Posted on August 25, 2016
The screech was ear piercing, and my limbs were too slow to react to what I saw. Little limbs flew over handlebars, and skidded to a stop on the concrete. Tears streamed and knees bled. I scooped my baby up to the tune of my quickly abandoned bike crashing to the ground. My breath paused waiting for her to catch hers.
Against my incessant warnings and her better judgement, little Lo continued to ride her purple banana-seat bike with her feet up in the air. Though she faithfully wears a helmet, it couldn’t protect her from the overflow of boo-boo’s she survived this summer from peddling standing-up to keep up with the big kids.
“It’s OK, “ I reassure her, “You’re Ok… I love you …Mommy’s got you.”
It’s infuriating to watch preventable accidents reoccur, yet we rush to the rescue every time.
When we’re little, a Mommy hug and a bandaid …or a hot pink cast signed my all of our friends, encourages the hope of healing and the chance to ride again. In the grown up world, scars scale beyond bloody knees and broken bones. The adult audience does not wait in angst to sign our hurts with a Sharpie. Only God’s truth is powerful enough to bind wounds completely and foster new growth from our scars.
Redemption– the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil. The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.
Synonyms: retrieval, recovery, return. –google.com
When falling, focus on the redemptive factor of faith in Christ. The above synonyms are great stones to skip…
Retrieval-the process of getting something back from somewhere. -google.com
The Creator of time can stretch minutes. In John 19:38, He provided the perfect timing and placement of people to retrieve His Son’s body. Do we know He takes the same care in crafting our purpose?
God pursues us.
His gift of grace through Christ’s death on the cross gives us permission to peel past standardized shortcomings and embrace the promise of hope laced in every scar.
Recovery- a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength. The action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost. -google.com
Children, regardless of age, innately want to please their parents. Simon, in Luke 5:8-10, says,
“I can’t take this, Lord. I’m a sinful man. You shouldn’t be around the likes of me.”
It’s hard to look at fresh bruises without feeling a little ashamed.
Do we realize that’s normal?
Ephesians 2:3 reminds us that we are all guilty. Yet, in such a cycle of imperfect and repetitious behavior…through Christ …we are still redeemed.
Return-come or go back to a place or person. Give, put, or send something back to a place or person. -google.com
Genesis 3:19 reminds us to keep our perspective in check: “To dust we shall return.” James 5:7 urges us to be patient and wait. The word “return” in regards to Jesus’ whereabouts is mentioned 19 times in the book of Matthew …12 in Mark, 28 in Luke, and 29 in John. Jesus does a lot of returning in the gospels. Despite our cyclical sin, God hasn’t throw the towel in.
“You were bought at a price…” (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23 NIV)
It cost a life for us to live. An innocent life… without sin …sacrificed in the most brutal way … to save us.
High price, indeed.
“In His image,”(Genesis 1:27) is so evident when we teach our kids to get back up when they fall. We tell them it’s OK. We assure them that we love them.
Throughout the vast disappointments of my life, Christ has carried me, put bandaids on my bloody knees, healed hurts too secret to share, and surrounded me in His love. Until He returns …until I am returned to Him, I will passionately pursue my redeemed place in His plan …strengthened by knowing He never gives up on me.
Posted on July 20, 2016
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
Our 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?
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
“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
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.
Read 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.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Get up and look up… everyday. Talk up. Pray up. Listen for what’s up. I can’t be everywhere 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.
Posted on June 9, 2016
The product of my rushed suburban childhood is arm-in-arm in that sandy crop of kids, traditionally appreciating the last day of school in their little lake town …where the busiest road has a 35 mph speed limit, and we can count the number of stop lights on one hand. “Rush” is absent from their vocabulary.
Traditions can bloom dreams if we allow them to align our intentions with His design. The small lake town I live in has taught me to treasure tradition. In your town, on the farm, amidst a metropolis, or in your move; here are some benefits I’ve uncovered in establishing a little tradition.
foundation- the basis or groundwork for anything…the natural or prepared ground on which some structure exists. (dictionary.com)
Learning to leave God in our dreams takes faith tough enough to trust that His view of them will undoubtably differ from our expectations a lot of the time. If we learn to look up before we dream out; the surrounding blessings, people, and places in life begin to reveal parts of His purpose. Tradition rooted in Christ yields a stable foundation to dream upon.
