The Duggars are not perfect

There was some news recently announced regarding the Duggar’s oldest son, Josh, molesting a few of his sisters and other girls when he was a young teenager.

I have read some articles on it and a few blogs in response to him publicly admitting this. I am surprised by the responses, yet not. This could very well be lengthy blog post but I will try to be brief and to the point. You may agree with me or not, I don’t really care. Regardless, I am certain I will take the minorities’ view.

First off, anything I say in blog post is by no means condoning Josh’s behavior. I am not defending his actions, but I want you to consider a few things before hastily drawing conclusions. Secondly, anything I say is based solely from what I’ve read. And I am not addressing this issue as being right or wrong – we know it is wrong, but instead I want to address the comments and blogs in response to his actions.

He said, she said

There is a lot of speculation and hearsay about this and we are quick to fill in the blanks. Way too quick. The media spins everything and most of it, in general, is probably not true. But the following messages are straight from Josh & Anna Duggar’s Facebook page and the Duggar Family Official’s Facebook page:

“From Jim Bob and Michelle:

Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives. When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before. Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles everyday. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God’s kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us – even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey – the good times and the difficult times – cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.

From Josh:

Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.

From Anna (Josh’s wife):

I can imagine the shock many of you are going through reading this. I remember feeling that same shock. It was not at the point of engagement, or after we were married – it was two years before Josh asked me to marry him. When my family and I first visited the Duggar Home, Josh shared his past teenage mistakes. I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn’t know why he was sharing it. For Josh he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was – even every difficult past mistakes. At that point and over the next two years, Josh shared how the counseling he received changed his life as he continued to do what he was taught. And when you, our sweet fans, first met me when Josh asked me to marry him… I was able to say, “Yes” knowing who Josh really is – someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended. Someone who had received the help needed to change the direction of his life and do what is right. I want to say thank you to those who took time over a decade ago to help Josh in a time of crisis. Your investment changed his life from going down the wrong path to doing what is right. If it weren’t for your help I would not be here as his wife – celebrating 6 ½ years of marriage to a man who knows how to be a gentleman and treat a girl right. Thank you to all of you who tirelessly work with children in crisis, you are changing lives and I am forever grateful for all of you.”

The perfect Christian family

The Duggar family has been put on a public pedestal ever since their show started airing in 2002. They have been deemed the “perfect Christian family”. There is no perfect Christian family! I have watched most of their episodes and never once heard them claim to be perfect. It’s not even possible. Being a Christian, or a Christian family, does in no way make you become perfect – it’s a huge myth. Christians are still very far from perfection! The only difference to set us apart from any other human being on this earth is our personal relationship with the God of the universe (and, of course, with that, where our eternity lies). But Christians do not lose their ability to sin once they become Christians – once they come to know Christ. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can live a life closer to that of Christ’s, who was perfect, but alone it is not possible.

In their shoes

I have heard some say they have lost all respect for the parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. Why? In Josh’s message, he speaks of steps that were taken. He talks of the counseling they all received and even going to the authorities. His parents addressed it once they were made aware and they took steps to deal with it. What else would you have them do? Perhaps kick 15-year-old Josh out of their house? Lock him away in the basement or attic? It sounds to me like they responded as they should. Beyond that – what they did or didn’t do – all else is speculation. We only know what we’re being told.

Christian parents should have a different perspective and way of handling situations than the general public. They have to answer to God first and foremost. We are not in their exact shoes so we cannot criticize them for the steps they took, and especially for that which we do not know.

There were also comments made about his parents allowing it to continue in their home for at least a year or more. That is speculation too. No one but Josh knows how long it was before he told them or if it continued while his parents knew. Just a reminder, some sin is hard to break!  And if they were aware then that is still between God and them, not us! (A side note: In Josh’s statement he says, “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life.”  “Come into my life” sounds like he became a Christian.  If that’s the case, he was walking in darkness. Non-christians do not live nor see things the same as Christians do.)

A few other things

Many are claiming Josh should be considered a pedophile. He was fifteen years old – that is still a child! Besides, in order to be “diagnosed” with pedophilia you must be at least sixteen years old. I’m not excusing his behavior but I believe slapping pedophilia on him is a bit hasty and harsh.

