Friday, June 27, 2014


If you've read any of my ramblings, you're guaranteed to find scripture, worship songs, experiences I tend to relate back to my life as a Christian. It's infiltrated into every aspect of my who I am. I don't think it comes as any surprise where I stand in my faith.

It should not be a secret that I am committed to my relationship with the Lord. I profess Christ as my Savior. I believe the Bible is God's infallible Word of instruction and encouragement to us in our daily faith walk. So often I relate everyday experiences back to what I know God is challenging me to do or learn. In most of my writings I incorporate scripture or devotionals to further offer encouragement and guidance. Never had it donned on me that someone reading might not accept what I share as truth, God's truth.

We finally saw the movie God's Not Dead last night. I cannot give it a high enough review. I can't stop thinking about it! It has so challenged me and deepened my faith. If you haven't seen it, PLEASE go see it! All of this to say, the movie also caused me to realize that not everyone reading what I say may share in my belief in God.

I'm unashamed of my faith. I'm not afraid to share it. I remember daily debates in 11th grade Algebra when two of my classmates proclaimed to be atheists. We all agreed to take on the challenge of reading the bible. I just knew, oh how I knew, that the God-breathed verses were going to speak directly to their souls and convince them the error in their thinking. The only problem was the error in my own school of thought. They came back to debate me now armed with scripture and what they tried to use against me. I couldn't use the Bible to convince them of anything because they didn't believe the Bible was anything more than a history book written by men, infused with opinions and stories.

How could I ever forget the college study tour in Israel, when Bible stories became real places I've walked and visited. Our tour guide was a devout Jew and even as she led us down the Via Dolorosa and pointed out Galgotha, she stood firm in telling us she was still waiting for Messiah. Jesus, she told us, was a good man, a carpenter, nothing more. A group of Christian college students on a New Testament study tour could not leave the country without repeatedly sharing our faith and trying to convince her otherwise.

A few months ago I celebrated my 30th spiritual birthday - the day I know and remember saying a prayer and asking Jesus to forgive me of my sins and give me eternal life. I certainly didn't understand the full extent of my relationship with Christ at just 5 years old, but I was certain that I wanted to spend eternity in Heaven with my Savior. I can still picture the room. Throughout my life I can honestly look back and say that even though I may not have always remained faithfully committed to my Lord in my daily decisions or the choices I've made, my faith never wavered in Him as my Savior.

It may seem like a contradiction to you and I do understand. But I'm not here to debate my life choices. What I am here to share is the knowledge of the saving grace that God has given me and that you can have too.

You see, I walked that street where Jesus Christ carried His own cross. I stood atop the skull-looking mountain where He was crucified. I saw the empty tomb with the sign over it that reads "He is Not Here, He is Risen!" I've been there but so had my tour guide, only she'd been there hundreds of times, telling the same story over and over. And to her, that's all it was - a story. Fiction.

You don't have to have traveled to Israel to believe what I'm saying. You don't have to understand every word of scripture written to have faith in God. What you need to know is that Christ died for YOU. Yes, YOU. And even if you were the ONLY ONE, He would have still died JUST FOR YOU. Why did He die? To save you from your sins, to make a way between your sinful, fallen flesh and the divide that separated you from a perfect and Holy God. The one true God.

You may not choose to believe any of it, but ultimately God left the choice up to you.

Why do bad things happen? Why is there pain? Why are there struggles? I can't answer all those questions except to say that our earth, our world, our culture is not perfect. But we can have the hope and assurance of perfect eternity with God if we accept the gift of salvation He's provided through His blameless Son, Jesus.

God's not dead. His Word is alive and active, His creation bursts forth in praise, His Spirit is at work. If you read this blog, or any other of my writings, I pray the only thing that you'll ever take away is that this relationship with a Holy God can be personally yours. If you want to know how, please ask me.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Limitless Trust

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

It's one of those moments when a song I've heard a hundred times, one that is almost "too familiar," strikes a chord deep within my soul. I cannot get the lyrics out of my head, even more, I do not want to stop the grip they hold on my heart. This was the moment when those words caused me to stop and call to question every motive, every prayer, every desire. This was the point where I was looking into the mirror with hopeful gaze expecting to see faith and strength and surrender yet being faced with the reflection of fear, doubt and uncertainty. 

