Friday, May 26, 2017

The God of Times and Seasons

Some things you just can't make up.
Check this out . . .

March 22, 2017 - Jason's Drill Instructor Graduation

April 23, 2017 - Evan Gabriel is born
May 23, 2017 - David's Ordination
Each celebration exactly one month apart! Pretty cool, right? We couldn't have planned this if we tried!
I wonder what June 23 will bring?? Hmmm . . .  
To piggyback on my post from yesterday, there have been many graduations and celebrations in the lives of the Womelsdorf's this spring. From the rigors of drill instructor school for Jason and the joy of graduating, to the birth of Jason and Cortnie's firstborn son one month later, to the ordination of David as an AG minister the next month...life has been full of joy for our entire family, and we celebrate together.
Countless hours, days, months and years of hard work and sacrifice are represented behind each victory. Jason earned the title of U.S. Marine Corps Drill Instructor after 12 grueling weeks of school. (Do you think maybe there were times he felt like he wasn't going to make it? Probably so!) Cortnie gave birth to a beautiful baby boy after laboring for hours to bring him safely into this world. (Labor is not easy. Do you think maybe Cortnie wished there was an easier way? Probably so!) David has studied countless hours and has been in fulltime ministry now for 7 successful years before his ordination this week. (Do you think maybe there were times that ministry was hard and lonely, and that the path to this honor seemed overwhelming? Probably so!) And all of the hard work, sacrifices, and efforts that went on behind the scenes make these successes even sweeter. The rewards represented in the lives of Jason, Cortnie and David in the past 3 months are a direct result of their faithfulness and diligence behind the scenes. And this is their God appointed season to be honored.
Times and seasons.
We all understand times and seasons - spring and summer, fall and winter. And it's comforting to know that just as God has held this season of reward in the lives of my children, He also holds all of our seasons in His hands.
At times, seasons can be brutal.
But that's okay . . .

Sometimes spring comes in the middle of our winter.
Victory comes after every struggle.
Laughter comes after every tear.
When we are in the middle of a really tough time in life, it's time to hold on - God will strengthen us.
When we are lonely and discouraged, it's time to hold on - God is our best friend.
When we are shooting for a goal that seems unattainable, it's time to hold on - God will help fulfill our every dream.
When we are bored and life seems monotonous, it's time to hold on - God is about to do something new.
When we trust that God has ordered our days and is directing our steps, we can patiently endure every winter knowing that spring is coming.
I pray that God will abundantly bless and reward each of you as you trust Him in your season of life. He holds your future and is making something beautiful out of every situation. He is faithful and is the master at pearl making.
All my love,

The beauty that comes from trusting God with all of our days.
May The Lord bless you and protect you.
May The Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May The Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Celebrate Life's Milestones

Teresa, the high school graduate (1977), and Teresa 40 years later (2017).
May 25, 1977 - the day I graduated from high school.
May 25, 2017 - the day I take a step back and realize that's it's been 40 years since that day!
Wow, 40 years! How can this even be possible? Time has passed so quickly. I had a wonderful opportunity to go back and visit my high school 2 months ago and I hardly recognized it. But the memories are incredible. 
When I was entering high school, a teacher told me, "Enjoy this time; these will be the best years of your life." And I took his words to heart.
I am one of those girls who truly loved school, especially high school. I loved learning, attending football and basketball games, singing in the school choir, acting in a few short plays, dancing, and making friends. My senior class was large (around 680 students), and I was privileged to graduate in the top 10%. My life was busy, exciting, and fun. God completely changed my life during my senior year, and I look back at those days with pure joy. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was establishing a work ethic and an attitude that would serve me well as an adult. When I look at the photos above, I still feel like the same girl. Lots of life experiences, but the same heart and the same smile.
I believe that there is significance with numbers.  40 (days, weeks, years) is usually related to testing or being tried, and each period ends with a time of blessing. Yea! I am looking forward to that! My prayer is that God will use the life experiences of the past 40 years to be a blessing in the next chapter of life.
While this blog may seem like a journal of my life stories and those of my family, I really want it to be an encouragement to anyone reading to trust the Lord in any season of life. Life is full of milestones, significant points in our development, and it is good to celebrate them! Look back and remember - live today and rejoice - look forward and dream.
If you're in school (elementary, high school, college), enjoy the ride! Study hard, establish solid friendships, live for God, and make the most of every opportunity. Trust me, the foundation you are laying as a student will follow you all the days of your life.
If you graduated recently and are anxious about the next steps in life for you, trust God that He has your future in His hands. He desires to bless you. Listen to His voice and obey - the path He has for you and the doors He will open for you will leave you astounded.
Thank you for sharing this very special day with me.
And now,
May The Lord bless you and protect you.
May The Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May The Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.
All my love,

