Don’t you love it when God’s Word or a certain scripture keeps showing up from different sources? God always amazes me when His Spirit is faithful in getting my attention.
I’ve been dwelling and chewing on these three words for a little while now: Dwell, Trust, & Rest. I don’t know about you, but these three words makes me want to pause and take in a deep breath and say ahhhhhhhhhhh.
In Psalm 91: 1-2, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”
My first thought was, what does it mean to dwell? I looked it up in the dictionary and it says “to think, speak or write at length about.” Our minds are a battle field. That’s why God tells us to renew our minds. We do so when we memorize or familiarize ourselves with God’s Word. His Word is Truth.
Colossians 2 says to “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
The Lord knows how easy it is for our minds to dwell on things that are negative and not true. Especially when I’m extra tired and my pain is at it’s worst, I’m often tempted to become fearful or worry. It becomes easier to dwell on the “what if’s”. The “what if’s” rob me of my strength, peace, joy and my presence of today.
I’m learning, as it states in 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
“to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.
How about you? Does it come easy for you to Dwell, Rest, & Trust in God?
Hopefully, one of my songs, My God In Whom I Trust, will encourage you today.
This past Sunday in church, our four-year old granddaughter, Brooklyn, walked in with her family wearing leopard print eye-glasses. They were adorable on her but I didn’t know she was needing to wear glasses. She proudly walked down the row of seats to where Karen and I were sitting and said, “Papa! I now have glasses just like you!” Throughout the worship time I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She looked so darn cute in them.
Between songs Jaymi, Brooklyn’s mommy, leaned over to me and whispered in my ear. “Dad, those aren’t real glasses. This morning, Brooklyn told me she wanted to wear her pretend glasses to church. I asked her why, and she said they were her singing glasses.”
I wish I had singing glasses that really work. I don’t have confidence in my singing. While trying to make a joyful noise during worship, I’m afraid others around me will mistake it for an awful noise. My mother was sitting next to me in church and after the service complimented me on my singing. But isn’t that what mother’s are supposed to do? Aren’t they notorious for giving undeserved praise to their children?
Anyway, I know God didn’t bless me with an awesome singing voice. Maybe I’ll get new vocal cords when I get to Heaven. But until then, I’ll continue to sing the best I can and know God doesn’t mind. To Him, I sound like Frank Sinatra.
God has blessed each of us though with certain gifts and abilities. God gave me the gift of creativity. I love to write, take pictures, draw and create. I’ve even learned how to take these talents and use them to glorify God by helping others with my gifts.
Karen and I developed our ministry, Desire To Inspire, with 1 Peter 4:10 in mind.
“God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.”
Our goal is to encourage people to use their God given gifts to glorify God. We are not focusing on the spiritual gifts of speaking in tongues or Prophecy. We want to focus on God given talents, such as hospitality, empathy, teaching, serving, giving, encouraging and so on. In Matthew 25, Jesus gives the parable of the talents. The talents Jesus uses as an example in this parable not only represents a denomination of currency but also the opportunity each servant had in using his God given talents to help his Master. Two servants used the resourcefulness God had blessed them with, the 3rd did not.
Are you using your God given gifts to help others or do you have undeveloped talents and abilities just waiting for you to tap into? Just like the three servants in the parable, God wants us to use our gifts and not bury them. God can even use us when we don’t have confidence in our abilities. Remember, Moses told God that he couldn’t speak well enough to confront Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt. God used a few fishermen, a tax collector, a doctor, a cupbearer, sheep herders, and others not educated in journalism or creative writing to author the sixty-six books of the Bible.
While borrowing Brooklyn’s “singing glasses” unfortunately won’t help me sing any better, seeing the world through God’s eyes will bring into sharp focus the need to use our special talents so we can be the image bearers of Jesus.
Today our four year old granddaughter, Brooklyn, was over and we were coloring with markers. She has been introduced to the alphabet by her older sister, Maya, and asked me to write the letter M. I wrote MOM, turned it upside down, and showed her it said WOW. Brooklyn was impressed. Whatever season of life of motherhood you may be in, may you feel WOW–CELEBRATED and LOVED!!!
I didn’t appreciate my mom until I grew up and became one myself. One Mother’s Day, when I was a child, I asked my mom, “Why is there a Mother’s Day and there isn’t a children’s day to celebrate me”? I didn’t like her response then, but it makes me smile today…she said “Everyday is children’s day”.
