My weeping willow signifies much to me every spring. Not only are 3 of my babies buried here but watching it's long dangling, barren branches come to life in the sunny, warm days of spring remind me of the winter seasons of a mother's heart.
Young mommas may find themselves full to brimming with love for little ones but all poured out flailing like long, dangling limbs in the winds of so much everyday sacrifice.
Mommas in the trenches with new everyday challenges, lots of commitments, overnight attitudes and behaviours that seem to have creeped up on their burgeoning wonders. They are grasping, intentional and yet feel lacking. At times it can be overwhelming to hold it all together.
Then mommas like myself whom feel barren like those straggly, empty branches. In the transitioning season of loss where precious memories of smiles and cuddles, house full of laughter and togetherness fade as children raised move on to new adventures, stages all their own.
All of my little and not so little branches left behind fly lonely and distraught in the winds of change. I look at all of those weeping, looking for strength faces and know that this empty vessel needs to lead them to the spring of water that never leaves or moves on without them.
Growing their roots deep into him will bring them through every trial, disappointment, heartache and "winter" that life takes them through.
Like our weeping willow, we wept. Our bare branches hung, broke, felt whipped around in the harsh, cold winds of change and yet spring is here.
Green buds and leaves abound, branches are fuller and look less lost.
They have found their places amongst each other and fly gently in warm breezes of hope and happier days.
Spring is a season of new. It's not complete.
Young mommas know that all of these everyday dying to self moments culminate in their little seeds growing and bringing new joys as tender new shoots.
Mommas with seedlings to care for, stake and prune know that the fruit is yet to come.
And those mommas whom have seen the beautiful fruit and have tasted of its sweetness? They file those precious memories away, thank God for the gifts they were given and look with hope to the future and much more fruit to come.
Winter is just one season.
It may feel harsh, unrelenting, cold and dark but it breaks way to spring. Our roots dig down deep and we find the nourishment our soul and the little souls whom we care for seek.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
My weeping willow signifies much to me every spring. Not only are 3 of my babies buried here but watching it's long dangling, barren branches come to life in the sunny, warm days of spring remind me of the winter seasons of a mother's heart.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Live it well.
What does that look like amongst the crazy that is mommahood?
Kids grow. Messes made. Lessons learned.
Life doesn't stop all around you.
Painful experiences leak into the crevices of our day to days,
and we feel fragile.
It affects our every hour and frustration, grief, loss, it cripples us.
We look into beautiful trusting eyes and they plead momma... be here.
I keep learning this.
A few years of painful difficult experiences that left us jaded and weary.
Then like pilgrim we crawled out of one fire only to be met with a new one.
Painful transitions and more rejection that found us bewildered and broken.
The mountain, God said, can be moved with faith the size of a mustard seed.
Ours smaller still and voices hoarse, our feet bleeding, we kept climbing.
And climbing still. The mountain changed terrain and now just feels unhabitable.
In my journey more times than I wish I have forgotten to look up.
I'm so busy counting and lamenting every painful, ardurous step.
I only look down.
My Saviour. He beckons me,
Yes, I see you. I see your suffering.
I see the trenches, the pits you fall in and the bleeding torn feet.
Do you remember my sons bleeding torn feet?
Why is it that to us our pain feels oh, so all consuming that remembering the walk of our Saviour is far from our minds?
When we identify with him in our suffering we have opportunity to be like him.
I don't want to be like him. Not right now. I want to feel my justified pain and focus on the unfair misery.
But mommas when this state we dwell, little hearts wane.
They flourish in joy, new days, fresh moments and abundant love.
So look up, we must.
Suddenly the sky is blue, the trees point heavenward, the sun feels warm.
You can find that elusive hope.
The breeze finds its way onto our faces and hope it blows too.
Courage is found.
Grab little hands in ours, rub backs of young hearts, smile full at teenage faces longing for you to connect.
"Be here".. I hear him whisper to my soul.
Mommas, we can't stop our worlds from spinning out of control.
