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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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

When God Makes a Way and Heals Hearts inRL {Real Life}



I pick up a stone and roll it around and around in my fingertips. It's rough around the edges just like me. Not a particularly pretty stone, just spotted white and grey without a whole lot of sparkle. It pretty much suits me.

I look down at that stone in my left hand, with my fine Sharpie pen in my right hand. I am to write a word that has wounded me and hindered me from being real, being a friend, being in community. Wounded women wound other women. And we are to bind up the wounds with the wounds of Christ to make women whole again.

I know the word instantly.

But how can I write it? How do you form letters into a word, make marks on a stone; on a stone that resembles the wall that you have built up around you to protect you like a shield, but has instead morphed into a steel cage? Keeping you imprisoned in loneliness.

I decide to be a little brave and face the hard reality, but then I scrawl a triad of words. To leave it as just that one word makes me feel exposed. And aren't they all closely linked one with the other?

Ann prays as the women each let go of their own stone into a basket. Prays that in the power of the name of Jesus these walls would be torn down to bring healing by the wounds of Jesus Christ. She seeks the Lord, "Let these women be changed before they leave here today."

***

We're together for an inRL (real life) conference, women in the body of Christ being challenged to tear down walls, to make friends and live in community because we need community!

We drop our stones in these empty baskets, fill up our plates once again with sticky buns, and come back to the tables, to be fed by the Word of God.

The second session of the morning has nicely begun and Ann speaks of the very word that I was scared to scratch out with my Sharpie, for fear of cutting too deep into my own heart.

She exhorts: "When you don't have your identity in Jesus Christ, you have insecurities". She speaks the truth with words and picture that Christ promises to "give you my perfect identity and take your imperfect insecurities". She reminds us that the Father sings over us. Calls us His Beloved.

We need to believe and be healed from these wounds so we can turn around and instead of being a
hurt heart that hurts hearts, we can feed, pray, love, and forgive and be the friend that other women need.

***

I'm not really sure what do to with all of this. How do I go home, changed, when I've lived this way my whole life? Caged in my insecurities. When you have grown up not seeing beauty in yourself and when cancer took hold of your life when life was really just at the beginning and the treatment killed more than the cancer, but spared you as a child. When you don't see yourself as whole so you're afraid and you don't trust. It is all wrapped up as a messy little package with insecurity as the double-sided tape.

I know I need to go home set free from its bondage. But I don't know if I can. I don't know how.

As the conference wraps up, Ann asks the women to take some the stones of their sisters, go over to the pond and pray. Pray that, as the stones sink down to the pond's murky bottom never to be retrieved again, the walls built up over time and have created barriers, would be broken down.

I share my cracked heart with Ann quietly, when the crowd has cleared a little, and trust her. She understands. She knows. She has done this hard work. She continues to speak words of healing and love and hope. She's a dear friend and mentor and mostly I love how she loves her Lord God. I've seen the powerful work that the Lord has done in her life and she is a beautiful woman of God and she presses on with us to love with our whole hearts.

After catching up with another friend, a beautiful woman who has served these women after little sleep, has loved and prayed for these women, I go to the basket to pick up some sisters' stones. There are just a couple handfuls left there at the bottom of the basket. I gather up three little stones.

I walk out to the pond and there in my hand is the very stone I handled hours earlier.


How is it possible that I have picked up my own stone?





I have to be the one to let it go. No one else can do this for me.

This is a work that God is doing in my life and it is between Him and me.

I suppose I could choose to leave and hold onto this stone, slip it into my purse, and carry it back home with me. No one would ever know. But, I could also release it into these dark waters, and let it go. Walk away changed!

I stand with women who love and build up the beautiful bride of Christ and I let it go. It splashes and sends ripples on the surface of the pond. Ripples deep into my heart that has been cracked open to receive the promises of God.






God knew I needed to throw that stone down myself. In His sovereignty He worked out all the little details to have me come here to this gathering of women in real life to do this work in my heart.

