A Mama’s To-Do List

I don’t know what it is about women, but we all seem to have this need to make lists and check things off said list. List-making is relaxing. It’s inspiring. It’s motivating! It’s romantic, in that way that only a woman could find pen and paper.

Can I get a witness?

I’m sure not everyone is this way, but I know tons of mamas, myself included, who will go so far as to put something on the to-do list, that wasn’t originally there, after they’ve done it, just so they can cross it off (yes. we know this is a little crazy).

Again, who else is with me??

blank-list-note-3299

Honestly, I don’t think this is a bad thing. I think that often times we wives and mothers are driven to accomplish because God has placed this desire in our hearts to do our jobs – jobs both inside and outside the home.

But like every good thing, it can easily get distorted… especially by lies from the enemy, telling us that we aren’t doing enough.

One of the hardest things for me about being a stay at home mom is the lack of “productivity”.

Let’s talk about that for a minute. When I think of productivity, I immediately think of chores around my house. I think of cooking and cleaning and planning. Again, good things. But is that really the mark that I want to use to define a successful day for myself?

In some ways – Yes! I think it is a very good thing to desire a home that is well taken care of. That is one of the most fun things about being a homemaker… creating a space that is loved and that makes other feel loved.

But I personally don’t think a clean and organized home should be the pinnacle of success in a mom’s mind! So. How should we measure our success from day to day? For those of us who thrive on getting things done, how can we put that trait to good use as a godly wife and mother?

I’ve started working on a daily checklist for myself. This is something I am using to keep myself focused on what I believe to be important, and also to remind myself that the hard and holy work of motherhood is an accomplishment in and of itself. I think this checklist is applicable to stay-at-home moms and working moms alike. Check it out, and let me know what you think I should add!

  • Pray for your husband
  • Pray for your kids, individually, by name
  • Hug each of your kids
  • Kiss each of your kids
  • Tell your husband you love him
  • Tell your husband you’re proud of him, and thank him for something he did for you and your family that day
  • Tell each of your kids, individually, you love them
  • Get on the floor, and play with your kids
  • Tell each of your kids at least one thing you love about them
  • Read/tell a Bible story to your kids
  • Sing with your kids (maybe teach them songs about Jesus or praise songs!)
  • Tell each of your kids that Jesus loves them
  • Pray with your kids before bedtime
  • Pray with your husband after your kids go to sleep

I am anxious to hear what else you would add to this list. Let’s encourage each other in this daily walk of motherhood we are so privileged to have!

Advertisements

Morning Musings

this morning, I left a quiet house full of sleeping Baggs boys to steal away and get some uninterrupted time in with my Savior.
37488628_10156667019470407_1528399030365716480_o

some takeaways (and yes, I am #preachingtomyownheart here!):

 just like we schedule date nights with our significant other to spend quality time with them, scheduling extra special time with Jesus and His Word is so important. I need to do this more often.

 “praise until you worship, and worship until the glory falls”

 “praise and worship places God at the front of our army… we are an army of worshippers”.

 no Bible Study plan compares to opening Holy Scripture and letting the Holy Spirit teach you (Isaiah 55:11-12, John 14:26).

 that being said, Prayer Portions is an amazing prayer resource as a companion to reading Scripture. Praying God’s Word back to him is unmatchable.

 only a mom would find a coffee shop on Friday morning to be a quiet alternative to reading her Bible at home.

 

A Mama’s Full-Time Ministry

We’re wrapping of week 3 of Jake’s transition to full-time ministry. For the first time since I’ve known him, he is passionate and on fire about his job.

People keep asking me how I’m transitioning and how the family is transitioning. Honestly, it’s been so good for us. Even with OneWeek preparations, his hours are so much better than what he had before. He’s so close to home. We can go visit him at work. He works with amazing people.

I can’t complain!

And yet, I find myself feeling left out and frustrated when he happily goes off to work each morning. And when I’m alone putting the boys to sleep and everyone is crying and I have to pee and I just wish someone was there to help… I wonder where my call to ministry is.

Isn’t it funny how the enemy stirs up those nasty selfish feelings, and hits us right where it hurts?

I find myself wishing that I could do full-time ministry. That my life could have such clear direction and passion. That my role was so important it was worth prioritizing over almost anything.

And then, there’s that whisper again. I AM in full-time ministry. One of, if not THE most important ministry.

Why do we so easily forget that motherhood itself is a magnificent ministry?

Sweet mama – don’t let the world tell you that your job isn’t ministry. Don’t let the enemy steer you in the direction of thinking that what you do doesn’t matter. Whether you go to work and come home to pour into little lives with more energy than you knew you could muster, or you spend every waking moment each day with them, what you are doing is amazing and magical and worth fighting for. It is your most important job after loving God and honoring your husband.

The work we do by raising babies is hard and often times unsatisfying… at least in the moment. It can feel thankless and it’s definitely not glamorous. But it is so important.

We are raising the next foundation of the world. We are shaping the humans who will make decisions for the good of everyone around them. We are tasked with a huge undertaking, that only a mom could take on.

