Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Paralyzed Prayers and Borrowed Faith

My parents live around 1500 miles away from me. This makes for a good long distance phone plan and lots of letters (complete with stickers and little doodles) from mom. A few weeks ago I was phoning to check up on my mom because she had been battling pneumonia and really wasn't feeling well. Our conversation was short because she was tired but she did say that she felt the sickest she had ever been but thought she might be getting a little better. Around 24 hours later I received a call from my uncle saying that she had been rushed to the hospital and was critically ill.

The next few days, my home was filled with hospital jargon like;

life support
oxygen levels
and chest x-rays.

I felt as if I was on the phone constantly - updating and being updated. Every time the phone rang my heart pounded a little harder - hoping that it wasn't bad news. Sometimes the details of my daily routine would give a little distraction but anxiety was just rolling beneath the surface. Every now and then the littlest thing would cause that anxiety to well up into a sob. Small, every day things like cooking, folding clothes, putting away groceries, coloring with my son - would bring back childhood memories of my mom and I would feel overwhelmed with a mixture of fear and unbelief.

If I can be honest, in those few weeks of not knowing and worry, I felt as if my prayer life was paralyzed. I felt as if I couldn't even form the words to express the depth of need. I could lose my mother. The one who had longed for me and loved me unconditionally from the moment she saw me. The one who had rocked and sang me to sleep. The one who had triumphed in my first steps. Chased me around with a spoon full of vegetables. Combed the knots out my curly hair. Taught me "Round and Round the Garden" on the palm of my hand. Pointed out pretty things like flowers and kittens. Told me about Jesus. Took me to Sunday School. Let me "help" with the laundry. Taught me my ABC's. Told me about boys. Encouraged me to sing. Told me I was beautiful. Prayed for me. Let me go. Sent countless letters and packages. Loved my husband like a son. Loved my boys - her delight. Yes, I was paralyzed at the thought of losing her and words for prayer wouldn't come.

Two things became clear during that time. First, that the Holy Spirit is a reader of hearts. Romans 8:26 says;

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spiri
t himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" (NIV).

Sobs into my cleaning closet were heard by Him and brought to God's throne. He is in the midst of our groans, our tears, and our cries - He translates them into prayers that words cannot express.

Secondly, I felt the strength of the faith and prayers of other believers. In Romans 15:30, Paul writes, "I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me"(NIV). Paul called on his friends for the power of their faith. It held him up and helped fight his battle.

With my prayers so paralyzed I felt strength from others when they would say that they were praying for my mom. I felt as if I borrowed from their faith. It's no wonder that God calls us a Body - working together - helping each other - compensating for others weaknesses.

I am happy to say that today my mom has been transferred to a hospital that is closer to home. She is breathing on her own and free of disease. She will spend the next few weeks recuperating and gaining back strength. It is a pleasure to talk to her each day and hear her speak of her faith and God's presence in her life. We look forward to seeing her, in person, soon.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

To List Lovers Everywhere

I've heard that there is a certain type of personality that loves lists. Things to do lists, things not to do lists, what to pack lists, what to eat lists, what not to eat lists, etc. I recently even came across a huge, thick, could-be-used-as-a-weapon sized book full of...lists...just lists.

I think I understand the fascination a little. When I was a young teenager, my friends and I looked forward to summer youth camp all year long. As the weeks drew nearer I remember us writing lists as we sat together in our church pew (gasp!). Our lists were exhaustive points of every item we must pack - from toothpaste to the new cute shirt bought just for the occasion.

Lists can make us feel closer to an exciting event, that we've made an important first step toward a long goal, that we've accomplished something! It could also help us sort out things like details, thoughts, and even closets. They help husbands remember what to pick up at the grocery store and college students remember the date that Martin Luther nailed his theses to a door in Wittenberg. Lists really are lovely. :)

All this being said...I have come across a few lists in my Bible reading. Apparently, God may like lists too - or at least likes to throw some in for His list-loving kids. I have found lists that have helped me make goals in areas of character, perseverance, treatment of others, love and more. I'm going to try a series of blogs that involve these lists and hope they will be helpful or at least a little enlightening.

