Slow Down…

My son and I pray together every night before bed. Our prayers are often unconventional in that our bedtime prayers occur in multiple locations.

Last night I was squeezing in my walk. My son came into our office area and asked that I pause the treadmill.

Sometimes, we need to get off the treadmill of life and take a moment to pray.”

I paused the treadmill and my mind for a moment…when had my teenage son become so wise? 


We prayed, standing on that treadmill, and then, he ran upstairs to bed. It’s that age… Fourteen…not an adult ready to navigate the world but becoming one’s own person forming beliefs about the world.
And this son of mine has enough wisdom to know that sometimes, we just need to get off the treadmill of life and pause in a moment with our Heavenly Father.

How did I ever get so lucky?

I smile, knowing in this quiet stillness of the morning, that there is no luck. God knew this child halfway around the world was to be my son and I was to be his mom.

So, here’s a little shout out during this National Adoption Awareness Month… adoption is an amazing blessing from God.

Sometimes, you just need to pause from the craziness of everything and be still with Your Father. He has an amazing plan for you. It may not be adoption, but He may be trying to whisper into the deep places of your soul to those unspoken hopes and dreams.

Slow down…listen…and step in faith.

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Grace Beyond the Lines

Recently, at a writing conference, the speaker talked about how we as children learn these beliefs about ourselves and  then we carry them into our adult lives.

As he spoke, an experience from third grade popped back in my mind. I had completed a worksheet for English. The content was absolutely one hundred percent correct; however, I had not stayed within the lines. My freshly learned cursive writing had extended beyond the given lines. I was required to stay inside from recess and fix my “mistake.” For a quiet, shy young someone who already aimed to do the right thing, this only fed into my drive for perfection.

This perfectionism has been a constant companion into adult life. It drives my performance, my anxiety, and my fears.

Last fall, God really began unravelling some of this root of the need for perfection. It has been a slow unravelling, but I no longer believe that perfection is the goal.

At work, we talk about redefining success as progress not perfection. I may not like mistakes, but I can embrace them as part of my growth.

Today, I am grateful for the grace of second chances. I am grateful for the freedom to not be perfect. When we walk in His strength, His grace is sufficient.

Sometimes, following a God given dream involves taking a risk. You may just have to look, write, or walk beyond those “safe” lines. What the world views as a mistake may just be the very path He has set before you. Pray, listen, and trust.

Extend Grace

“Extend grace, mom. Extend grace.”

I looked at my thirteen year old son. He was right, but I wasn’t quite ready to admit it. That vicious thing called pride was still hovering in my heart.

 It had been a conversation…me sharing about my day, and my husband looking down at his phone absorbed in something and not fully listening to me. He claimed he had been listening, but hearing is not the same as listening. 

My son’s sweet voice chimed in again. “Mom, you’re not perfect, either.” 

The wisdom of an almost 14 year old…such a perceptive child. 

Extend grace. These were the same words that I had heard from my friend over the weekend. 

 Deep breath. Pride swallowed. I accepted my husband’s apology and extended grace. 

I have much to learn from my son.  I am amazed and reassured that he does listen to me. It is always humbling to hear your words returned back to you. He reminded me of exactly what I needed to hear that night. Extend grace.

Who do you need to extend grace to?

Sometimes, we need to consider  things from a different perspective. I took this picture while writing from a view that overlooked the pond. 

The view was inspiring for writing, but I noticed the imperfection in my photo. Droppings from a bird stained the window. Would I choose to focus on the imperfection or the beauty in the view?

It’s like that with life. Do we choose to focus on the imperfection of the person or situation or do we choose to extend grace?

Our perspective makes all the difference.

Mother’s Day Reflections

Last Sunday, my husband and I taught the Junior and Senior High Sunday School class. We attend a small church and know all the kids personally in the class. It was a timely lesson with graduation approaching as we discussed the gifts and works God is doing in us and through us.

One of the questions in the guide that I asked the kids was this…who do you think should finish the work that God has started in you?

Silence as they thought. Then, one girl responded, “We should.”

As we talked through it, we reflected and worked through that answer to that question. God gifts us with abilities, talents, gifts….but honestly as I continue to learn, He simply requires our heart, willingness, and obedience. I remember a saying from a sermon I heard years ago… God doesn’t need our abilitites. He needs our availability.

On this Mother’s Day, this is my prayer for my children…that they understand, that they trust, that they believe that with God all things truly are possible if we only trust and step out in faith and obedience.

God will finish the good work He has started in us.

And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV

A great way for me to hold onto the faith that God is working in me and through me is by journaling. When circumstances fall apart and life seems to be crazy, recalling His work in my life keeps me grounded.

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I know my children are watching me. They are observing my reactions to the unexpected events in life that have the potential to throw my life way off target. In these moments, I know it is more important than ever to cling to my faith. To trust. To obey. To hold on tight.

Because He will finish the good work He has started. He’s a good, good Father.

 

 

 

 

Food Issues From a Child’s Perspective

Children are often listening and observing when you least expect it. They take in things, make their own conclusions and opinions about things surrounding them at home, church, school…and sometimes they say or do things that simply surprise you.

And sometimes, they do things that simply make you smile as a parent. Like when much younger brother and teenage sister are actually having a conversation together and not arguing. Or, on Christmas morning, when you open a gift out of your stocking from your 11 year-old son to find this:

642A mini Lego person. Now, my son loves Legos as many boys his age do. I had been talking with him about making Christmas gifts instead of buying them and had suggested he make gifts from Legos. But, when I first looked at this little Lego lady, I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to think. Then, he announced: “It’s a mini you! See the brown ponytail? And the banana and fish?”

And then, I had to smile. Yep, that’s me. Brown ponytail (always once I’m home from work). Bananas…my absolute favorite food. Fish…yep, love it even though it’s not a favorite with the rest of my clan.

Could it be that simple? Can it be that simple? I have spent a lot of time, energy, and money not to mention worry over food related issues. It has taken time to research my food issues and special diets I have been on as well as endless hours in the kitchen preparing food for the week. But, do I make things more complicated than they need to be?

Yes, life is more complex than a Lego miniature person, a plastic banana, and a plastic fish, but as adults, we tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. In my case, I probably do this a lot more than I need to.

So, through the eyes of my 11 year-old son, I will be reminded to focus on whole foods, to spend time in the kitchen with him, and remember to relax, hair in a ponytail, and laugh more.

I will face 2015 with confidence and determination. I will not let my food issues get the best of me. I will use this blog to connect with others and share in life’s struggles as they relate to food  allergies, intolerances, and annoyances! I will not complicate life so much…I will simplify more! And, I will remember that the God who created me, food issues and all, loves me simply for being me.