The Picture Pages (#jammed daily devo, day 346)

December #jammed: Grace, given.

Day 346: Picture this…

“Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.” Colossians 3:21 (Message)

Pages and pages of pictures flipped over as the newly arrived books were broken in on DECJAM12the sinking sofa cushions. Hours and hours of memories came alive off of those pages. Smiles and laughs and salty sea air. Sandy shoes and climbed dunes. Campfires and rollercoaster rides …their lives printed out.

The hours it takes to put those books together bleeds into day and weeks. Yet, all of the time and photos that are included in the final cut are a mere fraction of the fun we’ve had over that year of their lives. It’s getting harder now, as they get older, to find the time to maintain the tradition. Some of the others are fading into the background now, and time is speeding up so fast I can barely maintain the minimum requirements.

Is this how it is supposed to be? Does the feeling of being a first-time mom ever go away?

Today’s verse instructs parents not to crush their child’s spirit.  I can’t imagine a crushing moment being included in any of those volumes. Yet, they’re there. They’ve been just as much a part of our days as the smiles we fight for. And it is a fight.

Parenting is a pendulum that swings from compassion to discipline. In the middle there is the perfect mix. If anyone ever finds it, let me know. Until then, the strategy is to cope the best we can in knowing we are not going to parent perfectly. There will be crushing moments. Moments that today’s verse reminds not to let happen on our watch.

What happens when we’ve crushed a spirit? Where do we go from there?

We remember.

Remember the babe in the manger prophesied to come when He came. Remember the child raised by a mother and father, and a man who stepped into His calling at just the right time. Even Jesus had to wait on God’s will. He lived a human life for a long time before He began performing miracles and drafting apostles.

Remember Him.

There is a reason He came to earth as a baby, grew up as a child …as a teenager! We won’t walk the earth in the perfect way He did, but we can trust that He’s been here.

When a crushed spirt is looking back at us, remember Him …and that we are not Him. Apologizing to our children takes the victory out of our enemy’s hands, and back into the hands of Jesus.

Even if we have to give ourselves the same pep-talk hundreds of times daily, keep enduring the apology. Keep going back. Keep trying. In due time, if we follow Christ with all of our hearts, the harvest will follow.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for our children, and for the patience to have survived this much of parenthood so far. Thank You for the lessons that You teach us through the children we were meant to lead back to You. Forgive us for losing it -our patience, our composure, and our sanity -and crushing our childrens’ sprits. Repair what we cannot, Father, and may they always hear Your voice above all others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Un-crushing,

Megs

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The Drop-off (#jammed daily devo, day 345)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 345: Graceful conversations.

“Do not drive your children mad, but nurture them in the discipline and teaching that come from the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 (VOICE)

“Do you understand me?” I repeated as we rounded the elementary school drop-off curve. DECJAM 11

In a rush to get to the part where she smiled and hugged me and didn’t want to let go as I told her I’d miss her while she was at school, I wrapped up that morning’s conversation…

“I just don’t want you to make the same mistakes that I did,” I choke back, “do you understand?”

But I knew she didn’t …and wouldn’t. That’s the hardest part of motherhood besides slowly letting go …not wanting them to repeat painful mistakes. We want so badly to prevent our children prevent from going through any shred of the same pain born of the consequences of our imperfections. The unfortunate risk we run in scrambling to run defense is completely shutting down their offense.

How do we raise our children to compassionately walk in the love of Jesus when we ourselves struggle to maintain focus? From close-up, we all feel our lives are a mess. At the same time, someone is envious of our situation.

“Do not drive your children mad …”

Yet, we drive our children mad. In an effort to love the mistakes right out of their path, we drive them mad. Doors slam, words burst, feet stomp, and we’re all mad. Looking back through the highlight reel of holiday memories, it’s the joy that stands out. The memories that stick over time are the ones laced in love. If that’s what we choose to remember, why is it so hard to focus on as it’s happening?

