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Category Archives: Craving More of God

Not a Stand-In Comforter

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If you look closely in the picture above. Beyond the curly-headed boy, focused intently on the puzzle sure to keep him busy for at least five minutes on a long car ride. You will see, peeking from his little lap-the blue, tattered, and worn face of his beloved puppy.  This puppy has been Hunter’s devoted mate since he was about 3 months old, and the joke around here, is that it will be with him when he graduates from high school, and if he ever actually decides to leave home.

He is unable to speak. However, he has been a constant. Steady. Devoted friend to the child who craves sameness, consistency, and routine.

And, although he doesn’t have a heart, can’t breath, or move; he has been the keeper of, and taken the brunt of my overloaded little boy’s emotions.

Puppy. (So aptly named because in Hunter thinking he shall be named what he is-a puppy) has soaked tears. Of loneliness. Despair. Sadness. Has been held onto as a lifeline during times of worry and anxiety. Has been clutched during screaming fits of frustration, confusion, and anger. He has helped calm the fears of the unknown, the new and different. Weathered sickness, shots, and long, exhausting car rides. He has soothed nightmares. Made bus rides with substitutes bearable, for both parents and child. He is depended upon for peace in the midst of chaos. Clarity in the face of confusion. Called on in the presence of fear. When the usual safety nets-mom and dad-are absent for a time, Puppy is the stand-in.

My little “monster” may need him for now.  He may still need him come graduation day. His object of security provides him with trust and faith as he navigates a world of which he often can’t make sense.

But, he doesn’t really need puppy at all.

His security lies in someone much more powerful than any stuffed dog.

And so does ours…

But, just like Hunter’s puppy, we cling to earthly security. We put our faith in the knowledge of people. Books. Possessions. Social media outlets. What the internet, or so and so down the street says. What our teachers tell us. Our friends. All those people we just “know” will come save us when we find ourselves in trouble. And God forbid we lose a WiFi connection, or have a bad day. When these worldly things fail that we turn to in times of stress, and we get in a tizzy, we may just turn to an unhealthy crutch to get us through it all. I know, because I do many of these things. Have coped with some unhealthy “puppies”, too.

Just as Hunter does not need that puppy to get him through the hard stuff. We don’t need those things either.

See, God provides all the things our objects of security and devotion seem to fulfill for us.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1

We just reach for Him. Because, eventually when we reach for the chocolate, there will be none left. When we reach for the bottle, it will be empty. When we reach out to phone a friend, there will be no answer. And, stuffed childhood puppies, became tattered, torn, and worn. Eventually tossed away and forgotten, too.

But God doesn’t leave. His love doesn’t run dry. And He always answers.

As tears fall. When worries get big. When we scream in anger. When our hearts are broken. When we are just plain confused, and need some clarity. He’s a steady, devoted friend, even until graduation. Surely, all the way to the end.

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

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The lost (beans) get found

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Anyone that knows me well, knows that I have a slight, unhealthy dependency on coffee. So much so that I have been known to plan entire road trips around stops at Starbucks (don’t judge!).

My husband also knows this about me. Thankfully, he also understands my obsession, and the fact that it is essential to his health that I remain caffeinated. For this reason, he will often come home from Costco shopping trips with the newest seasonal Starbucks blend…and, while we are still working on the “He-Brews” part of the deal, this one is still pretty sweet.

This past Christmas season I found myself in a bit of a tizzy when my “bean” jar had dwindled, and I could not locate the remaining beans from that bulk bag. It was quite possible I had gone through 2.5 pounds of coffee in a month, but I was pretty sure I had hidden those things somewhere in this house. Somewhere I would remember, of course. Or not.

That somewhere was never found.

Until 3 months later. In a cabinet I open every night at home during the dinner making hour. Sitting right next to my beloved casserole dishes, and my well-used measuring cup, were my “missing” coffee beans.

“I found them! I finally found those darn coffee beans! I told ya! Things are finally looking up!”

