From a Mother’s Heart…
Enjoying the Journey
By Cindy Rushton

Where are you? Really! Where are you? This article is not for someone else… Not your husband. Not your mother. Not your best girlfriend. Not your Sunday School. Not your support group. Yes, it is JUST for you! Woman-to-woman. From my heart to yours! Why? Well, as a woman, I hate to confess, but I see that we, as women, have a very strong tendency to get so wrapped up in all that we are to do each and every day—growing in godliness, nurturing our marriages, ministering to the hearts of our children, homemaking, ministering to those in our sphere of influence, homeschooling, working—that we FORGET to make every effort enjoy the journey! We get too busy to take those long snuggle up with great books...for an afternoon at the park--just playing together...for a game filled with giggles. Life goes by...and the word enjoy is the last word that we could use to describe our days. Although this is our tendency, I have good news! In John 10:10 we read the words of Jesus, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it MORE ABUNDANTLY.” The Amplified Version says, “I came that they may have and ENJOY life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows.)” Beloved, Jesus came, gave His whole life, not JUST to save your soul from eternity in Hell. He came with the purpose of giving us the gift of LIFE now, life more abundant! His plan is for us to seize each moment and enjoy every single bit of life! Is this the description of your life today? Are you able to seize each day for all of the blessings that it holds for you? Are you even enjoying what you are doing? Are you doing all of the "right" things--baking homemade bread, making babies, wearing blue-jean dress jumpers, sewing all of your family’s clothing, teaching the Bible at each service in your church--everything, yet coming up a bit frayed, tired, and empty? Read this letter from a beloved subscriber to my Homeschooling the Easy Way magazine… “Please enter my subscription to HTEW. A friend forwarded hers to me...what a blessing! I have just begun my 13th year of homeschooling my oldest two sons, ages 17 and 15 1/2. I am also starting with our two daughters, ages 6 and 4 1/2 and have two toddler boys, 2 1/2 and 17 months. The youngest four were added to our family through adoption as newborns. When I read the part about your trip to Bath and Body Works, when your husband wouldn’t let you buy anything for anyone but yourself, I started crying. I felt so silly sitting at my computer crying! But, you touched a place in my heart I guess, and I realized that I have felt so poured out, so emptied, for SOOO long. I have failed to allow Jesus to refill me, I have failed to allow others to minister to me, and I have tried to push forward day after day after day even past the point of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual exhaustion. There have been some tough times in our life over the last year or two and it has taken a toll. I KNOW everything you mention, but I fail to put it into practice. After reading this, I plan to start. Thank you so much for being honest and for encouraging me to let Jesus have everything. I want to live in the freedom that only comes from abiding in Him. Your Sister In Christ.” How about you? Tough times? Poured out? Empty? Exhausted? I am absolutely sure that you feel like me. You say, “YES!! YES!! YES!!...But, oh, it is OK, because I love my family. I love my church. I love my friends.” Beloved, this is exactly where I am coming from. God created a GOOD thing when He created women. There is nothing like the unending commitment of a woman or the preciousness of a mother “mothering.” Chicken soup can fix anything when it is lovingly made by Mama. Boo-boo’s are instantly healed with the gentle touch and compassion of Mommy. No one can make cookies like Mama. We love mothers. We love mothering! I certainly do not want to ere on the side of feminism, but perhaps that is just the point. We have so reacted to the ideas of feminism that we often fail to let anyone close enough to mother and minister to us. We want to be godly. In doing so, we pour out to the point of personal starvation. From the world’s eye, we have it all under control. We balance all of the demands quite beautifully, yet it is all a lie. Yes. It is a big lie. A lie that is hurting all of the women who watch us from a distance, while beating themselves up for not being productive enough, together enough, strong enough. I am coming to you woman-to-woman at the time that no one else has to see your tears. No one else has to even know that you are tired and weary. No one else has to know about your exhaustion. My dear one, take a moment to get bone-deep-honest. Give me all that you have! Honestly, how long has it been since you have really “let” others minister to and mother you? How long has it been since you have sat at the feet of Jesus until He was overflowing on you. Oh! I know ALLLLLL of the excuses. I have used them far too many times myself... “I am TOO busy! I HAVE to…” “If I don’t do it, nobody else will…” “They asked ME so it must be God’s will…” “I have gifts for….” “How else will the WORLD learn about God???” “I have died to MYSELF” We all have our excuses. As a result, we grow steadily more and more weary…more exhausted…more frustrated… starving for joy… more parched…more lonely…needing satisfaction…looking for direction. How about you? Do you know that you know that you KNOW your calling, but deep down you find yourself a bit tired of the push and pull? Wondering if what you are doing is really making difference? Are you finding yourself in a desert? A wilderness? Needing rest? Broken? In ruins? In Famine? Lonely? Parched? Needing Revival? Hungry for joy? Looking for direction? Needing satisfaction? Any of these describe you? They have all described me at many of my weakest moments. Know those moments? When the whole world goes on while the crisis pounds away? When no one seemed to know OR care? Oh, yes…I have been there, but of course, as the queen of mommy martyrs, I would never have told anyone or asked for any help. HELLO! Anybody relate? Inevitably there is someone that this article is FOR YOU at this very moment. Although you enjoy and derive your greatest blessings from pouring your life out to those within your sphere of influence, you may wonder if what you are doing amounts to anything. You may be pouring out each and every day while your sacrifices receive very little if any appreciation. In fact, you may have adversity the whole time you are doing what you are called to do. Want encouragement as you enjoy the journey? Take a look at Jeremiah 31: 1-22, 25 (especially verses 16-22, 25) FIND THE WAY! This passage is key to enjoying the journey! If you are going to really enjoy the journey, God wants for you to know that what you are doing is exactly what He wants for you to do. He wants for you to know…really know that your work will be rewarded. Those seeds that you are sowing will reap a bountiful harvest. KNOW that there is hope for your future. The enemy’s strategy is to convince you that there is no hope. If he can take your hope, he can work destruction in your life. KNOW that even in the darkest moment, there is hope. The morning will come and joy comes in the morning! Made mistakes? Feel that your mistakes are beyond repair? Broken to the point that you cannot see any hope? God will restore you. God will restore your circumstances. God will restore all that you have lost along the way! Burdened? Tired? Weary? God will take away that yoke that is too hard for you to carry. What does it take? Go back to this passage for God’s answers...Return. Repent. Know that you are a darling child and beloved. He remembers you. Know that God yearns for you. God has great compassion—mercy, pity, and loving-kindness— for you. So, what are you to do today? Take a look at verses 21-22… “Set up for yourselves highway markers [back to Canaan], make for yourselves guideposts; turn your thoughts and attention to the way by which you went [into exile]. Retrace your steps, O Virgin Israel, return to these your cities. How long will you waver and hesitate [to return] O you backsliding daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing in the land [of Israel]; a female shall compass (woo, win, and protect) a man.” Look further down to verse 25… “For I will fully satisfy the weary soul, and I will replenish every languishing and sorrowful person.” Set up road signs, put up guideposts. Take note of the highway you took. Return. Stop wandering. Then! God will refresh you! God will bring that satisfaction you so desperately need. You will be ready to plant, ready to build (verse 28). Jeremiah 6: 16 also talks about the WAY that we go, the roads...the paths in our lives... “Thus saith the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Want to enjoy the journey? Take the time along the way to stand, look, and ask for the OLD PATHS. Our culture has gotten off the old paths. Even though many SEE the good, old way; few will walk in it. As godly women, we must search for it, seek for it. God, is our Good Shepherd. He will lead us in the good old paths. He will guide us to the way that brings rest! Want to enjoy the journey? Stand. Look. Ask for the old paths, the good old way. Then walk in it! SURRENDER TO HIS WORK IN YOUR LIFE... Easier said than done? Oh, yes! Our flesh gets in the way! We want to go our way, with our ideas, making ourselves feel good. Of course, instead of joy, we find strife, pain, and brokenness as we cater to SELF! If we are ever to enjoy the journey, we must daily bring self to the cross in surrender. The path of self is a path of destruction. Oh, self can even seem godly at times. A while back I remember hearing a truth that brought more freedom to me as it demanded that I truly evaluate all that I do, not by my eyes, but through God’s. It was said that if satan cannot get us to do the “bad” things, then he will settle for getting us busy doing good things rather than the best things that God has called us to do. Blatant sin may never get us, but we are far from free of temptation. The “good” things are so much more alluring. They keep us too busy to ever get around to doing the very best things that we are designed to do. If we want to enjoy the journey, we must become that vessel that God can use. We must to surrender to His work in our lives and His work for our lives. Oh, this is not easy! In fact, this is exactly where so many of us take side roads in our journey. This reminds me of the story of a tea cup…

