Mother-in-law things, something I can do!

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DSC_0538I can’t sew

I can’t drive

My ability to walk is severely hampered

As a result I’m spending an astounding amount of time in bed

Waiting for my foot to heal and for my life to resume back to normal

There are many things I can’t do right now

But I can write

And I can pray

So I take out the prayer journals I began for my future daughters-in-law

And place them on the bed

Along with my bag of colorful markers

My Bible opened to the book of Philippians

I take a verse or two each day

And yes, some days I am remiss

But I begin to pray for these women

photo 6Jotting down things that the Lord brings to my heart

Because I can

I mean prayed for them before I even knew they existed

And now here they are

1543770_10152111217080409_243254914_nOne day I’m praying that my son’s future wife is protected from volcanic eruptions in her country

And then I’m asking the Lord to keep the other safe in the frozen tundra of a big city – WOW!

1459210_10151710511790778_2097815045_nBoth face many adventures being members of this family

And brides to awesome, yet imperfect men

And I love them truly

So while I have time

(O Father, may I always find moments and desire)

Even when I’m back on my feet

To spend productively in prayer

Special thanks to Pray4Lilly and StilettoMom for their encouraging words and inspiration to write a post about what I can do!

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My son’s first sermon

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"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 3:4

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4

The first time I heard the name Aaron, I turned to my husband at church and said,

“Our next son will be named Aaron.”

I loved the name Aaron for three reasons.

1. It looked cool. Two of the same letters next to each other in a name basically rocks and you know it.

2013-06-16 10.10.242. Spiritual – Though my Christian spiritual journey was evolving, I loved the idea of having kids with biblical names.

3. Professional – I had made a career throughout the country teaching presentation skills and even had my own consulting business working in the corporate world teaching executives about public speaking. The Aaron written of in the Bible was a great orator among other notable qualities.

In other words, I just had to have an Aaron!

So right there in the pew, next to my toddler Nathan and the Hubs, God delivered this name “Aaron” like a song and a promise to my soul.

Two years later, he was born. Nate called him his “miracle.” I had birthed my Aaron.

The name fits him perfectly. Aaron is a rising sophomore at Moody Bible Institute and an enthusiastic speaker, a wonderful olive shoot and a Jesus follower.

But I could never have imagined what would happen this past Father’s Day.

2013-06-16 11.03.48On Father’s Day, Aaron delivered his first sermon.

In front of our extended family, the gluten-free gf and other members of our con- gregation, the Hubs and I sat and listened to our Aaron preach.

Aaron and the gf/gf just before he got up to share the sermon

Aaron and the gf/gf just before he got up to share the sermon

His sermon was about the importance of fatherhood in the Christian home.

The Lord has blessed my ministry-minded middle with an affable personality and a comfort in front of crowds.

2013-06-16 11.00.56

Ike read the Scripture before his big brother gave the sermon. I don’t even think I owned a Bible when I was his age and if I did, I certainly never opened it. Thank you Lord for these glimpses of grace!

Of course, you know I am biased, but I would have listened to Aaron’s words even if he wasn’t my son. He delivered the message with conviction, thoughtfulness and passion.

At one point in the sermon, I turned to the gluten-free gf and felt very convicted about the message. I whispered to her, “I’m glad God didn’t make me a father. I’ll just be the mom, thank you, Lord, very much!” She smiled and agreed!

God gave the Hubs a gift on Father’s Day and He used our Aaron to deliver it. What a sweet blessing to behold and something I, this former angry agnostic, feminist, existentialist woman never would have imagined!2013-06-16 11.01.21

On Sunday morning, we saw the culmination of all the hard work my boy had poured tirelessly into his message. The hours researching, studying Scripture, praying, consulting with our pastor and seeking the Lord’s voice before he used his own were worth it.

The night before, he stayed up late going over his message with the gf/gf. I think she probably had that thing memorized.

What blessed me as a mom and as a church member was the reverence and time he gave to his message. This is not always the standard today.

I felt safe with the way he handled Scripture, Aaron’s words were measured and forceful yet he spoke humbly.  Aaron has been raised by a godly, Christian dad but he also acknowledged that he has no experience being a father.

As I listened to him speak, I recalled that Sunday morning when I first heard about an Aaron.

Now I was hearing from my own.

Wearing a new polo shirt purchased the day before, looking so handsome and adorable, full of the Spirit, oh, how could my heart contain such pride and joy!

Here is an excerpt of his sermon. I look forward to hearing many more. Don’t you just love it when your kids make you proud and do something you never imagined possible?!

