Friday, September 27, 2013

The Messy Princess

There are parenting moments you want to forget, and some you never will.

One of ours was when Belle was about 6 months old and we were introducing her to baby food.

And like all kids do, she got messy.

Jude who was 3 at the time was standing near by watching and taking it all in.  Since the day she was born she was " princess" and there were some serious princess expectations.

  After a few minutes he declared "she might be a princess, but she sure is messy. She's a messy princess!", and  then ran away off on something else.

Seven years later and I have not forgotten that moment.

Of all the things kids say and do, that has stuck with me.

It was such a brief moment in time, but I still think about it often.

Perhaps it's because we all have notions on how things and people SHOULD be, and when they

vary from our preconceived notions it shocks us.

But, life is like that most of the time isn't it?

We expect one thing and get another.

I think Christians can especially get into this trap of thinking, that since we are Jesus Followers that nothings ever going to get messy.

But, that's just not true.
Life is messy.

Belle was messy that day, and yet it didn't change that fact, that to us, she was still "princess".

And as messy as life may get sometimes it doesn't change the fact that God is in control and He has a plan-even in our mess.

That day in the kitchen I wasn't surprised Belle was messy.  It didn't shock me.
She was still my darling girl.
It was a learning process, one I knew she would get that it wouldn't always be like this.

And you know what?

Your mess doesn't surprise God either.
You are still his darling child.

He knows you won't always be in the mess you are right now.

He sees the bigger picture, the process.

Don't let your mess define you.
It'll clean up and wash off, it doesn't change who you are.

Sometimes princess's are messy.
But they don't stay that way forever.

later that same day. . .

Blessings from the middle of the mess,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Racing Day

I work part time in the afternoon with grade school children.

It's my third year with basically the same group of children and I enjoy them very much.

Each afternoon, weather permitting, we play outside for about 30 minutes and finish up with some races.

I call out different colors, or letters in their name, who has big brother/sister, anything I can think of for different groups to run at different times.
Let's face it they've been sitting for the past 7 hours-we've got to M O V E.

My two littlest kiddos come with me, and my daughter is typically the youngest in the group.
Needless to say she never comes in first.
But, as I have been watching her more closely I began to notice that she'd race down to the wall, turn to come back, pause for a moment and then set a look of sheer determination on her face to finish.
Knowing she wasn't 'winning'.

But, you know what? She was finishing.  Her race.

And isn't that what we are all called to do?

Finish our own race that has been set out before us.

Our races may look very different.

I have a dear friend who's husband was in a skiing accident last year that left him in the battle of his life (praise Jesus he's doing so much better than the doctors ever imagined).
Her race looks different than mine.

Another who's husband of almost 20 years died unexpectedly at their home one Sunday afternoon watching TV.
Her race looks different than mine.

Many who homeschool.
Many who work full time outside the home, then serve their family.
Their races look different than mine.

Another dear friend, who with her hubby and three precious  children, packed up and moved to Africa for 18 months to serve the  people there.
Her race looks different than mine.

Some friends with kiddo's with special needs.
There race looks different than mine.

And yours probably looks much different than mine.

That's the thing though, I think sometimes we get so caught up in the race someone else is running and how it looks like they're 'winning' and we are falling behind, and think that must mean we aren't running ours well, we just stop running altogether.

We're stuck at the wall and don't move anywhere.

It's time we stop comparing ourselves and our lives.
Run the race laid specifically out before US.

I can't run your race and you can't run mine.
But, that doesn't mean either of us is losing.

It just means we are running the race God designed just for each of us individually.

The biggest mistake racers make? Turning their head to see where the person is behind/beside them.
You lose focus and slow down. They are told to keep their eyes straight ahead on the finish line.
That's  their goal and the only thing to keep in view.

So, today, just like my sweet girl; let's pause, set determination on our faces and then R U N, our race and no one else's!

It's the only way we can finish well.

