This holiday season let your goal be to enjoy your family, not just endure the work that's required of you as a mom. In this episode I share 6 suggestions for preparing your mind for a peaceful and purposeful holiday season. I hope these ideas help and encourage you as you serve your precious family.
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Hello friends, welcome back to Grace For my Home. This is Audrey and I'm so glad to be back here with you guys again this week. We are out of the sickness. We've had a couple of weeks of sickness just fighting the flu and other things around here and, thank the Lord, we are coming out of that and we are at the time of this recording. It's about a week until Thanksgiving and so I'm super excited about that. It is no exaggeration to say that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I think it's our family's favorite holiday. I don't know why. I think it's just that feeling of family and we're all gathered together and my sister and her family come over to our home and my kids and her kids are basically best friends and she's my best friend, and then my mom will come, and so it's just such a good time together. I think I like it because there's no presence. It's just about enjoying a good meal and each other, and I just love Thanksgiving. So I'm looking forward to that. We really are looking forward to that. My sister, me, my sister and my mom we're in a group chat, a group text about what we're going to cook, what we're going to make for Thanksgiving, and my sister sent out. She started it. She's usually the one who starts those because she's super organized and I'm the one that just kind of fills in the blanks. She started today the group chat of who's making what for Thanksgiving, and her list was incredible and so I didn't respond back, except for I just responded back overachiever and she got it. She knew I was, she knows I was joking, but it's so true because she's like me. She loves Thanksgiving and that's how she loves on people is, she cooks, and so we're all getting ready for that and I'm just, I really am thankful and I think that that's what it's all about, right? You know, on Thanksgiving, being the mom, being the one who makes all the magic happen, we ourselves can get so lost in the to-do list and everything we need to do and everything that has to be done and just trying to make that day special for everybody else, that we can easily get lost in it and not feel or be thankful at all, just kind of ready to get it over with because it's like a big chore. But my goal is to be thankful, is to let it be a day of thanks even for me, and you know that's not always easy, it's not. So I was thinking this week about priorities, because my priorities they get out of whack so often and I think everybody's priorities do. I think that's just part of priorities is they get out of sync and we have to decide what they should be and realign them, get them back in sync. And so I'm in a season of that. I'm in a season of trying to figure out, know what is the main thing. You know, I always say that saying the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing, and sometimes I don't know what that is. So I'm in a season right now of just trying to evaluate and figure out. You know, what am I gonna prioritize at this time? And, guys, I just want to encourage you that you know, there are so many people out there. They're influencers. Right, people now are influencers. There are so many people out there trying to tell us how to live, and before you listen to someone trying to tell you how to live, you really need to look and see how they live and what their priorities are and where they're going, because you don't want to follow somebody who's not going where you want to go. You know, and for years I was intimidated by people who seem to have it all together, and then some, by some miracle I know it was God's grace. I think part of it is just getting older the Lord helped me to see behind the scenes and a lot of those very same people who I felt inferior to. I realized really they didn't have it together, not like I thought or not like they portrayed to have it together, and seeing that didn't really disappointment. It actually encouraged me because I thought, oh, you mean, there's hope for me. So I try to be real with you guys because I don't want you to think that you're ever going to obtain perfection, because that's frustrating when you keep trying to obtain something and it's impossible. I just want to encourage you that God has a good plan and that you don't have to stay where you are if you don't like where you are, but that everybody struggles and it always helps me when I talk to other people and they share with me their struggles. You know, sometimes I will admit coming to you every week with a podcast I feel like I have to act, like I have it all together, because who wants to follow somebody who doesn't? But I want to follow somebody who doesn't because I've gotten to the point in my life where I know nobody has it all together in all areas all the time. So show me what you did, show me, in the areas where you've had success, how you got success, and be real with me, because if it feels like somebody is perfect, that doesn't encourage me, it actually discourages me. So I want to keep it real with you and I just want to tell you that I so don't have it together. And this is a journey and I'm walking with Jesus and he has it all together and that's why I'm following him. You know he, I want him to be my influencer. So I just want to share with you this week something that has been on my heart with the coming of the Thanksgiving holidays. It cannot believe it is a pun. It has happened so fast. This has been