I pray for God's will. I seek it. I say I want it. But the reality is my flesh desires only the part of His will that fits within the confines of my box. Big enough for the faith I have, nothing more. Certainly I desire to grow in the Lord but somehow I convince myself that I have "enough faith" to deal within the limits I've set. Whatever is comfortable for me, that's what I'll take, I tell the Lord. Don't stretch me beyond these boundaries that I have set, God, that would be way too much. I know You know what I can handle but I know what I'm more comfortable with, so let's just stick with that, ok?!

AS IF I can tell God what to do!! As if I am so foolish that I can limit HIM - a limitless, infinite God.

How can I say I pray for God's will but then give Him boundaries and guidelines?? Foolish doesn't even describe it. 

What if... WHAT IF I would pray and then actually ALLOW Him to lead me? To trust Him beyond what I am comfortable with, to allow Him to go beyond the borders of my finite mind and my faithless heart? WHAT IF???

What if I gave Him the uninhibited freedom to take me deeper, far beyond the point I would go on my own, past the fear and doubt, into the realm of uncertainty and unknown yet in the midst of perfect peace in the presence of my Savior?

I recognize so many flawed patterns of thought but one jumping out at me deserves to be challenged. "I know what I'm comfortable with." I know what I've lived through, survived, endured and grown stronger from as a result. I know what I can handle. I am "content" with that. I tell the Lord He can test me to that point, He can stretch me to those limits, the ones I've already reached before, but nothing more. It's what my human mind can easily comprehend and contain. It's what my own self is capable of, not allowing any room for God to work. If I'm honest, I'm not allowing any room for Him at all. 

The great paradox is that I want Him, I love Him, I desire His presence. Yet I limit Him and His role in my life. In essence, my own human fear and doubt squelch the very Godness of who He is. 
Oh God, limitless, infinite God.
Forgive me for my finite mind that seeks to put You in a box.

Forgive me for the confines of my fearful faith that refuses to fully surrender.
Help me trust, Lord truly trust, with all my heart, mind, soul and strength!
Lead me to the place beyond my fear and doubt, past the limits I've established and to the point where I give you my full uninhibited trust. 
Lord, thank you for Your relentless pursuit of my doubting heart. 
Take me deeper than I could ever take my restricted faith. 
Remove the restraints I've placed on my life, especially on You. 
May my faith grow stronger, deeper, fuller as I learn to be in Your presence, wherever you lead. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cherish These Moments

It was a moment I will cherish. My boy was tired. Much too tired to wake up. But we had a schedule for the first in five days and I was forced to drag him out of bed. That meant that my oh-so-tired and not much of a morning person was willing for me to offer him help out of bed. Before I knew it, we were cuddled on the couch and there I sat, cradling my not-so-little boy in my arms. He snuggled into me as I stroked his hair and I was taken back to 6 years ago when I nestled a tiny bundle in my arms.

"Mommy used to rock you like this every single night while I fed you your bottle and sang you to sleep."

"What did you sing?" he asked.

I began to sing Jesus Loves Me just as I had so many nights a few years ago. He didn't move a muscle and let me sway with each note.

"Mommy used to say scriptures over you after I sang to you."

"What are scriptures?" he was inquisitive.

"Bible verses. Like Psalm 23..." and I quoted the verses over him, praying them to be a comfort to his soul, asking The Lord to shepherd and guide him.

"Do you know that mommy prayed, oh how I prayed, for God to give me a baby. I asked God to make me a mommy and He did! YOU made me a mommy. God gave me you," I couldn't keep the tears from welling up. There I sat holding my baby, my 6 year old baby, caressing his sun-kissed skin, running my fingers through his golden blonde hair and knowing that every single day of his life had been planned by a perfect God who knew him and formed him even while I was praying with empty arms. Every single day, including this day, and this moment. 