WOW–what a privilege and responsibility it is to be a MOM. God has entrusted and gifted you in such a way to love, nurture, and raise the children He has blessed you with. Is being a mom easy? Absolutely not. Becoming a mom is a life changer…On the job training, requires multi tasking of various responsibilities which include managing a household, organizing a budget and show casing your culinary expertise (or lack there of).
Whatever season of life and MOM-hood you are in, take time to enjoy! Being a mother is more like a marathon than a sprint! I hope you realize how much God loves you this Mother’s Day. If you are a mother of a preschooler and feel like you are in this season alone, get connected with a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Group. http://www.mops.org/
WOW MOM!!! To each of you Mom’s out there, Happy Mother’s Day or Happy “WOW MOM Day”!
After, I wrote this blog, I found this video clip which hopefully will encourage you and cheer you on.
I went to the eye doctor this week for my annual exam. I am legally blind without my contacts. The doctor told me to let him know when I begin to see letters in a line. I frantically thought, “there are letters in a line?” All I could see was white fuzz. Thank God for contacts and eye glasses to help me see.
I skimmed through facebook last night. A video of a young boy who was colorblind, caught my attention. He opened a gift of eye glasses that enabled him to see color for the first time. As he put on the glasses, a huge smile spread across his face. Tears of joy began flowing from eyes seeing color for the first time. His world changed.
Today I was praying about a situation I was struggling with. I thought I wish I had a pair of God glasses I could put on. To be able to see things in His perspective on everything. I realize that is why He gave us His WORD so we can, through the Holy Spirit, be learning His way in everything. But I still would love a pair of God glasses! My faith would be sight!
1 Cor. 13:1 Now we see things imperfectly like puzzling reflections in a mirror but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. NLT
Do you need to see things clearer, through God’s perspective?
Our sweet two year old granddaughter, Esther, coined a new word. It’s now part of my vocabulary. When she doesn’t want to wait for something, she will say ToNow. She doesn’t want to wait for ToNight or ToMorrow, she wants it ToNow!! Her innocent childlikeness makes me smile. I can so relate. If we are honest, don’t we want everything ToNow?
Technology is such that ToNow is becoming more expected in this world we live in. With voice command on Echo you can tell Alexa what song to play and how loud to play it. Drones can deliver meals or packages to our doorsteps. Robots are beginning to take the place of baristas, making our expressos and lattes faster than ever before.
Waiting is a part of life but can feel like a waste of time. We wait in grocery lines, post office lines, stop lights, lines for our expressos and lattes. Without a Disneyland fast pass, you may wait an hour or two to go on a ride that lasts a few minutes.
Some waiting is exciting and hopeful: anticipating a baby or a grandchild to be born, a vacation you’ve been planning, to get together with family you love, or waiting for winter to be over and spring to arrive.
Waiting can be stressful and not always pleasant. Like lingering in a waiting room at a doctor’s office, a surgery waiting room, or waiting for another procedure in the dreaded dental chair.
Some situations you are waiting in may be life altering: Awaiting results from a pregnancy test, a loved ones cancer diagnosis or a job interview.
I used to hate to wait! Like Esther, I’m a ToNow kind of girl. God is teaching me to be more patient. I’m learning to listen to His Spirit while waiting. I’m learning to be present in that moment, not wishing or waiting for it to be over. I am learning to rest in God’s waiting room.
Are you praying about something that you want God’s answer ToNow? Be confident, God loves you. He is sovereign and knows the reason for making you wait to answer your prayer. What will you do while waiting? Look to Jesus and be encouraged. Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:22 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness, I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him’.”
James 5:7 “Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”
We live in Washington, “The Evergreen State”. There is a reason it’s so green–we get a lot of rain. When the kids were young, I would often bundle them up and take them out for a walk right after it quit raining. The air was so fresh and it felt good to go out and take a walk. But the best thing about those walks were the mud puddles.
We live in the country on a dead end road with farmland around us. We had mud puddles in our driveway and mud puddles down our road. The bigger the better. I’d put the kid’s boots on them and they loved to jump and play in the puddles.
One day, I was outside with Katie and Jaymi and they were enjoying the mud puddle they were playing in. But I noticed an even bigger puddle down the road from us. So I told them to walk with me to the next puddle. Jaymi didn’t see the bigger puddle–she was having too much fun where she was. She began to cry and resisted taking my hand to the bigger puddle.
I eventually convinced her to come with me and Katie. She was not happy about it until she got to the bigger puddle. Once she saw it, she was happy again.
