Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Heavenly Hide-and-Seek

She was tired of shopping, but I wasn't quite finished. (Isn't that how it usually is with our children...and husbands?) There were only a couple of other people in our area of the store, so when she asked if she could play hide-and-seek, I gave her safe boundaries and away she went.

A few moments later I started looking for her, shoving the clothes with both hands to check the middle of the racks (every kid's perfect hiding place), looking behind the jeans along the wall, through the racks again, and then suddenly I was frantic.

Thinking she mush have disobeyed, I started looking outside of the boundaries--under the doors of the dressing rooms and behind the checkout counter. I gave a stern, "Come out right now," and out popped her head from a rack clearly within the boundaries. I breathed a sigh of relief, and greeted her with open arms.

In Luke 15:4 Jesus said,
"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. does he not leave the ninety-nine...and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?"
I was determined that day to find my "lost sheep." My concern at the moment was not that she had gone out of the boundaries, but that I find her.

Just as we would look for our children, Jesus also continues "seeking" us until we are found. We would never say, "Oh, I have most of my children. That's fine. We can go on without that one." Jesus doesn't want to leave any child behind either. He isn't concerned that we have crossed the boundary lines or done things that we shouldn't have done. His concern is that we are found.

Just as we don't stop loving our children because they aren't perfect, God doesn't stop loving us because we've done things wrong. Some people think they have to get their life totally together before they can say yes to God. But that's getting things backward. He wants to guide us so our lives can be all He created us to be.

Have you been found? Or are you still hiding? Is it time for you to come out of the shadows? Maybe it's not that you're hiding from Him; you're just lost and you know something is missing in your life. Let Him find you. He is ready to receive you. He's waiting with arms open wide, a sigh of relief, and a big smile on His face.

from Sharon and Laurie's book Hold You, Mommy

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Odds are either you or your spouse are detail oriented, but probably not both of you. Which can be cause interactions at times. ;) There is no one, however, who pays greater attention to details than our Creator. God is the ultimate "detail person." Just look at the perfectly formed flowers, clothed in vibrant colors. Consider the majestic trees waving gracefully in the wind, and the vast starry sky on a clear night. Think about the brightly colored bugs in all their different shapes and sizes. God is absolutely amazing!

His creation declares His attention to details. In all His creation, however, nothing compares to the detail involved in the creation of human life. Talk about details! How long has it been since you studied human anatomy? Our bodies are truely remarkable, aren't they?

While nursing my four-month-old baby, I was made aware of God's careful attention to details. I began to notice all the wonderful little features that made my baby unique--his tiny, chubby fingers curled around mine, his perfect rosy lips pressed against my breast, his soft velvety head sprouting new hair, his squishy little legs, creased as if sectioned off by rubber bands, and his small fat toes resembling miniature peanuts. What an incredibly detailed creation!

As moms, we shuffle a tremendous number of details in our lives, don't we? Feeding schedules, laundry, doctor appintments, play dates, family meal planning, running errands, getting kids to their practices and games, etc. The list could go on and on.

I don't know about you, but I can easily get bogged down in all the details of my life. I grow overwhelmed as I try to stay in control of it all. I sometimes feel guilty asking God for strength or help in the midst of the chaos. After all, I created it, so I must handle it! Right?

Wrong. We shouldn't ever heistate to invite God in on the details of or days. He already knows them, and He cares enough to want to be a part of them. In Luke 12:6-7 it says,

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Why would God have mentioned that He knows the number of hairs on our heads if He didn't care about the details of our lives? Don't be afraid; come to Him with the details. You are worth more than any old sparrow! Include Him in the smallest details of your life, even those that may seem insignificant to you. Remember, He cares about the number of hairs on your head. You can't get much smaller than that!

Creator in heaven, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth. Nature shouts of Your attention to detail. I praise You and thank You! I am in awe of You as I gaze at the works of Your hands. I am humbled, Lord, to think that You care more about me than any other creted thing. Thank You for caring about the details of my life, no matter how small or seemingly insignificaant they may be. I need Your wisdom and direction today. I want the details fo my life to line up with Your plans and purposes for me. For it is Your plans (details) that will prevail (Proverbs 19:21). Thank You, Father, that I can come to You just as I am...through Jesus. Amen.

From Sharon and Laurie's book Hold You, Mommy

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yes, Jesus Loves Me

How is it that adding a child to your family has a way of transforming your home? Children change our priorities. They change our sleep patterns. They change our finances. They change our relationships. They change pretty much everything! Mostly, however, they change our hearts. I had never experienced the depth of love I now know until I added children to my life.

The experience of raising children has given me a better understanding of how much God must love me. It's amazing to think that no matter how much I love my children, God's love for His children is even greater.

In Matthew 7:9-11 it says, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (emphasis added). If we know how to give good things to our kids, just think how much better God is at loving His children.

God loves you and wants to reach out to you. Don't be afraid of Him. Think how much you love your children and then remember--He's much better at this than I could ever be! Take a look at Romans 8:31-39 from The Message translation of the Bible. You can't deny how much God loves you when you read this.

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us--who was raised to life for us!--is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture...None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing--nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable--absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us (emphasis added).

So do you get it? . . . God loves you! Thank Him and live like a loved child today are!

