Hear My Prayer: The Long Journey

Hear My Prayer: The Long Journey

Book 1 Our Story

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Psalm 139:1-6 (ESV)

Did you just stumble across this blog and wonder, “What in the world?” If you did- well, you’re probably not alone. I could write a long post describing this blog… but the short answer is: we wrote a children’s book (7 years ago!) that we are trying to publish.

What does it take to place our ‘Porkie and Pete’ book into your hands? Well, a lot of work, learning, and perseverance. It’s been over a year since my mother told my uncle about these books. A year since he said, I can help with that. A year since he suggested my cousin illustrate the books for us.

We are not necessarily slow. Distracted, yes. Busy, always. But not slow. And we have been very meticulous. We rewrote, edited, and reworked the illustrations for this book- well, I’ve lost count how many times. Then we sent the book out to be reviewed. After receiving comments from our readers, we realized it needed to be edited yet again. AGAIN!?

porkie_evolution_pages

Now, I’m not afraid of hard work. Well… at least, I don’t want to be afraid of hard work. And that wasn’t the case here. But when is enough, enough?

Well, I don’t know that there is a finite answer to that. I would say: When God says it is. But let’s be honest here, He doesn’t usually send post cards that say:

Dear Child of Mine, Good work. That is quite enough. You can be done with that now. Love, your Heavenly Father.

(Wouldn’t that be nice?)

So I finally sat down with the original script of the book, the seven-year-old notes I’d made, and the beautifully illustrated ‘final’ version that had just been reviewed by friends and acquaintances. Looking between all these papers, I seriously thought about beating my head against the wall.

Then I asked myself an important question, that I maybe should have asked myself… oh… eight years ago?

What is the purpose of this book? What are we trying to tell kids with this book?

And it didn’t come right away, but as I thought and prayed, it gradually came to me. This book is to tell kids that:

  1. God hears them
  2. God knows them

To be heard and known by God, the creator of all things, your rock, provider, Ancient of Days! What an awesome gift!

So that is how we ended up with this book. Or at least, that was the start of the final edits, and the final illustrations, and the blog posts, and the parent resource pages (Mother Moose Tidbits- don’t worry, they are coming). Because we want to put a tool into parents hands to help them tell their children that God knows them, and hears them.

Being heard and understood is a big deal in our family. Big. Deal. I know one member of the family (who will remain anonymous, but you know who you are!) who will talk a point to death. Just to make sure you absolutely 110% know exactly what they are thinking/feeling. My own son will cry if he is interrupted. He is afraid that if he does not say what he has to say right-this-second, he will forget the important things he wants to say. (Important things like “Why do shoes have to go on the right feet, but socks don’t?”) At six he feels the importance of being heard and understood.

We all do. (Well, hopefully you don’t cry when you’re interrupted- but you want to be heard and understood!)

My prayer for you today is that you are blessed with the knowledge that your Father in Heaven hears you. He hears the things in your heart, even those you cannot put into words. And He knows you. He knows who you were five years ago, who you will be next week, and ten years from now. He is a good Father. The best Father. And I ask that God would bless you to help children know they are heard and understood by you, and by their Heavenly Father. Amen!

~Lindsay

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Legacy: Part 3

Legacy: Part 3

Inspiration Our Story

They ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1

Grandma and her cousins with their dolls. Grandma is the tallest.
Grandma and her cousins with their dolls. Grandma is the tallest.

The ‘Legacy’ series I am writing about refers to the legacy my grandmother left me. She passed away when I was eleven years old, but made a lasting and meaningful impact on my life.

Today, I want to talk about my friends (who, trust me, have something to do with my grandma). All of my life, in every season, I have always had at least one stalwart friend. I don’t know that I ever had a plethora of close friends, but there was always that ‘one friend’ who would get me through any situation I faced. Like a bulwark surrounding my life, this ‘one friend’ would protect me against anything and everything from loneliness, to peer pressure, to getting run over by a car*. I don’t mean I’ve had just one friend my entire life (I’m not that much of a hermit!). But that as one friend would flow out of my life (moving away, or going to a new school, or as I grew up and left home), a new friend would come swimming into the arena of my life and take up residence as ‘the one I could lean on.’ Of course, as a child I never noticed this. And as an adult, I tended to take it for granted. It was more recently that a friend of mine pointed out to me the lack of that one ‘bosom buddy’ (Anne of Green Gables fans unite!) in her own life, which highlighted to me the blessing of friends in my life.

