Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

You are not forgotten

Encouragement for anyone who ever feels overlooked

I wrote these words on a Sunday afternoon almost six years ago. When I read this again recently, I had to share it again.

Today (Sunday) had a rocky start, but it ended up transforming my worldview just when I needed it most. God likes to do that. And He doesn’t disappoint.

I felt like I wrangled greased pigs to get us out the door and to church mostly on time. I do not like to be late, but we almost were. My husband was at home sick. My son was going back to the nursery for the first time in months. And this was the first time I was taking both kids to church on my own.

Finding God through chaos

As I drove, I explained to my daughter we were later than usual and she needed to cooperate and not dilly dally on the way in. She understood. Then I asked her if she would pray with me that her brother would not cry in the nursery. I drove and prayed out loud. She added her own prayer. We whizzed into the parking lot and were off.

As a complete answer to prayer, my son didn’t even whimper when I handed him over to the nursery worker. He just watched me go and was completely fine. I slid into a back pew feeling a bit shell-shocked. How had that just happened? I remembered our prayer from 10 minutes earlier and realized that God had answered my prayer.

Today was one of those days when my mama heart was just fragile and achy for a wide array of reasons. I couldn’t exactly put a finger on what was off and making me sad, but something was. I slowly began to revel in the fact that God had heard me and answered my prayer as we began singing worship songs. And almost as surely as if He’d been sitting in the pew beside me, God spoke to me.

“You have not been forgotten.”

What?

“You have not been forgotten.”

The forgotten mama

My heart was filled. Tears sprung to my eyes. Forgotten. I had a name for what I’d been feeling the last couple of weeks. Forgotten. I am in a season where my life revolves around other people pretty much all of the time. 

While eating my breakfast, I thought about how 90% of the time, I was fine that life wasn’t about me. But 10% of the time, it stung. I didn’t quite know how to best manage that. Sometimes I wanted to do something for me. I wanted it to be about me sometimes. And sometimes I wanted to feel seen for who I was and heard for what was in my heart.

When we become moms, we disappear a bit. I’ve written about this many times. We disappear as our lives become so consumed with this small person (or people) who needs us. Heck, even just interacting with other people showcases that fact.  

Have you walked into a room with a baby in your arms and had someone stop and sincerely ask you how you’re doing? Neither have I. The baby gets the attention. And that’s OK.

But, over time, we mamas really can feel a bit forgotten, whether we recognize it or not. Add in that we forget about ourselves (when was the last time I got my hair cut or decided what I wanted to eat simply because it sounded good to ME?), and we are left a bit adrift.

Never forgotten

However, I have good news. I have good news that just arrived as a fresh balm to my aching heart this morning: You are not forgotten, mama. I am not forgotten. No matter how little the rest of the world sees of us, no matter how little we see of ourselves, God sees us. He sees us. HE sees US! We have not been forgotten.

And that includes prayers we’ve been praying for years and waiting for answers to. That includes the desires of our hearts that sometimes seem so far from obtainable we cry in despair. It also includes the pieces of ourselves we chip away in order to take care of our families. And it includes all the sacrifices we make. It also includes the hurts He continues to let us endure to remind us how much we need Him.  

We’re not flailing around down here without Someone noticing. He notices. He hasn’t forgotten us. He loves us. He sees us. He doesn’t overlook us. We are the desire of God’s heart even more than our children are the desire of our hearts. He has not forgotten you, mama. He loves you.

Dwell on that today. Remember that today as you tend to everyone else except yourself. Remember that today when you feel like no one is listening to your heart, even if that’s only because you’re too tired to express your heart to someone who cares. Remember that today when you start to feel like nothing more than a cook, maid and bottom-wiper. Remember that God sees you. God loves you. God encourages you. And He has not forgotten you. He wants to meet you where you are.

You are not forgotten!

Easy pantry salsa recipe

Just a few ingredients come together in this delicious mild salsa recipe

My family loves Mexican food and flavors, like in this taco cornbread bake recipe. If I make something related to tacos or tortilla chips and salsa, I know my family will be on board.

