Grace: Mommy Superpower

Mother 10

I just finished reading I Timothy and started II Timothy in my daily Bible reading, when something hit me: Paul, the author, greets his reader the same way in both books.

“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (I Tim 1: 4)

“May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.” (II Tim 1:2)

So, you know me – I had to research it. Paul literally uses a similar salutation at the beginning of all of his letters, and he ends them almost the same way. I Timothy and II Timothy end by saying, “Grace be with you all.” In the New Testament Paul blesses his readers with grace 26 times, peace 12 times, and mercy merely twice.

I could make light of it and say it was just a common greeting (which it was) – but I think it is more. I don’t think either Paul, or God the Ultimate Author, meant it as nothing but a flippant salutation. In fact, I would venture to say that because it is mentioned so many times – it is an important truth God wants us to grasp. God wants us to live in and live out His grace and peace.

I’d like to look at what it means to be given grace – as a parent.  (In my next blog post, I’ll do the same for peace.)

What is grace?

Simply put – grace is the unmerited favor of God.

Grace is often linked with salvation – salvation being a free gift from God.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Romans 2: 8 – 9)

So often, I stop grace there. God saved me because of His unmerited favor towards me. And that is awesome, and so hard for me to grasp – but it is not the only thing grace does – if it were, Paul would not have needed to tell Christians to have grace – it would have been redundant.

So what does grace mean to me on a day by day basis as a mom?

Mother 51) I am a Mom by the grace of God.

Jacob realized this. (Not that he was a mom – but that his children were given to him through grace)

“And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these with you?’ Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant.’” (Gen 33: 5)

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 137: 3)

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)

My children are a gift from God to me, given to me not because I did anything to “deserve” them – but because he favored me and wanted to bless me.

Mother 62) Grace replaces my pride

My six year old memorized more Bible verses than anyone else in Sunday School; my four year old could sing the Books of the Bible – both Old and New Testiment; and my teenager went on more mission trips than anyone else in youth group – and of course, that is because I am such an awesome mom! Or maybe, I’m not so awesome –My sixteen year old son wore a speedo to the community pool; my five year old ate a stranger’s sock at the McDonald’s playground; and my four year old screamed so loudly at a local restaurant that we were kicked out for the sanity of the other patrons. Being a mom is my greatest pride – and what keeps me humble.

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Cir 12: 7 – 10)

My very loose translation of these verses: To keep me from having a big head – God gave me children who act childish – to keep my pride in check. I pleaded with the Lord to give me kids who always behaved and were better than their peers at everything, but He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast in my parenting – not because what I have done, but because Christ has given me the power I need to parent. I am content with not being the perfect parent, because when I am unable to deal with messy situations (and parenting is messy) – I allow Christ to “deal” through me – and others can see Christ more clearly.

mother 93) There is grace for my failures

I don’t know about you – but I am hardest on myself in the realm of parenting.

I realize the gravity of the task. I realize I am not supposed to feed my child a donut and chocolate milk for breakfast; I realize I am not supposed to yell at my kid when he puts gum in his hair; I realize that I’m not supposed to promise my child I’ll take her to the park – then get so busy I forget. I realize all the things I am supposed to do and don’t; and the things I’m not supposed to do but do. I realize these things – but sometimes/often I fail.

Sometime, somehow, someone told me it is not ok to fail as a parent – ever. So I beat myself up when I do. I image that my kids will grow up and be in some recovery group saying, “Hi, my name is …”

I cannot forgive myself. Literally – I don’t have the power to forgive myself, God is the only one who bestows forgiveness of sins – through grace, His free, undeserved grace.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7)

Christ takes my sins as a parent – forgives me, and exchanges my failures with his lavish favor. How incredible is that.


mother 83) Grace is my Mommy Superpower

My main ministry is to my family. God has called me to raise my kids for His glory. With a job – I may work 20, 40 or even more hours per week – but mothering is a 24/7 job. When I have “one of those days” – when the baby wants to do nothing but nurse, the two year old throws his spaghetti noodles on the wall, and the 5 year old just released the hamster from captivity – I dream of someone pointing at me and saying, “You’re fired!”

