Monday, September 30, 2013

A Secret Revealed

“Let me tell you a secret.”  This is a regular phrase whispered rather loudly in our kid’s ears always resulting in much time spent in giggle-land.  My husband started this when our daughter was just a tiny baby.  He would whisper things like, “Remember the time I gave you a Cheeto.…”  He would get a smile out of baby Jordan, a rolling giggle out of toddler Matthew and a cross look out of me as I would have been very upset if he had actually given her anything close to Cheetos.  This is why it has been a funny family joke for about 2 years now. 

Just the other day I read a wonderful bit of Scripture that made me think of our little family tradition.  I read in Psalm 25:14-15 that David had his own line about secrets, but instead of being about something silly to make us laugh, it’s a wonderful truth; it’s something to help us grow in our knowledge and relationship with our God.

Psalm 25:14-15 “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him.  And He will show them His covenant.  My eyes are ever toward the LORD.  For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.”

Let’s listen in and be delighted in our God today.  He wants to show US His covenant.  He wants to pluck our feet out of the net (net= worry, fear of man, distractions, self-centeredness…).  Let’s keep our eyes toward the LORD.  Let’s be awed by our holy Creator today.  The secret of the MOST HIGH is out!  Fear Him – be in awe of Him.  Let’s tell the world this wonderful and glorious secret!  And instead of whispering it, let’s show it in how we live and when appropriate, share with those who surround us.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Proper Perspective

Now may the God of hope fill you
 with all joy and peace in believing,
 that you may abound in hope
 by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
- Romans 15:13 
On Friday my son went in the hospital to have some tests done on his bladder. It was a long day but the doctor assured us that as we press forward things will get better. His doctor doesn't know Jesus but I truly believe the Lord will use us to encourage him towards the Lord. It takes time, relationship (we've known this doctor for 4 years), faith, and prayer. We are praying and believing that the Lord will use our trials for His glory (John 9:1-3). 

As we began our trip back home across Alligator Ally (2 hour straight road with very few exits and little to look at besides water and grass on both sides) I began to praise the Lord for our car. It is a 2007, and has been such a gift. We received it free (along with 6 months of free insurance) from a sweet family in the faith. To which, right after my car completely gave out causing me to have to pull over and put my flashers on. 

After many attempts to start it again, phone calls to our roadside assistance number, freaking out to my husband on the phone, and the Road Ranger behind our car - I found a peace that surpasses understanding. Someone was praying for me. So needed and it was overwhelmingly felt by my spirit. My kids were playing together trying to catch mosquitoes let in by my window. Our vent was blowing cool air because the battery worked enough to. It gave way to proper perspective. 

This breakdown caused me to praise God for many things. 

Thankful I had a car (at all - some have to take a bus or walk). 

Thankful that my kids are best friends (even though they can fight like the best of them ) and look out for each other. I watched them try to soothe their little sister as she had a few meltdowns. 

Thankful we got to ride in the awesome Road Ranger car to meet my husband at the  nearest exit. (My kids loved it!)

Thankful that my husband was our "hero" (as my oldest son stated) and came to "rescue" us.

Thankful that we have good friends who were across the ally already and stopped to look at our car, on their way over, and plan to tow it back for us (something the tow truck wanted to charge $450 for).  That was so supernatural. What a gift. 

Proper perspective. Looking at the glass half full instead of half empty. That's what knowing Jesus will do. 

Ladies look at your situation with "biblical goggles" seeing how the Lord is working in it all.

Remember to praise your kids for those little moments where they choose to behave in the midst of crazy.

Praise your husband (earthly if you have one - heavenly if you do not) for the way he steps up to protect and "rescue" your family.

What do you think HE is saying to you through this today?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Second Chances

Now faith is assurance of things hoped for,
 a conviction of things not seen.
- Hebrews 11:1
"Mom, can I have a second chance pleeeeeaase!"
All too often I have heard my little guy use this line, as he realizes he is in trouble and needs some grace poured his way :) This quote came alive the other day as my kids and I ventured out to a park. My oldest son had been struggling, and was in need of a "second chance" as his morning hadn't gone smoothly. Our family definitely needed to get out for some fresh air. We decided to bring our bikes to burn off some energy!

