I’m Evie, NOT Short!

Our girl doesn’t cry too often. In fact, she rarely cries. So when I heard the big sobs in the backseat, I was concerned.

“Evie-girl, what’s wrong?”

With a voice filled with anger and a face full of tears, she said, “That big girl in gymnastics told me that I was the smallest in the class!”

“Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. How did you feel when she said that to you?”

“I felt really mad and angry! And I felt really sad, too. That was NOT nice of her, and I don’t like that she said that.”

“I’m sorry, Evie. What made you angry and sad about what she said?”

“Well I’m NOT the smallest! I am five, and I am NOT a baby!!!”

Immediately, more tear-filled sobs came from the backseat.

“Did she say that you were a baby?” 

“Well no, but that’s how she made me feel.”

“Ahhh. That makes sense. I can see how you might have felt that way, but that’s not what she said. Right? And we don’t know that her intentions were to use her words to make you feel that way. Right?”

Still hot with some anger, she responded, “Well I am NOT the smallest.”

Knowing that she was indeed the smallest in her class and not wanting to avoid the lesson that could be learned from the “ouch,” I leaned in.

“Well…is it possible that you are the smallest in your class?”

Sheepishly but knowingly I heard her mumble, “Yes.”

“Evie, those words that she used were words to describe you, but they don’t have to define you. You are the smallest in the class, and that is okay. When God made you, He didn’t call you short, He called you fearfully and wonderfully made.” 

Quietly listening from the backseat, I went a little further.

“And when you introduce yourself to others, you don’t say, ‘Hi, I’m Short,’ you say, ‘Hi, I’m Evie,’ right?”

“Yes.”

“And when God made Evie, He made her more than just short, right?”

With an edge in her voice, she agreed.

“What else does God say that you are?”

Reluctantly and with a fair bit of ‘tude, she said, “He says I’m forgiven and loved.”

“You’re right! And no amount of earthly words to describe you will ever define what He says you are and what He’s created you to be. And His words are the most important.”

It was silent for awhile, and I let it be.

As we drove, I couldn’t help but mull over my own words and the repeated Truths.

Jessica is not defined by a title; she cannot be reduced to her abilities; she is not the sum total of her size; she is not determined by her good and bad deeds; and she cannot be deduced to the roles she plays and the tasks she performs.  

Jessica is a treasure of the King, a chosen creation, and a forgiven child. Jessica was bought with a price, purchased with blood, and redeemed by a Savior who called and equipped her to bring glory to His name. Jessica is a heaven-bound daughter whose identity is defined by His unfailing grace and determined by His perfect mercy. 

Jessica is defined by His works and not anything else that she, or the world, attempts to describe her as. 

Interrupting my thoughts, our little gymnast spoke from the backseat.

“Mommy, it’s okay that I am the smallest. My name is Evie, not Short!” 

“You’re right, sweet girl. Your name is Evie, and your perfect Creator didn’t make any mistakes when He made you short.” 

“Yep! He’s perfect, and He can’t make any mistakes!”

Friends, may we fight to see ourselves through the lens of Him, and may we celebrate in knowing that absolutely no earthly description can ever define the value of His beloved creations.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 

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“Mommy, Today is Not Tomorrow!”

The sky was blue. The clouds were puffy-white. There was a sweet little breeze, and my girl and I had the entire park to ourselves. Swinging side by side, talking and chatting about anything and everything under the Spring sun, a deep-mama sadness came over my heart. Like those clouds above, the sun disappeared, and I felt a heaviness in my heart. Deciding that I didn’t want to keep it stuck inside my chest (bearing the weight of it alone), I spoke the words out loud.

“Evie, I am so so sad that my days of having you at home…all to myself…are going away.” As I spoke the words, the tears came.

Silently, she continued to swing.

“I just love you so very much and though I am really excited for you to go to school, I’m just really going to miss you a whole bunch.”

My girl who loves to talk said nothing.

I continued. “I’ve just really, really loved having you home and being little.”

