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Living Intently Through Grace-Filled Motherhood

Grace-filled motherhood can be hard to live. But it's absolutely attainable. Learn how.

Grace-filled motherhood—it’s something I’ve struggled with over the last few years. I’m quick to give others grace, and to tell others to give themselves grace. But myself? Yeah, no. That’s hard.

When we’re young adults without kids, we think we know everything there is to know about raising children. It’s partially because we still very much remember being kids ourselves. I’d never be that type of parent, we tell ourselves. And then some days our mother flows right out of us and we get slapped upside the head with the wet noodle of reality. But if you’re anything like me, you think back to the times when your parents were right, and you were wrong. And to the times when you were right, and your parents were wrong.

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“Apathy is a dangerous thing to have in your heart….”

My heart change journey began about a year ago. It seems like a lifetime, but honestly, it wasn’t that long ago. I’ve seen the most growth in the past 8 months, and many times I have to remember that just because my heart is changing, it doesn’t mean that others forget the way I treated them before this journey.

If I have ever wronged you. Talked about you unjustly. Made you feel like you were worthless, not good enough, or useless……I am so so sorry. In fact, there are so many people that I should apologize to, that I can’t even remember them all.

I’m sorry.

I remember the exact moment when my heart light flickered on, and I thought, “maybe she’s right”. All while being offended at the same time.

There was something happening in the news that I felt was insignificant to the other things going on in the world. In fact, I can tell you exactly what it was. It was the trial of Casey Anthony, the mother who killed her precious little girl in Flordia several years before. I was angry that so many people were still talking about this trial on tv, facebook, and the likes. There were so many other important things that Christians should have been talking about, but they weren’t. And while I still agree, to an extent, that it was over publicized, I learned one thing very important that day….that day I decided to share my opinion on facebook….

“As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
[Proverbs 27:17]
 
And I was offended….to.the.max.
There were a hundred comments agreeing with my post about all the other important things going on and how we need to “get over” it, and few disagreeing with me. And naturally, in our society, we go with the flow. But then, someone I barely knew commented, and with just a simple comment, my heart flickered. She said…
“Apathy is a very dangerous thing to have in your heart…”

How dare you. How dare you say that to me. You barely know me. You think you’re a know it all. How “holy” of you to make such a comment, as if you’re perfect.

And then it flickered again.

…and again…

…and again…

She doesn’t realize it, but she changed my life. And maybe she won’t ever know, though I have a feeling she might eventually read this and remember her words. But if not, I am so incredibly thankful for her. In fact, many times in the past 6 months, she has given me strength simply by seeing her strength as a wife and mother. She’s incredible. Lisa K., you are incredible. And I bet you don’t hear that often enough.

That entire day all I could think about were the words she said to me. I was so angry and bitter.

It’s how I can always tell when my offense is in the wrong, because I dwell on it so long.

God, how I wish someone would have said that to me sooner….

I wish someone would have taken the time to just look me in the face and say “you have to stop living like this,” instead of talking about me behind my back.

I wish someone would have taken the time to send me that page long email about how badly I hurt them with the words that I said or the things that I did (or didn’t) do.

I wish someone would have called me up and said, “hey, let’s go to lunch one day….I feel like we should talk.”

I wish someone would have called me out in private, personally, rather than subliminally on facebook.

She did….

And with 11 short words….one short sentence….from someone I barely knew…..she “got through” to me….

From that moment on, the sharpening began….and I hope that I can sharpen others in the body of Christ. Because it isn’t that I say things to offend, nor should I. And if I do, please tell me. Because I want to know. I want to change. I want to be more and more like Christ. But I also want to edify His body.

So please, forgive me if I see you walking the same path as I was and I’m terrified for your life. Because I might just say something.

Please forgive me if I am ungraceful in doing so, I’m still learning.

Please forgive me if I stumble during this walk. And please, don’t put me on a pedestal, because I am sure to disappoint you at some point.

Please forgive me when I do….

This past week a family just a few miles down the road from me died tragically. The father killed his 3 little girls, their mother, and then himself. Some people grieved with them for the day and moved on as if nothing happened the next day. Others didn’t care at all….

