Tag Archives: children

The Helicopter Parent

 I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
    There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
    I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

(Isaiah 41:10, The Message version)

Pulling out of the driveway with my children safely buckled up in the back seat, I glanced over and observed a small group of wiggly children. It was the first day of school, and several parents had gathered on the opposite side of the street, smiling, waving and taking pictures as they waited for the bus.

It was a new school for us, so I decided to drive and ensure my children found their way to the proper classrooms.

Other than a brief introduction with their teachers the week before, my children would arrive without knowing a soul.

We approached the classroom door, and I prayed the day would go well.  Then, I left them in the hands of someone I didn’t know.

They were on their own.

I hoped I’d done enough.  Taught them enough.  Encouraged them enough.  Prayed enough. I wished I could stay and help them navigate the school, new relationships and routines.

Reflecting on that moment, it occurs to me that God (thankfully!!) doesn’t operate this way.  God does not prepare us for a future and leave us at the classroom door – or the bus stop – with a toothy grin, a flashing camera and an encouraging “Good luck!”  

No! We are his precious children who he calls by name and redeemed us from death.  Throughout our life journey, He walks in beside us, guides us and hems us in from behind. You might say our Heavenly Father is a bit of a “helicopter parent.” An ever-present help in times of need – always hovering and ready for our call. 

Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior. 

(Isaiah 43:1b – 2)

What a comforting truth – especially when you feel like that new kid on the block who has arrived, but uncertain of which direction to go next.

Let’s Pray:

Dear Father, Thank you for tenderly leading me on life’s journey. Your kindness is overwhelming! I don’t need to panic.  You are with me.  You won’t let me fall or get stuck when I call out to you for help.  How I treasure the wisdom you impart to me when I am at a loss for what to do next.  Guide my steps today that I may walk in the path that you hand-picked for me with great consideration. Amen.

Ironing it out:

Have you ever felt like God has taken you on a journey and dropped you off? What is your reaction in such times?  Feeling overwhelmed, do you tend to panic?  

Sometimes He is silent, but He never leaves us.  At times like this, what promises do you treasure? I hope you’ll share a few!

4 Comments

Filed under Surrender, Trust, Worry

Time for Rest

Photo Credit: "Sleepy Dog" by Maggie Smith (www.freedigitalphotos.net)

Photo Credit: “Sleepy Dog” by Maggie Smith (www.freedigitalphotos.net)

I can always tell when my children are tired, but what is most remarkable to me is when they readily admit they need rest.  Oh the things I can – and should – learn from my kids sometimes!!  Don’t get me wrong.  There are times when they fight it tooth and nail, which is why the ready admission of exhaustion is all the more amazing!

Admittedly, I’m more likely to act like the cranky child who doesn’t want to go to bed than the one who tearfully declares “Momma, I’m tired.”

The fact is, God designed rest for us and often leads us to it, whether we are willing or not.  But I wonder if it isn’t music to his ears when I readily follow without a fight, and say “Father, I’m tired.”

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” – Psalm 23:2-3a

Are you feeling tired today?  Are you tempted to keep pressing on?  Perhaps you need to take time for rest – physical or otherwise.  It’s hard to do that in a hectic world that demands so much from us, but we can start by just taking five minutes.  Go on – go set your timer and close your eyes and rest!

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, Thank you that you created rest for us – physically and spiritually.  You told Moses that you would be with him and give him rest (Exodus 33:14).  We pray for this blessing today also – that your presence would go before us and hem us in from behind, and you would give us rest and refresh our souls.  Amen. 

Ironing it Out:

Is there something today for which you need rest?  Are you struggling to find a solution?  Ask a friend and swallow your pride if necessary.  I may make a few enemies for saying this, but girlfriend, we were NOT created to do all the things the world tells us we must do.  It is time to rest!

On a personal note…

I will be taking a “rest” from my weekly writing commitment here on The Ironing Board.  I am so grateful for the new friendships  which have blossomed here as well as your encouragement, and I look forward to interacting with you again soon.  I hope it won’t bee too long before I am able to take up the weekly posts again, but right now, I need to rest.

