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Posts Tagged ‘Blessing’

Being a Mom

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Is there anything better than being a mom?

Don’t get me wrong, there are those days when I shake my head and bury my head in my pillow, while asking the Almighty what on earth I was thinking IMG_2181those three nights when I only asked for a back rub.

Most of the time, I cannot believe how blessed I am to be called “mom” by my favorite three.

As I was chatting with a woman, pregnant with her first child, last week, I realized how much time has gone by, how many experiences I have had and shared, because I am mom.

From the moment I first was confirmed pregnant, to the first moves detected from within, to those first indicators that their exit was soon to take place.

From that first eye to eye investigation of each other, to the eye spy games, to the first time I got a stink eye from them.

From the rocking them to sleep, to wresting them back to bed for the umpteenth time, to trying to wrangle their sleepy heads awake on a school day.

From the stories read in cardboard books, to the stories shared in novels, to the stores shared on social media.

From the first attempts at latching, to the first solid foods, to the meals they have made for me.

From counting toes, to counting steps, to counting kilometers on a hike.

From first steps, to first bike rides, to first time behind the wheel.

From preschool, to kindergarten, to graduation.

From tears of joy, to tears of sorrow, and back again.

From prayers for their safe arrival, to prayers shared over meals, to prayers made in faith.

IMG_2182These three have changed my life, my trajectory, me in every conceivable way. They have made me softer, harder, more consistent, more flexible.

The stretch marks, across my tummy, were the first signs of the stretching that being a mom would require. They were the predictors of what would be required of me, for the rest of my life. I have been stretched in such a way, that I have been changed, marred, tattooed by mothering.IMG_2183Recently I was talking to a friend. She shared with me that it was an anniversary of the loss of her baby … her only baby. In an instant I had whispered “thank-you” to my God for the three that He has allowed me to spend life with.

It is easy to forget, it is easy to get so consumed by living, that we forget about the blessing of life, as a mom.

I remember well those (five) times when life within, ceased to continue to grow. I remember the heartache, I remember how it seemed as though the world stopped spinning.

Today, I choose to remember those (three) times, when life was birthed … and it seemed as though the world stopped spinning … because I became a mom.

 

 

 

 

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Good morning!

We have made it to the end of the week, having accomplished, messed up, rested or lay awake and saw each hour on the clock at night.

Today, I just want to leave a message that I read on the blog of Susie Larson. Check out her blog … you will leave it feeling as though she has encouraged, supported and affirmed you!

May this be a day of blessing!
Carole

Start a Day Blessing:

May you begin to see your disappointments
as divine appointments.

May your spirit-eyes
open up to God’s invitation to something better,
something deeper,
something profoundly fitted for you.

May you lift your eyes
and see how your whole story
fits in the bigger story God is writing
for His Namesake.

When you’re tempted to look down in angst,
may you instead look up and pray,
not only for yourself,
but for the many who struggle
in ways similar to you,
but who don’t know how to pray like you do!

God intends to solve some of the world’s problems
through you.

Trust Him
and let Him
use you in ways that are beyond you!

Have a great day.

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It is so satisfying to awaken on Friday morning, knowing that it is the end of the week of schedules, the beginning of the weekend of rest, or fun, or refreshment (not if you have kids in soccer, basketball, or hockey … but, stick with me).

I think I really love Friday even more than Saturday, because Friday is the day of anticipation, the day of looking forward.

As I awaken this Friday morning, after delighting in the day that it is, I will mentally run through my day … mostly to anticipate what I might have forgotten (and that is the stage of life I am at). I will look at each wild and wonderful step of my day with more joy than I might on a Monday morning, feeling confident that it will be a great and successful day. I will hop, skip and jump my way through the morning preparations, believing that :

it is Friday … I can do anything

Sometimes, because I am living my Friday like a person on speed, unexpected things happen, undesirable things happen … and my joy crown starts to tarnish. The thrill of :

it is Friday … I can do anything

begins to cloud over in disappointment.

Some days I just need to keep my focus!

So, today, I share with you a little prayer, a blessing to start your day … to help you keep focus on the joy that is not dependent on things going your (or my) way.

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Not until I met my hubby did I become familiar with the Old English Poem, turned song, “Christmas is Coming.”

It is not known how long ago the words of it were penned, but it is believed that the music was composed by Edith Nesbit Bland (The Railway Children, novel writer) in the late nineteenth century.

“Christmas is coming,
The goose/geese is/are getting fat,
Please put a penny
In the old man’s hat.

If you haven’t got a penny,
A ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny,
Then God bless you.”

Believed to be written during a time a prosperity (as the goose/geese are getting fat), it is a reminder to give to the poor if you have the means, and if you are not able to give even a ‘ha’penny’ to give your blessing.