As they headed out on their bikes, I felt the Lord nudge my heart and ask me to allow my oldest to go on a bike trail on his own. It was a familiar sidewalk trail, didn't go far, and I could watch him ride the circle as my youngest picked up "treasures" from the grassy area nearby. I was hesitant at first due to the morning we had had, but I obeyed and let my son ride on.

It was a beautiful experience. My son obeyed the rules of the sidewalk. He used self-control, had fun, and was smiling ear to ear as he approached me coming back! It took faith. I had to let go of previous days, minutes, moments that had gone wrong and look at the opportunity set before me, allowing him  to be "found faithful." As soon as he pulled up to me I gave him a huge hug and praised him for the great job he'd done' He was so proud that he accomplished it with no problems. This was huge for my struggling child. At that moment, he felt successful and he was.

God taught me 3 things from this experience....

1. Let Go
Easier said than done, right? Some days I find myself frustrated over that struggle my child had on previous day. I didn't let go of it. I am allowing past sin to hold my present day. This can cloud my view and blur my vision from starting each day anew. It is unhealthy for me. Unhealthy for my child. We have to remember to let go and forgive, truly forgive, our kids from the past error in their way. After all, that is what the Lord does for us EACH DAY, isn't it?

 Even though my son had struggled earlier in the day, I had to let go of it in order to move forward with good experiences that the Lord had in store...our bike ride.

2. Give Opportunities
Remember to give your child opportunities to be "found faithful." Its so important that our little ones see that we do believe in them. That little boost of confidence can go a long way. They want to please you, but sometimes (because they are sinners just like us) they fail. Think of ways you can stretch what they are already doing, make a big deal about it, and watch them soar. Give them an extra activity, task, or job to do that will allow their strengths to shine.

That bike path was just what my son needed. An opportunity to show himself that past failure is just that PAST. And that there are many opportunities for success no matter how many times we fall down. As he rounded the corner, my son's face spoke volumes of how much he loved the opportunity I gave him to be successful. 

3. Praise Them
Praise them. Praise them. Praise them. It's important that we be our child's biggest cheerleader. Believing the best in them. Sharing just how much they mean to their Creator, and to you too! Be sure to let them see, hear and feel (hugs are HUGE) just how blessed you are by their actions/behavior. We can be quick to point out the fault in our child, but hold back when we see them doing good. Don't do that. Allow the Lord to use you to lift up, edify, and encourage your little one as they walk in the right direction.

I need to praise my child more. Especially as I see him struggling much. His ears need to hear my voice sharing all the great characteristics I see in him. In those moments he is doing the right thing, allowing my heart to state truth. 

As my son jumped off his bike, I made the biggest deal about his obedience on the path. After leaving the park, I made sure to praise my son in front of my husband as well, letting him see that we are all so thankful that he was striving to do well.

How are  you doing in these areas?

Do you find yourself dwelling on past struggles of your kids? Give it to God. Ask Him to help you let go and move forward.

Look up something special your child can succeed at. Then praise them & their Creator for the great job they do!

"The master was full of praise. 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!" - Matthew 25:21

Friday, September 27, 2013

Reward Ribbons

My husband and I have tried to balance guiding, correction, and discipline with compliments, encouragements and even rewards.  To reward our children was simply an acknowledgement that they had worked hard to improve a skill or taken initiative.

Sometimes rewards could appear as bribes, so the rewards would need to be offered unexpectedly and most often without expectation.  One of the rewards the children seemed to enjoy more than any other was imaginary ribbons.

The children would do what they knew was the right thing to do.  We would in turn begin to cheer them on for choosing a behavior or a response we wanted to elevate.  I would very animatedly draw attention to what they had done and summarize with, “This child deserves a ribbon!” 

Of course I didn’t have a literal ribbon to give them, I would ask the child what color they would like to have.  The child would squeal as I would reach into the air and find just the “color” they had requested.  I would take the ribbon and “place” it on their shoulder.  Complete with the pressing down of the “ribbon” to make it stick.

