Practical Idea for Memorial Day & The Gift of Being Face to Face

fullsizeoutput_7c34How can we go beyond the surface for Memorial Day? How can we reach those who have lost loved ones? How can we help their loved ones’ legacies live on?

  1. Write letters to their families.
  2. Pray for their families.
  3. Talk about them with our kids.

My friend, Tyler, died while serving in Iraq. When I think of his family, my heart aches for them. I want his family to know I have talked to my kids about Tyler, who he was, and his kindness and bravery. I want his family to know that we are so grateful for him and that his legacy lives on.

I asked our kids, “What can we do to show Tyler’s family we are grateful for him?” My daughter said, “Send them cards!”

So we all made them cards. It was difficult at first and it took us a while because they wondered what to write. I explained that he was a kind and brave friend of mine who died in the war serving our country. We have freedom because of him and all the people who serve and served our country.

I guided them with ideas that might encourage his family, but I also told them to write from their hearts in their own words. There is something special about a kids’ words as they are raw and honest.

If you are one of the families who lost a loved one serving our country – thank you. I pray today that the Lord would comfort you, and that you would know our gratefulness for you and the heroic sacrifice of your loved one. In Jesus’ name, amen.


The Gift of Being Face to Face

fullsizeoutput_7c31Remembering those who served and lost their lives makes me want to soak in this time with those right in front me. I am taken back to the words of Corrie ten Boom, a holocaust survivor and hero.

In1944, after hiding Jews behind a wall in her home, Corrie ten Boom was sentenced to prison camps and solitary confinement. After a month, she was allowed to leave her cell to take a shower.

In her inspirational book, The Hiding Place, Corrie wrote: “How rich is anyone who can simply see human faces! The shower too was glorious: warm clean water over my festering skin, streams of water through my matted hair.”

How Rich is Anyone. Anyone who can simply see human faces.

When we’re with our friends, spouses, and children, let’s indulge in the richness of being face to face.

The richness of being able to talk. To connect. To be together.

What a gift.

Jesus embraced this gift of being face to face.

People were never an inconvenience to him. Ever.

When Zacchaeus was in the tree, Jesus sought him out.

When leaders rebuked the blind beggar, Jesus called the man to him.

When the disciples told the children to leave, Jesus called them to him.

When Jesus saw a crippled woman, he stopped preaching and healed her.

Jesus walked through life with his twelve disciples and many others. He took the gift of being with people to heart and made time for people.

Let’s do the same and soak in the gift of being face to face.

Indeed, “how rich is anyone who can simply see human faces!”


 

Not Saying, “I’m Sorry”, Again and Again

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Many times after falling short with my kids, I’ve wanted to say, “I’m sorry”, over and over again, but I’ve been trying not to. I don’t want my kids to think they need to ask for forgiveness again and again to be forgiven.

Just before Jesus died and rose again, he said, “It is finished.” Not “It is halfway done”, but “It. Is. Finished.” The Lord COMPLETELY forgives us when we ask him to. It’s over. Done. Erased.

By not apologizing over and over to our kids about the same thing, we can SHOW them that once they ask for forgiveness for something, they are also fully forgiven. Period. It’s over. Done. Erased. No need to bring it up again.

The Beauty of Grace & Forgiveness.


An awesome quote to share with our kids:

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You Are Beautiful. As You Are.

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I love my daughter’s innocent words in the picture. What if we took this to heart. That God made us just as he wants us to be.

What if we stopped the comparison game, the envy, the self-critique. What if we stopped always trying to change something about ourselves.

What if we knew God made us beautiful. Just as we are. And relished in that.

What if we let go of fads (who cares about them anyway) and enjoyed our own style, a reflection of who we are.

Beyond that, what if we spent more time caring about who we are over appearance.

The Lord said these powerful words: “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

What do our kids see we care about most? What do we notice in others? Do we compare ourselves out loud or do we reflect contentment with how we look and who we are. Because our kids will mimic us.

Let’s show our kids what it looks like to celebrate the beauty in our friends as well as ourselves. Just as they are. Just as we are.

And above all, let’s show our kids what it looks like to look at the heart as the Lord does and to celebrate THAT in people.

