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Tag Archives: Parenting

Ironing a little girl’s dress, Ironing out my heart

It’s 11:30 p.m. as I start to write this. I still have a little girl’s dress to press to get ready for church in the morning… And to be honest I am having a hard time balancing a joyful, thankful heart and a totally broken heart. And I have a feeling, I am not alone.

My mind keeps going back to pictures of little ones whose bodies were being gathered together… Children in Iran who fled to the hills with their families for fear of death, only to starve and die of thirst. I keep thinking about her, that little girl who looked so much like our youngest daughter, limp in a man’s arms.

Our baby girl smiled earlier this evening, held up her pretty church dress, and I started to think of that little girl again, and the many others, children’s heads on sticks, women and mothers being raped, fathers being hung… And meanwhile, elsewhere there are women and children stuck in human trafficking, children and spouses stuck in abusive homes, friend’s who have lost loved ones unexpectedly, hurricanes, and mudslides… Yeah, I think of all those things and suddenly what we are wearing to church seems so trivial. Whether this dress gets ironed out not so important… But instead ironing out my heart.

Because I truly believe that God is not blind to what is happening.

Exodus 3:7
Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress…”

He is not deaf to the cries of his people. But I fear that all too often… We are… And we are by choice.

And somewhere in the mix of all of this it has really dawned on me that while I so desperately want to “save”so many… When I open my heart to the pains of others… It frees ME. It frees me from ingratitude. It frees me from being numb. It frees me from the little “happy bubble” that I like to stay in. And truly we aren’t meant to float around in a happy bubble. We are meant to feel- to take compassion. To cry…

“Jesus wept.” The shortest verse in the Bible and yet perhaps the most profound to me. That the all powerful Savior of the World wept. It was part of his purpose. Part of the reason he came and entered our world. He came to feel our pains, because only by feeling our pain could he free us from it.

We live in a great, big, broken world. And as we allow our hearts to feel it – to be broken for others, cry when they cry, pray when they ask for prayer- I really believe we WILL see miracles- including those that happen within our very own hearts.

I urge you friends- especially those of you who, like me, don’t like to let your happy bubble get popped- start clicking those links: see, hear, feel, fast, pray, cry… Let the heat of the world’s hurt hit your heart and let God iron out the shriveled and wrinkled places. Be moved. Move. And wait for a miracle.

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“She has Asperger’s Syndrome…”

We were at a splash pad. I was sitting in the shade on a bench next to another mom. My own mother had lovingly placed me there, insisting that I needed to cool off. Which I did. She handed me a chunk of ice to place under my wrist and a bottle of water to drink. The real mothers never stop being mothers, do they?

So I was sitting there, next to another mom, drinking water, ice on my wrist, watching our 6 kiddos play. I noticed a dad coming in with two beautiful little girls.

The younger girl quickly ran off to play after he took off her shoes. The older stood there awhile longer. I noticed she had her hand awkwardly, and what would usually be inappropriately, down in her shorts.

The dad knelt down and took off her sandals. He smiled and told her to go play. She then took two steps towards the water and suddenly it became very clear that something was very wrong.

She began screaming and thrashing and throwing herself on the concrete walkway, saying in a muffled voice, “I’m wet.” Over and over and over again.

He tried picking her up. Tried sitting down with her. Tried putting the shoes back on. Taking the shoes back off.

“It’s ok. It’s ok.”

He stood. She did not, but instead, hung her head down low, pressed hard against her father’s ankle.

“I’m wet! I wet!”

“It’s ok. It’s ok.”

And my heart was breaking- tears filled my eyes because I have seen, six times over, a child having a tantrum, but I had never seen a tantrum like this.

She had to be about eight years-old. And my mind tried to grasp what that would feel like. Eight years of tantrums from the same child.

Suddenly, all the tantrums I have survived felt like a drop in a pan. Once again perspective rushed in.

Her dad looked up. My teary eyes met his. “She has Asperger’s Syndrome…”

Truly he did not need to explain. And I told him that, “You don’t need to explain. God bless you for what you are doing…”

His daughter settled. We talked a little while. Another mom joined in. He and is daughters ended up leaving as did our crew.

Still, the sight of that child and her dad weigh heavy on my heart tonight.

