0 comments | published by Linda | December 23, 2010
Good things come in small packages. At least this is what I was told. It didn't really matter to me, I would always hope that the largest box behind the tree was for me. 

Christmas brings hope, expectations, and anticipation. For the smaller ones in our lives, such big emotions are a bit much to handle. Like balloons, the thrill of sitting around the tree makes them float. As they wait, their hope builds. 

Christmas carols paint the picture of the love and joy that is to be expected on this long awaited morning. Kids float, we dream. 

As Christmas day arrives, and the celebrating begins, we will notice who is sitting around our tree. These aren't figurines from some decoration, with plastic smiles. These are our children. Yet, not just our children, but our children in an extreme situation, which can take all of our emotions for quite a ride, and even bring sins to the surface.  We've all witnessed a birthday party melt down, and know what it's like to see gravity take its affect on that floating balloon. 

We have the privilege of guarding these hearts, filling them with candy canes and laughter, as we help them to keep balance. Knowing their emotions are on overdrive will help us to be proactive as we navigate our way through the crazy.

What's under the tree, doesn't matter. Who is sitting around it, does. These are our gifts. 

Good things do come in small packages. 
Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Hope Floats
4 comments | published by Linda | October 30, 2010

Covered with toys, pressed by running feet, and surrounded by noise and chaos, it mysteriously offered him a place of peace and rest. There is something about the center of our living room rug that has consistantly been inviting to him. The kids continue in their ruckus as their Daddy closes his eyes and slumbers in the center of the storm. No need for quieting his surroundings, he sleeps in the crazy.


The kids knew that with the raise of his hand, they would settle, but until then, the house could continue to rock.


What it must have looked like when the disciples ran around the boat screaming in their panic as the waves crashed, and winds blew. Where was our Lord? Where did they find him? He had found a spot in the bottom of the boat, and slumbered in the center of the crazy. Fully capable of raising his hand, and instantly calming the storm, he chose to let it be, and he slept.


I can relate to the panic of the disciples as I rest in bed at night. The storm of life seems to crash all around me, and my thoughts blow through my mind like a mighty wind. Where can I go? 


In the deep hours of the night I make my way to the bottom of the boat, and rest beside him. I know that he created the wind that blows, and the storm that is surrounding me. Yet, I rest beside him and let the storm blow, and trust in him to raise his hand when it's time. He will settle those waves that crash against me, but for now, he settles me in the storm.

Posted in Living Room, Master Bedroom    |   Tags: Sleeping in the Crazy
2 comments | published by Linda | October 25, 2010

She sits alone in a room filled with silence. Her mind takes her back through pages of memories, covered with all she has done through the past ninety seven years. Busy days spent completing lists, accomplishing goals, achieving dreams and doing tasks are behind her.


Always having found her value and pride in all she has done, she slips into despair. Unable to do, all that is left now is to be. Is that enough? Is being enough for me?


I can think of my Grandma and clearly see how she became lost in performance instead of knowing that our Lord loved her just because she was. I think of her as I busily hi-light the tasks on my list. I am humbled, and reminded. 


Doing is important, there is much we can do to please our Lord. Likewise, there is something wonderful in being who God made us to be, and simply enjoying his presence. We are enough as we are. 


Focusing on him, and just being his child, enjoying his presence through our days pleases him. Remembering the importance of being gives us value and purpose that will fill our pages with sweetness, and never end.

Posted in Living Room, Attic    |   Tags: To Do or to Be
1 comment | published by Linda | October 04, 2010
We can float along thinking we will have no problem as the water is moving nicely in the direction we want to go. We can see it. Our destination is right before us, and with anticipation covered in peace, we sit back. A canoe ride in the sun...perfect.

Almost instantly, a stream of water can appear on each side coming into the flow. Disruptive, rough and seemingly uncontrolled, panic can set in. Knowing this can change our direction, toss us about, and bring us somewhere we never intended to go, we want to fight.

The choice is ours. Do we set our paddles in the water and battle the current, refusing to go, or will we let go? Do we know who brought the current? Do we trust Him?

We must rest our oars on our laps, and trust. Our lives are filled with such twists, turns and changes. He brings it all. Once we stop fighting so hard, we can be filled with His peace.

Do we believe that we might actually prefer what He has hidden around the next bend for us?  We must let go in order to enjoy the ride.


Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Fighting the Current
3 comments | published by Linda | August 26, 2010
After our towels were folded, our beach toys put back in the bucket, we slipped on our sandals. With arms filled, we headed on our way. Listening for their sounds behind me, I was keeping track that no one was falling behind. The trail of children behind me seemed to stretch out across the beach. The wind was blowing unusually strong, and the crowds had grown. As we weaved our way through the different groupings of people, my feet began to burn. I could hear the kids struggling to hold onto all that they had gathered, and an occasional shovel or or sunscreen bottle was dropped. 

