Friday, February 28, 2014

Respect Them!

Colossians 3: 21
“…do not provoke your children to wrath, lest they become discouraged.”

I was so blessed to be at ladies Bible study today!  In the next few days the teaching will be uploaded to under women’s ministry.  You will want to listen to every word by April Halleran.
April’s topic was “Respect.”  She shared many personal stories.  April talked about the fact that children are called to respect their parents. 
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She said as parents we must set the rules for our children.  We must demand they comply to our standards in order to make our families work.
From the above verse, April challenged the listener to consider how we can show respect to our children.  She asked us as parents to evaluate how we respect our children, their interests, hobbies and desires. 
I loved the story April told of her oldest son Patrick.  April recalled that she and her husband, Charlie yearly attend a Christian leadership conference.  While making plans to attend this year, Patrick brought to their attention the playoffs for his soccer team was the same weekend. 
April pointed out Patrick is on the varsity team but he is a freshman, making him the smallest and least experienced of the team.  She said he spends more time as a “bench warmer” than on the field.  However, due to Patrick’s love of the game he acts as if he is in every play. 
After praying about the upcoming conference April’s husband Charlie said he felt they needed to miss this years conference in order to honor Patrick’s play offs.  April said Patrick immediately stood a little more proud. 
As Patrick walked on the field she and Charlie noted that he looked like he had grown.  The game had barely started before Patrick was put in and scored his first goal.
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April and Charlie felt like the Lord had rewarded them for putting value on Patrick’s play offs.  By putting value on what was important to their child, God seemed to honor their decision by allowing Patrick to score.

Moms, this week find a way to place value on what your children do.  If its collecting baseball cards, sit with them and really talk about the players and why they like them.  If your child enjoys art, join them in their hobby.  Let your child know that you support them and value what they do!
In showing value to our children we will exemplify respect. It is amazing how much easier it is for them to respect us when we respect them!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

In the shadow of the Almighty

I was alone in the house and the quiet was deafening.  The future looked so different now, but not so markedly different than when I was 18.  I now have an 18 year old and a fourteen year old as well.  The children are my greatest gifts, the years have flown by, and the harshness of divorce has withered into the past.  It’s my future that seems like a familiar dark hole.  I say familiar because I’ve seen that darkness before.  When I was younger, and before I graduated college, I saw a looming, ominous, and frightening darkness when I thought of my future.  At that time, I was fearful of what that signified, what that meant or didn’t mean.  Only many years later, I realized that this same darkness was found in the Bible.  
In the beginning “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep…” the very same darkness I felt when I considered my future.  The Message describes the darkness like this: “The earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness.”  Gen.1:2
I wonder if you have ever felt that way?  I wonder if you have ever seen that darkness?  Maybe you too have experienced divorce or an affair, a loved one diagnosed with a terminal illness or even the death of someone, a child, and the pain is more than you can bear.  I, too, have been there.  Not only is the pain intense in the heat of the moment but also when the crisis is “over” and you have to start again.  I wonder just where and when does that happen?  When do you decide to start living again?  What happens inside that let’s us know we have to get back up?

Having come across this description of what was in the beginning, you can imagine the interest, curiosity, and pursuit that took flight in my heart as I wondered at what I was seeing.  The elusive feelings were not only identified but also described in such a way that I knew there was more to my experience than I had conceived.  What on earth could God do with such blackness, darkness, and emptiness?  What could He do with a broken framework, void of what was once known, trusted, and accepted?  What could He do with a future that has no plans, ideas, or even experience?  What could He do with a life that really has no influence in the world and at best is stained with the actions of another’s sin?  What only He can do!  I began to see it clearly. It was in the midst of said darkness that The Father broke into such bottomless emptiness and as “the Holy Spirit hovered over the face of the waters,” Jesus began His creative work.  In the midst of all that was void and without form, the genius of True creativity ensued.  Can you see Him?  Can you see His brilliant Light exploding in the darkness and suddenly light took off at astounding speed with which we cannot catch up?  He then in sheer power personally separated the light from the darkness.  He made the day and night, the heavens and oceans and all that is in them.  He made the plants, trees, shrubs, and grass.  He placed the stars and moon in the night sky, and the sun to rule over the day.  He made the animals and provided food for them.  Finally, He made man.  Man was different from anything He had created so far because man would be made in His image.  The woman was created after man and was the “crown of His creation.”   God saw that everything He made was good.  Goodness from darkness?  Structure, habitats, homes, purpose, relationship, provision, presence, activity, and focus were the result of all that was dark, void and without form.  