He has changed a heart of stonetaken out my stony, stubborn heart and given me a tender, responsive heart. That my heart would sing of His love as He sings over me, calling me His loved one.

By tearing down walls, we build up community and love and unlock hearts.

Ann quoted Bonhoeffer:
"The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is sure”. True Christian community happens in Christ."
In Christ. When my identity is in Him I can love those who need to be fed with this same love and affirmation. Pray for my sisters with a heart of thankfulness. Love as Christ loved and forgive others as I have been forgiven.

***

Maybe someone has hurt you. Maybe life has left scars on you. What is it that keeps you imprisoned? What is it that you need to let go of so you can let God work in you heart? Healing hearts helps other hearts heal. I want to be a heart that heals instead of hurts. How about you?

***


Thank you Lisa-Jo for this inRL community of Christian women. Thank you Ann for being the Christian who spoke God's Word into my heart. Thank you Diane for being such a beautiful and faithful woman of God and serving, with the ladies at GBF, and hosting this conference.

Images 3,4,5 by Molly Morton-Sydorak

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Words of Wisdom for the Weekend: Living, Experiencing, Defining Joy





{I am taking a poll this weekend, looking for people to define joy and I asking if you might help. Please  consider leaving a comment below with how you define this beautiful characteristic called joy, I would appreciate it! Thank you!!}

*****

"A commitment to living a life of joy involves a one-time decision in our heart; 'Lord, I want to know your joy every day of my life, and I will seek to find out what it means to dwell in your presence in joy.' 
"Experiencing joy, though, is a long-term process--a journey toward maturity as we begin to be aware of those thoughts and worries that would steal our joy. The more we practice taking all of our troubled thoughts captive, the more easily we will recognize them before they take hold in our heart. Practice and discipline provide strength training for our mental muscles and heart responses. So walking in the reality of joy is a road we truly find as we mature and become stronger. The more consistently we follow the path--believing in God's goodness and turning away from Satan's taunts--the more the habit to submit to the Lord and trust him becomes second nature. 
"We simply have to practice walking each step with him and allow his presence to bring us the joy that comes from resting in the arms of our capable dance partner through each measure of life's song."
~Sally Clarkson, 'Dancing With My Father'

*****
{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.}


Again, thank you, for leaving a comment with your definition of joy.



Friday, April 26, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Friend



I never was the popular girl in school. Never wanted to be. I always got along with most of the girls, but I didn't get very close. Left school without any silly school girl squabbles. But I longed for a bosom friend.

I had a sister only 15 months older and who could ask for anything better than a built-in full-time friend right in your own home.

But, all through school I had this desire to go deeper with a friend. But I wouldn't trust.

Since then, starting when I left home for the fist time at 19, I have been blessed.

Blessed with a friend who brings the warmth of light and love into your heart in the darkest of days.

A friend that you can call or text whenever and tell her the burden on your heart. Share your deep scars with her and she loves you anyway. Call with your joyful news that you are getting married and then a few years later that you are expecting. Pray for her when she has a scary spot on her back and she is getting married that year. A friend who tells you that you aren't allowed to say no, but she is going to do this wonderful thing for you anyway.

A friend who has moved away, but you miss her and wish her back so you could actually visit like you should have when she was closer.

Sister friends that tell you to believe that you are beautiful. And love you regardless of all your flaws and they know just how many you have because they have grown up with you and put up with you. Sister friends who cry with you over marred bodies and broken relationships and they know the pain and how it hurts just as much as you do and they are only ever a phone call away. And they pray for you and dare you to live life fully and wholly for the Lord.


A friend who prays for you when the pregnancy tests keep failing.

A friend that holds a cup of tea with you and shares struggles and joys of mothering.


A friend who helps you through the hard parts in life. And nurtures you and encourages you and tells you that you are doing a great job and keep on doing it and shows up just as you have received a scary phone call. And prays for you and your family. And offers help whenever she sees a need. And always greets you with a cheery hello and lives life for her Lord in a sacrificial way.