And then as if she had had enough of my sad speech stuff, she got off the swings and looked me square in the eyes and said the words I needed to hear.

“Mommy, today is not tomorrow! We still have today! School is not until the Fall time!” 

Nodding my head while squeezing back a boatload of more tears, I conceded, “You’re right, sweet girl. You’re right. Today is not tomorrow.”

And in that moment and for the rest of the moments at the park, I repeated that phrase (over and over) in my head.

As I watched her bravely ascend the climbing wall…today is not tomorrow. 

As I watched her blonde bob glisten in the sunshine…today is not tomorrow. 

As I watched her swing her pink kitty in the baby swing…today is not tomorrow. 

As I watched her arms grab each of the monkey bars…today is not tomorrow. 

And as I repeated that beautiful phrase into the recesses of my heart and mind, I found myself noticing all of the little details. Like a sponge, I was soaking in the moments…sopping up the beauty.

Instead of letting worry wring my heart empty and my mind dry, I chose to embrace the truth of my little girl’s words.

Today is not tomorrow. 

And as I spent the rest of our minutes soaking and sopping the beauty of the present moment, the Spirit impressed upon me the words of Matthew 6:34.

Since I memorized it in the NIV version, these are the words I recalled as I chased her around the park.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The spirit of her words reflected the Spirit of His.

Later, when I got home from the park, I decided to look up the words of Matthew 6 in other versions, and I found myself continually encouraged as I read. Same TRUTH, different words.

And then I landed on the MSG version of Matthew 6:34, and my heart was un-done.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

GIVE YOUR ENTIRE ATTENTION TO WHAT GOD IS DOING RIGHT NOW!!!

I felt like the Spirit hit me over the heart with a 2×4.

Jessica, you are missing how the Lord is working RIGHT now.

You are missing the blessings of today when you are worried about tomorrow.

You can’t soak up the moments of today as you attempt to live in tomorrow.

Stop straddling, Jessica, and stand in the moments where I am working TODAY! 

All of it. ALL. OF. IT. was entirely true.

I know we’ve heard it a million times over, but the hard fast truth is…worry is a joy sucker; it’s a moment-stealer; and it’s a blessing-taker! It takes the fears of tomorrow and pushes aside the provisions of today, and it draws us away from the how the Lord is moving in our current moments…how He’s providing for our present! 

And isn’t that JUST what the enemy wants???

If we don’t see how the Lord is working and moving in our today, then aren’t we all the more prone to fear tomorrow?!? For truly, isn’t it His faithful track record that gives us hope and faith for the future?!?

BAM. There he is again. That devil! That real, deceitful enemy that thrives on stealing our joy and in turn, squashing His glory. That enemy that loves for us to question the goodness and provision of the Lord. That enemy that relishes in our buying into the lie that He’s holding out on us, and that what we have NOW is not enough for today or tomorrow.

Friends, He IS faithful and He IS enough. And because He IS, there is joy for both today and tomorrow!

As Hebrews 13:8 proclaims, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!

We can’t trust that our tomorrow’s will be the same, but we can trust that the same God who is working today will be the same God that is working tomorrow. And for now, we can soak up the joy and sop of the beauty of today’s provisions. For friends, today is NOT tomorrow! 

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Toddler Life: 30, VERY NORMAL, Things

