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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Ever had a dream deep inside of you that you believe God has put there?  Ever done your best to follow His instructions and come to a point where you just didn’t see how the dream was going to actually be birthed?

I’ve been there several times.  In fact, was just there again last night.  It’s difficult to keep your mind and heart focused when you are discouraged by the outward appearances of what’s happening.

The voices that resonate in our head during times like that are so easy to listen to.   Things like:  Who do you think you are to even believe you could do this? It’s just like everything else you’ve tried, it’s a silly pipedream!  You are just an ordinary person, you weren’t meant to do great things.  You aren’t smart enough, don’t know the right people, etc. etc. etc.  God isn’t really in it.

These are just a few voices that cause so many of us give up on the thing God has put in our heart.  The first sign of struggle or the first objection can throw us into a pit of despair and discouragement.  And sometimes we labor, pray, travail and give up just before the birth happens.

What it really boils down to is faith versus fear.  We are afraid to let God really shine through us….to dare to believe we can do big things through Him.   We are afraid that God might not love us enough, might not have chosen us, might not think we are significant to His kingdom.

While we are believing the lies of the enemy, here is what God says in Isaiah 66:9.  “Shall I bring to the moment of birth and not cause to bring forth?, says the Lord.  Shall I who causes to bring forth, shut the womb? says your God.”

What kind of God would we serve if He didn’t care about the deep desires He put in us?  What kind of cruel God would He be if He brought us right to the moment of delivery and then ran away or stopped the birthing process?  God isn’t like that.  As long as we stay open and ready to birth what He has spoken by His strength He will bring it forth.  As long as we are willing to follow the plan He has given us, He will bring it forth.

We were meant to birth the things of God in our marriage, our children, our businesses, our relationships, and our lives!  God will bring it forth.  The question is:  What can we do to cooperate with Him?

Go forth and multiply!  Birth the baby God has for your life!

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Have You Given Up?

I am awake at 4:30 am and thinking and praying about some special people in my life.  I’m reflecting over my own experiences and can’t help but remember times when I was about to give up.  You can probably relate to times when you’ve prayed for an answer.  I remember seasons of crying out for intervention for my family, my marriage, my kids, my finances, and a host of other issues I faced.

There were times all those tears would appear to go unnoticed and the prayers seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.  I couldn’t understand why something I knew God wanted would be so delayed.  Those times left me discouraged and often times with a feeling of hopelessness and despair.

But as I look back, I see a totally different picture.  God was always listening, always working on behalf of the things that He wanted too.  He was working on my husband, kids, and other relationships.  He was working in me.  He was preparing the ground for all the good things He had in store.  He was refining, purifying, testing, and proving my character.  He was truly answering my heart cry at a level deeper then I understood.

There were times I gave up.  Other times, I almost did.  Why?  Because what God was doing didn’t look exactly the way I had thought it would.  I didn’t understand God’s process.  I wanted instant change.  I wanted perfect people, perfect circumstances, or at least pretty darn near perfect.  I didn’t want struggle.  I didn’t want to be patient.  I didn’t want to have to grow beyond the pain I felt at any given moment.  So often despair set in.

I took my eyes off the prize of my hearts desire and focused on the way things appeared.

Here’s what I see now.  When you pray according to His purposes, agreeing with what He desires, He listens and answers.  He will move all of earth to see heaven come down. He absolutely has our best interest at heart always.  And the beauty of God’s ways is reflected in the process of moving people and circumstances for the good of all involved.  It’s not always an overnight process.  It can sometimes take years.

If you are praying for God’s intervention in your life, the only way you can experience unanswered prayer is to give up.  If you are experiencing despair over what appears to be an ongoing problem, perhaps it’s because you are looking at things according to your perspective instead of His.  Maybe you haven’t really let go and placed it in His hands.  Maybe you are still trying to control or make the answer look a certain way.

I have to ask myself:  “Do I trust God or have I set my mind so firmly on what I want the answer to look like that I can’t see His hand moving?”  I have to remind myself that I will never see the promised land in my marriage, kids, or life in general if I give up.

