It's in the seconds, minutes, hours, days...I ponder how I'm gonna make it through this moment of fussiness, when it seems I cannot do anything to make her happy - still at 6mo old. And then I am reminded how much God TRUSTS me to care for His children.
He TRUSTS Thomas and me! ❤️
My devotions verse this morning?....
The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with Peace. - Psalm 29:11
For the past eight years I have been honored to lead music at a VBS in South Dakota. I have grown to love these kids (as challenging as some of them may have been). 😉 Some I have seen graduate High School - via Facebook.
I started before we had Jackson. Today, for only the second time in 8 years, I just said, "No - I will not be able to lead music for your Bible School this year". I do not apologize for my decision because I am putting my family first. (I was stressing about wondering how Pearl would do with a stranger caring for her, as she just wants her mama right now.) This is only for a season, right? Yes, babies are for a season.
The pastor was very understanding, and I have appreciated the support of this congregation through the years. It's not that I don't think that someone else could not do the music, because they can, and the kids will have a great time and learn a lot about Jesus! It's just that I have fallen in love with this congregation, these kids, and their community!
But next year! I will hope in next year! Because babes are for a season…. 👶🏻
In this past week, I've tossed around posting this, and feel it is a necessary thing. If you are are married, dating, wanting a relationship, LISTEN UP....
Last week I was at an event in Minneapolis with friends. I sat outside a circle of women as they were eating their lunch - some of the women I knew, some I didn't. A friend of theirs came over, disgusted about a conversation she had just had on the phone with her husband. Now...as women, I think it's fair to say we have all been there. We've all felt that annoyance with our spouse when we don't agree, or communication has failed, or messages have been mixed up. But what was said next is not okay.
One of the women in the group (not sure if she's married) made the comment, "Oh...he's like one of your children, eh?". NO LADIES!!! NO!!!! :(
One of the other women's husband (whom I know and respect very much) happen to stop in the conversation to grab his food. He heard the comment, and his reply was, "Hmm...I don't think I've ever heard my wife say that about me...."
Ladies (and gentlemen)...Marriage is about RESPECT! When your spouse does not FEEL respected, that's when troubles happen. Thomas and I have learned this first-hand, and it is something we have worked to correct in our own marriage. YEP...I used to be one of those women who would joke about my husband "being like one of the kids"...but not any more. That is not a fair statement. Yes, we can disagree on things, or not understand what the other was trying to say or convey, but that is no reason to call them our child. He deserved to feel like I'm talking to him like an adult.
I know people get tired of hearing the passage - especially in our "Women Power" and "Women's Rights" day-and-age. But Scripture (the Bible) tells us in Ephesians 5:22-33, some of the most important words about relationships: "Wives, submit (respect) to your husbands, as to the Lord...." But the husband has the HARDEST job ever: "Husbands, Love your wives AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH, AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER!" YIKES!!!! That's sacrifice, that's dying to self, that's Christ giving His WHOLE SELF to the World Church - Crucifixion on the Cross at Calvary!
I have found the more I make the choice to respect my husband, and look at him not as a child, but as my hero and leader and protector - the easier it is to be in awe of him and speak well of him to others. And in my heart, I love him more and more.
Please - friends! It's not just us as couples - it's also the children we are raising. The better that we as couples get along, the less broken-homes that children will have to grow up in, and the better they will be as a spouse in their future.
Be Encouraged! We can speak well of one another, and respect the blessings that God has put in our lives - starting with our Spouse! BE ENCOURAGED! Happy Thursday! :)
I wasn't gonna buy it. I'm a used / Thrift Store shopper...it was New. A bit over my comfort price range...but the denim & guitar were screaming "Buy me for Jackson!". And so, after going back to the rack, walking away, and doing this several times, I decided to just get it. Little did I know how God would use this shirt to guide a conversation that may have Eternal implications....
She said, "This is such a cool shirt", to which I replied, "Yeah. My husband and I are musicians, and this is for our son."
