Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"The Perfect Gift for Your Young Child" by Bruce & Stan PART 1

I read this devotion this morning and it tugged at my heart in such a timely way...only God could orchestrate. Enjoy.
Children are a gift from the Lord; 
they are a reward from him. 
- Psalm 127:3

      There is no shortage of gift ideas for your young child. Millions of advertising dollars are devoted to direction your attention to the "perfect" gift. You feel guilty if you can't find something that will educated, stimulate, and build self-esteem all at once (and it's got to be politically correct, biodegradable, and bilingual, too). The marketers know that price is no object because this is your child, and you won't settle for anything less than the best.

      Well, we have a suggestion for the perfect gift. It is not easy to find, and it is terribly expensive, but we guarantee that it will last a lifetime and it will be your child's favorite. We're talking about your time.

      Your child's greatest need is the security of  knowing that you care. There is no better way to convey your love than to spend time with your child. hours invested in your child will produce dividends now and in the future. You will be building a relationship, moment by moment, that will be the basis for a lifelong friendship between the two of you. 

       Don't be misled by the myth of "quality time" - it is an admirable goal, but it should not be used as an excuse for missing "quantity time" with your child. Quality moments usually can't be scheduled. They happen spontaneously, without warning, in circumstances you don't anticipate. Those precious, teachable moments will be initiated by your child, while you're playing in the backyard, driving in the car, or staring at a worm in the dirt. For your children, all of the time you spend together can be "quality time" because it is then that they have whats most important to them - your attention.

      This is a gift which does not come cheaply. It will cost you. You may have to forgo other activities. You will have to say "no" to other people. You may have to set aside a few perennial goals or hobbies for a few years. But don't worry. Those other things and folks will be around later, but the childhood years as soon gone forever. They are irretrievable.

      Give your child the gift of your time. Sure, there is limited supply, but we've never seen a tombstone which read:
"I will I hadn't spent so much time with my kids." 

What is God saying to you through this devotion?

What do you think He might be asking you to do?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Theodidaktoi - "Taught By God!"

Isaiah 54: 13 
“All your sons will be…TAUGHT BY GOD”

John 6: 44 – 45 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written by the prophets, they will be TAUGHT BY GOD!”

I Thessalonians 4: 9 “Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been TAUGHT BY GOD to love each other.”

Let Him teach you this day!  Recognize it is Him who does the teaching.  Don’t fret YOUR ability to teach your children, pray and watch GOD TEACH them!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Walking in the Light

As our son was reading his devotional book one morning this week about Isaiah 2:5 I was reminded of our recent mission trip to Haiti.    

"...come and let us walk In the light of the Lord." Isaiah 2:5

We are all walking on the same soil of earth.  However, how we walk is what makes the difference.  Some are walking in the light and others walk in darkness.  Walking this life with God is walking in the LIGHT.  At one time or another we are all faced with the choice to walk with God or choose to walk in darkness, apart from God. 

Last week my husband Ryan and I went to Haiti with a group from our church.  Our duties there were diverse but in general we went to help two churches and a medical clinic in the Jacmel area of Haiti.  One portion of our trip was to organized cargo shipping containers packed with supplies from generous donors aiding the 2010 earthquake victims.  There was also a container on the church property that had ministry supplies we inventoried, etc. 

As we went about the tasks at hand each day, we’d find ourselves going in and out of these containers multiple times.  There was an apparent vast contrast between the darkness of the container verses the intense sunlight from outside.  The dark seemed to get darker the more we were exposed to the light. 

"I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness." John 12:46

While we were in Haiti we were faced with many ministry opportunities such as street evangelism; elderly, children’s and hospital ministries, and interpersonal growth opportunities within the group.  Each moment stretched us.  But as we came back to the US, I realized we have these ministry opportunities all around us here too.  May we walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7) whether we are here, there, or on a plane getting there.  The darkness is NO PLACE where I want to be!  Let’s not leave those around us in the dark.  Talk out loud about Jesus and the light our salvation brings to our lives.   Let's do Deuteronomy 6:5-9 together mommas.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Don't Be Such a Cynic

Dictionary.com defines a cynic as:
a person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude.