The charade wouldn’t be complete until their daddy came home.  Greg knew with a wink at the door that the children had received a ribbon (or multiple ribbons.)  Greg would congratulate them and he could even recognize the colors the children had chosen.

We too, look forward to a “ribbon” the Lord will one day present to us.  All that is seen and all that isn’t, will one day be rewarded.  The Lord will not give us a pretend ribbon of our color choice.  He will generously give us the crowns we have earned to place at His feet.  

May we as parents make the right choices to one day receive the prize the Lord has for us.

I Corinthians 9:24
"...Run in such a way to win the prize!"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A walk to remember

This week God challenged me with a question from a book I was reading. The question was "How do you love God?" It really stood out to me afresh and I began to think on it for a few days. How do I show that I love God?
"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight, the only thing that matters is faith working through love" Gal.5:6
Circumcision is an external act performed, something visible and even painful. The christian disciplines we perform can be the same way. It's something we can check off on our christian list and even boast about. But true faith is different. It's visible to others only when expressing itself through love and that is very powerful. It requires faith because it can be very hard to show love at times. And if faith and love is not present in what we do, it carries no weight according to God. Not only that, we probably inevitably have replaced faith and love with pride, self reliance and self confidence. So I ask this question again, how does faith express itself through love in my life? 
I found the answer in this vers:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luk 10:27
Simply put, it's acts of love performed toward God and others, with emphasis on my service to God first, then my neighbor.
As my day went on, God quickly gave me some challenges to show me how it works. First off, I got a head cold on monday and felt like just laying around and letting the kids do whatever (I homeschool my 2 boys) Then I felt that challenge from God: will I trust Him to supply the strength and do school as usual? I said yes and He did. That was a very full but wonderful day.
Same evening, my friend txted me and asked me to lead the bible study in her stead the next day. My first response on the inside was "no way, I'm not up for that!" Again I felt that question; will I be willing to serve my God and exercise faith? I responded reluctantly yes, I would be willing if someone would benefit from me being there. As God would have it, that night the girls all cancelled and I felt Gods provision for me to stay home and rest. That was another wonderful day with Him. 

I have to emphasize what took place in my heart during this exchange between my God and me. I FELT HIM! Yes, I could have just decided on my own that I'm staying home because I don't feel well. But to choose to rely on His prompting to either send me or release me, put faith into action and expressed love for God and others. Faith, the very thing, the only thing that truly pleases God, created this wonderful dance between the Father and his beloved child and most importantly; it made my walk real. I came to realize that I can exercise faith even in the smallest things. Every time I say yes to that prompting and every time I wait for God to either send me or release me in something, I'm walking with Him. Of corse the opposite is also true, every time I make my own decision without asking and waiting for His will in faith, I miss a chance to walk with Him. I have had to repent and ask Him to help me and make me willing to engage in this daily walk with Him afresh. Now I challenge you with the same. If you have accepted Him, do you know how to walk with Him daily or is your reliance on Him very selective as I discovered my walk has been? 
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, becauseGod is love1 John 4:7-9

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Emissions Test

What would your emissions test reveal?  Remember those emissions tests we used to have to do for our vehicles?  The other day I was driving behind one of those trucks that would have failed the emissions test down-right if they were still enforced.   Well I got to thinking about what we as Christian mommas leave behind, our aroma…  Are we emitting the Love of Christ or smoke from hell??? Yikes I can’t believe I said that!!

Sometimes I can tell the person in the car ahead of me is a smoker because that’s what I smell coming through my ac.  What am I leaving for the person to “smell” behind me?  What am I leaving for my kids to “smell”?  Am I emitting a confusing message?  Do I yell at them to say loving & kind things to each other?  (read that again, LOL)

Did you ever just listen to your kids talking with each other?  My Matthew sounds A LOT like me.  He talks to his sister sometimes with my words which leaves me thinking, “Yikes, is THAT how I really sound?!

