Since I found out that I was pregnant with our 6th. baby in December of 2012, life has been a roller coaster for sure. My entire first trimester was spent desperately trying to make sure we did not miscarry and trying to manage severe morning sickness, which was crippling, to say to least. Then, just as I had entered my 2nd. trimester, relieved that we were coming out of the risk of miscarriage, I was diagnosed with gallbladder disease after a major attack that resulted in a hospital ER visit and emergency flight to an out of state hospital. I declined surgery at that time, hoping to manage my symptoms with diet so as to avoid surgery while pregnant, which, while a lot of work, I did successfully until I went into labor with Lil Miss in late August. As I went into labor, my gallbladder got irritated again and I spent 3 nights in the hospital till they had my symptoms under control so they could induce me to deliver our precious package. Little Miss arrived on August 27th and we enjoyed her for 3 weeks before a much more serious gallbladder attack landed me in the hospital again, this time with pancreatitis and no choice but to have the surgery performed. I am now slowly recovering from the surgery and after almost of year of sickness and un-productivity, I am chomping at the bit to get back to LIFE! We’ve barely homeschooled, the house is needing some serious TLC and my physical body is needing to be built back up nutritionally and strength-wise. Time seems to be my enemy every single day.
I know, I know– It’s been a rough year, I now have another sweet newborn– life is not going to just pick up where it left off… but I am having trouble accepting this unfortunate reality! I WANT to homeschool in full force, bake for my family, plan fun outings, sew some of the projects on my now HUGE project list, decorate the house for Autumn, have friends over, exercise, coupon, put up some canned goods, get my hair done, GO ON A DATE WITH MY HUSBAND, help at the church, and the list goes on and on and ON! There is the inner part of me that is stamping her foot and throwing a fit and crying, “It’s not fair! I just went through a VERY hard year and I want things to be EASY and productive now!” And then I remember: I have 6 kids.
Even if my health was in tiptop shape, I’d still have the demands of a newborn who wants to be held ALL DAY and a 4 year-old who wants his mommy to play with him and an 8 year-old that needs to be occupied from boredom and 13 & 16 year-olds that need direction and an adult child that is launching out in life but still needs the support of his family. There are meals to be prepared and laundry to be done, talks to have and a schedule to manage that really doesn’t accommodate all the other “extras’ that I mentioned above. Add to that a husband that travels frequently for his career and I’m thinking those extras are are, at least for now, a distant pipe-dream! (Except my hair– that needs to be done as soon as possible, lol) Just doing the bare basics every day EASILY fills up my entire schedule! Homeschooling is a goal right now– thankfully, there are little things here and there that can be learning opportunities throughout each day, but not much ‘book work’ is being done right now– and THAT’S OKAY. This is life with 6 kids, it’s messy and unpredictable, but I am reminding myself that I’ve been here before. When I had my 5th. child, I was just as overwhelmed those first few months before I found my groove again as a mama. Soon enough, I’ll be back at the grind, working hard to create this life that I’ve always dreamed of, but for now, I need to give myself permission to HEAL and to BREATHE.
Are you in a similar situation?
Psalm 31:15 says: “My times are in Your hands…”
in Ecclesiastes 3:
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens”
Note to Self (& every other mother in the same station of life):
RELAX mama. All the work will be waiting for you when this season of life is passed. Your creativity will not disappear and there will be plenty of projects to work on in the future. Balance will arrive at just the right time. While you are nursing that baby, spend time talking to your heavenly Father, lift others up in prayer, have that cup of tea. LET OTHERS HELP YOU- whether it is through holding that baby, delivering that meal, doing that load of laundry or taking kiddos to the park so you can have a half hour of quiet. Slow down and take your vitamins. GO TO BED when it’s time to go to bed. CHOOSE relationship over tasks… draw silly pictures and build that lego creation, discuss the important things in life- like, “Why do volcanoes erupt?” & “Why do we go to church every Sunday?” SIT DOWN and hold your husbands hand while watching that show, and let him hug you every time he wants to, even in the middle of making dinner, because trust me, it is important for him AND for you. At the end of the day, declare that your efforts were enough and God can make up for all that you are not and all that you could not do– because He can. And then, LET THAT TO-DO LIST GO. BREATHE. REST. RELAX. And if you really are having trouble with that, ask your Father to help you, He will.
