Seventeen

Our oldest turned 17 yesterday and that number still has not settled in my head, much less my heart. Were you not just 17 minutes old and being shown off to waiting grandparents? Now I send pictures and texts to show you off. However, these snapshots and short words just cannot capture who you are becoming. I will try here with a bit more space to describe this child.

IMG_6587I learned the most interesting news yesterday about this 17 year old. She always leaves for school pretty early. I just assumed it was to grab coffee and then met up with friends. Sometimes a coffee stop happens too, but the main reason is so she can sit with her Bible open in her car before walking into school. She fills her mind with truth and reads words written by her Creator. Her eyes are fixed on Jesus before she walks the halls and faces distraction. Her security of who she is and to whom she belongs is firmly in place as she hears other voices saying “try this”, “why not be this” and “perhaps truth is whatever you want it to be”.

How did this happen? How does a girl, going to a public high school, walk day in and day out in love with Jesus? Would she not have a better chance at a Christian school? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. The primary location this love starts is in her heart. As her parents, we have taken her to church, talked about Jesus, read the Bible together and we pray continually for her. But the decision to follow Him is ultimately up to her. Just because we have surrendered and fallen in love with God, does not mean our children will do the same. I fight for their hearts to be aimed towards Him each and everyday. How I do that is by reading God’s word, praying and talking about Him.

You know, you cannot give what you do not have. If you do not have a deep belief and love for the LORD, you cannot pour that belief, which looks an awful lot like trust, and love out onto your children. Your life does not bear the fruit the Bible talks about. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”. (Galatians 5:22-23). Simply put, our efforts fail when we try and parent on our own. I know this because I tried to parent this way with just enough Jesus and my own common sense. This worked okay until we had our sixth child and none of my go to, I’ve got this stuff was working. I could not be more thankful!

The mom I was 17 years ago is not the mom I am today. In God’s love and mercy, He uses each of my children to pull me close. Sometimes I wonder why it took me so long to get over myself, but even in that I see grace. He has been so patient, loving, kind, faithful and good to me. Evidence of that was on display yesterday with this 17 year old child. You know how she spent her birthday? Her and her brother went to a night of worship with high schoolers from our church. They packed the place out and sang songs of adoration to God. The glow of love they came home wearing on their faces is indescribable.

I will never claim to have all the answers or to have this parenting thing figured out, but I do know and love the One who does. I will claim to be one sinner, coming alongside 8 other sinners in our home. We respectively point out sin to each other, not always perfectly. We repent of our sin and ask forgiveness. We love each other and show grace often. We laugh and actually like spending time together. We love celebrating and count it a privilege to celebrate this 17 year old.

Happy Birthday Maggie! Your love for Jesus is absolutely stunning!

Why Keep Walking

Because we live in Texas and a caravan of people are walking towards our southern border, I feel the need to type out a few words. I would love a few hours with moms from this group. What are they leaving behind? What has them leaving their homes? What do they think awaits them here? What is it like traveling on foot, thousands of miles with kids? How did you pack for this journey? Back home, what did you cook for dinner? These are just a few things I would ask them. I wonder what their responses would be? I wonder how this is all going to play out?

IMG_9844There is so much opinion flying over social media and the news in regards to these people, these people made by God. Some of these travelers might have evil in mind and some might just want a different life. What will they find here? Will life look that much different for them or for us? Do we stop them or do we say welcome? So many questions and not a lot of answers.

There is so many great things about our country, but it is very divided right now. Do they want to enter into more conflict here? Do they want to come to a land where they are seen as people, but if they happen to be an unborn baby, well that is a different story. Killing them is a mere procedure. Hate is blasted here, but so is love. However, sometimes it is misinterpreted and is actually sin. I will let the Lord lead you on that one. Do they want to come to a nation that is so mixed up on the simplest thing, like gender? You were either created by God to be a boy or a girl. Period. Yes, we are a mixed up land.

Could another option be to help them make their countries better? Maybe we could actually place value on human life and help them earn a decent amount of money for their daily work. Perhaps all countries could benefit when greed is cast aside and a person becomes valuable at all stages. I wonder what talents the people walking have? I bet there are some creative, smart and hard working people coming this way. Will their countries suffer because they are not there?