"Mom?" he paused. "How much does God love me?"

If my heart could have melted anymore, it was then. 

"Baby, God loves you more than the whole world. He loves you so much He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for you. He loves you so much He created you."

"Does God love me more than you do?"

My laughter cut through the tears as I gave a chuckle. "Yes, He does."

Before I could offer any further explanation, he cut me off. "But mom, you love me more than the whole universe."

"Yes, I do. But God created the universe and you. Even though you're my son, you're His child."

I could tell he was trying to comprehend this. God's. He belongs to God. The Creator of the universe created him then entrusted me to love him, train him, hold him, cradle him, pray for him, sing over him, breathe scripture into his soul. 

God, I cannot comprehend how much You love me! How much You chose to bless me. How Your perfect plan included this moment where I would come face to face with a little boy, my little boy, my answer to prayer. Face to face with the love You have for each of us. I cherish You. I cherish Your love for me, Father. I cherish Your plan. Your infinite plan that included me becoming a mommy and recognizing that only You could love him more than I do. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Foot Washing

Remember that paw-washing experience I gave the other day when I cleaned each and every one of my Baxter's muddy paws so he would be allowed back in the house? Yesterday I came down the stairs to the scene above. 

"Elijah, what are you doing?!" I asked as I saw him licking his finger with his tongue then scrubbing the licked finger across each pad of the dog's paws. Yes, each pad. He was repeatedly sticking his finger BACK IN HIS MOUTH then hitting a new puppy paw pad. 

"I'm washing his feet!" he proudly exclaimed.

How could I be mad?! I could most certainly be grossed out but I couldn't yell at him. He wasn't following in my example, he was following in Christ's. This tender hearted little boy wanted to make sure his four-legged friend wouldn't be separated from the family along with the fact that he was conscientious enough to know that mom didn't want her floors muddy. (Sidenote: the dog wasn't actually muddy - this time - but does it really matter?!)

Last night I sat while my own feet were washed, massaged, manicured and perfectly painted. Oh yes, the ultimate pedicure. It was no quiet moment of solitude, though, as ladies from all walks of life gathered as friends, some who had never met, and we had a ladies' spa night together. 

What was so amazing was that while my own feet were being cleansed of all the rough spots, I was witnessing God use stories and testimonies of miracles and His own hand at work to share with others who are in the midst of wondering how God is going to work out their own situation. What happened was nothing short of a God-ordained appointment during a simple ladies' spa night. He so perfectly orchestrated the circumstances of lives to now come together to be an encouragement and example. The beautiful mess He can make out of any tragedy is no less than a miracle, but to have a front row seat to watch His handiwork is simply breath-taking! That's what I had the privilege of sharing in.

"I personally brought you out of the darkness into My Light - so that you might proclaim My praises. This is a delightful privilege and responsibility. I have entrusted you with the task of telling others about My awesome qualities... The Joy of My Presence will shine from your face as you tell others about Me." Jesus Today

It's not just an honor, it's a privilege and responsibility. To have known and experienced the redemption of His hand orchestrating the jumbled up mess into a beautiful symphony becomes my lifesong. Why do I write these silly blogs? Why do I pour my heart out? Like I've always said, my blogs are my own. They're a way for me to process my own thoughts and feelings, the lessons He's teaching me. Yet I also admit that these blogs are to proclaim His praises. These writings are my way of carrying out the responsibility of telling others about Him and Who He is and how He can and WILL work in your life. 

He is my delight and I can't help but write about Him. He's graciously sat at my feet and washed away every spot, removed every callous, smoothed away every patch of dirt and dryness. How can I not sing His praises?! My hope and prayer is that the Joy of His Presence will shine from my face as I share.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Digging in the Dirt

He's a dog. Sortof. Some might observe his behavior and note similarities to a Tasmanian Devil. One minute he's calm, gentle, loving and relaxed. The next ... be prepared for anything. His energy is combustible and you never know what might get broken or destroyed in the middle of an outburst.

