Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Do You Know Your Name."

Each night after I put my three year old and one year old to bed I hear my little boy sing to my baby girl. He sings all sorts of songs that he knows. I truly love it.

Well, one day while pushing them on the swing I was singing to the kids. I had sung lots of songs and then asked, "What song do you want me to sing now?"
Daniel answered, "My song."
I started singing a song that my husband wrote for him, but he interjected and said,
"No, not that one. MY song."
I asked him to sing it to me.
Well, he started singing a song HE made up. I wish you could hear the tune, but the words are:
"Do you know your name. Do you know your name. Do you know your name..."

Yup, that's it. "Do you know your name sung about twenty or so times with no inflection as if you were asking a question. So, there I was singing his song over and over again. The really funny part was hearing my one year old singing it with me! (This must be one of the songs he sings to her while in their beds!).

The next day or so we were out again on the swings and there I was singing The Wheels on the Bus type of songs and as many Bible songs as I could remember. When my son asked me to sing HIS song again. (It is now a part of our everyday song line-up). 

As I'm singing it Daniel said, "Mommy, I added new words to my song." 
(I was excited to hear it and I a little nervous too).
He sang, "Jesus knows your name. Jesus knows your name. Jesus knows your name..." in the same tune as "Do you know your name."

I stopped pushing the swings and I thought, "Wow. It's true." 
I know you must think I'm silly, but for one full day I was singing, "Do you know your name."  and was forced to think what in the world does that mean? Yes, I know my name!

But when I heard, "Jesus knows your name" I was truly struck by the power of it- I may not know everything about me, (okay I know my name), but Jesus not only knows me-He knows my name. He created me. He knows how many hairs on my head. (Matthew 10:30)  He knows when I sit and when I stand. He knows my prayers before I even say them. (Psalm 139)

Backing up a bit-about a month ago I was driving alone in the van with my two youngest children. The car ride was quiet so I thought I'd take the opportunity to speak into Daniel's life about how much God loves him.

First I asked, "Hey Dan, do you love Jesus?"
Daniel, "Yes, mommy, very much."
Me: "Do you know Jesus loves you too?"
Daniel, "Yes, mommy- Jesus loves me."
He said it in a kind of a slow thoughtful way like he was thinking about something else-he paused after answering me and then said,

 "Mommy, do you know that Jesus loves all the peoples?"

Funny, how humbled I was right in that moment. My son loves Jesus and he knows he is loved. The astounding thing is he also knows that Jesus loves everyone in the world- and he wanted to make sure that I knew it.

'Jesus knows your name' and 'Jesus loves all the peoples" -that is the Good News or the Gospel right there. Jesus knows you (Put your name on the line)_________ and He loves you  (put your name on the line)_________  and He died for you so that you can know Him.  The Gospel is so simple- so that everyone can understand it and receive Jesus~simple enough, even for a three year old. Don't make the gospel more complicated than that- it's not.

 Jesus knows your name and died for you
 because He loves you. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I'm Feeling Different

It is amazing to me how every time I go through a hard time
 I come out of it on the other side a little bit different.
 I'm feeling different-solidly different.

I remember growing up and just really loving my maternal grandfather, but he, for a lot of memory, would get sick and then be better and then be sick again. As I grew up I understood that my grandfather had been having heart attacks, recovering and then getting better again. He would always come home and try to keep the diet the doctors gave him, but in time he would go back to eating whatever he wanted. He even had a triple bypass and came out the other side of it just the same old grandpa. Started out by being careful of what he ate and trying not to get excited over things, but in time he was back to eating whatever he wanted and fussing over things that didn't need fussing. That kind of thing. Well, the last heart attack I remember thinking, "Sure he's had another heart attack, but no worries- it's grandpa!" but when he came home from the hospital, he was not the same man. He was quieter. More patient. Cautious of what he ate. Slower. That was his last heart attack that he survived. When the next one came he didn't come home to us, but to Jesus.

I feel a little like that story of my grandfather.  All these years heart aches have come and gone and I've changed a little here and a little there. Some of the changes, like my grandfather, weren't long lasting. I learned a lesson, but then would fall back into my old habits and forget the lesson learned.  But this time I know I'm different. I feel like my eyes are wide open. I even see myself a little slower, more quiet and even a little more ready to give up or let things go. Don't get me wrong good things have come out too-I'm wiser, more confident than ever in who I am in Christ, and  more sure that my number one priority is in my home. I have written many times of my past insecurities and fears, but I think I've had to face so many fears over this past year that I just don't feel afraid anymore. I'm not afraid of man or what they'll think of me. I'm not afraid of being rejected or judged or even thrown out.

I told a friend that if I had to describe the old me to anyone based on one of the characters from 'Winnie-the-Pooh' I would say I was Tigger.

 After what I've gone through I guess I still see myself as Tigger, 
but I feel like I've lost my bounce.
 That's how different I am feeling. 