Glancing back, I noticed my youngest was falling way behind. Being so far back, she had given up. There she stood, having dropped her doll and her bucket, she figured she was done. She had no hope. 

Walking back to her, I picked up her toys, put them back under her arm, and took ahold of her hand. She looked up at me and smiled. She had been rescued.

As we continued on our way, the wind was still blowing, the sand was still hot. The people and their towels were not easy to work our way around, and the sun was burning my skin. Her surroundings had not changed, her journey was the same, and yet, it wasn't. She had my hand. I had offered myself, and she knew I would lead her out.

How often we can feel overwhelmed by what surrounds us, and we stop, drop our toys, and loose our hope. Yet, our Lord, knowing our frame, doesn't ever leave us there. He comes, takes our hand, offers himself to us, and we can smile. We are rescued. The journey is still before us, the sand is still hot, the wind blows, but now we can have hope. Holding onto his hand, we know he will lead us out. 
Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Holding onto Hope
1 comment | published by Linda | August 24, 2010
It's easy for me to get several programs working on my computer at the same time. As my fingers are flying across the keyboard, I often look up and notice that annoying little rainbow wheel twirling away at the top of my screen. Apparently, I have overloaded it with information, it has become frozen, and needs some time for processing. I wait. 

After our most recent move, we have found ourselves spending hours in the garage, sorting through the endless piles of boxes. It's the random ones that slow me down the most. As I open one, I find what seem to be pieces, parts of different seasons and memories that I will need to sort through. In one is a toy that was my oldest son's favorite from over ten years ago. I can remember how he would hold it, ask me to watch him as he held it up to the sky, and would talk at a pace I couldn't keep up with. Next to it was a dress. I remember how my daughter wore it on that day we walked through the downtown streets, heading toward the ice cream store in the city we once lived. I become frozen. I need time to process the information I am overloaded with. I welcome these passages back to places where I once was. My wheel turns.

It's no wonder why I can struggle falling to sleep at night. So many things to process, trails to journey down that only lead to another. The older I get, like my computer, I need more time to process, as new information is brought to me and is added to what I am already holding onto. 

As is routine, when I take my baby daughter to a restaurant, she attracts the eyes of older women. Recently, a sweet old woman sat in a booth behind us. As she locked her eyes on the face of my daughter, I could almost see her wheel just turning. She was taken back to a place of joy, a time in her life when she must have held one so small, and cared for her through her days. She was processing, brought back, and frozen for a moment.

We need time to process, to be still, to remember. Life comes fast, and seems to rush by even faster. As years pass, we might appear to become slower, yet inside, we will be processing the joys, the sweetness and the grief that has brought us that far. 
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: The Twirling Wheel
3 comments | published by Linda | July 08, 2010
She stepped into the emergency room and called his name. We all stood up to follow, but were told only one could come with him. We looked at each other, and without words, decided I would go. Only six, he held my hand, and found comfort in me.

There's something about following your little son as he is being pushed through the hallways of a hospital on a bed. Still my son, now a patient, under the care of others, as I observe and make the best decisions possible.

Sitting beside him, hanging over the bars on the side of his bed I rubbed his forehead with a wet cloth. When he looked at me, he found peace. 

It amazes me when we are put on the front lines, in a circumstance that has every reason to bring us to our knees in fear, how we are completely filled with confidence, peace, and joy. As moms, when we are drained of any strength, God refills us, abundantly. Being able to pour calmness on my son, while making the doctors and nurses around me laugh did not come from any part of me. Feeling His power come through me is an experience unmatched.

We waited. We were informed that within moments, the room would be filled with doctors, nurses and specialists, ready to care for him. I was the only one allowed to stay, as there would be no space for anyone else to stand. While waiting for their arrival, we prayed. God's presence was all encompassing, and His angels were surrounding my son's bed. The doctors thought the space would be limited, but we knew, even before they arrived, that our room was already filled. 
Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: The Room was Filled
5 comments | published by Linda | June 20, 2010
Sitting there beside him watching Toy Story, I realized the parallel. For years there were toys scattered across the floor of his room, filling bins and buckets, and lined up on his shelves. His certain prized toys were given the privilege of going with him when he left his room. There was a certain yellow bus that fit perfectly in his hand. After the years of being carried here and there, the paint had been mostly rubbed off. His favorite toys were loved so much that they were worn out, yet became more valuable to him as the years went by. 

His room today is not littered with Legos, or Sesame Street cars. They have been replaced with piles of laundry and shoes that could hold twenty Matchbox cars at a time. His laptop takes the center spot on his desk, and it now has the privilege of going with him when he leaves the room.

