What are you for?

I’m sitting here listening (online) to Brian Houston from Hillsong Australia preach at Christ Fellowship in Florida and he said something that profoundly struck me:

“Live you’re life according to what you’re for, not what you’re against”

You see so many people protesting and complaining and rallying these days against something, that it’s easy to focus on the negative…what’s wrong with the world and its people. But hearing Brian utter these words reminded me of when I was young in my faith, which was not that many years ago as a new Christian who finally realized that God wanted a living, breathing relationship with me.

I was afraid of sharing my testimony because of everything I didn’t yet know about the Bible. I was afraid of the questions people would ask me that I I wouldn’t have the answers to. Bottom line, I was afraid.

But as I prayed for the strength and opportunity to share Jesus with others, I was made aware of 1 Peter 3:15-16:
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

I realized that I didn’t have to have all the answers. Heck, I didn’t have to have any answers. All I knew was my personal testimony – what had happened in my life, how I finally encountered Jesus one afternoon¬†in my office in my mid-twenties, and what that meant to me now. When we focus on what we’re living for instead of what we’re in opposition of, I think we’ll find our lives to be much more powerful as a result.

Global Forgiveness Day: August 27

Click HERE¬†to read my post on Jackie Kendall’s latest book, Free Yourself to Love, and to let today be the beginning of a life of forgiveness!

“Pain is a sign of Life”

I heard Hank Williams Jr.’s daughter utter this quote on the news tonight.

Three years after a near fatal car crash, she was performing on stage for the first time tonight. At one point during her 6 weeks in the hospital, she asked her doctor when the pain would end. After having been brought back from death, he encouraged her by telling her, “Pain is a sign of life.”

Too often we pray for God to take the pain away. Have you ever stopped to think that the daily burdens that tend to overwhelm us could actually be reminders to enjoy what we have?

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11

Is prayer a burden for you?

I just got back from enjoying a couple hours at the pool with a new friend here in Nashville who invited me and the kids to hang out with her this morning. Of course we stayed longer than we should have (it’s so hard to pull kids away from a pool!), so I was hurrying them through lunch and bedtime preparations in order to salvage nap time.

I had successfully gotten Britton into his bed after a song and a prayer and then went to follow up with Kariss. After she completed her baby’s bedtime routine, she climbed into bed and waited for me to turn on her fan, push play on her CD and chew on her left ear (the latter is a new addition to the routine – she says it gives her goose bumps!). I know she would have been content with just that and I could have walked out of the room and started my own down time. But I felt an internal tug – “you haven’t prayed yet” came from a voice inside of me.

It makes no difference to her,” I thought to myself. Yet just at that moment I was stopped in my tracks.

All at once my mind was flooded with all the prayers that have carried me through my life; while I may not have heard each of them or known they were being prayed at the time, I know I am where I am now thanks to those prayers.

So I quickly turned back, leaned over my little girl and thanked God for who she is, how she takes care of her baby and her brother and most of all for the gift that she is in my life.

Do you see prayer as a burden, something that unnecessarily takes up time in your day, or are you burdened to pray, feeling grateful that God would choose to to sit as His feet and listen to your words and petitions? I pray the latter for you today. Your life and the life of those you pray for will forever be changed as a result of that burden.

The Hurried Path

I just had the priviledge of editing the June Newsletter for Intentional Moms and the last paragraph was so practical and poignant that I wanted to share it with you:

Wisdom says we prepare for tomorrow. Scripture says to pay attention to today since it is all we have been given and granted. We can actually do both, but we must not let the pace of anticipation for tomorrow interfere with the goodness of today. What path are you pursuing? Make sure it is not the Hurried Path. (by Catherine Hickem)

This is so true and totally hit me where I’m at today (and so many days). If you want to read more, go to www.IntentionalMoms.org and sign up for our monthly newsletter. I promise you will be blessed!

Scripture Memorization – Psalm 23

It’s Monday, so it’s Scripture Memorization time!

Today’s lesson is on teaching Psalm 23. It’s six verses, and typically I recommend a verse a week, but you can teach this to your kids in a month if you work on it at different times throughout your day. There is no tune to this, and feel free to make it your own as you see fit. Be sure to explain to younger children what the words me that they may not understand so they can begin to form their own word pictures in their heads.

(Forgive my appearance in this week’s video, I just got over having pink-eye last week, so no makeup for me!)

Here are my kids reciting Psalm 23. First Kariss (age 4):

and Britton (age 3) in a slightly more humorous version:

The Performance Trap

I just spoke to an old and dear friend this morning who recently had her first child and just returned to work. She shared how much she missed her baby already, but felt more like herself when she was working.

“Of course,” I replied. When we work, even with the stress and difficulties, we receive immediate gratification and recognition for what we do. There are rights and wrongs, definites and definitions, boundaries and rules. Little of that exists with child-raising. The boundaries that do exist are typically self-imposed or even worse, expected by society.

Raising a child has nothing to do with gratitude and self-recognition and everything to do with self-sacrifice and long-term vision. Daily I struggle with not working outside the home and the “rewards” that come with it, but in the same moment I also reflect at how quickly these past four years have gone by and how each moment with each of my children is precious (though it’s easier to think that when they’re sleeping peacefully rather than fighting over the same jump rope again!). Most of all, I’m thankful for a husband that trusts me enough to stay at home with our children and carries the burden and responsibility of working so I can be at home. What we sacrifice in material things we more than make up for in memories.

If we think about it, nothing worthwhile in life is every easy, so why should parenting be any different?