Our Necessary Quiet Retreat

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You are my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me.

Psalm 119:114 MSG

Good morning!

In a world full of distraction where do we go for a quiet retreat?

As a mom to young children it seems like every direction I turn there is something calling out to me; piles of toys, dirty dishes, spilled milk, laundry baskets overflowing just to name a few.  It’s even hard to go to the bathroom by myself, with calls of “mom!!” coming through the door.

Some days our assignments are overwhelming.

Some days our jobs are hard.

Some days it feels like we are regressing and not gaining.

Some days we struggle for air as we can’t seem to look up over the mess of it all.

But throughout this journey I have learned that as I press into Jesus, He brings my quiet retreat.  It doesn’t mean that we have to follow a set of “rules” or wake up before our children to get our bible read.

It is in the freedom of relationship with the Father that we find our quiet…

It is when we call out to Him in the middle of the mess, in the middle of the dishes, in the middle of the laundry stacked high and the never-ending clean up.  It is when we open up our hearts, our lives, and let Him be in the center of it all.

He alone will bring us quiet retreat…and He alone will renew our strength.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

An Absolute Masterpiece

You are God's masterpiece

Good morning!

“Nothing short of an absolute masterpiece…” I thought to myself as I looked out over this body of water and gazed at the mountains before me.  “But that’s what you do Father, you make masterpieces.”

It’s so hard to feel like a masterpiece isn’t it?  This world tends to make us feel like we aren’t measuring up to its standards… But who set those standards anyways?

When we dive into God’s Word it tells us in Ephesians that we are God’s masterpiece, His workmanship, created anew (new or different in a positive way) in Christ Jesus.

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As we enter into relationship with the Father, giving him our heart, we are no longer bound by our sin, our mistakes, our past, our “old self”; but created new through the blood of Jesus to do the good things the Father planned for us in advance to do.

We don’t have to run the race of this world, be good enough, or measure up to its standards in order to feel like we are complete.  We just need to press into our relationship with the Father and follow His lead.

God is making us a masterpiece…day by day as we yield to his ways, his words, his teaching.  We can walk in confidence today knowing that we are His masterpiece.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Dear Father

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When I was born you held me.  As I grew you guided me.

When I was scared you protected me.  When I was excited you would hug me.

When I needed guidance you shared wisdom with me.  When I felt alone you stayed with me.

When I wandered away you kept your eye on me…never letting me out of your site.

When I felt hopeless you held my hand.  When I doubted you encouraged me.

There have been days I have messed up, ran away, felt ashamed.  But your love never wavered.  It stayed steadfast, strong, relentless.

You have loved me with an everlasting love.  A love that is undeniable and constant.  A love that never fails, never gives up, never fades.  We don’t have to earn it, we don’t have to work for it, we don’t have to prove ourselves for it.

A love so amazing…

I personally have been blessed with an amazing earthly Father, whereas, some may not have been so fortunate to have that same experience.  See a father’s love comes from our heavenly Father. People here on earth attempt to replicate this love but it can only be perfected by our heavenly Father.

A love so perfect it is impossible to describe.

There is no other love like the love of a father…for it comes from the Father.

With Love,

The Johnstons

 

 

 

Summer Here We Come!

Summer Here We Come

Good morning!

Time, routine, schedules.  All words that have been floating around in the mind of every mother whose child/children are about to be out of school for the summer.  The “normal” routine of life is about to drastically change gears as school comes to an end and summer begins.

What do some of your summer schedules/routines look like?

We have thought a lot about this lately as our boys are set to head into their first fall of full time school.  What do we want the next three months to look like?

We know one thing for sure… We want to spend the summer pouring life into them.  So a few things on our list are:

  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Swimming Pools
  • T-Ball
  • Hikes
  • Bible Camp

But life isn’t always about fun and games is it?  We also want to pour into our boys a work ethic.  A drive to grow into the kind of men this world needs.  So with that comes responsibilities, chores, helping around the house and the barn, as well as tending the garden and all the flowers they wanted to plant.

It’s never too early to teach them about the responsibilities that they will one day have.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.  Proverbs 22:6

 Let’s start off the summer full of fun, but also let’s instill in them the values that will help them reap a harvest later down the road.

Blessings,

The Johnston’s

The Slowness of Progress

 

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So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head and deliver him from his discomfort.  And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.  Jonah 4:6

Good morning!

Have you ever been completely frustrated?  Almost annoyed at the slowness of progress?  It doesn’t matter if we are parenting children who seem to not be getting the message, trying to grow our online businesses, or working at a relationship that seems to keep coming up short.  Sometimes it is easy to get worn down, stressed out, and flat frustrated at the slowness of progress.  It feels like a mountain we keep climbing yet the top doesn’t seem to be getting any closer.

I was feeling this very frustration when I read this verse out of Jonah while working on a bible study I am currently doing.  The words literally jumped off the page at me.  God appointed a plant…a plant! To provide protection for Jonah while he sat and sulked under his own man-made shelter and had his pity party.  After he had prayed to die, by the way.

While Jonah sat there feeling sorry for himself, God was still at work.  Don’t you love how God never stops working on our behalf.  Jonah had prayed to die, sat sulking under his shelter as God was working on his real protection.

We can sit and sulk and feel sorry for ourselves too, and we do, don’t we?  And honestly, it doesn’t do anybody any good.  Why we are throwing our pity party and wondering why our children won’t listen, why our business isn’t growing, or why our relationship isn’t working God is ALREADY working it out.  He is going to provide exactly what we need, when we need it.

If he can appoint a plant to provide protection for Jonah, I am confident that He can provide absolutely whatever it will take for us as well.

Let’s let our frustrations go.  They aren’t doing us any good…and let’s start trusting Him to provide what we need, when we need it.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Finally Friday!

