Before I pray

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Listen here:

I have the habit of using a book of prayers to pray for my children. It was early in the morning and my coffee had kicked in. I was agreeing with the prayer completely. The next thing the author wrote grabbed my heart: 

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:10 (NKJV)

 

I stopped my prayer and I thought about what I was doing. I was not showing honor by giving preference. 

How was I going to ask God to allow my children to do something I wasn’t doing myself?


The previous night wasn’t easy. I was heavy-hearted. I had a few complaints (there I go again!) and I tried to let God know about them. I’m often too tired to stay up all night worrying about my worries, so I went to sleep. 


I woke up 30 minutes earlier than usual. My routine was the same until I ran into Romans 12:10. I stopped doing what I was doing and I felt convicted of my wrong. 

I compare this conviction to looking in a mirror. God’s word is like a mirror. Every mirror requires a response. 


My response at that moment was yes. I also decided to write down Romans 12:10 by hand and look at it during breakfast. I changed my actions and thoughts. No matter how hard it was, I was committed to show honor. Throughout the day, I asked myself, “how does honor show up in my current situation?” 


Showing honor and giving preference reminds me of the experience of a guest at the Ritz-Carlton. I greet the person with a warm and sincere greeting. I use the person’s name. I anticipate and fulfill the person’s needs. I give a fond farewell. I give a warm goodbye and use the person’s name. There’s more to it of course. With every action and reaction, the principles of trust, honesty, respect, integrity and commitment are included. If Jesus was to summarize it, He’d say, “I told you in John 13:35.” 

 

I have a lot of work to do. Good thing God stopped me that morning, in the middle of my prayer, and told me to show honor and give preference as a way of life. 

 

Read Romans 12:10 once again. “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:10 (NKJV)

Which relationships in your life do not reflect this? How can you take the first step of obedience to the Lord in this area?

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Encouraging thoughts on Change

Monday, August 15, 2022

Transition is a constant matter in life. When you move, you go through quite a bit of it. I am learning I can't avoid transitions. How I go through them informs what comes next. 

In the past, I thought of transitions as painful. Some truly were. Recently, through a workout strategy session, I learned to see transitions as manageable. 

I was attending my first CrossFit competition. My team, headed by one of my coaches, was talking about strategy. We were to split the workout into an equal and effective way. There was no doubt we could do the work required. The transitions are what slow you down so we had to pay attention to them. We needed a strategy.

We prepared for the workout through communication. We talked about what our strengths and weaknesses were. We agreed on who would start the workout and who would continue from there. 

We went on to warm up for the competition. Warming up is important because it allows your body to be better conditioned for what's to come. During the competition, communication continues to be important. We decided to communicate out loud, checking with one another to find out when it was time to take over. 

That day, transitions became something intimidating and uncontrollable to something I can control. Once I identified how I was going to face transition and who was with me to help me, everything took on a different note. 

We ended up winning that competition. Winning is good but the greatest gain was this new knowledge of transitions.

Moving can hurt the heart. I recently met someone who called it a minor trauma. I see moving as a transition. 

While some moves are more challenging than others, I am learning to prepare and cope with this normal transition of life. 

We all transition in life. Our kids transition from elementary to middle school. We transition from old jobs to new careers. Some people transition to a new marital status. Many years ago, I transitioned from Brazil to the United States. 

We all can learn how to make transition manageable. 

Transitions are not meant to be permanent. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it is difficult. I am learning that we can waste time if we remain paralyzed by our fears. Fear robs us of agency. When we don't have agency, our self-efficacy suffers. 

I'm here to tell you that it is okay to feel your feelings. I certainly feel mine. I remember crying so much during previous moves. The pain was immense. Still, I held on to my faith and somehow, kept going. I kept unpacking boxes. I kept cooking dinner for my family. I kept writing and creating. Life is made of the feelings we feel and the actions we choose to take. Both things exist together. 