My husband was slightly (well, probably more than) amused that I had missed them each time I had opened this cabinet. I, however, was not. These beans were just one more “wink” from God that I can miss a whole lot when I am distracted from my purpose.

See, I looked everywhere for those coffee beans, but never once thought to look in that cabinet.

We look everywhere for love, peace, joy, healing…but never once think to look to Jesus for these things.

I have been feeling lost myself. Like everything I touch crumbles beneath me. Clinging to hope in a dark world. And, praying that God would restore some fire in me to keep fighting.

And, somewhere in a dark cabinet, he shows me some missing coffee beans. The ones I had totally given up on. But showed up, unannounced 3 months later, exactly where I left them, mind you.

To show me that yes, even in those struggles, things are looking up! That good things do exist in a dark world, if you can rid yourself of the world’s distractions and look in the right places.

That he won’t stop pursuing. Won’t let go. Won’t give up hope. For His people. That lost sheep. His purpose. Even missing coffee beans.

Because what was once lost, can always be found!

I once was lost, but now am found; t’was blind, but now I see. 

 

 
 

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a boy and his bible

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Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.         Proverbs 4:13

“Mom! I’m ready!”

This is the call from the steps, or the couch, or the bed of a little boy ready for his bedtime routine. After having lavender rubbed gently on his feet. His covers placed over him just right. His favorite puppy tucked neatly beside him-he is then ready for sleep.

This is our nightly routine. Without fail.

Until…mommy gets distracted, and that routine gets ignored.

On this particular night, I will admit…my favorite show was on. I asked that little boy to wait patiently until the next commercial. And then, that commercial turned into two, three, and four.

When I did finally remember I had failed to make good on my promise, I expected one angry, upset, little boy.

I found something quite different.

I found a boy and his Bible.

Instead of sulking. Instead of pouting. Instead of fussing because Mommy had failed him, he simply opened his Bible.

And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. Romans 15:4

This boy. This patient, little boy was doing exactly what I had been failing to do. He picked up his Bible, and waited patiently. He spent those extra few minutes waiting for that nighttime lotion Mommy had promised, to read about what God had promised.

I can take a few notes from that boy and his Bible.

That instead of sulking. Instead of pouting. Instead of fussing because someone has failed me, or let me down. I can pick up His word and read about how His love never fails (Psalm 136).

Instead of getting discouraged when things don’t go my way, I can open up to His promise that he won’t let my heart be troubled (John 14:1). That He will guide and direct my steps even when I stumble. Fall. Fail (Proverbs 3:6).

Instead of worrying about the tasks that don’t get done. The kids that aren’t at home. The ones that are but are struggling. The bills on the counter. I can pick up my Bible and read that there is no need for worry, as He will handle it all (Matthew 6:25-34).

When I’m overwhelmed, unbalanced, and ready to break from trying to handle it all, I can read how His strength sustains me (Phil 4:13).

And, when I am tempted to consume myself with the distractions of the world, my phone, or my TV, I can give back to Him the precious time He has given to me.

Just like that little boy and his Bible.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2017 in Craving More of God

 

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My first line of defense-Him!

Seeking him

Before I speak a word, let me hear Your voice. And in the midst of pain, let me feel Your joy.

-Lauren Daigle, “First”

You are having one of those moments. Maybe one of those days. Everything has gone wrong. Every possible obstacle and frustration stands directly in your path.

There is that email from a co-worker that lacks grace, and leaves you seething.

Your kids have spilled something, knocked over the plant, and yelled at each other one too many times.

You have been stuck for days inside, and in need of some fresh air, only to find that your only means of escaping cabin fever now won’t start.

That person cut you off in traffic. You are in the express lane behind someone with WAY more than 20 items.

Your neighbor has called the police on your dog…..AGAIN!

You react. You respond to that email in anger. Snap at the kids in frustration. Throw those keys on the ground, and slam the car door. Maybe shout a few expletives at that aggressive driver. Roll your eyes in the checkout line. Call the police and give them a piece of your mind, too.

Kicking. Screaming. Stomping reactions. And, well deserved, right? I mean…look at all that chaos before you?