To start the 'series' - my very first list that I posted on my fridge. True Love. God's Word is full of the importance of love. Not just "oh-he's-so-cute...must-get-new-shoes-to-impress" kind of love but self-denying, sacrificial, not-so-easy, love."A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (NIV)." John 13:33-35

Love...(1 Corinthians 13)

Is patient
is kind
does not envy
does not boast
is not proud
is not rude
is not self-seeking
is not easily angered
keeps no record of wrongs
does not delight in evil
rejoices with the truth
always protects
always trusts
always hopes
always perseveres
never fails.

Let's see if we can check off that list!


P.S. I keep this list on my fridge and try to work on one each day...I don't look forward to the "not easily angered" usually means something will come up to test that trait...:)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Long before my neighbors put up their colored lights and before the Dollar Store packed their isles with Christmas trinkets and before the inflatable snowmen were inflated...I had a Christmas thought.

I was driving down a country road on the outside of our town. There were no streetlights, just a scattering of houses and farms. I was struck by the beauty of the night and the awesome span of starry sky. It was the stars that brought the thought.

I thought of the shepherds outside of Bethlehem and how they must have enjoyed the view of an open sky at night as they slept under the stars. I pictured them, faces weathered by sun and wind and the elements, clothes dust covered and wrinkled, fingernails caked with dirt. I thought of how they were probably not revered or held in high esteem for such a common job.

Yet, it was these same dirty, humble shepherds that God chose to dazzle with a light show beyond compare. Thousands of angels singing, "Glory to God in the highest" and then He topped it all by letting them in on the good news that the long-awaited Messiah was born and where He was! He chose one of the most common people - one of the lowest on the social scale-to tell His greatest news.

It was that thought that gave me a much needed glimpse of God's tenderness. He loved those shepherds and chose to heap His mercy and grace in abundance on them. God's Son went on to show the same characteristics - loving the outcasts, the despised and the scandalous. I was reaffirmed that night that His love for me is as strong and abundant as well, despite my many imperfections. He is not just some powerful Being that is far away from where we are - ready to strike when we slip up. His heart is drawn to our helplessness and to the helpless. I got a glimpse of His heart for the outsider and loved Him even more.

Monday, November 9, 2009

He'll Never Leave

My youngest son, Samuel, is at a stage where he doesn't like me to be out of his sight all that much (funny how you can take the littlest things for going to the bathroom by yourself...). A lot of times I will come into the living room after a quick 30 second trip up and down the stairs to find him hanging on to the toy box and crying as if I had left him for good. I quickly pick him up and hold him close, kissing away his tears and murmur in his ear..."Mama loves you...mama would never leave you...mama would never leave..." until he calms down and gives me a big watery, open-mouthed, three-toothed smile.

As I set him back down with his toys my own words echo in my mind - "never leave you..." I think that every time I go through this with Samuel, I'm reminded of God's words to me, His child.

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (NIV)." Deuteronomy 31:8

Somehow, God loves me even more than I could love my children (though I can't fathom it) because He is perfect and His love is perfect. The depth of love that could never let me abandon my sons is even deeper in Christ. The Bible tells me that He loves me so deeply that He would never leave me or forsake me. I suppose there are times when I cry out to Him in despair - feeling as if He had left me alone. Yet, He has not left me. I might not see Him clearly but He is there. He couldn't leave me alone - I'm His child.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

H1N1 and Horses and Chariots

Well, today my whole family got vaccinated for H1N1 (that's a whole "can-o-worms" these days). As I walked from the hospital I felt a little relief that we had taken some measures to keep healthy but at the same time I consciously tried to remind myself that my whole trust cannot be in a mere man-made precaution.