I have to ask myself:  “What if God gave up on me?”  If God never gives up, if He loves so much, why should I give up on His ability to answer my prayer?

Will you join me in renewing faith and agreeing with God’s ability to work in our circumstances, our difficult relationships, and in ourselves?  I’m not giving up on God, or my hearts desire to see things come to pass on earth, in my life, as they are in heaven.

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Woke up this morning with the Abba song, Take A Chance On Me in my head for some strange reason.  Then again, maybe it’s not so strange. We are leaving for Vegas tomorrow for a business convention and I guess it seems fitting.

I love how God takes the thoughts I’m thinking and turns them into something about Him.  I could just feel my faith rising as I thought about taking a chance on God. 

The scripture tells us that His words are yes and amen, his promises are true, and God is not a man that He would lie.

So what would it hurt to take a chance on what God says about His power and plans for us and our lives.

What if we took a chance that He could heal our hurts and meet our inner desires ?

What if we took a chance that He could provide financially?

What if we took a chance that He could change us and our spouse, and bless our marriage?

What if we took a chance that He could turn things around in our jobs, homes, relationships?

What if we took a chance to love like He loves?

So many things we can take a chance on!   I’m betting that if we bet it all by surrendering everything in our life to Christ and turning it over to Him, we will win!   We will be rewarded with our innermost desires and conformed to the character of Christ.

What could you do to take a chance on God today?

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Yesterday we lost our 14 year old companion, our dog, Daisy.  Everywhere I go today I think about her and the impact she had on our lives.  I hear the jingle of her collar as she walked through the house.  I see the engraved image of her laying next to my feet just to be near me while I worked in the office.  I see her sitting patiently near the table, begging for one morsel from my dinner plate.  And I remember the unconditional love and companionship she offered to us and our son through those years.

When you think about it, Daisy left a legacy.  Our home was a better place for having her part of our life.  We will never forget her.  She had a spirit that fought to the end and brought such joy to everyone who entered our home.

If dogs leave that kind of legacy behind, what are the possibilities for us as human beings.  I can’t help but think about what we are capable of leaving behind because of our choices.  Will it be a good legacy or a bad one?

So this is a clarion call.   Will we choose wisely so our kids will see people of character in action?  Will we love unconditionally, regardless of what we get out of the relationship?   Will we live with hearts abandoned to a loving heavenly father, so that we can in turn serve the world around us?   Will we be women, men, teens, children of God in deed as well as in word?

It breaks my heart each time I see someone who says no to those questions.  I want to be a catalyst in this world to help people say yes.

What kind of legacy are your choices building?  What kind of legacy do you want to leave?  How can I help or pray for you in your legacy building desires?

 

 

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I just reached an impossible goal in our home-business.  It was amazing to watch what happened after I became convicted that it could and committed to working until it did. There were so many times when it looked like it would not happen, but in the end, it came to be.

Life is like that.  Sometimes we have lofty and good goals but what is happening or what we are seeing makes us think it is impossible.

I love II Corinthians 5:7-9.  Here’s my paraphrase:  We move in life by faith.  Our lives and our behavior is regulated by our conviction and belief  about God’s relationship with us and the divine things He’s promised.  We accept those with trust and holy burning desire and therefore we don’t walk by what we see or what appears.  We have confident courage no matter where we are at.  We are constantly ambitious as we work earnestly at pleasing Him. 

One of the reasons I do this blog is because I want every person to really understand and experience a PERSONAL relationship with God.  I know the more personal that becomes the more we understand God’s love for us.  The more we understand how much God loves  the more we will do what pleases Him.

Here’s a few keys to that relationship and a life of blessing.

A. If you need a behavior change, it starts with your belief about your relationship with God.  How seriously do you take what God says?  How strongly do you believe His principles and trust that He will do what He promises?

B.  A life of faith requires burning desire.   What is more important to you–your own desires or what pleases God?  When we have a burning desire to pursue the principles  of His kingdom rather than our own way, we will experience a life of faith and blessing.

