Sunday, January 3, 2016

You Hear What You Want to Hear

I’m always amazed at how my toddler and kindergartener seem to have trouble hearing me call their names from time to time. Maybe it’s because they know I’m about to ask them to do something they don’t want to do. Turn off the television. Clean their rooms. Pick up their toys. Get ready for a bath. Get ready for naptime or bedtime.

However, I never have problems getting their attention when it comes to snacks. The same deaf ear that needed to hear their names twenty times just ten minutes before doesn’t even require a call to them when they hear the pantry door opening. The rattling of a bag of potato chips or the rumbling of a bag of goldfish always seems to grab their attention instantly, without me saying a word. Sometimes it’s almost as if they can sense that I’m near the pantry before they make a beeline to my side making snack requests.

I laugh at the thought of this but it reminds me of us as children of God. When it comes to the voice of God leading us to do things that we’re uncomfortable with, we’re hesitant. That hesitant spirit will often dissipate if the calling was for something we’ve been praying for or something we deem we need from God. My mom often had a saying, “You hear what you want to hear,” when I didn’t do what she asked of me.

I encourage you to join me in committing to moving with same haste to the voice of God regardless of what He is asking of us. Let’s choose to be obedient and willing to follow the Word and Ways of God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I often fall short when it comes to being obedient to Your voice. I ask that You give me a willing heart to follow You in everything, whether I am uncomfortable or content. I want to be all that You desire of me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Your Neighbor's Stuff

Frozen. Most of us have watched that movie more times than we can count, at least I have. My kids both love that movie and they both have character toys. My son had a plush Olaf, the snowman. When his birthday came around, he received another one, but this one said phrases from the movie.

After purchasing the toy at Target and bringing it home, my daughter picked up the regular plush toy and commented, “He already has Olaf; he doesn’t need another one.” Mind you, she has two Elsa dolls, one talking and one not and I reminded her of that fact. However, she brings it up every time they play with the toys. Recently, I had to remind her not to count his toys and to worry about her own.

Aren’t some of us like that sometimes? When people around us are blessed with some tangible item or a better position at work or anything we deem they’re unworthy of, we wonder why they have to get more, as if what they have isn’t already enough.

Much like the lesson I’m trying to teach my daughter, we can learn from it as well: Do not covet your neighbor’s things. (Part of the problem with my daughter is that she didn’t get another toy for my son’s birthday.) Whether or not we believe someone deserves something or not, we shouldn’t be concerned or covet what they have. Everyone gets a turn, you just have to wait on yours.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your favor. I am reminded of Your goodness in my life. Help me to celebrate others when they receive tangible blessings, knowing that one day, I too will receive them. Thank You for Your kindness and for not being a respecter of persons. Because of this, I know and believe that I too can receive great things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Something Stinks

It’s potty training time! If you’ve gone through this with any child already, you know how much of a struggle it is! Some days are good and others are not. However, I think the cheers are encouragement for the little guy.

One thing I’ve noticed throughout this process with him is that he tends to get really close to me when his pull-up is dirty. Sometimes he tells me and other times not, but he makes sure that I smell him. He can be off playing around with his sister for a long period but when that pull-up is dirty, he gets close to me. My guess is that he knows that I can clean up his mess. He knows where to turn when that pull-up situation gets messy and uncomfortable.

Much like my toddler, as God’s children, we are the same way. Sometimes we put our relationship with God on the back burner, not spending as much time praying, studying our Bibles or even practicing what the Word says, until we get into some mess. Once that happens, we find ourselves cuddling up next to God in prayer, spending more time reading our Bibles, going to church, etc. We do whatever it is we think we need to do to get cleansed.

We have the right idea –God is the only one who can free us from sin and clean up our mess. However, I’d like to encourage you to make time with God a priority, regardless of what’s going on in your life. Don’t just spend time with Him when you’re stinky, spend time with Him when you’re fresh too and perhaps you won’t get stinky as much.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness, grace and mercy. Thank You for Your son Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be restored unto You. Today, I ask that You continue to guide my heart towards You regardless of what state I’m in. I want my life to honor You at all times. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

You Better Stop That!

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether I’m the mother to my toddler or my daughter is. She fusses at him more than I do when he’s up to no good. I suppose she’s mirroring me? She does it often, but one day in particular, she was fussing at him for pouring water from his cup onto the highchair table. She screamed, “You better stop that!” Even though she acts like she’s his parent, I chose to think positively about it and just deem her his accountability partner. If nothing else, she holds him accountable for everything he does and reminds him of the consequences of his actions at every chance she gets.

Although I don’t always approve of how she tries to get her point across, I believe her intentions are good. She’s trying to keep him out of trouble and she doesn’t have a problem with telling him he’s doing wrong. I wonder if we as Christians would be better off if we had an accountability partner in our face who didn’t mind telling us when we were wrong. What if we had someone there to remind us of the consequences of our actions before we carry them out?