In the New Testament darkness took on another role.  In Luke 23 the scene is one of earthly chaos, confusion, and calamity.  It was about the sixth hour, high noon, and there was darkness.  Jesus was hanging on a cross between two criminals. There were soldiers all around jeering at Him and mocking Him as well as those who loved Him, refusing to leave Him alone to die.  The Bible says that on that day “there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour (3 O’clock)…the sun’s light failed.”  This had never happened before.  Remember in the beginning, the brilliant Light exploding in the darkness and suddenly the world lit up? Here we are again, darkness and yet in the face of death His most creative moment was in progress? What seemed like the end was excruciating.  

I have had a glimpse of such despair in my life and I am sure you have as well.  As hard as it is go back to that place, where the sun failed to shine and you found yourself torn, confused, empty, and void, go there anyway.  While I have had a glimpse, Jesus has seen it all.  He did not just glimpse our pain or even our sin, He looked it straight in the eye, took the penalty for it upon Himself, and sacrificed His life so we could see the LIGHT.  The price was too high.  His life was too extravagant to sacrifice and yet He did.  But Jesus was not left in the grave.  In fact, “at the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb…they found the entrance stone rolled back…so they walked inside.”  They did not find the body of Jesus in the tomb!  “They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this.”  So many times we wonder at what to make of our circumstances, our pasts and even our futures.  But lay that aside for just a little while and stay in the moment with these women.  They were expecting to find the body of Jesus.  They were in the darkest season of their lives when “out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there…the men said to them, Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen!”  Life from Death?  Wholeness, cleansing, relationship, forgiveness of sins, restoration, salvation, life, and LIGHT all resulted from the death of the Son of God who did not deserve to die and yet He did for me, for you, for all of us.   

God sees this kind of darkness differently than we do.  He does not fear or become anxious or overwhelmed by what looms in the shadows.  In fact, because in John 1:4-5 it states: “In Him was life, and the Life was the light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…” it was in the darkest of moments that the most creative force occurred. Romans 8:11 states If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”  The most liberating news is that our darkest moments can be times of God’s greatest creative work in our lives.  Maybe the darkness is the shadow of the Almighty going before us leading us to the heights only known by Him.  The view is spectacular…can you see it?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sweet Singing Moments

When my mom was growing up, she and my grandma used to sing hymns while washing and drying the dishes.  These days my grandma (we now call her GG for Great Grandma) lives with my parents because she can’t see that well anymore and she needs 24 hour supervision.  Every now and then when I visit or call them, mom and GG still enjoy harmonizing together.  How beautiful.  I want that with my kids!
“Praise the LORD!  For it is good to sing praises to our God;  For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.”  Psalm 147:1
Matthew and I used to sing together before he went to bed but for some reason we stopped.  In the car we have Veggie Tales and Cedermont Kids Worship CDs that we hear OVER & OVER & OVER &…. So our kids know the songs real well. 
“Praise the LORD!  Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints.” Psalm 149:1
One day I heard the most SWEETEST little girl singing voice coming out of our daughter singing “El Shaddai.”  She loves singing that song and “Jesus Loves Me.”  There’s one they sing at church, “You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out… and you shake it all about, You give your heart to Jesus and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about.”  Whatever it is, let’s sing with our kids.  GG doesn’t have her eyesight anymore, but she has a daughter that will sing a hymn with her at a moment’s notice.
“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.  Praise the LORD!” Psalm 150:6

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Sister's Keeper

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

My family and I have been blessed recently to rejoin the YMCA after a two year hiatus. I love this little time of refreshment for myself where I know the kids are cared for, and I can work out a little mommy steam uninterrupted. That is….until my little guy started having an issue at the Y. My oldest son and my daughter were having a blast, but my little guy would dread going, and he started saying “NO” to his teachers at the gym. I asked my oldest Doodlebug what was going on, and to my surprise, he was oblivious. He had no clue what the issue was, so I probed a little deeper. I wanted to know who his brother was playing with, if he was making friends, etc. After further investigation, it seemed that my oldest son was off playing with his friends, and my sweet little daughter was enjoying some much needed company with other little girls.

