Rebecca Duvall

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Family

6family-treeI’m thankful for the family I have that live outside the walls of my home. It’s comforting to know that when things get overwhelming or seem confining, I can reach outside my home to others, who are also my family, for help.

Family are the people in your life that you don’t get to choose (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc). They’re the people God places in your life. I’ve learned from experience, that God does not randomly place people in your life. There’s a purpose, a reason, behind each person in your life. Whether you meet them at the check-out counter or know them for a life time. Either you are to be a help to them, or them to you, or maybe you are to experience something together. Regardless, there is a reason each person you encounter is in your life.

6 1Tim 5-8

I love my family because we get to experience life together on a more intimate level. There are times when I need help or encouragement, like when my husband was ill, and they offered support and their unconditional love. There are other times when they looked to me for prayers or help when going through something tuff. Then there are those times when we come together to celebrate a happy occasion or lean on one anther when devastation hits.

There are times when families don’t get along. You have different opinions or thoughts about things, so you chose to distance yourself from each other. Sometimes we need to remember it’s not important that everyone agrees with us. We each have our own opinions and sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree. Different ideas is a wonderful thing, otherwise things would be boring. Who in your family do you need to reach out to and reconnect?

6 Romans 12-10

God calls us to love one another, even when we know their flaws and have seen them at their worst. I’m thankful for the family God placed in my life. These are the people God gifted in a special way just for me. Only He knows what gift that is and when it will be used. It’s as if each family member has a special hidden gift for me. How has someone in your family helped you in a time of need?

There are also times when God gifts me in special ways so I can be of help to my family. Like when my mom was diagnosed with Cancer and I was able to care for her and be what my family needed at the time. How has God enabled you to help someone in your family?

I’m looking forward to living life with my family, as we, together, experience the gifts God has placed in our lives.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for each family member you placed in our life. I pray we would recognize the ways you have gifted them. I also pray we would boldly use the gifts you give us to help them when needed, Amen.

 

 

 

 

Children

4 parentingWhile I was growing up, I always thought kids younger than me were weird, gross and had a funny odor. This stuck with me as I became a young adult. I was never the one to offer to hold a baby, and if you asked me to, I would look at you as if you were crazy, as I said ‘No’. I didn’t even want to be near a baby, or anyone much younger than me. I just couldn’t relate.

The first fulltime job I had while I was studying Accounting was as a Bookkeeper for a daycare center. I thought, ‘no big deal, I’ll be back in an office. I won’t even notice the little smelly people with runny noses’. That didn’t work out very well for me. You see, my desk was in the front lobby so the parents could check in with me as they dropped their kids off. I was able to see every screaming kid as they walked in. Lucky me!

For the first month or so I didn’t seem to notice the little monsters as they arrived. I was busy learning the routine of my job and putting names to faces, parent’s faces that is. I had no desire to get to know the strange little people being carried in.

4 Mat 19-14

Then it happened. One of the little monsters walked over and handed me something. My heart melted! I don’t remember what I was handed, probably because I was hypnotized by the adorable little voice. In that moment my heart changed. I suddenly had a strong desire to know more about the little people who spent their days there with me. After that day, you could always find me on my breaks in the toddler room. Actually, I think I spent more time in that room than at my desk.

I’m thankful God changed my heart toward children. I’m thankful God gave me the gift of three beautiful children (2 daughters and 1 son). I love how each of my children are completely different from each other and I get to be at center stage watching them grow and change as they experience life. They each help me see the world in different ways and I am incredibly thankful for that.

Sure, there are some extremely difficult things to go through as a parent, but the joy, laughter and fun far out ways those times. I simply need to trust that God gave me these 3 to raise because I have what they need. I also need to remember that God will enable me to be what they need when they need it.

4 Eph 6-4

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of children and the way You allow us to teach them. I pray we would courageously raise them in a way pleasing and honoring to You, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

I Know!

candy basketFor those of you who have children, I’m sure you will agree with me in saying that each of them is different in many ways. We have three kids. Our oldest daughter is in her Sophomore year in college and our younger daughter is a Sophomore in High School. We also have a son, who’s in 6th grade.

