Insights in the Grocery Line

Jewel ZymurgyMotherhood0 Comments

On occasion, I feel the speed at which my daughter has grown and the only appropriate response is to sit back and be in the moment with her. Last night was no exception. It’s her senior year of high school. She’s highly active in ROTC and in helping other students succeed and promote within that activity. With all of the senior year activities added onto the regular demand of the school year, I am incredibly thankful that at the present time, I don’t have a second job because it frees me up to honestly live life with her this year. I very much look forward to the time we get to have together. We talk and we laugh. We go shopping together (most of the time) and most days we get to spend at least a couple of hours together before she begins her bedtime routine. My daughter is old enough and grown enough to occasionally be mistaken as my little sister…or maybe that’s the snarky way we interact. (If I could, I would put right here that emoji with a half-smile which knows completely the happiness in my heart and the fond recollection of our silly time together.) The … Read More

Moments I Can’t Protect Her From

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Motherhood, Trials0 Comments

As a mother…and a single mother…I have done many things wrong, thinking at times that I had to make decisions on my own. I have reacted emotionally and irrationally instead of taking my intense emotions to God and/or a trusted and healthy, caring friend. However, my heart to lovingly protect my daughter is something I don’t think I will ever need to apologize for. Despite knowing my own inner thoughts and motivations, I found myself having conversations with her that would give her knowledge about and maybe a desire to protect herself from one of my greatest fears as a mother. I look back and see that my anxiety was so great that I lost focus of my original intent to have conversation with her and instead found myself talking at her without any room for her to communicate with me. I let my worry over what may happen in the future take over. And then it happened… That thing I fought so desperately to protect her from… She tried to hide the truth of what happened though was relieved when I found out. Until then she was alone in her thoughts and feelings. Wrestling with lies and emotional muchness … Read More

A Letter to My Daughters

Carol DunfeeMotherhood1 Comment

Next week, several of us from ACWM will be teaching break-out sessions at the Fusion Alaska youth conference. One of my sessions will be about friendships…   In the past month, both of my daughters have invited their friends over for birthday parties. In the craziness of sugar, presents, and lots of girls, I enjoyed watching their friends. I observed how they treated each other, how they dealt with the less social girls, how they welcomed strangers, how they responded to adults. It reminded me of the friends I had when I was their age. There were the cool kids who I admired and tried so hard to please…only to be heartbroken when I just wasn’t cool enough. Then there were the down-to-earth kids. They were the ones who kept my secrets, who taught me how to apologize when I was wrong, who helped me stretch my wings. What do I want my daughters to know about THEIR friends? ————– Dear daughters, I love you with all my heart. I want you to have a rewarding, fruitful life. From the moment you were born, you have been slowly walking away from dependence on your parents and towards dependence on God. … Read More

Hoarding Grace

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, Redemption2 Comments

Grace

Have you ever found yourself asking a question, knowing you didn’t want to know the answer? Asking the question was necessary, but the response had a realistic potential of being hard to hear? That was me yesterday. Yesterday wasn’t a very good day. If I could do the day over, I absolutely would, but if it hadn’t of been a bad day, I might not have learned what I needed to. Tensions have been high lately. We have a very sick kiddo (for almost 3 weeks now) who’s been missing school. I’ve missed a lot of work, money is tight, we’re not sleeping well, ministry has been frustrating, work has been stressful for both my husband and myself. Tensions have been high, and then they peaked yesterday via an argument on the way to work. I hate when days start like that. Thankfully they don’t happen often for us, but when they do it ruins the whole day. I don’t like being angry, but especially with my family, and I definitely don’t like it when someone is angry with me. After some important discussion, requests for forgiveness, and some reconciliation, I asked a hard question… “What can I do to … Read More

Finding Simplicity

Carol DunfeeMotherhood, Womanhood0 Comments

Simplicity. We long for it. Bloggers make a living writing about it. Authors sell thousands of books teaching us how to achieve it. I don’t know how it is in other cultures, but the life of an American woman is busy. There is never enough time to take care of the house, keep the children fed and educated, earn money, be a fantastic wife, and have personal space. I can keep the house somewhat presentable OR work on a project. I cannot do both. I can either earn the extra money to ease our budget OR I can be available on evenings and weekends for my husband and kids. I cannot do both of those, either. It’s easy to see why those simple living blogs are so popular! However, I don’t think I crave simplicity as much as I crave a haven for my soul–a knowledge that everything is under control. I long for a freedom to do what needs to be done, without leaving 100 other things undone. I hunger for the peace that beckons me from the other side of my unending to-do list…the list that is so long that three things get added for every single item … Read More

