Attention Moms!

Attention Moms!

Encouragement Inspiration

But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. ~Ephesians 4:15-16

IMG_20160403_160308748_HDRHey moms, it’s time someone sucked it up and told you the cold hard truth:

YOU. ARE. AWESOME!!!!!

Please go ahead and print the last three words in large type font, then hang them in every room of your house. Please. Because here’s the deal- your children are listening to your self talk. When you were talking about that extra baby weight you’re still carrying around, your daughter was listening. When you said you were no good at making new friends, your son heard that. When you said you can’t cook well, drive well, keep up with all the latest trends- the kids were listening. When you called yourself a ‘freak,’ they heard that too. And even worse, they probably believed it.

Now do me a favor- I want you to think of your bestie. You know that lovely woman you wish you were having coffee with right now? Tell me three strengths of hers. Go ahead. List ‘em off. Done? Great. Now tell me three strengths of yours… ?

[crickets chirping]

I have seen in my friend circles the ability to praise each other to the skies, but a complete inability to come up with even one strength about ourselves.

I am the same. I see all my friends’ strengths. I am blown away. I always think, Why can’t I be more like her? I’m even inspired – to be a better mom, wife, woman, worker. These women-friends of mine really have it all together! But here is the big secret- that amazing friend, she’s not hanging out with you out of pity. She’s thinking the same thing about you. You inspire her in the same way.

So here is your homework (yes, a blogger is giving you homework): you go ask that friend, sister, mom, random woman at church- “What strengths do you think I have?” In fact, ask more than one friend- and then write them down. Put them on your nightstand, reflect on them, pray about them! And if the woman you ask pauses and thinks about it, that’s good– because they are thinking deeply about the question. (I know if there is a pause, some of you are gonna be all ‘Oh no! She couldn’t think of anything!’ No, no, no. No more of that kind of thinking! I mean it. I will come and write Ms. Awesome on your forehead in permanent marker!)

We all have strengths- different strengths, and we all have weaknesses. But we need to take time to focus on our strengths. To let our children see our confidence. To let our children see what that looks like, how you live it out. To be an example for them. We really need to let our daughters gain some self-confidence about how they look. So I am begging you- enough with the fat comments. You aren’t 16 anymore. The freshman 15, it’s just real life. No one can be a bouncy teenager forever. We age, we sag in certain areas, but oh my gosh are we better for the years- we are better at life, better at forgiveness, better at blessing others, better at handling awkward situations (…sorta…?), better at applying makeup, better at driving- the list could go on forever. Do you really want to go back to middle school and do it all over again? Do you????

Don’t covet that friend’s strengths, cultivate your own strengths.

I always have to comment about the other side of the horse. This is not a call to puff yourself up with false pride (though I seriously doubt that will be an issue for most of you). Nor is this an excuse to not work on your weaknesses. We are ever growing, changing, and working our way towards Jesus. This is just a reminder to not focus on those weaknesses 24/7.

So go ahead, flex those muscles you have in hospitality, administration, kindness, listening, humor, learning, teaching, nurturing, etc, etc, etc… Be confident in who you are in Christ. Be confident in the woman God has made you, and even more in the woman He is making you into. And speak forth those things over yourself, and over your children. So that as you step out into the world, you are walking in love, confidence, and as someone who builds others (including yourself) up in the body, and in love.

Lord, thank you for the gifts you have sewn into my life. Please bless me to be more and more the woman you have created me to be. Open my eyes to the talents you have given me, my husband, and children. Help me to speak forth your blessing over our family and to proclaim your truths over each one of us. Help us to grab hold of You and your good things. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

The Lost Art of Waiting

The Lost Art of Waiting

Inspiration

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. ~Psalm 27:14

The next morning, after decorating the tree. These two like to play musical chairs with the ornaments.
The next morning, after decorating the tree. These two like to play musical chairs with the ornaments.

We got our Christmas tree up! And as soon as the tree was up, the kids were asking every five minutes when we could decorate the tree. I explained how we had to wait. When asked why, I wasn’t really sure. I just remember Dad always saying something about letting the branches settle. My daughter watched the tree intently for a few minutes and then said, “The branches aren’t doing anything. Can we decorate the tree now??”

