Sunday, December 27, 2015

Your Neighbor's Stuff

Frozen. Most of us have watched that movie more times than we can count, at least I have. My kids both love that movie and they both have character toys. My son had a plush Olaf, the snowman. When his birthday came around, he received another one, but this one said phrases from the movie.

After purchasing the toy at Target and bringing it home, my daughter picked up the regular plush toy and commented, “He already has Olaf; he doesn’t need another one.” Mind you, she has two Elsa dolls, one talking and one not and I reminded her of that fact. However, she brings it up every time they play with the toys. Recently, I had to remind her not to count his toys and to worry about her own.

Aren’t some of us like that sometimes? When people around us are blessed with some tangible item or a better position at work or anything we deem they’re unworthy of, we wonder why they have to get more, as if what they have isn’t already enough.

Much like the lesson I’m trying to teach my daughter, we can learn from it as well: Do not covet your neighbor’s things. (Part of the problem with my daughter is that she didn’t get another toy for my son’s birthday.) Whether or not we believe someone deserves something or not, we shouldn’t be concerned or covet what they have. Everyone gets a turn, you just have to wait on yours.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your favor. I am reminded of Your goodness in my life. Help me to celebrate others when they receive tangible blessings, knowing that one day, I too will receive them. Thank You for Your kindness and for not being a respecter of persons. Because of this, I know and believe that I too can receive great things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Something Stinks

It’s potty training time! If you’ve gone through this with any child already, you know how much of a struggle it is! Some days are good and others are not. However, I think the cheers are encouragement for the little guy.

One thing I’ve noticed throughout this process with him is that he tends to get really close to me when his pull-up is dirty. Sometimes he tells me and other times not, but he makes sure that I smell him. He can be off playing around with his sister for a long period but when that pull-up is dirty, he gets close to me. My guess is that he knows that I can clean up his mess. He knows where to turn when that pull-up situation gets messy and uncomfortable.

Much like my toddler, as God’s children, we are the same way. Sometimes we put our relationship with God on the back burner, not spending as much time praying, studying our Bibles or even practicing what the Word says, until we get into some mess. Once that happens, we find ourselves cuddling up next to God in prayer, spending more time reading our Bibles, going to church, etc. We do whatever it is we think we need to do to get cleansed.

We have the right idea –God is the only one who can free us from sin and clean up our mess. However, I’d like to encourage you to make time with God a priority, regardless of what’s going on in your life. Don’t just spend time with Him when you’re stinky, spend time with Him when you’re fresh too and perhaps you won’t get stinky as much.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness, grace and mercy. Thank You for Your son Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be restored unto You. Today, I ask that You continue to guide my heart towards You regardless of what state I’m in. I want my life to honor You at all times. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

You Better Stop That!

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether I’m the mother to my toddler or my daughter is. She fusses at him more than I do when he’s up to no good. I suppose she’s mirroring me? She does it often, but one day in particular, she was fussing at him for pouring water from his cup onto the highchair table. She screamed, “You better stop that!” Even though she acts like she’s his parent, I chose to think positively about it and just deem her his accountability partner. If nothing else, she holds him accountable for everything he does and reminds him of the consequences of his actions at every chance she gets.

Although I don’t always approve of how she tries to get her point across, I believe her intentions are good. She’s trying to keep him out of trouble and she doesn’t have a problem with telling him he’s doing wrong. I wonder if we as Christians would be better off if we had an accountability partner in our face who didn’t mind telling us when we were wrong. What if we had someone there to remind us of the consequences of our actions before we carry them out?

If you don’t have an accountability partner, it is a great idea to get one to help you in your walk with being more like God. I encourage you to be bold and confident in the power of God and to encourage your brothers and sisters in their walk with God as well. We are here to love and lift one another up.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank you for Your Word and for those that You have placed in my life to help me and for me to help them. Let us be encouraged to know that You love us and that You desire for us to be more like You. Help us to remain faithful to Your Word and Your Ways, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Moment Too Soon

We took our first family vacation to Disney World, where my mother, nephew and youngest sister joined us. The first day we visited Animal Kingdom. If you’re familiar with that park, you know that there aren’t many roller coasters at that particular park. And of the few that were there, Expedition Everest was the largest. My sister, who was 17, walked hand in hand with my daughter right up to the entry gate for the ride. Now, I knew from reading the ride restrictions on the guide that my daughter wasn’t tall enough to ride. So lagging behind the two of them, not really knowing where we were headed because my face was semi-glued to the map, I made it in enough time to see her walking away with tears in her eyes. “Mommy, he said I wasn’t big enough to ride,” she cried.

