Monday, December 8, 2014

Big Dreams

We dream big for our children.  We want them to have it all.  We want them to live life to the fullest, to shine.  We want them to experience life better than we did.  To do everything we didn't.  Sometimes these yearnings creep up and tempt us to live vicariously through them.  But other times we are inspired to lead and teach our talents and creativity, sometimes athleticism or art.  There is a fine line between the two.  I pray for wisdom and guidance with this.  My girl, she is such a mixture of her daddy and myself.  And one thing she loves to do is sing which comes from both sides.  And to call her dramatic is pure truth.  So this mama has signed her up to try out for a musical at the local theater.  She is excited and nervous and thankfully we have pinned down an audition song.  This same little girl tried standing up in the grocery cart at three years old in the checkout lane at Kroger raising up her hands and singing/belting out, "I think I'll try DEFY_ING GRAVITY!"  She was knit together in the womb for greatness I tell you...

And of course this mama bear sees how amazing she is and how on tune she can sing...But others may not.  She may not make the cut.  And we are preparing for that.  But pondering on this as we prepare to literally face the music, I am reminded of how big our Heavenly Father dreams for us, His children.  He wants us to have all that He has prepared for us in this life.  He wants us to shine, to reflect His light out in the darkness.  And He is right there to lead us, to teach us and help us tap into our creativity and art.  Whether it be through our roles as mothers or wives, or employees or in ministry.  Whatever we do, He will be there with us for "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

Others may not give you the applause and approval you think.  But thankfully we don't have to worry about pleasing anyone but the one who created us.  And how good to know that our God loves us so much that he sent us a savior who set us free so that we are made right and can't mess that up.  No matter how much we fail we always win with Christ. 

So today live out that dream that He has for you.  Be brave, take a step out on the stage of the great big world (whatever your world may look like today) and shine like the star you are in HIM...all for Him and His glory! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In This, I Rest

We don't watch the news at our house.  If the television is on, usually sports commentators or tweenyboppers are filling the air space in the family room (unless the kids are sleeping and I am catching up on my favorite shows) Needless to say, I boycott the news.  I am not ashamed to admit that the current events I am aware of are mostly brought to my attention through the fb newsfeed.  Anything I don't catch there finds it's way to my ears through the lips of my beloved clients behind my chair.  But anyone breathing air has not been able to avoid the Ebola scare.  The kids come home from school updating me on the latest misinformed information.  The school nurse has made her rounds informing the students about staying home if they are sick and has reiterated washing hands.  (thank you for that, Nurse Cathie. They really are listening.  Nothing like a killer virus that has the potential to become the world's next major epidemic scaring my kids into finally washing their filthy hands!)   I have had 3 calls with a sick girl in the office since September.  I fear my 7 year old is turning into a hypochondriac along with the rest of the world.  But today she really was sick and the poor thing had to wait an hour and a half on the cot there because her Papa totally forgot to get her.  Sweet thing.  He felt awful and so did I.  That working mama guilt swallowed me whole and then spit me out just in time to smooth it all over with that consoling frosting I keep in my back pocket.  And it is no piece  of cake doing that, just FYI.  

But that little girl of mine, she was laying there on the couch with her rosy cheeks and glassy eyes and that horrible fear engulfed me.  What if she has it?  I mean we don't live that far from Akron, Ohio where the infected nurse flew to...And as soon as the thought crossed my mind, it crossed right back out into reality.  Jonah had a fever last week, and I'm sure she caught it...The media plays on our emotions.  Unfortunately anything to make a story, hype a crowd, pull a heartstring or trigger a panic attack always leads the headlines.  We run on emotion and fear.  And no one who is breathing is exempt from death.  We all will face it sooner or later.  Life is fleeting.  How will I live mine?  In fear of an awful disease or horrific accident?  Will I worry continually about my kids and their choices that go far beyond whether they wash their hands and much deeper into if they will seek refuge from worries and hardships in the things of this world or in the one who made them?  