Many moons ago, before there were tanks and airplanes and guns - there were horses and chariots. Kingdoms built up their store of pure bred horses and magnificent chariots as a way to arm themselves in the event of war. I can just imagine a king sitting back in his throne with a sense of relief as his army general reports that they have surpassed other kingdoms in equine and equipment.

David was a king in those times. It was his words that have been ringing in my mind these past few days. "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God (NIV)." The journey to David's kingship and his rule was full of ups and downs. There were times when his kingdom and army were well prepared with horses and with chariots and there were other times that David spent days on the run from his enemy, hiding in caves and cliffs with his few rebel followers. He knew what it was like to be as prepared as possible and also what it was like to be defenseless. But, he also knew where his true trust should lie. Physically prepared or physically defenseless, his true trust lay in only what is completely trustworthy - the name of his Lord.

I pray that I hold to Jesus in times of turbulence. That I would not put my true trust in needles or machines, in how much money is in my bank account or how many friends I have on facebook, in how well I can cook or how muscular I look...(ppphhh!) My utmost trust must rest with the One who has already seen the future, who calls me His child and who promises to do only what is for my good.

I pray that in times of uncertainty, you will find His peace as you put your trust, first, in Him.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Post It Notes

On a trip to Kenya, Africa a few years ago I had the privilege of visiting my friend Faye while she was interning at a mission for children and teens. It was great getting to see the place where she had lived for the last 8 months (complete with huge spiders and "interesting" toilets/hole in the ground...) and to visit an African zoo (where I almost got attacked by a lion! I'll save that for another post). She also accompanied me to the market where, in true tourist form, I was going to buy some souvenirs. I found a particular interesting painting on cloth that I thought my brother would like and asked the seller of the wares how much it would cost me. He told me a price and then both to mine and his surprise, my fair-haired, ROOTS Canada sweater-wearing old roomie started speaking to him in fluent Swahili...apparently telling him that the same painting cost a lot less in the market she had been to a few days earlier. The look on his face was priceless..."how and where did this obvious westerner learn such great Swahili?"

Well, I think it may have started in her room. :) I was a frequent visitor to Faye's family as I was her college roommate who was a long way from home...too long to go home for Thanksgiving and Reading Break. They so graciously 'adopted' me and I enjoyed many holidays with her family. On one of those trips, before Faye was to go on her first excursion to Kenya, I walked into her room and noticed that it was covered in Post-It Notes! They were everywhere...on the lampshade, the door frame, the window, the carpet, the door knob! I looked a little closer and saw that on each note was one word in what I assumed would be the language she was trying to learn - Swahili. So, a few years later, in a little market on a store roof, here was my friend - gone from Post-It Notes to prolific! I'm sure she would tell you that the process wasn't easy. The journey from mere words to flowing language would mean lots of memorizing, listening, observation, experimenting and sharing until it became almost second nature.

Faye's Post-It Notes reminded me of a passage of scripture from Deuteronomy 6.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates (NIV)."

Our journey to making God's Word a part of our lives is not always easy. It takes commitment and perseverance. Sometimes we will literally need to stick verses on our mirror or on the window above our sink. Sometimes we will need to make up a song to help us remember truth. Sometimes we will need to stop daydreaming about Swiss Chalet and listen to the pastor ;) Other times we will need to share it with others to make it more real to ourselves. Whatever it takes - it's worth it. Becoming "fluent" in God's truth and His promises is a blessing that will continue to strengthen, sustain and even surprise us.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (NIV)." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Friday, October 30, 2009

Good Gifts 2

My mom LOVES buying presents. Not necessarily outrageously expensive things like cars and boats and diamond rings (though, I'm sure she'd like to...) but little things like bookmarks and magnets and cute shirts. When we were kids she would actually individually wrap every little thing that she put in our Christmas stocking. I'm talking candy bars, oranges, little water squirters, toy cars, hockey cards...everything! She loves the idea of giving. She still can't send me a letter without adding some little token of affection - a small ring she picked up at a discount store, a bookmark, stickers, a necklace held in place on the letter with tape - precious. The last letter had a little bundle of handwritten Bible verses tied with a bow and the tiniest flower.
Now that I have my own children I understand how much fun it is to pour out little surprises and watch their delight.