I prayed for my husband to reach his destinations safely the other day when it was raining really hard.  My prayer went something like this:  Lord, I pray that You prepare the road before him as dry ground and that he would leave a trail of milk & honey so people who would follow him (including the contractors he works with) would know how to get to the Promised Land (Salvation through Jesus Christ.)  Then as I prayed, God gave me that verse in Isaiah 30:21, “This is the way, walk in it.”  (It’s so worth reading the verses surrounding too.  Isaiah 30:20-22)

So ladies, are we leaving a trail to Jesus?  Maybe you need to ask Him to give you an emissions test like I did here:  Lord, thank You so much for the blessings you prepared around me, my family, friends, and neighbors.  I pray that you would wash me a fresh today to start out with new mercies and help me be merciful and kind to others as I emit the love of Jesus.  Amen!


Deuteronomy 6:2-4  that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!”

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ten Ways To Love Your Children

Ephesians 6:4 - Fathers (Parents) do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

This is an excerpt from a Men's Conference, but I got so much out of it I thought I'd share. Hopefully, there is at least one item that you can benefit from. I will post 5 this week and the other 5 next week.

Raising godly kids today takes intentionality--the right amount of structure, time, prayers, encouragement, and affection. My own children are grown now. I did a lot of things wrong, but here are ten practical love-in-action things I did right for you to consider. Remember, love is what love does.

1. Pay Your Children to Read the Bible - Nothing has more potential to transform our children into faithful followers of Jesus than reading God's Word. But it probably won't happen by itself. Patsy and I had an unconventional idea about this. When our kids were about twelve and nine, we decided to pay them to read the Bible. We told them, "If you will read five minutes a day for 25 or more days in a month, we'll give you the money to buy whatever CD you want." I thought I detected a yawn. Then we added, "And if you read 25 days for ten out of twelve months, we will pay you $250." Suddenly their eyes lit up! Finally we said, "But if you read 25 days or more a month for all twelve months, we will double that and pay you $500." That really got their attention! Our kids made monthly calendars, taped them to their mirrors, and made an X through each day they read. We put them on the honor system and even gave them the ability to make up missed days.
Was that bribery? I don't know. But our kids always did their daily devotions and they both love Jesus. Paying our kids to read the Bible was the single best thing we ever did for our children's faith.

2. Lead Your Children in Family Devotions - Three or four days a week during the school year, we had a 15-minute family devotion. I usually started with a life situation--something in the neighborhood, from the newspaper, or a school situation. Then I read a Scripture passage that applied. We finished with each of us saying a short prayer. To make the prayers more than "Let us have a good day," we also prayed for someone in need each time.

3. Establish Work Boundaries - To make family my priority, I set up some rules: leave work no later than 6:00 p.m., don't take work home, and don't work weekends. During my evening commute, I'd let my mind process what I'd been doing during the workday--until I drove over a creek about a mile from our home. Then I would put everything into a mental briefcase and toss it into the creek. That gave me a couple of minutes to prepare to greet my family.

4. Make Your Family Your Number One Ministry - A tornado ripped through our church building. The call went out for volunteers to help clean up on Saturday. But my son had a game that day and I thought the game was a higher priority. Sunday the volunteers were asked to stand and be thanked publicly. I briefly felt guilt and shame for not having been there with them. Without intending to do so, churches can put pressure on you to serve others to the neglect of your own family. What's your response going to be? No one else cares about your family like you do. No one else can, or should, take responsibility to disciple your family. That one's on you. You have to set boundaries. Your most important small group and ministry is your family. Until you get this right, you really shouldn't be doing ministry anywhere else.

5. Spend Time with and Date Your Children - When our kids were young, we played board games after dinner. I endured endless, mind- numbing repetitions of Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders--games that require the IQ of a goldfish. I drove them to school during the week and stayed home with them every Saturday morning while Patsy ran errands. I cherished this time with them. Once they became teenagers, I started taking one child out every Tuesday for a dinner date and something fun, like ice cream, go- carts, or the mall. Looking back, those were the best, and almost only, one-on-one times we had. If you're not intentional about this, a whole year can go by without you sharing a single deep conversation with your kids.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Will Always Remember...

