Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How to teach your children to be Real in a world that pretends to be Fine

The other day I wrote about being “fine,” which you can read here.

I have taught my daughter to pretend. And I’m not talking about playing house and using her imagination…I’m talking about being a phony.

I have taught her to pretend all is well, when all is not.

It was what I did my whole life and I didn't realize I was teaching her the same.

Don’t be real. Don’t be vulnerable. Don’t let them see you cry. Don’t let them in. Don’t let them see…be the good girl you've always had to be!!

Wait a minute!?!
Wow! That song is deep! And invading my mind!

There are so many realms of truth in that film and song, I can write a whole series on it! But I won’t.

Anyways, I think we have had those moments, those emotions and stifled our truths behind “fine.” But how do you teach your children to not hide behind that little word? 

How do you teach your children to be honest, walk in truth and be free from the implications of being real in a world that would rather you be satisfactory?

  1. Be Sensitive and understanding
You’re children are children and they have childish fears and childish emotions. That’s ok. We must not hinder those emotions, but allow them to find security in expressing their feelings to us. They will mature. They will grow up. They will know how to handle their emotions later in life, but right now, we must be sensitive to them and love them through those difficult moments of spilled milk and other childish wrongs.

  1. Be Gentle and compassionate
Sometimes, instead of showing your frustration over the spilled milk or your annoyance due to the whining, getting down to their level and hugging them, quietly, without reprimand or lecture will change the force of their emotions and sensitivities. God calls us to be gentle, loving and compassionate. Jesus, when he looked at the people who were lost and hurting, he had compassion! Your children are small and need a shepherd to guide them and nurture them…be like Jesus and have compassion. Be gentle with their childish ways and love them.

  1. Let them cry and relate to them
They need to know they aren't alone. Tell them your stories. Be vulnerable with your children. Show them that you aren't perfect and they aren't either and it’s ok. You will connect more when you are real with them, then when you are simply standing over them with pity.

  1. Don’t pretend their feelings away and NEVER laugh at them.
They aren't fine. Their hurt is real, even if immature. Their pains are honest and this new world they are experiencing can be harsh. Let them find security at home. Let them be able to tell their hurts and fears without condemnation or embarrassment. The worst thing you can do to a child who is being honest is stifle their truth or hurt with punishment or disregard. And never laugh at them when they are being sincere…even if it is funny, because kids are so funny, but if they are being honest and sincere about something that is truly upsetting them, don’t laugh it away, they won’t understand the humor. Be gentle, listen well,love them well and hug them hard. You can always laugh later!

We need to teach our children to be real, honest, good and compassionate. If we show them these things from the time they are young, the hope is that they won’t fall into the trap of being fake and phony and fine. Instead, they will know that there is no condemnation in honesty and there is no fear in failure, but that in their most vulnerable states, they can help and heal those who are hurting and pretending to be fine.

You are His Beloved, 

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Monday, July 28, 2014

I'm a Fake and Everything is Fine

She was upset, trying hard not to cry, but obviously saddened.
We were at church and I didn’t have the patience to deal with her drama.
“Honey, you don’t need to be upset, you are fine” I said to her, with little sympathy or compassion.

A friend of ours walked up to us to say hello. He looked down at my tiny girl and asked her what was wrong. She hid in my skirt, trying to hide her tears and I automatically responded with, “She’s fine.” He looked at me and said with all sincerity, “Really? Because she doesn't seem fine.”

His words hit me and I said, “You’re right, she’s not fine.”

I kneeled down to her level and hugged her and reassured her that mommy would try to fix whatever it was that she was upset about.

In that moment; in that one wise statement of my dear friend I realized what I was doing to my little girl was wrong.

It’s easier to say, “I’m fine. Everything is fine.” But that small word holds a great deal of lies! Most of the time, when people reply with, “Fine. Everything is fine,” things aren't fine, yet it is what we as a society do. We hide the truth, try to present the illusion that all is right with our world, that nothing is harming or hurting or hindering us in any way.

Webster defines fine to have many definitions. Fine means to be good or satisfactory; free from impurity; physically trained; delicate; superior in quality; marked by refinement.

Yet, when we use the word fine we aren't referring to our life as being free from impurity or superior in quality. No, we are saying it is simply satisfactory, if that much.

Without realizing the power of that one little word, I was teaching my daughter to hide behind the fabricated truth and the mask that says, “Don’t worry about me, I can handle anything, I’m fine.”

In that little word, I was teaching her to stifle her emotions, her fears, her hurts and not show the world her truth, her impurities or her delicate nature.