He has two identified weaknesses: dirt and paper. Do not leave a shred of paper around or it will instantaneously become, well...shreds. Napkins, bills, toilet paper right off the roll - it makes no difference, as long as it's some type of paper substance. Never mind the fact that it was a receipt you need to return something to the store. It seems to taste even better if it is, in fact, homework or a bill with attached envelope. (You think the "dog ate my homework" excuse is ridiculous?! Try being the mom sending your Kindergartner's teacher that excuse. No, really.)

Then there's dirt. Virginia red clay, actually, because that's what have here in our "neck of the woods." To our Oompa Loompa the barrenness that we call our "yard" must look like a gold mine and when left on the lead leash outdoors during an unsuspected devilish moment, he is most certainly digging for gold.

That's what happened today. He not only made some major headway on digging his hole to the center of earth, he managed to get red clay caked into every last square inch of his paws AND the better part of the fur covering his legs. All four of them. His golden beard, mouth and snout were now disguised by an orangey-brown color. He was literally breathing out dirt from the nostrils of his over-sized-teddy-bear nose.

He had himself a great time but now he was caught red-handed, uh, red-pawed. Literally. In the crate he must go because in the house he would certainly not be allowed with that kind of dirt. He utterly hates the separation. For this social dog who thrives on being around and with people,  the solitude is well-deserved punishment but we'd like to believe eventually it will be motivation enough to break him of this bad habit. But it's not a habit. It's his nature.

After an extended period of time, I went to check on him and he was more than willing to be let out of the crate but he was more excited to see me. He waited by the door for me to let him in. "No, Baxter, you're covered in mud." He must have understood because he laid down in the middle of the garage with the realization he would still not be coming with me.

Yet more time had passed when I went back to check on him. This time he laid with his head literally hiding underneath my car while his reddish orange paws were sticking out. I got a towel and started to clean each paw individually. Dirt everywhere. I took care to go over each paw repeatedly, trying to get as much of the dirt off as possible. He never moved. He also never removed his head from its shameful hiding place under the car. Finally he was clean and able to return inside. He walked sheepishly behind me and laid down practically on top of my feet.

You may think I'm crazy but even as I wiped his paws all I could think about was my patient and loving Heavenly Father and how He deals with me. He knows it's in my nature to dig in the dirt. My sin nature causes me to succumb to the temptations around me knowing full well the separation it will cause me from Him. There's still a hole in the yard and sometimes my choices leave vacancies and scars that I may not be able to fix even after the dirt has been wiped away. Yet He always takes me back, wiping me clean. Removing all the dirt I've unearthed and welcoming me back with open arms.

Bax had been sitting at my feet as I was typing this blog. I don't know when he got up but it wasn't until I was nearly ready to hit "publish" when I realized he was no longer sitting at my feet. I searched upstairs with no sign of him only to make my way downstairs. There it was. A trail of paper! Tiny shreds of slobbery, crumpled bills now strewn across the living room floor. The only thing I can think now is thank goodness for grace and mercy (and online bill pay)!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What's Your Story?

I have a story. It's my story. It includes others but it's not their own. I'm a part of other people's stories but their story is not mine.

I cannot change my story. That means the past is a part of me. What has happened, what I've done, what has become of me and my life, my failures and dreams, it's all part of who I am. Some experiences, more than others, have shaped my story. Some have written new chapters. Some have ended others. For all the good, the bad, and yes, there has most certainly has been the ugly, it's still my story.

It's tempting to look back on things with regret or remorse but I don't get do-overs. If I learn to look back at these instances and see them through God's grace, I begin to realize that my life tells the story of who He is and how He is working it out for my good. He doesn't necessarily cause the struggle but He can use it. The struggles are no less than part of my story.

