Wednesday, May 28, 2008

In the Arms of Angels

Today I was very suddenly reminded of a beautiful movie our family watched recently called In the Arms of Angels available on Netflix for instant viewing.

Silas came running in the house scratched, out of breath and telling me a story I never would have believed if two of the most honest people in our family (Hannah and Elijah) were not running in on his heals corroborating the whole thing.

Apparently he had been climbing a tree in the woods and was about as high as our two story shop. (30ft) Hannah and Eli say he was that high at least. Silas said he heard the branch he was on begin to break and toss him backwards, falling upside down for what sounds like about half of the way down breaking various branches as he went before his foot got caught in a fork in the tree and held him dangling upside down about 10 ft. or so from the ground! Hannah helped him get his foot unstuck and aside from some minor scrapes, he was fine.

I listened quietly to the whole story before asking Silas if he remembered what happened in the office shortly before he went out to play. He said "Oh...yes! Didn't you and me pray?" I said "Yes Silas, we did pray. But why?" and he said "it musta been to keep me safe!" I agreed that it must have been but I sure hadn't known it at the time. I asked him if he knew who probably moved me to pray and with very sober eyes he said "It was God."

So now I am sitting here asking myself the same question. Why? Why, when I was hurrying to get out an important email and Silas came up to ask if he could keep the quarter he found on my desk, did I turn towards him, suddenly taking him in my arms and holding him begin to pray? Perhaps I was thinking of the unfortunate combination of his love for money and his struggle with laziness? Or maybe it was that I noticed how small his shorts are on him and that he won't be little for long? But for whatever reason, I prayed (out loud) that God would help him have victory over particular sins that he is struggling with and I thanked God for the man He will be. I prayed that He would protect him and grow him for His glory, into the man I know he will be.

Then, I promptly released him... a little embarrassed at my sudden mushy motherliness and went back to work thinking I really ought to get my hormone levels checked again.

I am sitting here so humbled at the sovereignty of my Lord. God knows, controls and ordained before the foundations of the earth, the number of our days. His good plan has been from the beginning. But do we realize that our Father delights in our seeking Him and being moved by Him? Do we realize how securely we are held in that good plan for us? It should move us to pray! A prayer of confidence and yielding... and hope. I can pray for my little son in confidence because God is working all things together for his good. Today it meant a perfectly placed tree branch and a mother's bolstered faith.

The kids and I just sat down and watched In the Arms of Angels again on Netflix instant watch. I held Silas and cried just as much as I did the first several times for it so perfectly portrays the mystery of God's sovereignty and the decisions we do daily make. It's a beautifully filmed movie with breathtaking cinematography and music, and very convincing acting. It's only 14 min. long and I highly recommend just enjoying it right now. It will leave you and your little ones totally inspired to better obedience and humbly grateful for all the grace given in our learning of it.

When 8-year-old Belle Richards disobeys her father, she puts herself and her younger brother in peril from a rock slide that could mean death -- but God intervenes and saves the children. And though Belle never tells a soul about the miraculous rescue, years later, her father finds out exactly what happened during the life-changing event that drew the girl closer to God. Winner of the Grand Remi Award at the 2004 Worldfest Houston Film Festival.

And don't forget to keep praying over your little ones.

We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:26-28

Pleasing the Dinner Guests~ More on the Fear of Man

(Old forgotten post from 5/1/08)

I've written about the Fear of Man before. It's rather a theme for me as my often good desire to please and bless people can quickly become an idol if it is not in its rightful place below and in harmony with my Fear of God. It is impossible to please either God nor man with those two desires not in their rightful place.

It's beautiful how God is always using our children to sanctify our hearts and gradually chip away at our pride and fear of man, isn't it? And for those unfamiliar with the saying "Fear of Man", it is basically that futile desire we have to please, impress or just be understood by people... that so often distracts us from our focus which should be pleasing God. We all struggle with this.

