Tag Archives: christian life

31 Days to a better marriage – Happiness is a choice.

31 days to a better marriage - happiness

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes, I see women who are so sour and long-faced that I wonder how anyone can live with them! Do they blame their husbands, I wonder? Do they blame their marriage for holding them back, or placing demands on them? I don’t know the answer, but I do know this: happiness is a choice.

I hear wives grumble about husbands not doing enough with the kids, not remembering something their wife wanted, not taking off work enough… you name it. I understand. I have been there, sadly. I have had days where I blamed my man for my unhappiness. If he would just do so-and-so, I would be happy! But it isn’t true. We can have the best husband, and still find fault and complain. I know, because I have a pretty amazing husband, and I have complained.

I remember very clearly the day I was driving home with our two small kids, and I was mentally ‘telling him off’. My husband was working on the new house we were building… I can’t remember what I was ticked off about — but I do remember being very upset with him. And you know how it goes; one thing makes us upset, pretty soon it leads to: “He doesn’t really care about me at all! If he really cared, he’d change!

Well, as I drove down that dusty back road in Missouri, God spoke to me. I don’t say that lightly, either. There have been several times in my life when God has put His finger right on the root of the problem, and told me to change. And boy-howdy, when God tells you to change — you change! He told me that this is how it starts – the bad marriages – by getting upset about little things (and most stuff is little), and allowing myself to brood, argue, or nag. To keep account of every wrong he does. I felt the rebuke in my spirit: “Stop it now, nip it in the bud before you end up like so many other ruined couples. You have only been married 5 years – it will be a long lifetime of misery if you continue down this path. It doesn’t matter if you are wrong or he is wrong – love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

  1. This is why I advocate for soaking in Scripture daily. If you put it in your heart, it will bubble to the surface when you need it.
  2. 12 years later and I cannot remember what the issue was. But at the time, I know it seemed huge. When things seem huge, ask yourself “will this matter in 100 years?” (we think our memory will last our lifetime, even though it clearly doesn’t! But in 100 years you will be dead. So will it matter then?)

I know that in many cases, there are real, difficult problems. But, I believe that by the power of Christ, you can be happy in the middle of your trials. Acting and looking like a martyr is not attractive, by the way. If you are in a hard situation, you must begin with prayer and reading God’s word. Ask for wisdom and He will give it! If you feel stuck, find a trusted mentor – NOT a family member if you can help it! Find a Godly married woman who is trustworthy, and ask her advice.

-If your husband is terrible with money, you can choose to be happy that God who cares about every sparrow that falls, will also care for you. 
-If your man speaks unkindly to you,  you can choose to be happy that Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
-When he pays no attention to the kids, or refuses to be a dad, you can choose to be happy that God is a father to the fatherless. 
-When he makes poor life decisions, you can choose to be happy that God makes all things work together for your good.

Yes, many of these things need to be worked out with each other, or maybe you need outside help. But in every situation you can choose to be happy in the Lord, because we have every need supplied through Christ Jesus. Even our emotional needs!

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
Martha Washington

Speaking of emotions, can I put a little note in here for hormones? They are not an excuse for anything. I get so weary of women whining about pms. Yes it is real, it is hard, and it can be debilitating. Do you truly believe the Scripture that says:

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philipians 4:19

This Scripture is glibly quoted — but most women act like it has a clause in there for ‘women’s delicate emotions’. News flash: it doesn’t. Do you need grace for those days every month? He will give it! Believe His Word! I know men don’t have this problem, I know that many of them brush it off without trying to understand, but Jesus doesn’t. He understands, He cares, and He will help you. (He created you, remember? I guess he understands the thing He created!) And can I please, please stop hearing about your pms every month?? If I, as a woman, get sick and tired of hearing about it, I can understand that men get tired of it too! 😀

 

“Happiness does not depend on outward circumstances, but on the state of the heart.” J.C. Ryle

 

31 Days to a Better Marriage – He’s not the person I married!

31 days to a better marriage

Isn’t it interesting how the man you are married to seems like a different man than the one you dated?! Maybe it’s just me. In fact, I haven’t heard any of my friends mention this odd phenomenon, so it probably IS just me. But just in case you have felt this too – I am going to include this, anyways! :)

There was a point several years into our marriage when I just stopped and was like: “this guy is so different than the guy I dated!”

