Category Archives: Faith

What I failed to teach my kids and why it matters.

I took my responsibility to raise my kids to be good human beings very seriously.  I taught them to be kind and forgive others who were not. To pray and have faith that God would draw someone’s heart to Him.  That everyone makes mistakes but it’s never too late to start making good choices. That God loves everyone and so should they. That it was wrong to judge others for their faults.

But I missed teaching them something important…

ImageNot everyone is safe. There are those that are so wounded by life and experience that they will ultimately destroy those that try to love or help them.

Now I watch my children as adults try to navigate this sometimes cruel world with their hearts of gold and the best of intentions. And I am afraid for them.

I now wish I had taught them that it’s ok to walk away. That you can forgive someone from a distance without attempting to reconcile. That sometimes people are too dangerous to keep close and they need to be let go. That life is not black and white but shades of complicated gray… and colors we may not even recognize. That the gift of family that God gives us should be cherished and protected from anyone or anything that is destructive.

And so now I am left to pray that they learn when to walk away before experiencing the harsh consequences of being kind and forgiving without the balance of wise boundaries to keep them from harm.

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God Will Take Care of You (…and why this is written in the fog on my bathroom window)

To set this up properly, I need to give you a little background.  I’m a single mom who has home schooled for 11 years.  I am able to do this by being self-employed and working from home.  This has been a very tough year financially for a number of reasons.  The combination of large unexpected expenses, coupled with losing other sources of income, has created the perfect recipe for worry and stress.

Lately I’ve been praying through decisions like selling my home or going back into the corporate world.  With my youngest in her senior year, both of these have serious implications.

Tonight I was feeling the stress more than usual.  I was doing some monthly invoicing to clients and reviewing work in the pipeline.  I’m looking at accounts receivable and trying to decide how secure I feel about what I see there for the next few months.  This is how it goes when you are self-employed.  It is often feast or famine and income can be rather inconsistent.

With all of this on my mind, I decided I needed a break.  So I ran a hot bubble bath, lit some candles, and started the music playlist on my Droid entitled “Relax.”  I sank into my luxurious cocoon of soapy paradise and watched the birds jump from branch to branch in the tree outside the window.  I was reminded of the Scripture that says “So don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31).  As I’m lost in my thoughts I realized that the song now playing on my phone was “God Will Take Care of You” by Plumb.  I thought, “Well, how fitting is that?”

Since I was waiting on an email of a design proof, I decided to check my email (yes, I’m still in the tub).  I found 3 emails all with new business referrals.  So, here I am.  In the tub, watching the birds and thinking about Matthew 10:31, listening to “God Will Take Care of You,” and now I have 3 emails with what looks like new business.  At this point, I began to cry.  Not because I was worried.  Not because I was stressed. I cried because I realized how much I have been trying to do things myself.  How God just wanted to me to rely on Him and I was too busy running around being worried to feel His peace.

But God wasn’t done with His lesson yet.  My playlist was set to run one song after another until the list was completed.  The list ran in order up until “God Will Take Care of You” and then something weird happened.  With no explanation I can give, that song repeated itself a few songs later.  It was if God was making sure that I knew He was speaking to me.  Talk about a humbling moment!!

To my precious Mom and Dad who are struggling with the recent news of Dad’s prostate cancer; To my oldest daughter, who struggles to meet her rent every month while she finishes her education; To my second oldest daughter, who is trying to find her own way in the world; To my second youngest daughter, who is leaving for missionary school this Saturday; To my youngest daughter, who wonders sometimes if her mother is losing her mind; To everyone reading this blog who wonders about that health diagnosis, that financial concern, or whatever you struggle with… I just wanted you all to know what God shared with me tonight – God Will Take Care of You.

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Moving Beyond the Boogie Man – Conquering Your Fears

“Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.” — Yoda

Over the years I often found myself comforting my children from their fears.  Fear of failure, fear of something new, or fear of rejection was usually the culprit.  With children, fear is often borne of their inexperience or insecurity and with time their confidence begins to override those fears.  

One of my daughters in particular struggled with fear and anxiety. When I first became her mother, she was already 8 years old. She had learned the hard way that the world is a scary place.  She was afraid of the dark, of being alone, of being lost in public, of strangers, and more.  With God’s help, she has grown into a beautiful young woman who is facing the world with confidence.

My mother is ALWAYS worrying about me. It’s her God-given job I suppose to express concern to make me stop and consider if I’m taking on too much, if I’m taking care of myself, or with standard (yet embarrassing) clean underwear reminder…just in case I’m in an accident.  I have often begged my mom to stop her worrying ways and suggest that her worry is distracting her from her true purpose (which I’m pretty sure, by the way, is NOT worrying about me).

