The Saving Mom Parents


Winds of Change

Posted in LIFE by The Saving Mom on August 15, 2011
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Dear Ones-
I realized that time is just speeding by and my life is growing and changing in such abundantly wonderful ways and I need to change with it.  In light of that I’ve found that this blog location doesn’t really fit me the way it did when I first started blogging.  I’m settling into a new home here on WordPress and I would love it if you would come find me and hear all about why I’m making the change. Minding My Miracles
See you soon.
-Jessica

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Something beautiful…someone beautiful

Dear Ones –

If you grew up in a Christian environment in the 80’s and 90’s like I did you know a lot of simple little songs or hymns that are overflowing with heartfelt meaning.  My kids actually have a lot of tapes (yes, actual cassette tapes) with a good portion of these songs  on them.  I actually find this to be a blessing because I get to hear all this music and get reminded of my childhood.  And every once in a while one of those songs jumps out at me and says “why don’t you add me to your repertoire?”

Today I heard the song “Something Beautiful, Something Good.”  I know I needed to hear this song today.  I have really been struggling the last little while.  My cousin is very sick and yesterday I was told that very soon she will be joining Jesus in a face to face way.  To be honest my heart is breaking.  Perhaps you remember the videos from last year of Cousin B.  and my mom riding office chairs down the street at our garage sale.  So vibrant, so full of life.  She truly is someone beautiful.  It is never easy to lose someone from your life and often the prospect fills you with confusion.  I know I have confusion as to why it seems God is about to take her home.  I know she will be out of pain and for that I would rejoice.  Why won’t He take the pain away here and now?  I don’t know.  I don’t have answers for this stuff.  I know this is the kind of stuff Ann Voscamp refers to as “the hard eucharisteo”.

So, today when I heard this song and was reminded that He understands all my confusion and He is here with me I was comforted.  He is the one who holds the answers to all my questions.  He is the one who takes the pain and turns it into something beautiful.  I am reminded that He is the fixer of broken-ness.  I don’t have answers today. I may not ever have answers on this one.  But I know I can trust Him.  His love truly holds us all.

My Dear Beth –
I know that you may not read this, but I just wanted to tell you how much I love you. I love the sense of exploration you always live with. I love your beautiful smile that lights up a whole room. I love that you have always been so generous with all that you are. I love the way you question everything. You encouraged me to be the same. You encouraged me to look into raw eating and experiment with flavors and tastes. I can’t believe that I like chocolate avocado pudding. You’ve encouraged me to find more words to explain what I believe. You’ve encouraged me to listen more to others about what they believe. I am a more open person because of you. Thank you so much for your love. I still pray for a miracle and am trusting God that His miracle will bring you true peace. I love you.
Jess

Something Beautiful, Something Good (click title for youtube link)

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokeness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life

If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And hope for life’s best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of life
And laid it at the cross.

~Jessica

 

 

 

As You Wish…..

Posted in LIFE by The Saving Mom on August 2, 2011
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Dear Ones –

Today marks the 10 year point.  10 years since my bare feet floated down the red cement hurrying to join my life to his.  10 years since the hot summer day when I promised to love and cherish and was given this promise in return.

How do I sum up 10 years in one little blog post?  How do I tell him that I am more in love now than I was that day he gave me this ring I wear?  How do I express how grateful I am for his love, compassion, patience and faithfulness?  How do I tell him that even though I thought he was everything I dreamed for he is sooo much more than that?

Maybe I should tell you why he is so special.  Long before I ever even thought of him he used to sweep out the cafeteria at school so I didn’t have to on my clean-up day.  When I first fell in love with him it was because I saw him worship his Creator.  That was the number one thing on my list.  A man who would be totally committed to His God.  A man who would love me out of his understanding of the love of God.