And that, to me, sounds like one amazing call to ministry.

37416581_10156665961445407_8749264843455856640_o

Prayer Notecards

As a mom of little ones, it can be so challenging to get in a good daily quiet time. And completing my entire prayer list can seem impossible. Even waking before the sun, it seems that someone always wakes up a little early, or needs to potty, or just wants to be held for the last little chunk of morning sleep! 👶🏻👩‍👦‍👦

A couple years ago, I started using this “notecard method” (my very creative title!), where I write down my prayer requests on a notecard. I date it, and then on the back, I write details and specific Scriptures to pray. (So if you’ve shared a request with me… you have a notecard!) When there are no babies around, I could spend hours doing this! But let’s be honest – moms don’t get time with no babies around 😂🤪 

37343273_10156664735005407_6303420782454243328_o

One of the best things about this notecard system is that the notecards can go with me wherever I go. I can take them to the bathroom while I get ready or the kitchen while I prepare meals.

Lately, I’ve been taking them in the car with us, and I will pray my requests, out loud, as we drive! At first it felt a little weird to pray out loud in front of the kids, especially when so many of these prayers are intimate cries from my heart to our Savior. But what better way to teach our babies to pray and to show them that we believe in a miraculous God than to let them witness us come before the throne of grace? 🙏🏽 

Moms of littles – anyone else have good tried and true tips and tricks for getting in good prayer and Scripture time? Let’s share with each other! 💕💕

and here we go!

36539167_10156616619160407_6309521757728407552_o

Tomorrow marks the start of the new chapter for our family – one we’ve been looking forward to for weeks now. It’s a new start we so desperately need. And God so faithfully provided. In these days, I think of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness and God sending Manna from heaven – exactly what they needed for the day ahead. Our faithful, promise-keeping God has given this Baggs family such a blessing of provision, even when things look bleak to our earthly eyes.

The last 18 months have been incredibly difficult. The beginning of 2017 brought so many changes. 2017 also brought some dark days and deep valleys. And 2018 followed suit. A couple months in, I honestly didn’t know if I would make it through the year. But through it all, God has been faithful.

Our God is faithful, dear friends!

He is a promise keeper.

Looking back, there is so much we don’t understand. But there are so many other things we understand more because of how we’ve had to cling to and depend on our Savior. My faith is stronger. I’ve been in places where depending on my Jesus is literally the only option. I’ve been in places where my faith has been tested to the very core of my being – and the beauty that has come from that is unimaginable.

I know that the start of this new chapter doesn’t mean smooth sailing for every day here on out. I know there will be dark days and deep valleys again. God’s Word tells us such (John‬ ‭16:33‬). But I know that I know that I know that God will carry us through. He will be faithful to complete what he’s started in us (Philippians 1:6). What he’s started in me. I know that in His hand and in His will is exactly where I want to be.

Tomorrow, as Jake starts full-time ministry at church, our family enters the same full-time ministry calling. As we submit to our Lord in this, I am so excited to be faithful with what He’s given us. And to be faithful in what our future looks like.

If you don’t know this Jesus who has changed our lives – my life, I would love to share Him with you!

Lake Living

After Jake left at the beginning of the month, we spent a weekend out at his parents’ place in southern Missouri, then we settled in with my parents for the remainder of his training. After a day or two, I decided to treat this as if the boys and I were on a lake vacation! Boat rides, morning golf cart rides, pool every day, lots of grass and sun, late bedtimes (🤪), and no daily agenda. And oh my, has the mindset shift been good for my heart and soul. 🌿☀️

There are so many things that God is teaching my mama heart during this season. And getting to stay home with my babies has done wonders for me. ❤️

This morning on our daily golf cart ride, we took a pit stop at the yacht club to chase the ducks (unfortunately they were mostly still sleeping!). Running around the wet grass, barefoot, with one baby wrapped to my chest and the other one squealing in delight up ahead of me…. this is the stuff of life. 🦆

I can’t wait for my man to come home next week, but in the meantime, lake living is kicking this summer off gorgeously! 🌊

34984567_10156565149140407_3810678749481926656_o

“Present Over Perfect” – Book Recommendation

I seriously can not recommend this book enough. So thankful for my dear friend Meagan for loaning it to me!

34629542_10156554169430407_2562622911814828032_o (1)
.
2018 has been so hard. But I have learned – been learning – so much. Honestly, the “present over perfect” concept is one I got on board with pretty easily after my first son was born. And I hopped on further after the second one came along. And now that I’m staying at home, my desire for perfect has just about left the building. Or at least the idea that I should try to attain it.

No, this book has taught me more than that. This book has called me out for living in a way that serves everyone around me, and desperately tries to live up to expectations. Expectations I don’t even want to meet. Ones that were placed there by someone else. This book hits me over the head for saying “yes” to all the wrong things, when I have a home full of people much more deserving of my “yes”.
.
Sometimes I wonder how I made it to age 27 without coming to these realizations. I am finally understanding why people go on trips or pilgrimages to “find themselves”. That’s how I’m feeling these days.

