I read the following passage on YouVersion. It’s part of a parenting daily study I read. A great reminder I thought I would share:
“Apart from knowing God, we have nothing to boast about! All of our abilities and the abilities of our kids are gifts from God, but we can become prideful in how we, or our kids, use these abilities. It’s not wrong to be proud of your kids as long as you understand that their talents, and the capacity to use them, are God-given. When we get prideful about their accomplishments, our focus moves from glorifying God to glorifying our kids.
On the other hand, when we are jealous of the talents of other kids, it can be a sign we are longing for the reflected glory that comes from our children’s success. Remember, your kids are fearfully and wonderfully made. While other gifts may draw more public adoration, no gifts are more significant or important than the ones especially chosen for your child by God.
Learn to be content with the gifts God gave your children.”
Over the years, I’ve learned that its the little things that make life more exciting. Its the little things that mean a lot to people. And its the little things that take a “little” more time and thought to make special. But people appreciate those little things so much.
Being in ministry, making the choice to be a stay-at-home mom, and being blessed with 3 children, we have always had to be careful with the money God has blessed us with. For me, its made me become more creative. I’m able to do special things for people, without spending a lot of money. Take the things you have, more of your time than your money, and invest in things you do for your friends and family.
Just recently I was invited to a baby shower for a friend of ours, who is having their first child. His name is Beckett. For her shower, I was asked to make a dessert. Well, I LOVE cutouts, so I decided to do those, in the theme of their nursery, which was sailboats. I visited our local favorite resource, Walnut Creek Cheese, and was able to find a cookie cutter that was fitting. This is also a great place to get EVERYTHING you need to stock your pantry (and maybe an ice cream cone while you’re there!).
I made my favorite recipe for cutouts called “Thick, Soft Sugar Cookies”, which are always a hit. The key is the sour cream in the recipe which makes them stay soft. Here is a link to the recipe from Peppermint Plum: Thick Soft Sugar Cookies. A gracious friend of mine, Julie, offered to help me ice the cookies. I don’t know if we knew what we were getting into!! Icing the cookies took us about 3 hours, but they came out great! We did 50 cookies this way, which as you can imagine, was lots of work!! All worth it!
In addition to the cookies, I offered to make the card for the shower. A group of my friends put our money together to get them their shower gift. So I went to work with all my scrapbooking supplies, and made their card. She was so overjoyed, and thankful for the card. You’ll see here the outside of the envelop and the card. So fun to make, very little time, a lot of impact.
So remember, its the little things that make a big difference. Take time to plan out what you’re going to do, and take your time doing it. Everything in life doesn’t have to be quick and easy. When it’s made with love, it goes a long way!!!
Boy, time and time again I am reminded of the power of music in my life. God speaks strongest to me through it, and lately is constantly providing worship music that points directly to the areas that I need help. This song is amazing. Take a listen and you’ll see. God takes the junk and makes it something. NOTHING is wasted.
“You are loving, you are wise, there is nothing in my life you cannot revive,
you are loving, you are wise, there is nothing too hard for our GOD!!
Nothing is wasted. You work all things for our good,
Nothing is wasted. Your promise remains, forever you reign.”
Wrote this back in October and never published it…..was a crazy time for us, but God always, ALWAYS shows us HIS plan.
Been a lot going through my mind recently. A LOT. Just one of those times in life where God uses MANY different things, both good and bad to teach us things. About three weeks ago, I was blessed to be able to have surgery on my leg for the veins that have been painful for many years. In addition to the pain from the veins being gone, they are gonna look a whole lot better too! Bonus!!
At any rate, I’ll tell you about a set of 2 weeks that God used to teach me something. CHARACTER. Probably not what I thought was going on at the time, but what I saw at the end.
