Posted by: pollyw | February 2, 2012

I’m just sayin’…He’s pretty awesome!

Okay, I’m just going to say it up front…this post is all about bragging on the Lord.

He did something tonight to remind me that He is here, really here, in my now, and that when I listen to His leading He can take me to where I need to be, even if I don’t know I need to be there.

Let me explain what I mean.

Tonight, I had a chance to go to the city-wide Bible study that Beth Moore is teaching on Deuteronomy.  This in itself is a blessing because before I can even get there for the amazing Bible teaching, my husband makes it a point to be home on time to take over the care of our six kiddos (yay, Jack!).

Back to the story…

Near the end of the session, I could really sense that the Lord wanted me to go up to the front after it was over and have someone pray for one of my little ones who was recently diagnosed with gluten issues.  It’s been a steep learning curve for all of us, grandparents included, and she is still suffering some mild symptoms even though we have been gluten-free with her for a few weeks now.

As I said, I could really feel this urging to find someone to pray for her.  I tried to rationalize it away because she hasn’t had a horrible time lately, and I could pray for her at home, etc.  The Lord wouldn’t let it go, and the words kept popping up in my mind with her name and that I needed to have someone pray for her symptoms to heal.  Then of course I started making my list of what the other kids needed prayer for, but it was very evident I was going up there this time for this one child.

I said, “Okay, Lord, I’m going.”

At the end of the session, I went up to the front and asked the first person I saw about prayer.  She found someone who said they would love to pray for me.

When I explained the situation about my little girl, I saw this look of understanding wash over her face.

Her family had dealt with a similar issue.

And right then and there I found out why the Lord had prodded me so much to seek out prayer for my little one tonight.  He knew that in this building full of hundreds of women, there was another mom who knew what my family is going through.  We kneeled there at the altar as she shared her family’s journey with me and what they had learned along the way.  She had advice for me of what had worked in their case and was able to give me some insight into other things I hadn’t even considered.

Then she prayed a prayer to our powerful, all healing God, who I know had to be up there smiling.

I love it when I hear Him right (“correctly” for you grammarians out there) and actually follow through on His “still, small voice”.

I love it when He gives me a chance to feel His leading.

I love it when He gives me someone who knows what I am going through and will pray for me.

And I can’t wait to update my new prayer buddy with what the Lord does to show off for my little girl!

Posted by: pollyw | December 10, 2011

What was Baby Jesus like?

As I was getting my 12 month old ready for the day today, and wrestling him into his clothes he didn’t want to put on, I was thinking about Mary and her little baby, Jesus.  I don’t usually think such theological thoughts while wrestling with my infant, but I started to wonder what Jesus was like as a baby.  Was He the best baby ever, or was He like every other baby when it came time to change clothes — suddenly being overcome with superhuman strength?  We know He was without sin, but there are basic baby things that aren’t necessarily sin, just the nature of being a person who can’t talk yet to let his needs be known.

Did He wake Mary up in the middle of the night with moans of pain when He was teething, like my guy is doing?  Was Mary frustrated and overwhelmed sometimes due to the lack of sleep?  Honestly, this path of thinking seemed a little irreverent during such a holy season, when we are surrounded with images of a happy baby in a manger.  You never see a nativity scene with the baby’s mouth wide open, shrieking because He is hungry, wet, or being poked by the hay in the manger.  And Mary always looks so relaxed in the artist renderings I’ve seen.  She’s not looking at him with the quizzical look a mom uses when she’s trying to narrow down the possible causes of a baby’s cries.

Well, needless to say, none of us were there the night He was born, but we do have the Bible.  Here is what it says about that night.  It might sound a bit familiar, but read it with new eyes and the feeling that the people involved were real people, with hopes and fears, just like us.  (Luke 2:16-20) (Biblegateway.com)

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

We may not know every little detail about Jesus as the only perfect baby, but God let us know the important things.  He wrote it down in His Word.  “Amazement”, “pondering”, “glorifying and praising God”.  These are the things this little baby stirred up when He was born to this earth and it’s what He still stirs up today thousands of years later. 