Ephesians 6:4 begins with “Fathers.” The verse in it’s entirety is “Fathers, do not drive your children mad …” However, in a society striving to even all scores, mothers need to wary of this advice, too.

“Fathers must surrender any right they may feel they have to act unreasonably toward their children.” -NIV Notes.

We grasp for control of our kids, abut lose our grip on the lid to our mouths. Our hearts mean well, but our flesh truly fails us. If we don’t learn to surrender our children to the feet of Jesus, we will drive them mad. Just as we are the people He drafted us to be …so are they.

Instead of picking our children a part for their faults, let’s aim to focus on their triumphs and talents, their strong points and highlights. The world is negative enough in it’s attempt to squeeze our children into a mold labeled “most successful.” What even is that?  Society’s view of “success” isn’t the point of life at all. Jesus is.

If we’re going to drive them anywhere, let’s drive them there.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for our children. That we get to witness human life grow and fly in front of our eyes is a gift. Forgive us for aiming to control the paths of our children, and for driving them mad. Bless us with the patience we need to be godly parents. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Driving,

Megs

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The Second-Chance Mom (#jammed daily devo, day 152)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 152: Grace gives second chances.

“The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:17 (VOICE)

Oh, crap, she’s out there without a helmet on, again.June 1

“Lo! Put your helmet on!” I yelled out the window.

Tucked back on a cul-de-sac, I never wore a bike helmet as a kid, but we live on the corner of a busy road. Every car that zooms around the corner as they ride along precariously on two wheels and wobbly roller skates triggers me to double-check the front window for their whereabouts.

“Lo! Seriously …go get your unicorn helmet!” But even the fun and flashy helmet wasn’t swaying her independence on this particular day, so I began to countdown. Girl hates to be timed.

“THREE …TWO …ONE.” Still unaffected.

“OK, in the house!” I boomed, as I pulled her off her bike and walked her back into the house.

“MOM!!!!” she stomped all the whole way, and then started jump-pounding on the floor as I stood and watched.

“Does this ever get you what you want …ever one time …has this worked for you?”

Even the dog was watching her in wonder at this point. She took a deep breath, and as she looked at my eyes, hers filled up with fresh tears. My girl had returned to planet earth.

“Can I just have one more chance?” she asked, her fury of rage having been replaced by an expression of tender-hearted apology.

And that’s where my daughters get me, every time. I’m a second chance mom. And they know it.

“OK, if you put your helmet on, yes.” I granted, and out the door she flew to the tune of “I love you mommy you’re the best mommy ever.”

I want to be a second chance mom, because I live under the grace of God’s willingness to give second chances. Within disciplinary reason, my daughters always get a second chance, especially if they ask for it. If I can teach them anything about forgiving themselves, God has done something good with my life.

In the heat of disciplinary moments, pull out today’s verse: “The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.” When little people and life frustrate us, it’s important to get out of our heads and into His Word. To understand why it’s so important to clutch today’s verse over our own plausibilities, let’s look at the second half of the it:

“Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17 (VOICE)

Like putting on a bike helmet to protect our heads, putting on God’s Word and relying on it to cut through (the sword) the madness and highlight the Truth allows us to protect our souls …helmet-like.

“The helmet protected the soldier and, under certain circumstances, helmets provided a striking symbol of military victory.” NIV Notes 

Our victory relies on the Helmet. Maybe it’s uncomfortable. Maybe it’s not a habit we grew up with. Maybe it makes us feel uncomfortable and sometimes seems to cramp our style …but it’s worth wearing lest we fracture our skulls and leave the very stuff of our souls exposed to the darkness attempting to crack it open.

The Greek Word for ‘helmet’ is, perikephalaia, the protection of the soul which consists in (the hope of) salvation. The hope of salvation is Jesus. Through Him, we can absorb the Word. Through the gift of the Spirit that Jesus died to give us, we can remember and apply what we’ve read to our real lives.

