Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mother Comfort

Dear Friends,

Have you poured yourself a cup of coffee yet? If not, I hope you will sit down and share a moment with me. I haven't posted on this blog in quite some time. My life has been a little hectic with a new baby and a busy toddler. Last week, Evan was in the hospital, leaving me a lot of not-so-common time for contemplation. This is one of the things that I wrote while sitting in his room. I thought I would share it with you today.....

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My baby is sick. His little body is miserable from coughing. He aches, and does not want to eat. He is sleeping a lot, exhausted from the effort he is expending just breathing.

I sit and watch him lying in his little tent, wishing there were more I could do to make him well, wishing I could take the sickness and discomfort and pain for him. We've been at the hospital for three days now, although time has become somewhat distorted, measured in shift changes and breathing treatments.

This morning, his IV site had to be moved. We've been here long enough that I was expecting this.....and dreading it. But I know that it is necessary. And so, when they tell me is must be done, I just nod.

They come to take him to the room where they will do the procedure, and ask if I want to come. No parent wants to see their child in pain, and I have already seen him go through this once, but I feel I must go with him. As much as I hate to watch his suffering, I want him to see my face, feel my hand, and hear my voice telling it will be alright, that it will all be over soon.

And so we go....just down the hall, into a room with bright lights and a stainless steel table covered with a blanket, instruments, tape, and other things they will need. The nurses begin their work, poking his chubby little wrists and ankle, peering from different angles as they look for a vein. He is fine at first, kicking and cooing. Then they tie a strip of rubber around his arm, hoping to see a little vein pop up. It's as if he has a flash of memory and knows he's been here before. I see a bit of fear creeping in his eyes as his coos turn to cries.

They wrap his body in a swaddler to help hold him still, and one nurse holds his feet as the other prepares to insert the needle into the top of his foot. I hold his hands, and try to distract him. But now the fear in his eyes is near panic as he struggles against their grip. I talk to him, trying to soothe him. But he is screaming now. His pain and panic make it difficult for him to focus on my face. His crying makes it almost impossible for him to hear my voice as he fights to free his hands from mine.

As I seek to comfort Him, seemingly to no avail, the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart. How often have I been like my baby - in pain, suffering, and unable to understand why? How many times in my fear and hurt and confusion have I wondered, "Father, if you love me, why are you allowing me to feel this kind of pain?" How frequently have I been too overwhelmed, too consumed, too immature to consider that He would never allow this kind of pain if it were not for my good? How often have I been too angry at my circumstances to be grateful that I never suffer alone, too panicked to realize that the hands I push away are the ones seeking to calm and comfort me, too vocal to hear the still, small voice that whispers, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love," and "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."?

All this was over in just a few moments, and I was able to pick my little one up, and hold him. Before long, he falls asleep. As I watch him, I pray for his healing.

He will not remember this one incident, but as he grows, I hope that he will learn to love and trust me. I hope that he will come to know how deeply I feel his pain, and how greatly I desire his wellbeing.

I am far from a perfect parent. I will make wrong judgments. As hard as I try, I will not always be able to be there when he needs me. I will not always be able to say the right thing, to alleviate his fears, or to comfort his heart. I will not always be able to protect him from harm, try as I may. But I will love him. I will do my utmost to protect and nurture him.

One day, when he is older, he may learn to sit quietly, lay his head on my shoulder, hold my hand, look at my face, and let me talk to him while the doctors or nurses do their work. The pain is truly not any less, but the comfort is much greater when we do not struggle so hard against it, and when we trust the hands that allow it to be, knowing that they would never willingly allow us to be harmed.

I pray that one day I will learn to be that kind of daughter, one who trusts my heavenly Father implicitly. I hope that I will learn, even in the midst of suffering, trials, grief and pain to listen for His voice, to look on His face, and to lean on His mighty arm, knowing that He will never fail me. I hope that I will learn to run to Him for comfort instead of from Him in confusion. I hope that I will mature enough to appreciate His presence rather than accusing Him for my pain. I pray that I will always remember that the Lord promises, "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you;" (Isa. 66:13).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Taste & See

For years, I loved the smell of coffee, but didn't like the taste. Eventually, however, my tastes "grew up", and now I love the taste of least most coffee. Occasionally, I drink coffee that tastes too weak, too old, or just plain bad! The truth is, I'm not sure if I'm going to like it or not until I take that first drink. Others can tell me it is good, and the aroma can give me a clue, but until I pick up my cup and take a sip, I just don't know.

In our church ladies fellowship, our theme this year is "taste and see that the Lord is good." I am really enjoying our Bible studies on this theme, and will be sharing some of them here.

We have an annual spring ladies brunch, and we are busy preparing for it now. "Taste and See" will be our theme for the brunch as well, complete with vintage kitchen decorations, "recipe card" placecards, and a new church cookbook for each guest.

