Saturday, February 23, 2013

Little Things

Philippians 4 contains a blessed reminder for this mother’s heart:

“Don’t worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need . . . “

Though I might be inclined to be anxious (as mamas sometimes are), this verse reassures me that it’s okay. I can respond by pouring out every concern to God.  I can tell Him what I need, what I’m hoping for, what I long to see Him do in my children’s lives. And I can trust that He hears my heart’s cries.  
Paul’s words remind me of what a blessing I have in my heavenly Father.  And they underscore the importance praying intentionally and often for the young lives my husband and I have been given to parent.
But as I read on, I’m reminded of something else:
“And now, dear brothers and sisters,
one final thing.
Fix your thoughts
on what is true, and honorable,
and right, and pure,
and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Sometimes, when I’m busy telling God about my hopes and concerns, I find myself focusing so much on the qualities I want to see that I forget to celebrate what my Father is already building into my children’s characters.   Yet each day—sometimes more, if I’m watching—God allows me to see a little bit of His work in their lives:

When he tells the truth;
When she honors a friend or family member;
When they makes good choices;
When he demonstrates his pure heart; 
When she does something lovely, whether it’s on the field or in the classroom; whether it’s at the workplace or at home.

Paul’s words offer an important, and immensely encouraging truth:  Whenever I catch a glimpse of God’s goodness in my child—each time I see “anything” that is “excellent or praiseworthy,” I can notice it.  I can celebrate it.  In fact, scripture encourages me to fix my mind on those moments.

So, when I find myself dwelling on the traits I long to see God develop in my children, Philippians 4 reminds me:

I can make my requests, and I can leave them with Him. 
I can trust that He is, indeed, near each of my children.
And as I watch for glimpses of His daily and faithful work in their lives—as I celebrate each instance of His good work—I will allow God’s peace to guard my heart and my mind. 

Friday, February 8, 2013


Be Not Afraid

These words can strike her like a cruel joke sometimes: 
On those days, she’s afraid for the better part of her waking hours.
Afraid she’s not doing enough,
Not trying hard enough,
Not being enough.
Afraid that, in the end, she’ll recognize the truth:
She was failing all along.

Even though she prays . . . 
Even though she listens . . . 
Even though she tastes the relief of a relevant response once in awhile . . . 
Even then, she is afraid:
Afraid she might overlook something vital.
Afraid she’ll miss a word,
Miss a prompt,
Miss the one-time-only moment of divine guidance,
The moment meant to change the trajectory of her life forever, 
The moment that would, once and for all, transform her into the so-much-better version of her sinful self. 
If only she weren’t so busy.
Busy with afraid.

Sometimes, though,
She presses “pause” on the fear.
And she hears it . . . . 

Be not afraid.
She recognizes the whole sentence,
Says it out loud,
Lets its echos wrestle her worry,
Pin it to the floor, powerless.
The reverberations flood her heart,
Mend her mind,
Breathe fresh hope into her fear-strangled spirit.

Sometimes she sees these words as the living water that they are,
She drinks them down.