But what is the value of a blessing? Have you ever taken the time to say, with a smile on your face, a simple ‘hello’ to a lone elderly lady or gentleman? Or to a child in a shopping cart? Or … to a person who appears to be homeless?

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I remember so clearly (may I never forget) the time my daughter and I saw a homeless man, with his cart, just sitting on the grass of a business one evening. We decided to go to the nearby grocery store and get him a few fresh food items (milk, fruit, a sandwich). When we returned with the food, I asked her to take them to him. She returned to the van with tears rolling onto her cheeks, “Mom,” she said, through sobs, “he said, ‘God bless you’ to me. I thought I was the one who was blessing him.”

“If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you.”

Our understanding of the Christmas season is one of excesses … excessive food, excessive spending, excessive busyness, and so on. This short, simple poem reminds us of the origins of this CHRISTmas season … it is one of giving. Christ was not born into this world to enable excesses. He, as a child, God’s own son was GIVEN as the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7). He came as an act of giving, as an act of blessing.

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Ugh! As I write this I feel as though my body is the shape of a weeble (remember “weebles wobble but they don’t fall down?”). I had one too many servings of Tim’s chips (what was I thinking when I bought them?), before eating a sizable amount of dinner! I could have auditioned for that children TV character of Rolie Polie Olie!

I wasn’t hungry … yet I was empty

They didn’t fill … yet they over-filled

(this seems appropriate to be posted the day after Halloween!)

emotional-eatingAlthough I might look like a poster child for emotional eating, I rarely eat emotionally … I just love food, and my ‘satiated’ button has simply never worked right!

This particular day, I felt empty and looked for sustenance from all the wrong places. The result was a bloated mid section, nasty heartburn, and guilt because … I knew better than to eat physically, hoping to fill myself emotionally.

I headed to the shower, to allow the hot water to warm my cold inner core. I started warm, and I gradually decreased the flow of cold. No matter how hot the water, no matter how warm my skin, the shivers continued internally.

The food that would not fill

The heat that would not warm

It was not until I sat to read what the blogging world sent me that day, that I started to warm, and fill by the simple reminder of what I want … what we need most.

“The whole of our life is this one unspoken prayer to God: “I will not let you go until you bless me.”
Bless me. I will wrestle You – until You bless me.
I won’t rest until I find grace, until I believe that even I am beloved.
Because the truth is:
No one can bless themselves.
We live like we can bless ourselves – but our souls know we can only rest when we know we are blessed by God …
… Everybody is just a brave beggar looking for a blessing …
There isn’t anybody who isn’t starved for a word of blessing.”
(www.aholyexperience.com) Ann Voskamp

“There isn’t anybody who isn’t starved for a word of blessing”

The need to be blessed did not die with the story of Jacob and Easu … that is an innate need placed into us from the time of the creation of man and woman. We need to be blessed, we need to be affirmed, accepted, and loved.

The need for blessing reminds me of my most favorite blessing in the Bible. I recited it to each of our three kids when they were babies, and we used it when we had them dedicated. It is, perhaps, something that we all should remember, and recite when we feel empty, for it is the reminder that the Creator of all loves us and has lay his hand of blessing on us.

‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26

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haggadah72Today marks the beginning of the Passover holiday.

As with the many celebrations of many other Bible-centered religions, the celebrations revolve around food, family, and a story of faith.

This story is one which is shared in the synagogues, the cathedrals, churches and other places of worship of those who call themselves Jewish, Catholic and Christian. It is a story of mystery, of miracles, of redemption (The Theme of the Best Stories is Always …).

Although the story in Exodus begins with a conversation between God and Moses and Aaron, really it began at almost the beginning of time:

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing .”
Genesis 12:2

God has had a plan for His people, a plan of blessing.

But God’s people had been enslaved by the Egyptians, for generations. And, through the God’s use of the Egyptians, Moses was saved when Pharaoh demanded the killing of the firstborn males of his slaves, the Jews. God has a funny way of accomplishing His plans.

God, through Moses and Aaron, tried to convince Pharaoh to let His people go free, with locusts, with plagues, with blood, with gnats, with frogs, with boils, with darkness. Pharaoh knew he had a good thing, and he refused to let them go.

It was not until God sent death … death of the firstborn sons (sound familiar?) of Egypt, that Pharaoh had ears to hear.

God had given the very specific directions to Moses and Aaron:

  • a specific date and time
  • a yearling male lamb … with no imperfections
  • slaughtered at twilight
  • blood wiped on the door frames of all of the Israelite people
  • roasted
  • all the meat eaten, with bitter herbs and yeast-free bread
  • dress code applicable
  • all left-overs burned up in the fire

Then, in the night, God past over the town, killing every firstborn, except for His chosen people, safe behind the doors with the blood of the innocent, perfect lamb dripping between their past of slavery and bondage and their future as a great nation.