A friend who brings who brings you meals because she has extra in her freezer. And makes you laugh and dance in her kitchen and bring happiness in your heart.

A friend who wants to meet at least once a month as families to grow our friendship further. Who understands fear and wants to look it in the face with you and move on. A friend who writes a prayer for you and sends it to you in the post, not just on a screen.

A friend who holds me in his arms and puts up with all kinds of emotions and crazy ideas and serves me with his life and loves me as Christ loves His bride.

A friend who sticks closer than a brother and has loved me enough to truly, amazingly give His life for me.

I am blessed. I have a friend. I am abundantly blessed for I have more than I even asked for.

I pray for the grace that I may truly be the friend that that these friends have been for me.


***


Reflecting and writing on the word prompt given here for Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's place. 

This week the prompt is: Friend

Officially, the rules are:

Five Minute Friday1. Write for 5 minutes (A number of weeks ago, I made this confession that I don't always exactly keep to the five 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...



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Intentional Motherhood: Teaching Children To Honor

“Honor your father and your mother,
that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
Ex 20:12

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),
“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 
Eph 6:1-2










Twelve years. Exactly 4,392 days. About 105,408 hours.

That is how long I have been a mother.

Many of you can easily more than double those numbers. Many of you are right there with me or somewhere in the earlier years. Perhaps some of you haven't started counting and maybe yearn desperately in your heart to be counting along with the rest of us. But we are all somewhere on this mission of motherhood. And we are better to do it intentionally.

I don't know about you, but I wish I knew how much I did not know when I first started out on this journey.

I wish I truly understood that it wasn't a list of rules that I had to enforce to make my children obey. I wish that I could be brave enough to believe that love and affection will bring children to the place of obedience.

Children don't need a list of rules or this list would have been provided for us. They need to be loved and honoured and taught how to honour and obey by loving parents.

The one command in the Bible given specifically to children is to honour their parents. This is reinforced in the New Testament. To honour and obey.

The thing is, as children, they must be taught. And the greatest teacher doesn't just tell, but will demonstrate and inspire the student. Such as it is for the parent to teach the child to honor and obey.

I thought if I simply could follow a formula then my job would be pretty straightforward. But, I soon found out that children don't do formulas. They need love and to be honoured and to see what living a life of honor looks like.

This is why this post is so long in coming. I hesitate to post something that I feel I have failed at doing.


We've been given this responsibility to train the child to honor and obey. It won't just happen naturally. But, the beautiful thing is, honoring others "creates a pleasant home atmosphere". We need to study how to train our children to fulfill this children's commandment.


Developing Manners in the Child

In all their attitudes and conduct we are to train our children to show honour. We see that a lot of their behaviour and speech will develop due to habits. Often times these habits are passed down by us.

"Manners are of more importance than many people think. The neglect of good manners not only reveals a lack of respect and courtesy, but it fosters selfishness and indifference that show little concern for the feelings of others. Manners are the most important thing in education, more so than learning."
Let parents remember that by training their children to show honor and respect, even in insignificant things, they are forming habits in them which will afterward repay all their labor. "Them that honor Me I will honour" is God's law . . . This also has its reflection in the life of earth. None have received higher honor on earth than those who have learned to honor all men, to honor the poor and needy."

One of the most difficult things about developing manners is staying consistent in the training. But as we exercise diligence and self-control in our own lives our children bear the fruit of this training. It brings harmonious relationships in the family and that is worth the effort to remain consistent.


Developing Honor in Children.

Again, it is our job to do this. But, we don't do it harshly!

"The young child is guided, not by disapproval or argument, but by feeling and affection. He cannot realize and honor the unseen God. He cannot yet honor the unlovely and unworthy or see the value of their creation in God's image. The child can only honor what he sees to be 'worthy of honor.'
"This is the parent's high calling: and to speak, to act, and to live in the child's presence in such a way that honor may be spontaneously communicated. This can only happen when the parent lives in God's presence, and walks worthy of this calling . . . let the parent . . . rule and reign in love and the fear of God, and his honor will be given him."

