Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Forced To Rest"

Life is busy! It is a whirlwind of activity. Some of the busyness is legitimate and some is due in part to our martyrdom attitude towards life. How dare someone ask us what we have going on and we answer with a boring, lazy, "Nothing, life is pretty calm. Not much to report." We would rather die and risk the wrath of God than to admit that we have nothing to do. We like to be busy. It gives us bragging rights. It makes us feel important and it ensures that the Jones's will never catch up to us. Our busyness is also self inflicted. We fill our calendar with things we never took before our Heavenly Father and asked permission to do. We become "yes" people as we seek to please man and appear as supermom before the world. This week the Lord forced me to rest and see that it is ok to do absolutely NOTHING! This is so hard for me. I like to be busy. Even when I don't have to be busy, I create busyness for the sake of busyness. This busyness was beginning to pay off. Last weekend my house was squeaky clean so I decided to clorox and scrub the floors with a toothbrush. This took longer than I anticipated, but I had some eager helpers. My house was clean, all the laundry was done, I had cooked meals for multiple days and even made some yummy lemon bars for a special treat. The floors had received some special attention and I was quickly entering that place of wondering what I would say was keeping me busy if a friend were to call and ask what I was up to. Quick, quick, think....what else can I do to keep me busy. On Saturday night my children began to drop like flies. At first I thought it might be the clorox fumes, but I soon learned that one by one they were each plagued by the flu. Was this the answer to my boredom? Taking care of sick children. I saw it more as an excuse to lay in the bed with them and watch movies, cuddle and read books. But do I really need an excuse to do that? Isn't that a part of being a great mom. Maybe, but a part that can be so easily forgotten because anything that requires we sit still and rest can be deemed as laziness. Is it considered laziness when we obey God's Word, "Be still and know that I am God" Psalms 46:10 He commands us to be still. We are to be still and KNOW. Know what? THAT HE IS GOD!! He is God in the midst of our pain, our suffering, our joys, our delights. He is God and He is good. He called me to an even greater place of rest this week as I too got this strain they call the flu. Fever, chills, aching, runny nose, yet stuffy, coughing, hurting and absolute misery. There was only one thing to be done. Rest! Yet for some reason it seems to be acceptable in the wake of sickness. I am embracing this place of rest. God has used this time to reveal more of Himself to me and to show me that He desires that I rest in Him not only when I am sick but always. When we are quiet, restful and attentive we can hear from Him. We can hear Him clearly when the noise of chaos and busyness are removed. When I stand before Him, He is not going to be interested in my to do lists, my chore chart, my toothbrush cleaned floors or my calendar of events. He wants to know that I obeyed Him. He wants to know that all of who I am was poured out for all of who He is and the work of His kingdom. I want to embrace this place of resting at His feet. I want to choose the better thing not only when I am sick, but always.

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feetlistening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself ? Tell her to help me!" 41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Friday, January 21, 2011


A Right?

A Choice?

A Gift!

A Privilege!


Every little girl’s dream. A burning desire. Something is different. A Tiredness. A glow. A fluttering. Movement. Life. Life fashioned deep within me by the creator of all things x’s 4. Only “One” could think of such a perfect plan. Such a precious way to develop life. Deep within. Safe. Secure. Binding. I wait. I dream. I hope. I plan. And then before body and soul get ready to burst I hear the sweetest sound. A faint cry as that tiny body learns how to suck in the air that will feed each breathe. A cry x’s 4 that forever changes my life. The man in blue holds that precious bundle into the air x’s 4. Naked. Dimpled. Wet. Crying. Beautiful. The most beautiful sight that will forever be engraved in my heart. Those eyes. Big. Brown. Piercingly gentle. Alert.