When Donald Trump is not around, when I can’t hand off the job to Dad, Grandma, or the sitter – God’s grace will give me everything I need to accomplish the task.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (I Cor 15:10)

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

God’s grace gives me the energy I need to hold and sing lullabies to my colicky baby when I’ve had little to no sleep; to clean the vomit after my child snuck into the pantry and ate the whole bag of Oreos; and to hug my screaming 5 year old when she believes she saw an ant at the grocery store.

Grace is my Mommy Superpower.

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Hello Kitty or God … Should Have Been a No-Brainer

Bible JournalingToday I had an “Aha” moment. I was journaling in my Bible and Rose was sitting next to me coloring in a Hello Kitty coloring book.

Rose: What are you drawing, Mommy?

I show her my drawing and read the verse

 Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears.” Ezekiel 3:10

She points to the picture. I read

Me: All God’s Words

Rose: All God’s Words

Me: Receive in your heart

Rose: Receive in your heart

Me: and hear with your ears

Rose: and hear with your ears

She’s so attentive! She loves it when I journal, she wants to know everything I am drawing. She’s so open. She is hearing, and I pray she is receiving God’s words.

Wait for it …. Here’s the “Aha” moment – Why is she coloring Hello Kitty?Bible Journaling 2

So tomorrow, she’s Bible journaling too! I’m going to print off coloring pages that go along with the verses I am journaling. Next paycheck, I’ll order a loose leaf Bible from amazon and I can place all her coloring sheets in her very own Bible journal.

Bible Journaling 3

I’ve wanted to go through Psalms myself again, and God convicted me that it would benefit Rose to go through Psalms with me.

Why would I start in Psalms with a five year old? Don’t people normally start with Bible stories?

My desire is to teach Rose to love God with her heart, mind, soul and strength. To love someone you have to know them.

I believe Psalms teaches who God is – at least it is easier to discern who He is. It also teaches how to respond to the knowledge of who God is – through praise and worship. It provides an example of what a relationship to God looks like – pouring out our heart to God within the confines of understanding His character.

Bible stories are great. We’ll get to them eventually (probably next year). But sometimes when telling a Bible story I tend to focus too much on man and not enough on God.  For example, if I’m telling the story of Noah, I concentrate on what Noah did for God and how he was “righteous in the eyes of God,” instead of focusing on God’s righteousness, His justice, His saving grace, and His sovereignty which are all clearly seen in the story as well. So, it’s easier for me to stay focused on God while studying Psalms.

So if all goes according to schedule (God is likely to redirect me, so this is not set in stone) – This year (Kinder 5) we will focus on Psalms – knowing and loving God. Next year (Kinder 6) we will focus on the gospel. Using “The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name” as a guide.  We’ll read Bible stories showing how they all point to Jesus and from the beginning of time God had a plan to lead us into a relationship with Him.

Those of you who would like to join me on my journey – I will be opening a new tab on my blog titled “Inner Work.” I’ll be writing an adult Bible studies and a child Bible study, and posting pictures we’ve journaled.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

rogers-neighbordayAs the pastor started a sermon series called, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” I leaned over to my husband and whispered, “He’s probably using ‘”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” – My husband looked at me like I just gave away who won The Voice before we watched the finals on Hulu.

Great sermon, Pastor Troy. I got this. I’ve built my whole life on this verse. This is MY verse. I quote it, I sing it to my kids, and I live it – at least I think I do. I love people in far off lands (by supporting missionaries), I love people who are unlovable (like troubled teens), I love my student (all 20 years of them), I love my church family, I love people in recovery ministry, I love my friends, I love my family. I’ve got a pretty good check list going – if anyone wants to give me a gold star for loving others.

Then he had the audacity to tell us we needed to love our neighbors …. meaning our actual neighbors – the people who live in the houses next to us. I don’t even like my neighbor!

So, we were good “church-ittites” – we did what the pastor said and hung a paper on our front door with the names of our neighbors – with the goal of praying for them and reaching out to them in friendship and love.

