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Category Archives: Devotions for Mothers of Young Children

Such as These

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“Super Nana!!” Our five year-old shouts with a smile, as he runs through our kitchen, with his little bear, wonderfully fitted with a custom made, folder paper and masking tape, super hero cape.

I watch him and cannot help but smile, because there is something inside of me that yearns,

To dream like that.

To see things not for what they are,
But for what they could be.

I remember the words of Jesus, “The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”

Such as these…

These that dream.

These that believe.

These that spell words based on what they sound like,

And read people by what they act like.

These that trust.

These that do not allow their world to be defined and limited by what others say it is.

These that define their world by what they can make it.

These that live,

And laugh.

These that make the most of what is around them and run free.

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When You Come Apart

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I placed these tulips out last night. When I did, not one petal had fallen. The sight of them so perfectly placed, made my heart feel a moment of calm, in a house that can often feel like a storm.

This morning, while I and the older children worked in the yard, our two year-old daughter made her way to the tulips, and began ripping the petals off. My older children alerted me to the scene.

As I looked at the flowers, our five year-old son, who could tell I was upset, said to me, “They are still beautiful… With all the petals apart like that.” They were, though I could not see it at first.

What I could see was that the petals, being ripped apart, exposed what was inside the flowers. Furthermore, the petals, being ripped apart, exposed what was inside of ME. How sad, that a two year-old making a tulip come apart, nearly caused me to come apart.

I felt awful and ugly, but then it was as if Jesus whispered my son’s words back to me, with a little twist, and I want to share those words with you, because perhaps, you need to hear them too.

“YOU are still beautiful, even when you come apart.”

I want to say that to you again. You are still beautiful, even when you come apart.

Take heart in that today. Know that, the way you see yourself when you come apart matters, but the way Jesus sees you when you come apart matters most.

 

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Their Grade is Not Your Grade- Encouragement for Parents

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Our three year-old daughter scribbled all over her brother’s math test earlier today. Frustrated, he said to me, “I am going to fail! She scribbled all over it!” I tried to reassure him, “You can write over her answers. I will be able to see your writing. I am not grading her. I am grading you.”

In that moment, God made clear a similiar concept that I have struggled with for some time. As a mom, when my kids misbehave it is easy to feel like I am a failure. Indeed, there will be others who will judge me for their mistakes. But the truth is my “grade” is not based on my children’s mistakes. My grade is based on how I perform in the midst of their mistakes. God is able to clearly see me in the midst of the mess. Their mistakes are not equivalent to my failure.

Perhaps you need to hear that today too. Your grade is not based on your children’s mistakes. Your grade is based on how you perform in the midst of their mistakes. God is able to clearly see you in the midst of the mess. Their mistakes are not equivalent to your failure. Have no fear. If you continue to walk in love, you will pass the test that matters most.

 

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Flying Kites

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Last week I watched as our sons tried to fly kites in our backyard. There was one problem. There was very little wind.

Our oldest son, determined to see his kite up in the air, began running in circles around our backyard. Sure enough, his kite began to climb up in the air. His face lit up watching it soar high above. But soon enough he grew tired of running in circles and the kite fell low to the ground.

Our other boys tried their best to get their kites up in the air, running like their brother. The three were a sight to see as lines began to cross and tangle, and kites fell to the ground below. They hurried in for the scotch tape.

As I continued to watch them, one thing became clear. They needed more wind and I knew where they could find it. We loaded up the family in our van and headed for the reservoir. There the wind would make its way over the grassy hill and their kites would soar far from any lofty trees seeking to block a breeze or tangle lines. There we would find a rest from the running.

When we got there we were not disappointed. The children were filled with joy watching their kites fly up in the air. Our five year-old son stood filled with pride. His kite, which had the longest string, had climbed high above all the others. It soared in a steady stream of wind, undisturbed by the changing winds below.

There was no running necessary. It was so simple that even our two year-old daughter was able to enjoy success. She stood at the top of the hill next to her five siblings with her bright eyes, big cheeks, and beautiful smile. She looked at me, pointed at her soaring kite, and then filled with glee she said a word I have never heard her say before, “Perfect!”

Perfect… Isn’t that the word we all strive for, whether we want to admit it or not? We all strive to do anything, simply anything, just like the seasoned and successful people we see. In that moment, as I stood there watching their kites soar high above, I knew we had done it. We were not running in circles, trying to keep things a float. We were not tangling lines and getting all tangled up in our self-made mess. We were in the right place, at the right time. If only for a few moments, we got it perfect. There was peace and joy and it was EASY.

Now not every task will be easy in life, but in that moment I was reminded that sometimes, when you are at that place where you are tired of running in circles, it may just be that you are in the wrong place all together. It may just be that you need to pray and ask the Lord to lead you to the center of His will and from there, simply hold tight and soar.

