TRANSPARENCY! This word just keeps coming to mind. I keep being reminded of the need. I keep having conversations that surround it. While transparency can be so easy we have to make sure it is not clouded or colorful, just clear transparency. We can put our own spin on transparency if we want to. We can use certain words, certain connotations and emphasis, certain thoughts, certain tones that can affect how our transparency is perceived.

I always try to be transparent but wonder lately what color hue I am portraying. I find myself being truthful with a smile and laugh. Complete truth in words being down-played by politeness and social grace. I find if I am honest with some people I get chastised over my truth. In their defense I do have 5 children, a husband, homeschool, and took on more. I mean, I did do it to myself :0) It is hard to know when and who it is safe to be truly transparent with! The obvious aren’t always the best choice. Especially when you are in ministry. So for those of you who think I have it together or that I am in some way more equipped, here it is.

Let’s get transparent!!!

I am TIRED at this moment! Downright exhausted. NOT always but now, yes!
I have moments of sheer overwhelmedness! 
Sometimes my kids drive me crazy and I want to drop them off somewhere where they can’t find their way home.
I yell. Sometimes ALL day. Mostly when I am TIRED! or hot. or overwhelmed.
I rarely ever worry. WHY? I leave it to my husband.
I am generally always positive and optimistic. Really although sometimes too much.
Foul language slips from my lips.
I DO NOT have it all together. I AM A MESS! My house is a mess, especially right now.
I praise the sweet name of Jesus when I shower AND brush my teeth in the same day!
I REALLY feel like I can do it all! Most of the time.
I HATE when I am self righteous. It happens. More than I like. And believe me I hate it more than anyone.
I wish my family was closer!
I fear that I will miss the mark with my kids. I fear I won’t point them to Jesus. I fear they will see me and not see Him.
I am blessed with a great man and marriage! I didn’t always feel that way.
My heart breaks for moms and wives who feel alone and unloved!
I pray that EVERYONE would see WHO they are in Christ and that they would know and truly believe their worth to GOD!
I have a past. A past I am not proud of. A past many wouldn’t believe. A past I am grateful for because of the testimony it gives me.
God has SHOWN up BIG in our family! Sometimes I wonder why us and not others.
I sometimes think I am the wrong person and worst possible choice for ministry for mothers.
I have sought counsel and ended up breaking trust unintentionally.
I KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT I AM BLESSED! I know that I was given all I have , as difficult and challenging as it may be, as a gift. A gift that keeps me on my knees and constantly seeking Him more. GOOD GIFTS.
I am so thankful that God knew my needs and met them when I didn’t.
I have a bad habit of not realizing the uniqueness of every person.
I am a so grateful for my eternity but said “yes” because of the rest and help Jesus offers us in this life.

Well that is ME! The good, bad, and ugly. I am so grateful that God would take me where I was and walk with me on this journey. That He would help to clean me up a little more each day. That being transparent still shows my heart for Christ. I am so thankful for the influence and ministry He has given me.  I am so thankful that I can be transparent and still be used by Him as we work out the junk. I say all this to encourage you! God will use you! I am a mess and He is giving me my heart’s desire to help moms! I hope this encourages you to seek God and His Will for you. He only needs a willingness and a heart for Him. He is willing! Are you?

You have your hands full…

As a wife of second-shift and a mother of five children I hear the phrase “you have your hands full” many, many, many times a week. To which  try to lovingly respond “We are been abundantly blessed”. I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW that this is my ministry. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Four years ago as I started my relationship with God on an intimate level, I asked and prayed for Him to reveal my ministry to me. I heard clear as day in my spirit “your children are  your ministry.” Anyone who knows me knows I am a social creature! Why did the Lord choose my children! They can’t carry on a good conversation! They can’t meet my need for grown human interaction! I NEED other women to talk to. I need to use the gifts He has given me. I fought it!

I knew our family was called to homeschool. CHILDREN! I knew we were called to a certain lifestyle. I was to be home full-time and fully-available. CHILDREN! I knew I was called to be something I didn’t even know how to be and wasn’t completely sure I wanted to be! A woman who’s ministry was, is, and will always be her children.

My life didn’t look anything like I had imagined as a little girl. Where was my degree? My high paying job at a law firm? My city lifestyle? My not-a-minivan car? What happened to my sophisticated wardrobe and my stilettos? I use to wear heels with jeans…… go to the gas station! I use to have a waist! I could go on and on but enough with the past. I really have come to terms with my life now and take great pride it where the Lord has led and brought me!

He replaced my dreams, wants, and ambitions with HIS! And I must say it is so much more than I could have wanted for myself. I had to find out who God was, and who HE said I was in order to fully appreciate where I am and to be able to live it! So thank you Beth Moore and Breaking Free! It changed my life and I can’t recommend it enough!

I say all this to reach this point I accepted my ministry and all the restrictions I thought it would put on my life. I accepted that His plan was different than mine. I accepted everything that my call entailed. I grew to enjoy it. I found myself growing. I grew in patience. I grew in joy. I grew in peace. I learned how to give myself grace. Our love multiplies. I learned it was ok not to be who I always thought I would be. I stopped trying to impose all my beliefs about what I thought I knew and learned to just let God lead.

We can now get ready for church on Sunday with minimal slips of the tongue. We praise in the car or I turn the music up louder. We show up 20 minutes late EVERYwhere we go because we just can’t seem to get out the door. I have my MOMents of wordly behavior and I have my MOMents completely in the Spirit. AND that’s ok. That’s why Jesus came! So I can confess and receive forgiveness from a God I can have a relationship with and the give me a Helper that is the Holy Spirit.

As I learned to give thanks and fully-accept where the Lord placed me He did this funny thing….He gave me exactly what I wanted in the first place. I took over as Nursery Director at our church. I co-founded a homeschool group. I am starting and coordinating MOMTOURAGE: MOPS and MOMSnext. I wanted influence. I wanted women to talk to. I wanted to be Jessica Lederer and not always “mom” or “babe”. I wanted to feel like a person who could make difference!

Nursery Director may not seem like much but I was a mom who brought her child to the nursery and the experience led me to CHRIST! My child was safe and loved because of the environment my predecessor made with volunteers and her time and schedules!

Another homeschool group!! Why? There is so many of them! Well I get to bring my children to visit seniors every month and watch them bless someone almost as much as they are being blessed. I get to help families spend time together and get out and explore on field trips.

Then there is MOMTOURAGE and even if this first year flops and it doesn’t continue, if i can touch one mom with the Gospel, if one mom figures out she is NOT alone in her struggles, if one mom finds a life-long friend THEN it will be worth me putting my whole self into!

ALL these things have one thing in common….my children! I do it for them. I do it for me. I need to not only be their mom but I need to be Jessica, Daughter of the KING. I need to fill up on His goodness and have a place to pour it back out to others. They need to see that through Christ all things are possible. That you can “have your hands full” and add to it because Christ is meeting all your needs. That you can do it not in your own strength and self BUT through His strength and who He is!