There is Room at the Table| By Brooke Juneau

As I walked into the house for life group, my favorite person ever came to greet me. His name is Ford (or I call him Fordie). He’s 4-years-old and has the cutest smile and the biggest imagination. He knew we were making waffles for everyone, which are his favorite, so he wanted to be a part of the whole process!

He stuck beside me the whole time to make sure it got done- grabbing eggs, pouring oil, and even checking the temperature of the waffles to ensure they were cool enough. At one point he even tried to refrain from using the bathroom for fear that I would make the waffles without him.

He thought that he was going to miss out- that there would be none leftover for him. What he did not know is that I had already come prepared with enough to make him as many waffles as he wanted, but it was hard for him to trust that was true if he could not see it in front of him.

In the end, as I watched him stuffing the waffles in his mouth, all I could see was myself.

All of my life I have felt like I was going to miss out on my calling. That I was going to wake up one day and God would throw his hands in the air like, “Sorry, you didn’t get here fast enough. All of the spots are filled.”

If you have ever felt this way before, I don’t blame you. We live in a world that has always said that there’s not enough. If you want it, you better start pushing your way to the top and speeding up the process because the spots at the table of dreams are filling up and they’re filling up fast. I’ve even heard the saying “If you don’t do it, then God will find someone who will.”

This created a fear in me that my calling is first come first serve, and if I don’t get to movin’ then someone will replace me. That God won’t want me anymore. That my calling will go stale, I’ll miss out on purpose, and I’ll have to watch someone else take that place.

Having this mindset made me skeptical about God, so I began to assist God in the process. I would step ahead of him- trying to pour oil in areas that didn’t need any, stir up things that weren’t ready yet, and try to cook things that were still missing ingredients.

I have read in his word a million and one times that he has a plan and a purpose for me. I have read that he calls, and he equips. That he works everything out for the good of those who love him. But I was still unwilling to leave for a bathroom break for fear that while I was gone someone would steal my waffle, or I was unwilling to step back and let God work his magic for fear that if I didn’t step in it would never get done.

This kind of fear makes you paranoid. Every time someone around you has a success, it makes you feel like a failure. Every time someone takes on the same passion as you of writing, photography, painting, speaking, leading, etc. It makes you feel as if you’re playing musical chairs with the seat at the table God has set and they are your competition for the last one.

There’s a passage in Luke 9 all about Jesus feeding the 5 thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Somehow these loaves and fish keep getting multiplied and distributed to ALL 5 thousand people and when all have eaten and were SATISFIED, there were leftovers.

I am a God of leftovers”.

God does not just give what we need, he gives even more. There is always room, there is always enough. His table is never filled and the chair he has for you has your name written on it. He won’t ALLOW anyone else to take it. You do not have to fight for it, you don’t have to compete for it. It is yours. It’s been yours since you were created in the womb.

Now, if you never step up to the plate of your calling, it doesn’t mean that someone else is going to replace you. It just means that the world misses out. They miss out on the piece of Jesus that God has called YOU to give. God may use someone else to reach the same people, but it won’t be with the same effectiveness. Only YOU can unlock the calling God has for you. 

There is no plan B. There is you. So, find freedom in celebrating others and celebrating yourself. 

Millennial Mom, a Million Worries| By Tori Savoy

I always knew motherhood could be overwhelming, but little did I know that it began as soon as you become pregnant.

I thought, “I have a whole nine months to prepare.” 

However, nine months is not enough. 

There are so many things to consider and worry about when it comes to growing a life inside you. They tell you to keep your weight within a certain range, and each time you step on the scale you want to cry in defeat. My pregnancy book says to eat at least 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day to make sure my baby gets the proper nutrients. I start each day planning to do this, but in the beginning, the nausea was overwhelming and all I wanted was to drive and get some french fries. Now that I am later in my pregnancy, I am too tired to grocery shop or meal prep. 

Somehow I expect myself to workout just as hard and often as I did before pregnancy. Several other moms have done it, right? But what about this paralyzing headache, lack of energy, and oh, the occasional cramps? Could I hurt my baby more with my intense workouts?

The mom guilt is real, and the pressure is on.

Then there are all the things to consider for when the baby arrives. What carrier is safest? Breastfed versus formula? Is your baby’s mattress free of chemicals? 

Do not even ask for other mom’s opinions on the best stroller, you will get 20 completely different suggestions. 

Preparing for motherhood is even more stressful in this day and age with social media glamorizing motherhood or trolls demeaning mothers on their choices. Not to mention the ever-changing research you can find online for just about every topic.