Greetings Fruitful Viners! 2013 started off with quite a bang for us Kilcoynes! I’m not sure why I continue to do it, but I somehow convince myself that life will slow down and it just never does! I had decided in December of 2012 that I would take the month of January off so that I could regroup, refocus and renew. Many people take this time of year to pray, seek direction from the Lord and jump-start any resolutions or goals they may have set for the coming year. MY plan was to go on a fast, start a new exercise program, and seek the Lord about some things that were weighing on my heart.
2012 was awesome in some respects, the Lord rooted me more deeply in my faith, He demonstrated answers to prayers in ways that at times, left me breathless. It was a year of warfare in ministry like I had never known, and through the Lord stretching my faith and guiding me in obedience, I experienced a confidence and victory that, beforehand, I wasn’t sure was possible for me. Sometimes, it is the unseen battles of faith that matter most. When you are believing God for greater things that are not tangible to the eye, it is a much deeper work than something in the physical realm. I am so grateful that the Lord sees beyond the physical, beneath the surface and into our hearts for what we really need. In 2012, I learned that if God has given it, no one can take it. This must be what Joshua and Caleb understood when they spied out the land of Canaan, no matter what their peers said, they were confident that God had given the good land to them- SIMPLY BECAUSE HE HAD TOLD THEM. It is an awesome thing to have faith, real faith. I also learned that faith is MY responsibility and it is a daily choice. No one else is going to believe God for me, my faith is personal, between me and my God. While it is good to have others stand in agreement with you on a matter, absolutely nothing can be substituted for your own faith. It must be worked, it is an ACTION that we believers take, and we must choose to take it every single day; no matter what we feel, no matter what our situation says, no matter what others opinions may be, if we want to ‘be in faith’, then we must make the choice to agree with God’s Word, to side with what He says. So much of this may seem elementary to some, but for me, 2012 was my classroom for such a lesson. As a family, we faced things that I didn’t know we could overcome. As a minister, I waged war as the Lord taught me for breakthrough, protection, truth and purity. I had many moments of weariness and of wanting to give up. I’m not proud of those moments, but they did happen. Part of acting on our faith is to push through even when our flesh doesn’t want to. I now have a greater insight of “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” – but one thing I have seen in 2012, that I have been most grateful for, is the consistency of the Lord! He’s been so faithful, even in those weak moments. It has been such a joy to have the Helper there at all times to encourage, to speak, to strengthen. He truly has been my Rock, and I KNOW that if not for Him, I wouldn’t have come this far.
This brings me to our family news for 2013- the Lord has blessed us with another addition to our family!
We. are. pregnant.
Oh my word! Before I get into all the details, I’d like to offer testimony: 2012, as I said before, was tough on our family. I actually had two confirmed miscarriages and a possible third (unconfirmed). The first two were very difficult physically (and of course, emotionally), especially the second one. And by the third (unconfirmed, but we are pretty sure that I had been pregnant for only a couple weeks), I was just desperate to find out what was wrong. I take the Word of the Lord very seriously, and when He says that none from among His people shall be barren, nor miscarry, I believe Him. So as you can imagine, it was quite an emotional trial for me, trying to make sense of all of it. Many tears fell during 2012. By the end of the year, I was done. I didn’t want to think about pregnancy anymore, so my plan was just to focus on my health at the beginning of 2013. After fighting all year to hold onto a pregnancy, I just needed to lay it down. With a broken heart in this area, I offered up my dreams to God once again and said, “Lord, I’m hurting and You are the Healer, no matter what doctors say, I know You and I know You do not lie, so, here’s my heart once again.” The doctor had confirmed that low-progesterone seemed to be the issue, and he had prescribed progesterone to me to keep on hand in case I thought I might be pregnant. Of course, this was almost pointless because by the time I felt symptoms I was usually already starting to lose the pregnancy.
I prayed, “Lord, I understand if you do not want me to have a child at this time, but You do not give life only for it to die in the womb. That’s not Your way. If you want me to take the progesterone, then I need to know I am pregnant almost right away in order for it to benefit the pregnancy. Whatever you want Lord, please cause it to happen, whether it is total healing, catching the pregnancy early enough, or no pregnancy at all- only, do not let me lose one more life from this womb.” I prayed this at the end of November, 2012. Oh, ladies! The Lord cares so much for our hearts! We can talk to Him about anything and we can trust Him with everything!
