our three precious kiddos.  Ellis is a man firmly planted in the Lord and in his convictions—continuously “sowing seeds of peace” (James 3:18), fervently chasing after our God and living with a Kingdom-perspective in mind.  His inner strength, patience, integrity and knowing where his true identity lies give me, as his wife, and our children more security than I could ever imagine.  He isn’t easily swayed or tossed by the wind—the house may shake, but it does not come down!  Ellis’ mandate for his life is to live for the Lord’s honor and glory and not for his own.  It’s certainly not what is popular by the world’s standards of “strength,” but I have seen him love his enemies, pray for those who curse him, and bless those who seek to hurt him.  He does not repay evil for evil and he always says to me, “you will never regret responding in love.”  I have seen abundant blessings come upon Ellis from being obedient to what the Lord calls him to do—he knows our battle is not against flesh and blood. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still” (Exodus 14:14).  I am so blessed to live under the leadership of a man whose heart and soul is sown into the commandments and covenant promises of God’s Word. He has been supernaturally gifted with overwhelming amounts of peace, fruitfulness, patience, grace and mercy. Our children have seen him literally “build his house on the rock” and when the wind blows and the storms come, the house shakes, but it does not come down! He cherishes our family, pours into us and this speaks volumes to our children, too, and I am forever in awe of the man he continues to be! Through trials we are made stronger and certainly more purpose-filled as parents about raising a generation that can square off with the enemy and rise up to fulfill their magnificent callings and phenomenal purposes!

     

    “We will sing of the Lord’s great mercy forever and will proclaim His faithfulness from one generation to the next!” (Psalm 89:1)

     

    “Who am I, O Lord, and who is my family, that you have brought us this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18)

    After all our family has been through, we corporately stand in astonishment of what God has done! Our family has been refined through the fire and some days I can’t believe how far the Lord has brought us. It may not be where we want to be, but is it where we were? No! Praise the Lord for His unfailing love and His massive redemptive capabilities and restorative plans for our family. A city wasn’t built in a day! As much as we would want to, we cannot change the past, but we can change the present and the future. Directly affecting the legacy of our family and the generations to come. It is not easy, but I want to encourage you to stay the course, press in, and fight the good fight! Especially on the days that forgiveness feels like the hardest task. Family is always worth fighting for! Chasing and pursing after the Lord first and your family second bring abundant, indescribable and immeasurable blessings. Endure, persevere, abide, pray, humble yourselves and keep your eyes fixed on the Lord and the goodness of what He has done.

    “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 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. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.” (Psalm 1:1-6)

    “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.” (Psalm 112:1-10)

     “Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and His might, and the wonders that He has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” (Psalm 78)

    “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

    I know these are heavy topics, but felt called to share them with you today! God’s word tells us to “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story!” (Psalm 107:1-2)

    But as much as I want to honor the fathers in my family today, all of the honor and glory is owed to our Heavenly Father, our Abba Father—the only One who is unchanging and dependable at all times.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and is the only One who commits and follows through on all of His promises.  He is the One that will never fail us, never leave us, and never forsake us.

    I know for some, Father’s Day can be a painful day, a deeply sad and tremendously difficult one. But let’s dive in and take a look at no matter how awesome or flawed your earthly father was (or is), not to lose heart, but to see what the Truth of God’s Word says about you!

    His love for YOU is “mightier than the waves of the sea” (Psalm 93:4)! He loves you fiercely and it never ceases! We are daughters (and sons) of the King, adopted and bought with a price, a precious child of God, royal heirs with a priceless inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-8)!

    I pray you take great hope and comfort, no matter the story of your earthly father, that your Heavenly Father created you in the Heavenlies and made you in His image to be fearfully, wonderfully and uniquely made.  I pray you put the truth of what God says about you over your circumstances.

    “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart!” (Jeremiah 1:4)

    “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
    You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
    You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
    Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
    You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” (Psalm 139: 1-5, 13-18)

    “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children.” (Psalm 103: 11, 13, 17)

     I pray you honor the fathers in your life this weekend, but above all, give thanks for a perfect Heavenly Father who adores YOU! We all have so much to give thanks for! Because ultimately we serve a perfect and loving Heavenly Father who adores us, created us, delights over us, died for us, values us, protects us, heals us, restores us, has mighty plans and purposes for our lives!

    “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)

    Happy Father’s Day,

    May Have Mercy!

