Here’s the July issue of RUBY magazine . . . featuring inspirational articles and poetry, devotionals and short stories, summer celebration recipes, and our monthly feature, the Kids’ Korner with a story just for the young people in your family.
Here’s the July issue of RUBY magazine . . . featuring inspirational articles and poetry, devotionals and short stories, summer celebration recipes, and our monthly feature, the Kids’ Korner with a story just for the young people in your family.
From that angle, they couldn’t even see when the coaster crested the top, but they knew. Suddenly they were sitting up and, in a millisecond, face down, plummeting to the ground. If they lived through the first drop, there was more fun to be had.
What had I gotten myself into? Was there a way out of this line? I must be crazy. My stomach churned with nervous excitement. Part of me could hardly wait to get on. Another part of me wanted to run screaming from the line. [Read more…]
Mornings can be hectic, but there is one thing even more important than a healthy breakfast—prayers before school. In order to maximize prayer impact while respecting the likelihood that there will only be a few precious minutes in the morning, I have worked out a formula that was pretty effective at our house.
Of course homeschoolers, not having the need to commute, can use that time for prayer, without dividing the prayer time over several days.
The purpose of these morning prayers is to model for your children the worship of God through prayer, that we can rely on God for and in all things, big and small, and to instill these comforting verses in our hearts and those of our children so that throughout life these verses will emerge to help support them when they need it.
The system involves praying for the week ahead on Sundays for a longer time, using favorite verses of your choice and Ephesians 6:11 et al. Just as you would lay out clothes for the week, you should pray for the protection of God over each child’s week. During the year, you can add activities to this –draw the armor, begin to learn the passage, talk about what they mean.
Although you can do more preparation for the following day at family devotions, to best address the needs of each little heart in the family, wait for the moment when it is just the two of you at bedtime.
Then, add prayers and a verse for each child’s special needs for the following day—a test (maybe a verse on wisdom) meeting new people, how they can be salt and light in the classroom.
Pick a verse that meets that child’s needs. For instance, for my daughter, as for myself, Philippians 4:6-7 would be the verse.
Then a quick morning prayer to go with the quick kiss goodbye from you to remind them that no matter what happens, she need not be anxious about anything.
Of course, then we need to remind them that we will be in prayer for them all day. To keep that promise, I often write down the time of a special event.
When the day ends, be sure to follow up—in the after school talk and at the dinner table, unless it was a confidential request that your child wants to share only at bedtime.
Once they leave the house, it’s time for prayer from Mom to God on their behalf. Here are some of the things I prayed most often and that I still pray for our daughter even though she is long past school, and is out in the working world:
After school time will be much richer if your child knows you have been participating via prayer in his or her day—it gives you more of an opening.
Morning prayer — a must, that can be easily inserted into a busy morning even without waking the child an extra twenty minutes early.
Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She is a poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, and author of several books both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She is also a performer and gives one-woman shows on historic figures and spoken word folklore shows as well as teaching writing and storytelling.
Joan lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband, Joe. www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Author-and-Story-Performer/188479350973
My son pulls on his blue rain boots,
telling me of ladybugs,
aphids and Holland flowers,
swinging through the spring breeze.
“Today I got picked.” he says
“for the treasure chest.”
He asks for new rain boots in
fire colors: red, orange, yellow,
sliding, climbing, kicking balls
across the grass.
Running out to the
green swings, he checks to see
if his bean is growing,
brought home from Kindergarten class
in its paper cup.
Birds chatter in the breeze,
dogs bark, breaking the quiet.
He finds the best spot,
plants his bean,
pressing the dirt down with his hands.
He rushes in to get a cup of water,
brings it to his little bean,
watering the soil so it will grow.
His own garden of a childhood spring day.
He shows his big sister,
they swing beside one another,
in the late afternoon sun.
Stacie Eirich I’m a writer, mother and unabashed dreamer who reads poetry by moonlight and dreams of traveling beyond the stars. Fueled by hazelnut coffee, dark chocolate and red wine, I’m currently writing my next children’s fantasy in The Dream Chronicles series. I live north of New Orleans with my family and two adorable cats, Ollie & Oreo – writing, mothering, and dreaming.
It’s September. A season of change. A brief moment in time when leaves turn yellow, red, orange, and brown. Some leaves won’t survive the transition from summer to fall. Millions of them will blow away while others form soft mats for tumbling children as they play in the yard.
For many of us, change causes a great deal of anxiety. I hate it. I’d rather have a tooth pulled. I’m at my best when I know what to expect. I’m more secure when people and things remain in their proper place.
Whether I like it or not, changes tend to stretch me in areas where I need it most, making weak spots stronger, providing patience where I had none.
Weeks ago I decided to lose weight. You would think participation in over-exerted activity is the main cause of my reluctance to go to the gym. Although that’s part of it, in reality the idea of rearranging my schedule is what put me in a tailspin. But after overcoming daily bouts with my new routine, I leave the gym much happier due to an unbelievable satisfaction over my accomplishment.
I remember the anxieties I experienced before our first son left for college. From his sophomore to senior years of high school, I did everything to prepare for his departure. I’d sometimes drop him off to school then go home and sulk. Told myself a million times I’d be fine. After all, we had another son at home and I had plenty of time before I would experience an empty nest. As the years crept forward, I dug deeper to adapt to the upcoming change.
During our youngest son’s last year of high school, I’d cry half the day away. Sometimes I’d stand in the middle of a room and listen to the silence. Kept telling myself, “This is how it will be when he’s gone.”
Many of you are going through similar transitions. Perhaps you’ve walked your child to kindergarten and tearfully waved goodbye as you asked, “Where did time go?” There are those of you who have children with special needs who have progressed far beyond your expectations, transforming to a depth of independence that frightens you, leaving you to worry if you’re still needed.
Maybe you are like me ─ it’s your child’s last year of high school and you’re contemplating what you’ll do after they graduate and leave home. Some of you are saying your first goodbyes while dropping your child off for their freshmen year of college, doing your best to keep emotions under control.
Change is hard
Through all my difficulty of adjusting and readjusting to an empty nest, something finally occurred to me . . .
I hadn’t yet learned to appreciate the change of seasons. I spent too much time fighting it; tried too hard to ignore it.
Seasonal changes aren’t a well-kept secret. In the fall, leaves dangle from tree branches in an audacious display of spectacular hues, daring the world to ignore them. In winter, cold and frigid air blasts the earth to incubate new life until the gradual awakening of spring.
I’ve learned to look at my ever-changing seasons with enthusiastic anticipation. Though the patter of little feet left our home long ago, I’m constantly evolving amid the silence. My new task is to enjoy the evolution rather than fight against it. It’s freeing and refreshing to discover I can do almost anything I want, however I want, as many times as I want. I can waste my day or make each and every moment meaningful.
To all who are faced with a new season, please make every effort to find joy in your freedom. Allow it to lead you anywhere you want to go. See it as brilliant beams of light gleaming through an early dawn. There you are, standing at a distance, basking in God’s warmth and unfathomable love. Close your eyes. Smile. Take it all in. Don’t waste a moment of it. Let go of all the negativity which kept you anchored to boring and unchallenged routines.
Consider these verses:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ─ if anything is excellent or praiseworthy ─ think about such things.” (Philippians 4:6-8)
“God is holy. God is good and powerful. No matter what challenges you face, he will pull you through because, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise . . . .” (2 Peter 3:9)
See Jesus in your storms. See the glory of the Lord in every yellow and brown and red leaf. Enthusiastically anticipate changes in your season.
Donna B. Comeaux has been writing for the RUBY Magazine (http://rubyforwomen.com) since 2013. In 2014, Donna wrote devotionals for Hopeful Living, a publication designed to encourage senior citizens, and for Believer Life. Her website is located at: www.awriterfirst.wordpress.com. Not only will you find other inspirational stories on her website, you will also find tips for writers, devotionals, and a few of Donna’s political views as well. Donna and her husband, Glenn, have two grown sons and eight grandchildren. They reside in Oklahoma.
Vintage books represent old lives. People from the past, who lived, loved, laughed, cried, and recorded the treasure of their minds and hearts in words on printed pages for posterity. Not just those who penned the words—but very often, those who read those words and subsequently responded to them. Perhaps with handwritten notes of their own compositions in the margins, or back pages.
I came into possession of a vintage book titled, Day After Day: A Manual of Devotions for Individual and Family Use, as compiled by 19th and early 20th century evangelist John Wilbur Chapman. It was published in 1919, at the end of the First World War. One of the first places I go when treasure hunting in a vintage or antique book, is inside, opening to the front page in the hopes of finding an inscription of its owner. I was not disappointed in this small navy-blue volume with gold embossed lettering.
Etched in pencil, in what appeared to be a hurried cursive handwriting, was the epitaph: “To Laura, with love from Emma & Sade.” An error in composition required erasing the original, “from with love,” for the edited, “with love from.”
My only disappointment was the absence of any more clues as to date and occasion. Was it Laura’s birthday? Confirmation? Marriage? Who were Emma and Sade? Best friends? Beloved sisters? With so many unanswered questions, my imagination kicked into high gear, fueled with inspiration. This is the stuff short stories are made of, I thought.
I found only one other clue on the end pages of the book to help me piece together who Laura might have been. A few poetic verses, roughly drawn, in need of an editor. The writer drafted it in pencil first, and then wrote over the pencil in tell-tale fountain pen ink as if to set it in stone. A poem. A prayer. Titled very simply: Peace.
Perhaps, she copied it from another source. Perhaps, she composed it herself. A prayer for peace in troubled times. A young woman living a hundred years ago. In 1919. At the close of a global war that reset both Europe and America. Those who survived would never be the same.
The loss of 126,000 American soldiers stripped the innocence and formality of the Victorian and Edwardian age from society. Fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers were not coming home to loved ones and the potential of a life lived. Add in the 245,000-wounded returned from French, German, and Italian battlefields, it was clear that the year 1919 would be fraught with exhilaration at the war’s end, equal to the anxiety of living in a physical and social landscape dramatically altered. In total, 11 million military personnel died and 7 million more were wounded. Civilian casualties were equally shocking.
Laura, Emma, and Sade—how did World War I touch their lives? Did they suffer loss? Were they newly-minted war widows consoling each other with a book of devotional readings?
I imagine them in this setting, as we celebrate Independence Day this July 4th, and the first of many tragic wars Americans were forced to fight in the past 245 years to secure our liberties and sovereign borders.
Thumbing through the thirteen weeks’ worth of weekly Scripture readings and prayers in Day After Day, I came across specialized readings for select holidays.
Among them was Flag Day, where Chapman selects an interesting Scripture from James 1:25:
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
It is interesting to consider the application of this verse to the founding principles of our nation’s liberty—derived, and well documented as so, from the Bible. In years past, training in “religion” (meaning specifically, Christianity) was an integral part of American education, as Samuel Adams attests in these inspiring words dated in Boston, October 4, 1790:
Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity and universal philanthropy, and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country; of instructing them in the art of self-government, without which they never can act a wise part in the government of societies, great or small; in short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system . . .
Boston, October 4, 1790
Prayer and open discussion of the Bible, and how its principles applied to public life as a citizen, were a revered part of every school child’s academic years. Until 1961, that is—a mere forty years since the publication of this vintage family devotional, and only twenty years since the end of the nation’s second war on foreign shores. Not to mention Korea. And the contemporary threats a half century ago, of a Cold War.
Being a doer of the work of liberty—applying the principles of liberty, including a love country—brings blessing, indeed. But often after much loss. Sacrificial love secures liberty. Like that of Christ on the cross. Or a young man on a battlefield far from home.
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 NLT
Peace in troubled times seems distant. Laura, Emma, and Sade may have grown up together in a one room classroom learning their American Christian heritage together. In the trauma and aftermath of a world war, they remembered that the anchor of the soul is to be found in stealing away to a quiet place for devotions, meeting in prayer with the Prince of Peace.