In the meantime, I’d love to introduce you to some of the blogs I’ve been enjoying.

www.kirstenholmberg.com – Kirsten is a wonderful writer with wonderful insight into life and Biblical application.  She regularly finds God in ordinary moments in life – which I am sure is (in part!) why she’s so dear to my heart.  Her guiding verse is Romans 8:28 – All things. Our good.  His glory.  If you enjoyed her guest post from her book, Advent with the Word, in November, you will enjoy her blog!

www.susanstilwell.com – I wish I could tell you how I stumbled on Susan’s blog last year, but suffice to say that she is a wonderful teacher and has such a tremendous heart for prayer and growing others!  If you only have a few minutes on Mondays, pop on over to read her beautiful prayers.  They will start your day off on the right foot.  On Wednesdays she goes deeper and always has a wonderful word!

www.hestersheart.com – I feel like I should personally know Hester (In Real Life!) since she used to live down the street from my parents before moving away!  Hester’s blog often tackles some of those really tough issues we women like to ignore – like gossip and controlling our minds.  Her heart is truly to see women grow on to spiritual maturity.  I’m always challenged when I pop in!

www.kristibutler.blogspot.com – Kristi is another blogger friend I met in the past year.  I love visiting her blog for a quick word from the Bible or a wonderful song of worship.  Kristi is a wonderful encourager as she shares her heart.  Hope you stop in!

www.clayzmama.com – Can I just say I love this blog? I never know what I’m great new information I’m going to stumble on when I visit.  It could be some amazing little known fruit that has cancer healing powers, or random things like using empty toilet paper rolls to keep my wrapping paper from coming unrolled.  You’ll enjoy this one, I’m sure!

www.jeanetteedgar.com – When I started getting to know Jeanette through blogging, I liked her immediately because of her name (even though she only spells it with one “n.” But a closer look, and I really felt a kindred spirit with this sweet sister.  She loves to teach, and right now she’s using video posts as she teaches through the life of Abraham.

www.kim-living4today.blogspot.com Kim is truly a hero – she recently celebrated her four-year-anniversary of victory over breast cancer!  She’s a wonderful encourager and I love the words she shares in her post.  They often hit me exactly at the right spot that day! Thanks, Kim!!

www.margaretfeinberg.com – Perhaps you’ve read one of Margaret’s books.  The first one I read by her was Organic God and it absolutely resonated with me on so many levels I’d have to write a book to share!  She recently released  another book called “Wonderstruck,” which I can’t wait to read…just as soon as I have a little more bandwidth and time!

I hope you enjoy one or two (or all!) of these!! Until we blog again, shine on my friends!

Jeannette

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Filed under rest

Too Cute for Puke

Photo Credit: Federico Stevanin, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Suggested Reading: Isaiah 53:4-5; Romans 5:6-8

It had been a long – but satisfying – day at work. I’d accomplished much and was enjoying that warm, satisfying feeling we ladies get from a cute new outfit and a good hair day.  Driving along, I was simply immersed in the moment of a beautiful day with sunshine and glorious fall colors surrounding me in every direction.

I still had a few more post-work errands to run with the kids now along for the ride: drop off the babysitter, run to the office store, stop into Target, zip by the post office, breeze into the pizza joint to pick up dinner, and then home. I was overly optimistic, at best, that we’d be home with the pizza in the oven by 6 p.m.

Suddenly, a little cry in the back seat…and my plan was completely derailed.

As looked over my shoulder, I saw it gush out. My sweet little two-year-old was having his first experience with…stomach flu. I pulled over as quickly as possible and began problem solving in my mind, all the while thinking “I look too cute to have a day like this! How am I going to do this without getting all of this nastiness on me? Seriously! This is dry clean only!” But a mom kicks things into high gear when required, which is exactly what I did.

A quick survey of the car and I realized that aside from a few napkins, an extra jacket and a plastic bag, I had nothing that was of any help at all. Mopping up the mess was a futile effort, so I stripped my little boy down to his skivvies, wrapped him in that jacket and prayed he wouldn’t vomit again before we got home.

