W1 Son, I Noticed…

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W1, I noticed at just a few weeks of age how strong your will was.  I noticed that you would be determined to pursue your goals.

I knew then that God has special plans for your life!

W1, I saw how you held your little brother’s hand and patiently matched your steps to his to help him walk.

I noticed how you watched out for your sister when she played outside.

I noticed how you mopped my floors even when I didn’t ask.

I noticed how you wrote sweet notes of apology when you did wrong.

I noticed how you spent time, reading in your Bible.

I noticed how you said that you were proud of your faith.

I noticed how you practiced running and jumping so you could do well on Field Day at school.

I noticed how disappointed you were when you struggled with your grades this year.

I noticed how you studied for hours to try to learn your memory verses, states, math facts, and other school facts.

I noticed how you defended a friend on the playground who was being bullied.

I noticed how you cooked three suppers for me in a week so I could have a break.

I noticed how you mowed the grass on a hot, blistery day after a tiring day at school.

I noticed how you shoveled sidewalks for neighbors.

I noticed how you offered to help new neighbors move in and offered to mow their grass.

I noticed when you expressed interest in being baptized.

I noticed your look of embarrassment and disappointment for getting a merit award today because you had hoped instead to get the honor award for better grades.  No one else knew, but I did.  My heart broke just a bit when I knew how hard you had worked and how much you wanted to improve your grades.

I noticed when you hated yourself because you felt helpless to control your anger.  Oh, how I wanted to help you to see, precious one, that you are a winner.  And only the winners are those who learn that winning is when we get back up again and complete the race.

I noticed when tears spilled down your cheeks because of mean and hateful words that kids said to you on the bus, in the hallways, and on the playground at school.  How I ached to remove those lies from marring your soul.

Son, what you didn’t see, but what I noticed was how God is not finished with you.  How God uses those hurts and challenges in life to help you to look to Him as your Source of affirmation.

Son, I noticed that you are a winner!  God doesn’t make mistakes.  God doesn’t make weak men.  God doesn’t make inferior people.  God makes sons to reflect Himself.  He makes sons to run to Abba-Father (Daddy) so that they can become the men God created them to be.

Yes, son, I noticed that God is making you into a beautiful reflection of Himself.

I’m Sorry, Kids

To the precious five little people in my life,

I’m sorry, kids, for those times when I raised my voice and taught you that dirt and spilled milk was more important then showing you what grace and patience looks like.

I’m sorry, kids, for those times when I insisted that sitting perfectly still in church was more important than helping you to see that worshiping God is not for perfect people but for the redeemed.

I’m sorry, kids, for times when I didn’t demonstrate that it is possible to disagree with Daddy and still be completely respectful at the same time.

I’m sorry, kids, for times when I was more intentional with pursuing my own goals and worth then in listening to your own dreams and building your own sense of worth.

I’m sorry, kids, for times when I “cheated” you out of opportunities to see how great our God is by spending more time in the mediocre then in fellowshiping with our God.

I’m sorry, kids, for times when my words criticized and blamed you rather than showing you that the message of the Gospel is grace.  It’s grace in the home.  It’s grace in our words.  It’s grace in our actions. 

I’m sorry, kids, for times when instead of praising you for all the effort you did, I pressured you to keep performing better.

I’m sorry, kids, for times when I didn’t see past your anger to understand the thin guise it was for covering hurts and fears.

I’m sorry, kids, for the many times when I didn’t have the right answer, didn’t have enough strength and accepted defeat instead of teaching you that God is always enough.

I’m sorry, kids, I wasn’t the perfect mom.  Yet, maybe that will help you to understand that you don’t have to be the “perfect” kid to be used by God and loved by God.

God did give me, you kids, to raise.  He knew that I would learn through, you kids, what grace really looks like.  Grace is when I recognize the greatness of my God to be more than sufficient to help me raise you guys.

Grace is when I say I am sorry and mean it.