Another claim: they still started the show, now called 19 Kids and counting, right after this happened, displaying and representing themselves as a Christian family. That’s covering it up. Why is this considered covering it up? As I said before, no family is perfect. Why should this stop them from starting the show? I doubt the qualifications for having a show are being perfect and having a dirt-free past. It was no one else’s business but Josh’s, his parents’, the victims’ and the authorities’. No one else needs to know. Isn’t it like world to dig up the past dirt on everyone in the spotlight? They do this to presidential leaders, celebrities and anyone else in the public eye. This was in the past. They dealt with it. It seems they have worked through it and moved on. But never mind that, let’s rub their nose in the hurt, guilt and shame all over again. After all, that’s what we love to do! I would not appreciate, years later, being condemned for something and for it to be publicly displayed all over the media.

Blame the victims, coddle the abuser

Perhaps this is the case in many situations, but how do you know it is in this particular situation? They claim to have all received counseling. I didn’t hear anyone blame the girls and I didn’t hear anyone excuse him for his actions. Showing forgiveness and mercy is not excusing the deed.

Cast the first stone

Let me share a Bible passage with you.

John 8:3-11

The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to [Jesus], “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test Him, that they might have some charge to bring against Him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask Him, He stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more He bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before Him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

If you have sin – if you are not perfect – then you may not judge another. Maybe your sin is different than Josh’s but we should not condemn another no matter the sin. The root of our sin is still in the heart – in the wicked, sinful heart. In the passage above probably none of the scribes and Pharisees committed adultery, yet they walked away because they were not without sin.

Are we so perfect in our lives that we cannot allow anyone else, even Christians, to fall into sin?

I have a dirty past. I think we all do. I have done things I am not proud of – things I don’t want shared with anyone else. Things only few, if any, know about. I am betting you do too. The guilt can be overwhelming. The guilt looms over you sometimes for years, especially if you haven’t dealt with it properly. So who am I to condemn him for his sin?

Take the log out of your own eye!

This may go hand-in-hand with the casting of the first stone.

Matthew 7:1-5

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judge, and will the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

I like the ESV study notes on the above verses:

Judge not forbids pronouncing another person guilty before God. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged. Undue harshness and a judgmental attitude toward others will result in being treated in much the same way by God.

Jesus does not forbid all evaluation or even judgment of others, for ultimately the one who feels grieved and humbled over his own sin can help remove the “speck” from others. What Jesus does rule out is pride that views oneself as better than others.”

Mercy and forgiveness

This really is the biggest struggle I have in the responses of the general public! We are so incredibly quick to condemn and far less easy to extend mercy and forgiveness. I realize there are situations in which you must remove certain threats, especially when the situation or person hasn’t changed, but where is our mercy? Where is the mercy, particularly for those that make the necessary efforts and changes? Josh’s wife has witnessed a change in him, she said so. Why are we, the public, so reluctant or even incapable of it?

Furthermore, is it really up to us? Does he really need our forgiveness or mercy? When we walk down a dark path and betray and hurt someone, do we need to ask everyone on our contact list for forgiveness, or just for the ones we hurt? This should have nothing to do with the public. Our world is so quick to throw out our judgments and our revenge and pay-backs that we forget love and mercy and forgiveness.

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Based on his statement, “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life”, God has already forgiven Josh, so why can’t we?

Conclusion

We are so quick to speculate, criticize and judge choices and situations. But were we there? I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I like to think they did what they felt was right. And do we know all the facts? And even if we did know all of the facts, what would we do in that given situation.

I am guilty of many things. I am no better than they. I need to take the log out of my own eye before I can address the speck in his.

I should be quick to forgive, because I would want to be forgiven just the same. Let’s exercise more mercy and forgiveness!

I crossed the line

(I have to say this blog took a turn that I wasn’t expecting! This is a perfect example of God’s leading.)

I am not the most gifted speaker. Some may find this ironic because I love to talk. But I get my words jumbled and lose my train of thought quite often; it doesn’t always flow very easily. I admire those that open their mouths and it is just so eloquent. I struggle because my brain is faster than my tongue. My mind is speedily sifting through topics and my mouth is still trying to spit out the last words from two topics ago. My head is rushing and my mouth is saying wait, I didn’t finish.

I often get ignored. I guess a better way to put it is: I often lose people. Actually most of the time, this happens. I will start a story, I’ve got their full attention and then I come to a “Y” in my brain. Do I choose the path with the short version of the story or do I stop while I am ahead – while they are still listening. Every time – because I love to talk – I walk down the path of the longer version; the path that leads to the loss of their attention. Picture this: I am driving on a road. Up ahead, I see a line across the road. The line means I need to stop. It represents, I’ve said too much – time to stop. Nearly every conversation of mine has that line. I approach it in my head. I slow down. Yet every time I think to myself, eh they’re still listening so my mouth keeps speaking. I cross the line, then boom! I quickly lose them. There’s always a period right before the line in the road. A moment where I could end the conversation, but I always seem to change it to a comma or a semi-colon. They shift. They look away. Sometimes they even interrupt or walk away. I repeat the last sentence again. I fruitlessly try to rein them back into my world.