I think God loves watching us delight in His gifts.

I grew up in one of the most beautiful places in the world ( a little biased...) - Newfoundland, Canada. I lived near the ocean, quite literally, a stone's throw away from the water. From my patio I watched my little bay change with the seasons and loved the beauty in each. Spring time would bring a softer, warmer breeze and the sound of breaking ice and the trickle of melting snow. Summer would bring towering icebergs, whales and glorious pink, purple and orange sunsets on the still water. Fall brought powerful winds and crashing waves on the docks and shoreline. And then there was cold...but so beautiful. I remember standing on my patio, waiting for the school bus and drinking in the view. The mornings of the first snow fall were usually the most stunning. A blanket of thick, fluffy snow covered everything, almost dampening sounds and making it seem quieter. The water would be still and almost frozen like a glass, becoming a mirror of the white world around it. It looked like crystal. So beautiful and breathtaking. And as I would stand there I would be so aware of God's extravagance. He could have just given us what we needed but instead He takes great delight in - delighting us.

I have to be honest, I have inadvertently let the last couple years of working and having and raising children cloud my vision just the tiniest. I haven't always stopped long enough to enjoy a sunset or paused outside my car to take a long look at the stars (perhaps carrying a car seat, crying baby, diaper bag, grocery bag and balancing a tea could have hindered it a little...). However, tonight I took a walk with my two boys through bright yellow leaves and was again reminded of God's gifts to me.

James 1:17 says;
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (NIV)".

I pray that I will continue to keep my eyes open to God's generosity and the gifts that He so generously bestows each day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What do I know?!

Today I was thinking about all the things I don't know.
I don't know exactly why the sky is blue...I'm sure I could check wikipedia but, off hand... nope, don't know.
I don't know how ants can carry a bazillion times their own weight ( I don't even know what that ratio is...).
I don't know how it is possible for my voice to travel miles and miles to my mom's end of the phone.
I don't know how my car engine works.
I don't know how to get my son to like mashed potatoes.
I don't know why my dog has to turn around three times before he lays down.
I don't know how bubble gum is made...though I do know that much of it is made in a factory in Sarnia, Ontario.
I don't know why we crave things that aren't good for us (I mean apart from weird pregnancy cravings for apples and pickles and spinach).

On a more serious note..

I don't always know how to handle every situation that arises with my children...can I trust that babysitter?
I don't know the right words to say to a hurting friend.
I don't always know what the healthy decision is.
I don't always know the right time to stop talking.

But, God knows. As I contemplated a few decisions I had to make I remembered a verse from - I don't know where it's found...let me check...James 1:5.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (NIV)."

God wants to give me wisdom for the decisions I have to make in my life. Not only that, He does so without finding fault. He doesn't think about all the times I've ignored His wisdom in the past - He wipes my slate clean and generously gives me instruction and counsel that is for my good. Thank You God. Thank Goodness, Someone knows!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sleepless Night Song

So, there's this strange phenomenon that parents are familiar's how a 24 pound two year old can take up more room in a bed than two full grown adults. It probably has something to do with the strange contortions they make with their little wiry bodies. It comes in many forms - a leg across mommy's back, a head snuggled across daddy's neck - change position - whole body draped over daddy's head, little toe in mommy's ear. Now, add a little nine-month old, with the same innate abilities and it makes for a pretty sleepless night for the adults in the equation.

And so went a night in our home just recently.

Both our kiddies couldn't sleep and both ended up in our room. Lack of sleep can make you irrational and I felt like having a full-blown kick-my-legs-crying tantrum at 3 AM (did I say felt like? I may have kicked my legs a little...and cried...). Needless to say, the next morning I felt nothing like being nice or gentle or patient or anything! I just wanted to sleep. However, like grownups do, I plodded through the day, putting on a smile of encouragement at my son's newest words and patience when my youngest squirmed out of his almost fastened diaper for the third time (see previous post - The Struggle :). I didn't feel like doing these things - I could barely see straight - but I did them because I love my family.

