Strong Women

Where I share what I'm learning from God's Word and how I'm growing in Biblical Womanhood

Strong Women Study is MOVING!! March 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — caperry5 @ 2:30 pm

Hello there blog friends. I so appreciate those of you who have been following Strong Women. I’ve been playing around with this blogging thing for a few years now and my husband and I have been chatting recently about me doing it more seriously, or perhaps more regularly would be a better word. So I’ve started researching more about blogging and came the conclusion that I’d like to use a different blog hosting site. So….. please move over with me and join my conversation and journey at www.strongwomenstudy.blogspot.com. It will be fun and prettier (eventually) and I hope a continued encouragement in Christ for those of you who read!

My son had a little something to say about it too.

‘zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’

‘Z’ is his favorite letter, stemming from his love of all things ‘Zorro.’

See you soon over on www.strongwomenstudy.blogspot.com!!

Imagel’

 

Chicken Tacos with the Perry’s February 20, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — caperry5 @ 3:45 pm
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We love Mexican food in our house. My kids will eat most anything with that involves tortilla chips, salsa, and cheese, so we often resort to quesadillas, and tacos for dinner. This is one of my favorite go to’s. The thing that makes it crazy easy to throw together is using leftover chicken. I’m a big fan of roasting a whole chicken in the oven (or crock pot). We then typically only eat half of the chicken in one dinner and I can save the rest of the meat for another meal. Sometimes I freeze it. Sometimes I just plan to use it in the next few days. I will also then use the bones to make chicken broth in the crock pot (it’s FREE people, so why not?!). So without further adieu…..

 

Chicken Tacos with the Perry’s

 

Chicken Taco Ingredients

Chicken Taco Ingredients

-leftover chicken (we use leftover chicken from a roasted whole chicken)

-Chili Powder

-Garlic Salt

-Cumin

-Oregano

-Tortillas of your choosing (we LOVE Stacy’s Organic tortillas that we get from Mama Jean’s locally)

-Toppings of your choice (we love cheese, salsa, a bit of lettuce, and avocado)

-Rice

-Parsley

-Butter

-Salt

 

Normally I start the rice first. My favorite lately is Jasmine. I use 1 heaping cup of rice for just over 1.5 c of water. Let it simmer till the water is gone (15ish minutes). Add about 2 Tbsp of butter and a sprinkling of salt and Parsley. Then let it sit till it’s nice a fluffy (usually 10is more minutes). This combo changed my life.

 

While the rice simmers put the chicken in your favorite skillet and generously sprinkle with garlic salt, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. I don’t ever measure on this one. Just sprinkle till it tastes good. Add a few splashes of water to the pan. And sauté until the chicken is warm and water has evaporated. 

Warm your tortillas in the oven or microwave and pile in your ingredients! Add some rice to your plate and enjoy! I know we do! 

Chicken Tacos

Chicken Tacos

 

Hospital Rooms and Such February 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — caperry5 @ 9:04 pm

Today I’m sitting in a hospital room. A small grey and blue and white room with specks all over the walls and floors. We’ve been sitting in this room for at least 4 hours now waiting. Waiting on the inevitable and the unknown. My husband is having surgery today. Well I say today. It’s 5:37 pm as I type this. Hopefully it’s still ‘today’ by the time they take him back. The surgery isn’t life threatening. At least it’s not supposed to be. But it does have the power to restore his vision in one of his eyes. Sight is something that we can so easily take for granted. I’ve never worn glasses. My eyes have always just worked. So I think it’s something that I very easily overlook. But today, we’re not taking anything for granted. Vision, smell, touch, hearing. All of it. We’re praying for God’s protection over him as they operate. We’re praying for wisdom and steady hands for the Doctor. We’re praying for a good recovery and that the original problem (pars planitis for those who care to know) doesn’t return. Because even if all goes very well in the surgery, there’s always the possibility that all of this will happen again. It’s kind of scary to think through, my husband losing his vision. It’s most certainly not something that I ever expected. And my husband and I have joked… every year we make all these big plans for the year of goals we want to accomplish: physical, spiritual, financial. You know the drill. New Year’s Resolutions. And it seems like every year we just get hammered in January and this year it seems to have happened again. If I didn’t know that God loved me, I’d think he was laughing at me as he moved the chess pieces of our lives in exactly the opposite direction we’d choose. But I know that’s not how my holy, loving God works. No my God works like this: 

 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

(Ephesians 2:4-10 ESV)

 

My God is full of love. Love that is rich in mercy and great love that has made me alive with Christ so that we can do the good that God has prepared for us. This is true for me. This is true for my husband. This is true for every person who has been redeemed. Our God is overflowing with love and he lavishes it on us in the person of Jesus Christ. So my husband and I sit in this grey and blue speckled hospital room and we trust that our good, loving God is not slamming us down laughing every January. But that instead in love, he is preparing us for the good works that He has for us whether my husband can see or not. 