Let’s take our cue from the text to help us make this Christmas season one we can share with others.  Like the shepherds, we can spread the word concerning what we have been told about Him and what we have seen and glorify and praise God, so that others can be amazed when they hear what we say.  We can be like Mary and ponder these things, and think about them in the dailiness of the season. 

This is one important birthday…let’s get the word out!

Posted by: pollyw | November 12, 2011

Coffee Shop Talk

 Today in my “One Year New Testament for Busy Moms” Bible, the reading was on Hebrews.  Chapter 11 to be exact.  This is a part of Scripture I have heard quite a few sermons on.  In those sermons, they almost always call this chapter, “The Hall of Faith” because it recounts so many of the Bible stories we know and tells us how those people showed faith.  Not a blind faith, mind you, but faith in God and His promises.

This chapter shows one of the things I love about reading the Bible.  It links you back to stories in another part of the Bible.  I really like it when I’m reading along, and I can see the Old Testament weaving in with the New Testament.

To me, this chapter reads like I’ve just run into an old friend at a coffee shop and we’re sitting down to discuss the good old days and remembering all of the friends we had in common.

“Hey, remember those guys down the street, Cain and Abel?  What was that whole thing about?”

“Well, Abel brought a sacrifice to God in faith, Cain apparently was just going through the motions and didn’t like it when he was corrected.”

 “Oh, yeah, and Enoch, wow, did he ever walk with God, like literally, right into Heaven – didn’t even die”

“How about Noah?  Did he believe God or what?  Can you imagine what a ribbing he took from everyone in town when he kept building that huge boat?  Turns out his faith was in the right place.”

“Talking about faith, how about Abraham and Sarah?!  Remember when they suddenly left town? Word was that they said God told them to leave and make a home in a whole different country.  Man, that would be hard.” 

“Oh, and they never even lived long enough to see all of the promises God told them about.  God told Abraham he would have tons of descendants and how many kids did he get to see?  One.  He lived with faith, though, and he did end up with a humongous family tree on down the line.”

 “Yeah, where did all those kids end up eventually? Egypt, was it?”

“That’s old news, God got them out of there!”

 “Oh yeah, now I remember.”

Looking at this whole chapter in that light, it’s easy to see what all of these people had in common…faith.  God told them something, and they believed it.  They believed it no matter how many other people told them not to believe it.  They had faith.  Not a blind, look before you leap kind of faith, but the kind of faith that comes when you can trust someone with your life. 

And with this faith comes action.  They could have just quietly had faith in their own minds without ever doing anything about it.  But, by obeying God in their faith, that’s where you see the difference between their stories and others.

It makes me want to take stock of what I am having faith in these days. 

  • Are my actions following my faith in God, or my faith in me? 
  • Am I seeking out His promises in my life, or am I looking out at the rest of the world and trying to rely on its promises? 
  • Am I putting all of my faith in someone here on earth or am I believing God to sustain me and help me get through the day?

Sounds like I need to do some thinking, and talk to the Lord.  I might even need to make a cup of  tea.

How about you, what are you putting your faith in these days?  I’d love to hear back from you in the comments.

Posted by: pollyw | September 19, 2011

Some rain sure would cool things off

We have had a drought in our part of the country lately.  And when I say drought, I mean drought.  As in lawns dying, dirt cracking, no end in sight kind of drought.  It’s funny how this kind of thing can sneak up on you.  At first it’s just hot for a bunch of days in a row, that turns into weeks, and suddenly, one day you think, “Hey it hasn’t rained in a while.”

Well, while our lawn was getting crispier, another drought was hitting us.  Our church that we had been going to for 13 years wasn’t able to meet because our pastor had suddenly resigned. 

