Moms! Thank you.
Thank you to the birth moms I know who chose to trust their babies with a healthy family when it was not in their control to provide.
Thank you to the adoptive moms who opened heart and home to welcome someone new.
Thank you to foster moms picking up where someone else could not carry the load.
Thank you to aunties and grandmas and sisters who offer mothering support.
Thank you to single moms who don't quit when they are tired.
Thanks to stay at home moms and working moms and moms in school who place your kids needs before your own all the time.
Thank you for the hugs and kisses, the bed time stories and notes in lunch boxes. Thank you for giggles and winks. Thank you for hearty cheers and bandaids.
Thank you for forgiving and letting it go. For believing and encouraging. For late night prayers and early morning whispers.
God sees you. Well done mamas. Happy Mother's Day.
Wall of Faith: Michelle
Some people buy house plants. Some receive them as gifts. I adopt them. Orphaned and abandoned house plants have found their way into our home more than once and yes, I've named them all.
Let me introduce you to Fount (I really don't know what kind of plant he is...) and Joy (the Christmas Cactus). They belonged to my Grandmother. They joined our household almost a decade age. They were the last plants she tended. She supposedly potted them days before she breathed her last. She loved plants. She was generous, feisty and faithful. She had a huge vegetable garden, strawberry patches on the side of her house and a green house jam packed with Aloe plants. Whenever we had a scrape or a sunburn she would traipse us out to her green house and cut off a chunk of a plant and smear that soothing goo all over us. Every spring, she grew enough Irises, Dahlias and Gladiolas to outfit The Grand Floral Parade. I can vividly remember her cutting her beautiful flowers and arranging them and piling us grandkids into her car with instructions to hold the flowers up just so and then we would drive around the county delivering her homegrown jewels to others in need of cheer. In winter, she bought live Christmas trees so she could plant them when the festivities were finished. That sweet lady would tell us about the Fount of Joy named Jesus every chance she got.
"Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25
Meet Vera (the Aloe Plant) and her offspring (Aloe, Al, & Allie) and Arachnid (the Spider Plant). I acquired Vera and Arachnid when my friend packed up everything she owned and followed her military spouse across the country. She is brave, outspoken, and courageous. She introduced me to my husband. She was my first college friend to get married and have a baby. Like the Aloe plant she gave me, she went on to have three more offspring. And like Arachnid, she has been transplanted many times and learns to thrive in each new setting. Her husband has been deployed multiple times and she has fearlessly held down the home front with four under her care. When I see these plants I think of her and the strength and courage she draws from God.
"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
My most recent plant adoption took place a little over a year ago. I call her Grace. Her previous owner was gracious, gentle and kind. She was thoughtful and quick to listen. She had a gorgeous garden full of raspberries and flowers. She received this plant from her son and she nurtured it for more than two decades. She had an eye for beauty and saw the best in others.
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:5
I adopt plants because they remind me of their previous owners who nurtured them with care. All three of these ladies had green thumbs and loved the God who created all living things. I look at these plants and I think of the truths my friends lived out. "Remember, whatever you plant, you will reap! Therefore, sow good seeds. Sow the Word of God." Galatians 6:7 Joyful generosity, courageous submission and gentle, kind answers- these are indeed good seeds. This is the way I want to live.
Even more I look at these plants and I think about the God who made us, rescued us and is making a forever home for us in paradise. Isaiah 46:4 confirms, "I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and rescue you." He provides for our needs and painfully prunes us. He adopts us so we can be a part of His forever family. This world is not our permanent home. Heaven--where God resides--is where we belong.
"So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father."
I took an art class as a child. My parents firmly believed that children should be exposed to a variety of activities to try and see where their interest and talent lie. I was definitely interested in art. I was not talented.
While in Amsterdam we toured the Van Gogh museum. What I knew before the visit about Van Gogh was limited to a vague idea that he’d chopped his ear off and wasn’t he the guy who painted Starry Night? And those Water Lillies? Oh wait. That was Monet. But Starry Night and the ear. Yup, that’s Van Gogh.
Turns out after the four floors and several hundred paintings that I love Van Gogh. Tortured soul that he was. There were a couple of stories and one painting that bore into my memory. Good art is like that. It becomes a part of who you are and how you view the world.
