God Will Not Let You Stay Stuck // A Life Lesson from Toddlers

“God will not let you stay stuck.” 

Weeks ago I read an article with this title, and ever since I have kept that Safari window open on my phone. It’s a daily reminder beaming with hope when the voice in my head tells me I’m stuck.

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In this short post, Graham Cooke addresses seasons of waiting and tension:

“We have to resist the urge to doubt God when things take longer to happen than we want or expect. ‘Nothing’s happening,’ we whine sometimes. ‘Am I even in the right place?’

I’ve discovered the more impatient I am, the more God slows things down.

He’s like a watched kettle — He never boils when we’re in a hurry.”

Isn’t that the truth?

Here’s another tab to keep open: Tension doesn’t mean something is wrong.

“When we feel tension, we assume that something is wrong. Yet, I have reason to believe that tension is really just telling us that something is happeningAfter all, movement cannot happen without tension.”

I remember how my children behaved when they were on the cusp of developmental milestones – cutting teeth, wanting to crawl, wanting to walk, wanting to talk, longing to communicate their budding opinions and preferences. Just before each change, they would suddenly become so unhappy. Impatient. Difficult. RESTLESS. At times even in pain because of their body’s growth.

Eventually I realized their unusual behavior was a sign that change was coming. Not that something was wrong, but that something was happening. Sweet six-month-old Cas grunted cries of frustration when one day, upon seeing a toy across the room, he had the brilliant idea to crawl over and get it. His grunts ballooned to wails when his body didn’t quite know how to make that a reality. Two-year-old feisty Jake screamed in protest when forced to sit still, unable to articulate in words: “Mom, I need to get all this energy out! Let’s go play outside!” And lovely Molly Claire had finally quit sucking her fingers until kindergarten became a reality, and the impending transition called for comfort.

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I think we never outgrow the desire to transition quickly. And since life is one long string of change after change, in a way, we are all still toddlers. We are all still learning to walk and run, and we get downright mad or sad when we end up stuck in the middle of the floor or face-planting on the sidewalk. Especially when it seems like the rest of the world is filled with professional marathon runners.

During this season of transition, I am learning anew how to aid the maturation process. Two distinct lessons come to mind:

For one, I’m learning to slow down, because God is never in a hurry. And if He is slowing things down, I’d do well to follow along instead of resist the process. God’s timing always wins, He doesn’t waste time, and He doesn’t usually take shortcuts. If a little one must learn to walk before she can run, then I must be retooled to enter a new season. And my Good Father means to supply me well for what He knows is up ahead. I’m grateful for this, and I want to take it all in – even the hard parts.

I am also learning to consider the tension, anxiety, restlessness and difficulty and reframe them inside the boundaries of His Goodness. Because maybe… it’s actually God. Maybe what I see as pain is actually my requests being made known to Him – the teeth are about to break through the gums! Maybe all these feelings of confusion and weakness are because I’m learning to walk in a whole new place and I just don’t quite have my footing yet. Maybe He’s teaching me a whole new language and I’m struggling to find the words.

What is it they say about struggle and the butterfly?

Transition is real, yes it is.

Graham gives practical advice for any of us feeling restless, wobbly-legged, or wanting to reach for a pacifier:

Next time you come into a situation where tension is present, ask yourself questions like these:

What’s happening here?

What’s changing?

What is God moving us into?

What’s the dimension we’re coming out of?

What’s the dimension we’re entering?

What does that look like?

I would add, What have I been asking God for?  What if that is what’s happening right now?

Reframing current frustration within the context of our lives and the Goodness of God is so very important. His perspective is best and truest and most hopeful – like a parent’s hand or a blankie to hold onto – and a very present help in trouble.

Take heart, all you toddlers – He never leaves us stuck! Your breakthrough is coming!

love,

Rachel

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5 Ways to Not Feel Like a Slave in Your Own Home

Isn’t it the time of year when you get the hamster wheel feeling? Me too. Revisiting this (most viewed) post today to find true north and return to joy. I’d love to hear how you keep your heart alive when the laundry becomes your undoing?

Rachel Norris

Every day is the same – shop, cook, dishes, laundry. Sweep, wipe, scrub, pick up. All the papers, all the arguments, all the scheduling, all the homework. Do you ever feel like the monotony will swallow you whole? Do you ever feel reduced to servitude – pointless, unseen, neverending? Do you get bombarded with the voices like I do?

