Posted by: pollyw | April 10, 2014

Little hands to hold

Once again, the Lord has been teaching me some lessons through my children. Every school day I take my kiddos to school. My youngest schooler right now is in kindergarten. At the beginning of the school year, she was very uncertain about going down the hallway to her class. As a parent, I was only allowed to go so far before I had to let her walk the rest of the way on her own. She would hold my hand tightly as we slowly walked down to the double doors where she would have to go it alone. As the year progressed, she held my hand less tightly and would even skip along, her ponytail bouncing up and down all the way to the double doors. Now that is almost the end of the year, she doesn’t even need to hold my hand, but does enjoy the company if I walk her down to the double doors. If she spots one of her friends along the way, they both instinctively reach for each other’s hands to walk each other to class.

Although it is hard to be boosted from the hand holding position so easily, it is nice to see that the Lord has given her friends to walk with her along the way. As she has grown in independence, I have been given a tiny view of our future together as mom and daughter. As she grows, I will be replaced as the hand holder by friends that the Lord will bring into her life. It seems so bittersweet and it makes my heart ache, but I will need to trust that as I turn her daily dependence on me over, that I turn it over to the Lord and trust that He will bring the people into her life who will point her to Him. He has faithfully done that in my life right now. I have a core group of friends who support me and get me through the hard times, all the while pointing me to Him and His plan for my life.

I know I will always be a strong influence and source of support her entire life, but as a friend of ours once reminded us, we must give them roots and then give them wings. Our parents have done it for us, and they remain a strong source of physical and emotional support to this day, but they have also given us wings to live our lives and raise our family.

By turning our children over to the Lord in prayer, we hope to do the same for them. By looking to the Scriptures daily for things to pray over them and their present (and future) friends, maybe it will make my heart ache a little less as I remember that the Lord is the only one who can truly protect them.

Posted by: pollyw | January 20, 2014

Secret Language

Life with a three year old around the house is an adventure. They have their own way of doing things and can’t understand why the adults around them aren’t catching onto their view of things. Our current three-year old has his own timetable (do it now), his own idea of perfection (watching Thomas the Tank Engine videos all day would be a perfect day), and even his own secret language.

This past month he has been trying earnestly to teach us his secret language. “Nife-kin” means napkin. “Fruity” means Fruity Pebbles (okay, not the most nutritious breakfast, but it meets our gluten-free needs around here). But, I have to say my favorite is the number “20″.

The number 20 can be translated to mean “a lot”. If he wants apple slices, he wants 20. If he is thirsty and is asking for juice, he wants 20. The best part of the day, though, is when he says, “I love you 20!” Because when he says that, he is saying that he loves you the most he can love you in his three-year old world. Oh, and don’t try to match his love, he will tell you that you can only love him “2″, he is the only one that can love “20″.

It reminds me of what the Lord says in His Word: He loves us with an everlasting love. How can we match that? We bring our “2″ love to the Lord, but He still loves us “20″.

So, go out there and remember that you are loved “20″. Spread the Lord’s “20″ love to others this week. Even if people bring less than 2 to the table, the Lord can love others through you with his spilling over kind of love!

Posted by: pollyw | August 28, 2013

The Two Year Old Missionary

Well, I’m not a mom who loves it when summer ends and the kids are back in school. Summer is usually a time when we can just hang out, sleep in late, and fit in a fun trip or two. This summer was a little different. It seemed as though we had something going every single day and there wasn’t a lot of just hang around time. When the kids were having some down time, they seemed to get on each other’s nerves pretty easily. Put all of these things together and you have a summer that flies by and is suddenly over. We couldn’t believe it when August arrived so quickly and backpacks started showing up in the stores.

So, here we are…back in school. This is the first week of school for 5 out of 6 of our kiddos. One is starting kindergarten…and so excited! The oldest is starting middle school…and kind of excited, but ready for Friday. We are three days into it and some of the new-ness is wearing off. Needless to say, as I was walking away from the elementary school this morning, after dropping off the schoolers, I was feeling just a bit “off”. Not sad, mad, or glad, just a bit “off” from the craziness of this week and the quietness of our home.

