Rest for the Weary in a Busy Life

Daily Truth:  But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

I realize that I promised that I would write about “Dress Rehearsal.”  But alas, sometimes things happen in our lives that are completely out of our control and definitely NOT in our calendar.  That pretty much sums up the past 9 days.

It all started when the hubs came home a week ago terribly sick.  Now let me just preface this by saying my husband is NOT one of those “husband turn whimp,” wanting to rest, when he gets sick.  Also, my husband’s job is such that he can go to work and not have to interact with too many people.  Off to work he went Friday morning despite the protest from the family and spending part of the night sick. When he came home Friday night from work, walked into the house, and rested on the couch without even taking his winter coat or hat off I knew we were in trouble. And that is the way he stayed until Saturday morning.

It was a down hill battle from there.  Literally every 36 hours someone else fell prey to the flu this week.  I cleaned the bathrooms and did laundry every day.  (The house now permanently smells of Lysol).  I fought it until the commander of her troops could fight it no longer and finally I succumbed last night.

Next week, I will discuss the importance of “Dress Rehearsal” with our children.  But for now, this weary and cranky mother is going to drink some tea, take a hot bath, rest and enjoy a few minutes of sheer utter silence (which believe me is a rarity in this house) before the troops come home from church.

Until next week ladies,

Rebekah

rest for the weary

The Work of His Hand: We Are Just the Pottery

Daily Truth:  But now, O LORD, you are the Father; we are the clay, and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

9757937What an incredible picture! God is our Creator and the potter. We are his vessels or pottery.  He shaped and molded us.

When a child understands the way in which pottery is made there is a better understanding about the verses in the Bible which use the words clay and potter. The clay begins as just a lump of matter (which is made up of elements known as silicates along with water, oxygen, and trace minerals) on the potter’s wheel. The clay is carefully molded by the potter’s hands into a masterpiece.

I find it interesting that water must be added to the clay to aid in the transformation. Without water we are unable to live. Water is cleansing too. In John 4:10 Jesus is the living water. In John 5:12 “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Just as clay needs water to be molded we too need “living water” to be cleansed and transformed.

A valuable experience that would lead to a clearer understanding of the clay and potter relationship is to have your child make their own piece of pottery or to plan a visit in which he or she can watch pottery being made. The  following video shows how a potter makes pottery. (click here to watch video)

It is interesting in the video when the potter blows into the vessel.  The breath from the potter gives shape and form to the clay.  It reminds me of the verse in Genesis 2:7 “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and then the man became a living creature.”

Job 33:6 “Truly I am as your spokesman before God; I also have been formed out of clay.”

God’s Word is truly amazing.  God gives us word pictures to aid in our understanding of His Word.

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson

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How Strong Are You? (Part II)

Daily Truth: “The Lord is the strength of my life.” Psalm 27:1

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I knew it would happen!!! Not two hours after I posted the last blog, one of my cherubs showed me just how much more training we have to go.

I was checking out at a register when Sam pipes up to the cashier, “Lady, what is wrong with your face?”  The cashier and I looked at each other in bewilderment. The her face visibly went from, “How can I help you?” to “How quickly can I get you out of here!”  I bent down in front of Sam and the following conversation occurred.

Me:  “Sam, were you being kind?”
Sam: “No.”
Me:  “What did you say that was unkind?”
Sam: “I asked the lady what was wrong with her face.”
Me:  “What do you need to do now?”
Sam: “Ask her to forgive me for saying ‘what is wrong with your face’.”

With head hung low, Sam walked around the corner and said to the cashier, “I’m sorry for saying ‘what’s wrong with your face’.  Will you forgive me?”

That sweet cashier got on her knees, held Sam’s hands, and said, “Oh, honey there is nothing to forgive.”  Believe me, her demeanor changed dramatically and believe me Sam still faced punishment at home.

I have been asked what parenting books I read.  I do read parenting books but I have found that the best lessons one can learn are by watching and asking other parents what they do in their parenting.  So, that is exactly what I did. I asked a number of my friends their best advice for parenting.  Their children range from a 3 year old to a junior in high school.  I feel like I have been immersed in a week of Parenting 101.  My heart has been blessed, challenged, and is now overflowing with information and the desire to be all that I can be for my children.

