The Longest Day

I am in the midst of the longest day of the year. The time between dropping the kids off on their first day of school and the hours until pick up, seem to go so slow. The minutes tick by, as I wait to see their faces right out of the school doors. It is that first expression that tells me everything. All the details will follow and I love to listen. Some of the kids give more than others, but I know them well and can hear what is not said. Who did they sit by at lunch? Did they actually get a locker this year? Did you find a good parking place? How was athletics? Did you make new friends? These questions and a million more are just waiting to be asked.

IMG_8975My heart and head have a difficult time trusting the Lord completely today. Yes, they are completely His and He has all their days planned, even today. I just have not read all these plans and my heart and head are being asked to trust Him. So the question that I ask Him today is, “Are you trustworthy”? Another one that comes to mind is, “Do you really love my children as much as I do”? Guess what I get as the answer? Right away my mind flashes a picture of Jesus dying on the cross. Words do not need to be spoken here, I know Him well. This picture is very familiar to me. Because when I catch a glimpse of the cross, I see just how much He loves me and my children.

Days may not go as planned or they might exceed my dreams, but with each one I know He is trustworthy. Today I will repeat Psalm 56:4 that says, “In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” The teacher that is difficult or the kid that seems to have it out for one of my kids is not to be feared. Our trust will be placed in God today. And as Eli reminded me the other day, “we need to have shields of confidence and confidence is trust”. That kid had his shield firmly in place as he walked into kindergarten today! I will keep mine in place too and go do some laundry to pass the time.

*The picture is Vivian making Eli’s lunch for him:)


The Door

The most unexpected thing happened today. Our oldest daughter has been practicing to tryout for the high school worship team at church. She loves music and singing is one way she gives her worship to our Lord. Oh, I wish you could have been in our home last IMG_8949night during her last practice time! My husband is gifted in music and so are many of our kids. Our kitchen became filled with praise and voices were acoustically mixed together. The sound was beautiful! At one point, Maggie and I had to just stop because trying to sing or in my case chop up a salad, is near impossible when your eyes are filled with tears of joy. This moment served as yet another reminder that worship is so much apart of our everyday life, especially in our home. How can we live any other way? How can we not respond to the love of our God?

This morning I offered to drive her to the audition and Vivian tagged along. She claimed it was her day, but Maggie could come too. I had not planned on going inside, but we saw a dear friend in the parking lot so in we went. A young worship leader spotted Maggie waiting and came out to visit. Such simple encouragement was spoken, but it hit me big time. He said, “At some point you just have to decide not to be nervous.” What? Could it really be that simple? So, you just decide to not let fear control you and you step out and try? And here I thought it was Maggie’s audition and I was just along for the ride.

If that would have been the end of the conversation, enough would have been said and I would have walked away blessed. However, my stomach was in a knot and my nerves were a mess. Watching Maggie walk through the door to go tryout sent me back to when I was about 10 years old. I spent hours practicing and singing along with Amy Grant to audition for a musical at my church. My dad worked with me and I felt ready. My mom drove me to the audition and I was extremely nervous. I hopped out of the car, walked into church and right up to the closed door. All I had to do was open the door and sing for a chance at a part in the musical. I walked up to the door, but chose not to open it. I  turned and walked away – defeated.

Fast forward thirty three years later and I watched my daughter open the door. Yes, she was still nervous and afraid of messing up, but she did not let fear stop her from trying. (Ironically, one of the songs she sang today is by Hillsong called “Who You Say I Am” and you need to listen to it.)While I could turn this back on me and wonder what would have happened if I had walked through my audition door, I choose not too. Instead, what I celebrate is fear not having the final word. Not today and not any other day.

We read in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” My daughter does not let fear rule her and it is because she knows she is loved. She is loved by us, but more importantly by her Heavenly Father. I have said it before and I will say it again, knowing and believing you are loved, makes all the difference. Only His love is perfect and has the power to cast out all fear.

Home is where our children hear and are shown that they are loved by God. It might be around our table or standing in the kitchen, but our home will be a place where love is lived out daily. We make lots of mistakes and forget that we are loved. In the forgetting, we say hurtful things and act selfishly. In the forgetting, we let fear rule our hearts and we live accordingly. I say not in this home. Love is deeply rooted and lived as a response to God’s abundant love for us here.

Doors will continue to stand before each of my children. Some doors will open and some will not. As their mom, one of my prayers for them is that they will trust their loving God in the walking through the door or onto the next one. I pray they remain fearless and brave because they know they are loved. His love is perfect, so walk in it kids and never let fear tell you otherwise.

*The picture is Vivian watching Maggie audition today.


Summers End

I really do not like this time of year, when summer is coming to an end and the school year begins. Yes, there is nothing like freshly sharpened new pencils and granted some of the kids are excited, but some are not. What I will miss is all of us being together more than we are apart. With so many waking hours being spent at school, I miss them. The times around the table happen only at dinner and this is something we feel strongly about. We intentionally do not pack our schedules because this time is counted as highly valuable. Believe me it is not because I am that great of a cook, but what happens around the table matters.

We had a rough day yesterday and words seemed to be spoken to hurt. Not really sure why, other than we decided to give into sin and threw self-control out the window. So, to get our hearts back in line with Jesus, we tried something normally done only on birthdays. We had the kids speak kind words about each other. Around and around we went and it was good. It made them laugh and was a bit uncomfortable at times, but the more we practice speaking words of love, the easier it gets. This will no longer be saved for birthdays, but will become common. The memory made was a beginning.

