Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Intentional Motherhood: Faith and Faithfulness



I know this is not a great way to start out, but let me just say I do not feel qualified to write this post.

Oh, yes, I am blessed to have three children that call me "Mom" and "Mama" and even "Mooooooooooom"--you know that tone, right?

But I am not so sure I am living up to the calling so very well. It can get me down, this high calling that I am not qualified for. No one gave me any manual, not even a crash course, unless you count the pre-natal classes I went to. But, everything I learned in those classes, pretty much went flying out the window when the first labour pain hit.

Then I went to Google. I had no idea if it was the real thing, I was 10 days early after all. Yep, Google said it was the real thing, so did my Mom even though my husband wouldn't believe me!

My first labour and delivery was actually pretty much textbook, but absolutely no one prepared me for what the next five days would be like with only a total of eight hours sleep in those five days scattered  in between diaper changes, feedings, burpings, baths, eating, feedings, and, more feedings!

I was in baby bliss and I loved her like I could never have known, I just didn't know what to do with my baby girl and it was a shock because I just assumed that it would just all come very naturally to me. I was used to babies. I just had no idea how to be a Mama!

And add to that mix my natural selfishness and a hungry, crying, sweet little baby and not enough milk, well you can do the math and, if you are a mother, you quite possibly know exactly what I mean.

Or, maybe not?

Maybe I am the only one that still had a lot of growing up to do when I gave birth to my first baby. But, I am sure, if we are all being honest, I'd be able to have a good chat with at least a few other kindred spirits out there!

She rocked my world like nothing had before. As I rocked her and rocked her and cried out we eventually figured things out and now she is just over a month shy of turning 12.

I still have a lot of growing to do!

This is one thing I have learned and yet, still ever learning: 'a [mother] needs to have faith.'

We have this solemn responsibility and privilege to train our children for God.
"Believing and devoted parents are one of the mightiest means of grace . . . fellow-workers in securing our children for God . . . Parents are more than friends and advisers. They have been clothed by God with a holy authority to be exercised in leading their children in the way of the Lord."
As our faith increases we will sympathize more with God's plan:
" . . . the higher the faith of the parent rises, the more the family will come under its power and be permeated by the spirit of godliness . . . Parental faith in God's promises will always be known by parental faithfulness to God's will."

We not only require faith, but we are required to be faithful. It is a journey. It isn't just a trite saying; that we have one of the highest calling as mothers. I am not sure we can even say that, but, we are talking of things unseen here, things eternal--beyond diapers and division and drivers ed or even a doctorate. We are talking about the souls of our children.

"There are two sides of a parent's calling. Be very full of faith and be very faithful. Be full of faith in the living God, in His covenant, in His promises for your children, and in His faithfulness. Take God's Word as the only measure of your faith. Then, be very faithful and take God's Word as the only measure of your life, especially in the family. Be a parent such as God would have you to be. Let it be your one desire to live a holy life yourself, to rule your home, to command your household, and your children that they may walk in the ways of the Lord. Then the Lord can bring upon you that which He has spoken concerning you. You can be sure that the blessing will be large and full. You will be blessed in your own Christian life as well as in your home life with your children. You will also be given power, like Abraham, to enter into God's secrets, and to plead with Him as an intercessor for the unsaved. God will prove to you that believing, faithful parenting is one of the highest privileges to which man can be admitted."
This is done by the power of God and it is not a harsh ruling over, but a loving, tender affection coupled with God given authority. My faith grows as I am faithful and my children will be blessed. His Word has promised: 

"But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. 
His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, 
of those who obey his commandments!"
(Psalm 103:17-18)

A Mother's Prayer
"Lord God, you have indeed taken me, too, into this wonderful covenant. Teach me to fully realize what parental faithfulness is. I make this the one object of my home life, to train my children to serve you. By my life, by my words, by my prayers, by gentleness and love, by authority and command, I will lead them in the ways of the Lord. Please help me to do this! Teach me to understand that you have made provisions for the grace to enable me to perform my parental duties. Let my faith see you undertake for me all I have to do. Let my ever-growing faith be the root of an ever-growing faithfulness. I ask it in the name of your Son. Amen."
*****


{all quotations taken directly from 'Raising Your Child for Christ' by Andrew Murray, unless otherwise noted}



IMG_2469-sz-250There's a little book, 'Raising Your Children for Christ' by Andrew Murray, on my shelf that I keep bringing down and leafing through and, Lord willing, on Wednesdays I hope to share snippets of my gleanings from it.

