They Ask

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” John 6:37        

One of my favorite things to witness is our kids asking their dad for something. It seems someone is always in need of help and so they ask without hesitation. Yes, they ask for material things too, but they ask for him to intervene into a situations that they cannot do on their own. I watch as he patiently comes alongside of them and helps. Be it a math problem, a rubix’s cube or something that is troubling them, he desires to do all he can for them. He does not make them feel small, immature or silly for asking. He does not judge their need, but responds to them out of his love. They each have a sense of belonging and they trust him. I daily watch a quiet confidence grow in each of them. They are secure in their earthly father’s love. What a gift of acceptance they have been given!

IMG_3606This gift of fatherly acceptance is missing in our world today, in my opinion. The need to be independent as quickly as possible seems to rise to the top of parenting goals. This is not a statement made in condemnation, just a heartbreaking observation. The struggle between doing too much or too little for our children is real. If they do not learn responsibility, how will they ever flourish as adults? If we keep them dependent of us in every way, we will cripple them. It’s like we want them to fit on our hip and be carried forever. The image that creates in my head is quite funny! My desire is to show them, while they are growing up, what the love of their Heavenly Father looks like and then point them to Him to meet their needs. It is more of a transfer of dependence. However, I pray He continues to use us to bless them.

With this belonging, trust, acceptance and love, I see my kids not asking others or things to give them temporary worth. Now, we are far from a perfect family and we each have our struggles. One tends to be a slower learner of love and gets drawn into the lie of material things as a worth-giver. I was so much like this child for far too long. A bigger house, nicer car, more expensive clothes, better skin, hair, health – the list could go on, will not matter in Heaven. These things are nice and can be enjoyed, but if they become our measure of worth, we are in trouble. They are temporary treasures that can be gone in a minute. Building our lives on these things reminds me of the one who built his home on a foundation of sand. The wise man built his home on a rock foundation. We are smart to do the same.

It has been my experience that for so long I built my life on sand with just a bit of Jesus for support. Then the winds came and my nicely built “house” was knocked down. This has been the most loving thing God could have done for me, His child. In His fatherly way, He has come alongside me, placed my heart upon the rock of His love and is in the process of rebuilding me. The building takes time and there are hard days. I daily ask for His plans and for His help. He is my Father and I trust Him. I have come to know full acceptance and I run to Him now. In fact, I want to be more and more like Him each day. I belong to Him and His Word assures me that He will not cast me out. So, I bring Him my needs big and small, and surrender my needs. And just like my husband responds to our kids, I know God will do the same and more for each of us. He is a Good Father!






“Jesus departed from there, skirted the Sea of Galilee, and went up on the mountain and sat down there. Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet and He healed them.” (Matthew 15:29-30 NKJV)

I was reading this passage recently and was reminded of a hike I experienced with Young Life in Colorado. It was a difficult climb, but so worth it when we reached the spectacular view waiting at the top. I remember feeling like I had accomplished something huge when we walked back down the mountain that day.  The next time I hiked that mountain, I was a leader entrusted with a group of high school girls. We stuck together and encouraged each other along the way. When the top of the mountain was just a few feet away, a hail storm hit. We were all instructed to turn around and head down quickly. The view was missed that day, but the experience was lasting. Having people alongside to encourage was a glimpse of what lay ahead.

IMG_3644Just now, as I sat down to write, a sweet 5 year old came crying to me. She climbed into my lap because a thorn had stuck in her foot. I held her and then removed the tiny, piercing object and smiled. She is one of the ones I get to walk alongside and encourage everyday. She is one of the ones I get to take to the feet of Jesus and introduce to love itself. What an incredible privilege! This hike of life is better and harder than I ever imagined.

You may or may not have children at home, but you do have people around you that need to be brought to the feet of Jesus. When I think back to that Colorado climb, I cannot imagine carrying someone up that mountain. However, if I knew that Jesus was at the top and the healing that awaited like what happened in the scriptures, that would have made all the difference. I would not have hesitated to help anyone in need. The hike might have gone a bit slower, but what a reward to see someone healed! Have things really changed all that much? For me, my Young Life days are over, but my hiking days are far from finished. My children and anyone else the Lord puts beside me need an encourager, leader, helper, listener and carrier at times. I pray the Lord will use me.

Often, I think that the hard things we have gone though in life can be such a witness to others on the other side of hard. We just need to have eyes to see. Or it may not be hard things, but maybe someone who is blind to their sin. Come along side them, not in judgement, but with truth and take them to the feet of Jesus. It might be someone has been maimed by another persons sin or they are the one doing the wounding. Who of us hasn’t been on either side of this one? Show them the way of repentance and forgiveness that is found at the feet of Jesus. The hike is not always easy, but the mountain top experience is worth it. You might get hailed on in every since of the word and have to rush back to the bottom, but that too will pass and you begin again.

