It’s Easier To Give Than To Receive…Just Ask Me.

Esther and Grandpa

It’s easier to give than to receive.  I know this all too well from personal experience.  You see, I am a giver.  I’ve always enjoyed giving gifts.  Over the years, I have volunteered to coach my brother’s baseball teams, then my nephew’s, my son’s, both my daughter’s, and now my grandson’s basketball teams.  I have refereed and umped numerous youth league basketball and baseball games.   I’ve taught Sunday School, led different Bible studies, and helped my wife as we traveled around the Pacific Northwest talking to churches about the Mother’s of Preschooler’s program.  Karen and I have financially given to our local church and to missionaries…both short and long term.

Please don’t misunderstand why I’m telling you this.  I’m not seeking your praise or a pat on the back.  I personally know many people who give far more of their time, talents and money than I ever will.  I enjoy giving.

The opposite side of the coin to giving is receiving and I find that to receive is far more difficult than to give.  I’m not talking about receiving birthday or Christmas gifts…I’m talking about receiving from the reality of experiencing a great need.  I hate feeling needy.

You see, I suffered a stroke on September 26, 2016 which began a long chain reaction of events which drained Karen and I physically, emotionally and financially.  (For more detail on this, please read my blog post… Job, You And I Have A Lot In Common.  http://desiretoinspire.life/dear-job-we-have-a-few-things-in-common-suffering/

Karen in the meantime had needs of her own.   In March of 2017 we got a refinance loan to pay for implants in her lower jaw.  The procedure was a success.  The bone in her jaw grew around and cemented itself securely to the implants.  Several bone grafts from her lower jaw were placed in her upper jaw were bone was insufficient for future  implants.

As August approached, the time arrived to plan for the return trip to Utah to have the ceramic posts inserted and to pay for the $17,000 procedure.  I hadn’t received a paycheck from the school district since June 1st and had used up all our savings.  We couldn’t borrow any more money and were wondering if we were even going to be able to complete the final stage of Karen’s dental journey.

Our three adult children, Katie, Jaymi and Michael asked us if they could start a Go Fund Me website to help pay for the completion of Karen’s need for dental implants in her upper jaw.  We thankfully agreed but inside we both struggled.  Our needs and perceived weaknesses would now be on public display like wild animals in a zoo.

The website started on August 13th and over $600 was raised within the first two weeks.  It was a very humbling experience to watch as $25, $50, $100 and $150 donations from family, friends, acquaintances, strangers and anonymous givers pour in.  Every day we prayed for God’s blessings on those who were giving so generously.

Miraculously, $9,785 was raised by September 3rd.  On faith, Karen made an appointment with the dentist in Utah on September 5th to have the ceramic posts embedded in her upper jaw.  We didn’t know where the additional $7,215 would come from but on September 4th we drove to Bountiful, Utah.

After the surgery, the dentist had both good and bad news.  Dr. Baker was planning to place six or seven post in Karen’s upper jaw.  Some of the bone grafts hadn’t taken so he was only able to insert five.  He told us four is the minimum he would do for dentures to securely attach so five is at least one over the minimum.

We spent that night in our hotel and prayed for the money to come in because the next day we had to pay the piper.  The next morning we checked our Go Fund Me account….$9,785…it hadn’t changed.  We arrived at the dental office and Karen was whisked away to the one of the back rooms to have a follow-up to the surgery while I was told my financial options by a woman at the front desk.  Really there was only one option…we had to finance the bill.  It was interest free if we could pay it off in two-years.  I swallowed hard as I signed for the loan.

The refinance loan we took out in March of 2017 raised our house payment an additional $150 per month, was now paying close to $200 per month for medical insurance,  was required to purchase  a newer car to drive for Lyft which was $280 a month and now we had just taken on another loan of $256 per month.

I was so happy for Karen and hopeful that her long road of dental pain would soon be over.  I was so thankful for all the donations which came in.  To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t expected that much.  I thanked God for these two answers to my prayers but felt disappointed in myself for now feeling the tremendous weight of debt pressing down on me.

I was working an average of six days a week driving for Lyft and still had to drain our remaining savings over the course of the summer just to make ends meet.  Our savings was now gone.  I wouldn’t start driving school bus for another couple of months and even then, I figured I would have to work three or four nights a week and all day on Saturdays just to break even.

Where would I find time to blog and finish the book I’m writing?  Would I have the time to help coach my grandson’s basketball team again this winter?  Where would the time come from to take the long walks with Karen that I enjoy and need so much?  I felt burdened and helpless and I hated feeling this way; where was my faith in God in light of the financial blessings I had just witnessed?