Losing a loved one in the defense of the nation might have spurred Emma and Sade’s gift of this little book of devotions to Laura. Perhaps the prayer chosen for the Flag Day meditation brought her some comfort:
Almighty God, Sovereign of the universe, we thank Thee that our flag has always stood for liberty, justice, and freedom, and that the banner of the Republic floated in the battle front across the seas. (Reference to WWI) Great God, may our flag never be dishonored. Grant that through the coming years its stars may continue to shine, and its colors stand for purity, devotion, and sacrifice. May all our citizens be loyal to it as the symbol of national sovereignty. May there soon come to this weary world the morning of universal peace. This we ask in the Name of Thy Son, our Redeemer. Amen.
David G. Wylie, D.D.
Reprinted in Day by Day, 1919
This is the first of my treasure hunt finds in this particular volume. Next month I’ll explore more nuggets of inspiration from this old gold mine of beautiful words and wisdom—the legacy of past lives. The more I learn of the hearts and minds of those who have gone before us, the more I am challenged to pursue my own life’s legacy with purpose—seeds for growing on, rather than chaff for the wind.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness
Til all our strivings cease
Take from our souls the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Breathe through the hearts of our desires
Thy coolness and Thy balm
Let sense be dumb—let flesh retire
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire
A still small voice of calm
Our Father, Thy life opens fresh and new in my being this day. They love fills my soul and mind and presses me unto faithful service and high purpose. All darkness, all dimness or vision within or without is but a cloud which the lens of Thy reality will turn to light and clearness. My being rests in calm security in Thy love and knows the beginning and the end is peace. Amen.
Kathryn Ross is a writer, speaker, dramatist, and independent publisher at Pageant Wagon Publishing with a mission to nurture the seeds of all good things, innocence, and beauty in the human heart. Her inspiring devotional books for journaling and discussion groups, theatrical scripts for church and school, and storybooks and speaking programs engage young and old with dramatic flair as discipleship tools for homeschool and Christian families, designed to minister to all ages—all at the same time. Visit her online where she blogs weekly and podcasts monthly at www.thewritersreverie.com and www.pageantwagonpublishing.com .
There are days, I know we all have them, in a brief moment of silence, when we wonder if we are doing everything that God intends for us. Especially as women, we often find ourselves busy, busy, busy with daily tasks that frequently seem endless. Which of course, they are. Because no matter how many times you fix supper, you will have to do it all over again tomorrow. And laundry. You can do a thousand loads of laundry, and tomorrow there will be MORE laundry.
If you are a mom of any age, if you still have children at home, there is a never-ending round of activities that require your attention. Some days I just feel like I’m running in circles, and nothing I am doing, nothing in which I am investing my time and energy, will last. Everything will have to be done all over again tomorrow.
That is when I find myself, in those all-too-seldom moments of quiet . . . sometimes in the silence, I stop and think about all of that. And I’ll be honest, some days I get discouraged, wondering if anything I am doing is making any difference in the world. If you are honest, you will admit that you feel that way on occasion, too.
One day recently I was asking God to give me just a bit of guidance, just so I would have a greater sense of confidence that I am actually hearing Him correctly, and this daily round of running to dentist appointments, piano lessons, volleyball practice, orthodontist appointments, choir concerts, and youth group meetings matters to anyone.
When I finally landed back home, and the girls were quietly doing other stuff (besides fighting like sisters often do!), I sat down at my desk to work on the RUBY magazine – and again I asked God to give me a clue. Does anything that I am doing with my life make any difference at all, to anyone? Or is all of this activity just keeping me distracted from something else, something bigger, something more important?
That’s when I suddenly realized, as I was reading through some of the submissions for this issue of RUBY magazine, that MY writers – yes, MY writers – some of YOU who share your heart and love for the Lord with all of us who read your words – YOU are my ministry. Especially when I read the words of new writers who are timid and afraid to put their precious ideas and thoughts down in black and white and send them off to someone (me!) that they don’t even know – and they trust me to treat their voice and their words with respect.
I have been so encouraged, and truly blessed, by the writing that is submitted each month for our little magazine. And I am so grateful and honored that God has given me the gift of your friendship. I have learned so much from MY writers, and I am so excited to look to the future with all of the opportunities that God will give us, together, to share His words of blessing, inspiration, and encouragement with the world.
So if you ever wonder what you are doing, if God is using you, or if anything you are doing every day is making a difference in the world – know you are not alone, and remember that He has given you a story, and words of encouragement, so that you can share them with the world. We make a pretty good team, I think!
“’He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness…” 1 Peter 2:24 NIV
The truth is I miss the Easters of the past when my kids were small. It was always so much fun to pick out cute church clothes that coordinated with each other. We dyed eggs in bright colors, made special crafts, and hid Easter eggs in the yard probably a million times. I bet there are still some eggs hidden out there to this day.
I always loved picking out special items to put in their baskets to open on Easter morning, taking extra care to find their favorite candy (actually, I still give them goody baskets). We had so much fun sharing those special times together while we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus.
As the kids have grown into teenagers, you can imagine that some of their excitement over dying eggs and our other Easter traditions has dwindled. They no longer have an interest in posing for sweet nature pictures or decorating bunny shaped cookies with sprinkles.
At times, I must admit I have found myself feeling sorry for myself and a little down because the holiday just isn’t the same anymore.
But then God touched my heart with words I heard as loud and clear as though they were spoken directly into my ear.
“Just because your circumstances have changed, that doesn’t alter what I did for you on the cross.”
Immediately, I was ashamed and humbled for my attitude toward Easter. I knew the Lord was right. Easter is meant to be a time of celebration, joy, and gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary, His resurrection, and ascension to Heaven. All of this for me, an underserving sinner.
My heart was focused on the wrong things. There was nothing flawed with the traditions and activities my kids and I enjoyed together in the past.
But when I longed for those things more than I longed for my Savior, when I placed those things in higher esteem than I did the honor and praise He deserved, then they became a problem.
I was too fixated on the memories of the past and what I perceived I had lost with my children forever. However, I needed to focus my heart on the most important memory of the past, the cross, and what I had gained forevermore, eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, my Savior.
How could I feel anything but joy this Easter holiday? The different seasons of my life will come and go. There will be an abundance of memories made, wonderful traditions initiated, and even some traditions that will be dissolved.
Our family will share many new experiences together and will forever be knitted with a bond of love and loyalty. And surely, many things will change along our journey together which will cause me to have to adapt even more.
But inevitably, the Lord will help guide me through, just as He did this Easter. He has taught me that even though my world changes, He is still the same God He says He is and is faithful to His promises. No matter what I face, nothing can alter the cross and what Jesus did for me.
That, no doubt, is reason enough for my heart to bubble over with great, jubilant joy!
Alisha Ritchie writes from North Carolina where she enjoys spending time with her husband, Brandon, of almost twenty years, and two busy but wonderful teenagers, Zack and Abby. She is a Physical Therapy Assistant by profession but in recent years has also become a multi-published author of devotions and inspirational stories to inspire others in their walk with God. You can read more of her writing at www.seekhimdaily.wordpress.com
Snuggling… Relaxing… Cherishing time together…
There’s nothing quite like cuddling up under fluffy blankets with your children and enjoying a good book together. This time represents warmth of home and relationships- a closeness and bond between parent and child that cannot be replaced.
God beckons you as His child, “Come, and sit down. Spend time with me in a safe haven of shelter and rest. Let’s share our hearts together and know each other better. Let my love warm you and my voice assure you, you are loved.”
Cozy up with Snuggle Sessions with God to help you abide in the Lord’s peaceful presence in today’s hectic world. These fifty-two devotions will inspire you to look for Him, busy at work, in the everyday activities of life. Your faith will be renewed and your spirit refreshed, as you become increasingly aware of the Lord’s continual presence in every aspect of your life.
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:4-5
Technology has changed our lives. Everyone has experienced some of the benefits and blessings of technology, even those who don’t pay much attention to all of the “new-fangled” stuff out here.
Grandmas and Grandpas, although often not even realizing it, benefit from faster communication and information storage and accessibility at the doctor’s office. Grandma might not be on Facebook (or she might be, and you don’t know it!), but her life has been touched by technology.
But we have also experienced the negative side of technology through the explosion of “noise” all around us. It is an amazing thing to be able to click a few links and read a daily devotional or Scripture verse. We have access to Bible studies, Christian communities, and inspirational articles that offer encouragement and guidance. I often wonder, however, if there is just too much of a good thing.
Because my job is to discover and share insightful and encouraging information wherever God leads, I also frequently come across voices that give me pause, and cause me to ask myself, “Can that be possible?” With the easy accessibility to seemingly unlimited information, don’t you sometimes find that there might just be way too many voices?
There are voices calling you to “Look over here! We’ve got just what you’ve been searching for!” or “99 Ways to Fix Your Marriage,” or “Seven Reasons Why Your Church is Failing.”
The other day as I was reading and doing a bit of research I came across a headline that said something like “Stop Putting Your Family First.” I found that intriguing, partly because that has been a topic of interest to me for many years. Raising children in the church for many years, I discovered that Christian trends come and go, kind of like fashion fads where every season we need something new and different.
I knew families who felt called to the mission field, who would travel to the other side of the world to preach the Gospel to the lost souls on another continent.
They would either raise their children on the mission field in the native environment, or send them off to boarding school, or sometimes they would send their children home to the United States to live with relatives while they went to school.
Then there were families who felt God had called them to invest all of their time, energy, and spiritual gifts into raising their own children, including home schooling them to make sure that the children were prepared to share the Good News of the Gospel with those in their neighborhoods.
And then there were the parents who were just trying to get through a day, making sure they had the resources to feed and clothe their children, keep a roof over their heads, pray with them every morning and tuck them in with a prayer and Bible reading at bedtime. There has always been a variety of ways in which families honor God with their lives, their homes, and their families.
But recently, it seems with the advent of technology, the voices keep coming, louder and more frequently, reminding us that we just aren’t doing it quite right. Information is good. Information overload can be harmful, especially if you are the kind of person who is striving to honor God with your life, and all of this “noise” is confusing you.
Here’s some advice from this Vintage Mama – trust God to guide YOU, find wisdom and guidance from His Word and learn as much as you can. But be careful of all of the voices out here calling you to look this way, and run that way, and second-guess yourself every step of your journey.
God is big enough to let you know when you’ve gotten off track, we really don’t need to be scolded and chastised from every direction we look by those who have it all figured out . . . or do they?
Just a thought. But I’m pretty sure that if you seek God for direction in your life, He will honor His Word, and speak directly into your heart.
Nina Newton is the Senior Editor for RUBY magazine, blog, and community website. She is also a free-lance writer and editor. You can connect with her and read more of her creative and inspirational posts on her blog, Vintage Mama’s Cottage.
The family loves to take them, but the moms? Not so much. Don’t get me wrong- moms do love to go on vacation as much as the rest of the clan, but her idea of a vacation is much different than the husband and kiddos.
Let’s use a typical, low-budget family vacation.
Yay! We get to put up a tent and sleep outdoors!
I have to pack everything we own, put it in the dirt, and sleep with the bugs.
Yay! We get to gather firewood and set up camp!
Torn between using the three twigs gathered or chopping up the giant logs her husband found to start the campfire. Mom has to help her husband finish putting up the tent because the kids spent three minutes ‘setting it up’- aka unrolling the canvas and playing ‘swordfight’ with the tent poles.
Yay! We get to go hiking, fishing, and cook over a fire!
Thanks God she packed the medical kit, and extra Band-Aids. She gets to gut, clean and cook the fish, trying not to burn it to a crisp over the giant bonfire her husband created instead of the glowing coals she needed. Mom hides the lighter fluid.
Yay! We get to rough it!
Brings extra bathroom tissue for the outhouse and packs a shovel in case there isn’t one. Brings cards and a few board games, knowing the kids will freak out because there are no plugs for their phones and their batteries will die within an hour of setting up camp.
Explains for the fifteenth time that there is no electricity when roughing it, and has to keep the car locked so the kids don’t sequester themselves there for the rest of the week.