“You are being built on a solid foundation: the message of the prophets and the pieces of God’s chosen emissaries with Jesus, the Anointed Himself, the precious cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20
Paul reminded the church at Ephesus to embrace the foundation that Jesus laid at the foot of the cross. We would be wise to do the same. When our dream is drifting with the Creator’s current, living it each day spreads the virtuous kindness and joy of Jesus.
“Take a close look at everything, test it, then cling to what is good.” 1 Thes. 5:21
I had all intentions of moving by the water to be out on the water, but God threw out the anchor… and beached my boat. And as I peeled back the layers of blessing from the shoreline, I’m so glad he didn’t let me rush past it all. Changing the direction of our lives is never easy, but layered in the learning are blessings that follow an obedient heart. “Clinging” to those blessings, to who He is, shapes a resilient heart.
resilience the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape.- Google
The pre-school years flew by, and the “Last Day” tradition that started with four moms is still growing … each year new friendships form and new laughs are logged. We pray for each other, help each other, laugh, cry and load up on a bus to celebrate milestones together… stand arm-in-arm together.
“So, brothers and sisters, all you need to do now is stand firm and hold tight to the line of teachings we have passed on to you, whether in person or in a letter.” 2 Thes 2:15
Paul wrote this letter to clarify some traditions that had been muddled in translation. Can you imagine passing things down accurately without the Internet?
I’ve been privy to witness, that the tradition of excellence my town, has more to do than just the happy disposition that often follows suit with living on the shoreline of one of the world’s Great Lakes. The tale of each home-town Tiger begins with tradition.
From the first day they high-five the elementary-school principal down hallways decked with yellow smiles, they are brought up to believe they can find their best and bring it out in others. The entire town cheers them on until they show up dressed in white to lookout from that shoreline together one last time …arm-in-arm. I’ve watched my daughters watch those beautiful graduates, confident they can conquer anything because they’ve been raised to believe that they will.
Confident, bright, and beautiful blooms are the result of roots. Spectacular moments of growth don’t last forever, but roots remain to break through the soil once again.
Christians are confident in the joy Jesus. From the very first time we high-five Him as we’re dunked under the water, or whisper a prayer…His truth allows us to bloom beautifully along life’s bumpy road. Like the graduates confident they can conquer the world, He stands with us, arm-in-arm, in a victory that’s already been won.
“I must say how pleased I am to hear that you remember me in everything and continue to hold on to the traditions I have passed on to you.” 1 Corinthians 11:2
Paul wrote this letter to the believers at Corinth as they were torn by spiritual immaturity in attempting to uphold tradition.
Triumph is synonymous for “coming back.”
The “Last Day” tradition isn’t always a smoothly executed plan, but we all keep coming back. Tradition gives us a space to embrace our place on this earth.
Sometimes the frustration in having to be still is God whispering that you’re already here. Perhaps the purpose of my dream to live by the lake was simply to slow down and embrace tradition all along. That’s all God asks of us …keep coming back. Keep the tradition of meeting with Him everyday …of looking for Him in everything we experience. Those are strong roots, a stable foundation, a resilient reliance, and a triumphant destination.
Posted on May 5, 2016
How can I be certain genuine sensitivity is zipped into the teeth of my self-conscious mind’s motives? I don’t want my insecurities to jam my kids’ jackets. But that’s exactly what happens when I fail to spin inward. Selfish instincts fuel trauma.
Before I speak my mind in witness to my children, I SIFT, hoping to model the selfless love Christ extends to me.
“Concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc, regardless of others.” Dictionary.com
Piece by piece, the remnants of pushing my babies on their little blue swing were hauled away. With every disassembled section, hours of images blurred through my tears. The animal sound quizzes, songs about ABC’s, and tickling their knees wavered through my mind.
Human default lends the out-flow of our actions to be inwardly influenced. Watching my children grow, I worry I’ve failed them, often becoming hyper-focused on the mistakes I’ve made.