Running toward the finish line with you, where Jesus will be waiting to give us our medal,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Raising a "B team" kid in an "A team" World

* This a repost from last year. It's been on my mind as I'm reading everyone's back to school posts as sports have kicked in, but also because I've began studying the Priscilla Shirer Bible study on Gideon.
Maybe  you need to hear it today too.

With school back in session, at our house that also means it's soccer time.

Now that  our oldest is in Middle School the time for try outs was upon last week.

My boy made the "B" team, and was glad  he did.  He's excited to get to play with his friends, and for his school.

But, in our culture  it seems that "B" team is no longer acceptable.

If you're not the 'best' then what you're doing doesn't matter.

You would think, from Facebook status updates, twitter feeds, to bragging at family reunions, if your kid doesn't only make the "A" team, but score the most points, run the fastest, be "THE BEST" (whatever the best may be) then somehow they, and by proxy you, should feel badly or at least that you're not doing enough, not pushing hard enough.

As parents, we're proud of our boy. Not because of what team he makes, but because he tries.
Most people have no idea what he's been through in his brief 13 years.
But,  even if he hadn't been through as much, not everybody makes the "A" team every time.

I also began thinking about the saints that have gone before us.

Maybe I'm missing something, but it surely seems that in God's economy He's all about using
"B" team people to carry out his plans.

I read about Moses and his speech impediment.

How Gideon was a coward.

Ruth was widow.

Esther was an orphan.

David, who we like to think of as KING DAVID, was the runt of the pack of brothers, who's own father didn't even consider him when Samuel showed up looking for the new king.

Peter, the burly fisherman with a temper.

John, just a boy, but Jesus called him to his inner circle.

Jesus, who could have came with all the glory man could bestow upon someone -instead was born to a young girl and a carpenter.

It seems God has a tender spot for those who make up the  "B" teams of this world.

And only he knows what they can truly be when used by Him.

Don't write off those "B" team kids-they may just change the world.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Clever and Witty Title Here

I should be blogging something clever, witty or at least touchingly  heart felt here today.

But, can I just say, I can't?

I'm tired.

Worn flat out tired.

Our Labor Day Holiday was spent working hard around here, and Hubby struggling with some medical issues.

School is BBAACCKKK in full mode, which means I'm working my part time job, homework is getting done and I'm drilling flash cards like a Drill Sargent barks commands.

I just sighed out loud after I reread that last sentence.

Yes, tired is the word.

Today I finish my 24 day experiment.  It's had it's ups and downs, taught me somethings and I'm better for having participated.

But, it's also helped add to the stress and overall tired feeling.

I was struggling yesterday with my attitude when I got up (I'm not a morning person and 5 AM is about to kill me) but as I was saying good bye to the kiddos and my middle was just ITCHING to get out the door to get to school (a RARE occasion I haven't ever experienced from  him) I realized I was watching an answer to prayer.

It began last school year about half way through.  He was having a rough year.  As I was praying for him the prayer of my heart became not 'help him be a good boy', but 'Lord, please bring him that one true friend'.  Although J is extremely social and tends to make friends wherever he goes and genuinely likes most of his classmates, he just didn't have that one friend at school who makes it fun to be there.

I certainly had that growing up, and his big brother has such a wonderful group of core friends-the kind you know are going to be in your life forever-and that's what I wanted for J. Not only what I wanted for him, but what this Momma thought he NEEDED.

We found out toward the end of summer that indeed his best friend was going to be coming to our school this year. A true miracle. Such a long story. . .but oh such a good one!

And while we'v praised and given thanks for that, it just hit me again as I was watching him be so excited to get out the door that I was watching an answer to prayer right before my eyes.

And no matter how tired and worn out you may be. . .that'll put a spark right back in your step and knock you clean over with grace all at the same time.

I'm so glad to have a God who cares about children.  Who knows and honors the value of friendship and who still answers the feeble prayers of ordinary Momma's all over the world.

Yes, it doesn't change the fact that I'm worn clean out, but it does help me to remember to praise in the middle of the struggle, because I have a God who answers prayers and cares about whether 4th graders have a true friend or not.

Whatever you're going through today, know that He sees, He hears and He knows.