by Renee Scott

Renee (right), and her twin, Roslyn

I have an identical twin sister and there is nothing better than sharing a womb with your sibling.  Our mother often reveals that she was given a double portion blessing when she became pregnant with the two of us.  A twofold blessing that she didn’t even know about until her seventh month of pregnancy.  Up until that time they kept informing her that it was just one baby.  Little did she know, months later she would deliver 15 pounds of twins! You heard it right.  My sister weighed in at seven pounds and a whopping nearly eight pounds for me. 

We are alike in so many ways.  We both have two children.  We talk nearly four times a day.  We graduated from the University of Florida.  We lived together until age 22.  We hate being separated from each other.  Our haircuts are similar.   We both love running, couponing and scrapbooking.  What more can be said except that we are definitely cut from the same cloth.

Funny thing though, even in all of our similarities, we are unique.  Every person on Earth is a one of a kind masterpiece.  Our finger prints are different.  Our DNA is different.  The number of hairs on our head is different.  Only God knows our distinctive thoughts and characteristics.  He knows our worries, cares and concerns.  He is sovereign and available to meet our needs.  The same holds true for you.  Psalm 139:13-16 (MSG) eloquently points this out.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.  I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!  Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.  Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

No matter what you find yourself going through, trust your Creator to handle it for you.  He knows and understands every fiber of your being.  He is relational to His core and desires to have one with you.  God has a beauty to unveil.  A beauty that is fascinating and powerfully redemptive.  Pray to Him for guidance with your cares and concerns instead of always sharing your difficulties with friends and family who may not be able to aid you.  Instead, try Jesus!

Renee ScottRenee Scott is co-founder of the popular blog, Double Portion Inspiration, where she shares encouragement and inspiration to men and women all over the world.  She’s been a member of Grace Family Church for four years. She loves to run and recently completed her first half marathon. She is a wife of over 14 years and mother of two children.

 

by Leslee Stewart

Looking for a few suggestions for Mother’s Day gifts? Consider these ideas to make mom feel special all year long.

 

For the Tech-savvy Mom
Check out these unique needlepoint covers for Kindle, Nook and iPad from Land’s End. In bright colors and patterns, with an option to add a monogram, these covers will make mom smile each time she logs on.

 

For the Preschool Mom
There’s nothing a mom of preschoolers appreciates more than having help keeping her little ones entertained. Why not give her passes to the zoo, a water park, a bounce house or, children’s museum? She’ll appreciate having someplace fun to take her energy-filled crew.

 

For the Tea-loving Mom
Here’s a simple gift the kids can help make – a tea wreath! Take your mom’s favorite tea flavors, mini clothespins and ribbon, and craft a wreath she can enjoy sip by sip. Pair with a cute mug or teapot. Perfect for grandma, too! Here’s the link to specific instructions: Mother’s Day Tea Wreath

 

For the Word-seeking Mom
Show mom your devotion by giving her a new devotional book or inspirational teaching CD. A few good choices are “Jesus Calling” devotion book by Sarah Young, or the “Smart Moms” teaching series by Joe McGee.

 

For the Mom-to-Be
Pregnant mommies always appreciate being pampered – body and soul – so give her a little of both. Pair a pedicure gift certificate with a Christian pregnancy book like “The Pregnancy Companion.” This book combines a doctor’s counsel and a girlfriend’s wisdom to create an information-packed, inspiration-filled resource for the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of pregnancy.

 

For the Working Mom
Consider gifting this busy mom with either a meal planning program (like emeals.com or The Fresh 20), or take the kids and make a month’s worth of meals at Dinner Done – a meal-prep store that lets you make entrees ahead of time, then freeze them for future meals. Make her Mother’s Day by finally answering, “What’s for dinner?”

 

Leslee Stewart oversees communications for GFC Beautiful. She is a wife, stay-at-home mom of two boys and former communications executive. She openly admits she owns too many throw pillows, loves junky old furniture and can sing all the parts of Bohemian Rhapsody.

All month long, A Beautiful Blog will feature stories about family. We kick off our series with a story from Loryn Smith. As a mom of 14, she knows a thing or two about what it takes to raise a family. 

by Loryn Smith

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines family as, “1: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head: household. 2. a: a group of persons of common ancestry.”  Scripture, however, gives us a different picture.  Matthew 12:46-50 says, As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.” Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers.Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

Family, in my experience, has been synonymous with ministry and the call on our lives.  Family has been parenting 100 children temporarily and 14 children permanently.  At times family has also been “expanding our tents” to include other adults and their children who needed a place of refuge.  And, family has been the Body of Christ—brothers and sisters, who have encouraged me, challenged me, supported me, and prayed for me in every season of life.

I have come to understand family as a place of safety…a place of belonging…a source of unconditional acceptance…an oasis for healing…a commitment to building up, not tearing down.  Families aren’t perfect.  Families aren’t always our choice.  Families are created by God.  Families are where God begins to write our stories.  It is a place to learn who He is and who He wants us to be.  In all of life’s challenges and imperfections, it is family who anchors us; awareness that we are never alone.

Saying that, I’d have to add that, contrary to Merriam-Webster, Scripture encompasses a new family…a family that is created with God as our Father; Jesus as our brother.  A family that is like-minded, pursuing a life that will glorify God.  Family is whomever God places in our lives to walk this journey called life with us Family is the knitting together of hearts:  hearts that have been broken, hearts that can help mend the broken; hearts that have a need to belong, hearts that can provide a place of belonging; hearts that serve, hearts that need service; hearts that love God, hearts that need to see the love of God in action. 

Family defines me.  Family challenges me.  Family is where God has placed me. 

Loryn Smith is the mom of 14 children, 8 grandchildren (with 2 on the way), and is the director of Woven Basket, a Christian adoption agency.  She is passionate about the call in James 1:27 to care for widows and orphans, and loves to help Christians find their role in fulfilling this call.  Loryn also loves to travel, read, and spend rare alone time with her husband, Thad.