Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Stopping to Listen" by Courtney

When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” -Luke‬ ‭18‬:‭40-41‬ NLT

I am not just another person for Jesus to pass by.

When others told this blind man to be quiet. When they thought of him as a nuisance. Jesus showed the blind man and those looking on that he wasn't a nuisance to his Savior. Jesus heard the man and STOPPED!  He had the man brought near to him. How compassionate and loving is our savior!

Bend down, O LORD, 

and hear my prayer; 
answer me,
 for I need your help.

 -Psalms‬ ‭86‬:‭1‬ NLT

Father God thank you for your love. Thank you for bending down to hear me, for stopping and bringing me near. In a world full of hurting people crying out to you thank you for showing me that you ALWAYS have time for me, that you WANT to spend time with me :)

Moms, what prayer request do you need to share with Jesus today?

HE stops. HE hears. HE cares. 

HE will bring you near as you call out to Him. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

When Momma doesn't feel good...

 Ephesians 4: 32
“Be Kind and compassionate toward One Another…”

         I have a desire to show compassion.  I read the Gospels and see example after example of Jesus coming in contact with mankind and being “filled with compassion.” Clearly the best way to become more compassionate is to identify with the one who is in need of compassion.
    In the last months, I’ve had friends give birth to their latest additions. They have older children so my friends are learning how to add multiples to their lives.

         My friends are tired, insecure, sleep deprived and really don’t know what to do with their newest additions.  My heart does go out to them.  I do remember what those adjustments were like.  I feel compassion for them.

         Since the week before Easter I have been struggling with the affects of allergies (who knew?)  I have had a sore throat, cough, terrible head congestion, headaches, etc. etc.  I finally had a doctor recommend over the counter medicines, and prescribe a steroid and an antibiotic.  After finishing the medication, three days later some of the same (and others that are more painful) are resurfacing.  I just don’t feel good.

         I don’t know what this sickness is about, but I do know I can now identify with those who struggle with allergy season.  I can feel compassion for those who are fighting the latest blossoms of our beautiful Spring foliage.

         A mom doesn’t have time to be sick or recover from delivering babies. A mom isn’t going to get a large amount of understanding, because generally the dishes continue to pile up, as does the laundry.  The children still need food.  They still need to get to their schools and extra curricular activities.

         Moms I encourage you this Spring day, lets look out for each other.  Do you know a mom who has recently given birth?  Do you know a mom who isn’t feeling good? Pray for them.  Take them a favorite movie, magazine or candy.  Ask the Lord to fill you with compassion and practically begin to care for one another"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

No Negotiations

This week marks Matthew and Jordan’s fourth week of swimming lessons.  Most lessons as the instructor prompts the kids, their responses have made me giggle yet ache inside as I notice their disguised disobedience.  I never knew my five year-old to be a negotiator:  The teacher tells Matthew to swim to the forth line and he says “to the second,” so the teacher says “ok, the third.”  Teacher says to take two breaths, Matthew takes one. 

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” Mark 10:21 (NKJV)

In this passage, we don’t see any negotiations.  It is clear what our Lord wants the Rich Young Ruler to do, yet he… refused. 

As mommas, we are training and later expecting our kids to obey us so they will know how to obey God.  We don’t expect them to obey only part of the way or even better yet… refuse!  We are in the midst of teaching them through the word of God what happens when He says to do something yet the thing is not carried out.  A great example, however a little gory for little kids is in 1 Samuel 15 where king Saul was supposed to “utterly destroy” all the people yet he “took Agag king of the Amalekites alive.”

No negotiations.  No refusals.  What is God asking you and me to do yet we… refuse – or we try to negotiate!  Let’s be that momma after God’s own heart to do as He says, without compromising.  Our children are looking on.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"Called to Lead These Little People" by Courtney Hrinik

The LORD told Joshua,
 “Today I will begin to make you a great leader
 in the eyes of all the Israelites. 
They will know that I am with you,
 just as I was with Moses."

 - Joshua‬ ‭3‬:‭7‬ NLT

- Joshua had to obey the call to leadership first before God made him a great leader.

- "Today" God was just beginning to make Joshua a great leader, when he'd already been leading the Israelites.

- It was God who made Joshua a great leader.

- It was in the eyes of the people Joshua was leading that God would make him great.

- God would make Joshua a great leader in their eyes, not by displaying anything special or worthy about Joshua, but by showing the Israelites that He, God, was with Joshua.