NOT YET... Unknown…Slightly changed by ME! There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. This was their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. On this special day, they saw the most gorgeous teacup they had ever seen. They asked the store clerk, “May we see that one? We’ve never seen one quite so beautiful.” As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke! “You don’t understand,” it said. “I have not always been a tea cup. I have QUITE a story! You see I was once just a blob of red clay. My master took me…rolled me…patted me…over and over and over. It hurt SO bad! I yelled out, ‘Stop! Let me alone!’ But he only smiled, ‘NOT YET.’” “Then I was placed on a spinning wheel,” the teacup said, “and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. ‘Stop it! I am getting dizzy!’ I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, ‘NOT YET.’” “Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, why he would not stop this! I yelled and knocked at the door. I could only see him through the opening as he shook his head and I read his lips saying, ‘NOT YET.’” “Finally the door was opened. He took me out of the oven and put me on a shelf to cool. ‘There…that’s better,’ I said. And…then…he all the sudden began to brush and paint me all over. The fumes were horrible! I thought I would gag! ‘Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!’ I cried! He only nodded and said once again, ‘NOT YET.’” “Then, suddenly he put me back in the oven. Only not like the first one. This oven was twice as hot! I just KNEW I would suffocate! I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head, saying, ‘NOT YET.’” “I knew there was no hope. I would never make it now. I was ready to give up. But at that very moment the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later, he handed me a mirror and said, ‘Look at yourself.’ And I did. I said, ‘That’s not me! That could not be me! It’s beautiful! I…I AM beautiful!’” “Then he said, ‘I want you to remember that I know it hurt to be rolled and patted, but if I had just left you, you would have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn’t put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I had not done that you never would have hardened OR had any color in your life. If I had not put you back into that second oven, you would never have been able to survive very long because the hardness would not have held. NOW, you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind for you when I first began!’”

