There’s an App For That: Help Wanted

Hello readers!  It’s Friday already, which means I have a new article out on the Start to Finish blog!   This one took me such a long time to write, because honestly, I was afraid of backlash :(  but then, I got over myself, and sat down and wrote it.

I’m so glad that I did, because while in the process of writing it, I was able to really focus on, and pray about what  I could continue to do to make this problem in the church better.  I was also able to discuss with others  about what I was writing and then wrote in their feelings and frustrations out as well.  So what’s the big plea?  Bible.  Class.  Teachers.  Wait!  Don’t go, you have to click on the link!  I wrote the article through my eyes as a young mom when my kiddos were small, as well as threw in other frustrations form others that helped me piece what I wanted to say together.  There is an issue in our congregations, brothers and sisters, and it needs to be addressed.  We are wading in a shallow pool of teachers, when it should be much, much, deeper.  So please, even if it is a problem in your congregation or not, click on the link and read it through the eyes of those it is hurting the most when there are so few people to take 13 weeks to teach a children’s Bible class.  Then, after you read it, share it.  It could just change one person’s mind, and for that,  God will be glorified.

Here is the link:

http://start2finish.org/help-wanted/

Raising Mom: Where it All Began

As soon as I left her room, I had to sit down to write out that moment before it left my memory.  She sat on her floor with one leg crossed beneath her and the other legs, knee bent up in the air.  You know, the way kids sit that looks so uncomfortable.  She had her books and folders and pens scattered all around her, working on her Algebra homework.  The hairbrush and blow dryer was strewn amongst her school work, and her nail polish kit was set off to the side. I slid myself down into the floor with my back against the wall, to blow dry my hair and catch up with her on the day.  She went through her homework, showing me a book report she did over Count the Stars, a book about WWII and concentration camps.  She got a little teary eyed explaining it; she has such a compassionate soul.  She then talked excitedly about the new book they were on, and how she was really getting the hang of algebraic expressions.  We talked about basketball, boys, and nail art, and laughed about hearing dad griping in the other room over the video game he was playing.  Her room smelled like her shampoo, fingernail polish remover, and had a slight smell of funky feet, but that was because I was sitting next to her gym bag.  I had to sit there and soak it all in.

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This week has been very emotional for me, because I am hitting one of the many “firsts” that we all encounter as parents.  My first born is turning thirteen on Saturday.  Thirteen.  Over thirteen years ago I sat scared to death in a cold examination room with a Doctor who had just picked up the sound of a little heart beating wildly on the doppler machine.  I remember the cold chills I got when the Doctor said, “You are about three months along judging by the heart beat, and everything else you told me.  You can have an abortion anytime from now till late into your fifth month.”  This type of talk is a requirement when you have a seventeen year old child come in with a pregnancy. Fast forward to thirteen years later, and I was just sitting next to the most vibrant, compassionate, most gifted person I have ever had the privilege to know.
Having her is what gave me the amazing title of “mother”.   One of my greatest gifts came from my greatest faults.  I remember being at a youth rally several months before I got the news that I was to be a mother, trying my best to keep my emotions intact while we sang “Break My Heart”.   The speaker was talking about being a double agent, and how teens wear the masks of Christianity yet live double lives.  I don’t remember much from the lesson, but I do remember sinking down into the pew feeling as if the man was talking straight to me.  I had been begging God for a change in my life.  I was so tired.  I was looking for a way out, but had no idea where to start.  I prayed for Him to break my heart, just like the song said, terrified about what that would mean, but craving something better.   My prayer was answered, and my heart was shattered when my sin was exposed to the world.

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver, I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10

After the shaming, heartbreak, and the whispers subsided, God began to put my heart back together His way.  He used the gift of motherhood to show me the relationship He wanted to have with me, and the love that I could experience as His child as I began to give this agape love to my own child.  While pregnant, I read through the Psalms and Isaiah to help me understand God’s love for a broken people, and to help understand where to go once broken. The day I had my baby girl I remember holding her for the first time and being in awe of the instant and overwhelming feeling of protection, pride, and a burning desire to love unconditionally.

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.” Isaiah 54:10

That moment is what started my journey as an authentic child of God, and as a mother.  No more masks, no more games.  No more thinking only of myself.   God has blessed my husband and I with three beautiful children, and as the years fly by, He continues to use them to teach both of us about His grace, love, patience, provision, justice, mercy, and compassion.   Over the past thirteen years, God has been raising this mom to be His child.  I am forever thankful as my cup overflows with the joys of motherhood.
Sitting with my soon-to-be teen tonight as I reflected on who she is now, and who I was when I had her has reminded me that you can’t put a cap on a love that runs as deep as the love between a child and a parent. I look at her sweet face and am reminded so often of my heart breaking redemption.

“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven because she loved much.” Luke 7:47

Thank you God, for choosing to bless me with this child, when I was so utterly undeserving. Thank you for sacrificing Your child, when I didn’t even realize I needed him yet .  Thank you for giving us three wonderful children to bring up in Your glory.  Help me continue to mirror who You are to them, and forgive me when I fail.  Thank you for continuing to raise this mom through the experiences of motherhood.  Each milestone celebrated, each lesson learned through parenting solidifies my desire for Your will for me.  I cannot put my heart’s desire to praise you into words, but I know that You know exactly how I feel, because you are my Father, and know me well.  Amen.