May God bless the parents, caretakers and teachers of children with special needs. Bless them with strength. Bless them with patience. Bless them with love. Bless them with a support network that will uphold and encourage them. Bless them for what they are doing. When they feel like their prayers for a miracle go unanswered, may they look in the mirror and see what you see: A miracle.

 

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Root Rot

Root Rot… Have you ever heard of it? It’s somewhat of a strange phenomena to amateur gardeners like myself. You get a hanging flower basket. You hang it. You water it. But still the plant starts dying. You think maybe I am not watering enough. So you water more. And now the plant looks worse. Practically the whole thing is shriveled. So you do a little researching and come to find out that a hanging plant won’t only die from lack of water, but it will develop “root rot” if the hanging pot doesn’t drain sufficiently. Essentially- a plant has to be poured into- and it has to pour out. If it doesn’t pour out its roots begin to rot and it dies. I had to bust bigger holes in the bottom of the planters, remove a plate that was blocking proper drainage… All so more of what was poured in could flow out.

And you know, You and I… We too need to be poured into and we also need to pour out if we are going to thrive. We risk rotting away if all we do is receive, receive, receive… And then sit.

What we have been so blessed to receive, we should in turn pour out.

We weren’t created to simply sit and receive.

So if your passion for life lately has been feeling shriveled; If your life feels more like surviving as opposed to thriving; I want to challenge you tonight to consider how you can start pouring out.

May we bust some holes in our jam packed schedules. May we remove the fear and excuses that have been holding us back. May we not be a rotting people, but a thriving people- A people who pour out our lives in the same way that Christ poured out his.

Titus 3:6
He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.

 

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You are His

Our baby boy is going through another stage of separation anxiety. He was just crying and crying in his crib, but as soon as I entered the room and he saw me he immediately stopped. I helped him lie back down, pulled his covers over him. He is now fast asleep, snoring away.

And all of this reminds me of a line I heard in a song today by Jamie Grace. The line has been on repeat in my mind and on my heart today: “You are enough to change the atmosphere.”

When Jesus draws near to us, He changes the atmosphere. His presence makes everything ok. All is well when we know He is at our side.

I don’t know what you may going through tonight. Perhaps someone may even be in tears right now.

For anyone who may be crying out tonight, I pray right now you feel Jesus entering the room. I pray you feel his love covering you and comforting you. I pray you feel the change in the atmosphere as God draws near. Because truly He is enough. Nothing else needs to change. May you sleep so sound tonight knowing you are safe; you are loved; you are held, You are His.

 

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Weary Parent of a Busy Toddler… You Can

I am sitting here tonight- Stomach churning and painfully piercing at times from what is most likely a stomach virus. It comes in waves. And so are my thoughts of this past weekend.

We had somewhat of a family reunion with family from my husband’s side. We spent days getting ready for it. Come to the final hours, everything was in place- except my heart.

I wasn’t prepared truly for the task. I had visions of long conversations with my sisters and older cousins. I had imagined just sitting and talking and precious heart to heart moments. I imagined our babies and children happily playing while we caught up.

I didn’t imagine our youngest son would be so overwhelmed by the amount of unfamiliar faces that he would cry anytime I tried to leave his side…

The amount of time I would be stuck sitting with him because he wouldn’t even eat unless I was at his side.

I somewhat imagined the energy that would be required to monitor the little ones that could not swim as they toddled around a dock and lake all weekend. But I figured our family was big and would gladly take turns on life guard duty. Didn’t imagine that the only person who would be able to life guard our youngest would be me.

So our youngest would want to toddle down to the dock at every chance he could. There he would test his limits as always. When I would bring him back inside, where I could take a bit of a break, he would cry.

I wanted to sit.

I wanted to relax and talk and fish, go out and ride the boat with everyone else without a baby on my lap.

And after a full day of this, I was visibly bothered.

And more than anything, I was bothered at my own heart. Still am.

Because even though I have gone through this toddler stage 6 times now, it still got the best of me.

Practice doesn’t always make perfect.

And our family was so great. They pitched in and did so much. They bought food. They helped cook and clean. I did not help prepare a single meal, but was blessed with the ability to have the weekend off from cooking. And there were no quarrels and truly no chaos. They tried to watch out youngest but he wouldn’t have it.

There truly was nothing wrong with the weekend – other than my heart.