One loves chocolate, another sour gummy candy and the other any kind of candy. One is extremely active, while the other two, well, not so much. They each do very well in school, not that they always enjoy it, but they do work hard and take pride in their work. However, they each enjoy different subjects. Two of them are very creative and two of them are very good with a computer. One likes to read and another prefers to write. The other, well, they prefer neither.

The one commonality I’ve noticed all three of them have is their psychic ability. Yes, my children are psychic! How do I know they’re psychic? Every time I tell them something to do, like empty the trash, come down for dinner, brush your teeth, their answer is ALWAYS ‘I know!’

I think this psychic ability is fairly new. They might have received these abilities sometime this school year. At first it was annoying to always hear ‘I know!’ My response was always ‘Then why are you not doing it?’ Now I think it’s kind of funny. Recently I started saying things like ‘hon, call the press, our kids are psychic.’ Or ‘shhhh, don’t let anyone find out you kids are psychic.’

Sometimes I just stand in their doorway or open the door to their room and they’ll say it, ‘I know!’ I usually laugh first and then walk away asking them when they planned on getting it done.

When I first noticed their psychic ability, I thought it would be neat to know what was going to happen before it actually happened. Then, as I thought about it, it would mean I would always be expected to be doing something. The something I knew that needed to get done. Always knowing what was going to happen would also take the excitement out of waiting to find out. Yes, sometimes waiting is annoying, but usually, it’s stimulating. I think it causes your creative mind to explore the many possibilities, and that helps us grow. Exploring possibilities is healthy and it stimulates our senses.

Now that I know my children are psychic, the trick is getting them to act on this new wonderful knowledge they have. How do I get them to actually get up and do what they know they need to do?!

After I noticed my children’s response to most of the things I asked them to do was ‘I know!’ I wondered why this was their response. Maybe what I’m doing is nagging them to do the things they need to do. Maybe, I need to back off and give them time to show me they do indeed know, and will do it, in their time. They each have their own way of doing things and organizing their tasks. Maybe I need to let them be the individuals they are.

I run the house a certain way and in a certain order. It’s difficult, at times, for me to let them each become their own accountable individuals. I have to be flexible and learn to accept things being done differently. This is easier said than done. When something isn’t done when I want or need it to be done, I get frustrated and start nagging. I guess I need to work on my patience. Well, maybe just a little.

Everyday, being a parent is a new challenge. It’s always exciting (not always in a good way) and always changing (thank goodness, because I get bored easily). Each morning brings a brand new adventure with so many possibilities. As hard and frustrating as it can be at times, I wouldn’t trade it for anything or go back and do it differently.

I trust God gave us these three wonderfully crazy kids because my husband and I have what they need. He will enable us to do for our kids what they need us to do. We will not only teach them as we raise them into adulthood, but they will each teach us along the way as well.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of children and their honest way of interpreting the world around them. Lord, I pray you open our hearts to receive the knowledge you have given them and help us to respond to it in a way that is pleasing to You, Amen.

 

teach-me

In His Way

holding bookAbout three years ago I heard the gentle whisper of God saying He wanted me to share with others my struggles. He wanted me to write how He helped me overcome my trials as I walked through them. At first, I laughed and blew it off. Yes, I use to do that when God first asked me to do something I’ve never done before. Especially if it’s something I’ve never even considered doing. Then as He usually does, He continued to remind me what He wanted me to do, until I sat down and talked to Him about it.

My excuses not to write my story were endless.

  • I’m not good at writing
  • I don’t know proper grammar to write a book
  • I don’t know what to write about
  • Who cares about my life and what I’m going through
  • I don’t have time to write
  • I don’t know the first thing about writing a book

As I gave God all of my excuses, which I thought were pretty good ones, He continued to tell me what I was to do. Once I finally decided to try, not because I wanted to, but because I wanted to show God how I couldn’t, He either put people in my path, or directed me to people, who would help and encourage me to write.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21

It’s been an amazing three years! I feel blessed by the many wonderful people God has brought alongside me to complete the task of writing my story. Actually, it’s not just my story. It’s a story about family, marriage and coming to faith. So it’s my family’s story, written in my perspective. Below is the brief description of the book, which you’ll find on the back cover of, ‘In His Way’.

Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.

God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.

Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.