We have been compiling, typing and proofing our church cookbook for several weeks, and I was finishing it up today. Finally, it's in the mail! The hardest part for me was figuring out the "personal pages" at the beginning of the book. These pages are designed to introduce the book, give information about your church, or just share thoughts.

As I was trying to decide what should go on these pages, I was thinking about our theme of "Taste & See". (This is also the title of the cookbook.) I wrote the following poem in an attempt to sum up our focus for the book, and for the special event where it will be presented. (If you intend to be there, pretend you haven't seen this before! Also, if you plan to purchase a cookbook, please look surprised!)

Taste & See
(an introductory page of our soon-to-be published cookbook)
As you read the recipes contained within this book,
I hope you'll be persuaded to do more than simply look.

For when you see a recipe that whets your appetite
The only way to know if it is truly a delight

Is to gather the ingredients, make measurements precise,
And follow the instructions to preheat, puree, or dice,

Mix or stir, sauté or bake, each step you must complete,
And then at last you can both see and smell your tasty treat.

But you are not quite finished with your chosen recipe,
You'll not know if it's really good unless you taste and see!

And much the same we find it with the Savior that we serve.
We talk about His love and grace, the praise that He deserves.

But it's not enough to hear about the goodness of the Lord,
Or even just to read what's written in His holy Word.

We cannot know God secondhand. Alone we must decide
If we will choose to trust in Him, and in His will abide.

We will not know how sweet He is, or how He satisfies,
And we will not experience His blessings in our lives,

Until we act, believing that He’s all He said He’d be.
To know the goodness of the Lord, we have to "taste and see".

-Niki Lott

"O taste and see that the LORD is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in him
Psalm 34:8

Have you "tasted" God's goodness? Have you tasted it today? We will never be disappointed in the Lord. However, so many times we are satisfied with what someone else has experienced instead of actually "tasting" for ourselves. May each of us truly "taste and see that the Lord is good"!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not Forgotten

Dear Friends,

I wanted to let you know that I have not forgotten my blog....I have just been trying to keep my priorities straight. Between the holidays, wonderful visits with family, sickness, and more, blogging just hasn't been able to be at the top of my list.

I was finding myself sitting up until 12:30 or 1:00 a.m. writing on my blog (which I absolutely love), and then being tired and cranky the next morning. Even my morning coffee didn't always help (can you believe it?!). Finding time to sit and think and write is my biggest challenge. When I am at the computer, Halle wants to be typing with me. As much fun as that is, it isn't very conducive to writing. So, I am trying to rethink and rework my schedule so that I am putting the Lord and my family in their proper place, and putting my writing and music in its proper place.

I am planning to start posting again, not daily, but on a more regular basis. I hope that you'll check back when you can. Thanks for reading.


By the way, I've added links to my mom's blog and my sister's blog. They are both wonderful, and I hope you will check them out!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Lesson of the Ornament

Wow! Can it be Christmastime already? I'm sorry it's been so long since I posted. It is the most wonderful....and hectic.... time of the year.
Last week, we had our Christmas fellowship for the ladies at our church. Our theme was "An Ornament for Christ" (some ideas I got at - it's a great site for ladies ministry ideas). Anyways, we had an ornament exchange, and a great evening of fun and fellowship.
While preparing the devotion for the evening, (with coffee in hand), a story came to mind. Our text verse was I Peter 3:4, "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." The story is a little long, so you may want to grab a cup of coffee before you read...


When just a girl of four and ten,
I changed from what I might have been.

So clearly still it seems I see
The day that brought this change in me.

Be patient with me as I share
The memories of what happened there.

I was a child of humble means,
A princess only in my dreams.

We lived upon a grand estate
As servants of a master great.

A good man in both word and deed,
He met my family's every need.

But in the winter of that year,
My heart was also cold and drear.

For as the houseguests came and went,
My days were in self-pity spent.

I watched one with a fancy dress,
Another's jewelry did impress.

I felt that I was less than fair
When with these guests I did compare.

So on that cold, December morn
I was not festive, but forlorn.

And yet the task that fell to me
Was helping with the Christmas tree.

Each year, the tree stood in the hall
In splendor, it inspired awe.

The garland gold, the twinkling lights,
The ornaments, the star so bright,

Adorned the tall and stately pine,
I'd seen no other tree so fine.

No doubt this year would be the same ~
The Christmas tree of local fame.

And so, with my rebellious heart,
The decorating I did start.

But then I heard a step behind...
I turned and was amazed to find

My master, gazing first at me,
And then up at the Christmas tree.

He spoke to me, his voice was kind.
"I wonder, child, if you would mind

If I gave you a helping hand."
I nodded, and the work began.

The decorations had been kept
In boxes 'neath the basement steps.

As we unpacked, he shared with me
Some favorite Christmas memories.

And then he asked if I could guess
Which ornament he loved the best.

He said he could not estimate
Its value, for it was so great.