I started praying for my neighbor – you know the one I don’t like. How am I supposed to love him? He doesn’t like us any better than we like him. We have built a really tall fence between us – a literal one because he hates our dog – and an emotional one from the hurt and anger we feel towards each other. How am I supposed to just walk over to his house and all the sudden show him love? I even started justifying that I don’t NEED to show him love, because my parents who live with us do. They’re friends. My parents can love him to Jesus.

Yesterday, Rose and I are getting into the car to go see Grandpa at the nursing home. The neighbors come out of the house at the same time. I say, ”Hi.” I’m asked how my parents are. So I tell them my dad just had open heart surgery, and I’m told in return that my neighbor has been very sick as well.

Today is cooking day (hold on – I’ll get to how this relates in a jiffy). Rose and I decide to make something special to take to grandpa. Grandpa loves pie. Grandpa is on a super strict diet, so we research sugar-free pies. We go to the grocery store to buy the ingredients.

Rose asks, “Can we make two?”

“Grandpa only needs one pie, Sweetie.”

“Yes, but we can take one to the neighbor – he’s sick too.”

Pie 2

Today we’re taking our pie to the neighbor. I’m praying God can use a little girl and a pie to tear down walls – I know He’s using them to tear down the one in my heart.

Pie

Unquenchable Stomach

I never post about food, or weight, or health or stuff like that. But there’s a first time for everything. I’m posting as a sort of accountability for myself.

“…there was a little left at the very bottom of the jar,
and he pushed his head right in…”
The Bible says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I Cor 10:31
 
The Holy Spirit has convicted me that eating is an area of my life which I have not allowed God to take control of.
pooh tigger and piglet at a table
‘Tiggers don’t like Honey’
Confessions time:
I eat when I am stressed – which has been a lot lately.
I eat out of “peer pressure” or “socially” – which means I am letting others and not God have control of my eating patterns.
I reward myself with unhealthy food, saying, “Let’s get a treat.”
I eat late at night when I am alone.
I eat at fast food restaurants multiple times a week because I am always on the road.
These thoughts are temptations which I often give in to and I believe Satan has used them to sap me of some of my ability to glorify God.
I am often tired and lack energy.
I have stomach issues and headaches almost daily.
I don’t have the strength to run around and play with Kymee as I want to.
I’m going to take God at His word and choose to receive His promise,
“Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” I Cor. 12 – 13
I Saw a Heffalump Today Piglet
“…Christopher Robin finished the mouthful he was eating
and said carelessly: “I saw a Heffalump to-day, Piglet.”
So my goals for this week are this:
Eat what God has made and not what man has made (eat clean)
Replace white food with healthier options
NO fast food – be prepared to eat healthy food in the car
Precook and prepare so that I can provide delicious, simple, fast-cooking meals and snacks for my family.
Enjoy the meals and snacks God has given me to prepare.
Winnie-the-Pooh -- Two Preparatory Sketches
“As soon as he got home, he went to the larder; and he stood on a
chair, and took down a very large jar of honey from the top shelf.”
Today’s my shopping day. I’m going to Sprouts. Little more expensive than Trader Joes – but closer so I save on gas.
Here’s my meal plans for the week (they aren’t by day, so we can eat what sounds good daily)
Breakfasts
1. Eggs baked in Avacado halves & Toast
2. Green Slushy
3. Chicken fajita scrambled eggs
4. PB & Jelly sandwich w/ fresh carrot & orange juice
5. Oatmeal w/coconut milk, raisins & cinnamon
6. Fried (in coconut oil) cooked sweet potatoes, bananas & pecans
To with drizzle maple syrup
7. Yogurt, fruit & granola
Lunches
1. Chicken salad lettuce wrap w/fresh fruit
2. Waffle, pecans, banana & maple syrup
3. Quesadillas, salsa & homemade guacamole
4. Green Slushy, tuna sandwich
5. Left overs
6. Left overs
7. Left Overs
Dinner
1. Chicken, rice & vegetable
2. Tortilla Soup
3. Split pea soup
4. Chicken gravy over rice w/veggies
5. Chicken, veggie & rice stir fry w/ homemade peanut sauce
6. Pork chops & sweet potatoes
7. Homemade chicken pot pie
Snacks
Homemade granola
Homemade trail mix
Veggies & hummus
Veggies & homemade guacamole
Ants on a log
Green slushy
Fresh Fruit w/coconut milk “whipped cream”
Toast w/local honey
Clean No bake cookies
Drinks
Homemade “Soda” – unsweetened juice mixed w/ sparkling water
Mint Ice Tea w/agave
Water w/lemons, oranges or cucumbers (keep in fridge)
Milk
Almond Milk
Coffee w/milk and agave (2 cups a day – max)
Sounds good, Right?
I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