I get so discouraged.

A while back I finally ask myself if it was me, or was it them. I think it’s both.

I have a tendency to take the L. O. N. G. version on every single conversation. I cannot, I mean cannot, leave out even a tiny detail. It is important, after all, to me. I believe these important-to-me tidbits are probably useless to the average ear. In my head, while I’m talking, my brain is yelling, take the short version! Take the short version! I usually don’t listen, probably because my mouth is still talking. I can’t blame the hearer for losing their focus. Maybe their brain is calling out, brain overloadmake it stop! (ha!)

More than my sometimes overwhelming desire within me to talk is the issue of my lacking any adult conversation during the day. I love my boys, but let’s face it, talking to a threenager, a ”terrible twos”-year-old and a nearly eight-month-old does not satisfy my need for adult conversation. So when my husband comes home or I get out of the house it becomes even tougher to keep my mouth shut.

The reason I said it’s both (me and them) is because we’re in too much of a rush in this world. Without going into a whole other monolog about it, I will say simply: we need to slow down. We need to take time to listen to each other. Put down the phones, the book and the TV remote. This advice is for me as well. As the excessive speaker, I need to listen just as much as I speak, and maybe even more. Ever heard the saying, that’s why God made two ears and only one mouth? So we can do twice as much listening as talking.

This is why I like blogging! I don’t have to worry about the receivers’ ears. I don’t need to worry about their distraction level. There are no lines to cross. There is no punctuation to change. No telling myself to take the short version. It is what it is. My story is my story. You read it or you don’t. Beyond that, I have time to think about it and to go back and edit it and make it eloquently flow. Or to not post it at all (which I admit is tough, especially when I feel I have something important to say). None of this is easy and it’s nearly impossible in daily conversations!

(Here’s the “turn” in the blog.)

What is the root of the issue though? And what does the Bible say about it? I have been seriously praying about this! I have something important to say; my story needs undivided attention. It far outweighs the importance of everything else on another’s agenda. They need to listen to me when I talk. It’s a heart issue; it’s selfishness. Matthew 12:34, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. There is nothing wrong with talking but there are times when choosing to be silent is far better. Maybe I shouldn’t be considering where the line is on the road of conversation, but instead not even walking the road. I’ve often went back over a conversation in my head and thought, that was dumb; why did I even say that? Should’ve just kept my mouth shut.

The verses below are addressing the issue of what comes out of the mouth not necessarily how much but…when words are many transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent (Proverbs 10:19). The more you say the more risk of error or foolishness. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about this, because there is wise talk and there is foolish. The righteous in these verses refers to the wise person, whereas the wicked is referring to the foolish person. Here are just a few verses:

Proverbs 10:13

On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found. (You can’t understand unless you hear first. Perhaps I even speak before I listen? Sometimes what a person says does not warrant a story from me.)

Proverbs 10:20

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;

the heart of the wicked is of little worth.

 Proverbs 10:31-32

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,

but the perverse tongue will be cut off.

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,

but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

Is what I have to say so important that it can’t be kept to only me? Ephesians 4:29 says, let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Though telling a story about my life or something that happened to me is hardly considered corrupting talk, it may not be considered good for building up. I have to ask myself, is the hearer any worse off if I don’t share my story? Or would it be encouraging and uplifting to them?

In a simple, I-see-the-line-in-the-road-and-I’m-going-to-stop conclusion, I need to do twice as much listening as talking, know when to just be silent, shorten my versions, and do more blogging (ha!).

If not the Church, then who?

On Mother’s Day a sign out front of a local Baptist church read:

God can’t be everywhere, that’s why He made mothers.

I was appalled, to say the least!!! Immediately my husband and I began discussing this. Not that we disagreed with each other but we disagreed with the statement on the sign. Why on earth would a Baptist church write this in the first place??