The next day (unable to take the pestering any longer) we decorated the tree. As soon as the tree was decorated, the kids ran to their rooms and disappeared for quite a bit- only reappearing from time to time asking for paper, a box, and some tape. My eldest was the first to emerge from his room with presents wrapped in printer paper that he’d colored on. A few minutes later and my daughter followed suit. They just couldn’t wait to put presents under the tree.

If you are a parent, you can already guess where this is going. “When can we open the presents!?” I was peppered with similar questions like a goose on waterfowl opener. I kept responding with, “We have to wait.” So of course they wanted to know why we wait, and I didn’t have a really good answer. I am just as bad, as soon as we put the presents under the tree I want to let the kids open them. I want to see those delighted little faces.

By the time my husband came home, I’m pretty sure I looked like I’d crawled through a bush backwards. The words, “Why do we have to wait?” were echoing in my head and I might have been drooling a little.

Why do we have to wait?

And maybe more importantly, why are we so terrible at waiting?

I don’t have to look far for an answer. My cell phone is sitting on the desk next to me while I type this. I don’t really think we wait anymore. Even if I’m at the DMV and need to wait for a half hour, I can email and make phone calls and get things done. I could even watch a movie or play a game. There is no waiting. No quiet time for reflection. Our society is a get-it-now, fix-it-fast society. It seems like a good idea… but…

If you want concrete proof that knowing how to wait is good, then google “The Marshmallow Test.” There was a study done in the late 60s, early 70s. Kids were given a marshmallow and told they could have that marshmallow now, but the adult would leave the room and if they waited until the adult returned, then they could have two marshmallows. Hilarity ensued. But the kids who were able to wait (“to delay gratification”) later in life did better on SATs and more. Interesting…

So partly because of these reflections, and also just because I need a little help- I’ve been making my kids wait (bwahahaha!)*. Instead of dragging them all out the door and into the car, I send them out first where they wait for me to gather the last of our supplies and then come out composed and happy (compared to the old version of yelling and frazzled). Just little things that help them work out what it is to wait for someone or something.

So, again I ask, is it important to know how to wait?

What does this look like for us, for our children? Is it important to know how to choose to be joyful instead of impatient? Is it important to know how to react kindly instead of selfishly? Is it important to know how to sit quietly instead of loudly complaining?

Because we can easily forget that we are a waiting people. Yes, Jesus already came and rescued the world, but we are waiting for his return. Our friends and neighbors are looking at us as an example of Christ. And we are walking through a world full of hurt and pain, and we are waiting for that promised future. So how do we want to show our friends and neighbors that we are a waiting and hopeful people? That we are trusting that God is who he says he is. That we believe in His Word.

How do we show that we are waiting, and full of hope and love?

Lord, this is not the season of presents and busy. This is a season for quiet reflection for what you have done. This is the season for hope and peace. The lights and noise can distract, the busy schedules can almost crush us at times. Forgive us for not having our priorities in order. And for those of us hurting through this season, who are grieving the loss of a loved one and missing those who are no longer on this earth- bring your comfort and joy afresh. Help us to seek out the only One who is going to really be able to heal and fill our hearts. I pray that our relationship with you would be like new, and we would be in awe of who you are and what you have done. In Jesus name, Amen

~Lindsay

*Yes, I laugh like that from time to time. Mostly when my parenting becomes ridiculous.**

**So pretty much daily.

 

Empty Handed

Empty Handed

Encouragement Inspiration

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
~Isaiah 61:3

IMG_20160821_122753I went camping this weekend with two very dear friends. I know I am blessed when it comes to friends. So very, very blessed. I wrote about it in a post way back when, but I was reminded of it again this weekend. To be with people who love you just as you are is a priceless and unmatchable gift. To be with people who are willing to sing and dance with you when you reach the highest part of your hike*… well, that’s just icing on the cake.

These girls love me, and oh do they love God. So it is always great to get their ideas and feedback on life. To have their added wisdom and insight.