For the walk to school, our two year old was perched in the stroller, glad for the excitement of getting out. As we were walking away from the school, it happened…he spotted a school bus on its way back to the bus barn. We were on the main street they all take to park the buses for the day.

He waved and waved, almost coming out of his seat, to let the driver know he was there. The driver looked over, gave a big smile, and waved right back. That was all it took. For the next ten minutes, my tiny little guy ministered to the bus drivers from his stroller, and in a very powerful way. He must have waved to twenty bus drivers. Drivers who looked tired, frustrated, and ready to be done would see him waving his little arm and they would instantly burst into a smile and give a wave back. Some were even blowing kisses to him. I didn’t feel “off” anymore, I was laughing right along with the drivers, because it was obvious that this two year old was on a mission. A mission to brighten up everyone’s day and make them feel loved. God used this little guy in a mighty way this morning.

If he can do this with someone so small, what can He do with us today, if we let Him?

Keep an eye out for what the Lord has planned for you today. Leave a comment and let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear it! Oh, and if you’re not too sure if He has a mission for you, here’s the Scriptural proof that He does and that He would love to work through you:

Ephesians 2:10 (from Biblegateway.com)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Posted by: pollyw | January 22, 2013

Let’s do church…

I went to a really neat church service this week. It was the 11:20 AM Monday service of the Faith Household Church. The church bulletins were each individually handwritten with the order of service. The praise and worship songs were written by the praise and worship team and sung with enthusiasm on the pink Princess microphone. The words to the songs were written in large letters with crayon so that the congregation could follow along. The sermon was Scripturally sound and even included visual demonstrations from VBS crafts. The pulpit was a purple rolling drawer stand. We were dismissed to the “Funny Song of the Week” written by a member of the praise team.

There were some unpredictable happenings at the service. During the sermon, the worship leader lost her guitar pick in her guitar and there was some excitement while she and the rest of the worship team rattled it out. Also during the sermon, a two year old approached the speaker wanting to play catch with a ball he had found in the playroom. At the question and answer time after the sermon, one of the younger congregants asked how much longer the service was going to last.

If you haven’t guessed by now, this church service was put on by our three oldest kiddos in our living room. My husband had asked them the night before what we could do as a family to grow closer to the Lord. They decided that we could have a worship service and spent half of the next day planning it. Did I mention that this was their vacation day?

I loved it. Through this wonderful service I saw that the Lord is touching their hearts in a real way. I was amazed at the worship songs the girls wrote and led us in and it was the first time that I had a glimpse of the gift of teaching that my son has with the Bible. I also loved that they spent so much time together to plan it. These days I seem to do a lot of refereeing with the older ones and it was so refreshing to see them working together for such a neat church service. It wasn’t just a “show” to them. It was real worship. The Lord can use anyone, big or small, to spread His message. I love it.

Posted by: pollyw | January 15, 2013

Anyone need some rest?

Beth Moore is starting up her Scripture Memory team again this year and I am going to try to keep up. It’s a neat thing because you get to choose your own verse to memorize. The one I chose for Week 1 has been such an inspiration to me these past two weeks.

Here’s the one I memorized. It is from Exodus when Moses was having a rough time leading the Israelites and he was asking God for help. Here is part of what the Lord told him during this very trying time (courtesy Biblegateway.com)

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (NIV 84)

I can’t tell you how many times over the last two weeks this verse has really calmed me down. Worry is something I constantly struggle with, especially when it comes to my kiddos. If there is an unknown in a situation, I will find a way to obsess about it and worry about it. These last two weeks, whenever something came up like that, I was able to lean on the truth in this verse and pray it right back to the Lord. My prayers went something like this,”Okay, Lord, I love it that Your Presence will be going with me in this situation and that even in the middle of it, You will give me rest.”

And you know what? Every time that I prayed this Scripture, I had this calm about me that is highly unusual at this season of my life. He would give me rest in that situation.