    

He is the type of guy that rubs my feet after he’s had a really long day.  Even after he works hard he’ll come home and carry laundry all around the house so I don’t have to tote heavy baskets up and down stairs.  And now he’s got a new hook to keep me around…it’s the way he parents.  He loves his kids so much.  He loves to play with them all the rough and tumble things boys need that mom just does not want to do.  Of course, he also wants to teach them all those little boy things like using a magnifying glass to start a leaf on fire.  He longs for them to be free to experiment and discover all the amazing things God has created for them.  I guess I’ll just have to keep a close eye on what those boys are up to.

When we got married we didn’t realize how perfectly suited for each other we were.  We both felt that God had picked the other one out for us, but we didn’t realize the extent of what that could mean.  We had no idea that we’d be sci-fiers together.  We didn’t know that our dream together, would be to have our own sustainable farm.  We didn’t know how much we’d enjoy road-tripping together.  We thought life was good, but we didn’t know it would develop into GREAT.

Lately we’ve been watching The Cosby Show on Netflix.  Even though our parents are very different from each other in some episodes we see my parents and in some episodes we see his.  Last night the episode we watched we realized that we saw ourselves.  Now that was a good laugh.  It’s funny how the longer you’ve been married the more you can become like an old married couple.  And we are…an old married couple…an old happily married couple.  We really do delight in spending time with each other.  We really do want to be together almost all of the time, even after all this time.  He is my best friend and I am his.  Everyday just gets better and better.  This is not saying every moment is perfect, but they all work together for our good.  We learn, we grow, we delight in each other.

There is no one I would rather spend my moments with.  There is no one I would rather share my stories and secrets, successes and failures with.  This man of mine is pretty special and I never want to let him go.  I wish that I had the words to describe how special he really is.  I can only pray this prayer.

I thank You Lord for giving me a man better than I dreamed for.  I thank You Lord for connecting me to a person who I could grow with into all You dreamed us to be.  I thank You Lord for making this match that truly desires to honor You with all that we are.  I thank You Lord for teaching us that life isn’t all about rose petals and candles, but that sometimes it can be.  Lord, life is so good.  We are so blessed.  Thank You God.  Thanks a million.

Babe, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.  In fact, now that I know I would actually run down the aisle to get to you.  I promise again to love, honor, cherish and submit to you…and this time I sort of actually know what all that means.  I am so eager to see what God will bring us in the next ten years.  I am looking forward to the ups, the downs and everything in between just so long as we’re together.  For I have discovered, that life (with you) is the greatest adventure of all.

Oh, and Jordan…EeEeEeEeEeEeEeEeEeEe

Soaking this in today…

Posted in LIFE,Spiritual Relationship by The Saving Mom on July 10, 2011
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Dear Ones –

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

(The Message)  Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

(King James Version) Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(Amplified Version) Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

(New International Version) Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

(New Living Translation Version) Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Here are just a few versions of these words of encouragement.  Take out your own version and look them up for yourself.  Today might not be the perfect day.  You may have gotten some bad news.  You might not be feeling your best.  Or everything may be going well.  You may have woken up with a song on your lips.  No matter what I encourage you to take a moment and allow yourself to tune in to this challenge and go for it.  I  will be and I would love to hear about your journey too.

~Jessica

Is this for real?

Posted in LIFE by The Saving Mom on July 8, 2011
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Dear Ones –

Sometimes our country feels so split.  We argue about politics, religion, abortion, family, human rights, how to eat, how to raise or not-raise children and anything else that jumps into our day-to-day.  We get so caught up on policies and ideas and principles that we forget about people.

We are split because we are always judging.  We judge the way others think.  We judge the way they respond to circumstances.  We judge that there is no way others could be right, because that might make us wrong.  We become so critical in our thinking that we forget to see the beauty in others.  And, we forget to see the hurt.  We miss that someone else might be defensive about abortion because when they were 15 they had one and have felt guilty and belittled ever since.  We close our eyes to the fact that someone might speak harshly to their children because their parents beat them and this is the best they can do in order to not beat theirs.