How can you "split the work" during your transition? If you are switching careers, can you ask for help during your first weeks adapting to new demands? If your kids are transitioning to a new school, can you offer them some extra time to talk? Can you make room for soothing family activities as they adapt to their new environment? 

Transitions are easier when faced with support. I understand some of us are alone. I came to this country by myself. I wasn't alone. I know God was with me. My family was supporting me from a distance. I called them each chance I had. The warmth of their voice gave me the push I need to adapt to my new life as a freshman in college in a foreign country. 

During times of transition, it pays to ask "who is for me?" We know God is for us. Proceed to list people who truly support you. 

I am currently on the other side of our transition since we moved to Georgia. Thank God, it has been a peaceful transition for us. 

Still, I prepared for this move the best I knew how. I relied on God's word to give me daily strength. I prayed without ceasing. I also took care of my health. I knew that if I felt better, it would be easier to accomplish everything required of me this season. 

Moving an entire life was not the only thing going on with me. For the other matters at hand, I relied on my husband and trusted friends for prayer and encouragement. I rely on our children to remind me of the simplicity and joy of life. Thank God for the gift of childhood. 

I decided that my transition would be easier if I was practicing CrossFit regularly. Thank God I found a place to call home. It became a constant source of encouragement. I'm learning and growing. I'm grateful.

If you are facing the pain of transition today, please know I understand. Encourage yourself with the fact that it won't last always. There are things you can do to manage. You are completely able to make it to the other side. 

While you don't, remember who is for you. God is. Family and friends. 

Remember to take care of yourself. Asking for help is wise. 

Lean on God's faithfulness. He is faithful to guide you and lead you towards His best plan for your life.

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Prep Week: podcast edition

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Preparation is my favorite thing to do because of the results it brings.  

This podcast episode summarizes my recent Prep Week series. 


Episode notes:

Chores 
Exercise
Family Meals

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Prep Week: Chores

Friday, August 12, 2022

I feel overwhelmed when my house is out of control. While I wish my home looked like the cover of a magazine, it does not. I tried to achieve that perfect look for a long time. I was often disappointed. I needed a system to get my house in order, no matter what season of life I was in. 


Once I created my own system, life changed from overwhelming to overjoyed. 


Today, I want to encourage you to prepare yourself to have an organized home. 


We are using the backtracking strategy. We start with what we want to see. I want to see a clean and organized home. Clean because I enjoy clean bathrooms and tidy rooms. Organized because I don't want to spend a long time looking for ingredients in my pantry when I want to cook for my family. I also want to find important documents quickly. Having a vision is the first thing and we go backward from there. 


Next, we start with the most important thing. When I am completely overwhelmed, food is the number one thing, quickly followed by laundry. 


I cook the next meal my family needs. It may be a frozen pizza with a salad. I may add ingredients to my crockpot so dinner can be ready in a few hours. The goal is to start the next meal your family needs. I figured out it takes around 15 minutes to bake banana nut muffins. I find them to be just what my family needs after a long day of work and school. We serve them with hot tea. Our afternoons are complete. 


Once dinner is progressing, we move on to laundry. 

My goal is to get a few loads under control. The only rule is to finish what I start. If I can do one load, I wash, dry and put it away promptly. The rest will have to wait for another opportunity. 


My goal is to have clothes so we can do what we need to do the next day. 


You may be wondering about the rest of the house. I like to write down "wish lists." My lists may contain the following items:


• Declutter guest room;

• Organize linen closet;

• Clean counters 

• Clean floors 


I proceed to divide these projects throughout my week. 


It is imperative to write your wish list down on paper. Once these items leave your brain and go on paper, they are more likely to happen. 


Action steps:  
1 • ask yourself: "what is my vision for my home?" Write it down. 

2 • What will you prepare (or buy) for dinner? 

3• How many loads of laundry can you start and finish? 

4 • Go ahead and write a wish list for the rest of the chores you want to accomplish. Assign them for the following days and weeks. 


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Feeling stuck?

Thursday, August 11, 2022


 

Listen to this message of hope!

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