Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quiet Please. . .Testing in Progress

Our kiddos had SAT testing all last week at school.

There are lots of emails and notes sent home to the parents in the weeks  leading up to the BIG WEEK.

In those notes and emails all sorts of good info about eating healthy during the week, getting lots of rest, ect.

There are signs posted throughout the school on the classroom doors: Quiet Please-Testing in Progress.

It's a big event. Lots of time to prepare to aid in making the week go as smoothly as possible, and while it doesn't make the testing any easier, it does  help get them accomplished with as much ease as possible.

We know so many folks going through some tough stuff right now.
Some major tests if you will.

Two families have stood out to me, not only because of the enormous size and difficulty of their 'test' but in the way they both have handled them with such faith!

One family had time to prepare for their test. . . they found out their little grandson would be born with Spina Bifida.
They had a few months to prepare their hearts and minds (as best you can) for what was to come.
The surgery and pain he would face on the day of his birth, the uncertainty of a future life filled with struggles and complications to  overcome.

As I have watched this family and their reaction to this diagnosis it has been amazing to watch their faith and belief that God does indeed work all things for His glory. That God is, in fact, good all the time.
Their testimony though out all of this has been amazing.

I had another dear friend, receive a life changing phone call the night of the Super Bowl.
Her husband had been in a skiing accident in Utah. She needed to get there and as quickly as possible.
It has been months  and months of rehabilitation and still a road ahead that is full of twists and turns but he is doing so well. A miracle.

A WALKING, talking miracle. And who do these two give all the glory too. . .

God and God alone.

Their faith and teamwork, the sheer determination to glorify God in all things has been uplifting, convicting and amazing to watch.

So, one friend got a notice that the test was coming one didn't.

Both had to be ready.

Isn't it like that everyday for us?

Small things, big things. . .we've got to prepare. . .because no matter who you are org where you live,
everyone goes through something.

So, what can we do to prepare?

1) Know who believe in. . .even when circumstance change, rely on knowing that He doesn't.

2)Memorize Scripture. . . you aren't always going to have access to your Bible or favorite Bible App when you're in the middle of your test. You got to have it in your heart.
I know it's hard. . .but it's not impossible-you CAN do it!

3) Trust and Obey. Even when you don't know why or when the test will be over.
Trust and Obey.

4) Develop a prayer life. You know can be honest with God? You can tell him you're angry, or that don't understand. You get to do that. If you don't believe me, go read the book of Psalms.

5) Serve. There is nothing that will get your mind off yourself and whatever it is you're going through faster than serving someone else. Try it.

6) Watch.  Watch for those going through testings and are doing it well. NOT PERFECTLY mind you. . .but well!
I'm so thankful for the testimony of my two friends. They will never fully  realize, I think, how many lives they've touched by living out their faith in the middle of great and overwhelming situations.

We're all going to go through something in this life, wouldn't it be better to be ready?


Monday, April 22, 2013

Eye Exam

Last Sunday we sang one of my favorite hymns of all time.

Be Thou My Vision a tradition Irish hymn that I have loved since I was a teenager.

As a person who wears glasses (not just wears them, but desperately NEEDS them-I have incredibly poor eyesight), they are the first thing I reach for when I get up.

Whether, it's up for the day or a kiddo crying out in the wee hours or quick trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I grab my glasses first.

 Habit because of necessity .

I don't like that feeling of everything being blurry -not quite able to make out the objects around me.

Now, I can if I must. .. but it certainly does make wherever I am headed a much longer journey and much harder to get there.

With all the tragedies of last week, it  feels sometimes like our vision can get a little off.

Our focus all out of whack.

First one thing, and then another and pretty soon we are walking around without our Holy Glasses, unable to make out what is coming our way.

But, it's not just National tragedies, it can be personal tragedies-I know so many people going through those right now. . .where it would be so easy to fix our eyes on our problems not on our hope.

What about parenting? Boy, is that easy to get my vision all mixed up!?!

