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It sneaks up on you when you least expect it… Somehow my thought life became consumed by lies that elegantly disguised themselves as the voice of wisdom and concern…
Mommy Guilt (mämē gilt) n. – a fact or state of self-degradation based upon the lies or false perceptions of oneself or others. Mommy Guilt is an equal-opportunity affliction that can affect all mothers in any walk of life, no matter their age, social status or ethnicity;
There are plenty of options today on the Mommy Guilt menu and here are a few of Today’s Specials to pick from
Formula Vs. Breastfeeding
Cloth Diapers Vs. Disposable
Stay-At-Home Vs. Working Mom
and last but not least… Public School vs. Homeschool
We all know that icky feeling, when your choices seem inferior compared to someone else’s. Other moms appear to have it all together or just know something you don’t.
As a mom, it’s so easy to get swept up in the all-consuming drain of Mommy Guilt. However, Mommy Guilt is something we can overcome in one easy step.
How Do We Know It’s Really Mommy Guilt?
When we find our thoughts swimming in self-doubt, we must ask if we are dealing with authentic guilt or false guilt (in this case Mommy Guilt).
Gordon Smith points out in his book, The Voice of Jesus, that true conviction from the Holy Spirit has two major criteria:
First, authentic guilt rests on the foundation that we are loved. Jesus does not convict us of sin just to make us feel bad. To do so would fly in the face of our true identity in Him as His dearly loved sons and daughters.
Instead, Jesus convicts us of sin because he recognizes the destructive nature of sin and wants nothing more than to protect us from it! Smith writes that this feeling of guilt “is a gift much as is the pain we experience when we touch a hot stove. It is certainly painful, but it protects us from self-destruction.” In the same way, Jesus convicts us of sin because he cares about us intensely. He recognizes that sin enslaves us (Romans 6:16) and ultimately leads to death (Romans 6:23).
Second, the conviction we experience from the Holy Spirit is not burdensome but liberating. Paul makes a distinction in 1 Corinthians 7:9-10 between a godly grief, which leads to repentance and spiritual growth, and a worldly grief, which leads to death.
A true sorrow for sin does not leave us feeling oppressed and burdened but it calls us to experience the life of fullness that is offered in Christ. Paul emphasizes this to the church in Galatia when he writes, “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Sources of Mommy Guilt
False guilt (Mommy Guilt) has three entirely different sources than authentic guilt from conviction:
The Accuser – In Scripture, the evil one is repeatedly referred to as the “accuser.” Think about that word “accuser” for a second…. Satan has no real power over us so his greatest weapon is deception.
The devil can’t steal our salvation from us but He can deceive us into a distorted, destructive view of our standing and relationship with the Father.
Unrealistic Expectations – Whether it is judgement from others, or even the false representation of social media, we let uninspired voices define an unspoken standard for motherhood.
As I wrote in my post The Kind of Mom I NEVER Want to Be, there is not one way to be a godly parent. God directs us each specifically in our parenting because He has given us different children with individual needs. Instead of submitting our choices and concerns to the Lord we often look to others for affirmation, only increasing the heavy burden of false guilt on our shoulders.
Personal Standards – When we don’t live up to our own personal standards and aspirations, we become our own source of false guilt. My husband almost daily reminds me that I am my own worst enemy because I am so hard on myself, often subscribing to standards God never set for me in the first place.
Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves that we drown out the voice of God. Smith reminds us that “this is not true sorrow for sin, but rather another expression of pride” because our focus is still on ourselves.
If we are dealing with true guilt over sin, God convicts out of His love for us knowing that freedom comes from walking in His ways. The answer to true guilt is to confess our sin and He is always faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). When we don’t confess, we make light of the reason that Christ died on the cross – to provide forgiveness of sin.
One Easy Step
If we find ourselves struggling with false guilt, we must be vigilant to give those lies over to Him in prayer before they further infiltrate our thinking, mood and actions. Mommy Guilt has no place in thought life because those lies rob us of the benefits of having a relationship with Him.
Here’s what that might look like:
“God, I realize I’m thinking lies about myself as a mother that do not line up with your truth. I ask that you will give me freedom from this type of thinking and I help me to remember who I really am – Your Creation that You dearly love. Please help me to be aware when these thoughts sneak into my mind and vigilant to hand them over to you in prayer.”
And yes, it’s just that simple. Obviously your prayer will sound different from mine but we have to repeatedly submit these lies over to God so He can give us clarity. As I mention in my guest post How To Cultivate The Habit of Prayer, this also helps us to improve our relationship with God since we communicate with Him more regularly.