We self-righteously put on airs around those who go to a different kind of church than us or worse yet, no church at all.  I mean, after all, they must not really be getting into heaven if they believe differently than us.  We are so blind to the fact that most people HAVE to put on some sort of armor just to make it through the day and don’t know any other way to protect themselves.  We live in a world where only what we do is the right action and what others do generally is just a paltry comparison.  And then we dare to call ourselves free.

Oh yeah, we’re free.  Free to judge.  Free to condemn.  Free to look down.  Free to fake compassion.  Free to climb onto our own personal pedestals.  Free to imprison ourselves in a cage of our own making.  There is so, so much more.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to give all that up and be truly free?  Have you ever wondered where you could go and who you could be if you were not restricted by the “freedom” you impose on yourself?  Do you ever think – there has to be another way?

The answer is “yes – there is another way.”

Galatians 5:13-14
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.

~Jessica

Dear Dad

Posted in LIFE by The Saving Mom on June 19, 2011
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Dear Dad –

This year for Father’s Day you asked us to write down for you something that you taught us.  Sitting around the table we made a joke of it.  Most things at our family table become a joke…and usually it’s you or me who seems to be the butt of it.  Good thing I inherited the ability to laugh at myself from you.  Not that we haven’t dug our own holes…

You must have known, of course, that I would use my blog to write what you asked.  Sadly, I must remind you that I don’t have a good set of memories from childhood (due to that rollerblading accident).  Fortunately, this brain of mine has not given up completely on my memories.  I still remember all those mornings when you and I would go to the first church service together and sing along the way.  Because you not only tolerated, but encouraged me to sing with you I learned to make a joyful noise to the Lord and find joy in it.

Although I do have a somewhat foggy memory of you teaching me to ride a bike, it is pretty hard to see.  I do, however, remember clearly the moment of seeing that fantastic orange banana seat bike you gave me.  What a great bike. If only you had kept me from wearing those glasses when I rode it.

My love of reading comes from both you and mom, but one of my most favorite memories is when we read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe together as a family.  You made that book come alive to me.  It will always be one of my favorites.  I look forward to my kids being old enough for me to read it to them.

Recently, I was watching Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz preach a message and she said “It’s no secret, but my dad was not a good dad.”  She spoke of how he never tucked her in at night, read her stories, hung out and talked with her or did any normal dad things.  I believe that this is true of a lot of pastor’s kids.  It’s not my story though.  You definitely made time for us.  You included us in everything you could.  You taught us about a relationship with God being inclusive instead of exclusive.  Church life was really family life.  I am so happy to be able to say that my dad was a good dad who taught me what a good dad God is.

It’s a good thing you like mnemonics and catch phrases so much since you did have the problem so many preachers have with bad jokes.  Here are a few of my favorites…
You feel what you feel because of what you think about
You feel what you feel because of how you think about what you think about
Emotions follow thought

MAAAH – Mistakes Are Absolutely Allowed Here

EHAH – Everything Has A Home (This is one I wish I had really learned to put into practice as a child…because I am still working on it. Maybe I needed an additional one > TMSEABM (Too Much Stuff Equals A Big Mess). Good thing there is still time for me to work on this one with my kids.)

In many ways, you mirrored God the Father to me.  You loved me unconditionally and made time for me.  You sang me songs and hugged me tight.  Just like many do with God we’ve had our share of battles.  Certainly, not every moment was a great one.  But with love and understanding we found a way to draw close and a common peace to rest in.

Dad, you taught me that every moment of life can be an adventure.  And that actually getting out and making your own adventures is a valuable tool in life. One adventure I happily recall was traveling to Europe with you.  I definitely got pushed out of my comfort zone on that one.  And that trip has memories no head injury can ever take away from me.