We had an issue come  up with our 14 year old this weekend. He was invited to do something with a group of friends that we had to say no too.
Oh, that was a hard one.

Lots of questions why, lots of feeling left out of the group.

( I don't care who you are, it's no fun feeling left out of a group-those feelings are so normal-ESPECIALLY at 14!)

But, as we talked with him, we talked about the 'vision' God has for our hearts and  our minds and how it's our job to guard them.
That sometimes, that means needing to make the hard choice, even when it feels like everyone else is going with the flow.

And after lots of conversation and prayer, he handle it so well and understood and we are so proud of him.

But, what about those times when they don't understand? Do we cave to the tears, anger, peer pressure?
Do we use the tired phrase, "It's not worth the fight!"?

Or do we keep on those Holy Glasses, pray for clear vision of what God wants for our lives, for our children's lives, then follow through when He gives it to us?

Or those are hard, hard things, aren't they?

I certainly don't always do it correctly.

In watching the news of the week unfold, as the tears flow it is sometimes hard to keep my vision on the Maker of the World and not the makers of the news.

What about you? Have you had your vision checked recently by the one who gave us sight?
Is your vision, His vision?

I pray mine is. . .

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

I love that last line, "Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be Vision, O Ruler of all".

May we truly walk in His vision for us today!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Double Digits

                                        This person is celebrating his birthday today.


And that simply cannot be because he was just looking like this

Little guy. . . fearless since the day he was born. . .

When he was just a baby, his big brother gave him
the nickname 'Poochie'
We were never really sure where it came from, but
we're pretty certain it has something to do with this. ..

That's a lot o baby at 3 months old.

You're a man of action

Full of love

and silliness 

And I'm so thankful I get to be your mom.

But, no matter how old you get in my mind
You'll look like this

Happy Birthday Buddy!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Facts and Feelings

Feelings or emotions are such tricky things.

At least they are for this girl.

I tend to feel things deeply.




You name it and I tend to not feel it just on the surface, but down to my core.

Which can be a good thing.

God made me an emotional girl, and often He uses those emotions to accomplish His will.

Sometimes, though I let them control me . . .

and when that happens. . .well, it ain't pretty.

There are times I have to decide- am I going to believe this feeling I have or am I going to believe the facts.

Tricky waters to navigate.

I had a pretty big event I was overseeing this weekend and because of an incident that

happened at the end, I'm having trouble  processing that anything good happened.

People are telling me it did, but I can't see it.

Do I trust the facts being told to me, or do I go with my bruised feelings?

Frankly, I'm still processing that one. (I hope my honesty doesn't frighten you. If you're looking for someone who has it all together, you'll have to keep looking because she's not here.)

What about when I'm watching my children struggle with their health?

The many waiting rooms I been in waiting for a diagnoses or surgery progress report. . .

Do I go with my feelings of worry and dread, or do I go with the facts.

The facts that God loves my children more than I could, that He promises He has a plan for them and it's to prosper not to harm. A promise that all things work together for good for those who trust in Him.

In those quiet moments what am I going to believe?

Saying goodbye to friends who's time on this earth seems much much to short.
Watching friends grieve for parents who still had some much life to live.

What am I going to trust? Facts or feelings.

When my timetable doesn't look like His.
I want an answer, I want visible action.

Do I trust my feelings? Or do I trust the facts that my only job is to trust and obey.

So tricky.

So very tricky.

I would like to say that I trust the facts more than my fickle heart, but that is so often not the case.

So, what do we do when feelings overwhelm us and the facts become clouded by our unbelief?

Well, you know I'm just an ordinary girl, not a theological scholar so maybe there is a deeper answer, but for me, in those times I drop to the floor and pray. . .

I pray; for faith when it's hard, for obedience when it's difficult, for forgiveness where it's needed, for love to overcome anger and bitterness, for the courage to walk by faith and not feelings, for discernment to  know what's really from the Lord or from my fickle heart.

