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Tag Archives: devotions

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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Still Thinking

I can’t sleep. I lay here thinking about the young children in Connecticut that witnessed such horrible evil today. I think about them also unable to sleep tonight. I think of them laying in their beds with little minds replaying the horrors they have seen, over, and over and over again. I think of their parents who now must face the most challenging questions that parents must face. I think of them holding their children, looking in eyes that have lost their sparkle, listening to voices that have become eerily monotone. I think of the anger they must feel for the innocence that was stolen.

And then I consider the hundreds of thousands of children around the world that see horrors everyday.

And all I can do is pray.
Pray and hold my own children a little closer.

Will my prayer fix anything? Some have said no, but if nothing else my prayer will fix my hardened and selfish heart. My prayer will cause me to step outside my safe little world and enter into someone else’s brokenness and pain. My prayer will move me to compassion, and move me to action… If only the simple action of holding my own children.

What good is that? What can the simple act of hugging your kids fix? Some have said nothing, but a simple hug can fix the disconnect between a mother and her child. A simple hug can fix days, weeks, months and even years of pain.

A simple hug may have been all that the shooter today needed, given to him at a young age by the simple action of a parent whose heart had been fixed through prayer.

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Sorting Out My Closets, Sorting Out My Heart

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It’s that time again, time to change out our family’s summer and fall wardrobes. With five children, the process requires quite a bit of work. I dread it honestly, but at the same time, every time I change out wardrobes I learn so much. It takes hours of sorting through clothing, carefully inspecting each garment to determine if it should stay or if it should go. “Is it worth holding on to? Is it outgrown? Will it fit soon, but not quite yet?” And as I consider all these things I consider my heart.

In my last post What to Wear I wrote about what the Bible clearly describes what we should be “clothed” in. It is not stylish clothing, cute shoes, matching accessories, or trendy jewelry. It is true adornments of:

Salvation (Isa 61:10)
Righteousness (Isa 61:10, Job 29:14)
Justice (Job 29:14)
Gladness (Psalm 30:11)
Power (Luke 24:49)
Humility (1 Peter 5:5)
Strength, Dignity, Confidence (Proverbs 31:25)
Gentleness (1 Peter 3:4)
Humbleness (Phil 2: 3-11)
Helpfulness (Heb. 13:16)
Kindness (Eph. 4:32)
Faithfulness 12:24)
Love (1 John 4:7-8)
Wisdom (Eph. 5:15-17
Patience (Rom. 8:25)
Forgiveness (Mark 11:25)

As I read this lists over again, I could not help but question, “Am I?  What am I really wearing? What is really in the closet of my heart? Is it time to change out my wardrobe?”

What about you? What are you wearing? Are you wearing bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, malice, slander, selfishness, lewdness, fear, guilt, pride or obscene talk? Or are you wearing justice, gladness, power, humility, strength, dignity, confidence, gentleness, helpfulness, faithfulness, wisdom, patience, forgiveness and love? Perhaps you are wearing a combination of them all.

If you feel like it is time for a new season in your faith, than perhaps it is also time for a “fashion makeover.” A change in seasons always calls for a change in fashion. Are you ready for a new season? I know I am.

Let’s ask Jesus to help us clean out our old wardrobes and bring in the new. Let’s ask Him to clothe us with His righteousness and dress us in His salvation. Let’s ask Him to take us “shopping” in His Word for even more glorious adornments. Let’s ask for his help in inspecting our heart, correctly labeling just what we are really wearing. Let’s throw out that old, unattractive clothing that we have kept for years. Let’s have hope knowing that He has beautiful garments for us hidden away, that one day we will fit, if not today. Let’s pray together, “Lord Jesus, help me to sort out my heart.” He will lead us in the sorting that matters most.

 

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