I stumbled across a pantry salsa recipe a year or two ago and gave it a try one nacho night. It was too spicy, even according to my spice-loving husband. So, I tweaked it and ended up with a mild salsa that has a very, very slight kick.

Of course salsa made with garden-fresh ingredients is good, but I never have fresh peppers or herbs. I almost always have onion. I love that I can buy ingredients for this salsa recipe and not get around to making it for a week or two. Being in the Midwest, I also love that I can make this year-round and it tastes the same.

An easy, flavorful mild salsa recipe that can be made with ingredients from your pantry. It's a perfect addition to taco or nacho nights! #salsa #salsarecipe #easyrecipe
All of the ingredients for this salsa come from your pantry!

And being a busy mom, I love recipes like this one that literally come together in minutes. If your onion needs chopped, you can make this salsa in 10 minutes or less. If your onion is already chopped, you can whip up this salsa in 5 minutes with a food processor or blender. Seriously!

Start with the can of tomatoes with chilis and chopped onion. Put them both into your food processor and zoom them around until they are the desired level of chunky you like. (My family likes salsa with teeny, tiny chunks at most!)

An easy, flavorful mild salsa recipe that can be made with ingredients from your pantry. It's a perfect addition to taco or nacho nights! #salsa #salsarecipe #easyrecipe
Before pureeing in the food processor
An easy, flavorful mild salsa recipe that can be made with ingredients from your pantry. It's a perfect addition to taco or nacho nights! #salsa #salsarecipe #easyrecipe
After pureeing in the food processor

Next, add in the seasonings: garlic powder, salt, sugar and lime juice. Whiz everything in the food processor again for 15 seconds or so to blend it.

An easy, flavorful mild salsa recipe that can be made with ingredients from your pantry. It's a perfect addition to taco or nacho nights! #salsa #salsarecipe #easyrecipe

Your next step depends on how chunky you like salsa. As I mentioned, my family doesn’t like chunky salsa at all. So, I pour my seasoned tomato and chili mixture into a large bowl then puree the crushed tomatoes in the food processor.

If you’re using a blender or have a large food processor, you could maybe do all the ingredients at once, but I use my food processor and it isn’t large enough, so I do it in stages.

An easy, flavorful mild salsa recipe that can be made with ingredients from your pantry. It's a perfect addition to taco or nacho nights! #salsa #salsarecipe #easyrecipe

Finally, I pour the pureed crushed tomatoes into the large bowl on top of the seasoning mixture and give it a good stir. That’s it! Serve it up with your favorite tortilla chips.

An easy, flavorful mild salsa recipe that can be made with ingredients from your pantry. It's a perfect addition to taco or nacho nights! #salsa #salsarecipe #easyrecipe

Pantry salsa

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 5 -1/2 cups of salsa

Ingredients
  

  • 1 28- oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 10- oz. can mild diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1/4 cup diced onion can add more to taste
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. lime juice

Instructions
 

  • Put the can of tomatoes with chilies into a food processor or blender. Add the diced onion, and puree until it is the desired level of chunkiness. (My family likes salsa with minimal chunks, so I puree for about a minute.)
  • Add in the garlic salt, salt, ground cumin, sugar and lime juice. Puree 15 to 30 seconds longer to mix together.
  • Move the seasoned mixture into a large bowl.
  • Next you can either add the crushed tomatoes on top of the mixture as they are or puree them in the food processor or blender first depending on how chunky you like your salsa.
  • Stir the plain tomatoes and seasoned tomato mixture together.
  • Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and store any leftover salsa in the fridge.

Moms on a Mission: Mari Hernandez-Tuten

Profiles of moms making a difference

Connecting with other Christian moms blesses and encourages me. I love the Moms on a Mission series in part for this reason! We are all doing different things but with the similar goal of honoring God.

Mari Hernandez-Tuten is one such mom. She’s a fellow faith blogger over at Inspired by Family and has a similar mission to Families with Grace.