A great leader is made by God because of who God is, not the person!

This spoke to me this morning as a mom.  God has called me to lead these little people :-). And it is by displaying his glory in me, not my flesh, that will make them see me as a "Great Leader" and learn respect and honor.

Father God, help me to respond to my children, always, in your Spirit and not in my flesh. May "Today" be the day that You begin to make me a great leader in their eyes!

Friday, April 17, 2015

My First Date is...

         You can imagine my horror when, our then pre-school darling, Shirley Temple “little me” came in from her tap dance class to start acting, singing and “tapping” out the words and actions to her first recital piece.  The title: “MY FIRST DATE!!” 
         What had this world come too?  And why in the world would they think I (maybe even “they”) would think it appropriate for barely five year olds to be lip syncing to a song about putting on make-up and curling their hair and putting on a silver flapper style dress for…their first date!! I’m telling you I was appalled!! 
         Of course my innocent baby Michelle was absolutely ecstatic with her new dance steps and song. Moms, I made no apologies my chin was on the floor.  Are you kidding?
         So now that you are feeling my pain…indeed the choreographed number was with each little girl behind an imagined vanity putting on her make-up from a compact and mimicking how you dress and brush your hair.  They then came from the back of their imaginary vanities to show a few of their recently learned dance steps: “slap ball changes” and “heal ball changes.”
         They would then be ready for their “First Date” and wait for their dads to come from behind the offset curtains dressed in suits and ties!  (The visual picture cannot be imagined from words, but it was a precious sight. The little girls expectation of their dads and then to see how hard it was for the dad’s not to run across the stage and scoop up their babies!)
         All that to say almost 25 years later, I watched this Saturday morning as our lovely, young, happily married daughter came to our house.  Hair in a pony with mismatched shorts and a t-shirt.  Her dad was clad in his camouflaged shorts and baseball hat.  They were ready for their date!
         Dad’s choice: the local diner you can walk too. The neighbors meet at the diner daily to talk about the recent elections and how long the new canal bridge is going to take to be finished.  After our daughter and her date finish their grits, eggs and toast they scurry out for a fairly typical Saturday tradition, “Yardsale!” (I’ve previously posted about.)
         As we have enjoyed our children at most of the stages, it is such a blessing to watch them gravitate to the memories of their childhood.  They tend to follow the memories that made them feel secure or happy or remind them of those they love.

         I am glad Michelle has learned she doesn’t need make-up or a new dress to impress her date.  Her husband IS her perfect date, but I pray she will always remember how very special her first date was…with her dad!
Zephaniah 3: 17
"...The Lord will take great delight in you!"

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Busy" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

Parenting is a spiritually significant and weighty responsibility that we cannot do apart from God.
We desperately need Him every day, and in order to be a parent that points are children to Jesus, we need to have a relationship with him.
If you are a stay-at-home mom, working mom, soccer mom, homeschool mom, and the list can go on and on, your life is hectic.
But, there is nothing more important in your day then to spend time with Jesus.
I know it is so evident in my parenting when I don’t make Him my priority. I find myself getting frustrated quickly and losing my patience. My words are short to not only my children but also my husband.
I have missed the whole point if I find myself too busy for God, for then I am far busier than He ever created me to be.
I try to make time for Him all day, not just a specific scheduled time.
Talk to Him all day, not just praying with your kiddos before meals or bed, pray for a good parking space at the beach, or pray to find that lost toy.
Read the Word. This does not have to be a super spiritual, micro managed time in your day. Keep a bible opened on your kitchen counter or in the bathroom. Read a verse or two with your kids at breakfast. Hide His word in your heart. 
Memorize a scripture each week. This can be really fun to do with your kids, or sometimes I write a verse on the bathroom mirror for myself.
Moms lets be the brightest light in our children’s lives.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Getting Back To The Cross" by Fran Maynard

Sometimes I have seasons in my life when I feel off.  I still go through the motions but I’m just not connecting like I know I should be.  Maybe you can relate?  I know when life is like this it’s because my thoughts are drawn more towards the world (or the craziness of my day) and I have taken my eyes off Christ.  When this happens it calls for a realignment.

Recently I noticed my kids struggling with various behaviors and attitudes, so I started praying “Lord please show me how to get them back on track”.  I should have known the answer I was going to get.  The Lord graciously showed me, they too needed to be realigned!  I needed to put Christ back into the reason they do or don’t do something and the reason they are able to succeed at it.

