Monday, September 28, 2009

Filling Up the Mothering Tank

I'm in a MOPS kind of mood today, having just returned from the MOPS national convention this weekend. Any mother with kids from infants to almost kindergartners,who needs to feel affirmed, honored, loved, included, among friends, understood, appreciated, and lightened, join your local MOPS group if you haven't already. Then reserve your spot at next year's convention, again in Nashville (Aug 5-7).

Our 3,700 hearts were filled by the worship music of Matt Redman, Christy Nockels, Matthew West, Plumb, and Natalie Grant. Yes, in person. (It's hard to beat the awed expressions on your kids' faces when you crank up the radio and say, "I met this artist. She sang for us this weekend.") We heard inspiring messages from pastoral leaders, comedians, and others we'd never heard of before but won't forget now. We were challenged by experts in the fields of mothering, education, writing, theology, business, and more.

We laughed til we cried and cried til our makeup washed away. We texted our way around the hotel or tweeted about getting lost in the confusing layout. Yes, a GPS system inside the Gaylord would have come in handy. We stayed up too late, giggling and snacking with our girlfriends, and spent hours debating theology, Africa, and God-given passions.

Did you know the difference between Batgirl and Wonder Woman? Me, neither. But I like it... Batgirl uses a cool-looking mask and cape plus a bunch of gadgets on her belt, her bike, her car, her wrists, her boots...all kinds of tools to make her look more like Batman. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, is a born super power. Her abilities come from within--super strength, super speed, stamina, flight, and cunning. She also has a few tools to help her win the day--the Lasso of Truth, an invisible plane, and indestructible bracelets.

With Christ in us, we are like Wonder Woman--our supernatural qualities come from Him and live within us. We do not need a mask or costume or fancy gadgets to make us look powerful or significant--we already ARE! The Spirit of God empowers us to live rightly, mother wisely, forgive quickly, work diligently, and love well.

That illustration is just a glimpse of the encouraging truths we MOPS absorbed this weekend. How refreshing and invigorating!

My caffeine levels are sinking back to normal. Time for a nap!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

4 years ago we had our first child and buried our first child. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my life. One year ago we lost our 2nd child through miscarriage. The past years I have asked God "why" more than once. Although I have asked "why" I know that God has a plan and I may never know this side of heaven what His plan is but I remind myself that one day I will know exactly why our first two girls were called to heaven before we were.

1 Corinthians 13:12 reminds me that one day we will be face to face with Christ and we will be able to see his perspective and have the answers to our "whys". Can you imagine what that will be like. Finding out the answer to some of our questions? I like the the way "The Message" says this. "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
" 1 Corinthians 13:12. This reminds me of a song that was sang in the church I grew up in.

What A Day That Will Be

Words and Music: Jim Hill

There is coming a day,
When no heart aches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

There’ll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

I mentioned in the beginning of this post about losing two precious children. There is now a National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day each year on October 15th. On October 15th at 7:00 pm you can light a candle in memory of your baby/babies or a friends baby/babies that have gone before us. This is a video that was put together about October 15th and lighting a candle. The Early Angels Group at FBC has a special service each year and it is scheduled this year for October 18th at 11:00 am. Our guest speaker this year is Debbie Heydrick author of the "I'll Hold You In Heaven Remembrance Journal". For more information please email Early Angels at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Assurance Through The Rain

I love the smell of rain. I love listening to it fall, watching it make puddles on the pavement, providing a drink for the birds. It's funny how I miss the rain when the heat is on, but once it's here for more than two days, I don't know about you, but I am ready to see it go away. Isn't it funny how we ask for something, get what we asked for and then want stipulations with it? God says whatever you ask, if you believe, you will recieve. Of course we need to be sure we are aligned with His will and way before we ask, but He delivers every time. Things may not come when we want them to, but they are always right on time. Even the rain.

I just noticed this year that my kiddos love to watch a storm roll in just as I do. There is something about seeing God at work during a storm. It amazes us how the clouds form, the color of the sky changes, and the wind takes on a different tone within minutes. Then the rain falls. We will stand out on our porch as long as we can with the mist sprinkling down on us, just enough to feel Gods' work. After a few minutes of that, the rain drops become larger and heavier and it's time to move back inside.