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Labor of Love

My mom and me. 93 years young. Isn't she adorable?
Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there! I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating with the ones you love!

It is only appropriate that on this very special day of honoring mothers that I introduce you to my mom, Jessie Winters. She lives in New Mexico and, unfortunately I have not been able to see her much in the past few years. I had the wonderful opportunity to visit her in March, and she is just as cute as can be!  Doesn't she look amazing for 93 years old?

There is much more of the story to be told in the coming weeks and months as we travel together on this blog journey, but for today, I just want to honor my mom and let the whole world know that she has been an incredible mom! She, too, was a single mom and raised my brother and me in spite of all odds. She had the courage to stand up for what was right even if it meant that she struggled silently. So today, once again I say Thank you, Mom, for everything!  I love you more than words can say!

Brittanica and Cortnie.pregnant together. Precious!
Motherhood is a lifelong journey. Just take a look at the picture above, and then look at the picture to the right. Both stages are beautiful! The aged face of a 93 year old great-grandmother is just as beautiful and precious as the young, glowing mamas in their 20's and 30's. Everyone knows that pregnancy is physically taxing, and labor is hard. What we don't realize when we're young mamas is that motherhood is absolutely a lifelong labor of love. Let me give you a quick snapshot of what I mean.

"The test is positive. I'm going to have a baby."
A mom's heart is excited. And scared.

"Oh my goodness, this hurts! I can't do it!"
A mom's heart is strong.

"My body will never look the same!"
A mom's heart is selfless.

"Thank goodness, he's finally sleeping through the night!"
A mom's heart is grateful.

Cortnie and Evan.  So sweet.
"You went potty like a big boy! I'm proud of you!"
A mom's heart is encouraging.

"You're going to do great in kindergarten!"
A mom's heart believes.

"Mom, the kids don't like me. They're mean to me."
A mom's heart is compassionate.

"Mom, he asked me to prom."
A mom's heart is joyful.

"Mom, leave me alone. I need to figure it out myself."
A mom's heart understands. And waits.

"Mom, I don't think I need this whole God-thing."
A mom's heart grieves.

"Mom, I'm struggling with addiction."
A mom's heart hurts.

Brittanica, Johnny and Jovi. Beautiful.
"Mom, I've come back to the Lord."
A mom's heart rejoices.

"Mom, I think I've found the one."
A mom's heart is ecstatic.

"Mom, we're moving away."
A mom's heart is lonely.

"Mom, you're going to be a grandma."
A mom's heart is over-the-moon.

"Mom, we love spending time with you."
A mom's heart is complete.

"Mom, thank you for everything."
A mom's heart is full.

It's crazy to think that life really does seem to go that fast!  A woman gives birth to a child, and she is never the same!  We grow to love our children more than we could ever imagine!  We live for them, fight for them, and want only the best for them. From the first labor pain until our last breath on earth, a mom's love is never ending.

And so, whatever season of life you find yourself in today, thank you, mamas, for all you do for your children. It does not go unnoticed. Every sleepless night with a sick child, every victory you have helped your child achieve, every heartache you've endured with a wayward child, every lonely night you've had feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders . . . God sees it all. God is close to you and is willing and able to provide everything you need. You are needed and appreciated more than you'll ever know.
Mother's Day with Chris.  Special day!