The young store owner replied, "Oh. What do you do?". So I told her about our ministry and travels. She asked more questions; I answered. I asked her about her family - a young wife and mother of 4 boys. God bless her! 😉❤️
I do not, for the life of me, remember how we got there, but our conversation rounded to marriage and spouses. I shared how my husband came from a divorce background, how it affected our marriage because of unresolved issues, and how Marriage Counseling and our hard-yet-rewarding time had worked wonders in the past few years. She asked me more questions, I again answered, and then she slowly looked down at the counter and said in a soft, disheartened voice,
"Yeah...we sure could use some of that......"
As she looked up again, my heart sank. I could see the hurt in her eyes; pain, the unknown, an unfamiliar path. As our conversation continued, she would nod each time I shared a piece of our story. She listened intently. I could tell the wheels were turning in her mind and she could relate to every word I said.
After dialoging for 10-15 minutes at that store counter, I asked if I could pray with her. She folded her hands; I reached out my hand and placed it on the counter. Out of my mouth came a string of sentences and pleadings and groanings to our Holy Father on behalf of this couple, whom I didn't know.
As I ended with 'Amen', I looked up to see her wiping tears from her eyes. She spoke and said, "Your words were exactly what I needed to ask God for. I have spent so many nights alone, in my own bed. I needed this. Thank you."
The store phone rang. Our conversation ended. As I passed through the clothing of that small children's shop, I thought through that moment that had just happened and passed....
• I was not in my local town.
• I had my children with me that morning.
• I happen to meet my parents in another store in that town. My parents offered to bring the 2 older kids home so I could shop if I wished.
• I went downtown for lunch cause I really wanted to relax and enjoy lunch at the coffee shop, which happen to be next door to this store.
• I wasn't gonna go in the store for time's sake, but my mother's words echoed in my mind, "...if you want to do some shopping...", so I did.
My parents were a part of this moment. They were a part of the ministry that had just happened in those few short minutes of that conversation. Their service to me allowed me the time to have a conversation with another fellow wife and mother who needed encouragement. Wow! How God will use each of our ABILITIES in the moment. Praise be to Him for knowing all. Praise be to Him! ❤️✝
Last week looked to be a beautiful week...as far as hay cutting and baling goes. Slight chance of rain, but the following days were to be sunny, breezy, and 80 degrees.
Well...it didn't exactly happen that way. Apparently, wild fires in Canada brought smoke down to SW MN to cloud out the sun. Each day, I watched as the sunshine would try to break through the haze and make it's way onto our drying prairie grass mixtures. We had a tight time schedule in which to get this job done before other commitments took us away from the farm for a few days. I would shake my head through out the day, frustrated.
As we sat down to eat supper one night, I was listing off to Thomas all of the ways that the weather was bad, it was not ideal for our needs. It wasn't suppose to be like this!....
My husband looked up at me and said, "Well, there's nothing we can do to change this weather...and so we trust God to give us one good day to get the job done."
Haha! Usually it's ME saying that folks. But this time...I was the doubter, complainer, whiner. Farming takes a whole lot of faith to believe you are going to get your crops in and hay up, and lacking that faith will drive you crazy some days. :)
Well...God gave us one great day. The last day before we left. Yes...it was hurried preparation. Thomas worked all day, I prepared the grass into windrows to dry further, and when he got home, we had beautiful hay to bale for our livestock and to share with our neighbors. We were blessed to have the help of our neighbor family with the father and 7 of their 8 children throwing the bales up in the barn and stacking it while T and I baled. 325 bales later, 9:30p, and a whole lot of repenting that night from me to God for my lack of faith (I have moments of weakness too....), the job was done.
Lesson reminded: "No matter the outcome of my circumstance, is it my job to doubt my Creator God? My job is to simply trust, along with using the wisdom that He gives me. He will take care of the rest." Be encouraged friends! :)
Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV): "Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Oh my...if only these words were so EASY to do...sigh.... I'm finally sitting down to pen what have been emotions of frustration, anger, wonder, shaking-my-head, a raised-voice, discipline, and talking-to my children for the last 4 days. Let's face it: TRAINING IS NOT EASY! Right?!