I have held onto the toys that once mattered to him most. They might not hold any value to others, yet they are priceless to me. Each toy reminds me. When I see them, or hold them in my hand, I can remember how he brought them to life, how they somehow became real. These represent memories that I will want to recall.

As I stand beside him now, knowing my time with him here in my home is short, I glance back. The years of hearing his laughter in the halls, his voice calling out for me, and our conversations that have magically blended one year into another fill me. 

The hands that once rubbed the paint off of the bus, are the same hands that I held as I first experienced motherhood. Through these years together, spending my days beside him, I also have been brought to life, and somehow become real. 
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Toy Story
4 comments | published by Linda | June 17, 2010
While driving through my new neighborhood, I noticed a Cafe on the corner with a 24 hour sign posted in the front. It's good to know. There is a place to go, no matter what the hour, if the need arises.  

Sometimes we might find ourselves out, hungry, thirsty, or just needing to rest when most are asleep. Those 24 hour signs, become bright spots on a dark night. 

My oldest knows I'm here. There have been times when he has come to wake me because he needs to talk. I'm thankful. Just knowing that he has chosen me to talk with, to ask, and to discuss life with is more than enough to put my sleep off. After our midnight talks, I fall asleep in tears, so thankful for this blessing.

Our older children especially, might not call on us when we're at our finest and in peak energy. Teenagers are known for late hours, and a sudden desire to talk when the lights go out. It is our choice to be open 24 hours a day, or not. 

We must realize that we don't only have needs that must be met during regular business hours. Our Lord is there for us no matter what the hour. What a privilege to know He doesn't make us wait until morning. He is always there for us. 

If it is our goal to give our children a tiny glimpse of the God they will be leaning on throughout their lives, what kind of sign should be posted out in front of us?

Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Open 24 Hours
1 comment | published by Linda | June 12, 2010
It might be the glare they let off that annoys her. Each evening when I slip my glasses on, she quickly pulls them from my face and says she wants my "dalasses off". It's important for her to be able to "see mommy eyes." Once they're off, I might not be able to see quite as well, but she's able to see into my eyes, and that is paramount. I can always see, and as a woman because of God's design, I can see others clearly, which can be a blessing or not.

While sitting in the back row of the church, it's easy to become distracted. It's not difficult to pick out the couples who have had a difficult morning, to notice the tag on the back of a dress sticking straight up, or the kid that has become busy hanging off his chair in order to see if his hair can touch the floor. Watching a lady with a bad attitude and a father not knowing how to handle his daughter in his lap can make your mind wander. Being able to see inside peoples moods, facial expressions and body language can be entertaining and helpful, but also a danger that can quickly lead us to becoming critical and judgmental.

Sometimes it's necessary to take off our glasses as women, and offer grace and love, just because. Never letting our clear vision cloud our judgement in viewing others in a way that is pleasing to our Lord, is a must. Becoming tripped up by finding flaws in others blocks us from being able to love rightly.

As she once again takes off my glasses, I am reminded to let my Lord do the same when my heart needs a check. I might not be able to see quite as well, but He's able to see into my eyes, and that is paramount.

Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Take Your Glasses Off
2 comments | published by Linda | June 10, 2010
While reaching for her pink plastic horse, getting ready to place it in the box, she put her hand on its head. "Going to the new house?" she asked. This was repeated for hundreds of items that I was busy packing up for our upcoming move. She was excited, yet a bit unsettled. Watching all of our treasures slowly getting closed inside numerous boxes, our house was becoming empty.

As we were on the plane, with her backpack of most important items at her feet, she leaned on me. Looking up at me she asked if we could go home. I held her face in my hands and looked into her eyes. I told her I was here, and where I am, she is home.

Somewhere between the here and there, I became restless in the changes placed before me. The home behind me now stood empty, and the one ahead was equally empty, yet in my mind it was already filled. My body was tired, and the hearts of my six children needed constant reminders of their security. I often opened my palms up to the Lord, and longed.

The boxes now torn open, are stacked by the front door. Crumpled newspaper fills trash bags in a pile, and looks like giant snowmen invading our entry. One at a time, when my children need to check in, they come to me. Holding onto me, they look into my eyes and are reminded they are home.

As I stop and look up, even though surrounded by chaos at my feet, I am reminded. Whenever my eyes turn to Him, I am settled. This life is a house for a time, but I know that this is not my home. There is a place up ahead that I cannot yet imagine, and it will be good. For now I can know, just like my little daughter, wherever I am with my Lord, I am home.
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Going Home
2 comments | published by Linda | May 10, 2010
Psalm 127:3
"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him."

