Tag Archive | God

Short Sheeted at Face Value

One of my favorite places to shop is the local thrift store. I find great bargains and my purchases help support those in need. One day in the boutique section of the store where they sell higher end items, I found a brand new, brightly colored sheet and pillowcase. The striped fabric was dyed in vibrant shades of fuchsia, gold, orange and purple. The set was very pretty but I didn’t really need it nor did it match anything in my house. However, the price tag caught my eye. They had marked it as $12 but the original purchase price said MSR 499.00. What a deal! Even though I didn’t need it, how could I pass up such a valuable purchase?

When I got the linen home, I looked at the tag again. I saw the letters “Rs.” in front of the amount. I hadn’t noticed those letters in the store because my eyes were stuck on 499.00. I looked up “Rs.” on the internet and found that it stood for Indian Rupees. The US equivalent: eight dollars! I had paid more for the sheet set than it cost when it was new.

I bought the linen because I thought it had great value based upon the price tag. It had face value. As a mom in search of parenting wisdom, I have also been enticed by parenting philosophies because they were popular or were espoused by someone who had a row of initials behind their name.  They had face value. Sometimes this “wisdom” comes in packages whose contents we don’t really need and aren’t as valuable as they appeared on the surface.

Perhaps you too are looking for wisdom to be the best mom you can be. While wisdom can come from many sources, true and unchanging wisdom comes from God through His word.  And it doesn’t cost anything but time and a teachable spirit.

What is some of the most useful parenting advice you’ve been given, whether it was from the Bible, your mother or anyone else?

Children’s Sense of Worth

In what ways can we challenge our children to think about the gifts and talents God has planted within them?

My wise friend Veta recently said that, “As parents, we need to teach our children to search for their own sense of worth through the eyes of Jesus. The more they know who Jesus is, the more they will understand their value.”

You mean my child’s sense of self-worth isn’t totally my responsibility?

We want our kids to feel secure so we provide the normal things such as love, comfort and as much as we can, a sense of normalcy. We even applaud them for their accomplishments. But what else can we do to empower them to find their real sense of worth in  God?

So here’s the challenge: The next time your child asks if they are special, how will you steer them to learn their value in Christ?

 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . Psalm 139:13-14

Photo courtesy Microsoft Free Images

Pleasing Wanted

A young woman named Pleasing gave birth to a child she named Wanted. Pleasing’s goal in life was to make sure Wanted was always happy. Pleasing’s childhood was fraught with sadness and she wanted a different life for her child.

She fed Wanted only the foods that made him happy. She let him pull the dog’s tail and bite the neighbor kid because it brought Wanted joy. As Wanted grew older, Pleasing made sure to attend to his every need so that he would remain happy. She did all the household chores and protested when his teachers admonished him for not turning in his homework. Schoolwork made Wanted feel stifled and kept him from what really made him happy: sleeping in late and playing video games. When Wanted became an adult, Pleasing made sure he had the money he needed for dates and gasoline for his car. She continued to clean his room, cooked his meals and did his laundry. These things made Wanted happy.

In middle age, Pleasing had gone bankrupt and was weary after all the years of making Wanted happy. She couldn’t figure out why other mothers in the neighborhood had the energy to do fun things and why their children seemed self-sufficient. They had all started careers and families of their own. Wanted, on the other hand, was still living at home, had become overweight, unhealthy, dependant on others and had no friends. Pleasing couldn’t figure out why Wanted felt so empty and depressed.

Hadn’t she done everything to make him happy? Pleasing wondered.

My sweet mother, this is a fictional story of course.  Nevertheless, through it, I pause to think about my role as parent. Perhaps you can relate on some level with Pleasing. She wanted to save her child from the unhappiness she innocently experienced as a child. Perhaps you too want your children to experience a happiness you never knew. While there is nothing wrong with being happy, can I persuade you to think about wholeness over happiness? What you needed as a child and what your children need is a wholeness that comes with proper perspective. What makes a child whole are love and nurture, but also teaching and discipline. That means our children will not always be happy. They will not like us sometimes. But that’s just fine because what we want them to have is something better: the joy and confidence that comes with a personal character that is in alignment with God’s design.

Scriptures: The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice. Proverbs 23: 24-25

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. Proverbs 29:15

Prayer: Lord, please help me to raise my children in the way you have lovingly directed. Please help me to teach and discipline them and not grow weary. Help me to see the big picture of their lives and not give in to their unhealthy wants today.

Photo compliments of Wikipedia

Showers of Blessings

“I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” (Ezekiel 34:26)

Have you noticed the stillness before the rain—when all the oaks and daffodils wait expectantly for the promised shower? When the clouds release their blessing, every green thing lifts up their hands in thankfulness, receiving the blessing they knew would come.

Are you waiting in stillness for God’s blessing? Or are you running around in angst, doing rain dances, trying to pull the blessings down? Maybe you’re not accustomed to trusting promises. Maybe you’ve been disappointed one time too many.