In that little word, I was teaching her to fain strength in a world that praises the well trained who push away the hurt and fight against the weakness.

But the truth is that she wasn't fine. 
We aren't fine. 
None of us are. 

Sometimes life stinks. Sometimes our days are hard. Sometimes we just want to cry and one little thing sets us off and the rest of the day just follows suit. Sometimes we are weak and broken and hurt and sometimes, we just can’t handle anything that comes our way. For no matter how hard we train, we will always have to be refined.

For my little girl, whatever was upsetting her that day was a big deal to her. It may not have been a big deal to me, mom and adult, but it was to her. And instead of showing her love and compassion and sympathy, I showed her disdain, annoyance and frustration.

How many times am I her? How many times do I crumble beneath the weight of my day and turn from the tears that are about to stream down my face? How many times do I feign strength despite the weakness? How many times do I pretend and say, “I’m fine.”

It’s what we have been taught to do. 
We have been taught to not cry in front of people or they will see you as weak.
We have been taught not to show people our fears or failures, because then they may suspect we aren't perfect or strong.

And I want to yell…GET OVER IT!

None of us have it together. None of us are perfect! NONE OF US ARE FINE!!!

We are all at times barely making it. Life is hard and sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned and our days are overwhelming and tiresome.

There are days when I am overwhelmed with housework…I know, it’s really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but you know what, being overwhelmed with housework makes me feel like a failure and it’s NOT FINE.

There are days when my kids drive me crazy. Seriously. When their fighting and whining and complaining are about to throw me over the edge and I want to cry because they don’t seem to listen at all and I am obviously raising unthankful, disobedient children and I feel completely unqualified for this parenting’s NOT FINE.

There are days when I don’t want to do any of this anymore. I don’t want to read my bible, I don’t feel like praying and my faith is weak because in that moment I don’t believe any of it. I don’t believe 'in my weakness He is strong,' I don’t believe 'I am more than a conqueror' and I feel like I’m a real fake and it’s NOT FINE.

What are we afraid of? Showing people the truth? Being real? Being vulnerable?


I was teaching my little girl all of those things in that one four letter word. And now, I must undo my teaching. Because now, when she’s upset, she automatically responds with, “It’s fine, I’m fine.”

Oh dear one, I’m so sorry. 

You aren't fine. None of us are. We are all simply trying to get by, to breathe in and out and walk up this mountain called life. Sure compared to most, we are “fine,” but who is comparing? Who is so concerned with our perfections? No one else, but ourselves. And so my darling, don’t hide behind “fine,” but stand in your truth. Even if that truth is weakness and frailty in the moment, lift your head in that weakness, because that weakness makes us malleable and in that frail state, He refines us, takes away our impurities and makes us really perfect, and pure, without blemish or stain. You are just like the gems and jewels you delight and marvel in and in the light, you can see His reflection.   

Once you allow Him to reveal His truth and His strength within you, then, beloved, will you truly be Fine.  

You are His Beloved, 

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Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Delight and Desire Your God

About a year ago I sat in a friend’s living room and at the top of an index card I wrote “desires of my heart.” We were talking about delighting in the Lord and truly being in fellowship with Him.

I don’t remember too much of the lesson, but we were suppose to write our calling and purpose and I had no idea what those were.

At 15, I remember being at a youth convention and the speaker was talking about finding you calling and passions in life. I remember praying and asking the Lord to tell me what I was supposed to do with my life.

That day, I heard Him speak to my spirit and I remember hearing very clearly, “write.”

At 15, I didn’t know what writing would look like or what I would write, but it had always been a dream and passion.

15 years later I sat in my dear friends’ home and on the card I write under callings: “To write…something? What?”

At 30 I still had no clue what. At 30 I had walked away from that desire, because I was too busy and overwhelmed with life.

But I found my voice. I found my passion again. Yet, before I did so, I had to learn to delight in my God. I had to sit and abide in His presence. In that time, depending and fully surrendering, He activated and reignited that passion.

When you give yourself completely to God, He ignites a passion not for your gifts, but for Him and in that passion, the overflow of you heart will be poured out in the gifts He has given, purposed and called you to.

Above all, He wants not only your heart, but your fellowship. Love without relationship will not fuel your passions.

Desire God, delight in His truth and He will give you desires that surpass your imagination.

You are His Beloved,

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

For Those Times when You are a Coward

 A few months ago we were at the park and my little one was playing with another little girl her age. I began talking to her mother, a sweet young mom in her mid twenties. As we were chatting, I had that feeling, you know that spirit feeling where you are inclined to do something that isn't necessarily in your comfort zone.

