"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘God’

What I learned when she sang my praises

We were in the car, heading off to her weekly swimming lesson, when my five-year-old daughter broke out in this joyous, made-up-on-the-spot song:

I love my mommy!

I love her so much.

She takes care of me.

She feeds me yummy food.

She takes me places I need to go.

She doesn’t leave me alone.

Remi's flower

She plays with me.

She teaches me.

She makes school so fun.

She is the best mom ever…

On and on and on she went, and I’ll admit it: With each line, my heart swelled a little more. Oh, I know I’m not “all that”…but in HER eyes, I am! And it was really nice to hear her singing my praises.

  • It reminded me how much she truly loves me.
  • It made me feel appreciated.
  • It thrilled me that she was so sincere in her thoughts that she just couldn’t help but sing them out.

And then it hit me.

How must our God feel when we sing praises to Him?

          When we can’t help but shout about all the great things He’s done for us?

          When we list off all the people and things we’re thankful for?

          When we tell Him everything we love about Him?

          When we acknowledge that He is the BEST?

In God’s case, He actually deserves all the praise we can give Him, and it must warm His heart to hear His thankful children giving glory and honor to His name.

So…when was the last time you just couldn’t stop telling your Father in heaven what you love about Him? How long has it been since the list of what you are thankful for was so long, that it far outweighed all the things you asked Him for? I know I need to do better about that, and this experience motivates me to try.

Let’s make it a point today–and every day–to let our hearts and mouths overflow with praises for the One who does everything right.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;

Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.

(Psalm 98:4)

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My imperfect life

It’s hard to imagine anyone thinking I have “the perfect life.” (I giggled just typing that phrase!) But just in case I’ve given anyone that impression, I want to set the record straight. Right here. Right now.

This is a blog about why I smile. I share with you the happy parts, hoping they’ll make you happy, too.

But trust me: Things aren’t always all “sunshine and rainbows” around here!

I have bad hair days.

I  oversleep.

I  lose my temper.

I  let the laundry pile up.

Less than HALF of what is waiting in my laundry room at this very moment…..

I  miss deadlines.

I  lose things.

I  let the house get way too messy.

I eat junk.

I  run late.

I  spend foolishly.

I  get my feelings hurt.

I  make bad decisions.

I  waste time.

I have, on more than one occasion, found things growing in our fridge that I could not identify. I have been afraid to look under my child’s bed. I have lost things that weren’t even mine.

I get discouraged. I get overwhelmed. I get frustrated.

Many days I am surrounded by dirty dishes and sticky floors and overdue library books and at least one cranky kid.

But I am fully convinced that, even on those days, there is always something to smile about. ALWAYS. And that’s why I continue to post to this blog.

I love these words from Melissa Wiley, which perfectly explain the way I think and write:

“Every day is complicated, messy, and full of friction. And every day has glorious or cozy moments worth celebrating. I seldom bother to chronicle the friction and the mess because writing time is fleeting and precious—and childhood even more so. I’d rather capture the small joys that I might forget—or take for granted—if I don’t take time to set them down in words. I don’t want anyone to be under the impression that things are always perfect around here! Heaven knows we are anything but. Perfect, frictionless, orderly? Nope. Happy? Most of the time!”

My other reason for sharing “the good parts” with you? In Mark 5:19, Jesus said to a man He’d just healed, “…Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”

My God has shown me great mercy, which I do not deserve, and He has done many great things for me. I want to share some of them here. He’s done much for you, too, and I want to remind you of that.

I want to daily look around me for blessings to acknowledge, for reasons to give thanks, and for excuses to smile. And I want to motivate you to do the same.

I am just like you, living with struggles, with sadness, and with sin. But together we can be on the lookout for the joy in everyday life…..the small victories…..the smiles and successes we might not notice if we aren’t actively looking.

So let’s keep looking!

“I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me…”   (Neh. 2:18)

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Because he wears the hat

The 2012 election is over. And now, we move on to the difficult task of showing respect for a man’s office, regardless of our respect (or lack thereof) of the man who occupies it…and teaching our children to do the same.

Although I disagree unequivocally with most of our newly-reelected president’s ideology, I must continue to show respect for his position.

Why?

As the old, well-loved song says, “For the Bible tells me so.”

“…for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” (Acts 23:5)

In the above verse, Paul was referencing Exodus 22:28, “You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”

It won’t be easy. I know there will be many issues I will feel very strongly about. I may rant and rave about those issues, and I may point out where the president’s actions defy biblical authority. But what I will not do is call him an idiot or tell everyone how stupid he is. His actions will speak for themselves, I fear, but I will not slander him, and I won’t allow my children to do so, either.

