"Well, I had to yell at someone and mommy was the only one home to yell at!" she verbally reasoned. While I didn't enjoy the hour of verbal abuse, I was more concerned with the heart of the matter: training her in the way she should go, teaching her Jesus' way of love and confronting anger.
Kevin Leman on parenting has revealed to me the wisdom of allowing my golden heads to experience natural consequences. But not knowing the best consequence (no sleepover, no swim party, no bonfire, make dinner for a week, doing sister's chores, doing dishes for a week...) my heart became anxious.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 131
O mom, hope in God! Wait for God to mold this young heart. Expect that He will do His work in His time, today, tomorrow and always. I can't really know her heart. I can't truly discern her ways. It's too complex for my simple mind to understand. But God knows this face, this heart and what every day of her life beholds (Psalm 139:13-16).
And because I know God's got this golden heart, I can choose to calm my heart, my emotions, my mind, my whole character chooses to be calm. I take a deep breath and remember His control and His trustworthiness.
I trust that my heavenly Father knows best and is in control. Like a momma that knows when it's best to wean a nursing child, even if an infant isn't so sure. It's a natural next step. So also my Father knows best how to direct my child and my parenting, though the process might be grueling.
This anxiety isn't limited to parenting. You might be perusing Facebook and become burdened, concerned and disturbed with broadcasted choices. You could sense a call to something new and different but not know any details of this great unknown. You might desire something so badly yet not know if your will aligns with God's.
Deep breath. God's got her. God's got him. God's got you. God knows best. But maybe in the thick of the unsettledness, the unknown, you need to yell as someone. Please don't yell at your mom. She didn't sign up for that. Goodness knows, I didn't. But take your pleadings, anxiety and verbal shoutings to God. Pour your heart out before Him. Like weaning, the process is painful, but the outcome is peaceful, best and the bond between you and God is tightened because the process builds trust. And like a faithful parent, God's in it every step of the way.
What is your heart anxious or heavy with today? Will you choose to trust God's control over the circumstance and quiet your soul?


They wanted to stay for the Performing Arts Contest Awards. Would the sister duo get an Award of Excellence for their song and dance? They hoped. We stayed.
During the awards, it was announced their club got Reserve Grand Champion in a skit performed earlier that night. My golden heads also performed in this skit with the other members but sat clapping as other members jumped up and down and ran on stage. The next morning at breakfast, she said to me, "Mom, I didn't understand why everyone was so excited that our club got second place. There were only two club participating; we got last place. What's the big deal?"
Realist. I'm not saying the kids didn't do a great job. I'm saying it's wise to have an eternal, real grasp on life.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:8-12
Before the competition of the fair began, we had a talk about what mattered most during fair week. Building our lives on the eternal Jesus and showing Jesus to those around us through our attitudes and actions: that's what matters. Not champion ribbons, not she got one more malt than me, not the hot sticky weather or the torential downpour. The reality is that this life is just a dim reflection of the eternal life with Jesus to come, when we see Jesus face to face. And right now, totally matters if we show and invite others to an eternal life with Jesus.
I'm not going to lie. It was thrilling to watch the compassionate one walk across the stage to receive her Champion Banner and shirt. But even if she walked away without these, what matters is how she conducted herself not just when she got Champion, but when she got a red ribbon.
Was she be mindful of eternal consequences of her choices? If she spent all her time and money on one project, there would be any resources left to give to serving others or financially supporting the children in Africa that she loves? If she was rude to other competitors and cheated for the win, would she be showing others that Jesus is patient, kind, humble, generous, forbearing, believes the best about others and loves what's righteous?
Truly, what matters in competition (whether the Olympics of the County Fair) is having an eternal perspective. Is what I'm doing now inviting others of an eternal life with Jesus? The Olympics will end. The County Fair ended. Eternity with Jesus has no end. Today is a precursor. I will give up the worry and anxiety of today and seek to be known by Jesus and introduce those around me to Jesus. I will be a realist in a world that sometimes wants to forget reality.
Are you choosing to believe what's real and what matters? Are you living with an eternal perspective and inviting others to be known by Jesus?


