Don't keep

In my teens, I babysat for a mom who had a poem that hung on the wall collecting dust. To this day, the last lines stick in my head:
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Visiting a friend and meeting her new baby, I dusted off the cobwebs of this poem from my memory. I thought I understood this idea by the time I had my last golden head at 29, but at 37, I realize that I really didn't. "Babies don't keep," so rock longer, gaze longer, these moments are so short so don't fret the other details of life.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3
Then I realized the truth: any day in the life of a child-parent relationship is fleeting. I need to cherish them all. Oh that I would be reminded of the gifts my good God gives me: conversations about emotions, chatty-katy tweens, dance classes with the compassionate one, ice-cream bowls before bed... These moments won't last much longer.
Who am I Lord God that you have given me such gifts and promises of a hope and a future? For my sake and according to Your own goodness and grace, You have done all these great things. There is no god like You, O Lord. You have adopted me as Your own child and made Your name great by working in my life and family. I Chronicles 17:16, 19-21, my paraphrase
If you have biological or spiritual children in your life, when was the last time you stopped to praise God for little moments with them? These may seem inconsequential at the time, but they are a reward from God. As they unfold today, choose to thank God for these memories, even the moments of correction.


After all the strides we had taken forward in the game of real life, it felt like we'd been sent back to start. I felt like an animal left licking its wounds. Like the loser. Hopeless... I had forgotten how horrible it feels to be at war within our home as the battle rages outside our doorstep.
There's an American Girl movie the goldenheads enjoy that has a theme, "Love has to win." At this moment of defeat, I don't know how love can win.
Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong as we warred within our home. The week was a constant prayer to God, "Okay God, help me with this. And now this. And now that."
Because of the prayers of those closest to me, I knew the first step God had bidden me: forgive. In the depths of my heart, I had to choose to forgive the engineer for the wrong I felt done to me. Over and over again, I would choose to verbalize my forgiveness and trust that God would change my heart to follow my verbal decision.
...forgive your brother from your heart. Matthew 18:35
Within 24-hours of choosing to forgive within my heart, I voiced forgiveness to his ears. As that sank in and God worked in me to act in a gentle, loving manner, he softened and said, "I'm sorry." What happened next in my heart was a shocker. Instantly, my heart turned ice hard and I didn't want to say you're forgiven again. Revenge (Satan's tactic) was rearing its ugly face. The next minute felt like an hour as I held his hand yet battled in my mind for the words and truth of heart to say, "I forgive you." But I did and the truce was made. We're on the same team again.
Twenty-four hours later, we sit in the same place where the truce was made and I feel victorious, like God graciously moved us forward to the same square well into the game of Life. Somehow, I feel like this game of real life could throw us any card or set-back, but because we're a team again, we'll face it stronger together. There is a spiritual war outside your front door, but there can be peace and unity within your home.
Do you feel like your spouse is your enemy? Do you feel like you're on the same team? Choose to see the lies you're believing if you feel that your spouse is your enemy. Satan is exhilarated when you believe your spouse is the enemy. If needed, practice this exercise from Family Life's "Weekend to Remember": Turn to your mate and say out loud, "You are NOT my enemy." Then add, "You are my teammate." Sometimes you have to start with the words and then beg God to change your heart to follow.


