By: Shakiya Mackall
If we were to evaluate the first half of 2020, I'm sure we can all say it looked different than what we imagined. From a global pandemic to the uncovering of racism, this year has brought on a lot of things. But even in the midst of all of the turmoil, we can still have hope. You may be thinking, but how? Honestly, I have asked myself that question. Personally, when hope would try to spring up, it was often choked by another heart-wrenching discovery in our world.
It honestly felt like I would take one step forward, but be knocked down two more. This was recurring until the Lord began to speak to me about my focus. Because let's be honest, we tend to take our eyes off God in the midst of disaster. In no way is this condemnation, because I have been there more than once in just these last few months. So if you have found yourself in this space, please give yourself grace.
It is so interesting how the Lord works. Being the loving Father that He is, He often prepares us for the things to come. Oftentimes even without us knowing. Earlier this year (pre-pandemic), I had a vision. In this particular vision, I saw a clear blue jewel. I found myself looking at the jewel in fascination not only for its size but it's color; it was something I don't think I've ever seen. The shade of blue was so unique I can barely describe it. Blue often represents freedom, trustworthiness, wisdom, joy, and strength. The closest gem I can try to describe would be an aquamarine, which ironically is the birthstone of March. And can you believe that March is considered to be a month of war?! In moments like this, I have to look up to God and say, wow! I didn't understand why He gave me this vision until these things came together and then I realized how we ALL faced some sort of battle during this time. But the Lord reminded me that to win a war, you must have hope. And that He is that Hope.
See, when we truly see God for who He is, we can experience the hope found in Him. In the midst of being bombarded with everything the world throws at us, we can look to Him for that peace. And as we put our gaze on Him, we can see that there are more sides to Him outside of the limits we give Him.
He can be whatever we need Him to be at that moment. Whether that is: Strong tower, Healer, Provider, Father, Savior, Miracle worker (Insert yours), know He can be that for you.
Be encouraged in knowing even in this time of crisis; He is being exalted.
Shakiya is a content creator and social media influencer who is passionate about faith, beauty and lifestyle. On her platforms which includes a blog and YouTube channel (Purity Vanity), she inspires women to grow their faith, maintain their inner and outer beauty, and balance this journey we call life! She hopes by doing so, God’s daughters will realize their true beauty in Christ and how much He loves them.
By: Tamika Mahomes
One of the most common questions I get is as a Pastor's wife is do I feel the need to be perfect.
And while the answer I could easily give is no, and carry on with the persona that I do not deal with this type of struggle, I am here to share the truth that I like many others often struggle with, the need to be perfect.
But the truth is, the need to strive towards perfection I have found is not limited to my role as a pastors wife, but rather my walk as a Christian.
I wonder, if I don't respond a certain way, will I cause someone to miss Christ?
If I get upset or let things bother me, does that make me less of a Christian?
If I fall short, will I lose my witness?
If I make a mistake, big or small, will I miss it, will I miss someone, will someone miss Christ?
Have you been there? Have you wondered? Have you found your strive to perfection is one that is missed?
Maybe it's not your relationship with God; maybe it's your parenting, or perhaps it's on your job, or even in your marriage.
Whatever it is that you are striving toward, whichever role you are looking to be perfect it, I want to share this truth with you...WE ARE NOT CALLED TO A LIFE OF PERFECTION!
I know that truth might be hard to grasp, I know that truth might be hard to understand, but the only person who calls us to perfection is US!
I love this verse from Philippians 3:12:
"I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me." (KJV)
Did you catch that? Paul didn't say that he was perfect, and he didn't say that we are called to any level of perfection, but he says, I follow after the one who is. And out of my relationship and love towards the one who is perfect, I strive to be more like him.
I don't know about you but, that gives me hope, that reminds me of truth, that tells me that I can lay down my desire to strive to be perfect, and I can instead press toward the one who is! Walking in perfection, is not my job, walking in perfection is not your job, there's only one who is perfect, and that is who we strive towards.
So friend, If you are reading this, I encourage you right now, to stop striving toward a title we are not called to, and instead, look to Christ, and find rest in Him who is perfect!
By: Tamika Mahomes
Here I am...
Sitting back at the computer, writing yet another blog...
