Posts Tagged: children

Open-Handed Love

I really couldn’t grasp
a way to love you deeper,
but then I let go.

Dedicated to the many parents of prodigal children. Keep holding out love.

Turning Your Page

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:32

Children stretch and strengthen your love muscles. Stay close to scripture as a parent. God does not leave you guessing on how to raise them, how he loves them, or how he protects and sacrifices for his children.

  • How would you describe your love for your children?
    • color?
    • shape?
    • nature? (example: Loving them feels like trying to control a swollen river cutting out a new path to run.)

Lord, you have gifted me with love for my children, but you know and love them better. Grow my awareness of your ways that I will walk in your will as I parent. Amen

Loss Through the Eyes of a Child

John 3:16 For God so loved the world: He gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.

 

Daniel, age 10, asked if he could write for my post. So, I am honored to have my son be my first guest blogger. 

Even the smallest of us can make a difference to family or a person hurt by loss. When I lost my brother, I asked everyone I met if they knew Jonathan. I wanted them to know he lived. By talking about Jonathan, I discovered that others had lost someone they loved. I could encourage them with God’s word and by listening and praying for them. John 3:16 helps me to remember that Jonathan is with Jesus, and his story did not end here.

God comforts me. Jonathan’s death has made me more scared of losing my parents because they have been very sick. I tend to cry when others lose someone in a movie, or I faced the death of my dog last year. I talk to God and he tells me I will be okay. He helps me to remember playing Nerf with Jonathan, creating a football field every Christmas as my present. I would wake up and look out the window and there would be a freshly painted football field and we would go out and play as a family. Sometimes when I go to bed, I ask my mom to sing a special song, because that is when I especially get sad or scared. Even though Jonathan’s death is tough on me, we have new family activities that we do. We are reading through the Bible and praying for Compassion International Families, together. We take a Mother’s Day hike every year at the cemetery where Jonathan is buried. Last year we made ornaments for Christmas, and crafts to remember favorite moments with Jonathan.  There are so many ways to remember him.

Anytime you feel the urge to pray for someone, I encourage you to lift them up to God. Loving others as God loves me helps me know that the sad times will pass and that he has a good plan for our lives.

 

I Write Because . . .

. . .Sand should be squished between toes
and the ocean caught in cockle shells.
. . .Children’s laughter begs even the soberest of lips to curl into a smile.
. . .Pain digs into my heart
And I refuse to hold it in.
. . .God tickles my ears with
whispered clues to life’s mysteries.
. . .Pop-sickles melt loud summer days
into cool splashes of flavor.
. . .Treasures are found in the cracks of chairs that bring back memories we lose.
. . .I want the sugar I harvest
to sweeten someone else’s black coffee.

You Drew Me In

Giggles and crayons melted

the distance between our sorrow.

Sketched out souls, framed together

in a mosaic moment of

play.

I miss him echoed

in our quiet parallel

expressions of color.

Each grieving, uniquely

united by the unquiet outline

of our circumstances.

In the War Room: Spiritual Warfare Momma Style

Psalm102:28The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.

For the first time in over two years I returned to the chapel to pray for our church youth group as they met. Coming to church has been difficult this year, and being around teenagers even harder. Not because I don’t love them, but because I miss Jonathan. From the first moment I said yes to Jesus, I have not battled a desire to escape church, until now. I began to withdraw from fellowship as soon as the casket closed. But in contrast to this struggle, God kept stirring me to pray for young men and women, some struggling very much like my son. I entered the chapel and felt the same blank, numb, weariness that I have become accustomed to these days in being in the building. I didn’t feel like being there, but God’s call was clear.

As I began to pray for guidance, as I began to pray for each of the students by name I became aware of a shift. It was as if the blinders were removed from my eyes and I began to see what I was actually praying for and against. Scripture declares that there is a spiritual battle not always seen by the naked eye. Discernment is needed and prayer opens the door for the spirit to guide us in our prayers.

13-15 Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out.

16-18 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.

19-20 My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God. (James 5 MSG)

There came a moment when my hands were raised, but I don’t remember raising them. I felt like Moses standing above the battle field and when his arms were raised, the Israelites were winning, but when his arms dropped they began to lose. I could see the battle playing out, and the enemy losing ground as I declared God’s truth over each child. Prayer is a powerful tool, scripture is able to slice open and reveal the enemy’s schemes. So why do I so often use it as a last resort?

Don’t grow weary in your prayers. Jesus didn’t pray to his heavenly father day in and day out because he was God, he prayed because he had limited himself to being a man! To fight the enemy’s schemes just like we can do, to stand firm while others fell away, Jesus had to pray. It was not a last resort, it was his weapon of choice. He taught us how to pray! Prayer puts a stake in the ground and says, “No further Satan!” Today I put a stake in the ground Lord, I state before God and man, I will be a watchman. I will declare your faithfulness to me, and trust that you will be faithful to our children. Will you be a watchman with me?!

Psalm 78:

1My people, hear my teaching;

listen to the words of my mouth.

2I will open my mouth with a parable;

I will utter hidden things, things from of old—

3things we have heard and known,

things our ancestors have told us.

4We will not hide them from their descendants;

we will tell the next generation

the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,

his power, and the wonders he has done.

5He decreed statutes for Jacob

and established the law in Israel,

which he commanded our ancestors

to teach their children,

6so the next generation would know them,

even the children yet to be born,

and they in turn would tell their children.

7Then they would put their trust in God

and would not forget his deeds

but would keep his commands.

Hugging Photos Isn’t Enough

Daniel hugged the plaque of Jonathan that hung at Moe’s Restaurant this weekend. His heartache was so evident in his attempt to embrace his brother. When that did not satisfy, as we walked out the door he reached for Natalie.

“Here Natalie, you be Jonathan so I can hug you.”

Sigh, I want so badly to fill their little arms. Oh Lord, they need flesh and bones Jonathan, fill them with the satisfaction of your embrace. Hold them tight! Keep them safe from the darkness.

45 MINUTES OF MISSING YOU

Blue Men and Women

conducted a BOLD LETTER search

for the little sheep hiding amid the pride of lions

while the mother feared she had been devoured

Layers of loss struggled to hope

Squawks of Marco

Polo volleyed

Until the hunters exhausted of the game

Silence

ticked by until the question must be asked

Is it time?

Almost, the faint reply

The vibration of a kindred searcher woke

the mother from her fears

“I have her”

relief rushed to restore order

She was laughing amongst lions

Oblivious of danger

Nor fragile with fear

Jarritos Memories

A bottle of memories

Sparkling with your laughter, sipped

slowly by my broken heart.

Silly sombrero on your head,

Inviting life with your dimpled smile

as cheeks puff to blow out candles.

I walk by the Mexican soda at the grocery store

and you make my sorrow smile.

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