1. It will probably make more sense to start meal time by throwing all of the food on the floor and then let them pick up and eat whatever suits them.
2. You will be more wet after bath time than they are. I don’t know how, but you will be.
3. Buy a fake remote controller, a spatula, an empty box, and a metal bowl and just skip all of the Fisher Price toys because let’s be honest…that’s what they really want.
4. Your child will gain the strength of a wild boar named Samson when you go to change their diaper. It’s the truth.
5. When you utter the word “no,” it will sound like an appendage is being torn from their body. It’s normal; don’t fret.
6. Your food will always look better than theirs. ALWAYS.
7. It might make more sense to just start the day with dirty clothes from the laundry.
8. You may question if there is a possession of sorts that occurs between the time of 6:30-7:30 every night. Nope. That’s just normal. Even if their head swivels in weird directions, that’s entirely normal.
9. You are basically a walking napkin and breathing tissue because your wardrobe will see more food and snot than both combined.
10. If you want to look nice when your spouse arrives home, shower 30 minutes before they return home.
11. Go ahead and grieve the loss of hot meals as soon as they pass through your legs and into the doctor’s hands. Those days are gone. Unless of course you choose to pay $100 to go out for a meal and have a sitter for the evening.
12. So much of their responses will not make any sense to you. This is also normal. Nothing is logical and everything is a potential cause for dramatic hysteria. If you believe otherwise, you are entirely illogical.
13. You will spend a sizeable amount of your time clipping fingernails and toenails that do NOT actually end up being clipped. Do not be alarmed; this is normal.
14. Every SINGLE day they will try to eat inanimate objects that are not food and every SINGLE day, they will try to NOT eat food.

15. If you haven’t had people give you the “crazy-eyes” in public, then you probably don’t have a toddler in public.

16. Your body is a playground. Your arms are monkey bars and your legs are a slide; please don’t fight this.
17. When they start eating meat, their poop will make you want to die. THE END.
18. Teething makes you think and feel very scary things. VERY. SCARY. THINGS. Find a friend who will let you share those “very scary things” without judging you. Trust me; this is cheaper than a therapist.
19. When you open that refrigerator door, you have approximately 7 seconds to claim what you need before everything is torn out and de-shelved.
20. 90% of their diet will consist of puffs and puff-like food. The goal is to have them weaned from puffs by age 12. You’re good. It’s all good.
21. There will be a point where you want to go and apologize to every single parent that you ever judged. It’s okay; you’re forgiven.
22. The best time to talk with your spouse is not after you close the door to their bedroom. The best time to talk is probably 2 hours after that door closes–like once the hostage negotiations have come to a stand still and your eyes are automatically shutting.
23. There is little value in trying to cook a meal with both arms. Two arms are over-rated. Just use the one that is NOT holding the hungry child who will no longer be hungry once dinner is served.
24. There will be days when you probably question ALL of your parenting abilities. And then there will be all of the other days when you WILL question ALL of your parenting abilities.
25. Diapers are only meant to stay on children that are under 9 months. After that, it’s like playing Russian Roulette.
26. Weird things will start happening to you. For example, going to the grocery store will start to feel a whole lot like freedom and a lot less like a chore. Again, this is all normal.
27. If your child has not fallen out of a car seat, off of the stairs, or out of their high chair on your watch, you are probably not a parent of a toddler.
28. Books are for chewing; food is for throwing; and sleeping is for the birds.
29. Wipes are like Windex; they clean any and everything, and you will continue to use them even after they are out of diapers and studying for spelling tests.
30.  It is perfectly normal to count the minutes until bed time. And then once they are in bed and your body is now yours for the next 2-8 hours, it’s perfectly normal to look through super-cute pictures of said toddler and then oddly miss them. Again, this is ALL very, very normal.
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My Maundy Thursday Mess

If my alarm went off, I didn’t hear it. In fact, the baby was the first thing I heard this morning as my eyes opened and saw the numbers on the clock.

7:34

It was 7:34 AM, approximately 34 minutes later than it was supposed to read. At this point on a Thursday morning, I should have been adding last minute things to the oldest’s book bag, feeding a baby a bottle, and helping the middle soul with a fashion crisis while securing my leather bag for a morning of work.

Instead, the clock is reading 7:34, and I’m still laying in a pile of disheveled sheets.

Busting down the stairs in our little cape cod, I clumsily greeted everyone and headed for my contacts. After a whirlwind of dry shampoo, toothpaste, and some new eye liner, I emerged with a messy bun and a need for coffee.