C. A life of faith requires ambition.  When I reached for my business goal, I gave it all I had.  I left every ounce of energy on the table and at the end, I was spent.  That is what ambition looks like.  What could change for you if you determined that you were going to pursue God and strive to please Him more than anything else in your life?

I dare say, we would have better marriages, parent better, experience better finances, be more satisfied in our work and play, have better relationships and a greater circle of influence if we would live a life of conviction and belief about God and His relationship with us.  We would take it seriously.  We would understand that life is sacred and we would work with everything that is in us to establish and grow His kingdom on earth and strive with all we have to please Him. 

 

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Remember the line from A Few Good Men when Tom Cruise asks Jack Nicholsen to tell the truth on the stand.  Jack, vehemently looks at Tom and says, “Truth?  You can’t handle the truth?”

Throughout the years, truth has been debated.  It’s no different today but as an “older” person, it seems to have changed into a time when all “truth” is what we say it is.

As a Christ follower, what God’s word says is important.  Scripture is not something to be used to beat someone up with but it is the roadmap for a life well lived.

James 1 paints two very different portraits of the way people handle the Word (the truth of God).  There are two camps of people.  The DOERS and the LISTENERS.

In James 1:21-24, a listener is compared to a man who looks in the mirror, sees himself and then goes away and forgets what he looks like.  Mmmmmm, I wonder if doing has anything to do with knowing who we are.  What do you think?

The problem with listeners, is that they are not living authentically. Instead of obeying the truth, they make excuses and try to reason with it.  Verse 22 says they betray themselves and fall into deception.   It’s kind of like a teen-ager.  Ever known one who told you where you were all wrong, while making excuses for their own behavior?

Think about the TRUTH, (God’s way).  If we say we are Christ followers, then we have to follow Christ!  We must ask ourselves:  Am I walking in His way in my marriage?  Am I parenting my kids like He says?  Am I following His principles in my job or business?  Am I handling my money, my health, my relationships the way He directs me too?

I think the biggest question of all is, “Am I trying to reason with God and His principles and commands to justify my choices?

We can’t truly say we are followers of Christ and ignore a life of true worship.  True worship is expressed in the outward actions of our inner lives.  A blessed and authentic life is one that handles God’s truth by acting on it!

 

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I love that my daddy taught me to appreciate America. This was one of his favorite songs and to this day when I hear it I get tears in my eyes.

We have a lot of flaws for sure but the gift of freedom is one we shouldn’t ignore. The beauty of this country is in our freedom to choose.  We get to choose and have freedom to speak, worship or not worship, how to vote, and so on.

On one hand, I’m excited to see a younger generation who cares about our country.   On the other, I’m wondering why so many don’t know our history or even follow modern day events.

This weekend is a great time to talk to your kids about the beauty and blessing of freedom.  It’s a teaching moment about the responsibility that comes with that freedom.

God is the author of freedom.   He has given us liberty.  Galatians 5:13 tells us that we have “been called unto liberty.”

Freedom and liberty is God’s design but there is a warning that goes along with it.  (My paraphrase) Don’t use your freedom as an incentive to indulge yourself or do the wrong things. Use it to show love and serve one another.

It’s in the loving and serving of one another that freedom survives.  We have the right to choose and what we do with that choice effects everyone that comes after.  Our personal choices play a part in everything that comes after that decision.  They are important.

That is the message to reflect on and teach our kids.  If we understand the gift of freedom and the responsibility of freedom we will continue to have freedom in our land.  We will also grow in our relationship with God.

Let FREEDOM Ring!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Repost:  Daddy’s Hand

Not every one can say they had a good relationship with their daddy.  Mine was a sweet one.

Oh he was a strong willed Croatian disciplinarian who expected his children to behave but he also loved his kids very much.

As a family, we struggled financially.   He worked as a blacksmith for the Anaconda company and just when things were getting stable they would go on strike again and set us back all over again.