Relate? My tendency has always been to pull away from the very things that are shaping me. If I never went through the fire, I would be happy. I simply detest change. I cannot stand letting go of things that have become a part of my life. The hardest struggles that I have moved through are simply my will colliding with God’s perfect plan for my life. However, as I look back, my testimony is much like the tea cup’s story. Oh, it is all so much better. I really do not miss those things that I laid down. In fact, all is so much better, that I cannot believe I was not more willing and surrendered. Beloved, know that as you surrender to the work God wants to do in and through your life, all is working to prepare you to become that vessel that He can use mightily. It may mean that those things that are very good, may actually be just the things hindering us from enjoying the journey. RE-FILL YOUR CUP! Now, again…this is another area that will make a difference in whether we do or do not enjoy the journey. Romans 2: 21 gets a little too personal if you ask me, “Thou therefore, which teachest another, TEACHEST THOU NOT THYSELF?” Oops! What good Christian woman wants to be accountable to this passage? Isn’t it “godly” to lay down your life for others? Lay down your life until DEATH…even death on a cross??? Would they ASK us to teach...or bake goodies...or sing in the choir IF we were not ABLE to do ALL things??? Ok, buckle up…this is going to be hard! We have nothing to pour forth without lifting up our cup for a daily filling. Oh, don’t take just this verse as a challenge, take a look back in Scripture to the book of Exodus. Do you remember the provisions for manna, that daily food in the wilderness? Take a look as a refresher: Manna was to be gathered each and every day. Manna was to be gathered first for the person, then for those within their tent, and then for those outside of their tent. Only enough manna for that day was to be gathered. (It would mould by the next day!) In the heat, more manna had to be gathered because it would melt in the heat! Now, think about our tendencies. Our tendency is to give to the church and the world…then, if there is anything left over we give to our family…then, any remnants are left for ourselves. We think of ourselves as invincible, only "gourging" at a revival once a year and snacking on God each week during church. We starve ourselves and wonder where JOY could be hiding. If we want to enjoy the journey, we must submit to God’s way of ministering to others. Otherwise, we will not only find ourselves wiped out on a regular basis, but we will not be able to stay the course for the duration of the journey. How do we fill our cup back up? First, we have to sit at the feet of Jesus. Remember Mary in Luke 10: 38-42? She sat when the temptation was there to get distracted, busy, anxious, and troubled. Not only did she sit at the feet of Jesus, but she also listened to His teaching. Listening is life-changing. Listening prepares us to become that vessel that God can use. Listening fills us up so we can pour forth to those that God brings our way.

