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.”
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.
The heat radiates from the soft skin as they snuggle close, mommy trying to comfort the ailing boy. This boy, the first-born holds her heart and makes it ache to see him any other way than normal, even if normal isn’t always accompanied by the obedience she hopes for. He lays so still in her arms, just wanting to be held. She breathes in the smell of him, already so grown up with just a hint that he is still her baby. She prays that hint will stay on him for a long time to come.
In time, the sickness leaves his body and he is back to running to and fro, barely having a moment for old mom. But she remembers. She remembers how all the other household chores seemed to fade into oblivion as she cared for this one boy. She remembers the way he wanted her to hold him close and stroke his head gently whispering prayers for his healing. Those prayers that ask that she might take this into her body that he might be free from pain.
And should the heat rise in his little body again; should he ache to be held, her arms will be ready and waiting. A prayer will already be on her lips. Every other concern will fade from her mind as she comforts him.
For there will always be more laundry and dishes. There will always be friends to chat with and books to read. But this moment, the moment where mother and child are all she knows will only last for a season. And that season is quickly disappearing.
She knows this is just a glimpse of how her heavenly Father feels about her. She knows that His arms too are always open for her. He waits to hold her should she want to be held. His love is there should her body ache or should her heart ache. He wants only the best for her. He always makes Himself available for her. And because of this deep, deep love, she knows that she has a haven of rest found only in Him. (Matthew 11:28) Just as her love for her baby will never end, she knows this is just a glimpse of the never-ending love He has for her.
May you find today the rest you need in the love He extends to you .
(Still working on THE STATEMENT…)
Merry CHRISTmas everyone!
Our family is having family Christmas in a couple of weeks when my brother comes home from the field. Because of this I decided that I am going to keep enjoying this Christmas season a little longer. In light of that and since I haven’t had much time to post this past month I will be writing my Christmas thoughts over the next two weeks. Nothing wrong with continuing one of my favorite holidays I say.
I watched a great new movie this week that I want to encourage you to take the time for if you get a chance this season. It’s called A Christmas Snow. A character called S. Albert Mitchell gives a great gift that I would like to leave you with today.
The gift of faith that you would have love for God in your heart,
the gift of friendship that you would learn to love others deeply,
the gift of peace that you would enjoy life to it’s fullest and have a heart filled with peace, the gift of family that you would embrace family no matter the circumstance,and most of all the gift of forgiveness, that you would discover,the healing and restoring power of forgiveness.
Merry Christmas and blessings on your new year!
Drip. Drip. Drip. It all started with a leak…a leaky nose that is. Well, actually it started before that, but I think I was too asleep to notice it. One little teether will do that to you. So, the little teether (Squeaky) had been put back to sleep after needing mommy and now Yummy was awake and desperately wanting Mommy. (This should have been a sign as he almost never wakes up after he is down for the night.) Daddy brought him to the couch to “sleep” with Mama while Daddy watched TV, but it wasn’t really working. He kept playing and sliding off, but I was way to out of it to do anything about it. Finally Daddy sent us all to our real beds.
Just a few hours later Yummy joined Mommy in bed and actually fell right asleep. (This should have been another sign as he only falls asleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed when something isn’t right with him.) He also stayed asleep longer than Squeaky which is not the norm. And with his rising the dripping arrived.
Just Friday I read this blog about a simple home remedy for a cold of honey and cinnamon. When my babies aren’t well my heart hurts and I am willing to do just about anything to make them feel better. So, this remedy was the first step of my Get Well Yummy plan. He was delighted to have something so tasty to start his day with.
The remedy was followed by apple spice pancakes and a spread of vapor rub on his feet and chest. Then my goal became liquid, liquid, liquid. I told Hubs that I was going to do for Yummy whatever I would have done had it been one of us who was sick. So, to the grocery store I went. Thankfully all the things I needed were on sale this week which meant I arrived home with OJ, chicken quarters and tissue paper.
Chicken went into a pot for homemade chicken soup. OJ got watered down with hot water and Yummy got lots of extra snuggles and prayers. Turns out it was one of my better batches of soup and even Squeaky delightedly enjoyed the softened vegetables and bits of meat he was given.
Dinner was followed by a warm bath for Yummy and another rub down of vapor rub. He also received a dose of the red liquid to help with the heat that was spread across his body. Then stories and prayers and another snuggle.
This is what I do. I care for my little brood. I pray for them, cook for them, cuddle them and support them. I take note of temperatures, kiss owies, sing lullabies in the middle of the night and love. I get tired, overwhelmed, worn out and somehow find the energy to do it all over again. I am mom…this is what I do. And every moment of everyday I thank God for a man who stands besides and does it all with me. I am one BLESSED woman. I am mom…and this, this is what I WANT to do.