Fishes, hikes, roasts marshmallows, and sings songs around the campfire.
Does all that too and cooks, cleans out and straightens the tent each morning, rekindles the fire, plays nurse to boo-boos and small injuries (thanking God again for remembering to pack the med kit), washes dishes, slathers everyone else with sun lotion or calamine (thus forgetting to do this to herself) and on occasion, heads out in the car to find a laundromat due to clothing caked with mud, fish entrails, or ‘camp odor.’ Never did get to read that book she brought.
This was the best/worst trip ever! Husband and the kids rehash all of their camping adventures on the trip home, and then promptly fall asleep in their seats halfway home.
Sees the baggy-eyed, bug-bitten, soot-smeared, sunburnt face that used to be hers in the rear-view side mirror, and restrains herself from scratching her poison oak-covered arms.
Wonders if she’ll have the strength to unpack and wash everything they brought, refill the now-empty med kit, disinfect the cooking gear, and put everything away before she dies of exhaustion.
Everyone wakes up as she pulls up in the driveway. “Hey Mom/Hon, what’s for dinner?”
Parks in the driveway. Bangs head on steering wheel several times, hoping to knock herself out.
So now you ask…What’s a mom’s ideal vacation?
Well, we moms are simple folk.
For most of us, the ideal vacation means air-conditioned rooms, take-out or restaurant reservations, and a quiet place to sit for a little while and read our book!
Yes, we do love spending time with our families.
Yes, we do love to do things with our husbands and kids. All we moms ask for is a little time alone to recoup our energy and relax with no demands set upon us. Then we’re happy to exhaust ourselves doing whatever the family wants!
Beth Brubaker is a regular contributor to the RUBY magazine with her monthly column, Footprints in the Mud. You can read more of her inspirational and humorous posts on her blog at Footprints in the Mud.
By nature, I’m an extrovert. Even as small child, I never had a problem walking into a classroom and making friends. Summer camp? Piece of cake. I promptly chose my bed for the week and said goodbye to my parents before they could even get a look around.
Even as a college freshman I didn’t miss the fact that I was the lone student who didn’t cry when my parents walked out that door.
So, when I had my first daughter, I was eager to get her involved in all the things I’d loved as a child: dance, drama, music and performing in front of a live audience.
That is until she refused.
She cried at every dance class and would not get on stage. My child was nothing like me! How could we be related?
As you may have guessed, I say this tongue-in-cheek. My daughter is now fourteen and the whole family is able to reflect on this time with humor. But that doesn’t mean our time of struggle has come to an end.
At the start of every school year, there are new situations that cause stress and anxiety. It has taken time for her to learn what works best – and for me to learn how I can help ease her transition into a new routine.
Sometimes others just don’t understand when I explain that she needs time away or that she won’t be joining in on the fun at youth group because it’s her ‘down day’. But that’s okay.
Not everyone will understand the life of an introvert, just as not everyone will understand my love of jumping on stage before a crowd.
As parents, there are lots of things we can do to lessen the pressure of social graces for our children, while assuring their first experience in school, church groups, sports activities or other clubs, aren’t as terrifying as their nightmares allow them to believe.
Here are a few ideas of how to help prepare your child for the first day of school and other activities.
How your child can prepare:
– Stop and Look: On your first day, look around. Who else is sitting alone or not part of a group? They might be introverted as well, and could use a friend. It’s easier to approach someone if they are alone, rather than in the pressure of a group.
– Be Prepared to Talk: Make a list of questions to ask others. It helps if these questions are related to things you are interested in, since this could springboard into more conversation. This also eases the pressure, in case there’s that dreaded silence!
– Have an extra snack: It’s easier to break the ice with food! Bring an extra snack to offer another student. They will likely respond with friendly conversation. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find you share the same favorite food!
– Common interests: Spend some time in an area of interest. Do you notice the same people at the library every day?
Maybe you both share a love of reading. Hang out with your favorite book for a few extra minutes and see if you can find something to talk about. Love sports?
Help clean up the equipment after practice and see who sticks around. They likely love that sport as much as you do!
– Memorize Scripture: There’s just no way to avoid that nervous tingle in the bottom of your belly – even extroverts get that!
Memorize Philippians 4:13. Each time you’re tempted to walk away, repeat this verse in your head. It will give you the strength you need to step outside your comfort zone and make new friends!
What you can do:
– Talk to the teacher/leader: Let the teacher or leader of that group know ahead of time that your student is an introvert. This will help them know how to approach your child and make things less awkward.
– Meet some of the kids before the first day of school or activity: In our age of social media, attempt to reach out to other moms and find students that will be in your child’s class or who will be attending the same activities. A get-together before the first day might be just what your child needs to gain that extra bit of confidence!
– Do a walk through: Walk through the school, visit the church youth room or swing by a sports practice with your child before he/she starts.
This will give them confidence on the first day, when they know their way around. And maybe they’ll make a new friend when they find they can give directions to someone else who has lost their way!
– Pray with your child: The most important thing you can do before the first day of any new venture is to pray with your child. Once they walk out the door, continue to lift him/her up in prayer throughout the day, and be sure to let them know you will be praying. There is no replacement for the Power of Prayer.
We live in a noisy age. Think about the variety of sounds blaring from the devices in our vehicles, homes and offices. Most of us are so uncomfortable with quiet that the moment we jump into our cars, we turn on the radio. And as soon as we arrive home we grab the TV remote.
In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John recounts how the Lamb of God opens the final of seven seals before the Lord’s throne.
In preceding chapters there has been lots of singing, praise, worship and loud crying out to God. But this single action elicits complete silence for half-an-hour. What a magnificent and awe-filled scene.
How many of us could sit silently before God for 30 minutes? Or even three minutes, for that matter? Our tech-infused world is on auditory overload with the whirring of cell phone alerts, cacophony of ringtones, blaring TVs and constant media streaming on our tablets, phones and laptops.
The reasons for our discomfort with silence are as varied as we are, but I think often it’s because we’re using noise to drown out loneliness, fear, worry, guilt or discontentment.
Recently, I’ve been challenged by messages from ministers whom I admire on the power of being silent before God for a period of time each day.
This is not necessarily a time for reading or praying, but simply to be still and know that He is God, waiting for Him to speak to our hearts. This discipline hasn’t been easy, and I haven’t been consistent enough to make it a daily habit yet, but I am on my way.
Do you desire to hear more of God’s still, small voice and experience greater fruitfulness and victory in your life? For just a few minutes each day, put everything else on mute.
Toni Samuels By day Toni works in corporate communications at a Fortune 500 corporation, but by night she pursues her true passion: to write for God’s purposes and to point people to Jesus Christ. She is grateful and honored to have the opportunity to begin this new chapter in her life, in which writing is not merely a profession but a ministry. In her free time Toni enjoys music, reading, traveling and beautiful beaches.
It has taken me 57 years of living to come to a place of humbly recognizing my inability to love well…as much as I have tried in my own strength, in my own way, I realize I have fallen desperately short of loving the way God desires me to. I don’t think, or expect to love as well as He does – but my hope is that as I draw closer to Him, I will learn to love…more like Him.
I believe the two greatest commandments, as referred to in Matthew 26:36-40, are not just for the benefit of the recipients of love, but maybe even more so for the restoration of the soul of the one who loves. God knew when he instructed us to love Him and others that we would be radically transformed in the process of learning to love.
So if love never fails, what does it look like in our relationships here on earth? The Lord has been showing me that love is the bond that holds everything together – everything! If we love others; our husband, our children, our parents, our extended family members, our friends and even our enemies, we can overcome evil.
The evil plots of the enemy to destroy marriages tear down families, and to cause confusion and division in the Bride of Christ (there’s nothing worse than a confused bride!)
If the enemy can destroy relationships and isolate us, he can deceive us and convince us that we are not lovable. In our own bareness of soul, needing to be loved and not knowing love, we are destitute. We die a slow death, while under the powerful delusion and lies of the enemy.
Sadly if we are not able to break this pattern, we will see it repeated in the lives of those closest to us – in particular our children and our children’s children. The only thing that can break it– is the power of God’s love.
We must stand up to the wiles of the enemy by standing on truth. To know truth we must know the truth giver – our triune God – God the Father, Jesus our savior and the Messiah and the Holy Spirit. As we pursue God with all of our heart and come to know Him intimately, we will fall in love with Him.
The second greatest commandment will come out of God’s love and our love for Him. As we come to know Him, we will come to know his nature and character- and in doing so, we will become more and more like Him. And since God is love, the primary character of God, as we take on his character – eventually His love will take root deep in our spirit.
The Lord has shown me that the Gospel is not complicated. I’m simply called to live a quiet life following Him, living in community with others and loving those that He has entrusted to me – my husband (if you have been married beyond the honeymoon stage you know this is not always easy to do, but as we do He blesses us for our obedience), my children – who are now all adults, my grandchildren, extended family members that I’m in relationship with (including my church family), and close friends and neighbors.
As I learn to live in community, living in harmony with others, asking God what His heart is for each person in my life – especially those closest to me, I sense the power and presence of God increasing in my life. As I have come to know God’s heart, I recognize how easily my own can veer off the path of love. The only way I know to stay on the path is to seek Him daily, by asking Him to show me his heart for others.
It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and to love others – to love in a way that requires nothing in return: Loving fully, loving completely, loving unconditionally – loving those who are unlovable, loving those who have hurt us, or as is often the case – who out of their brokenness do not know how to love us.
And yet, we continue to expect them to know how to love us, and when they don’t, we become offended, hurt, angry, and often retaliate by holding back our love. This, in turn, causes more pain, and continues the crazy cycle that keeps us in bondage.
Someone once said that we hold back love as though it’s a commodity that we can run out of by giving it away. Imagine if we loved as though there was an unending supply – which ironically, with God there is. When we lack or lose the courage to love well, the misplaced courage is often directed to less worthy causes like work, or other worldly pursuits.
And if we believe we are unlovable, it can send us off looking for love in all the wrong places…or sadly, many people turn to drugs and/or alcohol to fill the void that only love can fill. I’m sad that I missed the mark for many years. As I look back, I can now see how selfish I have been. Thankfully, His grace is sufficient to overcome our weaknesses and sin.
Love is the perfect bond of unity that holds everything together – with it we can overcome darkness, despair, depression, addiction, divorce, hopelessness – Love never fails.
I plan to use the time I have remaining to learn to love well. I know this will not be easy and may require me to ask for forgiveness as well as to forgive others. Thankfully with Jesus as our redeemer, when we repent He is faithful to come along side of us to help redeem what has been lost. He redeems time, resources, relationships, and even life.
When we learn to love well, there is no limit to what we can do. The power of loving well can set us free, set others free, and transform marriages, families, communities, the Church and the World!
Carol Doyel has a heart to see women released into their God-given destinies and to become all they were created to be. Carol is a natural encourager and collaborator, having launched a successful online woman’s magazine and blog community, LivingBetter50.com “For Women with Spirit” in March 2011. She has brought together an amazing team and 800+ contributors to create the content rich magazine. Carol graduated from the Full Gospel Bible Institute in 2004. She went on to serve in women’s ministry from 2004-to-present. She serves as the West Coast/Hollywood Regional Director and the National Advisory Board for Christian Women in the Media (CWIMA). Carol’s past community service and board memberships include Washington PTA., Tacoma-YWCA, and Washington Women’s Education and Employment (WWEE). She and her husband of 27+ years reside in southern CA but travel quite a bit due to her husband’s work. They have three grown kids and four grand children whom they love spending time with.
A car manufacturer is going to start installing an alert system in their vehicles to let the driver know if the driver left their child in the backseat. Sounds like a good idea- after all, parents who leave a child unattended in their vehicle has caused the death of many children.
So when people buy their vehicles from this dealer, they don’t have to worry about forgetting their child in the backseat. This is a triumph…right?
Looking deeper, I see a band-aid over a serious heart issue.
