Category Archives: family

nester

March 12 house 3

Looking back . . .

For the last four years we’ve been “raising” baby blue birds.  Well actually, we’ve been providing them a place to build their nests, to lay their eggs, and to raise their young until the babies are ready to fledge, spread their wings and fly.
I have been fascinated at how meticulously the mothers build their nests, layering twigs and grasses, delicately intertwining all the many different pieces to create a home for their babies.  In watching this whole process, one thing I’ve noticed is the mother takes great care at preparing her haven that will be “home” for them over the weeks to come.  There is a constant sense of activity as she puts everything in order, not putting off everything that needs to be done.  And even in the sense of the world, even though this home is only temporary the mother nester puts all her energy and efforts into creating the “just-right,” not perfect, but welcoming environment for her family. 

Looking forward . . .

I want to be like my blue bird nesters.  Coming into a fresh season of life, I look forward to the change of pace, adjusting to not being in the classroom and on the clock, and reacquainting myself with some skills that have become a bit rusty over the years, creating the “just-right,” not perfect, but welcoming environment for our new home.   Even if it’s just temporary!

She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.
Prov. 31:27 

 

 

 

 


A Daughter’s Reflections

holding Mom's hand

I thank God every time I remember you
Philippians 1:3

That day came too early, too unexpectedly.  Afterall, we had such big plans.  Plans to be able to spend more time together, enjoying the sunsets, the wildflowers, the grandchildren, getting pedicures, savoring a lingering cup of coffee.  More time together – Mother and Daughter, best friends for life.  I can remember saying, “Momma, just give me one more week, and you’ve got me for good.”  School would be over, and not just for the three short months of summer!

Mom, that day came. Too early.  At least according to my calendar.  But my heart knows that God’s calendar is far, far better than the one I keep.  So with tears in my eyes that day, I told you to “let go of this life and grab the hand of Jesus.”  The tears were sadness for what I knew I would miss, but also for the Joy that I knew you would experience as you finished The Race and looked into the eyes of Jesus!

A Daughter’s Reflections – spoken at Mom’s Life Celebration on June 18, 2015

As I look around this room, a smile burns deep in my heart. I see the faces of those who called my sweet Momma – “my sweet, sweet Lady” – “Mom” – “Granna” – “my sister, Dot” – and “Dot” to her many friends and acquaintances. And then there are those of you who didn’t actually have the opportunity to know Momma personally, but you “knew” her because of the outpouring of love on her family.   You join us here today, as we gather together as Family – Daddy, Stan, Craig, Cody, Kelly, Adam, Laura, Annabelle, Dylan and Riley – each of us a reflection of her special love for us, individually and collectively. But most importantly, we know that her outpouring of love on us was rooted in the deep overflow of love in her heart for Jesus.

Growing up, the most important thing Mom impressed upon me was to love God, love others as He loves us, and the rest will fall in place. These weren’t just words shared, they were words she lived.

Over the last few days, so many of you have shared such happy memories of Mom with the family and me, just as we’ve also had time to share, to laugh, and to cry together. All of these are reminders of this precious lady who loved Jesus and made sure I knew, my children knew, and their children knew it through her words shared, her continual prayers for each of us, and most importantly through the way she loved us. Her desire was that anyone, everyone she met could see His Love on her face and in her smile.

Life wasn’t always an easy road for Mom or for those of us close to her heart, but she was confident that no matter the circumstances, it was NEVER a road none of us ever need to walk alone. I can still hear her saying to me (as she did so many times throughout the years!), “Honey, God’s got this one! He’s in control.”   She knew this, believed it, and walked it. And it was with that assurance, she covered each of us in her prayers every single day. It was well with her soul.

A dear friend reminded me that great love brings great grief. So today, even though my heart is heavy with the deep sadness of no longer having my Mom to talk with, to laugh with, to pray with, or to simply share the wonders of life, – in my grief I whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for my Momma who helped shape my life – through her encouragement, her wise counsel (rarely given unless asked for), her laugh and sense of humor, her genuine unconditional love, and each of those prayers she covered me with daily. Each of these is a bountiful blessing in my life and the lives of each in our family.   Her well-lived life continues to bring gratefulness – gratefulness for the threads her life woven into the tapestry of my life, and the lives of the many others blessed to know and be acquainted with her. Each thread she has woven into our tapestries, help us hold on to her memory and for each of us to become more like Him.

My heart is full of gratefulness for the peace given by Jesus through the sweet memories we each will carry forward from today until the day we too can experience the joy of seeing the face of Jesus!