If I am honest it's hard, with everything going on, I still feel it is not the right time to come back...
But while I realize that it might not be the right time, I know that in this time, especially in this time, the gospel must be preached...
God's word must go forth...
And this blog must continue.
For on this blog, I share Jesus, and on this blog, I invite others to share Jesus, and while there is a world full of chaos the truth is that in the midst of the chaos Jesus is still moving, he's still working, and he is still calling us to him.
So here I am one more time, resting on God's truth even in the midst of the hardest times.
Friends, I invite you to reflect on this very scripture that brings me hope even in a time such as this.
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
The peace of this world is fickle, but the peace that comes from our Father is everlasting, and in God's peace, we can find rest.
While this time is hard, and while we are desperately searching for change, let us find rest in the truth that God and God alone is in control.
By: Dawn Beauchamp
Many times as we manage the land of motherhood, all we say is NO. The days are full of no, stop, don't do that, and not now. We say it so much it is often our children's favorite word. They are only repeating what they hear incessantly. The true nature of motherhood is a lifetime of saying YES. Saying yes when things are easy and yes when they feel impossible, knowing our yes is what sets the pace on our path and the paths of our children.
Saying Yes To The Impossible
The perfect example of an impossible yes is Mary. Think about the immense courage it took to say yes to God. What if she had said no? Would anyone blame her? When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, she was young, unmarried, and inexperienced in the ways of the world, but smart enough to know the path would not be easy. What if Mary was not the first woman Gabriel visited that day? Maybe there was an Abigail, Ruth, and Laura who said no thank you, that path is too hard. Gabriel came with a request that involved an immeasurable amount of trust in God.
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered, "May your word be fulfilled." Luke 1:38 NIV
When I look into my heart, I see true strength and ultimate trust in our mighty God. A resounding Yes to motherhood is a lesson in saying Yes no matter how difficult the road appears.
Saying Yes To The Possible
Some yeses in motherhood are simple, easy, and natural. Yes, I want to snuggle on the couch and watch my sweet baby sleep. Laughing through silly toddler play is also a pretty easy, yes. Happy, silly, full of fun days are simple yeses. Motherhood is full of natural yeses, but there are also impossible yeses; times, we would rather say NO. It is at these moments that we need to trust God and say Yes to what is possible, even when the path is hard. NO – I do not want to watch my child struggle and feel helpless and inadequate. YES – I will stand by my child as she struggles and seeks ways to lessen her struggle and find some semblance of peace and stability. The following words are my motherhood mantra and how I say yes when I want to say no:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Like Mary, I've learned to trust that the Lord will help me do hard things. God knew what He was doing when He made me a mother, and I will say yes to the good, the bad, the hard, and the scary. I will say yes to all of it.
Remember, Mommas; God knew exactly what he was doing when he placed these babies in our care. He knew we were strong enough, smart enough, and full of Love. Mommas, we all want to say No sometimes. The fact that we keep saying Yes is what makes motherhood the hardest job you will ever love. Love your life, trust in God, and follow your path.
Dawn Marie Beauchamp is a wife and mother of three residing in the great state of Michigan. She currently owns a business with her husband, blogs at Embrace Controlled Chaos, and enjoys spending crazy amounts of time in the kitchen or outside enjoying all nature has to offer. You can connect with Dawn via her blog, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
Motherhood. There is SO much behind that one word. Think back to your pre-kiddo days. (If you don't have children, keep reading – motherhood is not a role solely for women with children in their home) What kind of mom did you think you'd be? Did you feel ready? Most of us probably had no idea what we were in for! And, for most of us, all preconceived notions went out the window real quick. Because once that baby was in our arms, everything changed. Priorities changed. Schedules changed. I/You changed – physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are great days, and there are hard, hard days. But on all days, "mother" is one of the most important roles we will play.
So, what does motherhood mean to me? It is my mission field. Stewarding my children well, according to the Bible, is something I can do every single day. Motherhood is a constant opportunity to teach God's word, to show His grace, and to reach the generations to come.