I wrote this book for God and now I give it to Him, trusting it will be read by everyone He wishes to read it. My hope is that it helps others understand the love God has for them. I hope it turns people to God and the beautiful life He has planned for them. I hope it helps others get out of God’s way so they too can do things In His Way.

My book is now available on Amazon in paperback and ebook (Kindle). If you choose to read it, I would appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon. Even if you don’t like it. I just ask that you ask yourself how you would feel if someone wrote that about you before leaving your comment. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the encouragement and enabling You give us to step out and be all You know we can be. I pray we each take time to be quiet and still so we can hear Your gentle whisper, Amen

In His Way

I’m Paying For That?

stack of booksAbout a year ago, my daughter, Ashley, finished her first week of college. I think I was just as nervous and excited as she was. I had spent a lot of time praying over all the details I could think of so she would have a smooth transition into the college life. She would continue living at home, so there wasn’t going to be as big of a transition that some new college students had to make. Although, I think she would have been fine dealing with that transition. I’m thankful I didn’t need to walk through that transition quite yet, because I wasn’t ready. I don’t think I’ll ever really be ready.

My daughter now has her first year of college behind her and I think it went well. She switched from studying Film to Animation sometime during the first half of the year. At first I was concerned about the switch because it would cause her to be behind the scheduled ‘plan’, but all of the details have worked out. We had a glitch with the State Grant, but the school has helped us come up with a plan and Ashley is dealing with it very well. Even though it’s causing her to put much more effort into completing her degree. All in all, I’m very proud of her.

For me, Ashley’s first year of college was pretty easy. Almost effortless.

Ashley’s second year of college has barely begun and there has been one transition after another. Transitions that my daughter has handled very well. No big deal, all a part of being an adult. For me, the mom, well, it’s extremely hard for me not to freak out. I’ve been spending more time than usual praying. Why? Because I’m afraid I will push my daughter away and annoy everyone around me by my freaking out. You see, I like to know what’s going on in my daughter’s life, so I ask a lot of questions. Recently, over dinner, my husband asked me if I was done playing 20 questions and asked Ashley if she felt like she was on trial.

So you’re probably wondering what these transitions are that I’ve had a hard time with. The first one happened a few months ago, when Ashley said she had a date. To most moms of college age kids this is no big deal. To this mom it was a big deal, because this was Ashley’s first date. When she first told me, I had so many questions. I have to admit, it was hard to control myself. I had to carefully think through each question. She hesitated telling me where the first date was going to be until she found out I was going to be out of town. Like I would stalk her and her date or something. Okay, so the thought did cross my mind.bowling

Ashley has been on several dates with this young man.  We even got to meet him at the bowling alley and play a few games with him. I’m very proud of myself because I didn’t ask a thousand questions and I did my best to seem ‘normal’. My husband asked him more questions than I did, but he’s the cop, so I expected it. I don’t know if Ashley’s ‘friend’ expected it, but his answers were acceptable. I think he’s coming to the house for dinner soon, so this transition is being handled well by all…..so far. 😉

The second transition, which I’m not dealing with as well as the first, is a class my daughter is taking this quarter. It’s called Life Drawing. It’s a class where the students learn to draw real people. For some reason, a reason I do not understand, the people who teach this class feel the students need to learn how to draw people with no clothes on. Yes, they are drawing a naked person! So every week, a nude person will be in my daughter’s class, so she, along with an entire class of students, can draw them. My daughter tried to explain to me that every art student has to take the class because it’s about drawing. I’m sorry, I don’t get it. What’s wrong with drawing flowers and cute animals? As a parent I work very hard to keep my children from being exposed to certain things and now I’m paying for this class that she is required to take. A class I don’t understand the importance of. Seriously, why can’t the model in the class wear a bathing suit? I’m curious, how many students who have ever taken this kind of class needed to draw a naked person outside of this class? Does a bathing suit vs. no bathing suit hinder the student’s ability in learning to draw?

flowerI can go on and on, but I wont. I think you get my point. I now refer to her class Life Drawing as the Unnecessary Awkward Naked class. She has completed one week of the class and has 10 more to go. I would appreciate prayers for my daughter to handle the class gracefully and take away a better understanding of drawing. I could really use the extra prayers too. Prayers not to overwhelm my daughter with questions, but seek God’s opportunities to discuss what is going on in her life. Also for prayers to let the little things that I cannot control go.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for being there in the moments we freak out. Thank you for wisdom and discernment when we seek it from You. I pray we seek You in all things, even the little things, so we are not overwhelmed by them, Amen.

