Friday, October 08, 2010

Praying for Our Children

It is an awesome privilege to pray for our kids. Who better to lift them to the Father than someone who loves them more than their own life? God understands our parent hearts. What better words to pray than His words? I text the prayer I am praying to my kids. They may not appreciate it now, but one day may they become a parent who prays.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Popcorn, Soda, and Prayers

Garrett had his first night of work at the movie complex in town. He worked really hard to get this job through several phone calls and interviews. I am so proud of him. He went to orientation last week. We spent time purchasing his “uniform”: black pants, watch, thick socks, and black shoes. Last night was his first night of actual work. He was expecting to go in to be trained as usher. He was hopeful to work up to concessions and to the much anticipated projection booth. When he arrived, they said that after reviewing his application, seeing prior work experience and knowing he was an Eagle scout; they changed his assignment. He went straught to concessions. No training. Make popcorn, sell food and run the cash register. It was a busy Friday night and my “baby” was just thrown to the movie patrons. He loved it! He came home smelling like popcorn. He had a customer spill sprite all over him. He only burned one batch of popcorn, because he didn’t know it needed oil. He came home wired, excited, happy, self-confident, and ready for his next shift.

Our wonderful Father has answered many of my prayers. #1 – He provided a job for my son. #2 – He provided a job close to home so there isn’t any highway travel. #3 – He showed Garrett the value of being diligent in application processes. #4 - He provided a great job in a field where Garrett is passionate. #5 - He is teaching Garrett the value of good customer service. #6 - He is teaching Garrett multi-tasking and flexibility. I know God will answer my other prayers in providing a good basis for his school and work career, teach him more responsibility and above all the ability to shine God’s love.

I think God taught me a few lessons too. My son had no problem jumping into a new task with gusto. He went in expecting to be an usher and then worked concessions. He adapted great. Sometimes when God asks something new of me, I tend to want to know all the details: How long? Why? Where? Is it necessary? Are you sure I can do this? Are you sure this is where I am supposed to be?

May I remember my son’s tenacity and jump as God calls me to change and do different things. May I embrace each change as it builds in me God’s purpose. May I shine bright fully trusting my wonderful Father!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Amazingly Awesomeness

Recently I took Colton up to the high school to register for next year. It is hard to believe that my baby will be in high school next year. At the beginning of the evening, he seemed a little apprehensive about entering high school. Because his brother, Garrett, is a senior, he know many of the students and teachers, but changing schools is always traumatic for Colton. At the end of the meeting, he saw that the new indoor athletic complex was open. He went to check out the facility while I pulled the car around to that building. When he came out about 20 minutes later, he was wide eyed and bubbly. He said, “That was amazingly awesomeness!!!! You should see all the workout equipment and practice fields. I even talked to one of the coaches and he remembered me from football camp.” He gushed on for several minutes about what he had glimpsed and how much he looked forward to being able to use those facilities, all the equipment, and is eager to be part of the high school football team. Just a glimpse into the future changed his whole attitude about registering for high school.

It made me think about the glimpses that God’s word provides to us. I get a glimpse of God’s patience as I read about the Israelite wandering in the dessert. I glimpse God’s justice as I study the prophets and see the judgments against Israel’s enemies. I glimpse God’s glory through the praise of the psalms. I glimpse God’s creativeness as I see him use ordinary people to become wonderful apostles who proclaim truth. I glimpse God’s love as I read the story of our precious savior, his son. I pray that as God guides me to see new things, that I respond enthusiastically with “You are just amazing and awesome!”

Thursday, February 12, 2009

God Supplied

Life demanded
Phone call, ambulance, sirens, rush out, hour drive, emergency room, x-rays, doctor, nurses, tests, waiting, closed cafeteria, admission, hospital stay, meals, driving, work, phone calls, doctors, questions, uncertainty, tests, medication, reactions to medications, walker, oxygen, iv, waiting, night at hospital, family, home, gas, driving, fast food, errands, phone calls, kids, groceries, laundry, driving, waiting

God supplied
Peace, travel safety, family, wonderful husband, understanding kids, emails, understanding co-workers, relevant Bible verses, timely devotionals, praise music, time with family, hugs, laughter, caring professionals, medical equipment, multiplied time, peace, rest, love, small victories

I praise God for loving me through life’s challenges. I rely on his promise that He will never challenge us beyond what we can bare. He is my strength and my salvation. Only through His power did everything get done, handled or delegated. I praise him for holding up my family during Dad’s illness. May He continue to give us strength during this lengthy recovery period.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Lost and Found

We recently returned from a playoff game very late (actually early morning). The band and chaperones had to return to the school by 6 AM to leave for a morning parade followed by afternoon all region auditions. I knew it was going to be a hectic weekend. As Garrett and I were leaving the house at 5:45 AM, this was our conversation.