I puzzled over it a while till I came to this conclusion:

He was the same man, but his personality didn’t lead him to the same result or action which I thought it would.

I don’t think most men are trying to deceive their wife-to-be. They genuinely think the girlfriend has a fabulous idea, and they agree that yes, going to India with a mission would be interesting and worthwhile. Maybe they even give it some serious thought.

But just because he agrees that it is a wonderful idea, doesn’t mean he is going to drop everything and rush over there with his young wife! (yes, I am using a personal experience here!) See, I though that when he agreed about stuff being cool, he was essentially agreeing that he also wanted to do it, buy it, or be that way.

Not necessarily.

Now, some of your couple-dynamics may be the opposite of this. I know wives who are more cautious and it is the husband who leaps into things feet-first! Maybe the wife is like: “Wait, you really intended to DO that? I thought we were just talking about how cool it was, not about actually doing it!” 😀

Either way, we can easily get stuck in the trap of being dissapointed because he doesn’t seem to be the same person that we married.

Two problems

Two problems that often come up; either we try to change him, or we get bitter.

Neither option is Christlike or healthy. There are so many jokes about trying to change your man, but I am thankful that many men do not change that easily! We need men who have a backbone and stand for what they believe.

And becoming bitter is just ugly. I know your husband may not ‘turn out’ quite as you’d hoped. Maybe he is ‘way off track on how you had agreed to live life. But bitterness is so ugly and unChristlike!

What to do.

Pray. Pray for God’s will to be done. Pray for wisdom and grace. Pray for your hearts to be knit together in God’s perfect calling for you. You don’t believe prayer works because you don’t believe God. Prayer does work!

Change. Not a popular idea, in this day of independant thought and women’s rights. We will fight to the last breath to do what we want, never bowing our head to someone else – especially, it seems, not to our husband. But when we decide to lay aside our ideas and be willing to support our husband, it is amazing how God can change your desires!

Remember the foundation we laid in Day 1? We need to become one, (Genesis 2:24) submit to our husband, (Ephesians 5:22-24) and respect our husband (Ephesians 5:33).

Respect Him. I think we find it hard to respect our man because he is different than us. He doesn’t do things the way I think a husband should, or the way I think a Christian should, or the way I thought HE would, before we married. So I whine and complain and nag. Nagging is not respectful. Will you start taking Scripture seriously and stop nagging your husband? Also; manipulating is not Scriptural, either.

Understand that you have changed, too. I bet you have changed as much, maybe more, than he has! Are you the happy, smiling girl he dated? Do you flirt with him still? Do you hang on his every word? Maybe he thought you adored him, and now wonders why you even married him?! Hmm?

My husband and I haven’t always been on the same page. The India-mission thing was short-lived, but there have been other ideas and plans that we had to deal with. In the end, though, we always want
1. a good relationship with each other,
2. to honor God with our marriage,
3. to have fun and never live bitter.

So we work it out. But I can honestly say that most of the time, if my man thinks it is a bad idea – it usually is. I trust him and his wisdom.

And I remind myself that maybe it isn’t him who changed – maybe I just didn’t know him as well as I thought I did!

Today’s Challenge: Take a minute to think about ways YOU may have changed. Think about how it may have affected him. Pray over your marriage.

Day 1: The Foundation
Day 2: Committed
Day 3: What is love?

31 Days to a Better Marriage – What is Love?

31 days to a better marriage

Committing to our marriage may seem scary – if we do not feel in love, anymore! You see a lifetime of drudgery stretching out in front of us, and you can’t bear it.

But the thing is, you may not ‘feel’ in love, but that doesn’t mean you will never feel that again. Feelings are so fickle! My feelings can change with the weather, what I ate, whether I had enough sleep, or what day of the month it is. How can I go by my feelings?? How can I trust something so slippery as that?

