Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Your Child in 6 Words

I recently read a devotional that challenged the readers to write a short bio of themselves in 6 words. The author offered up the following examples of this in Scripture: David, of whom God said: “A man after My own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22). Paul’s self-description: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:1). Mary: “The virgin shall be with child” (Matt. 1:23). And about Jesus: “Became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

If you had to do this for yourself, what would you say? What would others say? It's no easy task to sum yourself up in this way, but it does cause you to think about whether or not you are spending your time and energy focusing on the important things, to the extent that it is what people see in you most.

How about your kids? I was recently part of a mom's study where we were encouraged to become students of our children. Learn their personalities and how to best parent each child based on their unique character, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Taking a moment to try and sum up our child at this stage in his/her life is a great way to begin to analyze their personality and how the Lord calls us to be the best parent to this child in this season.

For my girls, I would say of Selah, needs encouragement, sensitive, loves to learn. Susannah would be- joyful, strong-willed, loves hugs and snuggling. Though my girls are only 3 and 1, you can see that how I can best disciple, discipline, and encourage them at this stage is very different. Selah needs verbal affirmation while hugs and physical affection are Susannah's love language.

I encourage you to take a moment to do this exercise and by it obtain a better understanding of how God uniquely created your child/children and how you can best serve Him and disciple them in this season. Let's pray!

Father, I thank you so much for Your Word and the glimpse it gives us into Your character as well as the characteristics of those who came before us. I pray that you would reveal to me what impression I am leaving on others and how I can prioritize my life to put the most effort into what is most important in Your eyes. As I take a moment to analyze my child/children, please reveal how You created them uniquely for the purpose You have for their lives. Please show me how to adjust the ways I interact with them to be the most effective parent in discipling my children. Help me to continually grow and adjust in this area in order to best develop their character to fulfill Your will for their lives. Thank you Lord for your promise to give freely to those who seek Your wisdom. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Oh, No She Didn't!

I hate it when people are mad at me. I can’t stand it when people get frustrated with me or feel disappointed by me.  By nature, I want everything to work out well for everybody all the time. My dad used to say I would be the perfect diplomat. BUT, let’s face it. I am not perfect, and I will disappoint people from time to time…even when I am trying my best not to.

Recently I had the unpleasant experience of a close friend “calling me out”. However, I must say that she did it in a very transparent and Biblical way. She didn’t act like she was too good to be affected by anything or anyone…you know the type: The I will never give you the satisfaction of knowing that you even bother me type of person. Well, she is NOT that way. She clearly and sincerely explained how she felt. It didn’t mean that I agreed with everything she said, BUT I totally agreed with HOW she did it. She didn’t go tell another friend how annoyed she was with me or that I had let her down. She came and told me. She put the principles of Matthew 18 into practice.

Matthew 18:15 exhorts us:"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”

I must say that while it is uncomfortable to be confronted by someone you care about it, I am thankful for the ability to “clear the air” without getting other people involved. It is a clean, although not easy way to handle conflict.

Moms, we need to be able to trust each other to handle conflict in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. I need to know that if a close friend feels offended, then she will talk to me about it. I need to know that she will not spread gossip or let her own feelings allow her thoughts to think the worst of me. We need to practice this principle in our own lives and teach our children to do the same.

Did I mention that I truly love this friend? I love her heart for the Lord and her desire to live for Him. I love that she is sensitive to her own feelings and the feelings of others. I love that she reads and applies the Scripture to her life. Ladies, let’s be that type of friend. Let’s follow the principles of Matthew 18. Let’s learn how to handle conflict in a way that truly pleases Him. So while my first thought was, “Oh no she didn’t”, I am so blessed that she did!

Heavenly Father,

God, you alone are perfect. While we strive to be more like you, the truth is that we will mess up. We will disappoint our family and/or friends. We will hurt someone’s feelings. Thank you for setting the perfect guideline for conflict resolution in your Word. Lord, may we be hearers and doers of your Word. We love you Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27:6

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Vapor" Part 1 - by Lena

Vapor- visible exhalation, as fog, mist, steam, smoke, or noxious gas, diffused through or suspended in the air. In James 4:14 we read whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. As we can see, the word vapor means here for a moment, and then gone the next. I have had many of these Moments. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about moments and the word vapor and life.