And so we wait out the storm. Sometimes sitting in a candle lit room, or just snuggled in bed waiting for it all to pass. Soon enough, the rain will stop, the storm will pass and the sun will shine again.

I believe it was on yesterday that the sun peeked through the clouds and provided a day of warmth after all the rain had fallen. I thought to myself, finally a break from all the water, short lived as it was. I was still in awe of just how amazing God is. He can do whatever He wants to do, when He wants to and how He wants to.

It looks as though we have a small break from the crying clouds. But as the hours pass, I know they will open up again and release more water for the earth, for us. The rain reminds me of my trials. Sometimes I can see them coming, at other times they blindside me to where I find myself in a down pour. Sometimes they open up with just a drop or two, and then scoot right on out the way. Other times they may just lingere on. But whatever the case may be, I know that God has it all under His control. That's my assurance so let it rain.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What's in a Word?

'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.' I remember as a child trying to really believe this. But words can leave scars long after bones heal.
I once read that a word is like a living organism, capable of growing, changing, spreading, and influencing the world in many ways, directly and indirectly through others. As I reflect the power of our word to incite and divide, to calm and connect, or to create and effect change, I have been listening to the words spoken around me.
Proverbs 18:21 says: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit."
The greatest good and the greatest harm are in the power of the tongue. The power behind words are that you probably can remember a time when words cut you down or when words lifted you up. And you probably remember who said them. Isn't that scary when we realize the responsibility we have when we open our mouths and speak!

Can you think of someone who uses their words to encourage, heal and help? I want to hang out with that person all day. They are a bolt of energy in a deflated soul.
Death words are critical, judgemental, negative and hurtful. The purpose is not for good. Words seasoned with the negative tend to drive people away. Not very effective for Christians wanting to share God's word.
May we all strive to speak words of life. To do so we must put on the mind of Christ and have an intimate relationship with Him, the living Spirit which dwells in us.
Proverbs 10:20, "The tongue of the just is as choice silver." In other words, good words are precious, valuable and scarce. "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life" Prov. 15:4.
In our platform of influence, may we choose words of life to reflect God's love on the world around us and build each other up so that His ultimate glory may shine!
Your life and words matters,

Thursday, September 10, 2009


"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised." Hebrews 10:35-36 Those words suddenly appeared on the screen at church on Sunday, and I did a double-take. I simply did not remember ever reading that first phrase before: Do not throw away your confidence. I actually grabbed my Bible and checked to make sure I'd really read it correctly. Yes, that's what it said. Interesting...

I have recently been praying about whether or not I am supposed to go to South Africa in January with a group from our church. Last week, God decided to answer that with a resounding yes. He made it clear to me that I was to return for a third trip to South Africa. (I had gone previously in 2007 and 2008.) I was so excited, and I began to share with everyone the amazing way God had spoken and how I was just thrilled to go back to Africa....and then, it happened. The doubts that creep in after making such a bold, dare I say, such a confident statement. I started having the conversations in my mind, "Maybe I made too much out of what I thought was God's response...Maybe I am just making it out to be what I want it to be...Maybe..." I dealt with that for a couple days, still believing deep down that God had called me out for this trip, but also wondering.

Then, on Sunday, I saw the above verse flash up on the screen in the midst of the worship service. And in that moment God spoke to me again through His Word. He reminded me that once He has clearly laid something on our hearts, we are not to toss it aside. We are to be bold in Him, confident in Him. He reminded me that He has a great plan that He has allowed me to be a part of, and I am to persevere in the things He has for me.

I am so thankful to serve a God who has great plans, and who allows me to be a part of them. I pray that those of you reading this will find refuge in Him this week, that you will persevere and do the will of God, and that you will step out with confidence and faith, knowing that God has called you to it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Flip-Flop Basket

I don't know about your family, but my family pretty much lives in flip-flops during the hot Texas summertime. Since my daughters usually wear out their flip-flops during the previous summer, not to mention they're growing and changing so quickly (along with their shoe sizes!), we starting officially kicking off the summer season by hitting various sales and buying many pairs of different flip-flops, in colorful hues. A few years ago, frustrated by trails of random flip-flops all over the house, I instituted the tradition of "The Flip-Flop Basket".