I think I will always remember the day I took my sweet little princess to the pediatric cardiologist. We left the office praising God for his amazing work in her life. Although she has several small holes in the bottom area of her heart, she is a strong, healthy, vibrant little girl. We are so thankful!

As I shared a little while back, however, it was also the same day that we discovered that my husband had a heart problem called atrial fibrillation. From there we had  a series of doctor appointments, second opinions, medications, medical advice, and lots and lots of waiting. We were waiting to see which step to take next. Would God miraculously heal my hubby or would we need medical intervention?

I will never forget the look on my husband’s face when he told me the A-Fib diagnosis was confirmed by an EKG. More than that, however, what he said will be ingrained in my mind forever. It was if the Holy Spirit took hold of him and calmed his fears. The fear on his face melted away and was replaced by a firm resolve to hold on to his sovereign Creator. After battling with his own emotions of fear, he looked at me and said, “I am convinced that I have probably had this for a long time. Although the doctors are just discovering it, God knew the whole time. He is the one who has sustained me this far, and He will continue to sustain me.”

Following his lead, I decided to run with that peace that he was experiencing. In such a strange way it made such complete sense. There was no need to worry because I was not in control anyway, but GOD was always and will always be in control. It is a scary, but completely liberating feeling when we fully comprehend how “out-of-control” we really are, yet how in control God is.

I will not sit here and tell you that this process of spiritual refinement and growth through trials has been easy. It has not been (and it still isn’t), but God has been faithful to add to my character and my faith.

 I am so thrilled to inform you that after much discussion and prayer and discussion and more prayer, we decided that my husband would have a procedure called cardioversion to reset the rhythm of his heart…and it worked!!! PRAISE OUR GREAT GOD!!!

I look back and I am amazed at God’s faithfulness. I am grateful for his healing, and at the same time I find myself being thankful for the fruit—patience, peace, faithfulness, goodness, love, joy, gentleness, and more that HE has produced in our lives as we decided to trust HIM.

Ladies, I just want to encourage you to do three simple things in the midst of any trial you are facing—BIG or small:

  1. Pray—this is your lifeline to the living, true God. It is your way to communicate your heart, feelings, concerns, frustrations, fears, and emotions to the God of the universe…and he will NEVER turn you away. Don’t be afraid to be honest with God; he knows what you are thinking anyway. He can perfectly handle anything you are feeling, and he wants you to cast your cares upon Him.

  1. Read the Word—this is God’s way of speaking back to you. When the voices of doubt and fear try to crowd our thoughts, we can push them out with the TRUTH of God’s word. I often find that God’s word does away with a lot of grey in my life and makes things very plain for me—black and white. God’s word also provides me with comfort, strength, guidance, and peace when I need it. All I have to do is invest time in reading it and letting it sink deep into my heart and mind.

  1. Serve others and pray for them in their distress. I often find that taking the attention off of myself and praying and serving someone else refreshes my soul in ways I can not explain. It gives me something good and trustworthy to do while I wait.


Heavenly Father, you are faithful and true. You are with us even until the ends of the earth. When life gets tough and trials come our way, help us to hold firmly to our relationship with you. May we rest in your arms, delight in your truth, and hide in the shadow of your wings. Thank you that you are faithful to meet us right where we are. You never turn us away. You always have time for us. For YOU, we are eternally grateful and thankful.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonian 5:16-18

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Change Up Your Routine

My husband was invited to go fishing with some friends last night. This caused our nightly routine to be changed up a little. We decided to do something fun after dinner instead of going straight for the bath, so the boys wouldn't miss their night time with daddy. We went outside in front of our house and "played ball."

How refreshing it was to get outside and have some fun together as a family. Each Monday we have our family day where we go to a park or beach and spend quality time outdoors together, but not normally during the week. It was great. It allowed us to converse with neighbors, have fun, and be refreshed by the outdoors.  Making memories my children will look back on and incorporate into their own families.

