Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Being The Light For A Desperate Child

I have been talking about being filled with The Light, and being The Light this week. But have you ever wondered how far we are supposed to let our lights shine?

Several years ago, Proverbs 31 formed a partnership with Compassion International, and joined them in their efforts to help children in other countries receive the physical, emotional and spiritual support that they needed. The ultimate goal is to help Compassion release children from poverty, in Jesus's name. Not only to provide food and clothing, but to provide Jesus.

This partnership really came about because of Lysa Terkeurst's huge leap of faith to adopt her two sons from a Liberian orphanage. Through that life changing experience, and her eyes were opened to the hopelessness of children in other countries, and her heart was changed forever. She was filled with an unquenchable desire to help these children - and her passion soon became contagious to all of us at Proverbs 31 Ministries.

In August 2007, I had an opportunity of a life time to travel to Ecuador to visit some of the Compassion churches (you can view my pictures from this trip on my Facebook photos page) , and we visited several families that Compassion was working with in near villages. I also got to wrap my arms around my sponsored childs neck, and there are no words to really describe that feeling.

The trip was was heartbreaking, tear-wrenching, and soul changing, but it was also uplifting to meet the families that trusted God, in the midst of their poverty and desperation. So ever since then, my heart has been full of passion for these needy children and their families, and a desire to help them learn about The Light.

A couple weeks ago Lysa shared some exciting news with us, that her sons were asked to be back up singers at the Matthew West concert here in Charlotte, NC, for a new song he was singing called "One Less" about child poverty. I wanted to go to the concert but unfortunately we had a conflict! I was so bummed.

But today on her blog, Lysa has a picture of her son Mark and his friend on stage with Matthew West, and some links to download the song off of Itunes which is being released today! How cool is that! So hop over to her blog today, be blessed by her post, and download the song. It will Lighten and brighten up your day. :)

Earlier this week on my Facebook page, I posted two sweet little faces of children in Nicaragua who are desperately praying for a family to sponsor them, for only $38.00 per month.

We often think about sharing Gods light with the people in our lives. In fact, most Christians do have a real desire to have Christ shine through them, and to shed that Light onto others. But He also calls us to love the least of these - and sometimes the least of these are not in our neighborhood, or even our own country.

Sometimes, God places it on our hearts to share the Light with people who we may never see in person, may never talk to on the phone, or may never visit their home. To share the Light with people in other countries - where there may be very little Light to be found anywhere.

Will you pray about sponsoring a child through Compassion today? I would love to talk with you personally if you have any questions or are considering taking this leap of faith.If you have questions about Compassion, financial obligations, spiritual requirements for the kids and their families, how much money goes to the child vs administrative costs, the differences between Compassion and other child sponsorship programs, etc. - I have the answers you need!

Today, I have 20 packets sitting on my kitchen table, of children who fall into the category of "the least of these". Children who would love to have a new family, to love on them, pray for them, share letters with, and support them from afar.

So if you are interested in learning more, have a question, or want to hear details about one of the kids I am referring to, send me an email at with your phone number and I'll give you a call! And if you pray and decide to sponsor a certain child, I'll send you the packet in the mail right to your home!

Have a blessed, bright, Light filled and Light sharing Thursday!

Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (NIV)

Being The Light For A Desperate ChildSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sharing The Light

John 1:6-7 "God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light." (NLT)

I love how this verse is worded.

John was sent to tell about the light because of his testimony.

Official definition of testimony: evidence in support of a fact or statement; proof; open declaration or profession, as of faith.

Unofficial definition of testimony: something that one does not want to share for fear of embarrassment or judgement, even if God did miracles in ones life.

I think when people hear the word "testimony", they often shudder. After all, doesn't sharing our testimony mean airing our dirty laundry for everyone to see? Doesn't sharing our testimony sling open the doors of our heart for everyone to peer in and see the good, the bad, and the ugly?

Doesnt sharing our testimony mean being transparent for Christ, making us vulnerable in more ways than we would want to consider?

There is one question that probably lies deep in the hearts of every Christian: Does God really need us to share our testimonies, considering that He is all powerful and His will will be done no matter what? Does He really need me?

I used to buy into that myth and use that myth as an excuse to keep my mouth shut. My fears far outweighed my faith.

But one particular day, I let down my guard, and finally surrendered to Gods pull on my heart to share my testimony with a small group of women. The outpouring of response and tears and heart transformation that I saw in these women, was God's way of showing me, that yes, His will would be done no matter what, but He had called me to play a part in carrying out His will.

He has called us, His children, to be His vessels. To be a vehicle for shining the Light onto others. Not because we are the Light, but because our hearts are full of the Light - just like John the Baptist.

As I was writing this post, I was also logged into Facebook, and noticed I had a chat request from a lady I did not know, so I paused and took some time off from writing to engage with her.

Over the next twenty minutes, she asked me a lot of questions about my life and my ministry and my testimony. Then she began to share about her own life, her own ministry and her own testimony.

Several years ago, she had felt God calling her to leave her corporate position and stay home with her children, mainly because her children were in the teen years and making some wrong choices. For several years she struggled with their choices and watched them walk away from God. My heart broke for her as she shared her struggles.

Then she said she had been working at her church in child care, and wondered if parents should entrust their children to her, considering how her own children had acted. I could hear the despair and self doubt in between the lines of her sentences.

But as we chatted, I then learned that over the past few years, her children had returned to the Lord, returned to church, and were even helping in the ministry for children. She was so proud of her daughters and excited to share that their relationship had grown strong.

She went on to share how she was now reaching out to women who brought their children to this childcare center. God was orchestrating holy encounters between her, and women who needed to hear her testiony. God was using her to shed His light on hurting hearts.

She was sharing her faith and encouragement with women who were experiencing difficulties with their children, who didn't know where else to turn, or how to find the strength to continue the hard road of parenting.

She was sharing with some women who did not know Christ, who thought they just needed a helpful and caring voice, but who were really searching for hope.

God placed this woman, who had been through the battle and survived with miraculous results, in a position to use her testimony to encourage others.

She is a wonderful woman of God who was questioning her self worth, her abilities, her parenting skills - but how through it all, never questioned her God. She kept the faith, and kept believeing in His promises, and she could now see the fruits of her faith being harvested in the hearts of her children, and the hearts of the women that God allowed her to touch.