Fortunately, a blanket greeted us in the garage upon arrival. It was the perfect answer to shield my baby’s naked body from the cold — and my cute dry-clean-only outfit from puke — as we dashed back into the house.

I love my children, but I have to admit something.  Our children’s “I was here” remembrances are not always welcome!

Christ, thankfully, doesn’t take that attitude with us. In fact he welcomes us in our stinky, smelly, filthy rags. The “I was here” evidence I’ve left behind on my Savior’s royal robes, his hands and his feet is more than I can comprehend, but he wears it without complaint. And He came to earth 2,000 years ago with that express purpose in mind.

Let’s Pray:

Oh Father, my son’s vomit is a walk in the park compared with the filth of my sins. I can’t even begin to imagine how the stench burns your nostrils, causes your eyes to water, and turns your stomach. Yet you always pick me up when I call out for help. You forgive when I seek forgiveness. You hold me close and gently clean me up. Strengthen me today to reject the “bling” of this world and seek after your righteousness and wisdom which are worth far more than rubies. Amen.

Ironing it Out:

Next week we begin celebrating the Advent season. I’m excited about the journey we’ll take together through this holy season. We do well however, to constantly remember the purpose of Christ’s visit – to save. 

Romans 5 says God established and proved his “agape” love (“affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love for us“, Strongs G26) while we were still committed to a life of sin.  We were of no use to him at the time of Jesus’ sacrificial death.

I just want you to drink that in today. Smell the stench and then breath in the crisp, clean air of his forgiveness and righteousness.

What does this knowledge it mean to you?

14 Comments

Filed under Faithfulness, God is loving AND just, Salvation

When God gives you rice

A few years ago, we learned one of our children is allergic to wheat and requires a gluten-free diet. He’s been a really good sport about it as we’ve experimented with various gluten-free grains, breads and other “replacements,” and learned strategies for “living without.”

Gluten-free bread from my kitchen.
(c) Duwe 2011, All Rights Reserved

Living without.  The phrase refers to one key pantry item in our home.

A gluten allergy is oft viewed as a major bummer.  It’s considered more than a hindrance for meal planners who have become overly dependent on wheat.  Gluten-free options have also received a bad reputation due to the gritty texture  of many grain alternatives (though there are several excellent options on the market today).

Over the years, however, we’ve discovered something important: while living without one ingredient, we have gained a lot more.

Our new style of eating has resulted in a healthier diet since we now focus on quick and easy whole foods, rather than relying on quick and easy processed options.  We’ve discovered flavor, foods we never would have tried before (like quinoa!) and so much more.

Matthew 7:9-11 says:

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

In our case, perhaps we were hoping for wheat, but God graciously provided a multitude of alternative flours and, consequently, put an entire family on a healthier diet plan.

He knows what is best for our lives.  He will always give us good gifts and can be trusted, but sometimes, that requires us to change our point of view.

Let’s Pray:

Lord you know how often I have thanked you for this “hindrance” in our life.  I have often thanked you for the unknown benefits it has brought.  While many might view your “gift” as disappointing, let us always remember appearances can be deceiving.  Will you help me to see the blessing in other life challenges today?  Thank you for your great wisdom and the undeserved rich blessing that you have poured into our life. Amen.

Ironing it out:

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies from my kitchen.
(c) Duwe 2011, All Rights Reserved

Can you think of a “hindrance” or piece of “bad news” that turned out to be a great blessing in your life?

Perhaps you recently received some disappointing information that is contrary to what you’d hoped. Choose today to believe God that He knows what He is doing and – even though it doesn’t make any sense – He is fully capable to bring beauty from ashes.

Life may be different than you expected.  But with God, it will always be good.

Care for a cookie? :-)

8 Comments

Filed under Complaining, Contentedness, God is loving AND just, Gratitude, Surrender, Trust

When the “doing” gets tough

Suggested Reading: Colossians 3:22-25

“If your teacher was sitting next to your desk, do you think you’d work a little harder knowing he was there watching you?”  I asked.

Image Courtesy: David Castillo and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Yes,” my son answered begrudgingly.

“What if he was in the hallway, where he couldn’t see you? Would you work just as hard?” I pressed.

