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Moms, Stop the Anxiety!

12 May

Billy and Bobby were talking to each other. Billy was suddenly quiet.

“I’m really worried,” Billy said. “My dad works twelve hours a day to give me a nice home and good food. My mom spends the whole day cleaning and cooking for me. I’m worried sick!”

“Sounds to me like you’ve got it made. You’ve got great parents!” Bobby said. “What have you got to worry about?”

Billy replied: “What if they try to escape?” (1)

Raising kids is always an adventure, and as we approach Mother’s Day, I want to share a post from my young friend, Deedra Scherm. I wrote about Deedra in LOL with God in the devotional, “Lemon Vision” (p. 84). She has energy, passion, and most of all, wisdom. Young, busy moms will instantly identify with her opening words ….

I WORK FROM SON UP TO SON DOWN!

I am the sole female in my household, and three of the four males that live here with me are age seven and under. Being a Mother of All Boys (or MOAB, if you want to be trendy) can wear a Mama out. I read somewhere that toddler boys have 50% more energy than girls. I think I might believe it. 

I see my friends with their darling little princess daughters all dressed up with their pillowcase dresses, adorable striped leggings and matching bows on their heads. I just sigh as I scramble to pull the boogers out of the hair of one ~ how’d it get up there? ~ and spray the antibacterial pain relief on the bleeding knee of the other while the third tries to “take down” booger boy with his cardboard sword. 

I keep telling myself that in about 12 years, while my friends with all girls will be dealing with a toxic fireball of female teenage hormones, I’ll be sipping lemonade while my boys are mowing the grass, planting my spring flowers, and picking up dinner from my favorite restaurant “so Mama doesn’t have to cook.”  One can hope, right?

There are days that I feel like my heart and my brain are about to explode. 

The level of stress that sometimes creeps into my life as I take on the role of Mom is exhausting. I sometimes feel I should know every answer, fix every problem, plan for every single possible scenario, and make sure absolutely nothing ever goes wrong. (OK, maybe this is just a mom issue, regardless of the gender of your kids!) I start to feel like my whole life is about running around taking care of everyone else, and no one is taking care of me!

That feeling is the cue that I’ve missed something very important.

There is a little “rule” we learned in Kindergarten:  “Put things back where they belong.”  I Peter 5:7 says, “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” You see, when I start feeling stress about completing the MILLION tasks of the day, dealing with running a business from home, the outcome of a medical test, the future of our family’s finances… I realize that I have kept anxiety with me rather than putting it back where it belongs.

I have to stop anxiety, refuse to carry it, and pass it over to Jesus. When my anxiety is extreme, I will even imagine, as I pray, that I’m holding the problem in my hands and laying it down before the throne of our Lord.

Now, this is not a call to apathy… to just flop around without a single emotion, never caring what happens in life. This is a call to action!  The verse says you are to cast!  And not just cast “some” but to cast “ALL” of your anxiety on Him for a very good reason: He cares for you! This is a determined choice for a very sound reason. God will never leave us, forsake us or fail us.

As I learned to recognize my anxiety, I could see opportunities to say, “Lord, I don’t know the outcome of this situation, but I know you have a plan for me. I trust you to help me with each step and give me the comfort and peace to deal with anything that may come my way.” That’s how I make it to the end of the day with peace and joy… even if I’m constantly surrounded by a bunch of crazy boys.

Deedra Scherm  is married to Kris and they have three active little boys. Between building forts, bandaging skinned knees, and acting out Bible Stories, she is the President and CEO of Lemon Vision Productions which provides inspired media for kids, like Little Buds 123’s DVD. Check out her books and DVDs at www.littlebuds.com.

(1) Adapted from http://www.broadcaster.org.uk/section2/jokes/parentingjokes.html

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Legacy Takes More than a Light Switch Plate

6 May

In 1939 and again in 1964, Westinghouse buried some time capsules with some common and some rather odd contents:   a deck of cards, a bikini, a Polaroid camera, a Bible,  a Beatles record, a child’s Mickey Mouse cup, credit cards, a copy of the sci-fi magazine “Amazing Stories” in microfilm form, etc.

You can probably guess which items belonged in each capsule ~ but you’d be wrong if you put “Bible” in the 1939 capsule.

Would you have added these things in time capsules?

Time capsules are all about passing on information about today to someone in the future.

I recently saw a “Light Switch Time Capsule that got me thinking. The author of the post, Sean Michael Ragan, said, “I get nostalgic when I move out of a home, especially if it’s one I’ve lived in awhile. Leaving a secret treasure or two stashed here and there, seemed to help me get closure.” Instead of dropping a note in the wall (as some have done), Sean wrote a message on the back of a standard light switch plate.

The switch plate had a note on the back to tell all future home owners a little about the previous home owner’s history in the home. This particular person’s story was a little depressing, actually, as he described some of his personal choices. But there is something in each of our hearts that wants to pass on information to others about what we think is important, or information about how to deal with things in the future.

As a Christian woman, I want to leave a legacy; I want to be sure my family knows what I think is important (God, His Word, and serving the Lord) ~ but it will take a lot more than a simple light switch time capsule to pass on that information.

