Comparison

Comparison

From the Authors Inspiration

 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Luke 10:40 (NIV)

Do you ever compare yourself to someone else? Do you find you compare your life to the lives of people in the movies? Compare the amount of work you do, to the amount of work your spouse does?* Do you compare how you look with how someone else looks? Do you compare the way you are raising your kids, to someone else? When you compare do you feel inferior? Do you feel superior?

Comparison is a killer. It kills our joy, steals our peace, and ruins our humility. When we compare ourselves and feel lacking, we are missing the strengths we do have. When we compare and feel like we are better, we are deluding ourselves into thinking we can do this on our own. And we are missing the way God can work in our weakness.

Comparison leads to bitterness, brokenness, and death.
And comparison is not God’s way.

Do you ever look at your children and wonder at how they can be so different? And aren't we thankful for those differences, that make them each so amazing and special?
Do you ever look at your children and wonder at how they can be so different? And aren’t we thankful for those differences, that make them each so amazing and special?

God made each of us for a purpose. We were created in His image. We were created by love and for love. When God looks at us, his focus is not our faults. He looks at us, and amazing God that he is, He sees all our potential. He sees his creation, and He is so in love with each of us.

If the world compares, then God covers us. He is a safe harbor. He has set us apart as a Holy People. He is not picking and choosing favorites among us. Instead He wants to be with each of us, somehow we are all his favorite. And He is so infinite, that He can be totally alone with you in any moment.

Choose to ditch the comparisons of this world, and to embrace the acceptance and encouragement of your Heavenly Father.

Father, I thank you for your love and acceptance. I thank you, that I do not have to prove myself to you. I do not have to, in my own strength, strive for something better. But that I can come to You, just as I am, and be loved, just as I am. You are so good, and we praise you for that goodness! In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*Guilty! Oh so guilty! And what do you do when you recognize the thing that is killing your joy? You pray! I cannot be better in my own strength… well, at least not for very long. But when I pray, that is when amazing things happen. Even amazing things inside of me. God is so ready to help us, to change our hearts, if we will only ask Him and trust Him.

Presence

Children From the Authors

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
~Psalm 89:15 (NIV)

It happened again.

I got the giggles in church.*

Whenever we sing a song about the goodness of God’s presence I get the giggles. Don’t get me wrong- God’s presence is beyond good. It’s just I always remember something my older son once said.

Elder son's birthday a few years back. Playing the ever-epic marshmallow game.
Elder son’s birthday a few years back. Playing the ever-epic marshmallow game.

He was younger, and we had just gone through a time where he got lots of gifts. Either his birthday or Christmas? I can’t exactly remember. But I was praying with him before bed, and I said, “Thank you, Lord, for your presence-” And this little pajama clad child leapt out of bed, bouncing up and down, and joyfully yelled, “WHERE ARE THE PRESENTS!?!?”

And I can’t sing about the goodness of God’s presence, without remembering that wonderful parenting moment.

And I can’t sing about the goodness of God’s presence, without remembering that it really is one of His best presents to us.

Thank you God, for all your presents, but especially for your presence. And for children, and the joy and laughter they bring. Amen!

~Lindsay

*This probably happens more often than it should

Family

Family

From the Authors

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. Hebrews 2:11 (NIV)

I’m just going to go ahead and say it.

My family is a little quirky.

In my family we have a mess of different personalities. A mess. But a beautiful mess. When we all get together, something amazing can happen. There is usually laughter (as long as we are all well fed), and we share a lot of common memories. So we often reminisce about the good times, the funny times, and even the hard times.

And we don’t always agree. We have had ‘arguments’ from time to time. And we even have different ways of dealing with our differences. We have the head-in-the-sand-ostrich approach (my personal favorite), the face-it-straight-on approach, the whoever-talks-the-loudest-wins approach, and the let’s-all-hold-hands-and-sing-kumbaya approach. And everything in between.

I love this family. I love who I am with my family. I love that I’m the oldest cousin (and I like to lord it over the other cousins. “I changed your diaper!”)

But maybe you don’t have a wonderful family? One that accepts that we are all different. That we all have different roles. That we all have value because of who we are, not what we do. Do you even know what that statement means?

If you don’t have the messy glorious quirky family that I have been blessed to be a part of, I have good news. There is a family that is calling for you. A family with a Father who loves more than you could ever begin to imagine. A family that accepts. A family that sacrificed for you. A family that chose you. A family that planned you from before time began.