One glance and I will never be the same. I love so deeply without warning. Nothing could prepare me for this love. The depth of this love. The rejoicing. The mourning. The aching. The blessing of this love x’s 4. This love was instant and yet the wait for this day seemed so long. Each day from this moment on is fleeting. The firsts come so quickly. First smile. First bath. First roll over. First laugh. And yet it seems the firsts never end. And then they become the last. You lay upon my chest in perfect peace. Comforted. Safe. Secured. And yet you don’t belong to me. You are HIS and oh how hard that is to remember x’s 4. I cradle and feed you by means of which only God could design. I hear the satisfied coos and then without warning you stop. Milk dribbling down your face. You look up at me with those big brown eyes and grin the biggest grin a 1 inch mouth can produce. We hold that look and smile at each other and then hunger overtakes you again. But in that moment I read your mind. Thank you mommy. I love you mommy. I feel treasured. I feel secure. And even though I know this is the communication of a heart that can’t yet verbalize, to me it is a beautiful poem that will forever be sung in the memory of my soul x’s 4. Cherished Moments. Precious Memories. Sleepless nights as I watch each breath. My hand heavy upon your back as I pray blessing and so much more over this precious life x’s4. Fevers. Rashes. Ear infections. Stomach bugs. Unknown pains that produce sleepless nights and grumpy babies. All the while knowing HE loves you more than I do. Unconditional. Infinite. Perfect. Sacrificial.

You grow right before my eyes and I try to no avail to hold you close. Bike rides. Roller Skates. First sleepovers. Birthday Parties. Kindergarten. Letting go. Trusting. Faith. And then a gentle whisper to your soul and you are drawn. The day we have prayed for since conception has arrived. Your trust is placed in Him. Your life given to Him. Salvation. Forgiveness. New Life. A New Birth. Redeemed. Growing. Growing.

And then it seems that as quickly as you made your entrance into the world so to into manhood. Those dimpled toes are beginning to sprout and look like that of a man. That smooth baby face now has a roughness to the touch. Tall. Prestigious. Mature. The crackling voice and the awkward laugh. Yet that childlike faith continues. New revelations. New testings of your faith. Faith that is grounded. Faith that is secure. Faith that whispers to your soul. You are mine. All is well. I am in control and I am good. Jesus and Jesus alone. He is all you need. He is all you have ever needed. You know this full well and my heart rejoices. Questions unanswered. Plans not yet revealed. Yet full confidence in His will.

Now the life I once cradled, cradles me. My head rests upon your chest. Your tender touch of assurance that “Mom, I am fine.” You wipe away my tears and whisper all is well. He is in control. Our sustainer. Our deliverer. Our God. At that moment I know, my deepest heart’s desires have been fulfilled. You were never a right. You were never a choice. You are my privilege. You are my joy. You are my delight. You are my gift. You are LIFE. You are His breathe. His creation. His masterpiece. Perfectly flawed for His purposes. For His Kingdom’s glory. Nothing a coincidence. Not one moment of happenstance. No mistakes. Situations deemed flawed and cursed by the world but blessed and perfect by the standard of heaven. A weaving of His handiwork. A tapestry of His beauty. For His glory. LIFE x’s 4!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Loved The Way We Love Them"