Vincent Van Gogh had several unsuccessful careers prior to becoming an artist. He was fired from being a pastor for being overzealous. At that point he decided he would be a painter. Just like that. Decided. He had no training and frankly no idea if he had any talent. I viewed several of his first paintings. They were awful. Simplistic. Much like what I drew when I took my childhood art class. I love this early optimism. I love that he didn’t give up. Van Gogh painted over two thousand paintings in just over ten years. During one period of his life he only consumed bread, tobacco and coffee so he could use the rest of his money to buy paint supplies.
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” Vincent Van Gogh.
In 1888, Van Gogh left Holland for France hoping to start an artistic community. When he found out his friend, Paul Gauguin had agreed to come, Van Gogh started to paint to decorate his room. The paintings he created? Sunflowers. I love that among Van Gogh’s most famous paintings are ones that were created solely to decorate for a friend.
I wish Van Gogh’s story didn’t have chapters of depression and asylums and shotguns. I wish it was just beauty and joy and good surgeons and redemption. But I’m grateful for the paintings. My favorite painting was painted in the last few weeks of his life. Wheat Field Under Clouded Sky. I think part of the message of Van Gogh’s life is that beauty is there even in the pain.
The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. Vincent Van Gogh
I am so joyful!, or am I ?
There are so many fun things in life, pop tarts, travel, candy, and so much more!!
But lets find out what it means to be JOYFUL.
Candy and fun things do not make us joyful.
If you are bummed and you smother yourself in fun things you will be happy for a short time but not forever.
If you are joyful you will always know that it is OK because God is in control. Let's find out how tobe joyful.
•J is for Jesus . If you believe you will have a start to joy
•O is for omnipotent. God knows all
•Y is for you. You are joyful
Now go grab your bible and look up 1 John 1:1
Shout for joy to God all the earth!
That's the Book: Nahum
I'm a mom. I spend a good deal of time pointing out dangers. Don't touch. Don't talk to strangers. Be careful online. Don't eat that. You know. Trying to keep my kids safe.
The prophet Nahum had a three chapter poem message regarding the city of Ninevah. Remember Jonah? The people of Ninevah repented for awhile. 100 years later and they were more violent than ever. God had enough. So Nahum the prophet spoke out predicting their downfall and destruction.
The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The Lord takes vengeance on his foes
and vents his wrath against his enemies.
3 The Lord is slow to anger but great in power;
the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet. Nahum 1:2-3
The fear of the Lord is one of the ideas in the Bible of which people strong opinions. People either point to it as a reason never to believe in God or they try to explain it away.
The explain it away camp frequently define fear as reverential awe. As in I'm so amazed at God's size and ability I will quietly ponder and be grateful.
"Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him." Nahum 1:6
Hmmmm. When I read Nahum I really don't think he was only talking about reverential awe. I think the point is that crossing God and standing against his people is not a good idea. I have a healthy fear. Like the kind that says don't touch a hot stove. Don't cross this line into oncoming traffic. Just back up slowly when you see an electric fence. Fear can keep you safe. I have enough fear of addiction to never touch meth. I have a healthy fear of wrecking my marriage to abide by some tight boundaries. I don't joke about weapons in the airport security line. I don't tease police dogs. I'm sure you don't either. If I were in trouble though I'd be the first to dial 911. Truth is I want the people protecting me to be strong enough to respond.
Here's the hard rub though. This is where the other camp shows up. Who wants to follow a God you have to fear? Scary isn't exactly the idea we want to tell our kids in Sunday School. Hold on though.The God is scary theme forgets to keep the message in context of the whole narrative. God is also love.
The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him.
Nahum 1: 7
Anyone who is a fan of C.S. Lewis is familiar with the character of Aslan in Narnia. This mighty lion is an allegory for Jesus. Listen to what Mr. Beaver tells Lucy about him.
"Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
The fear of the Lord makes me want to be on the right side of history. On His side of His Story. When you figure out that God is powerful enough to conquer all the things you are scared of then some level of actual fear should attend. He is powerful enough to save you.
I did my research on this post. Much credit goes to these great posts from some of my favorite voices.
Andy Stanley: The Beginning of Wisdom READ HERE
John Piper: The Goodness of God and the Fear of God. READ HERE
Liz Curtis Higgs: Fear Can Be a Good Thing READ HERE
JoHannah Reardon: What does it mean to fear God? READ HERE
The team at The Bible Project helps me to think through where these minor prophets fit in the major story. It may help you to watch and learn.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
Sign up to receive Mindy's Quirk-E-Mails