Lighting Up

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in the cellar or under a basket, but on a lamp stand, so that those who come in may see its light.” Luke 11:33

 

I came across this scripture this morning and just cannot stop thinking about it. Maybe because I am a mom and look for parenting wisdom continually, this made me think of kids. When they are born and entrusted to our care, we know we have been given a huge gift. We send out pictures and post updates as they grow on social media. We talk about them often and our world seems to revolve around their schedule. We document firsts and applaud even the smallest of accomplishments. The first few years seem to have really long days, but the years go by way to quickly. We send them off on their own more and more, asking the Lord to protect them and let them be a light for Him. We would not think of keeping them hidden, but want to see them shine.

IMG_3779One of our boys recently had this idea and knew immediately he wanted to share it with Apple. He spent a lot of time on the phone with Apple yesterday sharing his idea. He worked his way up from one supervisor to the next. He was finally given the number to contact a higher up and plans to place another call Monday morning. Did I mention he is 9 years old? He did research before placing his call and was confident in his design. The excitement continued all day and he is already planning his trip to HQ on their private jet! He has talked of little else. I watched as he shared all of this with his dad, who fanned into flame hope. The reality is that this idea will not go anywhere, but why crush a dream? He is learning that his dad believes in him, supports him and is cheering him on. What a way to light up a young kid!

When I listen to our kids hopes and dreams it is exciting. Last night we made a list in the back of our thankful journal of places we want to go. The destinations were all different and surprised me. They ranged from Africa to Alys Beach and all places in between. We realized that our youngest two children have never been on an airplane. After five kids, the expense and finding a rental car to hold us all was too much. Dreaming brought a wave of hope around our table and made me smile. Hope has a way of lighting us all up don’t you think?

We also read God’s word together as a family. We brought the light of truth and filled our hearts with what is unchangeable. Nothing fills us with light like God does. The more light we have inside, the less room there is for darkness. We then can go and share this light with a pretty dark world. Another practice we have is praying as a family. So we thanked God for so much and told Him our needs. Sometimes they are big and other times they are small. I like to share needs with our kids so they can see God’s faithfulness. Not always answering with a yes, but with strength in His will that can sometimes be not what I had expected.  He is trustworthy and that shines so bright when circumstances are dark, uncertain and with no end in sight.

So today on this bright, sunshiny day, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13). The light of hope, joy and peace is stunning in God’s people. No magic cream that promises “radiant skin” can hold a candle to the radiance the Holy Spirit can give you. Let Him shine in you and fill your homes today! I pray you also dream and watch to see what only God can do. We may not be flying in Apple’s jet, but the spark of hope is beautifully lit in the eyes of a loved child.

 

 

Imitating Love

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

 

Every now and then I watch my younger kids imitating the older kids. They pick up styling tips, hobbies and what to look forward to as they get older. There is one who literally walks behind the other mimicking every move. It is quite a compliment, but can be frustrating to the older one. I use to do the same thing with older kids. They were so much cooler in my eyes and I wanted to grow up as fast as I could to be like them. Everyone seemed to already be comfortable in their own skin and I was far from it. If someone could have just told me who I was or that I was loved, protected and valuable, would have been helpful. Just following rules or looking a certain way never quite changed my heart. Being told to change, drove home the you aren’t enough record playing in my head. The whole striving thing gets old and living from one reward to the next isn’t sustainable. You miss the mark more times than not.

IMG_3741Just a quick word of caution – be careful who you and your children are setting up as examples, ones worthy to admire. Look for ones that are modeling characteristics that line up with who the Bible says God is and those that walk in love. Look for people that serve and do not expect anything in return. A persons heart becomes evident pretty quick. Be mindful that the truth they live/preach is straight out of scripture. Anything else is just their opinion and not truth at all. Place Christ as King of your heart and ask for His wisdom in discerning the wise from the foolish. Not in a judgmental spirit, but as a boundary line.

Here is what we are seeing work in our home. We point ourselves and our children to the One who made us and loves us unconditionally. Remind our hearts each day by reading His Word. Read about the life of Jesus and how He walked, talked and interacted with people. He served and loved beautifully. He had such compassion and stopped to really see people. He saw needs and met them. People came to Him in times of desperation and He helped them. Many of us know what this feels like. The gift of help can be huge! Jesus was also always truthful and did not waver. These verses tell us to do the same. We then can walk into healthy communities and bring our unique gifts that He has entrusted us with. Unity is a beautiful thing and love is the glue!

Dearly loved children know in their hearts and minds who God is and act accordingly. Their identity is secure and they do not live to prove their worth. They belong to God and serving happens without a second thought. Again, look at Jesus and the relationship He models for us. He was so loved and gave His love for us by dying on the cross to pay what we never could. How can we ever question His love for us? The heart healing He offers is beyond anything I have ever experienced. The strength He gives is remarkable and often unexplainable. Love that is without end is just a whisper away and available to anyone. Wouldn’t you like to know the love of a father and live out your days as a dearly loved child? Your life turns into one of sacrifice because of love and according to this verse, smells pretty sweet to God. Sounds good doesn’t it?

*I took this picture yesterday while Damon was driving. Just like God to place a heart in the clouds.