Thinking a lot about relationships lately. Most really do come and go with the seasons of life. And some stay with you forever. If you let them, each one can create memories and become a part of you that will stay with you throughout your lifetime.
I love the way The Message Bible states Hebrews 13:1 – Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. I was thinking about what that meant…especially the held together by love part. What does that really mean to be held together by love? I think it means that love stops us from doing or saying things that would break apart a relationship. I think it means that we choose to be a prisoner of love. Every action we take is bound by love and can only act out of love.
I’m not really talking about romantic love here. I am talking about divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love. Otherwise known as agape love. This is the love that allows you to build a relationship without fear. It allows you to be the sort of person others want a relationship with. You are trustworthy and dependable. You take relationships seriously. This doesn’t mean you devote all your time and attention to one relationship. It does mean that you don’t build walls. It can be said that you have a purposeful response to promote good when responding to that which has generated ill-will. It also means that those things to which you have committed yourself to, you will follow through on.
I was thinking about what kind of friend I am. Am I one who allows my relationships to be held together by love or do I just let my relationships fall apart with the slightest breeze? I happen to have a pretty small circle of friends in my life, but there are many who I rarely see and yet am still bound to. I am there for them through thick and thin. I pray for them and hope for them and believe for them to see all that God has for them. They can trust me. These are the friends I carry in my heart.
But what about the other people. The ones that I am too busy with my own life to notice that God has put them into my path to love. I believe that God wants us to live with our eyes open. To not just glance around our life, to not just look beyond the moment, but to really see into right where we are at. To really be aware of what is in front of us. The God moments that are happening all around us.
If we really lived with our eyes open what would change about us? Would we start to look at others differently? Would we reach out to others more? Would we speak more kindly of those that come across our path? What would we have to do to stay on good terms with all of those around us? Are there things we can do to get tied together with love? Not just those people that we consider our “friends”, but those people that just step into our path for a brief moment. Is it really possible to fully live a life of love?
Perhaps there is a relationship waiting down the street for you. Perhaps Facebook or someone you meet through a blog will be just the person God wants you to be on good terms with. Maybe today is the beginning of healing for old wounds with a family member. You might just save the life of a friend. We cannot know our future except that God holds us in the palm of His hand and turns us towards the fulfillment of His plan for us. For me, it is a day to surrender to love.
And so I pray –
Dear Lord – I want to see the way You see. For too long I have been limited by my vision alone. I really need to lean on you in order to learn how to really love. I ask Lord that You would tie up my words and actions with love. I ask to be a made a prisoner to following Your word. Have Your way in my relationships. Help me to speak words that will build others up, not tear them down. My heart’s desire is to be on good terms with everyone that You have put into my path. Help me to be humble enough to admit that I have caused pain and grief and help me to bring the balm to heal those hurts. Once again, I submit myself to Your gentle hand which teaches me to love on purpose. As I would mold a ball of clay, I give myself to You to be molded. I trust You that I am becoming all You desire me to be. I am Yours Lord. Lead me into love. Amen
And for you my dear readers thank you. I look forward to staying on good terms with you as we are held together by love…this wonderful, magnificent agape love.
Happy Birthday to the man of my dreams! I love you so much. You are an absolutely amazing man and I treasure all the years we have had together and eagerly anticipate all the ones to come.
I asked him what his goals were for his thirties and his very first answer that he didn’t have to think about at all was “have more kids”. Isn’t he fabulous? I am one lucky woman.
Growing up as a second son of three he certainly isn’t a wall flower. He always has a goofy smile and a helping hand to lend to anyone who needs him. He rarely says no to anyone and can always be counted one once he gives his word.
One of those really smart kids in school he never lorded it over anyone. Everybody was his friend. And he treasured every friendship.
A real family guy who loves to have fun with them whenever he can. I was pretty fortunate to snag him at such a young age. We grew up together as we grew to love each other.
Marrying him was the beginning of what has been the happiest time of my life. We’ve gone through so much in the last nine years and the future is bright.
I know that he loves God with all his heart and nothing will ever change that. I respect him as a man, a husband and a father. His devotion to a holy life makes him unique and amazing. I trust him completely!
With our boys he is a wonderful dad. I love to watch them laughing and playing together. What a great role model for our boys…teaching them to live love.
Happy Birthday my darling one…and here’s to many more. ~Jessica
I ask my boys this daily. “Do you know, do you really know how much I love you?” Then I tell them…just in case. I say, “I love you more than the sands by the sea and the stars in the sky. I love you more than that.” Sometimes Yummy looks up at me and smiles. Sometimes he answers before I can tell him and says “sand sea, stars sky.”
My prayer is that they eventually both think of how much they are loved every time they look up at the night sky or visit the sea’s beautiful shore. The next question I always ask is “Who loves you more than that even?” To which Yummy has jokingly replied “Daddy…” Little stinker. He knows what I am asking him. I want him to know that no matter what happens Jesus loves him even more than we do.