What we didn’t have in money, daddy would make up for with gifts he’d make. He once made me steel knitting needles because we couldn’t afford to buy them and I wanted to learn to knit.  He made us the backyard swing set. It was on that swing set where I learned the art of worship.  Pumping my legs to the heavens, I would swing for hours as a little girl singing Jesus Loves Me at the top of my lungs.   My favorite gift was a ring he fashioned out of a nut.  He smoothed it into a round cylinder perfect for my finger and engraved a heart into it.  I still hear him singing an old tune….”Heart of my heart,” as he handed it to me.

Unfortunately I didn’t have dad in my life for long.  When I was 11 years old we found out daddy had a brain tumor.  As we came home from Halloween festivities, the ambulance was in front of our house and daddy went to the hospital for the final time.  Gradually slipping into a coma, we were allowed to go see him one last time.

I’ll never forget standing at his bedside watching him breath.  I believe it was my cousin’s wife Colleen who was a nurse in the room with us.  She told us to go ahead and talked to him.  I must have said something he heard because suddenly my dad squeezed my hand. It meant everything to me.

After he died, as I laid in the living room hide a-bed with my younger brother so we could be close to mom’s room, I called to her.  She came to the bedside and I said, “Do you know the last thing my daddy ever gave to me?”  She answered, “No what?”  My reply with tears streaming done my face was “His hand.”

I’ve thought about that many times through the years when I think about my dad.  The other morning I woke up thinking about that in relationship to God.

Life is rarely easy.  Every day brings new challenges.  There are times of unspeakable pain and joyous triumph.  Touch is important during those times. A hand is such a special gift.

A hand can hold you, make you feel safe, snatch you from danger, lead you to someplace unknown to you.   The touch of a hand can get your attention, even awaken you from sleep.   It can lift your chin up, massage your stress away, or slap your back in celebration of a job well done. These are all the things a daddy should do.  And this is exactly what the hand of God looks like.

He does all that any good earthly daddy would do plus more.   The Hand of God can do even the impossible!

We may not be able to feel his physical hand but it is always there.   As we sit in stillness meditating on Him it’s there.  As we cry out it’s there.  As we walk through the crowds in day to day life hoping that someone will touch us or that we can touch someone, it’s there.

There is no doubt.  The hand of a dad is important.  God’s hand even more important.  You may not have had a good father.  It may be difficult for you to imagine God as a father because of that.  Maybe you can put yourself in my story and imagine what it must have been like as a little girl to have been given that gift of her daddy’s hand.

That is what God is offering you.  Wherever you are in this moment, I pray you’ll reach out and put your hand in your heavenly father’s hand.  Let Him be your daddy.  And as you hold on tight to Him, would you reach out and be His hand to someone else?

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Burnt Toast

I hate burnt toast!  I did it twice this morning.  Put in my bread in the toaster and when it popped up it was black.  Got interrupted and came back a few minutes later and put another piece in and voila, black again!

Duh!  If you don’t want burnt toast, adjust the setting.  Turned the dial down and of course the third time it worked.

God uses object lessons and I’m certain this was a good one.

Just like me wanting toast for breakfast, there are a lot of times in life when we know what we want.  Where we go wrong is we misread what it takes to get it, or we become impatient and try to make it happen.

Sometimes we even find ourselves in crisis mode.  We find ourselves in a situation that seems like an emergency and in an effort to solve it or run from it we turn up the heat instead of turning it down.

I wish I’d understood this as a young wife and mother.  When I look back at those years, I see that most of the time, I turned every obstacle in my path into a crisis.  I wanted to be perfect, have perfect kids, perfect marriage, perfect church, perfect finances, etc.  In order to fill the hole of insecurity, woundedness, and lack of identity, my expectations of myself and others always burned me emotionally.  Eventually, I found myself, totally exhausted and used up.

In fact, there was a point in my marriage that I had decided I didn’t love my husband anymore because he wasn’t what I thought I wanted.  I remember the agony of crying out to God.  I felt like there was no hope.  I either stayed and lived empty or left and looked for something or someone else to fill me.