Resolve to Not Resolve

I could make a resolution to

Mad Tea Party
Eat Healthy and Clean –
You try doing this while cooking for 3 families living in your home, three to six extra teens,
a grown child and grandchild – and still having money
for the occasional Starbucks

  Keep the house spotless clean –Ha! I live with a toddler and a teenage, and on an average day have a dozen people coming in and out of my house.

      Romeo and Juliet

      Never get mad at my husband – I’ll make this resolution if he resolves to never make me mad

       Always be patient –Even when a child pees on my floor, colors on my walls, or a teen misses the “basket” with the Dr Pepper can, then leaves the trash on the floor

    Keep the car clean – I can’t make this on for the shear selfishness of it – what would my husband do for fun on the weekends if I did?

      Get more sleep –I could drug Kymee, shut down the teens gaming system, and kick the newborn living with us to the street

    Have more facebook friends – seriously, I have no time to keep up with my current friends, why do 
    I care what people I knew 30 years ago are doing? (No offense current “old” friends – you’re the ones who made the cut)

      Have more time to myself –
      Should have thought of this one when we were almost empty nesters
      and decided to adopt a baby

    So much for resolutions I won’t make. So what is my resolution?

    In 2014 I resolve . . . not to resolve.

    I am a planner. I love to plan everything to a tee. I set goals, schedules and plan accordingly. I have a list of long term, short term and immediate goals. Then God messes them up. He never allows me to stay in my box. So often he has greater things in store for me than I could even imagine. If 2013 taught me anything it was that sometime the interruption is more important than the goal down the road. I don’t regret a minute of the time I changed my plans to sit with my Mami while she was dying. I don’t regret the counseling thrown into our schedule, but not planned for.
    So this year, I’ll make plans. I’ll follow them until God tells me otherwise – but I resolve to day by day be open to whatever He wants me to do, and be willing to change direction whenever He calls me to do so. I resolve to wake up every day and say, “God what do you have in store for me today?” And if I don’t hear back from Him, I go about my plans – which have been prayed over as well.
       I resolve to stop cleaning my house if a “chatty” friend stops by to talk about her troubled child – and just sit and listen.
    I resolve to  stop mid-sentence and pray when led by the Holy Spirit
    I resolve to stop “schooling” if a friend or family member is in need of help – this is a much greater lesson than math anyway.
     I resolve to stop watching my favorite TV show when my husband calls from a business trip
    I resolve – Not to resolve what God wants me to do, but to be open, waiting and willing for Him to lead me daily into the unknown. 

    2013: The Year God Became Personal

    “And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6)
    2013 will be a year I will never forget. It has been the hardest year of my life. It has brought the most pain. And in the midst of that pain, God has drawn near to me as never before.
    I call Him, Wonderful.
    I call Him,  Counselor. When my world fell apart and I was so depressed I didn’t want to get out of bed – He listened to me and His voice and Word spoke wisdom to me. I had the opportunity to spend a whole day with Him – fasting and basking in His presence. I had ample time to cry and mourn the death of my son-in-law and mother-in-law, and the loss of dreams for my daughter and the presence of my grandson. I cried out in the wilderness and God heard my cries.  I could almost feel the warmth of His arms around me as I sobbed. He directed me to passages of scripture which helped me face a new day. And He put a song in my heart and gave me back the joy of my salvation.