I've heard it said that the degree to which I'm able to share my story is the degree to which I'm able to heal. The truth is I don't have to tell everyone 'all my business' but it also comes as no secret that many of my writings have been my own healing process. In the past few weeks I've found people asking me to share part of a certain experience. Some of them were facing similar challenges. Some of them wanted to know how I dealt with something specific. Yet another person remarked, "I love where you are now." That took me by surprise because without even realizing it, I was able to talk about something so tragic, so painful at the time I was living through it, that I hadn't become aware of "where I am now."

Sharing my experience allowed someone else to hear my story but it allowed me to realize part of the chapter that had been written was the part about where I am now. My story includes God's healing of my broken heart. It tells of the effects of my own sin, other people's sin against me and the freeing of my heart once bound by shame. My story is holy ground - filled with joy and sorrow and sacred territory between me and my Savior. It's my story.

Since that conversation I've asked God to help me see my story with His perspective. Gaining His merciful view on the disappointments and struggles and understanding how these things continue to make me who I am.

With an open hand, surrounded by grace, my only option is to learn, grow and become who He wants me to be. If I pray for God's gracious perspective then I begin to see all of this jumbled up mess as part of the present reality and who I allow Him to be in my life. This is my story. What's yours?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

On this Father's Day, I have so much to be thankful for. My childhood memories of me and my dad include times of laughter and fun. As I've gotten older and now even work alongside my dad in the same business, I realize how similar our out-going, fun-loving personalities are. I didn't know this to be true as a child. Although growing up, everyone would say I undeniably looked like my dad. 

My dad used to always look at the freckles on my face and say, "Can I grab a pen and connect the dots?" You might think this is cruel but it didn't hurt my feelings. I would of course give him the whiney "Daaaaad, noooooo" response and inevitably we'd both end up in laughter. 

Dad knew I had a ticklish spot right on my knee so almost every time I was in the front seat (and let's be honest, I was the oldest so I got that right most of the time), he'd get his "claw" ready to attack that ticklish knee without warning and I'd squeal like a girl and try to squirm out of my seatbelt to get away. He knew he had me. 

We were the family who played together. Before you mistakenly think that any one of us have an athletic gene in our bodies, let me quickly correct you. We don't. Not at all. In fact, we may be the clumsiest most unathletic family you've ever met. But play together we certainly did. Dad met mom when he was a piano player and she was a singer. So our family "bondage" time (as I so affectionately called it in my teenage years) was spent gathered in the living room when dad would put on a southern gospel record (for those of you born after 1990, it's a big black vinyl  circle that played music and no, you couldn't download it to anything). We'd turn it up as loud as the speakers would go. Dad would sit at the piano with me on one side and my sister on the other. We didn't really know how to play, but dad did. We'd just bang keys along with him and sing our hearts out. Mom joined in offering harmony to the voices and thus my singing career began in the humble beginnings of that family living room. 

To this day, you can hear my dad call me his "number one son," to which others remark, "Oh no, did he want a boy?" No, actually, he didn't. I'm not sure he would have known what to do with a son. Certainly not play ball! But it is his term of endearment for me and I love that it is. For years I've worked alongside or with my mom but now I enjoy the fact that I walk into work on a particularly upbeat day and am called "Little Bill." That's a compliment to me because I love that my dad has always been such a hard worker and carries such a positive perspective about almost everything. Watching this work ethic has shaped my own and I contribute much of the success I've experienced to the example I've witnessed before my very eyes. 

My dad and sister may still harbor bitter feelings about all the pageants they had to sit through, watching contestants butcher songs, yet endlessly supporting me every. single. time. My dad would laughingly tell you I was "first loser" but that first runner up title, 6 times in a row, won me a lot of scholarship for which we all were grateful. Make no mistake. I'm glad he was there. In fact, I'd rather him have the opportunity to laugh and joke about all the painful contestants they had to endure than to not have any memory of it at all. He was there and that's what mattered. 