It started a few weeks ago when my oldest son, Brayden (5), took an interest in cooking. You see, Daddy and Brayden will sometimes watch cooking shows on TV, but nothing like Top Chef or Iron Chef, but more like on the Create channel. I never thought he really was paying attention to it much. However, almost suddenly, over the last few weeks, Brayden has really become engaged in my kitchen routines.

It started one morning when he asked to make his own breakfast. It started as something as simple as putting frozen pancakes in the microwave. I taught him how to punch in 35 seconds and wait patiently for the “beep”.  Afterwards, I assist with taking the pancakes out of the microwave and then I put the syrup on them. I have also taught him how to use the toaster to make strudels and Pop Tarts. Again, I remove them from the toaster; however, he knows how to push the button and wait patiently. After a few days of breakfast, Brayden eagerly moved to other meals, and began assisting me with lunch and dinner. Before I knew it, I had a little chef in the kitchen.

At times I would find myself growing frustrated with the fact that it was an interference with “MY” time in the kitchen and the fact that what would normally take 20-25 minutes to prepare, was now taking 35-45 minutes because  I was teaching him how to do this and that. And then, it hit me like a ton of potatoes! This was a vapor moment. Who knows how many more days I would have to teach my sweet son how to cook? Who knows how long he would have this hunger or desire to want to learn? Tomorrow may never come. 

A few days later I received heart-breaking news from a dear friend of mine. Her husband was diagnosed with Leukemia. They have a 2 year old son. Her husband has just begun his chemo treatments and a 5-6 month journey. In hearing this, I am even more reminded, life is but a vapor. How am I spending my moments? Am I seizing each day? I want to live each day as if it’s my last and make an impact on those I come into contact with; my children, the cashier at Wal-Mart, my children’s Pediatrician, the waitress, etc. How am I spending my vapor moments especially the ones with my husband and my children? As the famous song goes we should, “ Live like we’re dying” by Kris Allen.

Prayer: Lord, no matter how tired I am, what I am going through, where I am in my life, help me remember that life is but a vapor. Help me to live in the moments you give me. Help me to see the divine appointments and opportunities you place in front of me to minister and reach out to others. Thank you Lord for each day I have to spend with my loved ones.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

"ME" Time - PART ONE - Getting Back to Who I Was!

I had a revelation, with my husband, the other night while reminiscing about the "old days." I realized many things I did when we first dated, and early in our marriage, I no longer did. Getting my hair done. Doing my toes each week before church. Watching what I eat. "What happened," my heart pondered as we continued to talk.


That's what happened! My focus was no longer myself, doing what pleased me, what I wanted, but on this little life I was entrusted with to raise up and train in the Lord. What a job! In acquiring this new job role I forgot about my old one...looking for ways to please & bless my husband. All of those things I did that made me feel "pretty" and what initially attracted my husband, in our dating days, to me.

*Side note* Sometimes our husbands get left on the back burner as we seek to please our children. Be careful! Remember you and your husband were a family first before having kids.*

How did it happen? Very gradually. After giving birth it's such a whirlwind! A few months later you are thrilled to get back to a normal schedule of brushing your teeth each day, and a shower thrown in there if you're lucky! And putting make-up on again was HUGE bonus for me! 

So how do we get back to that "sweet spot" of ....

wanting to look good for our husbands

wanting to exercise and eat right

wanting to get dressed up for "date night!"
*** If you have lacked in this area....get a sitter & head out for some fun time and much needed time to reconnect with your husband.

PRAY and ask the Lord where to start (daily quite time with HIM will help direct)
TALK to your husband and ask him how you can better serve him today
MAKE it happen....sit down and make a plan of how to achieve it
SHARE your "plan" with a friend who will hold you accountable

So after my conversation with my husband I realized it really doesn't take much to get up an extra half hour each day to go for a brisk walk. You will be surprised how your husband will fill in the gaps in order for you to go and be refreshed as you exercise.

Last week I ventured out, after my quiet time with Jesus, and was SO blessed as I went for my first walk through our neighborhood. I had my headphones on and was listening to worship as I praised Him for the creation I came across. I came back refreshed and wanting to do it more. My husband was blessed by my effort to please him, by putting exercise into my day, as well :) I can't wait for my next walk!

