Goliath

I love the story of David, the little shepherd boy who defeated Goliath. There were these big men, trained soldiers, who went out to face Goliath and couldn’t derail him. But yet, when David, who was just a child, went to battle against the giant he slayed him using only a sling and five little stones.

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When the soldiers confronted Goliath, they saw Goliath. Their discussion centered around Goliath. He was their fear, their focus. When David went out to face Goliath he talked about God. Not Goliath, but God. God was His Focus. Does he see Goliath? Of course! You can’t not see him. But he doesn’t key in on him. He lifts his eyes to the only One who can thwart the giant.

If, for just one second, David removed His eyes from the Victor and saw the enemy, he would have been consumed by His fears. He would have noticed that he was just a little boy facing a massive monster. His cry would not have been a battle cry but a cry to retreat. David left his eyes trained on the Champion who could win the war. David was “God-focused, not giant-focused.”

Our enemy would like nothing else than to see us get up each morning, only to fall under the fear of our giants. Our Goliath may not come to us in “flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12) but he waves swords of defeat, shame, guilt, depression. He walks “through your office, your bedroom, your classroom. He brings bills you can’t pay, grades you can’t make, people you can’t please, whiskey you can’t resist, pornography you can’t refuse, a career you can’t escape, a past you can’t shake, and a future you can’t face.” (Max Lucado) Goliath wants to be the first thing we think about in the morning and the last thing we worry about in the evening. But I’m not willing to give in to that. I want to see God more. I want to start my day with God, not with Goliath. I want to end my day with God, not with the giant.

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My Goliath may come and go or he might not ever be removed. But I know, I have a choice. I can either buckle under the intimidation of Goliath or I can look past the giant, focus on the God of angel armies, and wait in thankful anticipation knowing that the “battle belongs to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 17:47)

(Inspired by 1st Samuel 17 and the Book, Facing Your Giants, by Max Lucado)

The Sunflower

Every day God is so good to give us reminders of who He is and who we are as His children. I’m learning that if I’m actively looking for Him, He is there! Always ready to reveal Himself. This afternoon when I was driving Leah and Rachael home from school we drove past two giant sunflowers. They were absolutely beautiful. To my surprise, Leah, didn’t share my same point of view and voiced her opinion about the sunflower. She told me she thought they were ugly. “What!?”  I said, “Leah, do you know why I think the sunflower is so cool?” Without getting too scientific, (re-calling what I learned as a little girl, and not what I can find on the internet about “solar-tracking” and the misconception of sunflowers), I told her how the sunflower follows the sun.

As soon as the morning breaks, the sunflower is basking in the warmth of the sun. Throughout the day it moves with the sun. From sunrise to sunset, it is always facing the sun. It doesn’t leave the sun’s presence. What happens to the flower if it doesn’t follow the sun? It won’t thrive. It will start to fall over, slump, droop. If the flower is deprived from the sun, its beauty will start to fade. Without the sun there is no flourishing flower.

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And it took just a moment, for God to whisper to me, “This is how I want you to live.” Whether it’s myth or legend, the sunflower reminds me of the perfect example, the exact visual of what God desires His children to do with His Son. We are to be Son followers. In the morning hours we should wake with the Son. We should Seek His presence and soak up His rays. From sunrise to sunset, our “eyes should be fixed on the Author and Perfecter” of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) In the warmth of the Son we will find great pleasure and satisfaction. “Planted in the House of the Lord, we will flourish.” (Psalm 92:13)

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the LIGHT of His glory and Grace.”

Waiting, Patiently Waiting Part I

“Wait patiently for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

Wait patiently? That seems like an oxymoron!? I don’t like to wait. In fact, I don’t know many people who enjoy waiting. Waiting is the last thing we seem to have time for when immediate gratification is at our fingertips. But yet, God instructs us to wait, and not only wait, but wait patiently.

Recently, I’ve been reminded just how much of life consists of waiting. Every day, every week, every month, every year we are left waiting. Waiting for a new promotion, waiting for health to be restored, waiting for a second chance, waiting for reconciliation in a relationship, waiting for test results, waiting to overcome hardships, struggles, addictions, and so on and so on. How do we find the strength to wait patiently for the Lord?

I was given the perfect imagery for this waiting process when I went out to water our little herb plants. (How they’ve survived under my care is a great mystery. I wasn’t given a green thumb and my kids are convinced that I can kill a plant just by looking at it!) But on this day, camouflaged in the parsley, I found this little creature nibbling it’s way up the herb. How Beautiful! He was perfect! Stunning! I was amazed at God’s handiwork and the intrinsic designs on this caterpillar.

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 When I showed him to my girls, of course, they wanted to put him in a jar and create the ideal habitat for him to wrap himself into a cocoon.