This is the church that my husband and I first started to attend right after we got married.  It’s the church where we worked with the youth group, went to Mexico on mission trips, announced the birth of each of our  six babies, and dedicated each of them (except the latest one). 

It’s the church that has provided three weeks worth of meals for us after the birth of each one of our kiddos and has carried us in prayer and action through many scary episodes in our family. 

It’s the church where our kids saw DD and Pops each Sunday and got a big hug only a grandparent can give.  And a place where I was proud to bring my Mom and Dad, sisters, brother-in-law and nephews when they would come visit. 

In short, this was a church full of some of my best friends and supporters, where we would come together and worship the Lord each week.  A church full of people pointing our family to Jesus on a regular basis.  It was our church home. 

Mid-summer, our pastor resigned.  Within two weeks, we didn’t  meet as a church anymore because we didn’t have a pastor.  We haven’t officially closed, but my family and I still needed a place to worship on Sundays.  We started “church dating” again.  Not fun.

Well, as they say, long story short…last Sunday, a bunch of us from the old church ended up visiting the same church. 

As I sat there, looking around at this small reminder of our church home,  I couldn’t hold it in.  I hadn’t realized what a drought it had been for us to be separated from our church family for so long.   Being with this small group reminded me of all the people we haven’t been able to see each Sunday.   This moment felt like fresh rain on parched ground.  I seriously couldn’t stop crying.  It didn’t matter to me what anyone thought as tears were running down my cheeks, my God knew I needed a break in the drought.  And He provided the rain.

Posted by: pollyw | September 8, 2011

Fly by the Seat of My Pants Airline Frequent Flyer

Right now, I am in the middle of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of season.  We have six kiddos running around here in many different phases of development. 

There is the budding Lego engineer in his Lego universe staging many battles of good against evil daily.  (From what I understand, the good guys are winning). 

We have the entrepreneur who is running three businesses from her room and has a sign on her door to prove it.  The sign says that you can leave your stuffed animals at the door for a doctor’s appointment,  you can get advice from her, or you can schedule a spa appointment.  An all-in-one shopping experience, I like it!

There is the young scholar who is now making it her mission to complete more than her required daily reading…she clocked in 75 minutes yesterday, much more than the 20 minutes assigned by her teacher.  She comes from a long line of readers!

We have the preschooler in the superhero stage, flying around the house, finding siblings to save.  It is always wonderful to have someone around ready to rescue you!

Let’s not forget the 3-year-old, who has a constant state of wonder about the rest of the world, yet is ready to hold her ground on any issue.  Innocence and independence all wrapped up in such a cute little wrapper!

And the newest little one in our house, shaking off the newborn-ness, and starting his own tooth collection right there in his mouth.  It’s sad to see some of the baby in him disappear, but so amazing to see the little boy in him beginning to show.

Why am I sharing the blog equivalent of our family movies with you?  Well, to be honest, that’s where I’m at these days, surrounded by these wonderful little people, and I’m not able to sit down for an uninterrupted hour of quiet time reading my Bible like I did in my pre-kiddo days.  In fact, at this point in my life, if I were to sit down for an hour to read, I know without a doubt I would be asleep within fifteen minutes (probably less).

What is amazing, though, is that God doesn’t write me off just because my life is like that right now.  No, He uses what is around to let me know He is here.  He uses these young lives around here to ask me questions that remind me of Him and what He has taught me.  When my husband steps in to take care of the children so I can get a break, I can see the Lord loving me through him, and telling me to “lie down in those green pastures” the Bible talks about.  And, when the days get rough, and the sleep short, I can feel Him tugging at my heart to just give it all to Him and “rest between His shoulders”  (see Deuteronomy 33:12 below)

“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in Him,
   for He shields him all day long,
   and the one the LORD loves rests between His shoulders.”

I love that verse.  Let’s take it to heart this week as we deal with all of the activity in our lives. 

