Motivated by Joy


Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? Many of us can label ourselves as either night owls or morning people.  What if the secret could be found in what motivates us to get up?

How did you wake up? Did an alarm wake you up?  Children come bouncing into your room? Spouse snore until you awoke? Are you one of those lucky people who gets up when your body naturally wakes up?

My alarm goes off at 5am on days that I work.  I get up, fix a pot of coffee, read my Bible readings for the day, spend a few quiet moments in prayer, work on the computer while drinking coffee, and then get ready for work.  Eventually, I get around to waking up the rest of the house.

This morning, when the alarm blared, I turned it off and just laid in the bed.  I thought about resetting the alarm and skipping my writing time.  This is the first day after a long weekend of sleeping later than usual.  I tried to justify staying in bed.  However, I realized that the joy I find in my quiet mornings motivates me to get up each day.

It is so much easier to move through life when we find joy in our daily schedules.  Other than my quiet mornings, I find joy in playing with my kids after the dinner rush.  I also find joy in the few moments I get to spend with my husband each evening once the kids are in bed.  I find joy in working with my fifth graders each day.

Seeking joy in our daily lives motivates us to keep going.  It fuels our soul and replenishes the weariness.  God tells us to seek joy in Him.  We can find joy in our relationship with Him and His promises for our future.  His blessings pour joy into our lives, and we are instructed to revel in our joy.  As Nehemiah said, “…the joy of the Lord is our strength.” That joy gets us going each day.  It keeps us going when we hit hard times.

How do you find joy in the Lord in your life?



Quiet Moments


Most of my friends and family know that I get up early.  I didn’t begin this habit until Superhero Son was born. I find that I am exhausted by the time everyone goes to bed at night, so if I want quiet time for myself, it has to be in the mornings.

I use my quiet time to write, read my Bible, clean, shower/dress for the day, and savor the peace that falls upon my home when everyone else is sleeping.  I actually have a friend at school who laughs at me for mopping my floor at 5:30am.  I tried to explain that it is way easier to mop when the one year old, four year old, and husband are NOT trying to walk around!

After four years of rising early, I can vouch for the value it has in my life.  On the surface level, my floors are clean.  My dishwasher gets unloaded.  I am not rushed trying to get myself ready after the kids get out of bed.  A calm, cheerful momma can make the morning flow smoothly for the kids, too.

Beneath the surface are even more benefits.  I am a better mom, wife, friend, writer, and teacher if I have quiet time in the morning.  If I can start my day with my relationship with God, even if it is praying while I mop, my day seems less harried.  I am calmer and more focused on my tasks at hand.  Some mornings I get an hour alone.  Some mornings I get ten minutes, but even the small slivers of time can help.

***After writing this post, I saw the post by Lysa TerKeurst at Proverbs 31 Ministries.  Check her out here.  I guess I am not the only one thinking about my quiet time today!***

Find your quiet time folks!


Help Meet? What is a Help Meet?


Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.” Proverbs 31:28-29

Sunday mornings can get rough around here!  We begin our day in a lazy sort of way.  I sit around in my pjs drinking coffee.  The kids stay in their pjs until breakfast is finished.  My husband stays in bed as long as he possibly can.  (Occasionally the kids drag him out by jumping on top of him until he cannot possibly go back to sleep!)

Around 8:30 everyone goes into panic mode.  We realize that if we are going to be at church by 10:00am, we better get moving!

Yesterday morning was no exception.  I hurriedly got both kids ready.  Superhero Son didn’t like ANY of his clothes.  Darling  Daughter needed a nap and cried while we all rushed around her.  Finally, only five minutes late,  I was ready to leave.  As I picked up Darling Daughter to carry her through the pouring rain to the car, my husband asked me for a screwdriver.  I looked at him like he was a big doofus and asked, “Why do you need a screwdriver?  Get in the car so we can leave!”  

His reply went something like this, “I have to drive separately.  I have to go to work after church.  I need to put new license plates on the new car before I leave.  The thirty day tags ran out!”  

I took a deep breath….and went off on him.  I am sure everything I said sounded perfectly acceptable to me at the time, but was probably mean.  While I was ranting about never getting enough help with the kids, always being late, feeling unappreciated, overworked, and overwhelmed, I got the screwdriver out of the drawer.  I picked up Darling Daughter, again, and ran both kids through the rain to the car.  

While driving to church, still fuming, I prayed that God would allow me to calm down before I got to church.  I suddenly remembered something my pastor said about every man needing a help meet in his wife.  He explained a help meet  as a wife who served her husband.

I don’t appreciate that expectation in my life AT ALL! I have never thought of myself as submitting to my husband in any way.  I was not raised to be that kind of woman.  I am independant, strong, and bossy!  My husband would agree with everything, especially the bossy part.  

But in the moment of driving through the torrential rain, listening to a screaming baby, wondering if my husband got the license plate on without getting soaked in his work/church clothes, it occurred to me that maybe God is calling me to be my husband’s help meet afterall.  Maybe God knows that my husband needs an assistant.  My husband needs someone to do his laundry, cook his dinner, and take care of his kids because he works crazy long hours.  He needs someone to boost his confidence when facing poopy diapers, scraped knees, and potty training.  Yesterday morning, he needed someone to tell him where the phillips head screwdriver was because I was the last to use it.

I don’t have to become a slave to my husband, submit to his every demand, or let him treat me poorly.  However, I am called to be his help meet.  Genesis 2:18 says, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (KJV).  I imagine the Proverbs 31 woman was a great help meet for her man!