 

This Parenting Gig February 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — caperry5 @ 10:21 am
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I’ve struggled with this whole parenting gig lately. I’m utterly crazy about my kiddos. Seriously, I don’t think I had any idea that I had this much love in my heart before having kids. I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. There is just something so incredible about having little combined versions of yourself and your best friend to take care of. You can look at them and just see pieces of yourself and this man that you’re madly in love with. God had a neat plan with people having kids. What’s frustrating though is when your kids start sinning. Am I right?

I knew that I’d have sinful children, but really, I don’t think I ever imagined that it would look like this, or that it would evoke in me the kind of emotions that I feel about it all! This is rough stuff friends! So I’m working through a few things:

1) I am reminding myself that this little person is a person that God has purposefully placed in our family. He is perfectly suited to us as parents and that even in the times when I feel really incompetent to handle what the little guy (or girl) is throwing at me, I am competent in Christ. He has given him the perfect parents for HIM and he has given us the perfect children for US. He is growing all of us in His perfect way though these relationships and the struggles that come with them. And the end result for all of us who trust in Christ will be looking like Christ. It will be beautiful!

 

Little man driving his Jeep.IMG_6325Sweet Toddlers! IMG_6405IMG_6410

2) I always knew that I was going to have kind of a rough time in these early years. Babies and toddlers are most certainly not my forte! I can’t even tell you the feeling of freedom I felt when I stopped working in the nursery a few months ago, or the feelings of fear that grip my heart when I think about helping my husband teach our new 3-5 year old class at church. I told him he’s going to have to do a lot of the teaching! But while kids this age range might not be my strength as far as communicating goes, I am still MY kids’ mom and I can’t skip over these very, very important years. For one, I don’t want to miss it! There are so many moments of pure joy watching them grow and learn and say the most adorable things. So even in the ugly times of fits and tears and flat out defiance, I have to consistently discipline them in love, showing them Christ and the gospel.

3) And I pray. Pray, pray, pray. I pray for myself-that I would be wise in my choice of words and actions. That I would not be controlled by my own emotions in times of disobedience. That I would be more concerned about the hearts of my children than the image I’m projecting to those around me of myself. Oh, so many things to pray for. I also pray for my kids’ salvation. I have to recognize that they have unregenerate hearts at this point in their life. They are depraved. And they don’t have the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts like a believer does. And it’s my job to share the gospel with them.

4) So I try to turn times of disobedience into Gospel moments in their lives. It’s hard, at some level impossible, for them to fight sin. My children aren’t Christians. They don’t have the Holy Spirit. Not that they can’t choose right. But it is hard. And it’s ok to tell them that. The book Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick talks about this extensively and gives some great examples of conversations to have with your kids (although some of them are pretty long). Here’s what some of mine have sounded like. ‘L, I know that it’s really hard to do what’s right. The incredible thing though, is that Jesus came to die for your sins. He lived a perfect life and then died to become the perfect sacrifice for the sin that you just committed in your heart and in your actions. He died so that you can be forgiven! Isn’t that incredible. We have a loving God who wholeheartedly extends grace to us in our darkest moments. He loves us more than we can ever imagine.’ It’s not perfect, but slowly, I think he’s starting to understand. Before I read that book I thought it was going to be about giving your kids a break (like don’t hold them to too high of a standard, don’t discipline them when they sin…. give them grace.) Thankfully I read the book and got the concept right…. give them grace–give them the gospel of grace. Give them the gospel. It’s really the most important thing I can do as a parent. So my husband and I try to turn these moments into moments when we can tell them about Jesus. As my son has gotten older, this has gotten easier and more fun.

So…. while I’m struggling, I’m not despairing. I’m working through this time, knowing that it’s a season. Parenting is not easy. No one has ever claimed it to be. And it is lots and lots of fun. But in those rough moments, the ones where I kind of want to hide in my closet, I take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, and dive in. Because my kiddos need me to be their mom, to shower them with love, and to teach them the gospel… and I’m happy to do so!