If you don’t have an accountability partner, it is a great idea to get one to help you in your walk with being more like God. I encourage you to be bold and confident in the power of God and to encourage your brothers and sisters in their walk with God as well. We are here to love and lift one another up.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank you for Your Word and for those that You have placed in my life to help me and for me to help them. Let us be encouraged to know that You love us and that You desire for us to be more like You. Help us to remain faithful to Your Word and Your Ways, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Moment Too Soon

We took our first family vacation to Disney World, where my mother, nephew and youngest sister joined us. The first day we visited Animal Kingdom. If you’re familiar with that park, you know that there aren’t many roller coasters at that particular park. And of the few that were there, Expedition Everest was the largest. My sister, who was 17, walked hand in hand with my daughter right up to the entry gate for the ride. Now, I knew from reading the ride restrictions on the guide that my daughter wasn’t tall enough to ride. So lagging behind the two of them, not really knowing where we were headed because my face was semi-glued to the map, I made it in enough time to see her walking away with tears in her eyes. “Mommy, he said I wasn’t big enough to ride,” she cried.

My heart was breaking for her because the trip was supposed to be fun and my plan was to keep her away from the rides I knew she wouldn’t be able to ride. But because she went ahead of me, I wasn’t able to protect her that one time. All I could do was promise that she would ride something the next day at Magic Kingdom because I had already mapped out the things we would do at that particular park. Knowing that she would still be able to enjoy a roller coaster later made her feel better, gratefully.

That one incident reminded me of how we are with God sometimes. We often move ahead of His plan for us, seeking our own gratification, only to later find out that we aren’t ready for it. Or that one particular thing wasn’t meant for us. We’d like to think that God will block things that aren’t meant for us but it doesn’t always happen that way. So today, I encourage you to choose God’s will over your own. Join me in petitioning the throne of God before making decisions. When we seek His Word, we learn more of Him and His Will. Seeking God first will protect us from a lot of unnecessary hurts.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your grace and mercy that are new each morning. I ask that You speak to my heart and lead me in my decision-making as I seek You first in all things. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Your Words Matter

Standing ten feet away from the microwave, my five year old would giggle and say that she couldn’t see the time and needed to get closer to read it. Turns out that it wasn’t a joke; she really did have trouble reading the time and anything else that wasn’t up close. Her pediatrician confirmed this at her well child check-up. We received a referral to see an ophthalmologist and at that appointment, I was reminded of just how easily my words could have an affect on my child.

A few seconds after the doctor began testing her, and she had already called a few wrong letters, we began discussing some of the things I may have noticed at home. At that time, I brought up the microwave example. Those little ears were picking up everything because immediately, she began to repeat what I just said, although she selected what she wanted to repeat. Maybe she has selective hearing?

She stopped trying to see what was in front of her; she only wanted to voice that she couldn’t see. At that moment, I immediately realized how powerful and impactful my words are on her. I simply stated that she’d recently had trouble reading times on the microwave but she took that to mean that she couldn’t see and started to believe and act as if she couldn’t. Wow.

Have you spoken something to or around your child that has had an effect on them? Was it positive or negative? As parents, we have to realize that those little ears are always around listening and ready to soak up any information that they can receive, whether they should be listening or not and whether or not we think they are paying attention.

Today, let’s choose to speak life, encouragement and love into the soul and spirit of our children.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminder of the impact that I have on my children. Help me to be mindful of what I say and do so that my ways my affect them positively and point them towards you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Always Hungry

For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalm 107:9)

As I was going through my daily task of cleaning the kitchen and sweeping the floor of the many crumbs and food pieces that seemed to find their way down, no matter what I cooked, I thought of how my children are always asking for snacks.

Before we leave the childcare center each day, they both grab a snack on the way out of the door. To keep down the fuss, I allow them to eat the snack in the car, even though I know their car seats will be filled with crumbs later.

By the time we make it home, they rush to the pantry only to raid it for more snacks. Depending on how much longer it takes for dinner to be ready, I allow one more snack. I’m sure you know what’s next, right? They ask for another snack after scarfing down whatever they just ate in a matter of minutes.

I remember coming home from school feeling like I was going to starve but I am amazed every single day that they don’t seem to get enough–even after dinner, they want more snacks.
I found myself saying, “You guys are always hungry,” but then I felt a nudge in my spirit saying, 
“What if you were always hungry for me?” And I had to pause. How much better would my relationship with God be if I were always hungry for more of Him and fed that hunger with His Word, with prayer, with praise or with worship?

Though my soul constantly thirsts for more of God, I don’t always take time to get my fill of Him. What about you? Are you hungry and thirsty for the Lord? Are you getting your fill of Him? Today I encourage you to join me in feasting upon the Word of God and spending time in His presence. Our kids don’t rest until their tummies are full, why don’t we do the same for our spirit?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want and need more of You. Today I’m choosing to replenish my soul by spending time meditating on Your Word and Your Ways, In Jesus’ name, thank You for always being willing to fill me, Amen.