The week after Christmas, I woke up one morning to an offensive smell coming from the kitchen. As I went downstairs to investigate, imagine my surprise when I discovered it was one of my sons making toast. Toast. This continued for 2 days. Smell aversions were so great that I became nauseous from them. I wasn’t putting two and two together. That Sunday, I went to church and someone out of the blue, asked me if I was pregnant! I went home and called a good friend of mine the next day and told her what was going on with me, but if I based everything on my cycle, I couldn’t be more than a week or two along and I never felt symptoms this early. She prodded me to take a test, but I didn’t for another 4 days, I was terrified of seeing another negative result. When I couldn’t ignore my increasing symptoms anymore, I broke down and took a test and there was a very faint, but absolutely there, positive! I was in shock. I made my husband look at it at least three times, I kept holding it up to the light and staring hard at it. I was a true mess that night. I called the doctor the next morning and he was pretty doubtful that I could have those kinds of symptoms so early on and kept making me repeat the first day of my last cycle. It was hilarious because we were all trying to disprove that faint positive line! As a precaution, the doctor told me to go ahead and start on the progesterone just to be safe and he made an appointment for two weeks from then so we could check via ultrasound . I took a test every day that week and each time, the line got darker and darker. I was so paranoid that I would check those pregnancy strips twice a day sometimes! When you experience loss of life or tragedy and heartbreak of any kind, it affects you. Never before did I agonize over symptoms or a pregnancy test like this one! Every symptom, test line, etc was questioned, examined, prayed over… ironically, I had completely forgotten what I had prayed just over a month prior- but God hadn’t forgotten!
The day of my first doctor’s appointment was nerve-wracking. He had warned me that he didn’t know if we would even see a heartbeat yet if I was accurate with my dates , though he was expecting me to be farther along because a positive test doesn’t even show up that early. I knew I had my dates correct because I had been tracking my cycles, so there was a lot of confusion in me and I kept thinking, “What if something is wrong? What if it was a false positive?” As the doctor began the ultrasound with my husband at my side, thank the Lord that Daniel was there, it wasn’t long before he located the baby and the faintest of heartbeats. The doctor said with amazement, ” Oh my goodness, that heart beat has got to be only hours old!” But a heartbeat WAS there! Daniel later told me that when he first saw the baby, he was mesmerized because to him it looked like a perfect diamond ring that was sparkling. How cute is that?! As the doctor measured the baby as best as he could, he said it lined up perfectly with my dates. He couldn’t believe how early along I was, that the test was positive that early and that my symptoms were so strong- but I could. I KNEW God had answered prayer so that I would take the progesterone early enough to sustain this pregnancy! On our second visit at 8 weeks, there was a good strong heartbeat and a proper developing baby. It hasn’t been easy being on progesterone, it’s a very high dosage twice a day and there are side effects, on top of that, morning sickness has been much worse with this baby than any of my others- the doctor says that we may even be able to wean me off of the progesterone early because things are looking so well and it seems as if my body is beginning to produce enough on it’s own. This baby will be number six for our family, and I know the biggest question on everyone’s mind who knows us is whether or not it will be a girl this time, lol, but right now, I am relishing in the fact that my God cared so much for my heart that He brought this pregnancy to our attention at just the right time so that there wouldn’t be another loss in our lives. I am so grateful that when I do not see, He does!
My days are spent resting and trying to relieve severe morning sickness right now. Every week seems to bring an increased symptoms and it is a challenge to get food in me, so I am also tired from not eating. I had mild stomach issues with my others and moderate smell aversions, most of which could be handled quite easily. Nothing seems to be working with this one, the doctor has prescribed me some anti-nausea meds and I am taking b-6 in larger amounts. In the following article, I’ll share what I’ve been doing since nothing seems to help my symptoms and what you can do to help your household continue on even though you’ve been immobilized by morning sickness. But for now, even though this pregnancy has had it’s challenges, we are rejoicing to have yet another life added to our family!