Let's be real – motherhood is often overwhelming! I have to repeatedly remind myself that I am not responsible for my child's salvation nor their future choices. While I am honored to play a role in these aspects of my children's lives, I am only called to take advantage of opportunities to teach and model the fruits of the spirit. Children provide MANY opportunities for this! When I am in God's word and praying regularly, it is easier for me to see disobedience as an opportunity to remind my son to "obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1) I become thankful that God allows me to witness my children's sins so that I can help them see it and remind them what God says about it. I don't do this perfectly. In fact, I probably fail more than I succeed…but God! His grace applies to me, as well. So when I fail, when I lose my cool, He is there with abundant grace. And these failures provide another opportunity for me to share with my children that I am not perfect, that I too struggle with sin. I get to model asking for forgiveness, and they get to show grace. God can even use my failures for His glory! The mission field of motherhood is a field laden with roaring rivers to cross and land mines to avoid.
I'd love to leave you with a few of my favorite resources.
Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman – It shows how motherhood is a calling for all women, not just those who have children in the home.
Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie Berndt – This has helped me focus my prayer time and has aided my whole family in scripture memorization. So good!
1000 Generations: A Record of our Faith by Sara Haddox – This beautiful heirloom book provides a place to document how God has been faithful in your family in a way that can be passed down for generations. (picture courtesy of 1000generationsbook.com)
By: Vivy Fomengia
I believe a mother’s role is to pray for, nurture, teach, guide, protect, and encourage her children. Here I will share the unique colors I have used to paint a beautiful portrait of what being a MOTHER means to me.
As my son approaches 11 months, we pray together, and I read the children’s Bible to him. I believe that as I train him up in the way that he should go when he is older, he will not depart. Though I will not always be physically present, I believe the seeds that I am planting will activate God’s faithfulness to protect, provide, and guide him.
Observe. I pay keen attention to my son’s tendencies. I do not want to change who he is becoming. Instead, I want to create a healthy environment that will allow him to grapple through the complexities of life, grow in understanding, and flourish in the fullness of who God has designed him to be. My desire is that he accepts Christ into his heart and submits to God’s plan for every area of his life.
Trust God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3.5-6). I often remind myself of this scripture as I juggle full-time work, motherhood, household responsibilities, family, friends, and ministry. These verses quickly arrest my thoughts of being in full control.
Hard. Being a single, first-time mom is currently the hardest thing I have ever done. However, I truly believe God has graced me for this divine assignment. I love everything about what I am learning and who I am becoming. I know that while the days are long, the years are short. I believe my current sacrifices will count as joy in the greater journey.
Engaging. The moment the Lord placed this seed in my womb, we became inherently connected. This connection has developed during his infancy and will strengthen throughout our lives. Seasons will change as well as the levels of engagement, but the foundation will continue to be spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental.
Role model. My son gazes at me and hears every word that I speak. Soon, he will begin to emulate what he sees; this thought alone, causes me to be vigilant of how I function. It also challenges me to become the best version of myself. I am not chasing perfection but truly seeking progress.
Valerie Fomengia, who goes by Vivy, is a government contractor by day, financial coach by night, and new mom to infant Azariah. Her learning experiences with her finances and her passion to help others become financially aware led her to establish Vivy Motivates, Inc. in 2018. Vivy also loves to eat, sleep, travel, exercise, binge watch Netflix, and sob her heart out to authentic Christian worship music. Connect with her on her website here!
By: Amber Smith
Mothering, the word brings to mind visions of fleshy newborn babes, gauzy blankets, with impossibly tiny noses peeking out—sleepy newborn yawns, outstretched hands, tiny and delicately detailed. At the same time, like my son, feeling much less adorable, in those early morning hours twenty years ago, I, too, was born. In-between joyful tears and searing pain, I was delivered as abruptly into this new life as a Mother.
I have always mothered in my capacity as an older sister, neighborhood babysitter, Sunday School teacher. Yet, in all of those years, I was a midwife to the Mothers of the children I loved. As they handed me, my son, I felt the weight of his future and my own, fall squarely into my labor wearied arms. Playing mother was no longer enough.
I could feel the dappled patterns of my family’s past cast shadows over my future. As a child of divorced parents, raised in a cycle of fear, loss, and approval seeking, I wanted more for this child. Being a mother was to be reborn with a new future and the desire to seek a way to outpace the dark corners of my past.