So, what is it for you? If you don't know, ask your husband what are the things he wishes you would do more often?

Then actively pursue them and seek to bless your husband by the simple little things that bring him joy! Make a goal that is ATTAINABLE and DOABLE! Then ask a  friend to hold you accountable and watch the transformation take place.

 A hearty wife invigorates her husband, but a frigid woman is cancer in the bones. - Proverbs 12:4 MSG

A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. - Proverbs 12:4 NIV 

A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. - Proverbs 31:10 MSG

 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. - Proverbs 31:10 NIV

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Grace Superlative

I was taught the pledge to the American Flag along with  “America The Beautiful” in my kindergarten classroom. As most kids, words were mixed up, misunderstood, and even a few additions made to try to keep up.

There is a line in America the Beautiful, “God shed His Grace on Thee.”

In the midst of not knowing what to do next, God does!  And He is there!  In fact His hands have sifted the very events we question.  Being a mom brings so many challenges (or should I say, “opportunities?”) 

The New International Version says in John 1: 16, “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.”   Other versions say “grace upon grace” and others say, “gift after gift after gift!”

In studying this verse I have come to understand that John couldn’t describe God’s grace adequately.  He chose to simply give it the superlative!   God’s grace is the superlative of our lives, of our day to day living! 

We can count on the Lord to shed His Grace on us with the uncertainties of our parenting and our lives.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Family of God

I am leaving this morning a most blessed place.  I am sad to leave my friends who feel more like family.  The kids and I have spent two weeks being loved by some of the most wonderful people I know.

It is something so special when you can be somewhere you are so absolutely comfortable.  It says something about the family of God that I think we sometimes forget…they are family!  I sit here typing through tear-blurred eyes thinking of the love and blessings that have been poured out on me.  These last 6 months have been the hardest of all my life and God has put the most wonderful people right here to walk with me through mess because He loves me.  He pours out His love through His children and it is so sweet and beautiful. 

Do you ever wonder, “How do I teach my children to love like God wants them to?”  Oh, beautiful friend, LIVE IT right in front of them.  Yes, teach them scripture, memorize massive amounts of scripture, store it up, live it, breathe it, and meditate on it with them.  But, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  DO WHAT IT SAYS.  (James 1:22)

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”  (1 John 3:18)

I have absolutely no doubt that my kids and the kids of these other families are witnessing first hand what God means when He says “LOVE.”  This “Family of God” is not just people we see at church or meet with once a week in small group.  They are the people we do life with; the people we have fun and laugh with, cry with, and do gut wrenching sadness with.  God comes alive in a family like that.  He doesn’t just come as a gentle breeze that you can barely feel.  He comes like the unmistakable presence of a Mighty King, delighted in His children. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Changing our speech

Towards the end of June our 2 ½ year-old Matthew broke his collarbone by falling on the tile from the dining room booster seat.  He’s had to wear a wrap (ace bandage) around his body and arm, plus not play on playgrounds for 5 weeks.  Matthew had just started summer camp at God’s Little Creations Preschool where they were just going to introduce the bounce house and water activities.  He would have gone three times a week and surely had so much fun playing and learning about Jesus.  They had already started memorizing Psalm 23 to which Matthew was walking around saying the first three verses.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

During July Matthew has also gone through other health issues which he is handling incredibly well.  In addition to having to wear the wrap, he had “persistent” Bronchitis requiring breathing treatments three times a day and a bunch of antibiotics, as well as a ruptured ear drum treated by ear drops.  

Should it surprise me that he has been handling these things so well?  He did just learn that the LORD is his Shepard and that he shouldn’t want anything else but to follow after Him.  Maybe Matthew recites in his head, He restores my soul… when we pray and believe for his healing. 
Each time we adjust his wrap (which is A LOT) he says “I’m healed, my collarbone is already healed!!”  We praise Jesus and then wrap him again because the doctor said his arm has to stay still.  So our speech changed from saying “Matthew’s broken collarbone” to, “Matthew’s healing collarbone”.
When asked about the wrap, I learned to say “it helps him remember to keep his arm still” instead of “because he’s an active 2 year old” (eyes bulging).  I changed my speech because God spoke to my heart about what Matthew was hearing me say. I was using his age as an excuse for him acting up and having to wear the wrap to help his collarbone heal.  Like it says in 1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” We are working on the first time obedience thing.
This experience is teaching me a lot about my speech and where my thoughts need to be.   They need to be about the WORD, the LORD is my Shepherd too. 

Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Lately I have had quite a frustrating predicament with my oldest son: he seems to have a reason, excuse, idea, or opinion about EVERYTHING I ask him to do. For the past four years, we have really emphasized first time obedience, but it seems that has gone out of the window. I want him to obey first, and then feel free to ask me a myriad of questions as to "why". I need him to trust me and my judgement as Mom, even though his four year old mind cannot conceive "why". When I ask him to do something and he proceeds to "do his own thing" anyway or give me an excuse, my husband lovingly reminds me to " write a ticket"-- give him a consequence. We don't put him in time out, take away a priviledge, etc. to hurt him, but to teach him to obey. The idea is that an unpleasant consequence will produce a change in behavior which will result in a change of heart. I love the book of Hosea in the Bible because it outlines Gomer's infodelity to Hosea as symbolic of Israel's faithlessness to the Lord. In the beginning of the book, God states that he is going to take away his blessings from her and expose her sin. Yet what I love the most are his reasons "why":

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope...I will betroth you in righteousness and justice in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord." Hosea 3:14-15;19-20 

I love that even God's discipline of Gomer/Israel was forward looking and not backwards reaching. He disciplined her to make her repentant and holy, pure and righteous because he knew who He had created her to be. He did not discipline her because of sheer anger over what she had done. God's perfect love is exhibited in his desire to discipline and correct his people. However, I am experiencing a new phenomenon among parents: the fear to discipline their kids because they do not want to seem "mean". Pastor Bob Coy's book Devotionary mentions that grace is not so much removing a deserved consequence, but the freedom not to sin and pursue righteousness based on Christ'a sacrifice for us. I was thinking about this new understanding of grace, I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me as well. He wants me to obey to him the first time as well. He wants me to trust Him even when things look different from my own perspective. He wants me to trust Him. Reflecting over the story of Hosea gave new insight to my discipline and training of my son. I need to be more consistent. I need to be forward looking and not backwards reaching in my training and discipline by seeing him for who God created him to be and encouraging him to that goal, as opposed to merely punishing him for what he had done. That kind of love is heart changing and gives new perspective to my job as Mom, it gives purpose to my instruction, and the courage to be "mean". 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you so much for your grace. Thank you for what you did on the cross so that sin's power no longer consumes me. Instead I have the power, through your grace to choose not to sin and pursue righteousness. Thank you that even in your discipline of me you are the very essence of love. Help us as moms to love our children the way you love us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Challenge: What repeated discipline issues have you been experiencing with your children? Pray about your response and the wisdom to teach and correct. Finally, be consistent even when you are tempted not to, knowing that the ultimate goal is to teach them to be obedient to us and to ultimately be obedient to Christ. I I love the way a friend of mine put it. She said, "Our kids need to know who God is and who they are. They need to know that we are God's children and there is a King (God) in our house to whom we all must submit." Have a blessed day my friend Teresa

Monday, July 23, 2012

THINK Before You Speak (Mocking/Joking/Judging)


This is the final week in the series of blogs on taming the tongue. I pray you have been challenged and edified through these blog posts as I have and find that you are THINKing before you speak and working to tame your tongue in the areas the Lord has revealed you need to work on.

I must confess the topic this week is an area that has always been a part of my life. I grew up in a family where every word we said was fair game and open to being mocked, joked about, or repeated over and over in a tone way more dramatic than how you actually said it. We loved to have a laugh at each others expense, and nobody was safe. It was all in good fun as kids, but as I grew older, I realized that there is a line, and it can be very easily crossed in the name of "good fun".

So, where exactly do we draw the line? Are jokes like, "The 80s called. They want their hair style back." okay? If someone speaks, dresses, or acts in a way that is over the top, can we have a slight chuckle at his/her expense? At what point is a harmless joke no longer harmless? It is so tough to determine whether our laughter will be at or with someone sometimes, and of course, we typically do not intend to wound with our jokes, but it can happen.