I can’t.

Problem is, once I get something in my head, then it wants to start spiraling out of control. You know how it goes.. ‘He didn’t install that new light fixture, he knew I wanted it fixed! It has been a week and I am still stumbling around in the dark because he didn’t fix it! …he must not really care about me. If he really cared, he would remember and fix it!

Isn’t that about how it goes? We go from annoyance at his forgetfulness to thinking he doesn’t ‘actually‘ care about us, in about 2 minutes flat! Then we start remembering alllll the other times in our marriage when he forgot something that was important to us, or that time he didn’t help, or the little habit he has that bugs us. We build up his bad habits or his weaknesses in our mind, until we can’t see his good points. Soon, we feel like we don’t even love each other and the whole thing was a mistake.

Is it really that bad?

I have heard that you should ‘remember why you married him’, but my problem with that, is that he was – in many ways – a different person back then. Yes, he is still the same kind, loving, Godly man, but we have both changed and grown over the years. My own method is to stop and ask myself if I am blowing this issue up.

“Does he really love me?”
Is he really trying to hurt me, or did he just forget?”
“Am I judging him by his actions, but myself by my intentions?”-Stephen Covey
“Is he being manipulative, or just an unobservant male?” (no offense, guys!)

By far, most of the time I am blowing the whole issue up. If I assume the best of his intentions, it takes away 90% of the problem. Often we still need a good discussion, to  get everything cleared up, but once I get my head on straight, the problem diminishes greatly.

So, love is not a feeling. Feelings come and go. What is it then?

What is the answer?

I think you know!

Love is action. Love is a choice. Love is even different from ‘like’. I can choose to love and care for someone who has hurt me, even if I do not like them. If your husband is treating you badly, being unkind or irresponsible – you may not particularly like him. But you can still love him. You can treat him kindly, gently, respectfully.

Setting aside the truly abusive husbands for a minute, lets talk about unChristlike men. They are many. I know that. I have watched and listened to them many times. Jokes about their wives, lazy, sloppy, undisciplined, self-serving, unspiritual. What do you do?

Humble yourself.

Let me suggest that you be the example of Christ to your family. Not in a patronizing, proud manner, but in humility and kindness. Choose to love him – choose to act in love, even when you don’t feel like it. Don’t feel condemned because you don’t ‘feel’ love. Continue acting in love, day after day being Jesus to your husband. He may change – he may not. But God will reward you for your acts of love to your family.

“Love is always bestowed as a gift—freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.” -Leo Buscaglia

Maybe your husband is a good husband, but you just don’t feel the love anymore. No spark. No warm fuzzy feelings. No little heart-leap when he walks through the door. 

We have been married for nearly 17 years, and I still get the warm fuzzies! 😀 Yes, I do. Seeing him walk in the door is the best part of my day! (unless He is home for an early lunch and I haven’t started anything yet! LOL! Then I just feel foolish) Point is, if you are feeling like roommates instead of lovers, you need to change something. Maybe, just maybe, you can revive the romance. (more about that on days 18-19!)

What love is: 

Selfless. John 15:13
Focus on what he needs, instead of what you need. It is a circle, but someone has to start. Why not you?

It edifies. 1 Corinthians 8:1
Don’t tear him down with “You always forget!“, etc. Build him up. “Thank you for never yelling at me.”

Undeserved. Romans 5:8
No, he doesn’t deserve your love,  but then, you don’t deserve his. We are so quick to say that we deserve hell for our sins, but then we demand so much from our husband. You deserve nothing. Stop requiring it.

Shows preference. Romans 12:10
Do you show preference to your husband? Or do you want him to give you preference??

The mark of a true disciple of Jesus. John 13:35
If you are a true disciple of Jesus, you will show love to your husband. 

Treating someone as you treat yourself. Mark 12:31
Self-explanatory.

A debt we owe to each other. Romans 13:8
Did you know that you OWE love to your husband?

Serves the other person. Galatians 5:13
Ouch.

