Posted by: pollyw | December 22, 2014

Rainy days, gotta love ‘em

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It was the last day of school before Christmas break.  My elementary school kiddos were running around the house trying to get ready for their few hours of school that day.  My girlie who has to eat gluten free was busy packing her “party box” full of her favorite goodies to eat for the class party.  With all of this stuff in tow, I decided to take them to school instead of sending them on the bus.

The rain was pouring down as we got out of the car and headed for the crosswalk.  My kiddos huddled under the umbrella as we worked to get our cadence in sync to keep from tripping over each other and make it into the school semi-dry.  We made it to the door, prayed for the day, and off they went.

Feeling successful, I headed back out to my car.  The other school children were still streaming in from the car rider line.  One little girl was dressed up for the big class party and was getting soaked as she was trying to hurry up the sidewalk.  I put the umbrella over her and turned to escort her into the school.  Her big smile was a wonderful thank you.  Further up the sidewalk, another little girl’s umbrella flipped inside-out with a big gust of wind.  I tried to help her with her umbrella and put her under mine so I could get her into the school quickly.  Turned out she knew my youngest daughter.  That was neat.

As I was leaving the school, I was thinking about how easy it was to help those girls, and how it seemed to make a big difference in their days.  Using the one thing I had in my hands at that moment, I was able to keep those girls from spending the next hour or two in soggy clothes.  Not that it had anything to do with me — I was available, so the Lord used me.  What was really cool was that He used me without even letting me think about it.  I love it when He does that!  No thinking involved, but good works are done.  No hard decisions to be made, but people are helped.

What are the easy ways He uses you to help other people?  If nothing comes to mind, ask Him if He will show you some, or ask if He is doing it already in your life.  Leave a comment and let me know what you come up with.

Posted by: pollyw | December 17, 2014

Cookie houses were meant to be eaten?

 

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It’s not often that I post a picture of food with a pair of bare feet visible in the background.

I made an exception in this case.  The little feet belong to the artist who created this Christmas masterpiece.  Our youngest kiddo proudly brought this home from preschool last week.  I love graham cracker houses and was ready to proudly display it on the kitchen table for all to see during the Christmas season.  As it turned out, that wasn’t even a consideration for the young artist.  I mean, after all, it was made of candy — what other use could there be for a candy house but to be enjoyed as a dessert after lunch?  The maker had different plans for the house than those of us in the crowd.  It delighted him to be able to eat that yummy house after lunch, even if he did have to wait while Mom took a few pictures (note the patient crossing of the feet in the background).  He shared pieces of candy with his siblings (although Dad did have to bargain pretty hard to get a piece at first) and it did turn out to be a joyous thing when we followed his plans as the maker of the house.

It reminds me of how God, who made us, sometimes has different plans for us than we think He should have.  Not to mention when His plans for us are different than those in the crowd think we should have.  He is our maker, and His word promises that the plans He has for us are more than we can think or imagine and that they are meant for good, not harm.  (Side note: That’s where the analogy falls apart for the poor cookie house — it got eaten)

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Ephesians 3:20Living Bible (TLB)

20 Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.

Sounds like a pretty good deal.  Give the Maker control, and He promises that you will fulfill His intended purpose for you.  Oh, and don’t forget the part about it being more than you could ever dare to dream of, or even know to ask for.

I remember reading this verse a long time ago.  We were post-marriage ceremony, but pre-kids.  As I was doing my Bible study that morning, I remember looking up into the big oak tree in our backyard and asking Him what He meant by “more than I could hope for or know to ask for”.

Well, I can definitely tell you that He has lived up to that verse in our lives in so many ways, and continues to do so on a daily basis.  Six kids in almost nine years?  Who would have thought or known to ask for that?  A husband who likes the idea of me staying home with those six kids — I didn’t even know I wanted that, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  A freelance writing career starting up — that didn’t even seem possible two years ago.

I’m not saying my life is perfect, I get in my own way far too often to say that.  But I do know that I serve a God who continues to live up to those words He showed me so long ago.  He continues to promise that He has a hope and a future for us.  We just need to let Him show us the way.

How about you?  Do you have any stories about how He has brought things into your life that were more than you knew “to ask of or even dream of”?  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know.  I would love to hear about it!

Posted by: pollyw | December 8, 2014

Who knew Jesus’ hands were so small?