Thankfully, neither one of those results happened.  I dialed back my emotions, and looked deeper at the setting.  Here are some of the steps I took.

1.  I looked at God’s principles for the situation.  It had to start there.  Even though I was messed up in my theology at the time, I did not want to do something against God.  In essence, God didn’t steal my right to choose but He set a firm boundary that I could not cross if I wanted the benefit of His blessing.

2.  I looked at myself.  There came a point when I had to put away my perception of what everyone else was doing or not doing and look at what I was doing.  If I didn’t change the dial or setting, I couldn’t expect anyone else to.  While I thought I’d given everything, I had to admit, I had not.  I couldn’t have because my focus had been on everything I needed or wanted, rather than what I could give.

3.  I looked at my relationships.  Especially with my husband and kids, I realized God always calls us to bless.  I determined that I had committed before God to love and asked Him to help me love.  I remember one day, giving it all over to God and even though I was crying inside, asking God to make me a blessing to my husband and my kids.  I laid  down what I thought I wanted, for them.

You might be thinking how difficult that was.  But here’s the joy in it.  As I changed, my husband changed.  As I pushed through to find my fullness in my relationship with Christ, I found myself.  And though everything wasn’t perfect, it was better.   The more I grew, the more I found out my husband and I wanted the same things.  I discovered that he didn’t understand the messages I had been trying to send him.  And there was so much more.

What I had wanted was to be loved completely.  I found out that is only possible by God.  I had wanted security.  I discovered the more I trusted God to work in spite of our flaws, the more secure I got.  I had wanted joy and happiness.  This was probably my biggest ah ha!  I had a revelation that it’s in giving, not receiving that joy is made full.

There was a moment in time when I sat down a wrote a song, “Joy, Joy, Jesus make me a joy……”

He answered that prayer.  If you want joy, become joy.  If you want happiness, bring happiness.  If you want peace, be peace.

If you want golden brown toast, adjust the setting.  Burnt toast is not God’s plan for you.

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Ever feel like you have to be supermom?  I’m sure that is common to all moms.  Here’s something to think about.

How would you feel if like Mary, you knew you were the mom of God’s son?

I can’t imagine what that must have been like for her.  Not just birthing but raising Jesus.  After all, she didn’t skip from the manger to the cross.  There was a lot of life in between.

I’m absolutely certain that he was a perfect child but that doesn’t mean she could just leave parenting out of the picture.  She still was there to nurture, protect, and teach.  And in some ways she must have questioned her own ability to do so, just like a mom today with a gifted child.

This week we’ll talk about some of the qualities that made Mary a super mom.  Not in the superhero kind of way, but a mom that stands out above others.

Today, the key to being a super mom is in Luke 1:38.  Behold, I am the hand maiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said.

If you want to be a SUPER mom:

1. Acknowledge that you are the servant of God. Everything a mom is represents service.  The problem is sometimes we feel like a slave!   When we let our relationship with God have priority in our life, we will learn what is important and what is not.  We will begin to understand and walk out the purposes of God instead of the expectations of culture and others.

2. Agree with God.  God never violates our right to choose.  A super mom agrees with the word of God.  God’s word is the lamp for their feet,  and the light to their path.  They understand that nothing works without the principles of God at the center of their life.  God blesses His word and it brings life.

Just like a disobedient child, we can’t expect good results when we go against the word of our loving parent, God.  He wants our blessing and favor and has made a way for it. And unlike us, His word is always true and never changes.

A Super Mom is one who accepts who God says she is and His purposes for her life.  She believes His word over anyone else’s,  even her own.  And she agrees with what He says and goes His way, instead of  choosing based on her own feelings, or whims.

She is pliable and flexible in the hands of her one true lover– God!

That’s the place of true joy, security, and blessing.

What step could you take today to acknowledge who God says you are?

What could you do that shows agreement with what He says?

Here’s to Super Moms who know who they are and follow God’s plan for their life and the life of their family!

 

 

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