“Probably not,” came a very honest answer.

We were having one of those frustrating “middle of the week” conversations about grades that didn’t reflect what I knew he knew.  The reason, he explained, was that he was in a hurry to be the first one in the class to finish the test.  Unfortunately for him, his grade depended on accuracy – not speed.

Finding moments that demonstrate exactly how the bible’s “ancient” truth applies to everyday living can be challenging, but I knew this one had potential.  Opening my Bible, I turned to Colossians chapter 3 and asked him to read:

“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” Colossians 3:22-25 (The Message version)

Work from the heart for your real Master… Not your boss, teacher, or even your parents.  It means you always do your best work – regardless of who is (or isn’t) watching.  The passage speaks to  perseverance, dedication, courage, responsibility, using all resources available to us, and not concerning ourselves with what others may or may not think.

The uncomfortable truth penetrates every type of “do-ing” imaginable.  In everything we do — chores, homework, work,  raising children, cooking, etc. — doing it just to get it done isn’t good enough.  I made a mental note…How many times have I rushed through the day with that mentality?

What the passage does not say is that we must also be the best at everything.  Using the skills and understanding God has given us, the verses admonish us to do our personal best in all circumstances.

When my son brought home a new set of graded papers the following week, I wondered what they might reveal.  The  scores demonstrated he not only listened, but apparently applied the word of God to his work.  He did his best.

Like my son, we may not excel by the world’s standards in every circumstance, but whether or not we think anybody is watching, if we put forth our best effort with integrity, we will reap the reward.

Let’s Pray:

Thank you Lord that you have created all of us uniquely and with different talents.  Thank you that you only ask me to put forth my best effort and not attempt to make my child-like drawing look like a Monet.  Today, will you help me find the courage and perseverance in those areas where I struggle most? Convict me when I feel like giving up, and strengthen me when I am weak.  May every area of my life reflect my true love for you. Amen.

Taking it deeper:

We all have those tasks we’d rather not do.  Why is that?  Is it a feeling of inadequacy? Or do we just not like it?

What are you avoiding today?  Or, what are you tempted to rush through, just to get it out-of-the-way?  Hand that one over to the Lord, confess your wrong attitude and ask him for help. And then, do the work! :-) 

16 Comments

Filed under perseverance, Surrender, Talents

The Backpack

Suggested reading:  Hebrews 12:1-3Mark 10:42-45Matthew 11: 28-29

With a mouthful of oatmeal, my son wildly waved his hands to grab my attention.

A big swallow and then: “Mom! We can’t forget to take the canned food to school for the food drive today!”

Smiling, I went straight to the pantry in search of nutritious food staples. Placing several cans inside his backpack, I realized this donation could be rather burdensome.

“Think you can handle that extra weight today?” I asked as I handed him the backpack.

“Wow! That’s heavy,” he replied.

Half expecting a request for the removal of a few cans or that I carry it for him, I asked if he was up for the task.

Without hesitation, the reply came with a toothy grin and a twinkle in his eye, “Yup!”

The load was heavy, but it was a burden that would help someone else – and that pleased him.

As he headed out the door, still smiling, I considered another who humbled himself, enduring the heavy burden of scorn and humiliation – for me!

Jesus didn’t come to planet earth for the experience.  No, He had a high-stakes objective to complete.  For some 30 years, walked, breathed, ate, helped, healed, taught, and encouraged, yet, none of these were his ultimate mission. No, he came here to die on a humble, torturous cross. His death on a cross was penalty required in exchange for our sins.

Death on a cross was horrific, but for the King of Kings to be killed in this way was the greatest humiliation. He could have extricated Himself, but that would have nullified the entire purpose behind his birth.

Hebrews 12:2 tells us He did it “…for the joy set before him…” In other words, He endured the cross because he had something better in view: the joy of our eternal salvation.

Can you fathom such love?

Let’s pray:

Jesus, my Savior!  Your love humbles me beyond expression. Thank you for making yourself nothing by coming to this earth, taking the nature of a servant. You were obedient to a horrible death on a cross – for me!  Today, help me remember that with great sacrifice for others comes even greater joy.  I want to follow your example.  Give me eyes to see and wisdom to help others who are hurting.  Amen

Taking it deeper:  Jesus takes our burdens because of the joy He receives. This should be a great example for each of us.  

