Saturday, March 26, 2011

Am I special?

This morning as I was doing my daily devo's I felt a stirring in my heart to ask my eight year old beauty about a snippet of a conversation I had overheard from the day before, between her and a friend. It had to do with boys! I speak to my children quite often about dating, purity and making right choices, so I thought this would be a conversation like those we've had in the past.
I was wrong!
 I called her downstairs and asked my questions, reassured her she could talk without getting in trouble, yet shared how I really felt and why. Throughout the conversation the Lord kept me calm and collected. With my past history of abuse, shame, guilt, and bad decisions, this was HUGE!

But I was calm...

Basically, she told me that there was a boy that she liked and when I asked, she admitted that if he wanted to, she would let him kiss her. My heart was breaking! Was this the same little girl, who just a year before announced that she did not want to get married because she wanted to become a missionary. Why at such a tender, young age was she thinking about being loved and wanting to be kissed? I thought I did everything that I could to shield their eyes and hearts from seeing young people obsessed with dating and sex. I thought I spoke to them about the importance and amazing blessings of remaining pure and seeking God above all other things. I thought I told her enough how beautiful and loved she is!

Then I realized....IT WASN'T ABOUT ME!!!!!!

I was only looking at the physical. I wasn't even trying to see behind her words, to where it really mattered. Was there something that she needed that she was looking for from other relationships that I needed to be providing at home? I found out that she just wanted this boy to think that she was pretty and that she was special. 

I gave her a hug after our series of questions and (mommy-heart) breaking answers,  and asked her to go into her room and read Phillipians 4:8
"In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable." (Good News Translation)

I just wanted to renew her mind and teach her about the things she was parking her mind on. I wanted to reiterate that she could control her thoughts and she was not a victim to every thought that popped into her head. In the meantime, I called my husband. I shared with him what had taken place and we agreed that we are going to PRAISE GOD for allowing my daughter and I to have that conversation, and for keeping me calm so that she knew that she could talk to us. For the fact that she opened up to me and was honest, even though she was afraid.

I gatherd my little ones (who aren't so little anymore) around me and decided to have yet another family conversation. I talked to them, and WITH them about who they are in Christ and why they want certain things. The fact that there will be differences in their lives and in some of their friends lives; they can not just follow the crowd. I read them scriptures about who God says they are, and told them about the wonderful plan He has for them! How amazing discovering that plan will be for all of us as we do life together. Then we prayed! An amazing prayer of renouncing lies, renewing our minds, thankful for our time together and our family. We all asked for help in being obedient to the Lord and knowing Him.

After all of this I then asked my little (big) beauty to make me a list of ways that I can communicate to her that she is loved and special. That way she never has to look for love and acceptance in the wrong places. This is what she wrote:

Ways to make me feel special
1. Tell me that I'm doing something wrong instead of scolding me. Even when I do it over and over again because sometimes I just forget.
2. Let me buy things with my own money
3. Let me do things with you like making crafts
4.Help me with my homework

This is what I actually see:

1.Mom, I need to know that you and dad love me no matter how much times I fail and make mistakes. I need you to encourage me.
2.I want you to trust me and my decisions. Even though I don't know "everything" yet or what is best for me. I need a little freedom to learn
3. I want to be a part of your life. Especially in doing the things that you enjoy doing and make you happy. I want to learn from you.
4. No matter how much I know, I want you to be there for me if I need you. I like your support and your interest in my everyday life.

WOW! What seemed so devastating just a couple of hours ago, has turned into one of the most beautiful mornings I have had with my children to date...
Two words!!!!


Friday, March 25, 2011

The things unseen...

"Here Maddie...You want this?"

"Oh mama, you're last bite?"

As embarrassing as it is to say now, it felt so good that she acknowledged that. My last bite, that last morsel of yummy goodness...I "sacrificed" for my baby girl because she wanted it. (pat on the back right?)  But that isn't the only one...every day, every year, a sacrifice of time, patience, energy,  desires, dreams, plans, etc.

On one hand, isn't that what a good mommy is "supposed" to do.

On the other hand, when can I just finish the last bite on my plate? :(

Often times I feel like the sacrifices that I have made and the things that I do for my children (as well as others, if we are being honest)  go unnoticed and I don't like it. There are certain things that I do that noone will ever know about, and I accept that. I don't want credit for it; I do it and I don't mind if anyone ever really knows that the work or the sacrifice was mine.

But there are the others. There are always those OTHER times! Desperate for a word of acknowledgement.  Or worse yet, "Approval"
 'You did a good job'

'Thank you so much' 

Colossians 3:23 says: "Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as (something done) for the Lord and not for men"

Do I live this? Can I live this?

