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Monday, May 15, 2017

CandyLand Party

Our sweet Madelynn turned the big 7 a few weeks ago. She wanted an "all the colors" birthday theme. I figured that was fairly easy, and went to work on a few decorations with stuff we had on hand. Then, Candy land popped in my head and I figured we could have loads of fun with all those colors. It gave a little more direction with the theme too.
It turned out super cute with a crazy colorful cake, pizza lane, Veggie swamp, and Crunchy Acres for supper.
Maddie loved helping me create a candy bar under her "Maddie's Candyland" sign. Each child got to fill a bag before they left. (the adults indulged too)😉

We had fun creating a life size game of candy-land for the children to enjoy outside too.

She was a pretty excited little seven year old. 

We had several jars of candy left from Easter and other events, so I spent very little money on this party! And, getting rid of a ton of candy we didn't need in our house was an extra plus. 😀 I had the colorful paper that we used for banners and the game. The colorful balls came from a yard sale for $2 and were enjoyed by the little kids!

Now to begin planning for our 1 year old!! 😝

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mirror of Transparency

If we were honest, we all use the mirrors in our homes often. Even those quick glances making sure all is in order before heading into that meeting, lunch with friends, or even just for your own sake. Yet, how often do you run to the most important mirror of them all--- God's Word, and change what it reveals?

You wake up depressed to start your day. Your marriage is in shambles. You are weighed down with a nasty habit. You feel alone, insecure, and simply overwhelmed. Yet, you are silent. You remain silent. You act as if everything is okay, but deep inside you are moments from falling apart.

I think I get a a bit passionate about transparency. Because, honestly, I see firsthand what not being transparent does---it eats at you, it makes one miserable, and no-one wants to be around you. When you fail to realize and admit the areas in your own life that need to be fixed, you are in a bad place---you are alone, depressed, and overwhelmed.

I am thankful that this was instilled in me at a young age from my momma. She always encouraged us to remember that we all have our struggles and we need to recognize them in order to get accountability and gain victory. She actively ministered to hundreds of women through weekly Bible Studies, pop-in visits, and phone calls. I loved to sit near and listen to every word. I remember on many occasions my mom reminding the other ladies that she had her own problems and was honest about the things she needed to work on. I never once felt my mom consider herself to be better than those who had come to get help. She always showed such grace reminding all of us that we are all one step away and it was only by God's grace that we were where we were.

I love the apostle Paul! I love that even the greatest missionary and Christian was quick to let all know that he was the chiefest of sinners. I don't see him standing before the thousands giving the assumption that he would NEVER make that mistake or wouldn't ever struggle with that particular sin. That is humbleness. He realized that He was complete in Christ, but he was still a sinner and needed to rely on Christ.

I Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

We are a people who plaster smiles on our faces when around others. Yet, we are broken people, hurting, struggling. We are scared to be who we are for fear of what others will think of us, how they will judge us, how we will be treated. Ultimately, we are insecure...none of our security is found in Christ. It should be!!!
When you cannot admit you are wrong because you fear what others will think, your pride has taken over and the consequences will be worse. 

James 1:23-25 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh in the perfect law of liberty and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

I am so thankful that despite my failures Jesus loves me and forgives me. He daily desires to give me victory in the areas I most struggle in....pride, impatience, and full dependence on Him.

In the last several weeks I have spoken to dear friends who have made comments like...
  • "Why do we all act as if our lives are perfect?"
  • "He can't get accountability, because, he's scared what people will think of him."
  • "I can't do that, they won't treat me the same."
  • "We never discuss our struggles."
  • "It must just be our marriage that is struggling. It appears everyone else has it altogether."
  • "Are we the only ones who struggle?"
Hurting souls all around me, begging to see and hear that others are in similar trenches so they too can be prayed for, encouraged, and held accountable.

Do we face the mirror of God's Word and see truly who we are, what we are made of, what we need to change? Or are you one of those Christians who sees the mess and chooses to just walk away without fixing it? Or perhaps you know how "ugly" you are through the mirror, and quickly patch it all up so you can appear "beautiful" through the mirrors of others? The sad thing is, if you haven't already figured it out...people see through that. Your outward beauty is to no importance and their mirrors begin to crack at your presence, because our struggles will show truth eventually.

We can be transparent though in the eyes of others as you reflect more and more in the mirror of His Word. He will show you the areas you need changing, patching, plucking, whatever! He will begin to chip off areas that need to be removed if you let Him. 

I find often that Jesus gives me opportunities to encourage others when I can openly tell them of my own struggles in perhaps similar situations. That doesn't mean that I brag about my sins, but it is an opportunity to allow walls to break down in relationships when they know that I have my own struggles and my desire is to seek Jesus' help in order to be more like Him. Plus, I have a large pool of women who hold me accountable for my struggles. They run to Jesus on my behalf too! What an awesome gift that is to know that others pray with me regarding the things I struggle with the most.

People want to be real. They want prayer, help, and they want genuine friendships! Look at that mirror today, friend. Look really deep. Let God change you and be honest with people! Being honest and admitting when you are wrong or struggling isn't a sign of weakness! I believe Christ views it as the opposite and He desires to have you stand before the mirror of His Word as a beautiful vessel fit for His service.