Monday, March 31, 2014

Silly Games...Serious Truths

Lately, my oldest Doodlebug has been encouraged by his Sunday school teachers to memorize scripture verses. Each week he comes home with a new verse and a craft and worksheets to complete. It’s so funny because we are also a part of a homeschool learning co-op that greatly focuses on memorization and the ability of young kids to learn great amounts of information…especially to the tune of a song.

This program, Classical Conversations, has greatly challenged my thinking of the capacity of young children to learn all sorts of information (history facts, math laws, new languages, etc.). I was delighted when his Sunday school teachers applied this same concept to learning the Bible. When I think about it, I still remember the ABC bible verses that I learned back when I was in elementary school….A: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 B: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Acts 16:31 C: Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Ephesians 6:1…The list goes on and on…all the way to Z.

The funny thing is that I found the challenge of memorizing these verses fun when I was a little sprout. I would proudly recite my verses for a sticker or a trip to the blessing box during children’s church. I had no idea that some of these very scriptures that I learned as a child would end up being a life line for me as I reached adult-hood. The older I got, the more these verses came alive to me in not just my head, but also my heart.

The best gift we can give our children is a knowledge of who the Lord is (and how to have a personal relationship with Him) and a knowledge of His word. I want to encourage you as fellow moms to teach Scripture to your children. Help them commit God’s truth to memory. At our house, we use silly hand motions and dramatic gestures to help our children retain this valuable information. To my surprise, while we were teaching these movements to our six year old, our wee little ones were storing this information also and reciting it for family. What a beautiful sight!

My biggest advice would be to have fun with it, plant the seed of His word in your child’s heart, and watch God make it grow. J

Verses to consider:

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:19

Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Psalm 34:11

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, March 29, 2014


You will enjoy
 the fruit of your labor. 
How joyful and prosperous 
you will be!
 - Psalm 128:2

Two weeks have passed since my son, who is four, under went major reconstructive bladder surgery. What a whirlwind it has been. Exhausting both emotionally and physically. We were juggling the other two children with his seven day stay  in the hospital.

My oldest, who is extremely energetic and very challenging at times, struggled with transition back and forth from hospital to "Mimi's" house - where he stayed. He would misbehave when with us because he couldn't express how he was feeling. Many nights I cried because of his behavior and wondered if it would get better. I questioned if all we'd taught him was hidden somewhere.

Then a break through happened. It was a sweet reminder, from Jesus, that seeds have been planted and will bloom at the perfect time. We were playing outside in the front yard at "Mimi's" and heard an ambulance go by. My oldest (the challenging, very energetic one) motioned the rest of us to come close and hold hands. We did and he led us in a beautiful prayer for those being rushed in the ambulance. 

In that moment I realized...he gets it. I get it. The labor of planting seeds of Truth is taking root. Even though some days seem as if the weeds are overtaking and growing stronger. I have to continue, pull those out, and use them as teaching lessons-for both him and I- and continue plowing the soil of his heart. I must trust that Truth that has been spoken over him and modeled will resonate and remain when the chaff blows away.

It may seem small and insignificant to most, but it was huge to me. It was huge to my heavenly Father who rejoices over the simplest detail - that reflects the character of Jesus. 

As I watched him gather us together and listened to his lips utter a prayer for someone he never met, I was reminded that the "crazy" can turn into the "courageous" when turned over to the Lord. That God has great things in store for him.

Afterwards, I pulled him aside and praised him for that awesome act. Sharing how that is a characteristic of a leader. One who calls others to do great things. And that God wants him to be a leader.

Find one Christ-like characteristic your child has done this week, this month, or maybe this year. Stop and praise them for the fruit that reflects Jesus. Praise Him for it too!  