Most of my life is spent doing thankless work that will be undone hours – if not minutes – later. Maybe my days are just pointless.

I am stuck. I have no choice.

I am invisible. I am not getting paid for this.

Why must everyone make so many messes?

Why don’t they consider my time and effort?

Sometimes it feels like…

I’m a slave in my own home.

I’ve been working on displacing these hopeless voices with positive ones that treat me much better. In the process I’m finding a…

View original post 1,814 more words

A Back-to-School Blessing + Free Prayer Guide

It’s time! Pencils sharpened, buses rolling, kids excited, lunch boxes… TBD. It’s also  become back-to-school normal for us to gather with school families the night before the first day to pray for our teachers, staff, students and parents.

What a privilege to worship at the front doors of our public school; to walk around the property inviting God’s kingdom to be the norm. Light. Love. Strength. Wisdom. Understanding. Peace. Safety. Comfort. Kindness. Discernment. Trust. Confidence.

And the word that burned brightest in my heart last night: Blessing.

So we blessed each child at Hunter’s Bend Elementary with every good thing we could think of. My husband spoke over the children:

We bless these students. 

We bless every child that knows you and every child that hasn’t met you yet. 

We bless each child with an environment where they will flourish. 

We bless each child with protection and safety, that you would be a safe harbor and strong tower for them. 

Where there is lack, we bless them with provision.

Where there is fear, we bless them with love.

Where there is instability, God be their stability.

Where there is chaos, we bless them with order.

Where there is sickness, we bless them with health.

Where there is isolation, we bless them with community.

We bless each child each family each home with your presence.

Yes. So be it!

As I further considered how to pray the Truth over our kids, several scriptures came to mind. I compiled a short list of Back-to-School Scripture Prayers for teachers and students. Feel free to use it as a jumping-off point to pray for your own students and teachers.

May it be a year filled with blessing for each and every family.

{Download the one-page Back-to-School Scripture Prayers and pass it along!}

 

On Vocation and Motherhood: Lessons from the Mother of Moses

In a matter of days, my youngest starts kindergarten. Probably the biggest transition of her life to date. But I’m not worried one bit about her; I’m so thankful we held her back. Now I’m confident the Molly Girl is ready.

Then there’s the Mama.

You guys know I’m not overly sentimental, and you know I welcome the beginning of school like a day lily welcomes the rising sun. Space. Room to think my thoughts, as Jen Hatmaker says. (I miss my thoughts and I look forward to seeing what they’ve been doing. Yes.)

As the fog clears, I’ve got lots to sort through… gifts and surprises, tragic losses, new hard questions for God, new mysteries unfolding, plenty of ordinary in between, and this capital-T Transition that is now, finally, here.

Ten years as a stay-at-home mom is no small stint. Now that the babies are off, I need to maximize my money-earning potential. But what is that potential? What do I do? What will my life look like? Will I be able to juggle it all? And who would hire me to work but NOT  on sick days or Christmas break or summer break? How is this going to work? Do I become my own boss? Is it one thing or lots of little things? How will I know what is best for my family? These are the questions waking me up each morning.

Most moms have found answers to these questions. {If that’s you, please advise!} As I walk through this search and discovery process, several posts will likely come along. I’ve been noticing the capable women in the Bible – maybe they have some wisdom for this new season. 

For example: the mother of Moses. Have you ever stopped to think about her?

In a world where having Hebrew baby boys is illegal, she does exactly that. Can you imagine birthing someone into a death sentence? Can you imagine stifling your baby’s cries to somehow keep him alive? I would be scared out of my mind. And yet the writer of Hebrews tells us,

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.    – Hebrews 11:23

She was not afraid. Her fingers weren’t trembling as she wove a basket and released him into the wild Nile, not knowing what would come of her own flesh and blood. Was Moses’ mother somehow assured he would be okay? Was she confident in what she could not see? Did she know the princess was just downstream and strategically send off the basket, with Miriam following along? The more I consider this story, the smarter this mama becomes. Her daughter did not fall far from the tree, either.

Then the baby’s sister approached the princess. “Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” she asked.