All was accomplished, just as God said, and Pharaoh let the people go.

This celebration called Passover, is an everlasting reminder, of the devotion and promise that God has made with His chosen people. One worth celebrating, when Jew or Gentile.

“God kept watch all night,
watching over the Israelites as he brought them out of Egypt.
Because God kept watch,
all Israel for all generations will honor God by keeping watch this night
—a watchnight.”
Exodus 12:41-42

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“Although limping, Jacob walked away from the battle blessed.”

Jacob+wrestling+with+God+1I do not know where the words came from. I heard them, I wrote them, I saved them, and now I go back to where their story originates, in Genesis.

Israel, previously known as Jacob, was a wrestler from way back! The earliest recordings of his battles come from his months in his momma’s womb, where he wrestled his hairy brother Esau.

Jacob comes from a fine lineage, as his father was Isaac, and his grandfather was none other than Father Abraham, the father of many nations. Abraham had done his share of wrestling as well, although his wrestling was not so much physical as it was in his heart and soul.

There are many fascinating components to the life of Jacob … his mother, Rebekah, being childless (reminiscent of grandma Sarah), finally pregnant it is twins, and very active ones! The Lord speaks to her before they are born, giving a heads up to their future. Jacob is his momma’s favorite, but Esau is Isaac’s. Oh, there is so much to those early years of Jacob’s life! It is truly worth heading back into Genesis 25 to read of his earlier years! But, for now, I am concentrating on the wrestling match with God.

“So Jacob was left alone,and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” (Genesis 32:24)

Jacob is all alone, and it is night. The next thing we know is that that he is wrestling with a man.

“When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.” (Genesis 32:25)

Jacob was one good wrestler! He was winning, and his opponent was aware of the strength and determination within him. So his opponent, with just the touch of his hand, permanently injured Jacob’s hip.

“Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:26)

Jacob was a man with a mission. He was willing to wrestle until he got what he wanted … to be blessed.

“The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,”he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome … Then he blessed him there..” (Genesis 32:27-28)

The man asked his name … he asked his name? This was God! He knew his name, given to him by his father … but his heavenly Father had a new name for him, and Israel … strong, persevering, overcoming, with a goal to fight for was to be his name at his battle of christening.

“The sun rose above him … and he was limping because of his hip.” (Genesis 32:32)

Jacob was blessed … the sun was rising on a new day, he had what he was born to be blessed with, his very own blessing, not from an earthly father, but from the father of every nation.

And, although he was limping, he was blessed.

And, although we are all limping, we are blessed.

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If you are reading this, then yes, you have survived the chaos that can be associated with Christmas Day.

For me, Boxing Day means two things; one is that I am ready to take down the tree, and clean up the house, and the other is that I start to think about next year.

Over the next few days, my posts will be related to my thinking about next year. Each day I will share Ten Goals that I have for myself, my children, my marriage and my relationship with God.

Today, I am starting with my ten goals for 2013, related to my three children.

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God has blessed hubby and I with three healthy, productive, God-fearing/loving children. There was a time when we wondered if we would even have children with our own DNA. There was a time when we understood contentment with one, believing that our chances of carrying another to term would never be. There were dark and sorrow-filled times, times when we cried out to God, times when we grew to understood that today we only see a part (1 Corinthians 13:12) …

As parents we have taken those experiences, that pain, of the past and promised to not forget the gifts that these children are to us. Oh, we fail – daily we fail as parents, but our hearts desire is to not take them for granted, not forget our responsibility to be active in their lives, and to daily hand them back to their Creator.

My goals, as their mom, for 2013 are:

  1. Be intentional in spending at least one time per month with each child – they are individuals, and I need to know them individual
  2. Pray with each more often – so easy when they were young, but it is still such a beautiful thing to lay our burdens at His feet together
  3. Be more involved in assisting them with school work (even unsolicited … mostly unsolicited) – I often am so desiring that I give them independence in their school responsibilities that I forget that they still need help, and I am able to help them!
  4. Tell each child, every day, that I love them – I cannot just think it, for their benefit I need to give wings to my thoughts
  5. Do not end the day, or go apart angry – this applies to so many relationships (every relationship). There is wisdom in “do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26)
  6. Laugh with them – Oh how sad to spend a day living under the same roof and not sharing a laugh together … what sweet memories laughter provides!
  7. Tell them why I love them – not just ‘I love you’ but ‘I love how you ….’, ‘I love that you ….’
  8. Tell them that I am proud of them – I do believe that success breeds success, and if I let them know of the successes I see in their lives, I believe that it will magnify their ability to do even greater things
  9. Praise their father, in their presence – although hubby and I do not parent exactly the same, we are one, united front when it comes to our kids, and our kids need to know that we love each other, and that we respect each other … and thinking it is not enough … I need to give words to my thoughts.
  10. Give them wings – I cannot hold them too tightly, I need to hold them with enough flexibility that they can come and go. God’s example to us is to give us the choice to come to Him … there is no better parenting example! And there can be no greater gift than having my child choose to share their life with me.