Worst of Times,Best of Times

DianeSamsonHeadShotNot to long ago I met Diane Samson on Twitter. I was immediately drawn to her when I took the time to get to know her by checking out her website and reading her blog. I found that she too loves to share stories how God is working in her life. So I contacted her and asked her to share with us how God has gotten her to where she is today. Please join me on a journey through the heart-felt life of Diane Samson.

It Was the Worst of Times. It Was the Best of Times.

My mother stomped out of the car and stormed over to the man who was unaware and taken aback by this crazy woman. Her hands on her hips she yelled at the man for stealing her parking space. She wanted to fight.

And I’m thinking I just want to go to the library. I was dismayed at the course of events that was my life. My mother’s always making a scene.

I spent much of my childhood trying to please my parents, especially my mother. It was a futile task. I didn’t realize the impossibility of this until I was well into adulthood.

My 20’s were spent fighting my demons inside, mostly my mother. I not only wanted to please her but my main problem was I went to great depths to accomplish this.

I ended up hurting my husband and not being the best example in my parenting.

My 30’s were spent knowing this path wasn’t going to work anymore. I found myself in a state of depression. Who was I? What was my purpose? While homeschooling was my life in this decade, I felt unfulfilled and undirected. I was told I was living my purpose.

Homeschooling my beloved children became my sole focus. I was seeking fulfillment in the wrong places. Always trying to please. Please my mother. Please my husband. Create the happy family I didn’t have growing up.

When we moved to Idaho, I was ready. Ready to unleash. Ready to seek God. Ready to put much of my past behind me and move forward. I was starting. I was emerging. I was on my way.

In my 40’s life was pushed into an abyss, that I never knew I could enter, let alone survive. Others deal with rejection all the time. Why was mine so difficult? What was the hold my mother had on me, that I refused to let go?

I was pushed to the brink of my capabilities and stretched beyond my imagination. The rules I had lived by my whole life were not working anymore. It was as if my brain was programmed and it was time to push reset.

I was emerging. I was learning to find my wings. I was figuring out that God was truly the only one I can or should please. Not my mother. Not my children. Not even my husband.

We were busy making preparations for our son’s high school graduation. My mother had been acting a bit bizarre of late, more than usual. My brother and I had talked a time or two, and compared notes. She had talked about a man in her life, writing comic strips about her life. She took a surprise-driving trip to LA, 7 hours away. She hadn’t been living in her own house but with people I had never met. She was acting bizarre for sure, but hadn’t she always been a bit off?

And then my life changed that one day. I had hung up the phone with my mother, because someone was at the door. I got a phone call. It was my brother. We hadn’t been communicating much and so I was surprised. I heard the stress. I felt the turmoil. It took time for my head to catch up.

Our mother had been throwing money away. Over a fence. In a newspaper. For months. A good sum of money. A lot of money.

There were crossword puzzles in her house with codes and meanings, only she understood. She was surrounded in a mound of deceit, paranoia and coded meaning. She was communicating to unknown people, with astronomical burdens, hardly believable. Too impossible to be true.

My mother had always been fond of “The God Father” and her story unraveled to the tune of mobs, drugs and torture.

I was in unknown territory. My lifeboat was in the sea, circling round and round, nowhere to go. The waves consumed me and some days I felt I was drowning, barely able to lift my head above. A few more years and I was still amidst the ocean.

It was the worst time of my life. My brother lived in torment having told the cops to commit his mother.

Under the demise of getting her a physical, I brought her to the hospital, where she yelled and screamed to disown my son. Words cannot describe when your mother screams at you, your daughter and grandson, who’s only two years old. There are no words for the intensity. The pain. The betrayal. You are left in shock.

It was the worst time. It was the best time.

At the time my lifeboat was barely afloat. For days water filled my boat and almost drowned me. Some days I stayed sane, having others praying for me the prayers I could not utter. Some days I had nothing to grasp except that I knew God was there.