I'm not depressed.                                                    
    I'm just feeling different.

I still have the Joy of the Lord within me,   
but I've just got to get used to me not being so bouncy.
The kind of bouncy that I had was a happy mixed with naivety-
it seems to have disappeared.

God says in His Word that He uses all things for His good and I hold that to be very true. (Golly, He is a good God!) Anyway, I wonder how or when He will use this heart ache for good? Curious. I also wonder how me changing is going to be for good. (Not that I would ever think that I don't need change, but I feel so different now). What is God up to?

I feel a new horizon is coming and opening up to me. Things that I've been nervous about facing, even afraid of daring myself to look at are now staring at me and beckoning me to learn and discover. I'll be honest, I'm not afraid of discovering or of what my future holds. I'm going to face it and keep moving and pressing into God. I am really different. I have no comfort zones. I have no plan B. I am marching forward into uncharted territory. I feel a little twang of nervousness, a little bit of excitement, but I'm going. (Gosh, I'm so different).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"I Love You."

Today in church I was struck with the Lord's love for us. I felt like He was saying, "I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you"...over and over and over and over again.

I wanted to say, "But Lord" and interrupt Him, but all I could hear was, "I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you"...over and over and over and over again.

He didn't want to hear, "I'm sorry for..." He didn't want to hear, "But I haven't done..." All He wanted was for us to know that He loves us. It has nothing to do with what we have or have not done. He has nothing to do with our 'good intentions.' He loves us and that's that.

I felt like He was saying, I Love You over and over and over again, over top of voices refusing to hear Him. He is saying it over and over and over again so at some point we will stop talking. Stop listening to lies. Rest and hear Him say...

 "I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you."I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. "I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you."I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you"...He'll never stop saying it...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Undeserving Mom

On the day before Mother's Day, the 'eve,' I am sitting at my kitchen table, bay windows open,  the birds chirping, and the house is quiet. Children napping, some playing quietly and others at a soccer game. I'm a mom. I've done nothing extraordinary to deserve the title. We wanted to have six children, we prayed for them and then God did the rest. They are here and I'm a mom.

Mommyhood has had it's ups and downs. It's had it's surprises-"TWINS!" It's had it's every day dole-drums too. It's had it's laughs and sadly, it's heartbreaks- "Mrs. Gill, please say goodbye to your daughter, she may not make it through surgery."  It's had it's hard moments, and it's God moments, "Mrs. Gill had we not operated you're son would not be with us now."   It's had it's clean-house moments and smelly-house moments. (With twins in diapers I felt many times that I was walking through a perpetual green fog-Lysol couldn't touch it). It's had it's 'hello' to long lasting mom friends and it's had it's 'goodbyes' to my own mother, grandmother and sisters. It's been fun organizing and re-organizing. Changing around furniture to make room for our newest addition. Garage conversion-to just make more room. We've had more celebrations than I could have ever guessed and I so look forward to many more birthday parties, (my three year old has already picked his b-day theme and he turns four in November!), graduation parties, promotions, victories, weddings, baby showers, dedications and the like. I've done nothing to deserve it all, but my heart is so grateful.

I was not chosen by God to have children because I aced my Home Economics class-I never even had a Home Ec. class. I wasn't chosen to be a mom because I can sew, I can't, or cook, I couldn't. I wasn't given children because I was a calm, quiet, person-I'm not. I'm also not a person who, with her first child, had read the Bible clear through. I was no great Christian -still am not.  I was and am completely undeserving of the title-mommy. I did nothing to earn it, God just blessed me with it.

Since becoming a mom I have tried to read as many parenting books that I can get my hands on. I've read through the Word. I've read more Christian 'hero' autobiographies than I can count. I guess you could say that I was trying to earn the title, but I see that I cannot. For so long I have felt that I am walking around in 'mommyhood' shoes that are just too big for me. I walk just flopping around. The shoes have truly felt just too big for me, but now I see that mommyhood  has been freely given to me and the task is to remain surrendered to the Father and follow His leading.

I'm still flopping around in mommy shoes, but my feet are on the path the Lord has for me and I'm no longer worried. Not worried if I'm doing everything right or if I'm making mistakes. That's the wonderful part of being surrendered and knowing there is forgiveness waiting for you. My eyes are on the Lord and His leading-I'm not perfect, but HE is. When I succeed-glory to God and when I fail-there is forgiveness, healing and a new path.

 I am hopeful mom. 
I am a forgiven mom.
I am a grateful mom.
 I am an undeserving mom.

Thank you Jesus for the children you have given to me. 
May the title, "Mom" that I wear make you proud. 
I love you Abba- my Daddy, with all my heart.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Simplicity: Five Things Little Kids Can Teach You by Joyce Meyers

Here's a link to something that Joyce Meyers talks about. I thought it funny how I've been thinking over child-like faith and adult-like faith and here she shares on five things we can learn from children. Read it, I think you'll love it : D

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Adult-like Faith

I recently wrote about "Child-like Faith" and how truly wonderful it is. (You see I have a front row seat to 'child-like' faith ~I have been blessed with six children). Well, in that article I talked about my sons prayers, his joy, the peace I see in him while he prays and it started me thinking about my 'adult-like' faith.

