Monthly Archives: December 2010

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Mom Pressure

Six thousand pairs of eyes stared at me as I ran to the front of the stage in a panic. If I had been speaking or singing I would’ve been fine, but to my horror it was my parenting skills that were being displayed for all to see.

I had been holding our very wiggly 3 year old daughter, trying to keep her quiet without causing a scene. My precious parents-in-love had been married 50 years and Campus Crusade for Christ (the organization they co-founded) was in full celebration mode! The arena filled with staff and friends watched as our family gathered on the platform to honor them. My little wiggle worm kept begging to be let down. In desperation I whispered that I would let her down if she stood right by me… You know what happened don’t you?

The minute her feet touched the stage she took off. Her goal was the skirted table at the end of the stage displaying a beautiful wedding cake. I could feel all the eyes watching my “cherub” dash under the skirt. If she had stopped to take a lick of the cake everyone would have laughed, “Isn’t that cute? Don’t we all want to do that?” As it was, all I heard was the sudden intake of air as thousands of mothers watched and thought, “I’m glad that’s not me!”

I would have left her under the table but I was afraid she would try to crawl out the other side and immediately fall off the end of the stage. So I walked the lonely 20 feet to the table, lifted the skirt and found the frilly dressed imp smiling at me. “Come here.” I whispered in my best ‘obey or else’ tone. She smiled at the game. “No!” she laughed, inching away from me and dangerously close to the edge.

At that moment I’m ashamed to say that I wasn’t thinking about my daughters safety. I was thinking about what everyone would say about my parenting skills. I knew my daughter. She wouldn’t budge until she was ready, but if I pulled her out I knew she could go into full tantrum mode. I thought of the Growing Kids God’s Way people and knew I would be a disappointment. I thought of the great advice from Dr. Dobson on raising a strong willed child and knew I’d blown it… So I did the only thing I knew to do, I prayed…quickly! “God, please let her obey me this once!” I looked her in the eyes, “Come with Mommy now.”

To my amazement, she crawled out, took my hand and stood quietly beside me until the program was over. God is merciful!!

There’s actually no ‘aha’ moment to wow you with. I’m sure we all could evaluate my parenting skills and come up with some suggestions, but the reality is our kids are just like us…in progress. I’m not a bad parent if my child acts up in public now and then. Neither are you. My kids aren’t bad kids if they act up in public now and then…and neither are yours. We’re all in progress. We do our best as parents, learn from mistakes and pray without ceasing…

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God Cake

Life is full of teachable moments. One mom capitalized on a moment in the kitchen and taught her daughter an invaluable lesson about life. It’s a story I’ve filed away for future use with my precious kids…!

A daughter is telling her Mom how everything is going wrong, she’s failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.  Her Mom is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, “Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.”

“Here, have some cooking oil,” her Mother offers.

“Yuck” says her daughter.

“How about a couple raw eggs?”

“Gross, Mom!”

“Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?”

“Mom, those are all yucky!”

Mother replies: “Yes, all those things seem bad by themselves. But when they are put together, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!”
God works in a similar way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through difficult times. But God knows, when He puts things in His order, they always work for good! We can trust Him and, eventually, He will make something wonderful!

God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose to live in your heart.”

Isn’t that awesome? Not only is it a great teachable moment for our kids, it’s a great reminder for us!

Next time you’re cooking or baking, think of the challenges you face as you add each ingredient. When you sit down to the meal, or savor the dessert, thank God for the opportunity to see Him “cause everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 Discover God Study Bible, NLT

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Strength of Heart

My little girl is 14.  Do you remember when you were 14?  So much excitement, so much emotion, so much to look forward to…  As a mom I’m excited for her and a little scared.  I fear mostly for her heart.  A broken heart seeps into every area of life.  How can I prepare her for the inevitable?

I read a verse in the Bible today that seems to light the way:

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.”  ( Psalm 73:26) Discover God Study Bible.

My heart has been broken more times than I can count.  Boys, shattered dreams, friendships gone wrong, friends going to their Heavenly home…so many ways to break a heart…  But unlike Humpty Dumpty, the broken pieces can be put together again by the One who shaped each fragment and holds it in His Hands.

Teach her to give her heart to God, first and without reservation.  He will be her heart’s strength no matter what life may bring…and along the way, let’s remind ourselves to keep doing the same!!

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The One Thing

There is only one thing worth being concerned about.  Mary has discovered it and it will not be taken from her. Luke 10:42.

Christmas. It’s amazing how one word can envoke a myriad of conflicting emotions!  Excitement, anticipation, thankfulness… stress, worry, and a weariness that settles in at the mere thought of the schedules that need to be coordinated, goodies that need to be baked, presents to be purchased…the list seems endless.  How is it working for you?  For me…I need a nap!

Imagine it’s January 2nd and you’re looking back on the Christmas season, what memories would you like to have?

I’m hoping for laughter in the kitchen, lively conversations at the dinner table, reading together by the firelight, the joy of giving gifts of love to family and friends and most of all, I hope for memories my kids will cherish for a lifetime and for treasured times with Jesus.

Some amount of planning and preparation is necessary if these memories are to become reality, however, if planning and preparation rule the day I may end up with a well-orchestrated Christmas that’s riddled with memories of frustration, arguments and resentment.

Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!  There is only one thing worth being concerned about… Luke 10:41

Martha was preparing to entertain the Savior of the world, God incarnate!  In many ways you and I are preparing for the same thing.  We’re preparing to celebrate His birth and welcome Him into our home with every decoration, party and gift.  His words reached out to me this morning and I pass them on to you.