Will they find basic needs met here? We cannot feed all the people that already live here, how do we add more? Will their helplessness and out of desperation, make them easy targets for human trafficking? Any amount of provision, regardless of the cost to themselves, is better than none right? What if they get hurt or sick? Who will treat and cover the cost? Do we just keep flooding our emergency rooms and government programs? Is going into even more debt the answer?

Another thought, maybe we could learn to respect those placed in authority over us and work together to actually make changes. I wonder how we would feel if we were hated and made fun of publicly day in and day out? I wonder if our sin was broadcasted? Should leaders be held accountable? Of course they should. Should people be able to make up lies and ruin others reputations?  I do not think so. Have you ever once put yourself in our governments shoes or are we comfortable sitting on the sidelines screaming half truths, hate and opinions?

For me, I have voted, but I am not sure what else I can do besides pray. We can talk to the Creator of the universe anytime, no need to make an appointment. We can pour out our heart concerns, ask for help and direction. We can repent of our sin and ask for forgiveness. We can turn and actually follow His way. We can uproot bitterness, pride, anger, shame and fear. We can have the words we speak be ones of truth. If it does not line up with scripture, it is not truth. Maybe if we start with ourselves, change would come in our homes, communities, churches, schools and government. Then I could understand a bit more why people would be walking our way. The way were are now, not so much.

So, lets be people who pray for our country and not continue the divide. Search the scripture for yourself and see what God actually says and not someone with an agenda in mind. Hate, pride and anger need to die within our hearts. Maybe, just maybe we will see  change. After all, the Bible tells us that, “…glory be to God, who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20). This is the only God and to the One I am asking to move mightily in this situation. Join me?

Create

A sweet friend told me she would be selling her beautifully handmade earrings at a local holiday market today. I have heard about this market for years, but have never gone. This was the perfect opportunity! Our oldest and I set out this morning. I was shocked at the number of people set up selling all kinds of items and those shopping. People are so creative and talented! The Lord uniquely makes each of us and it is fun seeing what others do with what they have been given. Do you ever stop to think that it is the Lord who gave you ability to sing, paint, draw, capture stunning photographs or gracefully dance across a stage? We do our part by practicing, but it is Him that placed these talents inside of you.

IMG_9679My dad is an exceptional artist and draws furniture as a career. My grandmother has a way with a paint brush. My mom could write in the most beautiful calligraphy script. One of my aunts can sew anything beautifully. A cousin can decorate cakes that can transform into any object. One of my aunts shines in the medical field. My other grandmother could bake the best desserts and was the ultimate homemaker. A great uncle could talk about God and you would want to know Him for yourself. One uncle is a phenomenal chef. And all my aunts and uncles have the best sense of humor. They are a party waiting to happen. The list of talent could go on and on. Each unique, each related to me and each created by God. I like seeing how God dispenses talent into families.

Growing up, I wanted to do gymnastics or ballet. Maybe play the piano, anything that would get me noticed. However, I never found the thing I was made to do. Nothing seemed to put me in the spotlight and I was left feeling untalented. And then I became a mom and the need for the spotlight ended. There is not much I do day in and day out that is seen, except by my family. Their hearts reflect the words I say and the seeds I plant. Each day I am helping to shape who the Lord has created them to be. He chose me to be their mom and uniquely shaped me for this role. Some of the shaping has been hard and painful and some has just come easy. All are necessary.

Once walking out of a luncheon, someone mentioned to another lady that I had a lot of kids. She started saying all these negative comments and to each I responded back with something positive. Finally, I could stand it no longer. I turned to her and said, “You know what? I was made for this.”. Not another word was spoken.

I do not know what you were made to do, but I do know the One who made you. Get in His Word and read about the things He promises those He created and that love Him. Read about His making of the world and humans. Read about His incomprehensible love for us and how He wants us to live. You will meet the God that created creativity, singing, food, words, shapes, dancing and the list is endless. The next time you start to do that thing you are good at, think of the One who has given you that ability. Stop and thank Him for how He made you. Then use it to bring Him glory. You were made for this!

