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Archive for January, 2012

The Real Bucket List

Something to consider and a challenge to give at least a moment’s thought to:

In light of my quickly approaching trip to Haiti (tomorrow, as I am writing this) I have been considering a lot of things in regard to my children. Haiti is a very unstable country and while I am not overly worried about any risks involved in traveling there, the trip has caused me to consider a bit more seriously than normal, what if I were to die?

A morbid question, I know.

Death, outside of the loss and sadness for my family, holds no fear for me. I wish I could describe here how blessedly assured I am of the eternal destination that awaits me. I love my Savior. I worship Him. Although, I fall short daily, He has saved me from my sins. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (1 Tim 1:15)”. I am ransomed. I believe His promises.

I have peace and partake of a living water. I pray that water, that peace will pour out of me. That the me is translucent. That Christ radiates. I pray this for all of you, brothers and sisters. Let your hearts be tugged.

Answer His call. Accept what He freely offers.

What if I were to die?

How often do you consider this question yourself? Let’s not give this thought undue attention, but healthy consideration is necessary and inevitable at some point.

So, in mulling over this concern, specifically with my children in mind, I quickly realized that I have an innumerable amount of things I want to teach them and a lifetime worth of love that I want to share with them before I die.

The birth of this thought pattern made my emotions flail like a person drowning. I felt a pulling out, pulling in, pulling apart need to do just that, teach them everything I can. Love them with all of my mommy love. A love so big it stretches to…everywhere. This love that ignites me, consumes me, thrills me.

But what if I were to die today…even if I were to die a week from now?

This love, this training up of a child, it’s supposed to be my life’s work. My mommy calling, unveiled…completed. I am supposed to have a lifetime for it.

The trouble is, we cannot always know…know when our flawed, earth bodies will be laid down to the dust.

What if I run out of time?

I don’t want to waste time. I don’t want to miss moments: teachable moments, difficult moments, kissable moments. I want teach my children all I can, love them all I can.

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This barely a three year old, with sparkle eyes, this learner, this pure, baby child; what can I teach her now that she must know tomorrow? How can I love her today in a way that will resonate each day of the rest of her life.

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What of this baby boy, this blank slate, what can I show him, leave him, if I am not here for all of his next days?

The answer is this, I cannot live like everyday is my last. I can only love them as I do and teach them as they are ready to learn.

But, my challenge is this:

Have you ever considered taking the time to write your child(ren) a letter? A letter for the future. A letter for after your grave. A letter for…after.

In this letter you could tell them what is most important. You could describe to them your love.

How would you write your letter?

What is most important? What last words do you want to leave your children that will last always and always last?

Following through with this letter, myself, laser-focused what I desire most for Anna and Dean. It forced me to evaluate the gamut of my hopes for them. It clarified and helped me express to them what is singly their purpose, our reason to exist…but the rest is for them to read.

Pray and carefully mull over whether a letter like this is something you should write. I don’t know if it would be as impactful and necessary for everyone as it has been for me.

Also consider that there are other ways to express these thoughts to your children: you could record a message, leave a video, or if they are old enough, simply tell them. In fact, I would love to hear your own unique ideas for this!

Too, writing this letter with the perspective of your own passing is simply one way to do it. Although, this point of view really helped me focus and ponder my words carefully. Instead, you could write a letter like this from another angle. For example, check out this unbelievably beautiful blog post from Ann Voskamp, in which she writes to her 16 year old son as he leaves her home for the first time: http://www.incourage.me/2012/01/what-a-parent-wants-to-say-before-a-child-leaves.html.

Although, I didn’t actually share my letter to Anna and Dean with all of you, I hope that I have conveyed it’s purpose and the eye-opening reflection it has provided me.

I hope this gentle challenge to write a letter will benefit you and your children.

 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

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Jesus, help me to spread your

  fragrance wherever I am.

Fill my heart with your Spirit and your life.

Penetrate my being and take such hold 

    of me that my life becomes a

    radiation of your own life.

Give your light through me and remain

me in such a way that every soul

I come in contact with can feel your

presence in me.

May people not see me, but see you in me.

Remain in me, so that I shine with your light,

   and may others be illuminated by my light.