G: Do you have my pants?
(This is not the phrase you want to hear from your teenager, but I was calm. This is also the same student who has lost his school backpack at school 2 times.)
M: No. Do you not have your pants?
G: No.
M: Did you wear your pants home?
G: No.
M: Did you leave your pants in the bandhall?
G: No.
M: Where was the last time you saw your pants?
G: I don’t know.
M: Lets go look in the halls and gym and see if you dropped them.
G: I didn’t go in the gym or hall.
M: We have only been gone from the school for less than 5 hours. How did you lose your pants?
G: I didn’t. I had them.
M: You wore them at the game. Did you wear them on the bus?
G: No.
M: You took them off on the bus. Ok. Did you get them off the bus?
G: Yes.
M: Now we are narrowing this down. What did you do when you got off the bus?
G: I walked around the back of the school to the parking lot and put them in my car with my shoes, hat, books, gloves, jacket, hat box, school clothes and other stuff.
M: You walked around the school in the dark? At night? By yourself? Let’s go look in the parking lot.

At 5:55 AM I drive to the student lot and shine my headlights around the back of the school. Can you believe he found his pants in the grass not far from where the bus dropped off the band kids? I couldn’t fuss at him. He was doing his best. He has lost many things but has kept up with all his band equipment and uniforms for 4 years.

I lose stuff constantly. I can’t count how many times all of us have had to search for my keys. But I have lost other things as well.

Confidence. I will not lose my confidence anymore because I realize that I am not relying on myself but on God. I can have confidence because God works in me and through me. He is faithful.

Courage. I will not be the cowardly lion. God gives us a spirit of power and prompts our hearts like the prophets of old to speak His words.

Self-esteem. I will not listen when others criticize and reject. I will think rightly of myself. Not with pride but in the assurance that I am created by God in his image. He doesn’t make mistakes. He made me exactly as I am and gave me the experiences I need to be ready for such a time as he calls for whatever purpose fits his master plan. Because of Him, I have worth and value.

Trust. I know that men are not perfect and never were created to be such. My trust is not in myself or in mere mortals but in God who is unfailing.

Humility. May I never brag about myself or my family. Only in God may we boast.

May I never lose those gifts which God has graciously given me. May I inspire others to find and use their own gifts.

New Year's Resolutions

I will, like Paul, forget those things which are behind and press forward.

I will, like David, lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence comes help.

I will, like Abraham, trust implicitly in my God.

I will, like Enoch, walk in daily fellowship with my Heavenly Father.

I will like Jehoshophat, prepare my heart to seek God.

I will, like Moses, choose rather to suffer than enjoy the pleasures of sin.

I will, like Daniel, commune with my God at all times.

I will, like Job, be patient under all circumstances.

I will, like Gideon, stand firm even though my friends be few.

I will, like Aaron, uphold the hands of my spiritual leader.

I will, like Isaiah, consecrate myself to God’s work.

I will, like Andrew, strive to lead my brother to a closer walk with Christ.

I will, like John, lean upon the bosom of the Master.

I will, like Stephen, manifest a forgiving spirit toward all who hurt me.

I will, like the Heavenly Host, proclaim the message of peace and good will.

By Barbara Johnson
Fresh Elastic for Stretched Out Moms

It is a new year and time to reflect on the past year. This was a year of change for me. God called me away from Children’s Ministry and back to being an accountant (for a non-profit that helps churches-go figure). I always told my kids at home and at church that no matter what God asked me to do, I would do it with all my heart. I didn’t know God would test me this year. There was a lot more I wanted to accomplish as a minister. Even now, I still have plans and goals for ministry. I wasn’t ready to leave ministry. I still have work I want to do. Yet, I will follow God’s call. His call to leave ministry was accompanied with hurt, with fear, with defeat. Grief almost crushed and swallowed me. Yet God is patient and kind. He let me grieve. He gave me rest. He provided a place to heal. He provided new friends and deepened old friendships. He gave me time with my own family. He gave me a new song of praise to sing in my heart. He brought new Bible studies into my life for renewal. He gave me time. This year was a wild ride. So my determination for the new year is: to be ready. I don’t know what God is going to do next. I just know I want to be ready to jump when He says jump. I want to be ready to hear his directions. I want to stay in his will even though I don’t understand. I lean upon my life verses: Seek first the kingdom of God all these things will be added to you. Matt 6:33 and The eyes of the lord roam the earth seeking to strengthen those whose hearts are committed to him. 1 Chronicles 16:33 May you seek him and be strengthened.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