In our home, we laugh alot, and my husband and I will joke with each other at times, often laughing till we cry. We know our boundaries and enjoy those silly moments. What is not okay is the kind of ribbing and teasing that attacks or demeans. We aim to be a "laugh with or don't laugh at all" kind of family. What is acceptable in your home?

What about judging? It may not be a joke, but just a "can you believe she said/did that?" or "I can't believe she lets her kids watch that show. I would never let my kids watch that.". 
Here are some more questions and Scripture references to consider this week.

Do you see people's faults/mistakes/personality as humorous and feel that urge to joke/comment to another?
If that person doesn't hear, is it okay to have a chuckle at their expense?
Have you ever been overheard when you thought nobody was listening or overheard someone having a laugh at your expense?/How did that impact you?
How often do you find yourself judging another Christian and/or talking about them to a friend?

Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it.
James 4:11 

The north wind brings forth rain, and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.
Proverbs 25:23

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 
Ephesians 5:4

Lord, please help me to enjoy laughter and humor within Your boundaries. May my joy never be at another's expense in a way that causes them hurt or embarrassment. Please help me to set these boundaries for myself and my children that we may please You with our words and with our laughter. Reveal to me any tendencies to have a mocking or judgmental spirit and replace them with a loving and humble heart. May my words build up and never tear down. Even if the person they are about does not hear, may I see the impact my words have on You and my relationship with You and others. Please refine me Lord in this area of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Can we talk? Of course we can… we’re women! It is said that God created us with two ears and one mouth for a reason. Apparently, we are supposed to listen twice as much as we talk. We should hold this true, especially when communicating with our children.

I used to glory in Ephesians 6:2-3 (NIV) “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” …and then one day I read verse 4:  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

We exasperate them when we don’t listen. My daughter will be 15 in a few weeks and I know I have talked a LOT over the years. Often, I would listen until I thought I knew what she was trying to say. Then I would interrupt and say what I thought needed to be said before she was able to finish.

James 1:19 (NIV) My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

The last 2 years of raising a teenager has definitely questioned my competency as a parent and has challenged me to abide in the Lord. A few months ago, during a ‘talk’ with my daughter, I asked her what she thought God was saying to her. She didn’t answer. I asked again, but this time the Holy Spirit commanded me to be quiet.  There was an awkward silence. Just when I wanted to speak, the Holy Spirit again commanded me to be quiet. A few seconds later, God opened the floodgates of her heart to me. I sat in silence as God allowed me to hear her heart as He hears us!

1 John 5:14-15 (NIV) This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

That conversation (an oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas) proved to be a turning point in both of our lives. She is growing in the Lord and I am forever blessed by the Lord telling me to SHUT UP!

Challenge: Take a few moments to have a conversation with each of your children. Really listen to them. Allow them time to express their thoughts. Make sure they know that not only you hear them, but Jesus hears them!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

All of Life is a Lesson to Learn

Lately I have noticed my oldest son struggling with making friends. We have a play date each Friday at  a local park and many times he starts out friendly only to end up frustrating kids. We went to a beach baptism this past weekend only to find this issue resurface as my son irritated boys digging a sand tunnel by trying to ruin their efforts. It can seem at times he doesn't know his boundaries with friends and honestly it has been hard for me to watch. I find myself frustrated trying to understand why and what to do.

So I decided that the subject of "friendship" would be our main focus with Bible stories and lessons over the next couple of weeks. Our family will focus on how to be a friend. What His word says on friendship. What we have learned from our playground experiences? What are those steps the Lord wants us to take to incur change in our life?

Any issue my family walks through, will be an opportunity to visit TRUTH and see how our Maker says to handle it. I want trials in our life to be stepping stones to a greater understanding of His word and how to look more and more like Jesus. I decided to Google "Bible Verses about Friendship for Kids" and here are a few I found....

There are friends who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 19:24

A friend loves at all times. - Proverbs 17:17

There are friends who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. - 
Proverbs 19:24NLT

 There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.. - 
John 15:13 NLT

What do you do when issues come up with your kids @ the playground? @ home?

Do we do follow up or is it just a time-out or a spanking?