But we can be a constant.
They can look to us because we look to him.
We keep climbing our painstaking journey but we no longer watch our feet and the path ahead.
We look up instead.
Jesus from his brutalized body, heart and mind looked up.
He said, it is finished.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Tears fall on the dark wood floor. My shoulders, they feel so heavy. The weight is unbearable, how I ache to put it down.
This burden of my sin. It cuts deep knowing that after all that He did for me, I still so easily fail Him. His death means freedom from eternal punishment, His resurrection means hope, new life and yet, I still weep.
I know that He is my everything, my all and all and I long to please Him.
Oh Father, how I long to please you.
I wander aimlessly around lost in my thoughts these last couple of days in the aftermath of the Easter weekend.
I reflect at how Jesus still seems to get brushed to the side no matter how much I vow to put Him front and center. I promise every year it will be different. I add new traditions, I am intentional, but in all its planned purpose, it still lacks.
Can we really ever be reverent enough, can we really ever dwell on His holiness, His sacrifice in a way that will satisfy our innermost desire to embrace His suffering and death to the point that somehow we will have given it justice.
I am human. I am selfish. I will always be at a loss.
Each day as I lay here at His feet, I again realize that it's daily.
Deny, Deny, Deny.
I will deny my flesh. I NEED to deny my flesh.
My humanness is a mess, always such a mess. He is perfect, blameless and He loves...Oh, how my Saviour loves.
I shield my eyes from the mess, the gory, brutal mess of my first love hanging there on that cross. His blood it drips and spills, pours out for me and I feel hot tears fresh on my face. I watch them drip on the floor and marvel at how broken I am yet again.
You bring me to my knees, your love for my wretched soul. I come knowing that I am not worthy, you alone are my ransom. Bought and paid for with the blood stained tree, the spikes encased in flesh, the bruised, battered body and the salty, tear stained face.
My pride, my selfishness, my laziness, my impatience, my anger, my lack of self control, it's all here.
I am led to the cross. In all its ugliness there is beauty too great to put into words. A beauty that takes my breath away.
He thinks I am worthy enough, he has seen something worth saving that I don't see.
I am humbled, my soul stirs deep and I count the cost.
I belong to you.
I belong to you.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
I wish I spent more time thanking my sweet tradesman for everything he does for me rather than complaining about what still isn't done.
I wish I would welcome unexpected guests into my home graciously and with enthusiasm rather than be so concerned about the state of my home or self.
I wish I spent less time sulking and focusing on how our family has been mistreated by the body of Christ and rather praised God for the sanctifying work He is doing in me and in His people knowing His timing and purposes are perfect.
I wish that I spent more time joyfully cleaning and caring for my many things rather than doing it with disdain and frustration.
All I know is grace.
I have been listening to this beautiful song called "All I have is Christ" by Sovereign Grace
Timely with Good Friday just around the corner. Here are the words.
I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way.
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave.
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will.
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still.
But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross.
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace.
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me.
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose.
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You.
"Oh Father, use my wretched life in any way You choose."
Not until tonight did I realize when I looked up the words of the song for this post that not wretched, but ransomed was the actual word.
Yes, we are wretched...
but we are ransomed.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
That was the beginning of the little surprises lil' washer had in store for us. It's been a difficult year but a bless-ed year, a busy year, but a reflective year.
I thought I would put up some of our favorite photos of the little guy over the last 12 mnths and share why tradesman and I named him what we did...
Many men will name their sons after fathers, uncles, brothers, grandfathers, friends, all people that are special and significant in their life. (we have).
This time tradesman wanted to name our son after 2 men that have played a very significant, and life changing role in our family's life, and in tradesman's life specifically.
God has used the teachings of two godly preachers to shape, mold, and revive our faith in a way that has changed us both forever. To our Heavenly Father, we will always be grateful for this.
Raising a godly family has been a passion of ours, and yet complacent, cultural Christianity is all around us. Raising children who were dedicated to living out their faith passionately, pursuing holiness rather than worldliness and choosing to live set apart for the purpose to which God had called them too was and is our desire.