Has someone else’s helpfulness inspired you to “pay it forward?”  How did you feel? How can you demonstrate this expression of love to someone else today?

I’ve linked this post with Beholding Glory and Spiritual Sundays. 

9 Comments

Filed under Joy, Salvation, Sin, Surrender

You Deserve Dessert? Really?

Suggested Reading: John 14Isaiah 64:4-6Ephesians 2:8-9

It was a rough day.  Defiance. Rebellion.  Rudeness.  Inconsiderate action.

“Summer must be ending,” I thought. My youngest child in particular seemed bent on doing the exact opposite of what he knew was required. All. Day. Long.

I was looking for any glimmer of a contrite spirit in the boy so that I could encourage it with positive reinforcement.  So when he requested dessert, I asked “Do you think you deserve dessert?” I hoped for an honest “No.”  I could work with that answer.  I envisioned a “real lesson builder” for my son.

Then I woke up.

With a slight delay, he looked up at me and quietly said “Yes.” He didn’t say it in a questioning way – as though he wondered if that might work as an answer, he said it in quiet defiance.  Hoping for a different answer, I asked him a second time. Then a third.

“Sweetheart, after everything you did today, do you really think you deserve dessert?”  My tone pleaded with him to give the right response. But alas, his reply was unchanged.

Disappointed, his answer left me one response – dessert denial.

“Son, unfortunately, you don’t deserve this.  You continued to disobey and disrespect Daddy and me all day despite warnings and consequences. And even now, you are not being truthful – I think you know in your heart that you really don’t deserve this.  I’m sorry, but I can’t give you any dessert.”

The wailing that ensued would cause you to think someone died.  I too, was sad. There was nothing good about this situation.

As I watched my little boy suffer through a reality that was contrary to what he wanted, I understood how wired we are at our very core with that kind of sinful thinking. Entitlement

Over the centuries, Israel received warning after warning concerning their bad behavior, but instead of changing their ways, they acted like they had immunity.  They had the “inside track” with God – they were chosen, after all! Yet their willful attitude of entitlement lead them straight into many hardships.

Are we not unlike them?

Fast forward to 2012.  God gives us opportunity after opportunity to heed his warnings and trust him, yet we ignore them with startling consistency. But at the end of the day when we’ve eaten our last meal and breathed our last breath, what happens when we approach the throne of God and ask to enter his eternal kingdom?

What if he replies “Do you deserve it?”

Like my son, the bitter truth is “No.” No matter how many great things we did, how much money we earned or people we fed. Not one of us deserves entry – let alone lodging – in his kingdom.

But God gives us grace and the opportunity to answer in truth “No, Father, I don’t. But you sent your son Jesus to pay the debt of my sins on the cross.  Please have mercy.”

Let’s Pray:

Lord Jesus, I am a sinner, unworthy of your blessing or to be in your presence.  I’m sorry for all my sins and the sinful choices I have made and need your forgiveness.  Thank you for coming to my rescue by way of the cross.  Thank you for the resurrection which gives me hope.  Thank you for your mercy and grace. Amen

Taking it Deeper:

Do you deserve “dessert?”  If you have never declared Jesus to be the savior of your soul, will you do that right now?  And share that with a friend – or send me a private message here. In addition to the prayer above, you can also pray:

Lord, I confess Jesus is my personal savior.  I believe he died and rose from the dead for me. I confess my sin and ask for your forgiveness.   Thank you for your unlimited grace which saves me so that I may enjoy your presence from this day forward. Amen.  

I’ve linked this blog with Graceful.

12 Comments

Filed under God is loving AND just, Hope, Salvation, Sin

Desperately Seeking Shoes

Let’s see…I’m sure this has never happened to anyone else (insert “snicker” here).

You ask your son (or daughter) to go get his shoes.  After 10 minutes, he’s not emerged from his room.  The silence eagerly bids your presence, so, with a gentle sigh, you walk down the hall to your child’s room.  That’s when you find him – in the middle of the floor, playing action figures.

