Sowing for LIFE

mom and dad 1962

On April 17th, my parents celebrate 54 years of marriage.  Full of spunk and life, my mom is the ever-ready bunny and never stops MOVING, while my dad is her anchor and enjoys a good book snuggled up with his four-legged best friend, Molly.  Together my parents have weathered decades of joys and heartache; trials and triumphs, leaving a legacy behind for their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

That legacy is FAITHFULNESS.

Even when the waters were choppy and the road seemed impassable, my folks weathered every storm and stayed together.  While loving and serving one another unconditionally, these two will make anyone laugh till your side hurts.  Our kids will randomly just start laughing as we recall comedic stories my parents have lived!  (Ask them to tell you about one early morning broken car horn and a convertible!) It will leave you in stitches.

Most importantly, my parents have modeled for me and my kids what it means to stay.

And for that I am forever grateful.

Happy Anniversary Ken and Nancy Bowen.

You are LOVED!!!

 

Sowing with Vision | Raising Sons

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Today is a very special day.  Our first born son turns 21.  There is something very significant when one reaches this milestone.  Not only is it a milestone for him, but it’s a milestone for us as well.  Our son Cameron, is one of the eight reasons why this blog was started in the first place.  His life is a testimony to God’s faithfulness when you keep sowing with vision.

You see, he was my strong-willed child.

https://sowwithvision.com/2016/02/01/the-strong-willed-child/ .

And now, at 6’4″ tall, he is a full grown man, who both loves Jesus and family with all his heart.

I can’t help but tear up….

After years of constant movement and more energy than could ever be explained, now he is pouring his life into young kids.  Mentoring and shepherding them weekly, Cameron is more than a piano instructor, he’s also a life coach.  By rewarding his students each week for their bible reading, listening skills, and practice, he understands the value of teaching the whole child ;  the tangibles and the intangibles.   The discipline and habits he has built in are an inspiration to me daily as I listen in to his lessons from my kitchen sink.  I’m constantly challenged by him, without him even knowing, to reach higher.  Now at 21, he has met the 10,000 hour rule in his field of study, piano.   In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. He continues to sow in his field of study, while also teaching others.

As a mom, watching the Lord move through him, encourages and inspires me as I pour into the younger kids, and to  keep sowing with vision. Hosea 10:12

I encourage you today…to keep pouring out your life for your family.  You won’t ever regret it.

Happy 21st birthday Cameron True!

You are Loved

 

An Easter Anthem

This beautiful voice is from my dear sister in Christ, Sara Burt. She’s a pastor’s wife, and truly A Pastor’s Glory. Enjoy this Easter Anthem.

Sara Burt

The mercy and grace bestowed upon us is overwhelming. Tucked deep in the book of Job is a verse revealing the magnitude of God’s mercy in light of our sinfulness.

“I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light” (Job 33:27–28 ESV).

In this passage, Elihu is describing a hypothetical man and his response to God’s great mercy. We relate. We see our testimony in this declaration. Our broken world reeks of sin. Our fleshly natures long to be fed with that which the world offers. We have been tempted and we have fed ourselves. We have taken the gifts of God and perverted them to fulfill our own desires. And yet we are forgiven.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great…

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Sowing Seeds

You-See-Seeds-but-I-See-the-Trees

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 9:10

What seeds have you been given?

In late December of 2015 I was blessed to cross paths with the Patriot Journalist Network, where I met the founder, Mark Prasek.  As a former coach, I quickly learned that his passion is to add value to others, and whether he realizes it or not,

he is influencing the influencers.

By providing a 24/7 forum online, like-minded people who are burdened for our nation, can come together and make a difference collectively online.  During several chat room discussions with the other members, Mark set an important example.  He encouraged others to use what you have already been given.

Seeds

As I was praying for my family, church, community, and nation, the Lord pricked my heart and I thought, “What is it that I have already been given?”