Second, we must answer to Jesus’ call. Matthew 11: 28-30 says… “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest, [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For my yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Matthew 11: 28-30 (Amplified Bible) If we want to be full to overflowing, we are only a breath away from the Source of our Living Water. He cries out for us to come to Him, learn of Him, take on His yoke, and find His way. He will refill us. He will renew us. He will do the work of renewing our heart, soul, and mind. He will gently bring us to the point that His commitments become our commitments. He will give us a heart for biblical womanhood. He will pour into us so we can pour into others from the overflow. POUR FORTH… If we were in the Holy Land, we could go walking along side of the Sea of Galilee, following it into the Jordan River, and that on down to the Dead Sea. The most interesting thing is that while there is life in abundance in the Sea of Galilee and all along the Jordan River, the Dead Sea contains no life. In fact, all life placed in it soon dies. As I have pondered this, I have naturally gone back to my tea-cup analogies. I can just imagine your face if we were sitting down to tea and I pulled out a beautiful tea cup that had been used day-after-day-after-day with re-fills, but no pouring forth. Just try your hand at this one. Gagging already? No one wants to drink from a dirty vessel…an empty vessel…or chipped vessel…or a full vessel that has tea from last week still in it. The Dead Sea does not pour forth. One of the most interesting facts about the Dead Sea is that it is mostly sodium. AKA SALT! A little bit of salt is fine, but a sea full of it cannot sustain life. Notice the name DEAD SEA??? We can be filled to overflowing with the Word of God, but unless we are willing to be used by Him as a vessel to pour forth, we are just as ineffective as an unused tea cup or the Dead Sea.

Want to enjoy the journey? Pour forth! Don’t keep God ALL to yourself! Share! POUR FORTH INTO YOUR FAMILY! Isaiah 54 has the key for anyone wanting a ministry to our world. It is simple, but it is to ”enlarge the place of your tent.” Pour first at home. POUR INTO YOUR HUSBAND. He is your first and greatest ministry. Take care of him and you will find the rest of your life falling into place…your schedule, your relationship with your children, your outside activities, etc. POUR INTO YOUR CHILDREN. It has been said that if you minister to the whole world, you may be remembered by your name. However, if you minister to the whole world and neglect your children, they will never forget your name OR what you have done. Oh, this is not a real great legacy. Far too many of us can remember our parents shortcomings while barely even knowing our parents. God’s plan, that plan that will underguird and strengthen us for the duration of the journey, is for us to pour forth into the lives of our families. He plans for us to pour into our family with all that we have. All that is excess flows to those that look into the family, not pouring into the world while leaving leftovers for our family. Jesus ministered to the multitudes, yet only discipled a select few. We are called to the same call of discipleship. As we disciple our little ones, we can then minister to others as a family. Trust me, I have tried ministry as a lone-ranger and I have tried ministry with my family. The only way I can endure, much less enjoy the journey, is by combining our gifts, talents, and interests together for an effective ministry. POUR INTO YOUR HOME. Make your home a home! A shelter! A place of refuge! The key to your home is in your hand. Either you can build your home or you can tear it to pieces with your own hands. Cherish this time! Each and every moment! Make your home a place of sweet memories. Really evaluate what you are doing each day to see if it is eternal. How? Ask yourself the question, “IF this were the last day I had with my family, would I spend it like this? Would I read this book? Would I teach this lesson?” If it doesn’t match up, then let it go. Life is just too short. The things that we do should underguird what we are training into our children, not undermine our values. Take that time today for a good read aloud. Make time in your day for a game and giggles! Steal away for an afternoon at the park to JUST play! Learn together. Sit back and listen to those children as they share what they are might just get a new area of interest yourself! Talk together about their lessons. Minister together. Do the little things for others. Make the most of today to pour out all you have into the lives of those that will carry on the legacy after you.


So, what do you think? Right now where you are…what do you think? How are you doing? Really? I pray that you will take this moment to really think through what you are doing and why you are doing it. I pray that you will take a look at how you are doing along the way. I find something within me that seems to naturally get so wrapped up in marriage, mothering, mentoring, homeschooling, and all of the other things that I DO that I forget to live and enjoy those closest to me. All of the pain that Jesus went through on my behalf goes down the drain because I get so wrapped up in doing that I forget to really enjoy life, much less experience abundant life! I am not the only one here. As I finished out this past year on the road, I shared my heart with many of you only to find that this is right where you are as well. It just seems more “godly” to give, do, and work. We do what we do until it becomes monotonous, just a duty. We are at home in body, but our heart and mind is far, far away. I hate to say it but, much of what we do, we do and we have absolutely no idea why we are even doing it. We just assume that it is the only right thing to do. My challenge to you, dear friend, is to take a good look at all of the paths before you. Take a look at those that simply lead to bondage. Take a look at those that lead to struggle and heavy burdens. Take a look at those that bring renewal and refreshment. Take a look at those that lead to life, abundant life. Find those paths that will bring you to surrender, renewal, and eventually a ministry of pouring forth. So, ready? The paths are there before you…will you enjoy the journey?

Check out our home on the web at: 

Want to share our articles? Feel free to forward this article to your friends!
Don't forget to let them know that they can also subscribe to our weekly
articles! Just see our homepage at:

Rushton Family Ministries
1225 Christy Lane
Tuscumbia, Alabama 35674