Jesus is our Second Chance. He granted Grace to us on the cross. To be a second chance person, like Him, we need to put on the Helmet, and cut through to the Truth with the Sword.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for the power of Your Word. Thank You for the way parenthood allows us a unique way to absorb and apply it to our lives. We confess getting caught up in our own masquerade of ‘authority,’ and pray forgiveness from You, who truly and justly holds it all. Bless our lives to be full of Your Truth, and fortify us with the strength to stand on It firmly in defense. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Chance-ing,

Megs

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The Bench (#jammed daily devo, day 137)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 137: The wrong spot.

“Make your parents happy
 Proverbs 23:22

“Oh, no, MOM!” my daughter wailed, “our bench is gone.”may correction

We’d been stopping eat lunch on our favorite bench since she was just a little toddler. Things change and life moves …and so did our bench.

Today’s section of Proverbs encourages us to discipline our children. Every parent wishes for their child to make good decisions, hang on our every wise word, follow our rules, and respectfully make us proud.

But what happens when the bench moves? When they move away from us? When they grow up? What happens then? Will they retain all of the wisdom we’ve tried to instill upon them in the short time we’ve had them under our noses? Will our arms remain open as their lives drift beyond our understanding and control?

Buy the truth and do not sell it—
    wisdom, instruction and insight as well.” Proverbs 23:23

The above verse gives us three keys to parent with wisdom:

wisdom-  knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action. dictionary.com

When we tell our children the Truth, we are giving them the opportunity to digest wisdom. If we simply respond, “because I said so,” we rob them of the ability to learn how to discern right from wrong. When we go to God’s Word with our kids, He begins to move in their hearts. They will eventually figure out that we don’t know everything, nor are we entitled to make mistakes without apology. Honesty, humlity, and apology build a foundation for formative wisdom.

instruction- education. (dictionary.com)

It’s not only important for our children to hear the Word of God from us, but it’s important for them to hear it from their peers. A solid church family, Sunday school, after school program, youth groups, Christian camps …it’s important to let them learn the Word of God, and how to build a community of fellowship, too.

insight-an instance of apprehending the true nature of a thing, especially through intuitive understanding. (dictionary.com)

Sometimes, the lightbulb pops on mid-verse. After praying about a specific situation, the Word will open right up and address it. God’s Living Word is alive and active, and our kids need the savvy to navigate the pages of the Bible. We can help them build a solid foundation simply by reading a short devotion a day with them, and praying with them often.

When we teach our children how to go to God, it prepares their hearts to lean on Christ. They will make mistakes, and it will hurt to watch. Trust that He will always be after their hearts …making their triumphant moments all the more sweet.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for the applicable nature of Your Word. Thank You for helping us though life and leaving us with the Holy Spirit to help us interpret and remember what we read and experience. Forgive us for lecturing our children with our ways, and help us continuously point them to Yours first. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Word-ing,

Megs

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The Dream-work. (#jammed daily devo, day

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 92: Constant Rehearsal.

“Those who practice the law and teach others how to live the law will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19b

She began to beg for ballet when she was two, not once straying from her “pointe shoe” image-92dreams. Dance moves her, and her little sister, out of the house in active pursuance of something other than small-town life and small-screen apps. She believes in a dream too big …even for her …to fully imagine yet.

In today’s verse Jesus’ is addresses legalism. We know it well by the name of hypocrisy. It’s one thing to have a dream, but quite another to work towards it. We’re called, not just to believe in God’s Word, but to live it. That’s hard work.

Legalism-strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code. Merriam-Webster

“Following the letter of the Law while ignoring its spirit. ” NIV Notes

My daughter’s dream to dance is hard work. It’s sacrifice away from friends and after school activities …and all the criticism that comes on account of that from people that don’t understand.  It’s Saturdays and pieces of summertime spent in air conditioning. None of which she’d trade for a minute. Someday she’ll find out why God put this dream in her heart, but for now she just keeps chasing it. All dreams within God’s will bring us closer to Him.

jammed-click-to-tweetI don’t want to be a legalistic parent. I want to be transparent, and I want Jesus to shine through me so brightly that she can see Him and hear Him over me. He is the dream. To walk with Him is surreal. It’s hard …but it makes life, life.