I love the living and active Word of God. I love that I can read the exact same passage maybe 20 times and the next time see something new.
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. Joshua 1:3
God couldn't give the land to the Israelites until they walked into it. If we don't step, we don't obtain. Like the Israelites, we need to take the first step toward God's promise.
I have this debilitating fear within as I think about taking new territory. I have this dream, this great big dream, bigger than anything ever before. But if I don't step out, how can God give?
Faith means believing that He's done it and it's already done while you wait for the details to sort themselves out. Though we may feel uncomfortable before that step of faith, after we begin, we may look back and wonder, of what was I so fearful?
When we first moved to the south metro, I was petrified of driving. I remember my first trip out to buy groceries. Bundled up in the cold with my 3-year old, GPS in hand, taking deep breaths, praying for God's strength and confidence as I navigated the "city" of Apple Valley. Today, I look back and laugh. Seriously? Apple Valley? This is not the city, this is my backyard: easy and comfortable.
You know that feeling of returning home after a long trip or a short, exhausting trip? At last, home! The hum of the furnace, the familiar look of decor, the stinky feet smell in the front's just home. When the Israelites stepped into Canaan, it just felt like home. This is true in our lives, when God gives us a dream and direction and we obediently step out, we may find, it feels like home.
Three times in Joshua 1:6-9, God commands Joshua, to be "strong and courageous...only be strong and very courageous...I command you, be strong and courageous...for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Even when I step out of my safe zone, I am not alone. At the end of Joshua chapter 1, even the officers of the Israelites tell him, "Only, be strong and courageous Joshua." Why are we waiting? Step.
Where is God nudging you to be strong, courageous and take that step? In a relationship, a prior fear, a ministry, work, your health... Read Joshua 1:6-9 placing your name into the scripture and believe God's promise to you as you take that first step.


Returning home from vacation, we sat around the airport food court and recounted highlights from those six sunny days. As I relished the golden glow of faces around me, I noticed unique personalities and characteristics: Best hair; Best hat; Most opinion; Best leader. But what would be my characteristic or personality trait?
Just having read John Piper's Desiring God chapter on finding delight in marriage, I was hoping to be noted for being, "Most helpful." I helped with passports, boarding tickets, restroom breaks, towels, sunscreen, phone calls to room service or housekeeping. Piper begins the chapter like this,
The reason there is so much misery in marriage is not that husbands and wives seek their own pleasure, but that they do not seek it in the pleasure of their spouses. The biblical mandate to husbands AND wives is to seek your own joy in the joy of your spouse. (John Piper, Desiring God, p. 175.) 
God designed the first woman to help Adam. He determined that it wasn't good for Adam to be alone and God would fashion a helper fit for Adam (Genesis 2:18). God made mankind to share God's goodness, grace and bounty, not to hoard these gifts. And my role is not to be just like the engineer, but to compliment him and a assist him in sharing and giving God's gifts so that he feels joyful. Only when I do what I was designed to do, will I find my own pleasure and joy.
Recounting Grandma Edna's legacy, it is evident to me what a helper she was to her husband, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends, church and community. She gave and she complemented. But in all these stories and reflections, I never got the impression that she received rewards on this side of heaven. A helper seldom gets accolades. A helper is so behind the scenes, she rarely gets noticed and hardly ever gets glory. A godly helper is content with this.
Take John the Baptist. John 10:41 tells us that a crowd was following Jesus back to the place where He was baptized by John. There, possibly reminiscing on the life of John, they recall that John didn't do any miracles, he announced and pointed the masses of people to Jesus, who came to the world to save them. And now three years later, it turns out that everything John said about Jesus was true. John was a helper. He helped people find the way to eternal life: not in following religious rituals and laws, but in Jesus who would do the work required to save them. John helped people find God's goodness and grace. John wasn't celebrated and adorned. In fact, they killed John, but he would receive his reward in heaven.
Oh, to have the heart of a servant helper! To be content with just pointing people to Jesus. To be completely satisfied in assisting those in my sphere of influence and pointing them to Jesus. When I meet Jesus face to face, I hope in (so many words) I do in fact get voted, "A good helper."
Are you called to be a helper? When Eve was presented before Adam, he said, "At last!" This implies that he was so excited that this moment had finally came. He had finally found a helper and the two worked together in harmony. Is someone in your life waiting to for your help so they can say, "At last! I can complete the task God gave me because I have a helper,"? Unfortunately, sometimes our pride or greed for fame and recognition get in the way of helping. Will you choose to be content with the the role of helper?