• Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

Be Still and Know that I am God

Probably like many of you, I love photography. I am a little obsessed with taking pictures. :) In the early years of motherhood, after leaving my corporate job to stay home with my babies while my husband traveling most of the time (supporting our family well), I had lots of moments without adults to talk to! It could have been lonely, but I took it all in. And in the moments when my babies wanted me there close by to play, or while I fed them, changed their diapers, and rocked them to sleep, I prayed…a lot. And I took in all the sights, feelings, (smells even) in. I can’t tell you how much I loved being able to be outside in the backyard with the sun shining down through the trees while my babies played, and I thanked God. I thanked Him often, for my husband, for these babies, for our house, and I said I’d never take it for granted, that I get to enjoy all of these precious gifts!

“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10

I had a camera that I wore out, and then my sweet husband surprised me with an upgraded camera for Mother’s day one year…it is still one of my favorite all-time gifts. Because I get to take in the whole scene in my lens, and capture that moment, forever. During those quiet times with God, my prayers began to get deeper, and my quiet times longer, and it was a season of God saturating me with His Word. I am so thankful for that time, and now, for those pictures I took, that remind me of what that season was like. Because now, it’s incredibly busy. I never thought I’d say that with two in school but it is!! Our involvement and responsibilities are just that much more, and there’s so much at stake with kids! I have to remind myself to be still, and take it all in. When I do, I realize God’s infinite wisdom and sovereignty and trustworthiness. When I don’t, I doubt, fear, and want to grab back my control over my life, instead of giving it to Him where it belongs. I don’t know about you, but being still is where we find peace, and joy, and faith, and hope, and love, and all of the other good fruits of the Spirit.

“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10

Mom's priority encouragement for the week from psalms

New Year / New Goals / January Garden

Yay! We made it to 2021! What a crazy year 2020 is, and while I am not naive enough to think that everything is going to instantly be better in 2021, I have HOPE. What are your new goals for 2021? I feel like we’ve all been through an incredible storm (and still are) and we are stronger for it. I pray for our health and safety in this turbulent time, and I pray we keep our focus on Christ.

Focus on Christ

My biggest mistake several years ago during a “storm” in my life was to take my eyes off of Christ and onto the waves around me. Christ is and will always be our anchor and our hope. Don’t be like me or like Peter in Matthew 14:22-33. Whenever we take our eyes off of him and onto the storm, we lose our focus and fall.

Time in the Garden

This year, I have many goals, and one thing that helps me to focus on Him is time in the garden. While most of my quiet times are indoors this time of year, getting outside on a sunny day and weeding or even planting new seeds is so good for my soul. It gives me a chance to spend time with God, my first priority, and helps me prioritize all of the other things competing for time.

January Garden

Our garden in January is not full; some of the beds are resting, but I love to always have something growing. We always need to keep things growing, even as change is happening around us that we can’t always control. Right now, its just lettuce, collard greens, broccoli (I was excited that those seeds grew into real broccoli stalks!), sugar snap peas, snapdragons, and a bunch of herbs that I keep year round like lavender, rosemary, mint, oregano, parsley, and chives. It’s low maintenance and keeps me out there just long enough to get some Vitamin D and focus for my priority goals.

Grow Your Own Garden

Want to try growing your own herb garden? Here is an easy and charming herb garden kit from Etsy you can try to build your own garden in your windowsill or patio!

New Goal: Grow a Garden?

So, if you want to grow a great garden, it starts with great soil. This will get you started!

2021 is going to be a great year! What are your goals, concerns, prayer needs? I’d love to hear from you. Please reach out via email at momspriority@gmail.com. May God bless you in 2021!

How to Unwrap the Greatest Gift at Christmas with your Family

Advertising Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Disclosure.

Greatest Gift of His Rest

2020… a year like no other! Back in March, when this whole shutdown started, I distinctly feel God telling me it’s time to rest. I don’t mean rest entirely, but rest in Him, rest in His faithfulness and goodness, His provision and His mercy. It has been quite a year, but He has brought us through until now!

2020 into Focus

Christmas is soon upon us. We celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday, whether with our families physically, virtually, or in spirit, and we need to wrap this year up with a renewed focus on our Creator. 2020 needs to put our lives into focus, which I suggest, may be why God allowed all of these things to happen?