There are many reasons why I love my boys, but nights like tonight when the laughs are gut wrenching and the excitement is at its greatest I engrave those reasons in the precious memory section of my heart.
It started as a normal evening...Mommy cooking diner. Joshua stealing french fries as fast as I can cook them. Matthew asking every 30 seconds when the meal will be ready because he is starving. Caleb holding on to every minute of play before the heart breaking call to come inside and Jacob claiming that he is never hungry unless swiss cake rolls are on the menu. The steak sandwiches were in the panini press and the fries were being taken up batch after batch and I realized we had NO ketchup. You can't have homemade fries without ketchup. Knowing that my nieces and nephew love ketchup as much as my children do, I knew they would come to our rescue. I left Matthew in charge of swapping over the french fries as I made my less than 5 minute journey in search of ketchup. On the way home I called and I heard Caleb's voice on the other end of the line. In his best "indian" accent voice he says, "Hallo" "Caleb, can you ask Matthew to take up the paninis and put two more on the grill." Continuing in the accent I love, he says, "What da matter? You do not think I can do dis? Do not doubt me lady, do not doubt me. Ok, done and two more on the grill." "Caleb, what is the status of Matthew's french fries?" "Fry, I see no fry. I see steam, lots of steam. What I need to do for you lady? Do not doubt me." "I'm around the corner so hold on. We need to finish frying those french fries, but I don't want you to get hurt." "Let me see here lady, I know what to do..." crackling, popping, whishing..."Caleb what was that?" "Lady, I have it all under control. Drop and run, drop and run. I just throw one in da oil and run away." At this point I am laughing hysterically at this accent and how hilarious my Caleb is. He can make me laugh like no one else can. As I open my front door and hope that behind the billows of smoke or steam as Caleb apparently calls it, I can find my way to the kitchen. I recognize Jacob sitting on the floor with his hands over his eyes yelling," my eyes, my eyes, the smoke, the smoke." Joshua begins to open doors and blow like the big bad wolf huffing and puffing the smoke from the house. I remove the pan ready to burst into flames while still holding 6 black and crispy french fries and in walks Matthew. Slowly. Calmly. "What's going on out here?" "Matthew, you left the grease on the stove and it was about to catch fire. You were suppose to watch the fries." "I did, but then after I took them up I wasn't sure what to do so I went to the back to rest. Mom, you really shouldn't leave an 11 year old boy with a brain tumor in charge of something that can catch fire. I'm just saying." The house did not burn down and we had the greatest night. The laughter filled the house as thick as the smoke. I love my children. The voices. The impressions. The dramatic covering of the eyes as they overreact. The lackadaisical attitude of my oldest son. Everything about them I love. As I think about how deeply I love them and how much I treasure spending time with them I am reminded even more how much my Heavenly Father loves me. I John 3:1 "How great is the love the Father as lavished on us that we should be called the sons of God and that is what we are." The love we have for our children pales in comparison to the love our Father has for us. It is so hard to imagine sometimes when I look into those faces and know how deeply I love them. But oh how much greater He loves me. Matthew 7:11 "If you then though you are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give goods gifts to those who ask him." Delight in Him. Embrace the time spent with your Father. He loves you. He rejoices over us with singing and he cherishes every moment we spend with Him. He is our Abba, Papa, Daddy, Father! He is our protector, our provider, our deliverer, our confidant, our wisdom, our comfort and everything else we need today or will ever need. Oh how He loves us!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Define Blessings"