“Yes, do!” the princess replied. So the girl went and called the baby’s mother.

“Take this baby and nurse him for me,” the princess told the baby’s mother. “I will pay you for your help.” So the woman took her baby home and nursed him.

Exodus 2:7-9

Did you see what God did there? Moses’ mother got her son back. Alive. Got to nurse him and raise him, got to watch him take his first steps and eat dirt in the back yard and all the things baby sons do… not only that, but she got PAID to do it! While under the full protection of the princess! She got to be a mom and raise her son without fear, in broad daylight, with full provision. In all her praying and planning and hoping, I doubt even her best scenario ended like so.

{Is this not astonishing? This is our Good Father, who saves and delivers and then heaps blessing and freedom on top of the saving and delivering.} Besides the nature of God, such a story makes me wonder about God’s plans, a mother’s intuition, the greater good, the suffering over sons lost…

And as I look to this next season, this story makes me wonder if there’s something right under my nose that God might turn into income. I’m not comparing myself to Moses, the rescuer of all Israel. But I just wonder what will come. I’m nervous yet anticipating good things. God knows what we need, He holds all provision, He has plans to grow and stretch my capacity, and He’s gone before me.

Also, He’s really good, better than my best-case-scenario.

 

How to Not Dread Summer

Ears to the ground, I can hear the train a’ comin’………  the end of the school year. Some moms can’t wait till summer. I am not one of those moms. I think of endless hours of heat and sibling arguments and messes and empty space I am completely responsible for filling and I want to melt into the ground. Which is kinda funny, since by the end of the summer I usually bear a remarkable resemblance to Glenda’s green sister. By nature I am  a non-planning, non-kid-person introvert, people. This does not fall within my natural wheelhouse.

T-minus four weeks (three for the preschooler) and already I am clenching fists and heart-strings tighter, afraid I won’t have enough. Enough energy, patience, discipline, fun, joy, connection, creativity, money and educational experiences to give my children a fruitful summer.

I am painfully aware of the impending lack. But surely I don’t have to live this way, surely this summer can be filled by good things! Surely I am not on my own. God said He’d always be with me and I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. It’s a principle of the kingdom I’m learning to love: empty places are pregnant with promise, the very place God has plans to fill. I’ve filled the lack with dread and fear and complaining. It’s time to drain out the gunk, embrace the not-enough, and allow God to fill that empty with good things.

So I’m perusing these thought patterns to lay down old ones and embrace positive new ways of thinking.  There is always a way to find fullness where I fear lack. “Poverty is the fear of not getting,” I heard recently. This poverty mentality has got to go!

If you know me, you know I like to ask questions of myself and God. Here are some conversation starters, if you’d like to join me:  Why do I go straight to not enough every summer? Why does it feel like Fulsom Prison when we are home and free and together, as God intended? He gave me these awesome kiddos, and He has amazing ways of filling our family time with good things. In His economy, there is MORE THAN ENOUGH for us. In His heart, Summer 2016 is gonna be fun and sweet and restful and eye-opening and recalibrating.  

My questions, then, turn away from me and toward my Help In Time of Need. (Sweet Lord this definitely qualifies as a TIME OF NEED.) His promise is true – I am not alone! I have a parenting partner who lives inside me and “takes from what is the Father’s and discloses it to me.” (John 14 and 16.)

I wonder, God, what we have to look forward to this summer?

Long ago You wrote these June and July days in Your book. What are You looking forward to on these pages?

What do you have for us? What is on the edge of your hand that you are wanting to pour out over our family?

Is there a theme or starting point you’d like to give us for summer 2016?

When I start freaking out, how can I find You?

What scripture can I hold onto to help me recalibrate?

What are some fun things we can do together?

How can we give ourselves away?

Who can we serve together?

What are a couple educational experiences?

For each child, what area of growth can we focus on?

What do you see in them that I have yet to see?

How can we freshly invest in each one’s giftings and talents?

 

Somewhere in these answers, the truth comes through…

Even though my kids outnumber me, I am not alone.

I have the Holy Spirit within me to help me.

I have a community of neighbors and friends around me.

There is more than enough, I just need to ask.

I am the queen of my home and I can set a positive, expectant tone here.

Summer can be fun!