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (Titus 3:1-2)

Verses like the following are hard to swallow at a time like this. But, if I stand by the Bible, I stand by the Bible, tough parts and all.

“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” (I Peter 2:17)

Dishonoring our leaders by calling them hateful names is a poor reflection on us. It violates God’s will and hurts our example among non-believers. Yes, I am angry. I want to lash out. But there are bigger concerns at stake, like my soul and the souls of those I influence, so I must exercise self-control when I speak of the president of our country.

May God bless us as we do our best to fulfill ALL His commands.

Psalm 22:28

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Time to speak up

Ronald Reagan once said, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

I often wonder how people can defend abortion without stopping to think: What if that had been my child? my mom? my husband? my best friend? me? Would it really have been OK to eliminate that person from society because they were inconvenient/imperfect/fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-else?

More than 50,000,000 American babies in less than 40 years…slaughtered.

Who might they have been?

What might they have done?

Why do we still not get it? With ease we criticize the Nazis, then turn around and scream out, “God bless the USA!” Are we blind to what’s really happening here?

We tend to focus a lot on the latter part of Proverbs 31–“The Worthy Woman.” But there are some other really important verses in that chapter, too:

Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.

Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

(Proverbs 31:8-9)

The world says, “Speak up for women’s rights!” God says to speak up for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves.

The world says, “Don’t judge!” God says to judge righteously.

The world says, “To each his own!” God says we need to defend each other.

Are you willing to defend those who cannot speak for themselves? To set aside worry and fear and attempt to do things God’s way? Let me hear your thoughts!

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What if…..?

Once again, a question I came across on Pinterest has been challenging me, so I wanted to share it with you here.

It’s a simple question, really. But for several days now it’s had me asking the big, “What if…..?”

What if each time I’m tempted to COMPLAIN about something, I bow my head instead?

What if my friends and family never hear me WORRY aloud, because I’m too busy taking my concerns before God to verbalize the things I shouldn’t be worrying about anyway?

What if I never MURMURED about anything, but took every struggle straight to the only One who can do something about it?

The “What if…..?” questions go on and on, and the answer, of course, is that God’s way is ALWAYS better.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

So, are you ready to work on this with me?

Today, instead of grabbing your cell phone to call your best friend when you’re worried, or texting your husband when something goes wrong, or unloading your frustrations on your mother or you kids or your co-workers—or anyone else who will listen—why not FIRST take it all to God in prayer? I can’t wait to see the difference it makes!

Who’s with me?

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Always means always

My youngest daughter and I have the same, exact conversation just about every single day.

Making “flour pies”

It took a little while for her to know the right answers, but she has it down now.

The exchange goes like this…

Me: How long am I going to love you?

Her: For always!

Me: But what if you do something really bad?

Her: You’ll STILL love me!

Me: Even if it’s really, REALLY bad?

Her: Yes. You’ll STILL love me.

Me: Will I be sad?

Her: Yes.

Me: How sad?

Her: Very sad. But you’ll STILL love me.

Me: But for how long?

Her: ALWAYS!

We started having this conversation when she was two, and at first when I’d ask her how long I would love her, she’d say things like, “Ummm, I don’t know. Until Thursday?”

So why did I keep asking her until she could consistently get the right answers? Why would I want to have the same, exact conversation every single day?

It’s because I want her to know.

Right now she’s only three years old, and 99% of the time she is nothing but adorable. But I know the time is coming when everything she does won’t be quite so cute. We’ll be disappointed in some of her choices. We’ll probably get angry with her over bad attitudes and disobedience.

But I want her to know that, just like we do with our three older children, her father and I will continue to love her, no matter what, and there is nothing she can do that will ever change that.

More importantly, I want her to know that her heavenly Father won’t ever stop loving her.

Never?

Never!

No matter what?

No. Matter. What.

I want her to know this, because like the rest of us, she is going to mess up. She is going to eventually have to deal with guilt and regrets and disappointment in herself.

But I want her to know that even though she can choose to separate herself from God, she can never, ever, ever, ever, EVER separate herself from His love.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

And that’s what I want her to know.

(Do YOU know?)

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So that’s why

I was reminded of a couple of things today. One, we have clearly never explained the whole baby-naming process to our youngest daughter. Two, cause-and-effect relationships are still a little fuzzy in the mind of a three year old.

The conversation that brought about these reminders took place just after I’d explained to our little one why Goldilocks was so named.

Her eyes lit up and she said,

“So, God could have named ME Goldilocks, too!”

After pausing in thought for a moment, she added,

“But instead, He named me Remi…

…because I’m three.”

Ahhh….that explains it!

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