That’s when it dawned on me; my little guy needed friends of his own at the Y. We as a family needed to pray for that. BUT until then, I gave my oldest Doodlebug a mission: YOU are to be your brother’s best friend, include him, and help him make new friends. Our little guy needed to know he had a place to belong, and we needed to let him know that he ALWAYS belongs in this family. (As a side note, I am totally not blaming his discipline issues completely on not having a friend. My husband and I have to be very consistent, firm, yet gentle to enforce the rules. But we needed to play offense and defense so to speak to tackle this issue.)

The truth is the body of Christ should operate in the same way. We need to encourage each other. Three easy ways we can show our love for Christ and each other are:
  1. Affirming each other with kind and encouraging words. Not empty flattery, but sincere praise. If you see something beautiful in another sister, let her know.
  2. Time well spent—maybe a play date or a quick BYOL (Bring your own lunch) at the park while the kids play would provide the refreshment you and another mom (and your kids) need.
  3. Prayer. Let’s make a habit of praying with each other. It’s great to let someone know you’ll be praying for them. It’s even better to stop right then and pray with them.

On the other hand, godly encouragement can also take the form of admonishment. Maybe a little truth in love is what is needed. Maybe that sister needs to hear a loving, “Stop doing that because that is sinful and will end up hurting you and the ones you love.” I’ll be honest; sometimes we all need to hear that kind of truth in love. In the earlier example, I had to encourage my older son to do that for his little brother. Please, help that boy stay out of trouble. LOL J

When it comes down to it, in the body of Christ, WE ARE OUR SISTER’S KEEPER.
Have a blessed day in the Lord, my friend,

Verses to ponder:

And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Journaling Success

And the Lord answered me: "Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it." - Habakkuk 2:2

Today was awesome. I saw my son doing something amazing...showing the love of Christ to a boy on the playground. We began to pass out the sandwiches and chips we picked up to share with friends when I saw my son leave our group with an extra sandwich in hand. He walked over and shared it with a "new friend" we met a few minutes earlier on the playground. My heart leaped with joy as I watched... knowing Jesus was rejoicing in heaven as my son "fed the hungry."

I journaled a few words in the "notes" section of my smart phone and labeled the page "Journaling Success." I decided that moving forward, as I see my kids look like Jesus that I will write it down. Keeping it safe for those times I feel like I've failed as a mom. Saving it as a reminder of the fruit seen as it serves as refreshment for my weary heart. I want to remember those sweet touches of grace I see weaved throughout my child's life and praise God for it.

So I made a decision today. I will journal success of my kids and learn to share those God-stories with my friends rather than the struggles they had that day. 

How about you tend to share the struggles, of your children, with friends instead of their victories? 

Journal your successes and praise God for it!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Waiting is Hard

"Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord."
-Psalm 27:14

Waiting is hard. Period. It requires
trust and patience walking hand in hand.
Knowing this would be our struggle,
HE reminds us to be of good courage. For
that is the courage that builds Godly character.

What in your life is HE asking you to
wait on HIM about?

Allow God to lead and
the rest will fall into place!!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tummy to Tummy

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I remember taking the palms of my hands and pushing the backs of our children into each others tummies when they were little.  Tummy to tummy and depending on their heights at the time, pouty lip to chest or head.  There they would stand.  Toe to toe.  Neither giving.  Neither extending the olive branch or should I say, “an apology.”
         The picture of children not wanting to say, “I’m sorry” is engrained in my memory.  This week as we have parented our adult children I’ve thought it was easier to press them together and tell them “kiss and make up.”
         You may ask why I’m still parenting grown children who don’t live at home.  The truth is they are asking for help.  They want to get along, they want to make things right but they would rather be “right” than wave the flag of surrender.
         Waving a flag doesn’t mean defeat nor does saying you are sorry mean you are necessarily wrong.  Rather these words and symbols better represent a desire to “get along.”
         As tiny tots and preschoolers parenting often means moving on with an action even when their little hearts don’t agree.  As adults we CAN move along with outside compliance but ultimately our hearts need to agree.
         As our children have grown, I’ve come to realize their disagreements are not my stuff.  They have to work their relationship issues out.  Yes, they can come to us as their parents for guidance, but its not mine to make it right.  I should encourage them, direct them and pray with them.
         I also have to allow them to take responsibility for their actions, reactions, and words.  I can’t make them “hand-shake” or forgive or kiss and make up.  They must choose to work out their disagreements.  They must take responsibility for their decisions. I can pray.  I can listen.  I must come to the point I allow them to work it out.