It’s what I do. When all those emotions snap at once, and leave me a confused mess, I react.

When criticized, I react with defensiveness.

When inconvenienced, I react with frustration.

When attacked, I put up my dukes and get ready to fight. With words. With accusations. With yelling. With impatience. With my human emotions blazing.

Until, it’s over…and I hold my head in shame.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Ephesians 6:13

When I should be waiting, looking, asking for Him to react. When I should be relying on Him to defeat the chaos. Instead my first line of defense is to handle the battle on my own…

My first line of defense against criticism, frustration, inconvenience, and anger should be Him. A prayer. A plea from the one who can handle it.

Stopping to ask for the right words to respond to someone’s verbal attacks.

Stopping to ask for wisdom and guidance in handling the ups and downs of motherhood.

Stopping to ask for peace when crazy sets in.

Stopping to ask for eyes to see beyond my emotions…to see the person behind the wheel, the mom who may be in a hurry in the grocery store, too.

Stopping to ask for grace to forgive that neighbor. That co-worker.

Stopping to seek him in the midst of each hard to handle moment. Each battle. Each encounter.

So that next time my reaction will not cause me to hang my head in shame. So that my reaction will reflect Him. His light. His grace.

I wanna find you, in every season, in every moment. Before I speak a word, I will bring my heart, and seek You first. 

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Craving More of God

 

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Where Have You Been?

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I have a bit of an addiction. I love thrift shopping. I have been known to plan shopping trips around the closest Goodwill (and Starbucks), and I frequent the one down the road from me quite a bit. It was on a rare occasion that I recently managed to drag my kids with me. Usually, what I hear as I scour the many hangers looking for someone’s cast-offs for a hidden treasure is groan after groan from the Marshall Monsters. But on this day, I heard squeals of delight as my daughter happened upon the above tent. For my little girl, it was a must-have. A place to hide from her brother. Camp out with a book. Hide her most precious of toys.

For me….well, it was a reminder of all the tents in which I have hidden in the last few months.

The tent of a demanding internship that had me consumed with work day and night.

The tent of schoolwork that had me plugged into my computer into the wee hours of the morning.

The tent of “busy-ness” that had me grasping for any ounce of alone time!

Tents of impatience. Tents of hurriedness. Tents of to-do lists. Appointments.

Tents of despair. Loneliness. Criticism. Self-doubt. Disappointments.

Tents that had me wondering-where in the world was I going? Where had I been?

Tents I tried to pitch all by myself. Without any help from Him. Placing Him at the bottom of the to-do list. Until He was wondering where I had been.

Yes, I was busy. I was overwhelmed. Depleted. Wordless. Exhausted. Lost.

Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him. 1 Chronicles 16:11

But, not once did I remember this? Did I call to Him in my weakness to ask for His strength? Did I call on Him for rest when I was tired and weary? Did I call on Him for wisdom when I needed His words?

No, I pitched my own tent. Like an 8 year old girl. Camped out with my will, while God desperately yearned for me to let Him in.

And, while it took a heart wrenching wake-up call, and some grief…I finally came out of hiding. I got out of my tent and I called on Him.

And, finally the words came again. The ones locked inside all those tents I pitched. The ones that had covered my weary heart. The ones I desperately needed to cry out to God. The ones for strength, guidance, wisdom, and grace.

So, what tents are you pitching today? Where have you been hiding? Come out. Call to Him. Tell Him what you need. He will give you the words. He will give you the strength you need. He will give you rest. All you have to do is ditch your tent.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Craving More of God

 

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His Everlasting Arms

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The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are around you. Deuteronomy 33:27

It’s 10 in the morning. The kids are home again. The snow has pushed them outside of their routine, inside the house, and after only two hours they are bored. Cranky. Hungry. Frustrated. And everything in between.

And in desperate need of a break.

But, only one of these kids can actually express that. Can tell me he or she is bored. Cranky. Hungry. Frustrated. And everything in between.

Instead, this one simply grunts, kicks, screams, punches, and lays in a heap on the floor.