The Challenge of Motherhood, Part 2

Carol DunfeeBible Study, Faith, Motherhood0 Comments

Today’s society gives us so many short-cuts for raising our children. We can park them in front of a movie for an hour or two of quiet. We give them electronic devices to keep them entertained on road trips. Local churches offer many good children’s programs to teach our kids about God. Local day camps offer instruction and play so we can work. Honestly, I’m grateful for these tools! I need a little quiet time to maintain my sanity. Constant questions and bickering can threaten my ability to be calm and collected. I love that other adults speak God’s truth into my children’s hearts. Even as I struggle with the tendency to idolize my children (as we discussed in Part 1), I need help. But if I’m not careful, I will rely too heavily on these surrogate parents. While my kids need outside entertainment and the discipleship of our local church, I cannot allow these good things to substitute my role in their lives. God gave the primary role of instruction to parents. While it’s nice to have help, the primary job of teaching children belongs to their parents. We cannot expect to relinquish our responsibilities and still see good results. Just a … Read More

Because of the Goodness of God…

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Motherhood0 Comments

God Good

As of late I’ve had the opportunity to ponder on the effects of some of the decisions and choices that I’ve made. It started because of being asked to step into an interactive role with customers at work. In doing so, God granted me the gift of seeing many different people. Some who have moved in and out of my life in a quick and superficial manner. Others who have spoken truth and love in times when I knew that only God heard my heart cry. Those interactions got me to think back on some of the relationships that I have held on to—some (more recently) have been life giving, honoring, full of loving words, challenges and truth…and others have led to heartache, pain, betrayal and unbelievable loss. As I reflect on the latter—there is a common thread that ran through those relationships that until now, I had been unwilling to admit. Those relationships were outside of God’s Will…not only did I know that they were outside of the Will of God; I held onto them as if my life depended on having that relationship, which was unhealthy or just plain bad for me…forcing the result to be more pain! … Read More

The Challenge of Motherhood, Part 1

Carol DunfeeBible Study, Faith, Motherhood, Womanhood0 Comments

Motherhood is complicated. It is the hardest job. It is the most rewarding job. Too often, we make this tough job even harder. We sabotage ourselves by falling into age-old traps common to every mother in history. Have you ever noticed that every single child was born AFTER Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden? The consequences of their sin has affected every mother in history! Not a single mother gave birth before the curse of sin. Pain. And more pain. The King James Version of the Bible translates the word “pain” as “sorrow”. The first use of the word “sorrow” in this verse is the Hebrew word, itstsabown. It means labor, toil, and suffering. Those who have experienced or witnessed childbirth can definitely attest to the intense pain involved! Even pregnancy is filled with pain and discomfort. According to Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, this word indicates bodily or mental pain. Curiously, the Lexicon’s first definition is “an idol”. The second use of “sorrow” in this verse is from the Hebrew word, etseb. It also carries the meaning of pain, sorrow, and hardship related to an “earthen vessel”. Interestingly enough, this word can also be translated as “idol”. (Jeremiah 22:28.) God used two … Read More

Lessons in Love from my Mom

Madison RosserMotherhood1 Comment

Mother’s Day. It can be a sensitive day. Many women long to be a mother, but some wait in the desert of infertility wondering when life will come. Others have lost precious little ones. Some mothers are estranged from their children, and some children are disillusioned by the poor example or absence of their mother. Still others, like myself, mourn the always-too-early-loss of the woman who gave them life. I lost my mom when she was forty-four years young, but if she had been ninety-nine, I am sure my world would feel just as empty. Perhaps for you, today is sheer celebration of joy and love, as it should be. Regardless, this day spurs reflection for many. This Mother’s Day has me reflecting on what my own momma taught me in the twenty-two years I had her. My mother was a special woman, quick-tempered, but quicker to love and laugh. She taught me many things about living and loving. Three things stick out to me in particular. Love is in the details. My mom had a knack for making me and others feel special. When I was a child, it was making a favorite meal or hiding a note in … Read More

God, Help Me Bring Her Through​​

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Motherhood, Trials0 Comments

Help me God

As I am writing this moment tears well up in my eyes. I grew up in a manner that did not allow me to learn how to express my sadness or loss. Now as my child is hurting deeply from the death of a friend I feel like I finally have the room and the desire to open that door to letting God into that walled off place in my heart. Just thinking about the pain that I see my daughter experience brings tears to my eyes readily and in the span of a moment my heart feels like it is one beat away from breaking. This may be a naïve comment to make, but I never saw it coming. It took me by surprise. The loss that was so sudden and the way that it happened…took my breath away and sometimes I catch myself getting lost in the heartache of it all. There are so many times when I have felt overwhelmed and scared and unsure of what to do. This is where I find myself again…though this time with a feeling of complete powerlessness as I see my daughter grieving daily the loss of her friend. Instead of … Read More