Here’s a short version of what happened in that time frame: My surgery was scheduled for Thursday morning. On Wednesday, Kayla became sick and I took her to the doctor, probably a little sooner than I would’ve normally because I knew I was going to be down for the count for a few days. She had white spots in her throat and a cough, but strep came back negative. Told it was just a virus, and it would have to run its course. Same day, Derek’s eye begins to swell. Thursday morning comes, Derek wakes up and eye is almost completely swollen shut. He heads to stat care before my surgery but it takes too long to get in. Kayla is sick and had fever so she must miss school. She travels to Canton with Derek and I to sit in the waiting room while I have my surgery. What a trooper. My surgery goes well (besides nausea from meds), and ends up being less invasive than originally planned. One vein stays in tact, while all the surface veins get removed. And we head home. Derek then heads back to the stat care. He’s given a steroid to help his eye.
Friday morning, Derek finally establishes a doctor here in town and goes in the next day to get eye looked at. Gets a shot. Eye is getting better. Same day, I start to develop rash on my arms.
Fast forward to Saturday/Sunday, rash is much worse. Can’t stand the itching. Call Doc and he says I must be allergic to the antibiotic. Stop taking meds! That day, the kids had some friends over and they were playing outside. Tyler gets clothes-lined on a dog run we had put in for a friend’s dog and is crying very hard. I get a kleenex to wipe his nose, and he blows right when i pinched his nose to wipe it. Tyler begins screaming in pain about his ear. Proceeds to cry for the next hour about his ear. I head to stat care with Tyler (these things ALWAYS happen on weekends!!!) and Tyler has an ear infection. Get Tyler meds.
My rash is worse, doc sends me to ER for steroids. I go to ER, get steroids. Rash is NOT improving over the course of the week. Thursday comes, and Kayla starts with a rash on her arms, and eventually leads to her face swelling. This is all completely different from the type of rash I have. Her doctor sends us to the ER because of the fast progression of hers. They do blood tests (HORRIBLE!) and everything comes back negative. Said is a manifestation of whatever virus she had the week before. Puts her on steroids and She is miserable as well but steroids begin to show some change so they send us home. Both Kayla and I are on Benadryl 24-7!!!
My rash still isn’t better by Friday, so I go back to my family doc, she gives me a shot, 10 more days of steroids, an anti-itch medicine along with an additional antihistamine. If you know me, you know I HATE taking medicine, so by this point, I feel like an addict!!!
Within a few days, I finally get some relief. 3 weeks later, I am STILL healing from the hives. Mind you my surgery was on Sept 13th! Craziness. Didn’t think it would ever end. WOW. that was long. Sorry.
So that Sunday at church, Dwight preached a sermon. I believe it was God’s perfect timing. As usual. And he preached about how we think that God is inconsistent, that he doesn’t meet our expectations. But God has never agreed to certain expectations. We think that its God’s job to make us happy. We think we’re going to live a “happy” life. But he hasn’t promised that. He has promised to NEVER leave us and NEVER forsake us. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
He didn’t promise that this life would be easy. That it would go off without a hitch. I THOUGHT that week would be simple. I THOUGHT I had prepared myself. But here’s a verse that has stuck out to me more than anything, in regards to what my expectations are in this life. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9.” He ISN’t inconsistent. He is perfect – however he allows my life to happen.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
My hope is that my character has grown, and my circumstance are irrelevant. That my goal is to be holy, not just happy. Very thankful for all the things our family went through that week. It has made me grow in so many ways, made me thankful for so many things, and allowed me to focus on the things that matter.
The other day, I was in my garden. Pruning my tomato plants. We’re coming to the end of growing season, and this is my first year with my own garden. There are still TONS of tomatoes on my plants, and I am trying to make the most of them. So I went out today to tie up a few stems, keep them off the ground, and ripen them for as long as possible. Hoping the first frost is far away.
As I was tying up the plants, I was also pruning them. They have gained a lot of dead leaves, stems, fruit, etc, as I have neglected them recently. Some of the branches have black spots. Others are dead. Still others are still sprouting new leaves and even blossoms!! And a lot of them are bearing fruit.