Parenting Advice Number 1:  Make sure your heart is align with God’s heart. 

“What?!?!  I thought this was on raising my kids not on me?!?!”  True, but if I am not a grace-filled mom how can I demonstrate the love of God and his grace to my children.   My friend wrote it so eloquently that I am just going to let her speak.

I want… I MUST be a grace-filled Mom. I – and ABSOLUTELY their Dad – am their earliest representation of God that they will know. What will they learn?!?!?!? Am I one who demonstrates anger or frustrations easily? Do I forgive quickly? Am I excited to read God’s word? Do I make much of Jesus? Do they see me sorry for MY sins and shortcomings? How do they hear ME talk or respond to unplanned problems? Am I tender to the leading of the Spirit for others that are hurting or ‘different’ or ‘unlovely’?

My encouragement would be to focus on knowing and loving God and then knowing and loving your child. That doesn’t mean don’t expect obedience or don’t expect good behavior…just don’t make THAT your goal. To me, that change of focus was HUGE in how I approached my parenting…

Convicting, huh?  This is just a taste of the type of encouragement I have been receiving from these dear friends. You know, the thing that we all agreed on was that we all fail, and many times.  Often many times within a 24 hour period! Yet, it is in our weakness that God becomes our strength.

So ladies, how strong are you spiritually?  Is God the focus of your life and is that completely evident to your children?  You can have children that do and say all the right things but if your heart isn’t in tune with God how can you expect their hearts to be in tune with God? Is God your portion and your strength?  When you feel you can’t go on another step or you have dealt with this same issue again and again what is your response?

Until next Monday,

Rebekah

Next Monday:  Parenting Advice Number 2:  Dress Rehearse

(image courtesy of Graur Inout/ freedigitalphotos,net)

How Strong are You?

We’ve all been there and seen it happen.  You are in a store and suddenly an ear piercing shriek disrupts your peaceful shopping trip.  Then voices start and they get louder and louder until you are not sure if this is happening between two adults or a child and an adult.  In your mind you think, “Phew.  Glad that is not MY child.” Suddenly, you feel like the best parent in the world.  Then one day, “pop”, there goes our pride when our child does the same thing to us.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I took the four kiddos to the Children’s Museum.  Now granted, it was Spring break and maybe not the best move on my part. There were ALOT of people there.  Not as many as on the Target free nights (talk about CRAZY busy).  There were just enough people that when we left I was waiting for the museum to crown me with “The Mother of the Year” award.  Let me explain.

First, some clarification.  My kids are NOT saints.  Far from it.  They have had their share of melt downs and demonstrations of unkindness to others out in public – that could fill a book.  However, the older they become the less of those we have.  In fact haven’t had one for awhile (I gasp as I post this because I can so feel that I just shot myself in the foot with that statement).  But the difference is how we handle their behavior and our consistency in correcting their behavior.

While eating lunch, I saw a 200 pound man and his wife be overtaken by the will of a three year old.  Down the three year old ran towards the door of the cafeteria giggling and glancing behind him to make sure his dad was running after him.  The more dad and mom called his name the faster he ran.  It took the dad about 5 minutes to get him. Mind you it was obvious that the dad worked out…at least physically.  Yet, who was stronger?  Score to the three year old boy in corner number 1.  

Meanwhile, there was a group of about 12 autistic children (it was indicated by the shirts they wore) and their teachers eating lunch.  Best behaved kids in the cafeteria. One of them accidentally bumped into a tween girl going to her seat.  The tween looked at the boy with thorough disgust.  Who was stronger? 

Another 3 year old threw an outright temper tantrum because he didn’t get to do his frozen yogurt first.  Grandma went ahead a got him one, coddling him the whole time.  His mom said nothing.  Who was stronger?  

