What do I want my girls to see?

athletaWow.  I’m not sure where to start.  It’s been awhile since I felt the nudge to write.  And that’s okay.  I’m learning to be okay with the truth that God states about a time and season for all things.  That includes a time to process and grow closer through writing and a time to shut up, I mean, be quiet.  Lately I’ve noticed those “moments”.  The ones that cause me to pause in the middle of a somewhat normal day.  The ones that tilt my head ever-so-slightly to the left, in a “huh?” gesture.  And most of these moments involve my children.

Today, I found myself stretching near my usual spot at home, prepping for a run, thinking about who-knows-what, when I hear the voice of my 11-year-old daughter.

Just three days earlier, I had an opportunity to shop for the first time at a new store.  While looking for a suit I could wear for a triathlon, I came across this company on-line.  They were a bit pricey, but “everyone said” their items are of high quality.  And so I made a purchase.  And henceforth, we receive a catalog in the mail every few months.  I must admit, I relish looking through all the comfortable athletic wear.  I look, I just don’t buy.  Target and Old Navy are more my price range, and I’m okay with that.

And then they build a store here in Columbus.

And then my birthday rolls around.

And then my ever-so-attentive husband knows about my “practical” nature and purchases a gift card for me.

A month later, the opportunity arrived, and I made a purchase.

Long story short, I decided to baptize new said clothes this morning, and while stretching I hear…

Mommy, you look just like one of the girls from the magazine.

And I scoff.

I did.

The reason for my reaction?  Just 3 days ago, while trying on these clothes, I criticized His creation.

You see, my body image and I have a long history.  During my college years, I became a slave to a warped reality of the “magazine look”.  I had convinced myself I was doing a good thing, I was showing strength and discipline in controlling my food intake and exercise output.  I really thought I was on the right path, so much so, that everyone who spoke contrary to my new focus was completely off-base.  And then God sent me a man who saw through my false reality, and spoke truth into my life, even with all the push-back I dished out.  And through this journey to discover His truth, through His rescue, through his never-ending, always and forever love, I know that I am redeemed and restored.

When He tells me, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  It’s true.  And when I criticize His creation, I’m basically telling Him he got it wrong.  And I know that that God doesn’t make mistakes.  He has created all things beautiful.  And that includes me.  And you.

And 20 years later, I still get it wrong.

But I am quick to call it out.  Quick to recognize the lie and call out the truth.  It’s a choice.  It’s practiced.  It becomes more common place.

And as I recognize the date, just three days ago.  It hits me.  8 years ago to the day, I clearly heard two words from God.  “It’s time”.  And I said yes, and my running journey began.

The most powerful truth I’ve learned is the source of my strength.  All of it comes from Him.  All of it.  And so, my darling daughter, when you see Mommy, and you see the modestly dressed women who care for their health and strengthen their physical bodies in a catalog, my prayer is that you see the strength of the Lord in me.  May you know that I count it a joy to be dedicated in my pursuit of Him through the clarity and closeness I experience when my body is moving.  I run because God has allowed it.  I run to pursue more of Him.  I run as a reminder that He gives and He takes away (pain), blessed be the name of the Lord.

May you sweet, darling girl KNOW that you are His beautiful creation.  You were divinely fashioned in my womb.  And you are loved simply because you are His.

Thank you for reflecting that beauty to me today.

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God is bigger than any “Monster”!

bed pillowWhen I show this picture to my daughter, she will smile wide.  I just know it.  How do I know this?  She’s been traveling through a season of fears, night-time fears, and surrounding her are pillows tucked in all the crevices.  In some way, she is trying to control her circumstances, she is trying to conquer this alone.  And it continues to press in around her.

The difference is she is no longer little.  She is ten years old.  She can think and reason differently than she could at 3.  She has a relationship with Jesus.  She has a gift of memorization, including scripture.  And she had a breakdown while driving in the van with me the other night.  In a cry of desperation she screamed, “I JUST NEED YOU TO HELP ME!”

And I felt this surge of fierce passion.  A passion to fight FOR her while she’s fighting AGAINST me… just like when she was 3.  First, I’m so thankful she is willing to talk to me.  Out of the blue one day, she mentioned the source of this fear.  A classmate that sits at her table shared a creepy story one day.  And it’s stuck with her, ever since.  And this classmate continues to tell such stories, even after expressing that it interrupts her sleeping at night.  And instead of fighting AGAINST said girl and marching myself into her classroom, I found myself fighting FOR her by asking her what she could do about it, how she could involve her teacher if need be and what the possible results could be.