This weekend I was able to talk about an old issue that had recently popped back up in my life. Someone had hurt me, and it seemed like I still hadn’t fully forgiven them. Here I am, years later, and I was still upset. Still hurt. Still mad. And one of my lovely ladies asked me what would God give me, if I chose to forgive. And I had a mental stumbling block. Mostly I just don’t want people to think that they can negotiate with God. As in “If I do this good thing, then I can negotiate something worldly from God” kind of thinking. (I hope that makes sense, but I don’t want to camp out on this thought, so that’s all I will say.)

IMG_20160820_201921I was thinking about what she said, and what unforgiveness looks like. And in my mind I saw myself with my fists tightly clenched and pulled in close to my body. I realized that at times we might choose to cling tightly to fear, anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. When we do this, our hands are full. We can’t grab on to things like peace, when we are holding so tightly to these other things. But when we start to say “I forgive” and “I trust You, Lord,” then we start to release fear, anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. As we slowly unclench our hands, and we find our hands suddenly open and empty- when we stand empty handed before God, that is when He can start to put His Gifts into our hands, and we can start to receive the things He has planned for us.

I’m not saying forgiveness is easy, not by a long shot. Neither can you always do it the first time around (case in point: me). Sometimes it is an active process of letting go, an active process of returning our grievances to God a second, third, fourth (or more) time. An active process of choosing not to desire what might seem right or fair. It’s hard. Really hard. And it might even leave you feeling empty handed at times. But being empty handed before the one who spoke you into being- that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes that can be the beginning of everything.

May the Lord bless you to realize your own areas of unforgiveness. May the Lord help you to release the old feelings that you have clung to, and give you the strength and support you need to press on. May the Lord God bring healing and restoration to your hearts as you open up to Him about your struggles. May the Lord place into your open and empty hands His peace that surpasses all understanding. And may God bless you with friends who love you right where you are, who can speak life and truth into you life. In Jesus strong and mighty name, Amen.

~Lindsay

*Totally serious. I hang out with ladies who sing praise music on mountaintops. (Well, at least the biggest hill we can find in the vicinity)**

**We also play on jungle gyms and debate when middle age starts…? Is this the part where I hashtag a number in the 20-somethings and say 4eva?

IMG_20160821_080939

Carrots!

Carrots!

Inspiration

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” ~Matthew 13:23

A long time ago, I saw a cute quote and wrote it in the cover of my bible.  I didn’t really think too much about it beyond that it was cute… I’ve grown a lot since then. And I’ve grown a lot of vegetables since then*.

Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I recently headed out to our garden (which could more accurately be called a glorified weed patch) and picked a carrot! Yes, you read that right: I grew a carrot!! You can’t even begin to understand my shock, joy, and childlike glee at picking a carrot! We have tried growing carrots for years. Our carrot success rate was… well, nothing edible. Carrots are apparently hard to grow. I could have done research, I suppose. But that stubborn gene in me, just kept insisting that I could put that tiny little seed in the ground and out would pop a carrot. This is not a highly successful gardening method. Well, new home, new soil, same seeds… and TA-DA! A Carrot!

IMG_20160809_170629644

And I just held that carrot and stared at it (seriously, our neighbors are probably very concerned about me). Because FINALLY a carrot grew! And that Browning quote popped back into my mind. And then the idea of good soil, and Matthew 13 popped into mind. I remembered that tiny little seed, and looked at that fat carrot and was astounded. The glory of God really does fill the earth, it’s just we’re so busy we miss it! Daily we miss it! We go to the grocery store and pick up a bag of already washed and cut carrots, not knowing that they were tiny seeds at one point. Not seeing how they grow underground, hidden from view. This quote, or this idea, would probably mean nothing to me- except that I did grow the carrot. I did have failures, and I did try and try again. And then when it finally worked- it was ridiculous how exciting it was. It really was laughable how excited I was. But God is not calling us to be excited about just the really really big stuff, but to rejoice in the small, the everyday, the mundane.

The full quote is actually:

Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit round and pluck blackberries. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

And of course the bigger connection here is the seeds we sew with our words and deeds. We were commissioned to go to the ends of the earth and tell the Good News. That is NOT an easy job, not by a long shot. And just like the parable of the sower**** in Matthew 13, some people are not ready for the Good News. But some people are so thirsty for Jesus, that it is worth the risk (I’m talking mostly to myself here).