You see, this woman, who wondered if she was making an difference, was being used by God in amazing ways. Not because she was qualified, but because she was equipped in Christ, and because she was willing to share her testimony with women who needed to know that they were not alone in their struggles.

This woman who I discovered was living on the other side of the world in another country, was making a difference for the kingdom of God. She was making a difference in the lives of the next generation for her country, and in the lives of women raising that next generation. Gods Light needs to be shared internationally, and it begins right where we are.

God did not intend for us to hide the Light once we find it. Just like the familiar children's song says, "this little Light of mine, I'm going to let it shine! Hide it under a bushel - NO! I'm going to let it shine!"

We are right where God intended for us to be. Lets let our lights shine bright today.

Has God been calling you to share your testimony? Have you been fearful to share it? Have you bought into the myth that God could just use somebody else to impact hearts for Him? Do you think you are not qualified or equipped to shed His light?

Have you ever wondered if God could really turn your mess, into His message?

Dear Jesus, will you help make it clear to my heart, how you want to turn my past into my purpose for You? If you are calling me to share my testimony, to be a light for you in a specific way, will you affirm that calling, and make it crystal clear how you want me to move forward? Lord, will you fill my heart with a longing to make a difference in other peoples lives, and to be used by You in amazing ways? And lastly Lord, if you are calling me to this purpose, to share what You have done in my life, will you remove from my heart all the insecurities, the fear, the worries, and the anxieties, of being transparent for You? Please empty me of those feelings, and fill those gaps with unshakable trust and passion for You. I surrender my life to You Lord, and long for You to use it as you have prepared for me. Give me the srength to be a witness to tell about The Light. Amen.

Sharing The LightSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Good News is here!

On Friday, September 24th, I picked up my Chronological Bible to read the daily reading, and got all excited when I read these words "Four hundred years after the last Old Testament book was written, the story of the New Testament begins to unfold, around 6 BC."

After nine months of reading through the entire Old Testament, this was exciting news! And the very first heading under this new day was "The Beginning of the Good News". Not just the beginning, but the beginning of Good News.

So I began to read the page, and the first verse I read was Mark 1:1a, "This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God."

I know it sounds silly, but I honestly did feel a little sense of thrill rush through my veins, just knowing how much I am going to learn before the end of December about all the new and chronological details of the "Good News"!

As I read through the first few passages of the New Testament, the term "Good News" seemed to latch onto my heart.

I was reminded of how powerful and life-altering the truths are in the book of John.

John reminds us that the Word already existed long before man did, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (1:1). The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. (1:4).

Then in John 1:5, we read, "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it."

As I read this verse above, I paused. I let it sink in for a minute, and I was struck with the immeasurable magnitude of these few words.

I was reminded of the battle of the darkness versus the Light. A battle that we so often overlook, forget, or just refuse to acknowledge is occurring, since it is being fought in the invisible realm.

A battle between Good and evil, that actually sounds more like a sci-fi movie, than reality, but one that Gods Word assures us is occurring.

When I think of darkness in the way that God is speaking of, several descriptions come to mind - evil, demonic forces, tragedy, torment, crime, murder, child abuse, poverty, sexual slavery, prostitution, hopelessness, fear, betrayal, deceit, the lost.

Darkness in the spiritual sense, is evil. All of these things I mentioned above, and countless other evil things, happen every second of every day. I shudder to think of it all.

However, John 1:5 reassures us that The invisible Light can never be extinguished by all the visible daily darkness.

The Light represents all things opposite of the dark - love, angelic forces, blessings, righteousness, abundance, purity, commitment, devotion, hope, trust, and eternal life.

It seems that all we hear about these days, is bad news. Just turn on the television or pick up a newspaper and within five minutes, you are sure to hear more bad news than your heart can take. The media seems to think that the only way to stay in business is to stay in the business of bad news.

So thank goodness, there is Good News to be found.

Good News that is not broadcast 24/7 on the television screen. Good News that is not the headline of today's newspaper. Good News that will not be found on the homepage of CNN in the top news section.

Nonetheless, there is Good News, in fact, Great News! Great News that is available for us to view every day, if we choose to do so. News that is longing to be read and treasured and tucked into our hearts, if only we take time to give it our attention.

Good News of the highest authority that can lift our hearts, when all the bad news of living in a broken world has saddened our souls.

Good News that is so full of Light, that all the bad news in the world cannot keep it from shining.

What a fresh and powerful reminder today, that no matter how hopeless, frustrating or heartbreaking things seem to be - in our world, in our country, in our communities, in our own homes - that there is GOOD NEWS. News that is capable of drowning out the darkness, no matter how dark it seems. Nothing is too dark for Jesus to shed His Light on.

Could you use some Good News today? Just turn to channel BIBLE, at any time of the day or night. This Program is always on, and ready for your viewing pleasure.

The Good News is available to shed Light on our darkness, if only we open our hearts and let Him in.

Stay tuned for more on this subject in tomorrow's broadcast. :)

The Good News is here!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Life Full of God and "Stuff"

Have you ever heard someone say "be careful what you pray for"? For example, if you pray for patience, then God may put patience-trying situations in your life to give you some practice on mastering that character trait?

I think since Ive been praying and talking about parenting lately, that God has been giving me opportunities to put my words into action - or - either the invisible enemy is mad, and trying to push me to my limits! Either way, I realized that I need God to fill my heart with His stuff, and help me get rid of all the "other stuff" that was making my heart feel heavy.

I will just say that this past week has been stressful in the Miles household, not because bad stuff happened, but just because life stuff happened.

Good stuff. Ugly stuff. Sibling stuff. School stuff. Sports stuff. Schedules Stuff. Friend Stuff. Coaching stuff. Teacher stuff. Wardrobe stuff. Disrespectful stuff. Argumentative stuff. Marital stuff. Teen stuff. Boy stuff. Girl stuff. Lack of time stuff. Frustrating stuff.

It seems our "stuff" has been at an all time high!

I realized that I was feeling more anxious and stressed than usual, over our abundance of "stuff". So last night, while driving home from a meeting, I put in my very favorite CD (peaceful sounds of nature, water and spa music), and began to pray. I just wanted, and needed, to talk to God about all this "stuff".

I could not help but wonder why I felt a bit more frazzled than usual, out of sorts, maybe even a little cranky. And to be honest, I wondered why it felt as if there had been a "stuff" explosion recently!