I felt lead to contact the church via their website. With three boys screaming while writing I wrote the following rather quickly:

“I very often drive by your church and take notice of the message on your sign out front. The one on Mother’s Day wrote: God can’t be everywhere, that’s why He made mothers. Was this a joke or supposed to be cute???? My husband and I were appalled!! I was extremely disappointed to read this message. I do not know the church, though a family member has gone there for a time, but I’m not sure the message is what you want to be displaying – that God isn’t everywhere? That’s a basic fundamental belief – pretty much takes away some of His power!!!! Thanks for taking the time to read and consider this!!”

I didn’t know how it would be received, so I wasn’t real hopeful on getting a response. To my surprise, I did receive one; it read:

“Thank you for taking notice of our sign. To be honest, when I saw the saying on the board, I, too, thought that people could take it the wrong way. Our intent was not to teach theology, but to honor our moms. We believe in the omnipresence of God. Thanks for keeping us on our toes.”

At first, I thought it was a decent response but as I began thinking more about it I changed my mind. Here’s why:

  1. Anyone not firm in their faith, or even an unbeliever, may read the sign and doubt the power that God possesses. He is not everywhere, they may question. This may satisfy their already confident doubt. This is a huge misrepresentation of God! I believe this is potential cause for someone to stumble in their faith. This is serious!
  2. I believe the Pastor took it lightly – way too lightly. It seems he brushed it off as a mere “flub-up”. This is huge! God being everywhere – called omnipresence – is a huge part of who He is. This is not something to be wavering on. This is fundamental to our faith!
  3. “To be honest, when I saw the saying on the board, I, too, thought that people could take it the wrong way.” First off, he didn’t do anything about it! He saw the sign, but all that followed was a thought. There was no action. No addressing it. No correction. He is the Pastor and with that comes a responsibility of leadership. They are not called to sit back and watch. Secondly, “people could take it the wrong way”? What other way could it be taken? God can’t be everywhere…that is what the sign said. There’s no other way to spin that!
  4. As humans we fail constantly, I’m not questioning that. But this is not a I-had-a-bad-attitude-with-a-cashier mistake. At least that one you can make right – you can mend it. This is not a fly-by-the-moment, oh-shoot-I-shouldn’t-have-said-that issue. This statement took time to think up and time to put up on the board (it was not a digital sign)…meaning they had time to question whether this was true in accordance to God’s word. The sad part is that they don’t know who the viewers are; they can’t simply go talk to them. Comments like these need to be thought over longer and confirmed with Scripture!

This cuts to the very core of the Christian belief. This statement may have caused someone to falter in their faith. I, as a believer, saw it, so who else did? I’m sure someone said, “See I knew it! I knew God wasn’t ‘all that’.”   Or “that’s why He doesn’t answer my prayers; He’s off helping someone else.” This creates doubt, and questions the very character and power of God!!! (I could go into detail about God’s omnipresence; but then I would have to include His omnipotence and omniscience, which I cannot accomplish this appropriately right now.)

The Church, the body of Christ, needs to verify our faith according to the truth in the word of God and then stand firm in that faith. This error should not and cannot happen. If the Church does not stand up for the truth, then who will?

Whatever happened to simple is better? I understand the intention was to honor mothers but wouldn’t a simple Happy Mother’s Day! We appreciate you so much! suffice? Want something more elaborate? How about – Mothers were intricately woven by God, created incredibly for His precious purpose. God may not allow us to see Him with our eyes or to feel His touch on our skin, but mothers can. Mothers can touch lives and hearts like no other on this earth. Happy Mother’s Day!

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The Day After

I normally don’t have a car through the day. But due to an unfortunate break down we had to borrow a family member’s vehicle. We haven’t taken it back yet so that allows me to have some FREEDOM!

I packed up the boys and headed out for the day – the whole day! I didn’t care where, we were just GONE!

It was a glorious day. Not without hiccups and potential bodily harm. It’s mostly Elias because he’s my – for lack of a better term – naughty acrobat. He fell out of a shopping cart onto his head in Walmart, not without taking the whole rack of toys down with him, fell off of a wooden bench in the Mall injuring my shoulder and got his finger pinched in a door trying to escape a Restaurant.

Cue end of our day out.

The day after

My boys are close in age: three, two and seven and a half months old. You can be rest assured every single day is a hectic and somewhat tough day. Today though…ten times harder!

The minute my threenager (heard this “term” recently…love it!) woke up he was upset with me. Boy, how could I mess up so soon after he opened his eyes for the day?? Something about having a car. Something about me not saying what I always say. I didn’t understand him, not because he isn’t able to speak clearly, but it was so jumbled by emotions.

At the breakfast table, what continues, but his untamed attitude. I sent him back upstairs to do an attitude adjustment. He came back down with a clear head.