I sat at church with my daughter on my lap. Wearing a dress with so much poof inside, we had to continually smash it down in order for us to keep it under control. On each side of me sat my two youngest sons. My arms rested on the back of their chairs as they each leaned in on me. As I rubbed their little heads, I leaned forward and looked down the row at my older three, a few caught my eye, and smiled. 

My little daughter turned around, looked up at my face, and rubbed my cheek. Pressing her body on mine, she wrapped her arms around my neck with a tight hug. I sat there, worshiping my God, surrounded by these six gifts He chose to fill my life with. It was Mother's Day, and it was good.
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Mother's Day
3 comments | published by Linda | May 10, 2010
Commercials annoy me. Right when the show has my full attention, I'm interrupted. How can I change my focus from a story to a display of flawless women dancing on the beach with colorful razors? How rude.

It's easy to forget that those time wasting commercials are actually the support system to keep my shows on TV. Still, I don't want them to switch my focus, I liked where it was.

These irritating commercials are significant reminders of what my focal point should be. I get busy. It's easy for me to get wrapped up in a project, even if it's just cleaning a sink. It becomes clear to me when my children interrupt me, and I become frustrated, I've lost touch with what my priority is. I have reversed my story and commercial. 

The cleaning, or projects I find important to do can support a smooth life in ways, but I must never get them confused with what really matters. The show, my kids, should never feel like interruptions. If they do, it must be time to refocus.

As I watch another commercial of an overly happy family eating their morning breakfast, I can smile and know that my show has my full attention. 

Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Commercial Interruptions
2 comments | published by Linda | April 20, 2010
It makes no sense. She likes it. For days on end she wants to wear her Snoopy t-shirt. It doesn't seem to bother her that it is three sizes too small, and continuously leaves her belly uncovered. It's what she's used to, grown comfortable with, and the only choice she sees as an option. With five days of collected dirt, chocolate milk, food smudges and crayon marks, I have clearly let this go too far.

I remember as a little girl, dragging my blanket with me wherever I went. It was security for me. The thought of washing it would sacrifice more time away from it than I was willing to give. Must have looked terrible, but to me, it felt great.

Watching her run around the house in her shirt of collected dirt and wear, I am reminded of those thoughts that I have refused to change. Bitterness digs in, and becomes a repetitious forum in which we relive how we have been hurt in the past. No one makes us put it on when we get up in the morning, it's just habit. It's what we're used to, and grown comfortable with.

When we become truly bitter, we live in the thoughts of how we've been harmed, going over it detail by detail. We are actually just continuing the harm to ourselves that our offender started. Likewise, we have no interest in getting it cleaned up. The thought of washing it would sacrifice more time away from it than we are willing to give.

We need to clean it up, let it go, and accept responsibility for it as though we were the only ones at fault. Only then will we find ourselves dressed in new clothes that our Lord has waiting and ready for us. 

Bitterness makes no sense, yet we like it. We must remember that it's not our only choice. Those food smudges and crayon marks show us that we've clearly let this go too far. 

 

Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Smudges and Marks
3 comments | published by Linda | April 11, 2010
It's not easy being twelve. The tales she brings home of the school day drama between her girlfriends is enough to fill a full length movie. Wondering why her friend said this or that, and being bothered that a call has not been returned, frustration overwhelms.

As I help her untangle the emotional confusion, I must admit to myself that I fall into the same temptation with my friends. It's easy to assume hurtful intentions on another. We even write full stories about our friends as if we know. How could we?

Like the old saying of having to wear someone's moccasins before we cast judgment, we just don't know.

God's grace can be used like a heavy quilt that can be tossed over our friendships.
Being covered in such warmth we don't need to be overwhelmed by any coldness.
Likewise, we can offer our friends a blanket of understanding as we stop searching for reasons.

His grace covers us, and we must offer the same love, regardless of our imaginations and insecurities. We simply don't know our friend's story, or their troubles.

It's hard to be twelve. Face it, it's hard to be a woman. As our Lord untangles our
emotional confusion, we can let Him cover us with His grace as we learn to do the
same.
Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: It's Not Easy
4 comments | published by Linda | April 01, 2010
Ephesians 4:32
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

Picking up the trail of dropped toys, dirty laundry, and loose school papers is continuous. It amazes me how quickly the piles on the stairs build with shoes, backpacks, and lego pieces. I also wonder if any toothpaste ever actually hits the toothbrushes as every morning, there is much left on the sink and towel hook. Cleaning is continuous. In order to have a home that is a joy to live in, work is required. My house cannot be cleaned once a week, it's a part of each day.

If I were to leave the piles, the dirty dishes on the sink, the crumbs on the floor, this house would quickly turn to a place that would be uncomfortable, and a misery to live in. I can't even imagine how fast we would not have clean clothes to wear as we would have to climb over mountains of smelly laundry to get from one room to the other. 

