Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I’m Growing Down

I’m Growing Down

Recently my granddaughter completed kindergarten. Although she should have been happy and excited about entering first grade in the fall, she went around the house with a very sad look on her face. Instead of celebrating the end of the school with her friends she proclaimed, “I want to stay in kindergarten!” Needless to say this took me by surprise but Tori refused to explain to me what she meant by that statement.

One night after reading a story together and saying our prayers I again brought up the subject of her going into first grade. Aren’t you excited about going into first grade in the fall?” “No, nanny, I’m not. I want to stay in kindergarten for the rest of my life.” Now this was not exactly what I expected to hear. My son and daughter were glad to be “one of the big kids” so they could be one of the “old” timers at school—the envy of the little kids in kindergarten.

After recovering from the shock of Tori’s remarks I attempted to explain to her that we all “graduate” from one stage in life to another. I went to tell her how each stage is built upon the last stage to help us grow. Imagine my shock when she looked at me with tears running down her face and said, “Nanny, I know that but growing up is so scary.” I hugged her to me and brushed the tears from her eyes and sighed. She was right—growing up is scary—and I was at a total loss for words of comfort until I had an idea (a brilliant idea for me, I thought).

“Listen, Honey,” I gently began. “I know growing up is hard but I am growing older too and it is scary for me. Wow! This is brilliant, I thought to myself. So I continued, “You know growing up can be fun. Just think, Sweetheart, you are going to learn how to do so many new things, meet new friends and have so much fun. But I’m growing older and won’t be able to do as many things as I once did. That is what makes growing older scary for me.”

After I had finished explaining this to her, I congratulated myself on my wonderful wisdom. I sat back, kissed her cheek gently, and asked her if she understood what I was saying. With solemn eyes she replied, “Yeah, I think so.” Then her eyes widened with understanding and a smile crossed her face. “I understand now Nanny,” she exclaimed with a leap into my arms. “I’m growing up and you’re growing down. Wow! Out of the mouth of babes! I had not thought of it quite that way but she was absolutely right. I used to be able to mow my yard, clean my house completely and still p0ractice baseball with the kids. Now if I can make sure the house is clean enough not to condemned by the health officials I congratulate myself on making it through another week.

This sobering conversation with Tori caused me to reflect on my life. I was reminded of the challenges I have faced in my life. Some of these challenges left me feeling overwhelmed and confused about the meaning of my life. I never doubted God’s love for me but I did have doubts about my ability. I realized that these challenges made me stronger and wiser. I would not be the person I am today without these experiences. I realized that God has not let me down but instead had held me up during these trying times.

I might be “growing down” in the physical realm, but I know that God is “growing me up” with His love and grace. He is always with me each day to give me the wisdom and strength I need to fulfill His purpose in my life.

As I thought back on my life span, I began to realize that we should not just grow “down” in age but we should always strive to grow up also. To grow up in the Lord is something we should all do whether we are young or old. I hope that I am able to help Tori grow in her relationship with God and always look to Him for her strength.

Yes, Tori, growing up can be scary but with God holding our hands, there is nothing we cannot do. I want you remember that God will grow us to be the people He intends for us to be if we only believe that everything is possible with Him and He promises us a life that is eternal and abundant.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13

Then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect, the mature body of Him who is the that is Christ.

Ephesians 4:15, 16

But grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:18

Today’s Whisper: Journal about ways you can mature in the Lord.  What does maturing in the Lord mean to you:? Does maturing in the Lord automatically come with age or does it take effort on our part:?

Today's Prayer: Father, help me to grow in wisdom and knowledge of you. Hold my hands and help me as I go through each day. I depend on you and your word. I know that you love me and are always there for me. Help Tori as she grows up to always follow you so she can always know you are there for her in the stages of growing—both physically and spiritually.

*Since writing this, the little girl in the story is now entering college and I have seen three others children through kindergarten.  Through it all they continue to grow up and I continue to grow down.  But I do know that God will help them to grow up and me to grow up in Him.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Walk To Peace

For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

The other day I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I had recently lost my job. We should have been able to make it and able to live comfortably on one income. However, we had recently been granted custody of three grandchildren, in addition to, one we have had for most of her life. I do love these children and will do anything to make sure they receive the love and care they need. I must admit that these extra mouths to feed and clothe did create some stress. To add to this stress, our “grown children” are always asking for financial assistance. I lost my job when I received custody of these children. Please don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets about this switching of roles in my life but I did feel upset because of the shortage of money to provide the little extras every child wants.

Now my cupboard is bare. I have a mountain of laundry and the sink is full of dirty dishes. I admit I started feeling sorry for myself and started complaining about my life situation. “Lord, show me what I can do to provide what these children need. I love them and want only the best for them. But am I what they need?”

Suddenly a peace came over me and I heard a whisper in my heart. “Go for a walk.” I did not think I had heard right but I heard the voice again. “Go for a walk.” “But God, I have too much to do: I have dishes to wash, floors to sweep and mop and laundry to do. Besides, the kids will be home in a few hours tired and hungry.” “Go for a walk.” “Ok, Lord,” I said as I began putting on my walking shoes.

Wondering what I was supposed to learn, I started walking along a route I had taken before. Suddenly about halfway through my walk, I saw it. It was a beautiful flower growing through a crack in the sidewalk. It was the most beautiful flower I had ever seen. The petals were a beautiful yellow color and reminded me of a ray of sunshine. I looked around but did not see another flower like this anywhere. It was then that God began to teach me the lesson He wanted me to learn. “This is what I wanted you to see. That flower is growing in a hard place but it is growing where the seed fell. It has overcome obstacles like the hot sun beating down on it and people stepping on it. Yet it is still here because I have taken care of it. If I can take care of this flower, don’t you know that I will take care of you? I know you feel overwhelmed at tines and feel as though you are all alone. You are where I want you be at this point in your life. Those kids need you. You are the person I picked that will teach them about me. You are to be an example of my love and let them see me through your life. Don’t worry. Just put your trust in me. Whatever I ask of you, I will equip you. Remember, I do not call the qualified. I qualify the called.” Suddenly, a peace came over me and I knew I was fulfilling His plan for my life. I know that He will be with me and give me the wisdom and strength to accomplish what He wants me to do.

