Sunday, March 23, 2014

Joy In The Journey

Sometimes I grumble.  Ok, lots of times but I do tend to do it quietly when no one else will hear.  But God hears.  He hears when I am sad or frustrated or overcome with the pressures of life.  He hears when I feel like I can't go on and when I feel utterly defeated.  How wonderful that God listens to me even in the midst of my imperfect delivery.  In those moments, an amazing thing happens.  When my burdens have been shared (or grumbled about) I can move forward.  Not always with a tremendous amount of joy but as the time passes, I am able to again see all that I have been blessed with and need to give thanks for.

And so I do.  I begin to speak those things which are so close to my heart.  The joy of my husband, children and home.  The joy of provision for our life.  And as I take time to acknowledge the many ways God provides, I find myself slowing able to find the joy in middle of the pressure and defeat.  I am not promised an easy bump-free rode to travel.  I am not promised sunny skies and the absence of storms.  I am, however, promised that God will never leave me or forsake me.  God will always be there.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A lesson in blooming...

A brief trip to the backyard today presented me a lovely suprise. All three of my rose bushes were not only flowering but doing so in abundance. I marveled at the beautiful colors that swayed in the wind and the sight of those colors in the midst of the bright green leaves. I grabbed my pruners to cut some roses and as I did so, I felt so many thoughts welling up inside me. I was pruning those branches and I couldn't help but recall the numerous times I have heard sermons or bible studies talking about how the Lord prunes each of us in our lives. He systematically cuts away the dead or unnecessary branches so that we might become more fruitful for Him. A wonderful analogy and one worth remembering but that wasn't what struck me today.

I thought back over our summer here in Dallas, the intense heat and unrelenting dryness. I didn't pay much attention to those rose bushes in over 100 degree temps and lately we've had lots of wind and rollercoaster temperatures. The conditions may not have been ideal but those roses had the two things they needed, sun and (eventually) rain. God provided for the most basic needs and despite the other harsh conditions, there they were, those beautiful, fragrant blooms.

I couldn't help but wonder if that was the true lesson for me today. God promises to provide for my needs and He does. He doesn't promise that my circumstances will be ideal but I am challenged to find the joy and by faith to proclaim His goodness and mercy in the midst of those struggles. I am supposed to bloom regardless of hardship and, in doing so, point back to the one who sustains me and cares for me. In those moments, God is glorified.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

God is in the details...

We have been trying to teach our boys that God cares about them. Not just whether they follow Him or not but I mean really care. The hairs on their head, whether they are clothed and fed or even if they get something they have been wishing for. It's an abstract thought though scripture is clear about His love and care for us.

We've (Scott and I) been going to the homeschool bookfair in Arlington, TX for about 7 years now. We usually go by ourselves but 2 years ago, we took our boys. My youngest was 6 then and not thrilled about wandering aimlessly around booths filled with curriculum and the latest and greatest in homeschooling. That is, until we found a booth selling wooden swords and daggers. The kind that any little boy would love to have to fight the odd dragon in the backyard. He was smitten. We put him off with promises that next year we would get one. That didn't happen. We attend the bookfair on Sat. but it runs on Friday which is the busiest day and things often sellout. Such as it was for the swords and daggers last year. There were none to be found. So when this year approached, we promised that if we could find one, we would get it for him.

We considered going to the bookfair on Friday just for the purpose of buying the dagger however, it's awfully far and would definitely make a lower priced toy a more hefty purchase. So we waited. Saturday came and we were up and leaving but 30 minutes later than I wished. I was frustrated because we were running late and feeling the push to get there to begin our search. I decided, as I should have earlier, to pray. I know that God cares about us and my son so I took the time to make a request that we find a dagger for our youngest. We arrived at the bookfair and the parking lot was already very full. I'm talking hundreds of people or perhaps more not to mention the thousands that had been there on Friday. We checked in and made our way to the booth we knew would have the goods. As I approached, I saw it. There in the rack, a wooden dagger. I grabbed it instantly, held it close and shared with the booth owner that I was so glad he still had one because our 8 year old had wanted one for a while now and I know how quickly they sell out. I was beyond excited.

The booth owner smiled and told us that he had been very busy and had almost sold out of the swords but he was glad we found what we wanted. He went on to share with us that he had brought lots of swords and shield but had only brought one dagger that year. ONE! That dagger was set aside for us to purchase for our son. In that moment, I felt humbled and thankful and amazed that God saw fit not just for us to be able to get the toy for our son, but that He made it so abundantly clear that He had been in the details.

It was amazing to share that story with our son when we saw him. I gave him the dagger and he immediately began to envision the battles and slaying that would take place. I asked him to stop his battles for a minute and began to share the story. I told him that God had set aside that dagger just for him. He had the man make it just for him. I have never seen such excitement or wonder as he repeated, "he made it just for me?"

Day by day, hour by hour God is present offering His love, encouragment and miracles if we take time to look. God is in the details and He loves you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Anticipation - a celebration and a conference

It's here!! Christmas. I love this time of year for a number of reasons. The decorations, colder weather and the general excitement that comes with having 3 boys in the house who are eagerly awaiting the day. The thing I love most is our time spent doing the Advent wreath as a family on Sunday nights. We started this when our boys were much younger (1 1/2, 3 and 5) and now at 11, 9 and 7 they look forward to lighting their candle, reading the scripture and proudly sharing the name of "their" candle. In the hustle and bustle of everything around us, it is a wonderful way to stop and focus on why we celebrate. The birth of our Savior. It is my hope that you will take time to stop, focus and breath in the words of Luke, "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord."

