Friday, June 22, 2012


“Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins.  And God was pleased because the sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.”  Ephesians 5:1,2

            Sacrifice.  If someone were to offer me a penny for my thoughts, I would say that my mind is currently preoccupied with that word.  My husband and I are preparing to send our oldest off to college in a few short months.  We have been looking at the financial aid package he has been offered.  He has received some fine scholarships and grants.  However, we all know that college is an investment, and he will still owe a considerable amount to the institution he has decided to attend.  As parents, we want to provide him with what help we can so he isn’t overwhelmed with the burden of debt after he earns his degree.  We have been talking a lot about sacrifice.  What can we give up?  What expenses can we decrease or eliminate from our budget?  How much of our paychecks can we afford to send to the college?

            As parents, we quickly learn about sacrifice.  We begin the parenting journey learning how to survive without a solid good night’s sleep.   As families grow, we sacrifice cute little sporty cars for mini-vans.  We sacrifice decorator show-room living rooms as they get taken over by toys and other childish clutter.  We sacrifice privacy in the bathroom when the personal needs of small children must be dealt with immediately.  Personal time disappears as we become occupied with driving to team sports, activities, lessons, and play dates.  We sacrifice our sanity when trying to reason with toddlers and adolescents and also when helping with certain homework assignments.  You get the idea.  We sacrifice…endlessly.

            The word sacrifice implies something that is difficult to do.  It is giving up something for a higher purpose – maybe a cause or a person we consider to be of higher value than that which we relinquish.  Sacrifice typically isn’t pleasant, but it is an act that stems from love and honor.  In the context of parenthood, we sacrifice on a daily basis.  We may not always do so perfectly without grumbling and complaint.  It’s not easy to act selflessly, but we put our children’s needs before our own because it is for their benefit. 

            Parenting gives us a wonderful illustration of our relationship with our Creator.  Our Heavenly Father sacrificed his son for the benefit of his dear children.  Out of love for the Father, Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice –his life for our redemption.  We, as children of God, are filled with loving gratitude.  We learn from and try to follow the example of Christ.  This means we give of ourselves, sacrificing for our children.

Dear Father, help us to care for our children, not indulging them, but giving them what they need.  Please provide us with the resources to do so, and help us to give joyfully of what we have been given.  Thank you for giving us the richest of blessings through the sacrifice of your son.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Help - I Need Somebody!

"...and call on me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
-Psalm 50:15

My husband would be the first to tell you that I ask for help way too much, especially when it comes to household appliances.  He would also be the first to tell you that when I ask for help, it means that I really want him to solve the problem/issue at hand so I can move on with my task or television program.  Because the above statement is truth, my husband is not always ready and willing to help when I call.

On the other hand, my daughter Olivia demands help.  Her requests for help are short phrases containing action verbs like, "Open," or "More," or "Up."  If her requests for help are not met, she is persistent and continues to ask until her need is met or mom/dad persistently say no.  

I am currently in a position at work where I am asked to help.  A teacher may need me to run a report or my principal may need certain data analyzed.  There are days when I am bombarded by requests for help, and some days where no help is requested/needed.

How often do you ask for help?  Who do you ask?  Do you get the help you need?

As His dear children, our Heavenly Father invites us to ask for help.  While this verse speaks to calling on God during our times of trouble, we know that God listens to all of our requests and knows our needs and wants.  I know there are times I wait to ask for help.  Sometimes I believe I know better or believe the situation to be under control, only to have it blow up in my face.  There needs to be less of me and more God.  Help - I need you God - not just anybody - only you!

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for encouraging us to turn to you in times of trouble.  Thank you for your promise of deliverance, forgiveness and grace.  Continue to hold our families close to you.  Amen


Friday, June 1, 2012

grow, grow, grow

Psalm 1:1-3
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

It’s the time of year when I love walking around in my yard to see what is growing. I never get tired of seeing the progress through the Summer as things change, bloom, and bear. Amazing. The relationship that I have with my yard is humbling. I do not make things grow, but I can influence the growth. I can plant a tiny seed into the earth and it will emerge as a plant somehow. Our Creator does miraculous things every day in our world.
I’ve been praying lately about my similar role as a mother. I can really neither take credit or blame for my child’s health, progress, or character. I certainly have an influence, but God is their true Gardener. He has been creating them from the very beginning, even before I knew. I want to resist the temptation to think that God’s mercy in their life is somehow my doing. I know I fall into this when things go wrong and I wonder how I failed to protect them, teach them, help them. That is evidence that deep down I believed myself to be their creator, deserving credit for His merciful ways. May our understanding of our place in our kids’ lives be appropriate, always acknowledging the One who ultimately gives the growth.
Creator and Lord, You have shown loving mercy to my children from the start. May my efforts in parenting point to Your great love. Remind me as I pray for my children that they belong to You. Give me the wisdom and strength to tend to their needs while praising You for the miraculous ways they are growing. Amen