So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

During the last couple of weeks the battle lines have been drawn. On social media and almost every place we look. 

On one side are glossy magazine covers, Pinterest pins and TV commercials urging us to make everything in our home sparkly, trendy and impeccably coordinated for the holidays. From the top of the tree to the stuff on the wall it’s dash away! dash away! away to the mall!

We are on full sensory overload! Images of perfection, tips for flawless holiday makeup, easy up-dos and the ideal little ensemble for holiday cocktail parties tantalize us at every turn. And it is all beautiful. And it makes us want it. A lot. And it is designed with one purpose in mind; to create consumption by creating discontent.

On the other side of the battlefield, looking very quiet and David-like when facing the Goliath of commerce, there is a new face. It is emerging from beneath the ruins of an over turned hamster wheel or as some call it, the hedonic treadmill of “never enough stuff”. Many now realize they have the power to jump off.

Gradually, from the edges of our culture a new movement has begun. Everything epic begins in the same way, from the fringe, almost imperceptible at first, embraced initially by a few. We see it on blogs and posts about minimalism and spirituality and embracing simplicity. YouTube videos are proliferating, speaking to the detrimental effects our excess of accumulation has on people and our planet . Messages urging us to rethink our priorities.

The Buy. Buy. Buy. mentality we have embraced for the last fifty or so years has reached a crescendo. Interestingly the more stuff we have and the bigger our homes are compared to then, our collective happiness has plunged in the opposite direction. The equation has been proofed. More stuff does not equal happiness.

new  list

This post appeared several times last week on Facebook, sprinkled through my newsfeed from far corners of the country. It has inspired a lot of comments and from what I saw, all positive. How does it make you feel?

Like any addiction (and let’s call it what it is) it takes effort to change and even more a strong desire and even more than that,  your own personal reason why. Take a deep breath and ask yourself if all this hurry, worry and scurry are worth leaving you with less peace, less time and less joy. Deep in our soul we know the answer. Believe me I am working on it too.

I always go back to scripture for affirmation of my thinking, checking to make sure that I am headed in the right direction. Thank goodness for modern search engines. I am able to quickly find something that either supports or refutes my thoughts.

The Bible is full of references to surrendering our need for “more stuff” but Luke says it so much more eloquently in chapter 6 verse 34, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  And in 12:15, “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

My intention here is not to take the sprinkles off the cookies. I’d like to add that it isn’t necessary to throw away all your holiday décor and dress in ashes and sackcloth for that party. As with everything that is worthwhile, changes must be heartfelt and gradual to stick. For today, just take a minute before you add one more thing to your to do list and ask yourself if it will bless or burden you.

More than anything else, my Christmas wish for you is joy in small things, peace, tranquility and knowing that the best gift we ever received came to us humbly, unwrapped and lying in a manger.

Blessings to you for a Christmas that is divinely simple and simply divine.

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn't? Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick. The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses. She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.

Jesus Meets Me in Motherhood With His No Matter What Love

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother embracing daughter in sunlit room

My toddler was that kid on the playground—the one who would push and bite, erupting into a tantrum and needing to be carried home screaming. As I would carry my child to the car, the other moms looked at me with sympathy, confusion, fear, and . . . judgment.  Parents of challenging kids know this look well. We see judgment everywhere we go. I knew others were judging me, and I knew our challenges were beyond the normal bell curve, but as an overwhelmed young mom, I did all I knew to do: I blamed myself.  At my lowest, I...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Dear Girl, Give Jesus Your Mess

In: Faith, Living
Woman holding Bible, color photo

Oh, dear girl, Give Jesus the mess. Your mess. The mess you think is too much or too big or too unbearable. The depths of the mess. The very worst of the mess. Lay it at His feet. He knew you long before the mess existed. Nobody knows your mess like Jesus. I assure you—this will not catch Him by surprise. Even when you do not understand, even when it is most difficult, even when you have your head buried in your hands. Praise Him, for God wastes nothing.  Even when it feels like opposition is coming at you from...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love Is an Endless Pursuit

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child on bike, color photo

I look at him and my heart breaks into a million little pieces. It simply hurts too much to know he hurts. He is my heart, and it squeezes and revolts when he struggles. I want to close my eyes and hold him close, and when I resurface, I want the world to be different for him. Look different, smell different, taste different. But, it remains the same, this pain.   In the beginning, when he was in my womb, I held my hands on my stomach and his tiny feet kicked me back. His bodily imprint on my skin. He...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Brings Me to the Floor and Jesus Meets Me There

In: Faith, Motherhood

I recently came across a short memoir writing competition with the theme, “Places that have made me, changed me, or inspired me.” I could write something for that, I thought. I’m by no means a jet-setter, but I do have a passport. I spent my 16th birthday in Russia on a three-week mission trip. During college, I lived in Thessaloniki, Greece for a four-month study abroad program. After my British husband and I got married, we settled in the UK, where we’ve spent the last 10 years. And now, I’m back in my sunny Florida hometown. These experiences and places...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Could Tell You There Will Be No More Mean Girls

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and two daughters, color photo

Tonight before bed while I was tucking you in, you seemed really down. You are normally bubbly, talkative, full of laughter and life, but tonight you seemed sullen and sad. I asked what was wrong, and at first, you didn’t want to tell me. But then you shared with me what was breaking your heart. You told me about a mean girl. You told me the hurtful things she said and the unkind way she acted and the sneaky way mean girls bully by making you feel left out and less than.  It made me sad and angry. I didn’t...

Keep Reading

I Will Be a Friend Who Prays

In: Faith, Friendship, Living

You mentioned it casually. They had found a lump in your breast again. You’ve been here before, and maybe that means you better know how to navigate it. Except how can we possibly know how to handle such things? What emotions lie hidden behind your words? You tossed out words like lumpectomy and biopsy as if you were sharing a grocery list. I don’t know you well yet, but as you spoke the words, I had a deep desire to let you know I’m sorry. Seated around the table that night, you asked us to pray for you. I committed...

Keep Reading

In the Hardest Moments of Motherhood, I’m Reminded to Look Up

In: Faith, Motherhood

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, and you know the scene—I step on a tiny Barbie shoe as I’m walking to the sink. I shove it to the side with my foot and release a heavy sigh. I momentarily think about picking it up, but my back is aching from bending down to gather up treasures all morning. I place my half-filled coffee cup into the microwave to re-heat it for a second time. I need just an ounce of energy to get through the afternoon. My daughter heaves another basket of toys up from the basement, step by step. I can...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God’s Glory Shines Brightest in the Hardest Parts of Life

In: Faith, Living
Woman's hand with chipped nail polish

Half of the fingernails on my hands still show remnants of nail polish. It looks pretty awful. People might notice it and think, Really? You can’t take just five minutes to wipe off the chunks of color that haven’t flaked off already?  And I could. It probably wouldn’t even take five minutes. It’s not that I don’t have the time or that I’m being lazy. I just don’t want to.  You see, my daughter painted my nails almost a month ago. She’s five—they were never pretty to start with. They were sloppy with small strips at the edges left unpainted....

Keep Reading

God Tasked Us With Raising Beautiful People in a Fallen World

In: Faith, Motherhood

Today, I watched my little boy put an oven mitt over his hand and mix up an imaginary meal. Like any mother would be, I was touched to see my son enjoying himself—playing fearlessly in the Children’s Museum and exploring with many fun and creative toys. He would open the wooden fridge and purposely put a spatula in a specific compartment. Though his reasoning was not known to me—or anyone else for that matter—you could tell he had a plan for that metal spatula, and it was to be in that freezer. RELATED: The Secret No One Told Me About...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections