Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What You Need Is

In weariness...
In weakness...
In loneliness...
In bareness....
In life...
In death...
In hard times...
In good times...
In scary times...
In joyful times...
What you need is love. 
God's unfailing love 
and soothes us 
at all times....
Look up! Look around! Smile!

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord,
    even as we put our hope in you. 

Psalm 33:22

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kids in a Bind-Mom to the Rescue

My two are in the middle and on the right.

I had just gotten out of the shower when I heard a faint rap on the door. I quickly wrapped a towel around myself and released the hook-latch in order to peek at what the kids might be needing. They were 9 and 11 and we had just moved into our country home after living in town for six years. When I got in the shower, I heard them playing upstairs in the little attic over the office.

Upon seeing a sullen look on Ethan's face, my curiosity was peaked. There was actually a tear in his eye. He turned to look at his sister and said, "Tell her Kayla."

The suspense was killing me. ..."Well,"...{wincing, a bit fearful} she said, "...Ethan and I caught a chipmunk and brought it up in the attic to play with and...it got away!"

Concealing my laughter inside I said, "Well, you caught it once, go catch it again!"

Outside under the bird feeder, where Chippy frequented, they had set upside-down a plastic, mesh, shoe-box-sized basket with a forked twig propping one end up. There was a string attached to the twig. When the chipmunk entered the basket, they tripped the twig with the string and caught it.

Those were the days of Beanie Babies. We had a neighbor that collected them, and shared several with my kids. Often when I was working in my craft room, the kids built things out of scrap wood. They had been in the attic that day with their Beanies, home-made Beanie-Bunk-Beds and Beanie jackets made out of old sock-remnants with arm-holes cut in the sides. I imagined them trying to get Chippy into a little sock-jacket.

I heard them overhead scuffling about. The attic is probably 10'x10' with low sidewalls and a peaked ceiling. We only had a few things up there...suitcases, a few boxes. It was a perfect child-wonderful place to play! As things go, I could hear them getting frustrated with each other. After letting them pursue the little varmint for nearly 20 minutes, I went up to offer adult wisdom.

It was clear that Chippy liked the edges of the room, so I told the kids to bring everything into center and I would hold a box in the doorway, they could route the little guy and we would corral it in the box. It looked to be working like a charm until Chippy found a hole along that one edge of the room. He slipped in and was gone!!!

My mind went to the stench that would be in the house when Chippy went to Chipmunk heaven, and also to the reality that I wasn't going to stand guard at that hole waiting for him to emerge sometime in the next few days...so I did what any other mother would do. Wadded up tin foil and stuck it in the hole in case he resurfaced. Then I could check, and if the foil was knocked out of the hole, I would know to look for him. I dreaded him not emerging, and wasn't sure I wanted him to come back inside either.

He never did come out. I checked the foil over the course of the next three days and it never moved. I braced myself for the smell, but never had to endure that either. He must have found his way outside somehow.

Similarly, I have delighted in God's creation and savored His gifts, and then I have gotten myself into little messes that I cannot seem to fix myself...I'm so grateful that He stands over me with His Fatherly affection and helps me out of the binds I get myself into.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
   for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
   for to you I lift up my soul. ~Psalm 143:8

Linking up with The Mom Initiative today:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mind-Wandering at the Wonders of God's Lavish Love

Taking time to be still and mind-wander at the wonders of the 
love of God in undeserved gifts. 

Gifts of family, friends, & time with them. Restored people, victorious people, 
prayers answered, and hope for the ones still asking. 

May your weekend be full of mind-wandering at the wonders of His love for you...
and your heart be hushed with recollection of
the gifts you've been given in your life.

joining Sandy for Still Saturday...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Observing Children*Finding Treasure

Selling a home and moving can be a daunting experience. Especially if you are moving communities where you don’ t know anyone. This was the case for our family when our daughter Kayla was five and our baby Ethan was not yet three. (The photo is of my kiddos just before this story took place)

This move required several painful challenges. Our buyers had requested that we clean out an old barn foundation behind our shed. We had no idea what was there when we said ‘yes’ since it was largely overgrown by brush and vines. What we discovered was a never-ending task that became a mountain of discarded vehicle parts, box springs, and other unidentifiable hunks of rusty metal on our front yard. Next, we moved into our friends’ basement because our buyers wanted their new home before we found our next one two months later. And then, after finally finding our home in a new town… it was six weeks in…with boxes still piled high, and rooms needing painting, I slipped on ice near our front door while moving our dining room table, and dropped it on my leg. My leg was broken…

Did I mention we moved because of our four year financial struggle in which we had, as my husband often said, “More month than money.”? And. We had no health insurance. Often trouble seems to increase when you feel like you just can’t go another step!

As I lay the entire first week with my leg propped up on the back of the couch. I knew that I would have six more weeks with my plaster-trophy. Gazing at the stacks of unpacked boxes and the walls in need of paint, I thanked the Lord that I would one day get to those jobs. I also found myself thinking of more profound things than which drawer to put the silverware in.

I observed my two happy-go-lucky little ones. They were one-on-each-side, hauling my basket of laundry up the stairs so I could fold it, and they were finding it fun! My heart swelled. And then I contrasted my common adult-reactions to trials and transitions with their child-reactions. How often mine are laden with anxiety or frustration, and here were my children just doing the thing in front of them without concern, without any thought of it being a burden (at least at the ages of two and five!) because they were the kids and we were the parents and that is all they needed to know! And I knew God was speaking to my heart about the freedom from anxiety and care that He wants for His children. He wants peace, joy and thankful hearts for me and for you in every circumstance.