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(Note: This was written this past summer and I am posting it for the first time today)

Sixteen years ago today…seems like not that long ago. Sixteen years ago today, I married my amazing husband. The Lord knew what He was doing when he gave me this guy. His calm, not get rattled, easy demeanor balances out my “let’s sign up for everything and do everything” demeanor very nicely. The Lord knew I would need someone who was good with money because He had six little gifts to give us in the future, and at some point, those gifts would be heading off to college. The Lord also knew that a little bit of spark and creativity would come in handy along Jack’s journey through life, so here I am…sixteen years later.

I thought today I might feel a little off because my guy is out of town (for one day) with our oldest kiddo. Long story, but it was a mutual agreement because it was an annual event that just happened to fall on our anniversary. All that to say, I just figured we would celebrate our “married-ness” by going out a few days after they returned. I am a celebrate-on-the-day kind of person, though, so I knew it might sting a little whenever I looked at the calendar today.

Well, the Lord had bigger plans for me than to sit around feeling sorry for myself. This morning, I woke up, wondered how the guys were doing at their event, and headed off to brush my teeth. When I returned to my bed, there was a hand written card from my two oldest girls. It was addressed to “the best mom in the whole world”. Inside the envelope was a hand printed menu for a breakfast in bed that I was being surprised with that morning.

As if that weren’t amazing enough for a worn out mom, they said that after breakfast I was to stay in bed and relax while they watched “the littles” (that’s what we call the youngest members of the family who are 3, 5, and 7 years old).  I was surprised, amazed, and, honestly, relieved.  I could feel the Lord’s hand all over this.  My girls were showing His love to me on a day when I really needed it.  I have to say, I soaked it in for all it was worth.  Did I mention there was a “spa appointment” involved in the day, too?  I had the two most amazing spa workers right there in my room, making sure I felt relaxed, cared for, and loved.  Handmade chocolate stars were part of the spa package right before lunch.

Today the Lord gave me a wonderful, very unexpected, gift. He helped me relax and just receive all of this pampering from two sets of small hands that He had given to me.  He was right there in the middle of these two girls who were taking care of their mom on a day when she really needed it.  They knew exactly what I needed on a day that was going to be hard to get through.  It was a wonderful anniversary — one I will cherish forever.

It makes me want to make sure I keep my hands available for Him to use when someone needs to feel His love, just like the little hands He used to take care of me today.

Have you ever felt the Lord’s hands taking care of you through someone else?  Feel free to share in the comments section.

Posted by: pollyw | August 6, 2014

Cable withdrawal

Wow, we have really “roughed it” this week at our house. No, our electricity didn’t go out for a week. And, yes, our cars are all still functioning. This was roughing it on a much different scale. We had to “virtually” rough it – our cable and wireless were out. Now, if you had told me in advance that they would both go out on Thursday morning. I would have probably said, “Yeah, that will be inconvenient, but we will survive it.” (Note to past self, it’s bigger than you know.)

I had no idea how “wired” our family is to the outside world. It seemed like every action I needed to do during the day somehow involved an internet/cable service that was no longer available as an option. I have a writing project to finish. I need to get in touch with people about my daughter’s party. What was that recipe for grilled chicken? The list goes on…

After talking to the cable providers about it, I felt very abandoned when they said they couldn’t help us for a week. I even tracked down a poor cable worker sitting in his truck just down the street from our house to see if it was a neighborhood thing, or just us. I felt like a survivor in one of those “end of the world” movies desperately approaching the poor guy in his cable truck trying to eat his lunch in peace. In my mind, I thought he would sense my desperation, roll up his windows, and speed away. Thankfully, he didn’t. But, alas, he wasn’t able to help us. “Just here for an install,” he said. His words cut like a knife. More wounding from the cable giant.

When my husband and I wanted to find a movie for our date night, I had to call my sister in another city to look up movie options for us. Later, my husband and I wandered the streets (actually just two doors down) to our friend’s house, laptop in hand, to borrow a little wireless so we could find the show times for our movie. I felt so needy…and desperate. But our friends were a warm welcoming home, not ones to judge. They shared with us their woes over past cable losses.

What I did find refreshing throughout this whole “ordeal” was how our six children handled it all. These children, who are indigenous to the digital age, just kind of shrugged their shoulders and went off to play other games. They happily watched DVD’s when they wanted to see something on TV.

It got me to thinking, the digital world is apparently very entrenched in me. As a Christian, I want to be found to be even more wired into Christ. I want to have every minute of my day consumed in His way of thinking and His take on things. I want to lean on Him in the good times and the bad. That is one connection that will never fail me – His Word promises it!

Posted by: pollyw | April 10, 2014

Little hands to hold

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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.

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