Looking Back

On Tuesday,  my husband and I celebrated 19 years of marriage. To some that may seem like so few years and to others a lifetime. To me it is a picture of pure grace, I do not deserve what I have been given. When I look at the photographs from that day, I am transported right back. It was the perfect fall day and our family and friends were seated in the pews. It was a big day and I wanted a big entrance. The aisle seemed a mile long, but I knew who waited at the end. Truth be told, I knew you were suppose to feel beautiful on your wedding day, but I did not. Nothing seemed right with my appearance, but that was a normal feeling. Never quite right, but close. However, that faded away when I saw how he looked at me. Jesus has had the same affect on my heart too.

IMG_9757When I finally made my way to the platform, everyone else disappeared. We exchanged vows, promises to each other and to God. When we said the “richer or poorer” part, I actually laughed. We were on Young Life staff and I thought we would always be financially lacking. Sometimes this was true and sometimes it was not. Either way, I am loved and have seen the Lord be faithful.

We celebrated with a great meal and the best cake I have ever eaten. We danced and I tried to keep the look of shock from my face with the DJ’s song choices. Why was “Strawberry Wine” played when I danced with my dad??? I was thankful when the last song played, which the DJ dedicated to his daughter. We left in a golf cart and checked into the hotel. People thought we were dressed up for Halloween. It made us laugh and added another fun memory to our day.

We spent a week in Hawaii, in a suite that was huge! It was actually bigger than the house we would share on our return. The honeymoon ended and years have come and gone. Real life sets in and for that I am thankful. I do better with real.

Neither one of us could have known what all these years would hold and how we would change. I started off as a girl who was insecure and selfish, full of pride and lacking in humility. He, well, he has remained steady, humble, a servant and kind. He has no need to boast and lives planted in the knowledge that he is loved by God. It took me quite awhile to catch up. The biggest change I have seen in him is the color of his hair. Me and kids can have a greying effect.

Looking back through these years, we have known joy and loss. My mom, some grandparents and two babies have died. However, we trust that the Lord is faithful and loves us even when loss does not feel loving. The Lord has also given us more than we could have imagined. When I look around our table, I am astonished and full of gratitude. What we have been entrusted with is much and I will spend my days not taking this lightly.

I pray that I do not waste time on the things that do not matter.  I pray my words are rooted in love and encourage, not tear down as they often have. I pray our children know we as parents love each other and them, from hearts that believe they are loved and forgiven by God. Knowing this in my heart and head makes all the difference. If you do not yet know this, your family and everyone around you suffers. I know this to be true. Just think, you could be the most loving person around the Thanksgiving table or the Christmas tree this year if you will only believe and accept the gift of Jesus! Why not today?

May the Lord continue to draw us close and equip us to point our children straight to Him.

“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much. Be he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 7:47

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change

It is remarkable the impact that 6 letters, strung together to form a word, can have on a child’s heart. This is what I faced this week head on and it was not at all easy. However, the lesson learned will make a difference on this generation and those to come.

IMG_8870One of our kids is very much like me in personality and sensitivity. We also tend to hurt each other the most. When this particular child was getting ready for school, I made a few appearance suggestions. They were not well received, but that did not stop me from pressing for this child to make the “necessary” corrections. Silent tears fell and words were exchanged. I remember the feeling of conflict before heading off to school and how it cast a dark cloud on my day. This is exactly what my words did to this precious child. I sent a few texts, but they were read and not answered.

Later that morning, I was very convicted about my actions and knew the Lord was telling me to stop. I would be sharing this with my child and asking for forgiveness. That forgiveness took all day to be given and I understood. The next morning went much better, but the following did not. It is true that obedience  to what the Lord clearly instructs is for our benefit. When we “go sailing off on our own”, as my youngest put it the other day, we have consequences. In this case, it was a broken relationship and a heart that hurt.

We had another bad morning due to my suggestions. Then a little boy of ours had stayed home sick from school. He walked up to me with paper and pencil. He said we needed some rules and asked me to write them down. There were 10 rules in all, each written just for me. The remarkable thread that I immediately saw with the rules it that each had to do with the outward appearance of me or our home. He taped them up right beside my makeup mirror. Just looking at the made up list gave me such a feeling of heaviness. Who could ever measure up to this list? And then it hit me. This is exactly how my child felt with my suggestions. Conviction returned and I repented for my heart and words… again.