Before we take off into a new school year, more memories need to be packed in. I am taking time with each kid one at a time and doing something special. Anna Kate and I visited her favorite museum, had lunch and shopped for her first day outfit. I love hearing her insight on works of art and sharing in her excitement in finding her unique style. We talk about the little things and the big things. She will be starting middle school and that is a pretty big deal. She is a bit shy and not one to demand attention, which makes her go unnoticed at times. She needs to be reminded that this is a good thing and how God made her. She does not need to change to fit in.

Jackson and I spent the day looking for deals on back to school clothes. He grows so fast that it is hard to keep up with his ever changing height. We tried a new restaurant and laughed a lot. He is witty, kind and fun when he relaxes. He is quite a gentlemen and that makes me smile. He worries about the small things and what other people think. I know this all too well. Thankfully, having been there it is very easy to lead him out of this pit with the light of truth. Makes the years of my own struggle worth it to be able to use it all as we parent this boy.

The others have their days planned out and I look forward to each one. However, I will tell you what I have noticed about these two kids. They were more willing to share their hearts, help out and were physically present more after our outings. Time is important. Pretty simple, but often lost in our busy school days. We catch up over dinner, before bed and on weekends, but I see the years moving all to quickly. Being mindful of what we give our time to really matters.

The memories made now will make play a part in the years to come. I want them to never doubt that they are loved, heard and will always hear the truth from me. Makes me think about a line in a song I recently heard that said, “Mom is just another word for home”. Sometimes learning to be home has not been easy, but God keeps teaching me daily to rely on Him. He has become my home and that is what I want my kids to see in me.  When my words and actions do not reflect Him, my kids probably do not feel at home. In fact, just this morning I spent quite a bit of time repenting for such sin. Self-righteousness had taken root and needed to be removed. So like a weeks worth of garbage, it was taken out. Our home feels much better now and so does my heart.

It is time to rest up for tomorrows adventure!



Twice this past week, while talking to two different moms, their eyes have filled with tears. My first reaction is a bit of fear because it might be that my honest words have caused pain, but the other part of me is thankful for a glimpse into their tender hearts. One sweet mom I met at the park in my dads soon to be neighborhood. Almost immediately she started sharing with me how anxious she is about the upcoming school year. Last year was a bit of a nightmare, with one of her children being bullied and one newly diagnosed with dyslexia. Oh, how I have been there! The times we have experienced bullying was so hard. Then the early years of navigating school with a child who has been created with dyslexia is not easy. You hear all kinds of opinions and pour out money right and left just to get answers. Our hope in doing this was to get answers in order to get help. For us, it was not until we took our kids out of private school and into public that we got answers and help. In the midst of this moms rapid fire fear filled words, I did the only think I knew to do – speak truth. I told her that God had given her these unique children not by accident. She was chosen to be their mom, not anyone else. She has a choice to be anxious or calm each and everyday. Why not choose calm? I shared how I start my day with God because I can not do this mission of motherhood on my own. I have tried this approach and it was a disaster! How many other mom’s feel this way?

IMG_8536The next beautiful encounter was during lunch with some of my dearest friends. We sat visiting and catching up, but my eyes kept noticing a precious mom with two super cute young boys. They sat on the same side of the bench, eating their lunch, content as can be. Lunch was followed by cookies and I just could not sit still any longer. At the risk of appearing weird, I approached this mama. I asked if she wanted me to take a picture of her and the boys with her phone. She immediately started telling me how terrible she looked, why she was just in a t-shirt and more words to “excuse” her appearance. That was not enough and comparison to me soon followed. Oh, the lies satan loves to whisper in our ears and how familiar they were to me. However, I now recognize them as lies and not truth most of the time. Again, truth needed to be spoken. Reminders of how the kids are growing up fast and that hard days come. To have a picture to look back and remember a fun time, while the boys are 3 and 7, is priceless. I am pretty sure her children could care less that she had on a t-shirt and a top knot. No, they will remember their mom sitting close and laughing over lunch and cookies. They will know a mom who chooses to spend time with them and one who believes in dessert! As they left the restaurant, they stopped for a few more words and the 7 year old thanked me for taking their picture! I was thankful I took a small risk to capture a memory and to remind her of the truth.

I am just so tired of satan whispering lies to moms! Because pretty soon, he no longer has to whisper, it has become recorded and played often. The playlist of “you are not enough”, “your appearance is far from perfect”, “everybody else is way more together than you” and the ever popular “it is all up to me”,  are the lies I had lived with for far too long. Have you heard them too?

The only way I have found to combat lies is with truth, but you have to know what is true. The world will shout one thing, but God’s word waits patiently for you to open it and find out for yourself. Wouldn’t it be nice to start a new school year differently? What if we read more truth and believed it? It will make all the difference. This I know to be true. Not reading our Bibles just does not make sense. The God who made you, me and our children, spoke through men He created to reveal Himself. I see His heart every time I open it.

One of the most incredible things my husband has done for me was covering my bathroom mirror with pink post-it notes, penned with words of affirmation on each one. If you saw how big my mirror was you would know this was not a quick project. This act shifted something in my mind and then in my heart. I could not see my reflection, only words of love. What if we got into our Bibles and covered our hearts and minds with post-it notes of who God is and how great His love is for each one of us? What if we let Him tell us how we are to raise our children instead of this world? What if our eyes saw other moms as uniquely created in the image of God and not someone we need to compare ourselves too? Tell me this would not make for a much better school year.

So, to the mom at the park and the mom at Bluebonnet Bakery with eyes full of tears, I see you as made and very much loved by God. If I could fill every mom’s bathroom mirror with words of truth and capture pictures of fleeting moments everyday, believe me I would. Your kids need you to know the truth and live it before their eyes in well worn t-shirts and top knots or whatever is comfortable for you.

I’ll leave you with a quote by Mr. Rogers that I recently read. “The greatest thing we can do is to help somebody know they’re loved.” Yes, this right here is my theme going into the upcoming school year!