Monday, August 19, 2019

Monday Meditations - Valuable


Sometimes as a mom it's hard to feel valuable. It's often a thankless job. Nobody sees even half of what you do. Work is often paid for with a screaming baby, a temper tantrum throwing toddler, a temperamental teenager, and a husband who just wants his dinner. I once read an article that said stay-at-home moms "should" be earning $162,581 a year. Where are my mom friends who see that in their bank account?

dead silence GIF by GIPHY Studios Originals

You know something? Our mom value is not in money. Being a mom is the highest calling God gave to women, not climbing the corporate ladder. I am not dissing moms who work outside the home. Each one has to make choices as to what is best for her family. This is for all those who choose to stay at home, those who sometimes feel value less.

Our value was in the little lives you are molding each day. Your payment is all the sticky, syrupy kisses and the I love yous from the lips of those to whom you gave life.

Our value is raising children who become moral, productive members of society. Our payment is seeing those little people grow up and succeed.

Our value is knowing that we have done what God called us to do. Your payment is hearing the prayers of children as they pray and accept Christ as their Savior.

Our value is the part we played in helping our children grow to have a relationship with Christ and want to share that relationship with others so they can have the same. Our reward is…??? I can't answer that. Our reward will come when we stand before God. While I have no idea what that reward will be, I have a feeling it will be worth paying more than $162,581. 

Don't ever forget, fellow Mama, you are VALUABLE.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Monday Meditations - Radiant


I once knew a girl whose face was always radiant. I have never known anyone like her before or since. After I got to know her better I realized the cause of that radiance. It was God and His presence in her life. She had grown up as a missionary kid in the Philippines and told story after story of how God had been so real in their lives in such a dark place. Her face, and probably the faces of her family as well, had to stand out in a place where witchcraft and demonic activity were so prevalent. Her smiling face would give makeup companies a run for their money. She never wore any.

I can't help but wonder if there were times she and her family were in the presence of God. This young woman makes me think of another radiant face; the face of Moses when he looked upon the back of God upon Mount Sinai. Moses wanted to look upon God and in a word, God said Moses couldn't handle it. Got covered Moses in the cleft of the rock until He passed by. God pulled His hand away after He passed and Moses saw His back. Even seeing just the back of God, Moses' face shown like no one had ever seen before. In fact, when he came down from the mountain, the people were afraid of him until he veiled his face.

What do our faces look like after we've been in the presence of God? Do we spend time in His presence at all? How can we aim to spend more time with God today? Share your thoughts in the comments.

"So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image" (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT).

Monday, August 5, 2019

Monday Meditations - Victory


The word "victory" takes me back to my childhood in a couple of ways. From grades 5-9 I was a
cheerleader in our small Christian school. Most of our cheers had the theme of either school spirit or victory. Everyone wanted to win – the team, us cheerleaders, and the entire student body. The times that victory did come we were all excited. We jumped up and down. We clapped our hands. We shouted. Victory was sweet!

A person from my childhood that reminds me of victory was singer George Beverly Shea. Remember him? He would often travel with Billy Graham and sing at his crusades. I had the opportunity to attend a crusade my senior year of high school, and I was not disappointed when Mr. Shea stood up and sang "Victory in Jesus." His rendition was, and still is, my favorite. I would often call into the local radio station during request time and ask they play that song. (He and Joni Eareckson Tada were my regular requests. Am I dating myself?)

How do you view victory? Any victory within myself is because of God in my life. What about you? What do you consider to be victories in your life?

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ " (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Monday, July 29, 2019

Monday Meditations - Journey

My parents instilled a love of camping in
me at a young age. That little baby in the
stroller, that's me!

Journey is a word that can evoke a lot of thoughts and feelings. A journey can be physical, mental, or emotional. Sometimes a journey we take is all about reaching a specific destination, yet other times it's all about the getting there. We all take journeys from time to time. Maybe the word brings to your mind family vacations. My family would often go camping when I was a child. To pass the time the car my brother and I would play a game he made up called "open your mouth and close your eyes and I will give you a big surprise." The rules were pretty much self-explanatory. One time when I opened my mouth and closed my eyes he fed me dirt from the floor of the car. I didn't want to play the game anymore after that!

Many times a journey needs planning. I tell my writing students that they should know the beginning and the ending of their stories. The in between is the fun part – at least in story writing. Sometimes the life journey isn't quite so much fun when it involves pain and loss or many other negatives. It's how we handle these in-between's of our journey that count.

One journey I would love to take someday would be to travel to all the Civil War sites/battlefields mentioned in the novel my mother wrote. She passed away before it was published, and I think the journey would help me feel close to her again. It would be even more emotional if my sisters could join me.

What's going on in your life's journey right now? Do you have any journey stories you would like to share? I'd love to hear them. Please share them in the comments.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Monday Meditations - New


Anyone who knows me knows I homeschooled my kids from beginning to end. One of the aspects of that I enjoyed most was seeing the light shine on their faces when they learned to read. It's fun to see people's reactions to new things – whether by sight, sound, taste, or feel – especially with children. Watching a child as he or she puts letters together to read a word is an amazing thing. Their eyes light up in recognition and realization.