I am not someone who meets people easily, has social graces, stays-in-touch, or puts forth much effort in communicating. So having these friends… well it’s a miracle, really. So I asked God, how in the world was it possible that I (of all people!) could have been so blessed with friendships. And almost immediately I was convinced it was a prayer my grandmother had said for me. I may be fanciful from time to time, but I am just so certain of this one thing. And what an amazing prayer! It afforded me protection, joy, and the ability to be who I am because there was always one person to stand with me. I never had to face the hard things alone. What a gift!

And so I want to encourage you- pray! Pray without ceasing, pray with all your strength, and with all your heart! Pray for your children, your marriages, your friends, your family. Pray for your country, your pastors, and your leaders. And pray that your children will have friends! That God will bring people into their lives that know Him, and love Him. That your child will not have to stand alone, or pretend to be someone they are not. Your prayers are powerful, and they accomplish more than you know.

Grandma showing us how the overall fashion trend started!
Grandma showing us how the overall fashion trend started!

My grandmother never got to see the fruit of her prayers for her grandchildren. But this is a lesson I can take from her and pass on to the next generation. I can pray for them, teach them to pray, and pray that they will love prayer.

Prayer is powerful! (My mother always says that ‘when you pray you’d better put on a helmet, because you never know what is going to happen!’) But I can tell you this, something will happen! Not always in your time-frame, not always quite what you had in mind, but God hears our prayers, and He is faithful to answer!

So a quick review of one afternoon’s worth of reflection: my grandmother left a great legacy for me. She had faith in God, she loved whenever she could, and she prayed for us.

God bless you to be filled with faith, strong in prayer, and mighty in love! Amen

~Lindsay

*Yes, even getting run over by a car! I was in middle school, and so concerned about what I was saying, that I stepped off the curb and straight into traffic! My good friend, grabbed the neck of my shirt and pulled me right back again. Then after the car had passed, she gave me a gentle shove, and we crossed the street. All the while, I kept right on talking. It wasn’t until we were a few blocks away, and I’d finished my story that I realized what had happened! Startled, I asked, “Uhm… did you just save my life back there?” And she just smiled her sweet smile at me, but said nothing.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

Grandma with her daughters.
Grandma with her daughters.

So, in case you didn’t read the last post (or if you’re like me and you forgot what it was about), I’ve been reflecting on my grandmother. It has struck me how important she was in my young life. And she continues to influence me to this day, even though she passed away when I was eleven-years-old. As I was reflecting, I wondered how she would be remembered in another generation or two. Then I started thinking about whether I would be remembered in another generation or three.

And not that it’s important to make a name for ourselves, but I was having some deep thoughts (which seems to happen while driving children from one activity to the next). And at first I was sad that, in just a few more generations, no one will know much about my grandmother. They will know her name, birth date, and day of her passing- if they look into genealogies. But they won’t know how soft her cheeks were, or how she always bought the mini boxes of cereal for us when we visited. Genealogies don’t tell us things like that.

But then I realized that her faith has been passed on from one generation to the next. She believed, she taught her children, they taught their’s… and so she has left a legacy of faith for generations to come.

And a legacy of love.

I believe that not one bit of love can be removed from the world. For everyone we love, carries that love with them, and it grows and they pass it on. Love is God’s commodity. He trades in it, deals with it, and manages it. And it is not a commodity that runs out, grows old, or loses its value.

A quick example: when our second child was born, I was (a little hormonal) worried. I thought I would have to divide my love in half between my two children. I cried about this and told my husband. I was sad for my first child who I thought would be getting less love than before. And I was sad for our second child, that would only get half the amount of love from the start. And my husband, who is always wisest when I am at my most ridiculous, said, “It’s funny how love works. The more you give away, the more you have to give.”

Picture me in a hospital bed, clutching a new born, tears on my cheeks, but completely dumbfounded.

And he was right! The more I loved, the more love I had to give away!!

God’s kingdom is backwards and upside down from this world. And being part of God’s kingdom is something so beyond our experience, because it is eternal. And the good we are doing now, especially the love, is like a seed we are planting for future generations. I know my grandma planted many seeds in her lifetime, and the security I had in her love is still there to this day. And it is something that I continue to pass on to my children.

‘Love never dies’ (1 Cor 13:8) is not about romantic passions, but about God. His love, and the good He does is eternal. This love cannot be taken away from us or altered. It is a gift. One we can share with future generations as we work love out in our own lives.

