Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Birthday To My Little Boy

Childhood is such a wondrous time of beauty and joy. Although it passes all too quickly, I savor the moments to celebrate it. I cherish its hugs and kisses. I marvel at its simple pleasures. There is such beauty in the simplicity of these days of play. To watch as little hands spend hours arranging and caring for their new "animal" friends brings both delight and satisfaction to my soul. What will these little hands grow up to to? Who will they bless? Ah, may they be hands that raise in adoration to the Heavenly Father and hands that stretch out to comfort weary souls.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to School!

As my children skipped out the door early this morning carrying backpacks full of freshly sharpened pencils and crisp clean paper, their hearts were full of anticipation for what the new school year will bring. The excitement of meeting friends, experiencing different teachers, and finding their new classrooms prompted expediency to their school morning routines. The days to come will be filled with new challenges for each one of them, but it is such a blessing to see their enthusiasm to begin. It is a reminder to me of how new beginnings are precious. May I learn to look at each new day with the same fervent spirit I saw in my precious ones this morning.

"The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22,23

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trifle Messes

As I stepped downstairs to tuck my precious children into bed tonight, I was greeted by a most unsightly mess. The sight of books flung across the room, tinker toys and matchbox cars strewn underfoot, and clothes mounded into unkempt piles was enough to rattle my already very tired nerves. After digging through the chaos to find my son's bed, I found myself lecturing (nagging) my poor, unsuspecting little disciples. In a huff, I plopped myself down to pray with each one, but before the first could finish I found myself ashamed of the words I so quickly had spoken. The day had been very busy, full of mommy projects that tore my time away from them. As Abigail and I organized school supplies, cleaned backpacks, washed uniforms, etc., the younger three created stores full of wonders and trinkets in their bedrooms. They unloaded dressers to create a clothing boutique. They gathered books from throughout the house to host their own "Barnes and Noble" bookstore. They emptied toy bins to showcase in their unique toy store. They raided the monopoly game of all its paper money, and set up for a grand time. In all honesty, they were occupied for hours without grumbling or fighting with one another, yet I chose to focus on the mess instead of their pleasant spirit of unity and creativity. Quickly, I retracted the words spoken, asked for forgiveness of my selfish attitude, and promised to help them clean it up in the morning. Wearily, I trudged up the stairs to ponder the moments I have to spend with these dear children and reminded myself that relationships are far more valuable than finished projects and a clean home. May I not be so quick to forget this precious truth the next time my wearied soul encounters such trifle messes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dive In

Summer, with its lazy days, beautiful hikes, afternoon swims, and fresh lemonade is coming to an end. School days are nearly upon us, but our family is enjoying one last excuse to stay up late together as our eyes are turned toward the historical Olympic events taking place in China. We have found ourselves in awe with the rest of the world at the art and beauty of the opening ceremonies. We have engaged in discussions of the incredible contrast between the beauty of the games and the darkness so many face as they live under the oppressive Chinese government. We have prayed in hope for our pastors and friends who have gone through the open door of the Olympic games into China, encouraging and strengthening the hearts of persecuted Christians there. And we have rooted and cheered for the athletes who have trained so hard to be a part of this unfolding drama.

As we have watched swimmers, gymnasts, volleyball players, divers, cyclists, etc., many thoughts and analogies come to mind. One that has most impressed me though relates to the world of swimming. As I listened to the commentators speak of the great starts, the beautiful strokes, the powerful turns, the big finishes, my mind wandered back to my childhood years. Growing up under the shadows of my great swimming brother, I have no memory of not knowing how to swim. The privilege of cooling off in our own indoor pool prepared me to join him on the swim team at an early age. Step by step I learned strokes, kicks, turns, then starts. Endurance was built as I swam long distances with intervals of hard fast sprints. The basics were refined to create a better, faster, more streamlined race. "No pain, no gain," was the motto often quoted by my coach. There was always room for improvement, always room for growth. Likewise is my walk with the Coach of my soul, my Savior. I love how F.J. Huegel puts it in his book Bone of His Bone; "Mature Christians who have experienced an inner crucifixion, and who know what it means to count upon Christ's death, reckoning themselves dead to sin, and alive unto God through Christ, even after a lapse of years, are led to discover deeper depths of the 'self life'...However deep they may have gone, Calvary has for them still undreamed of depths of crucifixion. It is both a position once and for all taken by an act of faith, in which the believer commits himself to the place God assigns in the death of His Son, and a process of growth in which the believer appropriates, according to his need, an ever deeper life of communion with the Savior's death." To know Him and be conformed to His death (Philippians 3:10) is my life long journey. May I be ready each day to dive in with all that I am.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summer Musings

Summer and all of its wonders are nearing an end. As I write, I hear raindrops on the rooftop and my mind wanders to the incredible memories of lazy days, long hikes, late night movies, and dances on the beach. It has truly been a season of much needed rest. The days to unwind began with a long anticipated family reunion in Alabama. Cousins played in the shade of the trees and prepared summer concerts as adults sipped iced tea on Jenny's lovely southern front porch. Our reunion then moved on to Florida in a fifteen passenger van cramped with giggles and all the gear needed to enjoy our stay at the beach. We arrived at a lovely hotel and quickly found ourselves immersed in the wonders of the ocean. Upon our first excursion into the waters, we found an overpopulation of jellyfish. But this did not dampen our spirits, and soon all of the cousins were catching the creatures in nets supplied by Mama and Papa. The sounds of crashing waves and children's giggles are still imprinted upon my memory. When I consider the vastness of the ocean, my heart sings "How Great Is Our God." How incredible the thought, the One who made all of these wonders seeks a relationship with me. The God who made stars in the heavens so immense that earth is but dust in comparison, came to earth to die so that I could know Him intimately. Considering it causes my heart to swell with joy and my to feet dance in freedom. Like a little child, I bask in the wonder of my Father's love, and pray I will never lose that childish heart towards Him.

Thanks Mama and Papa for a wonderful trip.