Our kids love to play outside. It is pretty common for one of them to come inside because they got hurt. When there is not any visible sign of injury, my first question is “Where does it hurt?”. Sometimes someone else caused the injury and other times it just happened because of playing. The result is the same, they hurt. This made me think of us. What if we started asking a different question when we sin or someone sins against us? What if we asked this to those who are living a lie? I know when I think over the many, many times I separate from God and go my own way in anger, selfishness, etc, there is something I am hurting over. This could change our homes don’t you think?
“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2
Do you ever have those moments when you are anticipating something and then out of nowhere, the unexpected happens and cancels hope? I had misplaced my hope and I think that made the situation that much harder. We have all experienced this I know and with each disappointment, the recovery seems to come faster. It is just frustrating to still be in this training process. The truth of who God is remains the same and I can trust Him sinks deeper each time. He is a safe place to place my trust. I do not have to understand and I know He has the whole picture in mind, not just today. My vision is so limited.
Turns out He was protecting our family in what appeared to be a cancellation. He was shielding us when I did not even know we needed it. What an incredible Father we have!
“Earth’s surface is a field for grain, but its depths are a forge firing sapphires from stones and chiseling gold from rocks.” Job 28 (MSG)
I got a picture once of being in a dark well and waiting for others to drop blessings down in a small bucket. And then as if someone dropped down a headlamp, I began to see the hidden things that would have been missed if I did not have the much needed light. I began to dig out treasures of truth, far more valuable than any worldly riches. Sometimes I was able to send these treasures back up and bless those waiting on the surface. It became more of an adventure and excitement. Everything changed with this new perspective.
Maybe you too find yourself in a season of darkness. Can I just say that the awareness of His constant presence will provide the light you desperately need. A good place I found to start is by telling Him the truth about the darkness you feel. Hand it to Him and watch and see what He gives you in exchange. The trade does not seem at all fair, but then neither does grace.
“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
Maybe it was because I misunderstood the love of God for so long that made being completely honest with him so hard. I cannot tell you when the switch happened, but I can tell you it is freedom. It reminds me of our kids and several stories come to mind. When they say they are sorry, I consider that a good place to start. What we are after is the truth. Actions and words have a source. Unraveling takes a bit of time, but is always worth it. My prayer is as they grow older, they will not hesitate to tell God the truth and know he is near. To walk through life free is truly being alive.
Do you ever think that even the most seemingly insignificant things, daily tasks actually, can be transformed into more? It is not done to be seen, but rather more of taking advantage of the time given. When the moments come less, you appreciate them more. That happened this morning, when one of the girls asked me to braid her hair. I might have taken a bit longer than necessary, just to have more time doing what use to be routine. Words were exchanged, but goodness I felt the need to pray blessings upon this child. She was totally unaware, but God was not. It is the ordinary that gives us so many moments that can make an eternal difference, don’t you think?
“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:16-17 ESV
These verses bring such clarity to what is happening in our world. The choice is what will be the source of our wisdom? Does it come from our own reasoning or from God? We get to decide to use the gift of the Holy Spirit or rely on ourselves. When I look at the fruit of our choice, it makes the decision evident. God offers us a much better way, closer to our original design, but there is still a struggle because self is incredibly strong. The verse that comes to mind is, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I that lives, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20). Maybe if I tattooed that on my hand, I would remember it is no longer me that lives, but Him. I have the option of allowing the Holy Spirit to be in charge and not me. You know, maybe I will forgo the tattoo and just look at the scar on my hand instead. A gentle reminder of the One who also has scars because of my choosing self and the price He paid on the cross.
Threadbare is the word that kept running through my mind this morning. I looked up the definition and agreed, this is how I was feeling. I told the Lord the truth, asked Him to show me the word in scripture and He did. “And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me, so I’m not disgraced. Therefore I set my face like flint, confident that I’ll never regret this. My champion is right here. Let’s take our stand together! Who dares bring suit against me? Let him try! Look, the Master, God, is right here. Who would dare call me guilty? Look! My accusers are a clothes bin of threadbare socks and shirts, fodder for moths!” (Isaiah 50:5-9MSG). Interesting how I so easily believed a lie. However, I did have to laugh when I went to put my socks on and one had two holes in it.
The lesson continued throughout the day and it reminded me of how much God loves us. He cares about how we feel and welcomes the truth. My heart needed the reminder and my day was changed. He truly is our champion, who can even rescue us from ourselves and replace a lie with truth.
We are celebrating another child who happens to be turning thirteen. What do I write about her, to her? Do I think back to being this age and what I needed to hear? Yes, that is what I will do as another gift for her.
Abbey Grace, you get to decide what kind of person you will be. You get to choose to believe the truth about who God says you are or stake your life on the ever changing opinions of others. You get to decide what clothes you wear and not look to what is popular or what might draw the most attention. You have your own sense of style that is unique to you, wear that. Child, you have the attention and affection of the King, what more do you want? Do your best in school, but your worth is not to be based on performance. I love you just for being you, no need to try to earn a thing. Above all the noise and distractions, listen for God’s voice. He longs to speak to you and tell you the story He has written of you before you were even born. He speaks anywhere and everywhere, make time continually to listen. Then do what He tells you and know I am cheering you on.
Remember, you are one of a kind and accepted. Do not try to conform to the popular mold being duplicated in the halls of the middle school. Be you! Your confidence comes from within, a deep knowing you are loved enough to have Jesus die for you. You are pure and set apart just for Him. Walk with your eyes always on Him. Listen as He whispers in your ear during the day and enjoy the adventure. You are a delight and precious in His sight. I am so thankful I get to watch His plans for you. I love and trust you more than you will ever know. I believe in you, sweet girl.
Yesterday our oldest son turned seventeen. As you know, the time goes by so fast and the memories can bring tears easily. Running through the memories that led up to yesterday, I had to think about what to write, what to say about this child. Do I list words about his character or write about my hopes for his future? All of those words would be true, but I wanted more. So here it goes…
Jackson, I love you. I simply love you because you are my son. You can do no more or no less to diminish my love. Love is not to be earned. You were given to me, entrusted would be a better word, and it is a privilege to be your mom. I accept you 100%, remarkable as you are. Putting you in my idea of a “perfect son” has never worked. You have an identity that only God can give you and I consider it an honor to help remind you of that everyday. You bring one of a kind ideas into this world and into our home. Steward well all He has created you to be and know I will always be your biggest fan.
Being without can sure change your mindset. I can get so bored doing the same chores everyday and complain about laundry never ending and food flying out as soon as it is brought in. And then you can’t do laundry, food becomes precious for days, being warm becomes the goal and little else seems to matter. A priority shift happened these past few days and so did my heart. One would think the pandemic marked me for good, but I needed a reminder.
There have been many sweet moments and plenty of hard ones too. One of my favorite things has been reading books to the youngest one. Children’s books are the best! Most are simple and fun, just like a child. That is what I have noticed during these snow days, returning to simplicity. The extra gets removed and what’s important gets put back in place. Because being at home and all the work that goes along with raising a family is right where the Lord has me. Much may go unseen, but it matters to the ones in front of me and should not be taken for granted. Perhaps this time I will not have to relearn happy.