What’s even neater is that over the course of the two weeks, I physically got more rest than usual. It was Christmas break from school and the kiddos would get up quietly and my amazing husband would get up before me to make sure they had all been fed and let me sleep in. It was so wonderful!!!! I don’t have to tell you moms who have had young children what a wonderful answer that was to this prayer. It took me a few days to catch on that I was praying for rest in specific situations and the Lord was letting it run over into the rest of my life, too, with physical rest.

Try it. You can use this verse, or another one, to focus on throughout the week. If you will apply it to the actual real-life situations you have going on and pray it back to the Lord, I guarantee that you will see something happening in your life. He is all about relationship, and He loves to hang out with you. A really neat way to do that is to focus on His Word and let Him show Himself through it.

Leave me a comment if you get a chance. It would be great to hear from you!

Posted by: pollyw | December 27, 2012

Psalm 78′in it this morning

I’m still in a post-Christmas haze from all that has whirled through here this month.  Actually, this year it started even earlier, with November going by like a speeding truck.  From Thanksgiving shows to choir concerts, to karate tournaments and then Christmas parties and shows, we have gone from one big event to the next for the last two months.  It all ended with the glorious light show that is Christmas morning.  (Actually, mornings — we were able to have all three in a row this year!)

We had a great time!

This morning, it feels good to just sit.

To sit and think back about what all the Lord did for us this Christmas season.  He worked some major miracles and some small ones, too.  He allowed us to see Him working in places we didn’t expect. 

I loved the glimpses He gave us of how He is touching the hearts of each of our children.  It always feels like a battle to keep them focused on Jesus during Christmas when the world is clamoring for them to think only of the stuff they can get.  This year the Lord fought the battle for us and worked through the children in some pretty neat ways.    

Sitting and reading my Bible had been set to the wayside this season, so it felt wonderful to actually open it up and leisurely read this morning.  I found myself at Psalm 78:12-16.  Just in case you’re in the post holiday haze this morning, I’m going to put it into the Message translation to make it a little easier to read (from Biblegateway.com)

He performed miracles in plain sight of their parents
    in Egypt, out on the fields of Zoan.
He split the Sea and they walked right through it;
    he piled the waters to the right and the left.
He led them by day with a cloud,
    led them all the night long with a fiery torch.
He split rocks in the wilderness,
    gave them all they could drink from underground springs;
He made creeks flow out from sheer rock,
    and water pour out like a river.

This is the only part of the Psalm I saw this morning because it is a daily reading Bible breaking the Scripture up into parts to be read daily.  The total Psalm is making the point that with all of God’s goodness, the Israelites still disobeyed him. 

I love that He led me to this part about remembering His goodness and all of the miracles He did for them.  It immediately made me stop and think about all of the miracles He has done in my life , and how He has been so good to us. 

This morning I am thinking about all He has done for us in this Christmas season, alone.  He has helped us cross seas and given us water from rocks in some really amazing ways.  He has also shown us His workings through our children’s hearts in new and surprising ways.  A very small example of this was when I looked under the Christmas tree and some of them had made presents for each other and us.  There they sat, these little tokens of love for each other, wrapped in tiny packages, with small handmade cards attached to them.  The love for each other as brothers and sisters that I pray for constantly was showing itself evident under that little tree.  I love it when He encourages my prayers like that.

So, my encouragement to you this morning is to think back about the seas He has led you through and the water from rocks He has provided in your life.  Then, don’t keep it a secret…tell someone.  Tell your kids, tell your neighbor, tell your postman.  Share it, you just might get someone thinking about how the Lord has been working in their lives.

In fact, tell me, I’d love to hear your comments about what He is doing in your lives.

Posted by: pollyw | October 16, 2012

Are you a honeycomb speaker or a sour patch kid?