I believed it. I trusted it. My faith in who God is kept me afloat. My friends praying kept me from going too far adrift.Hebrews13: 5

On that day, my husband who was in a different country got on the phone and arranged friends to be there for me. My friends, who left everything that day, dropped their plans and came to my aid at the hospital. One of the elders from our church, who along with his wife are now very good friends of ours, met a need and never was afraid to walk the walk with me.

As I write tears stream down my face. I remember. It’s fresh like it was yesterday.

God met me during the worst time of my life. God used physical people with real skin, raw emotions, and a desire to meet a need, to be present for me.

God was there every step of the way. I didn’t even know I was taken care of. I didn’t even know that they were outside of the building, praying, waiting and ready to jump in. I didn’t know my son could be so strong in the face of adversity, having his grandmother practically disown him.

I didn’t know God would carry me through a horrific time.

It was the worst time. But I know it was the best.

For only in the worst could God show Himself to me that otherwise I couldn’t see. I couldn’t experience. I couldn’t even understand.

For only in the worst could He show me the community of friends who cared.

For only in the worst could He show me my husband loved me more than anything or anyone, even thousands of miles away.

I had to go through a long period of regrets. I regretted not breaking free earlier. I regretted not standing up to my mother earlier and saying NO! I regretted declaring she no longer had a hold of me. But today I was no longer in bondage.

I had to give myself permission to grieve of what I didn’t have. I had to give myself permission for what I wasn’t able to do earlier. And then I had to forgive myself. And when I could begin the forgiveness process, I could really then fly!

I don’t want my life to be defined by my mother, by my difficulties, by her crazy behavior.

I knew, after some time had passed, healing was secured. I had to move on.

The passion I had left since high school emerged. I began to write again. I poured out my heart.

I knew without a doubt I wasn’t alone. I was meant to travel this life with others and I needed to share my story. My difficulties. My hardships. My tears. My joys. My disasters. My victories. All centered on Him.

Now I blog. I write. I share. My God adventures. My dreams. My passions. Walk in community. Run the race hand in hand. Together. Never alone.

So please join me. Would love to see you around my tweeting, my facebook, but even more so, on my blog. I love to hear stories. Someday, when we’re all together, we’ll have one big story to share.

This is my story to share. Even when it was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

If you would like to know more about Diane and what she’s up to now, which I’m sure you do, you can find her at www.dianesamson.com

I Prayed For That?

Walking to the towerEarlier this year I wrote about exercise and my lack of it. I talked about the days I use to walk almost everyday for an hour and a half per day. While I walked I either worshiped God while listening to music or talked to Him through prayer. Soon after this post I realized I missed this time with God. Even though I spent most mornings alone with God I missed being out walking with Him. That’s when I started praying for time in my day to get back to walking like I used to.

Several months ago my oldest daughter, Ashley, started walking with a friend. They like to walk up to ‘the tower’, which is an area with many wonderful walking trails close to home. One morning Ashley’s friend was unable to go walking, so I was asked to take her place. I thought it would be nice to go walking with her since we don’t get a lot of alone time these days. I was also looking forward to the pleasant trails. I had walked up to the tower before and enjoyed the scenery.

As we were getting ready, my daughter announced she would drive. Of course I had to ask why. She said she didn’t like being the passenger. After trying to convince her that I should drive, and failing, I finally gave in and said she could. I have to say it’s a little weird having my daughter drive. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a wonderful driver. I had been driving her around for so many years its just kind of weird having her drive me around now.Steep path to the tower

We arrived at the park with all the trails, but on the opposite side from where I had walked before. Ashley said she had been walking up to the tower from there and told me to follow. So follow I did. The first part was nice. The trail was clear and the scenery was beautiful. Then, not to long after starting, the path started going up. I don’t mean slightly up either. Each stretch of the path was steeper than the previous. I was having a hard time keeping the conversation going because I was busy huffing and puffing. I had to keep stopping to catch my breath. My heart was pounding and my legs felt like noodles. What in the world had I gotten myself into? Getting back down was even harder. I’m sure I looked odd sidestepping my way down the paths.

As we were headed home, my daughter said we should walk that path every week and asked what day worked for me. She wanted me to do this again?! On purpose?! I asked her if we could walk a different path and she said “no, I like that path”. So reluctantly I agreed to walk the path again. I was looking forward to spending time with my daughter, but not to walking up the steep path again.