That has always been the case. I've never doubted having encouragement and support. I've always felt loved and believed in. The empowerment this has given me has truly helped shape who I am and what I've done. It's gotten me through some of the toughest times of my life. Even when I've failed, I always knew there were open arms to come home to. 

am blessed to have godly, God-fearing parents. They've offered me more love and support than I could ever have imagined, even as an adult. In fact, it seems I needed them even more as their grown child and the relationships we share have only blossomed into friendships as we've all gotten older. Blessed doesn't even sum it up adequately. 

Happy Father's Day, dad. I love you. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Last Day of Kindergarten

Friday was the last day of Kindergarten. He made it. I made it. Sigh...

It doesn't feel like almost 10 months passed since I was freaking out and having my helicopter mom moment. The year has brought its share of challenges. It's also brought growth and change. 

Kindergarten hasn't been easy. There have been trips to the principal's office, meetings with the guidance counselor, notes home, parent/teacher conferences... Let's just say it's been and adjustment to personalities and behaviors and expectations of the classroom. 

There have also been accomplishments, like being able to read. It still amazes me to be able to listen to him read something and see the wonder on his face as he takes pride in himself and the world he's discovering. There's been recognition of a most creative and intuitive little boy, "too smart for his own good," some have remarked. Maybe... There have been memories and friendships made. Kindergarten is the first milestone in his education. Everyone got an award, more like a superlative, and in his class they all related to pieces of candy. Eli's "Jawbreakers" award went to he and another student for, as the teacher put it, "never, ever, ever, ever, EVER being at a loss for words." This very "accomplishment" got him in trouble most days. I'm sure if you ask my mom she will tell you the same thing got me in trouble most days...

I think we've all learned a lot this year. I learned I can't control everything. I can't control outcomes. I can't be there every single day to make my son sit down or pay attention or stop talking. I also can't protect him from the Kindergarten spats he sometimes complained about, so and so said this, someone else did that. Nothing traumatic, but significant enough to him at this point in his life. We faced every emotion in one year. Like the day he ran out of the school jumping up and down screaming "I got on Plus 2!" to the day I got the call from the principal saying she had Eli in her office and the reason he got in trouble was because, as he told her, it was "too cold to be good" she said through laughter. 

All of it has taught me more about my role, the role I set out knowing in the beginning, the role of turning him over to The Lord all the days of his life. The reminder came in full force as we tucked him into bed on the last day of Kindergarten, the first night of summer break. We finished our normal routine with devotions and prayer time when he shared, "Mom, did you know I have Jesus in my heart?" He talked of his love for God. Childlike faith. It wasn't anything he had learned in Kindergarten. The public school system had certainly not taught him this. This was him speaking from his heart. The entire conversation was wrapped up in life lessons and things he's been taught at home and church, things I pray he sees in me and the godly examples in our family. 

My little jawbreaker who is never at a loss for words is also never at a loss for surprising us with the tender heart he has. The lessons he's learning go so much deeper than the basics of school. Just like the world he is discovering by being able to read, the world he's discovering by being able to see things through the eyes of Almighty God, his Father and Creator, is becoming personal. It's not just something we talk about, it's Someone he is coming to know and understand. 

This year hasn't gone exactly as I planned but the last day of Kindergarten was more than I could have hoped. I can't control any of it. I can only pray that what he hears becomes what he learns and what we live in front of him will continue to become personal all the days of his life. 

Let the summer begin!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Post On Parenthood

Saturday, May 31st, was the most perfect of "Gotcha Days." For the first time, Eli was truly aware of the day and its meaning. His adoption has been openly talked about from the beginning so it doesn't come as a surprise to him, but this year he was excited to celebrate and tell others that it was the day he was adopted and understand what that means. Watching the joy on his face as he shared was something truly remarkable. It was one of those proud parent moments for sure.