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We watched as he scarfed down the parsley and climbed his way to the perfect spot on the twig. We even noticed as he maneuvered into an awkward position and spun his first piece of silk.

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Within the next few hours we saw him transform from a remarkable caterpillar into a cocoon.

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A cocoon that is now far from beautiful. It appears ugly and worn. Where is the artistry, the elegance, the grace?  This is the waiting. The point in which life is put on hold. Limbo. Knowing what once was, but not sure of what’s to come. The waiting. A hard stop in life. Waiting.

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“What will it look like? What will it be like? When my world turns out like you planned. When will I get there? Feels like I’m nowhere. My dreams are like dust in my hand. But I know, this is the waiting. I anxiously wait, as I hold on to love that won’t ever let go, and in these times when my patience is tested, won’t you remind me that I’m not alone, here in the waiting.” (Jamie Grace)

Waiting, Waiting Patiently for Part II

“10,000 Reasons”

Today I woke up thinking these words, “The sun comes up, It’s a new day dawning, It’s time to sing Your song again, Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, Let me be singing when the evening comes.”

It’s been another hard week for us as we mourn the death of Grandma Marie Ryan.  She was a big part of our lives and words can not express how greatly we will miss her.  I am thankful for the time we were able to share with her in this life, and I am so thankful that I know and believe, “God’s name is Great and His heart is kind. For all His goodness I will keep on singing, Ten Thousand reasons for my heart to find.” He is the blessed controller of all things. “Sing like never before, O my soul, I’ll worship Your holy name.”

The next few days will be very hard as we attend Grandma’s viewing and funeral but it just reminds us once again, this world is not our home, we are just passing through, patiently awaiting our real home, heaven and eternity with Jesus. “Still my soul will sing Your praise unending, Ten thousand years and then forevermore. I’ll worship your holy name, Jesus I’ll worship  your holy name.”

Beautiful Chaos

This picture can serve as a good representation of my life as a mother. Chaos!

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I’m not even sure who took the picture. Maybe the store manager to warn his employees not to let us back into the store.

My oldest child, Tommy, is obviously mad at something. Rachael is out of control flying her cart into who knows what and in the process taking out whatever is in her path. Leah looks like she’s trying to be on her best behavior, and then Steven is MIA. Chaos. Not at all what I pictured our quick stop at the grocery store to look like!

When we walked into the store the girls asked if they could have a cart. In my head I had the image of a nice, calm, shopping adventure in which they wanted to help out. How cute! In the end I’m very surprised we didn’t hear an announcement on the loud speaker asking us to leave the store.

This photograph can also help to sum up my days of Motherhood.

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My kids and I were sitting down enjoying a wonderful breakfast together, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, the table collapsed, fell apart, and that was the end of breakfast.

I’ve made plans. I’ve had dreams. I’ve had visions of how my life as a mother would play out. Only to realize that sometimes, no matter how hard I try, life can get very chaotic, and the best of schedules can give way, crumble, and leave me wondering if I’m really doing things right!

I’ve missed appointments, even though I have them written down on the calendar AND in my phone. I’ve forgotten about early dismissal days at school. I’ve locked my keys in the car way too many times to count. In fact, the last time I did that, the guy arrived to help me out and I realized it was the same guy from the time before. After a few minutes he did a double take and said, “Hey! Didn’t I help you out about two weeks ago on the opposite side of the street?” I was hoping he wouldn’t remember me!

I’ve closed the door to the house only to realize I just locked everybody out. I’ve sent my oldest to school with a brown paper bag full of onions instead of a brown paper bag full of lunch (I’ll explain that in another post!) I’ve run over bicycles left in the driveway. I’ve gotten lost on my way to gymnastic meets and basketball games more times then I’d like to admit. The list could go on and on. But, needless to say, I don’t have it all together! I’m always rushing from one place to the next wondering how I’m going to get it all done. I’m constantly trying to make sure Tommy, Steven, Leah, and Rachael have what they need and get to where they need to go. My house is always loud with children talking, yelling, laughing, fighting. And if that isn’t enough there’s always friends, nieces, nephews, and babies that need care.

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Chaos! But, I’m learning to love it. Because one day I know the Chaos will turn to quiet . There won’t be clothes on the floor, hand prints on the walls, dishes piled in the sink, homework to finish, and lunches to be made. The house will be too quiet and too clean and I’ll be left wondering, “how did they grow up so fast?”

So in the time being, in the chaos, I smile, I embrace it, I thank God for it. I look for the magnificent in the mess and the splendor in the silliness.

And it’s in the morning, when I walk into my child’s room to wake her up, that I find her artwork,

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And for the moment, the mistakes I’ve made and will make as a mother vanish, and I get that small glimmer of hope that I just might be doing things right. And I thank Christ for the privilege of being a mother and I realize that He truly can “make the chaos a chorus.”