In reality, the way to train our children to honor comes from us honoring God in our own lives. I need to put to death my own selfish desires and honor God and others above my own self. I do not take the place of God, and He alone can change the heart, but I have the privilege and responsibility, as their mother (along with their father), to train my children.

"Above all, let parents remember that honor really comes form God. Let them honor Him in the eyes of their children, and He will honor them there, too. Let them beware of honoring their children more than God. This is the surest way to grief for parents and children together. Children will learn to honor God and their parents when they see their parents honoring God in everything they do. The parent who teaches his child to obey the fifth commandment has guided his feet into he way of all God's commandments. A child's first virtue is the honoring and obeying of his parents."

A Mother's Prayer

"Lord God, fill my own soul with such honor and reverence for Your holy majesty that both I and my child may learn what honor is. Teach me to claim honor from my child with the holy aim of leading him to honor You above all. May honoring his parents and honoring his God create in my child a spirit of humility  Lord, I look to You for grace to secure the keeping of this, the children's commandment in my home. May the training of young souls to keep Your commandments, to honor and serve You, be fruit of Your own Spirit's work in me. I ask in Jesus' name. 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. 

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, April 22, 2013

Walking By the Way



"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens."
Psalms 8:1








"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature,
have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."
Romans 1:20


I'm working on memorizing these verses and we are on our way for an afternoon walk. I repeating them over and over, mumbling them, trying to commit them to heart.

I stop at this verse and I chew on it for a little while.

I've been on the hunt for joy lately. An abiding joy that is not found in worldly happiness. It is promised in His presence; the fullness of joy. In abiding in Him I receive joy. A deep satisfying joy that will be my strength.

If the antidote to fear is the assurance of God's presence and in His presence there is fullness of joy and the joy of the Lord is my strength, then in His presence is where I long to be.

We're driving along and I ask the passengers in the back if they know why we go exploring on these hikes. It's not just for fun and exercise, but that we might see the Creator in His creation. 

His invisible attributes are clearly seen.

This string of words presents an oxymoron. But the truth that is discovered when you splice it open is so sweet.

As we look to His creation, we see with our mind's eye, attributes of God that we might not otherwise see clearly. 

We don't worship his creation, but we come to know Him and who He is a little more through His creation and we worship the Creator God of it all. 

We are without excuse. What we see so clearly points to an all-powerful God. 


If we honour Him as God, worshiping Him and adoring Him as we should, and enter His presence with thanksgiving in our hearts for what He has made, and the mercies and grace He has shown us, we are filled with this joy.

What an amazing privilege it is to see Him in His creation. To know Him and to delight in Him and all that He has made and all that He is.


I stumble along, searching for joy on this path, but always come home refreshed when we have spent time in God's awesome creation. 

May seeing with my mind's eye always turn my heart in adoration toward the Lord, my God. 




Saturday, April 20, 2013

Words of Wisdom for the Weekend: "Far Too Easily Pleased"







"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and s_x and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
~ C.S.Lewis [word altered to avoid undesirable traffic]

"You make known to me the path of life; 
in your presence there is fullness of joy; 
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 16:11


*****

{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.}

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Jump



The very word, I admit, makes me want to sit down. Play it safe. 

You say: "Jump."

I say, "Do I have to? I don't want to!"

I was led to the deep end of the pool during swimming lessons.

I was told to jump in.

I couldn't!

I refused. I'm pretty sure my face was wet and it wasn't from the water in the pool.

Authority won and I had to jump. The instructor had promised me that if I needed it, she would stick out a pole that I could grab hold of. Of course as soon as I jumped in, and there was nothing solid under my feet, I felt like I needed rescuing. When I reached up, the pole was not there! 

Panic struck, I flailed! 

I suppose that instructor thought she was doing me a favour, thinking it would make me be brave. Sometimes our fears may seem irrational, but sometimes we have reason to fear and we need to work through those monsters before we can jump. We need to know there is someone there we can trust.

