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
4 comments | published by Linda | February 22, 2010

Do these jeans make me look fat? Do you think I’m gaining weight? I have nothing to wear that looks good on me!

Oh, how easy it is to focus on me and to fill the conversations with my husband on this subject. How many times has he had to carefully answer these questions, and reassure me that I’m okay?

Very few of us have the type of body that remains firm and thin through the many changes of womanhood. Yet, this mustn’t overtake our thoughts and our words.

This is a burden we place on our husbands needlessly. A sure way to make ourselves less beautiful in our husband's eyes is to continually be self absorbed and obsessed about our outward appearance. Filling his mind with words about how we think we're not looking good, creates an ugliness we don’t want.

If we need to lose weight, we should just do it happily for our Lord. Our priority should be on our hearts and attitude, with our eyes on those around us, not on ourselves. 

We must change our tune. When tempted to grumble about our looks and body, we should fill our minds and conversations with thankfulness. There is plenty to be thankful for.

Better to be fat and happy, than almost thin and cranky.

Our thankfulness and joy will make us more beautiful before our husbands, and will not insult the Creator who adores us as we are.   


Posted in Powder Room, Master Bedroom    |   Tags: My Weight, His Burden
1 comment | published by Linda | February 20, 2010
Proverbs 19:18
"Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction."

Somewhere between the aisle filled with princess dress up clothes and the Barbie dolls, I watched as she threw herself on the floor. Kicking her legs as if she was trying to ride a bike in the air, her little dress flew back and a diaper that was drooping to her knees was revealed. Screaming out the torment of her life, while her pacifier fell to the floor, she had drawn a crowd.

The tired mother beside her tried to explain to the onlookers that it was past her nap time as she attempted to pick up her flailing daughter, and any fragments of her dignity that could be found.

I've experienced the arching, angry child, and wished I could just disappear. It's tempting to blame it on age, yet, excusing such behavior is like closing your eyes when a roller coaster ride gets scary. This isn't a sign of age, it's an opportunity for God to humble us parents and bring to our attention some areas neglected. Brushing it off as a stage is like pushing the crumbs on the kitchen floor under my rug, figuring it will be cleaned in due time.

Children are born into sin. This is evident in the little princess doing her dance on the floor. Tiny children have the ability to make adults jump to their service at the first sign of discomfort. Is it any wonder why most children continue to believe that they are the prince or princess of their castle?

It is a God given privilege and requirement to love and train these little throne sitters into joyful submission and humility before their King. It's necessary to move their eyes off of themselves in order for them to catch a glimpse of the King they serve, the King who belongs on the throne of their hearts. They must come to understand that this castle, their life, is all about their King, His love, and the joy they can bring Him.

These dances are reminders that it's time to get back to the training ground at home, practicing cheerful, immediate obedience and changing an attitude from self indulgence to giving with thankfulness.

A true dance of joy will come later, and I'm certain it will not take place on the floor of a toy store.
Posted in Play Room    |   Tags: Dance of Joy
4 comments | published by Linda | February 18, 2010
Philippians 1:6

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."

God would be able to create a baby in less than a day. He created the world just by speaking. Yet, He chose to grow a tiny baby inside of us over a period of about nine months. This time frame has nothing to do with God needing time to bring a baby to the point of birth. Quite possibly, this time is to bring us to the point of motherhood.

Over my six pregnancies, I have experienced various trials through each one, yet these have been some of the best months of my life.  There's nothing that compares with the first time of feeling those tiny feet kicking inside. Although I haven't been one to breeze through a pregnancy with a gentle glowing about my skin, the physical challenges only made me stronger. 

It has taken me awhile to come to the realization that the baby growing inside of me is not the only one that is being formed by the Master's hand. Through a pregnancy we can acquire the necessary qualities and tools needed as children will soon surround our days. Endurance, patience, and sacrifice are slowly built into our lives. John 15:13 says, "And here is how to measure it, the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends." Pregnancy offers us an opportunity to completely sacrifice our bodies for another. Our bodies are completely changed and practically torn apart as we bring a new baby into the world.

Nine months seem at the time more like nine years, yet we must remember all of the work our Lord must do to prepare us for our future of raising these precious children. It's the perfect amount of time. I remember how my first child completely knocked me off my feet. What would have happened if He hadn't done some preparing in me beforehand?

Our God is in control. He could have had children conceived and born in the same day, yet He has blessed us with nine months. As we feel our baby growing inside, He can introduce us slowly to our new role and privilege, motherhood.
Posted in Play Room    |   Tags: 9 Months to Motherhood
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
2 comments | published by Linda | February 12, 2010
Isaiah 26:3
"You will keep him in perfect peace. Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."

It was bedtime, but the sun was still out. It was summer. Resting in my bed I watched the sun shine through the sides of my window shades. My window was wide open and the breeze would pull the shade to the screen, then release it again. The sounds from the neighbors house poured into my room. I smiled. 

My neighbors had a pool, and it seemed when it was time for me to go to bed, their fun began. I listened to the splashing, the laughter, the sounds of plastic plates and tin cans against their tables. There was no cause for fear, no mysteries in the quiet. I was in the center of a party. No one knew I was there, but I was a participant none the less. 

