My grand babies have been great blog inspiration lately. I love this video of Milo. He hates tummy time. His Mommy and Daddy joke about him hating it, because they tease about him having a big head. Early on his head measured in the 90 percentile. Chris likes to lovingly call him 91. They are going to be great parents, they can joke instead of becoming offended.
In this video he makes it look like tummy time is such a struggle. He may be right there with Bella receiving an Oscar award someday. He makes it look like it is taking everything he has to lift up and hold up his head.
Sometimes I feel like that. Some days there are mornings I just don’t want to lift my head off the pillow in the morning, and I groan just about as much as Milo.
Sometimes in the mornings when Brett and I walk he will say did you see that? Usually I say no, because when we walk Brett is looking all around, observing everything around us. I am tunnel vision, head down, focused on the road ahead. On how much further we have to go and anything that might get in my way. I keep my head down and miss life around me.
Sometimes my inability to lift my head comes in another form. I can hold my head down from shame or sorrow, from guilt or regret. In those instances, it can feel like my head weighs 90 pounds. Like lifting it takes everything out of me.
One thing I love in this video is KC’s voice in the background. Her lovingly calling his name, encouraging him. God does the same thing for me. When I hang my head in shame and regret, He lovingly calls my name and encourages me. He says here I am look up.
Then that look on Milo’s face when he finally gets his head up and sees his Mommy. It’s the same when I lift my head and know the acceptance and love that comes from a faithful, loving, forgiving Father. Look up child.
It is hard to believe that this little guy is almost three and a half months old. The time really has flown by fast. He has always been fun to hold, he is such a cuddler. Now though he is really approaching a fun age. He interacts with you, and smiles and coos all the time. He recognizes Mommy and Daddy’s face and gives them super big smiles.
Capturing a video of a baby doing something you want them to, is almost as hard as capturing a good sunset or rainbow. You can never do it justice. This video however is my attempt at getting him to imitate, because he is into that now. His first imitation was sticking out his tongue. His mommy taught him that one, and it entertained us for hours. Then he moved on to cooing and blowing bubbles. I taught him the bubbles, you are welcome Chris and KC.
It is so fun to watch him observe your face and mouth and try to get his to do the same thing. He studies really hard, then tries to imitate what you are doing. Then he gets excited with your reaction when he gets it right. It is so hard to believe that at such an early age babies are able to do that, and are so eager to.
What if we were as eager to be imitators of Christ? That is what he calls us do to. Paul tells us in Ephesians, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.” Just like Milo imitates his Mommy and Daddy we are to imitate our heavenly father.
What does that look like for us? For me? For me it means to be more loving. To love God more, to love others more. The greatest commandment in Mark 12, is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. God gave us the greatest example of this by laying down his life for us. By putting us ahead of him, by being a servant.
How can I imitate this in my life? By putting others ahead of me. Those words are easy to say but what do they look like in real life?
When I am sitting on the couch in the evening all relaxed, what if my phone rings and I know it might be a call of someone needing something. Do I answer it or ignore it?
When my wallet has money in it and I see a need it is easy to hand over a $5 or a $10, but what if that $5 or $10 is the last one in my wallet am I as eager to share? What if Brett and I are arguing about something and I feel I am right, but he feels he is too, am I willing to lay down my pride and let it go? What if someone has let me down multiple times in the past, yet they come asking for one more chance, do I give them grace or do I play judge?
Milo is so eager to imitate his mommy and daddy, and tries so hard. God let me be as willing and eager to be an imitator of you.
This girl turns two in just a couple of weeks. She is starting to learn to deal with emotions, and the power of a look. She already has the pouty face and fake cry down to an art. I am pretty sure there might be an Oscar in her future somewhere.
She has started this new thing that when she gets mad at you, or you tell her no, she stomps her little foot, dramatically throws her arms at her side, looks you straight in the eyes and says, “you promised”. Sometimes for more effect she dramatically throws herself on the ground. I am not positive that “you promised” is what she says, but if you listen close to the video it sure sounds like it. Her Mom says she thinks that is what she is saying, but she has no idea where she got it.