After kissing the oldest goodbye and feeding the baby, I turned my attention toward the clean load of dishes that was waiting in the dishwasher. Since I had a few moments to spare before needing to leave, I decided to tackle the cupboard-ready dishes. As I pulled, stacked, and placed the dishes, I realized I hadn’t seen or heard our Evie Rae for over 15 minutes. And if you know Evie, that’s a LOOOONNNGGG time to not hear or see her. Hastily, I called for her.

“Evie! Where are you? Evie?!”

From behind her brother’s bedroom door, I heard her muffled voice.

“I’m in here, Mommy!”

Opening the door, I found her sitting on the bedroom floor in a pile of organized Legos.

“Evie, what are you doing, sweetheart?”

“You asked Caden to pick up and organize his Legos last night, so I thought I would do it.”

I was speechless.

“But Evie, that wasn’t your mess to clean up,” I responded in humble shock.

“I know, but I decided to show love.”

Tears welled up. And just as soon as those tears welled up and the words reverberated in my head, I realized that there couldn’t be more apt words for a Thursday morning.

In the rush of the morning and in the chaos of the scrambling, I hadn’t remembered the sacredness of this symbolic Thursday. I had been busy and hurried and because of it, my heart hadn’t had time to reflect and ponder.

But as I stood in that room with my little girl, the one who was knelt on the floor in a posture of service, I couldn’t help but repeat the same words I had just repeated.

“But that wasn’t your mess to clean up.”

And as we finalized the last-minute Thursday morning details before leaving the house and driving to the sitter’s house, my girl and I marveled at the beautiful parallel of her selfless act and His sacrificial love.

It’s true; it wasn’t His mess to clean up.

Hanging on that cross, He died for my mess.

Suffering on that hill, He bled for my mistakes. 

In absolute perfect holiness, He cleaned up a mess that was NONE of His responsibility, but ALL of His choice. 

We created the mess.

We screwed up the plan.

We made a disaster of His beauty.

We rejected His offer of perfect communion.

And with arms outstretched and a will bent, He cleaned up the mess. 

He wiped away our guilt.

He took away our transgressions.

He bore our shame.

He received our stripes.

He took on the mess of the world, and He made it His very own.

And on those wooden beams, He redeemed our mess in a way that our best efforts could never, EVER do.

In a posture of humility and in an act of unmerited and undeserved grace, He took our tremendous mess and gave us infinite mercy and indefinite love. 

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:3-11

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Teach the NO; Respect the NO

Have you ever had one of those parenting moments where you’re tempted to jump in and stop things before things get “out of hand?” Those moments where you’re tempted to step in before someone or something “blows up?”

Sitting in the front seat of our KIA, I drove toward downtown while simultaneously eavesdropping on the conversation behind me, contemplating what my parenting role should be.

Squash it or Give it space? 

Already, she had asked him several times to “stop” the teasing. I could hear her emotions flaring, and I could hear the little thrill in his big-brother voice.

“Caden! I asked you to stop!”

As I dodged the potholes, I made a conscious decision to let things unfold and step in if needed. I wanted to give them a chance to “work it out” and “work it through,” and I wanted to see how they would or wouldn’t use the tools they’ve been given.

“Caden, please stop doing that. I don’t like when you say that.”

Continuing to tease her about her platonic friendship with another little boy he retorted, “Is he your boyyyyyyyyfriend?”

“Caden! Respect my ‘no!’ I asked you already!”

In a hushed tone, he pushed her one more time. “You love him, don’t you?!”

And that was when mama bear dodged the 47th pothole and stepped in from the front seat.

“Caden? Did you hear your sister?”

Sheepishly, he answered with a quiet “yes.”

“And what did she ask of you?”

“She asked me to stop.”

“And what did you do?”

“I kept going.”

“You’re right. You disregarded her ‘no,’ and you kept pushing the boundaries.”

“I’m sorry Evie. I know I was wrong.”

Though his voice sounded remorseful, I wasn’t sure his heart was repentant. So taking advantage of a captivated buckled audience, I decided to take the issue to the deep-end.

“Caden, what would you do if you saw a sign on a beach that said, No Swimming! Sharks Seen?”