Five minute Friday – fall

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I want things to be nice but never perfect.

I want things to be nice but never perfect.

When I have company over, there is temptation.

If I want things to be perfect, I fall into pride.

If the night didn’t gel as I had hoped, like, let’s say, the Hubs got on my nerves the entire evening (true story) I fall into despair.

It’s when I give the occasion to the Lord that I see the greatest rewards.

When the birthday party, dinner company, gathering of friends is marinated in prayer, that’s when everyone has the sweetest fellowship.

IMG_20110120_185631I once had a family member come over for dinner with his family.

They do not know Jesus and before they arrived, I prayed for us to have a special night together.

Strangely enough, as I asked the Lord what to serve this family, I sensed God said “barbecue chicken.”

I realize this might sound like a really stupid prayer and even more so, a really weird answer. You talk to God about food? He talks to you about barbecue chicken? Come on.

My answer is I talk to God about everything and occasionally chicken is part of our conversation. Jesus is my friend and he is intimately involved in my life, so yes poultry is even an open topic for us. Don’t you talk to your best friend about everything?

So this isn’t a usual main dish for me to cook but I listened to His voice and guess what? Barbecue chicken was this person’s favorite meal! I had no idea!

5minutefridayTime and time again, these things have happened to me where God confirms that He was with me the entire time. Falling into his arms, relinquishing the moments into His will keeps me focused on the right thing, serving Jesus by serving others.

Five Minute Friday is a gathering of super cool people who all write for five minutes about one word. If you’re up for the challenge, join us!

Bless me, Mama

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Here are just a few of the people I pray for on the regular.

Here are just a few of the people I pray for on the regular.

My 16-year-old walks into the kitchen and I’m slicing strawberries. He’s got a basketball game in a few hours and is heading out the door.

“Bless me, Mama,” he says.

My thin, ginger wisp stands near my side by the sink.

This is the moment every Christian mom hopes will happen and today’s my day. This is cool. I’m going to write about this I vow to myself.

“Oh, ok, I can do that.” I stop slicing. My strawberry stained fingers lift into the air and words flow from my lips.

But no sooner did I finish the first sentence then Ike interrupts me and says,

“Mom, I didn’t mean it!”

You can’t be serious, Child.

That ginger in the jacket, yeah, that's the kid I just prayed for!

That ginger in the jacket, yeah, that’s the kid I just prayed for!

For a second, I hesitated.

Then what did I do? I prayed for him anyway. #shablam

He had a great game. The team won. I did not cause these things by my prayers but I was obedient to the Lord.

Time and desire to pray have increased since beginning the YouVersion 21 Day Challenge. Other crazy, interesting things are also happening which perhaps I will share one day.

I love and admire this potato head.

I love and admire this potato head.

But the words “Bless me, Mama” resonate within me again.

My oldest olive shoot begins pre-Ranger school tomorrow at 11:45. Gulp. He will sleep on the ground and be pushed to his physical and mental brink. Many fail, it is beyond challenging.

“Bless me, Mama” is my charge as his mother. Nathaniel, my gift, I speak blessings and success into your journey. Oh how I treasure you. Shine brightly.

My ministry-minded middle will soon speak to group of high school students. About the subject of love. Basically it’s his first preaching opportunity. Plus each Friday he goes into the inner city of Chicago to reach high risk young kids with the Gospel. “Bless me, Mama.” I do, Aaron, I do.

Aaron loves this ministry and the kids he meets! Thanks be to God!

Aaron loves this ministry and the kids he meets! Thanks be to God!

May I be fruitful with all you have given me, My Holy One. Allow me to seize every opportunity to pray. Grant me knowledge to embrace ways to boldly proclaim your truth and loving kindness, as a mom, as a woman; every role I play, Father may it be so all the days of my life.

Amen

What I Can Do For My Sons

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Since my son began his 47 month journey at the United States Military Academy, I have heard and read many statements from him.


“Mom, I have thrown a live grenade.”
“Ma, today I went to the gas chamber.”
Madre, (one of his nicknames for me), I flew in a Chinook.”

From each one of those sentences I have needed a minute to recover. Those are awkward statements I never expected to read from a child of mine, especially if you knew my background. Being a mom is an adventure even when I’m not the one rappelling down a mountain or firing a rifle. And in the case of my other two OS, motherhood is equally exciting and I’m even not on the football field, or on stage, or kicking the soccer ball or trying to finish a leaf project. OY!