For a couple of weeks we walked once a week. Then before I knew it we were walking several times a week. On the mornings I wasn’t available to walk my daughter would ask me to walk later that night after dinner. I have to tell you, she doesn’t take no for an answer either. I have no idea where she gets that from. 😉

The last time we were heading back from walking, I was thanking God for the special time He had carved out for us to spend together. At that moment, God reminded me that it’s what I had prayed for. I had prayed for time in my day to get back to walking. I laughed. You see, when I prayed for the time to get out and walk again, I pictured myself walking around our neighborhood on the flat sidewalks. Not going up steep terrain having to catch my breath every few minutes.

Back then, when I walked alone with God, I needed it. It was hard for me to focus on God with the distractions of life all around me. So walking helped me listen to what God had for me. Now things are different. I now know God is with me always and I can call upon Him and/or chat with Him at any moment. I’ve found that the more I do this the easier it is to hear His voice and feel His prompting. I’m more aware of the Holy Spirit working in my life.View from the tower

So yes, I did pray to go walking again and God did answer my prayer. He answered it so beautifully. I would never have imagined I would be walking with Ashley, not only spending quality time with her, but also working out. Both things I desperately wanted and needed.

“the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” ~Romans 8:26

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the Holy Spirit which intercedes on our behalf when we don’t realized what we need to pray for. Lord, I pray for the courage to act when prompted by the Holy Spirit, Amen

 

Who Would You Be?

 

My 10 year old son loves to ask me questions like:

Would you rather eat a cat or a dog?

Would you rather clean vomit or poop?

Would you rather get stabbed in the foot or hand?

Whose better, Batman or Spiderman?

questionsA few weeks ago he asked me “If you could be anyone, who would you be?”  After a few seconds of thinking I said “That’s easy, I would be me!”  With a puzzled look on his face he asked me why I would want to be me if I could be anyone.  I smiled and told him being me meant I got to be his mom and I thought that was pretty cool.

I believe God prompted my son to ask me that question that day.  You see, I’ve been struggling with my place in this world lately.  Questioning if I should be doing more than ‘play’ mom.  I’ve been feeling less than everyone else.  Feeling as if I need to be contributing more to this world.

In the moment my son asked me the question, I realized being a mom is what I enjoy.  Of course I want to continue doing what I enjoy.  Anything else that comes along in this lifetime is an extra perk or bonus.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying being a mom is easy or always wonderfully pleasant.  It’s usually complete chaos and overly exhausting.  That’s what I love most about being a mom.  There’s never a dull moment.  I would pick being surrounded by my family, filled with chaos and exhausted, over boredom 95% of the time.  Not 100% of the time because everyone needs a break from time to time, and I do look forward to those times just as much as being thrown into the thick of it with my crazy weird family.  I am the queen of crazy and weird and I am the one who taught them how to be that way.

When I say chaos I don’t mean it in a bad way….usually.  I mean everyone needing something at the same time; Five things going on at once.  My favorite part about being a mom is having many things to get done and figure out, knowing God has it all covered.  I love seeing God work within my chaos.  What’s hard is when I forget God is in the middle of it and think I have to do it all on my own.

Praise God for the moments I begin to feel alone or overwhelmed and He steps in to reassure me He is there and He loves me.  By a gentle whisper, a song, a friend, a story or even my son.  Isn’t it beautiful how God can change our perspective in a matter of seconds?  How has God helped you see things differently recently?

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever” John 14:16

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, I thank you for the gift of family; mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and all our other family members.  I pray we always remember they love us. I pray we see them through Your eyes Lord, when it feels difficult to love them, Amen.

* My answers to the above questions: Whichever is smaller;  whichever is less runny; hand because I wouldn’t be able to do mommy chores for awhile; neither, Ironman rocks!

 

Up On The Mountain Top

mountainI recently had an opportunity to spend a weekend with a few friends up in Nevada City.  We found a cute 2 room cottage at the Nevada City Inn.  It was nice, clean and far from home, so it was all good!  Throughout the day we laughed and cried as we shared our stories.  Stories of our past and current frustrations; recent failures;  pain from being hurt; desires for our families; hopes of the future; dreams of what may be.  Each of these stories had a common thread….God.