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Lifetime Parental Resolution

From the words of one of my favorite Bible teachers, Priscilla Shirer!  She has a podcast regarding mothering at:            
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love     noun    /lev/
an intense feeling of deep affection
a feeling of warm personal attachment, as for a parent or child
Initial thoughts about having children typically conjures up fantasies of cute little clothes, play dates, and quiet, cooing moments in the dim light of their bedrooms. So it can be a harsh reality for mothers to realize that their main priority as parents is not to share laughs and Oreos with their kids but to shepherd them. A parent's job is to lead their children with intentionality, guiding them toward becoming men and women of distinction, filled with integrity, girded with responsibility, and firmly rooted in a love for and honor of God.
With the birth of each of my children, I become more and more aware of the incredible mixture of responsibility and privilege involved in raising these boys. In the midst of long, tiring days and frequently even longer nights, seeing my efforts through the lens of eternal ramifications began to change my perspective. These little men, after all, are my chief way of reproducing God’s image on earth, proliferating the agenda of the Father Himself through little human beings who will hopefully become leaders of their own homes one day.
Our sons and daughters are to be like “arrows…in the hand of a mighty man” (Psalm 127:4 KJV) – sharpened, directed, and sent forth into the world to accomplish the tasks for which they were divinely created. This won't just happen on it's own. It will require the loving, diligence of a mother . . .who has made a resolution.
This week's resolution:
I will demonstrate to my children how to love God with all their hearts, minds, and strength, and will train them to respect authority and live responsibly.
No matter how challenging or how discouraging this resolution may cause you to feel or how many years you think you’ve already wasted, now is a good time to start. Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, your resolution to be the kind of parent who is purposeful and diligent will be worth it.
Every day.
Every month.
Every year.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tired & Weary

"O Israel, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? How can you say God refuses to hear your case? Have you never heard or understood? Don't you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."
- Isaiah 40:27-31

Are you tired and weary? The Lord never grows weary and gives power to the weak. This week as we are recooperating from my son's bladder surgery and 7 day hospital stay... I found myself overwhelmed and emotionally spent. Yesterday was a tough day. I awoke this morning to His new mercy in this passage above. My prayer is that if you are weary ... you do too!! Allow Him to do what you can't!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Touching God’s Word

“Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

How do we get our kids to have that precious, everlasting truth inside their hearts?  --Have them practice and experience Scripture.  I have this great book called “My ABC Bible Verses” by Susan Hunt.  The tagline is “Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts.”  Susan gives you a Bible verse, a clear explanation of what the words mean and then a story where the characters use the verse in a practical situation.

We were at church and our 2 ½ year-old daughter Jordan was intrigued by a friend’s little baby boy.  All she kept asking was “Can I touch the baby?”  She has plenty of real-like dolls she cares for but THIS was a REAL baby!  I let her touch his feet (socks) – as she had not yet washed her hands from Sunday School.  (I guess I couldn’t resist either because before I knew it I was touching baby’s arm!)

Opening the Bible is like touching the baby.  God is real.  God’s word is tangible and we need to let our kids see that too.  Let’s use God’s word in everyday life.

We use the “A” verse from the ABC book a lot“A soft answer turns away wrath” Proverbs 15:1

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sleep Deprived & Juggling Kids

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

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. 
-Psalm 33:11

The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen." - Isaiah 14:24

Today I drove home after a very long and tiring week in the hospital. My four year old son had major reconstructive bladder surgery due to a birth defect he was born with. With my children napping in the back of the van, my mind began to wander thinking of the path we were now on. How my son, for the next 10 days will pee in a bag and be in pain periodically from the bladder spasms. 

For a split moment I felt bad for my son. For my family. Our week had been exhausting emotionally and physically. Sleep deprived and juggling three kids as my wonderful husband holds down two jobs. It was in that moment that the Lord whispered in my ear that HE has it all under control and that it was all worth it.

Worth it? Yeah there were many ministry opportunities throughout our stay.  Times we had an opportunity to share the love of Christ. Times we could pray for our nurses. Times we could refresh those in the medical profession that give endlessly and many times without thanks. 

I know HE has a plan. My eyes only see how it affects my little Jack and his body. But HIS plan is bigger than that. HE wants those nurses to know his son Jesus. HE longs for me to rely on HIS strength in those moments I want to give up. HE wants me to express gratitude, to our surgeon, in a way that looks different from the average Joe. 

And so I accept the plan HE has for us. As uncomfortable as it gets sometimes...I own it. I will keep my eyes open for those moments HE puts before me where HIS character can shine through. 