I’ve recently gotten to know Mari better in working with her and some other faith bloggers to put together a virtual, DIY Summer Camp at Home about character for kids. The camp includes seven days worth of great (free!) resources to teach kids how to be kind, obedient, honest, content, respectful, faithful and generous.

(I’ve got a list of fun ways to teach your kids about obedience going live on June 12. Don’t miss it!)

Mari’s passion leaps off the screen. She’s the mom of three boys and wife of her first boyfriend who spent nearly a decade on the mission field in South America. Mari ministers through her writing, speaking, counseling and more. Her testimony will inspire you to continue on in your own God-given passion!

Families with Grace: What is your God-given mission or passion?

Mari Hernandez-Tuten: I’m one of those eclectic people who feels passionate about many things. I truly enjoy serving others, hospitality, friendships, family, art and community. 

I love encouraging women to find hope and truth in their motherhood through God’s word. And that’s how I ended up writing a blog about family, faith and fun because I couldn’t imagine only writing about fun activities, but I also wanted to share my faith and encourage mothers on this journey of parenting. 

FWG: How do you work to live out that mission right now?

MHT: My background is in counseling and family life coaching. So I have the joy of speaking and teaching workshops to encourage parents and women. 

I’m also currently working with a publisher on a Bible study for women on Proverbs 31. 

These things I just mentioned are great opportunities, but I get to do what I am most passionate about here in my home and community. I feel it’s important to not just be an encouraging online presence but to do life side-by-side with others in my home and in my community.

FWG: What are some of your biggest challenges in living out your mission?

MHT: One of my challenges in living out my mission would be what I just shared above–I am passionate about a lot of things. I’m a visionary and leader so I’m constantly coming up with new ideas and finding ways to make it happen, which can be overwhelming. Another one would be fear. I use to be fearless, but the older I get the more I let fear keep me from doing things for God.

FWG: What have been some of your biggest blessings in living out your mission?

MHT: My biggest blessing from living out my mission is that my children get to witness God working through me and in me as countless women from all walks of life and ages share their lives, laughter and tears with me over a cup of tea at my dinner table. 

FWG: How do you balance motherhood responsibilities with your work/mission?

Early on in motherhood, I had a monumental moment that changed the course of my life. I talk about it here. It was a time when God opened my eyes and heart to see “God’s glory discovers us where we are.” In the menial tasks, in the everyday moments of life, He can use us. Throughout scripture you see Him come face-to-face with women in the midst of the everyday tasks of life. 

FWG: What’s the best advice you have for other moms who are following their passions?

MHT: I love how God meets us where we are—while changing diapers, in the carpool line, on the way to work, while playing old maid for the 100th time with your preschooler…

One of the many divine encounters that have profoundly impacted me from the Bible was that of Jacob. God met Jacob on the road in the middle of nowhere and changed His name and gave him purpose. God meets Hagar in the desert and calls her by name. God met Moses in the field while he was shepherding his flock. God met the woman at the well in the middle of the day,  while she was out getting water, and changed the course of her life. 

Ask God to help you see the menial tasks of your ordinary life through His perspective and be willing to offer it up to Him. It really isn’t about what you do or don’t have to offer but what God does with it. 

Allow Him to take your meager offering and multiply it for His glory however He sees fit. Finally, I leave you with this–You can’t give to others what you don’t have. Make time to connect with God for yourself, not for your ministry, your Bible study or your Sunday School lesson, but because you long to be in His presence.

Read more from the series

Moms on a Mission: Dr. Karen Dowling

Moms on a Mission: Erin Mayes

Moms on a Mission: Kathleen Brooker

Moms on a Mission: Sarah R. Moore

Moms on a Mission: Stacey Pardoe

Moms on a Mission: Kristin Billerbeck

Moms on a Mission: Crystal (aka InnieMom)

Moms on a Mission: Pastor Stefanie Hendrickson

Moms on a Mission: Amy Cutler