My heart was breaking for her because the trip was supposed to be fun and my plan was to keep her away from the rides I knew she wouldn’t be able to ride. But because she went ahead of me, I wasn’t able to protect her that one time. All I could do was promise that she would ride something the next day at Magic Kingdom because I had already mapped out the things we would do at that particular park. Knowing that she would still be able to enjoy a roller coaster later made her feel better, gratefully.

That one incident reminded me of how we are with God sometimes. We often move ahead of His plan for us, seeking our own gratification, only to later find out that we aren’t ready for it. Or that one particular thing wasn’t meant for us. We’d like to think that God will block things that aren’t meant for us but it doesn’t always happen that way. So today, I encourage you to choose God’s will over your own. Join me in petitioning the throne of God before making decisions. When we seek His Word, we learn more of Him and His Will. Seeking God first will protect us from a lot of unnecessary hurts.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your grace and mercy that are new each morning. I ask that You speak to my heart and lead me in my decision-making as I seek You first in all things. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Your Words Matter

Standing ten feet away from the microwave, my five year old would giggle and say that she couldn’t see the time and needed to get closer to read it. Turns out that it wasn’t a joke; she really did have trouble reading the time and anything else that wasn’t up close. Her pediatrician confirmed this at her well child check-up. We received a referral to see an ophthalmologist and at that appointment, I was reminded of just how easily my words could have an affect on my child.

A few seconds after the doctor began testing her, and she had already called a few wrong letters, we began discussing some of the things I may have noticed at home. At that time, I brought up the microwave example. Those little ears were picking up everything because immediately, she began to repeat what I just said, although she selected what she wanted to repeat. Maybe she has selective hearing?

She stopped trying to see what was in front of her; she only wanted to voice that she couldn’t see. At that moment, I immediately realized how powerful and impactful my words are on her. I simply stated that she’d recently had trouble reading times on the microwave but she took that to mean that she couldn’t see and started to believe and act as if she couldn’t. Wow.

Have you spoken something to or around your child that has had an effect on them? Was it positive or negative? As parents, we have to realize that those little ears are always around listening and ready to soak up any information that they can receive, whether they should be listening or not and whether or not we think they are paying attention.

Today, let’s choose to speak life, encouragement and love into the soul and spirit of our children.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminder of the impact that I have on my children. Help me to be mindful of what I say and do so that my ways my affect them positively and point them towards you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Always Hungry

For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalm 107:9)

As I was going through my daily task of cleaning the kitchen and sweeping the floor of the many crumbs and food pieces that seemed to find their way down, no matter what I cooked, I thought of how my children are always asking for snacks.

Before we leave the childcare center each day, they both grab a snack on the way out of the door. To keep down the fuss, I allow them to eat the snack in the car, even though I know their car seats will be filled with crumbs later.

By the time we make it home, they rush to the pantry only to raid it for more snacks. Depending on how much longer it takes for dinner to be ready, I allow one more snack. I’m sure you know what’s next, right? They ask for another snack after scarfing down whatever they just ate in a matter of minutes.

I remember coming home from school feeling like I was going to starve but I am amazed every single day that they don’t seem to get enough–even after dinner, they want more snacks.
I found myself saying, “You guys are always hungry,” but then I felt a nudge in my spirit saying, 
“What if you were always hungry for me?” And I had to pause. How much better would my relationship with God be if I were always hungry for more of Him and fed that hunger with His Word, with prayer, with praise or with worship?

Though my soul constantly thirsts for more of God, I don’t always take time to get my fill of Him. What about you? Are you hungry and thirsty for the Lord? Are you getting your fill of Him? Today I encourage you to join me in feasting upon the Word of God and spending time in His presence. Our kids don’t rest until their tummies are full, why don’t we do the same for our spirit?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want and need more of You. Today I’m choosing to replenish my soul by spending time meditating on Your Word and Your Ways, In Jesus’ name, thank You for always being willing to fill me, Amen.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. (Psalm 34:1)

We were all in the car heading to church one morning when my husband glanced over at me, smiled and said, “Hearing him sing a song with my name in it makes me feel really good.”

You see, Ethan, our son who was one year old at the time, often made up songs with the words Mommy and Daddy in them. Of course there were other words but who could make out what they were? They often went something like “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” (repeat 20 times) or “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.” (repeat 20 times) It is so cute and it really does bring about a warm refreshing feeling. That was one of his ways of showing affection for us as his parents. How do we show our affection or love towards God?

When my husband made that comment to me, I couldn’t help but wonder about how God must be pleased when we sing praises unto Him. The bible reminds us over and over again in the book of Psalms to sing praises unto God. Have you had a song in your heart lately?