Father, Praise You for Jesus. Thank You for His perfect honesty and transparency. Forgive us for dishonest moments bred of insecurity and fear. Strengthen and bless us to raise our kids in kindness and love, but with a firmly secure hand on Your Word and it’s discipline. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Practicing,

Megs

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The Dance Shoes (#jammed daily devo, day 91)

April #jammed: Grace Studies.

Day 91: Always the right fit.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:14-15

The mailman ditched an over-stuffed white envelope into my mailbox, and onto my image-91ballerina’s feet the shoes went …for about two seconds. Too big …again.

“But I ordered a half size bigger than the ones that were too small!” I shared with a mom in the studio waiting room, “I am so confused!” 

Trying to find the right shoes for a decent price is very “holy grail-ish.”Guiding my daughters in a competitive sport has been a great lesson in faith. “Am I pushing too hard?” “Are they learning how to honor commitment?” “How do I teach them the importance of hard work without being too hard on them?” …and that’s just the pressure I put on myself.

Parents face many voices that attempt to convince, pressure, size-up, and compare them …and their children. It’s important to let God’s voice drown them all out. He created each of us differently, but lent the same Truth to guide us. In His living Word, we find His guidance, direction, and assurance. 

Today’s verses assure us that when we are walking in faith, our heals will not slip. Jesus walks with us, not someone we’re supposed to be or will become. The way to protect ourselves, and our children, from the comparative pressure of competition is to follow the instructions in Ephesians 6:14-15. Stand firm in the Word. He will defend us, and prepare us.

“Fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace,” ensures us that when we chase after Him, it’s a perfect fit every time …and we feel peace. Not just relief, but the peace that Jesus when to the cross to grace us with.

 My job as a mom is to make sure that I prayerfully consider whether the path my daughters’ are on will lead to His feet. Throughout all of the doubt that I’ve dealt with over the years, our dance family has been His evidence that we are on that “right path.” In a sea of pressure and drama, we somehow walked into a family. My girls glide across the stage to the tune of genuine support. Not just of their dance, but for who they are.

jammed-click-to-tweetI’m still trying to figure out how to order dance shoes for my daughters without ending up with a pile of shoes no one can use, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re on the right path.

Father, Praise You for fitting us perfectly in our shoes …in our lives. Thank You for placing people around us to encourage us for who we truly are …not who they want us or wish us to be. Forgive us for pushing others to be who they are not, and casting judgement on those who simply don’t know any better. Bless us to love those put close to us, and encourage them to stay in their lane as we hold tight to Your hand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Shoe-fitting,

Megs

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The Cookie Claim (#jammed daily devo day 2)

January #jammed : Grace in Life’s Face

Day 2: Let’s Claim our Grace Space.jammed-day-2-image

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6

“Mom,” my daughter informed, “don’t let Daddy eat these cookies …they’re YOUR
cookies.”

We looked at each other and laughed at the thought of her Daddy …our late night cookie monster …leaving nothing but an empty mug of milk and some special “Mommy’s Cookie” crumbs on the counter for us to discover.

Humble acceptance of Jesus is our claim to God’s great grace.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.” 1Peter5:5

James and Peter doubted Christ was who He said He was. Peter three times before the rooster crowed, and James despite relational brotherhood to Jesus. Their words of His acceptance endure through ancient text and into our hearts to comfort and assure us that He was …and is …and will be. They both quote Proverbs 3:34, connecting the Old Testament promises to their real-life experiences with Jesus:

God treats the arrogant as they treat others,
    mocking the mockers, scorning the scornful,
    but He pours out His grace on the humble.” Proverbs 3:34

Jesus didn’t endure humanity for the sake of a select few; or require grace to be earned. Humanity …we are the special batch.