I thank God every time I remember you – Momma!
(Philippians 1:3)


I need You

photolibrary_rm_photo_of_baby_sleeping_close_up

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
John 16:24

There is something about a sleeping baby that fills my heart with such joy.  As I watch our little one sleeping so peacefully, I am reminded the joy, the happiness, the delight in my heart isn’t just a happy emotion.  That kind of joy, that happiness is fleeting. It lasts only for that speck of time.  Rocking her to sleep, relishing that moment of joy, I find myself humming “Lord, I Need You” to the sleepy little one snuggled in my arms.  Every single need of this precious little one is dependent on someone else to supply.  Her honest needings remind me of how much I need to lean into Him, how much I need to depend on my Father  . . . not just when I “need” Him, but every moment of every hour of every day.

I need Him in my joys and in my time of need.  I need Him when I’m strong and when I feel weak.  I need Him moment by moment. He is my one defense, He is my righteousness. 

Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence. However, there are pitfalls that you must be on guard against: self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice—deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or with My Presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually: simple, short prayers flowing out of the present moment. Use My Name liberally, to remind you of My Presence. Keep on asking and you will receive, so that your gladness may be full and complete. (from Jesus Calling)


(click to play “Lord, I need You” – Matt Maher)

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

in her Momma’s arms

sleeping AB

I sit quietly in awe. Quietly watching this precious little one nestled snugly in her momma’s arms.  Their breathing is in harmonic motion, in and out . . . in and out . . .a quiet, a peaceful rhythm.

Her momma gently whispers words of love over her as she has her tucked safely close. In her mother’s arms she is safe, protected, nurtured.  Momma’s arms hold her close to her beating heart, that heart that was the familiar sound this little one heard day in and day out while her mother carried her for nine months.   And now out in this world, this world that is so filled with chaos, her momma continues to hold her close, to cover her with mother wings.  A stronghold of love.

I sit watching, pondering in awe. Pondering meditatively.

As I see my very own little girl embrace her own little girl, my heart is full.  My heart is full of love for this new little one who has been  remarkably and wonderfully made.  My heart is full of love for the one who was remarkably and wonderfully knitted together inside my own body.

But most of all, my heart is full of reminders of the One who covers me in His arms, who holds me close in the midst of the chaos.

I am reminded of the times my life has been crumbling to pieces around me, troubles were crashing into me right and left, life seem to be imploding.  I was alone, or at least that is what the enemy wanted me to believe.

Clinging to Psalm 46, He pulls me in to cover me with His Love, to be my stronghold against all that is clamoring to tear me apart.  He is always there to whisper His words of Love into my heart.  Pulling me close, the chaos turns into peace.

I can hear His heartbeat because He created me to be His.

God is my refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore I will not fear,
Though the earth should give way,
And though the mountains fall into the heart
of the sea.
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
Psalm 46:1-3

So as things of this world are vying to pull me away, to create disharmony, when I have to hold it together, even when I don’t feel like it . . . it is here, here with my God, my Creator, that I find solace, my stronghold.  It is here, I can let it go.  I cling to His arms and hear His tender heart calling me close.  It’s here in the magnificent, or the insignificant, in the joyous moments, or the disappointing times, the uplifting, or the casting down, the contentment, or the perplexities and uncertainties that I rest secure. Resting secure in the harmonic motion of His peace and His grace.

Rest in His arms, just like that precious little one in her Momma’s arms.  Rest no matter what the world throws your way. Find His peace in the chaos.


how to let go of regret [reblog]

The Kids

I love how God sends me words of encouragement exactly when He knows I need it!  Today is the birthday of one of my three and as any Mama would do, I was mulling over some things in my heart and head today, reflecting on some precious memories and the word REGRET was trying its level best to take over.  So when I was reading through some emails and posts . . . the word REGRET jumped right off the screen.
Call it coincidence . . . I don’t!

So thankful to Robin Dance for sharing some links today . . .

How to Let Go of Regret [reblogged from Life on the Wild Side ~ Shelly Wildman]

I see you, mama. The one with Regret written all over your face and on your sagging shoulders and in your sad eyes. The one whose hopes and dreams consist of words you wish you had said, deeds you wish you had done, or those you wish you could undo.

“If only” has become your mantra.

I see you and I know you because I am you.

Seems, sometimes, like Regret is a mother’s best friend.

We walk with it, chew on it, and let it weigh us down. None of us are immune.

I’ve certainly had my share of regrets over the years—things I wish I had done; things I wish I had said. More often, though, things I wish I had not said. The words, they do poison.

In the past few weeks I have spoken to two friends—both amazing mothers—who are filled with regret over children who are not currently living in the way these parents have raised them. One child has rejected the faith with which they were raised; the other is on the brink of making some important decisions about how to live.

In both conversations, I noticed that both of my friends expressed serious regret about their parenting.