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When things are going good, when life is hiccup-free, when smiles abound there is a lightness to my step and to my soul that opens me up to a carefree spirit. I feel like singing the The Happy Song .

Those times are times of lightness, and freedom, and a feeling that I can do anything!

Then there are the other times. The I just can’t lift my head off the pillow times. The I just want this day to be over before it has barely begun. The days when I feel like Atlas with the weight of the world on my shoulders, except that I do not have the strength that he has.

Those times are times of heaviness, and bondage, and a feeling that I can do nothing.

But …

When things are going well, and I think that I can do anything … I do, and I do it all in my own strength. I am a pretty independent person, and that independent spirit can come back to bite me in the butt. You see, my strength, it’s powered by me, and I do not have endless energy resources, so eventually all of the excitement of ‘I can do it’ fades.

When things are not going so well, and I am overcome with doubts and stresses, it is then that I know I cannot do it alone, and I lean on a far more viable energy source, my Creator God. And it is then that I soar like the eagles (instead of fly with the turkeys), because I have an undercurrent of endless momentum.

It is not an easy thing to do, but I am starting to realize the blessing of heartaches, disappointments and curses that this life inevitably hands over to us. My prayers are changing. I do not pray that God will protect and keep me from the ‘nasties’ of life, because I know that they are around any and every corner. Instead I pray that, through them, I might learn to rely more fully on God to get me through.

Thank you god for the heartaches,
the disappointments,
the fall on my face moments …
They make me cling to You like nothing else.
They make me yell and scream
and be more real more honest with You my Creator.
No joy,
no blessing
can make me yearn for and seek you.
It is only when I am at my weakest,
neediest place
that I fully rely on You,
and You alone.
Amen

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A wise person theologian … one once said,

I think that our inner compulsion is to run from it. That gives us complete separation, and immediate relief. But does running from it have positive, long-lasting results? I do not know for sure that answer, but I tend to think it might chase us, and when we least expect it, re-surface again.

Then there is learning from it. Oh, how slow that process seems, and painful for to learn is to look at the pain and face it. But could more, long lasting good come from that process? I do not know for sure that answer, but I tend to think it is the better way.

There is a man in the Bible, of whom little is known, but one thing we do know is that he did not run from his past.

This man is Jabez. His one entry in the Bible is in the Old Testament book of 1 Chronicles. He shares his name also with a town near Bethlehem, but I am not sure if the town was named after him.

The accounting of Jabez, and his life is:

“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.
His mother had named him Jabez,saying,
“I gave birth to him in pain.” 
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel,
“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!
Let your hand be with me,
and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”
And God granted his request.”
1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Jabez was named by his mother, and I would guess that would not have been the norm, in such a patriarchal society. Now either his birth was horrific, or the timing of his birth was, or something else dreadful must have accompanied his entry into the world for his mother to have named him as she did.

The name Jabez is Hebrew, and it means sorrowful or pain. In those days, and within that Hebrew culture, a name was almost a prophetic statement, or a foundation for who this baby was to become. Andpas his mother saw his future as sorrowful or painful.

Whatever the reason his mother named him as she did, Jabez past followed him everywhere. Imagine the teasing of his childhood peers down by the well, “hey Sorrowful, having a good day? Oh, that’s right you NEVER have a good day, you are Sorrowful!”

He had a choice, run from it, or learn from it.

Well, it would appear that he did not run from it, heck, he didn’t even change his name, nor did God as He had of others in the Bible (Abraham, Sarah, Paul, etc.).

Instead, he somehow knew that the only hope he had of a future that was not sorrowful, was to pray. And pray he did:

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel,
“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!
Let your hand be with me,
and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”

His prayer was for a future complete with a relationship with the God of Israel, complete with blessing (perhaps the blessing he did not get from his parents), complete with God’s protection, complete with freedom from … pain. The prayer of Jabez is the desperate cry of a man born with a curse, with a past, and he knew it well. But, he also knew that he did not have to stay in his sorrowful state, and he knew the only one who would hear his cry … the God of Israel.

“And God granted his request.”

And, He will hear our cries to be freed from our hurtful pasts,
we just need to learn to cry out to the One who will hear us,
to change the direction of our lives.

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