 

 

 

I’m a Working Mom, and I’m a Christian November 14, 2012

Filed under: Womanhood — caperry5 @ 4:55 pm

On March 23rd 3 years ago I entered a new season of life. It was a season that I had always planned on being in at some point and one that had looked very different in my mind depending on the perspective I had at each age. As a young women in my teens I looked at the women around me in church and for one reason or another didn’t want to be much like them. I was more heavily influenced by feminist ideals, although I didn’t realize it at the time, and wanted to work, except I deeply desired to be involved in ministry in some way or another. Perhaps missionary work, or women’s ministry. I wanted to be used by God somewhere. I never gave much consideration to kids, although I wanted them. Then at the ripe old age of 20 I decided to get my Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling and was slammed in the face with some new concepts about womanhood that I had never really gotten before. I came to understand for the first time the ultimate goal of a wife’s submission, her primary role in the home, being a homemaker, and even grew to look forward to the day when I could manage a home, care for my own children, and serve my husband.

The thing is that when the time came for us to have kids, in God’s timing, me staying home wasn’t a possibility. And I was floored. I had been reading all these great resources on Biblical Womanhood and was so excited to care for my growing little family, but my husband was working a new commission only job that didn’t even cover renting our small home, much less, food, gas, savings, or anything else. I HAD to work. I was and am very blessed to work a somewhat flexible full time job that has allowed me to bring my kids to work with me fairly often and even work from home at times. But all the same I remember crying and crying because I just wanted to be with these precious kids.

It started as a Godly desire to fulfill my God given, Biblical role in the home. But then it started sounding something like this: ‘It was supposed to be MY job to take care of my kids. MY job to teach them. MY job to comfort them when they were hurt. MY job to share all the joys and giggles. And instead, someone else got to do it for 50 hours or so a week.’ Kind of selfish thoughts, huh! It wasn’t, and still isn’t easy. But overtime I’ve been reminded countless times that THIS is God’s plan for me and for my kids. Through all the details of life that have led us to this point HE is glorified. And MY kids aren’t really mine anyway, are they…. they are HIS. And it’s my joy to share them with someone else during the day. I still hope that life might change to where I can spend more hours with my little cuties, but I’ve grown to be content where God has me and happy to be used both at home with my family, and elsewhere, where He puts me.

The thing that I think really frustrates me at times is that in the Complementarian Christian community I see so little, dare I even say practically nothing, to encourage the working mothers. I see lots and lots of articles about being a stay at home mom, almost like if you’re anything else, you’re not doing the right thing, or at the very least, like that being a stay at home mom is the pinnacle of achievement for a woman.  And sometimes, it just kind of hurts. Sure there are women who work for sinful reasons. And I get that. But there are also those of us who work out of necessity, or perhaps just out of wisdom. And these very same women are some of the greatest moms I know…. on a completely equal plane with stay at home moms who are some of the greatest moms I know!

There was a time not long ago that a friend came to me and said ‘So and so is going to get to say home with their new baby. Isn’t that great?!’ It was. It really was. I was happy for this girl. But I went home and cried that day. Because the way it was said was as if it was better. Better than what I was doing, going to work 5 days a week. Very possibly I was projecting something onto this friend that she wasn’t thinking at all when she shared this news with me. I truly don’t think it was in her heart to hurt me, she was just sharing ‘good’ news! But it hurt me and my selfish desires all the same.

So let me say a few words to my fellow moms.

-Don’t let a desire for something good (staying home with your kids for example) become an idol of your own heart. Is being a stay at home mom bad? Absolutely not! But is it the best situation for everyone? It’s just not, and you can’t prove that it is in Scripture. Weigh out your options carefully and come to a good Biblical conclusion that’s best for your situation.

-No matter how many hours you get to spend with your family, make sure they are your priority. We serve God by serving others and your husband, followed by your kids top the list! When you are with them, be WITH them. Shower them with love and affection. Teach your children God’s word. No matter what it takes, do your job well at home. Life won’t be perfect. The house will get cluttered or dirty, you might be late sometimes. Your kids will disobey. And you might not feel like you have it all together like so and so’s family. But it’s ok. It’s life lived. They aren’t perfect either. Your job is to honor God, right where you are at and to trust Him with the results.

-Love your kids deeply and show it fiercely. Never let them doubt for a moment your unconditional love for them. Even in times of discipline, we can demonstrate our love for them and show them that they are held accountable for their actions because of your love for them.