I went into the weekend imagining me running around smiling and serving our family. I went in to the weekend excited truly at the opportunity to serve. But when where I truly needed to serve was back in the exact same place- I wasn’t smiling. I was irritated. Resentful.

And tonight my stomach and heart churns at the opportunity I missed. I had the chance to shine, but I didn’t.

I had the chance to embrace and enjoy the person right in front of me who needed me the most, but all I wanted was to push that person away and move on to bigger, better things.

What about you?

Where has God continued to call you to serve?

Who has he called you to serve?

Is it not what you envisioned?

Does your heart long for bigger, better things?

Can I challenge you tonight with a little question, one that The Lord whispered to my soul:

“What if this is the big thing?”

Can you embrace it?

Can you shine in it?

Can you serve with a genuine smile?

I regret that I failed to this past weekend.

I wasn’t smiling. I was struggling.

As I write that my mind goes back to my struggle in the grocery store this past weekend. I had to make a food run. Wanted to go with just my sister but couldn’t. I ended up taking along our two youngest. There I was, pushing my shopping cart down the grocery store aisle. Our youngest in the basket seat. Our three year-old hanging on each side of the cart. Trying to talk with my sister… The reality sinking in that this is what talks look like nowadays. And the cart began to feel heavy and wide. And for a moment all I could feel was the weight. Almost instantly, The Lord brought to my mind the image of an anchor.

An anchor, Lord?

Yes, an anchor… hanging on the side of my shopping cart.

And I began to consider: Could it be that what feels like such a heavy weight is indeed just an anchor, God’s way of keeping us exactly where we need to be?

And it dawned on me that children are truly God’s anchors.

They anchor us to service.

They anchor us to humbleness.

They anchor us to selflessness.

They anchor us to the very heart of Christ.

So, weary parent of a busy toddler… I pray tonight you consider how God is calling you to serve.

I pray your eyes be opened that is the “big thing.”

And I pray that that you pick up your child with a smile, convinced that your little anchor is keeping you exactly where you need to be.

Because I didn’t.

But praise God, I still can.

 

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Fall or Jump?

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It was early evening. We were all out on the dock. Our bigger kids were jumping and splashing. Hubby and I were on watch guard duty next to our two youngest.

I had hubby’s phone in my hand trying to snap a picture. He asked me for his phone. I handed it over, and suddenly, immediately, I feel his other hand shove at my side.

In a knee-jerk reaction, I grabbed for one of the dock posts and thankfully catch myself from plummeting over. Hubby was smiling and looking a bit disappointed and even a bit more determined to push me in yet still.

I wasn’t dressed for swimming. I didn’t want to take the plunge. I was begging “Please, no!” He laughed, gave a few more bumps and let me be.

I felt relieved.
But most of all…

I felt loved.

Because there is something about standing out on a dock next to someone you love… This incredibly strong urge to push them over the edge starts to just rise up. You begin to imagine the sheer joy of seeing them surprised and then totally submerged in that water. And clearly, my hubby was overcome by that urge.

Where does that urge even come from? I can’t help but think tonight that it truly comes from Jesus.

Jesus desires to surprise us and submerge us in the love of God. Still many of us I think try to fight it. We don’t want to be one of those over-the-edge Christians. But can I tell you something? There is a lot of joy when you stop trying to hold firm to your post, but instead just let yourself fall into his love.

So, go ahead. Let go.
Better yet, JUMP into His love.

 

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Distractions from the Main Attraction

Worry, fear, doubt, anxiety… They are all just one big distraction from the Main Attraction.

Fix your eyes on Jesus and those distractions will fade.

Once again there will be peace.

There will be joy.

There will be faith.

There will be trust.

There will be time to breathe and smile.

Time to slow down and just savior the goodness of the Savior.

There will be time to knock the dirt off your soul and simply feel his love washing over you, his spirit strengthening you.

There is time to enjoy the present, but you must stop allowing fear of the future to steal that time.

There is time to rest.

It is ok to just rest.

It is ok to simply stop and trust that God will move the mountain.

He will.

HE will.

But you will miss those moments of rest if you spend all your time scheming and working on ways to move it.

Fix your eyes on Jesus tonight.

Don’t allow the distractions to be the main attraction.

 

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