What's the difference between a home kept up, and one that is neglected and messy? In one, things are continually picked up. The same is true with offenses and forgiveness. Living together in a family, forgiveness will always be necessary. We must continually clean the messes that are made between us.  

I've noticed that when you move a stack of stuff to another room, it's not really cleaned up. Likewise, using a dry rag to wipe crayon from the cupboard door doesn't have a good result. When we make a mess, it must be cleaned appropriately. If we hurt one another, we must label it for what it was, and seek forgiveness for the exact sin. The blessing of forgiveness that follows is overwhelming.  

Piles build if not broken down and put away. Bitterness is the same. If it's there, pick it up and put it away.

Life is a blessing that passes faster than we'd want to admit. We mustn't spend it with our family in the middle of a mess. 
Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Living Room    |   Tags: Clean It Up
5 comments | published by Linda | March 28, 2010
Sitting at the booth across from us, the tiny boy was refusing to eat his peas. Both parents sitting on each side of him were trying all sorts of creative ways to encourage him to accept the spoon filled with green goop. He would swing his head back and forth, and tightly clench his lips. As the mom was pretending the spoon was a plane coming in for a landing, the dad was telling him what a big, strong boy he was. As I watched the little guy, it was clear to me that although the parents thought the food was paramount, the peas were actually unimportant.

Later that night, my two year old daughter did not like the clothes that I picked out for her. She cried, and struggled to submit. She thought the polka dot dress would be a far better choice. Although I loved the stripes, it was again clear to me, that the outfit was unimportant.

I know the feeling. I've held a strong resemblance to the little guy with the green goop. I know what I want, and likewise, what I don't. Finding it hard at times to trust the choices God has made for me, I fight. God knows, whatever my circumstances are, they are actually unimportant.

It's the fight, the battle, the refusal and the stubbornness within me that matters to my Lord. When I get discontent and battle over what He has chosen for me in my life in any situation, He goes right to my heart, to what matters.

A heart of thankful submission and joy in whatever He has set before me, whether sunny or cloudy, should be my attitude. As He makes me aware of my stubborn heart, and I become soft before Him, I am once again thankful that He is a God that knows that the peas in my life are unimportant.
Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Unimportant Peas
7 comments | published by Linda | March 21, 2010
While watching my son and daughter on the merry-go-round, I held my baby girl. I noticed an old woman walking toward me. She sat beside me on the bench, and began to speak. "You better enjoy these times, because they fly by. Before you know it, they will be teenagers, and it will never be the same." I gently rubbed my daughters head.

Years passed, and just as she said, they flew by. I had three more children since that day. So many little feet running through my house, leaving their marks on my floors, and my heart. Outgrown jeans, teddy bears and lego pieces fill old boxes as time has passed. I remembered what the old woman had said, and wondered what life would be like as they grew older.

Stopping at a merry-go-round recently, I stood with my older three as we watched the younger ones. While my oldest son, who now stands so tall was talking to me, one of my daughters was leaning on me as the other came up behind me and gently rubbed my hair.

I remembered the old woman's warnings, and smiled. I realized I had raised my three best friends, and knew it would never be the same. 

Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: The Old Woman
3 comments | published by Linda | March 15, 2010
Sitting beside her on the plane, my stillness was kept busy just by watching her. She is two. Exploring her surroundings, she didn't stop. The seatbelt was different. This made it necessary to buckle, and unbuckle over and over again, until it pinched her belly, and found it was no longer fun.

There was a window. A small one, yet just the right size for her little face to fill. As the other planes would pass by her view she had to let out a scream of delight. So much to take in. After a bit, she noticed a pocket of treasures just in front of her. What was that bag all about? Pulling it out of the pouch, and putting it back again was entertainment for her. An emergency card found in the pouch had three flaps that could be opened and closed. Too much to handle. The pictures on the card were bright, and they belonged to her.

She was on an airplane, and there was much to take in. She had no part in preparing the plane for take off. She had absolutely no knowledge of the many checks that took place to insure the safe flight. Being completely unaware of what was going on in the front of the plane, she just was a passenger.

The captain in the front knew. He was responsible. He was taking care of the many controls in the front. She was able to sit back, and focus on her surroundings.

Our Lord is our captain. It is his plan to take full responsibility for our flight. He never intended for us to ask, worry, or even know.

The cockpit in the front of the plane is sealed off. As passengers, we cannot even see inside, or know of the decisions being made. We have no need to. There is enough surrounding us to keep our focus. How unnecessary for my little two year old to fill her mind with concerns of why, how, and what if.  She's been given a window, a seat belt and the joy of the flight. Oh, to simply delight in what God has set before me, and to let Him be captain.
Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Simple Delight
2 comments | published by Linda | March 12, 2010
As I pull another piece of packing tape over the top of a box, I try to remind myself what was inside. The amount of stuff that I have managed to accumulate through my life is more than I'd like to admit. From the all important High School albums to the trivial baby blankets I can't bring myself to get rid of, I continue to save. It's easier to just keep it stacked in the garage, than to sift through it, make decisions, clean it out, and possibly let it go.