Be sure you are explaining to your little ones HIS truth and why it is you are trying to correct his/her behavior :)

Find scripture to support you and shine light on the issue at hand :)

Maybe have them memorize that scripture for the week and then follow up and praise them for their progress!

Friday, July 20, 2012


I’ve been keeping a secret…

            For more than a month, I’ve been working on a surprise.  As mentioned in previous posts, I’m not a gift giver.  But sometimes…gifts are very appropriate.

            Greg and I will celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary this week.  I wanted to get him something so special (and not silver!) Gifts are on the bottom rung of his love languages, so I had to think and pray hard for the perfect gift.

Thus, began my conquest for just the right gift.  I thought of what made him happy; of what made him really smile…and that my friend is where the idea began.  It occurred to me Greg smiles easily when he sees me.  He especially smiles when he sees me dressed up.  We have talked over the last 25 years about renewing our vows, but it seemed too hard to figure the “when and the where.”  I decided the gift should be a surprise vow renewal. Just as the Grinch’s plan began to grow and with every sneaky fiber of my being "the Secret" hatched.

Greg realizing something is up!
Watching me surprise him in a new dress.
         This blog is not the place to detail all that I had to hide, what you need to know is it was fun and exciting and it worked!

Mission Vow Renewal Complete!
          As I planned and hid the evidence, I grew very excited and couldn’t help but parallel this experience with how we as parents KNOW what is good and right for our children.  We know what is coming up and how much they will enjoy it.  We know the potential and possibility of their lives. Sometimes they will neither trust us nor walk happily to the destination.

            God too, has a big surprise for us. I can only imagine His anticipation!!  He is planning our future (Jeremiah 29:11.)  A future on this side of eternity that will bring about my conformity to His image. A future on the other side of eternity that will bring me into His Presence.  As His bride, we will all wear white and He will again renew His vows to us!!  
                                        Can you imagine His anticipation?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Too Hard!

Last week in, “A Heart of Flesh,” I shared with you that my baby girl told me, “Mommy, I am just used to doing bad.  I can’t make better choices there is too much bad in my heart.”  This comment of course opened up a great conversation on Jesus.  But this conversation did not end with the salvation prayer it ended with her telling me that it is just to hard to be good. 

I should probably mention that she is extremely strong willed.  She is one of those darling little girls that can melt your heart with their cuteness and smile.  Then later you find out that is just the packaging for a whole lot of attitude. But regardless she has a great big heart and I love her tons. 

Well this last week we had much more drama.  We had gone through this same situation again and again of her telling me she could just not make better choices and me reminding her that choices had consequences.  It was honestly exhausting.  It has been one of those times as a mother that I feel completely clueless and am wondering where I went wrong and what I should be doing different.   

I am very aware that God is teaching me something in all this.  Mainly about the attitude of a person’s heart toward Him but also that my will has got to be stronger than hers.  And I am telling you what that strength can only come from Christ because that girl has me beat.  She amazes me and I am sure God will use that for something good someday. 

One night she was helping me make her birthday cake.  She was very happy because it was a special time for just her and me.  She got to crack all the eggs, mix everything in, and lick the spoon when we were done.  What’s not to be happy about? 

While she was mixing the cake I asked her if I could read the Bible to her.  She said, “Sure mommy.”  I told her to listen carefully so she could explain to me what I was reading. I read to her Romans 7:15 and 18:

I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do good, but I cannot carry it out.” 

She understood this and explained to me that just like Paul she had a heart full of sin and did bad even when she didn’t really want to. 

Next I read Romans 7:24:

“What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

And I asked her “who” it was that could rescue her from her heart full of sin and she told me, Jesus.  Then I asked her if she would like to ask Jesus to live in her heart and help her.  She said yes with a smile on her face and said her own prayer that went something like this:

Dear Jesus I know that my heart is full of sin.  Please come live in my heart and help me get rid of all the bad.  Amen.”

She is 6 so it was short and to the point. 

That night when I was tucking the kids into bed she told her brothers and sister that she had asked Jesus to live in her heart.  I had then asked them to each pray and thank Jesus for something from their day.  This was her prayer: 

“Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sin.  Please help me to turn up my listening ears so that I can hear you better and make better choices.  Amen”

I share this as a praise.  We all want that moment for our children when they realize they NEED a savior because their heart is full of sin.  I also share it for encouragement because this is a decision our children have to make on their own, no matter their age.  We can guide them and pray for them.  We can also be heart broken when we explain to them who Jesus is and what He has done for them and they look us in the face and tell us, “No, I can’t be good, it’s too hard.”  That is when it hasn’t quite clicked for them that it is to hard on their own. 

