Thursday, May 5, 2016

I need Thee every hour.

There is nothing so conflicting as the emotions of motherhood.

Night after night, you dream of the night when you will not have to wake up to tiny cries, when you can tuck your precious littles into their beds and enjoy a night of restful, unhindered sleep. And yet that same night, when their soft, chubby fingers are curled around your thumb and you feel the soft whispers of their warm breath on your chest as they dream in your arms, your eyes fill with thankful tears. You close them and take in the moment in, hoping to imprint it on your mind forever.

Day after day, you struggle with frustration and impatience with a toddler who seems to choose disobedience at the most inconvenient times. You tire of saying "no" what seems like thousands of times a day, you wish you could have just a few minutes to be alone and to get away from the whining and the tantrums. And yet, when that same toddler lifts up her head to give you an open-mouth, wet, adorable kiss, your heart feels like it will burst because you love her so much! The  just-woke-up, warm snuggles she gives you in the morning when the house is quiet and still make you feel like you could hold her forever and ever.

As the laundry piles up, and the kitchen floor collects sticky spots, and the dinner needs stirring on the stove, you feel the pressures of daily tasks. And yet, besides the building list of items on your to-do list, there is another kind of pressure that comes and goes- the realization that you know your precious toddler and infant won't be little for long. Coloring flowers, finger-painting, and reading Goodnight Moon ten times in a row will soon be things of the past. She's starting to sing "Twinkle, twinkle, Little star" by herself. You're jumping up and down with her and cheering because she went potty like a big girl. Your toddler is growing up and soon her sister will too. Time will not stop. It keeps on going. Sometimes this brings you joy, sometimes sadness. That's the funny thing about being a Mommy- some days you want to fast-forward to a new stage, while at another moment you wish time would just stand still. These are the conflicts motherhood brings.

How can your heart feel such weariness and yet such joy? such impatience and yet such love? such a longing for this season of littles to pass and yet other times when you wish these precious moments would last forever? A longing to just "get through the day," and other times when you reverently soak it all in and enjoy every moment?

If there's one thing I know about motherhood, it is that it changes you. You begin to experience these conflicts. You also experience emotions you had never felt before. You continually feel like you are being stretched beyond what you can bear, and yet there is always more stretching to be done! You see your sin like never before. But you also get the chance to see Jesus like never before. For, if you are one of His children, He is there in the trenches of motherhood with you, molding you to become more like Him. This molding takes many forms- sleepless nights, faithfully and gently taking your toddlers hands in your own and talking with her about obedience while the baby is crying and dinner is about to boil over and you would rather ignore the disobedience and move on, singing Amazing Grace as you tuck her into bed, teaching her not to whine when your head is fighting back complaints about how weary you feel and everything in you wants to whine yourself. Motherhood regularly brings me to Jesus' feet, begging Him for help. My prayers are short- "Father, keep me from frustration." "Help me speak with kindness and gentleness." "Thank you for being patient with me over and over, God! Give me patience now!" "Father, please save her! Teach her that she needs You" and "Thank you God for the gifts of these littles!" I realize my desperate need of him more than I ever have before.

Just last night, during a much needed moment alone, thanks to my sweet husband, I listened to the hymn "I need Thee every hour," and I never felt my heart resonate so much with those words as I did in that moment. Since then, I've been singing them throughout the diaper changes and car rides to the grocery store that my time has been filled with today.

Motherhood has been teaching me how much I need Jesus. Not just every hour but every second in the hour! Motherhood is one of the hardest things I have ever done. And yet is is one of the best things as well! And I think it is that way because it draws me more and more to my loving Savior.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Little Bird: A Father's love


Did you know that I think thoughts of you? Well, I do and very often! I prayed for you this morning. I prayed that you might "comprehend the love that God has toward you." It really is a love that is hard to understand. "No greater love hath any many than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends." Meditate on the cross... Not Jesus the one sentenced to die at the hands of men, but Jesus who, on His celestial calendar, scheduled an appointment with death, selected the means by which He would die, and orchestrated it completely so that His own would have life. He willingly laid down His life, for you! That's love in a way that is almost incomprehensible!

I love you so much, Kali. I realize in the business of life I fail to tell you, but I do love you so much. The other Wednesday, when you had the paper on your back [something our youth group did one night to encourage the teens to speak words of encouragement to one another], I could have written a novel on it about all the special things about you. There are so many.

Inwardly... compassionate, gentle, caring, respectful, faithful, sweet-spirited, helpful, considerate, diligent, smart, and fun in your own special way. I really enjoy your company and being around you. You honor me. I absolutely love when you hold my hand or lay your head on my shoulder. You are so special to me! I could go on, but I have a 7:00 appointment for work.

Outwardly... God has designed you and decorated you. Remember that outward beauty fades but the inward, which you have, is lifelong, even when you are all shrunken and wrinkled at 80!

Well, it's 6:45 and I can't keep my appointment waiting, but remember this- you are special, precious, and God has placed us together on this planet and I am so thankful and grateful!

Set your mind on the things above where Christ, Jesus, Savior, Messiah, Groom is now seated... interceding for you! Look up. Look up. Look up.

Life can get stagnant and seem so vain. "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity." But is is only a vapor. He is all that matters. Meditate, mutter things about Him today. Pray without ceasing. Think today, not about applying your quiet time, but about a relationship, a real live love relationship you have with your Creator and Savior!

In closing, remember that I am committed to you. I will always love you and, while I have breath and fight in my bones, I will be here for you.

I love you forever.... Your firstborn Daddy. "

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Little Bird: On belief systems and role models

"Dearest Kali, (my firstborn daughter),

First, I want to start out by telling you how very much I love you. My love for you is unconditional! That means that no matter what you do... or don't do, I will always love you. I am so proud to be your dad! You truly are a special little lady. You have so much talent the Lord has given you. I am excited to see the life He has planned for you (Eph. 2:10). He prepared before you were born the good works you will do for Him!!!

The posters coming off of your wall was the first of many decisions you will make over your lifetime for God. As I was in school yesterday, I realized that Mommy and I are the ones who bought the posters and movies, not realizing the harm that could come by them. For that I am sorry... for leading you down a road that would be displeasing to God. Your decision to take them down or not watch the movies has to be to honor God and not me... I thought of some verses that go with making this decision:

- Romans 12:1-2. You are a living sacrifice to God to be holy and acceptable. Do not be conformed to this world.

- 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. We are not to be tied together with unbelievers and looking up to unbelievers as a role model or an idol can be harmful.

- Philippians 2:1-16. We are to think like Christ thinks. That is why we always need to look to God and His Word and see if there is anything in our lives that displeases Him. You were "working out your salvation" when you took those posters down. And God was working in you for His pleasure and not our own!

I want to let you know that if you ever have any questions, I am always here for you! As far as [teen celebrities names] are concerned, there is still one problem... They don't believe in Jesus! I think as a father/daughter project, we should sit down and write a letter to them and share the Gospel with them... What do you think?

Something else that this has brought up in my life... I am convicted to take a hard look at my own choices of movies or things I do that may not honor the Lord. You see, Kali, you never stop growing no matter how old you are. You have to realize that the world (Satan's kingdom) will try to entice you into its belief system and 1 Peter 5:8 says that Satan is a lion walking about looking to devour Christians. Most often this will come by him making the world and all the lust of it look good. Always stay in the Word, because it is the only detergent that can clean your mind and keep it from becoming worldly.

I love you with all my heart and I do pray for you, my little sister In Christ! 3 John 1:4 says that there's no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth!!

Always your Daddy,
Forever your brother.