As I sat there, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much these tomato plants represent what’s going on in my life. Those plants were put in the ground, watered, received sunlight, and took whatever they were surrounded by, with no defense or help of their own. In our lives, we have so many choices of how we take care of the gift of life. We choose to add good things to our lives, and we choose to add bad things. We allow the disease and poison of our sin into our lives. Deceit. Gossip. Anxiety. Self-deception. Selfishness. Vanity. Hate. Laziness. Jealousy. Unkind words. The list could go on.
The amazing thing is that God, who is the ultimate father, allows us to make these choices. He allows us to screw up. But he doesn’t give up. We make the choice how well we serve him. We make the choice to “prune” the bad stuff off…to remove the disease completely. And allow the fruit to grow. To cut off those things that hinder the growth in our lives. The “dead” parts of our lives. And allow Christ to grow us. And bear more fruit.
What an awesome representation of what God wants for our lives. Surround yourself with people who will help you grow, not fill you with disease. Make reading the Bible a priority. Choose to go to God first with your praise and your concerns, not just post them in Facebook and Twitter :) And make your home a place that can grow. Make it a place where your children want to come back to. And bring their friends to.
We have been given the gift of salvation. If God never did one more good thing in our lives, we would still have been given the greatest thing ever. Forgiveness. What more do we need?
This pararaph is from a devotion I read this morning. It really hit home for me:
” Pharaoh ordered that every male born to the Hebrews be thrown in the Nile. Moses was born during this time and, after three months, his mother realized she could hide him no longer. Imagine her angst as she left him in the basket among the reeds in the Nile River! She did not know what the future held, but she released her son by her faith in God.
Some moments bring a special awareness that we, too, are releasing our kids to God. Saying goodbye as we drop them off for their first day of kindergarten. Handing them the car keys as they take it out for a drive on their own. Watching them stand at the altar and commit their life to another in marriage. As you release your kids, remember that God has a plan! The road may not always be easy, but have faith in His wisdom and eternal purposes.
Trust God. They really are His kids after all.”
Haven’t written on here in a while, but today I was thinking about something and felt it was post-worthy to share.
Let’s face it, we’re bombarded with stuff. When I say stuff, I mean stuff in the form of social media. It is an amazing thing, and I am thankful daily for it. It has allowed me to more easily stay in touch with people, since Derek and I moved away from our life in Ohio 4.5 years ago, leaving family and friends, and now we’ve moved back to Ohio, and left behind family and friends there. So I am thankful for it.
BUT, and that’s a BIG but, it has lead me to discover that social media leads to wishing. Let me explain. I have accounts on the main (or I think they are) social media sites of Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
I find myself spending HOURS on these sites throughout my week. Yet, I say I have no time to read, or I’m too busy to do other things. Yeah right :)
What I’ve discovered is that I find myself being jealous, coveting, or wishing.
Here’s an example. I was on Pinterest this morning, as I have seen several other times, all kinds of ideas. About pregnancy photos, which I didn’t do with any of my three kids. Wedding dresses, which I only shopped for in one store. Blog posts, which I fail to do. Wedding photos ideas, which I never planned out. Meals that I haven’t made. Activities that I haven’t done with my kids. Beautifully decorated and furnished homes. Stylish outfits, which I have no idea/money to do. Beautiful hairstyles that I can’t re-create.
On Twitter, I daily see all kinds of activities, events, places, people to hang out with, that I’m not a part of.
On Facebook I witness friendships and conversations, that maybe I’m not a part of.
And then I find myself wishing. WISHING I was a part of this, or I had done that, or had documented something beautifully, or went there.
Don’t let yourself wish. You’ll wish away all the AMAZING things that have happened in your life. You’ll wish away the amazing time that you have with your children, even when that means sleepless nights, and interruptions. You’ll forget the amazing relationships that you do have. You’ll forget what’s important. And you’ll miss all the AWESOME people and situations that GOD has placed in YOUR life.
So live your life for YOU and your family. Don’t live it so that you can post about it, document it in a perfect picture, and show everyone else. Because we all have a story to tell. And its perfect all because its your OWN.