Saturday, April 25, 2009

Leading By Example

Recently my 6th grade daughter and I were having a conversation about one of her friends from school. It was kind of a sad story, how her friend was trying to wake her dad up, so he could take her to school. It was something like 7:30 and school starts at 7:45 am. His response was to wake him up in 5 minutes but she kept trying to tell him that school starts in 15 minutes. He finally snapped at her, “Then take the city bus!” It was a good opportunity to share with my daughter that not every family is a healthy one. I also used it as an opportunity to help her appreciate her own father. She is just entering into those sometimes volatile years as a young teen and recently things have been tense between her and dad. Their relationship is changing and I think they are both just trying to figure it all out and find their footing in it.

As I spent some time trying to point out all of his good qualities—because unfortunately at times she only sees the things she doesn’t like, I began to feel a little convicted. Here I was preaching to her about the way she should appreciate her father but I had this nagging question in my heart, “Am I doing the same?” “Am I appreciating my husband and showing that example to my daughter?”

You know, it’s behind closed doors, when the world isn’t watching, that we allow our true selves to be seen. Unfortunately, at times I can be quick to point out a fault in my husband, or even roll my eyes when he says something I think is stupid. No, it’s not nice but I’m just being truthful. I think we all have our moments where we would like to keep it all behind closed doors. We wouldn’t want the world to see some of behavior, hear some of our responses or even worse, know our thoughts. But much of this is right out there for our children to see. How we treat our husbands speaks greatly to our children. It could even possibly affect the way they treat their father.

Perhaps you have seen a sitcom or some type of show where the wife “wears the pants,” so to speak. Or she may treat her husband like dirt. Most of the time the children of that family treat him the same way. They have no respect for him because it has not been modeled. If I say to my child, “Don’t speak that way to your father,” I need to consider if I have led them by example.

I think we all need to show more appreciation for our husbands. The more we value them, the more our children will do the same. If you are tearing your boss down at work, pretty soon your co-workers will join in. The same is true in a family. We must be encouraging, supporting and lifting one another up. We need to remember that we are serving as an example before our children. I think it’s time I call my husband up and tell him how much I love and appreciate him…

Monday, April 13, 2009

You Are Being Watched!

My prayer has always been that Mom Moments would be a place that mothers may be able to hear from God. I desire to be His mouthpiece, in whatever way He sees fit. Sometimes it takes the story or experience of another person, sometimes it comes through a teaching, or a thought to be shared. It has also been through my personal experiences that God has been able to speak to others, just as others speak into my life through their personal experiences.

Hopefully this Mom Moments testimony will be yet another encouragement to you that God is good and He is in control and sometimes we go through things and they may not make sense but in the end He can always, always, always be trusted.

I feel so blessed to be able to say that God has answered our prayers and we received a report back from the doctor that my daughter had a benign cyst. The thought crossed my mind, why did we ever have to go through this? If in the end—and believe me, I am NOT complaining—all was going to be well, what purpose did the “scare,” the possibility of cancer serve? You may need to reread my last blog for part of the answer but I think there are other possibilities that need to be considered.

One of the things about the world around us, especially those who do not know the Lord, is that they are watching us. You may find yourself being more closely watched by some more than others. There are people who are intently watching your life because they either want to see you trip up—in other words, they are looking for a way to see you fall—or they want to see if what you believe is for real—in other words, they are looking for some hope and want to know if what you have is really worth anything.

I had co-workers, all unbelievers, who I believe were watching me during this. Some were just casual observers but there are others who were more focused. Those who were more focused had genuine interest in my daughter’s situation and I am sure felt curious about how well I handled the entire thing. However, I would guess that I had at least one co-worker who was not looking for the good in the situation. Unfortunately, I do have a co-worker who seems intent on seeing me mess up. I don’t even want to guess what her reasons are—I am learning to not care enough, to just let it go and go about my business. But a part of me wonders, did God want to show her I was genuine? That I am the real stuff? That I don’t just talk the talk of faith, but I live it? It could very well be. I can’t say that I know for sure. But I do understand that we have a watching world and the way we respond, the way we handle a situation, the way we carry ourselves…all of this is being watched by a bigger audience, one that goes even beyond our children.

My daughter’s 6th grade teacher has some religious beliefs, as he is a practicing Catholic. I look forward to when spring break is over and sharing with him the good news. I look forward to sharing with him how I believe God answered our prayers. He was yet another observer in our lives.