Trusting in God and his promises is much different from trusting in the promises of man. People make promises to us and we to them. And despite our best intentions, promises do get broken because they are made by imperfect people. But when God says “trust me”, He is making a promise to you that will be delivered. He is perfect, truthful and faithful. So when you read scriptures such as; “All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace. . .This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:13,17); know that God is a Promise Keeper and you can wait for his blessings in quiet and confident stillness.

Photo courtesy Microsoft Images

What’s Your Handle?

Photo courtesy Microsoft Images

 

Eric Blair, who wrote under the pen name, George Orwell, tells the story of his childhood in an English boarding school. In his short story, Such, Such Were the Joys, he recounts the cruelty he endured at the hand of his Head Master at Crossgates, a preparatory school. When he arrived at Crossgates—“an expensive and snobbish school”— at eight years old, he began wetting the bed as children sometimes do when they experience trauma or significant change. Considered an intentional and rebellious act in the early 1900s, bedwetting sometimes resulted in physical punishment. Hence, his Head Master would beat him with a riding crop. On one occasion, the bone handle of the crop broke off during the beating and even for this, the Head Master blamed the young boy. And the young boy believed the lie.

“. . . .I accepted the broken riding crop as my own crime. I can still recall my feeling as I saw the handle lying on the carpet—the feeling of having done an ill-bred and clumsy thing, and ruined an expensive object. I had broken it: so Sim told me, and so I believed. This acceptance of guilt lay unnoticed in my memory for twenty or thirty years.”

My beloved sister: What guilt are you carrying from the past? Are there things you still hold on to that were not your fault? This question is important because guilt can be a vile and clutching monster that latches onto to the human soul, holding us from being the best that we can be, including mothering in freedom.

Whether you feel guilt for something that wasn’t (or was) your fault, take it to God in prayer. Go confidently with full expectation of God’s permanent forgiveness. Go boldly, knowing that He has already ripped the putrid monster of guilt from your back. And if you begin to feel eerie remembrances of guilt’s disgusting presence, remember that these are feelings, not reality.

Scripture: He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

Scripture: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Scripture: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

What Is A Mother’s Reward?

The ball rolls down the tube and hits the toy truck. The toy truck smashes into a wooden plank and tips another toy truck down a homemade runway. If everything works right, the second truck rolls down fast, hits a block of wood with a needle taped to the front and the needle pokes a red balloon. When the balloon pops, the experiment is a success. It all happens in about 30 seconds.

My daughter is studying physics and her team created this project. While I don’t understand a lick of it, it’s interesting to observe how cause and effect works.

Do you ever wish that the reward for your efforts would come rolling down upon you as quickly as that toy car in the experiment? Or, maybe you don’t ask for that much, just a pat on the back every once in a while.  Sometimes, it does seem as if no one notices what you do.

Paul’s comment to Timothy in 2Timothy 1:5 reminds me of one mother’s (and grandmother’s) reward. Paul was telling Timothy how much he had missed him. And he commended Timothy for his good character: “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also . . .” Timothy had become a dear son to Paul and Paul loved and admired Timothy because of his character. Imagine how proud you would feel if you had been Timothy’s mother Eunice or his grandmother Lois.

Where did Timothy’s good character come from? Did it come over night? Eunice and Lois surely invested hours of teaching and modeling for Timothy.

We’re no different as modern-day mothers. We teach, we model, we love. From the moment our little ones are born, we pour into them.

Everything you do for your child matters, dear one. You are molding your children into the person God has pre-destined them to be. You won’t always get a thank you or a hug but the blessings will come and that’s a promise from God. The gap between what you are doing today and the fruit that will reveal itself in the future is called Faith. God will abundantly reward your work in the gap in a  far greater way than you can imagine.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

photo courtesy Google Free Images

You, A Work of Art

Portrait of the artis's mother

Image via Wikipedia

Do you remember the song by Stevie Wonder with the lyrics that go, “Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?” In my early years as a mother, there were days when I didn’t feel wonderful and I definitely didn’t feel lovely.  I felt lost and ill equipped to be a mother. On days like that when I could find a babysitter, I’d visit the Huntington Museum in nearby Pasadena, California.

One section of the museum show cased paintings by the Masters. The paintings were so beautiful: rich reds, deep greens and textures painted so vividly that it seemed if I touched them, I could actually feel the fibers. Sometimes the beauty of these works would bring me to tears. How could any mere human create such works of beauty? These paintings helped to brighten my spirits.

This morning I was reading in Ephesians 2:10 that we are God’s workmanship. It hit me that if artists, who are mere humans, can create such awesome works of beauty, how much more beautifully has God created us.

You are a mother designed with rich color and dimension by the paint strokes of the Master Artist who doesn’t make mistakes. You are a precious work of art. God made you that way. And he ordained your role as a mother. Believe this, even on days when you don’t feel beautiful or valued. You are a treasure shining in God’s treasure chest. You are important to him. You are of supreme value and beauty to your children, even when no one says so.