I Want to Be a Warrior, Not a Worrier

Recently, parents in my little community found out that the long standing tradition of “Step Up Day” (finding out what homeroom you would be in, and what students would be with you) would not take place on the last day of school, as it had in the past. This day always caused much excitement, and more than a little anxiety, as anxious students AND parents awaited The News when their student arrived home on the last day of school.

In certain situations, especially those that pertain to Sweetboy, I can be one of those anxious parents.

I’ve always assumed Sweetboy needed to know these sorts of things to appease his own angst over the possibilities.

But, in true “out of the mouths of babes” fashion, when I told Sweetboy about the change, he said, and I quote, “That’s actually kinda good mama because then I don’t have to worry all summer about being in a classroom with a not-nice kid or teacher.”

Clearly, this was a lesson that I needed to learn. Yet again.

You see, I had worked myself into a bit of a frenzy over the many negative possibilities that this change in notification could produce. I had convinced Sweetman that we needed to assert ourselves into the process to help “guide” it more positively, for Sweetboy’s sake, of course. I had discussed the reasons this was so not a good idea with other special needs parents.

But, what I didn’t do, was take it to my God.

I’d say “shame on me”, but I’m too aware of the grace He constantly throws me, and will continue to.

Why is it that I still, still take my problems to God, last?

He promises to work on my behalf. Every time. Sometimes, He’ll work in ways I can see and feel. And sometimes, it will be in ways I can’t fathom. But, He is working. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

When we take our worries to God, as He asks us to,then we become Prayer Warriors, instead of worriers.

Warrior.

I rather prefer that title. Don’t you?

Yes indeedy!

While we wait to receive news of which classmates and teachers Sweetboy will be with next year, I’m lifting this prayer up to The God Who Is In Control Of It All:

Dear God, thank you for loving Sweetboy more than I ever could. Help me be patient while I trust You for his future. Take these anxious thoughts and turn them into reminders of how able You are. Thank you for your grace. I surely need it. Amen!

Help Me to Be

The prayer in my devotional the other morning referenced the attributes of God.  Kindness and goodness shown to others will reflect God’s Kindness and Goodness. That seemed like standard issue advice for any person calling themselves a Christian, right?

“Help me, Lord, to reflect your attributes to the people in my life.” was the gist of the prayer at the end.

I headed downstairs, ready to take on the day, feeling fully empowered to do just that.

And then reality hit.

Sweetman had just returned from a few days away with his best friend. I found myself increasingly agitated with his “droppings” throughout the house: A toiletries bag to be unpacked here and a jacket to be sent to the dry cleaners over there, a little half-started pile of laundry up here and receipts to be gone through down there.

Snippy comments were also dropped.

But, not by Sweetman.

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This is a word.  For my heart, it’s a word that The One who tends my heart knew I needed to hear.

And so I found myself praying, Lord, help me. Help me to be kind when I would rather snip. Help me to be gentle when it would be easier to snap.  Help me to be more of You and less of me. Please.”

And I realized, for about the millionth time, that God has infinite patience.  He is infinitely kind and merciful to those who love Him.  And I do.  Oh, how I do.

I long for the way I behave to reflect that.  Lord, God, let my thoughts and actions reflect that

Yes indeedy!

Even in Her Sleep

The child can do a number on me.  Not. Even. Kidding.

This Sweetgirl of mine, she’s a gem.  She sparkles in attitude, appearance, and demeanor (I had to look that last one up to make sure I was, indeed, proclaiming truth here.  I was.)  And it’s not just me who thinks this of her.  Others tell us, all the time, how mirthful she is; how joyful, how exuberant, how energetic, and how confident she is.  We agree. This five-year old girl will throw herself into life, full-force.

Even in her sleep, she knows how to make things interesting:

Sleeping Sideways

But…

She is also incredibly strong-willed.

And tenacious in some not-so-fantastic ways.

We’re working on it.  Mama’s of strong-willed children everywhere will agree: it’s flat out exhausting just keeping up with these children.  Some days, it’s a constant game of mental chess, with me desperately trying to stay one step ahead of her. Prayer has been a lifeline here. When I can think straight to ask for it!

But the “win” in the end, for me, will come when she is able to harness all The Spunk for good.  She does it now, once in a blue moon, and it is a beauty to behold.  Her kindness, in sticking up for a friend, makes me want to weep.  Her ability to find the one person in the room who needs a laugh and present it, makes me smile big.  She is adept at spreading joy in moments that can be filled with great sadness with her very presence.  I love her so.

And I realize the importance of the job ahead, with her.

And I realize that I need back-up.

God.

Family.

Friends.

Because, when things go sideways – and they always do – I’m sometimes too stinkin’ exhausted to right that ship.

Or, the legs in the bed.

And so, even while she sleeps, I pray.

And I suspect I will for many decades to come.

Oh… yes indeedy!

Thank you, God, for letting us borrow this child for a time, here on earth.  Let us never take it for granted.  And help us at each stop along the way.  Please give us energy in spades and wisdom in plenty.  I do believe I’m gonna need it.

SheSpeaks and I Listen

Last week, I had the immense pleasure of taking part in a conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries called, She Speaks“.

It was The Awesome Sauce.

I have much to process.

I know many of you have attended blogging or writing or speaking conferences.  Some of you may even have attended She Speaks.  But this conference exceeded every expectation that I had built up in my head. I find myself overwhelmed, even now,  with the attention given to each individual woman that was there, to the amount of time the speakers and presenters clearly put into crafting messages that were valuable and encouraging, and to the amount of sweet fellowship and care that would go on throughout.

