A Few Gems for Mother’s Day

Tell them and they’ll forget.
Teach them and they may remember.
Involve them and they will learn.
~Benjamin Franklin

Falling for Leaves

Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of a first child… There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name the moment.
~Anita Diamant, The Red Tent

They may forget what you said,
but they will never forget how you made them feel.

~Carol Buchner

I’m beginning to perceive motherhood as a long, slow letting go, of which birth is just the first step.
~ Sandra Steingraber, Having Faith

Hugs can do great amounts of good,
especially for children.

~Princess Diana, Princess of Wales

A person’s a person, no matter how small.
~Dr. Seuss

Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.
~Wess Stafford

Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.
~Lady Bird Johnson

Children are great imitators.
So give them something great to imitate.

~Unknown

There should be no yelling in the home unless there is a fire.
~McKay

If you have a child, your duty of the moment
may be to change a dirty diaper.

So you do it.

But you don’t just change that diaper,
you change it to the best of your ability,
with great love for both God and that child.

And it must be done,
because the duty of the moment
is the duty of God.

~Catherine de Hueck Doherty

Choose your words wisely,
for it easier to build up a child than to repair an adult.

~Unknown

Children are not people to be molded
but little people to be unfolded.

~Anonymous

Let children be little for they only stay that way for a very short while.
~Unknown

Children are not a distraction from more important work.
They are the most important work.

~John Trainer, MD

His little hands stole my heart…
and his little feet ran away with it.

~Anonymous

Every child is gifted.
They just unwrap their packages at different times.

~Unknown

‘Sometimes’, said Pooh,
’the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.’
~A.A. Milne

I adore his smile
I cherish his hugs

Being a mother is not about what you gave up to have a child,
but what you’ve gained from having one.

~Sunny Gupta

A person soon learns how little he knows
when a child begins to ask quesitons.

~Richard L. Evans

Never let a problem to be solved
become more important than a person to be loved.

~Thomas S Monson
There is no way to be a perfect mother,
but there are a million ways to be a good one.

~Unknown

How you speak to your child will become their inner voice. ~Unknown

I never pulled over the car just to stare at horses.
I never was willing to give someone else my last bite.
I never planned on handling someone else’s boogers
and I never listened to a song 50 times in a row.
I never found rocks in my dryer or had the power to heal
a wound with my kiss… until you.



A tired boy

In the Midst of Sorrow and Suffering

 A man is taken to the ER for breathing issues and is looked after in the ER and sent home the same night. After being at home for a time, he has breathing problems again, this time accompanied by a headache. He closes his eyes to get some rest and passes quietly that evening in his sleep.

A young woman is making wedding plans, only to come home the other evening and find that her fiancé has taken his life.

A mom, 32, goes to ER for the flu. She is a wife and mother of two little girls under three years. She never went home.

A tornado hits in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It claims three lives and destroys much of the William Carey University where a friend is attending. She says that the chapel is heavily damaged but inside, there still stands, in its regular place, the word of God. The tempest has not been able to destroy the Book or its message. The president announces that its pages, after the winds have blown them hither and yon, lay open to Psalm 46. A message God wants all to remember. Desires all to hear.

“Listen to me… you whom I have upheld since your birth,
 and have carried since you were born.

“Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
 I have made you and I will carry you;
  I will sustain you and I will rescue you…

“Remember this, keep it in mind…

Remember the former things, those of long ago;
 I am God, and there is no other;
  I am God, and there is none like me.

I make known the end from the beginning,
 from ancient times, what is still to come. 
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
 and I will do all that I please.’

…What I have said, that I will bring about;
    what I have planned, that I will do.

Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
    you who are now far from my righteousness.

I am bringing my righteousness near,
 it is not far away;
 and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
 my splendor to Israel.”

Coincidence?

For those who have lost loved ones, to those who are grieving, to those who are deeply hurting, to those who carry sorrow that is weighing them down…

His righteousness near. It is not faraway. His salvation will not be delayed. He is God. There is no other – no one like Him. He will sustain you. He made you and He will carry you. He will sustain and rescue you.

He will. He will.

He will.

 

Broken for Good

To trust God in the light is nothing,

but to trust Him in the dark –

that is faith.

Charles Spurgeon

I intervene for those who are hurting.

Those who are surrounded by a darkness
only they are able to see.
A darkness that calls out their name
and then leaves laughing as they come.
Leaves them in despair,
mocking them for believing the truth
that can save them.

I intervene for their well-being.
Their light.
Their life.
And then I see them.
I hear them.
They are the Promises.
Promises of truth when life gets messy
and we get dirty.
Promises made to a broken and hurting world.

