Monthly Archives: January 2012

mult-kids

When I grow up…

What do you do when your children enthusiastically announce what they want to be when they grow up and you’re pretty sure it will never become reality? My parents were incredibly supportive of my childhood dreams. They ingrained in me the belief that I could do almost anything I set my mind to. When I declared my desire to be a singer they could have pointed out that everyone cringed at my tone-deaf vocal renditions… but they didn’t. Instead they made sure I had voice lessons and the opportunity to sing. Who knew I’d go on to major in vocal performance?

The Table Talk question for tonight in the Because God is… calendar raises the issue of our dreams and how God made us. I encourage you to ask the question this week around the dinner table. (find it at dg4kids.com and click on the calendar.) It’s fun to talk about what they want to be as well as explore the special abilities and qualities God has woven into each child.

Sometimes, however, a child isn’t happy with how he/she was made. A family devotion using Amy’s story will be a great help. Here’s part of the devotion as you would use it with your kids:

Read Amy’s story…

Amy desperately wanted blue eyes. Every time she looked in the mirror and saw her brown eyes staring back at her, she asked God to make them blue. Everyone in her family had blue eyes, and Amy could not imagine how God had slipped up and given her brown ones.

Let’s stop the story here for a minute.
Do you think God made a mistake and gave Amy brown eyes when they should have been blue? Why/why not?
Let’s read on…

As Amy grew up, her eyes remained the same shade of brown, but her heart for those who didn’t know Jesus grew. She learned about the people of India, and God gave her a great desire to share His message of love with them. When she was still a young woman, she traveled thousands of miles from her family to live among the women of India.
The women of India cover their mouth and nose when they are in public. Amy wanted to honor the customs, so she also wore a scarf across her mouth and nose. One day, she looked in the mirror after she had put the scarf in place and what she saw took her breath away.

Can you guess what it was? What was the only part of her face that was showing? (NOTE: Put a scarf or piece of cloth over your nose and mouth so they can see what Amy saw.) (Her eyes!)

Amy’s brown eyes stared back at her. Brown eyes… just like the eyes of the Indian women she was trying to talk to about Jesus! She looked like one of them! If she had blue eyes, she would not have fit in, and the women would not have listened to what she had to say!
When Amy was in her mom’s tummy, God knew she would grow up to love the Indian women and He would send her to them. He also knew that brown eyes would be better than blue eyes in India. Amy was thankful for her brown eyes from that day on!

God’s masterpiece called Amy Carmichael was perfectly created for God’s perfect plan.

You can find the rest of the devotion at: http://dg4kids.com/bible-time/day-two-god-is-creator-king/

Let me know if you have any questions! Remember, you are His masterpiece as well!

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT

My daughter and some friends re-created this Waterhouse masterpiece for a Chalk Festival.

praying hands (family)

The power of a pinky…

She couldn’t move. High above the forest floor, she clung to the swaying treetop, paralyzed with fear. The fragile trunk wouldn’t hold her and the rescue worker who tried in vain to reach her. She had to come down to him… but she couldn’t move.

She had climbed with practiced confidence, oblivious to anything but the next branch. The view from the top was breathtaking… until she looked down. Who knew she would be afraid of such a height? White knuckles gripped the slender trunk. The man below urged her to climb down. Her body refused to budge. She wasn’t going anywhere.

“Can you move your legs?” her would be rescuer asked.
“NO!” Panic swelled.
“Can you move your hands?”
“No!” It was hopeless.
“What can you move?”
She had to focus. Slowly she checked off every moving part. Nothing moved until…
“I can move my pinky!” She wiggled the small digit hoping he could see her victory.
“Good! Can you move the other pinky?”
“Yes!” A sliver of hope was born.
“Excellent! Now, slide each pinky down the tree as far as you can. Then the rest of your body will follow.”

One pinky length at a time, she made it to solid ground.

What do you do when you’re stuck? Fear, doubt, disappointment and weariness are only a few of the things that can paralyze us. One friend recently posted: Motivation, please, please come back! Been there, done that!

When author Gary Stanley told the story of the girl in the tree 25 years ago it gave me what I needed to get “unstuck”. I began asking what I can do rather than focusing on what I can’t and the entire conversation changed! My pinky step always starts with simply talking to God, “I believe, Lord, please help my unbelief…”

I believe You’re in control, but I’m worried You don’t have control over ________. Please help my unbelief.

I believe You love me, but if You love me I don’t see why You would allow _______. Please help my unbelief.

I believe You are always with me, but I feel totally alone. Please help my unbelief.

I believe you are all-powerful, but I don’t see any path to victory over my _______. Please help my unbelief.

Pinky steps are a big deal. They can break the cycle of lies and open our hearts to the power of the Almighty God! Whatever is paralyzing you or defeating you, pinky prayers will get you to solid ground.

The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 NLT

s'mores pic

Give Me S’more!

Do your children know what you like about them? I was challenged by that question when my kids were young. I was confident they knew I loved them, but I wasn’t sure they knew I liked them. So much of my interaction with them revolved around instructing, training and discipline that I rarely took time to stop and enjoy the little boy and girl God created them to be.

