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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for Mom Courage

Oct
01

Building a Healthy Mind

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By Salvatore VuonoMost would agree that we need to be spiritually, physically and emotionally healthy to live our lives to the fullest extent.

How do you build health physically? You work out and watch your diet right?

Some of us have health tendencies or weaknesses that come to us through our family line so we have to be aware of those tendencies. Perhaps this is a little extra weight, high blood pressure, or a fragile heart. Whatever it is- the wise thing to do is to pay attention to these things and to work to take care of a problem before it gets worse.

In the same manner how do you build spiritual health? Reading the Word, having quiet time with the Lord, prayer, fellowship with other believers, a heart of thanksgiving. Some of us may struggle with one area more than another and that takes more work. But in order to maintain spiritual growth it has to be a conscious effort of drawing close to the Lord and seeking fellowship with Him continually.

Since it takes work to cultivate physical and spiritual health, don’t you think it also takes work to cultivate mental/emotional health. Too often we give excuses for why we worry, why we dwell in negative thought patterns, and struggle with healthy relationships. There is nothing wrong with admitting that we have trouble in these areas, the problem comes when we condone this and do nothing to change. (Which is true both physically and spiritually as well – if you are obese and continue eating the wrong things, the problem will only grow worse)

We are wired in such a way that when we are unhealthy in one area (whether it be emotionally, physically or spiritually) our whole body is affected. Take worry for instance – the physical consequences could be high blood pressure and the spiritual consequences are the inability to trust God, which keeps us from enjoying fellowship with Him.

God designed us each differently with unique temperaments and family backgrounds so some of us have a greater tendency towards emotional/mental problems. Dr. Frederick Diblasio explains that just like some are born with the learning disorder of dyslexia, others have emotional and interpersonal dyslexia1. In both cases there is hope, but in both cases it takes work. Read More→

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Apr
10

How do we run?

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Stress - business woman running lateAlways running. My mom tells me that since I was a girl I have woken up everyday ready to go 100 miles an hour. Focused. Driven. Feeling the need to accomplish. To move forward. To run through each day.

Success from the world’s point of view is based on how much we accomplish. Vast accomplishments bring praise and accolade. In business success means financial gain, good references and return clients. As mothers success mean well-behaved children, food on the table for super, and laundry put away each night. When we appear successful people look on us with admiration.

But are we successful or are we driven? Is business or motherhood driving us? Are we constantly striving for perfection, trying to get just a little more done every day, pushing our limits and never finding rest for our weary hearts?

And does this focused inner drive carry over into our spiritual lives as well. After all we are told to run the race set before us. With our natural eyes we see this race as that of works: how much we accomplish in the church, how many good deeds we do, or how frequently we read the Bible. But is this what Scripture meant in Hebrews 12:1?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,(NIV)

I want to run my race and run well. I’m sure you do as well. We want to reach the end and hear our master say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

It reminds me of my years of jogging and cross country races. I was never good; never the fastest. I just ran for the fun of it. I am not an award winning runner. But I run, not giving up.

Reflecting on my spiritual race I don’t think God cares about the speed, or our accomplishments. He cares about our faithfulness and our fellowship with Him.

Run to Jesus not parallel to Him

Run to Him not for Him

To Him for strength

To Him for grace

To Him for direction

Desperate for Him. Running.

To Him for the peace my heart so desperately needs

To Him to hear His voice calm my anxious thoughts

To Him for all that I need

Run to Jesus.

 

Is not this the epitome of our Christian race? Running to Jesus.

How can you change the focus of your days to run to Him rather than for Him? When we run to Him He fills our hearts with peace and strength to accomplish His purposes, when we try to run for Him all that we achieve is a lot of inner stress, and high expectations of ourselves.

