Eight Years Old

“We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4

Our youngest turned eight years old over the weekend. She is so full of light, secure in being loved and chosen. She is a daily example of freedom and joy. It reminds me of how Jesus told us to become like a child when I watch her. He knew the tendency we have as we grow up to live insecure and fearful. She reminds me of grace and mercy. She shows that it really is true, life can begin again after death. And she has a rare beauty that comes from within and just cannot help but be reflected. God knew exactly what our family needed and gave us a live in, up close reality of the life He wants to give us. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Happy Birthday Vivian!

Mom

We were riding down the road talking about how today was my moms birthday. Our youngest corrected me, saying it is my moms birthday. Death does not cancel out an important date of someone you love very much. Several times I caught myself thinking about my mom and missing her help. She was always the first person my sister and I called in any situation. We would call her first and then the doctors office. She was a help line to many. I miss that.

I recently read a quote that made me think of her. It was talking about how our purpose is to help other people find their purpose. My mom definitely helped me find mine! Because of so many things she instilled in me, I am the kind of mom I am today. She was honest about her mistakes, so I could avoid them and encouraged what was important. She told me we should grow old gracefully. She said older people are heroes for all they have seen and lived through. She cared for others quietly and loved children fiercely. My children were blessed in many ways because she loved them. How delighted the Lord must be to have her home with Him today!

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Turning 12

“The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” James 5:16

One of our boys is turning twelve years old today. He is so full of life and determination. He is as comfortable with adults as he is with any age child. He makes any event fun and you want him apart of whatever you are doing. Even grocery shopping can turn into an adventure with this one. As fun as he is, what I admire most about him is his sensitive heart and his prayers for others. He is never afraid to ask the Lord for answers. It is a childlike faith, boldness and confidence in who the Lord is and who he is, that makes him unique for his young age. And if this is twelve, what must the Lord have planned for this one? Thankful to have a front row seat.

Happy Birthday Paxton!

Before the Table

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

Before we come to our tables, may we all be reconciled if possible. Extend forgiveness, ask for it if needed and then come to the table. And maybe this will be our best thanksgiving ever as we pass grace around like your favorite dish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Notes

This morning I found a note one of the kids wrote to me years ago. Then there was a note a friend had written inside a book by one of my favorite authors. Other days I will find notes exchanged between my husband and I that make me smile. And if you open up a drawer in the kitchen, you will find it full of already read lunch box notes. I slide those in just to remind them that they are loved and I am praying for them. Maybe scripture is a little like that too. It is God’s word given to us to believe, apply and live while we are walking towards home. It is powerful, true and beautiful. It serves as a guide, source, and daily light. His word reminds us of who we are, whose we are and where we are going. Yes, there is much life to live now and we all need what He has graciously, lovingly supplied. It is the longest love note we have ever been given. Now that is something to be thankful for!

Forgiveness

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger., and give no opportunity to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27

For years I dreamed of writing a book, until I realized it would only have one word in it – forgive. The key to marriage, parenting and family is forgiveness. Do not let the small offenses pile up. Obey the wisdom of God and not give the enemy an opportunity for all manner of sins to take rootby withholding forgiveness. I am by no means an expert or do this perfectly, but I will fight the enemy on this one. And maybe it is because I am overwhelmed by how much I have been forgiven by Jesus, so how on earth could I withhold forgiveness from others?

So as we enter this holiday season, let’s go ahead and decide we will forgive. And when the new year begins, perhaps we will look back and be amazed by all the grace we have received and extend because we have chosen forgiveness.

Authority

When we go through trials of any kind, we can get tired. Sometimes the weariness of the circumstances can flat knock you down. I found myself here and just needed to rest. I know we cannot stay unengaged forever, for that is not living, but you never know what the Lord will use to get you back up on your feet. For me, it was a message taught at church on Sunday about the armor of God found in Ephesians 6. After that I felt myself able to stand, a bit wobbly, but standing. Then to put that fire back in my bones, I heard a song that reminds us of God’s authority and what we have been given as His child. So back into battle I go, a little weak, but stronger in spirit and with gratitude. And friend, if you need encouragement during a trial or are in need of rest, please let me know. I would be honored to pray for you and I also know how valuable small things can be to a weary heart.

*The song is Under my Feet by Zach Williams.

Ten

One of our children turns ten years old today. He is bright, funny, creative, insightful and a bit quirky. He stands out with his red hair and expressive eyes. Sometimes he hits you with the most profound truth that you think about it all day long. I wonder what he is becoming?

As we sat together in the busy cafeteria yesterday, I got a glimpse into his world. Hearing about it at the end of the school day is one thing, but entering in adds more understanding. Reminded me of our Young Life days of going to where kids were, entering their world. I love getting to do this with my own kids now and see prayers that need to be prayed on their behalf. I look forward to the answers of these prayers this coming year.

Happy Birthday Eli! I love you!

Turning Twenty

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

Our oldest turns twenty years old tomorrow. I thought I would share a few words to her and maybe encourage you too.

You have stepped out again with courage and trust in the One who created you. So many new things these last few months. A new school, new place to live, new friends, new ministries and new places to hangout. I have watched you navigate it all with perseverance, even when it was hard. What I love is having a front row seat to prayers being answered and some I did not even know to pray. And as you turn another year older, I look forward to watching you continue to live out the story He wrote before you were born. May you be reminded of His great love for you this next year.

Happy Birthday Maggie… I love you

Purposely Living

I read a great question today that asked what was the one thing that only you can do? What comes to mind? Keeping it simple, the one thing I can love my family in a million different ways. Others are welcome to join in, but this is my unique role. This is the part I was assigned to live and you have your story to live too. I was placed in our home to love my husband and each of our children. Where has He placed you? Who has He given you to love? None of us are perfect at love, but we can keep trying. And if you want to know how I learned to love, is that I know that I was loved first and so were you. What a purpose!

I will leave you with a great quote. “If we truly make the discovery of how valuable these kids are, and how vast their potential that we release by loving them totally, then the generation that follows discovery will be like no other this world has ever seen.” Joe White