Whether we are dealing with true guilt over sin or feelings of false guilt, our reaction should be the same. In both situations, God wants us to have freedom by submitting our struggles to Him in prayer. God did not design our minds to be filled with guilt of any form and in Him alone, we can have freedom.
Application : What about you? What thoughts are weighing you down on a regular basis? Are you struggling with false guilt or true guilt? Spend some time in prayer submitting those feelings over to Him.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence,if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
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Not only is there a right way to paint laminate furniture but there are some tricks that will make your project look like a very nice, solid-wood piece that had been refinished.
Knowing how to refinish laminate furniture gives you SO many more options when you are on the hunt for a new project piece! No longer are you limited to solid wood but now you can redo just about any surface by knowing a special tricks.
This is why its important to know how to paint laminate:
Here is a piece I got a little cocky with… I thought I could get away without using a primer because there was primer in my paint. I was wrong!
You can see how the paint did not adhere and just slid off the surface. Fortunately, through a lot of trial and error, I’ve learned what to do and what not to do when painting laminate.
First of all, what is laminate furniture? It is furniture made mostly of medium density fiberboard (MDF) which are small shavings of a of lower quality wood that are pressed and glued together. Therefore, it’s strong but highly susceptible to water damage (this process will help to protect the surface though). A thin printed sheet of wood covers the mdf to mimic the look of solid wood.
I saw this secretary desk online. I thought it would be perfect to refinish as a desk for my daughter Morgan. I did not realize it was laminate until I saw it in person but that didn’t stop me!
What You Need:
Electric Mouse Sander – Who in the world wants to sand by hand when you could use an electric sander?!? They are SO easy to use. If you know how to iron, you already know how to use a sander! It will make any project go so much faster with very little effort on your part. I’ve used this one for only $13 on amazon.com and was happy with it.
Sanding Pads– I used 120 grit
Elmer’s Wood Filler
Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer – This is a water-based primer that levels well, dries fast and is very low-odor. It’s good stuff!
6″ Paint Roller– I used the Home Depot brand – “Best”
Paint – I used Behr Ultra in Satin but also really like Sherwin Williams. Behr is cheaper but doesn’t cover as well.
1. Remove Hardware – Unscrew all the hardware and put it aside in a plastic baggie. I also removed the trim from the top. Fortunately it just unscrewed.
2. Fill holes – Laminate furniture pieces often have several rows of peg holes so the shelves can be adjusted easily. It can be a dead giveaway that a painted piece is laminate and not solid wood so I like to fill these holes before I sand.
To fill them, I used my putty knife to glop on the wood filler. You want to put it on thick because when it is time to sand, you will sand down to the level of the top of the hole. Wait a day for the wood filler to dry before sanding. Here is a pic before sanding and after sanding.
I also filled some gaps in the legs before sanding out some serious water damage. Priming this piece will make it less susceptible to water damage like this in the future.
3. Sand – You could probably get away without sanding but I like to sand laminate furniture to ensure the primer adheres well. Plus, it only took me 5 minutes with my sander, so why not! Sand enough that the surface looks like this:
4. Sand Edges – While your sander is still out, sand down the edges just slightly. One difference between laminate furniture and solid wood is the edges of laminate furniture are much sharper and straighter, almost plastic-looking. Solid wood edges are slightly rounded so you want to simulate this look by running your sander along the edges like so. See how I’m barely sanding that edge.
5. Prime – Once your piece is sanded, you can wipe it off with a damp cloth before priming. Paint on your primer with a brush in one THICK coat. You will be able to start painting in one hour because it dries so quickly.
6. Paint – After your primer has dried, paint on your first coat of paint. I like to use a roller or you can continue to use your brush.
This is not necessary but before the second coat of paint, I like to sand over the piece very lightly to get the paint strokes or roller marks out. Like I said, this is not required as I’m a little OCD.
***You can also add some Floetrol to your paint according to the directions on the back (optional). Floetrol makes your paint dry much smoother but keep in mind it takes long for that coat to dry.
7. Fill Seams – Often the back panel of laminate furniture is a very thin piece of wood with long vertical seams. The seams are another giveaway that your piece is laminate so I like to fill those seams with caulk.
You can see the seam more clearly since I sanded. You want to use caulk instead of wood filler on these seams because the panel is flexible and so is caulk. If you don’t have a caulk gun, you can get a tube like this.
Squirt the caulk on the seam like toothpaste. It’s okay if your line is really messy! Then wet your index finger and smooth out the seam. Wipe off any extra on the edges with your finger or a baby wipe.