    I’m feeling a tad helpless, frenzied and busy beyond words today. Does anyone else feel like they’re having a hard time keeping their head above water this month? I don’t know what the deal is with the month of May, but it always, always, always catches me off guard. Every year. I mean we anticipate the craziness of December! But May sneaks up on us like a hungry lion! It's here before you know it, you’re in it’s jaws and the chaotic, hectic month is in full swing before you even realize you’re already behind. I thought I had the time management skill nailed down (thanks to my ICU nurse background), but I’m being proved wrong by May. I’m overscheduled, overbooked and so, so tired. My list is endless, tasks eternal, jobs ceaseless, kids activities never-ending. I need a nap. And a drink. And also a good laugh (or cry). Is that too much to ask for?! 

    While I write all of this, I have to reiterate: I’m thankful, but sinking. I have to make light of it before my head explodes. But spring at the Welker house has looked like running chaos: Noah and Graham’s birthdays and parties, school field days, sports, end of year parties, field trips, thank you notes, recitals, teacher gifts, practices, a trip to the ER, TODAY Show feature, Mother’s Day, bible studies, and an RN license renewals (just to name a few). I’m tired just thinking about it all, and I’m generally pretty high-energy! It’s been 31 days of complete disarray! May, have mercy!

     

    Don’t get me started with laundry, grocery shopping and cooking dinner. Who even has time for that? Between carpool, play dates, practices, appointments/check ups, and work meetings, it’s by the grace of God that anything gets done. My weeks as mom are filled to the brim, and there’s no exception to it at the office either. Our weeks look like scheduling sales and emails, and meetings with editors, producers and buyers. I love being a working mom and wife—I wouldn’t have it any other way, except for however it is in May. Let’s get real with ourselves and call it May Madness instead of March Madness!

     

    I honestly have to ask: how did people survive without iPhones? Praise hands up to the good Lord above for technology. Without it, I can’t even. I’m quite literally a mobile office—stirring the pot on the stove and answering emails or scheduling appointments and bathing the kids. I need a break, who’s with me?

    You could call me a passionate person—I put my whole heart into things, so when I feel like I’m doing less than that, it’s discouraging. Divided attention, spread too thin, feeling like I’m doing a poor job—get behind me Satan. Lord, I need thee every hour. I need all the grace in these busy seasons. My closest girlfriends have assured me I am not alone in this deep-end, so be encouraged—we’re all in the trenches together. 

    Here are my life hacks—without them I would be S.O.L:

    • Dry Shampoo
    • Amazon Prime
    • Workout clothes
    • Chocolate covered espresso beans
    • ‘New Morning Mercies’ by Paul David Tripp (I will recommend this daily devotional until I’m blue in the face—this was one of the books that truly changed my life. Click here to check it out!)
    • Worship music – my personal favorite right now is the Shane & Shane Psalms album. I put it on repeat throughout the day to set the tone for my heart and mind. (Click here to check it out!)
    • Scripture – I have these verses hanging next to my desk for good reason. In the midst of chaos and the hustle at GT, they provide peaceful, truth-filled reminders to me and my team.
      • “The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with His love.” Zephaniah 3:17
      • Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
      • “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7
      • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

    If you need one more example of how this month has gone for me, I’m writing this from the lobby of my daughter’s ‘closed curtain’ ballet class. We all deserve a medal for warring through May. Can I get an amen for June and sleeping in and staying in our PJ’s, and having nowhere to be? I haven’t signed the kids up for anything over the summer yet, but I love the thought of being at home with one another without an agenda.

    Hold your head up high, speak words of life and encourage one another, start your days off with prayer and scripture, give grace to yourself, and let’s finish this month with a bang! We. Can. Do this! (Sorry to get all enthusiastic on you—the former cheerleader in me defaults to encouragement. Sorry not sorry. Ha!)

    Let’s give thanks because these truly are the days!

     

    Happy Mother's Day!

    It’s Mother’s Day Weekend and because it was also one of my kiddos birthdays this week too, I’ve certainly been thinking a lot about parenting and the colossal role I have as ‘mother’!

    Before any flight takes off, the flight attendants request that in case of a decrease in oxygen in the cabin, you must put your mask on first before assisting others (because God knows we aren’t going to be helping anybody if we can’t breathe)! Much in the same way is the truth of how that applies to motherhood and realizing the importance of that request-- taking time for you! Not selfishly, but as one of the leaders of your home to be constantly “putting your oxygen mask on first” – meaning personally getting right before the Lord, and asking Him continuously for wholeness, strength, healing, perseverance and wisdom. How can we, as mothers, help or guide anyone if we aren’t getting ourselves right first? For me, getting alone time in the morning with the Lord and my 45-minute walks everyday are crucial and the key to my existence (ha!)! Not only do I get to work out my stress through activity, but I also get to spend time listening to my favorite worship music or podcasts! Taking time daily to have an introspective look at my heart, my priorities, my hurts, my shortcomings and laying them all at the foot of the cross is my time of healing—it’s my “oxygen.” Because mothering isn’t a one-time transaction, I am in daily need from the Lord for help and assistance in raising my kiddos. It is the biggest responsibility of my life and I can't do anything good for them if I first don't heal and deal with myself and with my issues. Joy, love and trust in a home are grown by healthy parents and from nourished moms and dads who pour in the time to build that firm foundation! Mothering is truly one of the highest callings and I don’t want to screw up what God has entrusted to me.