To my children - thank you for being the most wonderful people on the planet! Thank you for honoring God and honoring me as your mom. I am so incredibly proud of all of you. You have blessed me beyond my wildest imaginations. Keep following after God and watch the amazing things He will do for you.

And now . . .

May The Lord bless you and protect you.
May The Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May The Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.

Happy Mother's Day!

All my love,

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Lifetime of Pearls

Pearls - The product of pain.  Precious, tiny jewels conceived through irritation, born of adversity, nursed by adjustment.
"Write it down.  Write it all down."

The words came to me several years ago completely out of the blue.  I was getting ready to attend Wednesday night prayer meeting at my church when I knew it was time.  Time to tell the stories.  

That night I read in God's Word Acts 18:9:  "Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision.  Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent." 

For years family, friends, and sometimes even strangers encouraged me to write.  And suddenly I knew that the time had come to do so.  I wanted to write down the stories of God's faithfulness, provision, and never-ending love to our family over the years so that my children, grandchildren, and generations to come would have a written record from my perspective of the power of God to love, heal, protect, provide and restore.  I wanted for my family to know my thoughts on life, love, and faith.  And in the process, I also wanted to share these stories with everyone.

My name is Teresa (also affectionately known as MamaT, and now GrandMamaT).  I am the mom to 5 amazing adult children and 4 grandchildren, with #5 arriving within the next few weeks.  Let me introduce you to the Womel-bunch:  4 men and a little lady!

Left to right:  Jason (2nd), Danny (1st born), Mom, Chris (4th), and David (3rd).  Blessed mama with 4 sons.

My beautiful daughter, Heidi.  She survived 4 older brothers!
Jason, his wife Cortnie, their daughter Olivia, and newborn son Evan.
David, his wife Brittanica, their children Johnny and Jovi.  New little son, Jack, arriving soon!

GrandMamaT with Olivia, Johnny and Jovi, and newborn Evan.
As you can see, I am blessed with a wonderful family!  Life is exciting and fun, but it has not always been easy.  You see, I have been a single mom for 20+ years, and we have definitely seen our share of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, successes and failures, mountaintops and valleys.  And, just like pearls, God has been fashioning beauty out of the pain.

Pearls are found inside of oysters.  When a grain of sand (or other irritating substance) gets stuck between the oyster's mantle and shell, the oyster's natural reaction is to cover up the irritant to protect itself.  The mantle covers the irritant with layers of nacre.  This shiny substance coats the grain of sand, and over the years forms a beautiful, lustrous pearl.

And this is my story.  From the pesky little annoyances of daily living that could have robbed me and my family of joy and peace, to the truly big things that could have destroyed our lives, God has been faithful!  He has made beautiful pearls out of less-than-perfect circumstances.  Ours is truly a life of grace, hope, and incredible miracles.  I am now compelled to share these stories with everyone.  I want to brag on God.  If He can do it for me, He will do it for you also! 

And so, on this Mother's Day weekend, I welcome you to come along on this adventure with me as we share life and stories - Pearls from my Heart. 
  • If you are my child, grandchild, daughter-in-law/son-in-law - please enjoy reading about our family history and legacy as well as dreaming about the future.  I pray for you always. 
  • If you are a young married mama with small children or teenagers and are at times overwhelmed with the daily responsibilities of managing a household, please join me - my prayer is that you will be refreshed and inspired. 
  • If you are a single mama, please join me - my hope and prayer is that you will be encouraged.  You are not alone; God sees you and hears your every prayer.
  • If you are a "mature" mama and an empty nester, please join me - my prayer is that we can find friendship and encouragement during this season of life.

Thank you for joining me as we share a Lifetime of Pearls - past, present, and future. 
Be blessed!

All my love,

May The Lord bless you and protect you.
May The Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May The Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.