One of the things I like about the church we have been going to is that every week, there is a memory verse in the bulletin.  Every Sunday I leave with the resolve that I will work on that verse all week, but then before I know it, it is Sunday again, and there’s a new one to work on that I want to try.  Well, this week I’ve been working on it.  It helps that it was short and sweet.  Literally, sweet.  Here it is in the HCSB version:

Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body.  Proverbs 16:24

Sunday, when my husband brought home the bulletin to me (because I was home with a sick baby and missed church) I taped the verse up on the microwave so I could work on it all week.

Here’s how it went:  Let’s see, pleasant words…honeycomb…sweet to the taste…you taste with your tongue…words come out of your mouth…gesture to mouth…health to body…arms out to side, like a strong man…words…honeycomb…a honeycomb is sweet…good for you…health to the body.  It seemed to sum itself up pretty well, where I could almost gesture my way through it.  (Can you tell I’m a visual and kinesthetic learner?)

Next came the numbers of verse and chapter.  Those are always a bit harder for me.  I looked for a connection between the numbers (that my numbers husband would have seen in seconds, by the way).

Let’s see 16 and 24 .

16 and 24.

What is their connection?

How many more is 24 than 16?

Finally, the Lord took mercy on me and reminded me of the 8′s times table.  8 times 2 and 8 times 3.  They were even in order from lower to higher.

Okay, so verse and address learned, and in one night, no less.  I was feeling pretty proud of myself.  (Can you hear the ominous “dun-dun-duuuun” music in the background?)

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there was a reason that the Lord made that verse so easy to memorize.  This week, it seems like every time I turn around, less than honeycomb-like speech is coming out of my mouth. My words have been less like honey and more like a  sour patch candy at times.  Granted, the sick baby scenario might have something to do with that on this week in particular, but I know it’s no mistake that the Lord is keeping it forefront in my mind as I am making my way around in my own little world.  More words with patience and understanding being broadcast and less “hurry, hurry we’re late” would go a long way in this house.

It turns out that when I have a good attitude with my family and friends and even people I barely know, the “sweet to the taste and health to the body” part of the verse goes out to me and to the other person.  I always thought it was just for them.  Turns out that the Lord is protecting us in this scenario, too.  Just like He does with all of His rules.  It’s like I’ve said in so many of these posts.  He is all about relationships.  And relationships are fed by those pleasant words we use with each other.

How about you?  Has the Lord used a verse that you have memorized in an “in your face, can’t ignore it” kind of way recently?  Leave a comment if you get a chance and let us hear about it.

Posted by: pollyw | September 6, 2012

Nehemiah — Ancient professional organizer?

I heard a really neat sermon the other day about Nehemiah.  Nehemiah is the guy who was cupbearer to the king in Babylonia when he heard that Jerusalem’s wall was in ruins.  Here’s his intro in the Bible (Nehemiah 1 from Biblegateway.com):

1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:

In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa,2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

The story goes on to explain how heartbroken he was over this news and how he looked so sad that the Babylonian king asked him what was wrong.  Nehemiah 2:1-6:

 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, 2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

He goes on to explain all of the red tape he needed to take care of before he could even journey the hundreds of miles to Jerusalem.  When he got there, he was very methodical in his ways.  He had a plan, God’s plan, to execute and nothing was going to get in the way.

First, he surveyed the damage to the wall.  He didn’t come in and have a big committee help him parade around the wall saying, “This wall will stand again!  I, Nehemiah, will see to it!!”  No, he quietly rode around the wall at night.  He wanted to see a full picture.

After he had a good idea what the work would consist of, he then took it to the people of the city and told them what the Lord had put on his heart.  He rallied the troops, inspired them to see God’s plan, and then set about organizing them for their jobs.  He didn’t just randomly assign rock, wheelbarrow, and dirt duty to the crowd, he made sure everyone fixed the part of the wall close to their house.  They had a vested interest in the part close to their house.

When bad guys came and tried to interrupt the work, he gave the workers weapons to hold in one hand while they worked with the other.  The Lord made sure Nehemiah had the organizing and rallying skills he needed to get these people the wall that would help keep the city safe from invasion.

Long story short, 52 days later the wall was finished.  Fifty-two days!