I also anticipate the registration for the Mom Heart conference put on by Whole Heart ministries. I will be attending my 5th year this February and am eagerly awaiting the refreshment, encouragement and recharging I get from this wonderful time. Please take a minute and look at

Monday, July 19, 2010

Time marches on...

An I seem to be running behind to catch up. Since I last posted my middle son went from a small 8 years old to a big 9 and is now in Webelos. My youngest is now a Wolf in cubscouts and my oldest will turn 11 on Thursday. 11!! I can't believe it. Sometimes I think time isn't so much marching as running as fast as it can.

10 years ago this past June, my husband and I were blessed to become the parents of our oldest. We stood before a judge in Orenburg, Russia, answered many questions and were declared the legal parents of our sweet son. Fast forward 3 years and we sat in a Developmental Pediatricians office to hear the news that our sweet, gentle boy had autism. I was mentally prepared at the time but there is something about hearing it said out loud and seeing it written in a report that makes it....real.

That fall when he started ABA therapy at 4 yrs old, he was barely putting 2 words together. We prayed that he would meet that milestone by Christmas. And here we are countless therapies, doctors appts. and miles driven, hours spent praying, crying, hoping and laughing. Special diets, supplements, treatments and boatloads of $$ spent.

Thursday July, 22 my oldest son will turn 11. He is an opinionated, Jesus loving preteen who speaks in sentences and paragraphs, love cars and wants a Nintendo DS for his birthday. He still has some struggles and there is more work to be done but God has blessed us with an amazing son. Not because of his "progress" but because of who he is.

Happy Birthday son. I am blessed to have been chosen to be your mom and am a better woman because of you in my life. God bless you in the coming year and may you always know you are loved immensely and that you, my son, are a child of the King.

Love, Mom

Friday, April 9, 2010

A lesson from a stranger...

I was at the post office a few weeks ago standing in line and there was a small boy looking at the greeting cards. (yes the post office sells greeting cards now) The woman manning the passport office saw him and asked him not to play with the cards. His father looked back at him and asked him to come over to him. The little boy looked up at him with a scared/embarassed face and the man said this, "it's ok son. You didn't do anything wrong", put his arm around him and stood waiting for service. He finished his business and left the building.

A few minutes later I saw this same man with his son walking into the post office striding purposefully past the lines and straight to the passport office where the woman who spoke to this boy was sitting. The man walked to the door and after initial pleasantries he said this, "I wanted you to know that I told my son he could pick a card. He was reading them. He wasn't playing with them. This boy wouldn't do that." She quickly apologized and he restated that he understood but his son wouldn't do that. No anger or raised voices involved. He simply came to the defense of his son.

I was moved by this and felt the tap tap tap of the Holy Spirit on my shoulder. How many times have I been in a store when I see someone walking down the aisle and my children move over and I *gulp* apologize for their being in that person's way. I know I'm not alone in this and there are times when a quick, "I'm sorry" might be appropriate. But, I was made painfully aware at that moment how often I apologize for my children instead of standing with them. I so quickly shift from their mother and protector to someone who apologizes because they are behaving like children.

I thanked God the revelation. I was supposed to simply walk in the post office and mail this box but I was forced to stand in line because it wouldn't fit in the slot and I'm not one to cut in line to hand them a package (everyone has been waiting after all). In that moment, God gave me a glimpse into my own shortcomings and reminded me that He stands with me at all times. I am to do that with my children.

From that moment on my heart was awakened to the reality that so many times I am "siding" with complete strangers as I apologize for my children when no offense has been committed. What message am I sending to them when I do that?

Not a message I wish to send so I am paying attention, catching myself in the act and asking for God to hold my tongue when appropriate. God is gracious and things are better but, as is true of other things, it's a work in progress.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Time flies....

I've had many moments in the last 2 weeks where that has been my primary thought. My youngest turned 7 last week and as I entered the family room on the morning of his birthday, he greeted me (bouncing up and down) with "I'm 7 mama!!" and I'll blink and he'll be 18. It may sound dramatic but I know that my years with these precious gifts from God won't last forever.

I remember telling my husband, "they will only be this age today, tomorrow they will be one day older and will change." I was probably hormonal at the time but it's true! As much as it seems they never grow out of phases and they have been "like this forever", there are subtle changes each and everyday and they are growing literally before your eyes.

While waiting for my oldest to finish therapy yesterday, my 8 yr. old spent some time sitting on my lap. Actually, I scooped him up and cradled him across my lap like I did when he was much smaller. He looked up at me and those 8 years flashed before my eyes. All of the nightly feedings where his sweet face would look up at mine like I was the most treasured person in the world. His sweet smile and giggle as I tickled him and his delight as I sang and rocked him to sleep. He quickly jumped down when the doctor entered the waiting room but, much to my delight, climbed back on my lap when he left and happily stayed there, looking up at me with that same sweet face.

Enjoying our children in the midst of fevers, meltdowns and power struggles can seem like such a hard thing to do but, if we don't, we run the risk of someday asking, "where did the time go?" I'm sure I will ask that question no matter what but it is my goal that I will cherish each moment with my boys. Live in the moment, if you will. There seems to be so much emphasis placed on going and doing with our kids. I encourage you to take a moment and look in their face, see their joy and soak it in.

A fantastic mom and mentor to many recently posted these thoughts

Slow down and savor those moments today.

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him." Psalm 127:3