All light will come from you, Oh Jesus.

   Not even the smallest ray of light

   will be mine. You will illuminate

   others through me.

Place on my lips your greatest praise,

  illuminating others around me.

May I preach you with actions more

  than with words, with the example

  of my actions, with the visible light

  of the love that comes from you to

  my heart. Amen.

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A Daily seeking, digging up and storing the treasures. A desire to know more.

Now, these become the pieces, the mechanisms that shape the moments of an everyday.

The knowing after the learning is what makes the all of it click.

To smoothly fitting all together. Oiled so that it moves seamless.

Without the cataracts.

This is what makes it a picture that is clear, what makes it be moments that are crisp, outlined clean.

With that clarity, time as it is working and the moments as they are happening are vessels to zoom and focus. They are magnifiers of The Purpose, the working together for the good.

It is when my heart that is weak and my mind that is stained comes to accepting…all is by His hand; He makes that weakness strong; He cleans what is dirty.

This daily seeking, this finding of treasures, this is what aligns the moments with His Words.

It is a sharpness…a seeing with new eyes.

“What we say does not matter, only what God says to souls through us.” ~Mother Teresa

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Gumballs

It was last week sometime that it occurred to me…being a mommy is kind of like being a gumball machine.

A very special gumball machine.

Life pulls you in a million directions. In the space of one morning, you change “hats” faster than you can sweep the floor before it gets dirty again.

My mornings typically start with a baby crying in the next room…a stinky diaper to change! Next, are bottles, breakfast, diapers, clothes. Whew! Stop for a cup of coffee and hustle for a clean kitchen. A load, or two, or three of laundry. Sweep the floor, clean up a spill…repeat…continue. Babies.

On this day, the fridge may be growl at me; a good indication it’s time to fill it with groceries. Babies.

Another day, a harried trip to town to run errands. Babies.

A day to balance checking accounts, work on expense reports. Babies.

Every day is full. Full of responsibility. Full of babies to care for and tasks to complete. Full of a selfish need to pause, to make the moments mine, to forget the now, to escape…babies.

Constant interruptions…frustrating and exhausting. What about me? What about what I need to get done? What about what I want to do?

But what about those gumballs?

You see, as my children grow they won’t care how many loads of laundry I completed, or how spit-polish clean the floor was every morning.

You know what, neither will I.

Instead, as difficult as it is to give myself every day, all day, to these precious lives, they are my gifts and they freely give me gumballs…irreplaceable, beautiful gumballs.

These gumballs are memories. They are love. They are life.They are what matters. They are God-given and they are my greatest ministry. I cannot give my children anything more important.

So, today I pray that I might be patient, kind, selfless, humble, easy to forgive, honest, protective, trusting, hopeful, always persevering and never failing.

Does this sound like a lot to give to my children every single day, in each moment, no matter where else life is pulling me?

All of these together equal one single thing…

LOVE.*

I hope that my babies grow up with their gumball machines full to the brim. In the years to come, when they need a gumball to get through life, I hope I have given them plenty to choose from.

Mommies have very full gumball machines. Let us enjoy, cherish and prioritize the challenges they bring us.

*(1 Cor, 13:4-8)

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File:Amy Carmichael with children.jpg

I am currently reading an abbreviated biography of Amy Carmichael. Inspired…a word that does little to capture the impression her living sacrifice (life) has made on me. I am eager to read more, more about her. I am already smitten with her poems, anecdotes and short devotions. A few of these rubies are included below:

“One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving.”

 “It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates.”  

“O Lamb of God, deliver me…

From subtle love of softening things,

From easy choices, weakenings,

(Not thus are spirits fortified,

Not this way went the Crucified)

From all that dims Thy Calvary

O Lamb of God, deliver me.”

“We say, then, to anyone who is under trial, give Him time to steep the soul in His eternal truth. Go into the open air, look up into the depths of the sky, or out upon the wideness of the sea, or on the strength of the hills that is His also; or, if bound in the body, go forth in the spirit; spirit is not bound. Give Him time and, as surely as dawn follows night, there will break upon the heart a sense of certainty that cannot be shaken.”

 

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