Monthly Archives: September 2010

Sacrifices

Before I became a mommy (circa 2005), I showered daily, read for hours at a time, slept in on Saturdays, went for long thoughtful runs by myself, and bought things for myself whenever I wanted them.

I met girlfriends for lunch or dinner on a whim, took my time at the grocery store, returned phone calls and emails promptly, tried new recipes often, and washed two loads of laundry weekly.

I shed few tears, loved a little, and thought life was fulfilling.

My life was very ordered and everything was in its place. I had focus, direction, and motivation…or so I thought.

Since becoming a mommy, I shower as necessary, read during naps or after bedtime, sleep when I can, go for long walks or runs with my daughter and or son, and buy lots of diapers and wipes.

I still meet girlfriends when I can, but our conversations have morphed a bit. The grocery store has become a more familiar place, I return phone calls and emails as time permits, fix lots of healthy snacks, and wash 4 to 5 loads of laundry each week.

I have shed more tears, happy and sad, since having children than I did in the 15 years prior to having my daughter and son. I have learned that true love requires sacrifice, giving of yourself to others.

My life at times seems chaotic and my house disordered. However, I have more focus, direction, and motivation than ever before.

Since becoming a mother, I better understand Jesus’ love for me. He became the ultimate sacrifice for me so that I could receive eternal life. He gave all so that I could have all.

He experienced in the flesh all that we experience. In obedience to His father, He willingly gave up His appointed place in heaven for 33 years so that he could endure humiliation and rejection. He was mocked, scourged, beaten, spat upon, and eventually crucified for you and me. He gave the ultimate sacrifice that a human can give…Himself. Now, that is love! The greatest gift you can give is yourself.

What is the biggest sacrifice you have ever made? When has someone else given freely of themselves so that you could experience unconditional love?

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Synthetic Soothers

I am ready for a change! Way back last winter when it was WAY cold and it seemed like it snowed every other day, I made a promise to myself that if it would ever get above 32 degrees for more than 3 days in a row, I would NOT complain about being hot all summer long….well guess what?? I kept my promise, BUT, it is no longer summer! It is FALL, yet it feels like SUMMER!! I am now complaining! I am SO ready for cold crisp mornings when a jacket is needed.

I love football games and watching leaves fall from trees and sitting on my screened porch sipping hot coffee with my fleece blanket in the mornings. I know a change is around the corner because fall is already in the air, even though it was ninety something degrees today! Sean and I went for a walk this morning and the air was a bit cooler. I enjoyed watching Sean chase yellow hued leaves and try to catch them before they hit the asphalt. Yes, a change is truly in the air.

Speaking of change, something changed in my world this week:

Do you notice a common denominator in the pictures above? Yes, you guessed it! Sean’s synthetic soother! He loves his pacifier. He calls it his ‘dee’. We have no idea how that term of endearment evolved. Ironically, he calls Callie ‘Dee Dee’. His two favorite soothers have the same name. But, all that changed this week.

He came over to me in the living room holding 3 pacifiers and said, “Mommy, Sean’s ‘dees’ have holes. No good. Trash.” He proceeded to the garbage can and tossed them in it. I was not surprised. He has done this a number of times since he chews through them fairly often. I said, “Well, I guess we will be making a trip to Wal-Mart to buy some more.” If I had kept track of all the money I have spent on pacifiers for Sean, I could probably pay for a semester of college tuition for him!

Our day continued on and I thought nothing more of the pacifiers and Sean did not mention them either. Bedtime came and went and then it hit me…Sean went to bed without a pacifier! Wow! I was sort of in shock…I had expected him to have a serious meltdown when he could no longer rely on his synthetic soothers.

During breakfast the next morning, I asked Sean where his ‘dees’ were. He said again, “Sean’s ‘dees’ have holes. Trash.” This was 5 days ago and he has not mentioned them since! What will power…cold turkey.

Not all change is bad! Hoping and praying that potty training will go as well!