When school ended and we talked, I heard powerful words that cemented in my heart and mind the crushing weight I was placing on my child. This is what was spoken, “What if you heard everyday CHANGE”? I could have wept right there in carpool line. I know that feeling. “I spend my day trying to figure out how.” Who does that intentionally to someone they love? I did. Our home is suppose to be a place of love and where you are accepted, not told who God has made you is not good enough and you should change. Sure makes a case for why kids seek an escape and acceptance from others outside their homes. If they are not accepted at home, why not try drinking, drugs, vaping, sex before marriage and all other lies of sin satan sets before them?

I am convinced if we would follow God’s design for families, our homes would be different and our world would be too. I was more concerned with my standards and needed correcting. For our children to know and hear they are deeply loved and accepted for who God uniquely made them, is the least I can give them everyday. Honestly, I thought I was doing a pretty good job. I am so thankful this happened and a child’s heart will not have roots of ‘you need to change’ planted. It takes years to uproot those, but it can be done. The Lord in His kindness used a little boys list of rules and another kids powerful words to get this mama’s attention. I am so thankful!

Love

Yesterday was my birthday and it was a good day. It is funny what becomes important and the things you want to receive on your special day as you get older. For me, I love words in any form. This is what communicates love to me most. Gary Smalley has written a book entitled, Five Love Languagesand it would be helpful to read if you have not already. Knowing the best way to show people, especially in your family, that you love them is important. He has one for kids too. My family knows this and that is a gift in itself. To be known and loved is a big deal in our home.

IMG_9538I am not sure if you grew up in a house or a home, but there is a difference. A house provides shelter, but a home cares about the hearts of those inside the shelter. A home, to me, is a place where you learn what love is. You learn by hearing, seeing, feeling, giving and receiving. But what if you do not know how? What if you came from a house where love did not live? Where do you start? You go straight to the inventor of love – God himself. You read your Bible and see how He showed us what love is and what it is not. Then you take His example and you demonstrate it every single day. Will it always be received by others or perfect? Unfortunately no, but His love is always present, available, real, perfect and the list could go on and on. His love never ends.

Our home is far from perfect and we act unloving towards each other all the time. However, we talk things out and move on. This is easier with kids than it is with years of hurts, but it can be done. Another thing is, I do not make my kids say they are sorry immediately after they have done something wrong. In this case, words will not cut it. It is a heart of repentance and actually seeing how they have hurt someone they love that I am after. This might take 10 minutes or it might take 2 hours, but it is always worth the wait.

In our home we make each other a priority. I have fallen short in this when I felt more important or recognized volunteering outside of our home. I remember dropping everything several times to run to “emergency” meetings and leaving my husband to handle all the moving parts of school pickups, etc. He can run this home like nobodies business, but I momentarily got distracted. You know what happened? I am no longer apart of that organization, but the Lord moved me to other incredible places to serve. He also opened my eyes big time to the importance of discernment. I am much more protective in what my time outside our home is given too these days.

This family is the best gift, apart from my salvation, that the Lord has blessed me with. He has entrusted me and provided everything I need to raise these children in a place where love lives. I want to know them and give them a place to belong. If you ever hear me say, “In my house…”, please take me aside and wash my mouth out with soap. The last time I checked, this house belongs to God and it is every bit as much theirs as it is mine. To make a child feel like they are an outsider, is not loving. Kids know and feel the difference.

So, may our homes be a place where patience, kindness, trust, protection, hope and perseverance matter. May envy, boastfulness, pride, selfishness, anger, grudges and evil never be welcome. And according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, this is love and “it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” Lets work to be a home where love is known and given as the best gift.

*The picture is a precious sign given to me by dear friend, Missy Schierloh. It is by Timber Jane.

 

 

 

Truth Be Told

Our church is doing a series of sermons based on the Old Testament book of Malachi. We looked at chapter 2, verses 10-16. The sermon is entitled, “With This Ring” and it is probably the best I have ever heard on marriage and divorce. Our pastor spoke truth, with boldness and cast light into the lies of darkness. He gave hope, direction and the way of grace, all taken from God’s Word. You can watch it at https://www.ccbcfamily.org.  I am certain there will be those who get upset. Truth has a way of doing that to people who have lived believing a lie for so long. When will we learn that we have been told what is best for us by God? When will we stop making up our version of right and wrong? It did not go well for the people in the scriptures and it is not going well for us today.