 Jesus loved me so much that He died for me. And God loved me so much that He let Him. Let’s not take those sentiments lightly by embracing our inner critique. Throw it to the shadows, and claim our grace space. What could happen if we do?

Father, You are powerful to cover us in grace before we claim it. We praise You for Your justice and patience to love us more than we can ever comprehend. Forgive us for allowing our inner critique to deter us from claiming our space in Your grace. Bless our hearts with the assurance of Christ’s sacrificial love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

What keeps you from claiming your space within God’s grace? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

Happy Claiming!

#greatgrace17

Megs

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The Invisible Fire.

My little girl’s tears streamed onto my cheeks as she hugged me tight. Fearful that in the darkness of night our house would catch on fire, unreasonable emotion gripped her blotchy red face. Her pierced blue eyes searched mine for an answer …for comfort …for reassurance …all of which I was unqualified to promise her.invisible-fire-2

The anxieties we answer to in this life grab us much like Lauren’s sweet six-year-old heart, that can’t bear the thought of being separated from her teddy bear. Life is fragile. We want to look around and depend on each other to get through things that may never happen. We want to believe that everything is going to be ok, but it’s simply not always going to be. In fact, we’re promised that it will get much worse.

We can help our children cope with fear and anxiety by teaching them to pray these Words of God:

“Do not worry.” Matthew 6:34

“Do not fear.” Isaiah 41:10

invisible fire 4.jpg

Step Back.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

Our duty as parents is not to have all the answers, but to point to the One who does. We can aim to protect our children but we cannot promise them safety. Only God is sovereign to make good on the assured direction of their future.

“Lauren, can I pray for you?”

She nodded ‘yes’ through slowing sobs.

“Lord, you tell us not to fear, and not to worry. But that’s hard. We need Your help. Help Lauren not to worry, and not to be afraid. Let her rest in knowing how much you love her. God we pray that You protect and bless our home. Keep it and us safe. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

My godly duty as her mother is to reassure that she is loved …not just by me, but far invisible-fire-3greater. Her little heart needs to hear that He is good, that she can trust Him, and that He he cares about her fears and worries.

“Jesus explains the futility of such worry for one’s life (Mt 6:25), time (6:27, 34), clothes (6:28), and even what one will eat (6:31). Such a focus is not only a wasted effort on something that one cannot change (cf. Lk 12:25), but it leads to unhealthy anxiety.” Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

If the thing I want to be able to promise will never harm a hair on her head singes her life, He will get her through. He will love her. He will grow her. He will never leave her side.

Through the calamity of this world, God does not promise Christians a free pass from pain. He gifts us the grace, peace and hope to keep walking through it. We grip Him in fear, look to Him in awe, and trust Him with it all …through it all.

Let Go.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Night after night my little Lo cried at bedtime, afraid our house would catch on fire. Night after night we prayed together, and repeated those truths to her tiny heart and my overwhelmed one. Until one night, her brave blue eyes stared right into mine and with a small, still voice, wondered:

“Mom, can I say a special prayer?” I nodded, misty-eyed.

“Dear God, Please bless us and don’t let our house catch on fire. Keep everyone in our family safe, and my teddy and blankie and all of my toys. We love you God and Jesus, Amen.”

Our great God hears the prayers of tender little hearts, and understands their fears.

invisible-fire-1

Sometimes it takes months, years, decades, lifetimes …before the discipline to turn to God first replaces our knee-jerk reaction to solve humanity’s dysfunctional fears and worries. But I believe that when God’s truth repeated is alive,  powerful, and in motion.

My greatest prayer as a mother is that my daughters will know that God loves them perfectly, even when I do not.

“The scope of these verses is to silence the fears, and encourage the faith, of the servants of God in their distresses.“ Matthew Henry Commentary on Isaiah 41:10-20

Prayer becomes powerful conversation. The grace of accepting Jesus’ sacrifice as allows us to experience a power that is not of this world. Discernment of text that is much more that black and white letters on a page. It’s much more than a good story. He is God.  He was here. And now His Spirit lives in us.