So, I shifted my approach from my own means to Jesus.  I reminded my children that Jesus cares so much for them that He went to the cross for each of them personally.   And because of His great love and mercy and because He is living inside them, they too can live a life that reflects His heart with new behaviors and attitudes.    

“The way to progress as a Christian is continually to repent and uproot these systems in the same way that we became Christians-by the vivid depiction of Christ’s saving work for us, and the abandoning of self-trusting efforts to complete ourselves.  We must go back again and again to the gospel of Christ crucified, so that our hearts are more deeply gripped by the reality of what He did and who we are in Him”. Tim Keller 

My question to you is, have you gotten off track lately?  Have you been trying to fix things your own way?  If so, I would encourage you to get back to the cross and Jesus crucified!  Remind your little ones of who they are in HIM and that He loves them very much..  

Lastly, our family picked out a family bible verse.  How fun to learn and memorize the word together!  Do you have a family verse, maybe one for each child?  This is ours.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is pure. That’s the most important thing about it.  And that’s not all.  It also loves peace.  It thinks about others.  It obeys.  It is full of mercy and good fruit.  It is fair.  It doesn’t pretend to be what it is not.  Those who make peace plant it like a seed.  They will harvest a crop of right living.  James 3:17-18


Monday, April 13, 2015

Going Somewhere?

My family and I have been traveling a ton lately and love to use the super fun road application, Waze! It is updated in real time and warns you of upcoming traffic, hazards, red light cameras and even police officers.  It also has a friendly interface ... like an updated PacMan game.

Yesterday, we were heading south on the Florida Turnpike from Disney, the application took us down one road, made us flip a U-turn and head back in the opposite direction for a mile or two, because there was an entrance to the turnpike at a specific exit.  A little while later into the trip, it suddenly rebooted and changed our course because it found another route that was a few minutes faster.  It is super smart technology, updated constantly by other Wazers in the area.

As I listened for what the friendly voice was telling me to do next, step by step, I thought of my relationship with God.  I am ALWAYS asking for direction.  "What should I do about this?" or "Do You want me to walk in that seemingly open door?"  Sometimes He lets me see the whole picture and how long it will take to get there, and sometimes it is just one command at time.  Sometimes it can be a long stretch before I hear a command. I can even be on a direct course and then suddenly have my course adjusted!

I frequently question commands. It is my way of processing the new information.  I desire to know the whole plan, step by step and can get anxious when it changes or is unfamiliar.  Voices go through my head "I thought we were going to do such and such and now You are sending us there?" or "This doesn't look like what I thought it should?"


Eventually the LORD brings me to that place of sweet surrender.  He reminds me that I chose to give Him my whole life,  every part of it a bond servant to Him.  If He steps in and changes my course or gives me directions I don't understand, it is because He knows what lies ahead in the road. He even knows what WILL lie ahead in the road...He has a path laid out for me and I need to trust and not grow anxious double checking/questioning His direction.  Whatever He asks of me, pales in comparison to what He did for me...He is trustworthy!

Is there an area in your life that you are finding difficult to trust Him completely? Go back to the cross.  What He did there PROVES both that He can be trusted and He is worthy! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Always & Never

Lately I find myself saying "always" and "never" a whole lot to my kids about those crazy things they habitually do daily/weekly. It usually starts with frustration and ends with those words flying off my lips. I later regret saying that, because it really isn't ALWAYS or NEVER that they do it, but it feels that way because of how often I am disciplining them for that specific behavior. But God has been teaching me the detriment those words are to their souls. If they continually hear those words with the struggles they have...they will eventually stop trying. They will assume I don't believe they are trying since they are ALWAYS doing that  or NEVER stopping that.

What if God said that to me, when I fail in an issue I have struggled with in the past?

I never realized how powerful the tongue is until I became a mommy. It has the power to give life and death. It can lift up or pull down.  It can encourage and catapult our kids out of the rut they are in, and it can also discourage and place our kids in a pit feeling like a failure. It is my constant struggle in this season of raising three kiddos- one with special needs and homeschooling.

The struggle is to remain quiet when I want to share how I really feel. When I want to let my kids know how discouraged I am yet realizing it's not wholesome words in the heat of the moment. I am learning the art (yes it's an art) of holding my tongue and bringing my frustration before my Maker. In my quiet time with the Lord, I can let out all the ugly words I am feeling and be reminded of Truth. God reminds me to see the cup half full instead of half empty. He sheds light on their successes instead of allowing me to wallow in their failures OR mine.