Because, guess what?  You are loved by the Lord. 

You are His beloved. 

You. 

Be-loved this week.

Feel it. 

Live it. 

You can’t earn it, you already have it. 

It is yours because He gave it to you, through no act of your own. 

Let’s rest in Him.

Posted by: pollyw | July 31, 2011

You look so good in white…

My husband and I were hanging out on the couch after the kids were all tucked away for the night. You know  the cliché saying that you can have a ton of channels, but nothing good is on t.v. Well, it was one of those nights with no good shows.  Somehow, my husband found out that we had a whole set of music channels that we never even knew we had hiding out in the 400′s on the t.v.

We found the 80′s music channel and sang away to the songs from our junior high and high school years. We were having a great time, the kind where you bond over the fact that you were both alive during the same era and can compare notes about what different songs meant to you in your high school years.

We quickly found out, as we were singing at top volume, that many times, we didn’t actually know the exact words to the songs. He had always made fun of me in the past for singing, “You look so good in white…” to a country song when the words were actually, “You look so good in love…” (I thought it was nice of the guy in the song to comment on how good she looked in her outfit.)

As the night wore on, we had some hilarious moments as “Boys of Summer” was sung as “Poison Summer” (must have been a bad summer). And the list could go on.  Needless to say we had a great time laughing with and at each other.

I bring all this up because many times, people think they know what the Bible says and say it at top volume without ever checking to see if it is really Scripture. For example, as a mom of 6, I often hear people quote, “Well, God will never give you more than you can handle.” I would always nod and say, “Yes” in a knowing way.

Then one day, I wanted to find the Scripture that said that so I could write about it, and guess what? I couldn’t find it. I found the quote about how He provides a way of escape when we are tempted, but not a direct quote saying He won’t give us circumstances we can’t handle.  You know why?  Because it’s not there.  In fact, many times, when those “too hard for us” circumstances come up, we are supposed to lean on Him, not hope that we can handle them alone.

Another one people say a lot is, “God helps those who help themselves”.  Scripture chapter and verse?  None.  That’s because God says

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5 (NIV) (courtesy of Biblegateway.com)

Okay, so what’s the action point with this devotional?  Let’s all be Bereans when we hear someone quote from the Bible.  They are the people in Acts 17:11 who listened with eagerness to the message the apostle Paul gave, but also constantly checked it with Scripture.

These days it is even easier to check the Scriptures, what with the internet Bible sites and all.  Don’t just take someone’s word for it, or you may be quoting something at the top of your lungs that isn’t really truth.  Or even worse, you might be living something that isn’t truth.  That would be a bummer.

Posted by: pollyw | May 21, 2011

The lost shall be found — literally

It seems as though I start every post lately by saying, “Well, I haven’t written in a long time and here’s why…”

I realized the other day, though, that it is okay to not be consistently writing when there is a new baby in the house.

My Bible reading times are much shorter lately, but my talking to the Lord is much longer (as in all day — “Please, Lord, I need your strength right now, I’m working on very little sleep”)

I’m catching the Lord’s lessons on the fly lately.  One of them happened the other day.  I was walking to the elementary school to see one of our kiddos at field day.  I was pushing the double stroller, filled to the brim with stuff and kids, as usual.  I went to the field day, then walked to the preschool to pick up our preschooler and headed home.  Fed both of them lunch, got them down for naps, and as I was just about to collapse on the couch, there was a knocking at the door.  I was thinking it was a salesman and waved through the window that I couldn’t answer the door.

Turned out, it was an appointment that the Lord had set up for me.  You see, on my way to the field day that morning at around 9:30 AM or so, my purse had fallen out of the double stroller.  I hadn’t even realized it.  This nice man standing at my door found it on the sidewalk of his very busy street at around 10:00 AM.  He had been trying to return it since that time.  It was now 1:00 PM.