If we are not prepared to jump, deeper fear will settle in.

For a child who had survived cancer, but was left with half of her lung capacity and atrophied muscles, swimming for me was like the empty bottle in water, bobbling around briefly on the surface and then sinking fast. To be told to jump into the deep end, while extremely terrified, without a sure hope in the end, was not beneficial.

::

Thirty years later, on a hot summer day, I ran right off the end of the dock. Jumped right into the dark water, celebrating a call from the hospital with test results just returned. All clear! As a woman now at high risk for a secondary cancer, each summer I am to return and have an MRI scan to make sure cancer stays away.

Sometimes the bigger fear is not the jumping, but fearing the possibilities.

But whatever our possible reality might be, we never have to jump alone. No one hovers over us with a pole purposefully out of our reach.

Whatever we may face, we can call out to a powerful God who loves us with arms stretched out wide desiring us to jump right up and into His loving and tender embrace.

::

Something in your life that it is so terrifying that you can hardly move? Can't jump? And you have every reason not to? But you have no choice? You have to! 

Jump. But, before you do, know that you are being held and strengthened by the God of hope.

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."

 ***


Reflecting and writing on the word prompt given here for Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's place. 

This week the prompt is: Jump

Officially, the rules are:

Five Minute Friday1. Write for 5 minutes (A number of weeks ago, I made this confession that I don't always exactly keep to the five 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...

Monday, April 15, 2013

When You're Knocked Down and You Know You're Supposed to Fly









You know those days 
when you feel like the dark-eyed junco that flew into your window 
and knocked herself right down into the mud brownies 
that some little blond girl left on the table.

You sit there for a while and rest.

You gain your strength.

You wait.

Finally, you mount up on wings and fly.


And you keep on rejoicing.





"He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint."
Isaiah 40:29-31







Saturday, April 13, 2013

Words of Wisdom for the Weekend: Choosing Joy


 





*****
"For any man or woman who takes spiritual maturity seriously, the pursuit of joy must become a priority. Joy in your everyday life will not always be the comfortable kind of joy we have grown accustomed to in our culture. Pursuing joy in God is very different from just enjoying His gifts. Most of us know how to enjoy His gifts. But the pursuit of joy actually transforms us from the inside out.
Through His Word and our pursuit, His power and our surrender, the Creator of joy can put His joy inside us. He can create in us what we have not been able to manufacture on our own. The more we approach the throne of God for His transformation, the more of God we will encounter.  God desires that we would find our joy, our happiness, our peace, and our purpose in Him. When we have done so, He is glorified."
~Angela Thomas, "Choosing Joy" [emphasis mine]

*****

{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.}

Friday, April 12, 2013

Here, on a Friday: Twelve Things on the Eve of Your Twelfth Birthday








I finished my last day of work a dozen years ago today.

I thought I had about 10 days to finish getting my life in order for what was to come next. I was on my own that night, googling all kinds of information I thought for sure I would need to know when you arrived.

But, you decided to come before I had a chance to finish nesting, or pack my bags, or figure out how to be a mother.

I stayed up way too late that night. Then after an hour of sleep, I woke up and as I saw that you were not going to wait to the due date, your Daddy walked in the door from work. It was one in the morning, he was tired and was sure that I was in false labour.

I laboured alone all night with increasing intensity. At times the pain would be too much to bear alone, so I'd wake him to convince him that I was pretty sure this was it!

After nine hours I knew I had to make my way to the hospital. When the nurse admitted me, your Daddy finally believed that you were on your way!

It was a long, slow labour and I managed without any medication to dull the pain, although I screamed and screamed and made sure everyone knew that it hurt!

You were born on a Good Friday!



Here we are, a Friday, the eve of your 12th birthday.

Google never could have prepared me for your arrival into my life.

I read and read thinking that books would make it easier and that information would make it fool-proof, but I was wrong.