    Anyone who knows me knows I don’t have it all together as a mom. I certainly don’t have all the answers and am daily expressing the need for guidance, discernment and grace. I try the best I can at being a mom and honestly most of the time I'm a hot mess! Thankfully, I’ve realized I’m not alone and I’m constantly encouraged by stories of families I read about throughout the Bible that didn’t have it all together either. It’s like God is repeatedly saying, “grace, not perfection” and that “it’s ok to be not ok.” It’s ok to not be flawless because that’s not the objective. God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). He fills in the gaps. He rights our wrongs. God uses stories of families with brokenness, dysfunction, struggles and derailed lives to encourage us and to demonstrate His might, power and glory within these situations! There is a reason for these Biblical models (I’m looking at you Cain, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Saul, David, and Solomon to name a few)! Seeing these Biblical examples played out gives me great hope for God’s redemptive and restorative plans for my family’s life and my children’s lives; despite me and in spite of my failings as a mother. It is so beautiful to see our God repeatedly make beauty out of ashes. It’s never too late to bring Him your ashes, “His mercies are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Tomorrow we get to wake up and try again. There is grace upon grace for parenting!

    Being a mom is one of life’s grandest joys and inconceivable blessings! It is the most wonderful, hardest, fun, most daunting, joy-filled, intimidating, delightful, overwhelming and blissful job ever. It is every single emotion wrapped into one. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. In my short 6-year stent of being a mother, I've learned to let go, release the need to control, enjoy them and embrace the circus at our house! No one could have ever prepared me for how much I would love my children and how much FUN this would be, but I’ve learned how much grace I need while doing it and equally how much it helps to surround my family with Godly people who will encourage you, share Scripture with you, help you, pray for you and build you up, not tear you down. Thankfully, Ellis and I have learned first hand the power behind the Body of Christ when it surrounds you and your family. We are so thankful for the wisdom and support from both sides of our family—it really does “take a village,” as they say!

    Ellis and I’s desire is to have a home where we are walking out the forgiveness and grace we have been shown from above. We don’t want to be quick to forget the grace God has shown us. We don’t want to receive it and then withhold it from one another or selectively dispense it. No, we want grateful, soft and merciful hearts. We want to lead by example by showing our children what true forgiveness and genuine reconciliation really looks like and what it means to do it both inside our home with one another and outside our home within friendships. We want our children to see that we, too, can own our flaws, say we’re sorry, and ask for forgiveness face-to-face to make it right again. It’s important to us that our kids know we are flawed and imperfect—that we all are, but grace, not perfection, is the goal. Besides, I think our kids want us to be authentic and genuine with them. I am a flawed person, a mere human, raising children and I will, of course, fail and disappoint. I don’t and won’t ever have all the parenting answers (not sure you ever graduate to that status), so I am clinging to the cross every step of the way—that is the safest place for me to be as their momma. Just as Jesus gives me true life, I want to be a life-giver to my children. I want to pour into them just like my heavenly Father does to me! I want to encourage them, build them up, pray for them, lift them up, and pour into them! I want to make them feel not only loved, but valued, safe, secure and for our home to be a refuge for them. I want to raise our kids in a home where we celebrate and encourage the differences between us – because I don’t want them to be a mini version of me (how scary!). I want them to be the unique, gifted, “wonderfully made”, one-of-a-kind person that God created them to be with their own magnificent and glorious callings and purposes! My job is to shepherd their little hearts, cover them in prayer and to be a good steward over these treasures. Thank the Lord I have the most incredible partner, leader, friend, God-fearing, gracious, prayer centered, and loyal man in Ellis to do this with. Praise God we serve a Heavenly Father who is wiser than I, who created my children and who always wants the absolute best for my kids too.

    Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

    As a busy working momma, I realized through a very painful season that my family must come first or else everything starts to unravel! I’ve learned first hand that Jesus is the only source of real life and when you aren’t close with Him you are distancing yourself from “true life” and from “life abundant." I’ve done it wrong many times, but I know now that when my priorities are in line and my family comes second to God (before work, before friends, etc.), everything else falls in to place. Then and only then do I feel like my time is mercifully multiplied and joy is even more abundant. Ellis and I covet time alone in our busy and full lives and try now to protect our family’s time alone with just the five of us. It’s sacred time being together and spending more time with the five of us than we do with other people. It is not lost on me just how fast time is flying by and I do not want to miss a thing.

    But truth be told, there isn’t anything in the world quite like parenting that will make you have more constant worry or apprehension (or at least for me!)! I find great comfort in Isaiah 26:3 “You keep in perfect peace those whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” May I be a woman who keeps her eyes fixed on Jesus; knowing that doubt, worry, anxiety and fear is not from the Lord. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and of sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7) Proverbs 31 says that a woman of God “is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear at the future. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!”

    Psalms 89:19 is one of my favorites and it says that God will “energize His warrior!” Well as a mom, this is sometimes what I need more than anything – energy! God has entrusted me to be a mother, made me to be a “warrior” to raise this next generation and His word tells us that He will “energize” us! As a mom, I sure am weary and drained often, so let’s come and ask boldly for a double portion of this verse!

    Over the years, I have felt very strongly about learning how to specifically pray for my kids! Beth Moore has an amazing list of verses to pray over your children that I have adopted into my own prayer life. I hope you find some encouragement in how to cover your children and family in prayer too! (Below are just a few of the ones that really resonate with me personally and that have become part of covering my children -- to read the entire list click here).

    Lord, ignite my children to love you with their whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Grant them hearts to love others as much as they love themselves. (Mark 12:30-31)

    Lord, I pray that all of my children shall be taught by You and great shall be the peace of my children. (Isaiah 54:13)

    Lord, You are for my children and not against them. (Romans 8:31) Make them more than conquerors through You who love them. (Romans 8:37)

    Lord, hem my children in. You are behind them and You are in front of them. Hold them tightly in Your hand. (Psalm 139:5)

    Lord, You will fulfill Your purposes for my children. Your steadfast love endures forever. You will not forsake the work of Your hands. (Psalm 138:8)

    Lord, make my children strong and courageous. Cause them not to be driven by fear or dismay. Be outrageously obvious in Your presence with them wherever they may go. (Joshua 1:9)

    Lord, my children cannot exceed the bounds of where Your Spirit is willing to go. They cannot flee from Your presence. Whether they ascend to the heights or sink to the depths, they are in Your hands. Be the light in their darkness. (Psalm 139:7-11)

    Lord, stir up kindness and tenderheartedness in my children. Cause them to be forgiving people as they have been forgiven. (Ephesians 4:32)

    When my children walk in the midst of trouble, Lord, preserve their lives. Stretch out Your hand against the wrath of their enemies, and deliver them with Your right hand. (Psalm 138:7)

    Cause my children to know the truth and the truth will set them free. (John 8:32)

    God, You are able to make all grace abound to my children, so that in all things at all times and in all ways, they may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

    Lord, activate the mind of Christ in my children. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

    Lord, when my children are weak, cause the power of Christ to rest upon them. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

    Lord, foster trust in my children toward You and move them by Your Spirit to pour out their hearts to You because You are a refuge for them. (Psalm 62:8)

    Grant my children the privilege to know You as the Lord, the compassionate and gracious One who is slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness. (Exodus 34:6)

    Lord, even if my children wander far away and squander what You’ve entrusted to them, draw them home, act on Your great compassion, run to them, embrace and kiss them, and welcome them home. (Luke 15:13, 20)

    May my children know You as the eternal God who is their refuge, and that underneath them are your everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)

    As I constantly pray to God for help and direction with my kiddos, my number one prayer is always, use me Lord to show them YOU!

    Mothering—it’s the hardest job in the world. I hope you get to love on, give thanks for, bless and encourage the moms around you this weekend! 

    I hope you guys have a happy and amazing Mother’s Day,

    Transformed by the Resurrected King | Part II

    I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend celebrating and spending time with loved ones! We sure did.

    As I reflect back on Easter and the enormity of what Jesus did for us, I felt like I needed to expand and offer up some Resurrection mentality and application for our day-to-day lives. The holiday itself may be over, but the story of Easter is not over! What happened 2000 years ago is a huge concept to grasp—it took me 26 years to grasp it fully. 