Worth it? Yeah it's definitely worth it. HIS purpose and plan is a beautiful thing...a thing I am humbled to be a part of. 

Lord we thank you for ministry opportunities that stretch us and grow our faith. Prick our hearts for the lost. Allow us to realize that your plan is so much more than what meets the eye. Help us to see our kids as tools you use to share Truth with others. Show me how to be good example to my children as I walk in the light. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

I wake with you on my mind...

I Samuel 12: 23
“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord
 by failing to pray for you.”
         I have a list of mommies who need my prayers.  I think of Shona and Madie and Karla as they pack up for a church trip to Israel and leave behind a total of nine children.  Their excitement for a visit to where our Savior was born has been overshadowed by concerns for their children, which will be in others care.
         I have a constant call to be in prayer for Kate as they wait to hear “Jack is ready to go,” meaning they can leave the hospital after a long surgery and recovery.
         I’m praying for Dina as God is in the process of knitting together their fifth little bugaloo.
         I’m praying for Faith to enjoy her last days in Europe while her babes are in the care of their dad and daycare.
         I’m actually praying for you…Parakaleo Moms. You are moms who care about your children, your families and your relationship with Christ.

         As moms we are called to stand in the gap for one another.  It’s easy to get wrapped up and far too focused on our busy and sometimes chaotic lives. 
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      Our challenge today is to pray for each other as moms.  When one of your friends come to mind, pray for them.  Pray for their walks and commitments to the Lord Jesus, their husbands and children.  Pray for wisdom to parent, protection for their children and their ability to enjoy wherever the Lord has them today.  Lets stand in the gap for one another.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.

4 Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.
13 “From eternity to eternity I am God.
No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.
No one can undo what I have done.”
18 “But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

For the last couple of weeks I have found such encouragement in Isaiah 43:1-44:5.  These are only a few of the verses so I encourage you to take the time to click on the link and read the entire thing.

I am encouraged by all that God has done and all that He will do.  I pray that you too will find encouragement there.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Uveiled Faces

2 Corinthians 3:18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord and the Lord who is the Spirit makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.

Today I write this blog as God has given me a season where my sins have been illuminated and my repentance sincere.  Opportunity you might ask?  Yes!  I say this because I feel I have a chance, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to really make a change.
Recently I felt the Lord seeking and desiring all of me.  Not just what I have been comfortable giving Him, but almost as if he wanted me to literally die to self and let Him live through me.  I felt the Lord asking me if I revere Him?  Do I trust Him?  Do I love my family enough to let go of the hustle of this life to get serious with HIM?  Am I ready to let Him make a change and free me?

Luke 9:23 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (my emphasis added)

To be completely honest, I sometimes take the blessings of my family for granted and I don't always love them with the eyes and hands of Christ.  I have been harsh with my children, letting anger gain control of me.  I have neglected my husband more then I care to admit and at times I have put this world above my Savior.  I can say this without condemnation because I trust that our God’s Grace is greater than all my sins.  I know I can be the mommy who will learn to train my children without putting fear into them to obey, if I acknowledge my strongholds to God and allow His Holy Spirit to mold me into His Glorious image.  I know I can be the wife my husband so desires, if I look to God to satisfy all my needs and allow my husband to be just that, my husband.  I know God will be a priority if I allow Him to be woven into each area of my life  and spend time engaged in His Word.  Although this isn’t an easy season of my life (my sin being revealed) I am thankful to see my utmost need for HIM and a chance for change.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to HIm who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.

My hearts prayer is that If you are reading this blog today and you are struggling with being a mom, a wife, or with life in general, please know you are not alone.  I encourage you to fall at the feet of Jesus and reveal your pains to Him and allow Him to heal you from the inside out.   If you don’t know Jesus I pray you know He loves you and wants to be in a relationship with you.  Please talk to someone who knows Him and if you don’t have someone, please respond here and you will have many loving ladies ready to talk with you.  Accepting Jesus into your heart will be the biggest decision you will ever make and although it may not always be easy, you will never regret it!    

