Friday, March 29, 2013

He Was Broken So That We May Be Made Whole

Before the celebration of Easter came the anguish of the cross. Today I am reminded that God understands well what it means to feel heartache and pain; that He suffered in a way I will never comprehend. He humbled himself and he allowed both his body and his heart to be broken that day at Calvary so that I can be made whole. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thankful on a Thursday

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. . ." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I believe that at the center of a life of contentment and joy is a heart of thankfulness.  It can be easy to become wrapped up in the daily grind or the difficult situations of life and lose sight of all the blessings.  But I think that when we make the dedicated effort to continuously call to mind what we have to be thankful for, we allow ourselves to be filled with joy and we bring glory to our Creator.  

I want to cultivate a life of thankfulness, to always have my eyes open to the good things God is doing in my life - even in the midst of the hard stuff - and to strive to have an "Attitude of Gratitude." In that effort, my goal is to take time out every Thursday to jot down a few of the things bringing me joy during the week.

On this Thursday I'm Thankful for:

  1. Being just a hop, skip and a jump away from breathtaking ocean views and towering redwood forests.
  2. Lunch breaks at the park with a cup of coffee, a good book and a warm breeze.
  3. The love-filled prayers and counsel of a wise woman who shares in my joys, understands my tears and always reminds me that God is working.
  4. Seeing the broad grin and sticky donut smeared face of my son greeting me in the rear view mirror, as he laughingly says, "I'm saving the chocolate in case I get hungry during class."
  5. The sound of the littlest one's feet as she runs back to the door at daycare, yelling "One More Kiss!"

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Little Dancing Machine

"Let's dance," I say to my little miss.

"Dance?" she replies excitedly.

"Yep, dance."

And I'm greeted with the biggest smile that lights up her whole face as I select a song. She loves music; loves to dance, to sing along and to make up little hand motions. She leads with her hands and it cracks me up. I smile to myself as I know she gets that from me, or so I may be told :-)

I love to watch her dance and sing because she does it with so much abandonment, free to be as moved by the music and silly as she sees fit. When she sees me laughing at her silly antics, she launches into her head back, loud as can be, full belly laughter because she's delighted by being the center of my attention. It makes me love her that much more, if that's even possible.

She's all sass, spunk and stubbornness at times. But even when that independence rears its head as a pint sized spit fire asserting very loudly in public that she wants it her way; I remind myself that God created this daughter of mine to be exactly as she should be. That He will use her strength and determination to do great things for Him.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thankful on a Thursday

The little man and I have our mourning routine down the last few months. After dropping little miss off at daycare, I turn off the music and spend the 10-15 minutes it takes to get him to school to chat about the coming day and to pray.  Some mornings we both pray for each other and some mornings I pray for us both. I want him to know I care, that I am listening and that he can talk to me about anything and everything. More importantly, I want him to discover the peace and joy that awaits in a life built on a deep faith in God.

The past couple of days the air has been filled with silence during those miles between daycare and school. He's had a tough week and we've butted heads each morning, which has left us both frustrated and upset. He hasn't wanted to talk and he hasn't wanted to pray. I let him have the silence but continue the routine of praying for him even if in his anger he is resistant.

Wednesday morning as he climbed out of the car I called out "I love you," which was met with a barely audible grumble of something trying to resemble I love you too even if he didn't feel it in the moment.  I watched him walk away, so little still but already so grown. He's all skinny legs and arms right now. I remember counting each tiny finger and toe when they first placed him in my arms and the pure joy when he was able to start grabbing onto my hands in return.

My heart hurts when we have the tough mornings. I know that he has gone through a lot of change and that he is learning to figure out who he is and who he isn't. As I drive away I pray a silent prayer "Lord help me to be the mom he needs."

Thursday morning my happy boy had returned - it's amazing what a good night's sleep can do! For the first time, during our morning routine he excitedly asked if he could pray all on his own.  So I listened to the earnest prayers of my oldest. With eyes scrunched tight, he prayed for our day, for our family and he ended by asking the Lord to let us feel His love. The simple, trust-filled prayers of a small boy reminding me of God's love for us.

As he bounded out of the car with a huge grin on his face, he turned and said "I love you to the moon and back!"

I know that during the course of raising my little ones, there will be more tough mornings and days, and there will be many more joy and laughter-filled moments. And for the times that are hard, I know that I'm not doing this alone, that every step of the way God will provide me with what I need.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rain and Refinement

I stand for a moment and inhale deeply.  I love the smell of the rain.  I close my eyes and look skyward, letting the drops hit my face. And I am thankful.

The recent warm, sunny days have left me eagerly anticipating summer and hoping that the weather reports would be wrong when forecasting rain this week. Despite the fact that this winter has been so mild, I am ready for it to be over and dreading the thought of more cold and wet weather.

But I'm trying to learn to live in each moment and be thankful for what it brings; not always wishing the here and now away for what's going to come tomorrow.

So last night as I hurried to my car, I stopped in order to be fully present at that moment. To remember how very much I love the smell in the air as the rain first starts to fall, how I love the way the street lights dance and glimmer on the wet pavement, how each rain fall brings with it the promises of new growth and the washing away of the dirt and grime.

As I drove, the rain began to fall more quickly. I turned off the music and listened to the water rhythmically hit my car.

In the patterns of the rain, I saw a mirror of how God operates.  He is always working to wash away the dirt in my life. Sometimes slowly and subtly, like a soft drizzle, and sometimes more directly and palpably like the downpour of a thunderstorm.

I may not always like it and there may even be periods where I fight it at every turn. Yet always after the rain comes growth. Because whether I yield to the process or fight against it, God loves me enough to not leave me where I am.

I am learning to humbly surrender to the Lord's refining; to stand in the rain with face lifted heavenward and be thankful that God is working in me.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Courage to Take the First Step

"If our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
If our God is for us, then what could stand against."
~Our God, Chris Tomlin

Sometimes we let fear hold us back. We let it stop us from pursuing dreams, from trying something new, from letting ourselves love wholeheartedly, from stepping out in faith. We allow fear to keep us silent when we know we should speak.

Fear can keep us standing with fists closed tight instead of hands held open. But with our fists held closed we may not be allowing God to fill them with His blessings.

But if God is for us, then what do we have to fear?  "Who could ever stop us?"

I want to learn to truly walk by faith and not fear. I want to live expectantly of how God is working in my life. To live with heart and hands open.

This is a small step forward in that journey. I'm going to write here about anything and everything, from the silly things that make me smile during the day to what God is teaching me.