I didn’t think much about that incident until a few months went by. I had been battling reoccurring sinus infections and my doctor prescribed a very strong antibiotic for me. A couple of weeks into it, I found out I was pregnant. I called and spoke with a nurse practitioner and asked her if it was ok to be on the antibiotic while pregnant. She returned my call and confirmed that there was a high probability of my baby having birth defects due to the medication I was on.
After I hung up the phone, I went into my bedroom and cried. I prayed and asked the Lord for a healthy child and I felt Him telling me to trust Him. I asked Him, “How can I trust you down the road for eight more months without knowing if the baby is ok or not?”
Then the Holy Spirit brought to mind the one particular rainy day when my daughters and I were walking outside. Jaymi was playing in the little mud puddle while I saw the bigger one she would enjoy. Just as I could see what was down the road for Jaymi, the Lord asked me to take His Hand and trust Him as He led me down the road for eight months of uncertainty. His grace would be sufficient if my baby was born with birth defects or not. He loved me, and He knew what was best. At that time, I wrote my poem and now book, “Trust Me, My Child”.
If you know of someone who is going through a tough time and the future is uncertain, “Trust Me, My Child” will encourage them. Jesus often used word pictures in His teachings that His disciples could relate to. This book is a word picture that can get tucked away in every child’s heart. An audio book download is included in the back of every book. My grandkids love it because when you are to turn the page, you can hear a mud puddle splash. I love it, too!
“Trust Me, My Child” is available on Amazon and would make a great gift. Maybe just throw in a pair of rubber boots along with it!
I hope you all had a wonderful day last Thursday. I hope you were with friends and family, eating a tasty meal, and finding many things to be thankful for. If you read my Thanksgiving blog post, you probably know that family and friends are high on my “thankful for” list. God is at the top of that list with my family close behind.
Did you know though, that a mom or dad can truly believe they make parenting a top priority in their lives but can still not provide what’s best? How can a parent “miss the mark” when they make it a top priority? Well, it depends on the perspective of who is answering this question.
Today, I’m going to address this question from the perspective of parents with infants who want to be great parents. In next weeks blog post I’ll cover this topic from the perspective of parents with elementary school aged children.
For the above mentioned mothers and fathers, we know their perspective; they believe they are doing what is necessary to make their children their top priority:
The parents decide to bottle feed so both the mother and father can bond with their baby.
They buy only the most expensive diapers on the market. Those provide the greatest comfort for their baby when they can’t change her right away.
It isn’t realistic to be expected to hold their baby every time he fusses. These parents provide a pacifier so their infant won’t wear himself out crying.
They provide their child with plenty of brain stimulation by letting her watch educational shows such as Baby Einstein and Sesame Street.
The parents sing and talk often to their baby.
So from accomplishing even most of the things on this list, can a parent feel assured that he or she is making their children a top priority? What if you asked their child? What would he or she say?
Infants, of course, won’t be able to voice their opinion on this topic…or can they? Babies are experts at expressing their needs. Every time they cry and every time they coo and smile, they are letting you know how they feel.
Every baby is an individual. As they grow, each will develop their unique personalities based on genetic and environmental factors. The genetic factors are out of a parent’s control. Parents though can have a very big impact on many of the environmental factors which play a pivotal role in their infants development.
While everything on the above list is good, the biggest positive impact a parent can have on their child’s early development is through the act of physical contact and by providing plenty of it. There have been countless studies on the effect of human touch with infants.
Dr. Allen Green, is a prominent pediatrician, who has authored two books on the care of infants and has appeared on various nationally syndicated programs such as: the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, and the Dr. Oz Show. In an article he wrote titled: Touch is as Important to Infant Health as Eating and Sleeping, he says, “Still question whether touch is as important as eating and sleeping? Consider one more landmark study.
In the 1960s, Dr. Harry Harlow separated infant monkeys from theirmothers at six to twelve hours after birth and substituted “surrogate” mothers made either of heavy wire mesh or of wood covered with cloth. Both mothers were the same size, but the wire mother had no soft surfaces and was equipped with a bottle from which the baby could “nurse” while the other mother was cuddly, covered with foam rubber and soft terry cloth, but had no food. Despite the fact that only one surrogate mother could feed them, the infants still spent more time cuddling with the cloth mother. (They also found that the monkeys“raised” by wire mesh moms were very aggressive as adults.) These results led researchers to believe closeness and affection are as imperative to healthy development as food.
In today’s busy world, it’s all-too-common for parents to give a child a pacifier or put them in front of a video screen to keep them calm and quiet. But, those convenient moments of calm may be having subtle impacts on your child’s development. Take time to slow down. Take time to touch. Take time to cuddle. They aren’t babies for long and your investment of time and touch is a priceless investment in their health and well-being.”