I don't claim to know all the answers. I need to dig deeper so that I can be even more equipped to be the mother that God intended. I am so thankful that this task of raising our children has not been given to me alone.


Join me on this journey? It is not a list of rules and how-to's but rather a chance to look into your own life and heart and be challenged to live a life wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord

For the first post in this series on Intentional Motherhood you can find it here.

For all posts in this series you can read them here.





Monday, February 25, 2013

True Beauty ~ Does it Actually Exist?

I'm sitting in the La-Z-Boy rocking chair, the one by the window overlooking the backyard. It's where I come to read, to snuggle, to think, to take a break with a warm cup in my hand, to talk on the phone.

My sister is pleading with me and I'm not really rocking, I'm leaning forward, my elbows on my knees with the phone at my ear. She is begging me to start looking at myself differently. She tells me I must. As though my life depends on it.

That when I look in the mirror I need to see that I am beautiful. I just don't see it. 



When you are half-way through your thirties and all of your womanhood life you have seen yourself as less-than, how on earth are you just supposed to start seeing yourself in a different light?

I don't see beauty when my own reflection is staring back at me. 

When I say that outloud, see it in black and white, I see how dreadfully wrong I am. But, how do you correct a mistake that you have made so often it is ingrained; a habit; a tangled web; a lie that destroys?

In this world so caught up in size and proportion and perfectionairbrushing and glamour and flawlessness what do you do when you simply don't measure up, when you may or may not be a size 2 and your measurements are way out of proportion and your glitter is not all that glamourous and all you see are your flaws and lack of perfection?

I am not naive enough to think this is only my problem. 

For some reason we are reaching for an ideal that doesn't even exist as though we could actually gather gold at the end of the rainbow. But we always come up empty handed.


"Christina Kelly, who has been the successful editor of Elle Girl, YMJane, and Sassy, wrote a confessional article about the process of the female magazine industry:
Why do we crave celebrities?  Here’s my theory.  To be human is to feel inconsequential.  So we worship celebrities and seek to look like them.  All the great things they have done we identify with in order to escape our own inconsequential lives.  But it’s so dumb.  With this stream of perfectly airbrushed, implanted, liposuctioned stars, you would have to be an absolute powerhouse of self-esteem already not to feel totally inferior before them.  So we worship them because we feel inconsequential, but doing it makes us feel even worse.  We make them stars, but then their fame makes us feel insignificant.  I am part of this whole process as an editor.  No wonder I feel soiled at the end of the day." ('King's Cross', Timothy Keller)
Unless we come to terms with who we truly are and how we have been created and chosen we will struggle with true beauty.

True beauty comes from within; from a heart that is humbled and at peace; a spirit that is at rest with its Creator; a soul that has been restored. 

No amount of make-up can effectively remove a miserable scowl,  no adorning of costly apparel will cause us to be anymore precious, and no amount of airbrushing can make a heart at peace.

But I can look into a mirror and say I'm beautiful because I have been created in the image of One who is 'altogether lovely' and although that likeness has been distorted because of sin, it is being restored by grace and I am being made ~ being re-created ~ to be 'more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image' and he has 'clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,'

Oh, I see my flaws and it is hard to see the beauty, but I will not let the world define beauty for me any longer. I will accept myself for what and whose I am  ~ masterpiece of God.