My husband and I both agreed we need to get outside with the kids nightly instead of just weekly. We had so much fun. All from a change in our normal routine. It also allowed me to watch my son, who has been struggling tons lately, have fun learning a new game. It blessed me to see the kids laughing, smiling, and having fun.

Have you gotten out and had some fun with your kids lately?

Change up your routine today and include something fun!

If you have a struggling child, find an activity they can succeed at and allow them to have fun.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

His Plan Looks Different Than Mine

 As I look back, nearly a month has gone by since enrolling my son in public school. I went in with great hopes of seeing his weaknesses turn into strengths. As the first week came to a close, I had thoughts of withdrawing him as it was both emotionally and spiritually draining. Most days ended with a report from his teacher that showed his behavior wasn't good. Daily phone calls and/or emails from his teacher, highlighting his struggles, made me sad. She encouraged my husband and I to consider homeschooling him again. I scratched my head wondering, "What just happened?"

I had prayed, sought counsel, received confirmation in scripture and honestly felt the Holy Spirit guiding me in that decision. So what happened? His plan. It wouldn't be until a few weeks later that I felt the Lord encourage me to email his teacher (who no longer was his teacher as we were homeschooling again) and ask how I could serve her in the classroom this year even as my son was no longer her student.

As my fingers typed her that email, my flesh was so weary but I chose to obey His prompting. Not understanding. Not  knowing why, but I obeyed. She responded back excitedly wanting me to volunteer in her classroom weekly. She doesn't know Jesus. HE has a plan. HE wants to show her His love.

The Lord planned this whole thing. HE knew my husband would go in for a conference and ask to pray with her. HE knew I would send response emails with scripture verses in them to her. HE knew we needed to voice to her how we are praying for her daily and had been (for the perfect teacher for my son) over the summer as well. HE knew my son would only be there for a week. HE knew we needed her and she needed us too!

I plan to volunteer in her classroom soon. I am praying my eyes will be open for ministry opportunities in out-of-the-ordinary ways, as I serve her. 

Has that happened to you before? When you have heard Him and obeyed yet it went completely different than you thought?  Did HIS plan look different than what you were expecting?

Has HE directed ministry through your kids, for you to do, that was unexpected?

Keep your eyes open for ministry opportunities, with those you entrust your little ones to.

HIS plan looked different than mine but what an amazing journey my faith will be if I will trust and obey.

ps. My son's teacher shared with a colleague (who also is a friend of ours) that she would like to try out our church sometime! God is working! WOOHOO!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Magic Bullet Parenting

Last Christmas our son asked for a “Magic Bullet.” 
Google Image
You may have one or know how “magical” they are.  Don’t be fooled its simply a glorified small blender that some advertising Genie dreamed up.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my son has loved his “Magic Bullet” probably more than a lot of those who own the Vitamix.
         I was reminded of the “Magic Bullet” after returning from this past weekend’s marriage retreat with Greg.  The location was incredible; the main sessions and the food were fantastic and we especially enjoyed visiting with the other couples.  It was a super sweet retreat.        
         Funny we were at a marriage conference and yet we chose to attend the parenting session even with our children at ages: 23, 21 and 15.  Truthfully I chose the workshop because I respect those who were teaching.  The workshop didn’t disappoint.
         As I took notes, I began making bullet points of those things I thought most beneficial to our parenting.  Here are five of my favorite “Magic Bullets:”

·      The way our children “turn out” has nothing to do with my parenting, but rather everything to do with God’s grace.
·      Most parental problems are marital problems. 
·      The marriage relationship must be more important than our parental relationships.
·      Give assurance to your children, love them, tell them, and affirm them! Be their biggest fan!
And my favorite…
·      There is nothing I’ve done in my parenting that can’t be redeemed!
These five “bullets” of truth are giving me direction and blessing me with encouragement.  I think these five truths can be summed up by saying, 
“Producing good children is an act of God’s grace, and my part is to love their father and cheer them on!”
         I recognize there is much more to being a good parent.  Find the “Magic Bullets” you need for your parenting.  Seek them in your personal study in God’s Word, in prayer, in Christian parenting books, and with other godly parents.  Our Savior is so much more than a “Magic Bullet!” for our parenting, He is the “Miracle Projectile!” 