The ensuing conversation might go something like this:

YOU: “Honey, I asked you to get your shoes…”

CHILD: “I couldn’t find them, Mom.”

A quick glance over toward the closet confirms the location of the said shoes.  

YOU: “Really?  What are those?” You point at the shoes.

CHILD: “OH!  There they are! I didn’t see them!”

SEEKING.

“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree…

- Jeremiah 29:13-14b (The Message Version)

Several months ago, God began whispering a singular message in my heart through a mixture of scripture, sermon messages and other sources.

“Seek me.” 

Cool message, huh? God wanted me to seek him!  I embraced it at first, but at some point, the fire within died off to a few glowing coals.  While God continued to be involved in my day, I could not characterize my relationship with him as “fervent seeking.”  It was more a relationship of convenience.

God, on the other hand, didn’t give up seeking me.

After months of my meandering journey, he gently redirected my focus: “Seek me.”

Opening my Bible to 2 Chronicles, I read about multiple Old Testament kings and found myself underlining a recurring theme:

But he was an evil king, for he did not seek the LORD with all his heart.  – 2 Chronicles 12:14 (NIV)

Suddenly, this command to seek God with all my heart didn’t feel as warm and fuzzy as it once had.  I realized I have a lot riding on my success (or failure) to follow this command: a legacy of good…or evil.

The 2 Chronicles passage referenced above described King Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.  After a few wrong turns early in his reign, Rehoboam began on a leadership track that honored God.  But when success came, he relaxed his dependence on God and did what he wanted to do. He did not seek the Lord with all his heart. 

Like a child looking for shoes, we have to fight distractions in our pursuit of God.  It’s challenging, when schedules change, someone needs a diaper changed, there’s a broken arm, the doorbell rings, you hit the snooze bar (again), the phone rings, you “accidentally” open Facebook instead of your online Bible, you have to run carpool, you have a million things to do at work, you…fill in the blank.

Hundreds of scenarios fight for our attention each day.  Girlfriend, it’s time to fight back!  Seek God – he promises you won’t be disappointed!

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, I want a life characterized by YOU!  I confess that most days, the distractions get the better of me.   So many things compete for my time – some are worthy, others…not so much.  Help me carve time out of my day to seek you.  Lord, you promise that when I seek you with all my heart, I will find you.  Honor this time and protect it.  When I sit down to be with you, don’t let me look to the left or the right.  You know the challenges I face and fear.  In this very moment, I place them at your feet.   Amen.

Taking it deeper:

What distractions get in the way of your desire to seek God?

What are you most fearful of when you dedicate time to spend alone with God?

The enemy wants to defeat us with “what ifs” and paralyze us in fear with the “tyranny of the urgent.” What measures can you take to help fight back?

I’ve linked this post with Growing HomeSpiritual Sundays and What Joy is Mine.

4 Comments

Filed under Fear, Personal Reflection, Seeking God

Thank God for … ME!

Suggested Reading: Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13-16

I’ve shared before that I love evening prayers with my children.  Their prayers always surprise me, but what always make me smile is when my youngest son says “And, God, thank you for me…”

This small prayer of thankfulness is so innocent and pure out of the mouth of a child. The same words, however, placed on the lips of an adult may sound…well…arrogant.

Before we get too politically correct, let me share why I will never discourage my kids from such a prayer…and why I’m learning to pray more like them.

In the car the other day, my 5-year-old said, “Mom, God made me because he wanted to.

His statement was so “matter of fact,” that it was almost too easy to dismiss the complexity of the thought. God didn’t have to make you…no, he wanted to make you! Let those words linger for a moment.

He made you…because he wanted to!

To say “Thank you for making me, God,” is a true expression of humility before our mighty creator God.  Humble as they may be, these words carry great power.  When you pray this prayer of thanksgiving, not only are you thanking him for the privilege of life, you are checking your insecurity at the door.  The world does its best to beat you down and tell you who you are, but this dangerous prayer will open your mind to see for yourself who God created you to be — his precious child and a person of purpose!