*****
Linking up here at Emily's, Jen's and Jennifer's

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Words of Wisdom for the Weekend ~ Waiting





{Words for Wisdom for the Weekend: These are words that I have been challenged or encouraged by that I have read throughout my week that I kept pondering; words that I couldn't get off my mind and heart throughout my week. 
For other Words of Wisdom for the Weekend posts see here.}


*****
"Jesus will not be hurried. As he's standing there and talking with the woman [who just reached out to touch Jesus to be healed from her bleeding for twelve years], the thing that Jarius feared all along happens:
While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jarius, the synagogue ruler: 'Your daughter is dead,' they said. 'Why bother the teacher anymore?' (Mark 5:35)
Imagine how Jarius feels about Jesus at that moment. But Jesus looks at him calmly and,
Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, 'Don't be afraid; just believe.' (Mark 5:36)
In essence, Jesus says to Jarius, Trust me. Be patient. There's no need to hurry . . . 


" . . . because of the delay both Jarius and the woman get far more than they ask for. Beware that when you go to Jesus for help, you will both give to and get from him far more than you bargained for. Be patient, because the deal often doesn't work out the way you expected . . . 

"If you go to Jesus, he may ask of you far more than you originally planned to give, but he can give to you infinitely more that you dared ask or think.

" . . . Are you trying to hurry Jesus? Are you impatient with the waiting? Let Him take you by the hand, let Him do what He wants to do. He loves you completely. He knows what He's doing. Soon it will be time to wake up.

"Let us be conformed to his patience, that we might be made partakers of the resurrection."

~ Timothy Keller, 'King's Cross'





"Help [my] unbelief, O God, give me greater patience in my hope, and make me more constant in my love. In loving let me believe and in believing let me love; and in loving and in believing let me hope for a more perfect love and a more unwavering faith, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen."
~John Baillie,  'A Diary of Private Prayer'

*****




Friday, February 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday: What Mama Did


It's Friday!! And I am linking up with Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's place. 

Last week, I made this confession that I don't always exactly keep to the five minutes. And this week we sort of had a heads up of what was to come, as she has had a series of guest posts this week from a number of people reflecting on 'what mama did', so I a stole few more than five minutes and I suppose you won't really mind! I just feel better confessing once again.

Do you want to join me in reflecting on what your Mama did. Join us at Lisa-Jo's:

Officially, the rules are:

Five Minute Friday1. Write for 5 minutes 
2. Link up at Lisa-Jo's  and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...

And the Five Minute Friday prompt for this week is : What Mama Did




I loved coming home from school to the smell of roast beef cooking in the oven, or speghetti sauce bubbling on the stove or even better a lasagna being layered up for dinner. I thought she was the best cook ever, except when she made liver for dinner. Of course, she always made strawberry shortcake--a white cake with sweet, mashed strawberries and whipping cream loaded on top--for desert on those nights! And yes, those were the days you had to eat everything on your plate before you got desert! I am pretty sure I confessed to her that I used to throw bits of liver on the floor so I didn't have to eat it all and I knew that it would be vacuumed after dinner.

She always said she doesn't do pies because her mama made crust by the feel and she didn't have a recipe to pass down and I think she felt like it was cheating to do it any other way. But, that didn't stop her from trying it anyway on occasion--and who really cares if the pie crust has to be pieced together when it is filled with cinnaminny apples and determination to make it anyway.

But, she found this recipe for warm milk and suet with nutmeg for a homemade remedy to chase away chest coughs. She made me drink this stuff and I still say that suet should be just for the birds. She was always making sure I was eating enough and trying to build my immune system.

She trained and worked as a nurse. She went right to the other side of the world and way up north and, I'm sure, nursed many sick people, but she never would have dreamed in a million years that she would have to nurse her own child, other than the common cold and flu bugs and such childhood ailments.

But, halfway through her thirties, that is exactly what she was doing. She always told us that she could administer a good needle, but did she ever think that she would have to give intramuscular injections every four hours to keep her daughter from vomiting after being hooked up on IV with chomo drugs being pushed directly into her bloodstream. Part of her died during those two years; she still can't talk of that time without salty tears welling up. But she helped me fight those years. When your child's life is on the line, you fight and she did, even those times, when she couldn't see the end of the road and wondered what the future would hold.



She loved to hang laundry on the line in the summer time. A chance for a some fresh air and sun and to be sure there was always laundry! I loved when she hung the sheets on the line and smoothed them out and neatly made the beds with hospital corners and made sure we had a bath that night because you can't get into a clean bed without a bath. Now, with a family of my own, I love to hang the laundry outside too and I realize how therapeutic hanging laundry really can be.