UPDATE**** I am now 12 weeks along and we have begun the process of weaning me off of the progesterone. In total it will take about two weeks. The doctor was hopeful that it would relieve some of my morning sickness but so far I am still needing the anti-nausea meds to be able to eat well. I have had a few days where there was about a 2-3 hour stretch of feeling good, so we are praying that we are near the end of it and I will be myself once again! ***Update to the update: 14 weeks and counting! Having whole stretches of some days with no morning sickness, it is a slow improvement but improvement nonetheless!
Yep, you read the title right…Stomach flu for Christmas. Okay, so this wasn’t exactly the BEST Christmas ever, but I gotta tell you, the more I learn about natural treatments, the more convinced I am that we should always give them a try before reaching for OTC or prescription drugs! In this case, probiotics- the liquid drinkable yogurt kind- came to the rescue. I started feeling queasy on Christmas Eve, by Christmas Day afternoon, I was in bed. However, in between those times, I had started eating yogurt and getting probiotics in me. I was holding my own, not throwing up, but running a fever on and off, and thought, “Hmmmm, I wonder if I should be doing this a little differently…” So I started googling warding off the stomach flu. Most sources I read supported the probiotic approach, so I knew I was on the right track, but what I didn’t know was that I need to up the amount I was taking. Every hour to be exact. So, a quick trip to the store, several bottles of probiotics and greek yogurt later and I was on the attack. I also had hubby make me some immune boosting tea, but I could only drink about half a cup. I stayed in bed, sleeping on and off for the 12 hours, and eating either greek yogurt or taking a dose of the probiotics. WOW. By the next morning I felt great! I was amazed! This will definitely be my go to to ward off stomach bugs! The idea is to get enough of the good bacteria into your system so that your immune system can be ‘freed up’ to fight the bad bacteria causing the virus. Now, my research wasn’t extensive by any means, I was simply looking for relief and the advice I followed worked! And boy! Am I glad it worked! I didn’t throw up once, and I had another little guy in the house who had been throwing up before me, the probiotics are now helping him as well, though for him, I think it is more assisting in his recovery because we didn’t catch it soon like we did with me. Below is a great article from LiveStrong on why probiotics can be helpful:
So, I promised my pine-smell lovers a potpourri for the Holiday season- here it is:
I pin TONS of things on Pinterest, and I will be utilizing Pinterest more and more for Fruitful Vine over this next year, so be sure to follow me over there so you don’t miss anything!
Well, Ladies, a New Year is upon us! It is amazing how much I got done in 2012, and yet, as always, I am convinced that I didn’t do nearly enough!
That is SO my personality along with millions of other women right?!
Well, for 2013, I hereby give myself permission to RELAX.
Oh I have goals, and I have things that will definitely need to be done, but, this year I’m going to give it my best shot not to fall into the Super-Woman complex. Really. Every year, I set HUGE GOALS, and while I am firm believer in shooting for the stars, this year, I want to learn to flow in the unforced rhythms of grace.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Doesn’t that sound nice? There have been times in my walk with the Lord when I have actually experienced what I call a “flow”. Everything would seem to align just perfectly with no forced effort or work involved, like God was just carrying me along… and in my recent prayer times these days, I can see the flow coming once again! So, I’ll let you in on my number one goal this year: to keep company with Him. If I work at anything, it’ll be to not allow anything to get in the way of keeping company with Him. I know that if I do that one thing, everything else will FLOW.
Now, all us dedicated Christians will give a resounding , “Amen!” to that statement, right? But this year, let’s put our walk where our talk is and let’s just DO IT. Throw caution to the wind and abandon yourself daily to spend the much needed time with your Lord and Savior. C’mon now, be honest- how consistently DO you spend time with Him. I’m not talking about reading a devotional, or saying a quick prayer… when’s the last time you got lost in His company, in His Presence? When’s the last time you didn’t rush through your prayer time because you had things to do? Ladies, the laundry and dishes will keep, and it won’t hurt the little ones to learn what it means: “Mommy is talking to Jesus right now honey, why don’t you sit here quietly and draw?” You might be surprised to find that after a time of instruction, they will probably begin to pray and worship with you!
2013- Oh Lord, may we lay our excuses down and come to sit at Your Feet! Teach us the unforced rhythms of grace! Teach us how to live freely and lightly!
Happy New Year FV Women, May His Blessing flow like never before in your life!