Later in the evening we spent some time praising and worshiping God by dancing and singing to some of our favorite music.  I think Mandisa’s song Stronger was the theme for the night.

“The pain ain’t gonna last forever

And things can only get better

Believe me, this is gonna make you stronger”

I’m always looking ahead to the next trip, when I’ll get to escape from my daily routine.  Whether it’s with friends on a retreat, a family vacation or alone with my husband.  Then as the trip comes to a close I find myself wishing the experience wouldn’t end.   So much so that I put myself in a negative mood before returning home.  This was definitely the case this past weekend.

At BSF we’re studying the book of Matthew.  This week’s study was on Chapter 17.  When Peter, James and John witnessed Jesus transfigured up high on the mountain.  What an amazing thing to be a part of.  As we discussed at BSF today, I don’t think Peter wanted this ‘mountain top’ experience to end.  So he suggested putting up tents or shelters.  It could have been because he didn’t know what to do and felt the need to do something, but I think he didn’t want this moment with Jesus, Moses and Elijah to end.  But then God steps in and basically tells Peter to stop and listen.  He needed to pay attention to what was going on to help him be better prepared for what was to come.Potter clay

During the BSF lecture today I heard “Mountain top experiences are not meant to be long term, they are simply preparation for what is to come”. I felt like Peter up on that mountain.  Like God was telling me to stop, listen and pay attention when on the mountain top.

I always looked at the mountain top experiences (time away) as time to unwind, relax, have fun and refresh.  I never saw it as a time to learn something and I certainly never wanted them to end.  I can’t get “preparation for what is to come” out of my head.  It makes me excited for my next ‘mountain top’ experience!

Thankfully I’ll be attending the BSF Retreat in a few weeks.  I am definitely looking at this differently now.  This will be more than a time to escape the daily routine of life and connect with fellow BSF believers.  This will be a time to listen.  This will be a time God will use to prepare me for what is to come.  Oh, I am so excited!  Not for the retreat, well, yes, I am of course excited for the retreat.  I’m even more excited to come back to see what God is preparing me for.  To see how I will get to use what I learn.

I refuse to worry about what God might be preparing me for.  Whether it be a difficult trial or an amazing opportunity, I know God will equip, is equipping, me for all I need.

How do you come down from a ‘mountain top’ experience?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, I thank you for the opportunities to break away from our daily routines. I pray we take time to be still and listen for You during these precious times given to us by You.

Terrified!

playdateWhen my kids were little their play dates included the parents and were planned by the parents.  It seemed to be what everyone did.  It was nice because the kids were kept busy and tired each other out while the adults had a relaxing conversation.  Then as the kids got older it changed to one parent dropping a kid off at another kid’s house.  The kids still kept each other busy, but the parent whose house they were at no longer had someone to sit and relax with.  The parent who dropped off had time away from their child.  To make things fair, you usually traded back and forth where the kids played.  This was also planned by the parents.

As the kids got even older it was suddenly “mom, can Laura come over for a sleepover?” or “mom, can I go to Laura’s house for a sleepover?” There were suddenly no parents communicating.  All communicating was between the kids.  I found myself being told when, where and who by my child.  At first it was with families I already knew, but then my children would meet new friends and I didn’t know their parents. My first reaction was to talk to a parent first.  Talking to a parent meant I had their contact number and was sure they were ok with the arrangement.  I didn’t want to drop my child off somewhere they weren’t expected.

I’ve been surprised over the years how many parents have brought their kids to our house without meeting or talking to us.  Has this become the new norm for the older kids, Junior High to High School?  The parents just drop the kids off where ever they ask to go without checking things out first?  I realize they are getting older and becoming more independent, but it seems too laid back for me.  However, I am guilty of not always checking in with the parents of the other child or children.   hanging out with friends

Lately my daughter always wants to hang out (mall, movies, park, etc.) with a friend at some point during the weekend.  This is completely understandable.  I didn’t want to stay home and hang out with my parents when I was a teenager either. Since she can’t drive yet I’m the chauffer to and from.   Sometimes working this around our schedule can be difficult.