It was a really great conversation with the compassionate one, never mind I don't even recall the subject. Music plays softly in the background, the rest of the family dozing off while we barrel down the dark highway, somewhere between 55-60 miles an hour and we're just chatting about life. Then in an instant, Bambi jumps up out of the ditch and smacks the front middle of the truck. There was but a half-second to brake.
Thankfully, the damage wasn't severe enough to render the truck undrivable. After removing the dangling plastic parts from the front bumper, the engineer and I returned to the truck and resume the drive home.
While the engineer and everyone else quickly dozed off to slumberland, the silence filled me full of doubt and self-judgment. He probably thinks I'm to blame. I am to blame. I should pay more attention. He's mad at me. He's not talking to me. This is going to be a horrible week. We'll be mad at each other all week... And like I naturally do, I stew. Like my savory garlic rosemary beef stew, anger and resentment stew and grow rich within me.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:22-23
Jesus taught these words to the crowds that followed Him. The word eye in this passage means the eye of the mind; the part of the brain that knows something is true and allows you to see or understand more clearly. Now consider the opposite of clearly knowing the truth, it would be believing lies and preventing understanding, leading to withdraw, being concealed and not understanding.
So what I believe and understand either makes me full of light or darkness. If I believe what is true, I am full of light, I'm having a good week. If I believe what if false (a lie), I am full of darkness and I'm having a bad week.
My thought patterns determine the quality of my day. They are the very beginning of my entire outlook and actions. Praise God that something (the Holy Spirit) within me, caused me to stop and perceive truth while driving home that night. The truth is, my poor husband is woke up from sleeping in the car by a big thud. We tend to not think or respond normally when we're woken up from sleep. He did what needed to be done and he went back to sleep. He's tired and there was nothing else to do.
So while everyone else continued their slumber in the truck, I turned off the stew! He's not mad at me. He doesn't judge me or think I'm a bad driver. These things simply happen. And  another truth is praise God that we were in the truck, not the minivan or we likely would be sitting on the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck!
An hour later, nearly home, the engineer wakes up from his car nap. "Why do deer have to be so stupid? These things just happen so fast and there's nothing you can do about it." Clearly, he didn't blame me or think less of me.
I smile, praising God in my heart! He caused me to believe truth, direct my thought patterns and fill me with light.
What lie are you believing today that is filling your entire outlook with darkness, or causing a horrible day (week, year...)? Will you choose to turn off the stew? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you truth in the matter at hand.

Watching and stilling

It's 4:51 in the morning and it begins. Decide the final plans for the coming weekend. Turn the sprinklers on in the garden. She asked me to make scones (presumedly for my birthday breakfast). I should finish the laundry before the golden heads wake. Practice this morning at 10am. Oh no, she still needs a slip to wear with her skirt tomorrow. And with my mind whirling, I figure, might as well wake up and get going.
My typical notion is that if I wake early enough (long before anyone else) I can escape any demands and expectations from others and sip my morning coffee and be with Him, my Maker. But this morning, I thought I'd get a few things done first: scones, laundry, email, watering... An hour later, I finally set the coffee to drip and something out of ordinary catches my eye while stopping my heart. What was that? Perched on the deck railing was an adult red-tailed hawk. I froze, taking in the wonder. Two, no three, things immediately came to my mind.

  1. Man, that thing is huge.
  2. Roz on Monsters Inc, "I'm watching you, always watching you."
  3. Should I sneak away and grab my camera?
Enough is enough with the things to do! Spend time with Jesus, my Maker. Yes, He's watching me scuttle about, but delights in my quiet moments, my quiet heart before Him.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. 
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
He utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. 
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how He has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
He burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46

Nothing happens in my day that takes Him by surprise. Nothing that He can't control or destroy in an instant. Only when I let Him live and thrive within me can I be full of joy and completely solid and strong. I just need these few quiet minutes with Him, to be still. To stop and be sure He is on the throne of my heart. Then trust and fully believe that He is in control of every aspect of this day, month, year and His plans for me are for my good.
And who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his span of life? ... Therefore, do not be anxious saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we wear?" for the Gentiles seek after these things and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first, the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:27, 31-33
Are you intentionally setting aside your worries and choosing to stop, rest in Jesus and express your trust in His righteous plan for your life? He's watching you. He's got you. No matter the worry or list of things to do this day, express your trust in His perfect power and protection.