7. Final Coat of Paint – Paint on your final coat just like you did the first. Normally, I would try to get away with one thick coat of paint but usually on lighter colors I need to add two coats. It also depends on the coverage of the paint you use.
I bought some new hardware and also spray painted the existing hinges. After the paint dries 24 hours, you can add the hardware. You are done!
I made over a chair to match and added some sequin trim to give my girl some bling.
Here is the side by side comparison of the desk:
Now I have a beautiful piece of furniture that no one would ever guess is laminate!
It makes such a nice addition to Morgan’s room. Secretary desks are such a perfect addition to any kid’s room because they don’t take up much space but are essentially a bookshelf, desk and small dresser in one!
I’d love to hear what you think of this renovation! If you like this post, you may also like:
About 6 months after Morgan was born, I went through a weird phase where I decided it would be a great idea to start a hair bow business. It lasted about a year and after some tired fingers and lots of 2 a.m. coffee, I decided It would be best to leave the hair bow business in the hands of the professionals…in China.
Needless to say, I still have lots of supplies left over including an organizer with every size and color of rhinestone imaginable. Morgan discovered my collection and has since adopted it as her own.
A few days ago, Morgan told me she had a surprise for me. She opened her little hands and revealed the three biggest rhinestones in the box. “These are for you Mommy!” – she exclaimed as she held them up to my face. I put them in my jewelry box and gushed over them as if they were real gemstones.
She then proceeded to get more for me to put in my jewelry box. I soon realized that to Morgan these gems were not just acrylic rhinestones that cost less than a dollar at any craft store. To her, they were her most priceless possession and she was giving them to me…
The parable of the talents is a passage I have heard since I was young, however, I missed an important aspect. In Matthew 25:14-30, a man entrusts talents to 3 different servants. “To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.”
From the passage, we can see that talents and abilities are not all equal. While we are born with various abilities, God gives us different opportunities to use those abilities.
The first two servants were both faithful and doubled their talents, so they both received the very same reward (vv. 21, 23). God was just as pleased with the servant who doubled 2 talents as He was with the servant who doubled his 5 saying in both situations, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Each servant was faithful with what He was given. Whether your resources and abilities are small or large, what counts is your faithfulness with whatever you are given. The Christian who is faithful in his or her sphere of service, though it be small, will get the same reward as the person who seems to have a great ministry.
But there was a third option in this parable – the man who was fearful and buried His talents. To him, the master’s response was “You wicked, lazy servant!” The master scolded him for burying his talents because, to him, self-preservation and fear came before putting his resources to use.
As I reflect on my bow-making “career”, I realize I started it out of my own insecurity. I felt like being a stay-at-home mom of one child was not enough. I believed the lie that more was better and felt that my station in life was inadequate.
The reality is, however, that God rewards those who are faithful with the resources, blessings and abilities He gives them – no matter how big or small. Whether you are a working mom of three or a stay-at-home mom of one, whether you breastfeed or formula feed, whether you do public school or home school, our goal is to seek God’s direction in motherhood – whatever that looks like for us.
Moms spend far too much time comparing themselves with others. That kind of thinking can only result in feelings of either inferiority or superiority. There is no ideal mom because God directs us differently based on what is best for our(His) children.
Just like with my bow business, when I make my own plans without consulting my Maker, my pride interferes with my usefulness by building my own mini “towers of Babel” that He will have to topple over in order to make me useful to Him.
He wants us to give Him our best – whatever that may be. My pastor’s opportunity on a Sunday is to preach to a congregation but my opportunity on a Sunday might be to be a Godly example to my daughter as we get ready for church. Our audiences are different but what is important is being faithful with the role God gives us.
Colossians 3:23 states, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” No matter the task, whether I’m scrubbing a toilet or writing a blog post, as long as I do it to honor Him, it has more worth than gold in His spiritual economy. God is not as concerned with our perceived sphere of influence but our faithfulness with what He gives us.
The parable of the talents makes me realize the kind of mom I never want to be…
the kind of mom who looks her God-given dreams in the eye but then looks away in fear
the kind of mom who is too inundated with lists and projects to remember her main focus is her children
the kind of mom who thinks more about the sacrifices of Christianity than its exponential privileges
the kind of mom who judges another mother because her God-directed choices are different than her own
the kind of mom that seeks what is best for herself instead of what is best for her Heavenly Father…only to realize in the end that the latter fulfills the former.
In Matthew 26, a woman breaks open an alabaster flask of precious perfume to rub on Jesus’ feet. The flask of perfume had to be broken to access the highly expensive perfume inside. The extravagance of this gift was not lost on her…or on Christ. She gave Him her very best in the same way my Morgan gave me her biggest “jewels”.