These dialogues are a much healthier way of framing summer. If you are in the same boat, I’d encourage you to take pen to paper and dialogue with the Lord about it. And let’s be a support to each other! We can do this!

God, thank you for not leaving me alone as a mom. Forgive me for speaking negative things over my life, for limiting my family to what I can do on my own. Forgive me for forgetting all the ways you’ve helped me parent these children through the years. Forgive me for all the ways I’ve closed my fists when You’re waiting to give me good gifts. Forgive me for all the times I’ve shut my ears to your Spirit of Truth waiting to give me ideas from the Father. Help me change my filter? Speak to me? Instead of complaining, I want to simply ask and receive all the ideas, energy, kindness, funds, administrative discipline, and grace you have for me in the coming weeks. Help me remember to look to You as My source, to partner with You in raising these kids. They are surely Your gift to me, and if You gave me these children, You’ll also give me what I need to rear them well.

Whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father will get glory from the Son.  Let Me say it again: if you ask for anything in My name, I will do it.  If you love Me, obey the commandments I have given you.  I will ask the Father to send you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, who will remain constantly with you.  The world does not recognize the Spirit of truth, because it does not know the Spirit and is unable to receive Him. But you do know the Spirit because He lives with you, and He will dwell in you. I will never abandon you like orphans; I will return to be with you.  In a little while, the world will not see Me; but I will not vanish completely from your sight. Because I live, you will also live.  At that time, you will know that I am in the Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who loves Me will do the things I have commanded. My Father loves everyone who loves Me;

and I will love you and reveal (disclose) My heart, will, and nature to you.

John 14:13-21, The Voice

Hope for Grieving Mothers

God has a way with those who mourn; a way of coming close and whispering promises we dare not dream. He even does this for a mother “Weeping for her children because they are no more.” If that resonates, the Lord has promises you can hold tight.

Saturday night I dreamt of coming into church the next morning and being given a bulletin. A striking picture filled the front: a woman sitting at the bottom of a staircase with her head sunk down, hands covering her tear-soaked face. The title at the bottom simply stated, “Rachel’s Day.”

Upon waking I knew which Rachel it was. Not me, but Rachel weeping for her children because they are no more.

The prophet Jeremiah received a word from God in a dream for His people in crisis. Nation-wide crisis! They were being taken captive by the Babylonians. The symbolic matriarch Rachel was weeping because her children were being carted off to Ramah, a staging point before being deported into slavery in the enemy’s land.

In a book filled with warnings, this particular prophecy acknowledges the sorrow of captivity but bookends it with promises.

I felt like my dream was timely for specific people at church Sunday morning, for anyone weeping for their children because they are no more – whatever the ‘no more’ may look like. I wonder if it may be timely for more Rachels sitting at the bottom of a staircase. If that phrase pierces your heart, it’s your day. You have some promises to cling to in the midst of your mourning. Take them in deep, dear ones, and know that you are not alone…

Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,

     And declare in the coastlands afar off,

And say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him

     And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”

For the Lord has ransomed Jacob

     And redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he.

 

“They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion,

     And they will be radiant over the bounty of the Lord—

Over the grain and the new wine and the oil,

     And over the young of the flock and the herd;

And their life will be like a watered garden,

     And they will never languish again.

“Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance,

     And the young men and the old, together,

For I will turn their mourning into joy

     And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.

“I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance,

     And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the Lord.

 

Thus says the Lord,

“A voice is heard in Ramah,

     Lamentation and bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping for her children;

     She refuses to be comforted for her children,

     Because they are no more.”

 

Thus says the Lord,

“Restrain your voice from weeping

        And your eyes from tears;

For your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord,

      “And they will return from the land of the enemy.

“There is hope for your future,” declares the Lord,

      “And your children will return to their own territory.”

                                                                           Jeremiah 31:10-17

5 Ways to Not Feel Like a Slave in Your Own Home

Every day is the same – shop, cook, dishes, laundry. Sweep, wipe, scrub, pick up. All the papers, all the arguments, all the scheduling, all the homework. Do you ever feel like the monotony will swallow you whole? Do you ever feel reduced to servitude – pointless, unseen, neverending? Do you get bombarded with the voices like I do?

Most of my life is spent doing thankless work that will be undone hours – if not minutes – later. Maybe my days are just pointless.