And the excitement is contagious. So contagious that as I was rejoicing over my carrot, a little someone came behind me and started plucking carrots and beets- regardless of size- but even more excited than his mother. Because we want to be a part of that excitement, we want to share in the glory and awe, we want to see it and touch it. So I thought I would share my carrot enthusiasm with everyone and took some pictures of the little stubby carrots my kids** enthusiastically picked while I wasn’t looking- all in the hopes that it might encourage someone today.

Lord, you are truly awesome. Your creation is full of the truth about who you are. Help us to see you in our daily lives, to rejoice in who you are, and to share that excitement with others. I pray that you would prepare the hearts around us to receive you truth and love, and that you would embolden us to speak your truth and love. And thank you for carrots! Amen!

~Lindsay

*And I’ve grown even more weeds.

**And FYI- how do you type a blog with 2 children who want to spend time with you? You let them do your hair, of course. I think I have about 50+ bows on my head right now. Also, I got my hair brushed. Pretty sure I might be bald now. So no, you aren’t getting any pictures of that. Sorry. Use your imagination.***

***and as I typed that I heard a little snip. Yep. The little one found a pair of scissors. So this is really the end now.

****I had to come back and edit the post, because my hubby was kind enough to tell me I’d written “the parable of the sewer” instead of the “sower.” Feeling all kinds of embarrassment here.

cabbage is so monstrously big, and somehow beautiful! (Even when the tomato plants fall over on it)
cabbage is so monstrously big, and somehow beautiful! (Even when the tomato plants fall over on it)
Thank You

Thank You

Inspiration Our Story

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” ~Luke 17:15-19

Saying “Thank you” is a big deal.

I used to teach high school math. I never thought about it before I became a teacher, but the majority of high schoolers (I could possibly even say ‘people’ here?) do not like math. In fact, most loathe math. So being a “fun” teacher was pretty much out from the beginning. Not if I wanted them to actually do hard work and learn something. Now of all the classes I taught, the most difficult was a class for those students who didn’t pass their standardized test. It was the last period of the day, the class period was about 70 minutes long, and all 35 students (none of whom were math enthusiasts to begin with) were forced to be in the class. I had to take attendance the last five minutes of class because a handful of kids would sneak out early if I was not standing at the door baring their escape.*

The term eventually ended, and I sighed with relief when I was no longer their gate keeper at the end of the school day. About a month later, the students had their test retakes. And that was when a miracle happened. There were students in that class that were well behaved, and doing their best- I just didn’t always have much time for them, as I was spending most of my time trying to figure out which student ducked out of the door with their hoodie pulled up over their head. But it was in the middle of a totally normal day when one of those students came wandering back into my room. Surprised, I greeted him, thinking vaguely that he had not given me any headaches and I really appreciated that. But then he said, “I passed the test. I wanted to tell you, because you were the one who helped me. Thank you.”

I think I just stood there and gaped at him. He probably didn’t know that I was trying really hard not to burst into tears. That I wanted to hug him, possibly adopt him. In all my years teaching, I didn’t remember ever having a student thank me for teaching them. I might have gotten a subway gift card once for teacher appreciation day. And there was another time that someone gave me a cheese and cracker tray for Christmas. But nothing like this. No one coming back after the fact and saying, “Thank you, you made a difference.”

And I remember that kid to this day. If I ran into him, I would thank him for making such a big difference in my life. I’m sure he hasn’t got a clue how much his little act of kindness meant to me. When I remember that moment, I think about those ten lepers that Jesus healed. Running off to celebrate, to tell their families, to- what? I don’t know. But only one came back to thank Jesus. One. And he wasn’t even a Jew. He was the one least expected to give thanks.

And I can’t help but think how often I’ve forgotten to throw myself at Jesus’ feet and thank him. I know I am in a rush, and often forget to thank the people I should. I especially forget to thank God (oops). But giving thanks is a big deal. I repeat: Big. Deal. I know it because of how much that one little thank you from one student touched my heart.