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"For When Your Kids Are Sick" by Julie Brasington

With my middle son in the hospital (with bladder surgery) this week and my other son sick with a cough, I stumbled 
upon this blog today, and was oh so encouraged by it. I pray you are too!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

God Cares About Your Struggle

"I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
 for you have seen my troubles, and you care 
about the anguish of my soul."
-Psalm 31:7

Tonight, in my son's hospital room, the above verse rang true. It was
a nurse walking through a tough time in her personal life and the
the prompting of the Holy Spirit to ask her some deeper questions. In asking, 
it allowed me to be reminded of the truth in this verse. HE sees her
anguish and HE cares. 

He allowed us to be a vessel to show her that. We shared
with our nurse that we would pray for the situation. I
wrote down her contact info and told her we would be checking in on her "struggle." 

God cares about your struggle too!

Have you voiced it to Him today?

HE is listening and cares about your anguish.

Be reminded of that truth today!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Firm Place to Stand

While going through trials some of us grow weary and worry and some of us rely on our Lord and The Word.  What do you do?
"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."  Psalm 40:1-3
This is the verse our dear friend Kate choose to show for today.  She stands firm on the rock our Lord supplies, and uses every opportunity to serve Him even in the midst of her son going through surgery. Please take a moment to pray for their family today as their little one is recovering.
Lord Jesus we lift up to you the Seawell family.  We ask You to give them a supernatural peace that only you can supply.  Please allow Jack to heal quickly and rest well.  Please also give rest to their family allowing them to completely trust You to care for all their needs.  Please also adjust their eyes to see the ministry opportunities You have before them.  In the name of Jesus we pray! Amen

Friday, March 14, 2014

Your App of Choice

     Once upon a time there lived well-loved and beloved play companions of Michelle and Drew. These companions were Big Jake and Little Trike.
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And so began our opening lines to the make believe stories we would tell our five and three year old children.  It all started as a way to keep them occupied and quiet as we traveled through two European countries looking for God’s call on our lives.

Obviously, this trip was prior to “Apps” or Ipads, lap top computers, Iphones, smart phones, even cell phones!  So quiet accidentally Greg and I rediscovered the hidden art of story telling.

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Much like the Canterbury tales we were looking to find a way for our (very busy and often too talkative) preschoolers to manage the many hours of travel. At that time our children were enjoying Barney the dinosaur, Steve Green and the “Hide them in Your Heart” music VHS tapes.

We had to leave all that behind to seek God’s plan for our family.  We would tell the stories of Michelle and Drew’s outdoor toys; a battery powered four wheeler and a red tricycle. 
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We told them stories of the now personified toys getting lost or hungry or wanting to stay up late.  We gave them emotions and feelings and put them in situations that greatly reflected our own on foreign soil.

The children hated the cliffhangers, as we would reach a destination.  They would beg for the next excerpt as we would climb into whatever form of transportation was taking us to our next location.

As parents, these are fond memories.  Truthfully, on occasion the children will recount these stories complete with their own memories of where we were and their understanding of what was happening around them.

Story telling is a lost art.  We have been blessed with so many “apps” we have no need for our own words or imaginations.  I encourage you to make up a story with your children this week.  Rather than jumping in your SUV and turning up the tunes or handing over your Ipad, try story telling.  It is a stretch.  It does take your attention and imagination.  These stories could be the beginning of a new type of deposit in your child’s relational and developmental bank.

I don’t regret the time we spent making up stories for the children.  I’m grateful we took that long trip with our preschoolers and we didn’t have the modern conveniences that we have today.   Is it OK to say I’m really glad they didn’t have an app for that?

My challenge this week is to put up your techie gadgets and play with your children.  Whatever age they are, find yourself “present” with them. Maybe story telling will become your new "app" of choice.

Psalm 78:4-6
New English Translation
we will not hide from their descendants.
We will tell the next generation
about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts,
about his strength and the amazing things he has done.
He established a rule in Jacob;
he set up a law in Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
to make his deeds known to their descendants,
so that the next generation, children yet to be born,
might know about them.
They will grow up and tell their descendants about them.