Maybe you’ve felt this, too.

Here’s the thing, mamas: we are not made to regret. And I think our regrets come from our forgetfulness about three important things.

  1. We forget that we are ultimately not in control.

In other words, we give ourselves way too much blame (or credit!) for the way our kids turn out. As much as we’d like to make the way easy for our kids, we have to remember that some kids very simply will not learn from our mistakes. They may not even learn from their own. We can give our children the tools (whether that be an education, a faith heritage, a stable family—whatever it is) that can make paving the way a bit easier, but it’s up to them to use them.

Don’t blame yourself if your child rejects the tools you have given him or her. Just be faithful every day.

  1. We forget that we are forgiven, just as much as our children are.

Forgiveness is a powerful arsenal in our parenting strategy, and we must remember to also practice it on ourselves.

I recently read the most beautiful definition of grace: “Grace says, ‘There you are, I’ve been waiting for you and you’re welcome here. All of you. You are beloved.’”

Mama, you are beloved—all of you—whether or not you’ve messed up. Or your kid has. Or your husband has. It doesn’t matter. Grace is here, waiting for you.

Mama, forgive yourself because God already has. Don’t let the regret that you’re feeling limit you from the power of forgiveness and grace in your life, which will move you ahead to do the next right thing.

  1. We forget that the story isn’t finished yet.

I’ve known parents of some seriously messed up kids. Some have let regrets stop them from doing what they should be doing—whether that is acting with tough love or gently loving them back home. But some parents I’ve known have simply said, “My son’s (or daughter’s) story is not yet finished. God has not given up on this child, and neither will I.” They have prayed continuously for their child. They have opened the door to their home. They have shown, in very practical terms, what the love of Jesus means.

Mama, your story is not yet finished—thank goodness for that, right?!—and neither is your child’s. Our stories continue to grow and to change and to mold us into the people we are today, and that’s true for our kids as well. If you have regrets, remember that your child’s story is still being written and that the way he or she is living today is not the end of the story.

Even more important, remember that God has not walked away from your child, He still loves them, and He will never give up fighting for them.

So mama? For the sake of your family (and your sanity) will you give up your regrets? Don’t dwell on those things that are over and done. Realize that, ultimately, you are not in control. Move ahead with grace and forgiveness.

And thank God that the story is not finished yet.

Thanking God for allowing me the precious opportunity and blessing of being a mama . . . and yes, thanking Him that He is not finished with our story yet!


no blurred lines

 

Glassing for elk

Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne

Hebrews 12:2

Do I spend my day, questioning whether there is really a plan He has for me?
or
Do I expect it, seeking it with intention and focus?

Do I stumble around trying to see my life carrying a broad beam flashlight of self-reliance to find my own path?

or

Am I guided with laser focus, the intense energy provided the Holy Spirit steering me to follow God’s perfect plan?

Do I question that He has a plan for me?

or

Do I joyfully expect it, hungry for Him to build me into the one He desires for me to be?

Is my daily prayer . . . USE ME? 

 


jigsaw puzzles

jigsaw_puzzle

When puzzle pieces go missing. I want to understand. I want to see how all these pieces can be put back together.

But the real wisdom is not the ability to find how all the puzzle gets back together.  Real wisdom is trusting God, even when life doesn’t make sense.~Joni Earekson Tada

One of my favorite things growing up was working jigsaw puzzles.  The more pieces, the better.   I remember taking my saved up allowance money, going to one of the neighborhood stores that sold toys, and buying the puzzle box filled with hundreds, yes even a thousand pieces.   Oh, I could hardly wait to get home so we could open up the box and dump out all the pieces.  When it was puzzle time, Mom would set up a card table in the corner of the den, so Dad and I could spend hours at a time, working the puzzle.

At first, I would want to just start trying pieces to see if they would match.  But Dad would take his time, carefully examining the pieces for each of the matches.   Sometimes the process was slow and tedious and then other times, the pace would change and the pieces would fall into place.  In learning how to work these puzzles, I relied so many times on my dad’s wisdom to guide me through the process of putting the pieces back together.

He would often say, Our lives are often times like this jigsaw puzzle.  We have circumstances and situations that break us apart.  And we have to trust God to help us put the pieces back together.  We can’t do it on our own.” 

When I ran across the words of Joni Earekson Tada, my mind went back to the special times spent working on those jigsaw puzzles and the spiritual life lessons I took away from the hundreds, or thousands pieces jigsaw puzzles.  And then it went to the times my life has seemed like a jigsaw puzzle.

Many times have I cried out, “I just want all the pieces to go back together. I just want to put it all back together.”  

The problem was one little, tiny word . .  . I” . . . ” I want . . .” 

My life is like those jigsaw puzzles, I have to let go of all the loose puzzle pieces.

Just like as a young girl when I looked to my earthly dad to guide me, to share his wisdom, I have to turn to my Abba Father, my Creator, for His wisdom to help me put the pieces back together.

 In His way, in His time.  It’s not up to me to sort through all the broken apart pieces and tediously put pieces back together.  I can not do it on my own.

I must trust in His Wisdom.  He puts back the pieces – in ways, I couldn’t even see! 

Trusting Him, even when life doesn’t make sense.


meet me in the timelessness

BJG_0259

 Life has different stages of waiting.

There is that gnawing demand on the mind as we wait.

It seems like so much of time we are sitting in a waiting room – that place where I tend to become frustrated with inefficiency and inaction.  With myself, with others.  And yes, at times . . .  even God.

Some of the times of waiting are in anticipation of something good happening – the birth of a new little baby.  The excitement of looking towards starting a new chapter in life.

Some times it is that vast area of waiting for God’s timing in a specific situation or circumstance in my life, the lives of my family, of my friends.

Then there is the  waiting room where I kneel praying for the Prodigal.  It’s often a very lonely place where well-meaning people seem to slip in and out of as time wears on.  It is a seemingly ending vastness of time ticking away – time slipping away.

And yet another sweet reminder comes that God meets me in the timelessness . . . 

and in that time of waiting, He continues to bless me with strength, and joy, and power.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
—Micah 7:7

 

Wait patiently with Me while I bless you. Don’t rush into My Presence with time-consciousness gnawing at your mind. I dwell in timelessness: I am, I was, I will always be. For you, time is a protection; you’re a frail creature who can handle only twenty-four-hour segments of life. Time can also be a tyrant, ticking away relentlessly in your mind. Learn to master time, or it will be your master.

Though you are a time-bound creature, seek to meet Me in timelessness. As you focus on My Presence, the demands of time and tasks will diminish. I will bless you and keep you, making My Face shine upon you graciously, giving you Peace.
(from Jesus Calling)

 


“you got this” ~ thank you, Dad

The Hallmark reminder popped up on my computer’s calendar ~ “Father’s Day is today.”  Not that I needed a reminder  … in fact, I don’t need Hallmark to remind me to celebrate my dad!   Each and every day, my dad is one of the very special people in my life that I thank God for allowing to be part of my journey.  My dad is the one who has guided me, pointing me to Him every step of the way from the very beginning.

 

A Father is the seed of your beginning, he is the catalyst of your being, the genesis of your becoming.
~Ann Voskamp

 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
Psalms 103:13

 

What better legacy can a daughter ask for?

Dad, I’ve got it . . .  because our Father has you!

 


those times in between

Waiting.  Watching and waiting. It’s that time of the year around here again.  Our bluebird houses were completely cleaned out in the early days of spring.  But with the unusual weather we’ve had, it seems that our waiting time for the houses to be filled with nests and eggs has been even longer than usual.  Walking the fence line last weekend to check on the progress, I thought about this season of waiting.

1st bluebirds 2014

1st bluebirds 2014

It seems in a number of areas of my life, that’s exactly where I am –

waiting . . .  watching . . .  waiting

Those times of waiting often seem to be the most difficult.  It’s that time that is either “going to make me or break me.” It’s those times when things aren’t clear, it’s like waking up to some of the foggy mornings we’ve had lately.

Confusion sets in.
Hopelessness sets in.
Doubt sets in.
A lack of understanding sets in.
Coping sets in.
Disillusionment sets in.
Cynicism sets in.
Unbelief sets in.

The time of waiting often seems to be unrelenting.  Those times in between are often difficult, when I begin to doubt. The days turn into weeks.  The weeks turn into months.  And the months even turn into years. Those times of waiting are the times in between . . . the times in between of being on the mountain tops.  While I love those times on the mountaintops, I have learned that it’s the times in between the mountain tops where I experience His greatest Joys.  

And so with the discovery of several nests with those beautiful blue eggs waiting to hatch, I ,too, am reminded that those times in between – in waiting and watching – there is Hope.

It might be waiting for the birth of our newest granddaughter, the return of a colleague to work, for a new home, for reconciliation in a relationship, the return of a prodigal, the end of a career and the beginning of a new season in life. Whatever the wait . . . I hold onto His Promise 

I know that You can do anything
and no plan of Yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2

Because He is I AM.

He sees me in my waiting.  He shows me His faithfulness in looking back over all the many seasons of waiting in my life.  And although there are times of confusion, of not understanding the why, times of doubt and cynicism, of mistrust in the fog, I am confident that He is my Hope in the times in between.

So I continue to wait, to watch for His Hand in those times in between. 


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