    So, what exactly is the promise of the cross and empty tomb doing today? Yes, our salvation has been secured, but what is the work on the cross doing here in between salvation and eternal life— between the “already” and the “not yet?” I’m a girl that needs some tangibility and real life application, and something tells me I’m not alone in that, so the task of the day is to answer those questions!

    Jesus not only came to give us eternal life, but also to restore and redeem all things that sin has broken here on earth. He didn't just die for your "future" (aka heaven). No, He doesn’t just leave us at salvation—He is still dynamically, mightily, lovingly and passionately at work for you and for me! He died to fix, heal, save, repair, revive, comfort, remedy and protect your “here and now.” Your soul may be saved, but He never stops pursuing His "beloved" (us!). Our Lord does not have "buyer’s remorse" (aka regrets) over going to the cross for us—He knew what needed to be done in order to close the gap between death and eternal life--to redeem our hearts both now and forevermore.  Even when we are blatantly disobedient, intolerable, prideful and flat out unlovable, God is still loving. 

    Our Savior comes back for us day in and day out through our circumstances, relationships, and hardships. He comes back to pursue our broken hearts, to make us whole and secure, and to ensure we understand the depths of His love for us! He came for the broken hearted, the wounded, the hurting, the lost, for you and for me. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and conquering over sin and death actually provides us with TWO things – abundant life NOW and glorious eternal life to come! We can have great hope amidst a broken and fallen world.

    Tim Keller “God sees us as we are, loves us as we are and accepts us as we are, but by His grace, He doesn’t leave us as we are!”

    Isaiah 53:5-6 “But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be WHOLE. He was whipped so we could be HEALED. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray. We have left God’ paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.”

    John 14:25-27 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

    I think it’s safe to say some, if not all, of us walk around able to muscle through life based on our own accord, depending on our natural abilities, gifts and personalities. If I’m honest, I was in this boat for a majority of my life—not really needing the Lord for anything. I didn't bring Him my hurting heart. I was actively living out my deep pain and I came to the end of my own might and strength and received the anomalous gift of desperation. I was desperate for something greater than what I could offer myself. I desperately needed healing, rescue, reviving, fixing and freedom. Thankfully, this desperation would lead me to the foot of the cross with arms wide open in surrender. You don’t know how much you need Jesus until Jesus is all you have. Being vulnerable and transparent before God is when mighty and powerful things begin to happen.  

    He didn’t come for perfect people. He came for broken situations just like mine. He came to make it right, to fix me in the here and now, to transform me, to help me, to give me hope, to refine me, to heal me! He came for people like me who desperately needed a Savior, Helper and Healer! This is WHY He came to save us! Not just to give us salvation, but to be actively and fervently at work in us while we are here on earth. To give us “life abundant” NOW (John 10:10)!

    2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “For His power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    Isaiah 61:1-4 "He was sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. He will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; He will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."

    Psalm 103:11, 16-17 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His LOVE for those who fear Him! As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. From everlasting to everlasting, the Lord’s LOVE is with those who fear Him.” 


    Last week I talked about how Jesus came to save the lost, but today I wanted to narrow in on the latter half of Matthew 18:11-14:

    “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.”

    Are you not encouraged by this?! My heart rejoices—I was lost but now I’m found (John 9:25)! Our God has taken the blinders off my hurting heart— not only to the grievances of my sin, but more so to the power and weight of what God has done for me! What grace! "Grace that allows you to face your sin, to own it and not shift blame. Grace that forces you to feel the pain of your regrets, but never asks you to pay for them, because the price has already been paid by Jesus." (Paul David Tripp) Grace that took my derailed life and put it back on the tracks. Our God is faithful to heal us through His love and to gently show us where we’ve gone astray and bring us back to a place of humility before Him. His grace abounds in the deepest waters and in the toughest of all situations. If reflecting back on Easter tells me anything, it's that God holds life in His hands. The God that raised Jesus front the dead, is the same God who can revive and breathe life into any person, situation, marriage, circumstance, or relationship here on earth! This is a current, active and risen God we serve! I pray you trust Him with your whole heart, too!

    Romans 8:37-39 “ In ALL things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Until you experience true brokenness, I don't think you can grasp just how unfailing, sacrificial and endless Jesus’ love is for you! And just what His work on the cross actually accomplished. In God’s economy, brokenness always turns into abundant wholeness!

    Ephesians 3:20 “He is able to do immeasurably more than you could ask, think or imagine!”

    Psalm 130:7 “Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.”

    Even though Easter is officially over, let’s constantly celebrate the only One who satisfies, saves, revives and heals our souls! Through His redemptive and unparalleled love for us, we are free and forgiven!

    Hope you guys have a great week!