Grace is when I understand that God doesn’t call “perfect” people to be parents.  He calls redeemed people to remember that it’s only grace that brought us and only grace that will keep us.

Kids, I am not sorry that I have taught you that we have a God who is so much greater than us!

We have a God Who loves you perfectly and delights in you!  We have a God who will be faithful to keep you.  We have a God who has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you — to give you a hope and a future.”

So, kids, there is nothing I want to leave with you more than for you to know, really believe, how much God loves you and that it’s His grace that will keep you.

Blessings or Blesser?

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There was a time that I was unable to blog, as I mentioned in the blog: https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/still-alive-living-abundantly.

At first, I was annoyed, then disappointed, then resigned, then accepting.  I realized that when God takes something away, it’s always for a reason.

I realized the reason why I was so sad.  I recognized that I was still trying to find my worth by “being somebody.”  I was still trying to prove that I mattered — mattered because of what I did.  I longed for people’s affirmation.

I was not living in my “identity” as His daughter — completely at rest in the all-encompassing, unconditional love of my Heavenly Father.  (See my testimony regarding this: https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/the-second-part-of-my-testimony-the-second-most-incredible-experience-of-my-life.)

God took away something that had become an idol in my life.  Such is anything we pursue in order to find a sense of belonging and worth that is outside of God.

As a girl and young woman, my idol was getting married to a man who would make me feel like the most incredible gift ever.  I actually did marry a man who did that as much as any human can do.

But, you can suck a person and a relationship dry if you seek to pull from it what only God can give.

As a new mother, I hoped to get that sense of worth by being a godly mother.  I couldn’t wait to practice all of my teaching and ministry skills on my own kids.  Somehow, I had this “Cinderella” idea that I could make my kids into perfect little “robots” of perfection.  Silly, right?

When you idolize your kids, you tend to create unhealthy “soul ties” (heart connections) of co-dependency and attempt to control and unconsciously prevent your children from “flying” independently.  The opposite is also true, you resent and “reject” your kids because they become “symbols of your failure.” 

I struggled with resenting my kids at times because they had a way of demonstrating their worst moments in front of people.  Some of these people made me feel even more like a failure.  I responded to my own personal feelings of failure and to the outside negativity by exerting even more pressure on my kids to be little models of perfection.  It was a set-up for failure.

Poor little people!  I was expecting them to do the impossible, and I was perpetuating the lies of performance-based worth.

I love what the book, Glimpses of Grace, by Gloria Furman says about this.  She says:

When we immortalize the material and elevate it to the highest good, we set up idols to worship and pay homage to.  This can happen when we attach our reason for being to our current role in life — even roles like being a mother or housewife.

Do you serve your image of a good mother?

…When we’re tempted to either despise our everyday lives or worship our everyday lives, we need to remember what Paul said in Romans 12:1-2…”

God does want us to serve with gladness.  He wants us to enjoy the gifts He has given us: marriage, children, homes, talents, strengths, clothing, food, friends… They are all good gifts, for which we can and should be thankful.

Our worth and God’s love though is completely independent from our performance, possessions, and abilities. 

I like what Glimpses of Grace says in relationship to service within the home:

 “Living your everyday life for God’s sake is spiritual worship. …Seeing the brilliance of the cross and embracing its message are at the core of how God wants to work in our mundane to bring glory to Himself.

…When we are engaged in seeing and savoring the beauty of Jesus, the vain things that charm us most fade away into the distance.”

How do we keep from idolizing the blessings/the gifts from superseding the Blesser in our life?

Glimpses of Grace says,

“…when we say the ‘gift of God’, we are actually saying the gift is God Himself.  God is good.  And He said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name The Lord’He is the ultimate Good.

…rejoicing in the Lord’s faithfulness to His name.”

Let’s not forget that as wonderful as our blessings are, they are merely a “star” in the vast “universe” of Who God is!

It will take an eternity to be able to receive all the overflowing abundant goodness of His love towards us and of Who He is!