I got so excited about seeing this three-tiered tray on CLEARANCE that I did what any budget-savvy mom would do….I bought three of them!
After realizing I had room for only one, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity for a giveaway – a chance to thank my readers but also a way to share some love with our friends.
Tiered trays not only perfect for decorating from season to season but they are also a great organizational tool. They allow you to add lots of fun decor to any room without taking up much space…unless you have three of them.
To enter for a chance to win, head over to Renovated Faith’s Instagram account @RenovatedFaith and do the following:
1. Follow my Instagram account @RenovatedFaith
2. Comment with the name of a friend.
And that’s it! Not only will you be entered for a chance to win but you friend will be entered also!
Some restrictions apply:
– Must be over 18 to win.
– Must live in the USA (for shipping).
– Giveaway closes on Friday, May 5th at noon, CST.
Have fun and have a great time enjoying the spring weather!
What is it about spring that makes everything seem right in the world? Dull hues of winter are quickly replaced by bright blooms and new green growth. No matter the length of my to-do list, this season always gives me a sense of refreshment and renewal.
Whether it is the sight of beautiful flowers, the sound of baby birds or the cool breeze, I have decided that spring is without a doubt my favorite season. I love to reflect this season in our home to bring inside the same fresh feeling of newness and restoration
One of my favorite ways to decorate for Spring is with boxwood balls and topiaries. The bright green gives such a crisp contrast against spring flowers. Boxwood is perfect to use throughout the year as they complement every season’s décor.
My favorite boxwood décor would have to be the two topiaries on my front porch that I included in my post 10 Steps to Affordable Curb Appeal. They were such an easy DIY project and they make such an inviting statement.
I made them at a fraction of the cost of those sold in stores and was able to make them exactly the size I wanted. I have gotten many compliments on these topiaries and they have held up well over the past two years, even in the hot Texas sun.
What You Will Need:
Faux Boxwood balls
¾ inch dowel rod
Decorative Pot or Urn
Aluminum pot – Small enough to fit in the pot/urn upside down
Hammer and large nail
Step 1:Go online to find some faux boxwood balls. The dried boxwood is very expensive and not the best option for outside. You can find several faux options online that look very realistic. I purchased mine at Joann’s.com when they had a 40% off sale. I have also seem them at Hobby Lobby and consumercrafts.com.
To make a topiary that is configured like mine, you will need two 8-inch balls and one 10-inch ball but really any sizes will do. This your opportunity to customize your topiaries to the size and style you want!
Step 2: Pick out a decorative pot or urn. Ideally, you will want one that is heavy so that it is not easily blown over.
Step 3: Find some very long straight branches and a ¾” dowel rod. Combined together they will look just like a real boxwood stem. If you can’t find branches, you can also use ¼ inch dowel rods at found at Home Depot. I used branch trimmers to the larger dowel rod to …inches. You can cut your branches about 8 inches shorter than the dowel rod. You don’t want the branches to extend down into the aluminum pot, just the main dowel rod.
I then fastened several of branches to the dowel rod with wire to make a large “stem”. This is way more realistic looking than using one big dowel rod. I tied wire around the stem branches underneath where each ball would go so the wire won’t be visible when it is all together. The below picture is a side-view of the stained stem.
Step 4 :Once you have your dowel rods or branches tied together, it is now time to stain. I used a sample can ($2.30) of Behr’s semi-transparent deck stain in chocolate, because it is what I had on hand. You could really use any stain or gel stain. Ideally, you want to paint the stain on and let it be kind of streaky. I let that dry for a couple of days.
Step 5 : In the meantime, take your aluminum bucket and put it upside down in your decorative pot. Use gorilla glue to glue the edges in the pot and let it dry 24 hours.
Step 6 : After the stain has dried, it’s time to make a hole for the trunk of the topiary. I used a large nail and hammer and kept hammering holes until I had one big hole just the size of the set of sticks. You want it to be a tight fit.
Step 7 : When the hole is the right size, squeeze some gorilla glue into the hole so it goes to the bottom of your pot or urn. Stick in the trunk and make sure it is straight. Let that dry 24 hours. The gorilla glue expands and will hold everything in place.
Step 8: Take your boxwood balls and cut some of the net-like interior, just enough so the balls can fit tightly on the step
One of my topiary balls was sliding down the step, so I wired some of that interior netting to the sticks. (You’ll find most of these faux boxwood balls are hollow with an interior plastic netting that all the leaves attach to.)
You are done!
Like I mentioned, boxwood topiaries are great to have around the house because they work for all seasons. I love that they are the one decoration in the house I never have to change out.