Instantly, I knew the Lord had been protecting me all day and I hadn’t even realized it.  I am convinced that He covered up that purse with His hands for that 30 minutes until this man came along.  This man was hand-picked by the Lord to find my purse because he was obviously an honest guy who would work hard to track me down.  (He even saw my asthma inhaler in there and kept stopping by the house to make sure to get the medicine back to me as soon as possible.)

I think the Lord just wanted me to feel His protection in a very real way that day, not just know it in my head.  Well, it worked!

I pass by that house every time I am walking the kids to school and it reminds me of the Lord’s provision for me, even when I don’t know that I need it (as in a purse that is missing but not missed yet).  As a bonus, the Lord has brought these really nice people into my life, and I say a prayer for them when we go by their house.

The Lord is amazing and I love it when He gives me a glimpse of His love for me in my everyday life.

His verses of protection are my favorite when I read the Bible and this reminds me of so many of them.  Does a verse come to mind when you read this story?  Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Posted by: pollyw | March 12, 2011

Stream Living

One year, about 3 or 4  years ago, my parents gave us a peach tree for my birthday.  I was thrilled because I know how amazing it can be to have a fruit tree in your own backyard.  As I’ve written here before, my parents have some very fruitful fruit trees where they live. 

They have always had fruit trees.  I can even remember, as a little kid in California, going out to the tangerine tree to pick a tangerine for lunch.  I don’t know about you, but I think that kind of “living off the land” is so very cool.  Even if it’s just technically “snacking off the land”.

So, back to our story.  Last year, my peach tree blossomed for the first time in three years.  To commemorate that occasion, my peach tree bloomed three blossoms.  Yes, three.  Along came a strong March wind, and then there was one.  That little blossom held on, and by harvest time, we had the best peach I have ever tasted.  We divided it up into 6 or 7 pieces so each of us could have a taste.

Fast forward to this morning.  I looked out in the yard and it looks like we are going to have a ton of blossoms on that little tree this year.  It looks amazing (and delicious!).  It reminded me of one of my favorite passages in the Bible.  It is Jeremiah 17:7-9. 

Here it is: 

7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
   whose confidence is in Him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
   that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
   its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
   and never fails to bear fruit.”

I just love that verse, because it gives the picture of resting in the Lord, not striving.  That fruit tree in the verse doesn’t have to go out and find the water.  It is constantly immersed in it, and therefore, it doesn’t even have the chance to not grow and be fruitful.  It just does, because it is constantly camped out by the life source. 

Thinking of that reminded me of how, when I was little, my parents also had mint plants.  They would plant them by the outside faucet, where the hose attached.  The constant drips that came from that hose where it attached to the faucet provided an environment for the mint plants to thrive.  We were never without mint plants as long as they were planted by that faucet.

What can I do to set up an environment where I thrive in my walk with the Lord? 

First of all, I need to stop the striving, and just rest in Him. 

I want to set up my days so that I am like those mint plants hanging out by the faucet, with the constant “rain” of His Spirit drenching me so that I have no choice but to grow, be fruitful, and stay vibrant, even in a drought.

I guess the first step would be to take a daily soak in His Word.  Followed by a constant conversation with Him throughout the day…about everything.  The good, the bad, and the ugly, so to speak.  I even like to tell Him when I see something that makes me laugh (in a good way).  I truly believe the Lord has the best sense of humor.  You can see it all over His Word.  (Hey, a run through of some of those stories might make a good post.)

A good daily soaking would also involve making choices that go along with a “living by the stream” kind of life.  Choices that involve what I am watching on t.v., listening to on the radio, and even how I talk to my friends and family.  Letting the kids know how the Lord is working in my life that day would help  introduce them to “stream living”.

How about you? 

Leave a comment, when you get a chance, and tell me how you will practice some “stream living” this week.  I bet we could come up with some good ideas together!