I love Christmas. Everything Christmas. I love the sounds, the sights and the smells. I especially the Reason for the Season, my Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ. Christmas is fun, sentimental, biblical and SHINY. In our home, starting with the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas begins and continues until mid-January the next year. Yes, you heard it right… mid-January. Despite the moans and groans from the adults and concerned onlookers, the tree, Christmas movies and music, ornament making and decorating doesn’t stop until then. The paper snowflakes, ribbons, cinnamon cookie cutter ornaments and snowman art renditions keep coming until the fateful day every year when I know that it is TIME to put it all away till next Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of year to me. One of my favorite things to do as soon as possible is to get the potpourri simmering on the stove so that the second you walk into my home you smell Christmas. It has taken me several years to get it to the point I like it, for me, the missing ingredient for years was the peppermint herb, once I added that…Christmas!
Play around with the scents, potpourri is so fun to create! Add sugar cookies baking in the oven and some hot cocoa in the crock pot and you’ve got a bona-fide Christmas Village in the making! There’s lots of ways to make a Christmas potpourri, but this is my favorite version (I’ll share another next week for you pine-loving friends!) and I must say, I never get tired of it and neither do the visitors that come to our home. Enjoy!
FV Woman’s Christmas Potpourri:
The peel from one orange (it can be any orange, but I am partial to tangerines, they seem to give a sweeter orange smell)
one tangerine or orange cut in quarters
one small apple cut in quarters
1 cup fresh cranberries
4 small cinnamon sticks
a handful of dried whole cloves
2 teaspoons dried peppermint herb
1 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 a teaspoon of ground ginger (OR 1 teaspoon of dried chopped ginger)
3 teaspoons vanilla (even better, try a whole vanilla bean!)
Place all ingredients into a pot and cover with water. Simmer gently on the stove. ( I have heard of others doing their potpourri in the crock pot, but I have never tried it) This potpourri will last for about 3-4 uses before needing to replace with fresh ingredients. I almost always add more water as it evaporates and I will also add a teaspoon of vanilla with each use.
You can also give this mixture as a great gift in a mason jar or cheesecloth tied up with a ribbon and instructions.
Merry Christmas & Enjoy!Pin It
Happy Thanksgiving From Fruitful Vine Outreach!
Today will be filled with baking and cleaning and fun activities for our little ones here at home! Need some last minute ideas for the holiday season? Check out my pinterest boards where I’ve pinned some great resources from around the web:
& for Christmas:
While you’re there, check out my other boards, FV Woman will be utilizing Pinterest more and more to help ladies be the fruitful vine they were designed to be!
Black Friday is here! Have you started making your lists yet? If you have the funds, Black Friday is a great way to get some awesome deals for the year; sites like www.blackfriday.com & http://www.theblackfriday.com/ are a great way to check out the deals before you hit the stores, and they even let you make your list online and print it out from your home printer!
Cyber Monday is also approaching: http://www.cybermonday2012.com/ I am actually beginning to prefer Cyber Monday over Black Friday; you can shop in the comfort of your own home and not have to contend with the crowds!
This Friday is our 3rd. son’s birthday, so we’ll kick the day off with a birthday breakfast as usual, it’s also the day after Thanksgiving which means we will watch the movie Elf (tradition in our home to sound off the Christmas Season!), break out some Christmas tunes and begin decorating the house. I love this time of year!
Have a blessed week !
Greetings FV Women! I have officially declared 2012 to be the BUSIEST. YEAR. EVER. With five kiddos and a busy husband, I have no idea how I had it in my head that it would be anything otherwise, Ha!
The holidays are fast approaching and soon another year will be upon us. Life is ever busy and this month we will be celebrating two birthdays: My 3rd. and 4th. sons will be turning 13 and 8 which means I now have one adult son, two teenagers, one elementary and one preschool aged child! Yikes!
Sometime this month, I will be resuming the Sweep & Keep Challenge where I left off earlier in the year, I’ll FINALLY get going on that Storage Closet of ours and hope to be through our Kitchen by the end of the year. All the posts that i have made so far can be found here if you wish to follow the Sweep & Keep Challenge at your own pace. I really would have liked to be through my whole house by now, but we have had quite a year in the Kilcoyne home!