Lately when I tell Yummy this he has been acting super goofy. He closes his eyes and pretends he is asleep. I guess this is his way of saying that he has heard it before. The longer I have been a parent the more I wonder how God deals with us as His children. How many times does He tell us He loves us and we close our eyes and say “Yeah, yeah God. That’s nice.” ? Have we heard Him saying it so often that it no longer means as much? Is it possible for us to be more complacent about His love? Or is it possible that His love for us is so great that whether we have our toes in shallow end or have waded in to our waist, there is still an ocean of discovery waiting for us to dive into? The simple truth is that His love is boundless. He eagerly waits for us to run into His arms. He waits for us to dance in His arms and drink of His new mercy every morning. He delights in sharing His love with us. It’s time for us to open our eyes and look at His glorious face. It’s time to open our ears again and REALLY listen. It’s time to fall in love all over again.
I ask you today that no matter where you are at; no matter what is going on in your life take a moment to really listen to your Daddy. Let His words of love crash over you like the waves of the ocean. Let them surround you like fog and blanket you like the one your mother tucked under your chin at night. Hear His gentle words whisper on the wind “I love you, My child, I love you.”
And just as I will continue to tell my children every day multiple times a day that I love them, so He will continue to tell you. He will tell you in the morning breeze and under the bright shining sun and with the twinkling stars at night. I LOVE YOU MY CHILD…MORE THAN THE SANDS BY THE SEA AND THE STARS IN THE SKY. I LOVE YOU!
I am thinking so much about the words of my mouth or my pen keyboard right now. Brought my mind back to high school…weird I know. Being on Facebook often makes me feel like high school though. Don’t you think that sometimes? I’m sure in high school I was seen as a brown nosed goody two shoes, (maybe I still am) but I definitely had my moments that required some sort of punishment.
One particular instance I have to be honest I cannot even remember what we (my whole class…like 3 or 4 boys and myself) did. I know we must have used our words to hurt someone. This I know because of the punishment. It has stuck with me all these years and I know it’s something I will never forget. We had to write out Ephesians 4:29 over and over.
Ephesians 4:29 reads – Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. (Amplified)
As a person this is a such an important concept to grab a hold of. It can change your whole life by following it. Relationships will be deeper and truer. Experiences will be richer and fuller and life will simply be more fun. The thing is as a parent I think there is almost nothing more important you can teach your children about what type of person they can be.
What you as a parent say today, is the thing that your child will be repeating tomorrow. Children can be pesky parrots. Words are so powerful. You can use them to build up or tear down. You can change atmosphere with your words…or lack of them too. You can create a child with filled with hope or promise, ready to tackle anything that comes their way or you can create a child worn down, bruised with a victim mentality heading into life ready to be crushed even more and knowing only how to crush others. You can create a marriage that has excitement waiting around every twist in the road and a spouse who will back you up and stand by your side through thick and thin or you can create a marriage that is filled with holes, spouses that seek fulfillment in others or other things and no one to cling to when the road gets rough. You have the power of words and you have the power to change how you use your words.
Today would be a great day to examine yourself. How do you speak to those you love? How do your speak to those you dislike? How do you speak to yourself? And how do you speak or write about others or things? Have you ever caught yourself mid-word and halted? Have you ever wished you had? have you ever said angry or hurtful things to your children or spouse and later had to go back and apologize? Have you ever pulled your child out of the dumps by offering them praise or comforted your spouse with gentle and soothing words?
Words can be great to give a second chance. Words can create excitement about life. Words can encourage someone to follow their dreams.
47 years ago tomorrow a man used his to create an atmosphere that encouraged others to look again at life in a new way! He used his words to change mindsets and build people up. His words still ring true today…
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This man was Martin Luther King JR. He lived a dream. He spoke a dream. He left a legacy that built others up.
It’s not just your children that are your parrots. You can speak or write words that will inspire others to follow your example. You can cause others to be encouraged to try to live a life of honor. By what you do and say you create or destroy. I know I want my legacy to be a legacy of creation. I want my children and my children’s children to live a legacy of love. That their words would be used to bless others always…simply because of how I use my words.
I encourage you today to be conscious of what you say. Listen to your words and your tone of voice. Be aware of how you compose what you write. BUILD OTHERS UP. SHARE YOUR DREAM THAT YOU ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DREAM. SPEAK LIFE AND LIFE ABUNDANTLY. RESTORE HONOR TO YOUR LIFE AND THE LIVES OF THOSE AROUND YOU BY THE WAY YOU LIVE LIFE.
I pray that my words to you today build you up and encourage you that we all can choose to speak life or death. By choosing words of life we build dreams that will never die!