While there are many positive things you can do for your infant, don’t underestimate the act which will provide the biggest impact on the development of your child or grandchild…physical touch and better yet skin to skin contact. Your children may not be able to say, “Thank you,” yet, but because of the loving contact you give them now and throughout their lives, they will have plenty of time to say “Thank you” for the rest of your life.
There’s nothing so rewarding and peaceful than rocking a baby to sleep.
Thanksgiving is behind us and Christmas is around the corner. Terry and I (DESIRE TO INSPIRE) are eager to participate in this year’s 4th Annual Holiday Craft & Gift Fair. It will be on Saturday, December 3, at the Stanwood Middle School from 10-4pm.
If you are able to drop by, please come up and say hello. We will be selling our books, Chews Jesus mugs, remember rocks and selling some treats for the holidays.
Terry has been exploring his creative side and I am truly impressed. He has been busy painting remember rocks and making some sweet treats. Consequently, 0ur home looks like the North Pole after a hurricane hit it, but let’s call it “Creative Clutter”!
Today I’m sharing with you the story behind my book, BECAUSE GOD SAID “You Are Very Special“:
Our oldest daughter, Katie and her husband, Jason, and family were called to their first church as pastor. The church was nearby in the town of Mount Vernon, Washington. Terry and I wanted to be supportive of them, so we attended Jason’s first Sunday as pastor. He preached from Genesis 1…the story of Creation.
As Jason was preaching, I became aware of how powerful God’s Word is; God spoke and it was so. As I was listening, I became burdened to share with children the truth of God’s Word. What a changed world we would have if every child knew (really knew) the truth of God’s Word. If they knew deep in their soul they were intimately loved and known by their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I went home from that sermon and began to write from Genesis 1 and Psalm 139. That was the birthing of my book, “BECAUSE GOD SAID” You Are Very Special“. Psalm 139 is my favorite psalm. I am in awe of God! His Word is powerful– He spoke creation into existence. And yet, He longs to have a relationship with us. He knows and loves us intimately.
I believe this book will touch the heart of every child. When I read it to my elderly mom, the first time she cried. It deeply touched her heart. I pray the simple truth of God’s Word through this book will be planted in the heart of every child; young and old alike.
Sadie Clem, the illustrator, was sixteen when she took on the challenge of bringing this book to life. Sadie did a beautiful job. Her colorful illustrations engage and captivate each child’s attention throughout the whole book. A cute little frog is hidden on each page. Maya, my granddaughter, named him “Froggy McButterpants”. Children love searching for Froggy McButterpants!
This book makes a great gift for a MOPPET Department, a church nursery, a grandma and grandpa, a baby shower gift, etc. BECAUSE GOD SAID, “You Are Very Special” can be ordered through Amazon. Or stop by on Saturday at the Craft Bazaar and get a signed copy or two from me.
Have a great week. Open up the Bible and read Psalm 139. It may become your favorite psalm, too! God Bless!
This past Saturday, Terry and I promoted our books and ministry, Desire To Inspire, at a craft bazaar in Lynnwood, WA. We attended this event two years ago and had our best sales ever. Needless to say, were excited to go back.
Preparing for one of these events is a lot of work. First, we had to yank out all our plastic bins full of the leftovers from the previous years events. We sorted through all our projects while deciding what worked and what didn’t. There were rocks to paint, yummy caramel corn to make, signs to print and a raffle basket to put together.
While exhausting (for me anyway), I love the fellowship with my best friend (Terry) as we put it all together. Although we have our moments of artistic disagreements, this is a time I cherish sharing with my husband.
Saturday morning arrived and with high hopes we lumbered down I-5 with our Toyota Camry loaded to the hilt. For the vendors at this event, it was first come first serve when picking out a table to put up your display. You know what they say about success in the real estate business….it’s all about location, location, location. We made sure to leave plenty early to claim a good spot.
Then Mapquest told us to take a left when we should have taken a right. Let’s just say Terry gets a little annoyed when he’s lost. Then I got annoyed because he was annoyed. When we finally arrived, all the other vendors were already setting up. The only table available was in the far corner of the room. That made us both annoyed.
We hurriedly put up our display and argued over what should go where. At 9am sharp the doors opened and the customers swarmed in. The most popular vendor had set up right across the aisle from us, so we viewed the backsides of a lot of people.
