A Glimpse of My Worth

Friday April 18, 2014 

What am I worth?

And how in the world can I relate to a God who sits in the heavens?

 Easter, the cross—they proclaim my worth.

Stay tuned for my fifth favorite, a quote that reminds me how an age-old story rings clear and true today.

I’m linking up with the ladies of Friday’s Fave Five, as we recount our blessings for the week. I’ve been away for a while, busy with life. So this will cover more than this week!

My favorites:

1. Oklahoma! Our fine arts students did an incredible job of performing Oklahoma, and a good time was had by all. They simply outdid themselves—as did our new director, Rachel Cox. I was honored to be her assistant, but I did little, in reality. The coolest thing about this? Ten years ago she was my student, and now she’s my colleague. The Drama department is in capable hands. She’s the best. So proud of her and our students.

2. Some time off. We have our Easter Break now, and I’m enjoying every second of it. It’s a little harbinger of summer, which is not too far away for us. And part of what I’m enjoying is the end of research paper grading! This big project is over for this year, thank heavens. I’m enjoying reading, writing…all of those good things.

3. A night at the theatre. My sweet husband got us tickets to The Screwtape Letters. It was awesome. Entertaining, thought-provoking, a great night out.

4. An opportunity for ministry. I write for The MOB Society (for moms of boys), and I’m enjoying being part of their Titus Two Team. We answer questions sent in by moms every Saturday. Last week a question about losing it with your kids prompted our leader to open a Facebook page called “No More Angry MOB,” and in one day, over 1000 moms had joined. The dialogue on the page is heart-rending as moms begin to realize they’re not alone in their struggles, as they search for ways to raise their children with a sense of the gospel, as they pour out their hearts and seek practical solutions for the challenges of motherhood. It’s a real blessing. If you are—or know of—a mom who would be interested, you can read more here in “How Do I Stop Yelling?”.

5. A quote that reminds me of what’s important about Easter:

“The Cross provides a stunning glimpse of my value in the sight of an omniscient God. The suffering and death of Christ is the price tag that God has set to secure my everlasting life WITH HIM. How much more valuable could I be in the sight of God -- whose appraisal is the only one that matters? There is no room for pride; there is no room for despair; there is ONLY room for humble worship and gratitude!” (Sam Kastensmidt)

Hoping you sense your worth to Him today,

When Mom Loses It: The NOISE!

Wednesday April 16, 2014

What makes a mama lose it?

Blow her stack?

Morph into something even she hates?

Off the top of my head, I’d say:

1. Noise
2. Mess
3. Bickering / sibling rivalry
4. Disobedience
5. Attitude

Yes, all of those are present in a home full of children—and more! And sometimes they can just drive you crazy.

One day I stopped and asked myself, “Why DO those things get to me?”

The answer surprised me—because of expectations. 

Today we’ll talk about number one, and then we’ll attack each of other anger triggers, post by post.

Why does the kids’ NOISE get to me? 

I have an expectation of quiet because that’s what I like and, let’s face it, what any mama needs once in a while. But how can I reduce the likelihood that that will trigger Mom Angst?

Allow some noise—maybe even more than you’re comfortable with. Let them get it out. Endure it for a while.
Institute some quiet time—for everyone. One mom I know calls this “Be Still Time.” It occurs the same time every day. It’s time in a chair with books, and with lots of praise at the end.
Thank God for, yes, even the noise. Let Him know you’re thankful you have kids who CAN verbalize, kids who are well enough to play loudly. Thank Him that you’re there to hear them. It’s amazing what a little thankfulness will do.

Kids need to blow off steam sometimes and they need to learn the value of being still sometimes. Once they get used to quiet times, they’ll begin to realize that quiet is not the enemy. Give them the chance to look and listen and observe, to read and learn and take things in. Teach them to value times of quiet and they’ll be more likely to go there.

How can that keep me from losing it? 

Those moments of calm—islands of quiet—can be something to look forward to. Maybe I can endure the rambunctiousness a bit more, knowing that it’s temporary and I’ll get a dose of quiet later. And when I ask them to stop and slow down and take the volume down a notch, it won’t seem like a foreign concept to them.