Considerate of others’ weaknesses. Romans 14:15
Oh, how we want our husbands to be considerate to us at that time of month! Or when we are tired. Or have a headache. Or getting up at night with a newborn. Blah blah blah. Let’s turn it around!

 

Tolerates each other’s personalities. Ephesians 4:2
Wow. I so often want to turn my husband into a touchy-feely girlfriend! Ugh! No way. Let him have a polar opposite personality! 😀

I’ll give you an example: I am a social media nut. I love it! I comment, share, and like stuff alll the time. And my husband? Well, he is the same online as he is offline… no comment. Seriously, no comment! No likes, no shares, no updating his profile, nuthin. It used to bug me. “Sweetheart, don’t you like my amazing stuff?” ( I mean, I didn’t actually use those words, but still…) Finally I saw that it wasn’t personal, it was just him. So now I just ask him if he saw such-and-such, and whether he likes it. Easy. He can tell me if he liked it or if I was being a jerk, and I can blush and say thank you. Because of course HIS opinion of me means more than everyone else’s put together. 😉

Ministers to the saints. Hebrews 6:10
Is your husband a saved, born-again believer? Then he is a saint, and you need to minister to him. He is a weak, failing saint, you say? So? Still a saint – still needs you to minister to him.

The perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:14
Oh, this! This is the goal. To be bound together in perfect unity! I want to cry it from the housetops: “Humble yourself, get on your knees, get help – what ever it takes to be unified as a Christian couple!!” There is truly nothing as satisfying and holy, as two sinners who fall on the grace of God to redeem their stories and bring them together in Christ. Two people with different personalities, different ideas, different baggage – both giving up themselves and serving each other, loving each other.
This may take time. In fact, I can almost guarantee it will take time! But it is worth it! Godly marriage is worth every effort, every sacrifice, every dying to self.

Love is…
Patient,

Kind
Not jealous
Not arrogant
Does not brag
Does not act unbecomingly
Rejoices in truth
Does not take into account a wrong suffered
Bears all things
Believes all things
Hopes all things
Endures all things
Never fails.   1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

Today’s challenge is two-part:
1.Tell your husband something you love about him, and
2. Start a list of things you like about him.
It can be private or public, but write them down. I think I will put my list on the fridge, so everyone can see how many wonderful qualities he has!

Don’t miss any of my marriage posts – go leave your email in the subscribe area, and as a bonus, you will receive a free copy of my devotional ebook for moms!

Cowboy Poetry – The Ranch Wife.

ranch wife

First published in Working Ranch Magazine.

The Ranch Wife
by Kay Schrock

The cowboy is a dashing figure
With wide-brimmed hat and jangling spur.
He’s the hero of the big screen
Riding and roping in his blue jeans.

But there is someone behind the scenes
Who tends the babies, and cooks, and cleans.
She’s not well-known to the public eye
Her life is obscure under western skies.

Up at dawn to fry the bacon
Wash the clothes, and feed the children.
When her cowboy needs help, she is called
If errands need run, or calves need hauled.

When the neighbors come – she cooks the food,
For branding and shipping and pregging, too.
She knows how to drench a leppy,
And what to do, if it’s not too peppy.

She takes a turn at the night-calving –
Dreaming of sleep she could be having!
But when the calves sell for a good price,
When her man cleans up so nice,

When she watches a stunning sunrise,
Crimson and gold – cov’ring the skies.
When she tucks her babies in bed,
Still chuckling inside from things they said,

When she rides the prairies wide,
She feels a thrill of joy inside.
She thanks God again for this wonderful life,
Wanting nothing else but to be a ranch wife!

Cooking with mamaMom and babyranch coupleIMG_0839

You’re worth the effort.

Moving a bull through aspens.

Moving a bull through aspens.

A few days ago, my Cliff and I saddled our horses and drove to the back pasture. The plan was to ride through the cattle, checking for sickness, etc. Maybe that would take an hour or so, then move some mineral tubs and go home by noon.