Herbal Remedy of the Month
Currently we are dealing with what appears to be a case of whooping cough. For the past two months, all but two of our family members have treated for WC, myself included. As a result, I’ve been busy experimenting with different herbal formulas to see what will ease discomfort the most, and so far a combination of elderberry fruit, marshmallow root & thyme seems to be working best. As a tea, it soothes and reduces phlegm, as well as knocking down inflammation.
Elderberries are great for fighting infecting, high in vitamin c, and a decongestant. Thyme, is very good for coughs, and for fighting infection. Marshmallow root, when combined with water, is fantastic for coating and soothing the throat, it is also said to reduce inflammation and thin out mucous. Within minutes of drinking a cup of this tea, my coughs have been soothed and my entire respiratory system felt calm. It is the only thing that has helped me sleep at night. The marshmallow root has to first be processed by cold infusion. Taking one tablespoon of marshmallow root per cup of water, steep the herb in cold water for about four hours. Strain the liquid, bottle and store in the fridge. Make a ‘tea’ by simmering 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 tablespoon elderberries and 1 cup of your marshmallow root liquid (though some people drink the marshmallow liquid without first boiling it). That’s it! Drink and be amazed! I was! This will now be my go to remedy specifically for coughs and sore throat due to coughs. I am currently working on a cough syrup for the kiddos using these ingredients, as well as a glycerite to be able to keep in the cupboard for those times when tea isn’t appealing or convenient.
I’ve been wanting to write this post/testimony for a few weeks now, be encouraged today that God is your keeper!
Have a blessed week! –Nicci
Greetings and long time no “see”! Life sort of takes over when you least expect it and I apparently am no exception! No matter how much I plan, schedule and organize, circumstances have their ways of surfacing and I am left to decide what matters most during those seasons of life. AND THAT IS OKAY. I started Fruitful Vine Women’s Outreach because years ago I recognized the need for a ministry where a woman’s biblical priorities would be honored and valued.
This year has really put my convictions to the test once again, I have had DAILY choices to make about what is really important and how I am to spend my time- and I haven’t always made the right decision! Many nights, I’ve gone to bed analyzing my days and how I could have chosen better. I’ve been CRAZY BUSY and yet had to turn down fellowship opportunities, writing, parties, and ministry opportunities just to make sure I could keep things somewhat together here at home. It hasn’t been easy, I’ve been sad, mad and resentful at times… but I’ve also had times of pure peace knowing that I was doing the right thing. Sometimes I need to be reminded of my own mission. Feeling lost all those years back, I promised the Lord that I would never again allow anything to take the place of my God-given priorities. At that time in my young life, I had thrown myself into serving others so much that my God and my family were left in my ministry dust! I was exhausted, stressed and simply worn out. And I did it all “in the name of Jesus”!
Have you been there? Giving your very best to others and your leftovers to God and your family? Yep, me too. (And the opportunities to get there will always present themselves over and over!) Through the Lord’s gentle leading I began to realize that there was no way I could ever be happy living that way, neither would my Lord be pleased and my family? Well, we all know how that would have turned out. One of my most vivid memories of not being in line with my priorities was spending all day baking for a bake sale for the church and practically hollering at the little ones not to come into the kitchen or touch the baked items because I didn’t want anything to get messed up. I cringe just thinking about it now. My poor little ones had to sit in that house all day with those wonderful aromas and not have one bite because mama was too intent on impressing others and ‘serving the Lord’. I was young, impressionable and this is the way ministry was. NO ONE EVER TOLD ME DIFFERENTLY. The next day, as the car was being loaded up for the bake sale and everything looked so perfect, I gleamed with pride when I thought of how quickly my baked goods would sell for the church and suddenly the quiet, firm voice of the Lord spoke to my heart and said, ” I’ll bet your family would have liked to been treated so kindly…” Needless to say, I purchased a plate of goodies for each of my children that day and every time someone came up to me to compliment me on what a great organizer, cook, christian, servant I was, I felt sick to my stomach. Over the next few moths, the Lord began to open up His Word to me about how He never intended for me to leave my family for the sake of ministry- my family WAS my ministry. Most women “know” that, but so many do not seem to live it out. Even more so, I have seen encouragement to actually go the other direction!