She still comes and helps do my laundry and she still tells me of home remedies like onion and sugar to fight off  a nagging cough--now, it's something she heard on the Dr. Oz or some cooking show she watched while running on her eliptical so she have a good shot of endorphins and  can stay fit for years to come--and tells me to please just try it.

My Mama loved. She still does.











Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Intentional Motherhood: What Happens in the Waiting

I know how it is to desperately long for a child.

I know the hot sting of tears, month after month of watching the days on the calendar, of hoping that maybe this month . . .  only to see the sign that there is no child being formed in me . . . and hope fades once again.

It is hard to wait. Painful to wait for the child you long for. 

It was after two years of longing and medical tests and being diagnosed with unexplained secondary infertility. After many prayers and I don't even remember how many negative pregnancy tests and a very real dream one certain night that a baby boy would be born and then finally two lines appeared early one winter morning, just as spring was knocking at the door.

And call me crazy, but I picked up the phone and woke loved ones right out of their sleep to tell them of my expectant news. It's hard to keep this kind of news to yourself.




Faith grew during that time of waiting for my son to be formed.

But, I can't even imagine having to wait 25 years!

God promised Abraham a child, but he had to wait twenty-five years. 
"For twenty-five years this faith is tried and purified, till Abraham's whole soul is filled with believing expectancy, that so the child may in truth be the child of faith and prayer; a gift of God received by faith . . . 
"Parents are called to exercise Abraham's faith, and to receive their children from His hands . . . 
"God thought this waiting was necessary for the strengthening and ripening of faith. This grace is a gift of high value, and can be attained only by a close walk with God, and whole-hearted surrender to His teachings and leadings."
Waiting is always hard and didn't Sarah even laugh at the absurdity of it all. Yet, Sarah's faith was strengthened in the waiting until it was said of her, "By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised."

Sometimes it is not until we look back and see how God has worked through us in our waiting and strengthened our faith by His grace.




It wasn't until years after I gave birth to my son that I read in 30+ year old medical files that the side-effects of the chemotherapy drugs I was on as a young child would put me at very high risk of infertility. The doctors working to save my life when I was three could not promise that life would ever come from my womb.
"God will give the grace to attain what we need . . . God, who has undertaken to fill us with His Spirit, will Himself train us for the holy calling as believing parents. He will teach us how the birth of our children can become the highest exercise of a faith that gives glory to God. He will also teach us that faith is the truest means of advancing our spiritual life and the interests of His kingdom."
As we grow in our faith in the One who promises, our children will be blessed as we pray that they too will come to claim the promises of God and receive by faith, through God's gracious gift, the glorious news of the Gospel. That our children may live by faith and 'become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.'


Six years after he was born, he slipped out of bed one night when he was supposed to be asleep and asked for a drink of water. He had just drank deep from the well of the living water and he came out to share his news. He couldn't keep it to himself; that he was looking up into the heavens and felt deep in himself that he needed to 'turn and be on the road that leads to God.' He told us, 'I prayed to God tonight, I invited him into my heart and I repented.' And he smiled with a peace written all over his face as he sipped on the small glass of water I gave him..

A child-like faith, yet profound. There was much rejoicing not only on earth that night, but also in heaven.

And early the next morning, he picked up the phone and told loved ones of his good news for he just couldn't keep it to himself.

A child born in a season of waiting, a time of growing faith, a time begging us to take hold of the promises of God and believe.

"For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen."


A Mother's Prayer
"Our blessed God and Father, we thank You for the wonderful revelation of Your will in Your servants Abraham and Sarah. Although Abraham'a child was the heir of sin, You made him the heir of the promise and its blessing. Gracious God, help us to see how, through the birth of Jesus Christ, our children have been redeemed from the power of sin. Teach us to realize that You have given abundant grace and faith to believing parents so that we may receive our children from You and for You . . . May we let our role as [mothers] bind us to You in worship and in faith. Amen."
*****


{all quotations taken directly from 'Raising Your Child for Christ' by Andrew Murray, unless otherwise noted}



IMG_2469-sz-250There's a little book, 'Raising Your Children for Christ' by Andrew Murray, on my shelf that I keep bringing down and leafing through and, Lord willing, on Wednesdays I hope to share snippets of my gleanings from it.