“I would stay out of the water!”

“And why would you stay out of the water?”

“I wouldn’t want to die!”

“Yep! You would heed the warning because you would see the threat as imminent and real. You would take it seriously because you take death seriously. So why didn’t you take Evie’s warning seriously?”

With embarrassment in his voice, he answered, “Because I didn’t take her seriously.”

“You’re right. And you didn’t think that death was a possibility, did you?”

“No,” he answered.

“You know what, Caden? Though physical death was not a threat, death in some form is always at stake when we don’t heed the warning and respect the boundaries.” 

A pin goldfish could have dropped, and I would have heard it. The backseat was all ears.

“How did death enter the world?”

“Eve ate the apple,” his sister responded for him.

“You’re right! And did death happen right away?”

“No,” he responded.

“You’re right; it didn’t. Eventually, Adam and Eve would physically die but in the meantime, other things died. Their time in the garden died; their constant access to God died; their ease of life died; the respect and love in their relationship with each other died; and their purity died. SO many things died because Adam and Eve didn’t heed the warning. So what can die when you don’t respect your sister’s no?'” 

Silently, he paused in the backseat. With his sister and I waiting with bated breath, we listened as the words tumbled from his mouth.

“Well, our fun could die, and her trust could die, and our relationship could die.”

“You’re right, buddy. And do you want the fun, trusting relationship you have with each other to die?”

With zero hesitation and complete sadness in his voice, he exclaimed, “I don’t want that. I am so, so, so, so sorry, Evie. Would you forgive me?”

“I forgive you, Caden, and he’s not my boyyyyyyfriend,” she emphatically replied.

As we drove the rest of the way to our destination, there was an air of conviction and an awareness of both relationship and respect. And not once, after that, did I hear any further pushing of boundaries…at least in that day.

I found myself thinking about that “car conviction” for the rest of the day, and I’m not sure I’ve really stopped since.

Friends, we need to respect the “no” of others.

Friends with kids, we need to teach our kids to heed the “no” of others.

Because I truly fear that if we don’t respect the “no” and teach the “no,” then we are bound to raise and perpetuate a generation of souls who not only abuse and bully one another, but who also spread death in other areas of their lives.

“No” is not an invitation for coercion. “No” is not an occassion for guilt-tripping. “No” is not a space and place for manipulation. “No” means “no.”

“No” does not give you the right to bully. “No” does not give you the right to threaten. “No” does not give you an opportunity to silence the voice of another. “No” means “no.”

As image-bearers, we have a responsibility to teach our children to respect one another.

As image-bearers, we have a duty to teach our children how to love one another.

As image-bearers, we have a burden to teach our children the consequences of not heeding the boundaries of His Word, of our society, and of others.

As image-bearers, we must DO the things we TEACH. 

And if we refuse to do that or if we become lax in stewarding that responsibility, then I fear we are perpetuating a world where life is squelched and death is near.

In short, we could be raising children who become adults who don’t respect the “no’s” of others.

Friends, I won’t pretend that teaching the “no” is always easy and respecting the “no” is always fun and YET…I believe a “yes” to respect and a “yes” to obedience can be both life-giving and life-saving.

May we be people who love and respect each other well and may we remember that when we don’t, “sharks” are always lurking!

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The Afternoon We Fought Satan in Our Living Room

It was about three weeks ago that I sheepishly acknowledged I can be a little lot selfish with the gifts I have been given.

It was about three weeks ago when the Lord surprisingly prompted me (late one night) to think about how I could use those gifts to demonstrate lavish kindness.

It was about three weeks ago that I hesitantly (and VERY nonchalantly) prayed that the Lord would peel my hands off the gifts He’s given me and the manner I prefer to use them.

And it was about three weeks ago when I challenged the Lord to specifically show me how HE wanted to use those gifts.

And it sounded a little bit like this…

God, if you want me to use my gifts in the way you’ve prompted, then you’re gonna have to bring that opportunity to me. I don’t know how to find or create that opportunity, so you’re just going to have to do it. 