I went for it and invited her to church. I had an invite card in my purse and gave her some info. It was totally casual and she said she would love to visit sometime.

Good job me! One for the Jesus team! Woohoo!

Fast forward to last week.

My husband and I went on a little jaunt to New York City. My husband had a few meetings to go to and so I had the whole day to be a New Yorker for the day.

When my husband travels to Manhattan I do my best to accompany him. On the days that he works I have my routine.

I sleep in some, wake up and get in some much needed Jesus time. I dress in my best city fashion and head to the Starbucks for a grande coffee.

I do a little shopping alone (without a stroller!! AH-mazing!) Then, I head to Bryant Park, because it’s my favorite place in the city. I order a soup and sandwich and I find a little corner in the park to read and write and eat my lunch. I later head over to the Library and take in the splendor of it, because it is the most beautiful place in the city.

So that was my plan for this day. I got my coffee, did my shopping and even got theater tickets! I headed to the park…and there were no quiet little corners because there were people all over the place. A stage had been set up and there was a stomp performance and hundreds standing in the middle of Bryant Park.

I managed to grab a table and despite the mob and the noise I figured it wouldn't last much longer and I should be able to get some writing done.


As soon as I sat down, a young man, about 25, came up to me and asked if anyone was sitting with me and if I mind if he joined me. He said he had come out here to meet a friend and eat lunch, but with all the people he couldn’t find a seat anywhere. I was at first shocked that he even asked (New Yorkers aren’t always as friendly), but I said yes…not exactly sure why, nonetheless, he was a very nice man. We talked some as he ate his lunch and I munched on my sandwich.

He asked if I worked nearby (score one, because my #1 goal is to not look like a tourist) and then he told me his family was from Texas (explains the friendliness) though he grew up in the city.

As we were chatting, I felt the Spirit thing again. I began to do the back and forth with God…Lord what am I going to say? How do I approach this? Blah blah blah…

And ya’ll…
I didn’t do it.

I totally. Chickened. Out.
Fall on my face. Disobeyed God. Here I am Lord, send me! No, just kidding, because I am ultimately a big weenie!

Here’s my excuse…so I can feel a little better: I had a whole segue worked out, but then his friend came and they were about to head out. I kindly offered his friend my seat so they wouldn’t have to look for another and since I was done with my lunch, I thanked him for his hospitality and made my way to the library.


And ya’ll, as soon as I walked away I was totally disappointed and just pitiful.
What was I so afraid of? I had no idea who this guy was and will probably never see him again in my life, so why was it so hard for me to say, “So do you go to church around here,” or “do you know of any good churches in the area (my planned segue, btw).”

But I missed my mark. I had the opportunity and I missed it. I bailed. I got scared.
I wimped out. Pitiful.

As I walked away I asked for forgiveness. I had missed my mark, but I prayed that God would use someone else.

And then, I prayed He would give me another chance.

The truth is, God doesn’t need me to witness to anyone, but He desires me to be bold and not afraid so that my faith will be built up. In fact, my asking him if he went to church or starting some kind of conversation probably wouldn’t have converted him and maybe it would have planted a seed or something but, He doesn’t need me to do that.

God’s majesty and magnanimity can be revealed to anyone He so chooses through anyway He so chooses by the power of the Holy Spirit. He uses us, not for His sake or for the worlds sake, but for ours.

You see, in my first encounter with the young mother, I was much more comfortable. I had encountered many moms like me in that park before and talking to them and inviting them to church was easier, because I had done it before.

The second encounter in the park was so outside of my comfort zone!

First of all, my plan was to be alone!
Secondly, I was speaking to a young, single man and New Yorker/wannabe, hotshot exec in a power tie!

But God didn’t want to use me to merely pat me on the back and send me on my way.

God desires to use us as His witnesses for 5 reasons.

1)      He wants us to become better equipped and work with the power given to us by the Holy Spirit.

This is the Great Commission, is it not? “And you shall reviever power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witness…" Acts 1:8. When you became a believer and accepted Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of your life, you became empowered with the power of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is who gives us boldness, who strengthens us, who comforts us and who gifts us with spiritual gifts that help us to advance and proclaim the gospel.

2)      He wants us to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

You remember that Spirit thing I was talking about. That…feeling. I have been a believer most of my life and I am very in tune with the Spirit thing. I don’t know how some would describe that nudge or “quickening,” but I would describe it as nausea and almost like that feeling when you are about to ride a ridiculously scary and huge roller coaster and you really aren’t sure if you are gonna make it through the 33 seconds of thrills and chills and loops and centripetal force! But, that’s probably just me! The truth is, the spirit is always working and always moving and the more in tune and sensitive we are to it, the more He will use us. There are always opportunities of sharing the gospel, we just don’t see  or hear with spirit eyes and ears all the time, but we should want to! 

