Sunday, October 13, 2013


Alone. Lonely. Lonesome. Solitary. Abandoned. By oneself. Unaccompanied. Words that sound empty, sad, painful. Things we usually want to avoid at all costs. There are certainly a lot of negative connotations associated with these words.

Truth be told, I've struggled off and on throughout my days with these negative words associations. Have spent quite a bit of time by myself. I'm an only child. My dad traveled a lot so both my mom and I spent a lot of time alone. I had a very small extended family whose members lived in the Midwest and East coast (we're on the West coast) so we rarely saw them. I married into a small family whose members were again in the Midwest and East coast and somewhat estranged from each other so it has been just my husband, myself and our two kids. And, unfortunately, we now have only one surviving parent between the two of us.  

As God would have it, I ran across this beautiful verse last year during a season in my life where I was feeling very isolated:  

God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Psalms 68:6

I clung to this verse that day and have never let go. "God sets the solitary in families"..... I truly seek claim to that promise and look for it on a daily basis. And, He is faithful and good to fulfill it. But never does He do things in the way we expect....

Over the years, He didn't give me more additions to my physical family; however, He has brought a few people into my life that I can call friend or look at them as family. He has increased my family by giving us an extended spiritual one. Through church, homeschooling and bible study. Many of these giving people bless me in ways my physical family never could. And, yes, the Lord does fill our cup to overflowing in His perfect timing. 

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

As you might imagine, birthdays and certain holidays are among the most difficult for me to be without family. You really tend to sense how 'alone' you are on days where tradition is to gather together with family. Especially birthdays. We all like to be celebrated on our special day. Even after all these years, I still like to be remembered on that day.   

I just celebrated another year of life. Honestly, I was dreading it. I did my own birthday chant: "Nothing special. Rarely remembered. No expectations...." This year was different.  I received the nicest gifts, cards, and Facebook notes from sweet friends in all my 'families'!  Just when I needed it most. Those cards and comments are like treasure to me. Little nuggets of gold! A sweet birthday gift in the form of a promise fulfilled from the One who loves me most....

"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

Your kindnesses never go unnoticed especially by the One who really matters.  God shows His amazing love in many ways including those beautiful random acts of kindness through others. Never miss an opportunity to reach out to those you come in contact with to extend a word of thanks, appreciation or encouragement. Reach out to those who need 'family'. Be inclusive. Love on 'em any way you can! Even the smallest of gestures can make a huge difference to those whose tanks need filling. Bless others in this way and you will be blessed!

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:13

Saturday, October 5, 2013


You may recall that I have two children, ages 10 and 13 years old going on 20 and 23...!  Love 'em more than I can express in mere words and would certainly give my life for them. In fact, as many of us moms know, we do give much of our lives--wants, desires, time, energy, needs--as a sacrifice of love for our little ones. Spend much of our time, especially in the younger years, caring for the details of their lives rather than our own.

As my children grow, get a bit 'older and wiser' in their ways, I do expect them to think for themselves and do things on their own without too much reminding or nagging.  Doesn't always happen....

In fact, just the other day, I found myself cleaning up the bird's cage, filling food and water trays, and replacing birdie treats.  Not my job. My kids share this job together. Most of the time. Not this time. This time it was mine, all mine.

 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Matthew 11:28

As a mom, this situation puts me in somewhat of a quandary. Yes, I desire that my children be responsible and fulfill their duties. Most of the time, in our household, there are consequences for neglect such as this circumstance. Why did I find myself doing it for them?  You are probably asking this question of me yourself. And, I did ask myself....

....but I already knew the answer. Because I love them and I love the bird. Immensely. I care. About the bird, yes. About his needs and desires most certainly. And, about my kids, absolutely in the same way. Sometimes we all need a break from the routine. A helping hand from nowhere. A gift of time off, a sweet treat, time to breathe. A taste of sweet grace. "I've got you covered." I say in my head to my terrific, mostly reliable kids and to the sweet bird who needs his sustenance.

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

Makes you truly wonder how many times a day God extends us His sweet favor and covers our backs.  Picks up after us in our messiness. He cares deeply.  About the smallest of things. He fills in the details, finds parking spaces for us, stretches time when we need it, sorts priorities, gives us that extra wisdom for the occasion, or the provision we desperately need just in time. A sweet taste of grace. Even when we are unaware.  Always when we don't deserve it.

 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Matthew 6:28-30

My kids didn't deserve it that day. It was my gift. I could truly relate to them in that way as a reflection of how God experiences His relationship to us. I certainly won't extend it to them everyday. But, for that day, I was sufficient for that moment just as He is sufficient for us in every moment.

When you feel stressed or stretched, remember that. His sweet gift of grace is threaded into so much of the detail in our lives. In the brokenness, in the hurried moments, in the planning, in the forgetfulness or the apologies. So much rest and blessing in that......! Don't worry; He's got ya covered!

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  
2 Corinthians 12:9