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Good morning!

It’s finally Friday!! I don’t know about y’all, but this week.  Shew!  Coming off of Mother’s Day and celebrating all the gifts that encompass being a mom had me on this high, so to speak.  And then this week has just been one of those weeks.  One of those parenting weeks that has just been hard. You know the ones, when your children seem to fight and whine more than play and enjoy? And I felt my mood slipping from joyful to cranky in a hurry.

By Tuesday I felt like the week had already run me over already and I was desperately clinging to any strings left of my patience.  (Which, by the way, I didn’t get a hold of)

As I sat this morning in some time of prayer I read these verses out of Psalm

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.  Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant… Psalm 86:15-16a

The Father always knows exactly what we need to hear when we need to hear it.  He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness.  He is completely whole.  And for that I am so grateful.  He had already extended me the grace I needed and renewed my soul to continue on this good fight of parenthood.

In the next breath I prayed for His strength.  Not just any strength, but HIS strength. I don’t know about you, but we need every ounce of His strength we can get on this parenting journey.  It is not for the weak of heart.  And in the very next moment I felt Him speak to my heart… “It’s yours”.

Isn’t it amazing that we get to serve a God who is with us?  All the time He hears us, He loves us, and He is our Rock. He is behind us and there to encourage us and strengthen us when we turn to Him in our times of need.

Where do you need Him to provide you strength right now? Ask Him… He is always listening.

Blessings,

The Johnston’s

Celebrating Moms

Good morning!

Being a mom is one of the greatest assignments God has ever blessed me with.  To care for, nurture and love a child is a privilege beyond my comprehension.

I will never forget the day we found out that I was going to be a mom.  It came as such a surprise, but we were excited none the less.  But then at our 21-week appointment little did we know what we would find out.  I was carrying two babies… and to say that we were completely surprised and overwhelmed is an understatement!  How did this happen?! Twins don’t run in either of our families!

And just as we were getting used to the idea of having “two of everything” my water broke and when I was just 31 weeks our two boys made their way into this world.  The unexpected, overwhelming journey that has followed over the past five and a half years is one that has been filled with fear, excitement, pain, joy, and probably every other emotion I can think of.

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But most importantly it is the journey of motherhood that has drawn me closer and closer to the Father.  It has given me a better glimpse to the kind of love that He has for us. The kind of love we give and the kind we receive.  The kind that has no limits, no boundaries, no containment.  There is no way to earn it, nothing that can stop it.  It’s the kind that gives everything it has and holds nothing back.

I will forever be grateful that God made me a mother. For it is through this journey that I have grown to know his love a little deeper.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and blessings for you this beautiful day,

The Johnstons

 

Moving Forward in Power

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Good morning!

Did anyone else take the time to reset their emotions over the weekend?  In case you missed the last couple of blogs, I have been sharing a bit about dealing with our emotions when they seem to be on a roller coaster ride. Make sure to check them out!

Anyhow, I know there is so much going on and it finally feels like spring around here! We are planting flowers and building another garden bed, doing yard clean up, and just loving being outside!  But…emotional clean-up was first on my list.  I knew that if I didn’t get cleaned up on the inside, I wouldn’t be any fun on the outside.

So, once we have reset our emotions and gotten cleaned up on the inside and re-submitted to God’s will, what do we do with the mess on the outside that got us here in the first place?

  1. We can let it drain us and we give in.  Or…
  2. We get determined and walk in the power Jesus died to give us

If I have said it once in my life, I have said it a thousand times… I will not be conquered by this.  Jesus came and gave His very life so that we can live full and I am determined to do so.

So the thing that has your emotions on that roller coaster ride?  Take another step.  Seek out more answers.  Don’t give up, dig in.  Look in the mirror and tell this so called “thing” whether it is:

  • sickness
  • failure
  • pain
  • a broken heart
  • a broken relationship

that it has no power over you.  Jesus died so the Holy Spirit could come and dwell on the inside of us giving us power! Power to stand, power to conquer, and power to defeat these things that try to come against us.  Beloved, don’t give in to your emotions.  The Holy Spirit will provide everything it takes to get back on your feet and face this thing head on.  Let’s choose to get determined and let the power of the one true God fight from within us.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Battling Our Emotions

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Good morning!

I wrote a couple days ago about how draining our emotions can be.  God has shown me over the course of this week that the roller coaster ride of emotions that comes is usually when life doesn’t look like I want it to… Ouch.

What about you?  When do your emotions seem to take you on a roller coaster ride?

I believe that our emotions can just flat wear us down over time.  It usually happens when we stand firm week in and week out, believing in the good of all the mess going on around us and then when we can’t actually SEE the good, our emotions take off.

So, what do WE DO when our emotions rage?  That is what I have really searched out this week.  I don’t want to live by my emotions but I also don’t want to slap a smile on my face and fake it.  There is nothing real or genuine about that.  So here are a few actions that I believe we can take to reset.

  • Resubmit ourselves to God’s will.  When we actually take the time to be still and hear from God, yield to His plan over our lives, and recognize Him as the Mighty Counselor, we can relinquish our need to be in control.
  • Pray for an undivided heart.  When we declare God’s truth from His word over our lives, He will realign our hearts to match His.  There is no better place to go when we get frustrated then to God Himself.
  • Look for the goodness of God all around.  When we choose to only see the negative going on, that is all we see.  And then it becomes manifested in our sight.  We must CHOOSE to see the good things that the Father has graciously provided all around us.

There is no one closer to our emotions, our tears, our frustrations than God himself.  He is right where we are.  Meeting us there in the middle of our roller coaster ride, reaching out His hand, offering to help us off.  Even though the mess might not change right away, we can accept His help and choose to move forward in His grace.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

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