3)      He wants to gently pull us away from our comfortable places.

Ugh! This is so hard for me. Seriously, I would much rather be behind this screen talking to you about how great God is than standing in front of you and sharing the good news. On a screen I can delete and edit and think about my words. Face to face…not so much. I was comfortable in my park, with my people. In fact, I was even proud of the fact that I could go into a park and invite any mom like me to church or to whatever church event was coming up! Done! But His desire is not for me to be comfortable and carefree, He desires to stretch me and make me more than just a witness to people like myself. God didn’t send David to fight shepherds, he sent Him to fight a giant and He didn’t send Paul to the Jewish people, He sent them to the gentiles. God’s in the business of taking people away from where they are comfortable and to places where they are empowered.

4)      Hekeeps us vulnerable so we can fully rely on Him and give all Glory to Him.

In the end, I can’t do any of this…the writing or the witnessing without His wisdom and guidance and especially, without the Holy Spirit. He will continue to stretch me and place me in different places and situations so I can continually depend on Him and stay in tune with Him. And if he has to take me to New York City to make me a fall on my face and be vulnerable again, well…I won’t complain too much!

5)      He desires us to be bold in action, word and deed.

He wants me to be bold. Bold on this little corner of the internet, bold in my community and bold in the outer most parts of the world! He wants me to have a greater faith that will allow me to take risks beyond my comfortable places. He wants me to be courageous and confident in who HE is and who I am in Him; and my prayer is that I will “gaine[ed] confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear” Phillipians 1:14.

My prayer is that next time I’ll be ready, but more importantly, I pray I’ll just speak for Him and trust the Holy Spirit instead of my own thoughts. So the next time you are a coward, rely on Him and be Confident, casting out all fear in the power of the Holy Spirit! 

You are His Beloved, 

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Monday, July 14, 2014

You Must Fall to Raise Up

As mothers we are called to the greatest ministry in this world:

To raise up a generation of Christ followers, leaders and world changers.
To raise a generation of men and woman who will be lights in a dark world.

Sally Clarkson says Jesus made world changers of his 12 disciples in 3 years and we have about 18 years to do the same! 

What an incredible calling and ministry that HE has entrusted us with! 

That is our calling and it is not for the weak!

The pressures of this modern world are harsh and the traps set out for or children are cruel and sometimes well concealed.

In this era of information and quick satisfaction, we are called to raise children that will seek truth and not Wikipedia facts. We are called to raise children who will learn to abide and be still, instead of running to each over-scheduled activity in fear of boredom and hidden potential.

But in this modern era, we have this fear of failing our children and falling on our faces. We have high expectations and great ideals and dreams for our children, but all of those desires will be for nothing if we don’t teach our children God’s desires first.

God’s desires and our teachings must somehow rise above the world’s voices.

We are called to raise our children to serve others in a world that says serve yourself.

We are called to raise our children to believe their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit in a world that says you are free to mark and pieces and cut and inhale and abort without judgment or retribution.

We are called to raise our children to guard their hearts, minds, eyes and ears in a world that says satisfy whatever desire needs fulfillment.

We are called to raise our children to commit themselves to their God in a world that says you need not be committed to anyone.

We are called to raise our children to not be unequally yoked in a world that says love the one you’re with without reservation.

We are called to raise our children to know that the truth of the gospel sets your free in a world that says believe what you want and have faith in yourself alone.

We are called to raise our children to test everything against the word of God in a world that praises free thinkers.

We are called to raise our children to wait on the Lord in a world of instant gratification.

We are called to raise our children to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in a world that proclaims beauty is beheld in the bare, altered and picture perfect. 

These voices are shouting with great force at our vulnerable children.

How do we raise our children amidst the noise and images that are beating against the doors of our homes? How do we raise our children above the gongs and cymbals of society and whisper the truths of Gods grace and great love that abounds?

In order to raise up our kids in this modern world of now and noise, we must fall.

  1. Fall into the word of truth.
Daily surround yourself in his teachings. Let His word guide you in every season, stage and circumstance.

  1. Fall onto your knees in prayer.
 Pray for wisdom, direction, words to speak, grace, and strength to endure the fight for your children’s hearts. You are in a fight and it is fierce and the battle wages continuously.