Winter brought quiet, darkness, and windows that were closed. Silence and shadows left just enough space for my imagination to fill the room. Sleep waited. Without the story being told to me as I would drift off, it was my turn to create. Where would I go? What would I choose?

God offers peace. Every night is in His design. If my mind is fixed on Him, peace and joy encompass me. When my mind slips, I fall. If allowed, my fears and anxieties will put on a party around my bed. The choice is mine.

Summer shows what winter can offer, if I'm listening. There is no silence with God. No darkness that threatens to overtake. The splashing of the summer water clings to my mind, reminders of the sun that is promised in the frozen winter.

I will leave my window open. There is no cause for fear, no mysteries in the quiet. I'm in the center of a party, and He knows I'm here. 
Posted in Master Bedroom, Attic    |   Tags: Around my Bed
1 comment | published by Linda | February 09, 2010
Psalm 16:11
"You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

He waits for me. It makes no difference to him if he is cold, tired, or the last to leave, he waits for me. At such a young age, he is already quite the gentleman.

As I reach through the car for my purse and my jacket knowing that the others have already run inside, I notice my little man that has once again waited for me. As I thank him for his loyalty, and companionship toward me, he consistently responds, "I will always wait for you Mommy, because I like you." For him, my presence is more valuable than rushing anywhere, leaving me behind.

As with most mom's, I am the last to leave the home, and the last to leave the car at the end of the journey. So many items to collect, light switches to turn off, and doors to check that postpone my departure for those extra moments. For him, to hold my hand, and to walk with me is what matters. Where we are headed is irrelevant. Therefore, he waits.

When I take the time to acknowledge the Holy presence that surrounds me, and I focus on Him, I can attain fullness of joy. When my destination and my schedule become paramount, my joy fades as my priorities have slipped. Far better it would be for me to wait for my Lord in quietness, to be still, and wait even when everyone around me is in a hurry, to find stillness there. 

God's plan for my life is not always fast. There are things He needs to do, and have done first, although I might not understand. I want to always have the patience my little son has, as he stands and waits for me, knowing that what matters to him is remaining in my presence. I can learn from his desire, of the need in me to consistently stand in my Lord's presence. Our destination is irrelevant, as long as we are together. Therefore, I wait.
Posted in Play Room    |   Tags: He Waits for Me
2 comments | published by Linda | February 07, 2010
Ephesians 3:20
"Now, glory be to God, who by His mighty power at work within us, is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of. Infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes."

I found myself standing at the kitchen window with a cup of hot coffee in my hands. There was peace around my feet. I had been given a moment. It was then that I realized the importance of celebrating each moment as they come and quickly pass. One moment I can be surrounded by craziness, and the next find quiet surrounding me.

I have found my life doesn't much resemble many coffee commercials. I don't spend much of my time sitting and sipping. If a commercial were made of my life it would show me pouring coffee into all of the little cups that surround me. Like moments in our days, each one will make a difference. Moments wiping dirty hands, wiping tears and even changing diapers please my Lord. Laughing so hard with my son that we both can hardly breath will always echo in my mind. Training and correcting tire me, yet I can rest in God's promises that these moments will have everlasting value in their lives.

I've found that if I am not paying attention to my children closely enough, and their little cups become half empty, they also become cold. When not filled up with love, joy, discussions, laughter and training, their hearts can become cold. When I find myself correcting more and laughing less it is a sign to me that it's time to fill them up with the love and encouragement they need. Joy must reign in our home.

I'd like to think that my pot of hot coffee would be full forever, daily serving, yet God has not intended for this time of my life to be permanent. I must celebrate in every moment of pouring my life into these little ones. There will be a time, when my pot has been emptied. I pray that my children will be filled up with rich moments from our time together. I look forward to celebrating that my children's cups will be full. And my hope is that what I served will have been good to the last drop.
Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: The Moments of Your Life
1 comment | published by Linda | February 01, 2010
Psalms 112:1-2

"Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His
commandments. His descendants will be mighty on the earth; the generation of
the upright will be blessed."

If I knocked at their door, there would be no answer. If I mailed a letter, they would never receive it. If I dialed their number, they would never answer.

My Grandparent's house is empty. Their kitchen is bare. The fireplace that once gave so much warmth is now cold. Yet for me, I rejoice as I hear their laughter in my children, and see them peak at me through my children's eyes.

At times I can smell the scents from their kitchen, or hear the crackling of their fire in the shadows of my memories. The absence of their presence leaves me somehow hollow as I recall those days they filled in my childhood.

How I would love to curl up on their sofa, close my eyes and just listen to
their laughter and conversations, yet the only way I am able to feel their presence now is in the fullness of my memories.

I long to place my baby in their arms, and watch their expressions. I now see that what you make of each moment is creating the memory you very possibly may lean on in the future. These are pictures you will replay in your mind with a desire to bring those times back, to remember, to celebrate.

Grandpa and Grandma will be introduced to my children through my childhood memories. They will be described to my children through the child in me. Also, the woman I've become has much to do with what they invested in me.  

Our God is glorified through families. He protects and builds His children through many generations. It is my prayer that one day I will have grandchildren who remember me the way I remember my Grandparents. I hope they will hear my laughter in their children, and will have learned by my life how to love and adore their God as they visit the shadows of their memories.
Posted in Attic    |   Tags: Shadows of my Memories
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