The Bible has a lot of verses on giving thanks. Especially giving thanks to the Lord. But, for the sake of keeping this blog short, there is just one thankful verse you really need: 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

So… just checking, but when would it be a good time to give thanks? So (speaking mainly to myself here) let’s practice our thankfulness. Let’s remember to thank God for even the littlest things. And let’s thank the people in our lives too. Who knows what those little words might do in one tired heart?

Lord, THANK YOU! We thank you for all you have done for us. Give us new hearts- thankful hearts. Help us to be thankful people. Help us to remember all that you have already done, and to trust you for our future. Even when things are going poorly, even when our hearts are so full of sadness and hurt- help us to remember the good you have done, and to trust in the good you are doing. Sometimes saying thank you is a sacrifice for us, it is giving up on our ideas of what is best or right. It is trusting that- somehow- your plan is being worked out in this world. It is trusting that you have already won. We trust you, Lord. We thank you, Lord. You are worthy. And as our hearts are transformed by you, help us to reach those around us with your light, and with your good news. Bless us to be your hands and feet. In Jesus strong name, Amen.

~Lindsay

 *And there were a few who would sneak out, even if I was standing right at the door telling them not to go. I had to admire their chutzpah.

Light

Light

Encouragement From the Authors Inspiration

because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
~1 John 2:8

Little Boy Swimming
Little Boy Swimming

So I saw this verse this week*. And it was one of those moments where a scripture sort of stops you in your tracks. Even if you’ve heard it a million times before, something about that bit of scripture on that particular day grabs hold of you and… I thought to myself, the darkness is already passing? How did I miss that? Because sometimes I forget that I am living in victory. That Christ has already handed me a victory, but I need to choose how to live in it. And if the true light is already shining, aren’t I a part of that?

It’s summer. We are covered in sunscreen and bug spray, and running a million miles an hour. We have visited every water source within our vicinity as we have traveled around, trying to have fun and keep cool. We’ve already managed to see most of our family, and I’m pretty sure we have plans to meet with the rest in the next few weeks. I’m on full-throttle-mom-mode (sounds like something I should hash tag?). So how do I take into perspective the idea that “the darkness is passing, and the true light is already shining.” How? Because I’m not big on theological debates. I don’t have the brain power for them, I’m just trying to keep meal planning and budgets under control. I’m all about practical application.

Epic Slip-N-Slide
Epic Slip-N-Slide

Not having all the answers, here is what I thought. Can we stop complaining? Even just a little bit? It’s okay to be genuine and honest with others. It is good to share our struggles and weaknesses (don’t fall off the other side of the horse here!). BUT (and it’s a big but**), can we stop complaining? Can we find something to be thankful for? Can we share what was GOOD about our day, before going to the negative? I know when my husband comes home I tend to share all that  went wrong with my day. (Oops)

I got this idea from a family member. I asked them a question, fully prepared for a negative answer. And guess what they said? “Fantastic!” And they meant it! Instead of focusing on what was or could go wrong, they were focusing on the positive. And I found that was absolutely delightful to be around! And I thought, wouldn’t we all be more enjoyable if we answered more questions with a genuinely happy, “Fantastic!” because we were able to focus on the little things that were going well instead of the little things that were not.

Seriously. Think of how the Church would look if we were that kind of people! Think of how attractive we would be to nonbelievers!

And yes, putting it into practice is a lot easier said than done. But at least we can choose to try. We can choose to grab hold of the victory Christ has handed us, and to start living like true sons and daughters of God.***

Now as a last little bit- the entire time I’ve been typing this, there is a little chirping sound every now and then in the background. Belatedly I am realizing the battery on a fire alarm must be running low. So here is my first practice of NOT complaining (I know, baby steps!!): Isn’t it FANTASTIC that fire alarms tell you when to change their batteries!?

Thank you Jesus for the victory you have given! Please help us to live in the reality of that victory. Help us to be thankful, praiseful, and positive. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*Where did I see this verse? Click Here!

