Daily Detective

Dan and Mitch 2000Sunlight exposes the crayon etched across the freshly painted kitchen wall.  The green instrument of destruction lies broken on the linoleum floor.  After a brief examination of the crime scene, I round up the usual suspects for interrogation.  Suspect #1 is 4 year old Daniel a.k.a. Dan the Man.  Suspect #2 is also a male, age 3, and goes by the names, Mitchell, Mitchie, or Meme.  Both have a record with the local authorities (mom and dad).  Each ones points the finger at the other, and so “The Case of the Green Crayon on the Wall” goes on the board until someone confesses, or I, the mom, get a lead.

I have always enjoyed reading a suspenseful mystery.  As a child, I was addicted to the Nancy Drew series.  Now, as an adult I appreciate the tiny bit of precious time I have to sit down and enter a world of intrigue and excitement.  I like to pretend that I am a private eye assisting the main character in discovering clues, solving crimes, and apprehending felons.

Did I say I need to escape within a novel to unlock mysteries?  Who am I trying to fool?  As a mother, I participate in investigations daily.  Some of the mysteries I deal with are crimes.  They may not be of the illegal nature, but they are criminal to me!  For instance, there was the time I uncovered which of my two cherubs drew green crayon on our pristine white walls.  Then, there are the days when I try to detect who has taken a cookie from the cookie jar (It is usually dad!).  Not to mention, the numerous times I must untangle the information to get to the bottom of how the latest fight started.  Now that my boys are older, I am spending time determining which one has left his clothes and possessions on the bathroom floor, in the car, or in the backyard.  It is a common occurrence for me to use my sleuthing skills while mothering my boys.  Daily I search for clues and follow the trail.

I have found comfort in the fact that I am not the only mom who acts as a private investigator each day.  A very close friend of mine has an unsolved cold case.  Many years ago on one New Year’s Eve, she sprayed the Jell-O jiggler pan with a can of Pam cooking spray.  She remembered setting the can down on the counter knowing she would need it a little later.  When she reached for it, it had disappeared.  She rounded up her usual suspects (ages 4 and 2) and proceeded to question them concerning this matter.  Of course, they produced no evidence.  Now, I ask you:  How does a can of cooking spray walk off within minutes of use and remain unfound?  I personally have not needed to hunt for a can of cooking spray, but I have seriously considered investing money in the Playtex Corporation because we have lost and bought more spill-proof sippy cups than I care to admit.  They may not spill, but they still become lost!  There have been too many times to count when I have come to the rescue for my family.  It is usually I who has dug up the lost items such as books, belts, Bibles, baseball hats, homework, and shoes as my family members were about to leave the house with time pressing.  Day after day, I am tracking down items in my home.

Sometimes the sleuthing I perform does not involve missing items.  There are times I must delve into situations.  For example, I was like Sherlock Holmes when my babies cried at night.  I rushed into their rooms and did a process of elimination until I came to the source of the problem.  I have felt for fevers and leaky diapers.  I have sniffed for dirtied diapers and spit up.  My concern provoked me to check for the possibilities of thirst, hunger, or sickness.  On I looked and searched until I unraveled the cause of their tears.  And that was just one night!  When my children are sick, I rack my brain trying to remember where they have been, how they could have caught the illness, and who passed on the virus to them.

In addition to identifying culprits, finding lost items, and determining the physical reasons my boys have been upset, I, the caring secret agent, have had to uncover the reasons why they may be hurting emotionally as well.  As my children are growing up, I am learning they still need me at times to be involved mentally and emotionally.  As a loving detective, I must be wiling to care enough to probe and to ask the tough questions.   I inquire deeply to learn the root of the issues that wound their hearts.   Then, once the problem has been identified, my task is to guide and help them work through those emotions and situations in a Christ-like manner.  The caseload is never-ending!

I should have been clued in on this job of detective many years ago at my wedding shower when my mom humorously gave me a shoe box full of socks with no matching pairs for my own home. (She had enough single socks to share!)  Was it her way of initiating me into this line of work even before having children?  Was the collection of lonely socks a welcome gift for joining the club of gumshoes?  Whatever her reason for giving the goofy gift, I should have realized it foreshadowed what was to come.  Caring mothers do detective work daily.  Therefore, I must send my apologies to my favorite mystery writer because her latest novel will have to sit on the end table a little while longer for I have my own mystery to help solve today.  Has anyone seen a white size 11 Nike tennis shoe?

 

1 Thessalonians 2:7 … like a mother feeding and caring for her own children.

Follow God’s Example

Ben and the TV remoteFollow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children. Ephesians 5:1

A few months ago when my grandson had just celebrated his first birthday, I had the privilege of watching him. Toys were scattered all over my family room floor making it obvious that Ben was in the house. Noticing the television remote on the floor and within reach, he a made a beeline for it. Grabbing it with his hands, he put it up to his ear and said, “Hello” as if he were truly talking to someone. He sounded like his mom and dad when they answer their cell phones. Experts believe that babies begin to absorb values at a very early age. Not only did Ben sound and act just like his parents, but his dad and uncle can also sound exactly like myself or my husband when they are talking. Their mannerisms, tones, and word choice can sometimes mimic their parents. Yikes! When this happens, it is not always cute like Ben’s “Hello!” What pressure to choose my words, tones, and actions carefully! Children and young adults are constantly watching and emulating us. They are led by example, and we are leading by our choices. This modeling and mentoring doesn’t stop when they move out. They continue absorb our words and actions. Parents, Grandparents, and Aunts and Uncles: Your daily decisions affect future generations. May what we do and say reflect Christ.