         I will continue to pray for our children.  Even though I can’t press them together to “kiss and make up” I can allow them to work it out.  For them to take on “their stuff” allows them the choice to change their hearts.  Without changing their hearts they are just being forced tummy to tummy.
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Challenge:  This week as your children squabble help them learn how to work it out together.  The Bible tells us in Matthew to go to the one who has offended us.  Point your children to Christ as the solution and then back to their siblings to work it out.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Overparenting": A Leading Cause of Busyness

When we started having kids... and just kept having kids, until my husband decided four was enough, we knew life would be busy.  I watched families with less children whose lives were constantly busy and I wondered when they had time to be a family.

This blog was an excellent on busyness.  I hope you enjoy it:)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Doing Life Together

Acts 2:42
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

This wasn’t going to be my blog for today but after this weekend I had to write about it.  We were blessed this past weekend to have some special friends come visit us, the VanZwieten family.  They are special to us not only because they are our good friends but also because our children have known each other since birth.  When we moved from Florida to Tennessee we were told we would be expecting a visit very soon :)

The kids could hardly stand it, waiting by the door in expectation of their friends to come.  There were big hugs and giggles and laughter when they arrived.  Even the 2 year olds were excited to see one another and it showed.  The days were packed with exploration of the outdoors, lots of bouncing on the trampoline, hide and seek, crafts, a girly lunch, boys morning coffee, fire pit, smores, cuddling for bible stories, and late night movie watching.  

Unfortunately we also had some sickness.  This yucky bug managed to hit 5 of the 11 of us and it hit hard.  Thankfully our two families worked well together figuring out what needed to happen to make things run as smoothly as possibly.  I must give credit to our husbands who sacrificially had one day keeping our children busy and out of the house to help Franci and I recover.  

Lastly, I would love to say that there was no arguing, no whining, and no melt downs with all the children behaving beautifully, but that was not the case.  If you have children you already know that growing little disciples isn’t easy and it takes time.  Especially when you have 7 children all 6 years old and under.  We had some of what I like to call "teachable moments" not only for the children, but after some reflection, for my husband and I as well.  I say this with a smile on my face because this is life.   The laughter and sadness, the sickness and the joy, the hard times and the fun times all blessings from our Lord.  That is exactly what the body of Christ consists of, imperfect people, doing life together with a common chord, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.    
My prayer is that we continue to do this life well together.  Lord help us to be men and woman who fellowship well together in your name allowing our children to see that our commonality and purpose, is YOU.  Amen.  

Matthew 18:20
For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.

1 Corinthians 12:12 
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Don't Give Up

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 NKJV)

Those things that you have held on to in your heart, have pictured yourself doing, places that you have seen yourself going, and people you have seen yourself meeting, don’t give up on those dreams. Hold fast to them. Why would God put them in your heart, only for you to never experience them? That’s not His character. If He gave you a dream, He will surely bring it to pass. His ways are unsearchable and past finding out. You may have spent years wondering how, but it’s not our job to figure out how. When it comes to our dreams, the only thing God requires is our faith and our obedience. Don’t stop talking about it. Tell everyone you know, “God has giving me a dream and He is going to bring it to pass! He is going to give me the favor I need, the resources I need, and the knowledge I need! I will see my dreams right before my eyes and I am so excited!” No matter how big you can dream, God’s dreams for you are always bigger. Maybe your planning partner left you and the team you thought would assist chose to take a different path. Know that any work that God calls us to do, He always sends the right people. Even when your life takes a drastic turn and you seem far away from your goals, you’re never too far. God already knew what would happen in your life and He has prearranged you to still get to your assigned destination right on schedule. You steps are truly ordered by The Lord. Never underestimate what God can do. Don’t limit Him. Don’t set borders and boundaries on Him. With God, anything is possible when you believe. Don’t spend another day merely wanting, desiring and longing. Go after your dreams and possess what God has put in your heart. Maintain your vision. Maintain your glow. Maintain your enthusiasm. God will SURELY bring it to pass!

