I was a relatively cute kid until the age of four when I failed my preschool vision screening. The next thing I knew I was strapped to the thickest, ugliest pair of self-esteem slaughtering glasses known to man. Kindergarten was rough as I stuck out with my crazy curls and magnified eyes, and that continued through middle school. But thankfully adolescence eventually relented and I turned a few genetic corners while even receiving the occasional compliment.
Slowly my wounds of insecurity were tightly bandaged by vanity. From every mirror to mud puddle, I stopped to scrutinize my reflection and would carefully work on my hair and make-up before going on even the slightest errand. I was obsessed with not looking stupid, silly, or unkempt and took myself very seriously. It was exhausting.
A remedy finally came on March 12, 2010 when my son was born and quite suddenly a lot of what I valued simply became obsolete and highly impractical. His little life completely depended on me for survival and that quickly forced the focus from myself and onto someone I ended up loving far more.
It’s shocking how freeing being a mom has been as my thoughts moved from myself to:
“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”
I’ve done things around Jake that I would never have dared do around others. He’s not sizing me up when we step out in public, he doesn’t care if my eyeliner is on straight, and even at my worst he still thinks I’m pretty neat. God is mightily using motherhood to erode from me things that are worthless as He ushers in a level of life and freedom I never knew before by teaching me humbling lessons in laughter and trust from a toddler.
Sometimes when we break out the spatulas and sunglasses and start lip-syncing to the Shrek soundtrack, I can imagine 4 y.o. me shoving those huge glasses up on her tiny, somber nose and staring wide(er) eyed at our appalling silliness. I wish I could bend down and take her face in my hands and say, “Don’t be so serious. Don’t let this life be about you. You’ll grow into that hair and out of those glasses, but regardless don’t let them blind you to all God has to show you on your way from here to there.”
24 years later, she’s slowly getting the point. Instead of finding joy in manufacturing the perfect complexion, she’s now much happier throwing on an old t-shirt and having high-speed fun with her little boy as God uses him daily to reveal the things that matter while evaporating the things that don’t.
How has motherhood been your “Vanity-Slayer?” What causes you to throw your hair up in a greasy ponytail and opt for fun?
As I watched the furry caterpillars wrap around his sweet little hands, I couldn’t believe how they clung to his skin. It was like plush tape on his fingers, needing to be peeled off. They were completely attached, hanging on, resisting separation.
When you think of the word “cling” – what comes to mind? For me, it’s my sweet four-year-old son screaming, in different tones and at various noise levels … “Mommy, Mommeeee, Mommmmmeeeeee!” I hope I’m not the only one who experiences this lovely array of sounds. I love it, but really, he needs me ALL the time!
In Luke 17, beginning in verse 11, we learn about the ten men with leprosy. They seek Jesus so He can heal them. They yell, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Those men clung to Jesus with desperation for the hope of healing.
Jesus gave them instructions to go to the priests. And, they were healed. I love this extra lesson here – listen to God always, even when the instructions may not make sense. Jesus could’ve healed them instantly, but He chose to give them directions. They listened and were healed.
Then, we learn in verse 15 that only one returned to thank Jesus. Life was good now, all was right with the world, and only one had the time to praise Jesus for this miracle. The audacity of those ungrateful nine little punks! No more clinging or crying out to Jesus in desperation.
Ouch! I’m guilty of being an ungrateful little punk, I shouldn’t judge. I remember the recent storms in my life – miscarriage, prenatal depression – the days when I was desperately seeking God. I would let nothing separate us. I was like a clingy caterpillar constantly praying … Jesus, carry me through this moment. It’s You and me, Jesus. Only You can do this, I cannot.
Then, God healed me and blessed our family. I was so thankful for the restoration. But today, as things are going well, I no longer constantly think those thoughts. I am grateful and thank Him, but I don’t desperately seek Him like a clingy caterpillar. I’ve gotten caught-up in my worldly bliss and busyness.
I will strive to cling, to grasp, to seek God with every decision. I will be like my son, seeking a parent ALL the time. I will desperately hold on to Jesus always, not just for life’s tumultuous storms. In every moment, I want to be a clingy caterpillar.
“Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don’t let me down!
I’ll run the course you lay out for me
if you’ll just show me how.
God, teach me lessons for living so
I can stay the course.”
Psalms 119:29-33 (The Message)
Starting on May 7, http://www.sozowomen.com will no longer be a blog, but a community for Christian women. We will be adding 7 additional contributors. And not just anyone! These women will daily bless you with stories of their life – and the lessons God is teaching them along the way.
To get the latest, make sure to subscribe in the upper righthand corner!
See YOU then!
So, you’ve been wanting to get involved in a Bible study but don’t have the:
- Time to get away
- Ability to get out of the house
- (insert your excuse here)
Good news! A new ONLINE Joy to the Girls study begins TOMORROW (Tuesday) at 7pm Central. It will run each TUESDAY for 5 weeks from April 24-May 22.
The format is a 20 minute video with a chat box beneath to allow discussion with fellow attendees. It’s really pretty neat and doesn’t get any easier.
To get the workbook, you can purchase and instantly download it here: http://www.cbcmusicstore.com/products/Joy-To-The-Girls-%252d-Study-Guide-%26-Workbook.html
You can do it all on your computer, or you can even print it out, bind it, etc. Once you download it, it’s all yours. :)
Sweet Balsamic Meatloaf
(This ain’t your Momma’s meatloaf. Your family will actually enjoy this!)
