Wednesday, October 29

If These Walls Could Talk

I was cleaning out my closet several years ago and casually tossed a black and white polka dot dress into the give away pile. My husband Art happened to walk by and ask what I was doing.

I knew I needed to ease into this conversation because he’s not much into giving away a piece of clothing just because it’s out of style. His theory is if it isn’t threadbare, it’s still perfectly good to wear.

Plus, he no longer grows out of clothes. That pretty much stopped for him in high school.

I, however, have a different body type. One that has issues which require size options…especially around my thigh, hip, and waist regions.

And I’m no fashionista but if people start asking to borrow things from your closet for the ugly Christmas sweater party or a throwback to the 80’s themed get-together, it might be time to get rid of some things.

Ahem.

So, I quickly replied, “Just getting rid of some things we no longer need.”

“Well you can’t get rid of this dress,” he stated with great passion.

And then just as I was about to explain what birthing babies did to the body that used to wear that dress he continued:

“I mean this is the dress you were wearing when I fell in love with you.”

Needless to say, I kept the dress.

But it no longer hangs in my closet.

Let me explain.

This past summer, as I was preparing for child number 4 to leave for college, I decided to do a little redecorating in our home. And as part of this process, I also decided I wanted the artwork in our home to tell the story of our family.

I didn’t want to purchase things to hang on the wall just because they looked cute and filled the space with a decorative flair.

I wanted my walls to talk and tell our story. It’s not that our story is epic. Not at all. But I love tracing God’s hand of faithfulness in our lives through the ups and downs of our imperfect love.

So, when you walk in the front door, you’ll find the dress.

This is where it all started. There was a crazy city girl in a polka dot dress that caught the eye of a farm boy from Alabama. And then all this happened because the two of them fell in love.

This is the copy of the prayer Art’s dad prayed over us on December 5, 1992. I wore a long white dress I got on the clearance rack for $200. My little sister, who was just 2 at the time, sang “happy birthday” at the top of her lungs during the lighting of the unity candle. And the first morning of my honeymoon I had to brush my hair with a fork because I’d forgotten to pack a hairbrush.

The first year of our life together wasn’t easy or blissful. But one of the greatest gifts we got that year was this letter from Art’s grandfather. After describing in great detail the homemade biscuits and giblet gravy Mamaw had made for him that morning, he wrote what has become our motto for marriage: “Life is more than just the living of it. Now, go discover it together.”

There were kids and dogs and beach trips with sunburns. There were sleepless nights and tears and a hormonal wife that threw orange juice across the kitchen. There was forgiveness and flirting and days we just pressed through.

And we marked how they grew on the doorframe of the kitchen. The days were long but the years so short.

NapkinTies_post

There were old traditions and new traditions as we gathered around the sticky farm table. The food was never fancy but the conversations were long and linger to this day at our sticky farm table.

This is the making of an imperfect family who is still crazy about one another. So, I guess you could say our walls do talk. They tell a love story. Our story. My favorite story.

Friday, October 10

When Fear Chases Me

My eyes popped open and my heart raced when my phone buzzed at 1AM. Good news isn’t usually delivered at that hour. I hopped out of bed and grabbed my phone.

“Mom, police have my dorm on lockdown and are running up and down the hall shouting. I don’t know what’s going on but I’m scared.”

It was from Ashley, my college freshman daughter, over 7 hours away from me.

I tried calling her but the reception was so bad neither of us could make out what the other was saying. Texting was my only option so I asked a series of questions trying to get a better handle of what was happening.

My hands were shaking. My heart was racing. And I felt intensely helpless.

Scary images assaulted my mind with all the possible scenarios a completely shaken mama conjures up in moments of frightening uncertainty. I sank down to my knees and begged God to clear my head and give me the words to text that would help…

Have you ever experienced an intense moment of fear like this? Day by day, I’m learning that I can feel afraid but I don’t have to live afraid. I’m sharing what this situation with Ashley has taught me about fear over at (in)courage today. Click here to read the rest of this story.

I’m also giving away 3 copies of It Will Be Okay right here on my blog. Just leave a comment below to be entered to win.

Tuesday, October 7

5 Scriptures to Help Your Child Through Fear & Change

One of the hardest life lessons for me to teach my kids has been on fear and worry. As their mom, I feel what they feel. I hurt when they hurt. I worry about their worries.

When one of my daughters was seven, she suddenly became afraid to get up on a stage in front of her school. This was something she’d loved before, yet anxiety was paralyzing her now. So, I told her I’d sit on the front row and she could keep her eyes locked on me. My presence could give her reassurance and my smile could give her courage.

It worked great because I was there, in person. But as my kids have grown, I’ve had to get more creative. I’ve needed to be intentional in helping them find this same assurance and courage to face their fears by keeping their eyes on God and turning to Scripture.

If you’re a parent or have children in your life, I suspect you know exactly what I’m talking about.

So, here are 5 Scripture memory verses that will be helpful to tuck into your kids’ hearts or stick on their mirror, to equip them with the most powerful tool – God’s Word:

1) Psalm 56:3-4, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.” (NIV)

2) Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

3) Genesis 28:15, “’I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go,’” (NIV)

4) Zepheniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” (NIV)

5) Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV)

For 5 more Scriptures to memorize with your kids, check out my brand new (as in, today-is-the-release-day-new) children’s book called It Will Be Okay: Trusting God through Fear and Change. With this book, your child will:

• Discover that God is always with them as they overcome new or scary circumstances
• Replace doubtful thoughts about God’s plan as they learn to trust Him through change
• Build their relationship with God by introducing them to the scripturally based characteristics of who God is

Proverbs 31 Ministries is offering It Will Be Okay for a SPECIAL release day price of $9.99.

This offer is only valid until 11:59 PST on Wednesday, October 8! Click here to purchase your copy.

And please know my mommy heart is praying for you and your kids as you memorize these verses and read this book. I’m praying for you as you translate this story into the unique fears and worries your kids are facing today.

And then hopefully they can carry this lesson of trusting God into the days ahead that will no longer end with bedtime stories.