It feels funny to think about life in that “George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of way, but it’s important to follow the thought every now and again.  Not only will it encourage you, but it will show you just how much you have to be thankful for because of God’s simple choice…to make you.

Let’s Pray:

Dear God, Thank you for making me because you wanted to.  Thank you for your purposeful, deliberate decision and for choosing me to be your child! Thank you for allowing me the privilege of being your vessel to encourage others.  Thank you for the lives of my children and the impact they have on others. Help me today, to glimpse the valuable treasure that you created me to be.  Thank you…for me.  Amen. 

Taking it Deeper:

We often thank God for others…but have you ever sat down and thanked God for making you?  

In a world where self-deprecating humor rules at the water cooler, this prayer can certainly feel a little funny.  But it is important!  

Pray it today and release your insecurities to God.  When you do, you will begin to see yourself as the person he created you to be – not who the world says you are.

I’ve linked this blog with Spiritual Sundays and What Joy is Mine.

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Filed under Gratitude, Personal Reflection, Thankfulness

When You’re on a “Need-to-Know” Basis

“Blue Sky”
(Image courtesy of http://www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Why is the sky blue?

Why do you blink?

Why does ice melt?

Why is that man so big?

Why is the ocean salty?

If you spend much time around a preschooler, you’re bound to get many similar questions!  But how do you answer them? How much information is too much?

When my youngest son asked me why the sky is blue, I could have answered “The sky is blue because although there are lots of colors in sunlight, blue travels the shortest distance so it bounces around the atmosphere which is why our view of the sky is blue.”  In which case, I would have received a blank stare and this response: “But Mom, WHY is the sky blue?”

My chosen response on that particular day: “God made the sky blue because it’s pretty to look at.” End of story.

It was a simple response to a complicated question, but one that made sense to my little one.  Someday, he will learn the scientific reason behind why the sky is blue – but not until his brain is ready to comprehend it!

In the book of Job, we learn about a wealthy farmer whose trust in God was steadfast even though he lost his family, his wealth and became physically ill,  covered with painful sores.  His friends insisted he must have done something wicked and hypocritical to receive such a horrible punishment.

Job knew that wasn’t the case but wanted to understand WHY God would allow such great suffering in his life.  He asks some pretty profound questions, throughout the book, but in chapter three, his question is one that has been repeated millions of times by broken and hurting people around the globe since the beginning of time.

“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” Job 3:11 (NIV)

In other words, “This is no way to live, why was I even born?”

While God alone knows the answers to such questions, sometimes it’s in our best interest that we don’t have all the answers.

In Job’s case, knowing the “why” would have defeated the purpose of his suffering.

In the absence of an answer, Job recounted every truth he knew about God and His character.  Job did not allow his circumstances, pain or feelings to dictate what he thought about God or reframe the truth. In the end, although God does not tell Job WHY He allowed such suffering, He confirms and reveals more about His character, strength and power than Job could have ever hoped to know, this side of heaven.

In exchange for suffering, Job developed a deeply personal relationship with God that he could have achieved only by WHAT he went through.

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5

Job initially wanted answers, but God knew best. He knows what I need to know – when I need to know it.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, You know best.  Sometimes, like my little one asking me why the sky is blue, you know that I am simply not ready to understand.  Sometimes, in your great wisdom you know I can’t handle it – and maybe, never will be able to.  Or, like Job, the purpose behind the situation is so profound that only your silence can bring about the desired result.  In all circumstances, however, you call me to be obedient to you. You call me to remember who you are, your character, your truth, and your promises.  Whatever the purpose, thank you for keeping me on a need-to-know basis. Amen

Taking it Deeper:

Can you relate?  Have you ever asked God “WHY!?!?” until you were blue in the face, only to receive…”silence?”  What happened?  Did you later understand the purpose? How did you work through it?

Maybe you are in the midst of a “WHY” season. Don’t allow the circumstances or your pain to dictate how you respond.  Instead, like Job, fight back and remind yourself of everything you know to be true about God. 

What truth about God, or promise from the Bible, has helped you through a challenging time?

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Filed under Growth, Prayer, Surrender, Transformation