I am stuck. I have no choice.

I am invisible. I am not getting paid for this.

Why must everyone make so many messes?

Why don’t they consider my time and effort?

Sometimes it feels like…

I’m a slave in my own home.

I’ve been working on displacing these hopeless voices with positive ones that treat me much better. In the process I’m finding a few ways to deal. I thought I’d share five strategies with you today.

  1. Practice Gratitude

For me, resentment is the foundation of most of the “slave” thoughts. (Not much need to elaborate, is there? Aren’t we all quite familiar with resentment?) I have good news, my friends! What they say is true: there is none more powerful weapon against resentment than being grateful. My heart has been won by counting graces too many times to count. Intentionally finding something to be thankful for can change the dirtiest cottage into the most beautiful castle, and the most monotonous day into a glorious treasure hunt. Chores laced with gratitude cease to be unendingly demanding task masters. They become instead mysterious opportunities for joy.

Ann Voskamp is my resident expert on the transforming power of thankfulness. She explains the displacement phenomenon beautifully in her book One Thousand Gifts:

‘A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.’

That is what Erasmus said…

It starts to unfold, light in the dark, a door opening up, how all these years

it’s been utterly pointless to try to wrench out the spikes of discontent.

Because that habit of discontentment can only be driven out by hammering in

one iron sharper.

The sleek pin of gratitude.

Here are a few gratitude points during all these terribly average, housework-heavy days:

  • Piles of laundry mean we have more than enough clothes to wear.
  • Stacks of dirty dishes mean we have more than enough food to eat.
  • Stinky, dirty toilets mean we have running water and sanitary conditions and a functioning local government.
  • Schlepping to and from ball practice means we have children (pause here…their very lives are a gift)  —  children with ten fingers and ten toes and four-chambered hearts and lungs with millions of those little alveoli for breathing deep and running fast. Oh, these gifts of health and life!
  • Being responsible to fulfill all the above means I am physically and mentally able to accomplish them, and this too is an amazing gift of health and life.

When resentment stacks up in my heart like Jenga, gratitude pulls out the balancing blocks and topples me to my knees in humble thanks. The double blessing is that as I practice gratitude, I can teach this life-tool to my children by example. Together we can be grateful for what and whom we’ve been given, and practice thankfulness and thoughtfulness on each other.

  1. Work Together

When the voices come back again, I consider how engaged the kids have been around the house lately. I often realize I’ve made it a one-man show again, shouldering all the cleaning because it’s easier to just do it myself; I have the time; the boys who work hard at school all day so I don’t want to give them more work.

But maintaining a home is not a me vs. them fight – it’s an all-in team effort. Each family member can be responsible for a few chores during the week, and for their own particular brand of messiness. (Consequences are real, right?) Sharing the load helps diffuse my resentment — even if the carpet isn’t well-vacuumed, the knowledge that I’m not alone unwraps kindness in my heart, and we all benefit.

And hopefully they will learn to think twice about trashing a room they just cleaned! (Please tell me kids have this reasoning ability at some age…)

  1. Instill Values

When I’m pulling the fifth load of laundry out of the dryer while humming “Sing sweet nightingale,” any long-term significance feels far distant.  But it’s actually right at my fingertips, if I can get past my short-sightedness and consider the long-term. Every day I am teaching my children values by my actions. So what messages are they (and myself) learning from all my housewife labors?

  • Normalcy – Life is filled with monotonous tasks – it’s not all glamorous and easy
  • Discipline – We do it anyway, consistently
  • Perseverance – We can do hard things; we don’t give up
  • Stewardship – Taking care of our possessions is important
  • Family – We are a team; we do things together
  • Servanthood – Serving is a kingdom value that Jesus loves and modeled for us
  • Honor and Hospitality – Honoring our guests is a big deal, which includes creating for them a clean and pleasant environment

The list could go on. When complaints rise, revisiting these values helps reset our hearts. There truly is a greater, long-term purpose at work in the midst of all the smallness.