Slowly as I prayed, God began to open my eyes to see that this "stuff" was exactly what I have been talking about lately on my blog. The kind of "stuff" that consumes the hours in our days as we devote every waking moment to nurture the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the children that God has placed into our care.

You see, Satan does not want us to focus on being Godly parents like we have been talking about over the past couple weeks. He does not want us to be encouraged and excited about raising children who love and honor the Lord. So when we devote every ounce of our heart and energy to being the mom or dad or grandparent that God has called us to be, we then become a blinking target for the enemy who does not want us to succeed in this divine calling of parenthood.

The enemy would love nothing more than to trip us up in our parenting journey. He longs to make us so busy, anxious and frustrated, that we begin to wonder if our efforts are in vain and hopefully choose to devote less energy towards this task. And rest assured, He not only wants to trip us up, but he will simultaneously try to trip up our children too, with more stuff.

John 10:10a says "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;..."

I firmly believe that there is evil lurking in a spiritual realm that we cannot see, first and foremost because Gods Word says so. However, I have also seen evidence of the effects of spiritual warfare in my own life, and in the lives of my family and friends. I have seen that invisible warfare, become a visible reality.

God has placed on my heart this week to remember that this thief does not want our houses; our cars; our jobs; our money. He could not care less about any of the tangible items we own, like a normal sneaky thief would. He wants our families. He wants our hearts. He wants our souls.

He wants our futures, and the futures of our children.

Satan is after families. If he can destroy marriages and children and families through all the "stuff" that we deal with in life, then his work is successful.

If he can fill our hearts with busyness, frustration, anger, bitterness, anxiety, or hopelessness as a result of having to deal with too much "stuff", then eventually we will allow those emotions to get so strong that we stumble in our faith walk, resulting in an a domino affect into our families, which affects not only us and them, but generations to come. Its an evil, sinister plan, and its a reality.

Our world is under attack. Not only as a nation, but as a planet. We are in a horrific spiritual battle. A battle that impacts religion, politics, schools, communities, and marriages. So many battles that seem beyond our control to fight...but our families and children are something that we do have the power to fight for, and our God is more powerful than any "stuff" the enemy can throw at us.

Today, I am choosing to look at my "stuff" differently. Instead of just "stuff" that might create anxiety or stress or frustration - I am choosing to see my "stuff" from a new perspective.

When I face all my "stuff" in the coming days, I will continue to pray that I can see it as new opportunities for love, growth, family togetherness, learning life lessons, and the blessing of experiencing an amazing journey.

The second half of John 10:10 says "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full". God longs for us to experience His fullness, not just in our relationship with Him, but in our relationships with our families.

Everyones life is full, that is for sure, but I want my life to be full of His life, not just the "stuff" of life. From this day forward, I refuse to allow the enemy to use "stuff" to cause me to miss out on the joy and fullness that God intended for me and my family!

Who is with me?!

A Life Full of God and "Stuff"SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, September 20, 2010

BE-ing the Parent

Christians are usually very familiar with the word “obedience”. Upon accepting Christ as our Savior, we desire to be obedient about the things that God views as right and wrong, and how He calls us to live our every day lives. Sometimes obedience is easy, but sometimes it is not.

About ten years ago, I felt God calling me to leave my executive position in the corporate world, to be a Christian speaker and writer. Although it was difficult to make that change, and there were a lot of personal sacrifices that had to be made in order to make that happen, I finally heeded God’s call- emphasis on finally (a mere five years later - grace, grace, grace).

But in 2005, God had made His call on my life crystal clear, and I resigned from my job, leaving behind the career-focused lifestyle that I had always known. Although I harbored a bit of apprehension about my new life as I tried to embrace my newfound freedom, I enthusiastically took a leap of faith into the ministry God had prepared for me, in speaking, but also in parenting.

Being a parent is much like that type of leap of faith. We feel apprehensive about parenthood, but we know in our hearts that we want to experience that blessing.

So we enthusiastically leap into parenthood as we hold our tiny infant baby in our arms, but then go home from the hospital with a bit of apprehension about the responsibility that we now feel for this new little person. Those similar feelings of apprehension, fear and unworthiness, stay with us through the years of parenting toddlers, teens, and even young adults.

Parenting is a lifetime commitment, which requires extreme devotion to obedience. Not just obedience to God, but obedience to Gods call to BE parents. Anyone can become a parent if they have a baby or adopt a baby, but it takes a commitment to God, and to our children, to BE a parent.

In the matter of parenting, obedience is really a two-fold commitment.

The first commitment step in being a Godly parent, is to obey Gods commands about the art of parenting. Let’s take a moment to remember a few verses that God shares about the responsibilities of parenting:

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Proverbs 22:6 Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost.

Hmmmmmm, as I ponder over these verses, it appears there is a central theme that runs through them - BE the parent!

Gods command to parents, is simply to BE the parent. To fight the good fight of faith on behalf of our children, and for our childrne, because He called us to the task.

Even when the kids are stepping on the last nerve we have left, pushing our patience at every turn, doing things to disappoint us, or living completely defiantly - we are still called to BE the parent.

God made it clear that parents are to “obey” the calling of being the parent, and our reward for that obedience, is seeing our children grow into respectful, loving individuals, who will one day love and obey the Lord in their own lives.

As I said last week, and as every parent knows, parenting is hard work, and any type of hard work, requires commitment, and an undying devotion to follow that work through to the end. So the first step in parenting, is to obey Gods commands in our own lives, and in our roles as parents.

The second important step about obedience, is to expect obedience from our children, by using discipline and expectations in ways that can be backed by Gods Word.

Obedience and respect for one’s parents is a holy command for children. In fact, it is the only one of the ten commandments that is directed at children. All of the commandments are meant for everyone, however, one commandment is meant strictly for children, and other verses support this as well.

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

1 Timothy 3:4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.

So if you are raising toddlers, tweens, or teens, or even twenties, and you are at the end of your rope with attitudes, eye rolling, arguments, debates, incessant explanations, misbehavior, wrong choices, and so on - breathe in a sigh of relief friend, and say to yourself “it’s okay to BE the parent!”

We are commanded to be the parent through the direct Word of God!