Yesterday, Robin Williams, the famous actor who was full of joy and laughter on the big screen, killed himself. Some people grieved for him yesterday, and tomorrow they’ll probably forget about it. Others didn’t care at all….

Last Summer, teenagers across the country killed themselves because they felt there was no hope. I bet 95% of you reading this don’t even know their names, or know what the statistics are. Because I don’t….I’ve read about it, but I can’t remember….did I even care?

What about the Christians and Iraqi’s that are dying every day in the Middle East? Who are they? Have we become immune to it?

And where are the Christians in America? Shouldn’t our hope be so loud that it radiates to others? Shouldn’t our love for Christ sustain us enough that it overflows to others? Forgive me, sweet Jesus, for being so caught up in my personal life, issues, and successes…that I’ve forgotten about Your people….

I don’t know any of these people personally. So why should it matter to me…I thought to myself.

Because it matters to God. Each and every single one of them was and is loved by our Almighty King.

A year ago, I would have shown great apathy. Who cares!?…I would have come across.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” [Matthew 10:29-30]

I’m not telling you to fill your life with negative things, in fact, we’re commanded not to. I’m not telling you to dwell on death and heartache, or worry about the world going down the drain. Again, we’re commanded not to.

But we are called to be empathetic and sympathize.

We are called to love and comfort in every situation, just as our Father does. Even if we don’t know them personally. Don’t just say “aww, that’s unfortunate”pray for them.

We are called to be graceful, kind, and full of prayer….daily.

When I share my personal journey, I pray so wholeheartedly that it touches those that it needs to touch the most.

My only intent is to share a tidbit of my testimony, that is constantly growing every single day.

My only intent is to share what God has done and is doing in my heart, so that it might encourage you — you who may be on the same journey as me (or know someone that is) — to continue with that good and faithful fight. Because it isn’t easy….ever.

“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” [Revelation 12:11]

“And he did not permit him but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.'” [Mark 5:19]

 

I pray that you would have eyes to see, not just pass over.

I pray that you would have ears to hear, not just hear with the intent to answer.

I pray that you would have a mouth that is righteous and slow to speak, slow to anger, and slow to show apathy.

I pray that through all of this you would come to know the God that I know. A precious Savior who cares for everyone, no matter who they are or what they’ve done.

I pray that through all of this, you would realize that being a Christian is more than just living your life well — but about caring for the body of Christ.

I pray that through all of this, most of all, you would love unconditionally.

Because I know that all of us stumble and fall, and goodness knows, I certainly fall short of the glory of the Lord every.single.day.

I pray that you would realize if this blog speaks to you, just as it will speak to hundreds of others, that you have a choice — apathy? or empathy?

“choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve….. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” [Joshua 24:25]

 

{amy}

 

The Book of Job and a Surprising Lesson

I started getting back into the word several weeks ago. I had been slacking, big time. I have had a lot on my mind in the past 2 months, especially this past month.

When I asked where I should begin, I was lead to the book of Job. When I say “lead”, I mean, I really don’t know how that works. It’s like a soft whisper to the heart, and you just “know”.

Everyone knows the story of Job, I thought to myself. Job complains for about 30 chapters and then God speaks and Job lives happily ever after.

But I, reluctantly, began to read

Verse one…

This is already boring, can we please stop now?

Chapter 10…25….34….

At this point it had taken me a month to get this far. I was procrastinating, but I knew that God lead me to Job for a reason, and I would just have to stick it out to the very end to find out.

And if I didn’t find out, I’d read it all over again.

“And then, the Lord spoke…”

 

Finally, we’ve gotten to the point where Job stops his complaining and God finally speaks to him….in riddles, albeit.

But then, something amazing happened. I’m almost to the very end of the book of Job and I read this section of verses. This section of verses that immediately sends me into an emotional state of guilt, pain, and heartache. It was one of those moments where, should my husband have been home at the time and my child have been awake, they would have thought I was a big giant mess of a baby.

But as the tears streamed down my face, guilt faded and peace entered into my heart.