Now as Mimi it is all I can do not to laugh when she does it. Because she has the actions down to an art and has perfected it. As I watched her do it the other day I thought. I must look like that to God sometimes. Maybe Bella and I not only share a deep love for macaroni and cheese, and books, and ice cream, but we might have the dramatic “you promised” in common also.
I don’t think Bella has any idea what the words you promised mean. Maybe I don’t either. Because, I think sometimes when things don’t go exactly as I planned, I stomp my foot, throw my hands at my side, look straight at God and say, (at least in my head), you promised. My actions say I am doing all the things I am suppose to be doing, didn’t you promise things would go my way?
But just like Bells, maybe I don’t understand what God really promised, or maybe sometimes I just forget. God never promised things would go my way. He did promise in 1 John 1:9, that if I confess my sins he is faithful to forgive. He did promise in Psalm 103:12, that as far as the east is from the west, is how far he removed our transgressions from us. He did promise in Ephesians 3:18, that his love is wide, long, high, and deep. He also promises me in Deuteronomy 31:6, that He will never leave me, nor forsake me.
The Bible is full of promises from God, but none of those promises say, “Janet if you do your best, and always try your hardest things will always go your way and be in your favor.” Just like in Bella’s case, stomping my foot, and telling God he promised something he didn’t, isn’t going to change those times when things don’t go my way.
Thankful for the reminder that just like I love Bella, and won’t always give her her way (Not always). I do promise to love her, no matter how she might act or react. Thankful God loves me, and keeps his promises no matter how I might act or react.
This is my son Chris, with my grandson Milo. Chris is a very all or nothing guy. I give him a hard time about it. I am always telling him its about moderation. He says he can’t do moderation, it’s either all in or nothing, go big or go home, sink or float.
That is usually frustrating for me. I appreciate his will power but I want him to give himself a break. I realized today why it is so frustrating for me, because he gets it from me.
Have you ever noticed that the things about your kids that drive you crazy are usually because it’s a character defect in yourself? You don’t want to see it in yourself, so you certainly don’t want to find it in your child. No matter how old they are.
I am an all or nothing person. That can be good on some levels, but it usually doesn’t show up as a good character trait in me. When I start something I am gung ho, all on board, ready to go. If I am going to exercise, I am going ot exercise every day, and instead of just walking I need to add weights, and sit ups, and planking, and on and on and on. I go to such extremes that my mind set becomes, if I can’t walk five miles today then walking two won’t do any good. If I am trying to watch what I eat, then I cut out everything that is enjoyable to me. My mind set becomes I ate one small piece of candy today I have blown the whole day, I might as well eat as much as I want. I don’t have an hour to sit down and read my bible, what good is ten minutes going to make?
It also means that I usually burn myself out after about two weeks. Instead of starting out slow and building a new habit, that I can develope as a life change, I start out fast and burn myself out, and give up.
Moderation, practice what I preach to Chris. Set a goal for walking, a realistic goal, not five miles, seven days a week. If I slip up and eat a candy bar, get back on track as soon as possible, don’t destroy what I have done the rest of the day. Don’t waste the ten minutes I have, pick up my Bible, how many verses can I read in ten minutes? There may be one verse that my mind meditates on all day.
Are you an all or nothing person? Cut yourself some slack. Celebrate the victories, and move on from the setbacks, crush the unrealistic expectations, enjoy life.
God gives us things to enjoy (1 Tim 6:17), but all those things must be used in moderation (Phil 4:5).
God don’t let Chris and I pass this trait down to Milo. Let us both be good examples of moderation in our lives.
Thanks to my family for being fair game to my blogs!
Saturday morning as I was running errands I made a stop at Sam’s and Walmart. At both places I ran into two or three people I knew. I stopped for just a short time and said a few words. I probably spent less than a minute with each person I saw that I knew.
