Daily Blessings

Psalm 118 24 fallThis is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

It was a beautiful, sunny summer morning, and I was driving to the grocery store when I had just missed the green left arrow of a long stoplight. Frustrated because I would have to wait, I said to myself, “I am not going to let any delays destroy the way I feel today. I am going to enjoy this wonderful day.” I kept this joyful disposition as I pulled into the parking lot, grabbed the shopping cart, and began shopping. My sons, ages two and three, tagged along as I took my time gathering each written item from my list. When we approached the section of eggs and milk, Daniel, my three year old, suggested he could put the eggs in the cart for me. I, of course, said no and explained we needed to check for broken egg shells.
Before Dan could reply, an older gentleman interrupted, “I don’t know about your son, but I agree with you about the eggs.” Smiling at each other, we began have a short conversation about children and grandchildren. The chat ended with the man stating, “Enjoy them now; it won’t be long before they are on their own.” How ironic that he should give me that piece of advice on that particular day!
Since that pivotal moment, I have often thought about those words of wisdom. Years have passed since that divine appointment in the eggs and milk aisle. I don’t know what that gentleman has been doing all these years, but I have tried to make a conscious effort to choose a cheerful and patient attitude each day. The years have been filled with precious moments that I have been able to savor. Hastily scurrying throughout the day attending regular tasks can cause me to be oblivious to the moments of joy. Daily, I must remind myself to slow down and pace myself. While there are necessary times to hurry, each day I work on choosing a calm spirit which allows me to experience the blessings of the day.
O, God, enable me to embrace and appreciate the moments you have given me today. May I not be so busy that I miss out on all that You want me to enjoy. Amen.

Rooted for Life

Provers 12 12

The root of the righteous endures. Proverbs 12:12

One fall morning a many years ago, I decided to be a bit more ambitious than usual, and instead of driving my two preschoolers to story time, I decided to pull them in the wagon. After having them both use the restroom and filling the wagon up with juice boxes and snacks, we began our 1 ½ mile journey. On the way to the library, we toured through an older section of town where the branches of tall walnut trees drape over the homes and street. When we reached this scenic area, my boys began to have an extremely bumpy ride. Instead of being smooth and level, the sidewalk was filled with cracks and crevices where the roots of the trees had broken through it. I was impressed by the strength of the roots of the huge walnut trees. Man-made concrete could not keep the roots and trees from growing. Motivated by this display of power, I prayed, “Lord, help me to be like those old walnut trees. Help me to survive and thrive even when life is tough as concrete. Help me be rooted for life!” I sensed the Lord reminding me that the answer to my own prayer was to immerse myself in God’s Word. I began to take practical steps at learning and understanding the inspired Word of God. Reading, memorizing, meditating, and reflecting on the Holy Scriptures needed to be a bigger priority in my daily choices. Being grounded daily in the Word of God would enable me to be rooted for life.
Lord, help me to dig deeply into Your Word. Amen.

Life Lesson #1

Philippians 4 6

In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

What is a mom to do when her son’s pediatrician tells her that her son has a heart murmur and he recommends an appointment for an echocardiogram? She prays. What is a mom to do when her other son is potty training? She prays. These are just two examples taken from my prayer journal that I began when I became a mom.
Before I had children, my prayer life consisted of sporadic, shallow blurbs. Oh, I would pray for people if they asked, but I did not seriously believe that my prayers could make a difference. Then God blessed my husband and me with two boys who are just fourteen months apart in age. This was the turning point in my prayer life.
After having the boys so close together, and coming from a household of four girls, I realized I could not properly parent without some (OK…a lot of) divine intervention. At first, I began to jot down various simple requests. “Please help Mitchell sleep through the night.” “Please help Daniel learn to love and accept his new baby brother.”
After weeks and months of developing a set time devoted to praying for my children, I began to recognize God’s answers. However, God was not only working in the lives of my children, He was also molding me into a better mom each day. I was learning that my husband and I do not have to parent alone. God is there to guide our steps. All I have to do is ask Him. Am I a perfect mom? Of course not. Do I make mistakes? Every day! Am I the best mom for Daniel and Mitchell? Absolutely!
What I pray about is different each day. Sometimes I pray for particular character traits. Other times I am praying for current problems or situations. Many times I pray for myself as their mom. I especially pray that the Lord would give me the wisdom to raise Daniel and Mitchell according to His will. Often I am writing a thank you for the answered prayers. As certain prayers are answered, God gently directs me to other needs. Praying daily for my children has given me peace as a parent because I confidently know God is in control, and He truly cares about every detail of our lives.
While I have learned many lessons since I became a mom, none of these life lessons supersedes the importance of learning the necessity of praying for my children. God surprised me by showing me that He cares more for my children than I ever could. The Almighty has taught me that one of the best things that I can do for my boys is to take every need, concern, and blessing to Him in prayer. This alone empowers my family with the strength and endurance we need each day.

Bulbs of Faith

Isaiah 38 19

The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness. Isaiah 38:19

On a crisp October morning many years ago, my sons and I emerged from the garage holding gardening equipment: one small shovel, sixty tulip bulbs, bone meal, a sand shovel, and a clear plastic bug box. We progressed to the circle of mulch surrounding the ash tree in our front yard. Tasks were divided in our small group of garden enthusiasts. I dug the six inch holes and added the bone meal. Daniel, age three, put the tulip bulb right side up. Mitchell, age two, got to cover the flower bulb with his plastic shovel.
Every once in a while, I would uncover a worm when digging, and we would switch from botanists to zoologists by putting the worms into the bug box for observation. At one point during this procedure, Daniel stated confidently, “You know Mom, God makes the worms, too!” I smiled and replied, “Yes, He does.” The remainder of the morning was spent working together and continuing our discussion of God’s creations. I look forward to each March when the tulips bloom because they not only represent the “flowers” of our labor, but they symbolize the seeds of faith planted that morning.