I am in my office, looking at page traffic on Mom’s Priority, and a popular page is a product for Ann Voskamp’s Greatest Gift set. It has been around a few years, but I’m looking at it now, and I think the time is right for our family to renew our focus on Christ.

Ann Voskamp - Unwrapping the Greatest Gift Unwrapping the Greatest Gifthelps you celebrate the best love story of all time with your family! Ann Voskamp expands her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree
Ann Voskamp – Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

Greatest Gift Advent Devotional

We have a tradition to read a Bible verse relating to the coming Christ every day in December. The Bible verses are clothespinned to a strand of garland strung along our bannister. As we take turns reading the verses, we take an Andes mint as a reward (usually just for our son- he is the only one who really appreciates them!). It’s just been a fun tradition and Bible reading time for our family for Advent. Maybe we miss a night or two and read several at a time- we’re not super strict about it. But, that time, coming around the table to read the Bible…it’s holy and I hope the tradition sticks with our kids and they pass it down to their families.

CODE FREESHIP

Advent Traditions

Anyways! This Greatest Gift book and set… it hit me this morning and I think we need to get it, to go along with our Advent tradition. Our kids are getting older and it is somewhat juvenile, but the message of God’s sovereignty…how he cared for us and planned it all before even Jesus came along, way back in the Old Testament… I want to reflect on that before our kids are grown!

Advent in 2020

Our church routine has not been what it used to be, and maybe you are in a similar situation. As parents, we still have the most important responsibility to teach all of these eternal things to our kids! (Deuteronomy 5:6-9) Here is the link for the booklet and devotions (from DaySpring) or here for the devotional book (from Amazon) if you are interested in this advent devotional as well. Just enough time to get it here before Advent begins! There are plenty of other great devotionals out there. I’d love to hear what you are planning for Advent this year! Send me an email or comment below!

Enter His Rest

I absolutely love my quiet time with God each morning, and I’m hesitant to share, because it is so personal. But, I believe the message God has for me is for all of us struggling with this new, hopefully temporary, reality, and I feel like someone else can benefit. So, this is based off my journal entry this morning.

Monday, March 16, 2020

A new week, but unlike any we’ve experienced, as our nation works in a reduced capacity with schools closed, airline flights reduced, Hollywood filming paused.

God, please heal our nation, but more than that, protect the minds and hearts of the people. So many are filled with anxiety, the unknowns too much to bear. Please give our nation strength, our leaders wisdom, our physicians protection, and our minds reminded and focused on your faithfulness!!

This may be a strange way for you to call us back to you, but last night, as I drove through the old neighborhood, I saw lights on at most houses, porch lights and dining chandeliers on through the windows. I can imagine, if they are like ours, this is the first consistent time their families are eating meals together in awhile. This dangerous virus is forcing us to slow down, be still, to pray, and be with family.

Faith over Fear

3 1/2 years ago, my faith was tested when Adam lost his job. Overnight, I went from full faith in God, leading Ladies Ministry at our church, confident in God’s provision, power, and faithfulness- to fear and anxiety. I could not go into the church without getting sick or often crying out of nowhere. I felt shame for not having faith without fear. But now, I am not the person I was before that happened. I’ve learned in that time. So now, I stand at the other side to say, God is faithful. Trust Him. Enter His Rest. Use this time to focus on Him. I finally learned that remembering to BREATHE and FOCUS on God, and not the waves around you, is the key.

So now, we all have a choice: Will we enter that rest? Just like in Hebrews 4, we will be tempted to let the difficulties of our present moment overshadow the reality of God’s promise. We are tempted to doubt that God will fulfill His promise. But, when we look through history- in the Bible, in the history books, and in our own lives- we are reminded of God’s faithfulness. He is FOR us and He is WITH us.

“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” – Hebrews 4:1-11

May “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

For more devotionals and inspiration, please go to our Devotionals page and our Pinterest board for Inspiration.

Resolution 2020: Rest in Him

As we start a new year and a new decade, have you set your 2020 resolutions and goals? Straight from my quiet time, I want to share with you what’s on my mind, and maybe you can relate. God wants us to rest in Him as we go through each day.

“God, help me find my worth in you and NOT in me or the things I do.”

This is my prayer, and God answers with Psalm 138:8:

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.”

Rest in Him

From that, I pray that if this is on your heart, like it is mine, that you will…

….REST in that truth, straight from His Word

….Realize- it’s not up to me

Be Obedient

….then, just be obedient. Give it ALL to Him, knowing that He will fulfill His purpose for you!