Spring reminds me of new life but also consistency. God tells us in Revelation 21:5 that He will make all things new one day. Until then, we have spring’s reminder of the renewal and restoration that comes from only Him.
As God’s all about making things new, He offers us rejuvenation from life’s hardships and worries today. Just as God cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, He personally cares about your every care and concern.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 Although seasons of life change and our lives never seem to calm down, His love never changes. He is our true constant, the one thing we can cling to as a calm in the midst of a storm.
What do you feel is weighing you down? Where are you in need of renewal and a fresh start? Know that He cares for you more than you can possibly fathom and He waits for you to bear all your worries and fears.
Join us for Renovated Faith’s first giveaway!
Renovated Faith is giving away TWO of these three tiered trays – one for you and one for a friend! Check back to see how to enter!
Have you waited for your plans to come unfold only to have them fall apart? Have you mapped out the blueprint to your life but can’t seem to make it a reality? You may have heard the joke, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans”. But in reality, as difficult as it is to let go of our expectations, God’s “no” is so often what we need most.
One spring day, my dad was going through my grandparents’ old things. In the trash pile, I saw some old rolled-up blueprints. I unrolled them to find a picture of a house that was never built and a dream that had never been realized.
My grandparents lived in New Jersey and had grand plans to build the very home sketched on those worn, brittle pages.
However, God had a different plan.
An opportunity to start their own photography business arose in Houston and the house they had dreamed of was never built. Knowing the move from New Jersey to Texas would be a difficult one, they almost changed their minds at the last possible minute. However, the moving van was just around the corner and so were the plans that the Lord had laid before them.
What would have happened if the dream of that house was realized? What would have come about if they had stayed in New Jersey and adhered to their plan? For one thing, my parents may have never met and I would have never been born. They had to make a sacrifice to follow the right plan and my life was one result of many.
In the same way, God had to tell His only son “no”. While praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, right before Judas’ betrayal, Jesus prayed out to His Father, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
God knew that Christ’s death on the cross would force His only Son to bear merciless pain but the outcome would be far worth His suffering. As a result of Christ’s death on the cross, a sacrifice was made allowing anyone access to eternal life by having faith in Him.
In every situation, the source for God’s “no” is His love for us. There are several things we can learn from this example in Gethsemane:
God understands that change is hard for us. It was not sinful that Christ asked for the cup to be taken from Him. Therefore, it is not a sin to ask for a break from suffering, but like Christ, we should be submissive to God’s plans overall.
God knows suffering is…well, suffering. He realizes pain is difficult and He doesn’t expect us to like it. It’s a sacrifice for a reason. No grit, no pearl.
Our plans don’t make God laugh. God doesn’t take joy in our suffering. Can you imagine the anguish God felt when He had to watch His Son die on the cross? God changes our plans because He knows sometimes difficulties are necessary for us to experience His best.
God’s no is ALWAYS worth it. Christ experienced the depths of human anguish on a level we will fortunately never fully experience. But in the end, He appeared before the disciples, his fishing buddies, and showed them the scars on his hands, with joy in His heart and the gleam of heaven in His eye. Because of His sacrifice, we can experience that same joy in His Presence.
We’ve all been there. Each of us had experienced times when God had said no to our dreams – when he has closed a door that we always envisioned walking through. So often I have kicked and screamed when these times have come, pouting all the way as God ushers me to plan B. But in reality, I eventually realize that His plans were Plan A all along, that He knew what was best, in spite of what I thought was best for me.
When I look at the blueprint, now framed in our office, I am thankful for God’s “no’s” Whether it was the boy I shouldn’t have been dating, the career I would have been miserable in or the house that wasn’t meant to be, He knew His plans were best and loved me enough to redirect me from what I thought I wanted most.
Where are you stuck right now? Do you feel like God is putting up a roadblock to some area or your life? Here are three possible reasons for God’s “no” in your life right now.
Disobedience– God tells us “no” when we are not obedient to Him and His Word. Fortunately the Lord is faithful to those who return to Him. God disciplines those He loves as a father disciplines His child in order to protect them. Defiantly seeking things not of Him is like sticking your hand in snake den. Eventually you will get bitten and the results will be painful, if not deadly.
“Just Wait” – So often a “no” is really God’s way of telling us to wait either because we aren’t ready for what’s ahead or the circumstances aren’t in place yet. Be patient to see what God has in store – it’s worth the wait!
NO = “My plans are better” – God only changes our plan because His path is better than what we desire. “Better” doesn’t necessarily mean “easier” but His Design will always be worthwhile.