Ugh...and I am so weary in emotion and mind...I've contemplated walking out the door a few times; Dreaming of where I would fly to - Massachusetts, upstate New York, Maine - (across the U.S.) to get a break from this 24/7/365 life that I'm living right now. You'd think the nicer I treated them, the more I give them, the more I make them laugh, the funner I am to them - that they would actually listen and obey my voice and do as I ask THE FIRST TIME, RIGHT?!.... Nope...I'm not right. ;)
Last night, our son was so tired from the days activities that he fell asleep early at bedtime. As my husband and I were getting ready for bed a few hours later, we suddenly heard that feint cry that parents hear. (Our ears "perk up", we 'shush' each other, and strain our listeners to see if it really is our child, or just noise from outside or the radio.) Indeed, yes it was our son, crying. I rushed downstairs, as I figured he had awoken suddenly and not realized where he was (as he was sleeping on the couch, not his bed). As I opened the door to his room, he grabbed my leg and I bent down to put my arms around him and pick him up into a big hug. I carried him back to the couch, laid him down, and asked if he would like me to cuddle with him for a few minutes. In his tired state of mind, he simply nodded his head, eyes shut in the early stages of slumber once more.
I laid down on the couch beside him, stroked his spiky blonde hair, kissed those soft, pink cheeks that all mothers love to kiss!...and heard God say to me:
"Teach and train My son up...for he may not be here tomorrow...."
"Teach and train My son up...for YOU may not be here tomorrow...."
(Insert tears) ...yes. Our children may not be on this Earth tomorrow...and/or I may not be here tomorrow. "God, I so need your voice to guide me as I try-try-try to be a mother and wife who shows your Grace and Love and Mercy and Forgiveness and Compassion and Joy to my family each day! Your words of wisdom from the Scriptures come back to me because My Parents trained Me up in the way I should go; and even when I'm flirting with sin, Your words do not depart from my mind and heart. God, give me wisdom, give me understanding for their actions, guide my mind to discipline in the right way, and "Thank You" over and over again for blessing our family with two beautiful, fun, energetic children who love You and are growing in Your knowledge each and every day! Lord, I'm grateful!"
Your daughter, who is trying....
- lynn. :)
As I watched the sun coming up this morning, glowing behind the bins across the road, I was reminded how much I. LOVE. PALM SUNDAY! I think of what it would have been like to stand on the side of that road, running ahead of everyone to catch a glimpse as our King rode a donkey down the dusty road into Jerusalem. I can hear the kids yelling, laughing, cheers from the adults - waving to Jesus like he was the Biggest Star for centuries coming to their town.... Getting hit in the face w/ a palm leaf from a youngster who was so excited to wave it as he yelled "HOSANNA! HOSANNA TO THE KING!", not realizing I was standing right behind him. ;)
The smile Jesus had on his gentle, loving face as He made his way through the people...knowing in the back-of-his-mind what he would have to endure in the next few days. I love this day....
Some days in Ministry, the biggest blessing to me is some one who can watch the kids while I have a meeting or practice music for an upcoming event. I have so many people across this land who have helped out with the kids. This morning, it was my good friend Connie. THANK YOU FRIEND! You are a blessing in my life!
As a Worship Leader, I've learned my job is to 1. Worship my Savior; and then 2. through my worship, create an environment of Worship for others, inviting the Holy Spirit to surround us all as we pour out our hearts and cry out to Him who created us. If I don't have Joy, will anyone else? If I don't show Hope, will anyone else feel hope? My face reflects my heart when I lead others. ...And as I prepare my heart and voice for another busy weekend of Christmas programs / parties, I can't help but be so excited...because this is my job: TO PRAISE JESUS WITH EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE IN ME! TO WORSHIP HIS HOLY NAME! TO PRAISE HIM FOR WHAT HE'S DONE IN MY LIFE - WHAT HE HAS SAVED ME FROM...and the Blessings He continues to pour over my family.
"Who am I, oh God, that I should have the honor to Worship You in the midst of my messed-up life? ...But that you would even acknowledge me, and embrace me as I come to you...."
CHRIST TRULY IS ALIVE as we celebrate this season of His birth!
HAVE HOPE! FIND JOY! And ENJOY YOUR WORSHIP during these next few weeks as we Celebrate our humble little King. :)
This weekend I find myself in Albuquerque, NM worshipping with Faith Lutheran Church and my good friend Jeremy - who is a youth pastor here. May our time be blessed through music, scripture, and personal testimony to what God has done in our lives!