With problems of business, family and Christian service….Run to Jesus. Don’t try your best to put on a good front, to make it look like you have this Christian life altogether. Just run to Him.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Naomi Fata is a small business owner, operating a sewing business, Love Stitches by Naomi, out of her home. She is passionate about encouraging other moms who are looking for home based employment. Naomi is also the author of Beyond Head Knowledge; Knowing Christ who Satisfies our Hearts. In all things, whether through writing, business or homemaking, her vision is that God’s love would shine through. She is married with three children, and will begin her homeschooling journey in the fall of 2015 as her oldest begins kindergarten. You can connect with Naomi at her blogfacebook, and twitter.

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Jan
02

How To Create a Focused New Year

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new year new startA new year is here. We all want to begin with fresh resolve.

When I look at the present and where I want to be I get overwhelmed. It seems like I have so far to go, as if trying to reach a distant destination. There is nothing wrong with my life at present. But I tend to push myself toward growth, being my own toughest task master. When I look at everyday life I say I want to clean better, cook better, tidy better, be more organized, be diligent at putting away my papers and making sure my desk is straight. I want to pursue excellence in my business, in writing, in motherhood and in spiritual growth. I want to have better relationships, to spend more quality time with each child and with my spouse.

As I look at all these things none of them are a destination but all of them are areas of growth.

When I look at my list it would appear that I feel like I’m “just not there yet” in any area.  This could lead to feelings of failure and discouragement (and sometimes does.)

I don’t know whether this blight of wanting to achieve a certain standard is all just built into my personality or if it is something that many of us moms struggle with. We are people with many hats; the business woman, the wife, the cook, dishwasher, dog walker, event planner, disciplinarian, moral instructor, teacher and so much more. And somehow I just want to do them all perfectly. In the back of my mind I have the false hope that if I could just perfect all of my duties I would be satisfied that I have accomplished a goal, or goals.

In thinking back over this past year, I see areas of steady improvement but I don’t see that I have mastered anything I my list.

I pursued some areas with vengeance.

For instance early in the summer I read Read for Your Life by Pat Williams. Williams discusses his method of reading through at least one book per week. He reads at every given opportunity, at stop lights, on airplanes, in the grocery store line. I love to read and have longed to read more but have found it a challenge with children and the many other aspects of life which consume my time. With enthusiasm to put these new found techniques into practice I began to read again.

For the first few weeks I was almost able to keep pace but then my reading dwindled off as I got into the bestselling book The Magic Art of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo.  The picture of such a tidy house seemed a dream come true so with gusto I attempted to carry out all of the things mentioned. I sorted my clothes, organized them and gave away huge bags worth. I was just getting into the groove of learning this art of tidying when the school year started. I was overcome by this new task of homeschooling and the art of tidying in went by the wayside.

I have failed at reading one book per week.

I have failed at the magic art of tidying up.

This looks like a bleak projection of what my goals should be for this coming year.

I had started a list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2016 but stopped.

I asked the Lord to quiet my heart.

Slowly He is teaching me that is doesn’t matter how fast we get to our goals.

Read More→

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Dec
28

Why read the Bible?

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Learning timeAs women who long for Christ to be glorified in our lives Bible reading is probably part of our daily and weekly lives. It is one of those things deeply impressed on every believer soon after they come to Christ.

For me a daily quiet time has been a part of each morning since I was about 10. My mom used to get me a yearly kid’s devotional put out by Word of Life Bible Institute. This helped me begin a life-long habit of journaling and time with the Lord.

However, I also approached my Bible reading with a quest to find something new, to learn a something. This sounds good but instead of growing a deeper relationship with God it mostly fed my mind knowledge. I knew the Bible stories. I had read the Bible through many times but yet felt like the Bible was not real to me.

I didn’t know why this was and spent a great deal of time praying about it. God answered my prayer and revealed to me how I treated the Bible more like a textbook than the living Word.

The Bible is a book. I have always loved books. From them I learn about people from centuries past, enjoy a good story or learn spiritual lessons from great Christian leaders. All books can have an impact on my life and thinking. Reading the Bible can help me to be more aware of how to become morally upright and it will give me a solid understanding of the creation of the world and God’s plan for humanity.

But is that it?