Since I’m not always able to communicate with the parents of the other child, I communicate with my daughter while she is out with her friend.  We have a plan where/when we will meet and discuss what she will be doing while away.  I usually text her a few times while she is away also.  I’ve even asked her to send me a picture a few times.  Does that make me an over protective mother who doesn’t seem to trust her daughter?!

Last week my daughter wanted to meet her friend at the movie theater.  Not the one in town, the one a town over.  We didn’t have any other plans and it wasn’t too late so I agreed.  My daughter had been spending a lot of time with this friend and I did chat with the mom once at a school function.

While I was driving her to the movies I was told her friends brother, who is a year older, would be there too.  Her friend wasn’t allowed to go out without her big brother.  It was reassuring to hear her friends parents were protective of who her daughter was with.   We pulled up at the theater the same time as her friend.  Before I drove off I told her I would be out front when the movie got out.

I arrived back at the movie theater about 15 minutes before the movie was out.  I played games on my phone while I waited.  The next thing I knew, it was 15 minutes past the time she was expected to get out.  I thought maybe the movie started late or the previews ran late.  No big deal.  I was irritated because I wanted to go home and get in my jammies.  I continued to wait.  I noticed a lot of people exiting the theater, as if a movie had just let out, but still no sign of my daughter.  It’s now about 30 minutes past the time she should have come out.  I’m now starting to worry.  Then I remembered she always calls once she’s out of the theater.  What if her phone died?  She’s been having problems with it.  She couldn’t see me where I was, so I decided to pull up in the front in the drop off zone.  I thought for sure she would be standing there waiting for me.  Still no sign of my daughter.  I tried several times to call and text her, but no response. frightened

My heart started racing and I began to panic.  Terrifying things started racing through my mind.  What if someone kidnapped her?  What if it wasn’t her friend that pulled up when we did and I left her standing alone?  What if someone convinced her to walk off with them? What if they didn’t go to the movie and were in a car accident going to wherever they were going?  My head was spinning.

Should I go in the theater?  What would I say?  What would I do if the movie got out and she wasn’t there?  Should I check all the theaters?  How would I do that?  I finally thought to call my husband.  He used to be a Police Officer and will know what to do.  I told my husband what was going on and he said he would head my way.   I realized I had her friend’s cell number in my phone from the other day when my daughter’s phone stopped working.  I tried calling and texting, but didn’t receive a response.  A few times I started to get out of the car to go into the theater, but had an overwhelming feeling I needed to continue waiting.

At this point it had almost been an hour since I expected to pick up my daughter. It felt like a lifetime.  I decided to call my husband to see what he thought we should do and make sure he was still coming.  His plan was for us to check the theater first.  While I was talking to him I got a text.  It was my daughter!  She said the movie just got out.  What?!  How was that possible?  I checked and double checked the time the movie was to get out.  I quickly told my husband and said we would see him at home soon.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the front of the theater waiting for my daughter to walk out the doors.  She finally appeared!  I could see her through the glass doors in the lobby.  I watched her walk out and to the car.  When she got in the car one part of me wanted to grab her and hug her, while the other part wanted to start screaming at her.

When I asked her where she had been she said “in watching the movie”.  I told her that was impossible because the movie was supposed to get out at 9:30 and it was now 10:30.  I didn’t understand how a movie could run an hour behind.  She calmly looked at me and said “oh, her mom wouldn’t let her see the movie we planned to see because it was rated R. So we saw a different movie and it just got out.”  I no longer want to hug my daughter!

As I began feeling angry and frustrated with my daughter for her lack of communicating, I was convicted.  It was time to be thankful not angry.  My anger and frustration turned to praising and thanking God for my daughter.  In a shaky voice and tears rolling down my face I explained to my daughter why I was so terrified.  She said she was sorry and didn’t realize there was a difference in how long the two movies were.  We sat in silence for most of the ride home.

The older my children get the harder parenting seems to be.  It makes me wonder how God feels when I change the plans for my life without consulting Him.  Thankfully he is oh so patient, kind and loving.  He treats us with grace and mercy each and every day even though we don’t deserve it.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I thank you for the patience and love we receive from you every day.  I pray we treat those around us with the same patience and love, Amen.

1 Chronicles 16 34

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