We adapted a bright lime-green plastic container that we already owned to its new seasonal purpose. The tub was placed in the laundry room (the first stop on the way into the house), filled with our rainbow of new flip-flops, and christened "the flip-flop basket". The girls slowly began to learn that I really meant business about keeping all the casual summer footwear confined to this one spot. All summer long, the flip-flops were retrieved from the basket, and (usually) returned, a little more worn and "full of tales" from all their many adventures.

This weekend, prompted by cooler morning temperatures, the new school year, and my incessant longing for fall, I started packing up all our summery decor. Into storage went the collections of seashells, summer floral displays, bowls of (realistic-looking!) fake cherries... along with our new bits of nature's treasures we'd added from this particular summer...from Walden Pond, Cape Cod National Seashore, Colorado, summer camp, the creek down the street...

In their places, I am ready for mums, for pumpkins, fresh apples, autumn colors, crisp fall mornings and maybe a pumpkin spice latte (or two!) from Starbucks.

God truly knew what He was doing when He created the changing of the seasons. As humans, we have curious simultaneous longings.. both for change and for the familiar, the comforting. C.S. Lewis described this brilliantly in his masterpiece, "The Screwtape Letters". In the various descriptions of how God has designed human beings, he says that "He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm. He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme."

With all due respect to C.S. Lewis (one of my all-time favorite Christian authors!), I couldn't help while reading this but think that every year is not quite the same. And oh how well do those of us with children know this. As ready as I am for my favorite season of autumn, it is still bittersweet to pack away the memories from this summer. This particular summer will never come again. We hope to have many more fun family vacations, trips and memories... but we will experience those with girls who are a little older.. a little different.

We do believe with all our hearts that God has very special plans for our lives together as a family. The one thing that will never change is His love for us, and His hopeful future for us. We greet the changes with excitement and anticipation!

But I still couldn't help a wistful Mommy smile as I placed the flip-flop basket into the cabinet... and closed the door.

To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;

A time to kill, and
a time to heal;
a time to break down, and
a time to build up;

A time to weep, and
a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and
a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and
a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and
a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and
a time to lose;
a time to keep, and
a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and
a time to sow;
a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;

A time to love, and
a time to hate;
a time of war; and
a time of peace.
--Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Find the Joy

Psalm 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice [be joyful] and be glad in it.

Well, it is the time of year when kids return to school, and we are in our "honeymoon period" so to speak. Everything is new, the kids are excited to learn about their teachers, find out what friends are in their classes, and anticipate how the school year will go. The second week of school when the newness is already beginning to wear off, I asked my oldest, "How was your day today?" Well, she then launched into each of her three switch classes, commenting on how this teacher doesn't smile, and that teacher is hard, and she just couldn't find the joy in the third teacher's class! I had to laugh...what an interesting way to describe the third class...I love that!

So, I asked, "How do you think you could find joy in that class?" To which she replied, "I don't know, I prayed for a good year, and now I don't know if it will be!" I said, "What makes you think you won't have a good year, if you prayed about it? Let's pray right now that God will help you find the joy in that teachers' class every day. Even if it is the smallest thing. I want to challenge you to look for the joy!" Well, I am happy to report that she found joy when her teacher made her laugh after discussing a video they watched. She then found joy the next day when she received an assignment to write about a personal experience (she likes to write and was excited about the subject she chose).

This conversation caused me to reflect on whether I take the time to stop every day and intentionally find joy in something! Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the busy-ness of the day, that I just let it suck the joy right out of me! Even on the most hopeless days, there is joy to be found. For example, it is a joy to hear my twin girls talk and play together early in the morning when they wake up. They are so sweet and engaged with each other. The girls share such a special bond that is a joy to observe!

When I was young, and complaining to my mom about feeling down or grumpy, she would suggest that I think of something to do for someone else. That is a proven recipe for joy. It is a built in blessing that God has given us. We cannot let the enemy steal our joy, even while serving others. Gal 6:9 So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.

Another wise word from mom was to always count my blessings. Find the good in everything. I Thessalonians 5:17-18 says "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

So we now have a theme for the school year, to find joy in every day!