The Lord has given us a home, and a large family who all love Him.

A husband who is gifted in song writing and worship leading, with a powerful life story.

Love of cooking and hosting

Years of experience planning major events from fund raisers to formal balls for our local homeschooling community.

Through a series of events and confirmations, a vision was born.  Our family began to host monthly potluck dinners followed by a sweet time of music and testimony led by my husband.

These evenings are called GATEWAY

With so many of our family members touching different circles in the community, we decided to open it up to anyone who wanted to attend and allow our kids to invite their friends.

Paul says in 2 Cor. 10:13, “But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even you.” 

You see, the Lord has given each of us an “area of influence” where we can reach out and influence others.  It may be a momma reading a bedtime story to her young children,  a college student hosting a bible study in his apartment, an educator teaching students how to write pro-life speeches,  or a data engineer creating an online forum where thousands of powerful tweets are sent out daily.

We’ve all been given something by God, and a circle of influence that He wants to use to further His kingdom.

What about you?

What are your seeds?

I encourage you today to sow YOUR seeds with VISION.

 

The Heartbeat

6:00 am.

The alarm and the toddler both wake me up.  I stumble to the coffee maker and reach for my cell phone to listen to the daily audible Bible, while loading a full dishwasher.

The morning was harried and stressful.  It was the first day back to our weekly homeschool program after a long Christmas break.  Each of my kids arise and are dressing for the day.  Still dark outside, the air was piercingly frigid.  We busily hunted for shoes, jackets, and backpacks while we frantically rushed to pack seven lunches.

7:30 am.

We arrive at our destination and start unloading the van.

As the kids make their way to chapel, I visit with other moms. So far, a normal day for us.  My reluctant toddler decides school isn’t for her today, so I’m dealing with clinging hands, trying to coax her into her room.

My class starts in a few hours, and I spend the next hours researching and going over my notes so that I can prepare to teach.

When all of a sudden, my ordinary day instantly turns extraordinary by the presence of the living God…

Through a simple text.

It is now a monumental day…

11 am

My adult daughter, pregnant with her first baby, sends me a text following her very first visit to the midwife.

“I heard the heartbeat”.

The tears began streaming down my face.

My GRANDCHILD’S heart is beating strong!

How can I put this feeling into words?

The realization that your first born child, is carrying your first born grandchild.

Pure Joy inexpressible.

By the grace of God, I’ve carried to term and delivered eight healthy children over the past 21 years.  I remember the posters on the wall of the doctor’s office where I was sitting when my husband and I heard my oldest child, Bethany’s, heartbeat for the very first time.  I remember how we celebrated and wiped away the tears because God had given us the desire of our heart.

I remember that day and I will always remember today.

This extraordinary day.

When a text told me, that new life is here.

The heartbeat means just that….a heart is alive, and beating.

My prayer is that this child’s heart beat, will inspire others to continue to beat.

…That this child will send a message on the value of human life, from their tiny home, my daughter’s womb.

“Let the little children come unto me, and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matt 19:14

I wrote this story two years ago. In the summer of 2014 Temperance Chloe  was born. She was born on the one year anniversary of the passing of a very significant Pro-Life bill that had passed the Texas Legislature HB2, which my church family and friends were deeply involved with in prayer circles and in Austin the year before.  I believe the Lord will use this beautiful young life to speak to the nation about the sanctity of human life, and the value and worth of every heartbeat.

More good news!!! Today, March 22, 2016

I got another text….

“We have a strong heartbeat!”  Yes, Grandbaby #2 arrives in October!

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Speed of the Leader

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Leadership…

Who comes to mind when you hear this word?

Government Officials? Military Generals?  Naval officers? Company Presidents? Corporate Executives?  Local Pastors or maybe even Little League Coaches?

How about Stay-at-home Moms?

Do you think of a Mom when you think of Leadership?

Do you think of yourself?

Why not?

