The Thanksgiving Tree

The Thanksgiving Tree

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 this day is not my own.

Why did I decide to do this this morning? I thought to myself as I gathered my earphones and laced my tennis shoes. 6:20. ugh. I am so not a morning person, but with Chris working later this week and the evenings darkening earlier, it really was my only option for a run.

"You'll be glad when you get back," my husband encouraged.

I set out. It was cool. Really cool. Fall cool. There was light, but not too much. My song shuffle began with soothing praise music. It was working, I was getting moving.

It was quiet. A few dogs guarding their lawns. Dogs I had never seen before. Perhaps this is their "outside" time before their owners leave for work. They seemed not to mind my crossing their front yard. An elderly man walks some trash to the curb. Another waters his lawn. I continue. Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful morning.

As I loop back for a second mile, the street is waking up. Children are walking to the bus stop. A man fires up his lawn mower. A woman strolls her baby. Garage doors open. Cars leave for work. I smell laundry detergent. Clothes are being washed.

Good Morning, Day!

A new day. A new gift given to me. New hours to be lived. To LIVE! With a new day.. there is new life! There are second chances. There is a continuing. The sun is up and the world is stirring. My heart awakens. I rejoice in the day. The gift. I want to extend an offering. I want to give BACK this day.. these hours.. that have been given to me.

Thank you for life, Holy Father. Thank you for another day.. a NEW day. May it be an offering to YOU. Give me wisdom how to best use your hours. Give me joy in this day's circumstances. Enable me to see my children's grumbling hearts not as inconveniences, but as opportunities to teach and equip. Help me offer my time unselfishly. Give me mercy and compassion to sacrifice my agendas for YOUR kingdom. I offer this day to you. Thank you for giving it to me. After all, you brought it... it has always been yours. Help me LIVE today like this day is not my own.

Oh, and yes, sweetheart, I WAS glad when I got back. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My heart this morning.....

Much of this world's angst is actually a longing for the perfection of heaven. Blatant sin is often a misguided attempt to fill that emptiness. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they search for heaven in hellish ways; excesses and perversions of every kind. However, great sinners can be transformed into exceptional Christians when they turn their passionate appetites toward Me. My Love and forgiveness satisfy soul-hunger as nothing else can. --Sarah Young from Dear Jesus

"Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare." Isaiah 55:2

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Need Thee Every Hour

"Sweetie, I was looking at all of these moms dropping their kids off at school and riding off by themselves for a few hours. I just long for that day for you. What are you going to do with yourself?" my precious husband asked me after we dropped our 2nd grader and Kindergartener off on the first day of school.

"Lose all the perspective I have right now on life," I sarcastically replied.

I've been thinking about that a lot this week in the quiet of my house. As I explained to my husband, it is honestly, a fear of mine. I dread that day, in a sense. Being able to stay home and be surrounded by my children and be a daily, hourly, example of Christ AND sinner before their very eyes has been God's gift to me. It has been my battle ground, spiritually. It has been lonely. It has been discouraging. It has been extremely tiring. It's been humbling. Yet, it has been victorious. It has been miraculous. It has kept me at the feet of Jesus.

On the good days, I have a front row seat to the workmanship of my Savior in the hearts of my kids. On the more difficult ones, I experience fully Philippians 4:13. And that's ALL THINGS. That's getting through the day on 2 hours of sleep. That's not losing my temper. That's being willingly to set aside the laundry and the to-do list for building blocks and tea parties... Yes, truly and fully, I have realized I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Being a mother, more than ANYTHING else I've ever encountered, keeps me in need of my Lord.

Now, do we all understand why I dread my children leaving? HA!

I forever want perspective. It is my prayer to ALWAYS, regardless of my circumstances, be in need of Jesus. I want to need Him just as much in the "manageable" moments as in the "unmanageable" ones. I was singing this hymn this morning and my heart couldn't help but pour out this prayer to my Heavenly Father. I may need to sing this every morning when I wake up.

Oh, Lord, may I NEVER stop needing you... in bounty and blessing and sorrow... may I Need Thee Every Hour.

I need thee every hour, Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine, Can peace afford
I need Thee, O I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee!
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, Stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power, When Thou art nigh.
I need Thee, O I need Thee, Every hour I need Thee!
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, In joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, Or life is vain.
I need Thee, O I need Thee, Every hour I need Thee!
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, Teach me Thy will;
Thy promises so rich, In me fulfill.
I need Thee, O I need thee, Every hour I need Thee!
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, Most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.
I need Thee, O I need thee, Every hour I need Thee!
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mommy, is Jesus REAL?