Prayer: Father, You are my great and mighty God. The dreams you have placed in my heart. I believe you will bring them to pass. Thank You for helping me to hold fast and not let go. There is work to do for Your kingdom and people to reach. Help me go after it with everything in me and not stop until Your dreams for my life are a reality. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Shift in Perspective

Last night as I slipped into bed, after a long day, I visited Facebook right before checking out. I was nursing my little one, feeling tired and exhausted, wishing she was weaned and reading posts. I was touched by a post and wanted to share it with you today. It made me think. It caused me to have a shift in perspective. I pondered and praised Jesus for the three healthy kids HE entrusted me with. 

Their names are Bob and Danielle. They are a young, newly married couple who just had their first child. As I read their post it was so humbling and encouraging all in the same. I ended my night by kissing my sweet daughter and thanking Jesus for my kids. I hope this post challenges your perspective too.
Here is Bob's post...
Sorry for doing a bad job of updating lately. We’ve tried doing this a few times recently, but news seemed to keep changing every few days.

You guys have been awesome. We walk our days with happier steps thanks to you. We’re grateful for the kind things you continue to throw at us, mainly really sweet notes and good food. There is power in the pen, and quite possible more power in the spatula.

Baby June continues to climb the charts of cuteness. Its impossible for the nurses not to admire June’s long eyelashes, her full head of hair, and her well-groomed fingernails (thanks mom!). June is still everyone’s favorite.

Heading into our 11th week of NICU, it seems like we’re now the veterans here. We look at the new NICU parents and smile at how long they scrub their hands. It used to take us 10 minutes also. We were so scared a germ would jump out from underneath our fingernails into June’s mouth. New NICU parents also ask permission for everything (“yes you can take a picture of your baby, sir”) and are way too polite to the nurses (just kidding so are we…).

The hardest part of seeing new parents come and go, is being reminded that your little girl has been in here way longer than anyone hoped. This means something is obviously wrong…

And it is. Something is wrong.

The last few weeks have been the author of some of the happiest, and darkest moments of our lives. Baby June has experienced several miracles and has given Dani and I countless inexplicable moments of joy.

But on the other side of those sweet memories have lived some sad realities, mainly that June continues to develop major complications that extend way past her heart problems. Without going into great detail, new tests have determined that June’s brain isn’t developing the right way, along with her lungs.

The council of doctors at DiMaggio’s have determined not to move forward with treatment for June. They have based their decision after looking at things from every angle imaginable. The team here has been very accessible to us, and have thoroughly explained their reasoning. The things they say make sense on an intellectual level, but conflict with everything we’re feeling as mom and a dad.

Dani and I decided to seek other opinions. June’s files were shared to teams of doctors at other hospitals, including Miami Children’s Hospital and Devos Children’s Hospital in Michigan.

We were hoping somebody would see something with fresh eyes that would examine June’s case in a different way. Sadly, this didn’t happen. 3 teams of doctors unanimously decided to pass on heart surgery for June.

This leaves us with a short time with June.

We’re not sure what this will look like yet but have begun conversations with hospice care. Making sure June lives her remaining days without pain, and hopefully full of mommy cuddling, is our highest priority.

We foolishly hold out hope for a miracle of biblical proportions. So we ask for more prayers, as this is now, officially, that scene in the movie…

My greatest struggles with miracles, and faith, and sick babies getting fixed has less to do with the existence of God, or the power of God, but more to do with the will of God. I know God can, I wonder if He will.

After all, my prayers are usually offered in a hurry, right after I’ve done something bad, and hardly ever feel powerful. Why would He?

I also sympathize with a God that is really, really, really, really, really busy. How could He?

Why would He? How could He? One questions His love. The other His ability to multi-task.

The truth is, if the Bible is true, not only does He love Baby June more deeply than I do, but He’s also paying more attention to June’s every breath more than I will ever pay attention to anything.

He loves June with ferocity and pays attention to her with fierceness.

So please join us in knocking on the door, of the throne room, that hosts the God, that's big enough to breathe stars into existence, and close enough to notice the small things that fall. Like sparrows. And sometimes babies.

Once in a while He doesn’t let the baby fall… and that’s the scene in the movie we hope we get to see.

I pray this post challenges you to have a shift in your perspective as it did mine. Please remember to pray for baby June, Bob & Danielle- that the Lord would do a mighty miracle for His glory. What that might look like only God knows.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Your Greatest Contribution

Tuesday night I started a new Bible study with some friends. It's different than any other I've done. It focuses on discipleship. It challenges us to look at who we are discipling and what we're doing to further the Kingdom. It encourages us to invest in others. 