Think about all the people that surround you and are watching you. Are you complaining about situations in your life? Are you worried and anxious? Are those who are waiting to see you trip up being given the evil satisfaction of knowing they were somehow right? Are those who are looking for hope able to look at your life and say, “I want what she’s got!” We may need to consider our words, our responses, and our behavior more closely as we think about the situations in our lives and what the world around us is seeing. We have children watching but we also have others watching. May they see the hope of glory in you—the Lord Jesus Christ!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

By Your Side

I ended my last blog with the news that my daughter was going to need a biopsy. Back in February all of this came about when my children went to a routine dental visit. My biggest concern was that they not have cavities. By the time the dentist was done talking to my husband and I, I almost wished they had had cavities! In a nutshell all three children would need to see a specialist for one reason or another. Our greatest concern, however, was for our 11 year old daughter, Caitlin. We were told that a root on one of her baby teeth had just completely disappeared and roots just don’t disappear. Suddenly we were hearing the words biopsy, tumor, possibly malignant but most likely benign and I honestly felt like my head was spinning. I think the grace of God was immediately dispensed in that moment because when we came back into the waiting room where our three children were, I was able to hold myself together.

I did all my crying on the inside. My stomach felt weak, my chest was tight and I couldn’t believe that a routine dental visit could turn into such a nightmare. However, it didn’t take long before God’s peace began to settle into me. So to make a long story short, my daughter had her biopsy done this past Tuesday. The source of what “ate up” her roots was taken out and according to the oral surgeon, it looked “pretty benign.” We will not have final results for another 3 to 5 days. I can say that for 98% of the time, I have felt nothing but peace and trust. This is not based on anything other than my faith in God. The doctor’s pre-diagnosis of it looking “pretty benign” is nice but it doesn’t dictate what I believe. I believe the report of the Lord and that is what I stand on!

I would like to say that in every circumstance in my life, I have handled things this way—I have not. I take no credit for the way I am handling this. I give all the glory to God. In fact, I have begun to think that God has some greater purposes in all of this that have absolutely nothing to do with me. So often when difficult circumstances come into our lives, our first thought is about ME. How it is going to affect ME. How I feel. What am I going to do? What about ME? Even with our children, they can be going through something and somehow we still make it about us!

Our children are like extensions of ourselves, so often we internalize things so deeply. We make their problems our problems, their difficulties our own. But there are times in their lives when we need to just step back and let God do the work. They have their own salvation to work out and we have to be careful that we are not stepping on God’s toes.

In the beginning my husband and I made the decision to not tell our daughter about the reason she was seeing an oral surgeon. We simply said that they needed to take a look at one of her teeth. We didn’t want to needlessly worry her. I felt good about the decision we had made. On Tuesday when she went in to have the procedure done, well, let’s just say she put up a good fight before it was finally able to be done. What could have been a 5 minute procedure took nearly an hour! When it was done and over with, and she was still carrying on about the trauma of what had been done to her, I felt in my spirit that she needed to know. She needed to understand there was a genuine reason for having this procedure done. I then proceeded, on our way home from the procedure, to tell her exactly what was going on. Her response was wonderful. She seemed okay with it. She became more understanding about the need to have it done. I thought, “This is great, she is handling this so well!”

Well the next day things changed. She suddenly came to me crying. She was sobbing and saying, “I don’t want to have cancer.” Immediately regret filled my heart. “I shouldn’t have told her,” I said to myself. But God spoke into my heart that it was the right thing to do and I had to let Him work. Have you ever felt that? That you had to let God do a work even though you wanted to intervene? So often we try to intervene in God’s plans, stop a situation, solve a problem, or create another way when God has His own plan. It is hard to step out of the way. But that is exactly what He was asking me to do. Is there something in your life that God is telling you to step aside? Let Him do the work?

When my daughter couldn’t stop crying, I called up my best friend. Her daughter and mine are best friends. I knew that her daughter truly cares about Caitlin and would be there for her. I explained to my best friend what was going on and asked if she could have her daughter call mine. A few minutes later she did. When my daughter hung up the phone, she had stopped crying. She came to me and told me how Hayley (that’s her best friend) had reminded Caitlin (my daughter) of all the times God had healed her when she was younger (she has been through a lot in her life) and that God wasn’t going to let her have cancer. She then prayed with my daughter. Later that night at church I talked to my best friend about their conversation and she felt that this situation could be used in her daughter’s life as well. She was being used as an encourager but also for her to see evidence of God working.

Here we are, just a few days later, still waiting for final results and I can see the Lord still working. Suddenly a song has become the source of strength for my daughter. This is the first time I have seen her held onto a promise in such a way. There are many songs that really impact me and give me hope. Now God has given her a song. It’s by Tenth Avenue North and it’s called “By Your Side.” I end with the lyrics…may they be an encouragement to you:

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and My side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Chorus – 2x

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I’ll never let you go