So where can I “leave” my legacy information (my time capsules*) to make a real difference?

First, I can leave a legacy in my history  (or heritage). I can leave my children and grandchildren photos and family tree information, special recipes and keepsakes ~ sharing cultural traditions and some of the family history that made me the person I am, including my Christian heritage.

The Israelites left memorial stone altars for future generations. For example, they made a mound of stones after crossing the Jordan River on dry ground (Joshua 4:1-8), and later, when people asked the meaning of the stones, they talked about the faithfulness of God in caring for His people.

I’ve told my children about Christians in their background who ministered as preachers and missionaries and faithful servants of God in their churches. They need to know they have a godly heritage, and that they can trust in the Lord for their future (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Second, I can leave a legacy in the hearts of each of my children and grandchildren. I can write truth on their hearts. I can spend time getting to know the unique personalities and needs of each one, and perhaps tailoring some biblical information (or counsel, when asked) to help them deal with things in their lives or the future.

Proverbs 1:8 says, “Listen my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” This assumes that we are instructing and teaching.” We are to faithfully teach our children and grandchildren about the love and righteousness of God (Psalm 103:17-18).

Third, I can leave a legacy in my “handbook,” my copy of the Word of God. I want to leave them notes in my personal Bibles that they can read in the years to come, if they so choose.

Everything else ~ all material goods ~ will fall apart or whither away, but the Word of God will endure forever (Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35), and it is timeless and relevant for my family’s future needs and direction. I want them to understand that the scriptures “worked” for me. They comforted and counseled me in times of need, and they were a steady resource. The Word is alive and powerful! (Hebrews 4:12)

Fourth, I can leave a legacy in my home. I might write words of wisdom on items in my home, that they will read (and perhaps want) after I am gone. I think of the Israelites’ mezuzahs by their doorposts ~ small parchments inscribed with a short version of their Torah. It’s original purpose was to help the Jews remember the presence and commands of God (Deuteronomy 6:4-6, 9).

While I think it’s more important that God’s Word is inscribed on our hearts, it certainly can’t hurt to have home decorations that remind us of who God is and what He is doing in our lives. And these works of art ~ plaques, paintings, sculptures, etc. ~ can be passed down to our family members.

I will need to be proactive and intentional about all of this “leaving,” of course. In the busyness of life, I must make time to remember legacy or it won’t magically happen.

What do you do to pass on family traditions and the truth of the Word of God? Where else might I leave some legacy information?

* Just for fun:

At your next family reunion, create a time capsule of family memories. Ask each guest at the reunion to bring an object they feel represents their current interests or something about the culture at that time. Seal and wrap the time capsule, and save it for the next reunion!

Encourage a Child’s Faith-filled Prayer

24 Oct

Pam sent me these funnies, which she received from a friend in a long list of funny anecdotes. First, there’s this one, about a little girl’s prayer:

“When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and Girl at Betdime Prayingevery animal (current and past).

“For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, ‘And all girls.’  This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing.

“My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, ‘Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?’

” Her response:  ‘Because everybody always finishes their prayers by saying, ‘All Men’!”

And then there’s this adorable little boy:

Dinnertime Prayer“Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother’s house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.

“‘Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer,’ his mother said.

“‘I don’t need to,’ the boy replied.

“‘Of course, you do,’ his mother insisted. ‘We always say a prayer before eating at our house.’

“‘That’s at our house,’ Little Johnny explained. ‘But this is Grandma’s house, and she knows how to cook!‘” (1)

I (Dawn) love practical devotionals that encourage my faith or inspire hope (which is one reason Pam and I wrote LOL with God! The other day, as I was cleaning out a bookshelf, I came across a warm, creative book by Cheri Fuller titled When Families Pray. This devotional uses short, present-day stories of answered prayer to remind families that every person in the family can have intimacy with God and connect with Him in powerful prayer.

A favorite chapter, “Prayer Lessons from a Child,” reminded me to pray with childlike faith, believing that nothing is impossible for God. He still performs miracles for those who trust Him.

In the story, a little boy named Jeffrey watched his grandfather’s health deteriorate due to irreversible heart disease. Eventually, he ended up in the intensive care unit (ICU) with gangrene spreading through his leg, but the doctors did not recommend surgery (amputation), believing he was not strong enough to survive the operation. The family resigned themselves to waiting for the inevitable.

Grandpa told everyone he was ready to go “when it’s God’s time.” Three days later, it seemed it was “Grandpa’s time,” and all the family members streamed in and out of his room, saying good-bye. Little Jeffrey, age nine, was left at home, but he begged to see his grandpa. “I need to see Grandpa,” he said. “It seems like God wants me to be there.”

The nurse took Jeffrey in to see Grandpa, who was in critical condition. As he left, the nurse said, “… the Lord will take him when He’s ready.”

“But I prayed for my Grandpa,” Jeffrey said with confidence, “and God’s going to answer my prayer.” He later told his mother, “Grandpa isn’t going to die today; God told me!” And the little boy prayed through the night for his beloved grandfather.

The next afternoon, a phone call came. Continue reading

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