And these questions and wonder slowly turn into a creeping anxiety that wrenches it's way into my gut.  I want to keep my loved ones safe in my bubble, cozied up next to me in this warm place...But if I've learned anything at all in this dance called motherhood it is submission to control is usually the most powerful tool.  Only when I cast any care from the least to the greatest at the feet of the one who grants all peace and comfort can I rest reassuringly.  Losing control and handing over the baton to Him who works together all things for the good of us who love Him grants me control over my fear.  And nobody loves His children more perfectly than He who created us in the first place.  "As a father has compassion for his children, so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him" (Psalm 103:13)  And he promises us comfort as well.  "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you" (Isa. 66:13) I can find rest in these words of life today.  As my precious ones sip hot soup and lay cuddled up on the couch, I cast cares and fears upward at a heavenly throne to a listening ear who loves them more than I could ever imagine.  In this, I rest.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lion On the Prowl

Full fledged fright engulfed me.  The children were behind the retractable wall partitions in their assigned Sunday school classrooms and were blissfully ignorant of the terror their teachers were experiencing.  What seemed like hours but in fact were only moments earlier I had caught a glance of the golden beast trekking proudly through the high school softball field across the street.  His green eyes reflected the sunlight from the sky and also shone off of the huge muscles defining a grand muscular body.  Massive paws pounded the earth as he made his way fiercely across the road right to the very place I was praying he wouldn't dare come.  I ran inside of the gold brick building.  Dread, worry, panic filled my whole being.  The church was filled.  How would I warn them?  The next thing I knew, he was inside.  The floor shook as he traipsed down the hallways.  Everywhere I ran, he was there.  I couldn't think of a plan, I wasn't able to move or yell or even whisper a warning.  I knew deep in my tied up gut that he was trying to destroy us.  I knew who he was the moment I laid eyes on him.  He was my enemy, our enemy in disguise....And the feeling was so real, so detailed.  I kept telling myself that there was no way this was really happening.  How could a wild lion have been unleashed into the burbs, into a city, into my city, and such safe one?  Vividly, the memory of fellow church members that were there enter my mind.  I recall their fright, their panic.   I don't know what happened to the lion, or the people that were there, or myself.  I woke up in the middle of one of the scariest dreams I have ever dreamed.  And a few years later the vision I have tucked away in my mind surfaces brightly as I read this portion of scripture:

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  

I dream some really strange and crazy dreams.  And most of the time there is no rhyme or reason to them.  But once in a blue moon I will have a very realistic, humbling, life-altering one and this was one of those times.  I haven't forgotten and I don't understand the meaning completely but 1 Peter 5:8 has been with me since.  

And tonight I came across the definition of the Greek word "katapino" which means "to devour" in the context of this verse.  Another word for it is : "overwhelmed".  (also to drink down, gulp entire, drown, swallow up)  So I say it again:  Overwhelmed is the same Greek word that Peter used when he said that Satan seeks to "devour us"  

The Devil who actually is defined as slanderer, seeks to overwhelm us.  I don't know how many times on a daily basis I feel completely overwhelmed.  Confirmation that is a real thing.  He is on the prowl, waiting to pounce when given the opportunity.  Have you ever felt attacked by that prowling lion and his untrue accusations in his attempts to blacken your name?  Have you felt belittled, disgraced, humiliated, shamed? His name is also interpreted as false accuser.  Good news FALSE accuser!  He is intentionally deceptive and deliberately untrue down to his uttermost core. 

And that goes for the church as well...the enemy is seeking to destroy Christ's Bride.  He will boldly tramp his way down the halls and into the sanctuary yearning to open up those huge jaws and throw her back like a Mountain Dew Big Gulp.

But thankfully, we are warned, I am be sober-minded.  Not just physically,  but also sober in a sense that I can refrain from being falsely secure.  I am reminded not to be be anxious but to be watchful, don't lie drowsy and sleepily like the foolish shepherds but be on guard of the cares of this life and whatever may intoxicate my mind.  Being mindful of these things will help equip me with ammo to fight off that fierce beast who zealously pursues to destroy me.  And destroyed I have been.  I have been completely overwhelmed and drowning in a sea of tears. Down in the pit, at my lowest of lows, I have felt a hand reach down and grab me up out onto higher ground.  

And as He, my Redeemer, begins to work out my salvation I am humbled beyond words.  Because I know in my heart of hearts that He is always victorious and even though we have an enemy who yearns to beat us down, overwhelm and engulf us.  Our God wins.    

As my enemy tries to belittle......I will EXALT Christ
As he tries to shame................. I will GLORIFY Christ
As he tries to scorn...................I will ADORE Christ  
As he tries to humiliate..............I will PRAISE Christ
As he tries to disgrace...............I will HONOR Christ

The cross always trumps the grave.  

Every. Single. Time.

And one day He will return to take His Bride, and there will be a great celebration...     

"Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready" Revelation 19:7

Saturday, May 17, 2014


The sun descended its usual descent.  The clouds broke and my eyes could soak up the blazing ball out my window.  I glanced back into our family room and the streaks of golden ate up the creamy carpet and pathed their beams upon my darling boy.  He looked up at me across the room with those gray blue eyes of his all brightened up and twinkling almost dancing right out of his teenaged self.  I had a moment sitting there across from him a few feet away.  Memories seemed to shoot through my mind and into my heart.  I could feel him as a baby in my arms rocking his long lanky body in our tiny, yellow first house.  The noise of the main road behind us even filled my ears as I recollected the apple trees outside the nursery window that was always wide open in the warm weather since we had no air conditioning.  I remember cringing and praying he wouldn't wake when the loud motorcycles and semis would boom by.  To keep him there, in my arms, in my memories I know was impossible but at that very moment tonight, I wanted to go back there.  Not only to have control over his little world that was held in my arms but also to journey back to the person I was 13 years ago.  Parenting, schedules, work, life can turn a person, a mama, this mama, into something she never dreamed she'd become.  And I stand in the sunlit room humbled by these thoughts.  How I've failed him, that boy lying on the floor looking over at me with his half turned up smile.  My intentions to first love him with a marrow deep love and rear him in grace and truth haven't happened as planned.  I have fallen down over and over again.  High expectations and short tempers have trumped mercy many times.  My eyes start to well and my voice  quivers as these emotions take over and I mumble a few misplaced words to him.  And as I speak, I can physically feel the love of God, even a bit of His glory shine down upon me.  I feel Him, His beautiful grace calming every regret, every fear of ruining my sweet boy for life.  I try to explain it to Jonah and he jumps out of the sunshine and into the shadows and I get that look that I have been getting recently from him.  The "Oh my gosh mom, seriously? " look.  And I snap back into the here and now, irritation biting in my gut and once again I am a mama to a teenager.  But in this moment I can smile to myself feeling a reassurance of forgiveness and strength to carry on.  I feel the sovereignty of God in my core and know in my heart that He works together all things for the good of those that love Him in Christ Jesus.

And my prayer tonight is that He will shine His glory down filling us, filling the whole earth...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Let It Go

She has seen the movie not once, not twice, not even thrice...but FOUR times.  Birthday parties, grandmas and one mama were all happily buying her a ticket to go and check out the animated "Broadway" flick.  It also helped occupy some time off of school with the polar vortex and Snowmageddon 2014 between cold days and snow days.  Why didn't it snow like that back in the 80' EVER!  Seriously, I think we had maybe 2 snow days my whole 13 years in public school...Anyway, "Frozen" has been a hit at our house (at least with the two females living here and even if they deny it, all of the males know every. single. word. to the hit song).  And Ayla, I left her home for a couple of hours with her big brothers one day, (probably a stinking snow day for goodness' sake)  while I ran some errands...She had my I-Pad and I set her up on before I left.  Upon returning, as I unlocked the door I heard her sweet little voice belting out as I turned the key.  I entered the house to her standing on the couch, looking at herself in the mirror and singing with her arms thrown up in the air, "LET IT GO, LET IT GO"...She must have found the instrumental/accompaniment on the website...I blinked back my proud tears and had a quick vision of her playing the young Cosette in "Les Miserables" at the Fisher Theater downtown in a couple of years..(a theater buff can dream, right?)

So the boys come running to me crying out, almost as dramatically as their baby sister...

"She hasn't stopped singing this song the whole time you were gone, make her stop mom, please, HELP...!!!"

As she belts out,

"Can't hold it back any-mooore!"

And the boys don't hold back they beg me to get her to be quiet...but there were little smirks on their faces and deep down, I would almost bet (if I were a betting woman, which I'm not...) that they were loving every minute of their cute little girl gracing them with her sweet vibrato...

She sings,

 "...The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside...Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I've tried..."

Powerful words...Swirling storms and trying to keep holding it all together..Been there, done that.  Like every. single. day...

But she continues,

"Don't let them in, don't let them see...Be the good girl you always have to be...Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know...Well, now they now..."

How many times in my life have I been afraid to let people in?  Always wanting to please and be the good girl.  These words are resonating.  Hitting some nerves as my 6 year old climbs up on the arm of the couch, picturing herself on a snowy cliff on top of the world,

"Let it Go, Let it Go, Can't hold it back anymore!" 