The sermon that I was talking about in the beginning of this post, pointed out that we need all kinds of people in the church — workers, encouragers, and prayers.  It is really important to have the people who can harness the enthusiasm and work effort of all of those people in a methodical way.

It is also neat to use the book of Nehemiah in a personal way to fix those walls that are torn down in our lives and making us vulnerable to the outside world.  We can approach those seemingly overwhelming problems in a methodical way, like Nehemiah, keeping in touch with the Lord every step of the way and letting our strength come from Him.

So, take another look at the book of Nehemiah next time you are stuck with a project that seems overwhelming and hopeless.  You might just pick up an organizing tip or two.

Posted by: pollyw | July 28, 2012

For those Scary Times

This morning I was reading Psalm 27, a passage I’ve seen many times before, and would be tempted to just, “Yeah, read that before, read that before, read that before…” my way through it.  Instead, the Lord really opened my eyes to some neat things in there.  Here’s a part of the passage for reference as we talk about it. 

Psalm27:1b-3.

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me
    to devour my flesh,[a]
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
    they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then will I be confident.

As I said, this is a familiar passage and it would be very easy to read it and file it under, “Do not fear, God is here” and go on  my way.   What He showed me today was how many different stages of a situation we can have faith in Him for. 

Look back at the passage and notice when it says the psalmist wasn’t afraid.  There are four different times.  In verse 2, it’s when “evil men advance”.  We’ll call this Stage 1.  Then, in the second part of verse 2, it’s when “my enemies and foes attack me”.  Stage 2.  Do you see the other two stages coming up?  An “army besiege me” and “war breaks out”.  Stage 3 and 4.  This psalmist is saying.”You know what?  I’m not afraid at any stage of the game.  When my enemies advance, attack, besiege, and even when war breaks out, I will not be afraid.  My God is there for me. “

It  just occurred to me as I am writing this, that this speaks to the situation where things seem to be getting worse, and it feels like God is not hearing our cries for help.  I mean it’s a long walk from enemies advancing against you to full out war.  And if you’ve been praying for God to help you from the beginning, yet you still find yourself  with “war breaking out against” you, that could get depressing.  This Psalm is there to give us hope.  Want to know how it ends when war is breaking out? 

Well, it’s kind of like a good hero movie.  Here are verses 5 and 6.

For in the day of trouble 
    He will keep me safe in His dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle
    and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
at His tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music to the Lord.

How’s that for a good ending?  Not only does He come in and keep us safe and hide us  in His dwelling, but then He sets us high upon a rock in there so that our head is above our enemies who surround us. 

When I visualize this, I imagine a picture where there is a huge army on one side of a wall, beseiging and such, but I am on the other side of that fortified wall, placed there by God.  But God’s not letting me cower in the corner of His stronghold, no, He lifts me up high upon a rock and my head is higher than those other guys.  I’m assuming I can see those enemies while I’m up out of their reach, because how else would I know my head is higher than theirs?

So, when those bad circumstances come up, or enemies, as I like to call them, we can have faith in God at all stages because we know His heart for us.  He died to save us, and save us He does.  He is there at the beginning and end stages of it all.  Even when it seems the army is closing in, He picks us up and puts us behind that wall of His.  Then He lifts us up above those circumstances and they get to see us high above them, safe and sound.  And do you notice, He hides us, He sets us up on the rock.  No rock climbing experience needed, He’s got it covered.

He’s amazing and pretty awesome in His love for us, even in the scary times. 

What about you?  Have you had this amazing experience in your life?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Posted by: pollyw | April 1, 2012

Jesus through the art of a 9 year old

Jesus through the eyes of a 9 year old

My oldest daughter wanted to guest post on this devotional site. I wanted to include her explanation of this picture in her own handwriting, but alas, the technology to include more than one picture on here eludes me. So, I will quote her directly:
“Well, I like to compare art to God…like look at this! We are like the tree. We try to reach the sky but we never can. Jesus is like the mountain. He had a perfect life. The sky is heaven and you will live eternally there if you trust Jesus.”

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