As I read through my required reading I realized...I need to be intentional. Intentional means done on purpose or deliberate. I want to live my life on purpose, allowing the Lord to use me in ways to stretch others. I want to  make a difference for Christ.

Three things rang true as I began to study:

I need to lock my focus on the goal...heaven.  This is NOT my home. If I am always focusing on making this a more cozy space then my desire to see heaven will lessen. I need to spend time making deposits into my future home.  As I get inward focused I lose sight of my destination. My heart was challenged with a thought...what outreach am I doing, and allowing my kids to take part in? Life can take a hold of you and we forget to have a Heavenly perspective on the things we spend our time doing.

Be intentional as I disciple my children.  It must be my daily aim to seek to rear my kids in a way that all signs lead to Christ. Looking for ways to season their day with truth that will encourage their hearts towards seeking Him on their own. I need a plan, with points of action, that will remind me of the character I want to instill in them. I must seek His face each morning and get marching orders with specific instruction of how to handle the chaos that inevitably erupts.  

Time goes fast...where am I investing it?  Smart phones are great for reminiscing. Tons of photos saved on mine and many days I peruse through thinking back and smiling at pictures of my kids when they were super young.  I don't want get old and look back and question why I squandered  my time. Facebook, Gmail, and the like are all great things in and of themselves but they sure are time "suckers," right? I must ask myself what I can tweak and how I can invest more in the here-and-now as my children are growing. Many times I leave my cell in the car while going to a park or playground solely for the purpose of being in the present. And if we are in the present those ministry teachable moments will be there as well. Use every moment as one to lead them back to the cross.

Do you look @ your call as a mom and realize you are discipling your children?

What do you need to tweak in your life right now in order to be more intentional with motherhood?

Where is YOUR focus?

Friday, February 14, 2014


Hebrews 13: 7
“Remember your leaders who spoke the Word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life
and imitate their faith.”

I was blessed to have a group of amazing youth ministers during my middle and high school years.  They put up with a lot.  They took us on missions trips and taught us how to share our faith.  They played basketball and taught us how to play practical jokes.  They taught us to pray and to study the Bible independently.  I occasionally hear where these men have ended up and what ministries they have continued.

Our son is attending a Christian University.  He has had to take many classes revolving around ministry.  He has taken Greek classes, Biblical studies, theology classes and many others for his major of pastoral leadership.  I had the blessing of visiting with him the day he had to “preach” in his class.  He asked that I not come in but rather wait outside his class for him to finish. 

He kept mentioning “Doc” as his professor of this class.  I asked him “Doc’s” name.  When he told me, I recognized it as one of my youth pastor’s.  When the doors to our son’s class opened following his preaching I walked in.

“Doc” was busy talking with students. I went and stood near my son waiting for an opportunity to “reintroduce” myself.  (Drew had assured me it had been at least 30 years since “Doc” had seen me and he would surely not recognize or remember me.)

I was the only female amongst the “preacher boys” who remained in the room.  Somehow posed in that middle school posture of days gone by, I waited for “Doc” to acknowledge me. He scanned the room as he chatted with each of his eager students.

“Doc” seemed to be deep in conversation when his eyes landed on mine.  His  facial expression changed as he darted away from that preacher boy saying, “We have a very important guest!”  He marched over to me and threw his arms around me.

“Doc” began to cry as he made the connection that Drew is my son.  He began to tell stories of his early ministry.  Remembering prayers we had said for his son during a life-threatening illness, trips we had gone on, roles and responsibilities we had had.

During a lull in our conversation Drew spoke up.  He looked at “Doc” and said, “Because of what you taught my mom almost three decades ago, this morning I did what you taught her.  I do my devotions the way you taught her when she was a young middle school student.”

That was the moment we realized the power of influence.  The ripple affects of one small stone have impact beyond our imagination.  I’m thankful “Doc” didn’t look down on his humble beginnings.  I’m thankful he was willing to raise the bar to encourage a bunch of snotty nosed ragamuffin “tweens.”

“Doc” may never had known this side of eternity the real influence and impact he has had. But God in His goodness allowed us to all recognize that the moment of today can reach further into our future than we realize.