Are we so focused on getting the shopping done or getting to work that we forget we have a little one in the car?
Please understand that I’m not pointing fingers at anyone- I’ve forgotten to pick up my kids because I was too busy and lost track, so I’m not even close to being a perfect parent- but the heart issue isn’t whether we love our kids or not. The heart issue is this; are we too distracted by busyness to notice our kids?
-Using the TV/video games as a babysitter regularly so we can get things done
-Texting/talking on your phone all the time when at home- even during family meals
-Being too busy to spend time playing/talking with your kids
-Not being there when they need you because you over-scheduled yourself
-Shutting the family out so you can have some ‘me’ time, when there’s more ‘me’ than ‘them’ time.
-Over scheduling so much that we are more focused on what we’re doing instead of who is with us.
And when something bad happens, we feel the too-heavy weight of guilt on our spirits and the regret that we weren’t there for them…again.
I’ve done every single one of the things I listed above. I’ve felt the guilt. I’m not telling you all of this because I’m better than anyone (which I’m definitely not) but to alert you in case you haven’t done it (yet), or let you know you’re not the only one if you have.
I want to rip off that band-aid and help a heart-issue healing.
The world is full of distractions, busyness, and selfishness. There’s nothing wrong with a little time to yourself to relax or get things done, but when the family suffers because we’re just not there with them (mentally or physically), this is a serious heart issue that needs to be fixed.
God made Adam,and then made his partner, Eve. God meant for them to have children and fill the earth. God invented the family. Satan and the world are doing their best to tear families apart.
Look around your life in God’s eyes and see all the little things that distract you from Him. You might be surprised- I know I was!
But how do you fix it? It’s hard to give up things that we’re used to, and sometimes we just can’t because it’s become a necessity, like computers or cell phones. We can live without them (at least us older folks can…maybe), but these gadgets make life run more smoothly for the most part.
So here are some suggestions to help rip off that band-aid:
-Have a tech-free night. No computers, TV, or cell phones. Spend time playing card or board games or talking with each other.
-Plan tech-free family mini-vacations. Go on a road trip. Go camping. Go to the beach. Anything that will put you in a different environment and focus on the beauty of God’s creations, go do it. The only tech exception will be to take pictures- but include the family in them!
-Family meals should be tech-free and eaten at a kitchen or dining room table- not in front of the TV.
-Plan family walks around the neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors! If you have to walk the dog anyway, why not walk as a family?
-Spend family time with the pets. Take turns throwing a Frisbee or ball for Fido, or break out the fishing pole toy or laser light for Fluffy.
-Ease up the schedule. Do you need to go to meetings every night or take the kids to soccer, baseball, karate, and dance class every week? Pick one or two nights for activities and the rest of the week is free to relax and spend time together. Kids get stressed from over scheduling too!
-Make meals together. Instead of a parent in the kitchen while everyone waits, have everyone help- not only will this be more fun, but it also teaches the kids how to cook! (Just make sure to give them age appropriate tasks.)
-Chores can be boring, but put on a mix of your favorite tunes (kids included) and do them together- chores get done a lot faster! The more hands, the quicker the work- and then you can spend more time together having fun!
-Have a prayer and bible time so your kids can learn and ask questions about God. And if you don’t know the answers, write them down to look up later or talk to your pastor about them. Write down scriptures to back up the answers, then address their question the next time. Let the kids pray freely with no coaching- you might be surprised what or who they pray for!
The family unit as a whole has been degrading in the past few decades. Technology isn’t the only reason, but if we allow ourselves to be too busy or distracted, we lose sight of God’s purpose concerning family.
It’s a heart issue that can’t be fixed by band-aids.
Time with our babies is a fleeting thing, and we don’t realize just how important our role is as parents until our kids are grown. Spending time with them is crucial in helping stop the disintegration of the family as a whole.
Rip off that band-aid.
Slow the schedule.
Spend time with your children, and feel God smile as He pours His blessings upon you.
Author and Asst. Editor for Ruby for Women Magazine, Beth Brubaker
This past week we said goodbye to my thirteen-year-old daughter as she left on a class trip for Boston.
It was not only the furthest she’d ever been away from us – three hundred and seventy
two miles, to be exact – but also for the longest period of time – four days.
When we first signed her up, I had the option to go along as a chaperone. I dismissed it after I considered how she would grow in confidence without me by her side.
However, the closer the trip came, the
less comfortable I was with the fact that my baby – my baby! – would go away for four whole days to a place I’d never been to, nor could I get to in any decent amount of time if an emergency arose.
Panic set in.
What if she got separated from the group? What if she got one of her migraines? What if she lost all her money? Her glasses could break. She might lose her tablet. She might be too cold. Or too hot.
How in the world would my baby survive without me? (Insert blubbering, hysterical mother as seen on YouTube.)
What if, what if, what if?…
I confided all my fears and thoughts to a friend of mine via email. Then came her response:
Let go and let God.
She said it was a phrase from one of her toddler’s Bible movies. It was a catchy song and as he watched it over and over and over again – it became something that stuck with her.
Something worth remembering. We all have those times when we just need to ‘let go’ and we definitely need to ‘let God’.
Oh yes. Let God.
It became clear there were a thousand other scenarios I could create, if I allowed myself the time and effort of so much worry.
No matter how close or far my daughter traveled, there would always be room for some hiccup in the plans, some danger that might befall her. I just needed to ‘let God’.
Let God protect her. Let God comfort me. Let God fulfill all the promises written in His Word.
I knew ‘letting God’ didn’t assure my daughter would avoid any of those fearful situations I’d imagined, or even ones I hadn’t. It meant that no matter what happened to her – good or bad – He is in control. Always.
He will be by her side every step of the way. And He will be by mine, as well.
I’m thankful I can ‘let go’ and ‘let God’.
I recently read an article about Scott Jurik, an ultra-runner who ran the Appalachian Trail (AT) in 46 days, eight hours, and seven minutes breaking the record for the fastest time.
Every year thousands of people carve out five to seven months to hike (not run) the 2,190 miles of trails that run from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine.
Only one out of four actually completes it. Scott did it in less than two months, averaging 50 miles a day. A conditioned hiker—one who has hiked the trail for a while—does about 16 miles a day.
While Scott’s undertaking and statistics are impressive and amazing, I had to wonder why anyone would choose to beat their body the way that he did. He tore his quadriceps and pushed on, limping for 37 miles one day instead of his average 50—still way more than the average hiker.
Why do any of us desire to be the best? What is it that we seek when we compete and compare? Are we searching for validation? Acceptance? Approval? Fame? Love?
I run, but I’m no Scott Jurik. Not even close. I should clarify—I jog. I have an app on my phone that tracks my miles, time, and calories burned. I’m always trying to beat my best time.
Why? Because I’m competitive by nature.
But it occurred to me in the middle of a run the other day that what I’m doing is futile and somewhat ridiculous because I will always be trying to beat my time.
I’m only as good as my next best run.
Where do you long to the best? Are you hoping to be the next Beth Moore and write brilliant Bible studies? Or do you want to be a dynamic speaker like Joyce Meyer and hold life-changing conferences? Perhaps you’re hoping that the book you’re writing will be the next New York Times best seller.
Maybe you’re not seeking recognition on a grand scale, but you want to be the best sales person in your company.
The homeowner with the nicest landscaping. The best mom in the school. Or just the best mom in your own home. Maybe you’re like me, and you tend to compete with yourself and compare yourself to others like you—always coming up short.
Can I tell you a secret?
You’re only as good as the next best one who is striving to be the best at what you do. If you aspire to be the greatest, what will you have to give up in order to get there? And what price will you have to pay to stay there?
You may bask in the glow of accolades, revel in the glory and fame, and pat yourself on the back for achieving your goals, but then what?
What happens when your popularity wanes, someone else surpasses your sales, and the next door neighbor wins the coveted prize that you held for three years in a row?
Worse, when your child screams, “I hate you!” and you believe the lie that you must be the worst mother in the world?
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive to achieve your goals, but what is your motivation? Why do you want what you want?
If you’re looking for validation through popularity or affirmation from people, it will always be inconsistent and fleeting. People are unpredictable in their devotions, and as soon as the next best one comes along, admirers tend to shift their focus toward that one.
If we base our acceptance of ourselves on the approval of others, we set ourselves up for rejection. And if we constantly set certain standards for ourselves, we set ourselves up for failure.
I’ll let you in on another secret. There is one thing of which you can be the best, and it’s God-approved.
You can be the best you.
There is no one else like you. You’ve heard it a thousand times. But think about it: Nobody can write your story, speak your testimony, sell with your personality, or mother your children quite the way you can.
Only you can do that. There is no competition to be the best you because no one else qualifies.
The only competition is the one you set for yourself. Or against yourself.
And if God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?
We are more than conquerors, and nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:3, 39).
So take heart—no matter what you do or don’t do, He thinks you’re pretty terrific. It matters little to God if you are today’s best or most popular.
He approves of you, regardless of where you think you fall on the spectrum. We don’t have to break any records for God to notice us.
Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance (Colossians 3:23-24).
Isn’t that worth more than the accolades of man?
Click the photo to visit SonRise Insights for inspiration, encouragement and wisdom for your daily walk!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
It was two days before his fifth birthday when we got him – our first foster child. We were as nervous as firs- time parents of a newborn. That first night at our house, we were both afraid to go to sleep.
What if he got up in the middle of the night? What would he do? Where would he go? And on top of that, I had to throw a birthday party for a five-year-old in two days.
Not knowing much about his background, we handled him with kid gloves – so afraid of adding to his trauma. What if we said something wrong and set him off into a rage? The words of Sheila, the previous foster mom, kept echoing in my head – “Don’t be afraid of him.” But I was.
Foster Parent training classes had warned us, among other things, that some foster kids eat like horses or hoard food for fear of not getting enough. It seemed like all I did those first few weeks was feed him and clean up. I was afraid to say “no” to his frequent requests for something to eat.
Our days started at 4:00 or 5:00 am when he would quietly patter to our room and ask, “Can I get up now?” Being in our 60s, my husband and I soon realized we had gotten more than we bargained for.
At night we dropped into bed exhausted. What had we gotten ourselves into?
Three months into it now, things are going smoother. Meals are routine with just a snack in between. He sleeps a normal schedule – most nights. An occasional “time-out” takes care of the typical childhood misbehavior. There is less tension and lots more laughter.
Why was I so afraid of a five-year-old? Was it because I was relying on my “own understanding” instead of leaning on God?
In hindsight, I see how God provided the strength, the energy and the wisdom to be a foster parent to this child. All I had to provide was the love. After all, isn’t that all Jesus asks us to do anyway, to love our neighbor?
As parents of teens in crisis, all we see is pain. That pain is evident through our teen’s struggles and hurts, through their mental illness, disorders, and addictions. We also see that same pain directed towards us through the avenues of their behavior. It is often very difficult to handle and we get emotionally and mentally weak and tired of the battle. It’s seems as if hope is too far away for us to have.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth
comparing with the
glory that is to be revealed to us.
The good news is that God already knows the end result from your teen’s pain. No matter how bad or agonizing the situation is, or how devastating the circumstances are, God is BIGGER than those things. I never thought I would see beauty from my teen’s many crises. For five struggling years of depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and attempts, body issues, identity problems, dealing with the occult, generational problems, drug overdose, and more…God took all of those things and changed them around for HIS glory. I prayed and cried many times for the pain to stop… for our teen…for us.
God in His faithfulness proved to me that by calling out to Him, He does answer in His timing. He IS and ALWAYS will be the author of my teen’s life.
Slowly, through prayer and seeking God’s wisdom and guidance, we started to see changes in our teen’s heart, mind, and spirit. Holding onto the Word of God, praying the scriptures, laying our teen at His feet because our teen belonged to the Lord, the metamorphosis began. And so it will be for your teen or young adult too. God loves you and looks to heal your broken family. Nothing is impossible to HIM!
Stacy Lee Flury is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team and she blogs at Anchor of Promise, a support and educational blog for parents with hurting and troubled teens.