I see a vessel.
Shaped much like myself
and cracked.
Like me.
A vessel that must be broken
in order to be used.
To be useful.
Without the brokenness,
the light can’t get in
and the light cannot get out.
Without the brokenness
there is no story
for there is nothing to tell.
Without the brokenness
there is nothing to share.
There is no understanding.
There is no comfort
in tears shared together.
Darkness permeates the vessel,
where storms rage
and the enemy attacks.

Hope seems lost.
But remember –
oh how we must not forget –
the vessel is broken.
and light does get through the cracks.
It comes in
before it goes back out.
It fills the inside
with warmth
and power.
The glory of His light spills out.
The shadows flee.
Hope triumphs.
A prisoner is set free.

What Christmas Is All About

img_2746What is Christmas?
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…
You better watch out, you better not cry…
Jingle bells…
The Annual Family Christmas Tree Outing…
Silent night, holy night…
Santa Claus…
Rudolph and his clan…
Caroling…
The Christmas story told in various and assorted versions…
Watching “A Christmas Story” about Ralphie and his Red Rider BB Gun…
Giving, receiving, and opening gifts…

In high school I memorized Clement C. Moore’s “Twas the Night before Christmas” for part of a speech and debate class, which crazily enough took me to a Speech and Debate Meet where I won something for some category. Funny thing is, I didn’t even believe in Santa Claus. I did as a child and he came personally each year, making a surprise visit in a red velvet suit, trimmed with white ‘fur’ and topped with a matching hat, a pair of black boots and a wide, black belt. He was the real deal. Or so I thought. The year I was six, cousin Dave whispered otherwise.

As Santa rounded the hall corner, cousin Dave, who had also anxiously been awaiting Santa’s grand entrance said, with great disappointment , “That’s not Santa. That’s grandpa.” How he could see past the curly white beard is beyond me, but he was right. I’m not sure if anyone else stopped believing that year or not because I’m not sure if anyone else heard him, but I sure did.

Yes, that was the moment I quit believing in Santa. It had been a deception that I didn’t want to accept: Santa wasn’t real. Santa was my grandpa. Santa was still the man in red, but he didn’t live up at the North Pole. He didn’t have elves such as I had believed. His elves had the same names as my mom and dad and aunts and uncles. He didn’t have a sleigh but instead drove a Buick and he didn’t have a reindeer, but a toy poodle named Prince. I was devastated.

That year Christmas meant that not all people tell the truth.

A few years later, my mom bought the most beautiful doll I had ever seen. The first time I saw it, it was sitting on the top shelf in her closet. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to see it. I had been sitting on her bed, waiting for her to finish her shower and the closet door happened to be open and there it sat, sitting up there in its unopened box, all by itself, staring at me. I wasn’t snooping. It was just there – beckoning to come down and play. When my mom came out, I asked her why it was there and she said it was for my cousin—for Christmas. I didn’t understand that. I had never had a beautiful doll like that one. Well, okay I had beautiful dolls. Just not that one. And so I begged my mother for it and finally, after my persistence and annoying whining and pleas coated with how I didn’t have a doll like that, she gave it to me. Every time I held that doll, I felt selfishly guilty. I don’t think my mother realized that she gave me the gift of learning to be unselfish that year, because that year I learned it’s much better to give than to receive.

A few years later, I learned more about what Christmas meant. I learned what the meaning of Christmas was really all about.
Since the beginning of time, most of us have heard that ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son.’ In other words, God loved us so much, that He had to do something to give us hope in this crazy place and save us from ourselves. Hope for situations in which we had been deceived and forgiveness for our own selfish ways. And so, he gave us His son.

He put him on this earth as a little baby who grew up, much the same as you and I. However, the difference between us and Him? He didn’t deceive others. He always told the truth. He taught that the Truth would set us free. He didn’t try to manipulate people into giving him what he wanted but came to give what they needed.

He never pushed to get his way. He showed the world that it was better to give than to receive. He didn’t stand in crazy lines that wrapped around store aisles but stood on the stones of a temple courtyard where He was sentenced to die a sinner’s death.

The day had come for Him to go. If he stayed, hope would become a word without meaning. He showed the world once—and for all—the value of a gift when He held out his arms on the cross, similarly as his mother did some years earlier. She held out her arms to embrace the Son of God on that first Christmas night, only to watch Him embrace the world as He held open His arms on the cross.

That is what Christmas means to me – to open my arms to the world. To offer all that I have to those who have nothing – physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually. To embrace those who are alone and need someone to comfort them, listen to them, be a friend. To forsake what I think I need and give to another, learning that I have all I need.

The holidays can be so crazy—focusing on wants and desires. The desire for this or that. The desire to give the best gift. The desire for the best deals.

My desire is to focus on that little boy. To please him in my offering of gifts that I bring. And I want to bring to him everything. I no longer want to be the little girl, vying for a plastic doll or to tell Santa my secrets, but I want to scan the faces of humanity and see who needs a gift more than I do.

