7.2.2015

What Are You Missing?

A few summers ago, my son, Mark, was working at a family camp. While the mountains were breathtaking, the friends were plentiful, and the food was every teenager’s dream, he missed home. Not horribly – but just enough to tug on the vulnerable places of his heart.

I knew he needed some sweet comfort from home. So, I packaged up some things he needed and a few things that I simply knew would make him happy and sent my gift of love.

After a few days, I kept wondering when I’d get a text message from him with smiles and thank you’s and “wow – you’re the best mom ever.” A girl can dream right?

But no text message came.

Each day that went by I got more and more frustrated by his lack of acknowledgement of my gift. Then I started to wonder if he’d ever even received it. So, I had Art, my non-emotional husband, call because he could simply ask, “Did you get the package from mom?”

And Mark simply said, “Oh yeah, I did get a box from mom but I haven’t opened it yet.”

Hunh? Who gets a gift of love packaged up and sent to them and doesn’t even take the time to open it?

But the Holy Spirit has been showing me that sometimes I do the exact same thing to the Lord. Ouch. You can read more of my post over at (in)courage today here.

6.24.2015

Why Do Girls Like to Take So Many Pictures?

The looks from the guys were unmistakable. Pausing for another picture meant they were about to enter into their girl’s quest for the perfect shot that looks accidentally awesome.

So the directions to the dudes begin:

Look natural but please strike a pose.

Look casual but please don’t be goofy.

Smile but not so big as to make it look forced.

Place your arms around me…
No, to the side…
No, that actually isn’t working at all. It makes me look bigger than you.

Just drop your arms and let me just hold onto your side which helps hide my hips.

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Okay, now smile.

No, not like that.

Not like that either.

I mean show your teeth but not all the way to your gums.

You know that look like we just caught you in your most happy moment ever? That’s what we are going for.

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Just look like you are really enjoying yourself.

Snap. Snap. Snap.

Okay, now let me see. Okay, that was good but let’s try a few more.

And so goes the torture of getting “that” picture.

Maybe you are a guy who loves this whole process because you are the picture lover in your family more than the girls. All the heart emojis to you today.

I happen to do life with less enthusiastic fellas.

So, here’s a quick little article to help you understand what’s really going on with these pictures that feel so very painful to capture. It’s more than an Instagram post. It’s more than an addition to our Facebook timeline. It’s more than a potential new profile pic or screen saver for our phone.

When a girl loves a guy she wants to be able to prove to herself this is real.

He is my person. I am his. And together we stand.

Pictures are a way to snag the essence of the making of us.

Like Romans 12: 9 says it’s her way to “cling to what is good.”

A picture to a girl isn’t just a way to capture a memory. It’s a way to preserve a million thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams culminating into that very moment with you.

She’ll revisit that picture many times.

She will hold it in her hand and turn it this way and that. And the stability of that picture that doesn’t change will give her hope that the two of you can stand the test of time.

And it will make her feel safe when her heart gets shaky. She’ll examine the way you were holding her hand or touching her face or looking toward her.

This picture will prove something she needs to know but can’t explain.

This picture is a great gift you are giving her without even realizing it. Trust me, it’s worth it.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So very true.

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So, think of the taking of this picture as your way of expressing things she’s desperate to hear you say but you’ll never think of all the words.

And the next photo she asks for? See it as the love note you don’t have to write. The song to her you don’t have to compose. The poem about your love you didn’t have to anguish over.

Look at her with great adoration and right before they snap the picture whisper into her ear, “I’m seriously the luckiest guy on the planet.”

6.18.2015

4 Fun Ways to Grow Your Child’s Faith

My kids have always been fascinated when I’ve shared things I remember from my childhood with them. Those memories are especially meaningful when I point out how the stories relate to my life now.

So much about our stories can be traced back to God’s hand working in our lives, and when we share them, our kids can see evidence that Jesus is real and intimately involved with us.

What’s even more surprising is that they can later recall them in surprising detail! It’s amazing how well they remember the life lessons that I tie to the stories I tell.

While it may be difficult for a child to recall a passage of Scripture they just read, most can recall in specific detail the accounts of a story.

For instance, I love to tell them of the time my stepdad brought home a hand-me-down typewriter from his office. I placed my hands on the keys and wondered what it would be like to type pages of legible words. I loved the rap-tip-tap sound it made and envisioned myself finishing the final page of a book. I didn’t know enough words at that point to write an entire book, but one day I would.

That story allowed me to point out that even back then, Jesus was preparing me for my calling as an author. And although my kids may not understand their own callings yet, by seeing me live out mine and knowing that the Lord put it in my heart at a young age, they understand the reality that God does indeed have a plan for their lives. This gives them access to Divine Truth.

Jesus wanted children to have access to Him, “‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matthew 19:14)

Tim Kimmel, in his book, “Why Christian Kids Rebel,” explains the number one reason that children walk away from the faith is that they never see it make a real difference in the lives of their parents.

So now, not only do I trace the hand of God in my past stories, but I also constantly look for ways to exemplify Jesus today.

I point out answers to things we’ve prayed about.

I show them the many ways God provides and make sure they know where credit is due.

I live my faith out loud so they cannot miss that Christ is the center of our home.

He has become too real to deny.

I pray my kids will start collecting their own stories of experiencing God. Then they can share the reality of Christ’s presence with their friends today and with their own children in the future. Yes, indeed, let the children have access to Jesus.

Help your child look for the hand of God in their life with “4 Fun Ways to Grow Your Child’s Faith”!

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