So there I was, sitting on my couch, on a Sunday evening, scrolling Facebook. You know, all comfy on the couch, feet up, my phone in my left hand and my right hand doing the scrolling motion. Then I just stopped and I deleted Facebook from my phone. Just. Like. That.
I had talked about getting off of Facebook with my awesome mentor. She had challenged me like a week or so prior to stay off Facebook for 72 hours. It was hard and I didn’t do so well. The first day, went great…. then day 2 wasn’t as great, and by day 3 it was all over. I had fallen back into the trap that Facebook had on me.
There is was. The time-suck. The drama. The bull. The unnecessary, negative energy that was seeping out of my phone and into my bloodstream. Of course this was happening during an election year. smh Really?! Does my opinion really matter? Does their opinion really matter? Why did I care so much? Then there are other hot topics, like public school vs. homeschool, vaccinate vs not vaccinate, pro choice vs pro life, God vs. Satan, and so on and so forth.
I would enter into conversations that I couldn’t seem to really walk away from. Sure! I would put my phone down and go feed the kids, change diapers, do a little school work here and there but my mind would be reeling. Wondering if anyone had responded to my comment and how they responded and how I will respond. See, I am a people pleaser and I care way too much about what others think. It has been a problem my whole life!
In Galations 1:10 Paul says “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
So! What am I doing now that I don’t have FB on my phone? I am in the Bible more! I pray more! I am engaged with my husband and my children. Interestingly, I am calmer, and more patient with my children. We get more school work done. More housework done. My children actually don’t complain when they need to do their chores. Well, they have their moments, but those moments are much more less now.
My house is tidier. The clutter is starting to disappear. My husband has more motivation. Projects are getting started AND finished. My health, I think that is getting better too. lol
So, what is your time-suck? What takes you away from engaging with your spouse, children, or other people in your life? What prevents you from digging into the Word of God? Do you have unfinished projects that you wonder why on earth they aren’t finished yet? What is stopping you?
I challenge you to delete it from your life. Or at the very least, figuring out a way to minimize it. I kept FB messenger on my phone for personal communication, but the notifications on my phone have been turned off for a while now. Those notifications are so annoying!
I hope you have a fantastic day!
My name is Erin and I am a wife and SAHM of 6 wonderful kiddos! We are home schoolers, homesteaders, and active in our church. I am the director of our local home school group, Agape Home School Group. My hope is that I can share our experiences with you as we travel through this wonderful journey that God has blessed us with. You can connect with me and read more of my blog posts at “A Sink Full of Dishes and a House Full of Love.”
Heather C. King is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team and a contributor to the Ruby for Women magazine. You can read more of her inspirational posts on her blog, Room to Breathe.
We’ve been giving do-overs here at my house.
Snarkiness has been on the rise.
So, when we hear, “Move! I can’t see!”
We respond with, “You want to try saying that again in a kinder way?”
Or we hear, “Put that down! That’s mine!”
We say, “Try that again. I’m sure you could say that differently.”
I love do-overs.
I love the utter grace of it all, that even though you made a mistake, you can have another go at it. Maybe you’ll do better this time.
Learn from those errors. Make some corrections.
Maybe this time you won’t miss or forget. Maybe you’ll study harder or speak with kindness or choose not to gossip.
My hope is that the do-overs now will help those lessons sink in before it’s too late, because we all know you can’t always have a do-over.
Sometimes, bad things happen and once it’s done, it’s done.
A missed opportunity can’t be regained.
One day, those words will slip out and they’ll be said. You can’t take them back.
Sure, you can apologize. You can attempt restoration.
In those moments when you can’t have a do-over, though, you have to learn a new skill: Moving on after you’ve messed up.
Shame from mistakes can drag us right down and bolt us to the floor. We can’t move forward. We’re chained to the past.
At night, I rumble through conversations I wish I’d handled differently.
I consider the mistakes I wish I could un-do and the decisions I wish I could un-decide.
It’s hard to let it go and just rest already. I keep thinking, “if only….”
If only this hadn’t happened….
If only I’d done this instead…..
I want a do-over. I want to rewind back to the start of the day and just try again.
But I can’t. So I replay the wrong over and over and over. I’m stuck in a perpetual loop of embarrassment and self-condemnation.
Paul makes this sound so easy:
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14 ESV)
Just forget what’s behind, look forward to the future and move on?
If only it were that simple!
Then I consider Paul’s words, how he’s straining forward and pressing on. This is discipline and endurance. This is refusing to get bogged down.
It’s falling down in the middle of a race and yet choosing to push to your feet and keep on going to the finish line even if you’re limping all the way there.
Surely this is how David felt after being confronted with his own sin of adultery and murder.
One bad decision led to another bad decision and now here he was, unable to have a do-over. He couldn’t un-commit adultery with Bathsheba. He couldn’t un-murder her husband.
But he prays for God’s mercy, for God to “blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! (Psalm 51:1b-2). He asks God to:
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:9-10).
This I understand.
When I’m weighed down by mistakes that I can’t do-over, I’m compelled to cry out for “mercy!” I rely on God’s grace to wash my soul and renew my heart for Him.
But then David does something more. He doesn’t just stand there in the cleansing flood of grace. He doesn’t keep re-hashing his need for mercy.
No, he begins to look forward. He talks of moving on.
This is where I lean in to David’s Psalm today, because too often I’m stuck in the cry for mercy and can’t shake the shame.
Yet, David prays:
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you…
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness (Psalm 51:12-13, 14b)
I have to choose to accept the grace, too.
I have to choose to forget the past. Every time my face heats up with shame, I remind myself that it’s done. Over with. Behind me. Forgiven.
I have to choose to move on, choose to learn and grow and worship and teach others.
And the next time I’m reminded of how I messed up, I make all of those choices all over again because even if I can’t do over, I can do better next time.
Ask Me Anything, Lord by Heather C. King is available from Amazon
In the news recently was the mother who tried to buy a baby for her 14 year-old daughter who desperately wanted a child. Despite the fact of how very wrong this was, I did have some understanding of why this mother made the choices that she did.
When you see your child hurting, you as the parent only want the pain to go away. Maybe you have tried other methods to help erase the deep agony that your child is in. Not finding the way to ease their pain, you take matters into your own hands. Desperation can so easily lead to a distorted approach in finding healing.
You may be a parent whose child is so stressed out that they start to smoke cigarettes. You don’t want them to suffer the possible effects of cancer down the line so you look the other way after you mention other things that are less harmful, although illegal, as if giving permission without giving permission.
Then there’s the young boy who was caught looking at half nude women on the internet and you passed it off as the ‘coming of age’ and let it go. In the meanwhile, his curiosity becomes an obsession that grows into a full-blown porn addiction. You’ve talked to him many times about the issue but in the end, you give in and ignore the now massive problem and hope he grows out of it.
No matter what your teen’s issues are, there comes a point in which your responsibility is called into accountability as a parent. Otherwise, a parent’s altering choices will surely affect the outcome of their teen. We as parents must fully weigh those decisions; such as the mother who sits in jail for trying to buy a baby for her daughter.
Parents are losing the battle of helping their teens in crisis. They are using all their own worldly wisdom and making unhealthy choices because they are panicking. They look to man, media or books for answers. I have rarely seen any of those avenues help a teen in crisis.
Instead, we are seeing a rise in parents today of appeasing their teens through friendship and giving them the things they want in order to make them happy just to keep them out of crisis. Unfortunately, this has only exacerbated their problems to the point of a complete breakdown of the family and of the teen.
The hero mentality of the parent to the teen must stop. They don’t need a hero. Teens need parents who are going to look out for the welfare of their teen, even if the teen doesn’t temporarily like it.
If you want to save your broken teen’s life, you have to speak truth, be firm, bring discipline, and give correction to your teen. The way about doing this is only with the help of God.
Because honestly, every time you step into the arena of parenting “your” way, it will fail without a doubt. This is why God gave so much instruction, guidance, and wisdom in His Word. When we do things on our own, we ourselves are playing God and it will end in disaster.
This may require something of you that may be difficult, because it is the opposite of what you have been doing with your teen. Your teen may even think of you as unloving as you change the way of parenting them.
In the long run, you would be ensuring them a future life filled with healthiness and happiness through these changes. Before you get to that point, there will be some rough roads ahead of you. The good news is that you won’t be alone. Below are some helpful things that I have learned along the way.
1. Get a counselor! A counselor is not there to tell you what you did wrong. A counselor is there to guide you (and your teen) as help is given. Counselors are there to guide and listen. They give wise wisdom to point you in the direction you need to go as a parent. They will offer support. One tip of advice from one parent to another – listen to correction for you as a parent. This isn’t just a healing process for your teen but for you too.
2. Belong to a prayer group or support group who can uphold you during the tough times. Being alone in a crisis is not healthy or advisable. By having others uplifting you and encouraging you, the decisions you make will be done in a more balanced emotional and mental state. When a parent is upset or stressed it is very difficult to make good choices. When a prayer group or support group knows your needs, they can be there in that very crucial time.
3. Stay in touch with your Pastor or Clergy. They have resources that could be very beneficial to you. Keep them updated. They may even have a list of other parents who have been through similar crises and can get you connected with them.
4. Don’t diagnose your child! That can be very dangerous and foolish. It will also feed into fears and worries that are unnecessary. Leave it to the professionals to diagnose and prescribe the best tools to heal your teen.
5. Pray and read God’s Word. I cannot begin to tell you how much power there is by doing this. It gives peace during the times you don’t understand. If helps you discern some of the ongoing issues and give you direction to resolve those issues. It gives physical, mental, emotional and spiritual support when you feel that you cannot go on. It can break the chains that bind your teen who is in their biggest battle. And despite the crisis, you will even find time to rest and hear what God is saying to you.
6. Don’t share every detail of your teen’s struggles to family members or friends. They don’t know how to respond and sometimes they can give you wrong advice. Most importantly, your teen wouldn’t approve. Whatever is going on with your teen needs to stay private between them and their counselor.
Psalm 9:9-10 “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
I ask that you lift up these weary parents and give them the strength they so desire and need during their very difficult time. Help them to focus not on the problems, but on You, the One who can meet their needs. Lead them to the right counselor and support team that will surround them with guidance and encouraging words. Let them know that they are not a failure as a parent, just a hurting parent that you can so easily touch. We know that you can give total healing to their broken child. Remind them of your many promises that you have given them in Your Word. Walk beside them, bend Your ear to their cries of help, and provide them with the answers they need.
Visit Stacy at Anchor of Promise for more encouraging and educational posts for parents of teens.
YOU SAY – “It’s impossible”
A teen in crisis is beyond overwhelming. You don’t even know where to start in getting help or if they can even be healed of their crisis. I can tell you that this is not true. In God’s eyes, He knows differently. He will be your Anchor in the midst of your storm. He has an answer.
GOD SAYS – All things are possible
Luke 18:27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
YOU SAY – “I’m too tired”
Taking care of a teen in crisis is tiring and exhausting. How can you help your teen when there is no energy or power to even get through the day? God knows.
GOD SAYS – I will give you rest
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
YOU SAY – “I can’t go on”
There are times for you, the struggling parent, in which you just want to give up. You have nothing left to give your teen in crisis. You are out of faith and your hope is dwindling. You have lost all of your strength to keep going. God understands.
GOD SAYS – My grace is sufficient
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
YOU SAY – “I can’t figure things out”
You have tried every avenue, road, and path to find ways to help your teen. Everything always comes to a dead halt with nowhere else to turn. God wants to do it for you.
GOD SAYS – I will direct your steps
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
YOU SAY – “I can’t do it”
You think you are too weak to help your child. Maybe you’re afraid to take your teen to the rehab or counseling center. Have you been holding off from doing the very thing that you need to do to help your teen heal? God will help you.
GOD SAYS – You can do all things
Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
YOU SAY – “I can’t forgive myself”
Have you felt like a failure because you faltered on your responsibility or accountability as a parent for your teen? Did your actions of disobedience cause you to feel that you were not worthy to be forgiven? God loves you.