The first time we heard Paul Washer speak, we knew we had found a brother. He was saying things that we had never heard anyone preach before. There were many amens resonating in our hearts.
You can listen to the first sermon that we ever listened to of his right here. Be warned, this isn't for the faint of heart. Some will not like him because he preaches straight up from the word of God with conviction and passion.
For us, his preaching is so refreshing, affirming, challenging and invigorating as many pastors today proclaim that they are preaching from the word of God but they still preach with an obscure, fleshy agenda.
Paul Washer's preaching drives us to the word of God and edifies our faith.
If you want to download his sermons, you can find them here.
There are so many great ones. Some favorites would be his sermons on Biblical Missions, Biblical manhood and womanhood, Be a man, The true Gospel, Examine yourself, 10 indictments against the modern church, Biblical courtship...honestly, I could go on and on, so I won't. You'll have to check him out for yourself.
Tradesman listens to him daily, he can't get enough. If you only have a moment, here is just a snippet right now to give you an idea. Right here. (an oldy, but goody)
We "bumped" into him in the hallway and got to have a little chat with him and when he was holding lil'washer I snapped a quick pix of the two of them.
The other preacher that we named our little guy after is David Platt. A couple years ago tradesman and I came across the sermon series he had preached in his church. It was named the Radical series.
These 8 sermons shook us, challenged us, and brought us on our faces before God in a new way. God used them to change much about how we think, and life-changing was the impact.
You can find all 8 sermons here. And you can find all of David Platts sermon series (all excellent) for free here at Disciple making International.
Since then David Platt has written a book called Radical and Radical together, both of which I highly recommend.
Watch out though, you and your family will never be the same!
Well, that was a lot of links, and such an inadequate description of what the Holy Spirit has done and continues to do in our lives through these two anointed men of God and their obedience to the proclamation of the Word of God.
If you and your family choose to pursue these teachings, God will use them to break you apart in pieces, undo you completely, and bring you to a point where He can use you for His glory.
Woe is us, a people of unclean lips...may His grace be upon us.
p.s. If you would like to know why our family is passionate about listening to sermons regularly and why we believe it is necessary to continue to be in the Word of God daily and pursue diligently to hear from those gifted by God to teach, you can read my post here.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Difficult people and circumstances can wrap themselves around so tight, a noose choking out the last of our breath.
We feel parched, dry, so very drained.
We have a good shepherd, He sees.
He knows when His weary servants are looking for water.
We are thirsting, and He leads the way.
To my word dear ones.
He reminds us that He doesn't do things like we do. He doesn't wrap things up in a nice neat bow and give us the package without a struggle. Expectation of greatness, of hope rises out of futility.
That which seems despairing and pointless is never as it seems.
Our Shepherd is at work. He is at work in our hearts, chipping away at that which He cannot use. Our pride, our conditional love, our anger.
And we can rest in the knowledge that He is at work around us. He calls us to "Believe in Him" (John14:1) Questioning what He's doing or how He is doing it defeats the purpose of the Shepherd. Our Lord leads the way, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable.
The pointless is the pointed. Even the evil, sinful agenda of others God reigns over.
We are subjected to futility not willingly but because of Him who subjected us in hope. (Rom8:20)
Hope for what?
"The Lord is my Shepherd and I want for nothing..."
Can we find our satisfaction in Him alone?
When others seem bent on picking on us, when life's circumstances tap out the last of our strength.
Will our soul cry out in the wilderness....
"I am only satisfied by you..."
Our God is water for our soul! It fills us to overflowing! Courage, faith, new resolve to keep following...no longer with despair, but with joy, springs forth.
What a good Shepherd we follow. He leads us to still waters.
And we drink.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Each one holy as they are all gifts from above.
You sowed into me, and I respond, I sow into those you have given me.
I get so lost in the everyday that I forget the lover of my soul.
My sin it tangles and slows my race.