During the van moments, emotions were rising and walls were being built, so a solution could not be reached.  Her desire was to find a quick-fix and fast.  And yet, this quick-fix had to be on her terms.  She feels that she needs a warm body next to her, I know that her only need is to trust in the One who never leaves her side.  In my desire to break the chains of human dependency, I want to create an opportunity for her to practice and experience the reality of Her God being more than enough, completely sufficient, her all in all.  That evening, every suggestion was met with, “I already tried that!”  She used the word “ignore”.  I clearly stated that her fear was real, but someone is bigger.  As I prayed and attempted to hold out His word to her, her exhaustion coupled with a strong-will continued to build that oh-so-familiar wall brick by brick.  So quickly, in fact, that the very words I held out to her were the very words meant for myself as well, “Emma (Heather), sweetheart, you just need to let. it. go.  Release.  And trust.”

I gathered for a women’s study that night to follow, and the topic – fear.  And the Lord brought women to me who expressed their fears and how their minds think, and scriptures were gifted to my mind and my heart, and then I shared a conversation with a friend who has walked with me in a soul-sister season for the past year and her parting words – “Heather, you should blog about this.”  And I doubted.  I haven’t written in quite awhile.  And I knew, God would have me process and perhaps, pass along His word to another.

2 Timothy 1:7 – God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

And even though Emma knows that the pillows will not erase the images in her mind, they continue to lend her support as she practices her attempts at letting go of the image that pierces her mind, and replaces it with a different picture.  Perhaps a picture of her Almighty Heavenly Father that stands tall behind her, handa on hips, gentle expression on His face, no words needed.  Because He stands there, the monster diminishes in size.  Instead of a monster looming, it shrinks, eventually into oblivion.  And the very thing that threatened to take her down will be the tool used to draw her nearer and deeper to the heart of her Heavenly Father.

And this will take time.  Time to not only know His truth, but to believe it.  And the more we fill our minds with truth, the less room we will have for fear to redirect us.  The truth is that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38) – no thing.  Fear, anxiety, doubt, and worry can never erase this, only distance us from His love.  His freedom awaits, His truth abounds, His love is never-ending.  God is bigger than any monster or giant in our life.  Do we believe Him?  Can we obey and “let go”, release it to Him, knowing that He always has our back?

I want to choose this and continue to try, how about you?  How can I pray for you today?

My daughter continues to model to me her child-like faith, Lord may this be the image I take with me to another country this week.  Thank you for teaching me through my children, for it is in them, I see a reflection of my child-like self.

I have no greater joy…

3 John 1:4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

No. Greater. Joy.

Today was a milestone for our family.  Our youngest child made the decision to become baptized today.  Within the last 7 months, Aaron and I have had the privilege of watching each one of our children made this decision.  In a short few days, we will honor the 2 year passing of Aaron’s mother.  She carried the name Grandma with pride.  Each of her 7 children have now made this public declaration.

No. Greater. Joy.

Thank you Lord for the privilege of motherhood.  Thank for you the gift of our children.  Brynn’s bravery and determination today inspired another young girl to approach her baptized Dad about her decision.  Lord, a direct answer to a conversation we had just prior to the event.  Thank you for your church, your people, your opportunities for growth.  Thank you for your love outstretched in the high-fives, hugs, and hand-slaps.  Thank you for the joy in sharing your love.  Thank you for our, Brynn Joy.

 

My precious daughter…

“For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism.  And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”  Romans 6:4

There are moments in life when words cannot describe…

As a Mom, I’ve found myself praying about aspects of life in a passion never before known.

At times, I forget about these prayers.

At times, memories of these prayers come rushing back like a hurricane.

Emma and I had a precious conversation the other night in relation to an event that would take place today.  I asked her if she could recall the moment she asked Jesus into her heart.  She recalled.  Every detail.  We shared memories of that afternoon.  Daddy found a video recording of our celebration.

Such a snapshot of life in this season.

And now, in this season, in this moment.  She bravely took steps, this time down into a pool, to put her faith to action.  With words of grace and conviction, shared with me just days before, she placed her head and her heart in the spiritual hands of her Father, and the earthly hands of her pastor as she shared her public declaration of commitment in front of her church family and friends.  I will never forget…

Precious child, you are my hero.  Your tenderness to the prompting of the Spirit are such an example for your Daddy and I.  I am so thankful for the ways in which the Lord allows us to create our altars of remembrance, in this case, through blogging and media.  The legacy of generations to come is being written in the moments of today.  So today, I simply want to pause, and to share.  To God be the glory, now and forevermore.


   Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa,  aunts, uncles, and cousins who came to share in the celebration today.  May we continue to cheer as loudly in this arena as we do in the sports one.  Thank you to our Journey family whom the Lord has chosen to surround, support, and bless us with at this time.  What an honor and a privilege to do life together.  Have a great week in Him!