Today, I encourage you to offer up a song of praise to God no matter how you’re feeling. I can assure you that it will change your perspective in whatever you’re dealing with and help shift your focus back to God. So go ahead, make God smile today!

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of song. Even if I am musically challenged, please accept my praise as I lift You up in song today. Let my song be a reminder to me of who you are in my life and a reflection of my love for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Getting Dressed

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17 NIV)

My daughter is absolutely obsessed by anything princess-related! Disney movies, dolls and dresses.  In fact, she associates any type of dress with being a princess.  Whenever I wear a dress, she questions me as to whether I’m a queen or princess.  Whenever she wears a dress or a nightgown, she identifies herself as a princess. When she wears a dress, her attitude changes; she feels prettier and she acts differently, prancing around the house, twirling around in her dress. Even the phrase “getting dressed” is different to her. To her it means to put on a dress and not put on clothes as it does to the rest of us. See the obsession?

My question for you today is "what are you wearing?" Are you putting on the full armor of God? When you wear the full armor of God, is your attitude different? Do you feel strengthened? Are you more confident? You are an ambassador of Christ and what you "wear" should be representative of this fact.   Take care not to neglect dressing your spirit man. What you're wearing spiritually is very important as it will impact your attitude and your entire day. So take care to dress like God’s royal child by putting on the full armor of God each day.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank You for the armor that You have provided for me. Let me not neglect getting dressed so that I may be able to stand firm in my faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Father's Love

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.  (Luke 11:13 NLT)

Becoming a parent helps put things in perspective when it comes to love. The love that parents have for their children is immeasurable. Parents love their children so much that they will do anything for them and strive to provide the best for them. Parents desire to give children everything they need and even the things they want when suitable.

You may be able to understand or identify with the love of a parent either because you are a parent or you have experienced a parent’s love. Now consider our Father in Heaven.  He is much greater and powerful than we are. His love for us far exceeds the love that we have for our own children. When I consider how much I love my children, I am overwhelmed thinking about how much more God loves me!

The Holy Spirit is the best gift that God gives us next to salvation. God gives us what we need and all that we need is wrapped up in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us direction, comfort, peace and so much more. Through the Holy Spirit, God gives what we ask when it is in our best interest and in alignment with His will.

Trust and know today that God provides His best for you as a parent does for his child and that His way is perfect.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank You for being the ultimate parent. Thank You for loving me beyond measure and doing what’s in my best interest at all times. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Praying with Expectancy

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 NLT) 

How persistent are you? How many times do you ask God for something? Do you ask once and then leave it alone? Do you ask continuously? You should keep asking until your prayers are answered.  I think that children are the most determined when it comes to getting what they want.  Children will continue to ask their parents for something until they receive it. Sometimes the parent’s answer is “later” “maybe” or “not yet.” It may even be “no.” However, many children still maintain a tenacious and expectant spirit. A recent example of this is my daughter requesting eight dollars for a special lunch that's offered at her school on Fridays. I swear she would not let me forget about those eight dollars...every day, she asked until she received. She made her request known. There was no doubt about what she wanted and she made sure both of her parents knew it. 

With the same spirit, Christians should continue to seek God. He instructs us to keep on seeking, keep on asking, and keep on knocking. This lets us know that what we’re asking for will not always be given immediately. Sometimes His answer is “no” “later” or “not yet.” However, God is more concerned with hearing from us so He desires that we continue to seek Him.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. Keep me from becoming weary when seeking You. Give me perseverance and strength as I wait on You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pray About Everything

(Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 NLT)

My daughter has a heart for prayer. Before dinner most days, she offers to say prayer before we eat. Funny thing is that she often prays about everything but dinner and my husband or I will have to interject and remind her to give thanks for the food on the table.

Her prayers range from giving thanks that she’s going to kindergarten to thanking God for her toys or her brother or her friends in her class. She will thank God for the cups, plates, utensils, juice and stove. Recently, we had a storm come through that caused us to lose power. Every since then, she’s thanked God for the power and for a working TV, refrigerator, stove, etc.

My husband and I joke about her long prayers that have nothing to do with the occasion (dinner) but there is something to be said about her heart and the faith of a child. As adults we take so many things for granted, but what if we truly took everything to God in prayer? What if we had faith as a child? Believing that God hears us? Trusting in His character without the cares of life clouding our faith?