Invisible fire, indeed.

Happy praying,

Megs

 

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The Intentional Compliment

“I’m weird,” my girl sighed. “I don’t always feel like I fit in here.”

I launched into the infamous “God made you perfect” speech through a lump in my throat …but I knew very well it wouldn’t single-handedly cure the eight-year-old aches.

It’s OK, Mom…I’m weird,” she continued, “it’s a good weird.”

My daughter has the same potential as all other girls to have highly dramatic and face-twisting over-rations, but I love who she is. A Jedi, a wizard, a thrift-rack surfer. With a book in her hand and a never-ending eight-count to her step, she’s in love with laughing…  and I’m fiercely protective of her adopting any shred of the insecurity and comparison that fight me.

On the cusp of the “awkward” years, I’m keenly aware that the validity of my opinion on just about everything is about to drop off dramatically. Now is the time to intentionally buoy her light bright, to bob unscathed amidst an egocentric society.

Know love to love.

“God is love.” 1John4:16b

ic-1It’s not the happy ending of a rom-com or the heart flutter when Justin Bieber takes the stage … God is love. He loves perfectly, and He loves us whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not …and regardless of what we do or do not do. Built in His image, we’re programmed to love.

” Love comes straight from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and truly knows God. ” 1John 4:7-8

Discipline and consequences are necessary to raise healthy humans, but overly harsh ic-4criticism is not. If I look for ways to build my kids up in love, they will look for a way to do so for others.

Yes, it’s annoying when cereal and milk is spilled all over the floor, but insults don’t have to be built into my reaction. No, she doesn’t match perfectly all of the time, but killing her creative spirit and hurting her feelings over an outfit she’s proud of isn’t going to build confidence. I’m a big proponent of apologizing to my kids …mostly because of the mistakes I make.

Kids have to know that they are God’s children entrusted to us, and that He loves them perfectly even when we do not. In acknowledging God sovereignty, we learn what it means to be loved.

Look to love for how to love.

“Brianne, I want you to find something nice to say to ___ today,” I instructed my eight ic-2year old.

“Why?” she asked with an ever-so-charming look that could fry an an ant five miles away.

“Because…”

 Why? How do I convince her to love on others when she’s mainly concerned about getting through elementary school without becoming a target, herself?

In the grown up world, the same struggle is manifested daily through social media. I deactivated my account when I lost the ability to look into the mirror confidently.  It was freeing, not knowing what everyone was doing all of the time. But then I sat in church, and felt like a wimp hiding in the corner.

“This is the culture we are called to reach,” Pastor preached.

I sighed out loud. Come on, Jesus … really? There?

To walk in love is to walk with Jesus …wherever. God sent Him here to walk out love on earth, and we’re called to at least try.  I don’t want to go out of my comfort zone any more than my daughter does. Jesus, without qualifying people or weighing what He would have to sacrifice, just loved on people. And when we follow His lead, we learn how to love.

“I chase only after glory for the One who sent Me. My intention is authentic and true. You’ll find no wrong motives in Me.” John 7:16

ic-3Yes… I want to be like that.

“Did you tell ____ what I told you to?” I followed up…

“Yep,” she said, beaming.

“Felt good, didn’t it?” I asked.

“It really did, mom …and I’m going to make sure _____ is OK at school from now on.”

I’m back on Facebook …and it bothers me most of the time. It’s a lot easier for me to turn it off and walk away …but that’s not the mission. Just as I teach Brianne to look for peers that need love, I need to look where my peers are to do the same.

Intentionally turn out to face your circle.  Look for ways to love. Hashtag it. Love it. Share it.  #wherever

ic-5

All it takes is a scan of the hurt that surrounds to remind me of how precious and fleeting time with my girl is.  I pray I’m able to fill those minutes with the knowledge of God’s love and the example of it that Jesus lived. True love lived out in her life will allow her light to shine amidst the storms that await.