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    Herman van Swanevelt – Saint Jerome in the Wilderness
    I call Him, Mighty God. He is Sovereign. What other’s planned as harm for our family – God turned to His glory. I have prayed for my husband’s for 25+ years. In April, He made the decision to be “All in for God!” Satan has thrown everything at him and tried to destroy his passion for serving Him. Everything others might view as trials, God has used to draw Nelson closer to Himself. Despite everything, I see him growing spiritually every day. God, in His sovereignty has used the trials of our life to answer my prayers and to grow Nelson into a Mighty Warrior for Himself. He also answered another 25 year old prayer and gave me assurance of my mother-in-law’s salvation before she went to be with him.
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    William Blake – The Vision of God 

    I call Him, Everlasting Father. A father I call “Abba” “Daddy.” He has not been a Santa Clause in the air who sees me when I’m good and bad, or who I just sit on his lap and ask for his “gifts” for my life.  He has been the Daddy who sees my needs before I could even ask, and has done “immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine.” (Eph.3:20). He put a song in my heart and gave me back the joy of my salvation when I was depressed and despondent. He gave me a new relationship as well as a new admiration for the man I love. He gave me a beautiful new grand-daughter. He has given me family and friends who have stood by my side instead of turning away when they saw the ugly truth about me. He confronted me with my own sins, and He and I both wept over them. Then he took them away as far as the east is from the west, and he looks at me a sees me as righteous.

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    Circle of Pierre Mignard I – God the Father
    I call Him, Prince of Peace. When my heart was heavy with grief, I was haunted my memories. Memories of my last day with my mother-in-law. Sitting by her bedside as she faced death. The happy memories of 30 years faded into the background as I obsessed with this picture in my head. The picture popped into my mind each time I would shut my eyes to sleep, and sleep became only a dream. Then, at the end of my “day with God” I was singing and worshiping Him and I saw a vision (my first one ever). I was sitting at Mami’s bedside. Then I saw an angel descend, pick Mami up, and ascend with her into heaven. It was beautiful, and the Peace of God washed over me. I slept for the first time in 6 months that night. And although tears still flood my eyes as I think of Kenny and Mami, because I will forever miss them – I have peace that passes all understanding. Peace to live on another day and peace that I will see them again in eternity.
    Portrait - Illustration - Sleep -  (3)
    God is not just THE Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – He is My Wonderful, My Counselor, My Mighty God, My Everlasting Father, My Prince of Peace. God became personal to me this year, in a way He never has before.

    Forever Loved & Missed

    Kenny –
    I am so happy you were a part of my family.

    Mami – I am only beginning to imagine
    my life without you. You were my friend,
    mentor, teacher, my Mami,
    You loved your family well &
    God more.

    Great and Mighty Things for God

    Mary – was just a girl, most likely a young teen, in fact.  She had no spectacular super powers. She was just an ordinary every day person who God choose to bring His son to earth.  
    Madonna and Child (or The Small Cowper Madonna) by Raphael
    Madonna and Child by Raphael
    Throughout the Bible we see that God used ordinary, everyday people to do extraordinary things for Him.

    Gideon was just a farmer and David was just a shepherd. Peter was just a fisherman and Paul just a tent maker.
    Rembrandt as Shepherd with Staff and Flute c. 1636 by Govert Teunisz. Flinck
    Shepherd with Staff and Flute – Rembrandt

    I’m just a wife and mom.

    Now you probably think I’m going to blog about how you can do extra-ordinary things for God. You can. I’ve never had a hard time believing this. This lesson has always been an easy one for me. I’ve never “saint – ified” Bible people or looked at them like super heroes. I’ve not only believed that God can use Elijah to call fire from the sky – but I believe that he can use me to do the same.

    Most the time when teachers teach this lesson, they apply it to our lives by saying, “You just have to be willing. Be ready to say yes to God, no matter what He calls you to do.”
    Yes, Lord, I’m willing.

    Yes, Lord, I’m willing.

    Yes, Lord, I’m willing.

    YES, LORD, I’M WILLING.

    Why isn’t He using me to do great and mighty things for Him? I trust in Him. I know He can use me to do mighty things. To affect millions. I am ready and willing. Use me.

    I’ve been kind of discontent lately with what I am doing for God. I just don’t think I’m serving where I’m supposed to be serving. I think God wants me to do something bigger, and better – I just don’t know what.

