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imageThe season of staying at home with our children has its challenges. Amidst dirty dishes, dirty diapers and runny noses its difficult to not feel like WE HAVE MORE TO GIVE! Many times we even wonder if we have missed our calling and purpose in life.

One of the most encouraging thoughts I’ve heard in this season of being a stay-at-home mother was from Anne Graham-Lotz. She shared something her mother told her when she (Anne) was in her season of raising her little children. Her mom said, “Anne, don’t waste your time in the wilderness”.

The Lord has done awesome things IN his people while in the wilderness. Off the top of my head I think of people like Abraham and David.

Our God is a God of purpose! We are in this season for a reason. Not only is He using us now to serve our husbands and children, He is also doing something IN us, preparing us for more. WE DO HAVE MORE TO GIVE!
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ImageTwo of my boys (6 and 9) wanted to invite Jesus into their heart last Friday and they both asked me to pray with them!

What a priviledge to be the one to pray this prayer with them! As I disciple my children this is a moment I look forward to! I try to remind myself, though, that this moment is just the beginning of a journey for them and not a task to be checked off in my “parenting” list.

As I talked with each of them separately I made sure to stress how they have decided to accept Jesus as their Savior and from now on must make sure that He is their Lord! They, like me, are now in a lifelong journey of learning to lay down their life, their desires and their passions for Him.

My boys are growing and maturing so quickly! It’s awesome to see how much they are learning about God, learning to fear and respect Him and simply just falling in love with Him!

They are each so different and have such unique gifts and personalities. I can’t help but wonder how the Lord is going to use them in their life. I even dare to have my own ideas on what their calling might be! This can be a fun mental excercise but is one that must be done with caution!

As I know join them in their new journey with Jesus as their Savior AND Lord I want to always remember that, as a parent, I am HELPING them discover GOD’S PLAN for them in their life. This involves their career/vocation, the spouses they choose, the way they choose to play out their life! IT’S ALL ABOUT THEM DISCOVERING GOD’S PLAN IN THEIR LIFE! How exciting that what God has for them dwarfs anything I can dream of for them! He knows them more than I ever will!

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I want to learn to trust the process and not let my desires for them get in the way! If I am faithful in bringing them to Jesus I need to trust where He takes their life!

As a parent of children who will be teenagers in a few years and then young adults, I will have to walk with them as they make life decisions. I want to remember that I am simply a facilitator and to approach this part of parenting with godly wisdom. I pray the Ho

ly Spirit helps me know when to share my wisdom/advice and when to trust the choices that God is having them make!

Most of all I want to remember it’s not about me but about THEIR obedience to THEIR LORD!

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I am a bit more than halfway through the first month and my “one word” has already brought so much focus! This week, in my quiet time, the Holy Spirit directed me to reading Philippians. I was not thinking about my “one word” but maybe the Lord was Winking smile. So far I have read the first two Chapters and find no way to walk away from it without thinking about Servanthood!

What touched me most of all was when Paul told the people of Philippi: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil. 2:3). He went on to say:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. ~ Phil. 2: 5-8

As I work on being more of a servant to those around me and “in lowliness of mind” loving them more than myself, I look at the example found in Christ. I have no excuse! He set himself aside and was willing to humble Himself, not because He had to or seeking any gain, but simply because of Agape Love for us!

Part of my journey this year with my “one word” this year will be to look for  practical ways where I can improve in being a servant. This month I have come up with several but there is one that stands out as an area of much-needed improvement.

As a mother the To-Do list hardly ever shrinks. There is always something that needs to get done or a deadline that needs to be met. It’s important for me to keep our family and my children on task and keep some semblance of structure and schedule. There are times, though, when I need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and know when to put the schedule aside and serve!

If a friend calls and needs comforting, it’s OK to stop lessons and get on the phone. If we know of someone who is sick, it’s OK to spend the morning cooking and delivering meals with the kids instead of getting our chores and homework done. If during nap time a friend calls with last-minute need for childcare, I want the love of Christ in me to set the schedule aside and serve them willingly and cheerfully!