If I refuse to ever go through it, who will it ultimately belong to? When I am gone, it will be my children who will be responsible to go through each item, work through it, and decide to hold on to it, or let it go.

My heart is no different. I have hopes of leaving my deep love for God, my laughter, and any strengths God has given me to my children. Yet likewise, I will be leaving behind those temptations and sins that I never quite overcame. They will be dealing with my fears, insecurities, and anxieties. What motivation this offers me to work through these issues that are before me and within me in order to not leave them behind for my children to be responsible for.

God works this way. We pass it down. He works through families, and continues to work through them as generations pass. Sins that have not been properly dealt with, weaknesses and lost battles will show up in our children.

Working through the storage on my garage shelves is a mere reminder. What do I want my children to open when I am gone? What do I want to leave behind? The day will come where they become responsible for what I have left.

As I label yet another box, I must make certain this is what I want them opening and finding when I am gone.
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: When I am Gone
3 comments | published by Linda | March 08, 2010
Psalm 73:23-24

"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory."

Miles away from home, my children and I had completed our tasks in town and were ready to head home. I began to search through my purse for my keys. After some time, my son noticed them sitting inside on his sisters car seat.

Calling for help, the quiet voice on the line asked, "Are you in a safe place?" I looked around at my surroundings and replied, "I have a bunch of kids with me, a baby, and it's snowing. I'm as safe as can be expected." She laughed and promised it wouldn't be long.

My God uses such opportunities to bring my focus back on Him. As patience is not a quality I am known for, I am continually given clever opportunities to work in this area.

There have been too many times when I seem to think my busy days somehow give me the right to treat my relationship with God as I do a call to emergency road service. In a stressful moment I quickly toss up a prayer expecting an immediate rescue.

When I rush to Him in desperation I can almost hear the words, "Are you in a safe place?" I am reminded of who He is. As I look at my surroundings my only response can be one of thankfulness.

My days must never cause me to lose my focus on the safe place I am in, with Him, wrapped in His wings. 

The road service didn't arrive for almost two hours, not as fast as I would have wanted. Likewise, God's timing is His own, and I am His.

Am I in a safe place? I must wait.
Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: A Safe Place
1 comment | published by Linda | March 06, 2010
Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

There is a certain boldness that is seen in the travelers that are walking through the inside of the airport. They are independent. They know where they are going, and where they have been. They elude confidence. Over their shoulders they carry their most important belongings, and are ready to take on their upcoming adventure.

Having been there, I have seen how something happens from the terminal to the plane. Walking down the hallway to board the plane, you become more focused, less distracted. Stepping on the plane can be even more intense. From the first step, you become vulnerable, no longer in control.

Relationships are like this. When we make the step into a relationship, we become vulnerable. God intended for it to be this way. We must be willing to open ourselves up, fully knowing of the blessings and the possible hardships that could come on our journey.

He never intended for us to be alone. He designed for us to be trusting, loving, open, and even willing to be wounded if this is what He has planned as a part of our adventure.

We can have all confidence, for no matter where we are going, we know who our captain is. We can fasten our seatbelts and enjoy the flight. 
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: The Flight
4 comments | published by Linda | March 04, 2010
Hearing the Lego crash once again, I peeked into the room. There he stood, completely distraught. His baby sister was sitting beside him with a guilty grin on her face. She had done it. 

After lifting my little destroyer from the scene, I turned to my son. Like before, I've encouraged him to continue loving her, even though right then he didn't feel like it. I realize how hard it must be for him at times to do what he knows to be right when his heart is not in it.  Yet loving her, is what's required.

When my husband walks through the door, I know what is right. I know what I'd like to offer. To be a wife that greets him with happy. To be ready to hear about his day, encourage him, laugh with him and love him completely. My head knows what to do. 

Likewise, as I look at the children around me, there is much I know I should do. But, what if I don't want to change that diaper, clean up the spilled milk again or fold yet another load of laundry? What if I don't feel like it? Does that mean I can switch gears, and follow my feelings, rather than my head?

The heart follows the head. Doing what is right is what will cause the feelings to flow more positively than I could imagine. Waiting until I feel good enough by my own standard to fulfill my roll, only stops the blessings, the joy, and the relationships with those around me.