Slip-N-Slide Feet
Slip-N-Slide Feet

**ha ha

***Latest favorite song:
Praise Nation by Nate Sabin.****
First little bit says:
We are all heirs to an infinite fortune
With all the privileges of royal blood
Used to be outcasts, rejects, orphans
Now we are the sons and daughter of God

****Want to hear his music? Click Here! (Praise Nation, #8 is my favorite)

All for Jesus

All for Jesus

Encouragement Inspiration

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. ~Luke 8:39

We recently moved. Moving is not always easy, but often surprising.

One thing we have found difficult, is finding a new church to call home. In this case, it is because of a wonderful problem. The city we landed in seems to be overflowing with great church families! We just need to find our place in the midst of so many options. Isn’t that a wonderful “problem”? So many good churches to choose from? I wish I had more problems like this*.

But the reason I bring this up, is because of one associate pastor. I don’t know him, and I’ve only heard him speak twice. But when he speaks, it’s like his whole life is saying all for Jesus.

Well, let me back up. Start at the beginning. The first time we visited this church, the associate pastor got up front and shared with the congregation that he had his colonoscopy, and the doctors had found cancer. I felt hearts in the congregation breaking around me. It was a very sad moment for that church body. As my husband and I talked after the service, we were amazed how the associate pastor had shared the news. He asked for prayer, especially for his family. He was honest and upfront about the situation. But he had hope. Not false hope, but genuine hope that comes from knowing Christ. He said, “Even in the worse case scenario, I still win. I still go home to be with Jesus.”

On Easter Sunday, we visited this church again. They had a small drama, where kids (teenagers) were asking this same pastor tough questions about faith and science. One of the kids mentioned that Easter probably wasn’t the best time to question faith. But this associate pastor lovingly said, that questions are good. They are ok, and you should feel free to ask them at any time. Then he used his heart and brain to argue his case for Christ. And he even brought his stage 4 cancer into the debate. And my heart hurt to know that diagnosis, even as it soared. Because I heard it again- all for Jesus.

Given some of the worst news ever, he still pointed to God’s trustworthiness and goodness. I loved that he was addressing the hard questions to teenagers. I loved that he was in front of everyone giving God glory in the midst of something so personal, painful, sad…

But he wasn’t any of those things. Instead he was secure in his knowledge that Jesus has already won. And he was using his testimony to glorify God.

They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death.
~Revelation 12:11

Grandma Mabel
Grandma Mabel

I’m not belittling the pain that anyone has ever faced. I know how awful cancer in the family can be. Trust me, I know. This story is not about pretending like everything is okay, when it most clearly is not. This story is about trusting God in all circumstances. And I don’t know this man, but I am sure he has had plenty of emotions to contend with. When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer we went through the gauntlet of anger, fear, sadness, brief periods of hope, crushing moments of heartbreak….

But her last words, always give me hope: “Beautiful, beautiful…”

Hope is a beautiful thing.**

Lord, thank you for the testimonies of others that draw us nearer to you. Thank you that you are so holy, that you can use even the worst circumstances for good. Thank you that wherever we are and whatever is happening in our lives, there is always hope because of what your son did on the cross. Thank you that the tomb was empty, and that we now have hope in Christ. Lord, please increase our hope. Please help us to tell our own testimonies when needed. May we glorify You. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

*Other problems I would like to have: too much cheesecake in the house, too many coffee shops in town, and a roll of toilet paper that never ran out. (I suppose that last one is not really a problem at all… but as long as I am dreaming.)

**But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. ~Hebrews 3:6

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.

Reminders

Reminders

Children Inspiration

Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Psalm 34:11 (NIV)

I recently visited the tiniest, most precious gift- a newborn in the NICU. She was premature, and gorgeous. So tiny, and yet so strong.

I am not exaggerating. She was so strong I commented about it, and her nurse said something amazing to me.

“It’s incredible how resilient [premature newborns] are, what they are able to come back from. Most adults would check out when facing the recovery these tiny babies have ahead of them. But it’s like they don’t know how to give up. They just know to try.”

Big Brother and Big Sister inspecting their new Little Brother's foot.
These are my children. Big Brother and Big Sister inspecting their new Little Brother’s foot.