I know our first ministry is our home, and we are to serve with faithfulness and excellence. I am learning to find balance, though. Schedules and to-do lists are not more important to God than people. My son completing his homework on time is great but I think God would get far more glory by the smile in someone’s face after our words of comfort when they most need it. God gets far more glory by our service than our productivity. I think the word here for me is balance and this will only come as the Holy Spirit continues to work in me.

the-good-samaritan-1885You know, this part of my journey makes me think of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It was the religious leaders that were too busy to help!

After telling the story, Jesus asked “So which of these do you think was a good neighbor” When the lawyer replied, Jesus said “Go and do likewise.”

My prayer is that this year, as I focus on my “one word” I will grow to be a better neighbor showing the love of Christ through my service!

How have you found ways to make your homeschool more flexible and open to unexpected opportunities to serve?

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In the first few years of me staying at home with my children, one of the hardest things was when people would ask me what I did for a living. I would of course say “I am a stay-at-home mother”…sometimes I would even say “I am JUST a stay-at-home mother”. In my heart I struggled with what felt like lack of significance. I could not see past the dirty diapers, dirty dishes and crying babies.

Eight years later my children are teaching me to appreciate the higher calling in what I do here at home and constantly remind me of why I am here.

My boys love counting down the years they have left to go to college. My oldest seems to think I need to be reminded often, “Mami, in 9 years I will be on my way!” Makes me wonder if they are having a good time here. 🙂

Every once in a while they talk about their future wives and wedding days. My older son wonders where his future wife is now and if she is being homeschooled. He also said it’s cool to think how she is getting ready for him while he is getting ready for her. How precious!

My 5 year old was cleaning his bedroom the other night and said he could not stop thinking about his wedding day and how it was going to be. This got us all talking about marriage proposals. I explained to them what a proposal is and we went on YouTube and looked at real life examples. Of course, they asked how their father proposed to me and my husband joined in and had fun telling them. They went on to plan their own proposals, and talked of ways of surprising their mates and guessing what their reactions were going to be.

This was such a memorable evening but also bittersweet to talk about this day when my children will leave my home and start their own. The days we have we them are so short.

Talking about their wedding days did help me have a better perspective. It helped me better understand that what I am doing is training up future head of households who will one day raise their own children, their own “world changers”!

When you contemplate that future day when your child start his/her own life in the world it makes it more difficult to describe what you do as “I am JUST a stay-at-home mother”.

What has helped you find significance in your calling as a mother?

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This new day did bring new energy and it also brought with it a fresh new word from God.

In the morning, during my quiet time, I read the first chapter of Calm My Anxious Heart. (Why I am reading this book will be a topic of a future post :/ as the Lord continues to work in me.)

I definitely have a Type A personality. I struggle with the need for control. I know, I don’t have much control of anything in my life, none of us do! As I grow older I am learning this more and more. I like structure and find comfort in a clear plan. As I manage my home, raise my children and handle relationships there are some things I can and should control. There are many more things I should leave to God and rest in the assurance that “God…is the blessed controller of all things, the King over all kings and the master of all masters” (1 Timothy 6:15). I pray for the wisdom to know the difference. The author quotes a story from another book, Streams in the Desert:

“I need oil,” said an ancient monk, so he planted an olive sapling, “Lord,” he prayed, “it needs rain that its tender roots may drink and swell. Send gentle showers.” And the Lord sent gentle showers. “Lord,” prayed the monk, “my tree needs sun. Send sun, I pray thee.” And the sun shone, gilding the dripping clouds. “Now frost, my Lord, to brace its tissues,” cried the monk. And behold, the little tree stood sparkling with frost, but at evening it died.

Then the monk sought the cell of a brother monk, and told his strange experience. “I, too, planted a little tree,” he said, “and see! It thrives well. But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better what it needs than a man like me. I laid no condition I fixed not ways or means. ‘Lord, send what it needs,’ I prayed, ‘ storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. Thou hast made it and Thou dost know.”

How crazy to worry or be anxious about anything! How silly to feel that the Lord needs my help in anything! How encouraging to know that my life and all of the circumstances in it are controlled by the King and Creator of the Universe! As I go about this day and deal with the unexpected, the inconvenient and  the interruptions I rest in the knowledge that God holds the plan I set this morning in His hand. I decide today not to fret over what does not get completed. I will especially not worry about the kids, the homeschool, whether or not we are behind, character issues we are dealing with, etc!

I will instead be faithful to the call today, and remind myself that: God has made me, my life and all of my affairs, and God does know.

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