Karen had a follow-up appointment the first of October back in Utah.  In the middle of the fourteen-hour drive, we received a phone call from our daughter Katie.  A couple from their church had just donated over $7,000 to our fund.  That was enough and more to pay off the dental loan.  Relief poured over my parched soul like a thunderstorm in a thirsty desert.

Then it hit me.  All the people who gave so generously were just like me.  They loved to give.  It made them feel good to help meet a need.  But to be able to give, there had to be a receiver.  Without a receiver there would be no one to give to.

Then an old realization hit me in a new way.  We are all in need…why?  Oh, we all have our earthly needs but they are all different and temporary. No, we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  We have a need for a Savior who will pay the debt of sin for us.  You see, God is the ultimate giver.  While the world was in opposition to God, he sent his only son to die for us.

Are you in opposition to God?  Financial debt leaves one in bondage to a creditor.  Sin leaves us in bondage to Satan.  Every breath you take is a gift from God but do you take that same breath and exhale your acknowledgment that Jesus is not only your savior but also Lord of your life?  Jesus gave his life for you.  He’s looking for people to accept that gift just like Karen and I accepted the financial gifts of so many people.   Their gifts removed some of the weight of financial debt from my shoulders.  Jesus can remove a debt we as humans can never remove ourselves.

I want to publicly thank all of those people who sacrificially gave to help Karen and I.  Now please consider turning your lives over to the One who sacrificially gave His life for you.  As Karen would say, CHEWS JESUS…Taste and see that the Lord is good.

 

 

Honey, I’m Home. By The Way…I Invited A “Divine Appointment” To Spend The Night With Us.

Papa and Hannah

Divine Appointments…I pray for them every day as I drive my Camry down the streets of Seattle, waiting for my smart phone to ping announcing a person in need of a ride.  A few weeks ago I was driving down I-5 heading toward Seattle when Gloria (an affectionate name I’ve given my cell phone) informed me I had a customer waiting for me on Hwy 99, west of Lynnwood.

Gloria’s temperamental and sometimes unreliable GPS system (which I have recently dubbed Don Quixote) led me to a run down motel.  A sharply dressed young man shuffled out from the bowels of the lobby, dragging two black garbage bags stuffed with what I hoped wasn’t a couple weeks worth of dinner scraps.  I pulled the lever to open the trunk to my car and got out. He moved slowly toward me with what seemed like the weight of the world thrust upon his hunched shoulders.

With a deep sigh, he slung a black leather duffle bag from around his neck and let it drop to the sidewalk.  He was dressed in slacks and a form fitted, button down shirt revealing a physic I was envious of…yet when I opened the trunk he gazed at his belongings as though the thought of having to pick them up was beyond what he could bear.  I quickly put his bags in the trunk and welcomed him to sit in the front passenger seat next to me.

He gingerly climbed in and let out another long sigh.  I asked him if he was okay and he turned his head toward me.  He looked exhausted.

“I don’t feel very well,” he said with a slight accent I couldn’t quite place.

I told him to close his eyes and relax while I drove him to his destination.  In a few minutes, we arrived at a public storage facility.  While I helped carry his things inside, he asked if I would be so kind as to wait for him.  Shortly, the front door of the business opened and the young man began slowly dragging his belongings back toward the car.  I met him half-way and once again put his bags in the trunk.

He slumped into the front seat and put his hands over his face.  “They want $50 more than what I was quoted over the phone.  I can’t afford that.”

“Listen,” I said.  “I’ll take you free-of-charge anywhere you want to go…within reason of course.”

With his head still in his hands he replied, “My girlfriend kicked me out of her apartment and I don’t have anywhere else to go.”

“What about your family or friends?” I asked.

“They aren’t in a position to help me.  I gave up my job and college to follow my girlfriend out here from Houston.  I’ve only been here a few weeks and now I’m homeless.  I never thought I’d be homeless living in America.”

Earlier that day in church, the sermon included the message of the Good Samaritan.  In Luke 10:25-37 an “expert in the law” asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.  It’s a rhetorical question because he already knows the answer and only wants to test Jesus: He says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” When Jesus acknowledges that he answered correctly, the Jewish lawyer tries to justify himself by asking Jesus another question:  “Who is my neighbor?