-Be content with what God has given you and where God has placed you. But at the same time, if you desire something different, and it’s a Godly desire, there’s nothing wrong with working towards it and praying over it. God loves to hear us lay our desires at His feet, and he loves to see us work towards it (life isn’t magic, we have to work towards things). So if you want to stay home, tweak your budget, encourage your husband to work hard at his job, and find a way to make it happen. If you want to start a business, work towards it. Make a plan. If you want to blog, do it. Don’t sit around wishing life was different. Thank God for where you are and the ability to work towards change and DO IT.

I’m a working mom and I’m a Christian. And I’m thankful and content with where God has me and how He is using me. His plan is perfect, and I trust Him.

 

Change October 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — caperry5 @ 2:19 pm
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Change is on my heart today. It has been for awhile now, for months really. I’ve known that it would come. But when the ball starts rolling one of two things can happen, either feelings of relief, or feelings of fear. Today, I’m feeling fear. These changes haven’t effected me too deeply yet, but they will. Oh they will. And it’s only a matter of time. My fear is intensified because the ball of change has started rolling and when it hits me, I fear it will be a hard hit. One that might knock me off of my feet a little bit.

 

I had a situation a few weeks ago that was a big blow to me. It was the first time in a very, very long time (years) where I found myself saying to the Lord, ‘God you don’t feel like a GOOD God today. I know that you say that you work out all things according to your plan and that that plan is a GOOD plan, but today, I’m just not seeing it. Today, I feel like you’re pulling the rug out from under me. Today I feel abandoned.” I chose to trust that day in a GOOD God. Because no matter my feelings, no matter my perspective, He doesn’t change. He is the same God on my bad days that He is on my good days. I had to do a little self-counsel, as my pastor would call it, and remind myself that God is good and he is working out his perfect plan in my life, moving me towards sanctification with each passing day and that this, really, really bad day, was all a part of His plan.

 

Although today is not nearly as bad of a day, this change begs me to remind myself of a few things. I have a faithful God. He will supply. He knows where we’re at, what we’ve been working towards, and He’s provided me with His Spirit and His Word to help us make wise choices in light of this ball of change that is rolling toward me. And He will provide the means necessary to move forward, I just need to keep taking steps. Steps of faith. Wise steps. And all the glory will go to Him.

 

Pray. Rest. Do. July 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — caperry5 @ 4:07 pm
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I’ve been struggling with some anxiety for the last several days that has melted itself into every imaginable area of my life and it’s really, really ugly. I tend to get my heart wrapped tightly around things and when they don’t go my way…. well, I get really uptight about it, as if God just slapped me across the face and turned His back on me. Obviously this is not the case, but I let myself feel that way sometimes when I don’t see the results I was looking for as quickly as I wanted them to happen. I get things turned so backwards sometimes expecting God to work on my time table, according to my plan… instead of me working on His timetable and according to HIS plan. 

 

So today I have been deeply reminded to PRAY. And pray hard. It’s ok to want things and to want them badly. But I need to look at what I’m wanting and see if it’s for me or for Him. And am I ok with not getting it…. even it if was for His glory? You see He might want something else for me. Something that might bring Him more glory. The thing I want might be just the thing God will use to shape me more into the image of Christ, or it might take something else. I need to be flexible. For now… I will pray, pour out my heart to God and let Him know my desires. Tell him how I think they will bring Him glory. And then let Him decide if they will.

 

Secondly, I will REST. I tend to take matters into my own hands and make a mess of things. I pray and take action immediately and end up doing all the wrong things. I frustrate my husband. I frustrate my kids. I frustrate my friends. Grrr…. who else can I frustrate today?! (Or am I just being too self focused THINKING that everyone is frustrated with me?!) Instead I need to take a minute to rest. Rest on a sovereign God who has all things in control. Rest that he has the days of my life planned out for me… and they result in a perfect end. Rest, trusting that He will provide for all the needs of my family. Rest in Him. 

 

Thirdly, I will DO. Because action must take place. Praying does change things. And Resting in God’s arms is vital so that I don’t mess everything up. But Doing so SO vitally important. Because no matter how I feel, I need to continue to walk, to work, to live. No matter how down I am about whatever situation, I still have kids that need to be dressed and fed and who need to play and learn and grow. I have a husband who needs me to be his best friend and greatest cheerleader. We have to provide for our families. All of these things and so much more need to take place. Every. Single. Day. 

 

So today I am Praying to my great God who is my rock, resting in His arms, and taking action to work toward the goals I’ve been praying so hard about, trusting Him with the results, whatever they may look like. 

 

 
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