Be sure to get your vaccines while pregnant and have everyone around you vaccinate, or you are dooming your child to death. 

Having a son? Be ready to be mom-shamed or called a “monster” over your circumcision choice. 

Bonus points if you post a breastfeeding photo to your instagram to empower women. 

However, be ready for negative comments no matter what side of these arguments you fall on. 

Before you know it, your due date is quickly approaching, and your to-do list is several pages long. You have baskets full of clothes to wash (who knew you needed to wash brand new clothes??), last minute items to shop for, and your “pinterest-perfect” nursery to complete. 

With all these lists and expectations, it is so hard to enjoy the beauty that comes with pregnancy like the sweet little kicks, imagining who your little one will grow up to be and who he/she will look like, and the excitement of becoming a mother. 

While I am a fan of making lists, sometimes it really does take some of the fun out of things.

I must admit, it is so easy for lists, expectations and other people’s opinions to directly impact my everyday walk with God. 

I make lists of how I think I need to live my life (30-minutes of intimate worship, three Bible chapters a day, long-drawn out prayer time). But ultimately, this can quickly become overwhelming, and also puts God in a box.

I can easily spend hours reading other people’s opinions on God’s word, Christian life, and even politics. When I compare my Christian walk with others, I either end up feeling prideful or incompetent, quite like when we compare ourselves to other mothers.

Instead, I should be soaking up every moment God has created. While He is in that 30-minutes of quiet time I set aside, I have to be always listening in the simple and mundane tasks of each day. 

Sometimes, we just need to throw out lists, expectations and the opinions of others that so easily overwhelm and just soak up the beauty of being a child of God. 

Psalms 46:10, God says “Be still and know that I am God.”

He is there in the stillness, not the checklists that keep us busy or our ability to be a “perfect Christian.”

Whether you are overwhelmed by pregnancy and motherhood, or your walk as a Christian, I want to encourage you to just take a moment to soak up each and every moment. Deplug from your mommy forums or pull away from those to-do lists. You are doing the best you can, and what matters the most is that you are present in the moment. 

Your child is not going to spontaneously combust because you do not use 100 percent organic products, and God is not going to strike you down because you chose to skip tonight’s reading for some much needed worship time.

Your child needs your affection more than a spotless house, and God wants your heart over how many chapters you can breeze through in your Bible plan. 

Drop the lists and all the overwhelming opinions, and be still. You got this momma! 

“When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.” Psalms 142:3 (NIV)

Who Wore It Better?|By Jasmine Beard

 

2way8Comparison.

It is said to be the killer of joy, yet all of us at one time or another have compared ourselves to someone else.

Today we live in a society where people boast about the highs of life and often mask the reality of their lives.

As people, we often want others to view us as better than we actually are because of pride. It is because of this that now in our society, people are suffering with depression and anxiety triggered through social media. Instead of getting our worth and value from God as He intended us to do, we tend to measure how we are doing in life in comparison to others.

“Of course, we wouldn’t dare to put ourselves in the same class or compare ourselves with those who rate themselves so highly. They compare themselves to one another and make up their own standards to measure themselves by, and then they judge themselves by their own standards. What self-delusion!” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12‬ (‭TPT‬‬)

Even before social media, people have been comparing themselves to others for centuries. Not only do we compare ourselves to others, but we compare other people to each other.

A perfect example is Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.

Tabloids read:

“Who’s prettier?”

“Which wedding dress did you like better?”

And forbid Meghan Markle does not appear outside a hospital a couple hours after giving birth like Kate Middleton did after having her children. The tabloids will literally explode with comparison.

Growing up, people loved to compare me and my best friend. We did everything together and were almost like twins. We were inseparable.

Unfortunately, throughout the years, people often compared us to each other. I was labeled the the “cute friend”, and she was labeled the “smart one”.

By people comparing me to her all the time, all I strived for after that was to be smart. However, no matter what I did, she was always smarter. If I made an A, she made an even higher A.

On the other hand, no matter how pretty my friend looked (and she is beautiful), I always got more compliments than her. This resulted in me feeling like I wasn’t smart and left her feeling like she wasn’t pretty. But the truth is we are both smart and beautiful.

Comparison is not only the killer of joy, but it is a liar. You will never reach your full potential by comparing your life to someone else or by being envious.

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” Galatians‬ ‭6:4‬ ‭(NLT‬‬)

If you keep your gaze on others, you will always find someone you think is prettier than you, someone you think has a better husband than you, and someone you think has a better life than you. But when we turn our gaze onto Jesus and are grateful for how He created us and the life He has entrusted to us, His truth can prevail.