Moms, you ARE all leaders in your home, and your TRIBE is watching you. Not only do you lead them daily as you help guide them through simple routines, but you are modeling for them how they are eventually to lead themselves. Yesterday I was visiting with a close friend, who has three young kids ages 5, 3, and 2.  She didn’t see herself as a leader, and I told her that YES she was.  She was leading those young hearts every day, and she was setting a Godly example to other moms of how to be a faithful wife, a caring friend, and a steadfast mother.  Then my oldest son shared a quote he had just read by Brene Brown, in her  best selling book, Daring Greatly…

“I believe a leader is anyone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in others.” ~Brene Brown

Isn’t this the epitome of motherhood?

John Maxwell says that, “Everything rises and fall on leadership; the speed of the leader determines the speed of the pack.”

Recently, I was fortunate to be in the company of some amazing moms at a staff meeting for our local Classical Education program.

The director encouraged all of us to begin a personal enrichment plan in order to grow personally, academically, and spiritually.  We were each challenged to identify the types of activities which recharge us and work to implement those activities weekly into our schedule.  In order to grow as a leader, we need to develop ourselves in Body, Mind, and Soul. I recommend scheduling time every weekend to lay out what Stephen Covey teaches as the WEEKLY COMPASS, where instead of focusing on your to do list for the week, you first identify four different areas in your personal life that you can work to improve on, one thing at a time, followed by your 7 keys rolls each week.  (More on that soon).

If mom as leader is working to improve herself on a regular basis, be it running on the treadmill, memorizing scripture, reading good books, working on a political campaign, or even taking online classes, then each of these things communicates to her children that we never “arrive” on the journey, we are always continuing to grow.

It’s called personal development.  School doesn’t end at 12th grade, spiritual growth isn’t over at salvation, and health and wellness are a life style, not a passing phase.

I believe that anything worth doing, is worth doing well.

Including motherhood.

What can you do today that will recharge you?  How do you weekly work on adding value to your own body, mind, and soul?  Your children are watching you.

The speed of the leader determines the speed of the pack.

The hand that rocks the cradle…

 

 

 

When They Leave

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It was a normal Monday.  With the flu in the house, I wasn’t sure which child I would be up with in the early morning hours, but I knew someone would need something for their fever.

Up at 3am.

I had even beat my 20 year old Starbucks-early-morning-barista-daughter up.   She would be leaving the house at 4:30am.  The two year old wasn’t going back to bed.  She was up and didn’t know what she wanted exactly, but she knew it needed to involve momma right next to her.  There was no consoling her other than rocking her and singing softly to her as the Motrin took effect.  As she began to settle down, the kitchen was now calling.  Being up early with the younger kids allowed me a chance to make an early morning breakfast for my college student who was headed out to campus for a full day of summer classes.  As the day unfolded, I knew it was a good time to get into that school room and organize all those school papers and clean out all the backpacks before something started growing in them.  While the house was a flurry, little girls were drawing pictures for their big brother who was off at camp, my 16 year old daughter getting ready to take one of her sisters on that promised trip to the pool.

2pm: I grab a quick nap, my work-from-home hubby is headed to an appointment and we kiss goodbye.

It’s now 2:45 in the afternoon and I need to meet a student I’m tutoring at the library soon.  With the dinner instructions explained to the teen in charge, and the preferred chores requested, I head out to teach.

3:30 at the library, my student has arrived late and I get a text.

Cassidy:  Mom….Abby is being horrible. Will you talk to her?  She has been rude, disobedient, and back talking. She’s told me she hates me over 8 times and counting and she keeps screaming like I’ve been hurting her, when in fact I haven’t touched her.  She’s being SO dramatic!!

Me: Send her to my room and let her lay down. I will call her

Cassidy: I tried to. She won’t listen.

Me: I’m in the library and can’t talk yet. Please call dad. Try another approach with her. Just leave her be. Tell her calmly that her sister is resting and she needs to cooperate.