I don't claim to know all the answers. I need to dig deeper so that I can be even more equipped to be the mother that God intended. I am so thankful that this task of raising our children has not been given to me alone.


Join me on this journey? It is not a list of rules and how-to's but rather a chance to look into your own life and heart and be challenged to live a life wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord

For the first post in this series on Intentional Motherhood you can find it here.

For all posts in this series you can read them here.





Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Slowing to See the Beauty

I pull back the curtains and the morning appears and the snow is falling, flakes colliding into one another and clumping together and falling from the sky as if it's a race to reach the ground.


One by one, they crawl out of bed to start the day. Unlike the race to cover ground that is outside, it is just a slow and steady inside.

Life is like that sometimes.

We really can pull back from the flurry, the whirlwind that life can be, compelling us to cover ground.


We really can step back, find shelter and take time to find calm and simple even when we look out and see that the world pushes hard and says that is not good enough.

Either way, we will cover ground. But maybe, we will enjoy the moments of our days if we slow down to catch our breath and see the beauty that is all around us.


Because when we slow down to really see, we will see that it is not just about covering ground but seeing the One who caused the morning to appear and gives us shelter in the storm.



What are ways that you slow down to really see?





Saturday, February 16, 2013

Words of Wisdom for the Weekend ~ The Dance





{Words for Wisdom for the Weekend: These are words that I have been challenged or encouraged by that I have read throughout my week that I kept pondering. So, I got this idea in the shower one morning (because I don't sing in the shower, but I do a lot of thinking there ~ probably because it is one of the few places that I have to myself!): to share words on the weekend that I couldn't get off my mind and heart throughout my week. 
For other Words of Wisdom for the Weekend posts see here.}


*****
In the words of my favorite author, C. S. Lewis, 'In Christianity God is not a static thing . . .  but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance' . . . You’re glorifying something when you find it beautiful for what it is in itself. Its beauty compels you to adore it, to have your imagination captured by it . . .

To glorify others means to unconditionally serve them, not because we’re getting anything out of it, just because of our love and appreciation for who they truly are. 

The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are each centering on the others, adoring and serving them. And because the Father, Son, and Spirit are giving glorifying love to one another, God is infinitely, profoundly happy. Think about this: If you find somebody you adore, someone for whom you would do anything, and you discover that this person feels the same way about you, does that feel good? It’s sublime! That’s what God has been enjoying for all eternity. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are pouring love and joy and adoration into the other, each one serving the other. They are infinitely seeking one another’s glory, and so God is infinitely happy. And if it’s true that this world has been created by this triune God, then ultimate reality is a dance . . . 

So why would he create us? There’s only one answer. He must have created us not to get joy but to give it. He must have created us to invite us into the dance, to say: If you glorify me, if you center your entire life on me, if you find me beautiful for who I am in myself, then you will step into the dance, which is what you are made for. You are made not just to believe in me or to be spiritual in some general way, not just to pray and get a bit of inspiration when things are tough. You are made to center everything in your life on me, to think of everything in terms of your relationship to me. To serve me unconditionally. That’s where you’ll find your joy. That’s what the dance is about."

~ Timothy Keller, 'King's Cross'
*****

Friday, February 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Plucking Lilies ~ He Loves Me

It's Friday!! And I am linking up with Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's place. There are rules, but I am glad no one is really keeping track, because that first rule is really hard for me. I am an internal processor and a terrible typer and in the habit of editting as I type, so to put a limit on the time is tough, but the practice is helpful. And even for failing on rule number one I get to play tug-of-war with words that otherwise may not have tumbled out. So, maybe I changed the rules a little for the pure love of writing. 
Officially, the rules are:

Five Minute Friday1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...

And the Five Minute Friday prompt for this week is : Beloved



*****

I've gathered lilies in the field. I've plucked and giggled, "He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me not." I've played this game.