My husband and I are reading a book called "The Love Dare"*. There's a quote that I love that says; "If you accept this dare, you must take the view that instead of following your heart, you are choosing to lead it...choosing instead to lead your heart toward that which is best in the long run. This is a key to lasting, fulfilling relationships." I don't let my emotions or my feelings completely dictate how I treat my loved ones for the day. I couldn't imagine not feeding my kids just because I didn't feel like getting out of bed. However, that morning, as I took care of my children and went about the business of the day despite my tired state, I thought about how quick I am to let my emotions dictate how I react to God. If I'm happy, inspired, thankful, glad, excited or in a general good mood, praise easily flows from my heart in a song or prayer as I skip through my day. But, find me in a state of confusion, fear, anxiety, fatigue, passiveness or anger and I seem to clam up.

David gave us a good example of what to do in those times. He chose to lead his heart instead of following how he was feeling. Psalm 34 says;

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips (NIV)."

I pray that I will remember to choose to praise and talk with God even in those times when I don't feel like it. That I will lead my heart and not follow my feelings...even when I've had a two year old barrel rolling over me all night...

*Stephen & Alex Kendrick, The Love Dare (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2008), viii.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I tried my hand at refinishing a few months ago. Some friends of ours had moved into a new house and were getting rid of some old furniture. They asked us to take a look at their garage to see if there was anything we could use. A quick peek showed an old set of nightstands and a dresser. They were painted white and chipped and scratched from long time use. However, they looked pretty sturdy and I imagined that with a bit of sanding and paint we could use them for a bedroom. So, my husband (probably a bit skeptical about the whole idea...) and his friend loaded them into our van and we made our way home - me, with visions of a gleaming, new bedroom set in my head, my husband, with thoughts of how long it would be gathering dust in our garage.

The vision stayed with me and a couple of weeks later, armed with paint thinner, scrapers, sandpaper, brushes and paint - I went to work. My ever-supportive better-half watched the kiddies while I scraped and sanded and painted in the hot sun. A few hours later, we had a new dresser and two new night stands for our room. What was one person's junk - had become my treasure. What was once useless had become useful.

I read the book of Philemon today. It's a tiny book of the Bible, tucked between Titus and Hebrews. Only one chapter and twenty-five verses. It's a letter from Paul to a friend, Philemon. Paul is being imprisoned for teaching about Jesus and has somehow befriended a man who's name is Onesimus. Onesimus was apparently a servant of Philemon who had not the best reputation with his boss. In fact, Paul puts it this way; "I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you..." (10-11). "Useless" - ever feel that way? Kind of like an old set of dressers, dented and scratched by life and put to the side, no place for you anymore. Useless.

There's hope. Paul wasn't finished his letter. "Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and me...He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord"(11, 16b). Some change had happened inside of Onesimus and I have a feeling it had to do with him becoming "a brother in the Lord." A transformation had taken place and a life that seemed to be going nowhere took on new hope and meaning and usefulness!

Perhaps you feel that your life has no purpose anymore or maybe you see a family member or friend walking a road that seems headed to nowhere - don't give up hope. Jesus takes lives that have been deemed lost and hopeless and can transform them into lives of beauty and purpose. What others thought useless becomes what God could see for them all along...usefulness.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Struggle

A couple days ago my husband and I were each changing a diaper (I would like to take this time to praise my husband as he has still changed more diapers then me up to this point - to all the single ladies...make "will change a diaper" a prerequisite...:). I had just finished explaining to our dear nine month old that if he would just stop struggling and cooperate, things would go a lot faster and smoother and he could be off crawling and chewing on the nearest object in the blink of an eye. Then I heard my husband in the next room also explaining the merit of being "still" while being diapered, to our two year old.