“The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs His steps” (Proverbs 16:9). There is nothing this world can offer greater than having the creator of the Universe lead you every step of the way. I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light. Even in the hardest of times, we can have contentment knowing that He is our protector.
What about YOU??? What blueprints aren’t going into the construction phase? What doors is God closing? Pray to God about what you are experiencing and thank Him for what plans He is working on behind the scenes.
I hope you were encouraged by my post this week! If you would like to receive weekly updates from Renovated Faith in your inbox, click HERE.
The red dot popped up again so I dropped what I was doing to check my notification only to realize that I was invited to yet another direct sales group. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t something more exciting. Something more pressing. Something more significant.
What is it about that red dot? Why do I feel the need to drop everything, whether I’m reading my Bible or having a sweet conversation with my daughter? Why is it so compelling?
When I was little, there were no red dots. There was a mailbox on the porch and a phone with a cord but nothing quite so instantaneous – nothing that beckoned my attention so strongly and discreetly.
This stage of life has been a challenging one. As a stay-at-home mom and blogger, I have struggled with remembering that my significance is in Christ alone. In my prior life before motherhood, I had a high-profile job on a church staff. To a degree, I put my identity in my role and my seminary training. As a result, I often find myself grasping for significance where it simply cannot be found.
When I get to the heart of the matter, I get excited about the potential of someone on the other end of the red dot who related to something I said, looked at my blog or just liked the funny meme I posted. My true intention is never to seek the approval of others but sin is subtle and the enemy knows our weaknesses.
Especially as women, who think 12 thoughts while simultaneously juggling just as many tasks, the enemy likes to fly under the radar. Our most destructive thoughts are the ones we are least aware of and it is absolutely no coincidence that these temptations emerge when we least expect them – usually at the most chaotic of times.
It’s difficult to admit that those dots gave me a subtle, but present, feeling of being needed, wanted and valued – nevermind the fact that it was in a social media realm that doesn’t truly exist. All the while, my Creator and Savior sits waiting for me to open my eyes to where my true significance lies. He beckons me to cultivate the one relationship that matters most but I’m too caught in my own web of self-involvement that His grace-filled invitations often go unnoticed.
As an experiment, I decided to delete facebook from my phone at least for a time. I left it on my computer because it is still a tool I use it to keep up with friends and to share blog posts. Deleting it from my phone made is much less accessible and therefore less enticing. Here are some things I discovered:
Drug-like Habit – Even after deleting it from my phone, I would mindlessly pick it up with the intention to scroll through my newsfeed. Almost like an involuntary reflex, I picked it up over a dozen times the first day out of pure habit.
What I Missed Out On – At the end of the day, I looked forward to going to my computer to see ALL the amazing content I must have missed. To my surprise, I missed nothing – unless you count some empty notifications and the chance to learn about these beauties from a friend’s post.
New Focus – I completed tasks faster and was much more focused as I worked on them.
Mental Excuse – My mornings were smoother. I realized I would lay in bed and scroll through my newsfeed purely out of hesitation to “start my day”. I would often use my phone as a mental excuse to not do something I dreaded or feared.
Pray Instead – When I got the itch to check my phone, I decided to pray instead. After just one week, my prayer life has been much better am giving my fears to God instead of just avoiding those situations by checking my phone.
The problem isn’t social media so much as what social media provides – instant gratification – quick and easy access to the things we desire most. In our eyes, it can be a catalyst to what we hold dear – but in reality, it only supplies quick delivery on flawed goods. Like hoping to find a rare diamond in a gumball machine, we look to the wrong place for what we need most.
The things that give us true meaning and fulfillment take time, work and commitment: Relationships, job fulfillment, contentment – “there’s no app for that”.
So often, we fall into the trap of seeking good things in the wrong location. This is the very crux of our humanity. Just like Eve who sought knowledge – but from the forbidden tree, or Sarah who sought motherhood – but in her own time-frame by having her husband lay with her maidservant.
Fortunately, our significance doesn’t come from how much others notice us. It’s quite the contrary. What God has called you to do, although seemingly insignificant is important simply because He has called you to do it.
We are significant because our connection to Him and Him alone, no matter our status. Don’t confuse your significance with your station in life. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a CEO, we all play an important role in God’s plan.
What if we evaluated Mary’s significance by her station in life at the time of Christ’s birth. She was an average Jewish woman giving birth in today’s equivalent of a barn, and not the white shiplap type. However, her intrinsic value as a child of God and the mother of our Savior makes her an invaluable tool for God’s purposes. Our surroundings and status are independent of our worth as they are props on the stage of His divine plan to bring about His will in our lives.
