Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cleaning Up The BIG Mess

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One of my boys favorite toys at their Abuelita’s house is a little toy vacuum.  The other day Matthew (age 2) was vacuuming his little heart out.  Every so often he would look around to see toys, blankets, and pillow pets strewn all over the floor and say, “I’m cleaning up this big mess.”  And he would begin anew trying to vacuum up it all.  He even vacuumed the table!
But as hard as he worked the mess was still there.  The mess that he and his brothers made.  That little toy vacuum just wasn’t cutting it, with the very real mess.  
Is there a big mess surrounding you?  Do you feel like Matthew.  Trying and trying with all your might to clean it up, but the toy vacuum just isn’t working?
Maybe we’re trying to clean up a spiritual mess with earthly tools?  Maybe we were never intended to clean up the mess in the first place?  Maybe letting it all go, and diving into God’s grace for a good scrubbing will be more effective than weeks, months, or even years of our own efforts?
Generous in love-God, give grace! Huge in mercy-wipe out my bad record.  Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry.  I know how bad I've been; my sins are staring me down.
You're the One I've violated, and you've seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil. You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair.  I've been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born.  What you're after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean, scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.  Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing.  Don't look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health.  God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.  Don't throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me.  Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!  Give me a job teaching rebels your ways so the lost can find their way home.  Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God, and I'll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.  Unbutton my lips, dear God; I'll let loose with your praise.
Going through the motions doesn't please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you.  I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice.
Make Zion the place you delight in, repair Jerusalem's broken-down walls.  Then you'll get real worship from us, acts of worship small and large, Including all the bulls they can heave onto your altar!
Psalm 51
We're all sin-infected, sin-contaminated. Our best efforts are grease-stained rags. We dry up like autumn leaves-sin-dried, we're blown off by the wind.
Isaiah 64:6

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shhhhhhh! It's 4 a.m.



Shhhhh! It’s 4 a.m. and all I hear is the sound of the ac running and some snoring.  So why am I awake?  Because 20 minutes ago those sleepy sounds were interrupted by one little boy’s cries for mom.
And I’m up.  Making sippy cups of milk.  Kissing away tears.  Showing him I love him.
I’m blessed.  I’m priviledged.  To be able to respond to middle of the night calls.  To do what Jesus does when we call on Him.  To be there.  Anytime day or night.
And to love.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

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I walked outside today at the request of my 2 year old son.  He asked for a toy that was on the back patio and I obliged him.  Out I went into the Texas summer heat intent on retrieving the monster truck that my son longed for.  Sure I’d receive a smile and a “thank you Mommy.”  
Instead I hear a little voice coming from the house.  It says, “Wait!  Mommy, you need shoes!”
It’s a rule we have for the boys and one I often times don’t follow.  If you go outside you need to wear shoes.  And I want to say it.  That ridiculous saying.  “Do what I say, not what I do.”  
But that philosophy just doesn’t work for me.  I teach by example.  Because regardless of whether I want them to, they are always watching and learning from what I do.  Sometimes I teach what is right.  Sometimes I don’t.  But, I try my hardest, often times more for them than for me, to be who I want them to be, and to do what I want them to do.  
So instead I answer.  “Oh, you’re right!  I need shoes.”  I kiss his sweet head, and hand him his truck.  And I think about how different things would have been if Jesus had taken the “do what I say, not what I do” attitude.  And I’m grateful he taught by example instead.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Scripture Sunday

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Linked up to Scripture and a Snapshot


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Announcing The Speaker Line Up For Mamas Write Mini-Conference




“Making Your Blog Your Own”
Saturday August 27, 2011



Rachel Holland






Crystal Sparks








Stefanie Brown


Rachel Miller


For more information on the conference look here.
You can register for the Mamas Write Mini-Conference here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Forgive You Mommy

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It was naptime.  I had told him not to get out of bed.  I was making his milk, just as he had requested.  But still my 4 year old son slowly opened his door and padded barefoot into the kitchen. 
“Josiah, I told you to stay in bed.  I’m making your chocomilk.”  (It’s been months since I’ve put actual chocolate in their milk and they haven’t noticed, but if I just say “milk” they refuse to drink it)
“Josiah, go to bed!”
“I forgive you Mommy.  Mommy?  You look so beautiful.”
That’s what he said with his sweet little face upturned.  His eyes full of love.  And my first reaction?
Shock!
You what?!?!?  You forgive me?  I am serving you warmed milk in a sippy cup!  I wipe your little booty each time you go poop!  I pick up your toys!  I read to you, cater to you, listen to you, buy you things, care for you, kiss your scrapes and bruises, stay up late and wake up early for you!  I do everything for you!  
And you forgive me?  For what?  I’m a good mother!  
But I kissed his head, said thank you, gave him his milk and sent him back to his room.
And then I thought about it.  How many times have I lost my temper with him in his four short years of life?  How many times have I been unfair?  How many times have I said no just because of laziness?  How many times have I been a bad example to him?  Lied to him?  Torn him down?  Raised my voice?  Disciplined in anger?
And I need that forgiveness.  He’s four.  I’m his mother and still I need his forgiveness.  I may not understand why he said he forgave me.  But I accept it, appreciate it, and am grateful for his forgiveness.  Because we all need forgiveness.  
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.  Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.  And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Colossians 3:12-14