Is the Bible simply another book that will fill my mind with knowledge, or is it a book whose message of who God is, will birth within our hearts a hopeful expectancy of what He longs to do in my life? Is it merely to read about what God has done, confining Him to what He did for people in the past or through reading it do we see a God who works on behalf of those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4)?

Think of the well known accounts recorded in the book and what it tells you about the character of God.

  • God’s servant Daniel was thrown into a den of lions and God shut their mouths. God saved Daniel’s life in a miraculous way. He can do the same for me.
  • King David, a man after God’s own heart, was an adulterer and murderer. God forgave him. And so He longs to forgive me.
  • God led the Israelites out of Egypt to the promised land with a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night (Exodus 13:21). He longs to lead me into the plans He has for me and has given us the Holy Spirit as a counselor and guide.
  • While Jesus was on earth He fed 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish because He had compassion on them (Mark 6:30-44). In the same way He has compassion on me and longs to supply all of my needs according to His glorious riches. Read More→
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Nov
06

Are you a happy CWAHM?

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Most of us know that we moms are the ones who set the tone of our homes (for the most part). Usually our husbands and children know when we aren’t happy.

But do you ever reflect on your own happiness? Or are you so focused on making sure that everyone else is happy that you forget to touch base with your own feelings. As moms it is easy to be continually giving to the extent that we sacrifice ALL, without taking care of ourselves. It is important that we consider our own happiness. When we take care of ourselves we are able to serve our families better.

There are times when I have felt trapped by the pressures of having children, working, cleaning house, and serving at church. I was giving, giving, giving but feeling negative about myself and my ability to get everything done.

In my reading I came found this acrostic in What Happy Working Mothers Know, which helped me put my own happiness in perspective.

Healthy – both physical and mental health

Adaptive

Proud of your family

Proud of your work because that’s who you are

Young at heart

 

Healthy

In what ways are you taking care of yourself physically? Are you getting enough physical activity? I have found that joining a gym keeps me accountable to remain active, when I do so my mind is clearer, I have more energy, and I feel better about myself.

Health carries over to what we eat as well. Are you getting the protein and nutrients you need to carry out our day? I caught myself falling into the habit of not making myself breakfast or lunch while I was feeding the kids because I concluded that they weren’t going to finish what was on their plates anyway, so I might as well just make my meal out of their leftovers which consisted of a few bites of oatmeal from one child and a few bites of honeycomb cereal from another, besides I reasoned that while spooning the baby his mashed banana and cereal, catching the spilled milk from the three year old before it engulfs the table, and reminding the older one not to blow bubbles in his milk, how was I supposed to eat anyway? I’m learning to make sure I eat something substantial as well. The spilled milk can wait, the baby can eat one bite and wait a minute while I take a bite, and does it matter so much that blowing bubbles in their drinks is so entertaining?

Adaptive

Life without children was predictable for the most part. I went to work and came home. It wasn’t a problem getting something done as planned but that doesn’t work anymore. I try to have a general routine for each day, but I never know when it may get interrupted by a refusal to take quiet time, missing children’s shoes when we are trying to get out the door, a urgent need for mommy to help dress a baby doll, and a myriad of other things. When these things arise I am learning to take them in stride, and not expect to be able to adhere to my plan complete but modify it for the day or the moment, just keeping in mind the definite goal of what needs to be accomplished each day. When I become too stressed about carrying out my schedule as planned I quickly become UNHAPPY. Read More→

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Oct
30

Have a Vision

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Msuccess or failureost of you are working from home because you had a vision.

What was your vision when you started?

To be home with your small children, or to have a flexible schedule in order to have time for your family?

For extra finances?

As an outlet for creativity?

Mine began with the desire to be a stay-at-home mom. A year before I got married I was in a friend’s wedding. She had a family she knew make the dresses for the bridal party. When I went for the fitting for my dress I saw this family’s home sewing business setup. A vision birthed within me. I could do this too!

At the time I was working in convenience store management. Though I had received many promotions at work I knew this was not what I wanted once I got married and started a family. However, due to health and financial issues with my mom I had only completed one year of college, therefore I felt my options were limited because of lack of education.