My Car Smells

Teenage boys can get pretty stinky. Colton plays football. 8th grade has 2 teams and 7th grade has 3 teams. All 200+ kids share a small locker room. Each boy is issued 1 t-shirt and 1 pair shorts to use all year. They bring the shirt and shorts home about 2 times a week (if we are lucky) for parents to wash. All their shoes and pads remain in the lockers. You can only imagine what the locker room smells like. A couple of weeks ago, the school need a place to perform scoliosis screening. They set up in the boys locker room and brought kids inside in groups of 10. One girl was so horrified by the smell of the locker room that she threw up. Colton relayed to me that the coaches weren’t happy about the incident. They, in fact, started fussing at the boys. The coaches said, “You are not working hard enough. Only one girl threw up. Every one of those girls should have been sick.” Ah, life with boys is so much fun.

When I picked Colton up from practice a couple of weeks ago, he said “Mama, your car really smells.” I promptly told him that my car smelled fine before he entered it. He denied that it was him cause he didn’t smell bad while he was in the locker room. I told him that he should just hit the shower as soon as we arrived home. Kevin surprised us by having spaghetti ready when we got home. Spaghetti has always been Colton’s favorite meal. Colton was so hungry that he decided to forego the shower and just spray Axe all over his body. The results were unlike anything I have ever smelled before. He said he was just trying to stand himself long enough to eat before he took a shower. All of us sent him back to shower.

This encounter made me think about my relationship with my Father, God. I love Colton unconditionally. I don’t love him less if he smells bad, and I don’t love him more if he smells good. I love him for who he is beneath the smell. I may ask him to take some action because of his smell, but never does my love for him diminish. God loves us well. Even if my actions stink to high heaven, He still loves me. His love for me is not dependent on my fragrance. But because He loves me so much, I do want to offer my life as a fragrant offering to Him. May I hear His gentle nudges toward a clean heart. May I be a pleasing fragrance. I praise Him for lessons learned through my children.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Father God, Thank You

Thank you, Father God, for:

Sharing your awesome presence with me. For allowing me to approach your throne with help from your Son and Spirit. I am so thankful that you seek me out when I need strength and encouragement.

My wonderful husband of 23 years. What a blessing he is. I am thankful that you gave us each personalities that complement each other and build each other up. To know you created us both knowing what we would each need shows yet again how much you love us.

Garrett whom you made to be gifted with & passionate about technology. I am thankful for the man he is becoming. It has been an awesome privilege to watch him serve others. Thank you for a school career filled with positive Christian influences. Give me the strength to watch him as he begins college. Guide me to pray him through all the new lessons he will learn about you, about relationships, and about growing up.

Colton whom you made to be gifted with critters. Colton loves people and animals; and enjoys your creation to the fullest. What a privilege to see nature & people through his eyes.

That you are the perfect parent. You have taught me through my children. As I reflect on our unconditional love for them, I know your love for us is more. As I reflect on my dreams and goals for them, I know your purposes for all of us are even higher. As I worry that I haven’t been the perfect parent, I know your grace is sufficient to cover me and our children.

For family who love and encourage us on our journey. You provided so many family members with such unique gifts that I am amazed at your creativity. Thank you for our large family full of characters.

For your truths that you share through your words that you breathe to life throughout the pages of my Bible. I am thankful that I own several Bibles in different translations that help me discover you again and again. May I constantly put your words in my heart ready to give any man an answer about you.

Each day that I open my eyes is another day where I may serve you. May I awake with praise and go to peaceful sleep with praise for you.

My years in ministry and the lives you allowed me to touch. May the seeds you allowed me to plant grow into a wonderful harvest for you. I thank you for a season filled with hugs, smiles, laughter, learning, teaching, reading, loving, coloring, playing, singing, acting, praising, and serving through fingerprints, footprints, and baby slobber.

For a year of change. You promised you would never give me more than I can bear, but you stretched me this year. I never knew I could stretch so far. I was pretty sure I was broken beyond repair several times. I am grateful that you held me through the entire process. You never gave up on me. I am glad that you used the experiences of the last year to draw me closer to you. I am thankful for rest and renewal. I am thankful for more time with my family. I am thankful for the preparation you are doing on my heart for my next assignment. I can’t wait to see what you are going to do next. It has been an awesome journey so far.