the quickest year of my life, but with the coming of the holidays, there's so much pressure on us mamas. We are the ones who, it seems like all the responsibility falls on our shoulders to make the holiday special, and it can be a lot and it can be overwhelming, where to the point that we don't even enjoy the holidays. We're just trying to get through them. We're just trying to get through them Alive or unscathed. So I want to share with you some things that have helped me and I'm going to implement myself as best I can throughout the Thanksgiving holidays and then the Christmas holidays, and not only those Times, but other special times like birthdays and you know, and other things when there's so much going on or or so much is depending on me, things that I do or the helps me during those seasons to make them More meaningful, less stressful and help me to keep my eyes on the main things, and usually the main things are the people that God has placed me here to love and to serve. So I want to share with you a list of things that have helped me during busy seasons of my life, especially holidays, to not feel so stressed and to feel like I have some kind of control over what's going on around me. The first thing that I like to do, or I try to do during these, these seasons, is to plan ahead, and this may seem obvious, but it hasn't always been obvious to me. And when I say plan ahead, sometimes that just means getting out of sheet of paper and writing down all the things that are troubling my mind, everything that I know that I need to do, that has to be done, that If I let it slip or if I forget about it, we're not going to have this or we're not going to have that. So a lot of times, it's a list of people to call and invite, it's a list of things to buy at the grocery store, it's a list of things that need to be done around the house before anybody shows up and I try to prioritize those things, and there are certain things that have to be done. There's other things that you know. I'd really like to do that, but just getting a plan on paper helps me immensely because I'm not trying to hold it all in my mind and I feel like I have something that I can come back and look at when I you know, when things are frazzled and I'm like, okay, what's the most important thing? Well, I can go and look at my list and say, okay, what must be done on this list? And I can make a plan for that day. This is so important during the holidays for me, especially Christmas, but Thanksgiving it's very helpful also. And the second thing I like to do is on the big day, the day of, I really like to have a minute, a few minutes, as long as I can, as long as I can, to spend some time with Jesus, to have a quiet time, to get my mind right, to get my mind on things above, and that sets me up for the day, it sets my tone, it helps me to remember that you know, I'm not flying by the seat of my pants that me and Jesus are doing this together, that he's right here with me, that he cares about the things that I care about and that he is my strength, he is my grace, he is my peace and he is my very present help. And so just having a few minutes with him, you know, 30 minutes is awesome, 15 minutes is good, five minutes is better than zero minutes. So if I can just have a devotion, read some scripture, pray, have some time together with Jesus at the start of my day, it gets me ready. The third thing is I try to smile. I try to remember throughout the day to keep a smile on my face. Now, that may seem very juvenile, very too simple to even list, but I find that, especially when I have a lot to do and I'm on a mission, that my face looks angry. And I know this because my kids tell me that they're like Mom, what's wrong? Nothing's wrong, nothing's wrong. Well, you look mad, you look angry, and I'm not mad and angry, I'm just determined. I have a lot to do and I'm going to get through it. And I have found that if I can just keep a smile on my face and remind myself to smile, that I naturally feel more at ease. And when they look at me, they see a smiling mama and not a mama that I can't see. They see a smiling mama and not a mama that looks like she's about to pop, and so I try to put on a smile. I also try to set the atmosphere of my home. You know, a lot of times during these, these events, you know if it's a birthday party, if it's Christmas, if it's Thanksgiving, whatever it is Easter, I'm in the kitchen, and so I try to set the mood in the kitchen. Sometimes I'll make myself a cup of coffee, I'll put on music that I like or I'll put on a podcast. Sometimes, if it's crazy all around me, I'll actually put it in my ears so that I can hear it. But everybody else doesn't. And I'm in my zone. You know I'm in my zone. I'm cutting my vegetables, I'm, you know, getting this ready, and if I can create that little atmosphere, that little place of peace for me, it just helps things go so much easier. Another thing I try to keep in mind is that it's not my job to impress but to bless. You know, when we're having Christmas and we've got people coming over, or Thanksgiving and we have maybe we have new people coming over, it can be really tempting to try and show them just how awesome we are. Right, we just have the best Thanksgiving dinners and you know everything just looks so perfect and that this is not the time to impress, because that will shoot your anxiety out the out the roof. And if we have our minds on what everybody else is thinking and that's all we have our minds on, then we're not enjoying ourselves, we're not enjoying our family, we're not putting first things first, we're worried about what everybody thinks, and it's hard to enjoy life that way. And so the Lord has to keep reminding me don't impress, bless. And