What is Christmas? Christmas isn’t about me. It’s all about Him.

Running Into Purity and Holiness

image“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
​​-Philippians 3:7-8

The following is taken from The Set of the Sail, by A.W. Tozer:

“Our most pressing obligation today is to do all in our power to obtain a revival that will result in a reformed, revitalized, purified church. It is of far greater importance that we have better Christians than that we have more of them. Each generation of Christians is the seed of the next, and degenerate seed is sure to produce a degenerate harvest not a little better than but a little worse than the seed from which it sprang. Thus the direction will be down until vigorous, effective means are taken to improve the seed.…

“To carry on these activities [evangelism, missions] scripturally the church should be walking in fullness of power, separated, purified and ready at any moment to give up everything, even life itself, for the greater glory of Christ. For a worldly, weak, decadent church to make converts is but to bring forth after her own kind and extend her weakness and decadence a bit further out…

“So vitally important is spiritual quality that it is hardly too much to suggest that attempts to grow larger might well be suspended until we have become better.”
​Could it be that we have overlooked a basic truth of the gospel, so simple that we forget that we are called to obey its word? The truth that we are to love one another, encourage one another, cheer one another on into purity and holiness?

​It seems that so often we are intent on bringing others to Christ that once they have come, we leave them standing at the starting line, having not a clue as to how to run the race they just entered. Or we encourage them on but we forget the aspect of purity and holiness we told them about. We forget to inform them that they must change from the old, worn out and ‘holey’-of-another-sort loafers they wear and must now wear shoes that will allow them to run with endurance the new race that has been set before them. We forget that we may need to actually tighten our laces as well and begin running beside of them on those first quests, teaching them new routes, obstacles that lay ahead and how best to avoid them. We forget they haven’t run this path before.

How easy it can be to forget what it felt like to be new in Christ— to be full of joy and hunger and if we were truly blessed, to have an earthly coach available to help and guide us in those first days, months, years. Some new Christians come to Christ, not knowing anyone who will help them through the first days and often not even knowing they need someone to help them through those first laps of their race. Without a teammate, they can easily end up walking from the starting line, straight back into the stands, to once again become a spectator. There was no one to pull the trigger at the start of the race, no one to shout to them words of encouragement as they begun the race set before them. And all too often, there is no one to run alongside and to cheer them on when their life mimics worship or to encourage them when they stumble or help them up when they fall.they have picked themselves up from the rut they have fallen. Because of this, they can easily fall back into their old ways, not knowing that they are to continually grow in purity and holiness. They don’t know, because they may have never been taught that the new race, the purity and holiness is a life-long process.

​Are we intent on bringing others to Christ? We well should be for that is the message of the gospel but let’s not forget that once someone has become a believer, it is our responsibility to teach them to grow, to often run alongside of them, and be cheering them on in their race. Jesus taught us this truth with his own disciples, teaching them 24-7 for over three years. He produced seed that in turn, produced an abundant harvest.

Iron sharpens iron—it’s an old proverb with great truth. Will we be a generation that produces seeds of growing Christians or seeds that fall away?

Let us pray, “Lord, I don’t hear much today of the ‘greater importance that we have better Christians than that we have more of them.’ Help us in our seeker-orientation not to water down the message and make the teaching so shallow that we don’t challenge our people to holy
living. Amen.”

What Do Birds Know?

It is raining and I hear an unusual sound as the water streams down from the sky. The clouds above threaten more rain, but the sound around me continues as if unaware. The air grows colder, the clouds gather closer, turning their shades of gray to one of almost black and still the sound continues. I look out my window to see if this can really be happening and there, at my bird feeder, sits three goldfinches and one above in the limb of the fir tree is singing.  He is singing with all  his being. In the middle of a springtime storm. And I think to myself… amazing. Simply amazing.


I know birds cannot read. I know birds cannot understand when I speak to them. I just don’t have the capabilities of which Dr. Doolittle seemed to be gifted. But, somehow they are aware of a great truth that I have trouble with. The truth of Matthew 6:26, which states, “Look at the birds of the air;they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” 

Those were Jesus’ words. That truth came directly from the very lips of the King of Kings. Is it really true that if God says it, we believe it, and that settles it? 

Sometimes, huh? And sometimes it’s hard because you’re in the midst of the storm and it just doesn’t feel as if it’s ever going to let up.

But the birds still sing. They believe and they go on. They may get stuck in the storm falling around them but they don’t let it get inside of them. Why? Because they have learned that their heavenly Father has always taken care of them and he always will. They have learned that they are valuable and all the worry in the world has never and will never help. 

It is raining again. The sound of the goldfinch can still be heard and it makes me smile because they have gotten it – the truth. They believe it and it’s settled: they are cared for greatly. And that, dear friends, means they are loved by the One who loves them most.