GOD SAYS – I forgive you
I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
YOU SAY – “I can’t manage”
All families in crisis try to oversee their own teen’s problems without support when their child’s needs are at the highest. Stop trying to do it all alone. God wants to do it.
GOD SAYS – I will supply all your needs
Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
YOU SAY – I’m afraid”
Are you afraid of the actions you must take to rescue your teen from danger or bigger problems? Are you worried that your teen won’t love you anymore if you stand your ground? God is there for you.
GOD SAYS – I have not given you a spirit of fear
2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
YOU SAY – “I’m always worried and frustrated”
When your teen is in crisis, it can cause worry and frustration in you to the point that it can make you physically sick. That is not God’s plan for you. God will carry your burden.
GOD SAYS – Cast all your cares on ME
I Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
YOU SAY – I’m not sure I know how”
Parents with teens in crisis often feel helpless, clueless, unsure and intimidated by what they are confronted with. So many feel lost as to what they need to do. God gives direction.
GOD SAYS – I give you wisdom
I Corinthians 1:30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
YOU SAY – “I feel all alone”
Carrying the burden as a parent with a teen is crisis is overwhelming with everything on your shoulders. You are too afraid to share with anyone what is truly going on in your family. So you stay silent, feeling alone. God never left you.
GOD SAYS – I will never leave you or forsake you
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
This post was partially written by someone who shared it through an email. There was no name attached (what was originally called “a handy little chart”). Therefore, the author is “unknown”. I have taken the liberty to add to this chart so that it can be applied to the parent with a teen in crisis. Thank you to the person who originally wrote the You Say and God Says quotes with scripture. It has been a valuable resource for those who are hurting.
Image courtesy of DigitalPhotos.com
Looking at the clock, she had at least another two hours before picking up Boo. Lovingly nicknamed Boo from the Monster’s Inc. movie, her daughter was sure a hand full.
Almost an adult now, she allowed Boo to make more responsible decisions. She tried hard to teach Boo what she needed to know before she was really on her own out in the big bad world. She covered all the tough topics and even had a few crises here or there with Boo, but as time wore on, she felt Boo was making more wise choices about her life.
Looking down at the computer to finish her letter, the phone started to ring. She noticed it was Boo calling in. Most likely she wanted something or wanted to be picked up early from her friend’s house. Little did she know, it wouldn’t be her daughter on the other end of the line.
“Boo is sick and wants you to pick her up,” said her friend.
“Okay, I’ll be right there,” she said.
Not thrilled about the 25 minute drive, she got into the car and drove to the friend’s house. Tired and ready to get home after pulling into the driveway, the friend came out of the house and walked up to the car.
“You need to come inside,” she said.
Not knowing what to think, Boo’s mother went into the house where she saw the friend’s parent at the doorway. This parent was only informed that Boo was not feeling well. Encouraged to go up the steps to the friend’s bedroom, she turned the corner and immediately knew that Boo’s life was at risk.
“She’s been throwing up over and over,” the friend said.
Taking one look, Boo was stretched out on the bed like a mannequin, with a pale ashen face and limp body.
“What’s wrong?” she said to Boo.
“Take me to the hospital, I think I’m dying,” Boo barely uttered.
Her words were slow and quiet while her eyes were staring off at a distance.
It was obvious after more questions and observation that Boo couldn’t move. Upon further investigation, it was uncovered that Boo and her friend were given marijuana to try. It was not the first time Boo had tried it. Assuming the person that they just visited was trustworthy, Boo and her friend began to use it.
Within minutes from taking it in, her body became like a doll, unable to stand while the vomiting began. Trying to carry Boo home, her friend didn’t know what else to do but get her to the house. Boo was insistent that her friend call Boo’s mom.
It didn’t take long before Boo’s mom called 911 emergency. While she waited for the help to come, she laid her hands on Boo and began to pray.
“Dear God, touch Boo’s body right now in the Name of Jesus, and remove this drug out of her body immediately. Heal her and revive her with strength to get through this. Bring a peace and calmness as she calls out Your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.”
It was all that Boo’s mom could muster through her mixed thoughts. She told Boo to say Jesus over and over in her mind even if she couldn’t get the words out of her mouth. Although Boo did not recognize her own mother’s voice, she slowly nodded that she would.
The ambulance arrived quickly with the paramedics heading to the bedroom to diagnose Boo. Monitoring Boo’s vitals, it was evident that she was in the danger zone of dying. Her blood pressure was dropping dramatically. After a few more questions, Boo was transferred from the bedroom into the ambulance and taken to the nearest hospital.
Boo’s mom was trying to keep it together but she was losing focus on the directions given to her by the police officer for the hospital. She had never been there before or knew her way around the area. The police officer took compassion on her and offered to direct her to the main road and follow the (H) signs for the hospital.
The drive seemed forever. Praying the entire time, Boo’s mom was begging God to keep her little girl alive and to remove any bad drug out of her system.
It seemed like only yesterday that Boo accepted God in her life. But the world was always tugging on her. She wanted to experience things that other teens and young adults do. Have a drink, smoke a cigarette, try a joint, and have sex. Boo knew that those things would only lead down a wrong path, but temptations were hard to just lay aside.
As parents, we pray for our children that God’s Word would stick to their hearts, mind and soul. We ask God for their protection and well-being. We pray against the evilness that lurks around every corner. However, there comes a point in which our teens will make their own choices, despite how much we disagree or how God feels about it. Teens are faced with an overabundance of pressure to conform to the world instead of the path God calls for them.
We pray and worry. We hope that the influence and training from us and God would be enough to keep them on the straight and narrow track. God says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way they should go and they will not depart from it.” But like a Prodigal, they are insistent of doing it their way, without thinking of the cost. All we can do as parents is pray and use God’s Word against the enemy forces that try to persuade our children. We also seek and ask God to remind them of the cross and what He has done for them.
Running through the hospital doors, Boo’s mom threw herself against the front desk asking for the whereabouts of her daughter. The waiting seemed liked hours when in essence it was only 25 minutes. They would not allow her to see Boo. Worry turned into fear, then into panic. She couldn’t understand why it was taking so long?
The compassion of a male nurse could see the building of anxiety on her face. He got up twice to check on Boo and ask the doctors to see her mother. Finally, he let her through the doors giving her directions to the right room.
Peeking around the curtain, there lay Boo. Like Sleeping Beauty, she was unresponsive at first.
“Boo, it’s mommy,” she whispered.
Unable to move her head, Boo said, “I’m sorry Mom. Am I going to die?”
“No, Boo. God is not going to let you. He protected you and is going to help you get better,” said her mother.
Boo’s color started to slowly return in her motionless body. It would be another half hour before she could turn her head. Boo’s mother held her hand, feeling the softness of her skin. It was warm, not clammy when she first found her.
As time went on, nurses and doctors made their rounds to finally speak to Boo’s mother. The story was unfolding itself as to what transpired in the previous hours. They didn’t have a clear picture but made assumptions that the marijuana was wet, laced with PCP or Angle Dust. It could have also been a mixture of her medication she was on. Either way, the effects went quickly through your body with no chance of undoing the damage. It was also difficult to analyze in hospital tests. Boo and her mother were learning quickly how dangerous her life was in.
“I will never, never, try this again,” said Boo. “I almost died. I don’t want to die. I want to live,” said Boo.
Boo’s mother knew she was telling the truth. It was visibly written all over her face. Wracked with pain throughout her body, she shared her fear of not recognizing those around her when it happened.
“I prayed Mom. I prayed I wouldn’t die. I prayed that God would let me live,” she said.
Boo took a vow that day. She would never touch drugs again and she would warn anyone who tried.
After filling her with fluids and completing all the tests, she only had to prove she could walk on her own to be released. The days after were not all rosy. She had drug residuals left over in her body which continued on and off for days. Pain, blurriness, and vomiting. It never seemed to end.
Her life was changed. She knew God loved her and protected her. She was being drawn back into God’s arms again. Like the prodigal who came home, Boo came back to God on that day.
If you have a teen or young adult caught up in a drug addiction, know that God is powerful through prayer to bring them home too. Don’t give up. Give in to God instead. He is the Anchor you need to hold on to as you pray for your child’s return.
Read out loud these paraphrased scriptures and insert your child’s name. They are valuable tools – the words of God, powerful and in authority.
Expose all sin in (Child’s Name)’s life and bring him/her into repentance. Reveal truth to (Child’s Name) so that he/she would no longer be deceived, but instead, confess his/her sins and to be cleanse from all unrighteousness. I John 1:8-9
Heavenly Father, even though (Child’s Name) is full of substances and despises the good things and believes drugs are sweet, make every bad substance on his/her tongue bitter and distasteful. Restore in their mind and body what is good. Proverbs 27:7
God, it says in Your Word that those who harden their hearts falls into trouble. May (Child’s Name) be fearful before You. Melt his/her hardened heart and in the end be blessed. Proverbs 28:14
Image Courtesy of DigitalPhotos.com
Stacy Lee Flury is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team. You can read more of her inspirational and encouraging posts on her blog, Anchor of Promise.
With yellow ringlets bobbing across her cheeks, Sarah bubbled through life as a beautiful and funny seven year-old girl. But unfortunately, she suffered greatly from a disease that was unjustly consuming her tiny body.
As Sarah lay in her hospital bed, unconscious, her mother begged the Lord to let her little girl live. Confused as to the condition afflicting her daughter, she cried out, “Why, Lord, why? No child should suffer like this.”
Realizing she was about to lose her darling child forever, she began to sob uncontrollably. Finally worn out from crying, she fell asleep with her head on the bed next to her daughter’s frail body. While asleep, the Lord gave her a vision of the future life of little Sarah, if she were to live.
This is what she saw…
As Sarah grew up, she suffered through very difficult circumstances: divorce of her parents, abuse, and bullying from others. She began to deteriorate emotionally until her life disintegrated into a shambles. This precious girl eventually left home and became addicted to drugs. No one knew where she was or how she was doing.
Selling herself to men, she used the money to support her drug habit. Then early one morning, someone discovered her body in an alley all curled up in the fetal position next to a dumpster.
In her purse, the police found a note she had written to her mother but never sent. It read, “Dear Mom, I now know why you wanted to keep me in church and why you wanted me to know Jesus. I am so sorry for all the heartache I have caused you. My life is worth nothing and I do not want to live any longer. Life is hell, or is hell life? Who knows? I sure don’t. My troubles are now over, but I just wanted to tell you that I love you and I am sorry. Your little girl, Sarah.”
The mother awoke with a jolt, screaming, “No, no, no!”
Then, she heard the Lord gently whispering to her…
“You see now what I already knew. There was just too much pain and suffering at the hands of others in the future for this precious little one.
Her life may have been short, but remember I gave her as a gift to you. She was Mine to lend to you, if only for a little while, and now I have brought her home to be with Me for safe-keeping. There is no more suffering for her now, only peace and rest.
Please understand My ways and dealings with you and My other precious children. I see those things in the future you do not. I sometimes bring home those who, to others, seem to be leaving their earthly life much too early, but I know and do only what is best for My children.
I love Sarah even more than you do. You may miss her but be comforted in knowing she shall shed no more tears. She will be here with Me, awaiting the day you arrive here also.”
The tears again began to stream down the mother’s face as she praised God for His wonderful mercy, goodness, and protection. She gently kissed Sarah on the forehead as her precious little girl breathed her last breath. And she was gone – Home.
Lynn Mosher is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team. You can read more of her inspirational posts on her blog.
PODCAST Author and storyteller, Kathryn Ross, invites you to a cozy retreat through the power of His Story! God’s riches in history, the arts, and the glories of Creation, take center stage at The Writer’s Reverie Podcast.
Dramatized readings ignite a love of learning and literacy for the Christian family, as biblical truths come to life for children of all ages. Engaging topics inform and enrich seeking hearts, with sweet morsels of thoughtful reflection. Words to lighten both the day and the darkness–because telling His Story always leads to all good things and beauty.