Jesus then tells the story of a man who is mugged by robbers and left to die along the side of the road.  A priest and a Levite, both highly respected religious leaders of the time, ignored the dying man by moving to the opposite side of the road while walking past him.  Then a Samaritan came upon the injured Jew and took pity on him.  He cleaned his wounds, put him on his donkey, brought him to an inn and paid for the innkeeper to take care of him.

Jesus asked the lawyer who he thought the neighbor was to the injured man.  The expert in the law replied, “The man who showed mercy.” 

Jesus then told the lawyer to, “Go and do likewise.”

As I sat silently with the heavy-hearted stranger beside me, the lawyer’s question echoed in my ears: “Who is my neighbor?”

God gently answered, “This young man is.”

A moment of panic welled up inside of me.  “God, I don’t know him.”

“Show him mercy,” God replied.

“Karen won’t understand.”  (It never hurts to try to pass the buck onto someone else.)

“Show him mercy.”

I turned to the dark-skinned stranger.  “How long has it been since you’ve eaten?”

“Two days ago.”

At that moment, my heart melted.  “I want you to come home with me.  My wife will make you some dinner, you can spend the night and we can come up with a plan.”

His eyes brightened.  “Really?  Thank you,” he said.  “Thank you.”

He slept all the way home while I fervently prayed he wasn’t a serial killer or a terrorist.

Karen stood on the deck to greet me when I pulled into our driveway.  Her eyes grew wide as she saw the young stranger get out of the passenger side of the car.  “We need to talk,” was my only words to her as I pulled the young man’s belongings from the trunk of the car.

While the young man got settled in the upstairs guest room, I explained the situation to Karen.  She was surprised but agreed this was the right thing to do.  When he joined us downstairs, we began to get to know him.  For example…While preparing  a ham dinner for our guest, we found out he was Muslim and politely told us he couldn’t eat pork.  While momentarily awkward, this revelation actually allowed us to have an in depth conversation with him about our beliefs.

When it was time to go to bed, I grabbed a hammer and put it on my nightstand.

Karen looked at me like I was crazy.  “What’s that for?”

“I’ve been praying that he’s not a serial killer…but you never know.”  I pointed out to the kitchen.  “Do you want me to get the butcher knife to keep under your pillow?”

“No!!!!” She replied.

The next morning I woke our guest up at 9:30.  He told us that was the best nights sleep he’d had since arriving to Washington.  We fixed him bacon for breakfast (Just Kidding) and had another fascinating conversation with him.  He said he was born in the Congo during that countries civil war and escaped with some of his family to America when he was eight-years-old.  He then told us that he talked to his girlfriend and she agreed to let him stay with her until he began his new job and could pay for a place to stay.

I dropped him off at his girlfriend’s apartment later on that morning.  After saying our goodbyes, we hugged and he pulled out his bags from my trunk.   While I drove away I thanked God for this divine appointment and prayed for others as I turned on my Lyft App to start another work day.

Right away I got a ping.  I picked up two African-American women.  The first woman seemed to have some sort of social impairment but we had a fun conversation before dropping her off at a home in Everett.  The second woman was dressed for work.  While driving her to the Everett train station she asked if I was a Christian.  I told her I was, and asked why.  She told me that she could tell by the conversation I had with her socially awkward friend.  I then proceeded to tell her about my prayer every day for divine appointments and about my new friend from the Congo.

“I don’t believe it!” she exclaimed.  “You just gave a ride to a young man from the Congo?  I grew up in the Congo.  What a coincidence.”

It’s no coincidence…It’s another divine appointment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WWJD? When A Stranger Told Me She Was Addicted To Sex and Other UpLyfting Tales From Inside My Camry

Papa and Hanah

If you have read my past posts, you know that on September 26, 2016 I had a stroke which has prevented me from driving school bus for an entire year.  For nine-months I had fun pretending to be retired until the school district I work for quit paying me.  I would not see another paycheck from June 1st until the end of October.  Eventually I’ll drive school bus again, but what could I do in the meantime to pay the bills?

My daughter, Jaymi suggested I go to work driving for Lyft.  What is Lyft you ask?  Just think of Uber without the scandals.  Still confused?  I use my own car to take strangers where they want to go.  It’s like taking a taxi only much less expensive and ,my riders could experience the privilege of having me as their driver.