Where is the worship?
On my lips I hear complaining. I taste bitterness and yet my soul remembers sweet communion.
Its now just you and me and I will worship.
My face feels carpet, and I think, when did I last bow low for you?
Too busy to sit at your feet.
Hurried prayers, hasty thanksgiving, distracted petitions.
Oh Savior,you deserve more.
You are my delight, my everything.
Here am I and I feel you lavish your love.
Its only you and me. The crowned one and the weary, distracted servant.
All I have, its not much I lay here.
You give so much and my offerings so meager.
My heart, my life, I have let go. No hopes, no dreams ...just you.
You are my delight, my everything.
The hand that blows the wind in the trees blow love through me.
May it overflow...overflow into the everyday.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
My precious son.
He sits so confident, there on the couch. This boy/man... who is he?
Do I really know?
Have I taken the time to listen?
Do I hear when he speaks, do I read the pages on his heart?
It feels as if I only hear my words, echoing loudly off the walls..it fills my head to brimming. Why, oh why so angry? Why so annoyed?
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child and yet folly is bound up in the heart of this mother.
His weaknesses run me annoyed and the sweet fragrance of home is sour.
I tear down when I could build up. A critical heart shows weak.
His laugh tears into my soul, his smile contagious and bright. Oh the wonder of a boy on the brink of manhood!
A mothers heart reflects on how all at once foolishness is nowhere to be seen and behind the poise, posture of maturity he's still there.
A him that I forget to notice, a him that speaks volumes of what his Father in heaven has done in his heart.
He shares his stories of the evening. Evangelism on the streets with his father and older brother, a night filled with conversations with the lost. His word pictures and analogies amaze me..who is this young man who speaks so eloquently across from me? And how am I missing such wisdom?
I see it then, this fragile growth of a boy struggling to reach the light, stretching and searching.
I feel the pride and responsibility welling up inside of me to water, to gently care for and feed this young sapling. His roots are growing deep, they are grounded in the soil that produces and yields fruit and yet he's young.
Oh Father that you would shine through me that your light would illuminate my words and actions overflowing into the dark areas of the soul.
Your words make souls strong. I will speak strong into his life.
For am I not privileged to raise your warriors? I will fight hard the weak in me and equip the strong in him.
Thank you for the blessing of this son Father God. Thank you for the blessing of my boy.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I struggle to find the gift, the purpose.
I reflect on words in haste years past all my own and am thankful for grace.
I unwrap the unexpected a piece at a time...the chance to lay down pride, forgive the unjustness, extend love, and find hope.
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
Putting it all to death for our friends...isn't that what He showed us?
This fleshy Holy one whose feet walked the path first and we, in all our unworthiness, can stumble behind meshing out what it looks like for us in the dailys.
Days run into each other, I feel the hurt resurface and I see the grace all around me. It's there in little ones faces, hugs of grown boys, trees dancing with fresh buds, words on paper that draw deep.
We have choices as women do we not? It's bound to happen...this topsy-turvy, messy world where our sin abounds and we stammer out life one day at a time flailing in response all wrong.
We pick up pieces, brush off our excuses and justify the selfish. When we hold onto the bitter, the root embeds itself and tangles all else. Choking we cling to remnants of life because we can't see the beauty.
He knew, our Father, how it would hurt, and He made way for us to come undone.
Laid bare before the altar, we toss aside our rights, forget our pride, see our own chipped, broken selves, and there we offer up our thanksgiving.
Sweet, perfumed, drenched in tears our gratefulness comes and we cling to our Saviors feet because that is where He puts us back together. Love that we cannot produce on our own pours forth unabated, we yield and it fills.
Oh, how our Savior He fills.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
1. Your laundry piles no longer can be contained or hidden...like King Kong they invade the city (your home) in mass destruction.
2. You walk around all day with your shirt on inside out AND backwards. You are not aware of this until your hubby on arriving home chuckles lightly and informs you.