Father, help us choose our words and actions carefully today and every day. Amen.

Mother’s Day Gift by Jill Savage

When child number one threw a fit in the grocery store one day, screaming at the top of her lungs in this very public place, I was so embarrassed. I’d witnessed a scene like that before I had children, and I swore my kids would never do that. Since becoming a mom, I’ve found myself in all kinds of situations I never thought I’d be in.
When the kids didn’t sleep much, I found myself beyond weary. When they didn’t potty train as quickly as other kids their age, I was discouraged. When they grew older and began to have a mind of their own, I found myself exhausted from the conflict.
I’m less patient than I thought I’d be. I weigh more than I want to. My children are more strong-willed than I expected. My kitchen counter seems to always be a mess. At times, my marriage isn’t the “happily ever after” I dreamed it would be.
Inside I think thoughts like: I don’t measure up. I’m failing as a mom. My kids don’t act like her kids. My house doesn’t look like her house. My body doesn’t look like her body. My husband doesn’t help like her husband does. What is wrong with me?
Have you ever felt that way? Have you wondered what is wrong with you, with your family, with your kids?
The truth is that nothing is wrong with you or your family–or me and my family. We are all normal. Our frustrations are normal. Our disappointments are normal. Our struggles are normal.
When you and I compare our insides to other women’s outsides, we always come out short. We’re comparing our struggles to their masks.
There are no perfect moms (just women who make a good outward appearance). There are no perfect kids (just kids who are dressed well and behave well just when you see them). There are no perfect houses (just ones where the clutter is cleverly stored!) There are no perfect bodies (just ones who know the beauty of Spanx!)
Perfection doesn’t exist…but unfortunately we waste a lot of time and energy pursuing the elusive mirage we’re just sure can be found. While we’re pursuing perfection, we’re missing out on the most precious parts of life: the laughter of silliness, the joy of spontaneity, the lessons found in failure, and the freedom found in grace.
This Mother’s Day, let’s give ourselves the gift of grace to make mistakes. We can’t be perfect moms, but we are the perfect mom for our kids.

Jill Savage is the Founder and CEO of Hearts at Home, an organization for moms. She is the author of 11 books including No More Perfect Moms and her most recent release Better Together. You can find Jill online at www.JillSavage.org and www.HeartsatHome.org.

Mother’s Day Giveaway!!

I'm Glad I'm a Mom

GIVEAWAY!!!  So in honor of Mother’s Day today AND the fact that the general editor of this book, Jill Savage, is my guest writer today on the blog (I also have a story published in this book!!), I am giving away a copy of I’m Glad I’m a Mom to one mom who is on my email list. Sign up for the emails to be entered in the drawing. Winner will be notified on Monday, May 10, 2016.

Faithful Friends

Luke 5 20
Have you ever known someone who was going through such a difficult time that you wondered how the Lord could work in that situation? Have you listened as companions pour out their disappointments, their brokenness, or their despair? What is the concerned to do with these overwhelming challenges? Thankfully, we can look to God’s Word for an answer to these situations. Three of the four Gospels contain the story of the paralytic carried by four men and lowered through the roof to see Jesus. See Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-2, and Luke 5:17-26 for the complete texts.
When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:19-20
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2
Word had spread about Jesus and His power to perform miracles. The home where Jesus was preaching the Gospel was filled with so many people that the door was blocked. Houses of these times were usually small, one-room structures each with a flat roof. To get to the roof, the men carried the paralytic by an outside stairway. The roofs back then were made of wooden planks with thatch, clay, tiles, and grass. The men had to dig up the tiles, thatch and earth to make the hole. This action in all likelihood preannounced their arrival as dirt fell on the group inside. Then, with ropes, the men lowered the crippled man through the hole they created so he could meet with Jesus. Jesus tells the man his sins are forgiven which was the root of his problems. He needed forgiveness. In addition, Jesus heals the man so he can walk. These miracles established Christ’s ability and authority to heal the both the spiritual and physical needs of people.
Impressed with the persistence and faith of the paralyzed man and his companions, He tells the man to “Take heart” which means have courage. He also calls the paralytic “My son.” This was a term of endearment using the possessive adjective “My.” Notice that Jesus is not angry nor does He rebuke the interruption made by the men. These dedicated men embodied the definition of “friend” as defined by dictionary.com which is “a person who gives assistance.” These guys made the extra effort to bring their friend to Jesus.
Have you had a friend that you were concerned about? How do we provide assistance? How do we bring our friends and their situations to Jesus today? When we pray on behalf of our friends, we are bringing their needs to the One who heals situations beyond human control. Our prayers are like taking off the pieces of the roof. As we fervently talk to God on behalf of our family and friends in need, we take off the roof, make a hole, and bring them to the feet of Jesus.
This story has several themes we can apply to our lives:
Faithful friends are those who bring others’ needs to Jesus by prayers and petitions.
Bringing friends to Jesus takes effort and teamwork. The four men did not quit when the door was blocked. Instead, they worked together to get the job done. We can partner with others as we make the effort to lift up friends in prayer.
Jesus sees and is pleased with every act of faith and service we do on behalf of others-Keep praying and serving! Jesus meets the needs of our loved ones in His perfect time when bring them to Him. For the paralytic, he was healed both physically and spiritually.
Faith is linked to the miracles. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His power to save people from their sins and work in their lives. The same God who forgave and healed the paralyzed man is still saving people from their sins and working in all lives today! He does not change!
Many there were amazed at the power Jesus displayed by healing the paralyzed man and forgiving his sins. The same is true today. Some people will notice the miracles and will be drawn to our God who answers prayers and works in our lives.
May we be faithful friends! Amen.