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Where in your life is God trying to teach you to depend on Him? Where is He saying, “Hey, come unto me and let me give you rest?”

We walk through our lives as “independent women.” God so passionately loves us! He is whispering to us, “Come unto me” and we can’t hear Him because we are so busy working things out in our own strength and in our own time. We are in control.

As a parent I think of how it breaks my heart to watch my children try so hard to do things, knowing I could so easily help them. But in their stubborn prideful little hearts they stomp their foot and say, “ No, I can do it!” We can watch our children struggle to read, do a math problem or make a friend. All these things break our hearts and we fight the urge to do it for them, knowing they need to learn. But, isn’t there ways we can make it easier for them? We can teach them, we can guide them, encourage and love them… if… they let us. It is when they want to do it all on their own that it is the most heart breaking to watch.

I can’t imagine how God must feel when He has said to us “come unto me” and we have stomped our foot and with a heart full of stubbornness and pride said “No! I can do it myself.” Or maybe we have just said “let me give this a try on my own first.”

“Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus is our rest, our peace, our comfort and strength. He doesn’t want us to be independent. He wants us to be dependent on Him.

Isaiah 40: 28-31

28Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Psalm 62:5-8

5Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
6He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7My salvation and my honor depend on Goda;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Jesus, Help"

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

As Christians we know that we will have trials and struggles everyday.  Some big some small none the less trials.  In the Cudmore home we are learning to ask Jesus for help.  Simply ask for help.  Not to ask for help and then go off and try to figure everything out on our own.  It takes practice; to ask and then rest receiving peace. 

Peter's words in 1 Peter 5:6-11 encourages us to ask, receive, and believe. "Humble yourselves (ask for help), therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."  When you ask yet decide, whether consciously or subconsciously, to handle the situation yourself,  you find yourself alone without help and a perfect target for the enemy. By asking and believing you "Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world (everyone needs help) are undergoing the same kinds of sufferings." When you ask and decide to believe despite your circumstances or how you feel, "the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." There is tremendous hope as you chose to trust.  The battle is the Lord's.  Jesus wants to exchange your struggle in the trial for his peace. As you practice this and believe, only then, you are able to rightly represent Him for His glory and your good. You and Jesus win! Go a head try it. Yes, right now, out loud. Say, "Jesus help".  Now move forward supernaturally in His power, wisdom and strength.

My prayer for you godly mom, is that you practice this process in your mothering.  As you do you will be able to teach your children to do the same.  The sooner we learn as moms the sooner they learn as children and grow to be people who know and love God and live a life that reflects they do.  "to Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Letting Go In Love

Letting Go in Love - By Jill Briscoe

Will you obey when it comes time to let go? 

“Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.” - John 1:27 NLT

Andrew was at first a disciple of his friend John the Baptist.  John pointed him to “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (v. 29), and walked away from companionship. That must have been hard to do.  Andrew left John to follow Jesus (see v. 38).

Sometimes we have to let go of our friends so they can stop depending on us and begin a ministry of their own.  As far as God is concerned, you are greatest when you give your friends to Jesus.

Helping someone move on to other ministries is a bit like teaching a child to ride a bicycle, running alongside the little one, holding onto the back of the seat.  But at some point, you have to let go.  The child will never learn to ride unless you take your hands away, and you will have a heart attack if you keep holding the back of the seat!

The difficult thing is to know when to let go.  John knew.  When Andrew followed Jesus that day, he may have wobbled for a few feet without John’s support, but within a very short time, he brought his brother Simon to Christ! 