Cass: I’ve tried EVERYTHING. She won’t listen, when she goes to your room, she wakes up Charis!

Me (to my student), “Will you excuse me a minute?”  I head to the stairwell and proceeded to try and mediate remotely a household that has been recovering from the flu with emotions high.  I knew everyone was on edge and I innocently thought that a two hour trip away from home would be uneventful.  Boy, was I wrong.

The offender had her say, and finally calmed down.

Time to leave the library. I’m now headed to the bank.  So far a normal day.

Then it happened.

My oldest daughter called me.  She’s the one living at home, has just graduated college, soon to be married in one month.  I hadn’t seen her in a couple of days since she had met her fiancé at the airport and spent the day before with him.  She had worked a full shift that morning and was asleep when I left the house.

Beth:  Mom, are you coming home?

Me: Not yet, I have one more student to tutor.

Beth: Mom, he got the job.

Then I knew.

It hadn’t hit me till that moment.

She was leaving.

I knew it would happen, we have been planning a wedding for six months.  But for some reason, today…I wept.  Actually, I couldn’t stop the tears. They were flowing and would not stop.  I wasn’t crying because I needed her to fill some emptiness in me,

…I wept because I will miss her.  I wept just because…

I’m a mom.

Did I hug her enough? Tell her I love her enough?  Did I listen to her when she was excited about a new book she was reading?  Did I really try to make her comfortable in the home?  Were the years she was here a blessing to her, or something else?  Did we pray together enough?  Did I take enough pictures?  Did I tell her enough stories of her childhood?  Did we spend enough time together?

I cry because I am thankful. I weep because God is good.  He allows us to love as He loves…To draw from His well, His height and depth and width and breadth of unending, never failing love.  We love because He first loved us.

It’s true, and now I get it.  God really does just “loan” our children to us for a short season.

Then they leave.

Others have felt this way, my friends all warned me it would come suddenly.

And it did.

She’s my first.  There are seven more to follow.  I am hoping it will get easier.  It is all good.  Things are as they should be.  She’s marrying the right man.  She’s strong, independent, and loves the Lord.  My head knows that everything is good.

I’m just waiting for my heart to get the message.

Suddenly, those early morning Motrin runs, non-stop dishes and laundry, and interrupting text messages don’t seem so bad.

Suddenly, in that moment, I realize that I have one chance to pour into all my children all the time and the love and grace and forgiveness and scripture reading and worship nights and family meetings and coaching and story-telling that I can possibly give them.

I have ONE chance to get it right.

Before it all becomes a memory.

I love you Bethany.  I am so happy for you.  The tears may flow this month, but they are tears of gratitude and love.   You make me want to me a better mom.

To all the mommas out there, holding their babies right now in the middle of the night, one day they will leave, and you will be so glad you loved them deeply like you are doing right now.  One day, you will thank the Lord, for these late nights.   One day, you will look back, smile, and pray over the next generation who will carry the mantle that you have passed on to them.  One day…..

 

The Parenting Secret


“Just wait till their teenagers!”

This was the common refrain we heard every weekend at the ballpark while cheering on our six year old athlete and chasing her three younger siblings around the bleachers.

I often think back at how I felt when I would hear those words: overwhelmed, fearful, confused, even sad. It was as if people were communicating to me, “One day you’ll be sorry for having all those kids!”

How sad

Here’s a newsflash

It is 17 years later….and

I’m not sorry

Recently, my husband was asked to give his #1 parenting advice.  If he could tell young parents one thing, what would it be? How does he raise such great kids? Without a second thought he spoke the most profound words…

Wait for it…

joey and cassidy

“NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES

YOU MUST WIN THEIR HEARTS.”

He went on to say that one reason why our family is working, was that when we first were married and starting a family, we made an intentional decision to win their hearts at a very young age. We would hold them as long as they needed to be held, never worrying about “spoiling” them. We would look them in the eye and listen to their side of the story, even if we already knew our answer. Our discipline would be swift and fair, always working to have the punishment fit the crime, followed by a sweet time of love and reconciliation.