Ask yourself today: What’s REALLY important? Cleaning the bathroom, or spending time with Jesus? That pile of laundry or reading a book to your child? That event at church, or a lovingly prepared home-cooked meal for your family? I know it can be hard to choose, especially when the pressure is on… but when we sacrifice our priorities for the sake of pleasing others, very rarely is there a good and fruitful result. Your husband and children should never be made to feel that they are second to everyone else; and neither should the Lord. As I have said many times before in posts I’ve written, I am not opposed to women operating in ministry at all; I am however, strongly opposed to forsaking our priorities in order to do it. I pray for sisters today that they will feel the freedom and peace to serve the Lord happily and contentedly within the context of their priorities. Our lives matter, and the office of helpmeet, motherhood and keeper of the home matter. When a woman yields to God’s assignment in these areas and obeys His leading, the effect is amazing! For too long, these biblical God-given roles have been reduced in value by our society to nothing more than slavery and babysitting- this is not true! What we do in the home is SO MUCH MORE- if we do it with excellence unto the Lord.
Coming up at Fruitful Vine:
*My hope is to finish the series Sweep & Keep Challenge — Life took over this past Spring and I wasn’t able to finish, so I will be picking up where I left off in my own home and if you’d like to join me, feel free!
*We are working on our YouTube channel and hope to have content loaded by next year. This is a huge desire of my heart, everything from daily devotions, to how-to’s and recipes will be uploaded here to help you be the fruitful vine in your home and family that God designed you to be.
*Still another dream in my heart is our sister homeschooling website: www.homeschoolinspirationstation.com or HIS for short. –I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I want to see this site up and running! It’s been in my heart for more than a few years now and every year it is a goal before me.
*Of course, I’ll be posting articles here and there as I have time, but my commitment level is sketchy these days due to homeschooling 4 kiddos, keeping house, and other things I am also committed to… but rest assured, I’ll be popping up here and there! I would eventually like to have weekly posts, but I have definitely learned not to be over-zealous in that area!
Have a blessed week Fruitful Viners!
Greetings Fruitful Viners! So much has been going on here that I am unsure where to start, but first- Yes, I’m STILL alive! Ha ha… I know I have sort of dropped off the face of the earth lately, but two things I have committed to in my life through God’s leading is that I would not allow anything to get in the way of my priorities, and I will not allow my health to be threatened for busyness… so when things get busy, I usually pare down to the bare minimum of activity in order to preserve my health and sanity, and keep order in my family.
I love ministry, and serving the Lord in any way I can, but over the years, the Lord has taught me to discern between what is His activity for me and what is man’s activity for me. I don’t always get it right, but it usually doesn’t take long before I can see where I am stretching myself way too thin. This has been our busiest season yet with the boys, church and homeschool. These past few months have been spent in preparation for house guests arriving, preparing for our sons’ individual camps and our first homeschool graduation. We are also in the process of starting a family business and I am now fully into my courses for becoming an herbalist. Aside from that we are involved in a mom’s group (which is a true God-send to me- if you are not part of some type of support group, consider one, they can be so encouraging!) , homeschooling through the summer and praise & worship team at our church… so there hasn’t been much time for writing. I will return regularly when I can, but this is what guides my priorities right now:
Relationship with Lord
Relationship with Spouse
Relationship with Children
Duties at Home
(If you’ve noticed already, those are my sections here at Fruitful Vine)
If I don’t live out what my ministry preaches, then what good am I? It is my firm conviction that Fruitful Vine Women’s Outreach be the place for women that says it is okay to focus on your biblical priorities and womanhood unapologetically. There has been a deceptive message going out for years now that makes women feel like they are not contributing to the Body of Christ unless they are out pursuing a “ministry”, that they are ‘not doing enough’ simply by staying home and building a family in the Lord. The above priorities are what guide me when the busyness of life gets too messy. I am the first in line to want to leave an impact for God in this world and anyone who knows me knows that I do serve in my local church body as much as I can. I believe that, wholeheartedly, a woman has ministry in her just as much as anyone and that she is indeed called by the Lord to reach people for His kingdom- but I do not believe that He wants us to forsake the first ministries He has given us in order to do it. Bottom line is- I am married (thus, I am a helpmeet), I am a mother (thus, I am a parent) and I am called as a keeper of my home before the Lord, as well as being assigned the responsibility of homeschooling my children long before any of my other “ministries” were given me. It’s not that the Lord will never give me anything else to do, but He has given me priorities that must come first and they, I suspect will be my greatest impact to the Kingdom. I desire real fruit in my life, my family and in other families in the Body of Christ, and I think if men and women would return to the God-given positions within the family and simply hunker down to do what His Word commands- we would see that fruit realized. I don’t want to be just ‘busy’… I want to be fruitful.