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Born For The Fight (Part 2 : Enemies, Allies, and Civilians)


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Why don’t I want my sons fighting with each other?  Because they are brothers, they are allies, not enemies.  But when we don’t pay attention or take the time to really notice what’s going on in the war raging around us we can fail to recognize who our enemies, our allies, and the civilians around us are.  So let’s break it down.
Our brothers are not our enemies.  Our leaders and those in authority are not our enemies.  The person demanding a price check in line in front of us when we are in a hurry is not our enemy, nor is the one who pulls out in front of us without signaling on the highway.  Atheists are not the enemy.  Bullies are not the enemy.  As a general rule people are not the enemy.  Satan and his influence is the enemy.  
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:12-13
People not being the enemy, does not mean that all people are allies.  Our fellow believers are our allies.  Those who confess Christ and believe in His Word.  We have allies in the angels as well.  And of course our greatest alli.  Our victory winner.  Our constant companion.  Jesus.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33
So what about those people who aren’t allies, but can’t be considered enemies?  I would call them civilians.  Civilians in a war-zone will fall prey and be used by the enemy.  They have no true alliance with either side and are vulnerable.  Non-Christians are civilians.  They are the weak and fatherless.  The poor and oppressed.  And we are called to defend them.  To fight for them in this eternal battle.  
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Psalm 82:3
So lets treat our enemy as an enemy, our allies as allies, and civilians as civilians.   
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Born For The Fight (Part 1 : A Warrior At Heart)

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On occasion my children fight.  I’m sure your’s don’t, but just in case they are human (and boys) like mine I’ll let you in on a secret.  The fighting isn’t 100% bad.  You see they were created for it.  They were born for the fight.  
We are all born into a very real battle.  The battle of good against evil.  Sin against purity.  Satan against God.  Our spirits against our flesh.  But as men our sons especially are given hearts of warriors.  They are designed to fight, to protect, to defend, to conquer, and to pursue what is right and good.
I’ve found myself telling them to stop fighting.  When what’s wrong with the picture above isn’t that they are fighters, it’s that their desire to war is misplaced and unguided.  I don’t want them to stop fighting.  I never want them to stop fighting.  I want them to fight the good fight!
Lord, help me to inspire and encourage my son’s warrior hearts.  Show me how to teach them to fight the good fight of faith.  Help them to wage war the right way.
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:11-12
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Scripture Sunday

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This is a new link-up.  Link up a verse every Sunday for your family to focus on that week.  Let's start the week in His Word!  

The only rule for this link-up is that it be to a post of a scripture you will focus on this week.  I would love to have you follow my blog and leave comments, but it's not required.


If your scripture has a picture with it you can also link up here:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Perfect

This is a repost in honor of Caleb's 1st birthday TODAY!!!  This was originally posted on July 26, 2010.  Happy Birthday to my miracle! 







Wow!  It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write.  As many of you know already I’ve just come to the end of a very difficult pregnancy.  From the very beginning Caleb and I were attacked physically.  It started with a month of bleeding which the Lord healed.  Then severe abdominal pain which was also healed.  
Then it was contractions which were treated with medicine, but got worse.  Then at 30 weeks I went to the hospital with very painful contractions and while I was there my water broke.  The doctors and nurses were sure that he would be born that night, but were trying to prevent it.  They even had a neonatal nurse come and tell us what to expect with a premature baby.  
They gave me some very strong medicine to stop the labor and at one point they gave me to much.  I remember looking at the nurse and saying, “I’m going to pass out now.”  And then I passed out.  I saw a white light that grew larger and brighter and I was sure I was gone.  I remember the only thing I could think was to pray.  And all I said in that prayer was “We are in Your hands.”  Soon I heard the nurse calling my name, but it took me a while to be able to respond.  
Once I was stabilized the doctor told me that because my water had broken I would have to stay in the hospital for the rest of my pregnancy.  And we prayed.  And we asked for prayer.  And God’s people prayed.  Two days later I was no longer leaking.  A few days after that I had an ultrasound done by a specialist and he found no evidence that my water had broken at all!  And a few days after that my doctor sent me home to spend the rest of the pregnancy on bedrest.  
After a week in the hospital I lasted 6 more weeks on bedrest at home before my water broke again at about 11 pm on July 14.  Caleb was born by C-section at 6:40 am on July 15, 2010.  He was technically 3 weeks early, but is perfect.  He was 19 inches long and weighed 7 lbs 4 oz, which is actually the heaviest baby I’ve had.  As I look back on this difficult time I can see so clearly the hand of God working on my and Caleb’s behalf.  The healing that took place is undeniable.  And as I look at my beautiful sleeping baby I can see that His work is perfect.  In my moments of weakness His strength was evident.  How can I not give Him praise and trust him in all things?
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.  A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Deuteronomy 32:4
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I See The Baby