I have to admit, there are times when I feel guilty for being the parent. So much so, that my husband has even called me 'wimpy mom' before - because I feel bad for saying no, and then my compassion overrides my thoughts, and I try to compromise! Or, I get angry with them for misbehaving or not listenting in some way, and punish them or scold them, then feel bad about it, and want to make up!

I would venture to say that all parents do that from time to time, because our love for our children far exceeds any other emotion.... and that can make being obedient, and expecting obedience, a daunting task.

Obedience can be hard, not only as we try to obey God, but also as we try to raise our kids to obey us, but in both cases, obedience is a holy command.... and the Holy One always knows best. Maybe that is why the word BE is smack in the middle of oBEdience. Just a thought. :)

Dear Lord, will you give us the strength and courage to be able to fulfill this monumental task of raising our children into magnificent God-fearing adolescents and adults, who will honor their Lord, and love their families? We need your wisdom to make good decisions, and your discernment about how about how to be a Godly parent.

We desperately need extra doses of patience, compassion, tolerance, and an abundance of love, to carry out this responsibility, and we know those things are only available from you. We cannot do this on our own.

Lord, you know the burdens of each mommas heart who is reading this, and how tired they may be of trying to be the parent. Will you fill them, and me, with a strength that we cannot muster up on our own? Will you show us glimpses of how our obedience is making a difference in their lives?

We ask for your intervention in every aspect of our lives, and not only for perseverance to keep going when the going gets tough, but for grace to refuel us when we feel discouraged or overwhelmed. Help us to not only be obedient to You, but to hold our children accountable to follow your commands in their own lives. We love you Lord. Thank you so much for the blessing of being a parent.

BE-ing the ParentSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Special Giveaway for Moms!

Last week I felt led to talk about parenting - a subject that is near and dear to my heart. And guess what, my sweet P31 sister Suzie Eller is doing an incredible, and unheard of type of giveaway on the same subject! She is giving away 100 free copies of her book called The Mom I Want To Be.

If you want to get signed up to be a possible winner for one of Suzie's books, just click on this link and leave a comment on her blog, answering one of her questions below, which are part of a follow up to her P31 devotion that ran on Friday. Good luck!

(excerpt from Suzie's blog)
Have you thought about trying to outgive God? What does that mean to you personally? In what ways can you be more generous? What is God speaking to your heart, and what are the challenges?

Answer one of the questions or just leave a comment and Suzie will enter you in a drawing for 100 giveaways of her book, The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future. This book shares Suzie’s story, but also practical and spiritual help for any person who desires to heal, let go, forgive, move forward and give their child a safe and loving home.

It’s a great interactive personal study, but also awesome for MOPS groups, women’s Bible studies, or for that special loved one in your life who had a challenging past, and wants to give their children something greater.

Special Giveaway for Moms!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, September 17, 2010

When Mom Gets Weary, Part 3

One day while doing some research, I typed in the words “1 in 4 teens” into a Google Internet search. The following result choices popped up: 1 in 4 teens.... girls have an STD; are not physically active; see no risk in using the drug meth; drive intoxicated; has experienced dating abuse.

I was shocked at the alarming stats that this brief and simple search showed. Just for curiosity sake, I typed in the words “1 in 5 teens”, and received these results: 1 in 5 teens…use the web to cheat at school; misuse prescription drugs; report having tried oral sex; report having tried prescription painkillers; have abused prescription drugs; are using blogging; have experienced teen dating violence; smoke cigarettes; took a weapon to high school (boys only); admit having eating problems; will try inhalants.

A few other alarming current stats were that 46% of teen drivers text while driving; 38% of teens carry over poor grammar from texting lingo into their schoolwork; 22% of teens have been asked to engage in sexual activity through text messaging; 10% of teens have been physically threatened through texting online chat rooms; 79% of teens have been exposed to unwanted online pornography while at home.

Scary, isn’t it? If you are like me, you are probably thinking to yourself, “but that would never happen to my child. My child would never do those things. My child would never be the one”. We cant imagine the unimaginable ever happening to us.

Let’s face it – no mom would want to admit that their teen might be "the one".

However, we all know, that teens will be teens, and without the intervention of parents, good role models, good friends, and the benefit of positive discipline in their lives, even a good kid can fall prey to the temptations of society.

Maybe some of those 'unimaginables' have happened despite your tireless efforts. Maybe your teen, or a teen you know, has been "the one". I want to encourage you today to remember that God is bigger than any statistics, and He alone knows the future. In fact, He can grab the heart of a teen so fast and so hard that they wont even know what hit 'em! So if you find yourself in this situation, do not give up hope. Keep on praying, tirelessly, and believing that as your pour your heart and soul into theirs, that God will work in mighty ways.

The Bible has so much to say about parenting, that I cannot even begin to reference it all. It seems that God took parenting pretty seriously, and I believe it is His desire that we do the same - even when the going gets tough.

This week I have touched on the subjects of how tiring it can be to be a mom at times - physically and spiritually. No matter how much we love our kids, they can still make us weary, in more ways than one!

My last thought that I wanted to share this week, is that being a mom can also wear us out emotionally. Women are built with more emotions than we probably would have ever asked for if God had given us a say in how females were put together! But all those emotions can work to our advantage, as we invest them into the hearts of our children.

No one ever said parenting was easy. It is a hard job, and it only gets harder as kids get older. I once heard that parenting was not only hard work, but heart work – so true!

I used to think parenting was hard when I had three children under the age of six - and it was! But as my children have grown, I have gleamed a new understanding of the 'seasons' of parenting.

The first tens years or so are physically draining as the needy demands of little ones seem infinite. The next five years or so are emotionally draining, as we pour our energies into trying to give our kids a strong foundation for life. And I can see how the years ahead can be spiritually draining, as we pray for our kids and for God's protection over them; for them to make good choices and to continue to live according to the beliefs they have been taught.

All different seasons, with different types of weariness, but all with the same goal in mind - embracing the challenge of Godly parenting.

As a result of living in the digital age, and a growing liberal society which enforces the “do whatever makes you feel good and forget everything else” mentality, Christian parents are faced with an increasing obligation to be more than just a parent, but to be the parent God called them to be.

If you ask me, I think it is a lot easier to be a Christian, than it is to be a Christian parent. Even devout and faithful Christians can grow so weary of parental challenges, that they begin to back off of when the job gets too difficult. Not because they are bad parents, but because they are tired parents - physically, emotionally and/or spiritually tired.