Many affirmations were spoken over the direction that I would like my writing to go. Prayers were offered.  Selfless advice was given when requested. Love was poured out. Questions were answered.  More prayers were prayed.  Songs were sung.  Hugs were handed out like candy.  And new friends, sweet friendships grounded in the Truth of Christ, were made.

My heart is full to overflowing with all that took place over the 4 days that I was in North Carolina at this conference.  I took a few pictures to share with y’all.  And I am sure that there will be many posts to come that prove that as they spoke, I was listening.

But most of all?

God was there.

And He, most definitely, was speaking.

And I am learning to always listen when He speaks.

And then say, “Yes!”.

Yes to being a wise woman.

Yes to being a Writer with a speaker’s heart.  (I’m still unpacking that one, friends!)

Yes to taking part in an amazing Online Bible Study with more 22,000 women from over 120 countries!

Yes to walking alongside those who need to know they are not alone.

And Yes to heeding the call to keep writing for His glory.

Yes indeedy!

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The decor` may have been gorgeous, but the worshiping that went on… OH! And the prayer room with each person’s name placed beside a name of God… Oh. My. Stars!

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A lovely roommate (far left), some shoes, wide smiles and inspiring devotionals and keynote… I have MUCH to ponder.

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Hugging necks and putting voices to the devotionals (and books) that I read from these ladies over at P31 Ministries was a joyful experience!

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I was STARSTRUCK to meet some of the beautiful and willing hearts that take part in P31’s Online Bible Study. Melissa Taylor (on the far right) is the fearless leader and has such a genuine desire to see ladies digging in the Word! Star. Struck.

I do believe that She Speaks was a gift of epic proportions. Thank you so much to the team at Proverbs 31 Ministries for all that they did to make this conference so phenomenal.

I only wish some of you, who wanted to, could have come along for the journey.  

Maybe next year?   

And Then We…

I wanted to first say THANK YOU for praying!  My friend did receive good news a few days ago, and the cancer has not spread. I was praying in earnest, as I know so many of you were, too.  Those prayers… they are precious to me.  And more importantly, to my sweet friend.  Whom I love.

So, again, I am so very grateful for your prayers on her behalf.

2

Summer activity is in full swing around here.  And we like that.  It reminds us that there is a beginning (of All The Fun) and an end (of All The School).  We get to languish in the mornings, eat lunch on the deck, and rustle up dinner whenever we want to.  There is water to be played in and ice cream to be consumed.  It is all a sweet balm to this mama’s heart. And to my sweet children’s hearts, too.

As we make preparations to head down to Florida to see Captain Ahab and The Nana for most of July, I thought I’d show y’all what we were up to last week.  Because, who doesn’t like pictures to remind us of The Joy? (Although, I beg you to ignore the fact that I chose to hold up my Coke Zero like I was in an advertisement for the thing. Sigh…)

But, aside from that… LOOK!  Summer!

Yes, indeedy!

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Happy Summer!

When You Want All The Bananas

Selfish.  I’ve been feeling so selfish, lately.  And now I can’t get a particular Veggie Tales segment out of my head.  “Stop! Being! So! Selfish!”  Sometimes, I really just want all the bananas.  Or, all of the strawberries. All to myself.  Only, lately? The bananas represent hours and the strawberries represent minutes, and I can’t quite give them over to the One who provided me with them in the first place.

I take and eat and gorge and want for more.  And it doesn’t satisfy.  I wonder, in those moments of “too-tight” schedule, or jeans, or both, why I can’t just allow the God of All Creation to dole out the amount of bananas or strawberries (or maybe even grape-like seconds?) as He sees fit.

Why must my own sense of entitlement and desire must come crashing in to ruin a perfectly good melding of Giver and Gift.

He gives me this:

Beautiful_Dusk_Sky_Missindeedy

And I ask for more?

Sometimes, I feel like I’m still 14 instead of the other way around.

This is all coming about because I’m horrified by my Sweetgirl’s behavior lately.  I take it as a hit to my Parenting.

But, if I’ll get real honest with myself, my own selfishness is obviously starting to rub off.  And I don’t like the fallout of that.  Not one bit.

Time to go back to that One Word of mine, for 2013 and dig into it again.  Intentional. I must pray for intentionality. I can’t expect her to be thankful and self-less if I’m not.  Why that’s been so all-fired hard to remember lately, I have no idea.  But, indeed, I’ve been forgetting.

And so, I’m writing it out there for all the world to read.

In hopes that I’ll get some earthly accountability.

And prayer.

Because, parenting is tough enough.  Doing it without people praying for you, though?  That’s even tougher.

I know there are some of you who are praying for me even as you finish reading this.  Thank you!  Now, how can I pray for you?

Please, Stick In My Teeth

 

It might seem irreverent; what I’m about to share.  It isn’t meant to be.  It’s meant exactly how you read it.

 

Somehow, each Sunday morning, as I pick up that teeny tiny square cracker meant to represent the body of Christ, broken for me, and for you, I worry that it can’t possibly be enough to cover my multitude of sins.  This cracker, no bigger than my fingernail is meant to represent the body, the body! of the One who died, on purpose, because of His great love for me. And you.

 

That almost ludicrous-sounding truth sears my brain every single time I pick up that teensy cracker and ponder the entirety that it’s meant to signify.

 

So, while I’m chewing, I pray,  “Please, God, stick in my teeth. Let that little bit that’s still stuck up there in the top right back molar just… stay. I don’t want it to be swallowed down. Let it just stick right there and cover me! Amen.”

 

As I head into Sunday, that will, again, be my prayer, shot Heavenward, when I partake of communion.

 

Irreverent? Maybe.  Heartfelt? Indeed!