Almost every summer that I can remember I spent at least one week at camp. I loved the feeling of acceptance at camp. My absolute favorite part of camp - either as a camper or a counsellor was bedtime. Not for the reason that you are probably thinking.
At the end of a busy day, as quiet comes over the campground and the lights are turned off for the night - that was when the most honest and real conversations would happen. As I camper I loved this sharing time, as a counsellor I looked forward for the opportunity to speak truth and encouragement into the girls lives. Those are the moments that I continue to cherish today.
It is those camp experiences that inspired the bedtime moments with our daughters. Every night I make time to spend time praying with and listening to our daughters. It has become a part of our daily routine, they give their Dad a hug goodnight and I get to spend time with them individually. As we sit on their bed it becomes our sacred time and place.
Some nights it's just prayer time and tuck in, some nights it's sharing a burden or situation. They know that this is their time with Mom and that it happens everyday. They don't have to make a special time to talk with me, that may be awkward or uncomfortable.
I am so thankful that even now that they are teenagers they look forward to this time, and they miss it when they are away at a sleepover or camp.
I wish I would have kept a journal of all the prayer requests through the years. We have had the privilege to pray for so many friends and family. So many moments that have encouraged and shaped us. Admittedly, some nights I use this time as an opportunity to talk to them about some choices that they have made that may have not been the best use of their gifts and talents. But mostly this is our time to pray and be thankful for our day.
My oldest went through a difficult time in school and many nights she would cry herself to sleep. This Mama's heart broke repeatedly and I felt so helpless. I read as many books and articles that I could to find a way to help her hurt. Somewhere along the way I read that in order to wake up and start your day with a positive attitude you need to fall asleep with a positive attitude. So each night I would ask her what her favorite part of the day was. She would usually start telling me about something negative that happened that day, but I would encourage her to find something good. After a few weeks it was easier to start finding the good in her day and it even got to the point where the list would get so long that we would be chatting a long time. Maybe it was a ploy to stay up later, but the changes I began to see in her was such an answer to prayer.
Bedtime is my sacred time and place with my daughters. Is this something that you can create with your daughter(s)? Your daughter(s) need this space and time with you.
I tend to worry more than I should. It's not a good quality - as in I even lose sleep because I play the worst case scenario repeatedly in my mind. Control freak (maybe?) I worry about a variety of things in my life but mostly our daughters.
With each stage of life there are new experiences, trials and changes. Ah change!!!!! Change and I are not good friends, we do not get along. Give me my structure, schedule and lists and it's all good.
Our family loves after church visiting. Generally we are one of the last families to leave. It was like that when my husband was the Youth Pastor and now that he plays on the majority of the music teams we can generally be found at the front of the church cleaning up music equipment and visiting.
One particular Sunday I was visiting with someone and I was sharing about our oldest daughter going to work at camp this summer and that she would be gone for four weeks! I don't know how I am going to handle it!!!!! She goes away to a youth retreat weekend, or a sleepover and I miss her terribly and have trouble sleeping. You know what my friend said to me:
"Do you think you can take better care of her than God can?"
Sometimes you need a friend to give you a kick in the butt. At first I was like, "Wow, harsh!" Then I slowly began to realize how true her words are.
Two weeks later I had an opportunity to exercise this new found wisdom. Our daughter left for a youth retreat at a Christian College that is a couple of hours away from our home. I dropped her off at the meeting spot - went back to my vehicle, paused for a moment and prayed for her weekend.
As she came to mind that weekend and worry began to settle in - I would stop and pray.
And you know what happened? I found peace and I felt freedom. It was AWESOME!!!
Whenever I would quiet my heart to pray for her, I would listen to what my heart was telling me to pray for. So instead of worrying I began praying that she would meet a mentor - someone that would be a positive influence in her life, that would be a good listener for when she needed someone other than her Mom and someone that she could connect with occasionally.