Veteran’s Day Tribute to Brotherly Love

*This entry was posted several years ago during our time at the VA hospital when Jake was going through his heart procedure.  

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I know I sound crazy, but I like to sit in the VA waiting room. There are always people waiting for you to make eye contact and give them a friendly, “Hi, how are you?” so they can tell you ALL about what’s going on with them. Upon arriving for Jake’s appointment, we settled in the packed waiting room and found ourselves seated across from two men, probably in their late 70’s waiting for the eye doctor. One was very tall, and wore a plaid, pearl snap shirt, brown polyester pants, and cowboy boots. The other man was shorter, wearing a plaid pearl snap shirt, dark denim jeans, and cowboy boots. They BOTH had the exact same hair cut…flat tops. I could see their eyes light up as my little handsome man Zeek plopped down right in front of them and gave them a quick glance. They complimented him on his cowboy boots, asked him where he was from, and assured Jake and I that we better enjoy him as long as we could because time flies. They had been waiting in the waiting room for 2 hours by the time we arrived and told us to settle in for a long wait. I was thrilled (no really, I was). They told us that one of them was blind in the right eye, and the other was blind in the left, and that between the both of em, they could still navigate a vehicle pretty well relying on the others “good eye”. They would goof off and poke each other in the ribs, and both loved interacting with Zeek. I could tell they had been friends for a very long time, and they both genuinely cared for, and adored the other.

 

Watching them enjoying each other’s company, I wondered if they had served together. I imagined them as childhood friends growing up together, and enlisting in the Army together as young teens. I could see them going through Basic Training together, being stationed together…fighting a battle huddled in a cold dirty trench… together. I was not able to fill in these gaps, because surprisingly, Jake was in and out in 20 minutes, but 20 minutes was enough to see the deep friendship these men had.

 

It made me thankful for the people I call “friend” and thankful for the wonderful friends Jake had during his military career. I was so thankful that Jake was able to go on his first deployment with his childhood friends (they all enlisted together), and that they were all there together, supporting one another and protecting each other. I was even thankful for the crazy mischief they would get in to because I knew that it kept their spirits high. I am amazed at the deep relationships that form through the military. The way recruits are trained to love their fellow soldier more than themselves, doing everything in their power to keep their buddy safe, to leave no man behind.  I am completely incompetent to even write about this mysterious bond only known to those who serve together in the armed forces, but I want them to know that even though I can’t describe it, I can be thankful for it, because I see it, and know it is the backbone of your drive to serve.

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Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” God in His wisdom, developed this very special relationship for us to gain strength from another.   Another beautiful verse on friendship is written in Proverbs 18:24 which reads, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

 

Thank you Veterans, for choosing to love, protect, and fight for your brother in arms. I am deeply appreciative for the brotherhood of the military, and for the brotherhood we have in Christ.  When we have a deep well of love flowing from within us, we can conquer anything in honor of that love. Thank you Veterans for this love for your fellow soldier, and for the countless people you choose to protect. May God continue to bless you, your families, and your brotherhood!

 

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13

There’s an App for That: New Entires!

 

I have two more articles on the Start2Finish blog that I would like to share with all of you!  I know that I haven’t been posting much on here lately, but the weekly deadline of my S2F blog is helping me keep the writing going.  I am in the midst of my busy season in photography, hence, not as much time to write on my personal blog right now :)

 

Anyways, I am always appreciative of your wonderful responses to my blog posts, and I appreciate all of you readers!  Click on the links below to catch up on the past two weeks of blog posts.  Be a blessing, today, and everyday!

http://start2finish.org/surviving-terrible-toos/    A look at how we can be pros at not judging others, but are the toughest critics of ourselves.  If we believe it, we become it!  Are you too hard on yourself?

 

http://start2finish.org/hard-forgive/  Forgiveness is vital to the spiritual growth and effectiveness of us all as Christians.  Even God Himself has to choose, each day, to forgive so He can continue to be a blessing to His people.

 

There’s an App for That: Confessions of a Yesaholic

 

 

Hello readers!  It’s Friday, which means I have a new post up on the Start2 Finish blog!

Today on there’s an app for that, I confess my reasonings for being a yesaholic, and what we all need to do to be more effective in the things we commit ourselves to by saying “no” sometimes.

Are you a yesaholic?  If so, there’s an app that can help you with that :)  Have a good weekend!

Read the full article here.

There’s An App for That: The Greatest Command Simplified

Hello readers!  I am behind on posting this because I have been away on a very much needed family vacation, but my latest article for Start2Finish Books was featured last Friday.  Click on the link below and give it a read!

Do you feel as if your small acts of kindness do not matter?  The smallest of things can make the biggest impact.  Having trouble trying to figure out the best way to live out the greatest command?  There’s an app for that!  Check it out here.

Blessing to each of you!

There’s an App for That: Tolerating Intolerance

 

Hello readers!

I have a new article out on the Start2Finish blog about those two popular words we oh so often hear get thrown around.  Tolerance.  Intolerance.  What is the difference?  And how do you know which category you fall in to?  Click on the link below and read up on how Paul and John beautifully show us in scripture how to be tolerant in an intolerant world AND still get down to business on sharing the amazing story of the love and sacrifice of Christ.

Need to know how to spread the love of Christ without being labeled as intolerant?  Yep.  There’s an app for that :)

http://start2finishbooks.com/tolerating-intolerance/