As I was leaving Walmart I ran into a man I knew and just briefly said Hi. As I got in my car I thought about that. I thought about the rush I was in to get to the next task on my list. I thought about how many people I maybe didn’t even see, that I knew, because I was checking my list and in such a hurry.
I thought about how frustrated I get sometimes when Brett is shopping with me. He will stop and speak to everyone we know and not just hello, how are you. He takes time to ask questions and then listen for the answers. I am usually already two aisles over.
I know we have different gifts and different personalities. Brett’s gift is servanthood and he is a laid back guy. Mine is organization and I am a type a with a capital “A”. But I can’t use that as an excuse.
I thought about Jesus and how he was here on earth. Jesus was a servant, he washed the disciples feet to show them that. He was also into details, because he made sure everything was set and in place for that last supper. He knew how to be laid back and slow down and he knew how to get things done.
Where do I fall short on this? Jesus knew how to see people. He took the time to look at them, and truly see them. He saw the women at the well and knew what her need was. The woman with the blood issue, he didn’t have to see her to know her need. Zachaus the wee little man he knew his need. Martha he knew her need. The demon possessed boy, the blind, the leper, the lame, he knew all their needs.
It’s the same need that people all around us have today. The need for Jesus. How do we show that? By slowing down. By looking people in the eye. By seeing people as people, not just someone in our way. By taking time to stop, and talk to, and listen to the people we know. By giving someone a hug we haven’t seen for awhile. By smiling at that person we pass in the aisle, the one we don’t know. By saying excuse me. By letting the person go down the aisle before me instead of flying around the corner with my cart. Simple by being kind, courteous, and putting others ahead of ourselves.
It’s the same need today as it was in Jesus day. JESUS. I just have to choose if I am going to show them Jesus or Janet. Janet they don’t need, Jesus they do.
This afternoon Redemption will celebrate the life of William Kinley. In the past twelve months Redemption has grieved and celebrated the lifes of four of our family members, all to the terrible “C” word. Georgia Roach, Stacey Cobb, Mike Edwards, and now William, all people who loved the Lord. These were not people who just showed up on Sunday morning. These were people who served, who were active, who were making a difference. People who were sharing their faith, and the love of Jesus with others.
It’s kind of like pulling your best player from the game, when you are down by one point in the last few seconds. You wonder what is the coach doing? That isn’t the way I would coach, but thankfully I am not the coach.
We as a church prayed for healing in the lives of all four of these people. We prayed for God to remove cancer from their bodies and make them whole and well again, but God didn’t do that. There are some who would say, God answered your prayers. They are whole and healed in heaven.
I don’t feel that way. They are healed and whole again. But, that was not my prayer. My prayer was that God would heal their physical body here on earth. That they would have many more years with their families, many more days, and laughs, and hugs, many more years of serving the Lord here on earth.
We could question and say but, Matthew 18:19, says “ Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” With these four people there were many asking for healing, many on earth who agreed they should be healed. So, why were they not?
1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
Because, we pray selfishly, when we pray for healing for someone we are praying for us. We are praying for that person to stay here with us. Who would choose this world over heaven? Who would choose to be here with us if they could be in the presence of Jesus? We pray for our will, our desire not his. Which is the normal thing do to in this situation.
So, do I feel like God didn’t answer all of our prayers for these four people? No, I feel like we were praying the wrong prayer. James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” It isn’t wrong to pray for healing, I believe God tells us to ask, and to keep asking but we have to pray for healing that is in God’s will.
I even struggle with that, because I feel like if I pray for healing then I am stepping out and asking God for a miracle. I am asking and believing he will do it. I feel like if I add, if it’s your will, on to it then I am adding insurance. As if to say, oh he didn’t heal, it wasn’t my lack of faith, it just wasn’t his will.
It can all be confusing if I over think it, which I tend to do. But I believe John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything, in my name, I will do it.”
