The Power of a Memory

“Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns.’ The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.” Psalm 96:10

God is unmoved. He reigns. He is omnipotent and sovereign. I know the truth of this verse in my head, but my world has been in complete earthquake mode. All of the wheels typically fall off in May, but this Spring’s combination of heartache and stress have left deep purple circles under my eyes.

“I don’t care …fine!”

The door slammed. Round two, day four. The tween years are rapidly rushing in the gray hair. Life isn’t stopping or slowing down so I can devise a plan of attack. It’s exhausting my emotions and frying my nerves. It’s messing with the amount of sleep I depend on, and interrupting hours when the house used to be quiet enough to unwind. Some nights both kids fall asleep on either side of me- one afraid of something and the other sad about something and we are all too tired to have heartfelt talks about it before we fall asleep. 

“Butthole …butthead …” The “butt” themed names continued to trail off as one of my darling children walked away to read her book as physically far away from me as she could get …to roll her eyes and make faces. How dare I tell her she couldn’t have my phone. It’s so great when that happens in front of other people in a public place …it’s my favorite. There’s no willpower, role model or Bible verse that can stop hard seasons and stages. I remember slamming my door off the frame when I was their age, but somehow I thought I had done just enough good parenting to skirt the door slamming issue. The respectful children I have raised are no where to found some days. 

On top of parenting two tween girls, life has piled on injury, conflict, difficult decisions, and air thick with drama in unexpected places. Life is going to be life, and if I don’t find a healthy way to handle the curve balls, I will start slamming doors myself. Or end up with stomach ulcers. When all of the hard, sad, trying, annoying, hurtful and overwhelming stuff reaches a certain capacity, I come unglued in prayer. The floodgates of composure open and the tears stream down my face, relying on the power of Jesus’ name (sometimes at very high volume) to pick me up off of the floor. In those moments, He is faithful to remind me I already have Peace.

Remembering is an important part of our faith. Psalm 105:5 says, “Remember the wonders He has done, his miracles …” (NIV) Our memories, answered prayers, and miracles are powerful. Remember. As a motivation for and focus of worship and the basis for trust- remember how the Lord has remembered.” (NIVSB, emphasis mine.) Compassionate and merciful, He sees us, hears us, and is with us. In the suffering hidden behind our highlight reels, He is palpably present. Psalm 105:39 says, “He spread out a cloud as a covering…” (NIV) to protect His people (NIVSB). His peace shields our hearts. He is constant. 

Constant means unchanging, uniform, regular or invariable. It’s continuing without pause or letup. Who, or what, is unceasing? Can we rely on anything to be regularly recurrent, continual, or persistent? Only God is faithful, unswerving in love and devotion. As we ride the waves of this world, He remains steady.

The dark circles under my eyes can be a badge of honor or a burden of despair. In every situation, I have a choice. And I don’t always make it well. I complain, but Christ is constant. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NIV) The steadiness of Christ is in me. But I sometimes approach life like a roller coaster, strapping in and screaming when I’m scared and laughing when I’m happy. That’s no way to live. 

Through all of the chaos, Jesus remains constant. Unmoved. He sees me. He hears me. But I need to pause and remember the peace He died to give me. It’s not an easy world to live in. We will undoubtedly feel like aliens on our own planet many days. We’re placed purposefully by an all-knowing God who promises we’re never alone. Believe Him. Matthew 28:20b says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Happy Purple Circles,

Megs

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“Disciple Her,” by Kandi Gallaty, Book Review

“It’s a misconception to think that living missionary means you need to go overseas. That is definitely part of it, but what it means more accurately is that your perspective of your everyday life needs to shift. You view things from a kingdom perspective: the people around you are not just outer shells, they are embodied souls in need of a Savior.” – Gallaty, “Disciple Her”

Kandi Gallaty speaks life into the hearts of everyone woman seeking to obey Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples.” This book allows readers to see discipleship as an everyday reality rather than a daunting task. So many of us lead and attend Bible studies, but yearn for the next step in our faith. This book is a great place to dive head first into the next level of growth in our faith.  

Gallaty provides guidance based on real life experience leading and discipling women. The book is divided into two parts, the first defining discipleship and the latter teaching how to start a Discipleship Group.  

I have led a Women’s Bible Study Group for years, and appreciate the knowledge and confidence this book has given me to take my faith and my leadership to the next level. It’s both uplifting and challenging.

For those looking to take their faith to the next level, this book is a must read. I highly recommend it to Bible Study leaders and teachers. However, any group of friends with a goal to seek more of Christ will benefit from the powerful truths and accountability this book offers.

“Transparency is needed and trust is necessary. We have to remember that when things can’t be explained, we can simultaneously share our lament with others and also trust the God of the universe.” -Gallaty, “Disciple Her”

Click here to purchase your copy of “Disciple Her.”

The Learning Curve

May Parenting: The Learning Curve 

“For the LORD is a great god, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed dry land.” Psalm 95:3-5 ESV

There is no one like our God. We are created in His image, but we are not Him. The things we create get messed up. The people we raise, rebel. We come unglued. Mistakes are the learning curve of life, yet many kids are ashamed of them. Perfectionism is creeping into the cracks of our society, where kids are known for their test scores and grade cards rather than their unique talents and abilities. Afraid to disappoint anyone with their failures, they keep them hidden and covered up. They are on social media younger and younger, where the highlight reel reigns. It’s a difficult reality for them to navigate, and a crucial environment for parents to be aware of.

We all struggle with the fear of disappointing other people, ourselves, or God. Mistakes are a part of being human, and God is not surprised. Regardless of our imperfections, He chooses to love us right where are. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” ESV

I often scramble to fix the way my daughters feel instead of trusting God for who He says He is. The Father draws them, not me. Psalm 98:2 says, “The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.” (NIV) As parents, we are called to lead our children to His feet, but I often need to be reminded my daughters were His before they were mine. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” ESV

Christ went to the cross to reach a bar we never could. We often learn the most from our mistakes, and have the opportunity to help others who are struggling with what we have gone through.  It comforts children to learn parents make mistakes, too. Christ meets us in our mess everyday. He wipes the slate clean, but the memories of our past mistakes are to serve the people He places in our lives purposefully. Including our children. Hebrews 3:13 says,“encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today.’” NIV

When no band-aid seems to fit our children’s wounds and calm their fears, Jesus heals. There is power in His name. Pray to Him, together. He is always with us, and God promises to be close to broken hearted. God freely gives His love, but it’s up to us to receive it, and teach our children to as well. When our kids are hysterical and hormonal all at once, let’s come alongside them and love them empathetically, as if we’ve been there. Perfection has no place in anyone’s expectations this side of heaven. 

God rested. When we throw our faith in Him, we are able to rest. He reigns. He’s in control. Hebrews 4:10-11a  says,“for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…” ESV.

Click here to purchase!

The Wake Up Call

Waking kids up in the morning is a pain in the you-know-what.

I NEVER woke my kids up when they were babies.  Three-hour naps twice a day?  Fine.  Go for it.  Sleep all you want.  All parents’ instinct is this.  Why?  Because all parents learn very quickly that a baby, toddler, kid of any age, who is overtired …is like dealing with an insane person.  Little bodies go limp and start flailing to the ground, tears stream down worn-out faces, nerves fry at all ends, and they fall down.  Literally.

This is the first summer since my kids don’t have to wake up to come with me to coach Cross Country practice. Instead of packing breakfast to-go I am watering my plants and enjoying my cup of coffee.  There is a big, quiet, gap in my summer mornings.

My oldest daughter, Brianne, though totally in love with “the runners” was the first to raise her hand at the family meeting when repeating the grueling schedule of the previous fall was discussed.  “Too busy,  TOO busy.” was her “two” sense.  And she was absolutely right.  Coupled with the diagnosis of my auto immune disease, my husbands long work hours, and my parents permanent move from down the street to South Florida …it was time to take a step back.

Brianne, now six, has loved every minute of having no agenda.  Her rise and shine time drifts longer into each day.  All-day Kindergarten was brutal on her.  I see pure joy in her face as she slowly meanders down the stairs in the morning and rolls onto the couch to watch a movie.  

Little Lo, now four, has only gotten half the memo.  She still bounces into my room somewhere between 5am and 7am in the morning to snuggle, and follows me around my morning routine.

“Momma, I want hot chocolate.” she will sleepily request.  Hot chocolate and the Disney Channel …that’s how Lo rolls for the first few hours of the day.

One morning, the Cross Country team stopped by our house, and through a lump in my throat I watched Brianne remember …and witnessed her love for the whole scene rekindle right there on the spot. “The runners” waved every time they run by.  It motivated my little girl, who has literally grown up around and thinks distance runners are the coolest people on the planet.  (Which they are …I mean, duh.)

“Mom, if I get up and get ready can I run with you in the morning?” she asked.  After all the “wondering what my kids are going to be passionate about,” I somehow knew early on running would eventually be it for her.

The first day she slept through our run, but I gave her my GPS and challenged her to see how many times around the yard add up to a mile. The answer is 10, and she happily ran for 1.57 miles. The next day Brianne made it up and out the door on time and we ran a mile and a half.  She talked the ENTIRE way …and she cut me off …a lot!  My old teammates would die of laughter if they could see it! Day three in a row, we ran 1.75 miles, ending at the lake, my favorite morning spot to take a picture.  

A lot of things have changed over the past year.  My body is in pain all the time from my battle with AS. Running just isn’t as healing as is used to be. My parents have moved away, making my everyday life is drastically different without them.

“Mom, you know what?” Brianne asked, while running, of course.

“What, Brianne?” I responded.

“I’m really glad I have a mommy like you who is a coach, ” as she looked up at me and smiled.

“But I’m not a coach anymore, Brianne,” I replied.

“Oh, yes you are, Mommy.  Except now, you get to just coach me and Lo Lo.  You’re little runners.” she explained.

Be still my heart.

“Yes, yes I can, Bri Bri Girl.  You really love to run, don’t you?” I asked.

“Yep.” she nodded.

“Awesome.” I told her.

Happy Summer Mornings….

Megs

And now …May 22, 2019.

It’s good to look back and remember God’s hand on our lives …to remember His answered prayers and miraculous healings. In the grand scope of our memories, lie some of the answers to our next steps. Today, I needed to remember this painful season in life. The joy I have in Christ remained through it all. He blessed me with sweet moments of motherhood and miraculously healed my disease. Jesus relieved my physical pain and healed my heart. 

I needed to remember my little runners, who are now growing up to be their own people. Brianne joined running club, this year, forgoing sleep to get there before school starts. She’s been so committed to dance over the last five years, I wondered if she would see it through. After the first day, she came running in the door …

“Mom!” she said, “all of my friends sprinted out in front of me at the beginning, but by the end I ran out of people to pass except for a couple of boys!” To see her rediscover the passion I could see so early in her life, all on her own, healed my doubts as a mom. We all have them. Doubts, fears, and decisions affecting our kids that don’t wait on assurance. 

“Mom!” she came flying in after another running club day, “I was second today! Just one boy beat me!” I will not be able to contain myself if she ends up being a competitive distance runner. No matter what she does, I needed to remember that though my influence in important, I am not the author of her passions. She will find them on their own. God will draw her to Him, just like He did me, and she will experience the full life of following Christ. I needed to remember that, today. Motherhood is so hard. But oh …we have a God who is so good.