On Sunday I was excited to pick her up to hear about the weekend. I got to the church early and wrote in my journal while I was waiting anxiously for her return. Eventually my very sleep deprived daughter arrived and had enough energy left to share about the weekend. She had an amazing time - lots of fun activities, found a new love of lattes and she met an amazing girl that is a student at the college and just happens to be dating a guy from our church.
I could feel the smile in my heart, as I was so very thankful for a Father who listens, and cares and protects what we hold so very dear. This girl, this answer to prayer has attended our church a few times with her boyfriend's family and she always makes time for our daughter and the other teens she connected with that weekend.
There is freedom in giving our cares & worries to the One that holds us in His hand - that knows the number of hairs on our heads.
The next time worry sets in and steals peace and freedom from you, quiet your heart and place your worries at the foot of the cross. He's got this.
This is my new lock screen on my phone.
I need this reminder.
I spoke with a group of Mom's this past week. As I was preparing I had this special message drop on my heart. We as Mom's are going to fail. We are going to say and do things that we regret. Whether it is toward our husbands or our children - some days we are going to go to bed with a heavy heart after a long, hard day.
But as the sun sets and as the sun rises on a new day we are given this gift found in Lamentations.:
It's hard to believe that my new favorite verse, that gives me so much hope and strength comes from a book about lamenting. About the destruction of Jerusalem, about poor choices. Lamentations is a hymn of sorrow and regret. How many nights do I crawl into bed thinking those exact things about myself, my day, my choices.
But the book goes on to show us that God's faithfulness and mercy is the key to a restored relationship with Him.
I live in Saskatchewan and we are known as the Land of Living Skies, which comes in part from the dancing Northern Lights in our night skies, but we also have the most amazing sunsets and sunrises. I have sat on my porch swing many nights enjoying the view of the setting sun.
When I meditate on the words in Lamentations, it gives that sunset new meaning. As the sun closes on the day that is now behind me, I have made many choices that day. Some amazing and maybe some not so amazing. But as the sun will rise the next morning I have the opportunity to wake up and be amazing. Why?
Because my Heavenly Father's faithful, loyal, constant and trusted love, combined with His patient and compassionate mercy restores my soul every morning. How overwhelmingly beautiful is that! Oh my word! Do you understand the magnitude of that! Dear Mama's - every sunset and sunrise presents another opportunity for us to experience God's grace.
What hope that gives this Mama's heart, as I passionately desire to be a godly example to my family, as I pray for wisdom and discernment in the parenting of our daughters, as I faithfully come alongside and do life with my husband - May my attitude become one of "I get to" instead of "I have to".
As you journey through life today I want to leave you with this promise found in Romans 15:13 - have a beautiful day.
"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."
** feel free to save the wallpaper to your phone and use it as your lock screen, it will change the way to you see today.
It's a strange habit of mine - but I like to read obituaries.
All of us leave a story of our lives and I find it interesting to read the thoughts and memories of family about their loved one. A few months ago I came across this special story from Hertha and a memory shared from her grandson Josh:
During an incredibly special early morning hospital visit with her grandson Josh, Grandma provided a lesson in finances …
Even now, I can’t wait to tithe!
In lieu of flowers, it would be Hertha’s wish that you would instead put the money in a jar, pray and wait for the Lord to direct your gift. Be blessed!
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
As I read that obituary tears began to roll down my cheeks. To instill a passion for tithing - what a blessed woman. Not only did she leave this legacy for her grandson, but also to everyone that read about this special early morning visit. It is such an important message that I had to share her wish that we would all put money in a jar and wait and see what God will choose to do with it.
2 Corinthians 9: 6-11 (The Message) "Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God."
Today's challenge: find a jar, hold it in your hands and pray that what is placed in it will be used for God's glory and purpose, now start to fill it and continue to pray for direction on how you can give it away!