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Here it comes…

…change! It is truly inevitable. I know people who thrive on change and get bored when they have to drive the same car for more than two weeks. I also know people who have had the same car for 20 years!

I used to avoid change as much as possible. As long as things stayed the same, I didn’t have to face my fears or experience pain or allow God to stretch me. I could relate to Sydney J. Harris when he said, “Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.” Makes me chuckle every time I read it.

It is almost impossible for things to remain the same and get better. I am reminded of another saying: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, if that’s the case, I know several insane individuals (I won’t allow for introspection here)!

Change is inescapable in our lives. I would even go out on a very short limb and say that change is necessary in our lives. Thank God that I am not the same person I was 10 years ago! How we respond or adjust to the changes that we encounter determines our outcome. If we don’t respond or adjust to the changes, we will become stagnant in our growth.

What helps me more than anything is understanding that my God is immutable. He will NEVER change! I can stand on His promises in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” and Malachi 3:6, “”I, the Lord, do not change”. Even though everything around me is in constant flux, God is constant! When I stand on the Solid Rock, I can choose to be malleable in His hand. My foundation is secure!

With these promises in hand, I have been learning to adapt to change and allow it to transform me instead of paralyze me more recently. Change is inevitable, but that also means change is to be anticipated. I wouldn’t say that I particularly embrace change, but I do welcome it instead of slamming the door. So, ready or not! Change is about to ring your door bell. Choose to anticipate and be ready!

 “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
— C.S. Lewis

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Fully Alive

What if life isn’t about accomplishing anything? What if it’s just about being alive?

Those two questions have been taking up residence in my already limited brain space. I can already hear some of you laughing…I know, I know. I can laugh with you. Since having children, my brain capacity has somewhat diminished, but that is only because my heart has quadrupled in size!

But anyway, back on topic. What if life is truly about being alive? I mean really alive… Not just existing, doing all the right things, and waiting for your turn to get on the next boat to your eternal destination, but living from your place of passion and desire. Just the thought of living from that place may scare the freckles off your face, but think about what that might look like. Give yourself permission to play with this foreign, yet enticing idea.

Here are some questions that may help as you ponder: What makes you feel alive? What are you passionate about? What/who energizes you? What are you settling for? Where are you asleep at the wheel? What one thing can you change today to get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow, next week, next month?

My prayer is that you can shift from existing to thriving, from doing to being, from living a life of “I have to…” to living a life of “I get to…”. As you choose this life, a funny thing will happen. All of “those things” on your to do list will get accomplished and you will have more energy to do them!

Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow.  ~Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros

Now that it’s all over, what did you really do yesterday that’s worth mentioning?  ~Coleman Cox

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Happy Birthday!!

A very special friend of mine has a birthday in a few days. He has always been there for me and I love talking with him. When I think about him, many things come to mind, so I thought I would share a few words that describe him best. This man is:

Kind

Generous

Talkative

Resourceful

Industrious

Smart

Ingenious

Loving

Inquisitive

Focused

Hardworking

Capable

Handsome

Conscientious

Diligent

Reliable

and

Sacrificing

 This man is my daddy…much more than a father, he is my friend. I am thankful for him and the impact he has had on my life.

 Dad, the legacy you are living and will one day leave for me is rare on this earth. Thank you is not enough, but I know you know how grateful I am and that is all that matters. I love you!

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An Abundant Harvest

Grapes…big, juicy, sweet grapes! Who doesn’t like grapes? My 2 year old son loves them and has been known on occasion to help himself to the fridge and confiscate the whole container of grapes. When I find him hiding with his plunder, he grins and tries to run away from me with the bowl. Imagine the scenario…yep, you got it! We have, more than once, had to pick up dozens of grapes that ended up scattered on the floor after an escaping Sean dropped the bowl.

I have learned to relocate the plunder to the highest shelf in the fridge where Sean can’t reach them. Oh, what fun exploits we enjoy!

