Friday, October 3, 2008

watching the rain

It's been quite a week in our household. My youngest is going through a stage of ignoring all of the boundaries and guidelines we give her. I'm realizing I need to find yet another new approach to parenting to reach her where she's at. I'm also learning (again) that on my own I can't do anything. BUT, with God I can do all things. Not only is it a great Scripture verse, it's a powerful truth that brings LIFE into what feels like hopeless situations.

My middle child is coughing non-stop and struggling to sleep. He's great about not complaining, but man, does he sound miserable. This is probably his third sickness this month. The rest of us take cover when he starts coughing in hopes of avoiding contamination! (Kidding. But we are repeating the words "Cover your mouth when you cough," over and over!) Bless his heart. Praying his immune systems gets stronger VERY soon.

My oldest child is grieving the recent loss of her close friend who moved away yesterday. On the positive side, I'm helping her learn how to feel and express her emotions, as well as how to take care of herself during a difficult time. She's admitted that she's in denial and is hoping her friend can visit from Texas. ("Once a day would be great, Mom!")

Being a mom is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs in the world. I truly believe that. I've found (through repeated mistakes and lessons learned), that for me, it requires that I cast ALL of my cares upon the Lord and rely on His grace, mercy and love to bring me through the good times and the difficult times.

Balancing the different needs (the will issues of my youngest, the physical needs of my middle child and the emotional struggles of my oldest) is tricky, to say the least. Actually, they can become downright 'sticky' when you through in hormonal challenges of the mom!!!

I could choose to be sad, worn out or even cranky. Today, however, I'm choosing to be quiet and reflective as I watch the rain fall outside my window.

A lot of people complain about the rain. I used to be one of those people, until my husband taught me how to see the beauty (and coziness) of it. I took the picture above this afternoon standing outside my house. I love how the fog and rain clouds settle over the beautiful hills to the west of our house.

Whether your day has been sunny or rainy, I pray that you are LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

war dance


Child soldiers? The thought is unfathomable. My brain is still trying to process through the stories told in the movie Geoff and I watched on Sunday. The film had a deep impact on both of us.

Here's a write up that I found about the movie:

"Since 1985, the children of the Acholi tribe in northern Uganda have been victimized both by civil war and by a rebel force, the Lord’s Resistance Army. Millions have been displaced into camps where life is harsh. But when one camp’s primary school won the right to compete in Uganda’s national music and dance festival, its children dared to dream again. Nominated for an Academy Award, WAR DANCE follows three of these children - Dominic, Rose and Nancy – as they faced their past and imagined their future." (The Producers of WAR DANCE, quoted from http://www.shineglobal.org/)

While I'm unable to articulate complete thoughts about the film, at a very high level I can comment that is powerful, life changing, horrific, magnificent, convicting, devastating, profound, uplifting, brutal and very, very real. Like I said, I'm still processing the information that was shared, and my heart is again, very heavy today.

Thank you, Lord, for your incredible mercy, love and grace. Thank you for giving my children a safe home with two parents to care for, protect and nurture them.

Please forgive me for the countless times I have complained and been unappreciative of your abundant gifts. Please help me to be more aware of the needs around me in my day to day life, as well as those around the world.

Please, please bless, protect and heal the beautiful Acholi children who have experienced devastation, loss and unspeakable atrocities. May they know they are loved and forgiven by You. May they have a more accurate understanding of Your grace and mercy. Please bring them hope and opportunities for freedom (physically, emotionally and spiritually.) Give them life.

It is because of your grace and mercy that I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE.

With grace,

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

change

Autumn is my favorite season. However, this year I've struggled with letting go of summer. Perhaps it's because of all the fun we enjoyed as a family this year. Or it could be the list of things that I had wanted to fit in, but just wasn't able to. I'm having a harder time embracing the shorter and cooler day; and yet, I absolutely adore seeing the leaves changing color.

Change can be hard. While there are always blessings in the midst of change, there is also a need to surrender things (or people) that we might not want to let go of.

For almost four years, I prayed persistently for my oldest daughter to have close, like-minded Christian friends. As only God can do, He answered my prayer right here in our neighborhood. Actually, one lives across the street and the other is just a few houses down.

Although the girls have lived here since we moved in, their friendships didn't really start to blossom until this past Spring. And blossom they did. Chelsea, Jordynn and Peyton have grown to be incredibly close.

They recently had a sleepover to celebrate Jordynn's birthday. The pictures and videos Chels brought home were priceless. They painted each other's nails, gave each other facials, dressed up, danced, sang, watched movies, laughed, and took photos of each other and their American Girl dolls.

These are the friendships that Chelsea desperately wanted and I earnestly prayed for. Sweet blessings from above.

This week, however, the girls (and I) are feeling incredibly sad. They're still doing their gymnastics in the yard and playing board games on my porch, but there's a sadness that is almost palpable.

You see, God has led Jordynn's family to put their house on the market and move back to Texas. Chels has two more days with her sweet friend. :-(

Life is full of changes. I trust that this experience will be good for Chelsea. I have faith that God does in fact have many, many more friendships to bless her with. I also know that each friendship may be for a particular season, while some will last a lifetime.

However, I also know for many reasons outside of her control, that Chelsea struggles daily to trust God. I know that while all 10-year-olds experience loss and change, this particular change is hitting Chelsea a bit harder than it would most.

My heart aches for her and I can't help but shed tears on her behalf. She feels as though God is calling her friend's family away to hurt her. She believes that if God "really loved her" that He would answer her prayers exactly the way she prayers them. Last week she couldn't understand why God didn't miraculously take her bad cold away.

We've had many long talks, but I know that words alone won't convince her of the truth. Only God can meet Chelsea in this place of sadness and pain and bring healing.

I pray that despite her sadness and doubt that Chelsea will experience healing. I pray that God will use this time to develop a more truthful understanding of His will for her life and trust in His love for her. If you think of my girl this week, would you please lift up a prayer on her behalf? Thanks. :-)

If you're in the midst of change right now, I pray that God would give you eyes to see the new things He is bringing into your life and heart. I pray that despite the loss and pain, that you are able to enjoy LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!