Our significance comes not because of how many see what we do but significance comes because of our connection to Christ. God loves to use ordinary things and make them extraordinary. Simply say yes to God’s plans. Use your ordinary life to serve and extraordinary Savior.
If you find yourself constantly checking your phone often and for no apparent reason, what are you hoping to get from it? Is it significance or something else entirely? What do you feel like you are missing and where are you running to fill the desires that only Christ can? Take a minute to pray about that and you’ll be amazed at the freedom of remembering where your significance lies.
Roll top desks are such classy statement pieces in any home. It’s so rare to find one in excellent condition. They are notorious for being difficult to paint because you can easily gunk up the tambour (rolling portion) with paint causing it not to roll at all. If you are lucky enough to come across one, here are some tips for a successful transformation.
You Will Need:
Brushes and 6″ rollers
Mouse Sander with low (60) and higher (180) sanding pads.
Zinsser 123 Primer
White Paint – I used Behr Ultra in Ultra White Satin
Base Coat for Faux Stain – I used Behr Honey Butter Flat
Gel Stain – I used Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut
Minwax Wipe-on Polyurethane.
I stumbled upon this desk on a Facebook page that a friend was selling. This desk was perfect to redo because the top portion comes off and the tambour just slides out making it so much easier to refinish. The desk was structurally in great shape but the surface needed some love.
I knew I was going to sell this piece so I decided to do the surface a dark stain using my gel stain method and would paint the rest white. I realized that the plastic sleeve on both sides that the tambour slides into was already dark brown so I tried to spray paint it white to match what would be white. Let me save a little spray paint and a lot of frustration by telling you that was a horrible idea.
The spray paint started peeling away when I moved the tambour up and down. It looked horrible so I spent over an hour scraping the spray paint out with a putty knife. I decided to faux stain the interior of the top to better match the plastic sleeves as there was no easy way to change their color.
Spray painting the tambour is also a horrible idea. Ask me how I know…
I took off the hardware and filled obvious holes, scratches and dents on the desk with wood filler.
After 48 hours of drying, I sanded the entire desk with a rough sandpaper pad (60) with my mouse sander. Have I mentioned lately how much I love my sander?!? Below is a picture of the two of us! (Also, wear a respirator or mask when sanding the wood filler because those tiny particles can get in your lungs…No bueno!)
Sand the tambour by laying it out flat on the ground and sand as you would the rest of the desk.
After sanding it was time to prime. Once again I used Zinsser 123 water-based primer. I just found out they made a spray paint version which I will have to try out on my next project. Get a nice thick coat of primer on your piece of furniture. You’ll notice that I didn’t get any primer on the groove the tambour slides into.
After priming the rest of the desk, I laid the tambour over a round kitchen garbage can that was on it’s side. I wanted to open up the creases so I could get primer in each crease between the wood slats. I was able to do this with a thin coat of primer.
Get just enough primer to fill in the dark portion in between the wood slats. Use your brush to wipe off any excess and wipe your brush on some paper if you have too much paint on your brush. You have time to wipe off the excess before it dries. What you don’t want is a thick layer of wet, drippy paint on the tambour or the paint will crack once it dries. The Zinsser 123 Primer is perfect for this application because it is thin but clings well to the grooves while covering well.
At this point, fill any remaining holes, dents or scratches on the rest of the desk. You should now be able to see them easier with the piece primed. Sand those parts after they are dry.
Halfway into this process, I realized that this desk didn’t have any of the cute ‘card catalog’ style drawers that you so often see on these desks. I decided to add some using some unfinished jewelry boxes I found online.
I bought two for each side and glued them together with carpenter’s glue and clamped them overnight to dry. I also pulled off the wooden knobs, filled the holes and then made holes for some cute pulls. Make your holes before you paint because you don’t want to risk screwing up the final finish. I then glued the drawers onto the inside of the desk using wax paper to ensure the glue didn’t seep onto the desk top.
I started painting the desk with the yellowish base coat on the places I would faux stain and used white on the rest. It took a couple coats of white paint because the desk was so dark.
I used the same process on this desk as I did with the end tables in my post How To Gel Stain Wood Here is a pic of the first coat of gel stain. You want to leave some sections only partly covered in the first coat to make the second coat a little more translucent and “wood-grain-like” in those parts.
Back to the tambour…While I let each coat of gel stain dry at least 24 hours, I laid the tambour flat on the concrete and added a thin coat of white. Again brush off any excess. It was still a little streaky at this point but you will touch that up towards the end
After the second and final gel stain coat, I added a coat of wipe-on polyurethane to the stained parts. The nice thing about latex paint and polyurethane is that you know that in 10 years the finish will look the same and be just as durable. Both finishes provide a clean, wipe-able surface that will not hold dirt easily.
