Monday, July 18, 2011

The Most Important Parenting Book You Will Ever Read

I didn't do a very good job of holding back the tears as we prayed over our daughter before she left to go on her first mission trip.  My little one going out into the big world.  This week has turned yet another page in the life of our family.

The times of trying to figure out which way to swaddle my babies to comfort them is over, however their need for my comforting words is just beginning.  My time of preparing their food and lovingly placing each bite into their mouth is over, but my ability to feed them and help them grow into adults equipped to handle the great big world is not.  I'm not talking about that huge home cooked meal I fixed to welcome my girl home either.  There will be plenty of those at this house too.

Questions have become harder.  No longer are inquiries as simple as "Why is the sky blue?" but ones requiring more thought, the answers much more important.  This week, my youngest asked me why Christians still do bad things, and are they really a Christian...will they go to heaven?  In a moment that stoods still in time, I realized the weight of the answer I had to give.  What an amazing opportunity to remind my child of God's amazing grace that covers our sins, big and small.

 This week my oldest was able to witness to others.  Her group led one lady to Christ, and yet another turned away.  The incredible joy of witnessing the birth of a new Christian, and the defeat of losing the battle in the same week.  My answer for her on why that lady wouldn't hear...a careful one.  A reminder God calls us to share the gospel, and not all will listen.  Yet she may not realize what kind of seed was planted for a future time when God will put yet another warrior in that lady's path.  A reminder of prayer for that lost soul and for the many others we encounter every day.

Its a joy to see my children growing in their faith, but it has also reminded me of the awesome responsibility I have as a parent in their spiritual growth.  I'm so thankful for the moments that God tests my knowledge through my children.  Its that gentle nudge that even though life may be crazy busy, I have to continue to grow myself.

The best parenting book? God's word.  Its advice for heartaches, prayers for the future, joy for his blessings.  Don't stop learning because moms and dads, its not just our lives at stake here, its our little ones too.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Lost Lamb

This week marked three months since the day a beautiful young lady disappeared into the woods near her home.  Volunteers numbering the population of the small town in which she lives have fervently combed the area looking for clues to her mysterious disappearance.  Pink ribbons adorn almost every business and home in the community.

A few weeks ago I traveled with her church on a ladies weekend.  The bus was decorated with pink in Holly's honor.  Each woman wore a pink ribbon with an H sticker.  Each time we took a break while traveling, we passed out flyers in the hope someone might recognize her face.  I know each of them prays daily for her safe return.

Their commitment to find this precious child left such an impression on my heart.  No matter how long it takes, they will continue the fight.  Its such an example of our Father God, who seeks his lost lambs with such diligence too.  He never gives up!  No matter how dark of a life we lead, and how far away we travel, he doesn't give up the fight for us.

Today I write this for Holly and the thousands of missing children across our nation.  Please pray for her, that she will be able to come home to her family.  And pray for her family, that they might have strength to continue in the fight.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (The Message)
10-11This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12"When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. 13-14"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"—God's Decree—"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gardening

An early summer morning.  The dew is still on the ground, and the sun is peaking over the horizon.  Its time to invest in our summertime hobby, gardening.  There's a great satisfaction that comes from working with your hands and seeing the fruits (vegetables) of your labor. 

Gardening is work.  We invest a great deal of time and energy into our garden each year.  The soil must be fertilized and tilled.  It requires water.  Sometimes we have to remove the pests and diseases that attack our plants.  Then there are the weeds.  But in the end, there is the harvest.

Today, hoe in hand, I was working on the weeds.  One by one I chopped and pulled at each offender.  They had to go.  Why?  Aside from the eyesore they create, they can stress or choke out our good plants so we will have no harvest.

As I stood there, I realized we have weeds in our lives too.  Overindulgence, lack of commitment, a slack prayer life, lying, cheating, the list rolled on. 

What do the weeds do in our lives?  They make it hard for us to grow.  They choke out the fruits of our labor.  How hard is it for someone to see your witness with all the "weeds" in the way?  We lose our ability to grow fruit and harvest.

I'm reminded of Matthew 13 where Jesus spoke about gardening.  Some seeds fell on land not fit for planting, and they were eaten by the birds.  Some were planted too shallow and scorched in the sun.  Some were planted among weeds and the weeds took over and choked them out.  But the ones planted in good soil brought forth fruit, multiplied fruit.

Weeding a garden is a hard job.  It takes hours of time, lots of sweat and labor.  It seems by the time you get a spot weeded, here they grow again. 


The weeds of our lives are that way too.  They are often not easy to get rid of.  Sometimes they have deeper roots and stronger structure than the good things in our lives.  Sometimes they appear to be beautiful things, like morning glories or thistles.  But in the end, they have to go.  They have to go so we can multiply and be the person God intended us to be.  Only then will be see the true fruits of our labor.

What weeds do you have in your life that are choking out your harvest?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A goodie for you

Incorage.me has a beautiful wallpaper calendar that I wanted to share with you:

http://www.incourage.me/2011/07/julys-desktop-wallpaper-is-now-available.html

If you aren't familiar with the site, take a look around.  Its a great site full of encouraging words.