For friends. You always know who I need and when I need them to cross my path. May I always hear your gentle nudges to reach out to friends with just the words and actions they need to hear and see. I pray that I can as much help to others as our friends have been to us this last year.

For light that you are in my life. You are bright and shiny. May others see your light. May it draw them to you.

For Bible Studies and devotions brought to my computer and inbox so I can keep focused on you each day. For friends who encourage and keep me accountable to study and grow.

For sharing yourself with me. You are the beginning and the end. The Alpha & the Omega. The First and Last. You are above all, in all and through all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Servant Heart

A couple of weeks ago I chaperoned the high school band for a football game. The game went into overtime. We were late getting all the kids back to the school. As I was leaving the school building, I ran into a mom looking for her son. I told her that she could be very proud. Her son was helping unload the equipment from the truck. I thought the mom would be so thankful that her son was helping out other band members and serving the band. She was not happy. She said that she did not want him to do that anymore, he needed to be home, she was waiting, and he needed to leave. It really made me sad that she didn’t value his service. I was very proud of my son for helping out and staying until the job was completed. I determined in my heart that I would never harbor an attitude that didn’t appreciate my son for serving. I bet you can guess what happens when I use the word never in a sentence. My conviction was challenged this weekend. My son with his wonderfully big heart, signed up to donate blood at school last Friday. I made sure he had a good breakfast and brought him a protein snack for after school. He had a big weekend planned: performing at the out of town football game Friday night, college tour and seminars all day Saturday, worship on Sunday, and a birthday party all Sunday afternoon. What I did not find out until very late Friday night: my son donated platelets. They filter your blood to extract needed platelets and then re-inject your blood at lower than room temperature. He was warned to not drive or exercise for 24 hours, that he would be cold (from the inside out), and to that he would be hungry and need to eat. He was told not to go to the football game but to go home and rest. The first I heard about all this was when my son sent me a text message when we were on the busses headed back to school. He told me that he was not supposed to drive for 24 hours so could he ride home from school with me. On the ride home, he shared all the information the donation center had advised. He also told me that he was so cold at the game that he went into the restroom just to stand under the heater. I am so glad that God had hold of my tongue. I wanted to fuss at him for taking such risks with his health in going to the game. Instead, God gently led me to ask, “Why did you decide to donate platelets instead of just regular blood?” His reply was, “They said they had a very desperate need. I could meet that need so I did.” My heart did a flip-flop. There are so many times as a parent that you don’t know if you are getting through or being successful as a parent. There have been many time that I have been discouraged as a parent thinking that I have messed up so bad. But God takes our messes and makes them beautiful. My son chose to be a servant. He is living out a value that his dad and I have wanted to plant in his heart. I praise God that He held my tongue and allowed me to see into Garrett’s heart. I am thankful that I was able to cook hamburgers, quesadillas and hot chocolate at 1 AM for my cold, hungry servant. May God continue to work on all of our hearts.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Road Kill

God chose me to be a mom of boys. My boys love camping, hunting, fishing, climbing and being in scouts. They are very good at all their outdoor activities. My youngest loves hunting and animals so much that his new hobby is taxidermy. Yes, I know it is gross; but he is very good at skinning animals and preserving their hides. I have always told him that we only hunt for food or to preserve other animals by killing a nuisance. He is a good hunter. He has several snake and raccoon skins on his wall. Imagine my surprise when I drove into my driveway to see a raccoon without its skin laying in the front yard. A naked raccoon! In the front yard! He said he left it there on purpose as buzzard bait. I was not too happy about that one. Worse was the time I picked up a Ziploc bag in the freezer only to discover that it was a snake. Our house can become very interesting at times.

One thing I never read in the baby books are the rules that you have to make for children with interesting hobbies. Because of his interest in skinning animals, Colton has become very adept at spotting animals that have been accidently killed on the country roads near our home. He has even talked his older brother, who has his own car, into stopping to collect a several day old carcass after his father and I had said no. In the interest health and safety, I had to make a road kill rule. No one ever told me when I brought these precious babies home from the hospital that one day, I would have to make a road kill rule. The road kill rule states: You may only pick up road kill if we have just hit it with our own car, AND we are close enough to the house that you can carry it home across the pasture.

