Help for the Little Years Hater

Day 16, Five Minute Prompt: LITTLE

I don’t know if it was raising support all over America with a baby in tow or moving clear across the world with a three month infant that made me have a hard time loving the little years.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the curl of a sleeping baby resting to the sound of my heartbeat. I love tickling tiny toes and receiving bubble smiles in return. Little is cute and sweet with its plump red cheeks and dimply knees. But when it comes to kids, let’s be real, little is a whole lot of work.

Because somehow they know when I sit down with my cup of coffee. Seems they have an internal clock that tells them when mom is relaxed and then to rouse me. Meeting the needs of fickle little dictators is exhausting and overwhelming.

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Yes, she always wears this hat.

I want to tell them, “Get your own juice,” but I know it will end up on the floor. I want them to solve their own problems, wipe their own booties, and brush their teeth without the accompanying toothpaste explosion in my sink.

More so, I want them to be little Jesus lovers who model a life of repentance. I want them to reek of the fruits of the spirit like they just got out of a steaming bubble bath of the stuff. I trust God with all my heart that we will get there, but expecting these behaviors before God gets their hearts is unreasonable and unfair.

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My little ones may be pagans, but they’re people too. With souls, thoughts, and feelings as unique as their outfit choices. A while back I read, Your Child is Your Neighbor and was completely wrecked. I must handle them delicately, trusting the Lord will fill them one day and they will become vessels used for His service.

I must remember, it’s exactly their neediness, dependency, and child-likeness that leads them to the feet of Jesus. And isn’t that exactly where I want them to be?

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein (Luke 18:16-17).

So how do I embrace their littleness and love their wild hearts? I reference my instruction manual which I find to be surprisingly short.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Matthew 6:37-39).

I share my home, my kitchen-utensils-turned-toys, and my dinner table with these small people made in the image of God. I’m gonna love them till they don’t need me. Then I’m gonna love them some more.

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Do you need to ask God to help you love the little years?
How can you stoop down to serve tiny wild hearts today?

Talk to me in the comment section!

 

My Husband Doesn’t Know Me

Day 10, Five Minute Prompt: UNKNOWN

“You don’t even know me!” I screamed at the end of my rope and the top of my lungs.

These vicious words leapt out like an uncaged beast and I immediately wanted to shove them back into their insecure source. But they were already out and wreaking their destruction.

I could see that he was already wounded. There’s so much pain in being unknown and so much grief in expressing it.

We spent every day together studying language We lived in a a fairytale dream world where we went on a date every day. But there was so much I wasn’t telling him, so much I couldn’t express. Earthquakes, essential good shortages, general loneliness, and other calamities had taken a toll on my spirit.

I wanted him to know all this somehow, but I soon realized this was an unreasonable request. Though he knows me better than anyone else, he really doesn’t know me at all.

Not in comparison to the One who knows the numbers of hairs on my head and the number of breaths I have left in my body. I am completely known and completely loved. Nothing inside of my heart scares or surprises the Deity that dwells in that space.

He gave me this man to kind-of know me.

While we should study each other in efforts of knowing, we can rest because we are already known completely. This truth empowers us to serve one another without calculating how much effort is put forth on the other side and reciprocating accordingly.
Living the Golden Rule, I recognize my desire to be known and so seek to know and serve my husband according to his needs.

I’ve heard a marriage can’t be built on secrets, and certainly I strive to maintain an open and honest relationship with my husband. However, I realize his limitations to know and understand me on the deepest levels. We won’t be setting up house on such a shaky foundation.

Feelings are fleeting. Happiness ebbs and flows. But the God that established our foundation is firm and unmoving. We can build our marriage upon it with confidence it will withstand the storms we will weather together.

All because two people are known and loved by a good Father.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:24-27)

Is your marriage foundation set upon the Rock?
How does being known by God empower you in marriage?

Talk to me in the comment section!

 

 

 

Post-It-Note Your Feelings, Please

Day 9, Five Minute Prompt: POST-IT

Chance.

At the beginning of our fund-raising phase of our missions endeavors, we met with a group of missionaries to talk marriage in the throes of ministry. We were asked to jot down questions and submit them to the leadership to be addressed during our sessions.

Though it was meant to be private who asked each question, the shade of my cheeks was giving it away.

“How can I help my husband through difficult times if he never shares anything with me?”

Concern.

We had little to show for the hours he spent on the phone and the thousands of miles we logged on our minivan visiting each potential supporter. In attempt to protect me, he had not disclosed his fears about the road we continued trucking along despite the overwhelming obstacles we maneuvered along the way.