This is a repost in honor of Caleb's 1st birthday this Friday.  This was originally posted on November 22, 2010.  Happy Birthday to my miracle!



I was playing with Baby Caleb this evening and he was smiling and giggling and eating up all the attention.  But out of the corner of my eye I was seeing the growing mound of clean laundry across the living room on the other couch.  

It was trying to taunt me.  Saying “Hey!  Fold me!  Hang me up!  Put me away!”  I ignored it and went back to playing with the baby.  I wasn’t going to let a pile of laundry ruin my special moment with the baby.  

I chose not to see the laundry, but to see, to REALLY see the baby.  I saw the joy in his eyes when he saw me smile at him.  I heard the giggles bubble up from inside him when I tickled his belly.  I felt the softness of his skin as I caressed his cheek.  I love that baby and no pile of laundry or dishes or any other chore is more important than sharing my love with him.  
I’ve met people who look at my children as a chore.  Sounds terrible, but it’s true.  When they find out that all three are mine and they are all ages 3 and under the first thing they say is, “wow, you must be busy!”  Or, “I bet you have to do laundry every day!”  (which I do, by the way)  Or how do you do it?  

When I look at them, I don’t see the meals I have to prepare, the floors I have to clean, the dinosaurs and cars I have to pick up, the diapers I have to change, the noses I have to wipe, the laundry I have to do, the dishes I have to wash, or the nails I have to clip.  I see my boys.  I see my babies.  I see LOVE.  

Lord, help us to have Mary’s heart and attitude when it comes to our families.  Let us treasure our time with You, our husbands, and our children the way that she did.  

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"  "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:39-42

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When The Baby's Not Such A Baby

This is a repost in honor of Caleb's 1st birthday this Friday.  This was originally posted on December 12, 2010.  Happy Birthday to my miracle!




We passed another milestone this week.  Caleb had his first “solid” food.  Josiah gave him his first bite.  He wasn’t so convinced, but as the days have passed he’s gotten better and better.  I’m pretty sure that now at least half of his cereal gets to his tummy.  The other half ends up on the bib, but I think that’s pretty normal.  
 
As with every milestone we pass with Caleb I have to come to grips with the fact that this is my last baby, who with each milestone becomes less and less a baby.  With Josiah and Matthew I can easily say that I met each new stage of their lives with the joy of seeing them grow.  To be honest, with Caleb it’s probably 90% joy and 10% wanting him to stay a baby.  I even waited a few extra weeks instead of giving him cereal the day he turned 4 months like I did with his brothers.
 
As parents it’s easy to want to keep our children little, but it’s not God’s plan, or His idea of parenting.  Our children are born to grow and fulfill a purpose.  If they stay small they won’t be able to do that.  It’s better to celebrate and embrace their growth than to dread it.  
 
Are you celebrating your children’s growth?  Or are you wishing you could keep them young forever?  Celebrating and looking forward to their futures will help us live more contently, but it will also encourage us to pray with purpose.  If our hearts are to keep them with us our prayers will be along those lines, but if our hearts are to see them fulfill God’s purpose we will pray for them with more direction.  
 
When we see our children grow it’s obviously silly to try to keep them babies.  When it comes to spiritual children it’s another story.  Do you have spiritual children?  People you’ve ministered to?  People who have worked under your leadership?  What is your heart for them?  Growth?  What if they surpass you?  I think that’s where our hearts are truly tested.  Would you think yourself less of a leader if your followers surpass you?  
 
Think of it along the lines of parenthood.  Would you think yourself less of a parent if your children surpass you?  Of course not!  That is our hope for our children that they surpass us.  And if they do it’s a sign of a job well done.  It’s the same in leadership.  If your followers, students, or spiritual children surpass you it shows you’ve done a good job.  Even Christ said that we would do even greater things in His name!  He never wanted us to stay babies.  He took joy in our rebirth and salvation, but His hope for us is the same as our hope for our children.  That we will do even greater things in His name.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
John 14:12

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All The Days Ordained For Me


This is a repost in honor of Caleb's 1st birthday this Friday.  This was originally posted on January 6, 2010 when I was pregnant with Caleb.  Happy Birthday to my miracle!