Several of us just answered the question, "How do I stop yelling?" on the MOB Society blog.
And now there's a Facebook group called No More Angry MOB, dedicated to the search for Mom's peace in the midst of childhood chaos. You can find the link on the MOB Society page.

Any ideas, Moms? How do you handle the constant noise of childhood?

An Affirmation of Everyday Hope

The message was unexpected but instantly recognizable. A voice resonated from a distance and somehow from within. Against all earthly logic, it carried a divine command.

And five very different people knew they were summoned to obey.

Obey they did—but these weren’t grandiose actions designed to call attention to themselves. Only later did they see a pattern emerge - one that linked their tasks together and began to challenge the cultural direction of the nation.

One small personal response linked with others and made a difference.

And their affirmation of everyday hope captures the attention of millions. 

But power and money are at stake. Malicious elements soon align themselves to counter the trend. To succeed they must also undermine its source.

Can we really believe that God speaks to people today? 

Davis Bunn’s new book, The Turning, proposes that very question. Five different people sense God’s calling on their life and actions, and they take the turning. Rather than continue with their placid, day-to-day existence, they take the first small step in obedience, and then they embark upon a journey they could not have predicted.

I was amazed at how Bunn balanced the disparate elements in this story—unique individuals each with their own situation—and how they became pieces of one grand story in my mind as I read. There was a temporary jolt as, in beginning chapters, we jumped from one individual to another, but Bunn wove one tapestry of these individual threads before I realized what was happening.

Davis Bunn always seems to have a finger on the pulse of the times; he senses the zeitgeist and clearly shows how the gospel message relates to this moment.

Davis Bunn’s message in the midst of today’s milieu is my favorite element of the book. 

He reminds, underscores, affirms for us that Hope is not dead. 

I received a complimentary copy of The Turning from River North Fiction in exchange for my honest review. 

Twitter: @davisbunn

Impossible to Possible

Monday March 25, 2014 

He’s the God who makes the impossible possible. 

He brought light from darkness.
He brings life from death.

And the more I read the Bible, the more convinced I am that He’s the God of the unexpected.

The King of Kings and the Prince of Peace has a genealogy that includes not only a king who sinned, but a Gentile woman and a harlot. Tucked inside those names are stories of hope—hope for those born in the wrong place, to the wrong group. 

He includes David and Ruth and Rahab, reminding us that our inclusion in this family is dependent on God—not on our birth, our status, or our performance. No matter where we begin, He finds us and grafts us in. We are adopted into the royal bloodline, related forever to the King of Kings.

What greater picture of the hope of the Gospel? Foreigners, outcasts, aliens, He welcomes home. How can we do less? 

This post is both written in celebration and in anticipation. In celebration of little ones come home. My dear friend, Missy Roepnack and her sweet husband and family of four have just welcomed two more to the family—Aaron and Haven, two children from China with dwarfism and special needs. The story is one of open hearts, open arms, and lives lived ever for His glory, and you can read it here. With a total of six children now, it’s bound to be quite the busy house, but once Missy posts the homecoming pictures, you’ll see the joy. I just have to share one quote from Missy, who never misses an opportunity to point to the gospel. As she wrote of waiting for her children, she said:

“I do want to remind you all that there is a God who is making all things new, and that He is waiting for you. I would have missed EVERYTHING if I had missed Jesus.” 

That’s certainly worth celebrating. 
And the anticipation? 

The Groves family is waiting for adoption news that we think may come soon. And when we can share a name and a face, you will see it here! My son and his sweet wife are adopting a little girl from India and things are moving ahead. They’ve made great strides in their fundraising, they’ve filled out countless forms, waited for over a year, and we can’t wait to share what God is doing when we can. Pray for us, with us, as we wait. And then, one day, you will see a homecoming post right here! You can hear their heart for adoption in this video.

Those of you who are fans of a good story and have a love for international adoption, I’d love for you to check out Pearl, my novel. (Proceeds from the sale go to my future granddaughter’s adoption fund.)

Until that little one is here, we’re depending on the One who makes the impossible possible. 

He IS hope—the One who opened His arms wide to make us—the undeserving—His own.

Even when the road is rocky, He’s always there—the One who makes possible the impossible. 

I'm linking up with Laura, Michelle, and Jen today.
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