And that was it. I prayed with my eyes opened and my mouth shut, but my soul was speaking and my heart was listening.

And I don’t know why I get surprised when He does what we ask Him to do (even if it’s uttered in hesitant, sheepish, nonchalant whispers), but it ALWAYS surprise me. And I would imagine that it might always surprise my finite, fallen self because I’m just not wired (boo to sin) to always expect the infinite and awesome.

So when I got an email…TWO DAYS after that opened-eye, mouth-shut prayer…I wasn’t expecting it. In fact, my dull-sighted soul didn’t even “see” it as the answer.

Reading the email, I saw the requested need. Re-reading through the email, I started pondering the ways that this request could be met. And after reading and re-reading it several times, it donned on me that maybe (just maybe) this was the God-created, God-brought opportunity that the Lord had prompted me to pray.

To be honest, I was skeptical.

Sitting on the couch that evening, I brought the email to my husband’s attention. With absolutely NO prior knowledge about my hushed Spirit-prompting that I had received two days prior, he listened. And then he said the very words that the Spirit had uttered to the ears of my soul.

“Ya know…that sounds like a really kind way to use your gifts. I think you should pursue that.”

I was shocked.

Over the next day, I prayed over the email and then responded.

In a way I have never offered before (because like I said, I can be selfish with how I use the given gifts), I offered.

And within a few days, the offer was taken, and I was moving forward in the offering.

It was a Friday afternoon when I said, “yes,” and within 15 minutes of leaving that conversation where I felt the Spirit leading, I found myself in a cloud of irritation and in a whirlwind of anger.

The kids were being loud, and I was suddenly mad. The baby was whining, and I was suddenly annoyed. After a day of smooth-sailing and happy-living, I found myself in a place that had taken me immediately and entirely off-guard. Yelling, barking orders, and feeling at the brink of losing my ever-blessed cool, I had come un-done.

Why was I so angry? Why was I so mad all of a sudden? Where did this rage come from? I had just gotten off of my cycle! For goodness sake, this couldn’t be hormones, could it?!?! 

In an attempt to shake off the anger, I called for the big kids and pulled them to my lap.

“Tell me something that was a blessing from your day!”

Both kids quickly answered.

“Tell me something that surprised you today!”

Both kids answered again.

And then my son, with hesitation in his voice (probably because he feared having his head bitten off and swallowed again) asked me, “What was surprising about your day, Mommy?”

Surprised by him turning the question toward me, I answered in the most honest way I could.

“Honestly, I’m surprised that I’m so angry right now.”

Without missing a beat, he inquisitively responded, “Who were you on the phone with, Mommy?”

Quickly, I explained the situation and outlined how the Lord had prompted me to offer my gifts to bless someone. Though I can’t share all of the details of that conversation, my son heard the details and said something that I never want to forget.

“Well that sounds like the enemy, Mommy. I don’t think he would want you to use your gifts to help someone else…the enemy doesn’t want people to hear the good news of Jesus!” 

Immediately, the gravity of his words pulled the tears from my eyes. He was right. He was soooo right.

In that moment of surrender…

In that moment of obedience…

In that moment of offering…

Satan saw an opportunity to distract my heart from the movement of God, and he took full aim with all his hellish arrows.

The arrows of frustration were shot. The arrows of irritation were launched. And before I knew it, there was a battle of anger that was threatening to steal HIS moment of Spirit-led, God-ordained opportunity GLORY!

Caden was right.

If God was moving in my heart, then the enemy needed to be moving, too! And moving he was!

BUT GOD.

Using the voice of a 7 year-old boy, He spoke. And when He used him to speak, it made it even more abundantly clear to both my heart and mind that THIS was the opportunity He wanted for me…for them…for HIS work and HIS glory. THIS was not a happy-accident or a fluke-chance, THIS was the handiwork of God.

“You’re right, Caden. You are very, very right! Satan must be scared of God’s good plans.”

As we sat on the floor with that new-found, Spirit-given insight, we did what any army does when they see their enemy.