  1. Fall onto your face and humble yourself.
Daily ask for a spirit of grace to abound in your home, in your teaching and training so that your life and love for your God and King will pierce the hearts of your children.

The voices of this world are fierce, but the Voice of Truth will set us apart and give us, as mothers, the grace to endure and the spirit to wage on for our children’s hearts.

Fall daily and raise up a generation who falls on their knees before the one, true God.  

You are His Beloved, 

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Growing Pains

She comes in around 1 A.M. crying, “My foot hurts!” I rub her leg with oils, giver her some pain meds, pray for her, stroke her hair as she folds her little body into mine and finally rests.

Growing Pains

These past few weeks I have had growing pains.

My feet hurt from walking this walk of obedience.
My legs hurt from climbing this mountain of faith.
My arms hurt from carrying around loads that weigh me down.
My back aches from being stretched and pulled.
My head hurts from constantly captivating my thoughts, insecurities and fears.

When growing pains hurt, I want to just cry. They sting and burn and all I desire is to give up and give in to the continue reading click here

I am writing over at 5 Minutes for Faith today! 

You are His Beloved,

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

For All it's Worth

I am taking this week to catch up on my writing and enjoy summertime with my kiddies! So I pulled this from my archives...a good reminder to me of what God has called me to and that surrendering is a daily habit. I hope you are blessed! You are His Beloved! 

I started out this year sort of...unsure...uncertain...and undone.

Every year I pray about a word that will sort of define the new year. A word that will strengthen, encourage and renew me as the days quietly slip by.

So I began praying for this word. Praying for 2014. Praying for a vision. Goals.
And, sure enough in the quiet of the morning I heard it...and I started praying for a new word!

I didn't like the word I felt in my spirit. So I put that word aside and thought, "How about another word Lord?" And I gave him some great suggestions: "Joy...Hope..Health?!?"

All great words.

But I kept feeling that word.
I closed my bible and walked away thinking I'll pray about it more and see what else comes to me.

Well, we closed the door to 2013 and greeted 2014.
We are about 90 days into 2014 and let me tell you, it has not been an easy start.
And the thing is, despite my denial, the year has begun with that word...


It was even hard for me to type!
To be honest...and if you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a little afraid of that word.


Surrender"to abandon oneself entirely."

To abandon myself entirely. To abandon my dreams, my pursuits, my fears, my desire for recognition, my callings, my successes, my ministries, my relationships, my friendships, my passions...everything that makes The good, the bad and the ugly.

To abandon who I am entirely and give all of it to Jesus. Surrender it all...hand it over...give it up...and trust Him to replace me with Him.

To pour out everything I am in full abandon and offer myself up as an empty vessel; a jar of clay that the Potter created, purposed and intended for His use.

To abandon all those things and be poured out so He can pour into me. To be filled with His dreams for my life, a desire to pursue things that are not of this world, but are righteous; to be filled with courage and faith over fear, a desire to please Him and be recognized as His good and faithful servant. To be filled by His callings for me, a desire for His glory over my own, a desire that His name will be hailed above mine, so that I will minister in the ways He love, gentleness, encouragement and righteousness without any need to be thanked or admired or exalted. To be filled with His divine appointments, relationships, friendships that will be used to further the kingdom, to uplift, encourage and point others to Him. To become broken over what breaks His own heart and to have a passion for all He is passionate about.

I want to be all that...I want Him to use fill create in me a pure heart...a heart like his...

But...Here it is... I like having a plan...a formula...steps to get to the goal. I like dreams that are filled with high ideals and cultural life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

And most fears beat out my faith. Its pathetic. I've been a believer all my life...and yet I fear some of the same stuff since...forever.

I fear failing. The what if's...what if it's too hard...what if I can't do it...what if I totally screw this up? And maybe...maybe its easier just not to even try or obey. 

But I can't just walk away.

Jesus is all I got. Jesus is worth everything and all of it.

And so I have surrendered like never before. I gave up all of me.
I can't control anything of this life. There is no formula for easy living. There is no normal.

There is ONLY God.

His grace, His mercy, His love.
That's what I have been given to live by and with and for...

So what if I'm scared? So what if I fail?

Jesus is worth it. 

My hands are empty and my face is on the ground and I give it all up, because everything I've tried on my own doesn't work and isn't worth anything.

And so He has begun to fill me...overflowing.

And it's only just begun.

"Your teachings are worth more to me than thousands of pieces of gold and silver. You made me and formed me with your hands. Give me understanding so I can learn your commands."
Psalms 119:72-73

photo credit: shannonkringen via photopin cc

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