Isn’t that so refreshing for 2020? If you are a recovering perfectionist like me, and you want to do and be your best at everything, pray this. God will meet you there. He demands obedience, but when you give your best to what He leads you to, there is peace.

For more devotionals from Mom’s Priority, check out momspriority.com/devotionals. Please reach out to us at momspriority@gmail.com.

rest in the shadow of the almighty

Jesus the True Friend

Do you have a true friend who ALWAYS knows the best thing to say, who is always listening, who in fact waits for you daily for you to come to him so that he can love you?  Who knows you better than you know yourself, and not only that, knows the future for you and everyone else in your little part of the world?  

I just had one of these days in this farmhouse remodel that has me discouraged and wondering if we are on the right path.  Ever had one of those days?  It’s really been fairly smooth until now. But, now the internet company is saying they can’t install and they don’t return my calls… and the hardwood floors we saved for and just had installed have issues.

farmhouse remodel hardwood floors

American Problems

Silly, right?  I see the countries that my audience are in, and I know these are silly American problems in light of what’s really important in the world, among the world’s hurting.  91 nations represented, and 57 different languages on Mom’s Priority, according to Google Analytics. Wow, how do you speak to such a diverse audience?  But I digress.  

God still Cares

I realize that these issues are trivial, but here’s the amazing thing: God still cares and wants to be there for us, even when it seems silly. When it matters to us, it matters to Him. Luke 5:1-11 talks about Peter catching a miraculous catch of fish because Jesus provided. In this example as well as so many others in the Bible, Jesus shows His love by providing. He wants to be in the middle of our lives. He cares about our lives and wants to help us in our daily activities.

True Friend Encouragement

And I just experienced that fresh tonight.  I’m worn out and discouraged, and it’s midnight, and God meets me, on the pages of His Book.  In the book of Nehemiah, chapter 4 he responds to Nehemiah who is discouraged and overwhelmed with the large task of rebuilding the wall and he says, “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome.” Just like that, I am thankful and encouraged once again.  He has a plan for what we are going through; what we ultimately chose- He will use for good!  And His plan for this house, to encourage and refresh the hearts of the saints- is good and God is worthy to be praised in it!

Your situation in your corner of the world may look very different on this day than mine does on this day! But if you gain nothing else on Mom’s Priority, I pray that you know that you have a best friend who is waiting for you, even if you’ve never reached out for him before.  He is waiting for you and His name is Jesus.  He will always be there and he will always want your best. You need to believe in Him and call on Him.

I heard this song this morning and it reminded me of this post: The God who Stays by Matthew West. I pray that you will always know the One who has endured everything for our sake, and who will always be a true friend.

Happy New Year!

New beginnings are the best; they are a chance to start fresh! I am so thankful for new starts and for God’s absolute grace that washes over me again and again, like the waves of the sea.

“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”  – 1 Timothy 1:14

Wishing YOU the joy and peace that we are invited to experience as we start a new year! Looking forward to a wonderful year!

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  –  Thessalonians 2:16-17

Gratitude: The Cure for Entitlement

The Cure for Entitlement: Gratitude  the cure for entitlement is gratitude

My son has been excitedly asking about our gratitude jar for the past month. Filling the jar with things we are thankful for is a tradition we do every November. Every day in November (ideally… we often have to catch up!), we write down things we are thankful for on slips of paper and add them to the jar. On Thanksgiving Day, we read all of our notes aloud. It is a humbling and gratifying experience to say the least. To hear aloud my family members say things that maybe I never think to be thankful for, this fills my heart! This is what Thanksgiving is all about!

Get Our Hearts Right

It surprises me that he asks and even remembers! Our gratitude jar simply sits on our kitchen table for one month out of the year. It precedes Christmas, which can become an extremely materialistic time of year if we’re not careful. I love that it makes an impact on him, and I hope we keep this tradition for many years to come. More than anything, in our entitled world, I want our kids to know the source of everything. I want them to know that it comes from God, and not from any work they can do themselves. Sure, hard work is often rewarded, but this gratitude is what separates the entitled from the humble and thankful.

gratitude
Simple Jar or Bucket

Don’t fool yourself into thinking your container has to be Pinterest-worthy to use! A gratitude jar (or gratitude bucket!) can be as crafty as you want, or have time, to make it! It’s the practice, the habit, of daily writing down things we’re thankful for that we’re after. If you have time to make it super-cute, then by all means, do! This year, my usual glass apothecary jar was being used for something else. So, we are using a galvanized bucket with a ribbon tied at the top! Times are busy right now, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to miss this opportunity! Who knows how many more years our kids will want to do this?! I do hope it sticks with them. But regardless, it will be a fulfilling memory to store away for future thanksgivings.