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your love. It is hard for me to accept that You love me so much when I feel so undeserving. As I love my children, continue to open my eyes to see how much you love me. I want to rest in Your love. I don't have to try to prove myself to You. You did all the work onthe cross, so that all I have to do is focus on You! In Your Name I pray, amen.

adapted from Sharon and Laurie's book Hold You, Mommy

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grandparents Day 2010

"What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies." ~ Rudolph Giuliani

Sunday, September 12th is Grandparents Day! Every family is different, but we hope you are blessed with grandparents in your life. Because of loss or distance, they may not be related by blood, but you might have some grandparent-type people in your circle of friends. However it looks in your family, grand-angles can help provide those essentials Rudolph Guiliani mentioned (and we know there are more essentials that point to God too). Every year at this time we try to honor them for the blessing they are in our lives. And every year it seems that I’m scrambling to come up with ideas. I’ll give you some of mine and I’m counting on you all to pitch in some of yours as well! How do you honor the grandparents and great-grandparents in your life?

Gift ideas. We talk about speaking our children’s love languages. Think of that when giving gifts to grandparents too. Anything that shows how the kids have grown is usually a hit.

* Quality time--Share a meal together, if you are close enough; or call them

* Words of encouragement--Write out a blessing; or send a card

* Acts of service--Help them with yard work or another project

* Physical touch--HUGS! (Even if you are far away, you can measure a strip of paper as long as your child can reach and put a hand on either side of it to send a “hug.”)

* Gifts

---> Handprints and pictures are always hits in my family. We have put them on bookmarks, cards, and t-shirts. One card said “We have the best grandparents, hands down.” Another card was a cut out of the kid’s hand where the thumb and forefinger were on the fold and it made a heart shape when you opened it. My daughter came home from school where they made characters out of thumbprints. She said, "Mom, it's amazing what you can do with a thumbprint!" It's true! You can make thumbprint characters for your whole family on a card.
---> Calendar with pictures (we usually do this one at Christmas instead)
---> Current pictures framed
---> The kids’ art work
---> Brag book or accordion card with current pictures and stories of how God is working in each one’s life
---> Then there is always the option of something they actually need or want. Or something they collect or are interested in. :)

Recently I overheard my grandparents talking with their friends, and the main topic was not “how successful my kids/grandkids are” trying to outdo one another. It was stories of how God is working in my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids lives. That was encouraging for this mom to hear. So this Grandparents Day, give them something to praise God and be thankful about!

by Shelly ~Mom and Loving It Ministry assistant
Giuliani quote from:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Learning the secret

Do you ever find yourself with a restless heart? Discontent with just about everything? I’ve often heard two pieces of advice given on talk shows, at church, and friend to friend about how to make yourself feel better, how to be more content. The first cure for discontentment goes something like this:

1. Look around; when you do, you’ll always find someone who is worse off than yourself. That will help you have a thankful heart.

I’ve tried this strategy, sort of “guilting” myself into a thankful heart. It doesn’t take long for me to find someone who has less money, a harder life, an unhappy marriage, a smaller house, or physical attributes that aren’t particularly desirable. For a while it works, but those “good, thankful” feelings only last until I look outside of myself and see someone else whose situation is better than my own. Then it’s easy to be envious and discontented all over again.

Another popular cure for gaining contentment with yourself is to simply:

2. Be positive.

There is nothing wrong with positive self-talk. Many times it’s a choice we have to make, but being positive isn’t the final cure. There are some days that I can stay upbeat, but other days fatigue, the weight of responsibility, and certain times of the month can steal my ability to see anything positive in my circumstances.

I have found that there is no other solution that can give you the ability to have a foundation of thankfulness—regardless of your situation or circumstances, except a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12-13

Paul said he had learned to be content in every circumstance; he knew what it was like to be in need and to have plenty. Sometimes as a struggling mom, I think, “Good for you, Paul, ‘cause I’m not there!” Paul’s statement “I have learned the secret of being content” is truly amazing when you find out what Paul actually went through. He was whipped, beaten with rods, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked three times, and spent a day and night in the open sea—not exactly favorable circumstances by anyone’s standards! (See 2 Corinthians 11:24-27.)

What was the secret he learned? In the next verse he says, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” The Message says it like this (v. 13): “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Paul realized that his ability to be content came as a result of his strength through Christ, not because of himself or his circumstances, not because of positive self-talk or finding someone in a situation worse than his own.

You know every problem I’ve faced, every disappointment, every person who has caused me pain. You understand my situation better than I do. Draw me to Your side, Father. Everything that has happened in my life hasn’t been good, but You promise that all things will work into something good. Help me to see Your plan for my life. Thank You for making me a priority, for planning my life before my parents knew I was part of the plan. Help me live my life, not in my own strength, but in Yours. I want to depend on You, not the ideas the world offers. Help me grow to love You more and more every day. Thank You for washing away all the sins I’ve committed, even the owns I would be ashamed to tell anyone about. Thank You for giving me life. It’s because of You, Jesus, that I have hope. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

Now let’s encourage one another. Do you have a favorite verse that helps you get your heart and mind back on track and content in Him? Let’s hear it!

Adapted from Laurie and Sharon’s book Mom…and Loving It!