There really are so many things you’ve taught me over my life, but one of the most important things is something that will be a daily part of the rest of my life.  You taught me what I should expect from a man as a husband and father.  You taught me not to settle for someone who wouldn’t treat me right.  You taught me that there can be real love that lasts a lifetime and shows its characteristics through faithfulness, passion, respect, care, laughter, forgiveness and sacrifice.  Because of the kind of man you are, I had a good example of the kind of man I wanted to marry.  Because you taught me that a man who loves God with all his heart will love his wife the same way, I looked for that kind of man.  You showed me that a man who loves kids is a man who is gentle of spirit and compassionate and I looked for that kind of man.  You helped me understand that a real dad simply reflects his Father and this is the type of man you are.  You reflect your heavenly Father.

I am proud to call you my dad.  I am thankful to have had you raise me.  I am blessed to have the memories I do of all the good times we’ve had.  I appreciate knowing that laughter is a good medicine and love is the greatest healer of all.  I celebrate you today dad.  Happy Father’s Day!

~Jessica

Fathers

Posted in LIFE by The Saving Mom on June 17, 2011
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This is the post where I ask for your input.  I really want to know.

Never before can I remember my parents asking for something specific on a day they will receive gifts from their kids without being asked, but this year they both did.  My dad asked that we would all put in writing something we had learned from him, appreciated about him, something of value he had instilled in us.  Thankfully, this is not actually too difficult of a request for me because I was already writing something of this sort (in shortened form) trying to win something for him for the day.

It got me to thinking though.  Each father in his own way teaches us something unique and different.  Hopefully, you learned something positive from your dad, but maybe it was the opposite.  Maybe you learned something about how you don’t want to be.  At least we can turn it all around for the good if we need to, right?

Anyway, I will be posting my lessons on Sunday, but in the meantime I wanted to ask you what your dads taught you.  Anybody have a funny story of a lesson learned?  Does someone have a life-changing moment they experienced with their dad they will never forget?  Do you have just simple everyday lessons that spoke to you?  I really would love to hear what you have to say.

~Jessica

Guilty Christians

Yesterday Hubs and I were listening to a local radio station and they were discussing this blog about the top 10 religious companies (excluding Chick-fil-a).  They were talking about the different things that companies do that make them this way.  Some companies stamp a scripture reference on the bottom of their bags.  Some just reflect it in their business practices.

Then a woman called up and started saying that these companies which fall into the Christian status don’t go all the way and so they shouldn’t be counted as Christian companies.  Then she said, “Well, who am I to judge?  I guess I don’t really live Christian all the time either.”

How many times in life have you heard this sort of a “Christian” conversation?  One person judging another and then saying that they shouldn’t do that because they don’t live up to those standards themselves all the time anyway, but still they DO judge the other one.  They see clearly the splinter in another’s eye and think they should say something about pulling it out.  This is often the Christian way.  (Matthew 7:1-5) No matter how often we are told not to judge, we judge.  Oh, we often say it’s “out of love”.  We pretend that we’re just trying to help.  I mean, if they could only see how false they are they would want to change, right?  And so we should point it out, right?  Because clearly, if we had the same problem we would want to have someone else point it out to us.  Because we all want to change and be more “Christian”, right?  We all want to live all “Christian” all the time…right?  And we all want our faults and failures and lack of Christianity to be in the light, so everyone can see them, right?  Because that will help us change, right?  That will help us be “more Christian”.

Once this dinner of judgement happens, the dessert of guilt becomes the Christian taste of choice.  There is the guilt of the judgement from other Christians, the guilt of judgement by non-Christians and the guilt of judgement from ourselves.  And what is the guilt for?  It’s for not living Christian enough.  It’s for all those places we fall short of living just the way Jesus did.  It’s for not measuring up to the list of standards placed on what Christians are supposed to be like.