I remember when I fell in love with him. It was the summer after my daddy had a heart attack. He sent me a letter filled with scripture and encouragement and asked me what I was learning while walking through this trial. I knew at that moment that this was the man I would spend the rest of my life with. The weeks and months that followed set the course for the rest of our life together as we sat on opposite ends of the couch talking well into the night about what God was teaching us, how He was changing our lives and what He was doing in the world around us. Though we aren't on separate ends of the couch anymore those talks are still my favorite. I was reminded of that tonight as we sat in a booth, in a quiet restaurant and once again broke the barriers of silence as we filled our corner of the building with what probably seemed like a buzzing of noise to those sitting around. To me that noise was sweet music to my soul. It was the continued building of oneness as I see God inscribing the same message on our hearts. As Matt began to share with me what God has been teaching him and doing in his life I realized that God has been working within my heart a similar message. Matt quoted a scripture tonight that the Lord has recently called him to dissect. Matthew 5:45 "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Too often in life we equate blessings with obedience and trials and tragedy with disobedience. Is the one suffering from cancer being punished for a disobedient act? NO! John 9:1-3 "As he went along he saw a man blind since birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." Trials, sickness, difficulties and hard times do not always come because we have sinned or are disobedient. They can come as the consequences of disobedience and bad choices, but this is not always the case. There are times when we must face circumstances in our life so that the "work of God might be displayed in our life." So I ask you...define blessings? Was this man's blindness seen as a blessing from birth. I am certain that his parents weeped and mourned their child's lack of sight, but when seen in the light of eternity it was a blessing. Anytime God can receive the glory as the work of His hand is displayed for all to see, then it is in fact a blessing. The day Matthew was diagnosed with a brain tumor a dear friend was waiting in our driveway when we arrived home from the doctor. I don't remember much about those first few hours but I remember something he said, "These are the times we don't ask why me God, but instead why NOT me." This statement stands out to me so vividly because Matthew said the same thing that night at the hospital. He had not heard our dear friend share this with me, but laying on the bed in the Children's Hospital ER I asked Matthew how he was feeling about all of this. "I don't really feel anything right now. I'll just take it one step at a time. At first I thought, why me and then I thought why not me? God will take care of it." The minute something this world finds difficult approaches our lives we begin to question God's blessings. We compare our lot with another's. We wonder what we have done to deserve this trial. Our eternal perspective is all wrong. None of this is about us. How selfish to even think this way! It is all about HIM and HIS glory and HIS plan. I remember hearing Steven Curtis Chapman after his daughter's death say, "When you look at a small section of a tapestry it does not make since and is not very pretty, but when step back and look at the whole creation it is a beautiful masterpiece." We are so distracted by the threads in the small patch that we forget that God is weaving within us and through us a beautiful tapestry for His kingdom's glory. How conceited of us to tag those things He filters into our lives as blessings or curses. My cancer years ago seemed like such a curse at the time, but proved to be a blessing as once it was gone God followed it with 4 little blessings. He used it to accomplish His purposes. The death of our sweet dog Gideon seemed like such a tragedy years ago, but in hinds site it has been a blessings since one of our children is deathly allergic to dogs. God's ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We must view our life and the circumstances in our lives with an eternal mindset. ALL FOR HIM AND FOR HIS GLORY!! (This is just a glimpse of our date night conversation, but do you see why I love him?) What have you tagged as a blessing or a curse in your life? What circumstances are you walking through right now that would cause you to want to trade places with another? Embrace this life that God has called you to. Ask Him how you can shine His light for His kingdom's glory. Ask Him to give you an eternal mindset as you walk in contentment whatever the circumstances. And Oh, how he loves us oh, Oh how he loves us, How he loves us all.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"The Moments That Change Our Lives"

Our lives can forever be changed in the twinkling of an eye. I can think of many moments in my life that have forever changed me. On March 16, 1996 when I said the words "I Do" my life was forever changed. In 1998 when in a groggy state I heard the doctor speak the words, "It's cancer" and I have never been the same. On four different occasions I have been blessed to have my life changed by a precious cry that broke through the silence of a delivery room and this heart has never been the same. On December 17 my life was forever changed when I heard the words "your son has a brain tumor." It doesn't take long. The words only have to be few, but forever you are changed. The course of your life, the way you live and the activities surrounding you are all changed in the twinkling of an eye. Around the dinner table in 1978 my life was FOREVER changed as I acknowledged Jesus Christ as my Savior. That decision, made at that moment has changed me and the way I have responded to all the rest of these moments forever. Without the peace of Jesus, without His love, without His eternal perspective and without His spirit reigning in my heart, my marriage, my cancer, my parenting skills and the nightmare of being told your son has a brain tumor would all have resulted in different attitudes and would have caused my life to look very different. But that moment at the age of 5 when I said yes to Jesus, I said yes to a change for the better. I gave up control. I acknowledged that He was now in control of my life and now all things were possible through Him. He takes the things that we think would be impossible for us to handle and He makes it possible, because we do not walk alone and now He handles those things. It is amazing how quickly life as we know it can change. Things that just weeks before we could do without a second thought can now cause us great difficulty. Matthew is learning this lesson right now as he adjusts to his life changing circumstances, but what he knows and WHO he knows is truth. Matthew understands that all of this is being filtered through his father's loving hands and he doesn't have to handle it because Easter sunday 2004 Matthew's life was forever changed when he asked Jesus into his heart and life. I will never forget the prayer that precious 5 year old prayed that day."Dear Jesus, I have sin in my life. Please forgive me. Come live in my heart and you be in control instead of me. Amen." Then those big brown eyes looked up at me and his daddy and said, "Now I'm not just your son, I'm your brother... in Christ." In that moment Matthew's life was forever changed. God began preparing him that day for what was to come. There is another moment that we long for that will forever change our lives. I Corinthians 15:52 says "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead in Christ will be raised imperishable and WE WILL BE CHANGED." The changes in this life may change how we live and how we view things on earth, but they are not permanent. One day my cancer will be gone, one day Matthew will no longer have a brain tumor, but we have the promise that in the twinkling of an eye WE WILL BE CHANGED. Why? Because we are in Christ. The very moment we called on Him, He not only changed our lives here on earth forever, but our eternity was forever changed. That hope is what makes the rest of this possible. That hope is what washes all of our fear and sorrow away. In the twinkling of an eye, in a sheer moment your life can forever be changed. JESUS can change your life for all of eternity. Call on His name. Say yes to Him. JESUS!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