As you ranch wives know – things rarely go as expected! As we were driving there – we passed a bunch of pairs that were happily grazing in the neighbors’ pasture! Oh boy. That means a gate open or fence down, somewhere.

We drove up to the property line and parked. Backed our horses out of the trailer and mounted up. Sure enough, there was a big section of really trashy fence. The cows had just walked over it, and they’d scattered across the neighbors’ pasture.moving pairs

We gathered a few pair that were near the gate, pushed them through, and then called our daughter to come help. She brought extra fencing supplies with the ATV, so Cliff could fix the fence. While he was working on the holes, Jenni used his horse to help me start gathering the strays. They had drifted down the hill, so of course we had to push them uphill to get them back to where they were supposed to be.

We spent all morning gathering strays, and then went home for a quick lunch. Afterwards, we went back with another horse, and all three of us worked at bringing them all back. We went up and down that hill three times, then worked on cleaning out the aspen groves, and then we tried pushing them further back into the home pasture, so they wouldn’t mash the fence down till we had a chance to fix it better.

cattle drive in wyomingThis all sounds very straightforward, but as you ranch women know – it was anything but straightforward! The easiest way to move cattle is to drive them along a fence. But, if you push calves too hard, they pop right under or through the fence! Cows will go through too, but calves are really problematic.
If you are moving cow/calf pairs, they tend to get separated. The mamas are calling for their calves, or trying to turn around and go back. Calves are poky – they get tired sooner, and they just stop moving. Soon you have a bunch of calves at the back that you have to really work to keep moving. And, there is always that one high-headed cow that tries to run everywhere except where she is supposed to! We take it easy and quiet, but sometimes they just don’t move well.

You're worth the effortAs I was riding along behind those cows, I had to think about how many times I have strayed from God. I think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, so I push through the fence to get to it. And when God tries to herd me back, I resist. I try to turn back, I bawl, I poke along, and even try to jump back through the fence!

But God doesn’t give up.

We spent 7 hours on horseback, gathering all those strays. I would have spent longer if necessary. Those cows are our bread and butter, and we do what it takes to keep them healthy and safe. (we also try to be good neighbors!) So yes, we spend whatever time it takes. That wreck* happened on a Saturday… on Monday we were back out, gathering and moving a few more pairs. We would have went out as many times as needed till they were all in the correct pasture.

So it is with God. He will not stop. He doesn’t give up on us. He will continue putting a little pressure on us, till we come home. If we go through the fence again – He will come after us again. More pressure from the flanks, more guidance. He makes the way home the easiest thing. That gate is the only place where the pressure eases.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

We have a tendency to wander off, out of His will, off the path of Life.
We allow some small grievances to grow in our heart,
we want ‘just a little bit of my own way’,
we begin to love money or
we get a bit proud of who we are,
what we have accomplished, and so on.

Each wandering begins small. A small hole in the fence, so to speak. But that hole gets bigger – and sometimes we even take our friends along. So, God send His cowboys to gather us back home. His Spirit works through pastors, friends, spouses, the Bible — God wants to bring us home.  He will not tire of the job. And those who love God and His family will not tire of it, either.

Have you been straying from God? Do you feel His pressure to come back home? He won’t stop. He never tires and never sleeps. He will arrange your life to keep you headed back to the gate. You can try to run off, like a high-headed cow, but He is faster than you! Of course He won’t force you, He gives us free choice. But He will make the gate the best place to be.

You are worth His time, and you are worth my time. You are worth a place at the table.

Come on home, my friend.

Kite branding

If you need a listening ear, please feel free to message me.

*when things go wrong on a ranch, we call it a wreck. Whether it means a bunch of cows got out, a horse that bucked someone off, an accident, or whatever.

One way to build a connection with your child.

 

connection

You want to connect with your child, but you don’t know where to start. Maybe you didn’t grow up with siblings, maybe you didn’t have a close relationship with your own mother. Anyways, you aren’t sure how to go about building those connections.

