Got Milk?

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Our new granddaughter is now 3 months old. She is starting to respond to her surroundings, especially her family.

Those first smiles make it all worth it, don’t they?

SO PRECIOUS!

She doesn’t cry much, which is a HUGE blessing since her 4 older brothers need a lot on supervision right now. They are at the “let me see what happens if I do this….” stage.

You will remember this stage if your children are older now because you found yourself saying things like:

  • What were you thinking?  … they weren’t thinking
  • Why did you do that?         ….there often is no reason
  • I can’t believe you did that! ….they can’t either
  • What is the matter with you?…they are children

Does God ever throw up His divine hands in exasperation? Knowing that His eye is on me… I’m sure He does.

But He never gives up!  Praise God!

Neither should we.

Back to our new granddaughter – she does let it be known when she is hungry. She is also quickly satisfied when she receives her mother’s milk. Babies are designed to crave the very things they need for healthy growth and development.

Peter has some words of instruction for us as we grow as Christians –

1 Peter 2: 1-3 (NLT)

2 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

We are encouraged to “cry out” for the nourishment we need from the Lord.

Notice that it says – “we must crave pure spiritual milk” so that we can grow into a full experience of salvation. It is an ongoing process.

I am also struck by the phrase “now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.”

It is the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance. Kind speech is the best way for us to reflect God’s kindness as we interact with our children, grandchildren, and each other.

Our challenge is to drink in that pure spiritual milk ….and let kindness pour out.

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“It’s Dark!”

Dark and scary!

Dark and scary!

Little feet padded into our bedroom and a voice said “Nana, we need a light.”

“Why do you need a light, Amos? It is night-time and we all need to sleep.” I said this thinking that a light would illuminate the toys, books, or other items that might prevent our twin grandsons from much needed sleep.

“But, Nana, it’s dark and I’m all alone.”

“No, Amos, Tyler is right next to you in bed.”

“But Nana, he’s all alone, too.”

Have you ever felt this way? There are people all around you, maybe even in the same room or bed, yet you feel all alone. That is a feeling of darkness, a feeling that no one understands or cares about you and what you may be facing.

There are people in the Bible who felt this way at one time or another.

Really?

David did. In Psalms 22 David cries out to God in heartfelt despair. Jesus quoted these very words when He hung on the cross.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

Where is God when we feel that all is darkness around us?

God is right there, we just don’t sense His presence when it’s dark. That darkness may be caused by many things that we face in life such as; loss, fear, stress, illness, conflict, rejection, depression, unfulfilled expectations …… life!

When it is dark – we need LIGHT.

John 1:4-9

4 In him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

I love verse 5 – “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has NOT overcome it.”

Jesus is the light that overcomes the darkness we face as we live in this world. When we feel that darkness and the hopelessness that accompanies it, we must look to Jesus and let His light shine in those dark places.

Reading the Bible, praying with a fellow Christian, and singing hymns and scripture songs are all ways to dispel the darkness.

Jesus is the Light of the World.

May Jesus shine in all the dark places we face.

Unfinished Projects

Projects, some finished, some in process.

Projects, some finished, some in process.

How many unfinished projects do you have stashed away?

I have many. I have my 20 year projects, my 15 year projects, my 10 year projects, and the projects I planned to finish this week…..all 38 of them.

You get the picture. I start something with great excitement and anticipation of its completed glory, only to get bogged down in the pressures and responsibility of everyday life.

Or, things get a bit difficult –  like my points don’t meet at the corners on my log cabin quilt squares. So, I put all the parts of that project in a bag and put it in the closet and wait for a “better time” to work on it.

Meanwhile, I start another project!

Well, I am retired now and I have begun finishing projects! Yes, and to be honest, I really had no idea I had so many projects stashed away.  I am not allowing myself to become overwhelmed – I am chipping away – one by one.

So family – be forewarned – these finished projects are potential Christmas presents!

While working on these projects, it dawned on me that I am an unfinished project. God began His work in my life 57 years ago when I became a Christian and He is still not finished.

  • He has not given up
  • He has not abandoned me for a more “exciting” project
  • He has hung in there even when I have resisted His alterations
  • He has not hidden me away on a shelf, embarrassed by my obvious lack of following His instructions

In Philippians 1:3-6, Paul writes the following to the Christians in Philpi.

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

I am SO THANKFUL that God is not like I am. He is a loving, kind, and patient Father. He is willing to keep working on me. I love the part of the verse that says – “he who began the good work in you will carry it on to completion”.

What a precious promise! I am an unfinished project…..and God will keep working on me until He is finished.

Labels

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Few of us want labels to define us, unless of course the label is

  • genius
  • super star
  • prodigy
  • billionaire

Yet, even if we may like being thought of as extraordinary, there are times when it is very difficult to live up to the label. In recent years there have been several comedians who have ended their lives while still successful because the burden of being “funny” all the time. It took its toll.

Labels are often not of our choosing and even though there is an element of truth to the label, it does not reflect the whole picture. Our children or grandchildren may be singled out for testing to determine if they are eligible for certain services. These services are often very helpful and will give these children added support – they also come with a label.

Some parents hesitate to accept the services offered because they do not want a certain label to follow their child throughout their schooling – maybe even following them into adulthood.

My niece is one of those people. As a child Zoe was identified as ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She was never a behavior problem, in fact she was just the opposite, a quiet, kind, thoughtful child. She just had trouble focusing in class.

To her parents credit, they did their homework and found the best course of treatment for their daughter. They also did not leave it all to the medication. They helped Zoe follow through on assigned tasks and helped her develop coping strategies to avoid the common concerns of people with ADHD.

Her parents were her BEST advocates, making sure that she got the services she needed, but not letting ADHD define her or become an excuse for not reaching her full potential.

Zoe could have numerous labels:

  • Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from DePaul University in Chicago
  • Journalism Major
  • employed as WEB Content administrator at DePaul University
  • beautiful young lady inside and out!
  • courageous person with ADHD

Zoe has not let ADHD define her nor limit her dreams. She recently posted the following on Facebook which took real courage. (click on zoe)

zoe

Zoe is an inspiration to others with ADHD, and also to parents and grandparents of children identified with labels.

When reading Zoe’s essay, I was reminded of these Bible verses that have been such an encouragement to me.

Psalm 139:13-15 (NIV)

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

No matter what labels may be attached to ourselves, our children, or our grandchildren, God knew us from the beginning and He says we are wonderfully made.