How are you with holding your tongue? It's tough, right!

In your day, is there a time where you can get alone with God to share your heart and the struggles in parenting? If not, how can we schedule that in?

What is your struggle right now in parenting? We all have one- as sinners living life on earth.

Don't be afraid to tell God of your hurts, disappointments, and discouragement in parenting. Bringing up the next generation for Christ is such a challenging and awesome job all wrapped up together. One day you will look back on these lessons - grateful He loved you enough to change you - and share it with another struggling mommy!

God loves you! Don't give up! Seek Him in all you do and it will reflect in the beauty of your spirit!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Desperate Parenting

“As the deer pants for the water, oh my soul longs after you!” Psalm 42: 1

         “Desperate times call for desperate measures!”

This week as I have prayed for friends with a variance of needs, I have recognized they feel…well…desperate.

A daughter, desperate for her father’s life.

An Aunt, desperate for her nephew’s legal entanglement.

A mother desperate over her son’s physical and mental limitations.

Wives desperate for their aging husbands.

And mother’s desperation for wisdom and strength to direct their children.

I considered those God recorded in His Word who were desperate.
Abraham for a son.

Jacob for a blessing.

Gideon for a sign.

Esther for her people.

Jarius for His daughter.

A thief for his destiny.

         Our desperate crys are not a surprise to our Heavenly Father.  Remember, He knows the need before we ask. (Matthew 6:8)
         I believe, as The Lord sifts circumstances through His fingertips to determine what may enter our lives, He gingerly picks those that will cause desperation.  Knowing that ultimately this desperation will draw us to Him.  He is the only solution for every circumstance we face. 
         Today as we find ourselves: with a toddler who won’t listen, or take a nap or eat their food; or our elementary aged child who refuses to obey our instructions; or our secondary child who is running with the wrong influences or our adult children who want to live without considering the consequences, we can recognize God has placed desperation in our hearts so we will seek Him alone.

         Just as Abraham knew “they” would return from the altar of sacrifice, as parents we can be quite sure God has orchestrated our lives and those of our children to fully rely on Him!  May our desperation be satisfied in Christ as our only solution!

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Lesson on a Dock

          The intent of last weeks Trailer was to provide anticipation of this weeks post.  The trailer carried the news I would be attending the High School Girls Retreat!  I cannot begin to tell you what a wonderful experience it was to: accompany 24 high school girls, travel the 6 hour drive, sleep in 5 cabins, be in a caravan of 4 vans, serve with 3 other adult leaders, and 2 camp house parents and endure 1 tick bite.
         The High School Girls retreat was so worth it!!  The Bible study was taught by each of the three leaders.  The teaching was on the fruit of the Spirit.   There were discussion questions following each teaching.  The discussion questions were followed by what appeared to be a lame illustration.  The physical illustration attached to each of the teachings preceded an even deeper level of sharing in our small groups.
         All that to say, one of the most memorable times of the weekend, was the first morning.  The girls were given general guidelines starting with the time and location for breakfast.  There were no requirements placed on them.
         As is my custom, I woke early.  I gathered my Bible, pens, journal and devotionals the coveted blanket (to cut the chill) and headed down to sit on the dock overlooking a very peaceful lake.
         As the fog began to dissipate over the lake, I would occasionally hear footsteps and voices.  I would look and acknowledge groups of three of four. When it was time for me to leave, the entire embankment was filled with girls with their Bibles and journals sitting individually waiting to hear the Lord speak to them.
         I was so blessed to see these girls choosing to spend time with the Lord instead of sleeping in.  As spiritual as the moment was, it was preceded by a funny comment in the midst of God trying to chat with each of us.
         Our daughter had chosen to come to the dock and sit where our backs almost touched.  She has not developed the regular habit of reading God’s Word but I was so thrilled she seemed to be starting.
         She had hardly sat down, when she spoke out, “I can’t wait to get a tan!”  It was such a contrast to what was happening I could only laugh and keep a smile.
         How often does the Lord attempt to give me spiritual truths and I come out with a comment that clearly reflects a total disconnect?  Sometimes it is maturity but other times it really is me keeping “me” at the center of “my world.”
         My prayer is I will keep my eyes on the Lord and not get distracted and caught up in myself.  I can ask my children to help recognize my tendency to distraction and then offer to help them keep their eyes on the Lord too!