3. Speaking of clothing...getting "dressed up" just means ACTUALLY getting dressed.
4. Coffee is no longer optional...it is required for basic survival.
5. Clutter piles have become your new favorite way to decorate.
6. You've resorted to cereal as the breakfast of champions.
7. Someone in the grocery store asks you if this is your "first" as you simultaneously bounce fussing, unsoothable baby while unsuccessfully fishing for wallet in spilling diaper bag you mumble and cough "yes."
8. You have not a clue how old your baby is.
9. Grade.4 math stumps you.
10. You fantasize about what it would be like to get sleep in 4 hr increments.
11. You feel pampered when you have time to shave your legs.
12. You thank God for this gift and lesson in humility as you come to the realization that you apparently are NOT the baby "know it all" veteran.
p.s. pix of the little, high-need, well-loved masterpiece coming up soon...that is when I can find my camera amongst the wreckage. :)
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Then I felt sick.
Really? This is what Christian families are thrilled about flocking too?
Have I missed something? I went to Focus on the Family's "plugged in" online and read the review and watched the trailer again as the reviewer exclaimed his 4 and 1/2 thumbs up for family friendly all the while half-naked girls are being displayed in living color directly behind him.
What?! Since when was displaying partial nudity God glorifying? 50 years ago no family would dare dream of a "family friendly" night on the town involving skimpy dressed girls on a big screen whether they were on a beach or not.
Why is it that we as Christians allow our society to determine our moral sensitivity?
I am already frustrated with how difficult it is to raise godly young men in this society. Men who value their purity, and integrity. Young men that rise above the social norm.
Focus on the family's own site bear statistics that are shockingly disturbing.
47% percent of families said pornography is a major problem in their home (Focus on the Family Poll, October 1, 2003).
Roger Charman of Focus on the Family's Pastoral Ministries reports that approximately 20 percent of the calls received on their Pastoral Care Line are for help with issues such as pornography and compulsive sexual behavior.
57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation (Christians and Sex Leadership Journal Survey, March 2005)
A 1996 Promise Keepers survey at one of their stadium events revealed that over 50% of the men in attendance were involved with pornography within one week of attending the event.
Apparently, porn is a MAJOR problem! It destroys men, it destroys families. So why are we so willing to sit idly by and slowly desensitize ourselves and our loved ones to sensuality. Why is it that Christians are not alarmed by such blatant, extreme immodesty?
I'm wondering though would the same parents hand their teenage boy a Sports Illustrated swim suit addition and say "Here son, there is a great article in here. One of the models overcame adversity and tragedy and then gave all the glory to God for coming through it! You'll have to go through all those pages of pictures first before you get to the article, but wow, is it ever worth it!"
Would Focus on the Family ever endorse such a thing?
I am grieved by the inconsistencies. We complain about teenagers being addicted to porn, rampant promiscuity amongst the young people in the churches and then we wonder why and we shift the blame to society. Yes, we live in a worldly culture, but I love how Denise Mira states in her book "No ordinary Child" She says- "We live (as Christian parents) in a Holy Kingdom culture where "radical" means dressing modestly so that we don't cause others to stumble"- "Make war on inappropriate clothing!"
I'm making war. I encourage my boys to make war.
This is a battle, but I'm willing to fight.
I can almost hear the proverbial criticism... I cannot keep my kids under a rock forever. I get it, I do. The thing is my boys are out on the streets downtown all summer, they share the gospel and they open air preach to crowds where I am sure there are many inappropriately dressed girls. They hand out tracts at malls and I am sure they have spoken to their fair share of girls who are dressed skimpily.
In those situations they are making eye contact, and they are out for a purpose. They are on high alert. They are not sitting in a theatre, being entertained, gawking at larger than life scantily-clad images.
Now what about our girls? Sure maybe one could take mature, godly teenage daughters to this movie and it be a great springboard for discussion about some of the issues that would have been raised in the movie. I'm not sure I would, but I could see how it might not really pose any real problems. Modesty could be addressed and such.