Unlike my experience as a hometown Cleveland girl and sports fan …love winning in the end is a sure thing.

Happy Complimenting!!

Megs

Stay encouraged!

The Blue Table

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Failure to control my kids’ exposure scares me, and lending it’s parameters up to the One
who’s wise to the legit limit is the only way I manage to keep the wall up. The waxing and waning of what I’m supposed to hold to and let go of perplexes my parental instincts. Many voices weigh in, but only One cuts through the noise.

“Control- to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command; to hold in check; curb” –dictionary.com

Blue Table fixed tweetOur butts were stuck to the seat, and the warm breeze wafted by as we tried to beat the heat to our ice cream. Sun-beat cheeks burst wide with giggles in between spoonfuls. As the kid-table full of little girls erupted into innocent laughter over inside jokes, and a little blurb of nonsense perked-up the parent ears sitting at the adjoining table with a,“What-did-you-say?!” 

All of the girls… in unison… at the highest volume they could maintain while dying laughing, repeated, “TOM HAS A SMALL WEINER!!!!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!”

Not sure whether to laugh, cry, or die of embarrassment … I let the contagious cackling catch me, too.”Tom has a small wiener,” scratched into the table at the local ice cream factory, is definitely not in the prepared parent handbook.

I was pretty sure my princesses weren’t privy to the down low; but as my friend marched up to management, I wondered how aware of the world they really were.

“Oh, mom, I started that…” stated my calm, rule-following first child, as we cruised down the high-way home.

“I sounded it out,” she said, as I braced my grip on the steering wheel little tighter.

“Why would someone write about their wiener-dog on a table…”  she trailed off and into
hysterics again, no doubt recalling how all of her friends roared in laughter over ice cream.

Phew. She had no idea, and I left it that way.

There are things in this world that are impossible to control. Bits of exposure creep into kid’s minds beyond our ability to rewind. Terrible tragedy scares society into lockdowns and loud mouths.  How do parents protect children amidst an increasingly illusive grasp on control?

Faith.

God is in control of all that alludes us. Faith allows us to live in peace, amidst engulfing calamity. In “table scratch” moments,  I say…“Word up.” #wordup

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WORD up.

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.” 

Mark 5:36

There is a miracle recorded in the Gospel of Mark that reveals God’s sovereign care beyond our parental scope.  Jarius, a synagogue leader, sought Jesus out to heal his daughter, but while in route she died.  “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Jesus said, and He raised his daughter from the dead.

I believe the Word came alive for Jarius that day.

Blue Table 2-6Read the Bible. Let the living Word come alive in your life. The situations of our hearts differ, but the omnipotent voice is the same. When we listen to these lessons, we can hear hope. By preparing our hearts with wise words, pressing parenting conversations are relieved by a story, a “who God is,” or “what would Jesus would do.” Applying Biblical truths to everyday occurrences plant “wall building” seeds.

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 word UP.

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” 

James 5:16

Get up and look up… everyday. Talk up. Pray up. Listen for what’s up. I can’t be everywhereBlue Table 3-7 my daughters are, but He can. I won’t always understand, but He does. Prayer
accumulates, God hears, and I trust He’s on board. Scholarly proof alludes me, but as Sunday seeds sown are watered and grown, bits of evidential wisdom bleed out of my heart. #faith

“Please bless Brianne and Lauren. 

Keep them physically safe from harm, 

and guard their hearts and minds

 …today, and always.”

My girls are six and eight, and everyday I pray that prayer …in earnest hope, and forthright faith.  I have a lot to learn, and many miles of parenting left to wander. But I routinely yield the mysteries of the world to their Author, believing most ardently that He answers prayer.

My littlest girl loves to quote Tinkerbell’s infamous motto, “Faith, trust, and pixie dust.” Have faith in the Word and earnestly pray. Trust that life will water His seeds in our kin. And pixie dust? Keep your eye out for answered prayers …sometimes they look like miracles.

Word up,

Megs

Stay encouraged!