I have found myself telling my children before, that my job as a mom would be a whole lot easier, and less exhausting, if I didn’t care about their well being!

It’s because I love them so much, that I am willing to be hated for a few days after grounding them for breaking the house rules. It’s because I love them so much, that I take away their cell phone if they are involved in inappropriate text messaging. It’s because I love them so much, that I cut off computer privileges if sites are visited that are not meant for their age group. It’s because I love them so much that I monitor the clothes that they wear, keep up with who their friends are, and have strict rules about who they can date.

It’s because I love them so much, that I set rules at all.

Maybe these rules don’t help me win the parent popularity contest in today’s society, where independence and lack of supervision seem to be the norm for most teenagers, but I truly believe God has called Christian parents to a higher calling than the “anything goes” message that society is trying to teach our kids.

Being a parent today is a privilege, and a huge responsibility - a responsibility that sometimes we want to lay down when we are tired in more ways than one, but one that God calls us to give our best. In fact, being a parent is probably the highest calling of a moms life, and in my opinion, a divine calling as well.

A divine calling that might bring on emotional, physical and spiritual weariness and 'worriness', but one that will reap great rewards.

Today’s Christian parents are fighting a battle against the supernatural enemy like never before, and the souls of our children are at stake.

Sisters, we have been given a huge responsibility, and privilege, for building the next generation. Lets keep up the good fight of faith.

(Have the posts this week touched your heart in a special way? Is this a subject that you interested in reading about? I would love to hear your comments. If you receive my posts in email, will you hop over to my blog and let me know your thoughts? Thanks friends!)

When Mom Gets Weary, Part 3SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When A Mom Gets Weary, Part 2

Parenting - the hardest thing we will ever love. Nobody ever said it was easy, but everybody says it is a blessing - weariness and all.

Monday's post referred to the weariness that moms can feel as a result of child-rearing, teenage-talking, taxi-cabbing, tantrum-taming, diaper-changing, and mess-cleaning. Weariness from simply being completely and physically spent.

Yet another form of weariness, is worriness (I think I just made that word up!).

What is Tracie's unofficial, unsupported definition of her newly created word?

"Worriness - the act of being so emotionally worried that you get spiritually weary."

Hello - my name is Tracie Miles, and I am a worrier. So there. I said it.

I bet a lot of you mothers and grandmothers out there are saying "me too!me too!"

God created a mothers heart with such overwhelming compassion for her children, that it is our innate nature to worry, even when we know that the official definition of worry is simply - not trusting God.

I think that recently God is testing my spiritual trust-o-meter.

For the past two days I have watched my oldest child suffer mercilessly from migraine headaches - a problem which we have been dealing with for over two years, and every time shet gets one of these headaches, I worry.

My youngest child has been experiencing chronic back pain which has been relentless for over a year. This morning we will receive the results of his MRI, and I worry.

Fortunately, my middle child has no health problems at the moment, except a few bumps and bruises from cheerleading! But Im sure the time will come, when I will find reason to worry.

Even though I believe with all my heart that God holds our children in His hands, and even though I have prayed countless times for God to send down an army of angels to forge a hedge of protection around them in their every day lives, my mama's heart still worries - which is exactly why us mama's so desperately need a faith that is stronger than obsessive worriness.

We need a faith that can hold us up when we are too weak to stand on our own, because our hearts are heavy with worriness.

We need a faith that helps us replace worry, with worship - and allows our trust-o-meter to sky rocket, instead of plummet, when faced with the unknown.

Yesterday, I posted a short sentence as my Facebook status, simply saying that I wished there were more than 24 hours in a day. No matter how hard I try to manage my time, I can never seem to get everything done! So I found myself thinking today, as I was mentally and silently fretting over my childrens health issues, why am I wasting time worrying, when time is so precious?! I should be spending time praying instead! Duh!

The truth is, that we all know worry accomplishes nothing! So why do we do it?

It is no secret that the Bible tells us not to worry -

Matthew 6:27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Proverbs 12:25a An anxious heart weighs a man down,...
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I can honestly say that I have learned to trust God more in the past few years than in all the years of my life, because of my walk with Him. Although my trust-o-meter still falls short time and time again, I can see within myself that my worriness is not near as bad as it used to be.

I can remember a time when I would get so worried about 'stuff', that I would tremble internally, and sometimes even get a sick stomach. I think I gave new meaning to the phrase "worried sick".

Maybe you can relate to feeling that way at some point in your life. Maybe you are feeling that way today. Maybe you are so worried about your children and things going in their lives, or about things happening in your own life, that you are literally making yourself sick - maybe not just physically sick, but heart sick too.

You see, worry causes us to be heart sick. It is the opposite of trusting God, and is a tool of the enemy that causes us to focus on the problem, instead of the problem solver.

My name is Tracie Miles, and I am a recovered worrier.

Not that I never worry, of course, because I do. I am human, and I am a mom. However, I try not to allow that worry to become so overwhelming and all consuming that I forget that God is God. Remembering God is, was and will forever be God, helps calm the worriness in my heart.

Getting to a place of trusting God takes time and faith.

It takes an act of allowing God to replace your worry, with faith, and that faith leads to unshakable trust, and trusting God is a much better use of our time than worrying.

So where would you rank your trust-o-meter today, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being fully trusting God, and 1 being filled with worriness?

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you

When A Mom Gets Weary, Part 2SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, September 13, 2010

When Mom Gets Weary

Daughter: "Mom, can I go to my friends house after the game Friday and then spend the night?"
Mom:"Is her mom going to be there?"
Daughter:"Yes, mother" (with exasperation in voice)
Mom:"Okay, since I know her, just have her call me to confirm, and that will be fine."
Daughter:"Oh and mom, can we get something to eat after the game, before we go back to her house? And can I have some money?"
Mom: "Well where are you going, who is going, and who is going to be driving?"
Daughter: (lengthy explanation of everyone involved and reassurances that all is well)
Mom: "Okay, but just grab a quick bite, and then get home before curfew."
Daughter: "Okay, mom. Oh yea, and can I go out to eat with a group of friends on Saturday night? They are all going around 5pm. Then after that, go to my team sleepover with my other set of friends?"
Mom: "Well, you are only supposed to go out one night a weekend, but I guess since this is a special team party, you can go."
Daughter: "Thanks mom!"