We always do a pretty brisk business, at all the events, with my yummy caramel corn. As we attempted to start conversations with the backs of people’s heads, we noticed kids carrying humongous bags of caramel corn and kettle corn. A vendor had set up a huge kettle corn stand just outside the door. Our puny bags of caramel corn didn’t stand a chance. Our moods went from rotten to worse than rotten.
I knew Terry and I both needed to change our expectations and our attitude or it was going to be a long, miserable day! I prayed silently and asked the Lord to change our attitude and expectations. To help us surrender to His purposes for the day.
After that prayer, we began to have fun. We decided to look for any child who was wearing rubber boots and give them a copy of my book, Trust Me My Child. Terry had painted Remember Rocks to sell and a dear sister in Christ opened her purse and showed us her own remember rock she brought back from Israel.
Another sweet lady read the Trust Me My Child card on display and bought it. She came back and said, “your card is the perfect encouragement card” and bought another set for her mom in Maine whom she just called and read it to. I felt nudged to give her mom a copy of my book, Trust Me My Child, to go along with it.
This sweet lady came back one more time and she said,” you won’t believe this but I called my mom again. I told her you gave me a copy of your book that I will be mailing to her. I was in my car and my mother said, Give her a hug from me. I told my mom I had already left the bazaar and was in my car but mom said go back inside and give her a hug from me.” So, she got out of her car (despite the cold wind and rain) and came back to give me a hug from her dear 94-year-old mama in Maine.
My heart smiled! We met some very special people during the day…. vendors and shoppers. God truly blessed us for being a part of this Christmas Bazaar. And I’m sure He smiled down at us for our change of attitude.
I want to be an encouragement to you this week. If you find yourself having a bad day, examine your attitude and your expectations. You may need to pray and ask the Lord to help you surrender to His purposes for the day!
When we use our gifts to bless others, it’s amazing how blessed we become! You may receive an unexpected hug from a dear 94-year-old mama from Maine!
Storms! Can you believe all of the storms that are occurring throughout our world? Major hurricanes on the East Coast, typhoons in Asia and frequent tornadoes in the Midwest. More and more in the news we hear of devastating storms.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we often have rain storms. Mostly, nothing too major, just a lot of wind and rain.
When our children were young and it was stormy outside, I loved making our home a little cozier. I would light yummy candles, turn on our lamps, build a fire and occasionally bake cookies. After the storm passed, I’d get the kids’ coats and boots on and we’d head outside to play in the mud puddles and enjoy the fresh air. We would then, come inside and make some hot cocoa with marshmallows on top.
Unfortunately none of us are exempt from storms in this world. Usually storms pass but the duration of them can seem forever. And the effects of them can be life altering. Trials and storms can come upon us in all different categories in life:
Cancer or sickness or chronic pain storms
Storms caused by death of a loved one
To be perfectly honest, I hate pain and trials. Pain makes me feel vulnerable and insecure. Pain is humbling. If there was a way to live perfectly and to avoid any storms or pain in life, I would do whatever I could to avoid pain. I guess it reveals my heart and my pride of self reliance. If I could just memorize more scripture, say the right prayers and strive to live perfectly for Christ, I would try with all of my might to live that way. Who doesn’t want to avoid pain? I know I do.
Through the trials I’ve faced and am facing, the Lord has been gently teaching me to cease striving. Psalm 46:10a “Be still and know I am God.” He does not want me to live my life striving to live perfectly before Him but humbly surrender my life to Him.
I love the story in the Bible in Matthew 8:23-27 “Then He (Jesus) got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown! He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”
I love many truths from this scripture, but one is that the disciples knew this storm was too big for them to handle on their own. They cried out to Jesus in desperation, thinking they may drown. They knew they needed Jesus. After this storm, the disciples witnessed His power in a deeper way. They KNEW the wind and the waves obey Him!
At times, I’ve actually prayed “LORD–WAKE UP!” “DO YOU SEE WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH? DO YOU CARE?” I believe Jesus allows us to go through storms and trials so we can know Him and witness Him and His power in a deeper way. We see our need for Him.
Have you ever been in a storm or faced a trial that you knew you couldn’t handle on your own strength? Does it feel like Jesus is asleep and doesn’t care what you are facing? Cry out to Him.
THROUGH THE STORM words and music by Karen L. Carlson Copyright 2008 (CCLI#6374275) Sung by Josie Colby Composed by Rich Crouch SHOW AND TELL FAMILY PROJECTS.
Have you been in a storm you couldn’t handle on your own strength? Are you facing a storm now? I would love to pray for you.