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They are still my babies

22 and 19 are the ages of my kids. Adults yes but in my heart they are still my babies. Just recently my daughter and I headed to Texas to work a Young Lives camp for teen moms. We were on the childcare crew and assigned to the 6-7 month old babies. Watching my 19-year-old daughter take care of those babies made me so proud and it filled me excitement as I thought of her being a mom herself someday.

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Tornado near Bertram Texas on June 12. Photo by Shane Meister

As the week came to an end a storm rolled in and we found ourselves under a tornado watch that would soon turn into a warning. The camp where we were staying at did not have underground shelter. As the storm grew we were moved to an interior room of the building with the babies that were in our care. Others found themselves in bathrooms of the buildings where they were caring for the babies. One large bathroom held about 20 people.

This Washington state girl is not accustomed to tornadoes and to be honest it is one of my biggest fears. As we I stood in that little room with a sweet baby girl in a front pack I became a mess of emotions. Across the room was my daughter holding a baby in her arms. The “what if’s” were screaming in my head…What if a tornado actually touches down, should I tell her I love her just in case? What if it touches down do I protect the baby in my arms or my baby? She may be an adult but she was still my baby girl.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 5.35.26 AMTears began to well up in my eyes and as I moved across the room to stand by my daughter. I wanted desperately to reach out and hug her tight, to protect her from whatever was going on outside that little room we found ourselves in. She is not one to be afraid of a lot things and she started to tease me for being scared. What she did not understand was I was not scared in the way she thought. I was scared because it hit me that my little girl was an adult and she would lay down her life to protect the baby in her arms if needed. I to would lay down my life to protect the baby in my arms also and it was tearing into my heart that I felt that I had to choose the baby in my arms over my own baby.

I started to feel my legs shake as I held in my tears and the resisted the desire to try to hold her like she was a little girl again. Momma bear was a mess. Fear was winning and I to get a grip. I said out loud, “There is not fear in God”. Than, I simply said, “Jesus” a few times and peace began to come to me. I followed that up with “God I trust you in this”. Fear loosened its grip and peace took over. In a silent prayer I asked God to protect my baby. I told him I trusted him to take care of my baby so that I could be ready to take care of the baby in my arms if needed.

I grabbed my phone to listen to worship music but the room was too loud to hear it so we began to sing worship music ourselves. They say the center of the storm is the calmest place to be. As we waited that storm out I can say without a doubt that when you let God be the center of your storm you to will find yourself in the most peaceful place. We were off-key when we sang but I know that to God we made a beautiful noise as we worshiped him and trusted him. A tornado did touch down about 25 miles from us and a home was ripped off its foundation with the family in it.

I have always been one to pray and trust God but in that moment I saw the importance of it in one of the most concrete ways ever. If you are a parent I cannot stress enough the importance of prayer for you child no matter how old they are. They will always be your babies so never stop praying for them. If you are going through your own storm as a parent trust that God will be the calmness in the storm. Praise him in your storm and trust him with your babies no matter how old they are.

To see the story of the family who gives God the credit for keeping them safe in that real life Wizard of OZ moment so close to where we were the night of June 12, 2014 click here. http://www.kvue.com/story/news/local/2014/06/13/tornado-carries-home-with-family-inside/10499773/

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God is like an all you can eat buffet

Every once in a while, my dad likes to take us all to the local buffet for an all you can eat dinner.  He loves it because the grandkids can get what ever they want. It is also fast and everyone leaves full.

The hot out of the oven rolls are my favorite along with a little mashed potatoes and gravy and I have
blown my calorie intake for the whole week.   We laugh about wearing our buffet pants so we can get our moneys worth.  For those of you that don’t know what buffet pants are…. they are sweats or loose-fitting pants.  They help you avoid having to undo your pants on the ride home after you have over eaten at the buffet.  Those buffet pants come in handy when you find your way to the tasty desserts.  I often think I’ll need to run a half marathon to burn those extra calories off but it is always a fun family time so it is worth it.

Sitting in church I got the picture of God being much like a buffet.  Just like we step up to the lay out of all kinds of food with an empty plate, we can step up to God and fill our souls with exactly what we need.

The best thing about His buffet is that it is free!!  One day we may need a serving of grace, with a double helping of forgiveness.  The next time we might need strength, peace, and comfort.

Just think of all the wonderful things that we can help ourselves to when we step up to the buffet of the Lord?   Joy, wisdom, understanding, compassion, kindness, love, forgiveness, comfort, strength, peace, gentleness, patience, clarity, rest, grace, and healing are a few of the wonderful things He offers.

There is no limit on the serving sizes you can take.  You can come as often as you need!  There is no guilt when you serve up at His buffet. There is no shame and you always feel satisfied.