I've also plucked and dreamily whispered, 'He loves me, he loves me, he loves me."

I don't know why, but I am my Beloved's.

I didn't get roses yesterday. "He loves me, he loves me not."

But I did get roses a few weeks ago. Because "He loves me, he loves me, he loves me."

My Beloved doesn't just love me because the calendar tells him to.

One the day the calendar marks Love, he got up on few hours sleep to take his children skating, he brings home take-out, he sits down beside his children at the piano even though he needs a nap and then he goes to work till the wee hours of the morning. He loves with his life.

'He loves me, he loves me, he loves me."

I have so much to learn about love.

And he calls me his Love and I don't know why it is so hard to believe it when he pours out his life for me.

They say love is a dance. I think I have two left feet, but until I get my focus off myself and centre it on Him I won't move very gracefully. I'll be motionless. This wallflower will wither up and miss out on way too much.

Love is a sacrifice and moves you to love with your life. And the greatest sacrifice ever has freed me to dance. And He calls me to come join Him in this dance.

I am my Beloved's and He is mine and I want to learn this dance.

"He loves me, He loves me, He loves me"

"My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away." Song  of Solomon 2:10-13

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Prayer for Valentines


 "O Thou the reflection of whose transcendent glory did once appear unbroken in the face of Jesus Christ, give me today a heart like His--a brave heart, a true heart, a tender heart, a heart filled with great room in it, a heart fixed on Thyself; for His name's sake. Amen"
~John Baillie,  'A Diary of Private Prayer'



God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.
1 John 4:9



So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God,
and God abides in him.
1 John 4:16

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Intentional Motherhood: Fear, Faith and Family



Sometimes, it's true, I mother with the wrong kind of fear. Well, perhaps, it is more often than I realize or care to admit.

I fear sometimes that I am totally ruining my children, that I don't do enough for them or that I do too much for them, that I am too controlling or not controlled enough., that I am not consistent enough or that I keep things too regimented.

I fear sometimes to let them out of my sight and sometimes I fear they see too much of me.

I fear sometimes what others will think of the way I am mothering or what they will think about how my children are turning out.

I fear sometimes that I am just not good enough. Or that we have made the wrong choices for our family.

I could go on, but you see how it is.

I also know that I am not the only one. I have had these conversations with too many other mothers to know I am not alone on this.

But, it is the wrong kind of fear.

God commanded Noah to build an ark to save himself and his family from the flood. The flood that God was going to send to wipe out the existence of every living thing on the earth because of the wickedness of man and the evil in his heart.

Noah did exactly as God commanded Him and was saved from the flood and received blessing from God.

And He did it with fear.

Definitely not the fear that comes to mind when we think of impending danger or of how we will look absolutely ridiculous if we do something out of the ordinary from the culture we live in.

It was a fear of God ~ a reverential fear that made him go ahead with what God told him to do even in spite of the world's mocking disbelief. His respect for God was such that He obeyed even when the events were unseen and he knew that what God said would happen would surely transpire and what God promised would precisely be fulfilled.

God commanded him to 'construct an ark for the saving of his household.'

He did this by faith!

Noah obeyed and when it was finished he not only took the animals in two by two to be saved from the waters, but also his family went with him into the ark.

Noah was 'in the ark'. He is called righteous because of his faithful response.

In the same way, we, by faith alone, by God's grace can be 'in Christ.' Our children will need to be called and receive God's grace by faith alone, but we have a wonderful opportunity to lead our children to Christ.
"The believing parent must live, act, and pray with and for his children, as one who is assured that his children are meant of God to be there in the ark with him. Let us confidently trust God for the salvation of every child. Let us instruct and inspire our children with this thought in mind." (p.23 emphasis mine)
In fact, just as Noah was promised that he and his household would be saved from the waters of judgement, an act of grace, so God desires this for our children.
"Abide in Christ and let the child feel that to be near you is to be near Christ. Live in the power of the love and the life of Christ.(p.23 emphasis mine)
In Christ, I can love my children with the love of God. If love is the greatest then I need to ask God to fill me with His perfect love for it casts out fear.