We let out a battle cry and my, oh my, was it ever loud!?!

Raising our arms with our fists in the air, we (all three of us) shouted with a noise that our enemy couldn’t possibly un-hear.

“You’re a liar, Satan!!! You’re a liar!!!”

Over and over again, we shouted that battle-cry from the middle of our living room that only served to rally my resolute and fan the flame of my faith.

He wouldn’t win because HE had.

Grabbing my son in my arms, I pulled him close and simply said, “Thank you, Caden. Thank you for letting God use you to speak to Mommy’s heart. I can hear and see evidence of the Holy Spirit alive in you.”

With a smile the size of the Mississippi girth, he nodded and said, “You’re welcome, Mommy.”

And though I don’t have proof, I think it’s safe to say that on that Friday afternoon (about three weeks ago), heaven shouted and the enemy shuddered.

Friends, the reality of 1 Peter 5:8 is relevant to EVERY aspect of your 2019!

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

And just as relevant is the living, active Truth found in 1 John 4:4!

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

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“Mommy, this is EARTH…”

I was standing in the bathroom, attempting to apply eye liner, as my little girl sat at my feet on the bathroom floor. Like usual, we were shootin’ the breeze and rackin’ up our word counts for the day. FYI: Did you know that a study was done on the differences between male and female communication, and they found that women (on average) have a 20,000 word count each day as opposed to men who have a 7,000 word count??? Ummm…duh! Did we REALLY need to conduct a research study to learn this?!?!

I digress, but hey…maybe I’m running behind on my word count average today. (Wink)

Anyway, we were talkin’ about why mommy chooses to apply brown dust to her face, and why I like to paint lines on my eye lids, and when she will be old enough to use lotions in pink containers and perfume in glass bottles and before I knew it, the conversation swam to the deep-end.

Truly, I have no clue how we got there, but we did. Within seconds, I found myself lamenting over the sadness and grief I was feeling related to a particular situation in our lives.

My little girl sat and listened, listened and sat.

When I turned to make sure my captivated audience of one was still listening (she was), she looked up at me with wide eyes and said in a matter-of-fact spirit, “Mommy, this is earth. It’s not heaven. It’s going to be sad here.”

Sitting cross-legged on the floor with sparkled leggings and a patterned tunic, she waited for my response.

To be honest, I was a little blown away by her theologically-sound response…by her wise assessment…and by her condensed summary of the words she was hearing pour forth from my heart.

“Evie Rae, you are right. You are SO right. This IS earth.”

Sensing that she had said something wise, she continued.

“Yeah, Mommy. And we can’t expect to be happy here all the time because that only happens when you live with Jesus.”

Folks, tears and eye liner are like toothpaste and Oreos; they don’t mix so well.

Her words created both a sting and a balm.

As I finished getting ready, I kept mulling over her simple and profound words. And today, almost a week later, I am still mulling.

Isn’t that just the hard-fast Truth???

THIS IS EARTH. 

And because it’s Earth and because we don’t live with Jesus…

Pain is present and hurt is real.

Relationships are broken and communication is flawed.

Sadness exists and bitterness grows.

Abuse happens and neglect is here.

Families break and death occurs.

Truth is refused and fears are alive.

Doubt persists and divisions threaten.

Grief is everywhere and loss is commonplace.

Tears fall and anger flows.

Weariness abounds and sickness is near.

Friendships are hard and work exhausts.

Forgiveness is painful and humility is hard.

Marriage is effort and kids are exhausting.

Journeys are scary and waiting is long.

Yes. THIS is NOT heaven. 

And when we lose sight of this, we lose sight of the hopeful Truth found in 2 Corinthians 4:17.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Or as the Message version translates it…

These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. 

Friends, as we wait for His glorious return and/or for the deliverance of our bodies, may we remember that though this imperfect Earth is not our home, heaven is coming! And my oh my, is it going to be an eternal glory of “big potatoes!”

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)

 Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. 1 Peter 2:11 (MSG)

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