My kids sift through their mistakes to the tune of their parent’s habits. Our oldest daughter is always right and never admits fault, and the youngest thinks it’s always her fault because she’s a terrible person. #parentfail
“We have different gifts according to the grace given us.”-Romans 12:6a
Gifts can be sifted to unearth seeds of growth and potential. It’s selfish to focus on every mistake when so much can be learned from each character trait. Instead of grabbing for the seam ripper, reach for each unique thread of joy sewn into you. Accepting the full spectrum God’s granted us is a healthy vision of what’s actually happening.
The daughter that always feels at fault is always trying to improve and be better, just like her momma. The daughter that stubbornly doesn’t let drama deter her is calm in the midst of chaos like her dad. In Christ, we’re aligned with whom He knows we already are.
“An inborn pattern of activity or tendency to action common to a given biological species.” -Dictionary.com
I wondered what was going through my Kindergartner’s mind as she pressed her head against the window and watched a piece of her childhood leave the lawn.
“YES!!!!!!!” she shrieked with glee, “IT’S TRAMPOLINE TIME!!!!!”
“Lauren, that’s an awful thing to say,” I snapped, “aren’t you sad to see it go?”
I should have applauded her positive turn of the page, but I let my failed wish to share a few tears with her negate that she reacted wrong. It’s hard to avoid self-critical cycles listening to my echo nag.
When the instinctive urge to be overly critical creeps up, I’m often symptomatically ready to snap. At the end of the day at the end of the week, I am emotionally at the end of my rope. A deep breath can place the urge lash out on the back burner. No matter how I yearn for the scene play, unexpected blessing is always laced within.
Trying times beg for the justice of Jesus, and the guidance of God’s great grace. The Holy Spirit is able to redirect our instincts to Christ before we rearrange our kid’s self-esteem. It’s hard to fight the parental instinct to harp, but God seeks to bless brave steps. (John 14: 15-17)
“Something that gives nourishment…sustains or encourages; stimulant.” -Dictionary.com
Sunday was trampoline assembly day, and my girls came bounding out in their pajamas to jump. I trekked back inside to the sound of gleeful cackles as my husband took the big empty box to the curb. Fear and worry pushed the nostalgic lump out of my throat. And just like that, they grew up a little more.
I don’t have a natural urge to let my kids go and grow. Though my first instinct is always to grasp firm, Christ reminds me He’s already holding on. The Spirit He left advocates peace to fight the fear that our flesh fuels. So, I can fill up my tank with thankfulness and trust, and let the joy of Jesus reign over the “letting go’s” of my life.
“If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. Romans 12:6b
This verse is a picture of playing in the pocket. The gifts God gave us individually launch us into the people …and the parents …we’re meant to be. Kids need to understand how to react to difficulty by tapping into their strengths rather than wallowing in a weak spot. One of my favorite pastors recently preached on efforts to live out just one verse of the Bible instead of trying to learn the whole thing. I choose to let 1 Thes. 5:16, and who I am, fuel my life with joy.
“Be joyful always.” 1 Thes. 5:16
“A body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury …an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.” -Dictionary.com
…and then one of them flew right back out.
My Kindergartner landed smack on her back. Shrieking and covered in mulch, the scene of checking symptoms engulfed the kitchen.
“How could we have let this happen?” I said to my husband.
My natural inclination to roll over every insecure thought causes me to misconstrue, misinterpret …and just plain miss stuff.
LIKE ZIPPING UP THE SAFETY ZIPPER!!!
I guarantee I was applauding myself for pressing my husband to get the thing built before sundown …or mulling over the weekend’s lot of conversations with friends to check for anything stupid I should be embarrassed about. Of all the warnings I give my children to heed, the most obvious preventions leak right out of my own insecurities.
The devil tries to traumatize us so that we jump around in doubt rather than with a clear conscious to contribute to the world around us. I am equipped to encourage my kids, even after they’ve flown out of the trampoline on my watch, because of the traumatic scars Jesus survived. We can fuel the fire of our selfish instincts, or fan Christ’s flame of hope in our hearts. The capability is there. The choice is ours.