God used a daughter to teach a mother things you have taught me.

You. My Daughter.

That I have to bend down low, even when it hurts, even when I feel like I am doing it alone.

I have to breath.

I have to relax.

I have to pray.

When it feels like the hard parts will never end, I can keep going.


I gave birth on a Good Friday to a baby girl.

That day I was broken and I was laid low. My life changed forever.

I am continually growing into a mother. I never was ready.

But, here we are. You are taller than me and you have outgrown my shoes.

I still have much to learn and I am so thankful that you are teaching me things no one else ever could.

You. My Daughter.

There are things I will never be able to teach you, but know this that we have to bend down low just as the boughs in this ice storm.





You are out knocking down icicles, in my boots, and I am in here, thinking of how you love life and people. Your smile brightens up your face and your life brings rays of sunshine to many.

After an ice storm in the spring, we will celebrate you! You want waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. And tacos for dinner. And lots of homemade doughnuts.



The sun is to shine tomorrow and we hope to go for a hike. I'll watch you as you run through the wood and your eye catches all the beauty around you. My eye will watch the beauty that you have become and pray that as you saunter into your last year of 'childhood' that you will remember these twelve truths.

::

Life is hard, but you know the victory is already won.

Life will break you, but you, in Christ, are strong.

Life gets ugly, but you are always beautiful.

Life may leave you feeling empty, but you are always loved.

When you are afraid, remember you are never alone.

When you want to give up, keep going.

When you think someone else can do it better, do your best.

When you feel silly, be yourself and don't worry what others may be thinking of you.

Remember to breath deep and dream big.

Remember to fix your eyes on things unseen.

Remember to never stop praying, always choose joy, and in everything give thanks.

Remember to love the Lord your God will all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.



*****

Linking in with the gang writing at Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's place. I didn't at all keep the first rule this time. Once I started, I kept on going, so thankful for the gift of my daughter and the privilege I have to be her mother. Words are never enough!

This week the prompt is: Here 

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...




Thursday, April 11, 2013

Intentional Motherhood: Walking in the Light

I did a foolish thing in the wee hours of the morning.

I should have kept the light on, but instead I glanced over the floor to make sure I could find my way to the next light switch to turn on, and I flicked it off.

Groping in complete darkness I tried to find my way. My eyes did not adjust very quickly.

Step by step I made progress, thinking for sure I was headed in the right direction. But, I had misperceived the distance between the hallway back to my bedroom and the stairway leading to the basement.



As I reached out to where I thought the switch should be, I realized I was at the top of the stairway and the motion of my arm swinging to find the switch propelled me on a ride on my bottom end. There was no way I could prevent the fall at this point. I hit the wood floor hard and bounced most of the way down until my left arm was able to grab hold of the banister. I heard my older daughter screaming from her bedroom. She woke my son and they both came running.



My right arm clutched my three year old.

She had woken up from a bad dream and I stumbled out of bed in deep sleep grogginess and found her with tears streaming down her face. As I consoled her, she clung to my body like a koala.

I assured her that she could come with me and find her daddy and stay with us until she felt better.


What made me think I could get her to her Daddy, carrying her through the black darkness?


I moved forward without thinking at all of the danger of the stairs. I never believed the darkness would be so blinding that I could get so far off course that the stairway would even be a danger.

As we landed, I called out for help. The bad dream didn't seem so bad anymore, apparently, for my three year old scampered out of my arms and ran back to her own bed!

Help came running and he was completely confused by the time he found me sprawled across the stairs unable to move right away. My husband admitted later he couldn't figure out what I was doing in the stairway at 3 in the morning.

I was in pain, exposed, and feeling horrible about falling with my child. Like the worst-mother-of-the-year kind of horrible.

After I was picked up, I made my way back to my little girl and made sure she was ok. Thankfully, not a mark on her! She looked into my face and asked me if I just had a bad dream!!

::

As I reflected on what a foolish thing I had done, and was thanking God that we were spared from much worse, the lesson in it all was so clear in my mind and heart!!