My observation has served me well in the years since. Often (I wish I could say always) when I have been tempted to take on worries and cares in difficult circumstances, the Lord has brought to mind the picture of my little ones hauling my laundry with joy. Remembering this, it shifts my thinking, and I decide to trust instead of worry.

And eighteen years later, I can tell you I have survived every trial, and many with peace and joy when I remember that we are His kids and He is our Daddy and that is all I need to know!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

For more MOM encouragement, click on this: 
The Mom Initiative

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Lord says, "Come..."

The entire Bible is a call to know and love God. Jesus came to open the way for our union with Him to be restored. God uses marriage as a demonstration of His desire for us. He is the Bridegroom, we are the Bride. Yes, that close! Isaiah 62:5 ...When you wake up, He wants you to spend time with Him in His Word (Did you know 'scripture' means "calling out"?). He is calling out to you. Isaiah 1:18

Hear His invitation here:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Take a Moment... See. Hear. Marvel... Be an Artist.

Who can see the sunrise every morning and the sunset in the evening and not see 
the Artist's Hand?

Who can place their finger in the palm of a baby's hand, and in feeling the soft-warm grip, not marvel at the Artist who formed it?

Who can breathe in the air and drink the fresh water and not exult at the existence of the very thing we need being perfectly what we need, given by the Artist?

Who can sit at the bedside of one suffering and not know there is meaning and purpose in every moment given. Given by the Artist to a life that hangs on to hope for a miracle, for more moments, days, years, despite the decay of the body?

Who can observe the details in the flower and not marvel at it's perfect symmetry or its rhythm of growth, bloom, decay, revive... and not glory in the Artist?

Who can listen to the musician bringing emotion to our moments, healing to our hearts, soothing to our soul, and not hear the heart of the Artist to comfort and encourage?

Can you see Him? Can you hear Him? 
He is Love. 
The Artist

What is YOUR ART?
You are an artist created by the Artist to show His art to the world!

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23 NLT

Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Glory in His Holy Name!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

How Much Do You Want? How Much Do You Give?

After this he went out and saw a man named Levi at his work 
collecting taxes. 
Jesus said, “Come along with me.” And he did
—walked away from everything 
and went with him. ~Luke 5:27

...away from everything. everything...
When He calls, He wants us "all-in". 
Loyalty is what we want from our Lover, 
Loyalty is what Jesus wants from His Lover. 
Are you all in? 
You say you are a Christian...
Do you take His name in vain?
Do you really live in love with Him?
Are your loyalties lived for something
or someone
other than Him?
What consumes your thoughts?
Is it your Lover, your King?
The One who gave His all for YOU 
wants YOU.
All of you. 
Do you want all of your Lover?
He gave His ALL for you.
He's all in.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2

Saturday, October 6, 2012

When The Road Ahead Is Unclear

This journey of faith, it has its daily and continual 'unknowns'. Walking by faith is waiting; its trusting in the unseen, trusting Words spoken with no evidence of their reality but evidenced in the past and in the creation, and in the hope in a heart. The journey is exhilarating, and often scary mixed with anticipation, or trepidation. But when you know the Author of life, of your story...you can journey on despite the feelings, the lack of clarity, and the void of concrete places to put your feet...walk on by grace. Walk on by faith. And take JOY in Who is steering your course, for if you trust Him, it is ALWAYS good! This journey is sometimes hard, but always good. ~Romans 8:28~ 

For when your faith is faltering, to Activate Faith, Remember What God Has Done. Stand strong!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

To Not Ask Is To Suffer Stuff

In John 16: 5-7 Jesus is talking to His disciples about his coming death, He says, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you; it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” Do you see the comfort Jesus is offering to replace their grief? He says, “You will have something better!” This reminds me of a promise in scripture (Romans 8:28)

The disciples were filled with grief because they didn’t ask, “WHY are you leaving us this way?” and here Jesus says, “If you would have asked Me, I would have told you

How often have you and I struggled or fought or tolerated anxiety or grief, when we could have asked Jesus about it and he would have filled us with peace and joy instead?

When our son Ethan was around seven years old, I often felt my husband’s expectations on him were too high. Ethan’s inability to do what his daddy thought he should do resulted in him being the recipient (in my mind) of belittling words. In my fear for his little heart being wounded, I would yell at my husband in front of Ethan because I wanted to intercept the pain. Later, I would feel guilty and fear that by protecting him, I was also running the risk of leading Ethan into disrespecting his dad. I was miserable! Then one day, instead of yelling, I prayed. {a light bulb moment!} The Lord answered by enabling me to address it a different way privately. I said, “I know you do not mean to make Ethan feel small, but when you talk to him like “that” I fear that is what happens in his little heart

And you know what he said? “Wow, I think you are right!” And things changed after that. We were able to talk together instead of fighting. 

~One little prayer, one large change!~

Look at this from a little further down in the passage: John 16:24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

When we ask Him, we find joy in our troubled thoughts and circumstances. It is wonderful to know that His will for us is to have a mind filled with peace and a heart filled with joy, and they are there for the asking!!

I am happy to report that our 20-year-old son not only has a wonderful relationship with his father, and has learned wonderful life-skills, but has also retained respect for him despite those years of me living and reacting by fear. I’m so thankful for God hearing my prayers and for His amazing patience and grace!