Who Loves You?

So, this is a post I wrote almost 2 years ago on my previous blog, but I think it fits perfectly into my focus for this week, which is motherhood.  Mother’s Day is on Sunday and I want to share the blessing of motherhood to other moms in need of encouragement as I share struggles and victories, or just a good laugh as I share silly things my boys may do or say.  I hope you are as blessed by this reminder as I was:

Here is a conversation my husband had with our son Noah, when he was only 2 years old…

Nathan: “Noah, do you know I love you?”

Noah: “Yes, daddy.”

Nathan: “Noah, who loves you?”

Noah: “Jesus.”

loving-God Photo Credit: ourhealingmoments.com

Oh, the many lessons learned by my son in this small conversation I was blessed to witness.  This truly is a moment I will never forget.  I want to focus on one thing I noticed during that precious interaction and that was this: Noah, in all his two year old glory, knew without a single doubt that Jesus loved him.  We tell Noah that Jesus loves us all the time, but that particular morning there was no priming his brain before the question Noah, who loves you? was asked.  At that time, Nathan and I were both expecting Noah to respond, You do daddy, but what our son said was even greater.  Noah knew Jesus loved him.

This may seem redundant, but hear me out.  Noah did not have to think back to how he had disobeyed me the previous day and wonder if Jesus still loved him.  I’m sure Noah didn’t think he had to perform obligations and duties for Jesus to still love him.  He just knew, at that moment he was loved, and is loved by Jesus Christ.

Oh that I may have faith like my (at the time) two year old son to know Jesus loves me… He loves me today and tomorrow, He loves me during my successes and my failures, He loves me when I obey Him and catches me when I fall… He loves me unconditionally.  I pray today that you will know you are loved by a Savior.  You are loved by Jesus.

Jesus is Waiting for Us

This past Sunday, as you know, was Easter Sunday. I know, I didn’t post anything profound on my blog on Sunday nor did I post a cute family photo of my entire family all dressed up on Facebook. I’m terrible about stuff like that. If I even feel like there’s pressure to do something I tend to run away from it… which is probably why I’ve never sent out Christmas cards and missed about a third of Thank You cards from our wedding (I know, like I said, it’s terrible, and I’m sorry to everyone who did not receive a card! I actually did write them all, but found a huge pile of unmailed cards about 4 years ago.). ANYWAY, back to Sunday…

As we are nearing church, I asked was talking to the boys about the meaning of Easter and how Jesus is alive.

Noah: “Mom, is Jesus at church?”
Me: “Yes, He is.”
Noah (voice getting excited): “Is He waiting for us?!?”
Me: “Oh honey, He’s always waiting for us.”
Noah: “Come on, Tim! Come on, Dad! Jesus is waiting for us!”

After dropping the boys off at childcare I headed to our Prayer Group with this conversation on my heart. My main focus during prayer was that I would be able to have my son’s enthusiasm when I enter in God’s presence. I prayed that prayer not just for myself, but for all believers. I think that sometimes, as adults, we can get desensitized to the miracle of the resurrection. We forget that when we are coming to church, we are not just checking off a box on our to-do list. We are coming before our Maker. We are coming before our Creator. We are coming before our Savior. That is something to be excited about!

Kingdom Work

This is actually a post I wrote last year for my previous blog, but I felt as if some moms needed to read this again.  Enjoy…

We recently had a baby shower for a woman in our Bible study a couple weeks ago. As you do at many baby showers, we all went around and gave a little piece of advice to the expecting mother. Now, I am fully aware that my oldest son is only 3 years old and I don’t have nearly as much wisdom as many other ladies in my Bible study who not only have children, but great-grandchildren—but, I have gained some pieces of advice that are noteworthy. Here is what I shared with her… you get the longer version because I can type freely and have no time constraints.

Being a mommy is Kingdom work. Isn’t it easy to forget that? When you are in the midst of changing poopy diapers, sweeping up Cheerios for the 17th time, rocking your baby who won’t stop crying and only wants your arms and realizing you haven’t taken a shower in a couple days… It’s Kingdom work, beloved, even if it doesn’t seem like it. It’s a divine calling from the Lord.