When I became a mom, I didn’t know how! I thought connecting would come naturally, like learning to comb your own hair. But as  it turns out, it can be hard! Maybe it’s just my independent nature. I like to be left alone to red a book, or take a walk, or whatever. I am somewhat of an introvert, so I can handle alone-ness quite well.

But, to be a friend, one must step outside of their comfortable space, and step into the life of another. And this was where I got hung up.

“But your own kids?! What is wrong with you?!”

I don’t know. Maybe I am just weird. Maybe I am more of a introvert than I thought! Maybe I didn’t have a close enough relationship with my own mom. At any rate, I struggle with this!

laughter

One easy way I have learned to connect with my kids, has been to laugh with them. (not at them!) Who cares if their jokes are corny or their stories repeated? I just laugh with them! We laugh at silly pictures we find online, we laugh at corny jokes and puns (latest obsession!), we laugh at funny accents and just pretty much anything we can. Now, I am the first to say “cut the foolishness”. After all, God’s Word tells us that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child…

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15

So, we sure don’t want to encourage foolishness. But happy giggles, clean fun and lots of laughter – oh, this is good for the soul!

I purposely look for funny things to share with my kids, so we can laugh about it together. There is something about laughing together that builds a bond.

I encourage you to try it. Google “clean kid jokes” and you will find some great ones! Surprise your kids with some gut-busting humor today. 😉

laughter

Do you like to joke and laugh with your kids?
Is it hard to connect, or what things do you do, to build that connection?

Let us know by dropping a comment below, we’d love to learn from you!

We Said Yes to Foster Care.

Foster care

Yes to sippy cups and stinky diapers.
Yes to interruptions and hours of rocking.
Yes to car seat struggles and bedtime tears.
Yes to sticky hands and food in hair.
Yes to higher cost of food and not fitting in the truck.
Yes to court hearings, worker meetings, and awkward parent meetings.
Yes to doctor appointments, WIC appointments, and not being able to use a sitter.
We said yes to foster care.

Yes to chubby hands clasped tightly around mine.
Yes to first shy kisses and tentative hugs.
Yes to beautiful smiles and gorgeous eyes.
Yes to another daughter or another son.
Yes to laughter and giggles and someone who adores you.
Yes to extra love and extra snuggles.
Yes to praying another soul – another family – towards the kingdom of God.
Yes to someone to dance with.
Yes to tight neck-hugs.
Yes to showing this wonderful world to another innocent soul.
Yes to God’s way of bringing us more fully into His likeness.
We said yes to foster care.

foster care
NOTE: Foster care is not glamorous. It does not mean we are special or extraordinary. But, by the grace of God we have been given this opportunity to share His lavish love, and His lavish gifts. I struggle at times with giving of myself. I am basically selfish. God has been using this avenue to break me and teach me. Like Jason Johnson says: “We don’t strut into their stories with a cape on our back; we crawl in with a cross on our back.” – Jason Johnson Blog

My Journey of Faith, part 8 – the end.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? Matthew 6:25-26

My Journey of Faith part 8 the end

In my last Journey of Faith post, I told you how I overcame discouragement and loneliness. And how we found out that my husband would lose his job in a few weeks…

It was early January, cold and snowy. We were living in an old, drafty farmhouse that was hard to heat. (we had moved from the trailer house into a farmhouse in the country, in October) We put a blanket over the staircase, moved the kids’ beds downstairs, and heated only the living room and kitchen. Propane was costing us 450.00 every 4-5 weeks to heat our house – it was eating up our small budget too fast. I remember at one point wondering how we were going to survive the winter without begging for money!

But I learned once again that God never fails His children! He is always faithful to supply our needs. We trusted Him, Cliff worked hard, I tried to be as thrifty as I could, and we always had food to eat. One time a man came to church – just a visitor – and after church he took Cliff out to his vehicle and gave us bags and boxes of food. Produce, mostly, and some dried beans. All from his garden! He said he had ‘way too much garden veggies, and wanted to bless someone with it! As far as I know, he never came back to church – I am certain he was an angel. :) We ate squash, potatoes, carrots, beans, and many other good vegetables for weeks. Sometimes there would be an envelope in our mailbox with a little cash in it. I wish I knew who felt prompted by God to give – we never asked for money or talked about our finances. I would like to thank those dear saints for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit in their lives!