The same kind of thing happened today. My oldest had just finished a "feesee" (freezie) and was covered in purple juice. He wanted to keep playing but I saw the wisdom in getting him cleaned up before he stained his clothes and everything else in reach. It would have been over in probably 4 seconds had he just been still but the power struggle that ensued made the whole process quite longer and more unpleasant. A minute later, all cleaned up, he huffs on his way back to his important toddler schedule of playing with sticks and chasing the dog.

I found myself smiling at my likeness in my child...not physical looks (he looks just like his dad) but in the way he struggles with the things that are good for him and makes the process longer and sometimes, more unpleasant, than necessary.

Don't I do the same thing with my Father? I fight against trusting Him fully because I'm afraid of what it might mean - what it might take away. I fight against giving up a grudge because it would mean that, in my eyes, justice wasn't done. I fight against giving that extra money because I see all the things I need it for myself.

The Israelites did this too. They fought against the way God wanted to set them free from Egypt ("You're taking us to the desert?!"). They fought against the way He provided for them ("Manna again?!"). They fought against who God gave them as a leader ("Aaron, you lead us!"). They fought against entering their freedom ("The giants are too big for us!"). I read that the trip from Egypt to Canaan actually only takes 3-4 days. Taking into account the number of people and the animals that were with them, it probably would have taken a little longer but I wonder if the forty years of wandering in the desert would have been cut a lot shorter had they not stopped struggling with God, trusted Him and let Him lead?

I can't see the future or the reasons behind a lot of what God does but one thing I do know, is that He tells me not to lean on my own understanding (stop trying to figure it all out) but to trust in Him with my whole heart (Prov.3:4-5). I pray that as I grow in Him, I stop the struggle and let Him do what He wants to do in my life. I don't want to be left with purple juice on my face..;)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Permission Slip

Remember when you had to get a permission slip from your parents to go to the pumpkin patch or the skating arena or to the zoo with your school? You passed in the slip with a sigh of relief...signed, sealed (well...probably crumpled and full of spaghetti sauce from your dinner table) and delivered. Now you were free to go!

You know, God gives us a permission slip of sorts...permission not to worry. While the rest of the world succumbs to worry and anxiety in times of sickness, singleness, barrenness, loneliness, lack-of-moneyness (sorry...couldn't think of another "ness") - God gives us permission NOT to worry. I'm reading a book by Max Lucado called "Fearless". He writes that Jesus' "most common command emerges from the 'fear not' genre. The Gospels list some 125 Christ-issued imperatives. Of these, 21 urge us to 'not be afraid' or 'not fear' or 'have courage' or 'take heart' or 'be of good cheer'." * My friend Faye reminded me of this a while back.

A few years ago a situation arose that had the potential to be 'awkward' for me and was kind of out of my control. I had thought of so many worst case scenarios and worried so much that by the night before this 'event', I had worked myself up to quite a state of anxiety. I called Faye hoping she would have some sage words of advice and...because she's Faye...she did. :) She just said "Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow." That was it. Seven words. But they were TRUE! It hit me right then that I really didn't have to worry...Jesus was giving me permission not to. Even if the rest of the world would say.."No, really, go ahead..worry! You should!" Jesus was saying "No, don't worry about it." Actually, Matthew 6:25-26 quotes Him as saying; 25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

So, that was it. I totally felt permission from God not to worry and was at peace about the whole situation. I felt immense relief at being allowed not to worry. I stepped into the next day with confidence that God was in control and He was.

Now, don't think I've got it all figured out. Fear and worry is probably still my biggest battle and I constantly have to re-certify myself in this lesson. But I always know that God has that permission slip, always signed and always ready.

*Max Lucado, Fearless (Nashville:Thomas Nelson, 2009), 10.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Like A Child

"And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven". Matthew 18:3

It's no wonder that God tells us to become like little children...