“Examine (something) thoroughly so as to isolate that which is most important or useful.” -Google
My kids don’t always witness the right reactions. I’m not always privy to patience. But, His grace renders this world’s trauma temporary. Let’s attempt to sift out all thoughts that don’t align with His truth.
“So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and many.” Acts 24:16
Zip it up before you jump around.
Posted on April 20, 2016
The gagging rapidly approached. I shot up from a deep sleep to dig defensively against my exhaustion. The bright red clock glowed, “4:30 AM.”
“MO-GAG-MMY-GAG,” my daughter heaved. “I-GAG-DON’T-GAG-FEEL-GAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGG…”
Up and out to usher her away from my room, I prayed my toes would remain in tact and my shins wouldn’t be shattered by the debris of low lying furniture that littered the route to the hallway. Our eyes squinted in protest but my heart jumped for joy when we made it to the bathroom without any projectile fallout.
“Why did you pass the bathroom to run to my room?” I asked her as pulled her new, short hair-cut back. She smiled and started to giggle, and then whatever was ailing her finally released. Bleh. The “every thirty minute” trip to retrieve water sips ensued; and as I attempted to sneak in some sleep between changing trash-can bags, the dim glow of dawn lit.
Her sickness seemed to fade rapidly as we pulled away from dropping her little sister off at school, and I was serenaded while she “rested” to the tune of Barbie’s shenanigans. If not for witnessing the vomit first-hand, I’d have pronounced her a big fat faker.
We sat to chat …laughed …sorted through her bookshelf …ate lunch …watched a movie …took the dog for a pier-walk …and went shopping. Cuddled up on the couch that night, I knew God had gone above and beyond answering my prayers for her healing. I silently celebrated the scenery of a Spirit-led day, that lent me the time to witness my rapidly maturing little girl grow up a bit …right before my eyes. #gift
To live in the motion of The Holy Spirit, replace your race with a pace to match His stride. It’s a humble walk, painfully slow at times, but always moving forward. Like the rhythm of a runner’s depart from the start, we can establish a pattern to race with the Spirit as He moves.
Let’s learn how to harness a “good sick” day, by investigating an amazing verse.
If I break into a full sprint without running things by God, I may appear very busy and productive …but I assure you it’s masking a disheveled and over-tasked mess. Breaking time off to have a real conversation with Him sets the tone for my day and signals the Holy Spirit to start translating.
When words to describe what we’re going through aren’t present in our vocabulary, or we lack the motivation to mumble what words we do know how to string together, the Spirit relays our message to God. (Romans 8:28) The One who speaks life has an infinite vocabulary.
Start talking to God about life. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, we have full access to the Author…and Translator. #prayaboutit
Being set to launch life the way God intended us to live it requires reading the Bible. What good is the answer to life if we never hear it? The Spirit aides our interpretation (John 14:26) of God’s living Word (Hebrews4:12), and a conversation is born.
It seems less daunting when broken down into footsteps. God isn’t calling me to change my personality, He’s asking me step into the ingenuity He laid into my life’s foundation. God’s Word reliably directs my footsteps with the disciplinary truth my heart needs to digest His love and direct my steps.
Read His Word in faith that it will answer prayers, apply currently, and ready life to shift and grow. #ReadTheWord
I discovered that in the original language, and within the context of Galatians 5:16, live and walk are synonymously derived from the Greek verb peripateo.
“Literally, means walk around…The NT uses peripateo to refer to the way believers behave or conduct daily life.” -Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary
Walking is living. Living is walking. “Spirit led” is a daily process that we walk out for life. Step in one obedient stride at a time.
Faithful training makes for great races. The blocks are empty and the runners are already rounding the first curve. As the gun-shot-start adrenaline wears off, preparation relaxes us into the rhythm of our own breathing. Don’t look back…#Go
I am forever grateful that she passed the bathroom to come and get me first. I might have missed a footstep…
Reading different translations of Biblical verses can be done with a swipe of the screen. Bible Gateway is an amazing resource I reference to bridge my gap between average person and Biblical scholar. It’s a very large gap. I’m very thankful for it! You know what they say …”If I don’t know the answer I know someone that does!” #doyourresearch #neverstoplearning