And both of us are in desperate need of a break. Some time apart before both of us explode.

“Hun, you have to use your words. If you are hungry, or need help you have to let me know so I can help you.”

Then this boy who needed a break from his boredom, his crankiness, his hunger, his frustrations, and everything in between…reaches out and gives me what we both needed-a hug!

One of those hugs that warms your very soul. The clinging-of-the-neck-I’m-not-letting-go-of-you kind of hug. The kind that says “I’ll always help you. Always have your back. Always love you. Always accept you.”

So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm. Isaiah 59:16

While I sat on the bedroom floor with my smallest child, holding on for dear life, I was reminded of this-God wants us to hold Him this dear as well.

When we wake up with a case of the crankies, He wants us to reach out to Him and hold Him tight.

When we need help, and can’t find the words, He wants us to call on Him.

When we are agitated, frustrated, and everything in between. When we want to lay on the floor and kick and scream. When all we really need is a hug. He wants to be the one we reach for. He wants us to hold tight to His promise that these trials, and these feelings will not last forever.

Hold on. Cling to Him. So we can be reminded in those everything in between moments that He will always help you. Always have your back. Always love you. Always accept you. Always keep you safe in His everlasting arms.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Autism and Faith, Craving More of God

 

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Weary, Worn, and In Need of Peace? Ask…

The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. Psalm 121:7

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“Ms. January is base. Now you can’t get me!”

Each week prior to our Wednesday night lesson at church, our children have a time of play. Their favorite game it seems week in and week out is a good, old-fashioned game of tag, and each week I am named the “base.” The place children run when they want to be safe. To escape from the things that pursue them. Try to get them. Make them run away, scared.

“Ms. January is base. Now you can’t get me!”

Base. Defined as the part on which something rests or is supported. Also, a structure on which something depends.

“Ms. January is base.” Really??

While these kids may run to me to keep them safe for a minute or two. While others in my line of work depend on me for support and direction, on most days, I feel more like those wimpy, snow-covered branches, than anyone’s base. Anyone’s safe place.

Weighed down by the demands of parenting. By children who do not always listen, or even respect the one who takes care of the home. Weighed down. Wimpy. From the demands of looking out for the needs of others. Tired. Weary. Feeling more like a doormat than any darn safe place.

And on some days, I would like to find my own “base.” A place to run from the daily pressures. From the things, people, and demands that chase me down.

When I don’t want to support anyone, or have anyone depend on me. When all I want is peace. A little time to rest on someone or something else for a change. A break form everything that has weighed these wimpy branches down.

While running away sounds nice, God has something else in mind.

God is base. Now no one can get me!

He wants to be my safe place. My support. On whom I depend.

My base when I can’t strike a balance between discipline and letting kids just be kids.

A safe place to run when the first thing I want to do is slam the front door and disappear for days. Where no one needs my help. My support. My advice.

But, I don’t have to run to find his safety. I don’t have to hide or disappear to find his support. His help. His counsel. His advice. His peace.

All I have to do is ask.

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

So, that is what I did. I went to Him and asked for peace. For Him to be my base, so no one could get me!

See, my untraditional work schedule. The time at night away from my family. Schoolwork into the wee hours of the morning. All of these had worn me down. All I wanted was a day of rest. No obligations. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. Just peace.

So, I asked him for it. In the middle of a flurry filled morning that meant the next day my home would be full of anything but “quiet,” I asked for peace.

Maybe a snow day isn’t your idea of peace. Weighed down branches full of snow may not be ideal. And for me, they usually are not either. But, I claimed the peace I asked for the morning before. I claimed the patience I wanted him to give me with my children. And, sure…snow mazes, cookies, and snow cabins made from Lincoln Logs meant I had plenty to do, I enjoyed the time just being the support, the “base” that one little boy had missed, and needed on this day.

No bickering. No fighting. No need to apologize for my lack of patience. No need to run.

Just peace.

From the one who gives me a safe place to plant my feet each time I ask. Even if it is a snow-covered (now maze-covered) front yard.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Craving More of God

 

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