Today, I am excited to bring you a guest post by my friend, Candice Hair. Candice's blog is THE blog that inspired me to start one of my own. Reading it will make you laugh, cry and savor your life a little more. Here's Candice in her own words...
It's a little intimidating to write a guest post for someone. I don't really feel like anyone should want to hear what I have to say. My life is SO NOT exciting -- unless you like pooped-in diapers, snotty noses and stinky pits. The stinky pits part would be me. So, when Kelcie asked me to do this, I was a bit hesitant-- could've peed myself with shock and laughter, but then again... these days I can even pee myself when I sneeze... but alas, here I am.
If you had asked me just 7 short years ago what my life would look like, I would have been very career-minded and very selfish. I wanted to be married, but I had not the slightest clue about babies, and I certainly didn't want them. Not anytime soon anyway. After all, they mess up your body and all your free time, right?
See, 7 years ago, I didn't know our Lord. I thought I did. I'd been told to pray a prayer as a 6-year-old little girl in VBS at First Baptist Church in Crawfordsville. A preacher held my hand, said "repeat after me if you don't want to go to Hell," and VOILA!
A life of false assurance. It's a real tragedy, and I fear many people are living with the same false assurance... struggling through doubt.
In college I began to doubt my salvation. It wasn't until I witnessed people with a real love and energy for the Lord that I realized I was living a life that was fake. So I doubted... for 3 years. See, I'd been reassured by people all my life that the prayer I prayed saved me. Later, I found out it's not the words you say but it's the condition of your heart.
Then Shaun came along. He pursued my heart without abandon. He showed me his life-- a life full of joy, love for others, forgiveness (oh the forgiveness), hope in Christ, love for the Word.
In such a real way... he showed me Jesus.
He showed me a truly converted heart in a way I'd never seen before.
I began talking to Shaun about my doubts. He kept praying for me and sending me to the book of John. So, in the midst of falling in love with Shaun, I also fell in love with Jesus.
I know, it sounds cheese. It is cheese... but it's true. Bear with me...
A month after Shaun and I were engaged, he led me to the Lord. My words weren't eloquent, but my heart was destitute and grossly sinful, and I had finally seen my sin. I was saved that night and my heart has not been the same since.
The biggest change in me was the instant love and care I felt for others. I loved my family more, I softened (so to speak). I hurt when others hurt. I became burdened for lost people. I SO wanted to tell people about this newfound hope.
After about 2 years of marriage we had Reagan. And the transformation to motherhood was glorious. It was easy and instinctual. I loved being a mommy.
Then we longed anxiously for another baby. It took a year and a half to get pregnant and I miscarried at 10 weeks. Oh the heartache of losing a little baby. You just cannot understand until you lose one, though I'd wish it on no one.
Another year and a half later, we got pregnant again and had Hutch. God must've taken time giving us Hutch because of the quickness he would bring to our lives. I dilated to 10 before I even got to the hospital and he came via natural labor after 2 pushes. He hasn't slowed down since. Quick, that one.
And when he was 4 months old, we found out we were expecting again! Oh my! Making babies had not been easy for us... so what a surprise Bentley was.
Are there days I think a career outside the home would be easier? Everyday.
Are there times I get frustrated with the mundane tasks of the day? Everyday.
Do I ever wonder why God chose to open and close my womb at the times he did? All the time. Especially when everyone is pooping and vomiting and crying at the same time!
Do I have regret? Never. Absolutely NEVER.
Truth is-- I LOVE this life. I LOVE the husband God chose for me. I LOVE our children. Mostly, I love that I can live with HoPe. God has been good to me.
Well, here I am. Now married for 6 years. 3 children. Now 4, 18 months and 3 months. Stretch marks and scars. No "career." In fact, most days I do well to get out of my pajamas... or brush my hair... and we've already discussed my pits. But would you know? I know, without a doubt, I'm exactly where God wants me.
Do I want to give all those hours in the day to someone else? Absolutely not!
I can't imagine not being there for all the cute little things Reagan says, or the hugs with Hutch after bumps to the head, or the first little smiles from Bentley... and so many other things. Most of all, though, I cannot turn the other way and ignore the calling God has put on my heart to be an at-home mommy for these little lives. I am here to bear the image of Christ to my children, and not entrust that to someone else.
The world will tell you-- you just need more time for yourself so that you have more of yourself to give-- blah blah blah. Don't swallow up that garbage. Nothing we are and nothing we have is ours anyway. It all belongs to God, and He said to give it all away for the sake of His name. We are created to die to self... and give all we have to serving others, which is serving Christ.
So whether you're a stay-at-home mommy or not, (it's ok if you aren't, the question is: Are you in submission to your husband and God's authority/calling on your life?) let me just beg you-- redeem the time with your children and take advantage of every opportunity you have to build character in them that emulates Christ. I promise there will be plenty of hours for TV watching and self care when they are grown.
Show them JESUS is your greatest pleasure! If you are going to teach them who He is, though, you must know Him first.
Sooo... I want to encourage you to read. Read God's Word. If you don't enjoy reading-- do it anyway. Readers are leaders. Non-readers are lazy... I'm just sayin. Here are some books I love.
On Becoming Babywise (baby scheduling) by Gary Ezzo
Created to be His Helpmeet (being a wife and mom) by Michael and Debi Pearl
The Practice of the Presence of God (when things seem mundane) by Bro. Lawrence
The Knowledge of the Holy (knowing God and His attributes) by A.W. Tozer
The Messies Manual (order and beauty in the home) by Sandra Felton
Sink Reflections (cleaning house) by Marla Cilley (Flylady)
Iva May Stories Blog (reading the Bible chronologically) by Iva May
Feminine Appeal (attributes of Titus 2) by Carolyn Mehaney
One Year Chronological Bible (daily reading) Tyndale
Honestly, most days are chaos. Most days I don't take time to do a lot of extra reading. I really don't enjoy reading, but I make myself do it. Oh, and on the days I do-- it's food for the soul. I defeat Satan more by the power of God's word... that's for sure.
When Kelcie asked me to do this, I asked her what I should write about... there is so much to say... so many topics.
I wanted it to be COOL.
"What do I love?" I thought. Motherhood, Wifery, Organization, Decorating, Art....
I decided the greatest thing I could talk about is my story... because it's HIS story.
So many people are just going through the motions, living for the next thing, or even just waiting for the weekend.
Who wants to live so pointlessly? So hopelessly?
The big picture is so much more... so my hope is that HOPE is communicated to you in the story of God's work in my heart.
He has changed me. I am a new creation.
THAT is so COOL!