The Road Kill rule actually prompted me to think about my spiritual life. There are many times when I am on the side of the highway of life. I have been battered and bruised by words and actions. I am helpless to mend my scarred body and unable to continue my journey. I feel as unattractive and useless as a piece of road kill. But I serve a God who is a gracious. He does not have a road kill rule. He is not worried about getting himself injured while tending to me. No matter where I am, He is always traveling down my road. No matter how battered I am, He picks me up and heals my brokenness. He restores my soul. He holds me until it is safe for me to travel again. In fact, His word promises us that He searches the earth seeking to strengthen those whose hearts are His. (1 Chronicles 16:9) I praise Him for seeking to strengthen me. I praise Him for lessons I can learn about Him through my wonderful boys.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Dressed

Last Friday night was an exciting football game for the high school. I rode to the game with the band. Most everyone at the game was prepared for a cold night. I had two shirts, warm socks, jacket, gloves and earmuffs. Lots of fans brought blankets to keep themselves warm. After the rest of my family arrived, I went over to the stands to greet my youngest son. Imagine my surprise on this cold, windy night when I see him not properly dressed. He was wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops! The first words out of my mouth were not “Hi, sweetie. How was school today?” My reaction was “Where are your pants? Where is your jacket? Where are your shoes?” I think all 3 questions came out of my mouth at the same time with increasing volume. Colton’s reaction was typical of a teenager, “I am fine. I won’t get cold. Don’t worry, I know what I am doing.” As a mom, it is my primary job to be concerned about his welfare, and my mom sense knows being ill prepared can lead to illness. We obviously had a long chat about appropriate attire for football games.

But my concern about Colton gave me an in site in how God may view me and my spiritual preparations. God told us he wants us to be fully clothed in his armor ready to work or to face any obstacle. How many times have I run out the door to face the day without my sword sharpened by truth, without my breastplate to protect my heart, without my feet fitted with the gospel? My response is often like my son’s: “I know what is best for me. Nothing will happen to me. I can make it on my own.” How my attitude must grieve the Father. I am sure that just as I was imagining illness and doctor visits for Colton, my heavenly Father was looking at things that could cause me harm knowing that I could have been better prepared. His gifts and promises are ours for the taking. The next time I am tempted to run out the door unprepared spiritually, I will remember the cold football game and Colton in flip flops.

By the way, God is gracious. Colton did not catch cold from his lack of attire; but he could have, and the object lesson will stay with me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Power of Words

I spend alot of time with high school students. My oldest son is a senior in his high school marching band. It is hard to believe that this is my last year with him at home. I rejoice in the journey that has brought him to the edge of adulthood, and I cherish the insanity of this senior year full of last times.

As we spent all of last Saturday at a band contest, we practiced, fed kids, competed, fed kids, competed again, and fed kids again as we waited for results. You cannot imagine the amount of food it takes to feed 200 teenagers at an all day event. The boys have hollow legs and eat everything that doesn't move, and the girls are very picky. I enjoy spending time with the kids, listening to their conversations, watching them build relationships and even enjoy a spontaneous game of Red Rover.

One young gentlemen that I had the privilege to watch could be considered a big jokester. He is the life of the party and stays in trouble more times than not. He enjoys life and assumes everyone else enjoys living on the edge of trouble, as well. He is the guy who all the chaperones know his name, because they have had to use it several times during the day.

At one point, he got out of his seat during the contest. I was about to call out to him, using my chaperone-no nonsense voice, to sit down until I saw what he was about to do. He was destined for a different bench where another teen was emotionally distressed. Everyone else had decided to ignore this emotional outburst, this hurting-autistic teen. Not our precious jokester. He didn't worry about what the other kids would think. He didn't worry about being labeled weird. He saw a soul in need and met that need in a kind, compassionate manner. And here I was about to call out to him to be still and quiet.

I praise God for stopping the word in my mouth that would have prohibited His work. I praise God for the kind words of our jokester. I praise God for allowing me to witness such a tender moment. I praise God for his perfect timing in getting to share this story with Mr. Joker's mom. I praise God for allowing me to share this story with you, my beloved friends.

May God's words be in our hearts at all times and ready for his work. May God halt the words that should not be uttered and prompt us to say what He wants us to say.

Monday, March 05, 2007

March 23 - Heir

May my child belong to you and be Abraham's seed, heir to your promises. Galatians 3:29

Mach 22 - Sanctified

Place my child among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ. Acts 26:18

March 21 - Heart

May my child set his heart on things above where you are seated in heaven. Colossians 3:1

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