'No More Sorrow, No More Pain"

When our children are just learning to speak we ask them this question, "Who loves you?" They begin to go down the list, Mommy loves me, Daddy loves me, etc. Then we ask them another question. "Who loves you the most?" To which they have all replied "JESUS." That is our prayer, that they would know that Jesus loves them the most and that in return they would love Him the most too. Today I realized just how very specifically this prayer has been answered.

Since Matthew's surgery 2 weeks ago, I have asked him at least 5 times a day, "How are you doing buddy?" To which he always replies, "Mom, I'm fine." Today I ask him to come and sit beside me on the couch. He looked really tired and weary and so I asked "How are you feeling today buddy?" To which he replied, "Mom, I know you are concerned about me, but please stop asking me that. I am fine and even if this tumor takes my life I will be fine." I gasped and said, "Matthew, don't say something like that. I don't even want to think that way." "Mom, no offense to you but if I had to choose between spending time with you or being with Jesus, I would choose Him. Just think about Heaven there is no more sorrow, no more pain. I haven't had much sorrow in my life, but I have had pain. To be with Jesus would be awesome. I long for that day, but I do love you." The whole conversation gave me a very uneasy, grateful, creepy peace. From a spiritual perspective as a mother I know this is the message we have engraved in his heart since he was very young. My heart is so encouraged to KNOW that this is his ultimate desire. I want him to long to be with Jesus. On the other hand, as a mother, this is the very thought process that scares you to death. I don't want to let go and in my heart I truly don't feel that I will have to right now, but none of us are assured of tomorrow. We are all planning to stay, but should be preparing to go. That is how Matthew spends his days. He is here! He is not going anywhere right now, but he is preparing for that day when he will see his king face to face. What an encouragement this should be to all of us. How are we preparing to go? What are we doing to prepare for the day when we meet our King face to face? What are we doing for His kingdom and His glory while we are here? Are we holding on to the people and the things of this world so tightly that fear of letting go interferes with our longing for Jesus? Do we spend our days in meaningless activities or are we seeking to make a difference for Him? One of Matthew's goals this year in planning to stay, but preparing to go is to read through the Bible. He started today. He is committed to this goal. He knows where is strength is found and where true wisdom is acquired. He is also in the process of writing the testimony of what has happened in his life over the last 2 weeks. He wants to turn it in at school as an essay. He also said, "Then it will be ready, if God ever asks me to share it with someone." He is planning to stay, but only for HIS glory. As a mom, I am honored, I stand in awe of God's faithfulness and I am challenged to know my Savior more and long for Him. What will you do in 2011 as you plan to stay, but prepare to go?