**2 hours later***

Daughter: "Maaaaamaaa, I dont want to go that team party anymore. Now I want to go my friends party from school after we eat, because all my friends are going. Is that okay?"

(long discussion ensues about party, whereabouts, time, location, parental supervision, who is driving, texting me when she gets there, etc.)

Mom: "Okay, that will be fine. Just be home by curfew."
Daughter: "I will. But, there is a problem. I do not have a thing to wear. Everybody else is getting dressed up and I might not go, because I have nothing to put on. Can we go shopping?"
Mom: "No honey, we cannot go buy new clothes every time you have a new social outing."

(whining, everybody else does..., ... blah, blah, blah)

**the next day***

Daughter: "Mom, now I DO want to go that team party, but not until Sunday morning, and they are hanging out at the pool all day, before we have to go to practice. So can I just spend the night at my other friends house, then leave her house in the morning and drive across town to my other friends house, go to the pool party and then go to my practice?"
Mom: "No, you cannot skip church to go to the pool, and there is no need to drive an hour from one friends house to the next. That is a waste of gas. You need to pick an activity for the weekend. You cant do everything with everybody all in a three day period."
Daughter: "But, what if.... (long conversation ensues about all the possible ways that everyone can be worked in so that no social opportunities are missed)"
Mom: "No (irritation building; reaching end of rope with regards to discussing plans for the weekend), you cannot do everything."
Daughter: "Okay, well what if we.....(yet another detailed explanation of alternative plan ideas, and lengthy discussion ensues once again)."
Mom: "Here is what you can do. Take it or leave it....(long explanation ensues of approved activities)"
Daughter: "Okay. I guess that sounds okay. Thanks mom!"
Mom: Heavy sigh, followed by a reminder to said daughter about list of room cleaning, homework and other obligations required to be met before social activities can occur.

***next day***

Daughter: "Mom, I really dont feel like doing that party anymore. I think Ill just come home after dinner on Saturday."
Mom: "Geesh, you are making my brain tired. But okay."

***later that evening***

Other daughter: "Hey mom, can my boyfriend come over Friday afternoon and go to the game with us?"
Mom: "No, we dont bring boys home from school. Plus you are too young to date anyway. But you can just meet him at the ballgame."
Daughter: "But mom!! He cant do that, because he doesnt have a ride and ....(lengthy explanation of why my suggestions do not meet her ideal plan arrangements), and I want him to come here because.... (another lengthy explanation, laced with sadness, in an attempt to gain pity, then followed by pouting)."
Mom: "Well, probably not, but I'll talk to your father."
Daughter: Silence. Pouting. Retreating to bedroom. Its not fair. Nobody cares about her feelings, or so Im told.

***later, after talking with dad***

Mom: "Okay, here is what we will do, but just this once.... (weariness has begun to set in. Explanation ensues to said daughter about the boundaries and rules that will be implemented in the midst of these plans, and the chores and homework obligations that must be met prior to plans taking place)."
Daughter: "Okay mom, thanks!"

Weary mom: Retreats into bedroom, locks door, rubs head, wonders if a headache is creeping in; secretly wishes she had a magic wand that would take her back to a time when the toughest decisions for the day were whether or not her children could have a chocolate chip cookie after dinner and stay up an extra fifteen minutes at bedtime.

Welcome to a teeny, tiny glimpse of a day in the life of the Miles household. Maybe you are laughing right about now, or maybe you are crying, because this sounds alarmingly similar to a day in your household too!

I think I finally understand the real meaning of that old cliche' - "nobody ever said parenting was easy" - Amen to that!

Even if we view being a mom as the most important and treasured responsibility that God ever put on our plates, sometimes it just gets downright tiring! No amount of love for our kids can prevent us from having days when we are ready to throw in the towel, or at least admit temporary defeat.

Whether we are struggling with toddler tantrums and diaper changes, or teenage social plans, peer pressures and busy schedules, being a mom can zap our energy physically and emotionally.

I have to be honest, there have been "those days", when I felt like just saying "yes' to every question that anyone would ask, merely because it would make life simpler. How peaceful our household would be, if I just agreed to all requests for social activities, spending money, desires for shopping, friend outings, dating, parties, snacks before dinner, junk food all day, etc., etc.

If there were less "no's" and more "yes's", then everybody would be happy with mom all the time, and oh what a wonderful world it would be.... right?

That might seem like a good choice at first glance, especially after another one of "those days" have taken place, but in the long run, that is the worst choice we could possibly make.

When God made me a mom, He didnt just give me little people who need to be cared for, He gave me a job. A job that is in essence, a divine calling.

A calling to be the guardian of not only my childrens lives, but their hearts. A calling to raise them with values, and boundaries, and sacrifice, even when doing so makes me tired in more ways than one.

A calling to not only be a mother, but to be a parent.

Nobody will argue, that parenting can be tough, and it takes a tough heart to keep giving it your all, when your all is just about spent.

However, when I consider the alternative of taking the easy way out, and allow myself to envision the negative consequences that results when a parent simply grows weary of parenting, my heart comes back to a place where I can truly treasure the job that God has given me. The job that brings immeasurable blessing - and with blessing, comes responsibility.

There is no such thing as perfect parents or perfect parenting. Even if there were, it would still not guarantee that the kids would turn out perfect or live a life free from sin or bad choices. The truth is, that no matter how many books we read, "good" parents we mimic, or Bible verses we share, we will never be able to reach a level of perfection that insures perfect kids.

Even so, sometimes I think us moms get caught up in trying to be the perfect mom, and feel discouraged and defeated when we realize that we are not. We are quick to compare ourselves to other women who we think are better moms than us, setting ourselves up for self-condemnation.

But as long as we are giving it our best, and devoting our energies, or even our lack of energies, to raising healthy, happy kids in a way that would be pleasing to God, I believe with all my heart, that God will honor that devotion. After all, our children are loans from the heavens, and what better way to show praise to God, and be faithful in our calling, than to care diligently for His own.

The weariness that comes from the day to day challenges of parenting will one day be rewarded by seeing the fruits of our efforts in our childrens lives. As they flourish into happy, healthy people, and begin living lives of worship themselves, only then can we truly understand that all "those days" were well spent, and that every ounce of weariness was well worth the effort.

Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (NLT)

Proverbs 29:15 Wise discipline imparts wisdom; spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents. (MSG)

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (NLT)

Galatians 6:7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. (NLT)

Psalm 144:12 May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars,carved to beautify a palace.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (NLT)

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart.... Yeah!

Okay, so yesterdays post was on the serious side......regarding finding hope in the midst of trials, believing that God sees our pain, and resting our hearts on the promises of God. Today I want to focus on something different - something happy - something fun - like JOY!

I read the coolest verse over the weekend (yes, as I was still trying to catch up to todays date in my chronological daily Bible study!). Here it is:

Jeremiah 33:10-11
"This is what the LORD says: 'You say about this place, "It is a desolate waste, without men or animals." Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither men nor animals, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying, "Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever." For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,' says the LORD."

This passage is set in the context of the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem by God. God warned the people for years and years, that if they did not turn from their evil ways and pagan worship, that He would destroy their towns and all the people in it, by allowing the Babylonians to siege them and win. Their sins had stirred Gods anger, and the time had come for the consequences of their disobedience.

But in the verses above, God is promising restoration. As I read this verse, I saw a little glimpse into what might bring a smile to Gods face.

As I mentioned in yesterdays post, God does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow, suffering or pain. He does not want His people to hurt (Lamentations 3:33)

What He does enjoy is joy, happiness and laughter. God had done what He had to do, but this verse implies that God longed to hear the sounds of joy, and gladness, and celebration again. He desired to hear the sounds of happiness echoing from the earth up to the heavens.

He wanted to look down from the heavens and see the streets of Jerusalem filled with marriage celebrations, songs of happiness, and the voices of His people singing praises to Him.

As I think about the difficulties that I face, that my friends face, or that my family faces - I have to believe that God hurts. That ultimately, although He may be allowing or causing the situation for a purpose that we may not be aware of, that what He really longs for is for us to be joyful, filled with gladness, and full of His praises.

He longs for our hearts to be filled with peace and prosperity, and to know that our hope can come by knowing that in His timing, we will have all of those emotions in abundance.

However, in the meantime, we are each still faced with every day life, and the hurts andn disappointments that each day may bring. But Gods Word reassures us, that if our hearts are right with Him and seeking His perspective, we can still be filled with joy and gladness, just as Jeremiah was.

In Jeremiah 32, we see that Jeremiah is still in prison in the courtyard of the guards, due to his continued predeictions of doom and gloom for Jerusalem. It was in that place that the Lord came to him, and said "ask me a question!". The Lord promised that if Jeremiah asked, He would tell him of great things to come. The Lord wanted to give Jeremiah a reason to be joyful in the midst of his imprisonment, when all seemed lost and hopeless.

So Jeremiah asked. And God told him of a time when He would heal Jerusalem's wounds, and make it a prosperous and peaceful place. He told him of a righteous descendant from King Davids line, who would one day come and save the land, save Judah, and restore the name of the Lord. And He told him that this descendant would sit on the throne of Israel, forever. (Jer. 33:1-26).

Jeremiah trusted, he obeyed, he sought wisdom, and he got better news than he could have ever hoped for. I can imagine him hooping and hollering with joy and gladness, as he tried to celebrate despite the chains that were inhibiting his movement. In the midst of his pain, I be he was celebrating over great news. His perspective had changed. His focus had changed. And in Gods timing, his circumstances changed as well - but despite it all, his heart stayed focused on God.

That is the type of joy, gladness, and celebration God wants from us too. We may not be physically chained, but we may feel bound by chains of despair, financial problems, family issues, marital problems, job loss, illness, hopelessness, and so on... but that same type of elation and celebration that God describes in this passage, can also be ours if we keep our eyes focused on Him, and not on our circumstances.

Friends, its just a normal 'ol Thursday - but it has the potential to be a Terrific, Thankful, Trusting, Thrilling, Tremendous Thursday if our joy comes from Christ alone! It can be an awesome Thursday as we focus on Gods promises, and not lifes challenges.

So lets tuck these verses into our hearts today, and get ready to celebrate!

Jeremiah 15:16 When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight,for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. (NLT)

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. (NLT)

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

He Knows, He Hears, He Sees

Labor Day weekend took on a whole new meaning this year. Instead of celebrating the labor of hands, I endured some labor of the heart.

Over the process of the weekend, my sister began experiencing many frightening medical difficulties, which resulted in her husband rushing her to the emergency room late Sunday night, soon diagnosed with a serious infection.

As soon as I learned about her situation, my heart sunk - as it has done countless times before, when I would realize that she was suffering with yet another painful circumstance, resulting from her battle with Multiple Schlerosis.

I prayed for her with great vigor, as I always do. I tried to hope for the best, as I always do. I pleaded for Gods blessing and provision over her, and for His miraculous healing, as I always do.

But what I also always do, with each new trial she faces, is desperately cling to the truths in Gods Word - truths that promise love, protection, healing, blessing, and purpose for pain. But with each new painful and undeserved trial she has to endure, the deepest parts of my heart begin to feel emptied of hope, labored with uncertainty, and filled with doubt.

I was out of town over the weekend when this infection started, so I packed up the family and we hopped in the car for the three hour drive back to the hospital.

Although my heart was heavy, I knew I was a couple weeks behind in my daily chronological Bible reading, simply because life had been busy and my normal routines had been out of sync. My time kept slipping away somehow, and with each passing day, I promised God I would catch up with Him soon.

Stuck in the car with time on my hands, it seemed the perfect time to do some serious catching up.

Before opening my Bible, I said a prayer. Just a little prayer, but it was filled with a desperate need for reassurance. I simply said, "Lord, do you see my sister? Do you see her pain? Do you see her suffering? Do you care about her? Lord, really, do you even see her?" Then I focused on the pages of my Bible, hoping that God would speak to my spirit and lessen my labored heart.

After reading over the daily readings that I was supposed to have read ten days ago, I soon realized that God already knew about my lack of time management lately. In fact, He used my lack of time, to become a part of His perfect timing, and to give me a Word from Him, at the exact time I needed it.

The words "do you even see her Lord?" were still ringing in my thoughts as I came across this verse in Lamentations:

Lamentations 3:49-51 My tears flow endlessly; they will not stop until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees. My heart is breaking over the fate.....