I finally had my ob-gyn appointment today.  Everything seems to be good.  I got an ultrasound and the baby was beautiful and moving around!  I wish I had taken video because the pictures I got just don’t do it justice.  They even had a 3D ultrasound machine and I could see so clearly!  My little baby looks like a stuffed fabric baby doll, all round and pudgy and perfect.  They said he or she looked great and I am officially off bed rest.  I still have to take it easy though and am not supposed to carry anything over 20 lbs.  
With each pregnancy I am truly amazed at how God forms and creates a perfect baby in 9 short months.  Each of my pregnancies and deliveries have been unique and had their own complications, but the Lord’s hand has been on every situation and his protection has been on me and my children.  One of my very favorite Bible verses talks about how God forms us.  It says that even as He is forming a baby in the womb all of that baby’s days are written in His book.  So from the time a baby begins to form God has His plan and purpose for that child.  Before I was born God knew what he wanted to use me for.  And he knows what this baby inside me’s purpose is.  I know that He will be faithful to complete it.  Although statistics and research and the world my want to tell me that I am at risk of losing this baby, I will leave his formation and protection and future in the hands of my loving Heavenly Father.  I know he has a purpose and I will see it completed.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

Monday, July 11, 2011

Celebrating Caleb

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My baby turns one this Friday.  And we are celebrating (of course).  He’s grown and learned so much over this past year!  The picture is from a couple months ago when he first learned how to stack blocks.  If you had seen me when he first did it you may have thought he had won a Nobel Prize for his tower design.  I was that excited.  
With every accomplishment comes pictures and praise.  When I see my friends I say, “guess what Caleb can do.”  And I share his latest victory.  Be it standing on his own, saying banana, crawling, or eating something new I share with excitement and joy.  I celebrate.
And I’ve been wondering if God brags on his children like we do.  Does he say, “Did you see that?  Christy held her tongue and resisted the temptation to get angry!”  “My daughter!  My little girl!  Look she’s serving others instead of demanding to be served!”
Does God delight in our growth and obedience?  Does he celebrate his children’s birthdays?  What would a party in heaven even look like?  Can you imagine?
But it’s right there in scripture.  God’s angels threw a party in heaven for me!  I was lost, but when I turned to Him there was a celebration!
Count on it-that's the kind of party God's angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.
Luke 15:10

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Scripture Sunday

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This is a new link-up.  Link up a verse every Sunday for your family to focus on that week.  Let's start the week in His Word!  

The only rule for this link-up is that it be to a post of a scripture you will focus on this week.  I would love to have you follow my blog and leave comments, but it's not required.





If your scripture has a picture with it you can also link up here:


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mamas Write Mini-Conference Giveaway & Twitter Party

Congrats Leigh!!!  






Are you a Christian Mom Blogger in Texas?  

Have you heard of Mamas Write?  

Have you joined?  

Will you be at the Mamas Write Mini-Conference on August 27?

I hope so!

You can find out all about it at mamaswrite.com 

We'll be having a Twitter Party with some great prizes including conference tickets on July 26 at 2 pm.  We'll be using the hashtag #MWMC  and would love to have you join us!

Want a chance to win Mamas Write Membership and a Conference ticket now?  One of my readers will!






How To Enter: 
Complete as many entries as you like.  Each is worth 1 entry.  Make sure to include a valid email address in your comment if you do not have one available in your profile.  Please write a separate comment for each entry.  The contest will close on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. Open to US residents only.  Winner will be chosen by an online random number generator.  Winner must respond within one week.
Entries:

  1. Tell me how you found out about Mamas Write
  2. Follow Mamas Write on Twitter
  3. Follow Devotion Mama through GFC (Google Friend Connect)
  4. Subscribe to Devotion Mama by email
  5. Follow @DevotionMama on Twitter
  6.  Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this page
  7. Share about this giveaway on Facebook
Disclaimer:  I am President of Mamas Write.  Mamas Write has provided a free membership and conference ticket for this giveaway.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rescued From The Trash

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I’ve been rescuing cardboard boxes from the trash recently.  Last week I snatched 3 boxes my husband had placed on the curb.  They are the perfect size to make into cars for my boys.  Today I swiped this long skinny box for them to roll their hot wheels down.  It was a hit!
They had so much fun I couldn’t believe we almost threw that huge car ramp away!  What a treasure I found among the trash abandoned on the curb.
I’m wondering if you’ve ever felt thrown out.  Has the world left you on the curb?  Have they told you you’re trash?  Worthless?  Broken?  Used?  Discarded?  Good for nothing?
I imagine God’s great joy in pulling us, his treasure, up from the depths.  In rescuing us from the landfill.  In cleansing us and reminding us that our worth lies not in who we are, but in the price that was paid for us.
He did it for me.  I know He’ll do it for you to.
For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
Psalm  86:13