I have a friend that did her entire kitchen cabinets in chalk paint and wax. They looked fantastic but after only 6 months they looked awful because the porosity of the chalk paint held on to every speck of dirt and dust in her kitchen. She ended up redoing them in latex shortly after. (Getting off my soapbox now…)
After touching up the tambour one last time, I put the desk together including the main drawers, the top and the tiny drawers. I also added new hardware to the whole desk including ‘card catalog’ style drawer pulls to the top drawers. Didn’t they turn out cute?
You might remember my pristine DIY Entertainment Center that I featured on the blog a couple weeks ago. Now marred by water damaged and covered with dust, these pieces currently sit in our garage…..Last Sunday night, we woke at midnight to our daughter screaming. I ran into the living room to check on her, sure that I would find her in the midst of some frantic search for her mermaid doll that fell off the bed. Apparently, her mermaid not only fell off the bed but went for a swim because she picked it up to find it was covered in water – as was most of our house!
Two inches of water from a broken toilet valve now covered most of our home. We sloshed through soaked carpet to try to move most of our furniture into the garage. A company came to pull out the carpet and set up industrial fans and dehumidifiers for a week. Carpet has been pulled up from every room, much of our furniture is in the garage and the contents of every closet was left in a huge pile in the middle of each room in order to remove carpeting. The wind and noise from the fans only reminded me that the state of our house was now a swirl of chaos.
For someone who likes to surround myself with order, beauty and solitude, my home quickly became a wet, concrete-laden, obstacle course of wet furniture, carpet tacks and confusion.
I had some unfinished furniture pieces in our garage and decided I needed to finish them up to make extra room. I pulled a half-completed secretary into our living room (aka ground zero) to touch up. This was a piece I worked on for my friend Rebecca to use as her daughter’s desk.
I began put the hardware on the secretary and soon a peace came over me. The drawers had been strewn all over the house as I waited for them to dry. It was no nice to see them finally come together to make something beautiful. I am reminded that in spite of chaos, God’s peace can still reign in our heart’s and minds – not matter the mess, no matter the struggles or disaster that surrounds us.
Priscilla’s Shirer’s The Armor of God is a Bible study that brings to light the spiritual warfare that surrounds us on a daily basis and how to combat it. In it she states:
“Anywhere peace is lacking you can be sure the enemy is at work.”
This quote stopped me in my tracks. I realized that my heart felt as chaotic as our household because I was allowing Satan’s lies and deception to steal my joy and contentment.
I was blaming my discontent on the state of our house but, in reality, the peace that God gives is not as the world gives. Just because I was surrounded by disorder, my heart can be calm because God can be trusted with even the messiest of situations.
The Lord recognizes that we will have hard times, but God’s overwhelming peace has the capacity to give you rest in the most turbulent of circumstances.
So many times I have read Philippians 4:6-7. It is a well-known verse that commonly adorns coffee mugs, picture frames and refrigerator magnets. Unfortunately, when it comes to this verse, I often confuse familiarity with apathy.
This is one of those powerful verses that the enemy would love for us to forget.
But how do we really experience God’s peace in the midst of horrible circumstances?
Priscilla points out that this verse is intrinsically tied to Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
When we make a conscience effort to pray with thanksgiving, instead of allowing anxiety to rule our thoughts and emotions, we are expressing a firm trust in God and His care for us. By taking this step in faith with thanksgiving, we are affirming that God has the capacity to overcome anything that life brings.
This is the key to unlocking the peace that so often alludes us…
As Priscilla Shirer says, “This kind of faith catches His attention and He response by activating His peace within us – a peace that will not only guard but also guide us by helping us to discern the direction God is leading us to take in our lives. Note the progression: trust leads to thankfulness and gratitude activates peace.”
As I wrote in 7 Tips To Find Your Calling, let your fears and anxieties become a reminder that you have something to bring before the Lord in prayer. When we trust our situation to God by submitting our concerns in prayer and thanksgiving, He will be faithful to release His peace in our lives. Before you know it you will to see the beauty of his plans even in the midst of chaos.
My prayer is that your every anxious thought would filter through this truth leaving you with the peace that only He can give.
Even in the aftermath of the flood, I was able to complete this secretary. If you look closely, you can see concrete floors in the background. What a testimony to how God brings beauty from ashes, growth from decay, and hope from destruction.
Enjoy some of the pictures of the finished secretary! If you liked this post, you might also like: