Rip it Off …Love While Healing.

Motherhood is like ripping band-aids off before the wounds have scabbed over. My hurts are exposed before they’ve healed. Before my kids started to grow up and experience deeper hurts, I could leave mine safely covered by the bandaids. While they remained covered and healing, I played in the park and participated in back yard picnics. I strolled down to the water and all over town to explore everything new alongside their innocent souls. 

The Bible says that children are a sign of God’s blessing. My life is living proof.

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3 NLT

In ancient times, children represented more than just a possession, as inferred in this verse. They represented heritage, “without children the inheritance of the land would be lost.” (NIV Study Bible Notes.) Our job as parents is to set them on the right path, and keep them on it or as close to it as we can …but the final decision on their direction is up to them. 

My kids didn’t know me before them, or see how becoming the mom they needed me to be pulled me out of a dark season, set me back on my feet and renewed my faith. They were indeed a “more than I could ever ask for or imagine” blessing that I didn’t deserve.

I can no longer hide the places the darkness has touched behind picnics and park playdates. Now, my mistakes have the power to protect my daughters if I cut them in on the healing. The Bible says to be wise we have to share our mistakes in hopes our children are less apt to repeat them. 

“My children, listen when your father corrects you. Pay attention and learn good judgement, for I am giving you good guidance. Don’t turn away from my instructions. For, I, too was once my father’s son, tenderly loved as my mother’s child.” Proverbs 4:1-3

This is Solomon, one of the wisest people ever to live, advising his son not to repeat his mistakes. Parent from a place of compassion.

“You’re going to make mistakes,” I told my daughter during one of our after school hear to hearts, “and sometimes things just happen to you.” 

She looked at me as if I couldn’t possibly understand what that was like, so I ripped off a band-aid.

“I don’t like to think about it,” I continued, “but it’s hard to forget.” 

I know all too well how one mistake can taint years of hard work. The pain of loss …the shattering hurt of a broken heart …and the failure to prepare that derails dreams. I’ve lived through everything crumbling. I watched 9/11 happen on live TV. I know what it feels like to travel down a road approved by everyone else …but me …and certainly not God. I’ve been the victim unfair circumstances. I know what it feels like to turn on my heels and run, dig a hole too deep to climb out of, and crawl back to Christ.

In the ten steps it took my daughter her to cross the room, her tears transformed from anger to empathy, loneliness to loved, ashamed to understood.

In the midst of my beautiful mess, God showed me who He made. I’m very careful not to glorify, excuse or leave out the painful consequences of my choices. Nor the unfair kind of pain we suffer from at the hand of someone or something else. As time marches on, mom becomes a little more human. It’s hard for my daughters to believe I could ever be anyone but who they perceive me to be …but it’s crucial they understand who I am. I’m never ready to rip off a band-aid, but I persevere so my kids have a choice to escape the some wounds, and reconcile why others happen to them. Mother’s will do anything to protect their children.

“Why does God let us chose, Mom?” she asked.

“What if we didn’t have to?” I asked, “Or, get to?” 

God is good. He doesn’t need anything from us, but we need Him. When I am tempted to go back and re-defeat myself over a season that God has proclaimed victorious He reminds me, “you are the same girl I have always loved.” 

We are so tempted to equate our worth to our actions, mistakes and accomplishments. Walking with Christ inspires us to do better, but we will never outgrow mistakes and consequences, nor outrun pain and suffering, this side of heaven. 

His love for us never changes. Just like I will never see my daughters or love them less because of mistakes, who we are to Him doesn’t change. What a gift in perspective, motherhood is. 

Happy Healing, Megs 🙂

Megs

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“I Declare War,” by Levi Lusko, Book Review

“You can’t live right if you don’t think right.” Levi Lusko, “I Declare War.”

We have no control over the thoughts that enter our minds daily, but we can filter them. Not every thought leads us in the right direction. Not all we hear or think about every day is true. Deciphering lies and distortion between our ears is an important life skill. It can launch us into our purpose or it can severely trip us up along way. This book meets us in that practical struggle, and provides applicable lessons to harness our thoughts.

From beginning to end, Lusko weaves personal stories into four basic lessons that are easily relatable and entertaining. The Biblical roots of the “4 Keys to Winning the Battle with Yourself,” give Lusko’s message strong legs to stand on. After reading it, I felt a little better equipped to walk boldly into my daily life than I did before. It created a renewed sense of purpose and better understanding of how hard work and Holy Spirit power work in tandem. 

The detail of the stories, especially in reference to middle school life and amazon prime, are hilarious and relatable. The book is broken up into four major sections with great take-aways, making it easy to read through quickly. Lusko’s passion for helping others tap into the power of Christ in their lives is evident, and the Scriptural teachings along the way make the inspirational tones credible and applicable. This book goes just deep enough to intrigue and inspire change, but not so much that it reads like a Bible Study or research heavy material.

I recommend this book for anyone struggling with self-confidence, doubt, anxiety, discontent, or for those simply seeking a little extra motivation to dig deep and accomplish everything God has laid out for them to do. 

“Time doesn’t change you, it just makes you more of who you are.” Levi Lusko

Click here to purchase “I Declare War,” by Levi Lusko.

#saywhat?! …What’s Up With My Mouth?

Hashtags are now a part of verbal communication. The words we # have power the power to create searchable content. The words we verbalize, type, text, share and air hold the power to dignify or deflate. 

My current parenting resolution is #dontraisemyvoice. Once I factor out school, playing with friends and extra curricular activities, I only have to hold it together for 3 or 4 hours on weekdays. Most would say my odds are pretty good, and I wish I could tell you it’s been a smashing success … but there’s a reason for resolution. #stillyelling

“The more you talk, the more likely you will cross the line and say the wrong thing; but if you are wise, you’ll speak less and with restraint.” Proverbs 10:19 VOICE

“Mom, you don’t have to apologize to us …we don’t even deserve you.” 

What did I have to apologize for? #yelling. Unfortunately, lofted above the apology are the hashtags formed while I was losing my patience. My careless words distort and begin to plant seeds of deceit …#lies.

Psalm 119:165 says “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” We don’t always like, much rather love, God’s law in our everyday lives. Which is why our bad attitudes drip down into our words, and the opportunity to water lies in the minds of their recipients.

Great peace. “Complete security and well-being,” to be accurate. (NIV Study Bible Notes) People that have peace don’t need to make #dontraisemyvoice resolutions. What was I missing? Love.

Proverbs 10:12 says that “hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.” (NIV) The love in this verse is different. This love accomplishes what we cannot: love for a law that we don’t understand, like, or want to follow in the moment. The love of the Law, Himself. (Strongs 157/160) 

My mouth represents my heart, which could be undergoing all manner of spiritual battles at any given time. The risk of blowing up at my kids is that they will start to believe and apply the wrong hashtags. Above the endearing and encouraging words I speak and pray over them for the 3 hours and 58 minutes I have with them some weekdays …they start to carry around …wear around …the other 2 minutes that I was overly critical and terribly impatient while they acted like the 8 and 10 years olds they are. 

“Oh, yes I do have to apologize,” I explain, “because no matter how disobedient you are or impatient I am …I know better than to react like I did.”

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8 NIV

Again, same English word, different definition of Biblical love. This time, “brotherly love, affection, good will, love.” This New Testament love is possible because of Jesus. Through Him, we can love each other with the same love that covers a multitude of sins. We can become living channels of His love. 

When my bad attitude leaks out of my mouth, it’s a heart problem. My problem. Not my children’s fault. Not my husband’s fault. Not the ridiculous pendulum of a midwestern winter’s fault. (And not the Brown’s fault for not clinching a spot in the playoffs …OK a wild card spot -let me dream.)  It’s a hearth issue. So, how do I fix it?

“The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.” Proverbs 10:8 

  • Get the Right Advice. The way to peace and love is through their Author. There’s no shortcut to this. I have to set aside time to read God’s Word before I talk to anyone else. Maybe you can handle conversations before Jesus and coffee, but I can’t. 
  • Listen to Your People. God doesn’t do coincidence. He places us purposefully. I can choose to walk through daily life paying attention to the people in my live, and focusing on how to love them well.
  • Do it. Submission means to drop my way for the right way. Repeated, it becomes a reflex. In the case of my bad attitude controlling my mouth …I can consciously reroute that authority, choosing to apply wisdom before my words fly out. 

Matthew 12:34 reminds, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” 

I speak love when I know who I am. Forgiven in spite of my 2 minute meltdown, and loved before I can find the discipline to fix it. When I wear those hasthags, I’m more likely to pass them on. #neverlovedless #alwaysforgiven.

Happy #-ing …

Megs

The Impossibly Cold Cup

“a time to laugh …” Ecclesiastes 3:4bpost-image-55

Have you seen these cups that claim to keep things cold for hours? It’s fascinating. How can an ice cube stay an ice cube in ninety degree heat for such an extended amount of time? It seems impossible. It makes me laugh at how fascinating these simple things can be to me!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 states the many different seasons of life, and laughter is included. God created laughter. He is the master of sarcasm, as evident in Old Testament Stories and New Testament Parables. Our innate sense of humor and craving for a good reason to smile comes from our good Father.

He created the entire universe in six days, and then rested for one.

He created time yet holds the ability to stretch our minutes.

He flooded the whole earth and destroyed everything, but left one arc untouched.

He spoke to Moses through a burning bush.

He made Joshua march around Jericho once a day for six days before the walls came down on the seventh.

Jesus set up scenes and solve problems in a way that would make us remember. We’re still reading them to this day.

He fed thousands of people with a few fish and some bread loaves.

He healed a woman who touched His robe as He passed by to heal someone else.

His best friends sat at the cafeteria table everyone else is afraid to walk by.

He walked just about everywhere He went, but then rode into town on a donkey …

He washed his friends’ feet.

He almost sunk his friends’ boat with a huge catch of fish.

Why does all of this make me smile? Laugh, even? Certainly not out of disrespect or ill-intended sarcasm as we have grown so accustomed to in our society. No, this humor is born out of love and intentionality. God purposefully places people and circumstances to encourage our smiles …our laughs. With God, there is no coincidence. No impossibility. He is sovereign. There is definitely no coincidence in soveriegnty.

Jesus wasted no parables with the minutes He chose to spend on earth. We only have access to what was written down about Jesus. I like to imagine what other kinds of things He did that we’re not privy to. Jesus is a fun guy. Heaven with Him is going to be a blast.

jammed-tweet-blueIt makes a really cold cup seem like a simple accomplishment. We are created in His image, wired to accomplish the impossible. And with great faith and a Savior like Jesus, who can stop us? Each created for a specific purpose, let’s not forget to revel in the humor of our Father along the way. And marvel at the simple joys and impossibilities …like un-melting ice!

Father, Praise You for happiness and laughter alongside our awe for You! Thank You for lacing lightheartedness into miraculous wonders. We confess that we think humor is our thing …and often use it inappropriately. Bless our innate craving to laugh to be for Your glory, and never at another’s expense. In Jesus Name, Amen. 

Happy Laughing,

Megs

This post was originally a part of the #jammed Daily Devotional Series from February, Dunked in Grace, Day 55: Grace outlasts the heat.

Throwback Update …

When I look back and read some of these devotional entries, I smile at the growth God has led me through since! The more I grow in my faith, and the closer I become to my Creator, the more I realize that His love is a joy-filled wisdom filter over every Instagram-able moment. I realize it’s no coincidence when I stumble upon a happy moment or a bust a gut laughing.

So often we are focused on the big things -good and bad – when we direct our attention to God. But the truth is, He’s in all the little moments of our lives, too. He cares so immensely for each one of us. When we realize how great His love is, it causes us to see things from a different, joy-filled perspective. Joy, that through ups and downs, sustains our strength. Moments of laughter that meet us in impossibly hard circumstances. What a journey …

Happy Laughing …