I’ve been having a lot of emotional and one on one talks with God lately. Sometimes I think I could solve all the mysteries of the world when I talk to Him. But, quite honestly, they are one sided.

He sits and listens while I complain to Him, or about Him — and when I’m done complaining, I move onto the next household chore or email response and forget to listen to His response to the case I’ve presented to Him.

But these verses, it was like a universal salve. The answer to a million questions. And while I don’t expect you to understand what I’m saying, I know that another mama might be going through the same things I’m going through right now — asking the same questions and needing the same comfort from our Savior. Someone who might be wondering what the reasoning is behind direction or discipline from the Lord.

What did the verses say, you ask? They are not what you might expect. There’s really no amazing revelation within these verses, unless, at the proper moment, God opens your heart and mind to read it when you need it the most.

“She [the ostrich] lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand,      unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them. She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;    she cares not that her labor was in vain, for God did not endow her with wisdom or         give her a share of good sense.Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider.” [Job 39:14-18]

I know, it doesn’t make any sense, but it makes sense to me.

In that moment, when I read these verses, I knew.

I knew that I didn’t want to be this type of woman. I don’t want to be this type of mom.

I knew that the easy way out (laying her eggs in the warm sand so that she didn’t have to sit on them) isn’t always the best way. I knew that in the end, the easy way was the one with the most risks — risks that weren’t necessary. I knew that if I didn’t properly train my child, then I’m leaving him wide open to being trampled on by the world.

I knew that I didn’t want to be a harsh mom. And not that I am a harsh mom, or that I am a harsh mom because I want to be — but because I don’t deal with being overwhelmed very kindly.

I’m not compassionate enough.
I’m not kind enough.
I’m not humble enough.
I’m not loving enough.

I don’t want to be the mom who makes her children feel like she doesn’t have enough time for them simply because she has so many other things to do.

I’m not that mom….

I’m not that mom…

I knew that I didn’t want to be the wife who cleans the house because her husband says she has to (laboring in vain). I knew that I didn’t want to take care of my household simply because I’m told to. I want to do it because I get to, because I take joy in it.

I don’t want to labor in vain. I don’t want my work as a wife and mom to be done out of bitterness, anger, or with an unappreciative attitude. I don’t want my calling as a wife and mom to be watered down, simply because I’m too worried with other things that don’t really matter.

I don’t want to be the woman of God who thinks her way is best — because the sad fact is that just because I have feathers, it doesn’t mean I can fly. Sure, they serve a purpose — I have a purpose. But it’s not always what I think it is. While I’m created in His image, I’m not the same, and other people aren’t like me either — whether I wish they were, or are happy they aren’t.

In just five verses, I learned more and repented more than I have in a long time. A verse about an ostrich changed my entire outlook on motherhood and about being a wife…a woman of God.

I had to be patient and obedient to read through the entire book of Job — and yet, my Bible Study about Job had nothing to do with Job at all.

I don’t know why God couldn’t just say “go to the 39th chapter”. I don’t understand His ways.

But I do understand, now more than ever, that His ways are so much better than mine. I know that my Creator has a plan for me, even if what I’m seeing is what I think I’m getting — it can all change in an instance….for the better…whether we believe it or not.

I was beginning to wonder why God even chose to record the story of Job — and now I know. Not just for the five verses that struck a chord with my heart, but because of all the wisdom and knowledge that God imparts to us through the story and scriptures of Job.

Maybe it’s time to start listening to that little whisper to your heart. Maybe, just maybe….

Yesterday evening, after finishing the book of Job, I asked God where I should start reading next. I kept thinking of the name Jedidiah. In fact, auto correct tells me that Jedidiah isn’t even a name.

I knew Jedidiah was in the Bible, but where? Who is he? When did he live? It took me a few minutes, but after realizing that Jedidiah was really the name that God called King Solomon, I was intrigued. Another strange fact: Jedidiah is only mentioned once in the Bible. Hmm…

I’m starting with the book of 2 Samuel, the story of King David (Solomon’s father) and will continue into Solomon’s story from there.

However, I have a feeling that this has nothing to do with Solomon….or Jedidiah….

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”
Isaiah 55:8

 

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