Unexpected Blessings…

Unexpected blessings….

I invite you to check out my guest post on the Breathe Christian writing conference blog. If you live anywhere close to Grand Rapids, Michigan, I highly recommend this writing conference.

Unexpected Blessings…

It’s an amazing conference with an amazing group of supportive Christian writers…you will be encouraged and inspired!

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Letting go…a mother’s thoughts on graduation Sunday

Today’s the day.

I am a meshing of emotions as I prepare for church knowing my eldest child will graduate from high school later this afternoon.

The baby God entrusted to her daddy and me 18 years ago has grown up. As I look back over the memories, it seems like the years, the months, the days have just flown by. The sleepless nights when she was little, the Girl Scout outings, the school plays, the countless soccer games we both coached and watched….

From the moment she was placed in my arms, I knew somewhere in the depths of my heart that as a mother desiring to raise her daughter in a Christian home that God would guide me and carry me through this thing called motherhood. I also knew that letting go would be an ongoing lesson for me as this little girl grew into the Christian woman God created her to be.

Proverbs tells us…. Train a child in the ways he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

She is a strong, faithful young woman of Christ ready to spread her wings and fly. I know as her mother I must let go…allow her to fly…and trust God to guide her and lead her as He has me.

Thank you dear Lord for the privilege of being her mother…help me now to trust You as she prepares to make her way in the world.

The sky is the limit…spread your wings and soar…He will always be there to catch you…

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Let go and let God

Sometimes, I am a slow learner…like in the case of worrying…but I’m finally getting it, finally realizing that of all the things I can do, worry is probably the least productive use of my time.

Worry doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the situation. It doesn’t move anything forward. It only adds to the anxiety, the list of what-ifs.

Let go and let God means to let go of worry and let God handle it.

My life is full of a lot of things I could worry about right now. A lot.

Yet, I am sitting here…peaceful. Wow…what a difference a year makes.

As much as I was not happy at that moment, having a friend point out to me how much I was worrying over a situation last June has been life changing.

I have learned to pray, to surrender, to release whatever is weighing me down. Let go and let God truly has meaning for me.

I have lost enough sleep. Wasted enough time fretting over things that have never happened.  Tried to figure things out on my own too many times.

Sigh…a sigh of relief. My friend, you don’t have to carry those worries any more. Pray over them and offer them to God. Trust the One who loves You so much. Let go and let God. And then breathe….God’s got this.

And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

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Slow Down… reflections from a mother’s heart

Wow…where has time gone? Next weekend, my daughter graduates from high school. As I prepare for the party and sort through years of pictures, my heart is sad and excited all at the same time. Sad she is leaving. Excited for all that the future holds for her. Proud of all she has already accomplished in her young life.

I feel so blessed she has a strong faith that guides her day to day living. She has a clear sense of  what she wants to do with her life. She has a passion for mission work and for helping people.

I heard this song by Nichole Nordeman and the tears flowed as I drove home from work the other night…Slow down, won’t you stay here a minute more, I know you want to walk through the door but it’s all too fast, let’s make it last a little while. I pointed to the sky and now you wanna fly, I am your biggest fan, I hope you know I am but do you think you can somehow slow down…

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God gives us the beautiful gift of our children…to love, to nurture, to cherish…if only they didn’t grow up so fast.

It seems like I was just graduating myself but very, very soon my daughter will be. Honestly, weren’t we just visiting her favorite princesses at Disney World?

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Dearest daughter…as you prepare to face the world and make your own way… always remember that He is always there with you and your mom is only a phone call or text away.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not for harm, to give you a future and a hope
Jeremiah 29:11

Shaping, Needing, Trusting…

The tears flowed freely during the service…the words of Lord I Need You stirring something deep within my heart. Maybe it’s knowing in just two weeks my precious daughter who is full of dreams and ambitions will be graduating from high school. Maybe it is the overwhelming sense of responsibility, of its all-consuming nature of my job and all the mountains of challenges I face there. Maybe it is a million other things…I’m not sure, but I do know the tears flowed freely in church this morning.

Lord, I Need You…every hour, every moment. Maybe more than anything, it was simply that I needed to be reminded of that because I have been trying too hard on my own to keep it all together at work, at home, in relationships with others. Maybe I need to breathe, trust more, seek Him first before I react with fear, anxiety, dread…maybe I need reminded that in everything  I need to seek Him first before I allow any other thought to overwhelm me.

I spent yesterday with my daughter as she registered for her college classes. I spent this morning at her Girls Christian Fellowship senior breakfast. I listened to the words of wisdom the speakers bestowed upon the soon to be high school graduates. The reminders of the promises in Jeremiah 29:11…God has the plans figured out…just be open to His leading. Try lots of things. Stay steadfast in your faith.

One of the things that really stuck out to me are these profound words of wisdom and truth…The things we love shape us, but we shape the things we love.

I reflected for a moment…the things I love…my family, my job, writing and the writing community, my church, my relationship with God, my friendships…really do shape me daily. But, I have the power to shape these things daily both positively and negatively. My reactions to situations. My moods. How I spend my time. My words. My actions. How I listen. All of these things have the power to shape the things I love.

That’s some powerful stuff.

So between these thoughts on shaping and trusting God in the plans for my life and acknowledging my need for Him every day, every hour, every moment…I know He will take care of me…and you…all of us..if we will trust and surrender and profess our need for Him.

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

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Just a Boy and His Dog

One warm October day 9 years ago, an adorable furry dog wandered into our yard as my husband was mowing. I am a dog lover…so when no one claimed him, my husband gave into my daughter and me. We became the owners of a wire hair terrier that the vet estimated to be about 6-7 months.

This crazy dog completely unraveled my day to day existence with his crazy antics. He was in everything… Clothes, cupboards, purses, trashcans… He earned the nickname “the terror” from my husband.

At the time, we were waiting for the news that we could travel halfway around the world to bring home our son from the Philippines. Our daughter, a quiet, easy going, straight A student was an easy child, an only child. I truly began to believe that God sent this crazy dog we named Franklin to help prepare me for the changes in my routine and life that my son would bring.

I took Franklin into visit my residents at the nursing home often. One of the ladies fell in love with him. She told me, “That dog just needs a boy.”

And so she was right, they have become great friends.

This week, that crazy dog unexpectedly has become very, very ill. We are treating the infection and will find out in a few weeks if he has cancer. Franklin is calm, subdued. I actually miss his crazy antics of getting into my lunch bag, jumping on the table to sneak some food, and the shredded trash. The house is somehow too calm, too quiet.

A pet becomes family. My heart is sad. I am hopeful he bounces back. After all, he has eaten batteries, an entire pan of brownies, and endless clothing items and has always managed to come out okay.

I reflect…I am grateful to my Father who knows what we need when we need it. Like a dog….to prepare me for a son.

Just a boy and his dog…. And so many answered prayers and blessings.

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