Lately though I’ve been especially blessed when my oldest OS has reached out and asked me for things. I’m not talking about protein bars and new undies which he has requested and I am happy to send but…


I love the other thing my son has asked for and that is for prayer.

My son had a two minute sparring match in boxing class this week. He was concerned about getting his nose broken. His nose was still sore from the previous class and I guess he likes his nose in the position and shape it’s been in for the last 18 years. While talking to him over the phone, my boy asked if I would pray for him. 

Oh it was my privilege to lift my son up to the Lord! And I took the request seriously! We prayed over the phone; my DH and I prayed for him; I asked for prayer for my son on my facebook; we joined hands in prayer around the dinner table. Let me tell ya, that nose was covered in prayer! Nothing or no one was going to mess with that little nose and I’m thrilled to say that my son’s beautiful nose is still nice and straight although apparently he jacked up the other guy’s neck. I now need to pray for that young man!

Homework is also stressing him out. Last night, we got an email asking for prayer. We again petitioned the Lord to give our son a peace that passes understanding and success in accomplishing all the tasks at hand.

Peter Kreeft, author and professor at Boston College said, “I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of our prayers make, and all the people those little prayers were destined to affect, and all the consequences of those prayers down through the centuries, we would be so paralyzed with awe at the power or prayer that we would be unable to get up off our knees for the rest of our lives.” 

Isn’t that an amazing perspective? I have that quote in a special scrapbook I created during a very difficult time in our family. How apropos as I learn to be the mama of a Soldier! I get to pray for my son. NOTHING can stop me. I can’t do his homework or block the punches that will come his way, literally and figuratively but this mama, above all else can pray! My boy can rest in knowing that he comes from a praying family no matter the circumstances or distances which separate us. 

It is so good to know that our God considers all prayers important. I am humbled to trust in a Lord who thinks that prayers for my son’s nose are as precious as prayers for my friend who is fighting a mighty battle against cancer. I find it incredible that the same God who hears my prayers on behalf of my boy for help with homework is listening also to another mom’s prayers for complete healing of her daughter’s heart condition.

Praying is a gift that I receive and give freely. In my work, I have spoken to many hurting teenagers. Often I will tell them after hearing their heavy troubles that tonight there will be five people who hold hands around a kitchen table and lift them up to the Lord. And I mean it. 

Who do you know that needs prayer? Extend that priceless privilege to others and let me know if our family can pray for you. 
 

Oh happy day – letters after R-Day

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P1040208On July 9, 2007 while just exiting a restroom in Lima, Peru, I got mugged. My pricey camera was pulled off my shoulders and back and that was probably one of the most startling events of my life.

Fast forward a year, I’m back home and this July 9 is joyous. Yeah, we have a stomach virus wreaking havoc on our family but it’s all good.

Our son wrote us!

In our mailbox, I discovered not one, not two, not three but FOUR letters from our boy!

There are not enough exclamation points to describe how I feel to read his words and glean his personality. Here are just a few and I’ll try not to be obnoxious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!P1040207

I count it a privilege that our NC (military word for New Cadet) took the precious time to write.

Some parents have yet to hear from their child and I feel for them deeply. I do not take it for granted we have these paper treasures from our soldier and will guard them close to my heart forever.

As we gathered around the family room to read his letters, I thought to myself that this is what it used to be like before email, AIM and facebook.

Writing letters is a forgotten art and in some way, I have enjoyed putting pen to paper. I’m a writer so it comes fairly naturally but my two remaining OS certainly aren’t but what sweet messages have poured from their fingers. Aaron sends funny drawings, Ike sends Scripture.

Aaron writes about the day’s happenings.

Ike shares that he has thrown up.

My DH dashed another letter out to Nathan as soon as he read Nate’s messages. They are so beautiful, I have no choice but to weep.

Without violating his privacy, I think some of you would enjoy knowing a few details but let me tell you the latest on the toe.

Although still purple, his big toe feels much better since he got it drained. Getting a toe drained doesn’t sound like fun but I’m relieved to know he’s ok. I wrote him that he had so many prayers that not only should that toe be healed in Jesus’ name but quite possibly he might have grown a third big toe as a spare!

p1040211Please keep praying not only for our family but for the other cadet families out there eagerly awaiting news from their NC.

It’s tough when no news comes your way.

In a few days, we anticipate phone calls and I can’t wait to hear his voice.  Major props to my homeslice Beth Anne who documented the first few moments when the letters arrived, love you, BA!

Getting letters from your son is better than getting mugged in South America, that’s a fact, Jack! HUAH big time!

Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.”