I was told once that I would pass down my faith to my children, but I see my faith and think, "I don't want to pass down my faith-I want them to KEEP their own child-like faith. For instance:  Each day I have worship music on and it plays throughout the house. I love to dance, so when I am moved by one of the songs I find myself dancing. When the song ends I usually go back to whatever I had been doing before that particular song came on.  But with my children it is completely different. As soon as my two youngest ones even see me move toward the stereo they get excited. I'll always hear my three-year old ask my one year old, "Joy, do you want to dance with me?" The music comes on they will dance and dance, song after song. My older ones will dance with them and laugh and just enjoy dancing and singing about how wonderful Jesus is. I watch them. They dance with freedom. They dance as if no one is watching them. That's child-faith in action.

So many times when I'm in church singing and praising the Lord and a particular song is being sung I find myself just wanting to dance. I want to dance up and down the aisles. I want to dance with my sisters in Christ. I want to dance with scarfs and banners. I just want to dance before the Lord and rejoice over what He has done and who He is.  I want to dance, but I don't. I see it in my children too-they want to dance, but I find myself not encouraging them to dance. (I've never told them not to, but I haven't encouraged them either).  And I've come to see that it's because of my "adult-like" faith. I'd be too embarrassed to dance. I wouldn't want anyone to stare at me. I wouldn't want anyone to think that I was dancing to look any more 'spiritual' than anyone else. I think, "Am I even allowed to dance?" Would I get in trouble? All the worry. All the fear of man.

And that folks is what I'd like to call 'adult-like' faith at work.

And sadly, the more I think about it the more I realize that I am passing on to my children my unfaithful, adult-like faith. I'm robbing them of their faith-their child-like faith. Faith to love to Jesus and the trust to receive it. I'm robbing them of their excitement of who HE is and what HE has done. I'm taking from them the desire to express their joy of Jesus by squelching their dance.

I've tried not to, but think in many ways I've failed at teaching them that Jesus is not just for church and Sundays. And Jesus is not about pretty dresses, handsome outfits, slicked over hair, and hair bows, and smiles on Sunday morning. We dress for Him, but I wonder if I've communicated that well enough. I wonder if I've communicated to them that I want to be about so much more than church.  Jesus wasn't about sitting around and being fed, He was about going from town to town preaching the Good News, healing the sick, and much sacrifice.

What motivated Jesus to go from city to city? To meet new people? To be welcomed into strangers homes and sleep over? I believe it was His excitement over God His Father. He was truly over flowing with the love of God and the love for all people and just had to tell everyone. He held the Good News in His heart and had a burning desire to share it and rejoice about it with anyone who would listen. Jesus knew He had the truth and was not ashamed in any way to share it. He was also not afraid to share it. Jesus did not have 'adult-like' faith. A faith that says, "I'll look normal and act normal." A faith that stays in the guidelines. A faith that is not radical or on fire. A faith that prays, "I'll pray for God's will to be done", instead of believing and praying in the power of the Holy Spirit for a soul  to be saved or the sick to be made whole.  A faith that is quiet. A faith that is not bouncy and dancing before God with a heart just so full of gratefulness that you just can't keep still. And truly, a faith that really isn't faith at all.

I don't want my 'adult-like' faith-I'm not sure where I even got it from. I had child-like faith when I was first touched by God's incredible love and I know I had it for years. I remember when I shared an apartment with a friend in Queens I used to read the Bible before work (about an hour's length of time), come home from work and read it for another hour and before bed-well, I'd read for hours. I then remember after a few years of doing that I started hearing people say how they forgot to read the Bible today or that WEEK(!) I was shocked. All I wanted to do was read the Word. How do you put anything before reading the Bible?(Naivety? or child-like faith?-I'll let you decide). Either way, seeing so many people not reading the Bible started me thinking, 'What am I doing? Christians don't read the Bible every day.Ellen, be normal.'

So, my choice, my sin, my loss of child-like faith. 

Children don't worry about what other people are doing- they just do what their heart leads them to do. That's why they'll just bonk someone on the head if they feel like it and so along with that that's why they dance, jump up and down and rejoice freely over good news. (Tell a child you are taking them to Chuck E. Cheese and see the response- let alone hear it!) They show their hearts with out worry or fear of the law or the consequences.

I want that! I want to express my faith without fear. I want dance! I want to share the gospel! I want to see the sick healed because it is the heart of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit to see all people healed in body, soul, and spirit. I want to be radical, on fire, for Jesus without fear of man's judgement. I want it back-I want my child-like faith back. I want what the enemy has stolen. And with God's help I will have it again!