I went back home with reassurance that the dishes, the laundry, the cooking and the cleaning are important because I am doing God’s will by bringing up these children to know God and His love. Just like that flower in the sidewalk, God will watch over me and give me the strength to make it through each day. I know I am important in the lives of these children and they are learning about God through my love and care for them. I still get overwhelmed at times with everything that must be done but I know the work I am doing is the most important work that I can do. I can rest assured that what I am doing today will be passed on through these children and they will know God as their Father.

Today’s Whisper:

Do you get discouraged with your life’s work. Do you ever wonder why you are doing what you are doing? Write about how your life seems to be getting out of control and how a visit with God can set your life on the right track. Just like the flower, we must bloom where we are planted—whether it is as a stay at home mom or out in the work world.

Today’s Prayer:

Father, help me to remember that you are in control of my life and have placed me in the special life you want me to have. Don’t let me forget that you can take care of that flower growing in that hard place and you will always be there to take care of me. I love you and trust you with my life and know that you will bless me while I am doing your work. I know you have plans for my peace and happiness and I claim that promise.

Amen

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Lord and I

One day I felt so overwhelmed with work and worry, I could not quiet my mind and relax.  I began to call out to God for help.  This is the prayer prayed.

Lord, when my life seems to be spinning out of control help me to stop and smell the roses.  Help me to savor each moment and not rush through the moments on my way to some other time and place.   Help me to take the time to see—really see—all your blessing and to truly feel your love in my heart.  Help me to be still and hear your small still voice.

When I paused and asked Him for help, here is what He said to me.

“My child, I love you and want to enjoy your company.  Just come and sit with me and tell me about your day.  I am here for you.  All you need to do is slow down and enjoy being with me.  There is nothing you do that does not interest me.  Remember you are my child and I am your father.  I love you.  Come to me and rest.”

I then turned off my computer, went into the living room and just sat there.  I felt the peace of His love as He encircled me in His loving arms.  My worries left and we just sat there with our arms around each other—my Lord and I.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kids Today

Our children today can read of evolution

And are taught we come from apes.

They can learn of hate and prejudice

And are encouraged to murder and rape.

Family life is becoming obsolete

In this great country today.

Why it’s just ‘not cool’

To kneel with your family and pray.

Alcohol, drugs, and sex

Are the ‘in things’ to do.

The only thing that really matters

Is what feels good to you.

Our children today are taught that sexual perversion

Is nothing but an alternate lifestyle,

Homosexuality is not a sin--

Why I can almost see Satan smile.

Our children are exposed

To so many of Satan’s snares.

Yet in school they are not allowed to

Bow their heads in prayer.

The Ten Commandments have been taken

Out of our schools by law,

Because the government tries to tell us

They are not meant for all.

The results of this perversion is

Becoming clearer each day--

Kids can kill each other

But it’s wrong for them to pray.

 

I wrote this years ago, but it is becoming more true today.  We all need to turn to God and let Him take His rightful place in our hearts, our homes and our country.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

School Shopping Blues

This time of year is bittersweet for me.  Watching frazzled mothers taking their children school shopping brings back many memories of shopping for my own two children.

The excitement of buying new clothes and attempting to negotiate with the children to get items that are within budget but will still pass the peer inspection can cause major meltdowns for parents and children.

I remember the scenes with my two children—especially my daughter.  When she reached her teen years, shopping became a nightmare for both of us.  “But Mom, you just don’t understand.  Nobody wears this style anymore!”  These words echo through my mind when I see moms and kids going through what must be the universal conflict parents and children have every year at this time.


The other day at a local department store I observed a very interesting exchange between a pre-teen girl and her mother.  The girl was trying to convince her mother to buy a very expensive pair of shoes.  I heard the young girl; exclaim to her mother, “Burt Mom, nobody wears that brand anymore.  If I wear these to school my life will be ruined.   I will be so embarrassed.”  I could see the conflict in the mother’s mind.  Should she buy the shoes so her daughter will be happy or convince her darling daughter to buy a less expensive pair of shoes?  Just when I thought she was going to give in to her daughter’s pleadings, the daughter’s attention was diverted to a more sensible and less expensive.  A smile crossed both their faces and peace was restored.  As they paid for their purchases and walked out the door arm in arm, I smiled and thought of the many times I had gone through the same scenario with my own daughter.

]My mind was suddenly jolted back to the present when I hard a familiar voice saying, “Nanny, why can’t I have these shoes?  I turned my attention back to my twelve year old granddaughter and the only shoes in the entire store that would make her totally happy with her life and with me.  After much discussion and a few tears, we found another pair that would help her retain her social status and restore my role as hero in her eyes.

You see, although my children are  grown, I now have  four grandchildren to take care of and all of them will be in school this year.  Although the years have passed since  my children were in school, shopping for the rite of passage known as ‘the first day of a new school year has changed little over time.

No matter how many tempers flare and disagreements arise , all is forgiven on that all important first day of school when the most beautiful and intelligent children in the world wave ‘goodbye’ as they step on the bus to embark on a fresh new adventure.

*Since I wrote this , the twelve year old will be going to college this fall.  The adventure continues however.   I now have a sixth grader, a fourth grader and a third grader.  It looks like this rite of passage will continue in my life for a few  more years.