Let’s not allow ourselves to become so consumed with the details that we miss the only thing that’s worth being concerned about…Jesus.  Lets make time to enjoy Jesus’ presence this Christmas season.  Let’s make room in the schedule to enjoy (not just entertain, but really enjoy) family and friends.  If you’re like me you may have to shorten the to-do list and limit the activities but we may find that come January 2 we have rich memories that fill our hearts to overflowing.
Creative Commons License photo credit: .reid.

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Budget Crunched Christmas

I was a sophomore in high school when my 37 year-old dad had open-heart surgery. Surrendering to Jesus had transformed his life, but his heart struggled to pump through the deposits left after years of abuse. I’ll never forget that day in May 1977. It snowed…more than a foot…in May!

My Great Aunt, Lucille, had travelled from Iowa to help out. She wasn’t familiar with our house and when she opened the door to the basement rather than the restroom, her frail body fell down a long flight of stairs. On that day in May, with more than a foot of snow on the ground, my dad was having heart surgery in Denver and my aunt was in the Boulder hospital with multiple injuries. Although our family hadn’t been walking with Jesus very long, we marveled at the peace He gave us in the midst of the storm.

Both dad and Aunt Lucille recovered, but our storm wasn’t over. The doctors told dad not to work for three months! As a self-employed dentist, this news not only had implications for his family, but his employees as well! When the dentist can’t work, the money doesn’t come in. He refused to let his employees go knowing they needed the paycheck as much as he did. For three months he paid the bills, paid his employees, and fed his family. It took everything he had to do it. He began seeing patients again in August, but the financial deficit was huge. When Christmas came, there was nothing extra for presents.

My parents turned a disappointing reality into a treasured Christmas memory. They helped us focus on the many things we had to be thankful for. A father who was still alive and well, was at the top of the list! They helped us make Christmas presents for each other and our friends. They slowed down the pace and focused on family. It was one of my best Christmases ever!

If you’re feeling the financial crunch this year, I hope you’ll embrace the opportunity to let God give you the best Christmas ever. Don’t let the enemy rob you and your family of Christmas joy just because there may not be as many presents under the tree! Brad and I are asking God for wisdom and guidance to help our family enjoy the Christmas celebration more deeply than ever before, even though the budget won’t allow for many monetary gifts. We’re excited about the challenge and the opportunity to see God work!

If you have ideas for creating treasured Christmas memories, I hope you’ll share them with all of us!

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Ain’t

Today is a busy day for me…full of decisions, a long ‘To-Do List’ and the constant demands of a wife and mom…actually, that describes most days! A friend sent me a poem that lightened the load and reminded me of a powerful truth:

AIN’T
He was just a little boy,
On a week’s first day.
Wandering home from Bible School,
And dawdling on the way.

He scuffed his shoes into the grass;
Even found a caterpillar.
He found a fluffy milkweed pod,
And blew out all the ‘filler’.

A bird’s nest in a tree overhead? So wisely placed up high.
Was just another wonder,
That caught his eagle eye.

A neighbor watched his zig zag course,
And hailed him from the lawn;
Asked him where he’d been that day
And what was going on.

‘I’ve been to Bible School ,’
He said and turned a piece of sod.
He picked up a wiggly worm replying,
‘I’ve learned a lot about God.’

‘M’mm very fine way,’ the neighbor said,
‘For a boy to spend his time.’
‘If you’ll tell me where God is,
I’ll give you a brand new dime.’

Quick as a flash the answer came!
Nor were his accents faint.
‘I’ll give you a dollar, mister,
If you can tell me where God ain’t.’

Whatever your day may bring, remember God is there. Look for Him in the smile of a loved one, in words of encouragement from a friend. Look for Him in His Word of hope and in prayers softly spoken. Look for Him when things go well. Look for Him when dreams crumble. Look for Him. He’s always there. You’re never, no never, alone.

“I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get away from Your presence! If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I go down to the grave, You are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there Your hand will guide me, and Your strength will support me.” Psalms 139:7-10, Discover God Bible, (NLT).

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Drawing back the curtains

I drew back the curtains in my sunroom this morning and felt my whole being smile. There’s something amazing about the power of the morning sun. I know some of you aren’t morning people, but even my son (definitely not a lover of mornings) brightens a bit when the sun first brushes his face on the way to school.

Drawing back the curtains brings in the promises of a new day. As the wise teacher in Anne of Green Gables says, “Each day is fresh and clean, with no mistakes in it.” Some of you are thinking, ‘Sure, no mistakes yet!” Stop that!!

There’s a reason God continually exhorts us to reign in our thoughts and consciously think about that which is good, right and pure. We’re to fill our thoughts with His promises. When negative lies threaten to darken our day, we’re to open the curtain of our mind to God’s promises and let their light chase away the shadows.

Today is going to bring many opportunities to discipline my thoughts and keep the curtain of my mind open to God’s Word, Spirit, strength and hope.

I will blow it, but I’m not going to focus on it. I’m painfully aware of my faults and how easy it is for sin to blossom. I’m also blissfully free from discouragement because I know I’m forgiven–already completely forgiven—even before the day begins! When I sin today, I will consciously keep the curtain open and confess the darkness immediately, letting the Spirit wash away the guilt with the light of Jesus and empower me to move on.

Every time I draw back the curtains in my sunroom it’s a reminder to draw back the curtains of my mind and commit the new day to God’s control and guidance. It’s exciting to take a moment and think about the day through God’s eyes—anticipating the joy of watching Him work.

Find a window in your home where can open up to the light of day and smile as the Son washes your soul with His morning light!

May the words John the Baptist’s dad, Zechariah, spoke about Jesus encourage you today!

Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.