We decided to make every effort to be involved in their lives, ask questions, find out how they were processing situations, love them with our lives, and introduce them one day to the source of all love. We decided to love each other in front of them first, always reminding them that daddy and mommy were here first, and love them in such a way, that no matter what they did, or where they went, they would always know the height and depth and width and breadth of our love for them.

Just like the Lord.

My husband said to me that it didn’t really matter if they followed all the rules of the home, obeyed us at home and in public, performed great in school, used nice manners, were star athletes and musicians, or even led worship with their youth group. Raising kids who ONLY follow the rules for the sake of outward appearance means that we are raising them for how they will make US look, how WE are perceived by society.

“OH look at that beautiful family!”

If parents are only concerned with how their kids behave, they may win the early battles, but by the time they turn 18 and are ready to leave on their own,

You will have lost the war.

In our home, we did not want to raise a bunch of rule followers, keepers of the law…Pharisees.

We knew that if we didn’t have their hearts, we didn’t have a thing. If they obeyed outwardly but inwardly resented or even hated us, we would have failed.

Check out the Parenting Secret Part TWO…

https://sowwithvision.com/2016/03/16/the-parenting-secret-part-two/

Let me know your thoughts!  You can follow me on Twitter @sow_with_vision

The Strong-Willed Child


 

Sitting in my office, I am  listening to my 20 year old son make breakfast for his 4 year old sister.  The two are laughing and giggling and referencing different silly cartoon characters.  My son prepares to begin a day of back to back piano lessons as students and families come in and out of our home all day.  Our son is in his Junior year studying piano performance at Sam Houston State.  Each Monday and Friday I get the blessing of interacting with different moms who love to tell me about how much they enjoy the lessons, while I also listen to him teach his young students about discipline and control on the keys.  The value of doing something WELL…over doing something FAST, and I have to smile.  Mommas….he was my strong-willed child.  Enjoy the read

The Strong-willed Child

 

Are you raising a strong-willed child?  If you are not quite sure, think about it like this.  Strong-willed children are a lot like active labor.  For weeks leading up to childbirth you experienced Braxton-Hicks contractions.  There’s always that nagging question as you feel those pains, no matter how many babies you’ve had,

“Could this be it?”

I’ve given birth eight times, and I still have those questions and I still time those contractions, to no avail, it’s not real labor.  But, when REAL HARD ACTIVE LABOR finally does hit you, there’s no more ‘guess-work’, you KNOW you are in LABOR, and dad had better hurry up and get momma to the hospital PRONTO!

A strong willed child is like that.  If you HAVE one in your home, you KNOW it.  If you are ‘guessing’, you probably don’t have one.

Here’s the deal with the strong-willed ones, and I am speaking to mom.

HEAR me momma:

This child needs you to stand strong in your authority as his parent.

This child needs you to always WIN.  This child needs you to NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP.  They need you to have vision for their future, because they can’t see.  They need you stand firm.  They will test every single ounce of your patience, and squeeze out every bit of your resolve until you feel like you have nothing left to give.

KEEP GIVING.

This child will be the one who needs to be disciplined every single day, possibly for years, while all the other kids watch in disbelief at the fact he is messing up YET AGAIN.  They will scratch their heads and think, “DUDE!  Just do what mom says!”

He just can’t.

It’s his iron will, and yours needs to be stronger.  Love him deeply, hold him often, praise him in the non-conflict times, and always discipline with a vision of righteousness.  Do it over and over and over.  Don’t quit.  They grow up fast and every day is another brick in the wall of his character.  You are helping to forge his character every single day you keep standing.

Each day will seem like a power-struggle.  It is.  You will notice that the house is calmer when that child is not home, and you’ll be tempted to let him play all the time at his friend’s house just to get him out.  Don’t send him.  He’s not ready.  You are in a battle.  God will grant you rest one day, but for now, keep standing.