Solutions to Raising Grateful Kids

Beyond this simple idea of a gratitude jar, here are other ways to raise grateful kids in this entitled world:

  • Express thankfulness in prayers and blessings. Thankfulness is a key element of prayer, and in blessings at meals, we bless the food and thank God for providing it. Creating this habit reminds us daily to focus on God, and not on ourselves.
  • Give gifts and serve in the community. When you give generously, you think of the receiver and it forces you to look beyond yourself. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our situation, that we fail to look outward. Giving good gifts to teachers and others in the community helps us to voice our appreciation of their work.
  • Get into nature and experience the awe and beauty around us, given to us by God. How can you look at a sunrise and not be thankful?!
  • Live intentionally. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, focus on what your purpose is and do that well!
  • Keep Christmas about the cross, and not just wanting more “stuff.” We can challenge ourselves to give and not just want. The 3 Gift rule helps our family keep away from all of the “I wants.”

Expressing Gratitude Creates Long Term Impact

Ultimately as parents, when we “teach” our children, we’re really teaching ourselves, right? This reminder every November is good medicine for me AND it’s great for our kids. We’re raising up the next generation, and who wants a bunch of spoiled adults running around! Long term, I believe practicing gratitude creates healthier families. Think of how much better you sleep when you’re not overspent and overworked? When you’re able to focus on living intentionally, grateful for each day. There are even studies pointing to gratitude reducing anxiety and depression in adults. The results of one study are preliminary, but it suggests practicing gratitude actually rewires the brain! Knowing that the future ahead for our children is not going to be any easier, I want to give my kids all the tools to have long, productive and meaningful lives. Gratitude is a simple answer.

For more posts related to family and living intentionally around the holidays, join our newsletter and click to read these posts:

Christmas Giving with Kids
Three Gift Rule
Living Intentionally as a Mom

A Devotional: Proverbs 31 Woman

Wisdom, Faith, Productive, Industrious, Fear of the Lord

Proverbs 31 Woman

Proverbs 31 Woman

When I think of the entire Proverbs 31 Woman passage as a tribute to the ideal woman, it’s an inspiration to me, as unattainable as it may be to meet every goal listed in that long passage!  But…it’s an inspiration, and it sets my mind and heart on a WORTHY goal, because we serve a WORTHY God, and this world is filled with so much less than ideals that are worthy!  My hope and prayer is that this website points you to God, and that you may find in your own time with God, to discover all of the ways that you are worthy of becoming like the Proverbs 31 Woman.

“Encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”  – 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Mom’s Priority serves to encourage and help moms achieve financial, organizational, family, social/ethical, and personal goals by providing money and time-saving strategies that allow moms to use their hearts in their time and purchases for good.  As moms, we want to live our lives fully and with purpose, as we raise up the next generation.  This looks a little different for each one of us, but in our quiet times with God, He  shows us how to live, if only we are willing.  He is faithful!

For more devotionals from Mom’s Priority, click here.

How I’m Simplifying So I Can Live My Priorities (Again)

I hope you live a life you’re proud of.  If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength

to start all over again.  – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Simplifying

I am re-reading this book Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist because it is like balm to my tired soul.  This time, I am reading it a chapter at a time, pausing to meditate on the thoughts she shares in it.  I found this book at just the right time; I just officially stepped down from leading our women’s ministry a few mere weeks ago, and my heart aches.  On the other side, in order to live my priorities, I know it’s what I had to do, what God is leading me to do. 

“As painful as it is, I know sometimes you have to let some GOOD things go in order for the BEST things to have a chance to GROW. ” – Shauna Niequist

Simplifying and Living Your Priorities

Simplifying and Living Your Priorities

Live Your Priorities

This F. Scott Fizgerald quote ties perfectly into “Mom’s Priority.”  The whole theme of Mom’s Priority is helping moms live out their priorities, or in other words, live a life you’re proud of.  Priorities vary from mom to mom and season to season, and there are so many good ones.  At the end of the day, you want to be spending your days and thus years, the way that brings God the most glory and you fulfillment as you follow His will.  