My thoughts are almost always occupied with the training of obedience (among all other virtues) in my children as this is something we highly value, as well as something many of my friends and family value highly as well. Herein lies the issue I've been thinking on: Those friends and family that highly value that our children are obedient. These people can be such a huge blessing for us. This is a good thing and should function as a beautiful source of accountability and re-enforcement to our children of the values we are laboring to impart to them. We should be open and teachable and so thankful for them!

And yet, as a parent will quickly discover, it's not so cut and dry. If all the answers were that easy we would not need faith. And without faith it is impossible to please God. You can read every good book there is, listen to every tape, go to every parenting conference and your kid will still throw you for a loop driving away from that wonderful conference and you will need to seek the Lord and wait expectantly for His faithful leading.

We all have different children and different values to some degree. As Christians I would hope we would all name our biggest value for our children to be raising them to glorify God. How this plays out can be vastly and beautifully different though.

Parenting requires 24/7 faith in God's leading and directing us. God gave these particular children to us for a reason and it is all part of his perfectly ordained plan for the way he wants them to grow, and the way He wants us to grow. Much of our learning and sanctification will take place during those difficult moments where our children expose our failure to train and teach them. But much of our growing and humbling will happen in those inevitable moments that our children will not perform up to par in the sight of others. Our children are a reflection of us and we mothers feel it deeply. Somehow they are born with the uncanny ability to get you in the most inconvenient and humiliating moment and astound you with something new.

So how then do we respond?

This morning I was reading the story in Mark of the beheading of John the Baptist. The words "because of his dinner guests" really stuck out at me in a new light today since I have been praying much on this aspect of parenting. I think we've all been in that situation where we're busy serving our dinner guests and so our training can either become lax and inconsistent, or... depending on the particular guests, we may discipline our children stricter or in anger if they have embarrassed us. Herod didn't actually want to have John beheaded, indeed scripture says that when the request from one of the guests came for John's head on the silver platter, "although the King was grieved, the King commanded it to be given because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison." He caved in to the fear of man with tragic results.

As a parent of seven little children who still has a ton to learn, I can tell you to learn to expect those inconvenient moments because they are a fertile field for the training ground that God uses to humble US and cause us to learn to look to Him for the harvest in our children. Our kids should absolutely be bearing much fruit as evidence of our diligence with them day in and day out, and this post is not to lower the bar with the standard at all. But they, like we, are sinners and even more immature with much "folly bound up in their hearts". They need us, as their parents who know and intimately understand their frames, their motives, their abilities and comprehensions, to fear God and not man as we disciple them. We need to mirror the love and graciousness with which God deals with us--no matter who is watching.

How often do we as adults display behavior inconsistent with God's diligence with us? God has NO FEAR OF MAN so he is never encumbered with pleasing the dinner guests. His relentless patience and His constant faithfulness to us never skips a beat.

We must be like God who disciplines in His time, with eternal eyes, with utmost wisdom, consistently, and not with changing standards! Whether we struggle with the tendency to be more lenient, or more strict in front of those dinner guests, seek God and His kingdom and righteousness first! One thing at a time...

A good harvest takes time, patience and WISDOM in regard to the specific crop we are seeking to grow. Our children have different strengths and weaknesses, temptations...and certainly are all at vastly different places in their spiritual, mental, physical capabilities! Your sweet dinner guest has no way of knowing the course of the past months and what your little sapling needs at this moment. We cannot approach a tree and judge the status of it's fruit without knowing where it was last season. A dinner guest may see one pathetic little apple, when his mother knows to rejoice in that one little precious apple that was not there a few days ago. Or a dinner guest may applaud a tree full of apparent beautiful fruit, whereas his mother knows from seeing close up that the fruit is infested and needs major attention.

But if we seek at all costs for that instant, outward and arbitrary obedience to please man, we too may foolishly lop off a tender little shoot sent to someday reap a beautiful harvest, not too terribly unlike the way that Herod lopped off the head of the beloved apostle.

Although... I don't doubt that his guests were pleased.