what that means to me is it's my job here today to love these people, whether they're my family, my friends or complete strangers. I believe the Lord has brought them in my, in my orbit today. Whether it's in my house or I'm going to a friend's house or I'm going to an in-laws house. Whoever is in my presence today, I am here to bless them, I'm here to show them the love of Jesus. I'm here to be a blessing to them and not impress them. And you cannot go wrong when your heart's desire is to bless people and love them. And even if they're cantankerous, they can sense there's a peace about you Now. It's not perfect, never is going to be, but it'll help you stay focused on what's important If you decide upfront before everything starts. All the commotion and all the work starts is I am not going to try and impress, I'm going to bless. Also, another thing that helps me is to remember that I am a servant leader. Guys, do you know that there aren't people who are knocking down the door to be servants these days? Have you noticed that? I mean most people. They don't want to where that title, but Jesus wore that title proudly. I want to read to you from Philippians, the second chapter of Philippians, and it starts in verse 1. If there be, therefore, any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vane glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves. Look, not every man for his own needs, but every man also unto the needs of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man and being found in fashion as a man. He humbled himself and he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, wherefore God hath highly exalted him and given him the name which is above every name. Jesus is our example. He came to die for our sins, yes, but he also came as an example. He told Thomas if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. And he showed his disciples how to, how to live, and he shows us how to live. He said follow me. We are to copy him, we are to become more and more like him. And I often think about the night that he was betrayed, the last supper, he stooped down. The scripture says he took off his outer garments, he tied a cloth around his waist and he washed his disciples' feet. He washed their dirty clothes and he served them. And the scripture says he knew who he was. You know, when we know who we are, when we're confident of who we are in God, then we're not afraid to serve. We don't feel it beneath us to serve. We understand that Jesus served and because he humbled himself, he was exalted to the highest place and we are to be like Christ. The scripture that I just read in Philippians said let this mind be in you, let this mind be in you, the mind of Christ that I am going to serve. I am going to love, if nobody even knows I'm doing it. But Jesus, that has brought me comfort through the years. There's been times that it seems like nobody even noticed. I cooked this meal and I planned it and I thought about it and I got up at five in the morning and I ironed the tablecloth and I did all these things and it feels like the family just came in and they ate like ravenous wolves and nobody even noticed all my hard work. And there's a temptation to be a little offended at that. And the Lord would always remind me. He's so faithful to remind us when our heart, when our heart's desire is to please him. He's so faithful to remind us. I see, I see he sees and he cares and he accepts our servanthood, our work, as worship. Your work, your ministry in your home is worship to Jesus. You are worshiping God right there in your home, if no one ever recognizes it, but you and Jesus. So serve that family well, serve those loved ones well, even the ones with nasty attitudes, because Jesus served his disciples even when they had nasty attitudes. God loves us even when we have nasty attitudes, and he says be like me and you are gonna have a blessed, blessed holiday because you're following after Jesus and he's gonna. He's not gonna take you the wrong way and I just want to encourage you. I just want you to have the best Thanksgiving, I want you to have the best holiday season. I want you to see yourself as a minister in your home, in your family, in your community, in your church. God appreciates you, god sees your work, the hidden work, the hidden work of home that is so very vital in this world. I really do believe a lot of the issues that are happening in our world today is because the home has crumbled and it's their foundation, it's the building block of society. So we mamas, we got work to do and it's important work, it's holy work and I just want to pray for you and bless you today as you get ready for Thanksgiving or whatever is coming up. Life itself right. We never run out of opportunities to serve our families and to be a blessing. Lord Jesus, I thank you that we can be humble servants the way you are, lord Jesus, you told your disciples it's not going to be like with you the way it is with the leaders of this world. They, they lord their authority over each other. But you're not going to be like that. You're going to serve each other in love. And I pray, lord Jesus, that you would help us to be servant leaders in our homes, not because we're trying to impress anyone, but because we're trying to bless. And Lord, I, just Lord, I just thank you. I thank you, lord, god, that we're never alone, that Lord, even when it feels like we're hidden, that you see us and that our work matters. And, lord, we may never be recognized in this world for it, but one day we will stand before you and we will hear well done, good and faithful servant. And we just honor you today, jesus. Thank you, lord, God, for strength, supernatural strength. In Jesus name we pray.