Little children don't worry about tomorrow, they just enjoy the moment they're in.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

Little children trust completely...have you ever seen a child jump with abandon off of a high place with not a doubt that someone will catch them?
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

Little children aren't concerned with money...they enjoy what they have and know their needs will be met.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" Matthew 6:25

Little children are forgiving and seldom hold a grudge. I've watched my son "fight" with another toddler one minute and be laughing together the next.
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Matthew 11:25

Little children run for their parent's arms when things are scary.
"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe." Proverbs 18:10

Little children aren't prejudiced. They just see a person, not color, position or financial status.
"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble." 1 Peter 3:8
Little children rejoice in the little things...leaves, bugs, sticks, puddles, and flowers.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

I'm so thankful that I have living reminders with me each day of how God wants my heart.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lego Blocks and Balance

So, I am only 3 posts in and quite possibly only 2 people have read my blog (here's a shout out to Tom and Jen..woot-woot!:) but I have already fell out of balance. You see, I started the blog with the intent of an accountability of sorts so that my relationship with God would be enriched. However, I have went from awaking to hear from Him and have His Word continue to change my life to awaking to hear from Him SO I COULD BLOG! How quickly we lose balance! We start out with a genuine desire to do some thing of worth for God to bring glory to Him and gradually (or even three days maybe...) it becomes all about the thing and not so much about God.
A few weeks ago I was playing blocks with my son. We were having a great time at first just being silly, trying to build the tallest tower ever and then knocking it down, dumping them all from the bag at the same time to make a big noise and bigger mess but then things got serious. I started to get "creative". I decided my son would think a chair made out of blocks that he could actually sit on would be so cool! At first he thought it was great fun as he passed me blocks but eventually he got bored with the "design process" and started trying to knock the unfinished chair down like the towers. But, instead of mama laughing and joining him, she calmly told him to play with his other blocks while she finished his chair. Well, this was no fun, so he tried to knock down the chair again. This time mama actually reverted to whining and said "no, I'm building your chair!" This was also no fun and he started to whine. Then I realized that I had fallen out of balance. :) The blocks were just a way to have fun with my son but all of a sudden it had become less about my son and more about the blocks.
So, all of this to say that I may not blog every day or every thing that God teaches me but I pray it will be because I'm trying to keep it about Him and not about blogging. Keeping first things first.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shine Bright in the Storm!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

I have a photo that sits in an album on my book shelf and every now and then it's a good reminder of the potential and promise during storms.
I was driving home from a training meeting one fall stormy evening. The sky was heavy and dark with the promise of thunder and a downpour. But just for a moment, the sun broke through the tiniest hole in the clouds. All of a sudden everything under the sun stood out in stark contrast to the black sky all around. I'm sure you've seen this before. There was this one tree that was just brilliant! It was tall and full with bright golden leaves and your eyes couldn't help but be drawn to it.
It reminds me of our privilege as believers, to be able to trust in God even when things around seem unstable or dark. As we trust in Him, He fills us with joy and peace and hope. Imagine how that must affect others? When they see us filled with joy, peace and hope in the midst of uncertainty, conflict at work, family problems, sickness, financial strain...their eyes must be drawn to the contrast. The contrast of our hope and joy against what seems to be darkness. I pray that we are able to find His joy, peace and hope in the midst of even the little complications with our everyday life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Good Gifts

"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

So, I blew it. I yelled at my son. My son had been crying for quite a while and just wouldn't sleep. His crying and my own lack of slumber erupted into a frustrated "GO TO SLEEP!". Later that night as he slept peacefully in my arms, his long eyelashes lying against his cheeks, I was overwhelmed with love for my precious boy. I longed to give him all he would ever need as he grew, to make him laugh ( you know, those irresistible belly laughs that could only come from a child), to protect him, to surprise him with gifts and see his excitement at discovering new things.

Then, a new thought crept into my heart. I was reminded of my earlier outburst and other times when I have fallen short of being the perfect parent. Yet, despite my imperfections as a parent, my love for my children was overwhelming and I would do anything for them. I thought, if I, who is by no means perfect, love my children this much and desire only good for them, how much more would God, who is the perfect Father and has perfect love, have good things for me.