And in moments of doubt, I pray it all again.

And then, even when I don't feel it, I live it anyway.

I practice it even when I don't want to. Even when my feelings say, you have a right to be angry, you have a right to hide away, instead I keep praying right through the tough stuff of life.

Then the next time something comes up where it would be so much easier, and frankly even outwardly make more sense, to trust my feelings over the facts it becomes more natural to trust the facts instead of the feelings.

Because, really when I'm trusting the 'facts', I'm trusting Jesus.

Jesus, Jesus How I trust Him
How I've proved him or'er and or'er
Jesus, Jesus Precious Jesus
Or for grace
to trust Him more.

Walking by faith not by sight, until we see fully one day in heaven. . .


Monday, April 8, 2013

Serving God and Sweeping up Fruit Looops

This past week I had spent some intense time serving the ladies of my church at our annual retreat.

It was the culmination of almost a year worth of planning.

Pretty sure if I would have tried to drive anywhere other than to church my truck would have revolted  and stopped not knowing what to do.

Late nights and being stretched physically, mentally and spiritually as far I could go.

Not only did I get to serve these precious ladies, I was also blessed to be able to speak Friday night.

Momma's just a wee bit tired today.

BUT, do not get me wrong. I LOVED being able to fully serve out my calling in this way.

Because that is why I do it, a true calling to serve in ministry.

This morning as I was getting the three monkeys out the door for school, I stopped and looked around my kitchen. . . the word 'tornado' might not have been to strong a word to describe what I saw there.

One of my precious ones had a fight with the box of Fruit Loops, and I'm not sure who won.

Fruit Loops littered the counter and the floor.


I grabbed my trusty broom and began sweeping up the mess, a smile creeping across my face.

You see THIS, serving my precious people God has so graciously placed in my charge, is also
my calling.

As high a calling as standing on a stage sharing with a group of women what God had laid on my heart.

On this Monday morning, I'm guessing some other Momma needs to hear that too.

That changing diapers, doing laundry, cleaning potty's, preparing meals, loving beyond what you're capable of. . .
Late nights and being stretched physically, mentally and spiritually as far as you can go, taking care
of the precious ones God has placed in your care. . .

Is indeed a  high calling.

It might not receive as much notice as it should, and frankly I doubt if anyone is clapping for you after you 'encourage' them to eat their veggies or do their homework.

But, there is ONE who sees how hard you're working.

He's noticing how well you're loving when it's hard.

How tired you are.

Keep doing your kingdom work, Momma.
Your calling is indeed a high and noble one.

Blessings to you today and a nap for everyone in your house,

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Stop Thief

Hang on to your hats, there's an outlaw in these here parts.

She's been on the loose for a few days now.

She's the cutest bandit you've laid eyes on, no doubt.

We had a little Spring Break Family Fun and Little Miss picked herself up a pink pistol and instead of being the sheriff of these parts, she's determined she's going to be an Outlaw.

So, we are constantly being robbed and being told to 'hand over our value'!

She exchanged valuables for value.

Just like we do.

So, quick to do it too. Hand over our value to another.

To believe what they say about us and not what God says.

God calls us Beloved, the world calls us unloveable.

God calls us children, the world calls us unwanted orphans.

God calls us precious, the world calls us useless.

God calls Friend, the world calls outcast.

God calls us Redeemed, the world calls us shame.

We have decide, who are we going to believe.

The one who gave us or value in the first place, or the one always trying to take it?

Here's the thing about the little bandit in my house. Her weapon really can't hurt me.

The only way she's getting my 'value' is if I hand it to her.

It's the same thing with the world.

Satan/people/the world, whatever you want to call it, can not take our value, we have to willingly hand it over.

The weapons make look real, but they aren't.

Let's stop handing  over our value to any little bandit that comes along.

Let's live like our value was given to us by the creator of the universe.
Because it was.

Can you imagine what your life would look like if you did?