We've been given an example of how this is to be. Our Lord was not thrilled with the idea of dying on the cross. He spent a whole night overwhelmed with strong feelings of not wanting the next day to come. He was even sweating blood. Luke 22:42 says, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 

He was asking for relief from what God wanted of Him. Yet, not letting his feelings be his guide, he obeyed, he gave. After his death, his resurrection came. This is the picture we've been given. If we want to truly live, we have to die. 

As we look at our husbands and children, what should we do? We know. 

If we don't feel like it, and refuse to give, we miss out on the huge happy life He has designed for us.

There are Legos on the floor. How do we feel?
Posted in Living Room, Play Room, Master Bedroom    |   Tags: To Truly Live
2 comments | published by Linda | February 28, 2010
Psalm 139:23-24
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

After being kicked down on the pavement of the playground, he caught his breath. Seeming to be okay, he was quiet. Yet, after a glance down at his knee, he noticed the scrape, and the many onlookers that were around him. The wails began. The kids and adults from all corners came over to see the the injury. My son, standing at my side looked up at me and grinned. It suddenly became clear to him why I have encouraged him to smile, get up, and keep on playing. Growing him to be a man does not include allowing him to roll on the ground and sob endlessly over a skinned knee.

We get hurt. Likewise, most of our serious injuries are caused by the ones we love. It's important to remember to smile, get up, and keep on playing when we've been offended by someone. Forgiveness is a blessing to the one who has offended, and also offers us a freedom to carry on with joy.

When we have been deeply hurt, more than a mild scrape on the knee, it's also important that we acknowledge the wound. It's not necessary, or even pleasing to God to pretend that it never happened, ignoring the pain and the injury. As Christians, the difference is in how we deal with the wound, not in living as though the pain is not real. 

Once forgiveness has been extended, we must continue to treat the wound. Keeping it clean from infection such as bitterness and resentment is necessary in order for us to heal, and for the relationship to be restored as God intended. 

The pain is real. The wound can be serious. If cared for and kept clean, we will be able to get up, smile, and keep on playing. 
Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Smile, and Keep on Playing
5 comments | published by Linda | February 26, 2010
Proverbs 11:24
"One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty."

Walking through the aisles, I can make the experience what I want. I can quietly walk through the store, just looking, and leave with only my purse over my shoulder and empty hands, or pull out my wallet, and leave with a bag in each hand. It's up to me. Do I want to leave full, or empty handed?

How much do I have to spend?  What do I want to give? I know that the more money I give, the more I will have in my bag. Somehow shopping without spending is not as fulfilling, enjoyable or energizing. I leave the same. Needs might not have been met, treasures have not been found, and my experience might not be worth sharing.

I must admit I have spent days like this. Times where I go through my routine, but never open myself up, give, and therefore end the day rather empty.

Giving gives to the giver. This is God's way. This makes Him smile.  For a mystery all His own, He causes the giver to be the one that ends up most full. Blessings abound. We become filled. 

We can offer a hug to our kids, sit and hold them, go through their spelling list with them an extra time, make them a special snack, change a diaper and listen to their
stories, or focus on ourselves. It's up to us.

I've found that when I begin to feel empty, it's because I haven't given. I am the same.  Do I want to leave my days full, or empty handed?  
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: What Makes Him Smile
1 comment | published by Linda | February 24, 2010

Hebrews 12:2

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith."


Proverbs 4:25

"Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you."


I would keep my eyes on the back of his head. This was a serious game. As a third grader I knew that if I let myself get distracted from where he was going, I would lose.


He would lead his troops across the playground. Up and over the equipment, down slides, taking a sip from the drinking fountain, we knew we needed to follow. Getting distracted or falling behind was not an option.


Sometimes I would think where he was leading us looked too difficult, yet we knew that what mattered was to follow the leader.


We are following our Lord. Are our eyes fixed on Him? Do we spend our days focusing on who He is? Our thoughts should be fixed on His character, His leading, His love.


Leaders need to look every direction, as the choices are theirs. Followers have already made their choice, and only need to focus straight ahead. 


We need not look to the left or the right. We have already made our choice. What is beside us or behind us need not overtake.


Life is a serious game, falling behind is not an option.

 

Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Follow the Leader
2 comments | published by Linda | February 16, 2010

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”


My purse is full. If someone needs something, I’m certain to have it. Need a Bandaid, a nail clipper, a piece of gum? It’s all in there. Over my shoulder, from day to day I carry a bag full of items that are frivolous, yet I keep them close just in case.


Purchasing a new purse with many compartments, zippers, and pockets is more fun than I’d like to admit. Likewise, dumping out the contents from my old purse across my kitchen sink, then carefully organizing my new one is a task I’m always willing to accept. It’s to be organized, as others might peek inside and get a glimpse.