So, this is why you may not hear from me from time to time. I choose my actions based on the priorities given me by scripture and sometimes there are just no more minutes left in the day for any other extra pursuits. But I rest in the fact that I am doing His Will and I trust that the rest will come when He desires it. This morning I had a choice to continue cleaning the house for perfection, yet my little ones were begging to get out and DO SOMETHING. I chose to pack a lunch and head out to have a picnic and go feed the fish with my boys. We looked at rocks, fed the fish- who we found out were trout- and after a fun couple hours, we came home to discover a perfectly formed birds nest in our yard. We studied it, talked about it and frantically searched for signs of a lost egg or baby bird. We bonded, learned, made memories and had a fun and full afternoon… all because the Lord tugged at my heart to choose the priority of Relationship with Children. Ladies, in my heart of hearts, I KNOW that this is being fruitful with fruit that will last instead of mere busyness.
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2: 3-5)
I want to encourage you today, that if your feel like life is spinning out of control, to step back and evaluate what your priorities are and what they might need to be. Learn to say, “No”, to the things that will ultimately interfere with your fruitfulness in those priorities and trust that if the Lord wants you to do more for Him, he knows how to guide you without threatening the welfare of your family.
Here’s the latest on the Kilcoyne Family:
Life… at full speed.
That’s what my days feel like right now. I’m not complaining though- this IS the life I signed up for, this is the life I prayed for. I am so blessed –even in the hard times as a woman trying to live out the reality the bible tells me I can have. Every time I get tired, every time I feel pressure, every time I feel discouraged, I remember those prayers prayed so long ago: “Lord, I want to be FRUITFUL in every area of my life, cause me to grow and bear fruit…” “Lord, I want a LARGE family filled with life and vitality day to day…” Lord I want to be BUSY doing Your work to glorify Who You Are…” & “Lord, I want to CONTRIBUTE to the family finances, working alongside my husband to support our dreams…”
So many other prayers prayed, and one by one I have had the honor and privilege of watching my God answer them. I’m still waiting on others to be answered, but because I have had a front row seat to the faithfulness of God I can confidently say that He will do all that He has promised and that He does not forget one Word He has ever spoken nor does it leave His remembrance of one prayer I have ever prayed.
So, while this earthly body is wrestling with the allotted 24 hours each day given me, I will stop and ponder on the faithfulness of God Almighty. And I will thank Him for bringing to pass His plan in my life and I will offer praise for more to come. No matter how much I struggle, I know He will guide me into perfect peace and balance as I wait upon Him, this crazy life of mine will be filled with fruit that He carefully cultivated and all of it will be for His Glory!
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
I do not have posts to share with you this week, I will tell you that if you are following along with the Sweep & Keep Challenge , we are in Week Three of the Pantry and Storage Closet areas of our home. I hope to have those posts up by the end of the week. As you know from my last post, Fruitful vine posts may be a little sporadic as I learn to work with my new schedule. Just stick with me and I will get everything running smoothly again.
Aside from that, I’d like to share some of my friends’ blogs with you this week!
Chrysalis Family Ministries will be one that you’ll want to be watching in the near future. Many treasures will be coming from this site on family, homeschool and the Word of the Lord. You won’t be sorry that you bookmarked them!
Faithful Homemaking is a blog from my good friend Lindsey Swinborne, just what her blog states, she encourages moms like us to be faithful in the home.
Amanda Shade over at Almost Organic is challenging all of us to eat better, I love the unique recipes that she is including in her menu plans that she shares and if you are in an area where game meat is plentiful, you’ll like some of what is in her plans, like Antelope Meatballs.
Amanda Kaake of Kaake Family Blog has an awesome e-book available on wholesome cooking and her blog posts are wonderful.
Adventures In Mothering with Kimberly Eddy is one of my favorites as well.
All right Fruitful Viners, that’s it for now… have a blessed rest of the week and I hope to be posting soon!