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
1 Sam. 16: 7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. ~Psalm 111:10

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Are the most perplexing creatures...
They MUST ALWAYS challenge the status quo...
And I'm finally learning as a mother of boys that boys learn best...
The HARD WAY.Those real life experiences seem to stick better than mothers' warnings anyway...Who knows? Someday there may be a very legitimate need for "death jackets" and my son's invention will be in high demand.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Search for Wisdom as Blueberries

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, [or blueberries] then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair--every good path.

Proverbs 2:1-9

This verse came immediately to mind while watching Juliet extract the precious blueberries from her pancakes this morning. Her eyes are fixed on the prize! There is such intensity and expectation in the search!...

With these verses in mind, I just sat and watched her... and let the deep truth of God's Word sink in on a new level. Do I search for God's wisdom the way this kid digs for her treasures? She knows how sweet and juicy those blueberries are! Those chubby little fingers DIG AND DIG FOR THE TREASURES! The blueberries get shoved in the mouth quicker than the shutter can click! Every last little bit of that pancake gets shredded to bits in the quest for the hidden treasures...
...only pausing briefly to give her sister a sticky noogie and scan the horizon for more possible treasures...
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold. She [wisdom] is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. (not even blueberries!)
Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways,
And all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who hold her fast...

Juliet "Calling out for insight, and crying aloud for understanding"

More please!!!!!!

And naturally, we should help our sisters search for wisdom and understanding too...
And enjoy finding and sharing those treasures with them!

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. ~Proverbs 9:10-11

And never stop hungering and calling out for more!

***The book of Proverbs is like the ultimate pancake for anyone with a hankering!***

Sunday, May 11, 2008

This Mothers Day I took my Mother's advice...

and "got the heck out of Dodge!" And thanks to the incredible generosity of a couple of other fabulous mothers, I was able to throw the kids and a few sleeping bags into the van and head off on a spontaneous trip into the mountains in search of bluer skies beyond. A little bit of a leap of faith with the husband not joining us for a few days...

My mother is so smart. We really should listen to our mothers, you know. They really do...know. Oh where oh where would we be without them? I love you Mom. You're the best.
Hope through the trees.

Oh yes.


Don't try to make sense of it, people... don't fight it... just listen to a good song...Lake Chelan was so low the kids could wade out to a fun little island and had tons of beach to explore...blissBossom friends
Life's Popsicles~ Sometimes we are just trying to stay on our feet. And we fall...or maybe the little plastic lawn chair just tips right out from under us with no warning...
and we hit face first, very hard, and get a very fat lip. And we cry. And cry some more. And we feel sad, and mad...and all we can feel is pain. Until...We get a taste of comfort. And realize anew...
"Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted"

(I'm just sure that's what Juliet was thinking when we gave her this Popsicle to "ice" her fat lip. She was thinking of the great mysteries of life.) No, all Juliet was thinking was how good that Popsicle tasted. But after all is said and done, I'll bet if she had it to do over again, she'll remember the taste of that Popsicle more than the pain that proceeded it.

FAITH always rolling in ready to party... such A GIFT from the Lord!

Happy Mothers Day to one of my lovely role models...

~and my dear friend~

Does this face exude angel to anyone else...
And does this face exude...rascal to anyone else???Ah Rene~ (What's not to love?) I know I will suffer much more than brownie heart burn and increasingly hostile phone stalking for posting this picture...but you know...When you love someone, a bloody nose is a small thing to overlook... and kick boxing turned out to be a pretty cool thing, so just hang in there Rene. But please... " You must must chill...."

And then... our Daddy drove over the mountains to join us!smokin
I know Juliet, my thoughts exactly. Essie & Abby
Owen & Ronan
And a lovely stop at Gustav's in Leavenworth for my Reuben Yes, my mother was right again. All I needed was to get away from the hustle and bustle, enjoy my wonderful friends and family in the beauty of God's creation, and get a fresh look at all of us through His eyes again.

and all my instincts,they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In Your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
In Your Eyes
the light, the heat

I am complete
~Peter Gabriel