Isn’t it Ironic….

As you know, my daughter is 16, soon to be 17. She is smart, loves to laugh, pretty, and naturally athletic. And she is also completely self absorbed. But, you know what? When I was 16, soon to be 17, so was I. My cousin once told my mother, “there is nothing as self absorbed as a teenage girl.” I tend to agree. I have been considering my own mom lately and how she must have felt during my teenage years. All I can say to her is that I am truly sorry.

Let’s face it, we can look at the juxtaposition of a mom and a teenage girl and see that God truly does have a sense of humor. Look at hormones alone. A teenage girl’s hormones are surging, while a middle-aged woman’s are decreasing. The result is a little bit of crazy crashing into each other. (Oh my, our poor husbands!) And come to think of it, a teenage girl’s body is developing and in it’s prime physically; while a middle aged woman’s body is drooping and each morning brings aches and pains anew.

My daughter is standing at the beginning of her journey and I am realizing that I am most likely halfway through mine. Each day my focus is on her and her focus? Well, it’s on her too! (Ha! At least we have that in common.)

Okay, reality check folks. Comparisons of any kind steal our joy and all of this nonsense really doesn’t matter either. It is merely yet another season of life. And it will pass and most likely pass way too quickly.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1‭-‬8 NIV)

So, I have come to the conclusion that I will lean into God’s Word, enjoy the beauty in the irony of this particluar season and keep moving forward in love! We are about to celebrate Jesus’ birth and we can have as much of His joy, love and grace as we want. It is a free, pure gift from our Father. For every season.

Oh, and I will definitely call my mom in the morning and tell her that I am sorry once again, and giggle with her about my own self absorbed days and tell her I love her, which is a blessing in and of itself.

Be joyful!

He Knows Your Name…

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My daughter turned eight shortly after my husband and I got married. I was very fortunate in that she was truly longing for a mom. She made the transition very smoothly. One of my own regrets with my second father was that I never made the transition to calling him dad. I wanted to give my daughter the opportunity to call me mom pretty quickly. So, Memorial Day weekend, about six months after we were married, I asked her if she would like to try calling me mom. I told her that it might feel strange at first; but that eventually it would get easier. She eagerly agreed to give it a go! And a go she did!

I vividly remember that we went to the beach that weekend as a family. My daughter is a lover of the water, sand and anything slimy. So, she never lacks for energy at the beach. I truly believe that she called me mom 1000 times in the span of 2-3 hours. Mom, look at this cool shell. Mom watch me swim. Mom, check out this sand castle. Mom, look at me. Mom! Mom! Mom! It came so naturally to her. But, my learning curve was longer.

We went to Walmart that same weekend, jus the two of us this time. And I remember standing on an aisle and hearing a child asking her mom a question, over and over again, saying mom every time. This mom was apparently distracted. I thought to myself, ‘for goodness sake, answer that poor child so she will quit saying your name’. It was then that I realized that I was the mom. And my daughter was the child asking me the question. Oh my goodness, I was the mom.

Isn’t it reassuring to know that our Father knows our name? Better yet, isn’t awesome to think that He hears us every time we call him by His name? He delights in relationship with us. He wants to see the sand castle. He wants to watch us twirl on the beach. He longs to see us play in the waves. The Creator of the Universe knew you before He put you in your mother’s womb. He knows every hair on your head, He delights in every step you take and He collects every tear that you cry.

Thanks to Jesus, your name will appear in the Book of Life if you make Him your Lord and Savior. You will inherit eternal life. We are redeemed, children of God. Isn’t it amazing to think that the Enemy sees your Father’s name written on your forehead? (Revelation 12:4) You are sealed by the blood of Christ and the enemy has lost.

Yes, indeed, your Father knows your name. And my daughter knows mine! But more importantly, she knows the powerful name of Jesus! And I pray that she calls on that name over and over again. You too, my friends!

Be joyful!

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28 NIV

Life360…

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As I mentioned before, my daughter is now a driver. This past weekend, I told her that we were going to try out this new app as a family, called life360 and that the app will allow us to track each other via our phones.