  1. Get Out

Speaking of smallness and greatness, sometimes the “slave” voice says with a sigh, “I am meant for more than this.” Here’s where it gets tricky, because I am meant for more, and so are you. When I think this thought, I give it to Jesus to strain out all the selfishness, to help me remember that my life is not about me, not about instant gratifications. Often He turns around and gives it back to me, helping me realize my restless dissatisfaction with housework/life is because I’ve let normal life crowd out abundant life. I’ve neglected pursuing what brings me joy and life. I’ve reduced myself to servant; I’ve forgotten the greater purposes, hidden behind duty, safe from risk yet void of its fruit.

We were all made to dream and adventure and create and build and grow and pursue new interests. We were all made for greatness by a good Father who loves to think outside the box, outside what’s possible.

So sometimes, when I look in the mirror and for a second I think I see soot smudged across my forehead, I stop and ask the Father:

What are the dreams of my heart?

If I had unlimited resources, what would I do?

What legacy do I want to leave to the next generation?

And if the answers come slowly or not at all, I know I need a major upgrade. I know I need to jump further into the great wide world and the kingdom of heaven, to invest in something or someone outside the walls of my house, something bigger than my small life.

Because sometimes, when it feels like my heart is shriveling up on the inside… it’s because it is.

Finding the time to feed our souls and pursue our dreams is a challenge, but it is so very necessary to feeding hope and joy in the midst of everyday ordinary life.

  1. Take Your Place

When the voices in my head persist further, there’s something deeper going on. Here I choose to address the deepest source of all of the resentment, isolation, insecurity, pride, short-sightedness, control, fear, and perfection operating through the voices. Deep down, there’s a part of me that thinks and feels as if she’s an orphan outside of God’s care. This lonely Cinderella girl doesn’t know how much Father God loves her. She’s forgotten who He said she is and what He was thinking when He made her. She feels out of control and invisible and fundamentally flawed. She feels like there’s no hope for change. She tries to blame everyone else for her discontent in order to hide how unworthy and angry and sad she feels.

Like I said, this is deep stuff.

But it’s good, because this all-encompassing root means there’s one source for the solution, too! That answer is the Father Himself: His love for me becoming real and true in this very place in my heart. I don’t even know what else to say in this post about the Father’s love… there is so much… except that it is the most powerful force in all of time, and it’s yours and it’s mine.  I would recommend spending time in this book by A.J. Jones to help you connect individually with the God who loves you and calls you His daughter. (P.S. – it’s not an overnight fix.)

That old nagging voice in my head is the step-mother trying to bully me out of my rightful position. Cinderella wasn’t legally a servant. She was the opposite – the one true daughter and rightful heir to her Father’s house. When she feels like a slave in her own house, she needs to kick out the lies and take her place. She needs to remember who she is.

So when it comes to the whole slave mentality — really, it’s a victim mentality. But the truth is, I am not a victim. I am not an orphan. I am not a slave.

I am a queen.

I am a daughter.

I am loved.

I am seen.

I am known.

Let’s end by doing a little heart-house cleaning and proclaiming the truth. Join me out loud?

I am not a slave. I am not insignificant. I am not unseen. My life is not useless monotony.

Forgive me, God, for forgetting who You are and who You made me to be. Forgive me for not looking for the greater unseen purposes You are weaving in my life. Forgive me for not believing all the goodness You are for me. I forgive (the people in my past) who reinforced these lies in my heart and taught me the small version of who You really are and who I really am. Forgive me, God, for believing these lies. I want to believe the truth instead.

I lift my eyes to see Your face. The truth is, my life is not my own, and all is grace. My children are such gifts, messes and all. You see through all the messy ho-hum; help me do the same. And the truth is, all the work is unto You, and that’s enough, because You see it all and You are pleased.

The truth is, I am a daughter of the King of Kings. You know me and You love me and You are with me. You want me to thrive and you’ve made provision for me to do so, even in this season. You have everything I need to live life wisely and abundantly here on this brutiful earth. Would you give it to me now, Father, everything I need for today? Would You help me come back to joy?

And the truth is, I am the queen of this household. I have authority (not control, but authority) here and I can wield that privilege to set the tone of my home, work with excellence, and instill healthy values in my children. And I have influence outside my home too – more than I realize. I have the honor of stewarding all the gifts and dreams you’ve given me. Help me do it intentionally and courageously? Speak to me about Your dreams for me?

And I remember now: I have chosen this life and it is good. I am just where You would have me to be. You are so good. Thank You, Father.