For me, this can be a struggle, especially since my husband is a youth pastor. I get to hear amazing stories from him about students falling madly in love with the Lord, parents coming back to church as a result, and how hearts and lives are being changed—and praise the Lord for that! But then the question will come, “How was your day? What did you guys do?” And some days, I don’t even have an answer… Well, I haven’t stopped moving all day, but I got none of the chores done that I started. The laundry is not in closets and dressers, but still in the washer, dryer and on the couch waiting to be folded, I started scrubbing the bathrooms during the kid’s nap, but had to stop half-way through cleaning the toilet because someone woke up early, and dinner is still a work in progress. I have no idea what I did today, but I am exhausted!… That just doesn’t sound nearly as glamorous! Truth is, it may not be nearly as glamorous, but it is every bit as glorious. We are called to do this work called motherhood as if we are working for the Lord, because that is Who we are living for.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV). This is a verse I tell myself often, and some days I am great at applying this verse, and other days sadly, I am not. That is when usually my husband lovingly reminds me my focus is not on point, and the faster I can redirect my eyes to the Lord, the better.

So, for all your mamas out there who just need a little encouragement today, may I remind you that you are doing Kingdom work. Love on your children so they can see the love of Christ, raise them to fear and know Him, surround them with songs that praise Him, and cover them with prayer that they may come to fall madly in love with our amazing Father. Give yourself grace (something I also have to tell myself often) and remember you are not alone in the messy and glorious adventure we call motherhood.

She is Mine

It’s the Friday before Spring Break. I’m sure to most 28 year old moms of toddlers that would mean nothing because our kids aren’t in school yet and we sure aren’t out partying like we were ten years ago. Yet, the Friday before Spring Break always brings me great joy, because that is the day the Lord took hold of my heart, broke down those walls and filled me up with His perfect love. Here is my testimony in a nutshell:

I grew up in Texas. I grew up in church. I grew up hearing how Jesus loves me, and I never questioned it. I always believed in God and believed Jesus loved me. Again, I will say, I grew up in Texas: AKA Bible Belt. Do you know what that means? That usually means the same kids that were getting wasted on Saturday nights went to church on Sunday mornings. And that was normal, acceptable even to some, because again, most of us believed in God and His love for us… but it hit me about my senior year of high school that something wasn’t right about that. Sure, we all believed in God, so that meant we were all safe, right? That we were all Christians? And “most importantly” we would all go to heaven, right? But doesn’t the Bible state somewhere (James 2:19-20) that even the demons believe? … These were questions I couldn’t seem to get past the next couple of years and would think about for a whole two minutes before deciding to just put this God thing on the back burner until I got all my partying out of my system.

To make a long story short, my first three years of college were a mess. I was a mess. I had struggled with depression since I was 11 years old (and not because of some horrible trauma, my childhood rocked) and adding drugs and alcohol to the mix was not a good idea. There were nights I don’t remember and nights I wish I could forget. During those years I tried to find my identity through my GPA, through shallow relationships, and my body weight. My junior year of college was when I got bored with drinking and shallow relationships so I focused on an unhealthy goal of weighing less than 90 pounds. I became addicted to exercise and literally ate just enough to not pass out during my classes. Why am I telling you this? Geez, this is kind of personal! I’m telling you this so you can know exactly where I was that Friday night 8 years ago.

I went to a young adult’s ministry called The Net that I had been attending regularly for a couple of months. The majority of my friends were Christians truly living for the Lord, so I would hang out there on Fridays when I didn’t feel like going to a party. I can’t even tell you what the message was about, but I can tell you that my friends and family had been praying for years for this moment.

As Pastor Glenn Holland was wrapping up his message I felt this burning inside that I couldn’t ignore any longer. I was sobbing and didn’t even know why. My friend, Amanda, came over and wrapped me in her arms while I prayed silently to the Lord and thanked Him for picking me up right where I was in life… A mess… I was a 21 year old, 92 pound, borderline-alcoholic depressed mess… And yet, in that moment God declared, “That one! She is Mine!”

Here’s the beautiful thing about it. I’m still a mess… My struggles may not be the same as my 21 year old self, but I still struggle. Many people fall into the trap of believing that Christianity is a promise of an easy, happy go lucky kind of life, when that is just not true. In fact, many times in the Bible God guides us on how to work through our trials (just go read the entire book of James!). I have to remind myself daily that Romans 8:1 states, “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” The difference is now my heart has changed, and overtime I began to love what God loves and hates what God hates. I try to live for God and not my own selfish desires. I’m not perfect, and will never claim to be perfect. It’s a constant process of laying down my sins before God and asking for His grace, because I will never be able to do this on my own on this side of heaven, but He still loves me despite my flaws. And guess what? He loves you too, and you don’t have to be prefect when you come to Christ. You can be a mess, just like me, because He is the only One who can wash you of your sins. What a glorious day that will be.