Every birth story includes pain. My past was full of wounds, failings, and losses. These were my rubble to pick over and choose what was going to be true about me. How was I going to overcome it? By choosing to grow in my spiritual walk, I decided to be honest with myself about my fears and seek healing from the past. I chose to be brutally, honestly, and humbly open to what I believed about who I was.
Like my baby, I have learned to trust and depend on God to teach me about who He says I am.
If I was going to grow in my role as the mother God intended for my family, I was going to stand on an infallible foundation. Not the wreckage of my past. When I am afraid, I have learned to seek God, and His Word has led me in truth.
In Isaiah 43:16-19, says,
“This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (NIV)
If God could take a people who did not choose Him, lay waste to their enemies, and make a way for them in the wilderness, I knew he would make a way for me to raise a family in a way that brings Him glory.
Being a Mom means following the lead of the One who knows the way, even when I do not perceive it. Over the years, God has led me through the deep waters of healing and kept His promises to create streams in the desert. You are not bound to your past. He is doing a new thing by giving us a rewritten future if we choose to seek it.
By: Tamika Mahomes
Being a mother is one of the best things ever. But even with all the good times, there's still some bad. Even with all the easy days, there's still some hard. Although being a mother can your greatest accomplishment, it can also be your hardest feat. And despite the hard days, despite the days when we want to give up, through it all, God calls us to this beautiful thing Motherhood!
While we talk about the good days, let us not forget that we made it through the hard. Let us not dismiss the days where we've sat next to our kids and cried, the days when we make mistakes the disrupt our entire mood and perspective, or the days when we tell ourselves and sometimes everyone else that we have no clue what we are doing.
While we should not always reflect on the bad, we ought not to forget the fact that it is sometimes our hardest days that redirect us to the fact that yes, being a mother requires we depend on the Father. Let us reflect on 2 Corinthians 12:9 where Jesus reminded Paul:
"...my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness...' (KJV)
Oftentimes as moms, we want to have it all together, for our kids, for our spouses, and even to leave a misleading media persona. But wouldn't it be something if we realized, no we do not have to have it all together, and no every day does not need to be perfect, and instead understood that even on our hardest days where we feel like we fail at mom life, we can lean on Jesus as our hope, our help and our strength in our weakness.
So yes, it's great to have good days but know that it is okay to have the bad ones too. Bad days do not define you; Jesus does. Motherhood does not come with a book, it does not come with a manual, but it does come with a Savior. Mama, do not miss the beautiful exchange of this season you are in and know that when we depend on Him, we can Mother through it all.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalms 46:1 (KJV)
By: Sharon Fernandez
"Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." Proverbs 31:25-26
From the time you conceive till you deliver, as the child grows up into a fine young adult, the Lord has bestowed an amazing strength to your body and mind, dear Mothers. The confidence you have comes from the Lord. It is He who takes you through all the long sleepless nights. As the child grows, you be filled with wisdom to understand and know just what to do for your child in all the different stages of life. With such grace and kindness, you will teach your offspring the goodness of God by living it out. You shall raise them in the way (Jesus) they should pursue; they shall never depart from it when they grow old.
The reason why you will be able to laugh at the days to come, cause each day is made by the Lord, its crowned with His goodness and grace. As you raise every morning, you enter into the time of worship; in the stillness, you receive the promises of the day. This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). Despite the chaos that can take place in the house, never start your day without spending this precious moment even if it were to be just 5 – 10 mins, dear mothers. Truly, it makes a lot of difference, even when you don't have any words to say. Your tears are liquid prayers you offer up to Jesus. He has a bottle collecting all your tears to reward you for all the sacrifices you make to raise this child of God for His glory.
Psalm 54:4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Being a mother is not an easy feat. It takes a community to raise a child. Not all of us have such a privilege. You may be all by yourself with a newborn baby in your hand, having no place to stay, no one to ask for help. You may find yourself in a very terrible predicament due to wrong choices made in the past, but you still got this little fight inside of you to want to turn things around for the sake of your child. You want to turn over a new life and start afresh.
Seek ye First His kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). This promise never fails.
Shalom to one and all. God bless you dear Mothers!