As for my young daughters...never. They are 10 and 8. They are still so very impressionable. I want to guard their hearts and their minds from the pollution that erodes girls today. To see girls running around with their private parts barely covered and fall prey to the glamorous appeal of it all. Sure we could say one thing to them. Tell them how wrong it is and how they are worth more than that. We could talk about noble things like dignity and honor and yet in that dark theatre something else would be going on in their little minds. An allure would be created, an impression made, and a lie would find a voice.
This is what the world says is fun and beautiful.
I would love to think that my girls know better than all of that, that I have trained them well. The Bible reminds us "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jer.17:9)
A fragile heart, a delicate heart, my young daughters hearts, I will not expose them to temptation.
I will not set before their eyes and hearts role models who do not share our values, when there are so many other beautiful examples to give my girls.
As parents why we think we can somehow gloss over the attractiveness of sin and in some way down play its draw baffles me. I guess that is why God speaks strongly on this topic. All throughout Proverbs He commands turning away from evil, fleeing from evil, pretty much running in the opposite direction of evil.
I love Proverbs 14:16 ~"One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless."
And the consequence Proverbs 6:27 ~ "Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?"
A verse that has become a standard in our raising of our children is Romans 16:19 ~"For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil."
My desire is to raise children who are wise to what is good. That they will be world changers, pursue holiness in their lives and lead with strong character. That they will be innocent to what is evil, flee temptation, rise above society's low expectations.
This is not a complaint against the real Bethany Hamilton. I realize her story is inspirational and I am thankful that she has had a platform in REAL life to share her faith in Jesus Christ.
My problem is with the fact that Hollywood can make a movie, throw us Christians a bone by sprinkling in a little faith talk, a prayer or two, a reading of scripture and then many Christian organizations jump on the bandwagon to heavily promote it. I guess I am not looking for "better than bad." That is not where I draw my standard.
Just because I am used to Hollywood promoting filth doesn't mean I am going to embrace a film because it invokes a feel good message and provides an emotional reaction.
My standard is purity at all costs for my family. I will fight for a hedge of protection around my young men. I will not compromise for the sake of being relevant and more tolerant.
I am striving for soul winners, not soul surfers.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." ~Heb 12:1
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Was it just love that motivated Christ to bear our weight of sin on that cross?
God is equally holy, just and loving.
His sense of justice demanded a price.
His holiness is unmatched..there is not another suitable sacrifice.
Blemish free, perfect.
There was only one man who could take that punishment so we could be reconciled to God with an opportunity for intimate relationship with Him.
May we not have a flagrant disregard for the cost. May we reverently and fearfully worship the Majesty.
(remember to pause music in the sidebar)
Reflections from Easter past here.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
At last her little soft hand reaches for mine. I enclose it, wrap her in arms close.
We rest. I weary in need of a nap, her cranky and needing sleep.
Scooped up she comes to my bed unhappy. I lay down with her and yet she fusses and complains, big tears spill down cheeks.
The pudgy pout takes over her little face. Up she sits resisting and defiant. I whisper love and sing a song of comfort.
I stare at her and contemplate how very much I am like this little strong willed baby girl of mine. How often as of late I wrestle and complain. I resist and fuss about the unfairness of it all.
Why oh why are we being treated this way? I don't understand, I don't like it. How can this be of any good?
I am defiant.
And yet there HE is... so patient, so loving. Beckoning me to rest.
Rest in me.
Know that I see and understand. Know that it is still for your good. I am preparing you, stretching you. You see only now, I see later...much later.
His whisper soothes me. His truth sustains me and I quiet.
She slumbers now, little nose pressed against my cheek, her heavy, contented breathing flows over my face. It is what she needed. Not what she wanted, but mommy knows.
She is assured that when it's uncomfortable or uneasy, I will still be there.
Never alone. Only an outstretched hand away. Just like my Father in heaven.
I will reach out for His hand and I will rest.
"If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all... they are meant to make you useful in His hands."
~ Oswald Chambers