1 ½ lbs lean ground beef (I used 93/7)
1 slice bread (broken or chopped finely)
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 t minced garlic (or 2 cloves minced)
4 tablespoons ketchup
2⁄3 cup whole milk
(You can double the sauce and pour 1/2 of it on top prior to baking and 1/2 can be served warm as a sauce for dipping!)
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar , packed firm
½ cup ketchup
1. Meatloaf: Combine meat loaf ingredients and place into a loaf baking dish. Smooth out top.
2. Sauce: Combine sauce ingredients and pour on top and sides of meatloaf. (I use a rubber spatula to briefly peel sides away from loaf and allow sauce to run down sides.)
3. Bake at 350°F about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until done. Note: Loaf will shrink and grease will pool to sides. This is normal.
4. Warm extra sauce if you made it!
5. Slice and ENJOY!
I recommend that you Bookmark, Print and Share this post. After all, what is more powerful than being who God made you to be?
- The Enemy says: Things will never change. You are hopeless.
- God says: This is only temporary. My plans for you are full of hope. (2 Corinthians. 4:16-18, Jeremiah 29:11)
- The Enemy says: You make terrible decisions. Your mind is a mess.
- God says: I have given you a clear, sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
- The Enemy says: You are not enough.
- God says: You are complete in me. (Colossians 2:9-10)
- The Enemy says: You have always been this way, and you always will be.
- God says: The old you is gone. I have made you new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- The Enemy says: You can’t do this, so don’t even try.
- God says: You can do all things I ask you to do through my power. (Philippians 4:13)
- The Enemy says: Being you is way too hard. You must feel very overwhelmed.
- God says: I have given you overwhelming victory because I love you. (Romans 8:37)
- The Enemy says: You messed up. Again
- God says: It is a new day. Welcome to my mercies. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
- The Enemy says: What will others think?
- God says: You are mine now, I am working that into good. (Romans 8:28)
- The Enemy says: You are alone.
- God says: You belong to me. I am holding our hand. I want to guide you. (Psalm 73:23-24)
The writer of the above list is Nan Elsik. She spoke today at my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group and read this. It was too powerful not to share.
Nan speaks godly wisdom from a funny and genuine heart. She’s one of those people who never pretends to be better or more than who she is. What you see is what you get: Her faith and faults lived out for God’s glory.
This was one of those discoveries when I had a craving (this time the culprit was peach cobbler), but I didn’t want to clean the kitchen for the 45th time that day.
What came about was an easy, easy way to a yummy breakfast – or dessert!
If you like to bake with your kids, they can prepare this one ALONE – it’s seriously that simple. (…and notice I said prepare… not bake. No lawsuits here!)
- 1 Can Peaches in light or heavy syrup
- 1 Package Flavored Instant Oatmeal (I used Apple Cinnamon.)
- Ground Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Pour can of peaches (the whole can – juice and all) into ungreased pie plate.
- Sprinkle Oatmeal packet evenly over peaches.
- Sprinkle Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice over oatmeal.
- Bake 15 minutes or until liquid is clearly boiling and top is golden brown.
Serves: 2 Adults. If you are making it for the whole family, Double the recipe and pop it in a 9×13 pan instead!
Since my hubby is using our fundraiser as an example at church this weekend, I am reopening recipe submissions through Monday, March 12! You can donate anytime by clicking here. eCookbooks will be sent out at the end of March! Email recipes to: firstname.lastname@example.org
James 1:27 (NLT) Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
In July, I prayed as we went through the book of James.
I know what it means to help the orphan, Lord. But what does it look like to help the widow?
That prayer became part of my walk with God. It sat in the back of my mind, and I looked for ways to learn what He meant in James 1:27.
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago. I felt God calling me to do something with my blog. I prayed about what and immediately felt called to help an orphanage. I spoke with a few friends who have adopted, and also with our Outbound (Missions) Department. It wasn’t that there was a lack of orphanages and organizations – it was quite the opposite!
Lord, show me which one!
Then, out of the blue, I got an email from John David Martinez, a staff member of our church who has a beautiful heart for the orphan and missions.
In that email, the Lord answered both prayers. Which one? This one. How can I help the widow, as well? With this one.
John David told me about Helen Smith. She’ lost her husband a few weeks ago and is now returning to their home in Costa Rica to run an orphanage for disabled children – alone.
And then, I realized: God was answering my prayer. Here, he was not only giving me an opportunity to help the orphan, but also to help the widow.
And this is where YOU step in! Here’s the plan:
A lot of traffic to this blog is driven by recipe searches. I love a good recipe, and obviously, many of you do, too!
Remember how churches used to have fundraisers with “Church Recipe Books?”
Well, we’re going to modernize it!
- You email in your best recipe – make sure they’re your BEST! Send in as many as you’d like. Email to: email@example.com (Please put them in the body of the email and not in an attachment.) Deadline: 2/29/2012
- I’ll compile them all together in an organized PDF eBooklet.
- You donate a minimum of $10 to Helen, Use this link to donate.
- Forward your Donation Receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org (After you donate, the secure web site will send a receipt to the email you entered.) You can do this any time – starting now! You just obviously can’t get the eBook until all the recipes are in and put together.
- I’ll email YOU our eRecipe book!
We want a variety of recipes: family friendly, fun or fancy – so send them in! If you want to put any descriptions on them (i.e. healthy, easy, great for entertaining, kid-friendly, etc), that’d be really helpful!
And lastly, tell your friends! Share this link with all of your cooking & baking friends. Let’s make this big!
Hey Prayer Warriors, Ian now has a CaringBridge site you can follow. Here is the link: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/ianwarshak//?hide-mobile-info=1&hide-mobile-info=1