When I heard that woman on the radio something inside of me began to jump up and down.  It was like I suddenly heard these words, “What?  Since when does being Christian mean being perfect?…Since when does being Christian mean we have all these have-to’s and do not’s?”  I would like to contend that being a Christian means that you follow the ways of Christ, not that you ARE Christ.  Because in my mind if being a Christian means being an exact replica of Christ then I do not know ONE person who is a Christian.  None of us live perfectly.  We all fall short on what we expect a Christian to be like.  We ALL have at least a splinter, if not a whole log, in our eyes.  We ALL trip and stumble on the path.  We aren’t THE LIGHT.  We are just following after THE LIGHT.

I believe that before God we are perfect.  Before God we ALWAYS measure up.  Because God sees us through Jesus.  Jesus, the ONLY way to the Father, has redeemed us.  As we live following Jesus on earth God is NOT looking at our earthly performance to see if we measure up to His standards.  He looks at what Jesus has done and welcomes us.  Once again I must say “Thank you Jesus.  Without You, I would be up a creek without a paddle.”.

Because you see, sometimes I do feel guilty over my actions.  I don’t always follow Christ.  When I realize that I’ve yelled at my kids, I hate that feeling.  When I have dis-honored my husband by speaking badly about him or made him feel inadequate as a partner the guilt settles over me like a heavy blanket.  Why?  Because that’s not how a “Christian” wife and mother should act.  Some people get a guilty feeling when they leave someone’s presence and realize that they didn’t tell that person about Jesus and His great love for them.  Some people feel guilty when they don’t pray for the sick (because maybe they didn’t want to feel the embarrassment of that person not being healed).  I mean, after all, doesn’t the Bible say -lay hands on the sick and they shall recover?  Maybe the real guilt comes from the fact that our actions often reveal a lack of trust in God rather than the profound and unique mindset that comes when we do live out of complete trust and faith in Him.

Have some things come to mind that make you a Guilty Christian?  Flipping off another driver, modeling anger to your children, speeding, breaking a park rule, not helping an elderly lady find her car in the parking lot, being late for church, having a fight in the car on the way to church, not cleaning your house, watching too much TV, watching a show on TV that has a lot of bad stuff in it, listening to non-Christian music, not giving the homeless the shirt off your back or even $5 bucks, not caring for a sick person and the list could go on and on.  You know where your guilt comes from.

And this is my challenge to you -LET GO OF THE JUDGEMENT AND GUILT.  You don’t have to be Jesus.  You don’t even have to live like Him.  If you choose to, however, then you get to see amazing things.  You get to feel amazing things.  You get to do amazing things.  Living like Jesus isn’t that hard, unless you try to live like Him in your own strength.  When it’s you, you will always fall short.  When you live like Him, in Him, that’s when you start to live really differently…the way your heart cries out to live.  Trying to BE Jesus will only bring you stress and frustration because you cannot be Him.  Following after Him…that’s where peace comes from.  And that is what I believe a Christian is…a follower of the Way.

Please I ask you, stop judging one another.  Stop judging yourself.  Do your best and when you fall down, get back up and try again.  Offer a hand to the fallen and support them in their journey.  Follow after Christ and live the way He showed how to live.  Those who do not follow will reflect whatever followers show them.  If followers are judging each other they will see the hypocrisy of that and judge the followers too.  If they see followers loving and supporting each other, then there is an opportunity for them to be drawn in by that love and come into relationship with Jesus.  Without judging ourselves and each other, we have no reason to live in a guilty state.  We can really be free the way the sacrifice of Jesus made a way for us.  We can live in a state of thanksgiving instead of a state of guilt.  I believe that is a much better place to live.  So next time you are tempted to point out someone else’s splinter, let it go.  They may not be living as completely Christian as they could, but is it really your place to point it out?  And next time you fall short, let it go.  You may not be acting out all Christian, so just turn and go the other way.  Show your kids and others around you that a life lived in judgement and guilt is really no way to REALLY LIVE.

My small (or great) act for today is to let go of judgement and guilt and to grab onto freedom and LIVE.  I would love to have you join me.  Let me know if you’re in.
(‘Cause if our God is for us then who could ever stop us and if our God is with us then what could stand against us!)
~Jessica

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