When we say ‘yes’ to Jesus, we are not getting a pat on the head from a God who is far far away and doesn’t really know us. We are being embraced and pulled into the midst of the quirkiest and most amazing family ever to exist. You might encounter family members that are different from you, but here is what holds this family together like super-crazy glue: Love. God is love. God holds this family of his together. And He did it on a cross, with his arms stretched wide to embrace an entire world full of not-nearly-perfects. And nothing can undo what He has done. You cannot be pulled from this family. “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

If you’ve been a part of this family for a long time, we are so glad you are here.

If you are new to this family, welcome!

If you haven’t yet entered the warm embrace of your Heavenly Father, I hope you make that decision soon. He is so in love with you, and He has such good plans for you. Not always easy, but always good.

And do you know the joy of welcoming someone into your family? The joy of a new baby, the joy of a wedding? It doesn’t even compare to the joy of heaven, when they welcome a new family member.

joy
joy

Welcomed. Wanted. Understood. Loved.

Lord, we thank you that you sent your only son to die for us. That you did this amazing thing by your own choice. And that through your blood, your love, we are all one giant family. Thank you that you continue to work through us, that you know us, and bless us. Open our eyes to who you are, and what you are doing in and around us. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Bed Time Ritual

Bed Time Ritual

From the Authors Our Story

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. ~Psalm 63:6 (NIV)

We pray with our kids at night.
We say the same prayer with each child.

Jesus be with me,
all through the night.
Bless me and keep me
’til morning light.

Nothing fancy. Just a habit.

Here’s what I know about habits, they are sometimes hard to start- to get into the habit. But once habits are formed, they become ingrained into the rhythm of our days. We no longer work at them (unless it is exercise… or is that just me?).

I’ve been praying this little prayer every night since I can remember. As a child. I tagged my own prayers at the end of this prayer. Sometimes saying the same blessings every night. Sometimes voicing new concerns. Sometimes sharing praise. But this little prayer was my starting point.

And now it’s my kids’ starting point.

I have no cute sleeping pictures of my kids after the age of 1. Only really funny pictures, when they get into those weird positions that make you wonder... how? But this is a good reminder of a sweet time (when I was too exhausted to do anything, let alone match my clothing or put makeup on). But rather than sleep, I wanted to just stare at that newborn baby.
I have no cute sleeping pictures of my kids after the age of 1. Only really funny pictures, when they get into those weird positions that make you wonder… how? But this is a good reminder of a sweet time (when I was too exhausted to do anything, let alone match my clothing or put makeup on). But rather than sleep, I wanted to just stare at that newborn baby.

I say the prayer with my one-year-old. In the last few weeks, I started to leave words out. To see if he knows what is missing. And of course, having heard it every night, he does! And he says “me!” very clearly. And “let” for light… so it’s adorable.

My daughter, says the same prayer every night. She is four. She says our little starting prayer, and then adds “thank you for my family and uncles*.” The same thing every night, but her own personalized version. From her heart. I sure didn’t tell her to thank God for uncles every night of her life.

My six-year-old, he has an entire list of additions to his little prayer, and now even a second prayer.

What’s a second prayer? Well, after the kids pray, I pray. I pray for them. I add to their prayers. And I am aware that I am praying for them, talking to my heavenly father. But I am equally aware that I am setting an example. That they are listening, and learning (as proven by my one-year-old’s ability to fill in the blanks). So my older son says his little starting prayer, and the thank-you-for-this-and-that he’s been saying for years. But one night, more recently, when I finished my prayer for him, he stopped me. He had a “second prayer.” And he said it. A new depth of prayers, touching on his fears, and his needs. And somehow they became habit. So now I know to wait (or, believe me, I am called to task!) until his second prayers are over before tucking him in and turning out the light.

A new depth of prayers. A new insight into that little mind. That tiny precious heart.

Prayer. A gift to God, for God’s glory, and still, somehow, even more a gift for us.

May you be blessed to experience prayer with children. May your prayers become so habitual that you hardly even notice you are praying throughout the day. That every breath would become a prayer, and that your heart and ears would be open to hear God’s response. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*Oh to be loved for the amount of sugar you sneak children when their mothers aren’t looking. What a joy!