Well, back to the lay-off… When we heard that we’d be out of a job in a couple weeks, we honestly were stumped. What does a person do who gets laid off in the middle of winter with literally no savings, no college degree, no nothing?!

We prayed.

God answered our prayers in a powerful, amazing way!

My sister and her husband used to work on a ranch near Cheyenne, WY, and we used to visit them there. Through them, we learned to know a young man who ran cattle on a couple ranches in WY. Well, when we were considering what to do for a job, Cliff remembered that young man, and decided to call him up.

When Cliff asked him if he had any job openings, the man answered: “Yes, I just leased a new ranch this month and need a another guy to help run it. You can start next week.”

We were blown away! God had lined up the perfect job for us at the exact time we needed it. I tell you, friends, God does things like this all the time. We aren’t special or anything. But I have trained myself to see God’s hand in everything. You can do that too. Write it down. Or tell someone. Don’t say: “Well that was pretty neat!” and forget about it. Notice when God works a miracle for you. Praise Him! Thank Him!

 “…for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Matt. 6:8S

So on Monday morning, Cliff packed a sleeping bag and a suitcase and drove up to Wyoming to start his new job. I stayed in CO and started packing. I packed up all our belongings as best I could between caring for three little ones. (the kids were 1, 3 and 5) On Saturday, Cliff came home and we loaded most of our belongings into our trusty pink horse-trailer and headed north.

On Monday, I took the kids and drove down with the truck and trailer for the final load. My sister came along to help, since she was visiting for awhile. She helped me clean the house and pack up the remaining things.

Ranch life was good. Cliff enjoyed the work, the salary was better than we had ever enjoyed before, (that’s not saying much, but while you won’t get rich on a ranch, at least you have a house!) and we all loved the wide open spaces of Wyoming!

Three short months after we moved to Wyoming, our faith was tested in a very different and difficult manner. Our youngest child, Andy, was playing near the irrigation canal and drowned. It was by far the most trying circumstance we had to face. But as always, God brought us through that, too. I am thankful for the grace of God that is give in every situation. I did struggle quite a bit with guilt over Andy’s death. Then I had to learn to graciously respond to people’s ignorant but well-meaning comments. Each part of the trial forced me to lean on God more, and dig deeper in His Word and His wisdom.

If you want to read the story of Andy, you can find it here. Andy

That was ten years ago. We have been living in Wyoming and working on ranches and we still like Wyoming! :) It is our favorite state, despite the brutal winters and mosquito-laden summers.  We  lived on that first ranch (the X-Bar) for 4.5 years, then moved to a ranch north of Cheyenne for 5 years, and currently we are on a ranch in the mountains west of Laramie.

Our children are blessed to grow up in this wonderful ranching community, learning to rope and ride and care for animals. Cliff still enjoys ranching, he also owns a small leather business on the side where he makes saddles, chaps, and other gear for working cowboys.

After our son died, I started reading about foster care, and slowly my heart was drawn to the amazing work of being a safe place for kids who are removed from their homes. After 5 years of my reading and dreaming, we were licensed as a foster home, and received our first placement in May, 2015. Foster care was never Cliff’s dream, but he supported my dream. After 7 kids coming through our home, I can say the honeymoon period is over, haha! but I still have an incredible burden for these kids and this work. Even when it is the hardest, I am reminded how precious each child is to our God, how much He cares about them.

Our life looks so much different than I ever thought it would, but God’s plans are always best. So many things He said “No” to, and that was best. Then He said “Yes” to many wonderful things that I could never have dreamed of! I am learning to take each experience from His hand of love, and be thankful.

If this series has blessed or encouraged you in any way, I would love if you leave a comment and tell me why! :) Thank you to all who have replied to my stories and encouraged me to write it.