Sharon Fernandez, 32, is a young Singaporean born again Christian. She sensed the calling of God as a mother of two and now dedicates her life to serve God in the worship ministry and bible sharing. She spends her time studying the word of God fervently and teaches its application in practical everyday situations. She shares her devotions in her blog and daily devotions in her Instagram. She is known for helping individuals to look for divine wisdom to solve life situations and personal emotional matters through her bible studies. She believes with the help of the Holy Spirit, anyone can truly live their life to the fullest as the will of God is done on earth as it is done in Heaven.
By: Amber Weston
We've all heard the saying; Comparison is a thief of joy. Though I know in my heart that this is true; the tendency to want more than I have, to compare myself and my achievements to other peoples' possessions and achievements, and to feel dissatisfied with my lot in certain areas of life, is an ongoing battle for me. I'll be cruising along, all sunshine, smiles, and gratefulness, then bam, I want what I don't have all over again.
At church last year, we had a series on exile. I found the following definition gripping: exile is when what should be, seems to be losing the battle to what is. In simpler words, exile is when life is not what we think it should be. I have lived this time and again.
As a little girl, I always pictured my life as an adult. I would have a ton of kids, a Chevrolet Suburban, and a beautiful house with a big backyard. As a grown woman, what I have is three kids, until very recently a Honda CRV, and an urban condo with no yard at all.
The discrepancy between what I want and what life is, has caused me to battle a lot of bitterness over the years. Does hating my condo make my life any better? No! Do I need a serious reality check from time to time, and a conviction to be grateful? Yes! Ultimately, if I confront my longing, I know better. I have so much more than lots of people do. There are millions of people in the world who would be so excited to live where I live. I'm sure that all of the people I pass each day at the city bus stop would be downright thrilled to have that CRV. There are women out there who are physically aching to be a mother, while I am so blessed to have three children.
I find that comparison and longing for what others have bleeds into my professional desires. I love to write, but when I am not instantly a bestselling author, then I start to compare my achievements to others. Comparing myself to others is only causing me pain. Comparison shuts me down and causes me to pull away from my work. Very few people are overnight successes, and I know this. #duh But the enemy seeks to make me feel small, and I fall for it over and over again when I let it go unchecked.
Unfortunately, like many women, I also play the comparison game when it comes to my physical self. I hate that I want to look different. I see everyone's best versions all around me, and I don't feel like I can keep up. On other days, when my hair falls in just the right wave, my makeup leaves me feeling fresh, and my muscles feel firm from a workout the day before; at those times, I feel on top of the world. But am I vocalizing that in the same way that I vocalize my negativity? Probably not. I can tell myself once that I look nice that day, but on the other has I tell myself a thousand times that I'm bloated. I lose again when I choose to compare.
Comparison is a thief of joy. Negative feelings breed more negative feelings. And there are six eyes on me all of the time. If your kids are like mine, and you never get a moment alone, our kids are watching us at all times. Comparison is not the legacy that I want to leave for my kids.
I recently read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp, which delves into the practice of thankfulness. Thankfulness is not automatic to us and must be exercised intentionally every day. Ann learns to be mindful of the beauty all around her by looking for things in the world to appreciate little things that might otherwise be ignored. The click of a seatbelt, the crackle in the fireplace, new toothbrushes, boys jiggling blue Jell-O. A practice I have taken to.
Colossians 3:17 says:
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (KJV)
Being thankful is the antidote to the comparison game. The one thing that I should be pressing myself on is being faithful in reading and applying God's word. I should live my life with a heart of gratitude. I should be thankful for everything, big and small.
Ultimately there has to be more than me praying, "Thank you for my blessings." My words and actions must align. I don't want to mislead my children about life's disappointments or sorrows, but I want to model a balance, steering away from the should's.
If I am using that word, I want them to hear this:
You should work hard to achieve your goals.
You should expect that you won't always get what you want.
You should try new things.
You should live your life thinking of how to bless others in word and deed.
You should be truly thankful for the life that you have.
I want to be the type of woman who travels the road to gratitude.
Amber is a wife and the mother of three little lovelies, living is sunny Southern California. Connect with her on her blog The Gilted Life or her Instagram!