I admired his care for me, but I felt alone in the work we were doing together. I wished he would just wear a post-it note on his head revealing his feelings.

Challenged.

We were encouraged to share more openly which is what I hoped he he would hear (I was rather in the habit of pouring out my heart). But I was challenged to love him in the silence, ministering to him in the ways I know bless him.

I was urged to trust him and follow him even when it seems I’m clutching his hand in the dark. At the same time, however, I would remain on my knees before the Lord asking Him to guide my man and make known to me how to help him on his mission.

If I expect him to submit to the Lord as he leads our family, living the Golden Rule, I must also submit to the Lord’s work in my family. I must trust that, ultimately, He is the one who leads the way and that He will direct us as we strive to do His will around the world.

Changed.

I learned to minister to my husband even when I’m left out of his world. Our marriage blossomed even in these difficult times, and, eventually, so did our financial support. I thank God for how this has changed our life and ministry on the foreign field.

Even still, the post-it would be helpful.

Do you feel left in the dark in your marriage?
How can you minister to your husband today?

Talk to me in the comment section!

 

 

From Stir-Crazy to Strengthened by Stillness: Learning to Just Be

Day 5, Five Minute Prompt: SILENCE

The silence makes sirens go off in my head.

Be still makes me squirm.

I want TO DO.
I want TO GO.
I want TO BE HEARD.

In the silence, I hear whispers of “You’re not good enough.”
In the stillness, I feel muscles twitch with restlessness: “You’re not doing enough.” But this restlessness is only a distraction from living out the Golden Rule and The Great Commission. It keeps me sulking and self-seeking.

In the silence I can soak up His grace. In the stillness I can breathe Jesus in and rest knowing that the work Has already been done. I can DO, GO, and BE HEARD because I fell face first at the feet of Jesus and acknowledged my need of Him before I set upon my mission.

This is my theme and my philosophy of ministry. This is how change happens. Not by my hands or by my words. It happens in the silence and in the stillness. It happens with Jesus.

As I silently seek Him through the Word written long ago, and as I sit under the instruction of faithful servants, I move forward to do unto others.

But first I just have to Be.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:21-23).

Do you struggle with the silence?
How has God changed you in the stillness?

Talk to me in the comment section!

Other posts about silence and listening: Uncovering Stillness- The Very Cranky MummyThe Irony of BarbieSavior on SheLoves Magazine

Giving the Creator Room to Make a Masterpiece

My husband slipped me a note during the meeting designated for Sunday school teachers and youth workers. This otherwise insignificant act would set a chain of events that would domino me into some of the hardest days of my life.

“Should we announce that we are going to India [as missionaries] tonight?”

“Up to you, babe,” I replied in attempt to mask my panic.

“Are you 100% in?” (Quite a weighty question for note-passing, right?)

I quickly scrawled, “YES.”

I had previously been on a missions trip to Africa, and we made plans to serve somewhere on that continent. When I thought about missions, I saw black faces decorated with tribal paint. I prayed more fervently for the work there, decorated my home in souvenirs, and dreamed of returning someday.

We had a friend whose heart for India was contagious, and the Lord wrecked our plans with this viral compassion. He dreamed for the church that would send us to plant 8 missionary families in India. We would be one of them.

We made a trip shortly after the loss of our second child, and God gave me such a great peace about where we had been and where He was taking us. I didn’t know it would all unravel soon. I didn’t know that I would have to change the focus of my gospel-passions again. I just knew Who sent us and Who was going with us. That was enough.

I write this in Nepal, totally humbled by the work He has done and undone to bring us here and see His work accomplished. The stain of goodness left by His fingerprints hints at the masterpiece that is to come. It’s made up of brokenness and jumbled up plans, but it is good because the Artist that made it makes no mistakes.

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I can trust Him as the brush strokes glide across the canvas I’ve given Him to work with. Whenever I start to gain a sense of how the final product will appear, the hand at work spins in another direction. I feel frustrated, as if I’m crossing my eyes and backing away from a picture, trying to see what I am supposed to see.

Other times, the brush is dipped in pain and hardship, and I’d rather see the pretty pots of sunshine and warmth spill onto the page. But because I have grown to know the heart of the One who wields the tools of change, I know that the finished work will require nothing but a deep sigh as I gaze into the depths of its beauty.

For now, I’ll hold my breath and my tongue as I watch the Artist in action. It is quite the sight to behold.

How may you yield to the Master Creator today?
What hints do you see of the masterpiece to come?

Talk to me in the comment section!

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