What our Kids Long For

I heard a young teenager say something so telling once about a traveling softball team she was on. She said, I love my softball team, but I miss my family.

I thought, wow, she gets it. Even though at her age she probably doesn’t understand why she feels this way, she understands that there’s something deep inside her to connect with her family and to have quality time together with them.

As an adult I can now reflect back on those things that were most precious and life changing to me as a child growing up.

They were not vacations, softball games or expensive clothes. They were my fathers wisdom, my grandmothers walk of true obedience with God and time spent with my mom in the kitchen seeing which one of us kids got to be the one to lick the spatula after baking endless amounts of Christmas cookies we’d make with mom that we would always share with others.

It was the time my dad spent with me. Quite frankly it didn’t matter so much what we were doing, playing catch, learning how to kick field goals or watching reruns of MASH (or sometimes “In Living Color,” but mom isn’t supposed to know that….shhhhh!). For me, my dads investment in my life manifested itself in ways that were most transformational not by the things he got us or the exciting places he and mom might have taken us, but in watching closely the way he treated others. It was his humility, kindness and integrity that I can see now as an adult that had greater return than any gift he could me. It was my mothers’ constant willingness to serve other people. My grandmothers steady faith and her constant trust in Jesus.

I would like to suggest we spend far too much time swiping the credit card, believing the more “opportunities” we create for our children- the better parents we have become. The greatest investment and return we will ever give to our children will not be in the things that we get for them, but in what we teach them by the way that we live our lives and how present we are for them. It will be the time that we invest in them, The dollar sign attached to the time we spend with our children is really irrelevant, we could be spending $5 dollars and be placing a greater stamp on their lives if we are fully present, than if we spend $5,000 dollars, but are emotionally or physically unavailable for our children.

You see, we live for big, exciting moments so we spend exorbitant amounts of our time,energy and efforts to find fulfillment in the next big thing. We put money down on an extravagant vacation, buy tickets to this thing or that. Many times at the expense of our families financial health. Why? Could it be we’re trying to impress others or believe some sort of falsity that our children will value us more if we give them more stuff. We might also believe that we aren’t as good of parents if our children don’t have the latest pieces of technology, expensive name brand clothing, or aren’t on traveling sports teams.

Truth be told, I think much of this is a heart issue we have yet to address in our own lives. We spend our time posting on Facebook about all the great places we take our children and opportunities we believe we’re creating for them that in reality is only keeping the family disconnected from one another. All the while our children are watching, they’re learning from us where our value is truly found.

Another young teenager once said to me, “I just want to be with my family and not always be so busy. I miss my parents when they’re at work and I’m lonely at home by myself. I wish they were there more often. I just like spending time together with my family.”

Let’s be fully present for our children. Even as a woman without children I need to be reminded of this truth, because I can often get caught up on doing things rather than making myself available for people.

Lord, give us grace. Help us, we need you to move in our hearts so we don’t run after a lifestyle that only keeps us disconnected from those closest to us. Give us wisdom as we raise children to know you and help us to be fully present for them, in Jesus name. Amen.

A Unified Body

The address to the Ephesians in chapter 4 of Paul’s letter, in my understanding, does not read as a calling to the individual, isolated from the body, but instead of a call to the entire body of Christ. It is not a ME calling, it is an US calling.

Even Paul himself, who was called out by God knew and understood that he could not fulfill his calling without the help and support of the church (Phil 4:15-18). As Paul addresses the church in Ephesus he admonishes them to live a life worthy of the calling they have received. He gives them these actions step with which to accomplish this calling.

1. Be humble (remember, it’s not always, if ever, about you)
2. Be gentle and patient (don’t always feel the need to have your thoughts or opinions heard, especially if they have not been bathed in prayer beforehand)
3. Bear with one another in love (the greek word used for love is “agape,” this refers to God’s UNCONDITIONAL love. This is the type of love we should practice in the church)

Why? Paul says, to preserve the UNITY of the Spirit through the bond of peace. If we are living out these principles Paul gives us, how can we not walk in unity with one another? As we do, human agendas die and God’s purposes are propelled into action. Then, we start to experience the power of God as the people of God get out of the way and start making more of the name of Jesus then their own name.

Oh Lord, I need greater humility, show me when I am acting out of pride and not in meekness. Father, I need your Spirit in me to live in agape love towards my brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s you through me. Lord, may I not boast in myself, but only Christ and Him crucified. Pour out your blessing on your bride, THE CHURCH! Abba, we the church ask for more of you. God, reveal more truth to us as we seek your face, together, in Jesus name!

Living Waters

There is something significant in the bible about a stream of running (living) water and I don’t want you to miss it.

It often signifies a deep, spiritual cleansing. Running water is what was needed for the cleansing of leprosy and other infectious skin diseases (Lev 14). Living, running water is what Jesus offers to all who might follow Him (John 7:37). Truly, it is a beautiful picture of what Christ does in every believer who chooses to follow after Him. Do you see the connection? I hope you do. When Christ fills the believers heart, a stream of living water wells up in them, offering continual spiritual cleansing from sin, leading us to eternal life.

Imagine a flowing stream of spiritual renewal running through your veins, continually available for you, as you trust in Christ; the living water. The one who fills your heart, mind and entire body with deep, spiritual cleansing.

Yeshua, my joy, my delight, my hope and peace. You are the cleansing water I need for my soul. You make me new. You offer us all, living water. Thank you that you, the living water, cleanses, purifies and makes perfect for all time those who are being sanctified. Amen.

“IF ANYONE IS THIRSTY, LET HIM COME TO ME AND DRINK, whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, STREAMS OF LIVING WATER WILL FLOW FROM WITHIN HIM” – John 7:37

When The World is Against Us

When we feel as though the world is against us, remember, your Lord stands with you. Do not forget Him. Rest in His comfort and peace. Do not focus on the crowd of naysayers or those who offer their disapproval. Keep your eyes pressed hard on the one who affirms you as His child. Truly, being His child, and He our father is the assurance the heart needs when it feels as though the world is against you.

As Jesus stood with the woman caught in adultery, many slung insults at her and wanted to condemn her to death. Yet, there stood Jesus, the one who loved her, supported her and challenged her to rise above her past life to be found anew in His life.

That is the agape, unconditional love of God offered for you. Find yourself in His love. Let go of past mistakes, hold fast to your Lord and remember that you are not a product of your past, or a bundle of mistakes that can never be forgiven. In Christ, you are a redeemed, loved, child of God.

Abba, thank you that you are full of grace and mercy for people like me. Yes, there are consequences for our past mistakes, but you don’t beat us over the head with condemnation over them. You are a merciful God, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Thank you for loving me, even when I fail. You never give up on me. For that, I am thankful that He who began a good work in me, will carry it out until the day of completion in Christ Jesus. Amen.