I sometimes fear . . . I often fail . . .  but by grace, in faith I can claim the promises that God has given for me and my children.


And by faith, I can mother these children that God has entrusted to me, with a reverential fear that leads to obedience that will honour Christ and bring blessing to me and my children.


A Mother's Prayer
"O Lord, I have heard your message telling me that since you have accepted me as righteous in Your Son, You want my children to be saved, too. I have heard your voice of grace, saying, "Come thou into the ark, and thy house." Thank You for the assurance that this promise gives to a parent's heart! Lord, open my eyes to see what Your Word can teach me. Let me see in Noah the picture of a believing parent--walking with You, believing Your Word, obedient to Your command. Let me see in the ark the type of my blessed Lord Jesus . . . Help me to believe the promise of Your grace and to obey Your command. Help me to perform the work entrusted to me so that Your blessing may abide on me and my children. May it all be to the glory of Your Holy Name. Amen."(p.24)
*****


{all quotations taken directly from 'Raising Your Child for Christ' by Andrew Murray, unless otherwise noted}



IMG_2469-sz-250There's a little book, 'Raising Your Children for Christ' by Andrew Murray, on my shelf that I keep bringing down and leafing through and, Lord willing, on Wednesdays I hope to share snippets of my gleanings from it.

I don't claim to know all the answers. I need to dig deeper so that I can be even more equipped to be the mother that God intended. I am so thankful that this task of raising our children has not been given to me alone.

Is there something in your life that makes mothering hard?


Join me on this journey? It is not a list of rules and how-to's but rather a chance to look into your own life and heart and be challenged to live a life wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord

For the first post in this series on Intentional Motherhood you can find it here.

For all posts in this series you can read them here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Comfort Zones and Trust

There are things that I have done lately to step out of my comfort zone a bit more.


Things like . . . cooking with mushrooms and kale, going to a waterpark, recording my voice and posting it for others to hear, being vulnerable, facing some fears, you know, peculiar stuff like that.

And it almost makes me feel brave.

Almost.
*****
There have been areas in my life that I have wrestled with for God to heal and He hasn't.

Things that I have absolutely no control over.

None.

*****
There are things that I have learned through stepping out of comfort zones and wrestling with God.

I may not want to, but I need to.

It may not be the way I want it, but I still need to trust.

Absolutely 
and 
Completely.

*****
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Words of Wisdom for the Weekend {and memory challenge}





{Words for Wisdom for the Weekend: These are words that I have been challenged or encouraged by that I have read throughout my week that I kept pondering. So, I got this idea in the shower one morning (because I don't sing in the shower, but I do a lot of thinking there ~ probably because it is one of the few places that I have to myself!): to share words on the weekend that I couldn't get off my mind and heart throughout my week. 
For other Words of Wisdom for the Weekend posts see here.}


*****
We are working on the Romans Project so I thought I would attempt to recite here my fumbling attempts of what I have got memorized so far. 

So here in the calm after the stormon a still Saturday, while the house is still asleep, I practically whisper these words of wisdom for this weekend.



{please excuse all the pauses as I remember the next words 
and the text beep that occurs halfway through
 as my daughter sent me a 'good morning' text in the middle of it:)}



The Romans Project - Bible Memory Group


*****





Friday, February 8, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Bare

The rules for Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's are:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

And the Five Minute Friday prompt for this week is : Bare


*****

Now that is a word I want to run from. No passing 'GO' just run in the opposite direction and hide in 'Jail'.

It is not comfortable being bare, exposed.

It seems ironic seeing that word after just having returned from an indoor water park. A place where you see bare ~ some exposed more than others, I guess, depending on how comfortable you are being bare, exposed.

We returned home early because of a storm forecasted. Don't storms always make us run home?

This morning, I look out and see that all that was bare yesterday has now been covered with a white blanket.

And I read, just this very morning of the beginning ~ about that man and his wife created and they were very good and they were naked and not ashamed. But, when they chose evil, they hid from the very Presence of the One who had created them.

They were ashamed to be naked.

And that is where amazing Grace steps in. God graciously covered them with skins and clothed them.