Admittedly, it’s not necessary to peek into my purse to see the other baggage I seem to carry with me daily. The emotional items that I drape over my shoulder, hang from my belt loops, and wrap around my neck aren’t disguised in a colorful leather cover. This baggage weighs heavy on my heart, and seems to keep my hands and arms full. A shoulder bag of worry, headphones that repeat a recent painful conversation, and a suitcase of bitterness that I’ve gripped tightly to are heavy burdens. A backpack of guilt and pockets full of fear slow me down. A heavy disposition drapes over me as I haven’t figured out how to set this all down, breathe easier, and enjoy what God has placed before me.  


As a child I was taught how God wants to carry my burdens. Verses were read to me about God’s deep desire to walk with me, and to carry the baggage that is dragging me down. Yet, I find myself now grown, continuing to carry what He never intended for me to. Trying to carry and care for my children, and hold their little hands while my hands and arms are full becomes impossible. How can I even begin to presume that I’d be capable of lifting one of them up for them to gain a clearer view of their God if my hands are full?


When I am old I will carry pictures of my children in my purse with pride. My children will be grown. I won’t hear voices from the back seat asking for a candy, lotion, or a Bandaid. When that time comes I want to be able to look at my pictures and smile knowing that the days I spent with them were days that my arms were open, my hands free, and my ears ready to listen. Days where I chose to let go of what God offered to carry so that I would be able to hold those little hands reaching for me, and lift them up.




Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Lay it Down
4 comments | published by Linda | February 14, 2010

Proverbs 1:8

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”

It was his bedtime. He was three. I would look back into his room and see him sitting on his bed. It was clear it was not time for me to leave. “Do you have to go?” he would ask. I grinned, and stayed. I knew time would pass, and he wouldn’t need my presence in this way.  

It seemed as though I woke up the next morning and this little boy was standing six feet tall. Still expecting to see that young boy run to me, I’m shocked as now a tall young man comes through my door like a bolt of lightning. We talk, but it’s no longer about trains and cars. We’re talking about his day, his feelings, where he’s coming from and where he’s going.

Could it be that he needs me more now than when he was a small boy years ago? It’s easy to assume that he’s grown and has no need for my love and attention, yet he does, and more.

Although sometimes appearing to want to be alone, I start the conversation. After I’ve spent time with him in his room I stand up to go. As I look back and see him sitting there behind me, it becomes clear that it is not time for me to leave.

As I turn to go he says, “You have to go?”

I grin, and stay.

 

Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Bolt of Lightning
0 comments | published by Linda | January 02, 2010

“Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”

A priceless quote from Jeremiah Burroughs. His book, “Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” is filled with gems.

He reminds us that only God can satisfy us. We must subtract from our desires in order to make them equal with our circumstances. Subtract from our desires? Not necessarily an easy task, but the road to contentment. If our desires are too many, and too grand, we will never find contentment in where we are. “A Christian comes to contentment, not so much by way of addition, as by way of subtraction.”

“The Lord has been pleased to bring down my circumstances; now if the Lord brings down my heart and makes it equal to my circumstances, then I am well enough.” Take time to read that quote again. Our Lord’s hand is what has brought down our circumstances. It is often necessary for him to bring down our hearts, our desires, our will, in order to bring us to balance with what He has chosen for us. “Here lies the bottom and root of all contentment, when there is an evenness and proportion between our hearts and our circumstances.”

Trying times can shake us, but a content Christian does not change due to his circumstances.  …”though their circumstances are changed, yet that nobody could see them changed…” Such a Christian filled with contentment in His Lord carries the same disposition, the sweet blending of joy and peace whether in times of quiet or turmoil. You wouldn’t be able to tell of which he is experiencing. They are the same! Oh, to be that drenched in contentment.

We must know that, “The hand of God is good – it is good that I am afflicted.”…”Not only do I see that I should be content in this affliction, but I see that there is good in it.” Our lives are from His hand, therefore, it is good.

Have you ever noticed how afflictions seem to come quickly stacked? One after another? The author addresses this as he states, “It is very rarely that one affliction comes alone; commonly, afflictions are not single things, but they come one upon the neck of another…one affliction seldom comes alone. Now this is hard, when one affliction follows after another, when there is a variety of afflictions, when there is a mighty change in one’s condition, up and down, this way, and that: there indeed is the trial of a Christian. Now there must be submission to God’s disposal in them.”

“But grace teaches such a mixture, teaches us how to make a mixture of sorrow and a mixture of joy together; and that makes contentment, the mingling of joy and sorrow, of gracious joy and gracious sorrow together. Grace teaches us how to moderate and to order an affliction so that there shall be a sense of it, and yet for all that contentment under it.”

Contentment is a mystery, being fully aware of my afflictions, desiring to be delivered from them, and yet still my heart remains content. This is a mystery that only God’s grace can solve.

Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: Thoughts on Contentment
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