Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Tears in His Bottle

Home videos and reminiscing through family photos have a way of reminding me of the way…

…I miss his voice.
…I miss his sarcasm.
…I miss his laugh.
…I miss the times he would take time for fun.
…I miss his comfort during times of pain.
…I miss his presence.
…I just miss him.

(Brookfield Zoo 1978)

"The Lord cares deeply when His loved ones die." ~ Psalm 116:15 (NLT)

(Grandkids weekend 2006)

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." ~ Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

"When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!" My daughter, Andelise, (2-years-old) sings these lyrics and informs me that it is "Gaga's song". She is the only one that I don't have any pictures of with my dad because he had already gone to heaven. It makes me smile to think about heaven all the while tugging at my heart.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Meditation

"Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so we would stop living for sin and start living for what is right. And you are healed because of his wounds." - 1 Peter 2:24

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Will this ever end?

As I watched my 8-year-old tie her gym shoes before school this morning, I remembered the days when I thought she would wear velcroe for life (this would have made her daddy proud). I thought about how I thought her 5-year-old sister would use me as her food source well past an acceptable age and wear pull-ups to high school. I'm proud to say that they are both drinking from cups and fully potty trained. I'm certain Jaycie will learn how to tie her shoes very soon just as Nikelle learned how to ride the bike I never thought she'd master. So, last night as I listened to my 2 1/2-year-old cry at me all night, I had to remember that I went through the same battle with her sisters (maybe not at this age) and they both learned to consistently sleep through the night.

After my mom kindly took the girls overnight last night, she suggested that Andelise has possibly just formed a habit of needing me in the middle of the night. She also asked me a great question as to whether or not there was anything I really did that helped my daughter when she cried for me. The answer is no. Other than both of us losing sleep together. This is why I decided I was not going to get up every time this little girl yelled my name.

Believe me, as I watched the minutes blink up on my digital clock, I wondered if this was a mistake. I listened to my little conartist come up with every excuse possible. "Mommy!" "My back hurts. I need a bandaid for my back." "My foot hurts." "I want juice. I not like water." "I want my Daddy." "My belly hurts." "I scared." "I can't see." It went on and on. I'd get a little bit of sleep here and there when she'd fall asleep because she forgot that she was attempting to coerce me into her room but... Wow! That girl knows how to manipulate! And to think she has months to go before she turns 3!

As I sit here this morning wondering how I am going to make it through the day (thank God for nap time!), I realize that I must face battles for the better good. She needs to sleep through the night. It is in her best interest (she'll be healthier and happier) and it is in my best interest (years of interrupted sleep really begin to take a toll) and it is most certainly in my family's best interest (us girls who don't get solid sleep seem to be the meanest and angriest).

It also makes me think about other things I need to actually endure some seemingly bad moments to achieve the good (saying no to dessert or enduring the pain of exercise). Yep, sometimes we have to work through the pain to get to the desired result. And we'll be better for it.

I hear a happy baby talking in her room right now. (Technically, I suppose she is no longer a baby but until she sleeps through the night and gets out of diapers, I think we'll continue to call her that. I certainly hope we no longer face this battle when she's entering high school.) "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:4)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Word "Love"

February is a month set aside to celebrate love. What picture comes to your mind when you think of the world “love”?

It seems as though my children have been sick since the beginning of the New Year. In reality, we’ve enjoyed many days of good health. Still, I find myself throwing a pity party very often and longing for time to myself. As I nurse my children from one ailment to the next, I can’t help but think of my own childhood and the way my mother was always there when I was feeling under the weather. I think of the way she sacrificed herself and went above and beyond to help me feel better. This was one of her many expressions of love for me. When my heart aches for the pain my children are experiencing, I realize that my own mother must have had the same experience as she kissed my burning forehead or held my hair back as I hugged the toilet bowl. Mothers have a way of instinctively knowing how to show love to their children.

When I think of the word love, my mom always comes to mind. While February is full of celebrations, it is also a reminder to me of some very difficult days: the final days of my dad’s battle with cancer. Remembering those days reminds me of love. While “love” reminds me of my mom because of all of her expressions offered in my childhood, it was more blatantly demonstrated in that final year of my dad’s life.

“Love” is the sacrificial way she cared for my Dad. It is the picture in my mind of her sitting near him fighting back her emotions and singing hymns, as she held my Daddy’s hand and waited for him to join His Savior. She was able to give me this example of love because she was in constant communication with God and “God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

My mom is a servant. She knows God’s desire for her life and she lives it out. The fact is that I’m not very good at being a servant. Sacrifice does not come naturally for me. It would benefit me greatly to be more intentional in remembering my mom’s example as I live out my life. For ultimately, it will remind me of the sacrifice God made through His Son. “This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

What picture comes to mind when you think of the word “love”?

Saturday, February 12, 2011


It was beginning to feel like this year would be designated towards nursing sick children back to good health. I realize it's only the 12th of February, and there have been healthy days more often than not, but our "home" has felt more like an infirmary than sanctuary to me these past weeks.

It didn't matter how much perspective I attempted to gain yesterday. I tried to remind myself about parents caring for children with long-term illnesses, those who long for the opportunity to care for a child they can call their own, or those who ache for moments past of rocking their child in their ams once again. I simply could not snap out of my destructive mindset. The bottom line was that I was spent and I needed a break.

This morning I woke up to a cry from my 2-year-old (I suppose 4 a.m. on a Saturday is technically still the middle of the night for most). After realizing she must have fallen quickly back asleep, my mind could not rest. I tip-toed into her room and brush her forehead to calm my worries. Content that her temperature seemed normal and hearing her breathing, I crawled back into bed hoping for a couple more hours of sleep. Sleep would not come.

I decided to get up and make the most of whatever uninterrupted time that I had to read. Uninterrupted time was something it seemed the flu bug in my children was aiming to take away from me (along with my energy, my joyful spirit and my sleep). I was going to make the most of this time.

Opening Lysa Terkeurst's book, Made to Crave, I read about how I could "satisfy my deepest desires with God, not food." At the same time, I was reminded of so much more as she talked about God's power in raising Christ from the dead. Ephesians 1:19-20 states "That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms." I can connect with that. Giving life, especially when that life has ended, is something only our God can do.

What energized me this morning was the reminder that as Christians, we are given the Holy Spirit to enable us with this same power. While I'm not saying that we can raise people from the dead, we are told that this very power that raised Christ from the dead is available to help us. "And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus fromthe dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you." (Romans 8:11)

While Lysa is reminding me that I have power to say no to the temptation of food, she is also reminding me that I can access this power for everything. When I feel beyond exhausted, short-fused, discouraged and defeated, I need to know that God can give me strength, patience, hope and victory.

It reminds me of the song we've been singing in church: Our God by Chris Tomlin. The song is full of repetative truth. Every time we sing it in church (which feels a bit more powerful than listening to it on You Tube), I leave enabled to take on the day!

I'm learning that the way to overcome my destructive thoughts is to fill my mind with truth. "So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can defeat us." Romans 8:31

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

God = Rest and Refreshment

If you are looking for a good devotional book, I highly recommend Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. The book's back cover entices with the message that "Each day is written as if Jesus Himself were speaking to you." Each time I open the book, I find a message that speaks straight to my heart.

Here's what I read today from yesterday's devotion:
"Come to me for rest and refreshment. The journey has been too much for you, you are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life."

"Why am I so sad? Why am I upset? I should put my hope in God and keep praising Him, my Savior and my God." - Psalm 42:11 (NCV)