The words "the Lord sees" jumped off the page. The word "my heart is breaking" jumped off the page. The words "my tears flow endlessly" jumped off the page. There were a lot of words bouncing around in our cars atmosphere! But it was wonderful - I needed to know that He saw her, and through these words, He reassured me that Yes, He did.

And friends, He has done that for me so many times during her battle with this disease, and on many occasions I have written about it on my blog. So many times, that I am almost ashamed to admit doubt. But God is so faithful, and once again, He was.

But how easy it is to doubt Gods sovereignty, despite past triumphs, when it seems that the battles of this world are waging war against someone we love, or against us - and winning.

To know that He sees us, down here on earth, in the midst of our pain and suffering, and to be reassured of that love, is almost more blessing than I can wrap my mind around.

How phenomenal to think that the Lord of all creation, heard my one little question, the cries of a sisters heart, and divinely planned my exact Bible reading on a day when I would be seeking the answer to that one little question. Had I read that verse a few weeks ago, I may have simply overlooked it. But on this day, it was the voice of God. There are many other verses that I have allowed to sink into my spirit since the weekend, of how God sees us in our every day lives, and I thank Him for each and every little step of affirmation of His love.

Maybe you have wondered if God sees your loved one who is suffering. Maybe you have wondered if He sees you, and your suffering. I want to reassure you today, that He does. He knows your name. He sees your situation. He loves you, and those you love. And He hurts.

I also read this verse while riding down the interstate that day - Lamentations 3:31-33 - For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love.For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.

God knows how much it hurts to watch a loved one suffer, because He watched His own Son die on the cross. His heart must have been breaking, His tears endlessly flowing. His ears burning when Jesus wondered if God even saw Him, on that cross - when His Son felt forsaken - but even as Jesus yelled out to the heavens, with the little bit of strength He had left, "God, why have you forsaken me?!".... His Father was still there. Knowing all. Hearing all. Seeing all.

Sometimes I wonder if my sister feels forsaken. I wonder if she feels as if God has forgotten her, even though her faith appears to stay strong.

But I stake my hope in the verses above, knowing that God sees us her, loves her, and cries for her. And because of His great compassion, I believe that He has not forsaken her.

Because our God, knows our names.

My name. Your name. Your loved ones names. Even when we feel forsaken or forgotten, or wonder why it seems He has forsaken those we love.... He is still there. Knowing. Hearing. Seeing. Caring.

Unwavering hope in the middle of our own trials and sufferings, and of those that we helplessly watch our loved ones endure, can only come from embracing those priceless truths that God Was, Is, and Always Will Be. That God knows, hears and sees all.

That God loves - always and forever, with great compassion. Those promises are ones that our heart can labor over every day, and the outcome will always be joy, instead of heartache.

Lamentations 3:55-57 I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: "Do not close your ears to my cry for relief." You came near when I called you, and you said, "Do not fear."

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

How are you changing a life today?

Well it is officially official - life is back to normal.

The lazy days of summer are over - the crazy days of the school year have begun.

This week has been one of the busiest weeks we have had in a while. Between football practices, cheerleading practices, tumbling practices, tennis practices, football games, tennis matches, work, church, school, homework, hormones, drama and social lives - our family hardly time to even eat this week!

So describes the life of the average American woman.

But in the midst of this crazy week, I read one short little sentence that made me take a mental break from the craziness of life, and focus on a spiritual break with God.

On Wednesday, my sweet friend Zoe posted a quick little sentence on her Facebook wall, that made me stop and think. She simply wrote, "what are you doing to change someones life today?"

Hmmmmm. I was sure I had done something. Although nothing came to mind immediately, I hoped I could come up with something profound before the day was up.

After all, I had been really busy! Super busy, with important stuff. All those activities I mentioned above, required sacrifice, time, effort, money, love, and lots and lots of hours behind the wheel of my car.

But had any of my activities, and busyness, actually changed a life?

I know all those things were good things. Things that a good little mommy does for the people she loves. Things that we should do out of love, not obligation.

But did they change a life? Seriously - did anything I was doing that day hold the value of impacting someones life for the better?

As I was beating myself up over the fact that maybe I was not doing anything of much importance when it came to changing lives, God impressed upon my heart that I didnt have to pull a drowning person from a raging flood, or save someone from a burning car, to change a life.

The reality is, that those drastic life-changing opportunities are few and far between (thank goodness!) but the little things that we do each and every day can, and do, impact lives.

As we love on our families and care about their feelings, we are showing them kindness, which teaches them to be kind.

As we pray with our children about hard situations at school, we are teaching them to be dependent on God.

As our families see us trusting God to provide and thanking Him for the blessings that we have, they see us trusting Gods ways, which teaches them to trust.

As we do simple things liking fixing dinner for those we love, or going to work every day to provide for their physical needs, we are exhibiting servanthood, which teaches them about the importance of serving others.

Even as we spend fourteen hours in the car in one week while toting our children from one place to another, we are providing an example of placing the desires and needs of another person, before our own, simply because we care.

As our children - and other people who may be observing us from a distance- notice how we stop to hold open a door for someone, say thank you, help a stranger with their grocery bags, give money to a homeless person, hold our tongue when we are angry, forgive someone who hurt us, spend time in our Bibles, serve at church, help someone with a project at work that is not even our responsibility - we are making a statement about who we are are, who we worship, and who we are in Christ.

If you think about it, one of the keys to changing a life, in our every day circumstances and routine busyness, can really be found in one of the most popular verses in the Bible.

It is a verse that we may know by heart, but that we often forget to adhere to as we are running through the streets of life at full force speed.

A verse that sounds great and spiritual and wonderful - but a verse that is much harder to apply, than it is to believe.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)

Random offerings of fruit, will result in a delicious harvest of words, actions and behaviors that impact hearts, and maybe, even change a life.

God will use our ordinary lives, to do extraordinary things, if we remember to bear fruit along the way.

He uses our random acts of kindness, to those we love, those we may not love, and even those we have never met, to impact hearts as they see Him shining through us.

I have a challenge for us to tackle together over the next week.

Lets focus on starting a fruit revolution - a kindness revolution - a loving revolution - a saving revolution.

Every morning for the next week, as soon as you wake up, ask God a little question... "what can I do to change a life today?".

I cant speak for God, of course, but I can only imagine, that if we ask Him that question with an open heart and mind, He will show us the answer.

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