The day was beautiful. We enjoyed several outings but the true blessing was the "million flowers I (Eli) picked to show you how much I love you." He made trip after trip into the house with fist-fulls of flowers. Vase after vase began to fill as I tried to find a place for all of them. He was so proud of his pickings and I could not have appreciated the expression more. It was a glorious day of celebrating him, his life and what he means to us. It was also such a delight to enjoy his obedience, loving expressions and angelic behavior.

And then yesterday happened. Without recounting every detail, let's suffice to say it was the antithesis of Saturday. Everything I asked, he did the opposite. He argued about every single thing he was told to do. At times he was even disrespectful, snapping with reasons why he could not obey. There were times I gave an instruction and he acted like he didn't hear me. There were other times that it caused a meltdown as if something I'd said triggered the end of the world. Oh it was the end alright; the end of my patience and tolerance. This all followed a day at school that was less than stellar (I'm being kind with this description). "It's the last week of school," I'd encouraged on our morning drive, "PLEASE do your best to listen and obey." Somehow he would still end up in the Assistant Principal's office to complete his morning work while his entire class enjoyed the playground. This wasn't his first trip and I'm certain not his last. In fact, I'm not even sure it will be his last THIS SCHOOL YEAR. And there's only 4 more days of school left! It's Kindergarten for crying out loud. KINDERGARTEN.

"He's just being a boy," I've been told.

"He'll calm down," they seemingly try to reassure me. I wasn't asking for reassurance. But thanks.

 "He's got an active imagination for sure,"others have remarked. I always ponder their meaning behind this one, wondering if they see the positive in this as I do.

"He certainly is on the go...ALL. THE. TIME," as if I don't already know this.

The truth is my boy has never fit the mold. From the time I joined the other moms at the baby gym bouncing our 1 year olds, only mine wouldn't sit or bounce or do things "normally" - at least not like all the other babies. He was on the go. Even then. And I was chasing after, stressing myself out because he wouldn't do what all the others would do.

Here we are 5 years later at the end of Kindergarten and I somehow find myself still stressing. Why? Because he doesn't fit into the mold with all the rest of the kids? Because he won't listen? When? Everyday? Every time? Did I forget Saturday and the way he listened the first time, every time? I still have vases of reminders of how much he wanted to love and please me. Wasn't that just two days ago?

The truth is sometimes he is just being a boy. And sometimes he's just living in his sinful nature. Then there are other times when I find notes like this after days like yesterday:

His heart is good, but his flesh is still flesh and sometimes he fails. Oh wait...doesn't God's Word say something about that?

"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41b

That sounds so familiar. So much like me. Only I'm not 6. I am supposed to know better, do better, be better. 

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

I love You, Lord, and yet I fail You. I know Your Word, I know to keep Your commands and sometimes I look the other way and pretend I don't hear Your voice at all. I know the straight and narrow path that I am to take, and I even know I can call upon Your strength to help me in my weakness...and yet I boldly, directly disobey You. I choose MY way instead. I allow my active imagination and the power of deceit to convince me that I can do my own thing. I give way to my own activity, always on the go, never stopping to seek You. Excuse after excuse, I can find so many, to justify my behavior. Too often I've looked directly at You and told You exactly why I wouldn't listen. I have blatantly disrespected You and Your Word and chosen my own will. There have been way too many meltdowns, hissy fits I've thrown, all because I didn't want to do what You asked. My spirit has been willing at times and sometimes, I'm so sorry to admit, it has been anything but willing. 

Oh how You love me, how You forgive, how You graciously and patiently tolerate all my indiscretions, all my blatant acts of disobedience and still lovingly choose me. It hasn't always come without consequence or discipline but You've never ceased to lavish Your loving instruction toward me. I love You, Lord. Even when I fail You. Even when I choose to disobey. I'm so thankful for your neverending love and for the way You teach and instruct me, always encouraging me back. Thank You for the example You've given me of how to love, instruct, teach, forgive and parent this child You've placed in my life. Forgive me when I fail You. Forgive me when I fail him. Continue to teach me Your ways, ways I can teach him.