The notes hit my ears and my heart opens up big as I take it all in...I want to climb up on top of the icy mountaintop right next to her and LET IT ALL GO.  The fears and anxiety...The facades and people-pleasing...

I want to shut the door, slam it, like my daughter sings, in the pretend faces of my imaginary audience.  I don't want to care what they may say, I want to let the storm rage on...

As she sings on,

"It's funny how some distance...Makes everything seem small...And the fears that once controlled me Can't get to me at all..."

Wow, how often does my fear control me?  I wish it couldn't get to me...maybe I should step back, distance myself from all of it?  There is only one healthy fear...the fear of God...which is more of a reverence or holy fear, and nothing to be afraid of but rather something to stand in awe why do I ever fear?

The song builds and she says,

"It's time to see what I can do...To test the limits and break through...No right, no wrong, no rules for me...I'm free"  

Testing the limits, busting through, breaking free...with no rules, no expectations that I have set on myself...FREEDOM!

And I think to myself, what a beautiful reminder of the freedom I have in Christ!  Freedom from not only the burden of my hideous sin but also of the burden of my self righteous, good-girl acts, every. single. one...

"Let it go, let it go...And I'll rise like the break of dawn...Let it go, let it go...That perfect girl is gone"

And the plateau of the song is reached as my arms reach up high letting go of that perfect girl!  Every girl can relate to wanting to shed the false image of perfection.  How we long to embrace the mold of acceptance, just how we are, where we are, as we are...Today, we come, bowing low but opened up wide to a savior who we can let it all go to... and receive from...the freedom that is only found in His great love!~  Praise be to God!

Thanking God, the Most High One, tonight for His amazing grace that covers and saves, transforms and redeems!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Perfectly No Resolution

The second week of the new year is about to begin and finally we are back in the swing of things.  Because last week snow fell fierce and temperatures plummeted into record lows and my plans to get back into a schedule were put on hold with school closings and never ending snow shoveling...So this week, this week feels more like the very beginning of January and the new year and new things.

New Year's resolutions and me have a bad relationship.  Annually, 11:50 pm rolls in and I go through the same pep talk in my mind, conversing to my God...When the clock strikes midnight I inhale deeply, usually kiss the hubby and/or kids, take a breath and think to myself how long can I go without messing up?  A few seconds, a minute, an hour?  Fresh starts like fresh fallen crisp white puffy snowflakes are beckoning...And I have great intentions of doing life better.  I gaze into my loved ones' eyes and make silent vows to be better to do better.  How my heart yearns to be proactive instead of reactive.  There are many changes, some small...some huge...Year after year, they don't waver much and years have turned into decades and I continue to struggle...

So this year, 2014 barely in existence, I have done the drill with myself...we toast, embrace and pack up the kids and head home from company, good company, and my heart is rapidly a moment can turn foul.  She wakes up and throws a fit begging us to turn around and stay the night.  She slept over last year and wanted to again...The small space can't contain her raging lungs and my fresh start somersaults completely around into a deep pit of lost patience.  "Happy Freaking New Year,"  slips up from my sin-filled heart and right off of this untamed tongue out into my precious one's ears and into their little hearts.  And I rage it out more than once...So much for my few moments of perfection...

So very often I try to do the right thing.  I vow, promise, and no sooner do I find myself sunk down in a deep hole of regret and mistake.  Trying so hard to be "good enough"  or "better than" and most of the time I end up flat on my face...seeking forgiveness from the offended, from my God.  And in those moments I am humbled beyond words.  And I hear what I believe to be the small, still voice of Him, my savior, quietly pleading with me to extend the same grace He gives to all, to myself.

'But He gives more grace.  Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."'
James 4:6

So this year I'm not making any resolutions that will get broken and lost.  I'm going to stop trying so hard to be better and quit aiming for PERFECTION.  Instead I will cling to the hope I have in my Redeemer...I will be "confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in me [you] will PERFECT it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Phil 1:6)

I will try very hard to let go and let the saying goes...


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Recapped

So long 2014...

We made many memories...

Here is a recap of the pretty wonderful ones... 

The not so great ones are hidden in my heart hopefully helping shape me into something better...

But all won't be forgotten...

Looking back on 2013...




And  2011

4 years have come and gone so fast.  My babies aren't little anymore...I love looking back at these moments and remembering each one.  God is so good and has blessed us beyond measure.  I sit here with a full grateful heart anticipating and embracing all that He has planned for us for 2015....