Is there someone you need to let go of or walk away from? I pray you will obey and step away with a humble spirit and in love. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please identify those people in our lives that we need to either walk away from or simply let go of. Let our light so shine that others see Your goodness and mercy as we obey. We pray for those whom you have identified. We pray that they seek You and come into a closer relationship with You through this experience. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Out of Gas

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)

Ice cold water: it was the only thing coming out of my tap. It had been one of those days with the kids when I thought to myself, “If I can just make it to bedtime, then I can…(you fill in the blank: clean the house, veg out on the couch, read something just for fun, talk to my husband in complete sentences—completely uninterrupted by children).” Yet it was bedtime, and my husband had just announced that we had no hot water…not even a little bit. So the thought occurred to me, I’ll go old school…I will heat the water on the stove and mix it with the freezing water from the tap, and wholla: warm water. Except, I turned on the stove and the pilot clicked and clicked and clicked, but it produced no flames. 

Well, it quickly dawned on me that our gas tank was empty. Needless to say, bedtime was going to be delayed a bit as we all headed to grandma and papa’s house for hot showers. On top of that, the gas company politely informed me that it would be 5-7 business days before they could come fill our underground gas tank. It appears I was not the only one who had run out of gas.

The truth is I knew better. God had been so gracious to remind me in His still, small voice many times before to go outside and check the gas gauge. But I had politely told God, “Thank you for the reminder. I will be sure to do that as soon as I finish (you fill in the blank again: wiping up this mess, putting away these clothes, feeding my hungry baby, etc.). Well, he had shown me grace time and time again, and we had hot water for many days…until the tank was completely dry.

How often are we like that in our spiritual lives? We run around wearing our many hats (wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, etc.) and we let the busyness of this life drown out our quiet time with the Lord. We have all heard the saying, “Miss a devotional one day and you can tell the difference. Miss your devotional for a few days and everyone else can too.” By all means, this quiet time with the Lord was never meant to be legalistic-- another check on our everlasting to-do list. Rather God beckons us to spend time with him because he loves us ; because he knows we need him. Because he knows that this life without Him is just too hard and we will find ourselves feeling empty. Ever have one of those days when you just feel like you have nothing else to give? I have! When those times come, I hear God’s still, small voice beckoning me to come away with him and be his love. To remember that he is my first love, and without him I will be like the gas tank in my yard…empty.

The remedy is so simple. Let’s commit this day to run away with God daily. Instead of letting busyness consume us, let us intentionally drown out the noise of this life. You see? I needed much more than hot water, I needed living water, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (NIV)

Dear God, thank you for loving me so much and for desiring to spend time with me. Help me to remember that you are my first love and that you hold all things together in my life. With you I can do all things, but without you, I will continue to be frustrated, overwhelmed, and empty. Please still the voices of distraction that seek to draw me away from you and help me make the time to run away with you each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


How often do we think we need other things more than time with Jesus, only to find out that we traded our peace for something temporal? Consider the course of your day. What are some things that tend to distract you from having a quiet time (TV, housework, fifteen more minutes of sleep, Facebook, smart phones, etc.)? How can you trade in those things for a truly relaxing and refreshing quiet time?

Verses to consider:

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men; for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107: 8-9 (NIV)

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2 (NIV)

This is a repost of my very first blog with Parakaleo. However, as I study the book of Revelation with the youth girls at my church, I feel the Lord beckoning me to spend more time with allow him to be my first love...all over again. :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Uncharted Territory

This was a blog I read recently read that encouraged me. Hope you are encouraged too!
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. " -Ecclesiastes 3:1

Carpooling Kindness

I couldn’t be more grateful.  What seemed an innocent agreement to carpool has turned into an answer to prayer.  This week we began carpooling with two sisters.  I didn’t know what to expect on our first day at pick up. 

Whatever my expectations, I would have never expected a thank you note and handmade gift on the first morning.  I have been more than pleasantly surprised.  These girls are such a joy.  They are kind to each other and anyone who is in the car.  They carry conversation easily.  They talk positive about the school, classmates, the church and their home.  They are appreciative.   They are just sweet. 

I thought it an appropriate challenge this week to ask our children to write a thank you note and give a creative gift to someone in their lives.  You wouldn't think such a small gift would mean so much.  
I celebrate their kindness to our daughter and to me.  Their kindness challenges me to do the same.

Colossians 3: 12
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."