Deep Tears

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Motherhood, Trials1 Comment

BrokenHearted

It was a tough, tough week. I was group leading for Beauty for Ashes, and it was day 2. It is a faith-based healing conference that looks at the harm that is caused in our past, to see how it affects our now, and make plans for a better tomorrow. My heart was tender with the sadness of the brokenness of the stories that I was already hearing in our small group. I was incredibly aware of the rising anger growing inside me at the mistreatment of these ladies as they were young. The desire inside me, to fight for them grew. I wanted to be the one who would stand against those who in their own woundedness or selfishness caused these ladies so much pain. I cried tears of deep sadness knowing that there was no one to stand in the place of protection and instead I can only say those things that I wish they would have gotten to hear or see…I felt so heartbroken. With surprising curiousness, I looked at my sensitive heart. The passion that I felt in my core that was willing to fight for people that I had just met was foreign to me. … Read More

My Daughters Ring

Jewel ZymurgyMotherhood, Redemption1 Comment

purity ring

  I bought my daughter a purity ring… At first, I considered getting her one because of the stories and reasons that my mentor and her family had given.   I wanted to encourage my daughter. Help her to find out who she is and whose she is. Inspire her to practice abstinence. Challenge her to focus on maturing in responsibility and relationships. Encourage her to stand on biblical principles…   “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” 1 Thessalonians 4:3   “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8   Then I realized…that’s me wanting to look good and sound right…   When I really look deeply at some of the reasons why I want her to wear a purity ring, it comes down to the fact that I’m afraid.   She is loyal and trusts so easily—will she trust that easily with her body?   She wants acceptance from her friends—who will she chose to fill that yearning to belong?   She opens her heart and loves deeply—will she fall hard for someone and then give herself to a person who offers her … Read More

But it’s not RIGHT!

Guest BloggerFaith, Motherhood1 Comment

I burned the first batch of bacon. The kids were playing outside after school. While I was trying to have a slightly-tense conversation via text with my husband, watch the bacon on the stove, crack eggs, add spices, and dip the French Toast, all the while washing my hands like a brain surgeon in between touching everything so as not to cross-contaminate – the bacon was burned. I marched downstairs to call the kids in for dinner, and no one came. As I angrily marched back upstairs, I saw my daughter, and sharply called to her. I went upstairs and waited. No one came. I was reeling. I opened the door, and right at the bottom of the stairs, my kids are just talking with the neighbor kids. I yelled at my daughter again, and she, baffled at my demeanor, comes in. (Neither of my sons, mind you; just my daughter.) I was steaming! I proceeded to unleash a boatload of mama drama onto my daughter for not coming when she was called. She said she didn’t know I was calling her. She said she saw me at the bottom on the stairs, but didn’t know why I was there. … Read More

The Myth of SuperWoman

Carol DunfeeFaith, Motherhood, Trials, Womanhood2 Comments

A close friend recently told me that she thought I was a SuperWoman. I laughed. I told her that she was a SuperWoman. Guess what. She laughed, too. We can all look at the highlights of other women’s lives and think that they are SuperWomen. It’s easy compare what we KNOW about our imperfect lives to what we SEE on the surface of another’s life. But our comparisons are so inaccurate. It’s like comparing apples to bananas. Or comparing a raw, unedited image of a model to a retouched image of the same model in a magazine. Even the model doesn’t resemble her own appearance in the picture. Because I live with myself, I KNOW that I struggle. I struggle with self-doubt, disorganization, cluttered closets, too-little-faith, and a lack of discipline in spending time with God. Not to mention the times I over-schedule and force my children to pay the consequences. Or how about when I gain confidence and boldness, only to over-extend myself and revert to doubt and fear. No one else sees when I cry because I can’t keep up with the kids’ health issues or even my own. I don’t often share the fear I feel every time … Read More

When Moms Get It Right

Jen CudmoreMotherhood3 Comments

She complimented my son. She said he packed the Operation Christmas Child boxes well, didn’t get sidetracked by friends, worked hard at making it all fit nicely together. And my mama heart swelled. That’s what we want to hear, right moms? That when our children are away from us, they behave with honor and integrity. That somewhere along the line, we did something right. The scripture tells us in Hebrews 3:13 to ‘encourage one another daily’ so we don’t become hardened by sins deceit. A kind word can make all the difference. Like when I assured a friend of mine that she was doing a good job raising her daughter, even though all she could see were her failures. Tears burst from her eyes as she struggled to accept my compliment. I had no idea she needed the encouragement until I saw her reaction. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 The other day, I witnessed a mom failure. And while I tried to help, all I succeeded in doing was drawing attention to her mistake and telling her how to do it better next time. That would have been the perfect … Read More