As I challenge myself, I challenge you to take everything to God in prayer today and trust Him without question. Even though God is all knowing, I do believe He wants to be invited into every area of our lives. Will you join me in drawing closer to God through prayer?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the life lessons that You teach us through our children. As I draw nearer to You today by pouring out my heart, I trust and believe that You care for me and are drawing nearer to me as well. Teach me to truly bring everything to You in prayer and to pray without ceasing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Let Me Wipe Your Tears

(Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11)

Lately, my mornings have not been going as planned. The general plan is to dress myself and then wake my children to get them ready. Since we’re totally off track, my children get out of bed before I’m ready, thus slowing us down and usually adding chaos to our morning routine.

My toddler is on a path to get into everything that he shouldn’t. This particular morning, he was going through my bathroom cabinet space pulling out my feather comb. Problem with this is that the handle is long with a pointy end. Of course I took it away several times but the final time, he couldn’t take it anymore. He had a fit! A stream of tears and an extremely pouty face followed.

In the midst of that, my daughter did something that both surprised and encouraged me. She sat down on the bathroom floor next to him and said, “Let me wipe your tears,” and proceeded to do just that. To my amazement, he stopped crying. I couldn’t believe it. In that moment, the Holy Spirit nudged me. We should show that kind of love to the people in our lives. Loving them through their pain instead of judging them. Sometimes all it takes is a listening ear and someone to wipe away the tears. 

Whose tears can you wipe today?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a heart that is loving and pure. Help me not to be judgmental but to show the kind of love that pleases You and encourages those You place in my path. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Just Because You Cannot See

Hey guys!

I's been a long time. I'm working on doing better so here I am! :-) I'm going to spend the next several months primarily talking about how my interactions with my children often remind me of God's love for me. I hope that these will entertain you a little and inspire you much.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)

We were riding in two separate cars. My husband in his car and myself and kids in the other. We had just left Firestone, paying for the repairs on my husband’s vehicle and were on our way back home. It was late in the evening and my daughter had already taken a short nap that day but apparently it wasn’t enough because she was relatively cranky. Everything bothered her and she whined and questioned everything.

So during the drive home, she whined and constantly asked where her daddy was. I kept telling her that he was right behind us. He left immediately after we did. After going through this series of the same questions and same responses about ten times, she says, “I can’t see him” and then continues to whine more. I then reminded her, “Just because you cannot see him, doesn’t mean he isn’t there!”
Somewhere in between my agitation at her constant whining, the Lord reminded me of His Presence. “Natasha, just because you cannot see Me, doesn’t mean I am not here.” My moment of agitation with her immediately shifted to God’s patience with me.

Hopefully I am not the only one who sometimes get frustrated when things aren’t going the way I think they should go and wonder exactly where God is and how He is going to work the situation out. I’m going to assume that I’m not and simply remind you that just because you cannot “physically” see Him, doesn’t mean He isn’t there.

Has there been an area of your life where it seems that God is not present? An unanswered prayer perhaps? Today I encourage you to take a few moments and meditate on today’s scripture and to think back over the area where you feel He isn’t present. You will likely find that He is present but not in the way that you have expected.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the reminder that You are ever present and will never leave me nor forsake me. In tough times, help me find comfort in Your presence. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Are you sitting on your "BUT?"

I think it's safe to say that I get out more now that I'm an author. :-)

I have met so many different people who share a love for God and a desire to do His will. The interesting thing is that it feels like I'm talking to the same person over and over again. Why is that? Because each person I have the pleasure of speaking with, who comes to my table at different events, all have a similar story...I want to do (blank) BUT...

My friends...there is always a "BUT"--a big one! The BUT is often followed by things like

  • I don't have enough time
  • I don't have the money
  • I don't know if people will support me
  • I don't know how to get started
  • I'm afraid of not being successful
  • I'm going to get to it later
  • I'm too old now
  • I'm too young...I'll wait until (blank) happens or until I'm (blank) years old
Do you see the problem here? Each of these things are all excuses - excuses will get you no where. You can shout to the rooftop about how you're going to do (blank) but if you never make a move, it won't happen. Or even worse - someone  else will do it. Want to see someone else living your dream? I think not! None of us do. So how do we move from knowing that God is leading us to do something to doing what God would have us to do? 

In my mind, it is simple. Are you ready? :-)

Just do it! That's it. Just take the second step. I'm a huge fan of writing things down and if you've ever read anything that I've written, you know that is the first thing I'm going to say:

Write down your plans. You need a definitive plan of action. Say you've done that already? Well it's time to act upon them.  You should be doing something daily to accomplish your goal. You don't have to do it all in one day but you should be doing something daily...

No more excuses. If you've ever said any of those things above (or something similar), it is time to shift your thinking from your "BUT" to your project. 

Can't wait to hear about you living The Live Your Spirit Craves.

Joshua 18:3 Then Joshua asked them, “How long are you going to wait before taking possession of the remaining land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given to you?

Natasha :-)