IMG_9486I look at all that is going on in our country alone and think truth needs to be shouted from the rooftops! However, the shouts would probably be drowned out by all the protests. So much is being shouted. When will voices give up and grow hoarse from all the demanding that sin should be accepted? I wonder if anyone has ever changed their mind because they heard shouts of protest? Has anyone ever thought that murdering a child is wrong, but heard “you have a right to your own body” and changed their mind? Did they hear a way out in that loud voice, but what about the consequences? Shouldn’t they be told too? Honestly, is it your heart you are stopping? Then please tell me, is this really your body then? What about marriage? What does God say and what is SOME of our country shouting? It is heartbreaking to see the blatant disregard for what God created in both cases.

I am not sure what has gotten into me, but the boldness I witnessed today encouraged me to speak truth. I have this little space and it is and will continue to be a place where God’s word is lifted up as the final authority on truth. Some might be offended and that is a risk, but the consequences of not telling the truth are too great. When you know what true life now and for eternity is, how can we stand on the sidelines and do nothing? So, I will stand here, at home, at the grocery store, at the kids school, church and where ever my two feet take me, pointing others to the source and author of truth. This will require me to stop and think a bit more about the words that come out of my mouth. I have a terrible habit of speaking and then thinking. Not sure what happened to the quiet girl I was up until 9th grade, but I sure would like a bit of her back. Seems like truth would better be heard that way.

So, can I ask you what are you proclaiming today? Is it your “truth”, God’s truth or cries of pain, fear or anger that have found a place in protest to support sin? The state of our country is terrible, but how can we expect change if we remain blinded? We can choose to open our Bible, pray and ask the Lord to search our heart. The crazy thing is He already knows what is in there. Nothing is hidden from Him. The best news is that He loves you despite all of it and died for you anyways. Now that is worth putting on a sign and shouting about!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Remind Me

Do you ever feel blindsided in parenting? The only reason I know that term is because of the movie. I think it is fair to say that it feels like an unexpected tackle when it hits. That is exactly what happened just the other day in our home. We had all the “right plays” in place and felt prepared. Then bam we were hit and taken to the ground. Heartbreak and defeat were shouting loudly after the surprise. What had gone wrong? How did this happen? Does this child not know their worth and love? How had they been so deceived by satan?

IMG_9435One sinful decision made can lead to a web not easily escaped from. This I know to be true. However, I also know the power of what Jesus’ death and resurrection did to defeat sinful decisions we all make. The enemy would love nothing more than have us stay in this web thinking and believing that we are too far gone. How could a holy God ever want to have anything to do with us now? Does that sound familiar? Yeah, I have heard those lies before and kept my distance from God.

There was no way I wanted this child to stay entrapped, but that was their decision. Yes, punishment was given, but a new idea came to me. I cannot remember where I read this account, but I will sum it up. There is a tribe that uses the most unique approach to members that fail. They place this person in the middle of the tribe and speak words that remind them of who they are. They do not cast stones of failure at them, but words of worth. I wanted to follow this example with our child. It also very much reminded me of Jesus’ approach to the woman caught in adultery, ready to be stoned.

So I wrote note after note of scripture for this child. I picked up their favorite after school snack. I bought bath stuff to give a physical reminder of being washed clean. I opened up an age appropriate devotional and it “happened” to land on the topic of forgiveness. That was left open for repetitive eyes to read. I told this precious child that they are a masterpiece and loved. I told them that if they felt whispered lies of accusation in their ear from satan, remind him of the truth in God’s word. I wish you could see the physical relief in this child. I wish you could see their peaceful sleep and feel their constant hugs. Repentance, forgiveness and restoration are very evident in the lightness of this one.

Today if you need reminding that it is not too late to be and live forgiven, I hope you hear me and make an eternal decision. May you live a life of freedom only found in truth. And if you think you cannot possibly be found worthy of Jesus’ death on the cross, I want you read these words that I copied for my daughter. They are straight out of God’s word so they are true and can be trusted.

“He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12

“Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” Psalm 30:2

“O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8

“God’s peace will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The peace that God gives is so great that we cannot understand it.” Philippians 4:7

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:4

“For God so loved the whole world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18

Friends

Seems like here lately friendships have been a major topic in our home. Trying to navigate this daily interaction with others, has suddenly gotten very complicated. If we would have received a notice, then we could have prepared a bit. With each child being made unique, the way they go about friendship and the place of importance it holds to them, really does vary.  My normal go to ideas have not been working and I am seeing hearts in pain. Yes, I am thankful this is shaping them to look more like Christ, but I felt like we needed an action plan. I laid our hurts in front of the Lord in prayer and asked for help.