Am I a certain way because someone told me I am? Or because I want to be? Am I bad at something for real, or did I just take someone’s nasty, harsh words to heart too much?
.
I seriously feel like a blindfold has been removed from my eyes – one I wish had been ripped off years ago. In these difficult days, I am finding myself drawn to simplicity, quiet, fun, and time. Less work, less running, less planning. More doing. And laughing. And holding.
.
Do yourself and favor and read this book! I promise it will bless you. ❤️

Ministry Update!

Jake and I have had SO MUCH change in the last 4-ish years. Jake recently commented that we got saved 4-ish years ago, so the constant change makes sense as the Holy Spirit has worked in us and through us and sanctified us. 😇

Some of our biggest changes (becoming parents, getting out of debt, National Guard to name a few) were not on the road map… at least not at the same time they ended up happening. But God has a way of doing this over and over again in our lives. He guides and directs in amazing ways, and right now, our next steps look nothing like we originally planned. 👣

Two years ago, I asked Jake if he felt called to be a pastor and go into the ministry. He was so confused by my question, but I couldn’t shake the feeling in my spirit that our family had a ministry future. Fast forward a year, and I started to pursue ministry opportunities. I knew in my heart of hearts that ministry was a calling for us, and if Jake didn’t feel it too, then it must be a call on my life specifically. More than once, I came very close to starting vocational ministry, but each time, the Holy Spirit clearly told us that wasn’t what God had prepared for us. We gave it to God and trusted that if ministry was in our future, He would make it clear.

And as always, He did just that. In His own perfect timing, He prepared and led Jake’s heart, just like He did with mine starting two years ago. ❤️

Today, Jake accepted that call, and he will start working for Abundant Life Church at the beginning of July. He currently serves weekly with Fusion Student Ministry, and he will now take on a full time staff position as Student Serve Team Director with Fusion.

To say I am proud of him would not nearly do justice to how I feel about this man. He is the epitome of faithful. Anything and everything God has ever called him to do, he has done quickly and willingly and lovingly and prayerfully. Jake is living proof of God’s great grace, and I’m honored to partner with him as he starts this new chapter. 💑

We appreciate any and all prayers as we begin this journey! 🙏🏽

TLDR: Jake’s going into the ministry!33922781_10156535382010407_5484263613076078592_o

Ministry of Motherhood

There are days and nights where I wonder what my life would be like if my kids were older. Just a little bigger maybe. I think of all the things I could be doing. The ways I could be serving. The activities and ministries that could be taking up my time. The relationships I could be building. “If we could just get to that next phase”, I say to myself.

But then a soft voice whispers and reminds me just how much I know I’ll miss this. It’s a very precious thing to feel a baby hand reach for you. To feel another human calm upon settling into your chest. To see a smile only you can earn.

THIS is my ministry. These are my disciples. This is the ever-exhausting, not-always-satisfying, all-too-important work of being a mama.

At the same time that I feel like I’m suffocating and buried under a monotonous constant of serving others – I’m learning to see the blessing and joy and beauty in that. I’m understanding that this job of raising littles isn’t just about endless snack and laundry and messes and diapers and sleep deprivation. It’s about pouring 110% into the next generation, to make sure a legacy of love lives on. 

36809917_10156633785470407_1394424874256039936_o

“Must be Nice…”

36839157_10156639220280407_1806707151595372544_o

I recently read about a phenomenon I’ll refer to as the “must be nice” sentiment. It’s the tendency to look at someone else’s life and say or think “well that must be nice”.

How often do we look at another person’s [filtered, packaged, specifically-presented] life and think it sure must be nice to have what they have? Spending ability. Clothes. Homes. Jobs. Vacations. Happiness.

Let me tell you two things, dear friend.

1. Please remember that there is a flip side to everything you see, both in person and online. I see moms at church on Sunday morning looking gorgeous with well-dressed kids, and I assume that everyone woke up at the right moment, listened well, ate their healthy and delicious breakfast, dressed themselves in impeccable outfits while the whole kitchen was cleaned, and the drive to church was sunny and cheerful just like their whole lives. When in all reality, their morning looked like mine. Little people being human and needing help, having attitudes, not getting enough sleep, leftover breakfast sitting on the table still, with a hectic drive to church that involved putting makeup on in the car. And that’s okay for my family, and that’s okay for her family! All she did was show up to church, so why am I romanticizing her life when it probably looks just like mine! Remember that life is always messier on the inside than it is when you’re outside looking in.

2. But if you do want something else out of your life, go get it. I’m #preachingtomyownheart here. We are so quick to complain complain complain. But how often do we make changes in our actions to effect change in our situation? Here’s my point: if you don’t like where you are financially – make a change. If you don’t like your health situation – make a change. If you don’t like how your day and time are structured – make a change. Find your priorities and pursue them wholeheartedly.

Here in the Baggs Fam, we are wholeheartedly pursuing a simple life filled with good food, hospitality, intentional time, and good health. And we are continuing to make lifestyle changes to make this dream a reality.

What “must be nice” dreams are you pursuing right now? I would love to encourage you!