I wish I could give you this 10 step guideline to making your life perfect and always in order, but that’s not life.  Your priorities change, but having the tools (most importantly, prayer!) to help you simplify and keep your priorities in that season- this is what I hope we help you with.   

Ultimately, like Niequist said in this book, ” we decide where the time goes.  There’s so much freedom in that, and so much responsibility.”  

God Provides

10 years ago, I became a mom and after 8 months of working full time/momming, my husband and I decided that I would take a break from work to spend time raising our baby.  I can’t tell you where all of that time has gone, but for me, raising our children has been the most rewarding, fun work I have ever done.  And because we prayed about it, planned, and were obedient, God has provided in chilling, absolutely amazing ways.  It hasn’t always been easy, but I am proud to be devoting my energy to being a mom.  I am thankful we simplified our lives during those busy early years.  (If you want to know how to start saving money, start here!)

Learning to Say No

But in the meantime, I have picked up a ton of extra jobs.  Volunteer jobs abound when you stay at home, even if you’re working while you’re home!  Because of my “responsible” personality, like she mentions in the book, I have stepped up too many times to keep on going forever!  Starting a Sunday school class, leading women’s ministry, leading a girls’ missions group, being room mom, volunteering at the school weekly, being married to a little league baseball coach … these were current volunteer jobs up until a few weeks ago.  But, a new season is arising, and all of these things can’t go on forever.  Her book talks about saying no, which is an important skill to learn.  As much as we need people to step up and lead, we need others to step back and give them that chance. And give ourselves time to breathe! 

When we were just leading Sunday School and I hadn’t yet stepped up to leading women’s ministry, I was more thoughtful and I intentionally prayed for friends and the couples in our class and the issues they were facing.  I made a point to reach out and check in occasionally and I considered it a joy to do so.  More recently, I have become frantic and overwhelmed with all of the growing responsibilities.  I’m not as fun with our kids as I used to be, and I no longer reach out as much!  God made it clear: It’s time to scale it all back and regain our focus. 

Staying Focused on Your Priorities

Granted, I didn’t make this change voluntarily; rather, it took a painful event to realize that it is all too much. With kids at home, the time flies by way too quickly and before long, they will be grown.  There will be time for other priorities!  But right now, our focus is on God and family.  He makes the others fall into place, and I honestly pray these tools here on Mom’s Priority help you save money and time so you can live your priorities.  I share what has helped us, because too many times you don’t know where to turn. 

The Frantic Epidemic

It seems to be an epidemic:  overcrowded schedules to keep up with little to show for it at the end of the day, or year.  More and more moms on medication for anxiety, insomnia, and other illnesses.  Families frayed at the ends because of endless demands of travel tournaments, kid activities, and often, work commitments.  I don’t think God planned it this way.  We’ve taken it all to the extreme because that’s what we do.  But, there is time to scale it back, simplify, and focus on your priorities.  God provides. 

Pruning

These resources shared are not an excuse to not serve, because Jesus commands us to love one another above all.  Instead, I believe it frees us to love and serve, as God leads us.  Tonight, I trimmed up a cherry blossom tree that had grown multiple trunks from the base.  The tree has been an eyesore as I drive past it for weeks (maybe months).  The additional trunks were dying, and the main tree was not growing properly because of the additional growth.  It reminded me, as oddly working in my yard often does, of my life, giving myself to too many good endeavors.  The end result is a mess, and not the way God designed it.  John 15 talks about pruning to keep the vine fruitful, and that is what I had to do with this tree. The same is true in life.  I’ve asked myself and will ask you, Are you living your priorities?  At the end of our lives, only what is done for God’s glory will last into eternity. 

Are you living your priorities? 

More Resources

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst is a great book that reminds us that each decision is a turn in a direction. 

Andy Stanley is currently doing a sermon series on Breathing Room.  He says, “Sometimes we can’t enjoy anything because we’re trying to do everything.”  This sermon was perfectly timed for my car ride the other day, and I can imagine others will benefit from it as well.

Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson is another book to help us discern between “man-made obligations and God-given invitations.”


Advertising Disclosure: Some tips include links where Mom’s Priority receives an incentive per click or per purchase.  For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Disclosure.