Middle child, aka “naughty acrobat”, continued his naughtiness but turned it up to a new level. He decided to pull out all the decorative beads in my wedding bouquet that I have displayed on the piano. Every thing he knows he is not supposed to get into he managed to “find” in 3 hours. Whining. Screaming. Yelling. “No,” “no” and “no”….to everything.

I caught myself yelling, not loud enough for the neighbors to hear, but loud enough that it past the stern and confident level. I stopped abruptly and said, “I’m not going to raise my voice anymore. I am going to say it like this…” using my current tone as the example, “and if you don’t listen the first time then there will be consequences.”

Unfortunately I failed. I failed a little more than a time or two.

It continues

Little one decides that he’s not taking his usual three hour nap but instead to be awake after less than an hour. And refuses to go back to sleep despite all interventions.

Laundry. Oh yeah! I pull the laundry out and start throwing it in the dryer. What are these chunks of white disgusting goo?? Took me a little bit to figure it out. Yes, I washed a pull-up. It was all throughout the washer. And the dryer because I threw pieces in before I realized.

Meanwhile, middle one decides to nap less than an hour and to scream a warning that he pooped his pants. (He is potty-trained.)

Piece by piece I walk the laundry outside to shake off the white goo. Walk each piece back in and lay it on the floor. After each piece is out of the washer I wipe it down and run a load empty.

Middle child maintains a whiny attitude so he gets warned and then sent back up to bed to finish his nap. He does end up sleeping another hour or so.

I start to put clothes back in the now clean washer and realize I never pulled the goo’d up clothes from the dryer. So piece by piece again, I march the other half of the laundry outside. I bring them back in and wipe out the dryer.

The two older boys need lunch. Nothing is what they want. And yet what I give them isn’t enough. Little one wants to nurse and sleep. Of course I can’t withhold a nap of some sort since he only slept a tidbit of a nap earlier.

I can’t even recall all the reasons the two older ones were told to sit in their chairs, but it has gone on all day. Even in his chair with the seatbelt on, middle one managed to possess the play tunnel that goes with their big fabric tent. What do I see out of the corner of my eye but him ripping it in half; a big gash right in the middle. Oh yes! This momma is not very happy. It was a gift and they love it.

Oh shoot! Meat. Supper. (Yes, my memory consists of one word thoughts.) I forgot to pull meat out of the freezer for supper. No wonder we always end up with frozen fried foods! I decide to switch meals around to compensate to my lack of memory due to lack of time to think.

The two older boys are sitting quietly so I steal a moment to start thoughts on a blog. But I’m interrupted from my thoughts as I remember the little one is upstairs napping. He can’t nap too long or it’ll mess up bedtime.

I look around the house. What did I even accomplish?? I guess this is the day when my husband comes home and asks, without the use of words, what did you do all day?

What are the boys doing now? Asking for a snack. Asking me to play with them. Asking for their father to come home….actually so am I – I’m begging!!

…and we’re just entering into the “witching hour”! *sigh*

A lesson in everything

There is a lesson to be learned in everything. After all, that’s why God allows even the smallest of things in our lives. Do we always see it? Can we always see it?

The lesson is that there will be days like this. But one day I will look back and wish I still had young children. I will only have the memories in my head and a few (ha!) pictures to remember these times.

Lighten up. And be glad in it; for this season, too, will end soon.

Reality hit me straight in the nose

I have been intently observing my youngest son, Uriah, for the past few months; every movement, every milestone and development, every interaction, even more so than I did with my first two sons. (If you are new to our family, then I will say briefly: since around four months Uriah has been displaying whole body uncoordinated movements. He has had several tests done over the past few weeks and all the results have been normal. This rules out some things but is inconclusive to others.) At his first appointment with neurology, the doctor discussed his suspicions for Uriah’s difficulties. I already had the same suspicions.

I researched even more. I prepared myself.

But hearing the doctor unofficially confirm the possibility of one of two diagnoses yesterday, has made reality hit me straight in the nose.

I was not prepared after all.

Fear of the unknown set in. Fear of the challenges that lie ahead. It’s called worry. It’s not pleasant. It does not reap peace or thankfulness. There is bondage. There is unhappiness. There is insecurity.

This morning was probably the first time that I really felt sad, and more than just pure concern for Uriah. I held back the tears as they threatened to spill down my cheeks. What does his future, our future, hold? I know for certain, apart from God’s healing hand, Uriah’s care right now, at 7 1/2 months old, will be his easiest. I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but if God chooses not to heal him, I know he will need, at the very least, therapy and most likely numerous other interventions.