    I’m preparing my heart for the next phase of my life. I am in the Word. I am daily communicating with God. 

    But I still wait.

    I expect to be hearing from God at any moment that He wants me to do something big and mighty for Him. I could move mountains with my faith, but someone in Texas has already done that. Thoughts pop into my head as I shower; I think God wants me to be the next Beth Moore. She really has nothing up on me, you know – I can do everything she does. Don’t take this the wrong way – if you’re a Beth Moore hero worshiper – I’m just meaning I write Bible Studies, I teach, I speak. I love the Lord – just like she does. She just wears bigger jewelry than me. I pray, “Is this you want me to do, Lord? Is this what you’re preparing me for?”

    Still waiting.

    I’ve ALWAYS believed God would use me to do great things for Him. But I’m not. He hasn’t asked me to. Or has He?

    This was a might revolution for me: Maybe he hasn’t asked me to be a Billy Graham, but a Mr. Williams, a man who taught 6thGrade Sunday School for 25 years and affected hundreds of students over the years.

    Maybe the “great and mighty” thing God wants me to do is not to save and entire nation, like Esther, or save the poor in Calcutta, like Mother Theresa.

    Queen Esther 1878 by Edwin Longsden Long
    Queen Esther by Edwin Longsden Long
    Maybe the “great and mighty” thing God wants me to do is to live my life out daily for Him.

    For me, to love the Lord with my heart, mind, soul and strength, and love others as myself, means:
    I hold a screaming toddler in my arms at 3:00 am.
    I have teens and young men and woman coming in and out
    of my house at all hours of the day and night
    I spend hours with my son comparing the world’s philosophy with God’s theology – so that He can face the world with a Biblical worldview.

    I invite a homeless family to live with us.
    I have lunch with a friend

    I loan my car to someone who needs it more than I do.

    I teach my students how to think.

    I scrub permanent marker off of my walls.

    I drive my son all over Fort Worth to develop the gifts and talents God has given him.
    I stay married – for better and worse

    I’m not trying to toot my own horn by saying these are “great and mighty” things for God. It is truly a revolutionary idea for me, and I’m excited about it. These ARE the “great and mighty” things God has asked me to do, and I said “yes.”

    God has been telling me that living my life, day in and day out, for His glory, is a great and mighty thing. God isn’t asking me to wait around for something bigger and better to do for Him. He is asking me to live every day and every moment for Him and to realize that for now, changing diapers and cleaning up after six or eight teens is what He is calling me to do.

    Parenting Psalm

    Psalm 145
    Praising God’s Greatness/Parenting Psalm
                                     
    I exalt You, my God the King,
    and praise Your name forever and ever.
    I will praise You every day;
    I will honor Your name forever and ever.

    EVERY DAY – I exalt, praise & honor God – I teach my kids by example
    Yahweh is great and is highly praised;
    His greatness is unsearchable.
    One generation will declare Your works to the next
    and will proclaim Your mighty acts.

    I declare who God is (He is great and worthy of praise) and what He has done to my kids – I teach my kids through my words.

    I will speak of Your splendor and glorious majesty
    and
    [c] Your wonderful works.
    What do I tell my kids? I tell them of God’s splendor (He is awesome) and His glorious majesty (He is the King; He is in control).
    They will proclaim the power of Your awe-inspiring acts,
    and I will declare Your greatness.

    They will give a testimony of Your great goodness
    and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.

    When I show and tell my kids who God is and what He has done, then, THEY will proclaim His power and what He has done. My kids will see and have a testimony of God’s goodness in their lives and they will understand right from wrong (sing of His righteousness).

    The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
    slow to anger and great in faithful love.
    The Lord is good to everyone;
    His compassion rests on all He has made.
    10 All You have made will thank You, Lord;
    the
     godly will praise You.
    11 They will speak of the glory of Your kingdom
    and will declare Your might,
    12 informing all people of Your mighty acts
    and of the glorious splendor of Your
     kingdom.
    When I thank God for who He is –gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, faithful, loving, good – and my kids see that – My kids will thank Him as well. They will also be witnesses, telling their friends of God’s glory, His sovereignty, and all the awesome things He does.
    13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom;
    Your rule is for all generations.
    The Lord is faithful in all His words
    and gracious in all His actions.