Our big, juicy grape adventures correlate well with a book I recently read about pruning the vines called Secrets of the Vine, by Bruce Wilkinson. A short, but fantastic read, Wilkinson helped me to understand more about pruning grapevines and how the seemingly backwards process works. I mean, cut off branches in order to produce a more bountiful grape harvest?? It seemed paradoxical to me at first, but know I understand the process.

When I finished reading the book, the following question lingered in my mind as I pondered all that I had learned: who would ever choose to be pruned? Even the word prune has a negative connotation. Maybe that’s why we are not in control of the shears…

Ask any vineyard owner and he or she will tell you that pruning is the only way to increase the size of the harvest. A grape branch left alone will produce only a small yield. In time, the branch will stop producing all together. Pruning is a necessary vice that the vineyard owner uses to get the most from his or her vineyard. Ouch!

In a similar way, pruning in our lives is a necessary means that God uses to get the most fruit from us. We would grow stagnate in our spiritual lives if God did not occasionally cut away those things in our lives that get in the way of us becoming all that God wants us to be. It may be the loss of a job or a major life change that God uses to clear the path for a more bountiful fruit harvest.

Even though every trial we endure is not the result of pruning, trials are an opportunity to let God work in our lives so that we can live abundantly. However, we know that God, in His infinite wisdom, never prunes us until we are able to endure the shears. He knows the perfect time to cut away the old branches so we can bear more fruit for Him. Throughout this process, He is a gracious and merciful Father!

So the next time you feel the shears snipping away in your life, pay attention to where it hurts. God may be speaking to you…

“The pain of pruning comes now, but the fruit comes later.” Pg. 75, Bruce Wilkinson, Secrets of the Vine

“Pain is the megaphone God uses to rouse a deaf world.” CS Lewis

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Who’s the Boss??

My precious daughter reminded me of something recently I hope I never fail to remember…

“Mom, I wish I was the mommy,” Callie said. “What do you mean, Callie?” I responded. “If I was the mom I could be the boss!” Callie replied back to me. I chuckled and said, “What do you mean by being the boss?” Callie looked at me and smiled as she said, “If I were the boss I could always get what I wanted.”

Boy oh boy, does God ever use my children to speak to my heart…down in those deep places that other people rarely see.

God has been working on my heart lately…my beautiful, new heart that He gave me when I became His daughter. He used my daughter to show me a loophole in my way of thinking. The problem seems to be one of me wanting to be the boss and call the shots and control the outcomes. That looks, smells, and sounds like trouble!

You know those times, the ones where you think you are trusting God, say you are trusting God, and even look like you are trusting God. But you know you are still in the driver’s seat turning the wheel. And in those deep dark moments, you are controlled by anxiety and fear…

Ultimately, the thought that we are in control of anything is only an illusion. God is completely and meticulously in control of the entire universe, let alone my little life. Psalms 8:3-5 says,

 “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!”

Who am I that God would take thought of me? Who am I? That question begs for an answer and all too often the answer for me is lost in my desire to be the boss and call the shots and control the outcomes. I experience a false sense of safety and peace when I am able to manipulate things or situations to meet my needs for order and tranquility. 

Back to the question that demands an answer: who am I? I am God’s daughter and He is a caring Father who holds all things together. He is not my boss who puts me to work and waits and watches for me to mess up. He wants me to rest under the shadow of His wing and trust the future to Him. Anything else is contending with Him and as a result I am fearful and anxious. 

It is when I choose to abide deeply in Him that I experience true peace as a result of me surrendering my will to His will and accepting that His plans are better than mine. As a result, I don’t have to exhaust myself trying to call the shots and control the outcomes. Whew!! When I take the time to drink of His word and seek Him in prayer and truly believe what He says about me and Him…then and only then, do I experience true peace and rest.

May you surrender your will to your loving Father and experience true peace as you trust Him with the outcomes that He desires for you.

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