Friday, June 27, 2014

Stillness in the daily chaos...

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

I love the idea of daily being still before the Lord. I love feeling Jesus' love, hearing Him speak to my heart, and growing in a better understanding of who God is. But, I feel like I don’t always have time to do this. And really…how does a busy mother actually “be still” during the day?  Constantly stopping during the day to “be still” seems challenging and maybe even impractical. 
I decided to play around with this idea.

In March, while I was on spring break from teaching and home with only my three-year-old, I decided to try and pause numerous times throughout the day to "be still."

Day one was a completely failure.  I actually had a little anxiety about if I was being still enough or being still correctly.  It took me a whole day to convince myself that there wasn’t a right or wrong way to be still in front of God. It was more about mentally standing before Him in silence, with an open heart.
Since March, I have been doing my best to pause during the day and mentally be still before God.

Here are some moments I have had:

While walking to the zoo with my youngest, gentle spring snow was falling.  I let my mind still before God and I saw the beauty in my youngest reaching out his hand to grab for the thick, warm snowflakes.

When I compared myself to someone else and fell short, I stilled my mind and stood before the Lord. I had to do this several times before I found peace in my heart.  Comparison is a beast.
When I looked out the window, I inhaled deeply and thought of being still and knowing God. I noticed how beautiful the trees were swaying in rhythmic motions to the caressing wind. Why do I not notice how lovely God’s beautiful creation of earth is more?

As I read a book to my oldest, he leaned his head against me, and I stilled my mind and felt God’s blessing.  I don’t know how many years left I have of him putting his head on my shoulder.

My middle son was having a hard time and we talked as I tucked him in to bed.  He was so cute snuggled deep in his covers, looking up at me with his big blue eyes and freckles that skipped across his nose.  I stilled my mind and I felt Jesus' love in that moment, even amongst the challenges of parenting.

When I was nervous about something, I mentally stood before the Lord. I felt His presence as He calmed my heart.

When I was having an over-the-top stressful week, I paused before God in a state of survival.  God’s goodness was reflected in my husband’s actions. He came home from work and without me asking, jumped right in to helping me.
When my youngest needed me in the middle of the night, I lay on the floor next to his toddler bed, wide awake.  I prayed over something that was bothering me. I felt Jesus speak to my heart, not really with a solution, but with the kind of peace that His presence brings. 

Some days have gone by when I haven’t paused at all and some days I have stood before God numerous times. 

When I am still before God, my mind wanders to what I know about Him: kindness, goodness, all-powerful, all-knowing, full of grace, love and peace. In this stillness, God always shows up and freely gives me His grace and peace and joy. His presence makes the small moments of daily life seem not so mundane.

 “In your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11, NKJV).
 
See the beautiful blogs I have linked up to HERE

Monday, June 23, 2014

Child-like faith...

We stood in awe of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. 
 
I said, “Standing here, I do not see how anyone could doubt that there is a God.” 
In disbelief, my middle son replied, “People doubt there is a God?” 
Child-like faith is so refreshing.  My son doesn’t have to know all the answers and doesn’t see God as the great force in the sky who is obligated to give us all exactly what we want or think we need.  He just knows that there is a God and believes in Him. 
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 119:1)
I gazed upon the skies and mountains that proclaimed the work of God's hands and in that moment, I fully understood my son's childlike faith. 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hello, Colorado

I really wanted to visit my almost 93-year-old grandmother this summer.  After the sting of the loss of my grandpa (on the other side of the family), I knew that we were going to make every effort to see my grandma. So, we jumped in the car and drove to Colorado. I am so glad it worked out.  Being around her (and the rest of my Colorado family) is always refreshing and wonderful. As my grandmother says, it is always good to water my roots...
 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Once a Month – May

 In May, one of our pastor's sermon caught our attention. 

He asked us if our church body disappeared instantly, would our community notice?  As a church, do we pay attention to God’s calling of giving and serving those in the community around us?  Does our church reflect God's love and provision in our community?  Do we just talk the talk or do we actually walk the walk?

Our pastor's words stayed on my mind.  And when a local organization called on our church to help meet the needs of foster kids aging out the system and buying them practical household items they will need as they transition to independent level, my heart was stirred.  We decided this is where we will give this month.  (Our family has been on a giving and serving more journey.  If you want to read the start click here.)

But, if I am being totally honest with you, even though I was moved by the message, I didn't really want to give anything at all this month.

Here's why.

We bought an older home that we are slowly renovating.  The bathrooms have always needed to be gutted and redone, but because it is an expensive project we weren’t planning on remodeling them so soon. This month we’ve had some really big issues with our upstairs bathroom that leaked into our downstairs bathroom and it was evident our remodel project needs to start sooner than later.  Ugh.


But, I am moved to focus on this area more in my life...moved enough that I blog to keep myself accountable.  We decided to worry about if it was too little, did a little IKEA shopping with our boys, and gave what we could.

I hope we are teaching our kids to  continue to make giving a priority, even when it is inconvenient. 

I hope more than that...I hope we continue to make giving a priority, even when we don't feel like it...


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As a side note - this picture is from a different IKEA trip, but it's one of my favorite pictures.

 

Monday, June 9, 2014

His kindness in beautiful everyday life...

 
 
I felt God in this moment.  I know it sounds weird.  I was hanging out with baby chicks and little boys, but I felt God's presence.
 
You have to understand that holding baby chicks is a big deal for my boys.  Every year we visit the baby farm animals at the zoo and they look longingly at those fluffy, baby chicks but are never able to hold them.  This spring, my son's daycare incubated eggs and after they hatched, took care of the baby chicks before they went to the farm. 
 
The boys loved getting a chance to hold them. They held so much affection for those little creatures and talked about how cool holding them was for the rest of the evening.
 
In the midst of a busy ordinary day, we had a moment when life paused and was filled with my kids laughter and joy.  I wasn't thinking about my job, the laundry, what to fix for dinner or getting my boys to track practice on time. I was completely wrapped up in my kid's joy and I felt blessed and happy.
 
God is so kind to us.  God reminds of us his kindness in these sweet moments that make up our every day life.
 
Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
 
Yes, God...you have drawn me in with your unfailing, daily display of your kindness.
 
 
 

 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

His hope...

 


Today was the last day of  school and I was surprised at how sad I felt. 

I have been looking forward to school being done and being home with my boys for months weeks.  But instead of feeling the mounted anticipation of excitement, I was sad.  As we snapped these last day of school pictures, I was overwhelmed with how big my boys have become.  Yesterday, they were babies.  I mourn the days when we have the whole day in front of us with nothing to do but be together.

But, if those sweet days had not passed and my boys were still babies, I wouldn't know them as well.  I wouldn't know who they are and what they like to do and what they think about. I would miss the blessing of really knowing them as they grow and change and their personalities emerge.

When I cling to the past, I have a hard time enjoying the present and looking forward to the future.

And God gives us all some big promises about our future.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah, 29:11, NIV)

God's hope is always in our future.  His hope, His love, His presence...

I wonder what new treasures I will discover about God's daily presence and love as I enjoy my growing boys this summer....

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

photography

 
Pictures I took of one of my favorite friends and her family...