I believe God answered our prayers with these four amazing people. We prayed in his name, it wasn’t his will that they be healed here on earth, we selfishly wanted to keep them, but the Father was glorfied in the life and death of each of these four precious people. And my life is better for having known each of them. Georgia, Stacey, Mike, and William you are missed by many.
Saturday morning I woke up with the words from the following song on my mind, “Oh come to the alter, the Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness is bought with the blood of Jesus Christ.” The worship band played that Thursday night at CR, and the words had been on my heart for two days.
As I lay in bed I thought about those words, “come to the alter, the Fathers’s arms are open wide.” My mind always creates instant pictures. I thought of God and I imagined an old man, in flowing white robes with light radiating all around him, sitting on a throne. Then I thought of Jesus and I pictured someone in lowly robes, with long flowing brown hair, warm eyes, and children climbing on his lap.
I know these are not accurate images, no one knows what God looks like. My mind only imagines pictures I have seen, created by others. But those are what I see when I hear the words. I see those two images at the alter of our church, because when I think of the alter, I think of the church alter.
Then I thought about times I have come to the alter. Have I come as a child into a Father’s open arms? No, I usually come as someone dragging a burden. Whether it be the burden of sin, or a burdened heart, with a need for someone else or myself. I usually come downcast, rejected, or broken.
But this song says, the Father’s arms are open wide, with forgiveness. What if I came to the alter, not about what I was bringing, but what I would walk away with. I bring my burdens to the alter and I walk away with forgiveness and peace. That should make me excitedly run to the alter. To those open arms.
For a few years now the desire of my heart has revolved around the following picture. A little girl running to her Father, with outstretched arms and jumping into his arms. I watch Bella run to her Daddy, her Poppy, and her Papa. She runs to them holds up her little arms and says please. Knowing they will gladly pick her up. Knowing they are a safe, loving place.
I want to run to God with unleashed, uninhibited, excited expectations and throw myself in his arms. What about you?
1 Peter 5:2-3, “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you, watch over it willingly,……..lead them by your own good example.” Peter is talking to the elders of the church in these verses, but they can apply to everyone.
Everyone has a flock. God has given each of us people whom we watch over. You might be a Sunday School teacher, you might lead a small group, you might teach school, you might be a team leader at work, you might pastor a church, you might run a business. In life there are people God has entrusted to you.
One of the most important flocks God gives us is our children. As parents God entrusts our kids to us. We are to watch over them. Watch over them, what exactly does that mean? For Chris and KC as parents of a new born, it means watching Milo constantly, attending to every need he has. God has entrusted them to feed, bathe, dress, change and meet every need in his life right now.
For Brittany and Will, as parents of an almost two year old, watching over Bella means something different. They are still responsbile for providing food for Bella but she can now feed herself. They just have to watch and make sure she eats and doesn’t choke. Watching over Bella means starting to set up boundries for her. Making sure she is safe, yet allowing her to make choices and small freedoms.
As our children get older the watching becomes more about observing them and not doing for them. About allowing them to do things for themselves, and not doing it for them. There are times when just doing it is easier. Easier for us, than easier for them. When my kids were growing up, they were responsible for chores and had to help with housework. However, I really never made them do laundry. It was easier for my OCD to do it myself. I liked things folded a certain way and hung up a certain way so I liked doing it myself. Looking back that probably wasn’t the best parenting choice. They did not learn by me doing it, and that wasn’t a good example.
If you don’t want to be doing your child’s homework in high school, then watch them do it in grade school, don’t do it for them. If you don’t want to be calling in to work for your 30 year old son when he is sick, then don’t start making all his calls in his teens.
Your children are your flock, watch over them in appropriate levels based on their age, lead by a good example. It doesn’t work to just say, “do as I say and not as I do.” They are going to mimic everything you do. Bella repeats every thing you say now, and copies every action, that will continue for many years to come.
God entrusts a lot of people into our lives. But none watch our lives more closely, or more regularly than our kids. So, watch your kids, observe your kids, don’t enable them, and lead by good examples.