God bless you to love more today, and the next day, and the next day- more than you ever thought possible! Amen.

~Lindsay

 

Legacy: Part 1

Legacy: Part 1

Our Story

My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will walk with you.      Proverbs 6:20-21 (ESV)

I have a ring I wear almost every day. Not my wedding ring (which I wear every day), but my grandmother’s ring. She passed away when I was eleven. I cried uncontrollably at her wake. I am the oldest of all my cousins, and I remember the younger cousins being confused, as little ones are at these moments. One cousin, and my little brother, seeing my distress decided to play along. They took Kleenex and pretended to cry too.

My grandmother was pretty amazing. She was the kind of grandma you read about in books. With fresh baked treats, warm hugs, a soft voice and a kind smile. Recently, I was trying to tell my children about her. I’ve tried telling my younger cousins about her too. You see, many of them were born after she passed away, and they never met her. Yet, she lives on in our memories, and in the stories we share.

The soft cheeked Grandma I remember (with Grandpa)
The soft cheeked Grandma I remember (with Grandpa)

I look at her ring on my right hand and think how precious this ring is to me. Will it be as precious to my daughter? Or her daughter? What will they remember about grandma? A few stories? Her name? I think about what I know about my great-grandparents. Or any ancestors before that. There was a great-grandpa who was adamant I should have been named Diana or something. There was a great-grandmother who I knew pretty well. There were some stories rattling around in my brain… but not much.

So I started thinking about legacies. Which is an odd sort of thing for me to think about. I’m usually not very deep. But in a few generations, what will anyone say of me? Will anyone remember me? Will I fade away with time? Will my grandma?

I know, I sound pretty morose- even to my own ears!

But then something pretty amazing occurred to me! Someone, somewhere in our family history made a daring step. A new choice. Someone chose Jesus! I was born into a family of believers. What a gift! And it was because of some unknown ancestor of mine. A Norwegian farmer, or a German peasant, an Irishman, or that one random Swede …. And not only that, but there were probably multiple converts. Multiple ancestors of mine who heard the Good News, and said, “Yes! This is what I’ve been looking for!” And they believed, and they passed on their belief to their children, who passed it on to their children…

Maybe I’m the only one who finds this fascinating. I want to know who this person was. How did they hear the Gospel for the first time? What made them so sure? Who were they?

And while I suppose I will not have any of those answers in this lifetime, I do know one thing. Whether or not my children know who my Grandma is, or if my name fades into obscurity with time, I can pass on this legacy of faith to my children. I cannot make them believe, but I can point them in the right direction. Just like my grandma did for my mother. Just like my mother did for me. And hopefully somewhere along the line, my children will do for their children.

Whoever your ancestors were, Names are not so important. There is only one Name that saves. One Name worth knowing. One Name to proclaim. Jesus.

~Lindsay

 

‘I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’ Phillipians 3:14 (ESV)

We are working on the web site, soon (hopefully) publishing children’s books, and in the midst of all this- blogging. This is hilarious because I’m a math major, and also the Queen of Run-On-Sentences. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? … No?

But all this to say, we want to share our story and our children’s storybooks. I hope our blog will be encouraging. I hope you won’t take me too seriously. And I hope you will forgive my grammar. In the midst of my week I am thinking about you, thinking about this blog, and thinking about how I need to get to the store and buy more toilet paper. But hopefully you will find a new post every Tuesday and enjoy it.

I am realizing that if I only post about the books themselves, all our posts will be summed up as follows: ‘Still working on it, expect more soon.’ This book team is all detail people. Agonizingly focused on every detail. If we weren’t so alike, we might consider one another obnoxious. As it is, we like to tell ourselves that we will have all our ducks in a row, and that will make things easier in the long run.

But what to blog about?

Grandma Mabes
Grandma Mabes

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share stories about someone who was very important to this writing team. My grandmother, Mabel. She liked to be called Mabes, and had an amazing impact on her family. She would have loved things like cell phones, and seeing her children and grandchildren working together. I thought that these next few blogs might give you a peek into what kind of a family this writing team is (though we are far from perfect- although you’ll have to take my word on that, because I’m only blogging on the positive stuff). There are things we value. We may not have obtained them, but we are reaching for them.

And with any luck it will be more interesting than ‘still working on it, expect more soon.’ Well, of course it will be… But that wasn’t quite what I was getting at.

Until next week then!

Many blessings to you, and God keep you!

~Lindsay