11.27.2013

Thank God for Smelly Shoes

Hi friends! I’m so glad you’ve joined me for week 3 of the 4-week series I’m doing to speak to fragile mama hearts everywhere. (Click here if you missed week 1 or click here if you missed week 2.)

In my motherhood journey, how many shoes will I pick up and put back, only to pick them up and put them back again…and again…and again?

One day, when my children were younger, I remember counting more than 14 pairs of shoes that were just within eyesight of where I was sitting. I was frustrated that these shoes weren’t where they were supposed to be. Visions of chore charts and consequences for leaving things out started dancing about in my mind.

I even went so far as to think that this was yet more evidence that my kids are not as thankful as they should be. Kids who were truly thankful for their shoes would care enough to tuck them into their closet shoe racks.

But as I mentally chided my children for their ungratefulness, I felt God gently give me a piece of my own reprimand.

Was I modeling thankfulness in this moment?

Scattered shoes are a normal, everyday thing with a hidden treasure about them. It’s all in how I choose to look at these shoes that will determine whether I feel drained and frustrated or filled up and thankful.

I stopped and thanked God for this evidence of life. Some had grass and dirt on them as proof that our kids were healthy and strong enough to run and play. Some had scuffmarks from one too many dances on the concrete outside. Some had teeth marks from our beloved dog, Champ, whose favorite pastime is chasing kids, balls, and stray shoes. One had paint on it from a school project. But all were well worn, broken in, and definitely used.

These shoes tell stories of life, if only I make the choice to listen.

Maybe you’ve felt a little frustrated with the shoes scattered about your home as well. But the next time you pick them up, instead of letting frustration whisk you away, listen carefully to the story they tell. Listen carefully and thank God for each and every precious soul who wears those shoes.

Today… let’s look at it all through the lens of thanksgiving. Instead of seeing a mess and frowning, let’s see rich evidence of life and smile.

I want to see it all through the lens of thanksgiving...

One commenter will win 4 signed copies of my book, Am I Messing Up My Kids? – one copy to keep and 3 to give away to other mamas in need! Leave a comment below telling me who you would give the 3 copies away to, and why.

11.22.2013

Friday Favorites: Intentional Gifts

I love getting gifts and giving gifts that have a deeper meaning to them. Gifts that are wrapped in love, have Scriptural teaching, or support organizations that are changing the world in Jesus’ name. Yes, I treasure the rarity of finding intentional gifts to bless those closest to me.

And after getting to know you through the sweet comments you tuck away on my posts, friend, I think you feel the same way.

So, as Christmas approaches, I’m gathering up ideas for intentional gift-giving.

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1) Wool Blend Knit Twist Cowl – My friend Brittany makes these scarves to help put her husband through Bible school – they are truly an example of a couple who works together as a team. Every stitch she knits is such a beautiful act of love.
2) Truly Treasured Wallet – This wallet has a unique flair to it, not just because of the design, but because it has Scripture (Romans 8:28) embroidered on the other side. Each time you go to use this wallet, you will be reminded you are treasured and that God is working all things for good to fulfill His purpose in your life.
3) I Am His Medallion Necklace – I love this! It was given to me and I wear it often. The necklace proclaims that “I am His” with Scriptural affirmation on the back. (Jeremiah 1:5)
4) His Christmas Names Ornament Set – These special ornaments proclaim timeless truth as you trim your tree this year. Each set includes seven names of Jesus and a small book with stories to read about the significance of each name. This is a beautiful way to connect the wonder of Jesus with your children, family, and friends.

Leave a comment today with the name of one of your friends and which of these gifts you’d like to give her. I’ll randomly pick one commenter to win the gift you picked for your friend and an extra one for yourself.

So fun. Happy Friday!

11.20.2013

Why Do I Feel That It’s My Fault When My Child Messes Up?

Welcome to week 2 of the 4-week series I’m doing to answer the question many of us moms have… Lord, am I messing up my kids? (Click here if you missed last week’s post.)

Have you ever struggled with letting a circumstance that came your way suddenly define you? This seems to be a lesson God lets me live over and over. He wants to be my only definition of who I am.

I am a child of God, holy and dearly loved. I know this. I teach this.

I believe this in the very depths of my soul. Yet it is so easy for me to slip into redefining myself when situations arise.

Several years ago, one of my precious-precious-precious-yet-just-as-apt-to-sin-as-the-rest-of-us kids was called to the principal’s office—on the very day I received an invitation to speak at a national parenting conference, thank you very much.

With my head I was able to see the situation for what it was. “My child is in the process of being shaped. My child is strong, and while this will serve her well later in life, strength in an immature little person begs to be disciplined. She is a sweet child who made a not-so-sweet choice.”

However, with my heart I felt like a failure. I wanted to decline the opportunity to speak at that conference and go crawl in a hole somewhere. A part of me felt as though I’d been called to the principal’s office as the voice of condemnation started haunting me, “You are a bad mom. You have a bad child. You have a bad home.”

So, quietly, I slipped away with Jesus. And I did what I’ve done a hundred times before. I held those condemnations up to the Lord and asked Him to help me see this situation the way He wants me to see it. Not the way others see it, not the way my heart is tempted to see it, but the way He sees it.

Matthew 7:24-27 says:
Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

Do you know what amazes me about those verses? Both the person doing right and the person doing wrong experienced hard times. In both cases the rains came, the streams rose, and the wind blew and beat against the house.

Just because we’re parents living out God’s principles for life does not mean we won’t face difficult circumstances.

God’s Spirit spoke to my heart that day and said, “Let Me invade your natural flesh reaction. Instead of letting your mind run wild with this, sit with Me for a while. Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

So I sat and I prayed. I went from defining myself as a failure of a mom to being a praying mom who can face a hardship in a godly way. The frustration was diffused as I determined to look at this from God’s perspective.

Once again, God reassured me. I am not a bad mom. My child is not a bad child. My home is not a bad home. This situation is a call to action. There is a character issue that needs to be addressed within the heart of my child. And kids are supposed to have character issues that need to be addressed. That’s why God gave them parents. That’s why God gave me this specific child. God sees within me the ability to be the one He’s perfectly designed to raise up this child.

When hard times come and beat against our stability, we must be determined to hear God’s words and put them into practice. Then nothing can topple our peace, security, or true identity.

I’m not sure who else needed to hear that—but I know I certainly did. So dry your tears, sweet mama. Today is a new day. A day when we will only be defined by God’s truth and grace as we navigate this wild wonder called parenthood.

We all need to extend grace to ourselves and enjoy slow moments to recharge our hearts. Today, I’m giving away 3 treat bundles that include a Starbucks gift card, a candle, and a copy of my book Am I Messing Up My Kids? to help you do just that.

messingupmykidsgiveaway

To be entered to win, leave a comment below telling me what verses you rely on when handling a hard situation with your child. {All winners will be notified via e-mail.}