Then there was T.J. Maxx the other day,  I was in line with my boys and a mom and her VERY whiny 4 year old was behind us.  She wanted her mom to cut me in line, put everything she wanted in the cart, and then she begged for some gummies telling her mom she didn’t want “those boys” to get them.  Believe me it was tempting to let “those boys” (mine) grab them out of spite.  The whole time her mom kept telling her “Ok, for your birthday”  instead of turning the little girls whining into a teaching moment.  (ummm – pretty sure her mom was lying to her) Who was stronger? (BTW – she got the gummies).

This seems to be the path that a lot parents take – letting the child reign in the behavior of the parent instead of the other way around.  The Bible says in 
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should goand when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  The word “train” is an interesting word.  It means to “coach” or “to teach a particular skill or behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time”.  In other words, we are our children’s teachers and coaches.  We teach and train them everyday and point them in the direction we want them to go.  This is most vividly done through our example.  

I am amazed at how many times physical activities are used in the Bible to demonstrate a point and this is another one of them.  Training for any sporting event is a daily process.  Some days are good training days and others not so much.  As I am training for a 1/2 marathon the first week of May, I have to do some sort of physical activity nearly everyday and it’s not running everyday either.  Some days I lift weights and do core strengthening exercises, others I do the elliptical, and others I do cross training.  I only actually run 3-4 times a week. It takes a variety of exercises to help me reach my goal.

It is the same way in parenting.  It is a daily task.  We can’t skip a day or disaster will occur.  Some days are easy and some days are down right, stinkin’ hard. Those are the days that you (I) just want to throw in the towel and quite.  But those are the days we have to push through the pain and the tempers and the meltdowns and realize that there is a higher goal that we are striving to reach with our children.  Many parents quite before they even start. Is it no wonder then that the 4 year old whined for her gummies, the 3 year old threw a screaming temper tantrum, the other three year old ousted his dad, and the tween thought she was way better than the well behaved autistic boy?

Those incidents didn’t make me judgmental but rather they caused me to stop and ponder, “How am I doing in my training?  How strong am I, really?”  Next week I am going to share some things that I do with my children and some things that other moms do with their children in the training process.  

In the meantime, how is your training going?  How strong are you?

Until next Monday,
Rebekah Klink

How Does God Get Your Attention? See and Listen

Daily Truth:  “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why this bush does not burn.”  Exodus 3:3

God knows us better than we know ourselves.  He knows how to get our attention.  Are we being attentive?  Do you see?

School Buses

A bush that was on fire but not being consumed was what got Moses’ attention.

What does it take for God to get your attention?

God got my attention, as a new believer, with three bright yellow school buses. Our family was looking to relocate as my husband had a new job.  We had made several trips to the new location in hopes of finding a house to rent or buy.

As I was sitting at the McDonald’s in our current location, with our very young children I noticed three school buses in the parking lot.  Between eating french fries and opening Happy Meals I read the city on the first bus.  I thought how interesting, it is the town where my husband and I grew up.  Then I read the city on the second school bus and realized it was the town in which we were currently living.  On the third bus was the suburb that we had recently looked at a house to rent in the city where we were moving.

I then realized there in the parking lot was my past, present and future.  I laughed as I realized that God had to speak to me with three, huge, yellow buses.  By the way, we did rent the home in the suburb listed on that third bus.

In Matthew 26:36-46 Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He took Peter, James and John.  Jesus ask them to wait and stay awake with him as he was feeling deep anguish.  After praying Jesus walks back to the disciples and finds them asleep.  He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour?”

Jesus walks away again a second time to pray.  When Jesus returns he finds them all sleeping again.

After leaving a third time to pray the same prayer Jesus comes back and said to them, “You might as well sleep now.  The time is near for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners.”

Jesus tried to get the attention of his disciples three times.  The disciples did not realize the gravity of the situation even though the “Son of Man” was asking them to stay awake with him.

Why do we not know when God is trying to get our attention?  Are we too tired, depressed, over wrought with daily life, make no time for God and his Word, or maybe you have never asked Jesus to take your will and make it His own.  God wants to have a relationship with us.  He is as close as you allow him to be in your life.  God is always trying to get our attention.

God will meet your where you are.  God knows if you need three, huge, yellow school buses or if He can just point you to a verse in His Word.

Does God have your attention?

Until the next “Truth” sharing moment,

Cathy Jo Johnson