The choice between driving around in my car listening to music and sports talk on the radio verses flipping burgers at MacDonald’s or break-dancing on the sidewalk, while flipping advertising signs around my chubby body, was a no-brainer.  Becoming a Lyft driver came with one big hurdle – I had to purchase a newer car.  Image is important, so Lyft requires their driver’s use vehicles no older than 2008.  Not only does Lyft want their cars young, they must be ravishing beauties free from blemishes both inside and out.   Karen and I had a 2004 Toyota Corolla and a 2003 Camry.  They were aging poorly.  The Camry’s bumper was held together with duct tape while the Corolla’s paint job revealed many unsightly age-spots.  Both were incontinent, leaking fluids to the point of me wishing Kimberly-Clark would produce a Depends product for the geriatric automobile.

We didn’t have thousands of dollars sitting in our bank account, just waiting to plunk down on a newer car.  Shoot – we just borrowed money to help Karen get the dental implants she most desperately needs. That $20,000 loan only covered half the procedure.  After much research into what I could realistically make with Lyft and then much prayer, we decided to pull the trigger and look for a newer car. We eventually bought a 2014 Camry Hybrid.  It was pricy, but the hybrid drinks less fuel than its gas guzzling older brother also named Camry but without a last name.  The hybrid was more spacious than most other hybrids.

I started driving for Lyft on June 4th and have never regretted it.  I enjoy talking to my customers.  Not all of them want to carry on a conversation, and that’s okay.  I can tell right away if someone wants to talk or not.  I always welcome my passenger and ask them a question like, “Tell me about your day?” or “Are you a long time Washington resident or just visiting?”  If they grunt a one word response or are hypnotized by their cell phone I know to shut up, turn on some music and enjoy the ride. 

Some of the conversations I’ve had with the ones who do want to talk have ranged anywhere from relatively mundane small talk about sports, the weather, traffic and their jobs to more spicy topics such a politics and religion and has at times even escalated to emotional exchanges of grief over lost loved ones and painful admissions of addictions.

One man shared how hard life had been the past few years while recovering from an automobile accident but shared how his life was now looking up after a victory in court.  While exiting my car, he thanked me for listening and handed me a $100 dollar bill. 

I asked a Chinese student who is getting her engineering degree at the University of Washington if she was going to stay in the United States after graduation or return to China.  She sat silently for a moment.  A melancholy smile appeared and she began to nod.  “After experiencing all the wonderful things your country has to offer, I very much would like to live here.  I come from a very rural and poor area in China which desperately needs the skills I am developing to make life easier for my community, so I must return home.”

A grieving middle-aged woman tearfully shared how the image which dominates her mind is of her holding her mother’s ashes.  In her mind she couldn’t see her mother’s face – only her ashes.”

And just the other day a conversation which began with a thirty-eight year old woman telling me she’s a sex addict, led to her admitting to being a drug addict yearning to turn her life around so she could be a better mother to her young daughter but isn’t sure she’s willing to take the steps necessary to make that a reality.

These are only a few of the many conversations I have with my passengers, many of whom allow me to pray for them.  God is amazing.  Before I leave my driveway each day, I pray God would bring people my way who I can encourage somehow. Almost every day He answers that prayer.  I don’t have all the answers to improve these stranger’s lives.  What I can do is listen intently, show empathy when needed, give my opinion, from a Christian point of view, when asked and offer prayer. 

Do you ask God for divine appointments?  If you don’t, I challenge you to give it a try.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed or bored – only blessed.

DWELL, REST AND TRUST

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.

IN WHOM I TRUST   (CCLI #3356416)  Copyright 1993

05 Track 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be Shy – Use Your Talents, Don’t Bury Them

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.

WOW MOM –It’s Mother’s Day

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.

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To See or Not to See Through God’s Perspective

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?

 

 

 

Not ToNight, not ToMorrow, ToNow!!!

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Story Behind “Trust Me, My Child”

 

mud puddle girl

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

 

 

How To Make Parenting A Top Priority In Your Life…Part 1

Ama rocking Joshua
Ama rocking Joshua
Papa and Hannah
Papa and Hannah

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.

For the past few weeks, I’ve shared how important it is for mothers and fathers to make parenting a top priority in their lives; those who desire to be a hero to their children:         http://desiretoinspire.life/attitudeparental-job-description/   http://desiretoinspire.life/parental-heart-divided-priority/

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:

  1. The parents decide to bottle feed so both the mother and father can bond with their baby.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. They provide their child with plenty of brain stimulation by letting her watch educational shows such as Baby Einstein and Sesame Street.
  5. 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 their mothers 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.”

You can read his entire article at: http://www.drgreene.com/touch-is-as-important-to-infant-health-as-eating-and-sleeping/

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.