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Monthly Archives: May 2014

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Anyway Worship

It had been a rough couple of weeks. No single major catastrophe, just a lot of little things nipping at my heels.

I was discouraged.  Feeling sorry for myself, really.

So when I entered worship in the gym that Sunday morning, I hoped God would see it from my perspective and join my pity party.

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He didn’t. Turns out, God doesn’t roll like that. In fact, He does things altogether differently.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise (Ps. 100:4).

If you want to know how to join God where He is, start thanking Him. If you want to know how to rest where He dwells, start singing His praise.

Sometimes it’s easy. Like when the sun sets beautifully over the corn crops down the road, and I can almost hear the earth as it shouts for joy to Creator God. Or when I see His hand working in my children’s lives as they share Jesus with a friend.

Other times, though, it’s more difficult, this praising thing. When my kids are sick or a friend hurts my feelings. When my computer crashes, and I have writing deadlines to meet this week. When the cats next door rip through the screen in my back porch, and I can’t enjoy my morning quiet time that I’ve grown to love.

Even then, God wants my praise. He doesn’t change His gate-entry procedure according to my circumstances because His goodness does not waver like my feelings do.

God is always good. He still deserves my praise.

And He knows that when I worship Him I will remember Who He is. 

Funny, because the converse is also true: when I remember Who He is, I can’t help but worship Him.

Worship the LORD with gladness (Ps. 100:1) . . .

True worship is that which is glad in Who God is, despite my feelings about where I am or what’s happening around me.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever (Ps. 100:5).

No matter where I am. No matter what I feel.

I might not be glad about my ripped screen. But the LORD is God. He’s my God.

I might be downright upset about not having a computer for a short time. But I am God’s.  A sheep in His pasture under His care.

And still I can know God’s true presence. Even still, I can enter into His very place of dwelling when I choose to praise Him anyway.

 

The Eyes My Mom Gave Me

Where did she get her beautiful blue eyes?!?

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People have asked this about my daughters more than once. I usually look at them (with MY OWN blue eyes) and say, “My mother-in-law has beautiful blue eyes, too.”

Then I smile and walk away laughing. Sometimes to myself. Sometimes laughing at the stupidity of the question.

I have to admit it would be really fun to mess with someone next time. Like, “Oh my gosh!!! I have no idea!” I mean, ask a stupid question…get a stupid answer.

Because eye-color is something you can’t get on your own. It’s inherited. And, even though I don’t understand genetics, I know that two brown-eyed parents don’t (usually) bear a blue-eyed child.

I didn’t get the color of my eyes from my mom. She’s got brown ones. But there are other things about her eyes that she gave to me.

Like her eye for finding a way to help others in times of need. While I was growing up, my mom was always making food for people who were in some kind of need. Whether it was having a new baby or a death in the family or someone recovering from surgery. She has always had a knack for finding a way to help. And she passed that on to me.

And, although I certainly did not inherit physical eye-characteristics from my mother-in-law, there are things in her eyes that I long to acquire.

Like the way she sees life. Differently. As if looking through the eyes of a child, she is always able to make up a fun new game to play. Or make special crafts out of recycled trash.

That’s why moms matter. Because not only do they (sometimes) give us our eye-color, they give us the tools we need in order to look through those eyes and see what we need to see. Life as they see it. By using their eyes, they teach us to use them too.

And now it’s my turn. To teach my two blue-eyed wonders how to look through the blue and see life.

Lord, help me to teach them to see as You see. Give me eyes to see what You do and the wisdom to show it to them.

When You Worry You’ve Messed Up Your Kids and It’s Too Late To Fix Things {Guest Post by Lisa-Jo Baker}

I sat in Starbucks that day I let my mama soul bleed out through my fingers as I told you part of my story. The ugly insecure, doubt-I-can-do-this-motherhood-thing-sometimes part that screws up and doesn’t know what it’s doing. Then I introduced you to my friend and the words God is using to speak truth to that weary soul of mine.