But, blood had to spill for them to be covered.

It is a shameful place, to be exposed, naked, but that is the place that grace does it's work.








*****

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Intentional Motherhood: Just Like Me!


I heard it again, just the other day.  We were sitting on the sidelines of a walking track, she was enjoying her yogurt tube and a complete stranger walking by us said it to me:

"She sure looks like you."

Actually, I hear it a lot. There is no mistaking that she in mine! 


Just, look at her messing with the dough, just like her Mama. Listen to her telling everybody what to do, (ahem) just like her mother. {In her third-born self-appointed authority!}


Yes, she is just like me and that is the part that is so hard to take.

How can someone so innocent, so delightful be born just like her mother, a sinner; a daughter of Eve who took of the forbidden fruit and gave it to Adam and they ate, even when they knew they were not to.

Adam, who was created in the image of God and after His likeness chose to take of the forbidden fruit and that sin distorted what God had created. That likeness has been distorted ever since.

When Adam and Eve became parents their children took on their likeness that had been terribly distorted.



Just a few short chapters into the beginning of time and we read of the power of sin and of how Adam’s firstborn takes the life of his brother.
“This first picture of family life that God gives us in His Word casts a dim light on our own homes! Parents can often see their own shortcomings and failures in the sinful behavior of their children! When parents realize that their children have inherited their own evil natures, this should make them very patient and wise in disciplining their children. It should lead parents to seek the only cure for sin – the grace and the life that comes from above!” (p.15)
 If God originally created the family to reflect the love of the Father in heaven then I need to seek for the reign of love in my home.


We read that God created man in His likeness, but then we also read a little later that Adam became the father of a son who was just like him--in his very image.’
“These words refer not only to a blessing lost in Paradise, and to a curse that came with sin, but also a grace that comes with redemption . . . a born-again believer cannot by natural birth bring forth a child in his own spiritual likeness. However . . . what nature cannot accomplish, prayer and a life of faith can obtain through the promises and the power of God . . . As faith and prayer claim the promise and power of God, the consecrated lives of father and mother will have power to mold the lives of their children . . . and establish them in their walk with God.” (p.17) (emphasis mine)


Although we, by nature, have passed on our evil natures to our children, by the grace that we have received we have the blessing to ‘lead a life marked by love to God and man.’ (p.17)

Love must be central. 

It demands self-sacrifice. 

But, it is the love of God that ‘is the secret of a loving home on earth.’ 
“When parents love the Lord their God with all their heart, then family love will be strengthened . . . those parents who are willing to live consecrated lives, entirely given up to God, will receive the full promise and blessing. If we want to make our homes a foretaste of heaven, then ordinary, half-hearted religion is not enough. Only the love of God shed abroad in our hearts and our lives will make our homes on earth in the likeness of the home above." (p.18) (emphasis mine)



A Mother’s Prayer

 "Lord God, we bow before You in deep humility. We desire to feel more deeply the terrible power of sin in ourselves and our children. Make us aware of the danger to which sin exposes our beloved home. We confess that we have failed to show that pure love which You meant to be the beauty of family life. In our relationship with You and each other, and our children, forgive us for our lack of love. Bless our children with the Spirit of love. Help us to walk before them in love, that Your Spirit may use our example and our likeness to form them into Your holy likeness." (pp.18-19)

*****


{all quotations taken directly from 'Raising Your Child for Christ' by Andrew Murray, unless otherwise noted}



IMG_2469-sz-250There's a little book, 'Raising Your Children for Christ' by Andrew Murray, on my shelf that I keep bringing down and leafing through and, Lord willing, on Wednesdays I hope to share snippets of my gleanings from it.

I don't claim to know all the answers. I need to dig deeper so that I can be even more equipped to be the mother that God intended. I am so thankful that this task of raising our children has not been given to me alone.

Is there something in your life that makes mothering hard?


Join me on this journey? It is not a list of rules and how-to's but rather a chance to look into your own life and heart and be challenged to live a life wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord

For the first post in this series on Intentional Motherhood you can find it here.

For all posts in this series you can read them here.

Thank you for your comments. They are an encouragement to me.





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