The fact is I have given my mother good reason to worry about me many times.  I have experienced serious and profound fear in my life.  It is not a sensation that I particularly enjoy to say the least.  Fear is not a sin or necessarily a bad thing.  On the contrary, we have all been given the emotion of fear to help keep us in balance and to provide protection.  Without fear, what would stop us from driving too fast, eating too much, or singing in the middle of the grocery store.  Yes, fear can be good (have you ever heard me sing?).

However, fear can also be unhealthy and lead us into poor decisions or just plain keep us from living a full and abundant life.  The following are two examples of unhealthy fear in that if left unchecked can lead us in the wrong direction.

1)      ANGER AS A CHILD OF FEAR – As a mother I have admittedly spoken to my children at times in an angry tone of voice. In almost every instance it was because they did something that just scared the “whooey” out of me.  Out of fear for their safety, their future, or their character, I birthed a burst of anger in the moment.  For most of us mere mortals this is not likely something we ever completely master, but with time and God’s help we can certainly learn to count to ten before reacting and keep our anger under control.

(Psalm 4:8 – In your anger, do not sin…)

2)      FEAR DERIVED FROM THE ENEMY – Fear is a powerful weapon that the enemy uses to paralyze the life of a believer.  Playing upon our fears of public speaking, sharing our testimony with a friend, fear of rejection, and more, Satan can effectively keep us from the plan and purpose God intends for us.  To remove this fear from your life, claim 2 Timothy 1:7 as a personal verse and face those fears head on that you know are inhibiting you.  Throughout the Bible we see countless examples of how God used the ordinary to achieve extraordinary purposes so that He might be glorified instead of man.  I call them “Moses excuses” in my own life and they are usually uncovered the minute I start make excuses why I can’t do something I know I feel led to do. 

(2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.)

If you are struggling with fear in your life, please remember that the difference between the hero and the coward is not whether they experienced fear but rather what they did about it.  Go ahead and have fear – but render it powerless with God’s promises found in His Word.

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You’re From Where? A God Story

When I was young I felt nurtured by a doting mother, as a teenager “suffocated” by her, and as an adult cherished and loved in a way that words would never do justice.

As an adult, I see and appreciate things about my mom that I never understood as a child.  She is truly a woman of God.  I am awed by the way she quietly serves behind the scenes with the fruit of the Spirit so abundant in her life.  She plays ping pong with lonely widows, takes others to the doctor, or just sits for hours listening to their stories and being a friend.

I could tell you many stories about my mom (and my dad for that matter) and the selfless way she (they) gives to others.  However, one recent event really stands out as evidence of the way my mom (& dad) are being used by God in powerful ways.

Each year, my parents take a migratory trip to the south (they are Canadian snowbirds, eh).  This past winter they chose Destin, FL for their annual sunshine break from the brutal Canadian winter.  In her usual fashion, my mother quickly connected with a lonely widow who had traveled south from Kocomo, Indiana (pop. 46,113).  The widow was struggling with some health issues and wasn’t able to get around well.  My mom walked her dog, did her laundry, and checked in on her daily for a visit.

Consequently, when my mom invited her to join them one Sunday morning at their church, the woman heartily agreed.  The message was powerful and directed right to the heart of this woman.  Afterward my mom took her out for lunch, shared her testimony, and led her to a saving relationship with the Lord.

The story is a fantastic example of how showing God’s love brings others to understand and accept it in a personal way.  But it only gets better from here.

Concerned about the woman leaving to go home without any local church connection, my parents began to pray and search the internet for a church they could call and get their new friend plugged in.  This went on all afternoon that day but no church or connection was to be found.

Later that evening my parents took the woman to a Gospel music concert at a local church.  In my dad’s usual fashion, they arrived quite early in order to secure a good seat.  As time when on the church began to fill with a growing crowd.  Soon the choir loft was opened to make room for even more people. Strange enough though, during this time two seats remained empty next to my parents and the woman.  It was odd because people looking for seats just kept walking right by.

Finally, seeing that the church was almost completely full and the two seats still remaining empty, my mother suggested to my dad that he wave over the next two people who came in the auditorium.  So turning in his seat, my dad saw a couple enter and immediately started waving at them.  Through hand signals he indicated they had two seats.  The couple looked puzzled but came down the aisle to where they were seated.

The couple took their seats next to the woman and soon struck up a friendly conversation.  Suddenly, the woman leans over to my mother and announces, “You’ll never guess where this couple is from!!”  You guessed it…Kocomo, Indiana.  Even more fantastically, this couple runs a church ministry for widows.  And the two empty seats?  The couple said that they couldn’t see any empty seats until they had walked all the way down the aisle, which no doubt explained their puzzled looks.

There is no denying that when we allow ourselves to become a vessel in God’s hands – HE shows up in big ways.

Mom, I’m proud of you for many reasons but none more than the fact that you are a beautiful example of what it means to personify the love of Christ.

My parents visiting their new friends in Kocomo, IN this past Spring. (My parents are the couple on the left.)

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