Do not let this child win the battle.  He will fight to win every time.

You win

You fight

His soul is the prize

His future hangs in the balance.

You will say to yourself, “I must be doing something wrong, he keeps getting in trouble, always needing to be disciplined”

Yes he does, keep doing it.

You may be thinking…How do I reach him?  How do I train him? Nothing is working. 

Find what works and do THAT. Ask other moms, go to your elders and ask them for help.   Sometimes corporal punishment works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes time-outs work, rarely ever do they work on the strong-willed child. There are countless other disciplining techniques.   Mix it up.   Make every action he does that is willful disobedience, counter-productive to what he is after.  Allow him to get the OPPOSITE of what he’s going for.

He throws his toys up against the wall when he’s mad? Go buy garbage bags and put every SINGLE one of his toys in them and get them out of the house.  When my son was six years old we did just that.  I bagged up every item in his room and left him with a bed only.  He slowly earned back one toy at a time, over several months.

Teach him, “He who is faithful in little, will be faithful in much”. Luke 16:10

He slams the door to his room? Take the door off the hinges and put it in the garage.  Teach him that privacy is a privilege, not a right.

He pitches a fit in the grocery store because you won’t buy him the item he is demanding?  Instead of giving in to the tiny terrorist, leave the groceries at the store, and GO HOME.  Yes, it’s more hassle for you now, but you are buying your time back in the future and making sure it will NEVER happen again.  When you get home, look him in the eye and tell him that he will NOT be allowed to come with you to the store if he EVER pulls that again. Teach him that self-control is a fruit of the spirit. (Gal. 5:23) Then try it again.  If he doesn’t get the message, take his sisters to the store when dad is home and leave him home.  He’ll get it eventually.

Think ‘counter-productive’ when bad behavior arises.  What does he WANT?  What is the opposite that I can give him?

He won’t fold that basket of laundry? Give him two baskets to fold.

He won’t stop pestering his sister in the car?  Stop the car, and tell him to, “drop and give me twenty push-ups!”  One day, my son was bothering his sister over and over in the car. Nothing was working: screaming over my shoulder, empty threats, nothing.  It was raining outside and everyone’s “feeler” was “on ten” from the conflict.  I stopped the car, and made the offender get out in the pouring rain on the side of the road where there was only gravel.  He was nine at the time.  I told him, “drop and give me 20!”  Right there on the side of the road in the rain. I think he thought it was a joke at first, then, he realized all the siblings were watching him and he was going to have to deliver.  Nothing shocks a child into a sound mind quicker than the element of surprise, and sitting in wet clothes.

He continually bickers with his sister?  Set up a meeting with him and a church elder and let another man reprove him.  He won’t forget it.

He plays with matches when you have repeatedly told him not to?  Take him to the fire department and let the firemen lecture him.  I promise you he will NEVER forget that moment.  They are dead serious about fire safety, and have attended many funerals.

REMEMBER dear mothers: Do not give up on your precious child, no matter how strong their will.  They will be the ones to change the world, because they will NEVER let the world change them.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9

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Golden Apples

[My wonderful husband of 24 years, was born weighing only 2 pounds, with Cerebral Palsy, his testimony daily inspires myself and our children, below is one example.]

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” Proverbs 25:11

Today my husband asked me, “Why is Allie sad?”  Our ten year old has been struggling for a month with bouts of sadness and, though we’ve talked with her at length, prayed over her, and listened to her, she still was battling the sadness this morning.

“I think it’s because she watches her friends online and she wishes she could do what they are doing.”

Though she never said those words outright, I’ve watched her disposition change after she spends time online checking out different fun things her friends participate in.

So we sat down at the kitchen table this morning, and I was blessed to be able to witness a father’s gentle instruction and love poured out to his daughter.  He asked Her, If your heart was the weather, what would the forecast be, Allie?