I have found that scripture is full of encouragement, answers, help, boundaries and love. It has to be because it is the very Word of God. Before I begin my day, I take a lot of time to read these words. This is life to me and gives me the encouragement, stamina and love possible for the day. Somedays seem like I am walking on level, peaceful ground. Our beach vacation felt much like that. This past week of Kids Kamp, which brought a tremendous amount of healing, felt a bit rocky at times. It was because of the overflow from my mornings that my feet were sure all week long, regardless of the terrain. You are offered the same thing by opening your Bible.

Everyday we are given opportunities to come alongside people on their hike of life. It might be for just a few minutes or it might be a lifetime. Just the other day, I finished up a few minutes early and stood in the spot where one of my boys would be arriving to be picked up. A precious stranger was picking up one of her grandkids and we struck up a conversation. I did not say much because she was determined to speak words of incredible encouragement over me. Even as we parted, she was throwing kind words over her shoulder. What an unexpected gift in the middle of my week. Only God can time things like that. A fellow hiker took time for me and then carried on with her day. Amazing!

So tomorrow as you go about your day, be mindful of those around you. Look into their eyes and really see them. Do not be in such a hurry that you miss your fellow hikers. We could be the one bringing someone to the feet of Jesus. We could be the stranger speaking a word of encouragement. We could be the one telling the Truth to someone who has never heard it before and is blinded by the version of truth ever changing in our world today.  God could use us to take someone who has been maimed by one hurt after another to the only place wholeness is found, Jesus. And you know what can happen? Keep reading with me, “So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” (Matthew 15:31). God will be glorified! Now that is better than any view of His creation.

See you on the trail!

Only God

The most interesting thing happened in my heart last week. While we were enjoying vacation, a thought started to grow in my head. It came out of nowhere and would not go away. The idea keep coming to mind, so I prayed and asked God what to do. I waited and then acted. It would seem small and insignificant to anyone looking in, but to me it was pretty big. I sent a text to inquire about this idea and heard back within hours. It was a done deal – just like that.

IMG_3617Every year our church puts on what the baptist in me still calls “Vacation Bible School”. I love those memories of my childhood. My grandmother would volunteer to help serve snacks and it was fun to see her there. Something about those cheap cookies and lemonade served during the week felt like such a treat. We were encouraged to bring friends and our church now does the same. A week full of games, funny skits and the gospel shared more simple, can break down walls that sometimes come up when you invite someone to come on a Sunday morning. This week is packed with kids and volunteers. We all have one purpose and that is to live out the love of Jesus in us.

The process to volunteer is easy and my older kids join in too. I have served on the art team and made tons of crafts with kids. I have traveled from group to group, sharing the easy, but eternity changing message of Jesus’ death on the cross. For a few years I have worked in the nursery with the littlest of babies. Each place is a chance to love and a privilege to be trusted with someone else’s child. I do not take that lightly. However, since  the death of the babies because of miscarriages, I have not been able to bring myself to volunteer in the nursery. It is just too painful and such a reminder of loss. But a still small voice, a stirring in my heart and mind caused me to wonder if it was time to go back to the nursery.

So, I sent a text and was moved from one team to the nursery. Yesterday I was a bit nervous as to how my heart would respond. My head knows I am too old to have another baby and adopting seems impossible, but the desire to have more would not leave. To hold what you will not have again as your own, would be hard. Please hear me when I say I am VERY thankful for the amazing children we have. I know how incredible kids are and love our kids beyond measure. More kids would have meant more precious vessels to pour love into, but the Lord has said no to that desire. I trust Him.

I walked into my class yesterday and soon had a baby in my arms. Can I tell you there was no heartache at all. Nothing, just thankful to have a place to serve. By the end of the day I was so blessed and knew the desire of my heart had changed. Only God can see and know you so well to heal that which was broken. He is a great God! Healing has happened over time and was sealed these past days. Look at these words, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3). His Word is true and He does exactly what He says He will do. I now have even more wonderful memories to add to my collection of “Vacation Bible school”.

I will continue to play and rock babies this week. The time is that much sweeter because of what the Lord has done in my heart. It is a witness to His faithfulness and a reminder to me to listen to those ideas He places inside and trust Him with the outcome. Some ideas never materialize, but the process of finding out is part of His plan. He is a loving, true, faithful, kind, giving and caring God. I hope you know Him too.


*The picture is from Kids Camp today. The verse for the week is, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). I know this to be true!