I grabbed my Bible as it lay in front of me. I was lead to this simple verse:

Psalm 112:7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

WOW! There could not have been a more perfect verse for the moment!

I am not saying this verse makes me feel less sad or concerned. Simply, my heart and my mind should be fixed on trusting God and resting in His divine purposes for our family. To be open to God’s plan and glorify Him through it.

I should accept concern, ditch worry and embrace God’s will for our lives. I need to trust that we are in God’s hands, and in those hands I need not fear!

The sun is always shining

My youngest son (7 ½ months) has been displaying some difficulties in certain physical movements for the past few months. He is being followed by a neurologist. He has had many tests done as well. It is very easy to fall into the pit of worry. I have been so involved in observing these difficulties that sometimes I forget to give as much effort to noticing and rejoicing in things he is able to do. And the new things he learns.

Isn’t it just like us humans to focus and drive our attention on all the won’ts and can’ts? Instead we should be focusing on the cans and does.

We can get so clouded by what is right in front of us, that it becomes hard to see the positives.

We need to be thankful even in the clouds, or storms of life. It’s so easy to settle in the pits of negativity, worry and impossibility. Sometimes it is hard to see any positives in a certain situation but we can still be thankful for them. We can be certain that through it God is working and will use it to be glorified. We do not know God’s plan or purposes but we can know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

We can rest in that promise. We can still be thankful.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Philippians 4:4,6,7 says, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Stop worrying, doubting, or questioning His purposes. Though it doesn’t specifically say in these verses to always focus on the positives, you cannot rejoice or give thanks while dwelling in all the negatives.

How can I change? When you start falling into the pit of negativity and worry, PRAY!

Every situation requires the right perspective. The sun is always shining…that is no lie! Ever flown in an airplane? It can be raining on the ground but once you fly above the clouds you are marvelously blinded by the rays of the sun. To take this concept further… the clouds, or the storms of life, never last.

Pray. Rejoice. Be thankful. Focus on the positives. Know that God is working out His plan and purpose in every season of your life.IMG_20150426_195222

Mother’s Day for me

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day.

It was like every other day, full of daily routine…whining, dishes, fighting, changing diapers, disobeying, laundry, missed naps, broken down cars. Oh wait, no, the broken down car is new.

It was not the day I expected. It was not entirely special. In fact, the car situation was very un-special.

I can look back at the day with 2 perspectives.

First perspective

This perspective is the easiest and comes most naturally. It is from the very depths of my selfish heart.

The day was to be about me – honoring me, as a mother. Nothing about the day was about me. It did not feel special. I still changed the soiled diapers, I still wiped my child’s hind end, I still did the dishes, I still dealt with the endless and annoying whining from two out of three of my children, I did not sleep in, I still did laundry, I still cleaned up after the family, I still did laundry…and the car. Yes, the broken down car. How is any of that about me?

But as I moped about the day, I felt like I was slapped in the face! How easily we can be so forgetful of what we’re given! How ungrateful of me!

And so I chose to change my perspective and turn my day into a rejoice in the Lord always

Second perspective

This takes a bit more work. It goes against our natural tendency. I can be disappointed that my day didn’t feel special like I expected or I can be grateful that it was a day like every other.

A day like every other means that we are all still alive and thriving! God has given me another day of normals!

It means that I still have my husband to be irritated with. I have kids that are healthy enough to warrant the changing of diapers and wiping of hind ends. Having dishes to wash means we have food to eat. Even the whining and crying from the kids means they are still breathing and able to vocalize. Piles of laundry (I rarely have piles!) means God has provided clothing for us. Fighting means I have another opportunity to teach the boys. A broken down car; yes, I can still be thankful for that too! A broken down car means God is using this in my life to teach me more about Him, to allow me to grow and to show me that He will provide. (Actually, because our garage is so close to the house we got to walk home.  Take a walk – check.)

And though there was nothing spectacular…there were cards. Important cards that spelled out in specific words, how much I meant to each of my family members. And there were flowers. Handmade flowers and a handmade candle. Each made from the preciousness of the heart. My second perspective has to remember these simple but special gestures.

Mother’s Day is a wonderful day of honoring mothers. But sometimes it’s okay to be reminded that we are still alive and able to take care of our household. I may not have been able to take a nap or get out of doing the dishes, but it does not mean I was not honored.

I am honored to be a mother!