We can not lead our children to the Light
if we are not walking in the Light.







As mothers, we have a great influence over precious lives entrusted to us!

As ones who have been redeemed, we have an amazing opportunity to make disciples right in our very homes!




We have been appointed.
"It is the parent, who has already experienced the salvation of God, who is appointed to lead the child to know God. The knowledge of God is not simply a matter of the understanding. It is to love Him, to live in Him, to experience the power of His presence and His blessing. The [one] who would teach others to know God must be able to speak from personal experience of Him. [S]he must prove by the warmth of love and devotion that [s]he loves this God, and receives [her] life from Him."

We qualify from personal experience.
"Only personal experience of the power of the blood can qualify a parent to speak to [her]children of God. It is the parent who has experienced redemption who can tell [her]child about the God of redemption . . . the parents who lives in the experience of Christ's redemption can speak of the mercy of the God of salvation."

We have a powerful influence because of our natural relationship.
"[The parent's] love seeks, even in nature, the happiness of the child, and can often make great sacrifices to attain it. It is this love that God uses . . . It is this love which purifies the parent to be the minister of God's grace.
"With a parent's love there is a parent's influence . . . The character of childhood is formed and molded by impressions. Constant companionship with the parent can make these impressions deep and permanent . . .
"A parent who is made partaker of God's love and grace himself, accepted and blessed with the promise of . . . the Spirit . . . [is used by God in] the influences of family life to do the great work of gaining the child for God. This surely is one of the most wonderful examples of God's grace upon earth."

As we walk in the Light, the One who has redeemed us and given us a great salvation, and loved us even while we were still sinners, we have this amazing grace to teach our children and disciple them to be followers of the One True God.

It is God's work ultimately in the life of each individual child, but we have been instructed to share the gospel with our children; to tell "them of what God has done, and [seek] to lead them to this personal knowledge and acceptance of this God as their God."

We need to be living a life that directs our children's hearts to the Light, not one that will cause them to stumble and fall in the darkness.



A Mother's Prayer

"Lord God, open the eyes of the parents of Your Church to their calling, that they may honor You as the God of their families. Lord, bless my own home, and give me grace as one of Your redeemed ones, to train my children for their God. May the joy of a personal experience of redemption and the love of the blessed Redeemer, warm my heart, inspire my words, and light up my life to testify of You and train them for You alone. 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. 

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, April 8, 2013

When You Are Weary and You Must Keep Going

What do you do when you are bone weary and like an active volcano that is simmering deep below the surface that could erupt at any moment?

When signs of spring and new life seem slow to appear?




When you have heard hard words thrown at you from your own flesh and blood, but you know it is the truth spoken, and you deserve every hit?

When you sit down as the late afternoon sun beams through the back door and warms your back and the kids are jumping and laughing on the trampoline and you pull out your pen and journal and you cry out and your heart bleeds onto the pages and you admit that you are just a mess and feel like a failure and you really hate what you've become?

When you are empty and exhausted and broken and you have to keep going?

And then you see the fork in the road?




You need to keep on continuing, but you need to make a change at the same time.

There is a choice to make.

There is a fork in the road, and in life it really does make a difference which one you choose.

You can continue on this road mumbling or you can fight for joy.

But in fighting, you are really surrendering.

The fight has already been won, and you need to live the victorious life.

So . . . 

Stop complaining and choose joy.

Stop grumbling and delight in the goodness of the Lord God.

Stop following after your own heart and follow hard after God's heart.

Stop barely coping and boldly come to the throne of grace and commune with God. 


Stop trying to love others in your own strength and let God love through you.








~~~


My sister told me to listen to this song that night before I turned out my light.
I have been redeemed and I no longer need to fight this fight that has already been won and no, God is not done with me yet!

How about you? Do you need to shake off heavy chains?
And live in the victory ~  recognizing that it is a moment by moment dependence on Him?
And give God thanks that He has redeemed you?



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