Episode #1–September 2015
In this debut episode, Kathryn Ross shares a “burning bush moment” in the guise of a woodchuck. Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by coming face to face with the “extraordinary” in the course of your very “ordinary” day? Do you rush by–or stop. And take the time to hear God’s voice whisper to your heart.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Read along with the storytelling in this short spoken word dramatization of an article of the same name published in the FREE online Christian magazine Autumn 2015 issue of Ruby for Women.
Kathryn Ross is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team, as well as a contributing writer for the Ruby for Women magazine. You can connect with her and read more of her inspiring posts on her blog, The Writers’ Reverie. You can also learn more about her ministry through drama and storytelling on her website, Pageant Wagon Publishing.
Get ready to get a bit uncomfortable!
One mommy friend of mine drove by my house just the other day. We had quite a conversation.
Like the clock had stopped ticking and the whole “time-concept” ceased to exist when she blurted out…
“I think I am failing as a mom
I am not good enough for my kids”
Those words sliced through my heart.
If you have you ever said or thought these, then you are not alone and this is for you.
Truthfully, being a mother can be exhausting and
uncomfortable, many times, and in the midst of the
mundane finding joy may become hard when we focus
on one word “PERFECT”.
Allow me cool the air around here a bit.
I So Love Being a Mother!
But I am careful not to give the impression of being a prefect mom. I don’t want to sound all perfect and comfortable.
There is a part of this whole process that moves me deeply.
It is that tiny voice that says “You are not good enough” or “You are failing”.
Perhaps something no one ever told you is
“You are never going to be a perfect mom”
Yes I agree!
Did I break your heart?
I felt bad for my mommy friend. Her personal struggles many a mom can relate to.
So guess what I did?
I shared my own shortcomings. I am not perfect and I am not trying to keep the act together.
Girl friend, I’ve got my own mommy-struggles.
You need to shred that unreal expectation of becoming a picture-perfect mom.
You are doing a great job being a mother.
You are working hard enough to be there for your kids. And that counts for something.
You love your kids; you care for your home. That too, counts for something.
You are doing the mundane chores; maybe not as smoothly as you would want but you are doing it anyway. That too, Is Something.
God knows you are going to make mistakes here and there. But He doesn’t want you dwelling on your failures.
Your kids need to know mommy is also human and not supermom.
Your kids need “the real you”, who is vulnerable yet loving and adorable.
Here are 7 timeless truths every mom should know.
♥ You are not alone! God is with you. So when you fall, God will catch you.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24
♥ God is perfect, you are not. God completes you and fills up your empty spaces.
Your completion is in Him
Your perfection is in Christ
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: Colossians 2:10
♥ Give yourself a break and lose those impossible standards you have set for yourself. Those worldly standards don’t mean a thing. Do what you can, live with love and you can with God.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
♥ Embrace the tiny grace-filled moments of your life rather than dwell on your failures.
♥ Drink your daily dose of grace, one day at a time. Yes! Woohoo! Grace is word I’d love to hear. Soak yourself up with God’s Word.
♥ The other mom isn’t perfect! The mom next door has her own faults and struggles too. Quit all the mommy-wars, competitions and comparisons.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2Corinthians 10:12
♥ Focus on the gracious gifts God has given you. Develop, learn and grow at your own pace. Changes, are better when done gradually and consistently.
Don’t tire yourself out trying to be a perfect mom,
desire to be a Godly Mom instead.
That is what counts…
Embrace God’s perfection for your imperfect life.
Embrace His Strength especially in your moment weakness.
To dig deeper, please read:
The Failing Series
Failing Get Up and try again (Part 1)
He’s Got our Backs (Part 2)
When Failure becomes Your New name (Part 3)
Eight Powerful Lessons from failure (Part 4)
By His Great Grace,
Ifeoma Samuel is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team. You can read more of her inspirational posts on her blog, Purposeful and Meaningful.
When my teen’s issues were finally under control and healing was taking place, I felt a sigh of relief that it was finally over. The worry, the pain, the brokenness, and the crises that were displayed over and over again, were a thing of the past.
I could close the book like the end of the story and move on with my life. However, God had other ideas. He may have even laughed while I pondered those thoughts sitting under the tree enjoying my Green Tea with honey.
You see, when one book is closed, another is opened. For me, the book that was closed were the hardships, the struggles and the daily uncertainty of how each crisis was going to end.
Time has passed since then and much has transpired. We are finally seeing God move in a huge way with our teen who is less than a year away from being an adult. For some reason however, God saw it as perfect timing to open the next book.
I have come to learn that the things we go through in life, we often shelve or pack away in the back of our minds the way we box things up in the attic. From time to time, something will trigger a memory and we recall those things up to the surface. Some things we enjoy to remember, to reflect, and to learn from. Other things we try to push back into the box and quickly close.
Every once in a while, God likes to take those bad things out of the box. He uses the painful experiences, the deep hurts, the memories we want to forget, and reuses them for His purposes. This was exactly what God chose for me. My hopes of moving on were not exactly what God had in mind.
This new book is one that parents can relate to. It will continue the healing for the family while reaching out and ministering to new families going through their most difficult crisis right now. We as parents who have gone through our trials of suffering, can meet the needs of other families that are hurting and alone. Maybe you had a teen with a drug addiction or maybe a teen with an eating disorder. You understand the cries of help from parents being confronted on those same issues.
How then, can you respond and support them in their journey? By sharing the struggles of when you were in their place as a parent of a teen in crisis. You have experiences, information and knowledge in which they are still wondering how will they get through their crisis. You can be a valuable tool in their life by imparting wisdom, educating them and praying for them. You can be the beacon of hope that they need to survive in the coming days, months or even years.
God could fix those families on His own without our help. But what if He is saying to you today, “I want you to help them”.
Today, be the blessing to another family. Be the emotional and spiritual support they need. Open your book of vulnerability to them and allow God to use you to minister to them. It may the only words they hear that gives them the hope they need to get through each day.
Stacy Flury is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team. You can connect with her at Anchor of Promise where she posts articles of help and healing for families with hurting teens.
At first, I knew my purpose. I was going to be a mom, and had certain things to do. Yes, I’m still a mom, but the tasks have changed since the kids are almost independent. I couldn’t figure out why I was swimming in an ocean of uncertainty, until one day it hit me – I had lost my sense of purpose.
My kids don’t need me as much as they used to. My son is seventeen and my daughter is fourteen- and the diaper stage is over, thank You Jesus! Most of my job now is words of wisdom with a little head-swatting muscle to back it up – but that leaves me wondering what I’m supposed to do when these people leave the house.
And they will leave. Oh, you bet your bippy they will.
When they do, I plan on writing more. A lot more. My tasks might change, but my purpose won’t.
So…what is the purpose of purpose?
The purpose of purpose is to glorify God. Period.
God doesn’t give a kangaroo’s behind what you’re doing, as long as you’re doing it for Him. You could be a millionaire businessman, a housewife, a janitor, or a writer- it doesn’t matter. If you don’t have a reason, a purpose, for doing it, then your efforts are worth less than squat.
Doing things for family is great. Doing things for God is awesome. And the best part is you don’t have to pick one over the other- you can do both!
It’s like doing a job just for the paycheck. Are you filled with joy? Are you getting a sense of accomplishment? Or are you dragging your feet, muttering under your breath about how tired and worn you fell all the time? It doesn’t matter what that job is, you have no purpose in the job if all it does is wear you down.
Your purpose should be your job. I’m not talking about a job as in employment; the job I’m talking about is what you’re actually doing. Anyone can do a job, but someone with purpose can do any job, and do it to the best of his ability, with a smile on his face.
Because the type of employment doesn’t matter. He’s not doing it only for the paycheck. That’s the difference.
I’m a writer. Do I make millions? No. Can I live off my writing? Nope. Not yet. But do I write with purpose? You betcha! Does God care that I’m not a millionaire? Nope. All He wants is for me to use the talents He gave me to glorify Him.
Hence my purpose.
What is your purpose? Has it changed? Have you found it yet? Are you swimming in that same ocean like I was? Look into your heart and find your purpose. It’s there. Pray and let God help you find it!
Beth Brubaker is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team, and the Assistant Editor for the Ruby for Women magazine. You can read more of Beth’s inspirational and humorous posts on her blog, Footprints in the Mud.
My 14 year old teenage boy and I spent the weekend on an adventure to the Passport 2 Purity journey. Have you thought about a “journey” with your preteen-teen to discuss “life”?
I was excited to get started and curious about what my son would think. I sat with him prior to the adventure and informed him briefly about what this would entail.
We looked at the material, which includes a tour guide for the parent, a travel journal that included devotions to read once a day and 8 CDs with scripture songs.
After reviewing the material, my son wasn’t 100% convinced however he decided to take the journey. I was thrilled of his acceptance due to this school year he will be a Freshman in High School. We all know and probably experienced some peer pressure in school.
Although both of my boys are great kids and I’m honored to be their mother, once they leave your sight you don’t know what’s going to happen, all you can do is just pray that what you instilled in your children about God, loyalty, being respectful and honesty that they will take what they’ve learned and use it appropriately in the outside world.
Passport 2 Purity was a great experience with my son, he was open to the discussions we had and didn’t mind answering questions. I would recommend this getaway edition to any family with teenage or preteen children.
Nichole Payton is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team. You can read more of her posts on her blog, Uniquelyfstyle.
A spring-fed creek cuts a quiet path through our valley, rambling over stones and through clumps of watercress and swamp lilies before ducking under the road in front of our home to join a larger creek at the edge of the field. The water that flows from our spring and creek eventually travels into a larger river and dumps into a nearby lake.
Growing up, our sons spent hours playing alongside and inside that creek. Boats made of leaves and sticks were launched from the little wooden bridge. Water scooped up in a discarded glass jar was examined for bugs and tadpoles.
I never cross that creek or stand on its banks without thinking about my children. Those memories are a gift.
The faith that carried me through days and years of parenting our boys is also a gift. I take this steady current of faith for granted, trusting it to keep me afloat, like those fragile leaf-and-stick sailboats of their childhood. I’ve dipped into my stream of faith a lot lately, holding it up to the light for closer examination, as I’ve watched a couple of my sons face personal trials.
Any parent knows that it’s one thing to tap into your faith and trust in God’s providence to sustain you during your own trials, and quite another to stand in faith while the child you love is in peril of drowning.
A dear friend and I have prayed for one another’s children over the years. It was easier when they were young, frolicking in the frigid creek, to believe those prayers were enough to protect them from the undercurrent of life. Now that they’re adults, we know the rocky patches are theirs to navigate and we pray even harder.
I learned a new word this week, one I can’t believe I’ve never heard before, since I’ve lived it with a passion all these 31 years.
“Storge” (stor-jay) in Greek refers to the natural love and affection of a parent for a child, and of siblings for one another. It’s an emotion that creates a familial bond, and it’s laid alongside the other types of love described in scripture — agape, phileo and eros (unconditional, brotherly and physical love).
According to its definition, storge love compels us to put the needs of one another above our own. It’s found in the Greek compounded with phileo; in English it is a call to:
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
Putting a child’s needs above our own is usually not a problem for a devoted parent. We can do it to a fault.
Can I accept that there will be wounds? Will I allow that the sharp rocks and undercurrents of life have a purpose — even in the life of my precious child?
The liquid faith I hold in my glass jar is littered with bits and pieces of debris from my own journey, collected in the difficult times and giving substance to the current that carries me now. I know I won’t leave the bank of that creek. In devotion, I’ll continue to put my sons’ needs above my own and to pray for a good outcome. But I can’t step into or block the course of their lives, not if I claim to trust God to bring good out of even this.
To honor my sons means to trust them to the one who created them, the ultimate act of storge.
Ingrid Lochamire is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team. You can read more of her inspirational posts on her blog Ingrid’s Journey.