If you missed a post, you can find them here:
My Journey of Faith part 1

My Journey of Faith part 2

My Journey of Faith part 3

My Journey of Faith part 4

My Journey of Faith part 5

My Journey of Faith part 6

My Journey of Faith part 7

Book Launch Week!

baby handsFor the past several years, I have been writing little encouragements for Christian moms, and sharing them on my personal social media. I have had some requests from my friends to put them all in one place for them to access and share.

So, in honor of World Book Day, I am releasing my brand-new book on Amazon this week! You can buy the print version for 6.99 right here:

If you prefer the ebook version, you can buy that as well. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free! If not, you can buy the Kindle version for 0.99 this week only! Next week the price will go up a bit. This is launch week special!
You can buy the Kindle version here:

There are 31 short devotionals, each with a corresponding Bible verse to meditate on during the day. This little book is written specifically to moms with small children – in the thick of mothering. mother and baby

I know how difficult it can be to care for babies and toddlers, how never-ending it can seem! The sleepless nights, the crunchy floors, the squabbling amongst siblings. There’s never enough ‘mom’ to reach around, and by the time you get to eat your food is cold.

It’s no joke! But then, the rewards are great, too. The wet kisses, the endless supply of dandelions, the first “Mama”! The moments when they are sleeping so peacefully and you just know you have the most beautiful, precious child in the whole wide world!

I have cared for 8 babies over the years, 5 of my own and 3 foster babies. These meditations came from my own musings, as I face various battles in my mind; battles against Self and sin. I find that there is layer after layer of selfishness, laziness, and pride in my heart.

I hope you are blessed by this little work of love, and may God encourages your heart through these pages.

sunrise

Temptation & Escape.

 

calf in pen


Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. James 1:13

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 

When Satan holds out a tempting sin with which to trip us, God comes alongside and offers an alternative – a way of escape.

It’s a bit like branding. There are ropes swingin’ all over the place; the calves are getting caught and tripped up every couple minutes. Dozens of them are caught. There seems no way of escape. This one calf sees the roper comin’ his way, and he knows he’s next to get caught! But then he sees a hole in the fence, and out he squirts! He’s free! He found the way of escape. cowgirl roping

The analogy breaks apart after that – I mean, any cowboy worth his salt is gonna run that calf down. But you get the idea.  It doesn’t matter how impossible it seems, God always does provide a way of escape from temptation.

Sometimes it isn’t easy. What about the temptation to tell a ‘white lie’? That can be a pretty strong temptation! It isn’t going to hurt anybody, but it will save me disgrace or embarrassment. The way of escape may actually be choosing to tell the truth, and being humiliated! Sometimes we need those experiences to keep us humble. At any rate, we can choose if we will tell the lie or tell the truth, even in very small matters. We must be truthful, if we are to defend ourselves from Satan. Ephesians 6:14

Temptations come in all forms and sizes. Temptation to steal, cheat, to be unkind, to be hurtful, to overeat, to lust, to gossip. We are bombarded daily with temptations from Satan. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit within us, can we escape. God promises that we CAN escape! Do you truly believe God? Why can I not seem to escape the temptation?

Perhaps because the Holy Spirit is not welcome in my life. If I live a half-hearted Christian life, careless with words, not studying Scripture, and just living for myself – then God cannot help me. If I am humble and desperate for the power of God in my life, I will surely receive it!

Every time we are tempted, we have a choice. We can choose God’s way or our way. The window for choosing is tiny – split seconds, at times. But we all know the power of split seconds in roping or rodeo, right? A split second can win you millions or break your neck.

TA BrandingEspecially in the beginning, we react to events or feelings and barely recognize the moment as a temptation. But as we grow and become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice in our conscience, we will start ‘seeing’ that way of escape.

The key is to stay soft to the quiet whisper of God’s voice. Don’t harden your heart and go ahead with that sin – no matter how small it seems. In that split-second; choose the right way. Choose righteousness. Give no place to the devil. It is easy to brush off that quiet Voice in the moment of temptation. But, every time you resist temptation – your spiritual muscles grow stronger.

Ask God today to show you the way of escape from every temptation you face!