Believe me, I was ready for the complete teenage “jelly fish” moment (to borrow a term from my Pastor). Those of you with teenagers know this one well…moaning, gnashing of teeth, the cry of injustice that comes from a teenager being put out by their overbearing parents. But, instead, I was met with complete obedience, almost a jovial response and the app was immediately downloaded onto her phone. I must admit I was a bit bewildered, until my daughter exclaimed, “now I will know when you are at home and simply ignoring my texts. You know that really makes me crazy mom, when you ignore my texts and I know you are just simply sitting at home.” As if. She went on to tell me that she has always wanted to see exactly what I do during the day. I started to think that this life360 app was a bad idea.

On Monday, I had a pretty normal day. I taught a class at the gym first thing in the morning, did a couple of errands and headed home to get cleaned up. I had a nail appointment right after lunch and left my phone in my car during the appointment. The last thing on my mind was life360.  I came out of the salon an hour later (with gorgeously polished nails I might add) to find a text from my daughter asking what I was having done at the salon and why I had not responded promptly, thank you very much. I responded “stop stalking me.” Indeed, this life360 app really might be a bad idea.

It occurred to me that this is a lot like how our Father in heaven must feel. He knocks, we invite Him into our heart and He “downloads” His Holy Spirit into us. The heavens rejoice and He has so many blessings in store! Then, we set out to live our lives and sometimes we forget that He has a perfect plan for us.

There was a significant season of my life that I was so busy doing things my way that I never even considered God or His plan for my life. He was there. He was tracking me. He was watching and waiting. He tried several times to get my attention, to get me to answer “His texts”. Yet, I was convinced that my way was the best way. You see, I left my phone in my car. I didn’t really need Him. I had this, thank you very much. When I finally hit rock bottom, I looked up and realized what a mess that I had made of things. And you know what? He met me there, helped me up, dusted me off and restored a new Spirit within me. Glory!

The only way this thing called life works is with Jesus front and center.. I sure do hope that you “download” the app and give your life over to Him. Life360 is only possible with His love, grace, forgiveness and mighty hand leading, watching. tracking, guiding, and protecting.

And on that note, my final analysis is simple: Jesus at the center of my life360 is indeed the only way. He is the Way. The Truth. and the Life. I hope it is true for you too!

Be joyful!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not o your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

The Big Red Bow…

I’ve mentioned that my daughter is 16 years old. Her 16th birthday was just a couple of weeks ago and my husband and I surprised her on the morning of her birthday with a car. It was one of those rare “movie” moments. She walked out to find a cute, Volkswagen beetle parked in our driveway with a big red bow on top. Her exact words to me were, “are you kidding me”, as the reality of what she was seeing in front of her began to sink in. My husband showed her all the features of her new “ride” and we told her that if she passed her driving test that afternoon that she could drive her car to softball practice. She replied, wide-eyed, “BY MYSELF?” Oh, my husband and I just died laughing. What a great morning! What a great memory! I told my daughter to hold onto this fun memory and lock it in her heart. Yes, it is important to stop and take notice when the big red bow appears in life.

It made me ponder my own big red bow moments. I am enormously lucky to have a mom who provided many of these moments, especially during my childhood. My man has locked a few big red bow moments into my heart as well. But, the sweetest big red bow moments have come from my Father in heaven. The best and most important one being the gift of His Son, my Savior, who sacrificed His life to redeem mine. In fact, when you really think about it, big red bow moments in life are a result of Jesus Christ. His goodness. His love. His grace. His moments to give to you.

Yes, it is important to stop and take notice when the big red bow appears in life. These moments are just around the corner, when you least expect them and often appear when you need them most. They can leave you stunned with joy. They can bring you to your knees in thanksgiving. And they can revive you on a dark day by just conjuring the memory back up. You see, that is just how our God works. He is Hope.

I encourage you to enter into each day looking for the big red bow.  I am convinced that He has one to offer, big or small, when we walk with Him and let Him guide our steps.

By the way, my daughter did drive, “all by herself”, later that day. Actually, she wasn’t all by herself. (None of us ever are.) Her heavenly Father was watching, grinning and enjoying that first ride with her!

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Romans 8:31-32 NLT

Be joyful!

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