“Raining all the time, daddy…”

He told her a little story.

Allie, when I was your age, do you want to know what all the kids were doing this time of year?

They were all signing up for the local baseball teams.

I loved baseball more than anything and I would have given anything to be able to play with them.  But do you want to know why I couldn’t play with them?  Why I couldn’t play little league baseball?

Because I couldn’t run.

Allie, I was ALWAYS the last one picked at every game on the school yard. No one wanted to pick me, I could not run.

My mom was sensitive to my love for playing outside and she bought me a basketball goal where I shot baskets on the driveway.  I also was able to throw a ball against the side of my house pretending to be a pitcher and going down the batting line up in my mind.

Each day I would still long to be a part of a team…to belong.

In God’s wisdom and sovereignty, there was a reason for my loneliness.  He was trying to drive me to something that I didn’t even realize at the time. Sometimes, Allie,  God says no in one area, so He can push us towards our calling. So He can say yes to another area. God uses the struggle to push us towards His will.

At age 12 my father bought me a guitar.   It sat in a closet for two years before I ever played it.

 “For I consider that this present suffering shall not be worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

Instead of looking at your life through the eyes of scarcity, what you are lacking, you need to ask God to show you how he sees you, Fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of his son Jesus.

Last month, Allie, I was walking to my car, and my feet gave out on me.  My ankle bent and I fell to the ground.  There was nothing nearby for me to grab on to, so I was going to have to crab walk over to my van so I could grab something to pull myself up.  All of the sudden, out of nowhere, a complete stranger comes over to me, sees me on the ground, and gets on her knees and says, “What do we need to do here to help you?”  I was humbled, vulnerable, and extremely thankful that she had the courage and compassion to come help me up.  Allie, I wasn’t unhappy that I fell that day, I was thankful God sent a stranger to help me up.  We need to pay attention to our thought life and stop longing for what we don’t have, but rather praise God for who we are in him

Ask yourself, ‘what is my calling?’  How was I created to serve God Best

After sitting in a closet for 2 years, I picked up that guitar.  It soon became my constant companion.  Playing the guitar filled a void in my life.  If filled an emptiness.  God used my loneliness and longing to play baseball like other kids, to drive me to the instrument, which would soon become my calling

I then learned to play the bass guitar on a 25 dollar guitar from K-Mart. While practicing for hours on the guitar alone in my room, I learned to play the Red Raven Polka. My father was so excited he went out and bought me my first bass guitar. Then he took a tape recorder out, got on the piano and recorded us playing the song together

For my 15th birthday, he had the radio station play that recording.

Allie, you are going to have to stop watching those videos and staring at those pictures,   longing for something you think you don’t have.

Allie, I have never roller skated, ice skated, ridden a bike, run a race, hang glided, jumped from an airplane, taken my family on a camping trip all by myself….there are hundreds of things I can’t do.  If I focus on those things, it will only discourage me.  I have to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, and focus on what I CAN do.  What He created me to do.

I understand my limitations, in my mind I don’t focus on what I can’t do and what I don’t have. This is why we need Jesus.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7

“God wants us to focus on whatsoever things are pure, lovely, true, just, of good report…” Phil. 4:8

Allie, you are a champion.  God created YOU for a unique and special purpose.  Something only you can do.  Ask the Lord to show you what He created you for.

Let this sadness you are feeling, drive you into the Savior’s arms of comfort.

Allie was blessed by the words of wisdom today, as evident when she told him the weather had changed for her and the sun was now shining.  Myself and our 19 year old daughter were also encourage, inspired, and humbled because we were able to witness this sweet exchange.  God reminded me today, that our lives are not our own, we’ve all been bought with a price, and so we must glorify God in our mortal bodies today. I am continually reminded of all that God has given us in this life.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” 1 Peter 1:3   #integritymatters.

golden apples