I looked down at the baby, who was strong enough to push adult hands away (we were trying to get foot prints, and she was having none of it). And I was in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness. He brings us into the world and prepares us to face the challenges ahead. He is always beside us. Though we may be shaken, God can never be moved. He is the rock on which we stand. There is no hardship too difficult, no pit in life too deep.

But somewhere along the way we forget. We put our faith in the wrong things. We forget that God sent us Jesus and Jesus is more than enough.

A friend of mine always reminds me, “Children are born knowing how to love, it’s hate that has to be taught.”

So I thank God for this precious life, and the life of my three healthy children. In everything I do, say, am- my children are watching and learning from me. And no matter how great the difficulties I face, God is faithful to me. Even when I am not faithful. Jesus is more than enough. And the Holy Spirit intercedes for me.

A good reminder. From a very good Father.

They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. Psalms 78:35 (NIV)

Thank you, Lord, for this new precious life! Thank you, Lord, for children! Bless the children that are sick and hurting, protect and strengthen them. Bless us to be the adults in their lives who point to You and Your Ways. Remind us of who You are, and who You have made us to be! Amen

~Lindsay

The Boat

From the Authors Inspiration

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Genesis 6:9 (NIV)

I have two stories for you involving floods and boats.

Building the boat
Building the boat

When my son was four-years-old, we were on a lakeshore where piles of driftwood had washed ashore following a flood caused by a severe rainstorm. Now the adults were content to start a bonfire, sit in their camp chairs, and relax after a long day of running around. But my son saw all that wood, saw all that water and thought… I could build a boat. Thus began a very exhausting and unproductive evening for him. No matter how hard he tried, he could not get his boat to stick together. He hefted driftwood, and worked and worked… but the pieces kept falling apart. And all the while, the adults watched, thinking, “Oh, that’s so cute.” But no one helped.

The next day, we returned to the lakeshore, and my four-year-old started all over again. Undeterred by the previous day’s failure, he collected and assembled driftwood. This time the little boy’s determination got the attention of one uncle. When the adults saw the boy and his uncle working so hard, they sighed, put down their marshmallow sticks, and began to help. We found vines and weeds to tie the driftwood together. In the end the boat only made one trip, but my four-year-old rode alongside his uncle laughing triumphantly. He had succeeded!

The second story is about another boat. An ark, actually. The story of Noah, the only righteous man in a wicked world. And the one who God decides to save. He sends Noah directions to build the ark, tells Noah to collect the animals… I think you probably know the rest.

Something you may not have thought about when you read this story: Noah did not sit in his living room, watching television while God built the ark for him. (Glad I could clarify that for you) Noah had to build the boat. If he’d given up after smashing his thumb with a hammer for the fifth time, well… the Bible would have been a lot shorter.

My son could not build his boat. He needed help. But if he had asked for help that first night, we wouldn’t have helped. We were tired, we wanted s’mores (just being honest), and boat building on the lakeshore seemed impossible. We didn’t have the tools or materials we thought we needed. And if my son had lost interest that second day and walked away to inspect sea shells, the adults would have forgotten all about that boat building dream. So, why did we help my son?

Because he was persistent.

Now the Bible is not specific about what it means when it calls Noah a ‘righteous man.’ But I’m guessing he didn’t easily give up. He had to build a giant ark, and then gather up two of every kind of animal. Have you ever tried herding cats? Anteaters? Hyenas? Squirrels? Can you even imagine? That man’s middle name must have been Persistent.

And here is my (long awaited) point: persistence pays off. God rewards it. People reward it.

the one-and-only time that boat made it out into open water
the one-and-only time that boat made it out into open water

Jesus tells a parable about the persistent widow (Luke 18). She gets what she wants, even from an unjust judge. My son got what he wanted, even from a bunch of tired and hungry (or at least s’more craving) adults.

I know one thing I need to be persistent about. Prayer. The Bible tells us to be persistent in prayer (Colossians 4). And since I am talking about things I need to be more persistent about, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But it’s enough to get me started.

So what do you need to be more persistent about?

May God bless you to be persistent in the pursuit of Him. And may He open your eyes to the good that He is accomplishing in your life. Amen

~Lindsay