As of late, I have realized I was a cynic. Oh yes I would mentally judge and question those moms who had to have organic, had to have gluten-free, and those who disliked processed food. Thinking and wondering how food choices could really alter all that much. 

Now I am a believer. Yep. A few months ago, we were assigned a nutritionalist to help guide us through Aspergers and the effects of healthy eating. It has been life changing for my son...and the rest of us too! All this happened after his blood test, where we were given a list of food intolerances. We began weaning off those foods and it has been AAAMAZING! 

I now have foodie conversations with many moms and share my experience of the change we have seen. Something as simple as food. A few different choices here, cutting back on this, beginning to eat that, and our life has been on a new path. One where my son's behavior looks drastically different and my heart realizes how judgmental and cynical I was until in their shoes. 

God reminded me that just because I am not following in their foodie footsteps, it doesn't make them wrong. Just different. As a mom, there are so many choices to make. Food is just one of them. Don't judge other moms if they feed their kiddos different. Just love God and love others. Accept people where they are, and how their convictions may differ from yours. It's ok. 

Are you a cynic? Do you look at other moms and judge how they do things just a bit different than you? 

Ask the Lord to refresh your mind today :)

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Dog Blog

        Our dog Cody…is a mutt.  Well, kind of.  He’s a rescue dog. No pedigree to flash or papers to prove anything.  But he is mine (yes, he should belong to our daughter, but I care for him more than the rest.  And yes, that is a parenting lesson on the “Care of Pets” I ‘ll one day figure out.) He is always happy and even with all the extra work for me, I really do love him!

         As I ran out of the house this week to get our youngest from dance, I thought Cody could ride with me.  He loves to ride in the car.  It doesn’t matter which seat or the heat, he just wants to go!
         No sooner had I opened the front passenger car door and thrown my keys on the seat, Cody proceeded to jump in.  As he jumped to the seat, he slipped on the keys and fell to the floorboard.  Although he wasn’t hurt, my keys caught on his dew claw.  (This is the upper “thumb” of a dog.) 

         Cody began to whimper with his left paw raised with the keys attached.  Of course I was tickled with the way he looked.  My white fluffy dog “holding” the car keys in the car as if to say, “Can I drive?”
         Because Cody didn’t “drop’ the keys, it took a short time to get the keys off.   I had to gently take them off while keeping his mouth from snipping at me.
         I thought of our parenting.  So often our children pick up what they think they are capable of. They stand in front of us, holding or telling us what they want or what they think they are capable of doing.
         Our children look silly, even paradoxical, “holding on to keys” that they aren’t capable of.  As cute as they are, we have to take away the keys and pray for wisdom to guide them to what they are capable of.

         Cody will not ever be able to drive the car but our children will.  It is our duty and delight to prepare them.  Let’s pray God will make it clear when our children are holding the keys prematurely and when they are ready, we will teach and guide them well!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"By His Grace" By Fran Maynard

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart.  You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News.  phillipians 1:7

My family right now is having the blessing and opportunity to be a host home to 3 camp counselors for Camp In The City at our church.  This past weekend as they were all recognized and prayed over I watched with tears in my eyes at the young men and women who choose to spend their summer traveling from city to city to serve our children and the Lord with their time and talents.  The beauty of a child's love for the Lord always amazes me.  

You see I did not grow up like this, maybe you can relate?  I did not have the innocence these young adults have.  Nor did I grow up knowing and loving the Lord.  However, by God’s Grace, our God made himself known to me and to my husband and because of this our children get to experience a life knowing His great love.  How wonderful to know that our family story has been forever changed.    

My prayer is that we do not take this Gospel gift lightly.  Lord GOD please give us a heart for the lost and opportunities to share Your Great Love with them.  Let our lives and actions reflect a BOLDNESS in Your name and our love be so evident it draws people to You.  In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen.   

Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.  1 Corinthians 9:19

Challenge:  Read Philippians 1 and meditate as you experience Paul’s heart to his fellow believers.  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Trend Setter

     Today has been marked on our family's calendar for weeks.   Our precious family friend would be having surgery to replace a pulmonary artery.  This would be her second open heart surgery in her short 20 years. 
      This mornings prayer request has been preceded by prayer and fasting.  However, today was the day we would press in all the more close to our Healer and Comforter. 
     Upon picking up my phone this morning I found this on Instagram....
      Our oldest chose to place Annie's name on her hand to remind her to pray!  She invited all who follow her on Instagram to do likewise, to write Annie's name on their hand and join in prayer for Annie's surgery.
      Annie's surgery is successful.  However, the next 24 hours are quite dangerous.  Will you join us as we pray for Annie?  You are welcomed to write her name on your hand as a reminder.  Regardless, we know, what Jesus said to us as His children, "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands" Isaiah 49:16.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Spinning in the Spirit!

"Hey Mom, where is my tooth brush?"  The sound of my daughters query reminded me our family is once again on the move.  Moving can upset even the most basic of daily duties.  How are things this summer in your house?  My family and I are going through a HUGE transition.  My husband's position changed at work, freeing him up to work anywhere.  After much prayer, we decided it was best to move closer to family...across the country! We made the journey from the West just 3 short years ago answering a specific call from our Lord here in Florida.  And here we are again...  anyone of you who has every moved knows what I am saying. In addition to moving our home, we are also transitioning the ministry we serve. 

 On top of those platefuls, we are  planning a thrilling 45 day car tour of the USA sharing our ministry with other churches!  This GRAND ADVENTURE is actually our "once in a lifetime" trip to combine ministry and great family bonding!
All of these things in and of them self are good things...fun things... the right things... but when you stack them all together and forget to take your Focus Formula with your vitamins... it's a lot! (cue the violins).

As I shared with someone the other day there are moments it feels like every possible thing in my life is in the air and spinning around my head... the Lord gave me the vision of a beautiful ballerina spinning around and around effortlessly and elegantly.  The trick is that she keeps her eyes fixed on a point.  This keeps her from wobbling and falling.  

I, too, need to moment by moment keep my eyes fixed on my Savior!  By praying over every decision and leaving the outcome to Him, I too, can move effortlessly and elegantly through this transition.  So can you!  Let's try your best, together, in each our respective seasons to keep our eyes FIXED ON JESUS!

Hebrews 12:2 says:
 "...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. "

Friday, June 5, 2015

Celebrate "Anything!"

     It goes without saying, but bears repeating, I don’t have this parenting thing figured out.  I write a post most weeks on this beautiful blog called, “Parakaleo” but I’m really just walking out parenting with you.  Some I’m leading simply because I’ve done it longer than you. Others I’m holding your hand, leaning on your shoulder as we navigate the next hurdle. However, I am also running to catch those who have are further down the lane.

     We are in this Mommy thing together.

     I want to celebrate a victory of our youngest (a rising high school junior) with you.  As I have shared in the past our daughter is a ballerina.  She has been dancing at a studio for about six years.  She loves ballet and pointe.  She is dedicated and loyal to the art of dancing as well as her fellow dancers, instructors and even studio.
(Google Image)

     When her studio was asked unexpectedly to leave their rented space due to a fire marshals’ request, God was weaving a perfect match with a nearby studio.  Within a week the dance studios had merged.

     With the abrupt and unexpected move there have been many emotions and questions from the students and their parents.  I applaud our daughter for being a champion of change!  When fellow students have complained about the new location, the “other” dance students, the “other” dance teachers, our ballerina has been positive and supportive on every level.

     She has been filled with grace and maturity.  Our ballerina expressed the positives of the new studio’s location.  Our ballerina recognized the students from the new studio could be new friends.  Our ballerina thinks the new instructors will give her new opportunities for different and maybe even better techniques.

     I’ve watched our ballerina live out, Philippians 4:8 “…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”  Our ballerina was looking for whatever was true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.  She was looking for ANYTHING that was excellent or praiseworthy.
(Google Image)

     Moms, I encourage you to find “anything” that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable in your children this week.  Find the “anything” in your child.  Think about that!  Share “that!”  And celebrate “that” in their lives! 

      And now without further ado, it is my humble honor to give Our Ballerina the “Champion of Change” award!  Celebrate the “Anything” in your child this week!