I began asking the Lord to help me see the unique qualities and gifts He wove into my children as well as the wisdom to nurture and cultivate them. I was humbled to discover I had created an image of my kids based on what I expected them to be, not who God created them to be. I’m sure you’ve met mom’s who live their lives through their kids; driving them to succeed, be popular, do well in school, excel in sports,… I was much more subtle than “those” moms, but my sense of worth was just as dangerously linked to my kids. It’s very hard to make good parenting choices when your own self-esteem is on the line.

I became a student of my kids and I loved what I saw! I discovered amazing creativity and wit. I found a tender heart and a passion for those less fortunate. I uncovered an imagination that inspires as well as entertains. Learning how my kids approach the world has helped me prepare them to live in it. Brad and I expect our children to work hard as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23) but what that “looks” like for each of them is different.

It does take time and effort, but helping your children discover their God given potential is worth every minute!

You may be wondering how the title “Give Me S’more” fits with this blog. I encourage you to go to  dg4kids.com and click on the “Because God is…” calendar. Click on the Family Activity (“Give Me S’more!”) for tomorrow night. It provides a fun opportunity for you to communicate what you like about your kids and how God has made them special and unique. Let me know how it goes!

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us so long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT

girls (Chinese & Black) hugging pic

Saved from suicide…

I hope you’ll be as encouraged by this story as we were when it happened… “You don’t know me but I would like to meet you tomorrow and accept Christ.” Peter tried to identify the male voice on the other end of the line but couldn’t. He thought it was a practical joke from a friend, however, just in case it wasn’t, he agreed to a meeting. The next day the young man told Peter his story:

Yesterday I was getting ready to commit suicide, but then I remembered this guy I met 2 years ago in Atlanta. He was with Campus Crusade for Christ and he tried to talk to me about having a relationship with Jesus. Honestly, I was totally rude to him. I had absolutely no interest in Christ. Since then my life has spiraled out of control and I don’t want to live anymore. Yesterday, as I was getting ready to kill myself, I thought of the guy in Atlanta. I decided that before I end it all I should accept Jesus. So, I called the university and asked to speak with someone from Campus Crusade. Since you’re an officer they gave me your number. So, here I am. I want you to read through that booklet and help me accept Jesus.

After reading through How to Know God Personally (a version of The Four Spiritual Laws) and talking at length about what it means to put your trust in Christ, the young man bowed his head and prayed, surrendering control of his life into the hands of the Savior…his Savior! Hope glistened in his eyes when he thanked Peter for meeting with him. Thoughts of suicide vanished. His new life in Christ gave new purpose.

We never know when the seeds we plant will take root and grow. The man in Atlanta probably thought the seed he planted in the young man’s heart fell on hard soil. He still doesn’t know that the seed penetrated the outer crust and saved the boys life, now and for eternity. Plant the seeds of God’s character and Jesus’ saving grace in your children’s heart everyday. Some will grow and bloom now, but many won’t blossom until they’re far from home; when life seems to fall apart and they descend into a place so dark it’s hard to see the light of hope.

Finally, pray that God will bring people into your children’s lives that will continually point them to their Savior and look for opportunities for you to be that person in someone else’s life!

Rainbow in the desert

Anticipation…

What’s been your best resolution ever? Have you ever made a resolution that changed your life? I did.

Nine years ago I was working hard to be a good wife, a good mom, a good friend and a good Christian. I’m a textbook first born child; a bit of a driver, a rule follower and an excessive sense of responsibility… but no matter how hard I worked at doing the right things I could never consistently capture the joy and freedom God promises His children. It’s not that I was sad, but the weight of life was heavy on my shoulders. There were moments of relief, but God doesn’t promise mere moments—He promises a life journey of freedom and joy. What was I doing wrong? I found the answer hidden in the question.

Lasting joy and freedom are not found in what I “do”. Oh, they may provide a momentary sense of satisfaction and maybe even a rush of joy, but then it’s on to the next thing and the next and the next… Joy becomes dependent on the results of my “doing” and is often reliant on how others respond to my “doing”. I feel pressure just thinking about it.

I resolved to stop pursuing joy and freedom and proactively view everything in my life as one big opportunity for God to work. Every challenge was filtered through the character of God. If I was stressed, depressed, worried or bitter I would ask myself, “What attribute of God am I struggling to believe is true in this circumstance?” Inevitably I discovered my lack of faith in one or more of His attributes. Claiming His power, mercy, love, faithfulness etc. in each circumstance gave birth to joy and a sense of anticipation for what God would do with the challenges. I was free. Beautifully, wonderfully free.

I am a different woman today because of that one resolution.  It’s not that I have perfect faith (far from it!) but every day I’m quicker to take those doubts and fears to the only One who can turn them into confidence and joy.  It’s a resolution that will continue for a life time!  I wake up almost every day anticipating what God is going to do… not what I’m going to do. It’s soooo much more fun!

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. John 10:5 NLT