I love my kids. I really do. But sometimes they can work a nerve so bad that even the most patient parents would lose it- and I am not one of those parents. This morning, my parental nerves got a workout they’ve never experienced before. Why?
Because my son is on his way to becoming thirteen, and he has Aspergers. This is not a good combination!
Aspergers is a form of autism that affects each child differently, so there is no ‘one way’ to handle it. Basically you need a lot of patience (something I don’t have), and the willingness to explain things a thousand times without going completely mad (Sometimes I can do this, but for only so long before my lips become numb).
Aspergers affects the neurons in the brain, making them not truly understand the subtle structures of socially accepted behaviors. But it makes up for it by making the brain super absorbent concerning math, science or music. Many of our great inventors could have had Aspergers, now that some historians look back into their history.
I’ve been reading this great book called Parenting Your Asperger Child , and I’ve found out some interesting things. My son, whom I thought was a Rule Boy, is actually a Logic Boy. He is fantasy oriented and has OCD tendencies.
You think with all that interesting stuff, he might be more inclined to clean his room. But Nooooo! You see, if he was a Rule Boy, there would be no issue- I would tell him that he needed to clean his room, and he would, because it was a Rule. But Logic Boys have the infinite power of reason, so they don’t need the rules as much- but they need a plethora (that means a lot) of reasons to do anything they don’t like, before they decide to do it. And if my reasons aren’t good enough, well, it just won’t get done.
“Because I said So” doesn’t cut it anymore.
“Because if you don’t, you won’t have ice cream” is better, but he’ll also settle for some other type of sweet snack if he really doesn’t want to do something. He also takes things literally, so anything said must be weighed and measured carefully, otherwise (in his mind) it will be written in stone, and I couldn’t change his mind unless God Himself came down off of Heaven to tell him differently.
I’ve asked God to do that very thing, but He just chuckles at me. God has a weird sense of humor- that’s why he came up with the platypus- just to let us know we don’t know everything, and that life should be laughed at sometimes. And that moms really need to watch what they say to their kids.
And now my darling child is entering teenagerism, when kids tend to think they know everything anyway, but he now has a double dose of ‘Know-It-All-itis’. One day he might be a great inventor, or a scientist- if he makes it to adulthood. And right now his future is a little shaky.
I believe he would make a good lawyer, but only for those tough cases that can’t find any legal loopholes. I’m telling you, this kid can find a loophole in the most solid of rules. He’s a ‘think outside the box’ kind of child. He’s brilliant. But he’s also a big pain in the butt sometimes. A lovable one, but still.
The room isn’t the only war zone in the house. He argues about what I ask him to wear, what chores need to be done, how they should be done, why they should be done, and in what order they should be done. The same goes for cleaning up a room. I told him to ‘straighten up the living room’ and he took it as ‘pick up everything off the floor and dump it onto the couch’. After a ten minute explanation as to why that isn’t considered straightening up the living room, he argued that what he put onto the couch was neatened, and took up a lot less space than it being all over the floor.
So in his mind, He did exactly as I told him.
I looked at the dirty socks and wrappers from a late Halloween snack and conceded that it all did seem quite neat- the socks were folded and the wrappers were smoothed and flattened, held by a pumpkin head trick-or-treat bucket. But that wasn’t my point. Straightening to me was cleaning up and clearing out. But tell that to a twelve year-old with an ‘I’m always right’ complex. To him it was straightened, and no matter what I said, I was dead wrong.
Then we had The Great Debate concerning school clothes.
ME: (seeing him dressed in the wrong shirt) Please change your shirt- it’s not the right one for school.
HIM: (huffs and puffs) Mooooom! It’s dark blue! (coming close to show me, even though he is the one who’s colorblind)
ME: (calmly) Yes, it’s the right color, but you need to have a collar.
HIM: Mooooom! It’s fine!
ME: I’m sure you can tell that to the principal when you get there.
HIM: (storms upstairs to change as I smile in triumph)
(At this point I think I’ve won- until he comes down in a navy turtleneck)
ME: Honey, that’s not the right shirt for school.
HIM: (stomping of one foot, and a that snarky head toss teens give when the parental unit in question is particularly dense) It’s the right color, and it has a collar!
ME: (trying not to lose my temper and duct tape his butt to the wall) Yes, it does, but not the right one. You need-
HIM: I know!
ME: You need a polo shir-
HIM: I Know!
ME: (has had it and uses the ‘Mom’ voice) Get upstairs RIGHT NOW and get on the proper shirt! And do NOT interrupt me again!
ME: No buts! No arguing, no more telling me what the rules are- Go DO it- NOW!
HIM: (Stomps upstairs and takes his sweet time getting ready)
(fifteen minutes pass)
ME: (calls upstairs) Time to go! Are you ready?
HIM: (yelling from behind his closed bedroom door) I’m doing what you told me to do!
ME: How long does it take to change a shirt? It took you less than a minute the last time…
HIM: I know! I’m looking for a clean one!
ME: I just sent up a ton of clean shirts! You can’t find one?
HIM: I thought they were dirty so I put them in the hamper!
ME: So get them out of the hamper!
HIM: NO! They’re mixed in the with the dirty clothes now! I can’t- Oh wait- I found one!
ME: (Thanking God for small favors) Hurry up then- It’s almost time to go!
HIM: I know!
(three more minutes pass- on the verge of missing his bus)
ME: Come on honey! The bus will be here any minute! (HATES being late)
HIM: I know!
ME: (sees the school bus coming down the road) Now! The bus is here!
HIM: I know!
(sounding like a overweight elephant, he thunders down the stairs- we run out the door with him barely able to get on his coat and backpack as we run towards the corner)
(we get there just as the bus arrives, me wheezing like an asphyxiated moose)
HIM: (with a sweet smile, gives me a kiss on the cheek) I love you mom!
ME: (just gapes at him in surprise as he gets on the bus) Ah…bye Honey! Have a good day!
(five minutes later I’m walking my daughter to elementary school, glad to have the exercise to calm my nerves)
The relaxing morning I was hoping for was dashed to bits, lying amongst the debris of my living room floor. You see, the couch never was cleared off. The cats had found the wrappers and were busy playing with them as I was out with my daughter. I came home to shredded silver all over the rug, and two very happy cats. Then I sat down and started working on this post.
It isn’t easy being a mom, and it sure isn’t easy learning how to handle a child with Aspergers. I’m going to continue to read the book, and see if there’s something else in there to help us communicate better. One thing I have to admire about him though is his tenacity- no one will ever stop him from doing what he wants to do- I just have to make sure he’s on the right track when he does it!
Beth Brubaker is the Assistant Editor for the Ruby for Women magazine, as well as a member of the Ruby Blogger Team. You can read more of her inspirational and humorous posts on her blog, Footprints in the Mud.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34 ESV
My daughter, Abby, was supposed to enjoy a week at camp filled with fun, fellowship with friends, and growing in God’s Word. Unfortunately, the week was cut short by an awful, extremely contagious stomach virus. Instead of playing volleyball and swimming, Abby developed a fever and spent much of her time throwing up! This was definitely not the way she wanted to spend summer vacation.
When she came home, I was saddened as I thought about all the things she missed out on by being sick. I was sorry she didn’t get the opportunity to participate in fun activities like pool games and art but I was most frustrated she didn’t get the chance to fully experience the worship services and grow closer to God through devotion time each day. Surely she missed out on such a memorable experience that ultimately would draw her closer to her Savior.
But then I remembered… Through her sickness, one of the chaperones showed her so much love and compassion. She brought toast to my daughter’s room just in case she felt like eating. She constantly checked in on her and was in communication with me to let me know how she was doing.
Also, my daughter’s friend and roommate declined going to her fun activities to stay with Abby, helping to take care of her and risking getting the virus herself. She demonstrated exactly what true friendship looks like through her unselfish behavior.
I cannot help but think my daughter may have gained more through this experience than I originally thought. She saw the hands, feet, and heart of Christ come alive before her very eyes as special people took care of her in time of need. What better way to learn about Christ’s awesome, relentless love for us than by seeing it in action? She saw and felt exactly what it means to love others as Christ loves us, just as the Bible commands us to do in the book of John.
No doubt Abby will always remember her camp experience. She may not have gotten the intended full camp experience, but she came away from it with a new knowledge of God’s love for His children. She determined sacrificial serving of others is a powerful testimony of being a living example of Christ’s love for us.
What can you do today to serve others? What can you do to show love to someone you know, or better yet, a complete stranger? Let God’s love work through you to bring others closer to Him.
“Lord, thank you for the abounding love You have for me. Guide me in loving others like You love me, unselfishly and completely. Show me ways to communicate my love so that ultimately, You may be glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Alisha Ritchie is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team and shares her inspirational blog posts on various Christian websites.
I fought the good fight.
It must be some guaranteed stage of child development: The Band-Aid stage.
It’s that season when kids believe in the magic of the Band-Aid to insta-heal all bumps, bruises, minor aches, pains, and scratches.
I have endured tantrums.
I have given speeches: You don’t need a Band-Aid for any casualty that doesn’t involve an open wound and significant blood loss.
But really. Truly. As a mom, it’s easier just to pop that glorified sticker over the bruise and be done with it rather than arguing unsuccessfully with a two-year-old about proper Band-Aid usage.
Maybe it wasn’t even the Band-Aid my kids needed; I know this. Perhaps it was the acknowledgement: I see you hurting. I’m tending to this need. I’m not going to leave you here aching alone, wounds sore, pain throbbing.
This is, after all, why Mom-kisses on the tiniest of boo-boos are where the miracle cures begin. Because the love and attention and the simply doing something–anything– says, “I love you,” louder than any actual words.
This is the Mom-life and the life of nurses, care providers, teachers, grandmas, and true friends.
It’s saying, “I care about you,” and meaning it at night when it costs you sleep and during the day when it costs you patience.
It means never pouring a cup of tea or a soda and drinking it all down yourself. It means spending all day putting other people first and scheduling every moment of your life around the schedules of other people.
“Motherhood is the big-leagues of self-sacrifice.” That’s what Rachel Jankovic wrote.
And this is the sacrifice, she tells me, that God finds such a sweet-smelling aroma.
And, after all, as a mom shouldn’t I be thankful that for now a Band-Aid is all it takes to soothe the pain?
Sadly, that won’t last.
This world pesters and pounds, and wounds aren’t always so superficial and easy-to-heal. Sometimes they dig deep. Sometimes they fester and infect; they spread and ache long after we’ve bandaged over them.
So our calling becomes this: loving others enough to care about the depth of the pain rather than just covering over it with an ineffective Band-Aid.
Sure, we could snatch that trusty box down from the cabinet shelf and toss a sticky bandage over a hurt. All better. Stop your crying. No need to fuss. Don’t you see the Band-Aid I’ve slapped on your skin?
This is what Queen Esther did, unknowingly, of course. She heard of her cousin Mordecai’s distress. How he had torn apart his clothes and now sat at the city gate, covered over with burlap and ashes, wailing with loud bitterness.
She responded with concern, but without listening and understanding. Yes, she essentially snatched down the box of Band-Aids and sent one his way:
“She sent clothes for Mordecai to wear so he could take off his sackcloth, but he did not accept them” (Esther 4:4 HCSB).
That’s what she thought would help, just superficial care. Change your clothes. Stop that mourning, Mordecai, and everything will be well.
But he needed so much more.
He needed her to put her life on the line for her entire people by interceding with the king. Mordecai needed self-sacrifice, unselfishness, and humility. A change of clothes simply wasn’t enough.
Jesus did this
He didn’t leave us desperately sick and dying. If he had only healed some physical hurts, if he had simply taught some important truths, if he had solely righted a few social injustices, he would have given Band-Aid care for a terminal disease.
And then He asks us to live this life of love:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34 NIV).
Loving with Band-Aids some days. Loving with time and attention on others. Loving with messy healing and laying ourselves down at times.
But loving like Jesus always.
Heather C. King is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team. You can connect with her and read more of her inspirational posts on her blog, Room to Breathe.