Be patient.  Pray. Wait on the Lord.  Love your kids where they are at and lead them toward their Savior. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Who's in Control Anyways?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8

In A.W. Tozer's book "The Knowledge of the Holy" he states "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." It was the first sentence of Chapter One and it stopped me in my tracks. What came into my mind as I pondered that profound statement was God is sovereign. The next question to myself was "why is this the most important thing about me?" 

In order to find the answer to my question, I needed to look back. As I looked back on my life, I recognized that I grew up in an unstable environment physically and emotionally.  My parents did not have a happy marriage and divorced when I was 12. My mother needed to go to work full time to care for my siblings and I. Meanwhile my father was in and out of the picture.  It was then that I started working hard to be successful in order to cover up the fact that on the inside I felt the opposite and was in fact emotionally wounded and insecure. Because I worked hard to created a confident veneer, no one would describe me as such; but I knew the truth.  I went to church regularly but did not walk with the Lord on a daily basis.  Therefore, my main goal was to gain a feeling of worth, security and control in school, church, and with peers.  As a side note: This is in no way meant to be derogatory, hurtful, or dishonoring towards my parents, I know they loved me and did their best within their life circumstances. I am grateful for them.  They took me to church where I accepted Jesus as my savior at the age of 4 during Summer Vacation Bible School. I highlight them only to help bring understanding regarding my tendency to try to control and create stability in my life. Since I became a committed Christian in 1993, the Lord has been so faithful (and sovereign I might add) to teach me life lessons through circumstances to show me He is in fact the one in control of my life. This is why as I ponder God, his sovereignty is pivotal for me. It has fulfilled my vain pursuit of control and stability apart from Him. The lessons have not always been easily learned, but worth it because today I am able to confidently declare by His spirit within me; "God is sovereign"!

It is crucial in our walk of faith to think rightly about God. In my Bible there is a section called "Living Insight".  The author of this section is Charles R. Swindoll. He states, "What we think about God shapes our moral and ethical standards.  What we think about God motivates our response toward fortune, fame, power and pleasure.  What we think about God directly affects our response to pain and pleasure". Believing God is sovereign, is the beginning of deep trust and complete reliance on His will for our lives. Life is not random! We need to build our house upon the the Rock.  God is the Rock. Jesus says it this way in Luke 6:46-49; "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.  He is like a man building a house who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.  When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it because it was well built." God's sovereignty is the foundation of my faith.  I have purposed to use every opportunity in our family life to ensure my son Samuel and daughter Bailee understand this about God.  This attribute of God is so important to instill in our children.  From the moment of his or her first disappointment to the entrance into Middle School on into High School and beyond. 

"See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart and turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness" Hebrews 3:12-13

Difficult circumstances, unmet expectations and disappointments hurt.  If not handled with the truths of God, often times those circumstances and hurts cause us to sin. Often times we allow our emotions to dictate our actions causing us further hurt and/or the hurt of others. As a mom, how you teach your son or daughter to handle these hurts is critical to how they think about God.  This is why I reference Hebrews 3:12-13 above. The word sovereign or sovereignty can be tricky to define.  I define it this way; "God's will, God's way, God's best". I have been blessed to experience this first hand with my children. An example was this past Spring, my son was going out for the school baseball team.  He was pretty sure he would make the team but not sure what squad he would make; Junior Varsity or Varsity.  For many players and their parents this is quite an important matter.  Samuel and I were having a conversation about this after the week of try-outs was over.  I asked him where he thought he would land.  He simply answered me by saying that it didn't matter where he landed and that God would put him where He wanted him. Keeping this right thinking is a daily practice. When you view life through this lens, the wounds caused by disappointment will still come but the "sting" will not last long.  There is freedom in God's will. He is love, one glance at the cross proves that.  Therefore, teach your children, teach yourself, to believe all of life's circumstances, are designed by God for his glory and our good! 