A Deep Pit

‘He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit,

and his life shall see the light.” Job 33:28


Our family is vacationing at the beach this week and it is wonderful! Waking up and seeing the ocean first thing, building sand castles, collecting seashells and relaxing is a gift to us. After a long school year, this is just what we needed. Getting away from our normal has been good for each of us. We have laughed, gotten upset with one another, eaten too much and sat unmoving on the beach for long periods of time. We have been slow in just about everything we have done. I treasure our times away and look for gifts continually. It is very easy to hear the Lord in times of slow, rest and beauty.

IMG_3340 copyToday we ventured out to our little area in the sand and settled in. One of our boys began to dig a huge hole and really did not want anyone else to help. He dug and dug until the pit was deep. Another one of our boys had been eyeing this great feat and jumped in. He then asked to be buried with only his head sticking out. Because the pit was so deep, it took a lot of sand to fill the hole back up and cover him. He was trapped, but said he liked it. One kid put a bucket on his head and he was helpless to remove it. Another “accidentally” kicked sand in his mouth, but he could do nothing. And then it was time for lunch.

He was buried and could not help himself. He needed someone on shore to dig him out and pull him back up. At first he resisted and wanted to do some kind of challenge. Then the promise of his favorite meal was heard. His dad came and scoop by scoop dug him out. The weight of the sand had been heavy and he needed help even standing. He was covered obviously, so I walked beside him to the water to wash off. He said his legs did not feel quite right and I stood close in case he fell. We walked back to the family side by side with him free and washed clean.

What looked like a fun time, ended up being a trap. He needed his dad to help him out and we are no different. We stray from our loving boundaries and get buried in a pit. We cannot move and we are powerless. Sin appears harmless and takes us much further than we ever thought. Before long we become slaves to our sin or so we think. Might I suggest you do what this child did and ask you Heavenly Father for help? Start with “Help” if you don’t even have the words to cry out. It might take time to feel free, but you are the minute you believe. Pit living makes one weary. Peace never lasts and experiences are costly. Life in abundance is found in Christ and Christ alone.

So today I ask the Lord, “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:18). Our eyes do not see clearly in a pit. It is like we have a bucket on our head. Only the Lord, the creator of our heart and eyes, can make us truly see. “This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5). If you want freedom, peace, to be washed of all sin and life only found in living in the light, then ask the Lord. He is waiting and I would love to walk beside you.


Anything But Calm

Today begins our summer break and that is exciting! This is one of our families most favorite times of the year. However, yesterday was a struggle and I felt anything but calm. Not until a sweet friend called and we started talking about the day, did it all kinda piece together. Who knew how much one day could hold? Emotions on the surface felt unsettled and I had to dig a bit deeper to see the root of them. The root is change and some changes are harder than others.

IMG_2883For the past 17 years, I have had at least one child still at home during the school day. Being a mom is what I was made to do, so it makes sense that I like having my kids at home. With this school year coming to a close, this era will also close. Summer stretches between today and the beginning of a new normal. Our oldest will begin her senior year and our youngest will start kindergarten. Another will start high school and one moves up in middle school. One moves to the intermediate school and two more advance a grade in elementary. It is a bit overwhelming for me and it all fell hard on my heart. I love seeing them grow up, but it just is happening way too fast.

I remember once when my mom and I were out shopping with my first child, an older lady stopped me and said, “It goes by so fast, enjoy it.” I replied with a confident, “I know” and we parted ways. I did not know and she was right. The intense look in her eyes was not lost on me, but my arrogance did not allow her words to count. Yes, I remembered them, but I know I wasted days not enjoying my time with my kids. Thankfully, the Lord did a work in my heart and that changed. My kids now have a happy mom. Only God can do this kind of work. Only God could have reduced me to love.

As one of our boys graduated kindergarten the other day, his precious teacher read a fabulous quote that started with these words, “Let them be little…”. (Excuse me for a minute while I tie homemade horse tails on my youngest two. Apparently, they are horses today.) Looking back over the years that have flown by, I want to remind us of how important this is. Our children only have one childhood and it matters. Their early years play such a foundational role in who they become. It amazes me that more teaching isn’t done at the hospital before we take our babies home! We have been entrusted with a little human, who has feelings, a personality, a mind, preferences, thoughts and so much more. As a parent, we shape each of these in good and bad ways. What if we get this wrong and totally mess our children up? Will they forgive us as they get older and know we were doing the very best we knew how? Will we be humble enough to repent and ask our kids for forgiveness for the ways we failed?

With each child that has arrived in our family, we have been given yet another chance to do better by relying on God as our source of strength and direction. When people ask about the large size of our family, I often say it is because the Lord had so much to work out of me that did not reflect His image. So much pride, selfishness, blame and the list could go on and on. Thankfully, with the reducing of me, He has had more space to invade. My children have a better mom because of Him. Being reduced to love is painful, but worth it.

So, as summer arrives and our days slow down, I will ask the Lord to make each of my children, “…like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.” Psalm 52:8-9.