But today, I get to introduce her to you in a whole new way. And. I am so. excited. Because, in honor of Mother’s Day week, today, I have the honor of welcoming my friend Lisa-Jo Baker to this little place I call home on the web. I can’t wait for you to see first-hand how real and amazing her words and her work are. But, even more, I can’t wait for you to be encouraged in your deepest parts.

by Lisa-Jo Baker

The thing is, we wonder all the time if we’re doing this motherhood thing right.

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Every night once the kids are in bed I try to ignore the annoying voice in my head that screeches through the list of things I should have done better. Every night. I can’t seem to turn it off. Especially when I’m surrounded by the daily mount doom of school paper work, projects and permission forms.

I’ve talked to other moms about it and they tell me it’s normal. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

Some days it seems to me that motherhood is a series of getting things wrong and trying again. Every day. Forever. On repeat.

It’s a lesson in how utterly imperfect you are and how bad your temper can scare you.

It’s a never ending, vividly imagined list of all the ways you could possibly mess up a tiny human.

Some nights I lie in bed and it’s hard to breathe. I used to think newborn sleeplessness was the worst. But I’m graduating into elementary school panic and that age has awoken a host of new worries.

Because now they can remember how bad I messed up.

This thought terrifies me. I’m guessing some of you are living in that reality right now. The one where she’s in her room and you’re at the computer wishing you could get a take-back.

Do-overs and doughnuts seem to be the bread and butter of parenting.

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But last year I heard a story that’s crawled under my ribcage and offered some hope.

I heard my favorite author of books about boys tell the story of a father who’d messed up. Messed up good and proper for years. Messed up more than just missing a few soccer games and home work assignments. He’d missed life. For years. Until his three girls were grown and were growing families of their own, reinventing the word.

They’d taken for granted the fact that he’d checked out of their lives.

And that’s when he decided to check back in.

When bridges, doors, and expectations had all been burned, that dad whose kids had outgrown him came back for another try.

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Trying again is always awkward. It’s so uncomfortable to keep trying to find new ways to say I love you. And I’m sorry.

He called all three of his daughters and asked if he could come and visit them. They were surprised. A lot surprised. They wanted to know what kind of agenda he was expecting. And he said he just wanted to come and be part of their routine. To fit into the nooks and crannies of their lives so he could understand how they looked from the inside.

And the women were skeptical. But they opened their doors anyway and their dad, he showed up throughout the year, paying them each a visit. And true to his word he tagged along for everything. He was there for breakfast and car pool and pick up. He watched homework get done and games get squabbled over. He came to sports matches and helped make the macaroni.

He quieted himself so he could hear what was going on in the big, wide world of his daughters’ lives.

He was present.

He was interested.

And a parent like that is hard to resist; hard to write off.

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This dad, he gives me hope because he should have been too late. But instead his girls, they were fascinated by how fascinating he found them.

And on the last night of their do-over weeks together he would take his daughters out to dinner. And over dessert he would ask them each a question.

He asked his grown up, no longer wearing pig-tails, raising-kids-themselves daughters,

“What do you dream?”

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I was standing in the very back row of the over-crowded hotel conference room and you could have heard a pin drop as 200 moms let that question run around their heads.

In the midst of all our every day to-dos it’s rare to have someone ask about dreams that may have been lost in a thousand miles of car pool.

He wasn’t too late. It turns out that this dad arrived in time to remind his daughters of a time when they dreamed wild and free as only children can.

You’re not too late either.

No matter how hard you fought or slammed that door or disagreed or stormed out or said things you wish you could take back. No matter if you threw his math book across the room or if she declared you the worst mom, like, ever.

You’re only too late once you give up going back for another do-over.

You’re only too late if you stop trying again.

Too late isn’t too late until you walk out and don’t walk back in again.

You’re only too late if you’ve run out of tomorrows.

So tonight, I will set my alarm and get up ready for fresh donuts. Or Cheerios as the case may be.

And do-overs.

Definitely do-overs.

 

{To see the video reminder of why all mothers are braver than they know, click here}.

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This guest post comes with love from Lisa-Jo Baker to our community in celebration of Mother’s Day.

If you haven’t already – treat yourself, your mom, your sister, your BFF or your grandma to a copy of her new book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom.  

No matter what stage you’re in when it comes to motherhood, we promise it will encourage. And remind you that you are braver than you think.