Posted by: pollyw | March 4, 2011

Raising the Next Generation

I know I have been gone for a while, and boy does it feel good to be back.  Most of you who know me, know why I haven’t been writing lately, but for those of you not in my immediate vicinity, I’ll give you the short version. 

Basically, we had a new addition to our family this year…a little boy.  Adorable, lots of hair, and very easy-going, which is a very good thing because there was  a lot of drama involved around his birth.  It started out with bedrest for me a few weeks before he was born, and ended with 8 days in a hospital with 2 surgeries to clear up some pretty aggressive pneumonia I developed along the way.  Thankfully, the baby was fine, and the Lord sent tons of family and friends to take care of my crew while I was gone (and gave me an amazing husband to coordinate it all).  I also made it home in time for Christmas, which was really great!

So, speaking of the next generation at our house, I am having a great time  “talking Bible” with my oldest lately.  We just gave him his first official Bible (he had a storybook one before) with the numbers and verses.

It is so neat to hear him retell the Bible stories as he is reading them.  We talk about the basic story and then look for ways he can incorporate it into his day.

For me, it has been so great to see the Bible from his perspective.  I know I talked about this before in another post, but it is so refreshing to get a kid’s eye view of  the Bible.

And while we are on the subject: 

How amazing is it that God trusts these little impressionable ones to our care? 

And don’t you know He must just love it  when He hears us tell our little ones how a certain verse they are talking about was lived out in our lives  and how He made it come to life for us.

God thinks it is so important for our kids to know His Word that He mentions it twice in Deuteronomy alone (while talking about His commands to His people).

Deuteronomy 6:7

7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

And then again in Deuteronomy 11:19

19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

So, let’s get out there and talk to our kids about more than the latest Lego that is on the market or what chore they missed doing yesterday. 

Let’s build them up in the Word, leaning on the Lord to show them what He wants them to know today.

And let’s follow through by asking them to look for ways to fit that verse or story into their day.  And then ask them at the end of the day if they saw it worked out in real life.  (I have to admit, the asking at the end of the day is the part I usually miss out on.)  I think I’ll work on that this week.

No kids around your immediate vicinity? 

How about a friend or a spouse to talk about a certain Bible story with, and compare notes to see if you saw any connections to it during your day.

Leave me a comment when  you get a chance and let me know what God shows you this week! 

 I would love to hear what He is doing in your life.

Posted by: pollyw | October 25, 2010

Through a child’s eyes

Well, my devotionals have been rather kid-focused lately, I think mainly because I am seeing seeds of their faith starting to sprout, and it is an amazing thing to witness.

Like today, after school, we were on the drive home and from the backseat I started getting peppered with questions about God, His character, and even His daily habits.

“Mom, does God ever sleep?” 

“Well, the Bible says He doesn’t”

“Well, does He take a bath?”

(Answered by one of the older ones) “No, and God never stinks.”

That led us into a discussion about heaven and what goes on there.  I was reminded of the verse about how He will wipe every tear from our eyes.  It’s mentioned in Revelation a time or two.  Here’s one of the verses Revelation 7:17 (from Biblegateway.com).

 17For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
      he will lead them to springs of living water.
   And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

I could feel the lump in my throat forming as I was thinking of the tenderness of this verse and sharing it with the kids.  Then, from the back of the car came this paraphrase from one of the older kiddos:

“Yeah, if you have water in your eyes, God will clean it.”

She was in her own words agreeing with the verse about God’s provision for His sheep, she just saw it from a child’s eyes.  I love the pure way that they integrate these truths they are learning into their own little world — knowing and trusting the Lord to take care of them when they have water in their eyes.  And understanding that His all surpassing greatness means He never stinks and never has to take a bath.

If you feel stuck in a rut with your walk with the Lord, go spend some time with a kiddo, telling them the stories you know from the Bible and getting their fresh, innocent take on it all. 

You just might gain a new appreciation for His character, when you see it through a child’s eyes.

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