I pray for you today as you read the above words that only God's spirit remains on your minds and in your hearts!  May you believe today deeper than yesterday that God is sovereign and may you walk in the freedom of that truth and teach your children to do the same!
In Jesus precious name I write and pray.
Enjoy your day...after all it's the best day of your life cause it's the one you have!!

Recommended reading: 
"The Knowledge of the Holy" by A.W. Tozer 
 The Old Testament chronologically
 Proverbs 3:5-7
 Romans 8:28


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

THINK Before You Speak (Complaining)

We are all guilty of this in one way or another. We don't get enough help around the house from our spouse or children. The lines are too long at the grocery store, and they only have 3 registers open. You just finished folding the laundry, and your little one wets her sheets, or in my case, the cats run across the bed knocking over all of the neatly folded and organized piles. Those "are you kidding me?" moments where we cannot help but grumble under our breath or sometimes a little louder.

We know we hear it from our kids on an almost daily basis. "His piece is bigger than mine." "I don't want to take a bath!" "Yuck, I don't like carrots!" The fact is, there are many reasons to complain and many things to complain about. I know when my kids get into one of their complaining fits, it can really irritate me. I can only imagine what my complaining sounds like to God. Thankfully, He abounds in patience and grace.

The challenge in Philippians to do all things without grumbling or complaining is a tough one. Frustration is a natural reaction. The supernatural reaction comes when we choose not to voice those frustrations and just roll with it, realizing our words not only displease God but also do very little to make the situation any better. Here are some questions and Scripture references to consider this week.

What situations/areas are you most likely to complain about?
Would others describe you as a complainer?
Would you describe yourself this way?
How can you work with your kids to do less grumbling and complaining?
What are some ways you can gain self-control in this area and rather than complain, take action to change a situation for the better (or not say anything at all)?

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9 

Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”
Philippians 2:14-15 

Father, this day I come to you in prayer asking for Your help to do all things without grumbling or complaining. Please help me to have a positive and peaceful attitude when things don't go as I hoped or planned and not give voice to my frustrations. In this way may I set an example to my children and be pleasing to You in my words. Please help me to correct my children when they complain and help them find a better way to express their needs and frustration without grumbling. Thank You for Your patience with me as I work to draw closer to You and learn to become more like You. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Psalm 24:3-5
3 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, who do not put their trust in an idol or swear by a false god. 5 They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Savior

            *Just a little warning moms, this may be PG13 so if there are little faces next to you please close and read later J 

Lately there has been a lot of talk about a particular set of novels called 50 shades of grey. I heard so much about this book (just about every woman I know was reading it) that I began to question what it was. I even pondered reading it myself until I dug deeper. As I learned more about all the appeal of these books many thoughts crossed my mind and concern swept my heart. Many men struggle with sexual sin and I sometimes wonder if all the attention gets poured onto them and misses us women? We are all sexual beings. God made us to have the urge for sexuality. We may process things differently but that doesn’t excuse women from the struggle. Nor does that stop satan from tempting us the way he knows best.

John 8:44

New International Version (NIV)
44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Satan is slick!! He can get to our men with pictures but be careful ladies he knows our nemeses too. With romance novels, and movies with plots like Magic Mike lingering all around we have to be more alert not to fall into the crowd of “Oh, it’s not like it’s porn.” I guarantee you it’s just as bad, and though it seemed harmless at the time, it will open the door to a heap of sin on you, your husbands, and eventually trickle down into your kids! It’s interesting that gray is the color used in the title of this seductive book, reminds me of the verse:
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
 Grey is neither black nor white. It lies in the middle, in the “lukewarm” area. I don’t want to be a stumbling block for my husband, marriage, or family so ladies whether it’s taking a second glance at a jogger, fantasizing, reading novels, or watching suggestive movies I vow here and now not to do it! I hope you will take this stand with me. Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of sexuality. Help us to use it as you intended toward our spouse. Create in us pure hearts that we may not open the door to sin and protect us from our enemy that wants us to fail daily. Thank you for our husbands and help us to be a strength and support for them as satan prepares for a daily attack against them. Keep our husbands and ourselves steadfast and aware so that we stay pure in heart. In Jesus precious name! Amen!

1 John 3:2-3
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.