Psalm 34:8 says, 
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

Don’t you think it is time to step to the buffet and start loading up your plate with what you need?  There is never a line and it is always open.

What are you waiting for?  Go and get your fill!!

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Failure To Thrive

I originally wrote this for Living Better 50 Magazine

A green thumb I have not. I have found that I can keep a cactus alive and with aphoto streak of luck I have kept an African violet alive for just over a year. I keep it by my kitchen sink in hopes that I’ll remember to water it now and then. Apparently without water the poor thing can’t thrive.

The word thrive means:

(Of a child, animal, or plant)  It means to grow or develop well or vigorously. It also means to prosper and flourish.

Just like my African violet needs to flourish and thrive so do we. There is a condition called failure to thrive. Failure to thrive refers to children who have a weight gain that is lower than the weight of other children their same age. It can be caused by environmental factors and health of the child. According to A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia a Loss of emotional bond between parent and child can lead to “failure to thrive”. No matter how old we get we are still children of God and without a strong emotional bond with our Heavenly Father how can really expect to thrive?

My violet sets by my kitchen sink and many days it is left thirsty for a drink of water that will bring it life. Without water it will surely wither and die. We need to be watered if we want to live life abundantly and if we want to flourish and thrive. Jesus is the way to a life that thrives. He is the living water poured out on us by our heavenly father.

“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38. NIV

It is Jesus who gives us life and it is through Jesus that we can grow in a very deep emotional connection with our heavenly father.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7 NIV

Are you thriving or are you struggling to survive like my violet? If you find yourself in a state of “failure to thrive” cry out to Jesus. Tell him you are thirsty and that you need to know His father. No matter how old you are you are still a child of the one true God and you need to have a strong connection with him.

The Casting Crowns have a song called “Thrive” and the words of the song say this:

So living water flowing through

God we thirst for more of You

Fill our hearts and flood our souls

With one desire

Just to know You and

To make You known

We lift Your name on High

Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide

We know we were made for so much more

Than ordinary lives

It’s time for us to more than just survive

We were made to thrive

Much to my surprise when I googled the words of the song I found that the Casting Crowns was having a THRIVE CHALLENGE and it is lines up perfectly with what was heavy on my heart. If you are just trying to survive I hope you check out this link https://www.castingcrowns.com/news/thrive-challenge-3156

Stop trying to make it day-by-day. Stop thinking that you are not worthy of much more. Christ came to give you life and he wanted you to have life abundantly. He came to give you hope because without hope in Him you can only hope to survive. You were made to thrive, stop trying to just survive.  

LB50ContributorSQ

livingbetter50.com

 

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Photo Bomb

Just the other night I was taking some family photos of all the cousins as we celebrated the 4th of DSC_5170July.  My son saw the perfect opportunity to photo bomb one of the pictures.  He jumped in behind a few of his cousins and his sister with a funny look on his face.  As they sat smiling for the camera he stood behind them with a goofy look on his face  and messed up the photo.

The enemy loves nothing more than to “Photo Bomb” the picture God has for our lives…..

Yes I just said “Photo Bomb”.

Picture it. There is a beautiful backdrop of God’s creation, and in the photo you are looking at Jesus. His love for you radiates and you are filled with joy as you stand in the presence of your Savior. Then comes the Photo Bomb! The enemy jumps in behind Jesus pointing a finger at Him and whispering to you, “Don’t trust Him. It is all a lie. He must not love you. If he did love you that bad thing would not have happened”. It only takes a moment for the enemy to photo bomb and distort the beautiful picture God has for our lives.

When the enemy jumps in and tries to distort the picture we need to remember what the living and breathing word of God says. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)

We live in a broken world. As the saying goes, bad things happen to good people. God doesn’t sit back waiting for the perfect time to bring harm to us. The enemy however, wants nothing more than to cause us to believe it is God that we can’t trust. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8,9 (NIV)

In the photo bomb, the enemy raises his ugly head from behind Jesus because he cannot get in front of Him. We need to remember that. The enemy has been put in his place; he has no power. He is like the annoying guy that is jumping up and down behind the reporter just so he can get his picture on TV. I don’t know about you but I always laugh at that guy. No matter how hard he tries to get in front of Christ he can’t. Christ will stand between the two of you. You can count on that. Also, you have been given the authority to tell him to back off. On more than 1 occasion I have said, “In the name of Jesus get away from me. You are not welcome here”. When you claim the authority you have been given by God you can photo shop him out of the picture.

Never be afraid to tell the enemy to take a hike when he rears his ugly head and photo bombs God’s picture for your life.

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