I recently heard a story about a young lady who was preparing to graduate from high school. An honor student, worked part-time at the local library, volunteered at the animal shelter and helped with the children’s programs in her church. Almost every night of the week she had an activity going on. She had university all planned, knew her major and recently accepted into the school of her choice.
Why is she sitting in a counselor office? Why is she so depressed? During the first session with the counselor it didn’t take long to know that this talented and smart young lady was in a very serious emotional state. As the counselor asked questions the young lady had all the right answers, was genuinely polite and was a pleasure to talk with. Nearing the end of the first session the counselor casually asked what she likes to do for fun. The young lady just stared at the counselor with a blank look. So the counselor asked again with a different question, “What are your hobbies?” Again, a blank stare. The young lady that had the right answer for everything did not know how to answer this question. Why?
She had been prepping for her future for so long that she didn’t enjoy the journey a long the way. She didn’t have any hobbies and she rarely had time to just breathe.
While it is good to have ambition and goals to accomplish things in life. It is not good to make yourself so busy and structured that you do not have time to build into yourself. By having time to be still, to create, to write, to read - we discover who we are. We discover our unique gifts and talents.
Throughout the month of April we have been on a journaling journey, I am so enjoying this time to stop and reflect on my day, to write a few things about myself and share this experience with others.
As I am nearing the half-way point of this exercise I have been noticing the inadvertent example that I am setting for my daughters. Before my accident I was so busy! I was running most nights, either driving my daughters somewhere or I had something going on. My accident forced me to slow down, and I am so thankful! Last night I found myself just sitting and staring out a window watching the birds!
I want to encourage you to take the time to watch the birds, they are far more interesting than social media on your phone - it sets an example for your children that they desperately need.
I am a highly analytical person. My mind is always pondering. My husband is the same way. That is how we first got to know each other and became good friends before we starting dating.
One of our favourite things to do on a Saturday morning is to sit and have coffee and chat, debate or analyze events, politics or theology. I am so glad that has stayed part of our relationship. We don't always agree but it is something that I cherish in our relationship.
The other day we had a little situation to deal with as a family. Sometimes I get so frustrated with what my daughters are exposed to. You just want to protect them and shield them from the outside scary world.
My analytical mind started to turn as I thought about parenting. I take my responsibility as a parent very seriously. We had a difficult time conceiving and we are extremely blessed to have the two beautiful daughters that we have been given. Parenting is without a doubt the most challenging thing that I have ever done, but I am willing to do what ever it takes to be there for our daughters.
Back to my pondering -- the word 'parenting' started to roll around in my head. The 'ing' at the end of the word makes it an action word. So in order to call yourself a parent, you then have to do the action of parenting. How many adults live with young children but do not actively take part in their children's lives and help to raise them to be respected adults.
I need to point out that I am by no means putting down anyone who is unable to have children or that has made the difficult decision to put up a child for adoption.
I am talking about the adults that have children living with them that they choose to ignore and spend all their time on Facebook and watching The Bachelor instead of filling the need of a parent that today's children need. My heart aches for these parentless children who just need to feel loved and listened to.
A few years ago I worked in a high school as an Educational Assistant. I worked with a tough bunch of kids and I loved it. Some days math just wasn't important, the kids I worked with had so many other things they were dealing with that school would just have to take a back seat and we would deal with some of the other issues so that we could move on with their school work at another time.
One teen girl really broke my heart, many days she would come to school hung over from the night before or even still stoned. One day I asked her why she chose to do this to herself? She stared at me for a few minutes, pondering what her answer would be. She looked at me with a seriousness that I had never seen in her before and she answered, "I wish that just once, my Mom would say no." This teen girl was longing for her Mom to say, "No, I don't want you to go out with your friends tonight, stay home with me and we can watch a movie." I will never forget the look of longing for her Mom in that teen girls eyes, it came from deep within her soul.
Today I want to challenge that we all make an intentional "parenting" choice with our children. They desire it from us and it is up to us to choose to fill that need. The rewards will be so worth the effort!