A Great Time for Prayer

Jewel ZymurgyMotherhood3 Comments

My daughter and I sat together reading a book when a situation caught her attention and her countenance darkened. She gave a cynical snicker and kind of snarled as she said that one of the characters reminded her of me and the other character reminded her of a person who had deeply hurt her. The book described a person who was moved by conviction to correct a wrong that was committed. The character faced two people who, in my opinion, were described as polar opposites. Both were leaders in the character’s company and though the intention was to see only the president, it just so happened the two of them were in conversation and thus the audience of two. There were three people. The one who my daughter identified with was the person who was moved to the place of correcting a wrong. The character had a knot of tension in their stomach as they waited to speak to the president of the company. Humiliation and determination mixed together with fear as the implications of taking responsibility for actions previously made rolled around in their head. The second character was stern and had been described thus far as fair and … Read More

When Jesus Finally Made Sense To Me

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, Trials1 Comment

Months of planning had gone into one little camping trip with friends.  It seems so silly to plan months in advance to sleep outside on the dirt, but Alaskan summers are something we long for, and time off from work is much desired during the season where the sun doesn’t set.  If you want to take a day off in the summer time, you must ask long ahead of time, otherwise you’ll blink and it will be dark and snowy again.  A two hour drive, deep into the woods was on our agenda, and I looked forward to nothing more than a raging bonfire, and s’mores shared with some of the best people I have ever know. There’s just something about quality time spent with incredible people around a fire, that renews my soul.   It was the weekend before our big camping trip when I started to miscarry. Suddenly this trip we had planned so far ahead of time, seemed a little less ideal for me.  I didn’t want to deal with that out in the middle of the woods. I didn’t want to be a mess physically or emotionally in front of anyone. I didn’t want to be away from home.  My home is my … Read More

Sacred Moments

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Motherhood2 Comments

The last couple of weeks have been a turbulent combination of incredible brokenness and wonder-filled moments that I have been just at awe in being able to be a part. As I talked with a friend of mine, I literally sat in a place of being peculiarly overwhelmed at the thought of what conversations and guidance I felt that I needed to have and pass on to my daughter as she is wrapping up her junior year in high school. I felt acutely aware in that moment of how fast time had been rushing by and just how relatively little that I had left with her. I looked at what felt like such a small amount of time and large amount of just heart conversations to have with her…and I mentally collapsed at the weight of it. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6: 34 Unfortunately, I took my eyes off my Jesus for a time and allowed the weight of the lack to be bigger than my trust and rest … Read More

When Motherhood & Ministry Collide

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Marriage, Motherhood0 Comments

I haven’t written a new blog post in several weeks, and if I’m being honest, that really bothers me some days.  I have committed to contributing to this blog and serving in this ministry on a weekly basis, but as time goes on, and my seasons of life change, sometimes motherhood and ministry collide.  I have good intentions, I have a brain swirling with thoughts that just beg to be shared, but sometimes it’s really hard to make sense of anything at all when you haven’t slept in a really long time, and you have a screaming toddler in your lap slapping the keys on the keyboard faster than you can push her little hands away. The insecurities deep within me shout the loudest in times like these. “Look at you! You signed up for this, and once again you can’t follow through. All of these other women have busy lives! They have families, jobs outside of the home, and other commitments just like you…so why can’t you keep up? They keep up! They’re faithful week after week, but then there’s you. There you are writing something last minute again,  as night creeps into another day.  You say it’s because it’s the only time you have, … Read More

Too Stressed For a Merry Heart?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Motherhood0 Comments

Have you ever given advice to someone else, but you were really talking to yourself? This past Sunday, I woke with a terrible headache, which only happens to me maybe once a year. I knew immediately it was from too much stress and not enough rest, but what’s a busy mom to do? I worked overtime at the office during the week, still trying to catch up on projects, and sometimes in the evening nearly every day. I chose to spend 10 hours on Saturday at a tournament with one child, then stay up late with the other child, so I was moving from about 5am until 11pm, spending about 2 hours total at home all day. I know other moms can relate! I was exhausted. I didn’t want to go to church and I certainly didn’t want to teach my Sunday School class. So I did what any woman would do – I decided to show a video. But instead of grabbing a churchy cartoon, I grabbed something else. Teaching is my responsibility, and I needed to share some type of biblical truth with the kids, so I wracked my brain, and was reminded of a Scripture that is … Read More