The help came in the book of Job. Not a very uplifting read, but you see God’s faithfulness and a man who knew this to be true. Job’s life was turned upside down and friends did not help his situation. They offered bad advice and the Lord points this out. “After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite; ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. Now take seven bulls and seven rams, go to my servant Job, and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. Then my servant Job will pray for you. I will surely accept his prayer and not deal with you as your folly deserves.” (Job 42:7-8). Skip a few verses and we read, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored…” (Job 42:10).

What I saw here was the importance of praying for our friends. We might be Job or we might be like Eliphaz, but we need to pray for each other. It was after Job had prayed for his friends that he was restored and they were forgiven. I immediately made a list of my kids friends and began to pray for them. Some were easy and some were hard. But I know that, just like my children, their friends are “…fearfully and wonderfully made and your works are wonderful…” (Psalm 139:14). I cannot control anyone else’s response to my children, but I can pray for them and have eyes that see them like God made them. I will continue to pass this on to my children, but I will set an example too.

I will be honest, this is going to take practice. Daily I will go back to my list and pray for children that are not mine. We will also continue to ask the Lord if we have sinned against our friends. If we have, then we need to confess this to Him, repent and apologize. Again, we cannot control their response, but we will have done our part.

I love how the book of Job wraps up. “Job lived 140 years after this and saw his children and their children to the forth generation. Then Job died, old and full of days.” (Job 42:16-17). May we all live days that are full and be able to say back to the Lord like Job, “I had heard reports about you, but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5). May we see each other as “fearfully, wonderfully made” by God. We sometimes do not choose to act like it towards one another, but you know what? Tomorrow is a new day and we can be a better friend.

P.S. I just looked at Pinterest and I did not scroll down at all, but saw these words – “Nothing proves that you love someone more than mentioning them in your prayers.”

 

 

Shine

The most interesting thing happened while answering my questions for Bible study. We are studying the book of Numbers and as much as I love the Old Testament, Numbers is not an easy read. Questions were answered and honestly I was not getting much out of it. I skipped ahead to the last question, which is to write out your prayer request to share with the group. Sometimes just writing out words in your heart, that need prayer, helps to lift your burden just a bit for me and I could focus better too. Back to my questions I went and landed in Numbers 8:1-4.

IMG_8909I began to read and the answer to my prayer request was found! This part of scripture is telling us the conversation between the Lord and Moses regarding the seven lamps and lamp stand. Not a likely answer at first glance, but hear me out. “And this was the workmanship of the lamp stand, hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lamp stand.” (Numbers 8:4). You see, I struggle with some hurts that I just could not seem to wrap my head or heart around. Yes, forgiveness has been given, but comprehending just has not come. It was getting quite heavy and that was part of my prayer request. Then I read about this lamp stand and how it was made from a pattern the Lord himself designed. It was made of pure gold and hammered. The hammering part is mentioned twice.

Stay with me here and I will explain. Gold must be refined and that is exactly what the Lord has done with me. So much stuff needed to be burned off to be of any use to the Lord. I can name a few for you like pride, lack of humility, worth found in outward appearance and the list could go on.  As for the hammering part of the verse, this is what made the gold into the beautiful shape of a lamp stand. For me, all these things that I just could not understand, I now see as what has shaped the gold in me. Each painful blow by the hammer of the skilled craftsmen now has a purpose. All the Lord has allowed is now seen as part of His pattern for my life. This gave me peace and joy like I have never known!

Want to hear something else that just about undid me? “Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lamp stand.” (Numbers 8:1-2). This brings tears to my eyes. If I see myself as the gold, hammered lamp stand and my children as the seven lamps that give light, well the process was worth it all. My children can shine brightly for the Lord and I can stand behind them encouraging them in every way. I will use all the refining and hammering that has shaped me to bring the Lord glory by raising seven lamps that bear much light.

I will have to say that the book of Numbers is now one of my favorites. Thank you Lord for lifting words off of the page and sending them flying into my heart. Shine on little lamps!