***Noonday Jewelry Giveaway coming soon for Mother’s Day!!!!

Easter Activity & Teaching the love of Jesus through Everyday Moments

IMG_4725The other day, my daughter, Brooklyn, was mad at her sister for not sharing the fort builder sticks. When Brooklyn came down to talk about it, I first asked her to put her and her sister’s plate in the dishwasher. To my surprise, Brooklyn didn’t say a word but just did it, even though she was frustrated with her sister.
When I see a teachable moment, I try to jump on it.
I huddled our kids together and shared how Brooklyn had loved like Jesus loves us – even though we sin and mess up, Jesus still loves us deeply and even gave his life for us. When Brooklyn chose to wash her sister’s dish, she was still frustrated with her, but she did it because she loves me and her sister.
That is life. That is love. That is Jesus.
Fast forward to that afternoon. I was frustrated with my husband and saw his dish on the counter. I’m not kidding you, I said to myself, “He can get his dish.”
Immediately, I thought of Brooklyn putting her sister’s plate in the dishwasher. Convicting! So, I chose to replace my ugliness with love. I cleaned his dish and put it away because I love him. In that simple grace-filled moment, I asked the Lord for forgiveness and to love better (And, yes, I told my daughter that her example helped me love her daddy better!).
Isn’t it nice when our first reaction is great? Well, when that doesn’t happen and our responses stink, we have a chance to rewrite them.
Instead of making the mountain of bitterness bigger, we can squash it with grace. Let’s choose the latter.
That is life. That is love. That is Jesus.
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This great Easter Activity is from Courtney DeFeo’s book, “In this House We Will Giggle”:
1. Tie two sticks together to make a cross.
2. On Good Friday, you and your kiddos write down some of your sins- ways you have not loved God or others. Tape them on the cross (we taped them backwards to keep it between them & God).
3. Easter morning before your kids are awake, throw the papers away so they only see the cross.
This is a great visual to explain to our kids that when we believe in Jesus, we are forgiven of ALL our sins and can be with him forever. Jesus took our sins upon himself when he died on the cross. But the good news is that he rose three days later, giving us life now and forever with him! The Lord’s love is more powerful than anything!
Happy Easter!

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Deep down, what motivates our children’s choices?

Being motivated by obligation won’t last or drive integrity, but being motivated by love will.

When Jesus healed a woman who had been crippled for 18 years, the Pharisees were angered and annoyed because it was the Sabbath Day.

Jesus didn’t care – he cared about the woman in pain – he cared about loving her above all. He wasn’t moved by customs and law, but love.

Sharing simple ways our children love well shifts their mindsets from doing things grudgingly to doing things out of love.

From TIME TO TIME, I will say this to my kids:
“Thanks for loving me well by putting your dish away.”
“That’s awesome how you loved your sister by making her bed for her.”
“Great job sharing with your brother. You really loved him well and put him first.”
“Great job not responding in anger when she was rude. You really loved her and the Lord with your response.”
“Thanks for doing what I asked right away. You sure loved me well by listening to me.”

The Lord’s two greatest commandments hinge on love: to love God and love others. And, Jesus’ deepest motivation to follow the law wasn’t because he had to, but because he chose to out of love.

As we call out small examples when our children choose love, they will begin to be motivated by love, just as Jesus was.

 

 

True Beauty.

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True Beauty comes from the soul. It doesn’t fade over time. It magnifies.

Since our girls were three years old, we’ve asked them a question to reinforce this truth: “What makes you beautiful?” At 7 years old, they still answer, “My heart, mind, and soul.”

In this verse about Beauty above, the word “quiet” jumps out to me. In Hebrew, “quiet” is hēsýxios: To be steady due to a divinely inspired inner calmness, and to be tranquil – not stirring up needless friction. (Bible Hub)

THAT is of great worth in God’s sight.

While there is a time to be quiet, I don’t think this verse means we should always walk about in quietness, especially if that is not who God has woven us to be. But rather, to possess an inner stillness and calmness from trusting in the Lord.

Being fully human and fully God, Jesus experienced so many feelings: joy, anger, sorrow, tiredness, peace, frustration, connection. Through it all, he had an inner calm, an inner peace. He was steady and knew what he came for. He didn’t let up, but carried through.

What a powerful definition of Beauty this leads us to: Beauty comes from the inner self – the unfading beauty of a spirit that is gentle, has inner calmness, and steadily follows and trusts the Lord.

That is Beauty unfading.

“This is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.” 1 Peter 3:5

Lord, we pray that this is the kind of beauty we, and our children, would seek – an inner beauty that trusts steadily in you.

Shake It Off & Move On

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Jesus was humble and confident – reaching out to so many, but never forcing his presence on anyone. Men, women, and children were simply drawn to him. But, there were also many who opposed him and his disciples. How did he handle this?

When Jesus sent his 12 disciples out, he told them, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” Matthew 10:14

Jesus wasn’t moved by people’s harshness. Some people will welcome us and some won’t. It’s okay to “shake the dust off our feet” and move on when they don’t. It’s actually a good thing. Let’s empower our children with this verse so when they do get stuck in people’s words and actions, they can break free.

This doesn’t mean to move on wth anger and bitterness, but with forgiveness, humility, and confidence. To pray for these people, to continue in kindness, but to shake it off and move on.


I loved this post by “Mommin’ in Faith” – such a great reminder:

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