The bedroom door yet again creaked open. This is the third time since I tucked my sweet firstborn into bed and kissed him good-night.

"Mommy, can I have a drink of water?" Yes, dear.. good-night.

"Mommy, I hear spooky songs." I'm sorry,let's pray Jesus will help you sleep.

Good night. (I'm becoming irritated)

So when I hear that door for the third time, I'm already heading up the stairs ready to dish out some consequences before he even has time to speak.

Yet, I'm suddenly met by a tearful child. A fearful child. My son meets me at the stairs and pleads, "Mommy, will YOU pray with me? I'm afraid."

There are very particular times when I feel the Holy Spirit soften my heart instantly. This was one of those times. I took him in my arms and we stood outside his room.... and started to pray.. but he stopped me.

"Mommy, is Jesus real? or is he just fake like Santa and the tooth fairy? Is he real? Tell me. Don't lie to me. I want to know. Is there really a person who is listening to me pray or just a nobody there?"


I was quite silenced.

I have always loved imagination. I've always loved fairy tales and fantasy. I love holidays. I love theme parks. I love make-believe. And because I loved it so much, I dove whole-heartily into the world of make believe as a child and I believed.

Christmas, especially, was a wonderful time. My parents where SO fun and made this holiday quite magical. When I set a plate of cookies out for Santa, SANTA was eating them. My brother and I would swear we could hear the pitter-patter of reindeer on our roof. I remember, like it was yesterday, lying in my bed and waiting... watching the clock... wondering, "has Santa had time to come and go yet, or is it too soon to go downstairs and see my gifts." It was so fun and thrilling. I believed my parents when they told me he was real. I fought with my friends at school over this. After all, my parents wouldn't tell me something that wasn't true. right?

Now, in their defense, I never remember questioning them. They never "lied" to me. I never challenged the concept. So finally, after much arguing with several of my friends at school one day regarding this topic, I stepped up and asked the big question, and of course, my mother told me the truth about Santa and I went up to my room, closed the door and sobbed..heart-broken.

But I later learned that I was not the average child. Most kids didn't believe. Most kids had it figured out. They hunted down the gifts. They wanted the "proof". I never did this. At this time in my life, I simply blindly accepted and believed. So as my own children began to grow older and more and more of the culture began asking them "So what is Santa going to bring you this year?" I could only visualize their faces, years from now, buried in a pillow bawling their eyes out after my shattering their years of belief in someone with a casual,Of course, Santa isn't real. Why would I choose to speak anything other than the truth? How would I handle this?

Chris and I made a decision to always... always..regardless of what the culture or our families or our friends say to us... to ALWAYS speak with complete honesty to our children. We felt very convicted about this. We figured the Lord knows our children better than we do. He already sees them as teenagers while we are holding them for the first time as infants. He fashioned their personalities.

But if I'm honest, this decision wasn't easy. It's hard to look into the faces of "believing" children on Christmas eve... full of wonder and anticipation. Evil whispers in my are depriving your children of the joy of Christmas HA! That looks so strange now after having written it out. But Satan does whisper that to me. I am so thankful for my wise husband who counters that attack with, "Is there anything more needed to add to the wonder and joy of Christmas than Christ-Holy God of all creation- coming to earth-becoming a human- and saving us?" I think about that often during the holidays. I see my children happy and still full of wonder and excitement.. huh, shocking, right?

The Lord doesn't promise to always return to us the fruit of our labor, but tonight I tasted a harvest. In tears, I was able to hold my boy and emphatically proclaim:

"YES, Will. Jesus is real. He's the real thing. He's alive and here and listening to us. That is why it was so awesome when he died and came back to life. It meant He lives forever. There are no special occasions He is bound by. There's no far off place where He lives. He lives IN US. We ALWAYS have access to HIM. Mommy and Daddy have NEVER told you anything that wasn't true. This is true. He is true. Yes, Will. Jesus is real and He HEARS you when you pray."

Will wiped his eyes and cleared his throat.

"Ok, then I'm ready to talk to Him," he said.

We did and when we had finished, he quietly walked into his room.

I haven't heard from him since.