I still have the set of books my mom bought for me when I was leaning to read. (Not sure she really understood what she was starting with that book purchase!) I used those same books with my own children and am keeping them for future generations.

I enjoy visiting new places, trying new food, making new friends. Every time we have a new experience, we open the doors of our minds and hearts. When my oldest daughter had the opportunity to go to Europe and see new things, she came home with a couple thousand pictures and a whole lot more words. She was excited to share what she had experienced.

What about the newness of a relationship? I remember what it was like when I first started dating my husband. It was fresh and new and exciting. We have to work at keeping it fresh and exciting, but we put work into it because it's a relationship worth the effort.

When we become new creations in Christ, we will want to share what He's done for us. We're excited in the beginning. The bad part comes when we lose that excitement. That should never happen! God does so many wonderful things for us each day.

The Bible tells us that God's mercies are new every morning. No matter what we did the day before, the week before, the month before, the year before, we can have a fresh new start. God wipes the slate clean so to speak. Once we accept Christ, we are a new creation. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). I think that verse pretty much says it all.

Don't lose the excitement of new love in Christ. Keep it current and share with others how God reveals Himself to you every single day.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Monday Meditations - Gratitude


Gratitude is something we are not exactly full of these days. We would much rather show ungratefulness with all of our petty complaints. And what do we complain about? Big things? Sometimes. But more often than not we gripe about such minor issues like the temperature being too hot or too cold.

Have you ever known someone who complained about everything? Did/do you like to be around that person? The complaining person can be almost toxic. They bring us down and make us want to complain more.

There was one time I was going through the checkout at the store. The cashier complained about the company that employed her the entire time. Apparently she needed to be out of her apartment that day and wasn't allowed to take the day off. My cynical mind didn't want to hear her griping. I'm sure she had more than a couple hours' notice to vacate her apartment. As usual, my mouth was at work before my brain.

"You should be glad you have a job."

She was fairly silent after that.

At the time I had several friends who had been diligently looking for work and finding nothing. I felt she needed to show a little gratitude. (Isn't it funny how we can point out the faults in other people?)

My Blessings Book
Then there came a time I felt myself becoming so ungrateful. It is it said that knowing you have a problem is half the battle, and I realized I had a problem. To combat my complaining, I decided to start a Blessings Book. I had a small journal someone had given me that I had yet to put to use. I began writing down all the little (and big) blessings in my life. I jotted down when I missed an accident by one car. I wrote down the times I went to the store looking for something specific and found an awesome deal. I recorded the times God protected my family from catastrophic danger. These entries are not anything anyone else will ever read; they're just between God and me. 

You know what I noticed? The more blessings I wrote down, the more blessings I noticed. I was grateful for each one and wanted to make sure the Lord knew of my gratitude.

Sometimes we are the cause of what we complain about. Think about that. You know it's true.
Instead of complaining this week work a little harder at having an attitude of gratitude. (A song from my childhood just came to my mind! I'll have to go look that up.)

Want to start your own Blessings Book?

Monday, July 1, 2019

Monday Meditations - Joy


Someone recently told me she wasn't experiencing any joy in her life. Each day she would go through the motions of simply surviving. There was nothing to look forward to. She didn't feel as if she had many friends with whom she could get together and make plans. While her feelings may have been true, the reality of the matter is that sometimes we need to make an effort. Yes, we need to work. Yes, we must pay the bills. But we also must make time for the things that bring us joy.

My sisters and I dressed up
in some CW finery.
One of the things my family did for fun when I was growing up was Civil War skirmishing. That is something that is similar to reenacting, only the different regiments shoot at targets for competition instead of at each other. My parents started doing this when I was only five months old. They continued doing it after I got married. We camped with the same people many weekends from spring to fall. We made lifelong friends, some I'm still friends with today. (Although it's not necessary to mention how many years later!)

We looked forward to those skirmishing weekends. Those weekends were the only time we saw those friends. Spending time with those people and doing something we loved brought us joy. I still have so many precious memories of times and people from those years!

My parents. My mom made so many
CW clothes, from uniforms to camp
dresses to ball gowns.

My brother and me.
My Happy Place

As an adult, I'm a simple girl. It doesn't take much to bring me joy. All I need during the summer months is my chair, a book, and some sun. If there is a pool, that's just icing on the cake. If I can sit outside and read for an hour, I feel rested and recharged enough to complete the rest of my daily tasks.

I'm not good at thinking up stuff I want. My kids get frustrated with me at Christmas, Mother's Day, and my birthday. They ask what I want, but I can never think of anything tangible. I would much rather spend time with them doing something. It's often the littlest things that bring me the most joy.

What about you? Do you feel you need a little more joy in your life? What can you do to make that happen? What hobbies did you once enjoy? Take some time, even an hour a week to revive it. Call a friend, go out to lunch, and catch up. Don't look for only big things to bring you joy. Take a walk. Enjoy the sunset.

This week find one little thing that brings you joy and take advantage of it.

My mom enjoyed writing and the Civil War. She combined them when she wrote her novel Victory Song.