When I returned from the wedding I shared this vision with my mentor and future husband. At that point it was just an idea. A year later, soon after I was married, Love Stitches by Naomi was birthed. It was a slow start. I kept my day job for the next three years until our first child was born. Then I cut back my work for the stores to 20 hours a week, as my business grew. By the time my second child arrived 19 months later I cut my hours at my day job down to 10 a week. Today, after more than 7 years in business and with the addition of a third child, the business has grown into more than what I had dreamed possible. Read More→

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Oct
23

Run Your Business: Don’t Let it Run You

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How many of you have had times when it begins to feel like your business is beginning to run you rather than you running your business?

There have been times when I find myself stressing that I have all this work to do  and I feel like I am not getting it done as fast as I would like to. I feel driven by the deadlines of clients rather than pacing myself out.

Or there are days with lots of interruptions from children, unexpected clients and the telephone. I have to guard against frustration because I tend to judge my day by how much work I am able to get done which translates into how much income I produce.

Let’s look at these situations in light of my vision (For more on having a vision for your business)

  • Feeling pressured by clients. I find it is good to have a healthy amount of pressure because it helps me to get a task accomplished. However, when I begin to feel overstressed I ask why am I feeling this way? Most of the time I realize that I am trying to please man rather than God. I have put myself in the place of saving everyone’s last minute needs because of lack of planning on their part. Or because I underestimated the amount of time it would take to complete a task.

If I gauge this situation by my vision for the business I realize that my desire to work from home was to have an income and be able to be a mom. I intended for my business to work for me not the other way around. Refocusing on my vision gives the courage to step back and evaluate my deadlines. Sometimes I may have to call a client to tell them it is taking longer than expected.

  • The days of interruption: These can be such a frustration because I start the day with an expectation of what I want to accomplish. When it is my children continually interrupting I find that I end up cross and grouchy. And again the question arises why am I doing this? Is it business first and mom second or the other way around? I am reminded that it was my intent to have my children come first. Some days they are needier than others, on those days I may not get as much work done but I have the opportunity to be the mom I want to be.

Read More→

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Apr
25

Take Control of Your Thoughts

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PrayerFrom the time, we wake up in the morning till we go to bed at night, thoughts are coursing through our minds. Not just one thought but many. In fact, according to Dr. Leaf we can think 4 to 7 things are the same time.

One day last year I remember feeling gloomy all day. I didn’t want to talk to the kids, I was feeling a lot of anxiety and discouragement over business and finances. I didn’t know why. Life wasn’t that bad but I couldn’t seem to get my feelings out of the gutter. I stopped myself and looked back at the week asking, “What has happened that is leading to me feeling this way?”

It took a while for me to sort through my thoughts to recognize the underlying problem. I realized that earlier in the week I had gotten a phone call about a job I had done that needed to be corrected. It was a minor thing, but from that little incident my thinking had been spiraling downward for several days. I was negative about my abilities in work, which snowballed into worrying about finances (since work is a livelihood in my mind a bad job mean less money).

Things like this happen to all of us. The problem is that we can’t let our thinking spiral because of it. Rather than just knowing that we are grouchy, we must get to the root of the issue.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we are told how to take every thought captive. It says, “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

The verse says to demolish arguments and pretensions which are not in alignment with the knowledge of God. Here is why it is so important to know who we are in Christ and to know His promises.

An example in this situation would be that my thoughts were saying I’m never going to make it as a business woman because I made a mistake. However, that is not what God says. God says, “My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) He also says that He knows the plans He has for me to give me a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) And He says that He loves me and calls me His child, reminding me that I will be like Him if I continue to hope in Him. (1 John 3:1-3)

God has given us the ability to separate from our thoughts and take authority over them. In His Word He has given Read More→

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Apr
04

Serving God in Daily Life

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My days are busy. I’m sure yours our as well. At times I can feel discouraged, like I’m not doing enough to serve God. Serving God is not a lofty calling but simply has to do with loving people as Jesus loved them. Jesus loved people. He connected with them. It is His desire that we do the same.

