Finding God in the chaos

Being a stay-at-home mother is to constantly be in demand. 

Depending on which stage you are currently in, quiet time can be elusive.  It is easy to be overwhelmed, which can become yet another source of “mom guilt”.  You wanted these kids, so why do you need a break from them??

They always need something. They lost the remote (again). They spilled something on your freshly mopped floor. Just when you sit down someone needs their bottom wiped. 

This is motherhood.

And it is chaotic. 

We are in challenging times.  We exist in our own bubble, most of us with limited or no support – and now with the pandemic, it has become worse.  We are more connected virtually, yet more isolated than ever.  We escape to social media only to see everyone else’s highlight reel – the seemingly perfect families, first days of school and moms that do it all.  It makes us feel more inferior. 

Time with God is no different. 

Continue reading “Finding God in the chaos”

Gratitude

 Gratitude Unlocks the Fullness of Life

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow” – Melody Beattie

I love this quote, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” Don’t you?

The Oxford Dictionary defines “grateful” as showing appreciation of kindness. And “thankful” as pleased or relieved – both great feelings. The difference – being thankful is a feeling – being grateful is an action.

The Bibles say…. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Over the years, I’ve learned to be grateful in all things. Not to say that I get it right all of the time. I do slip up. I’m a work in progress.

Continue reading “Gratitude”

BUT GOD.

 

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Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

This month is the four year anniversary of The Connection going public.

I spent some time thinking back over the last 12 months. What a year of extreme highs and lows! But through it all we’ve seen God’s hand guiding and protecting the ministry.

Our goal had been to be in a rental property by October of this year.

BUT GOD.

But God had another plan. The property on Walnut Street dropped in our laps last fall – a year early, according to our timeline.

God not only brought the property to us but He also nudged many of our ladies to give to the ministry so that we could afford the rent and expenses that come with it. He encouraged our wonderful landlord to work with us and take a chance on a ministry that is like no other around.

God provided the manpower to renovate the property, donation of building materials, discounted items that were needed.

After nearly three months of blueprints, permits, demolition, rebuilding and beautifying, we were ready to move in. At the end of January, we had our open house and welcomed our ladies, families, neighbors – everyone – to come to see what God had done.

Six week later… Mid-March, the term “Corona Virus” became the new normal. We had to push “pause” on hosting in-person events. What we thought would be two short weeks of quarantine turned into way more than we ever thought.

We wondered…

What will happen to the ladies? Will they go off and forget about TC? How can we continue to serve them and love on them from a distance? What about ministry finances? Will we still be able to continue to pay the bills and fulfill our lease?

BUT GOD.

But God was not taken by surprise by Covid-19. He had already put things in place to take care of every one of our concerns and needs.

Last January, months before we had ever heard of Covid-19, we began the 365 devotions on Facebook which provided daily live connection through the lockdown. (And it’s still going on. Jump in HERE)

We already had a large Facebook following (now nearly 900!) So, we added daily posts for entertainment and encouragement.

We learned to Zoom. It wasn’t the same as seeing each other in person but it provided opportunity to connect.

We even had a time to hang out at a distance in a parking lot.

We mailed cards, made phone calls, dropped off surprises. Our ladies had the connection and care that they needed to get them through.

And through this difficult time, our finances have remained steady – partly because we had begun to encourage monthly giving about a year earlier. This has been huge in paying the bills. I don’t know where we’d be without that steady income.

These last 12 months have been crazy – from renos to shutdowns to hoop skirts that kept us distanced at our Garden Party.

BUT GOD.

But God has been faithful and His girls are continuing to find the caring and support they need through this ministry.

Looking ahead to the coming year, we plan to continue to be a safe haven for all women. I see us becoming more involved in the community. One of our goals from the beginning was for TC to become a household name. I think this year we’ll make great strides in that area. I would love to see TC become known for being a place to turn for prayer, education and community with others. We want to shine Jesus’ light and love in our neighborhood.

Thank you for your part in making The Connection all that it is. Please continue to invite friends to come along and be part of this amazing journey!

If you’d like to give financially to support The Connection, click HERE or speak to me sometime.

 

Special thank you’s go out to our wonderful prayer team! Your prayers this past year have sustained us. It’s like when Moses wasn’t able to hold up his arms to protect his tribe on his own. Others came alongside and held up his arms so that he could continue. We have felt your support in the past and we are thankful that we can count on your support in the coming year. Thank you for faithfully holding up the leadership, the ladies and this ministry. We couldn’t do it without you!

 

“The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.

“So, Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So, Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” Exodus 17: 8-13

Mandy Hood

 

 

Mandy

Mandy is a board member and executive director of The Connection. She loves to facilitate women connecting with each other and helping them grow in their faith.

Mandy and her husband have been married for 40 years and have 2 adult children, 2 in-law children and 3 grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

 

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Never the Same

It’s because of God’s great love for us that we are here. He constantly pursues us even when we are unlovable. Once He gets our attention and we allow Him to work in our lives (remember we have our own free will – it’s a choice we make) and invite Him in – We are NEVER the same.

When I was seventeen years old, I became a Christian. Three months later, I married the love of my life. A year later, I became pregnant with our first son. Years went by and we had two more sons. Life was great.

Things began to happen. A little bit of wine became lots of wine. Watching things we shouldn’t have been watching became a habit. We thought, “Other Christians do the same things.”

NO, they don’t! Or they shouldn’t.

Subtle little lies crept into our lives. Life wasn’t the same. The path we took was the wrong one. Our marriage was about to fall apart. Continue reading “Never the Same”

Reflection of who I am not.

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My past life events left me feeling shame, guilt, and worthlessness.

I felt stuck in a mundane life. I had morphed into being what I thought others wanted me to be. My true identity was nowhere to be found. I believed the lie of I’m not good enough which took root in my heart.

One day I took a look in the mirror with disgust and thought, “I’m just ready to be done.”  I opened the medicine cabinet door and began downing any pills I could find. Continue reading “Reflection of who I am not.”

An unprecedented season

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Moms, this is a tough season.

Parenting in the time of COVID-19 has been a challenge.  For me, it meant being stuck inside the house (and backyard) alone with my 5- and 3-year-old girls for weeks.  We are used to being home, but not being able to go to preschool, the park, meet friends, go to the library, or even run errands for something to do was hard.

None of us expected it to go on this long.

“Flatten the curve” they said, “It is only a few weeks.” But here we are in mid-August with slightly lessened restrictions, but still no real end in sight.

Now we have a completely new dilemma.

What do we do about school???? Continue reading “An unprecedented season”

Suit up Princess!

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I am the daughter of the one True King, Jesus Christ, and we are at war with the enemy, satan. (Ephesians 6:11)

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

I am a warrior princess and a warrior princess knows that she must suit up for battle! Continue reading “Suit up Princess!”