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This is Our Life

ImageSometimes on Saturday mornings I wake up and imagine those billboards- you know the ones you see when traveling along the interstate for an upcoming hotel. The ones with a happy couple cuddling on an all white bed with fluffy white pillows, their feet sticking out from under an all white sheet.

But then I hear the sound of our bedroom door slam open. Two little girls with loud voices. They are hungry. They need to go to the bathroom. They don’t want to lay down and cuddle.

Their loud voices wake their older brothers who, one by one, come in, fighting for their spot on a king size bed that suddenly feels like it is the size of a crib mattress.
Sisters now feel the need to defend the spot they forfeited to instead play with the light switch at the other end of the room.
Baby wakes and is hungry and rooting. Now they all fight over who can get the closest spot to baby.
Sisters cry, brothers tease, and in the midst of it all I feel my husband’s feet rubbing mine under the sheets…
And my mind drifts back to that billboard- to that happy couple in their all white bed- and I smile.
Peace floods the room. There is calm in the madness and an overwhelming sense of joy because this is our life.
It is not all white and fluffy. It is messy and loud, and down right crazy at times, but it is beautiful none the less and blessed beyond measure.
Embrace your life today and all its colors. For though it may be messy, loud, and down right crazy at times, it is beautiful and blessed beyond measure and that is what matters most.

 

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The Gift of Perspective

I am blessed to be surrounded by children, for they give to me the greatest gift I know, the perspective of how the Lord sees me.

1 John 3:1 NLT
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”

 

(You can find more of my shorter reflections at my other WordPress blog: Blurbs of Grace)

 

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Sunday Confessions and Reflections

It is Sunday morning. If I haven’t repented by the time I get our crew in the van, I am sure to be repentant by the time worship is over.

The music starts. My husband and I and our three boys stand to join with the church in praise and worship. Our younger daughters are in nursery.

Our boys stand watching the singers for a short time, then at the words on the screen above. They can read and they have heard the songs many times, yet often they do not sing along. In fact, I usually do not hear them singing the songs until hours or days later as they make their rounds around our home.

Then it starts. Our five year-old turns from facing the altar. He hugs me and rubs on my big, pregnant belly. I hug him back and smile, then gently turn him around trying to refocus his attention to worship.

Our seven year-old holds the chair in front of him, and starts his anxious wiggle. He is now pulling on the chair in front of him, attempting to unlock the connecting chairs. I gently pull his hands down. He turns, lowers his head and sits in the chair behind me.

I close my eyes and for a few moments I focus all my thoughts on the Lord and the words I am singing. I can feel my heart softening and shifting as the music ministers to my soul.

Then, Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. A sound breaks through the melody around me. He has grabbed my key ring holder and the sound of him repeatedly opening and closing it seems to echo through the building. I take it away. I put it in my purse. His forehead wrinkles. I gently pull him up to join me in standing and worshipping. He stands. He touches my arm. Over and over and over again. Our five year-old sees and follows suit. He reaches for my hair and runs his fingers through my hair. Again and again and again. I turn them both gently to the altar.

Our seven year-old sits again and now it is on to the laces. He puts his feet up on the chair and quickly unties his shoes. I whisper, “Put your feet down.” He whispers, “My shoes need tied.” He ties them and puts his feet down and then back up on to his seat. He unties his laces again and then reties them. He sits, feet still up, and now knees spread in an awkward and inappropriate slouching squat. I stop singing. I lean over and whisper, “Sit up. Put your feet down.” He sits up. He drops his feet, eyes now wandering, searching for what to do next.

And in that moment, I battle with myself. Part of me is greatly irritated, not wanting to be touched any more or further distracted. I want to be like the other adults in the room that can close their eyes for thirty minutes straight and focus on the Lord without concern as to who is around them or what disaster might happen behind them once they reopen their eyes.

The other part of me knows full well that is not the season we are in right now. In that moment I can see clearly my selfish heart. I ask the Lord to forgive me and remind me that each pull, each touch, each click, each untied lace is a gift to be treasured. For in no time at all the constant touches, the pulling, the hugs, the sound of clicks and the sight of wiggly feet and untied laces, will be a distant memory in the past. And for some parents, those gifts have been returned to the Lord in what feels like all too soon.

And I consider, as we as a church have gathered, longing for a touch from God, here I am I being touched over and over and over again by little hands that He has made and yet in my selfishness I turn them away. As we wait for a word, a sound from above, I hear constant clicking, like the continual gentle knocking of the Lord upon our heart. I attempt to silence it. And as we, as a church, seek the Lord on what steps to take next, I watch a little child that continues to untie and tie his shoes, challenging me to consider my own actions, some that lead me closer to walking with the Lord and others that only slow me down.

And while my children are visibly distracted and not focused on the Lord, I cannot help but consider my own heart. There have been many times that I have stood still and sung along, but truly, to the Lord, I surely appeared as a child, turning from the altar, eyes wondering, looking for the next thing to do, with no words truly coming from my heart. And somehow, in those moments, Jesus still loves me and treasures the gift that I am and that is what matters most.

 

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