Look at Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus speaks how when we serve people in need we are serving Him.

Think about your daily life. How many people do you encounter in a day? Maybe your children’s teachers, your clients, the postman. See these people as a ministry. Ministry is not all about preaching to someone. It also includes serving them, encouraging them, and connecting with them.

It is easy to go through life with our own agenda for the day, focused on what needs to be done to care for our needs like going to work, stopping at the grocery store, cooking dinner and paying the bills. All around us we cross paths with people – people that Jesus cares about.

Just because Jesus reached out to touch many people it didn’t mean everyone was in His close circle of friends. Therefore, connecting with people and touching their life doesn’t mean that you need to be their best friend. What you don’t want to do is to fall into the mentality that you are too busy, and your life is too filled with people, for you to reach out to someone else.

Ask God to bring people to mind who He would like you to connect with like

  • Your pastor
  • An acquaintance from church
  • A family member
  • A co-worker
  • An elderly neighbor
  • A distant relative

Once God has brought someone to mind ask God to show you what this person needs. It could be

  • Affirmation
  • Encouragement
  • An act of service
  • Taking the time to listen to their problem. Listening means you do just that. You don’t need to solve anything – they just need to be heard.

Affirmation and encouragement could include a positive text message to a friend saying “I’m so proud of how well you are doing in_______ area.” Or “I’m praying that God would fill you with His peace today” or simply “How are you doing? God brought you to mind today.” Instead of a text message you could even send a real card!

An act of service could be a homemade meal, a quick stop at the grocery store for a shut in, a cup of coffee for your coworker, offering to watch a friend’s kids, the list is endless. Read More→

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Mar
22

Permission to Grieve

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This past January my grandfather passed away. He was older and I knew over the past few years he had been showing his age, though he still seemed spry for 87.  The day before Christmas Eve we received the phone call that he was very ill and in the hospital. Something about the gravity of my aunt’s voice made me realize it was probably the beginning of the end. I went to bed that evening unable to sleep.

The following day my husband’s family was coming for Christmas Eve dinner and I was doing the cooking. Three kids underfoot, the in-laws for a holiday gathering and my heart screaming, “How can my grandfather be dying?”

The following weekend I made the 6 hour trip with my five year old daughter for company. With each passing highway mile I found the lump in my throat getting bigger. Only two months earlier I had seen Grampa at a family gathering. He had still been active, living at home, though walking with a little assistance from a walker. Was I prepared to see him feebly lying in a nursing home bed?

Two things made my grief over his illness run deep. My dad passed away when I was only seven and this was his father who now lay gravely ill. Growing up Grampa had paid special attention to my brother and I, taking us on yearly trips to places like Disney, Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia, and Quebec City. He wanted to keep the family connection, doing for us what my father couldn’t do. It was like Grampa was my connection to my late father – the bond I had with him helped me feel I knew my Dad. I felt this slipping through my fingers, as if I was losing all I had left of my father.

Secondly Grampa and I never saw eye to eye on issues of faith. I wrestled with not knowing his eternal destiny. This also weighed heavily on me.

I spent that New Year’s Eve day visiting with Grampa, while my daughter enjoyed the day with her aunts. We spoke of faith and God, for which I am thankful. As I left I hugged him, told him we loved him, and felt him tightly grip my hand. I didn’t want to go. I knew deep down it was the last time I would see him alive.

As I hit the highway again I couldn’t contain the tears. Pulling into a rest stop I called my husband bawling. I was losing Grampa and I knew it.

Less than two weeks later the phone call came. It was expected. But still the finality of death was hard to bare.

Death and dying are all part of life.  I don’t want to lose the people I love. Growing up I never grieved my father’s death – I just buried the pain, saying I was ok. Over the last few years I’ve been healing. I’ve had to grieve the loss of my Dad that occurred more than two decades ago. What I found is that God’s healing doesn’t mean the pain hurts less. Healing means I can feel again. I can feel great joy and great sorrow. While my pain was buried I couldn’t feel either of these. Read More→

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