I have to! 
And when I feel like I can't...there is grace! God's power to help me do that which I could not otherwise do on my own...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Appreciation & Expectation

"Mom, She's healthy...I took her temperature and it was 98.6"

"Uh, OK. Thank you for doing that...."

Amidst, the daily grind of taking care of children, house, husband, (and a dog) sometimes we don't realize how entitled we think we are to things we consider ourselves worthy or deserving of. As I was brushing the teeth, picking out outfits, putting up hair, and making breakfast, my girls decided to play doctor. Older girl asks my baby girl to lie down so that she could take her temperature and to breath so that she could listen to her lungs and back <grin> After taking her temperature, older girl runs into the bathroom to give me the wonderful news!

"Mom, She's healthy...I took her temperature and it was 98.6"

and what was my response????

"Uh, OK. Thank you for doing that...."

I wasn't trying to be sassy, I just didn't have an appreciation for that statement like I should have. I was too busy going about my daily business of cleaning, tending to, doing...
Why wasn't I giving thanks and making a joyful noise to the Lord that my baby girl woke up this morning, and she is happy and healthy? Why am I not on my knees giving thanks that we have breath in our lungs, a roof over our head and are safe and taken cared of? What makes me think that I am entitled to these things, or that I should not be more in awe of life, and the brevity and fragility of it? What keeps me from giving praise to the One who sustains my life for that matter?? Why do I constantly forget as soon as I look away? Forget the constant pouring out of gifts from my Heavenly Father?

James 4:14 (Amplified Bible)

Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air].

I kneel. I repent. I thank. 

I receive!

He gives!!!! 
One more moment, another gift, another thing to be thankful for. 

All praise, all gratitude, lifting up to Him.

I will praise you Lord with all my heart!!

Psalm 34:1 I WILL bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Conscious or Blind Eye?

I awoke this morning with so much on my mind! I just want a clear head....
get my mind off of myself...

In my morning reading I was in Isaiah 49 and the promises that the Lord offers are more than one little tender -human heart can bear. Yet I read on, I cling, I tuck away into a secret place...where I can later pull them out in time of need. Yet all around me I feel Him whispering.
"I am the Main Objective, seek ME."

"I want you to desire me above all else and I will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4, my paraphrase)

"Don't walk away from your first love" (thought taken from Revelation 2:4)

The Lord allowed me to read a passage by Joyce Meyer's concerning the love of God. She speaks of being CONSCIOUS of His love for us.

There is a difference between "knowing" and "really knowing". 

I want to really know!

Isn't that the message of 1,000 gifts by Ann Voskamp?  Isn't that what I have been studying and praying about? Isn't this what all the lists and the writing down of gifts are? Acknowledging and seeing the gifts for what they are? Love gifts from a Father who adores his children and longs to lavish His love on them. 

(Whether or not they accept it...)

Every single second, every moment is grace! A gift from God...yet I am only on #234. Can it be that I just don't see? Am I just not looking? The Bible says He reveals himself to us constantly through His creation! Why am I not seeing? How can I not be more aware? Am I conscious of His love for me? 

Or am I really that wrapped up in myself? 

Not today! Despite my past mistakes, selfishness, bad attitudes...He gives me another second, another day to "choose the better thing" and I will not let that be taken away from me. Though I may fall seven times I WILL get back up again. 

Proverbs 24:16 
 For a righteous man 
falls seven times, 
and rises again,
         But the wicked stumble 
in time of calamity.

I will open my eyes to see...see the gifts and the grace of each moment...Help me Jesus! Give me eyes to see...always seeing! 

"Worship is a way of seeing the world through the light of God" - Abraham Joshua Heschel

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

He whispers, I cling

The very essence of the Bible is to know Him. His heart, His will, His plan, His glory
 His beautiful love letter written to us to guide, remind, teach, encourage, strengthen, chastise, develope, embrace, educate...

When I first learned to listen, He gave me two words. 



I thought for sure I would be a teacher. When I was a little girl that is what I wanted to go to college for. But when I tried, I felt the Lord close the door on that one. Albeit ever so gently, the message was the same, "No love, that is not what I had in mind for you." The days, months, years following I have sought to find out what it is that He DID have in mind for me. Yet, till this day I have not found that one thing. Perhaps, because the "one thing" that I seek is not meant to be found in ONE pretty little package. Perhaps, he prefer that I seek my assignment daily...allowing Him to move and work so as not to bring glory or pain to myself by making things happen. It all goes back to dependence. Being right where He wants me.

 So back to the Book I go. Reminding myself of all of the promises He has written for me. Reminding myself, that despite what I may feel, or what people say about who I am, the Creator's words are the only ones that matter! I cling with every fiber, every breath, to believe what He says! It isn't always easy...But I fight to lean in, to hear, to grasp that "still, small voice" and I hold on to it as tightly as I can! 

Ephesians 1:11 (The Message)

 11-12It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.