    God is the same God for me, and for my children and grandchildren. He never changes, He always keeps His promises and everything He does is the right thing to do and is done out of His grace.
    14 The Lord helps all who fall;
    He raises up all who are oppressed.

    15 All eyes look to You,
    and You give them their food at the proper time.

    I mess up as a parent and make unwise decisions, yet God promises to help me, to provide for me and to lift me up when it seems the world has different ideas for my children and I am overwhelmed.
    16 You open Your hand
    and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

    My greatest desire as a parent is that my children love the Lord – God promises to satisfy the desires of my heart and I am claiming this promise
    17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways
    and gracious in all His acts.
    18 The Lord is near all who call out to Him,
    all who call out to Him with integrity.
    19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;
    He hears their cry for help and saves them.

    When I just don’t know what to do as a parent and all I can do is cry – I can call on God. He promises to be near to me – which if you think about it is even a greater promise than if He promised to give us everything we think we want. God promises that he listens to us when we cry and He promises to help us.
    20 The Lord guards all those who love Him,
    but He destroys all the wicked.

    If God guards all those who love Him and destroys the wicked – why would we as parents, who want to protect our kids, not make loving God the first thing we teach our children? Why do we get our priorities so mixed up? It’s simple: I want my children to be safe, therefore I teach them to love God.
    21 My mouth will declare Yahweh’s praise;
    let every living thing
    praise His holy name forever and ever.
    It all comes back to me, and my relationship with God. I need to put God first, to make praising Him my number one priority and live my life in such a way that my kids see my life as a living sacrifice to God. Then my kids will follow suit and praise Him with their own lives. 

    Whatever . . .

     

    What is unconditional love?

     

    Looking into my babies eyes and realizing I’d do anything for this eighteen pounder.
    Is it unconditional love to want her to have a happy, healthy, successful life – and realizing I’ll do everything to get it for her. I’ll wake up before the sun is up to drive to sports practice, I’ll give up my own dreams and desires, both financially and time-wise, to make sure this little munchkin gets every thing she needs to succeed: the best education, the best clothes I can afford. I dream of opening her eyes to wonders this world has to offer , going to Disneyland, and to the ocean, and to the zoo, museums, concerts and plays. Is it unconditional love to want to make this child’s life easy and joyful?

     

     

    Looking into my teens eyes and realizing I’d do anything for this beautiful young lady. Is it unconditional love to want to take all the pain she’s faced and replace it with joy? Wanting so much to give her all the things she hasn’t had – anything our money would buy, and our time would allow. We gave her experiences she’d never had that opened her eyes to the world around her, Disneyland, the ocean, air plane rides, and road trips. Is it unconditional love to want this teen’s life to be free from pain, easy, joyful, and successful?
    I want so much to give my children every perfect gift, the American Dream, and an apple pie, but this isn’t unconditional love. Unconditional love is wanted the best for my them, and the best isn’t rapped in a good education, a star performance, a perfect appearance, or a happy life. The best is glorifying God in everything you do. So, unconditional love is praying that God will do “whatever it takes” to bring these kids, His kids, to a place in which they glorify Him.


    For my oldest, God just whispered in his ear. For my next, God took away all her hopes and dreams, her health and her friends. For my next son, God has allowed him to witness things far beyond what is age appropriate. But, by the grace of God, all are choosing to glorify Him. And they have joyous lives, for there is no joy apart from a life in God’s arms.

    I pray for my other two. I pray my eighteen pounder will listen to God’s voice from an early age, but if not, “Whatever it takes, Lord.”

    And as for my beautiful teen, I wish I could protect her from any more pain, but she’s walked away from our protection. I just pray she won’t walk away from Gods. I pray that God will do “whatever it takes” to bring her to a place where her only desire is to glorify God.

    The scariest prayer to pray is that those you love will have to go through “whatever it takes.” But if “whatever it takes” will bring them to their knees before a holy God – then bring it on.

    Unconditional love is praying “Whatever it takes, Lord” even when your earthly desires cry out against such a prayer.