My interest then was highly piqued,
And for it I began to seek.

I saw a shining silver star,
Its origin was from afar.

My master's eyes said this was not
The precious ornament I sought.

I found a jewel-encrusted ball,
Its sparkle could be seen by all.

Expectantly, I looked at him,
But soon began my search again.

An angel then, with flowing gown,
No doubt an heirloom handed down.

But this one too he did reject.
I was beginning to suspect

That I would never figure out
Which ornament he spoke about.

But when all hope I'd almost lost,
I saw a simple, wooden box.

It wasn't bright, with jewels crowned,
And so I slowly put it down.

But when I saw my master's eyes,
My mind was filled with great surprise.

The tender look upon his face
Assured me there was no mistake.

I turned and picked it up once more,
Bewildered by a choice so poor.

And as it came into my grasp,
My fingers touched a hidden clasp,

It slowly opened and revealed
What formerly had been concealed.

This ornament, this precious one,
Contained the image of his son.

And what I'd thought was somewhat plain,
Was now a lovely, picture frame.

The simple lines and modest hue
Allowed an unobstructed view.

No sparkling sequins to distract,
No golden glitter to detract

From strength, and love, and manly grace,
As seen in that beloved face.

I'd seen my master's son before,
But then he'd gone to fight the war.

And there himself he'd sacrificed
To save another soldier's life.

"My daughter, can you comprehend
Why all the money I could spend

Could never purchase or replace
This portrait of my dear son's face?"

I nodded yes, and through my tears,
I saw my master's smile appear.

"Just one more lesson I would share,"
He said, as we were seated there.

Our heavenly Master also holds
An ornament worth more than gold.

He sees it in a girl like you."
I wondered if this could be true.

"He does not look at form or face,
Or pride of station, or of place.

The beauty that we do possess
He did not give us to impress

Those who can only see a part,
But cannot see our hidden heart.

The jewels, the hair, the costly clothes,
Are seen as beauty, I suppose.

But fancy gowns and diamond rings
Are only superficial things

That in an instant can be lost,
Or can be purchased at great cost.

The beauty that our Master seeks,
Is of a spirit calm and meek.

The baubles that this world attracts,
From this true beauty just distract.

Our Master longs to see a heart,
That's lovely in the hidden part.

For when He looks at such a one,
He sees the image of His Son.

This priceless beauty can't be bought,
Though for it many long have sought.

It does not tarnish, tear, or fade,
But grows in value with each day."

I wondered how my master knew
The struggle I'd been going through.

But in his wisdom he had seen,
And helped a young girl, just fourteen,

To see that beauty was far more
Than all the things the world lives for.

I sought to heed his wise advice,
To seek the beauty of great price.

To have a heart serene and still,
Submitted to my Master's will.

And every year at Christmastime,
This memory comes back to my mind.

Forever grateful that God sent
The lesson of the ornament.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Make Up Your Mind!

Have you ever stood in line behind someone who couldn't seem to decide what they wanted? Maybe at your favorite coffee shop? Or maybe you are that person!

Usually, if I'm being indecisive, it's because I'm trying to choose between what I think I want, and what I know I need. For instance, I may really want that rich, chocolate mocha with whipped cream on top, but I know it's not good for my waistline or my budget. I'd be much better off with a cup of coffee with a little Splenda and skim milk. Hmmmm.....what will I do? That depends. Sometimes I make the wise choice. Other times, my appetite argues louder than my common sense! Or, maybe I have a friend along who is encouraging me to make one decision or the other. Can I stand up to the "pressure", and do what I really think I should?

As I went to vote today, I was reminded of the importance of the choices we make, and how grateful I am to live in a country where I can still cast my vote. I believe the consequences of the political choices that are made today will be great and far-reaching.

However, of far greater importance than the election that is taking place are the spiritual choices that we make. God has given each of us a free will, and the opportunity to choose. He teaches us what are the right choices to make in His Word, and warns us of the consequences of foolish or evil choices, but He leaves the decision to us.

In a spiritual sense, how have you cast your vote? Have you chosen to receive Christ as your Savior? Have you chosen to surrender your will to Him? Have you chosen to live a consecrated life? Or have you chosen to reject Him, to ignore His Word, or to live a carnal life? Spiritually, there are no "undecided" voters. We are all choosing every day who we will live for. The consequences of our spiritual choices affect not only our daily lives, but eternity. I pray that we will all make the choices that are right and pleasing to Christ.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Quick Update

Dear Friends,

Just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten my blog! I've had a busy week, and a baby with a cold. She's fine, but there hasn't been much time for writing. I will be out of town next week, but hopefully after that I can get back into the swing of things.

I'm enjoying the cool weather, in spite of the colds that are going around. I hope that you're having a wonderful autumn. The leaves here are simply stunning, and the weather has been lovely. We've had cold nights, but crisp, cool days. I think I'm ready to go crunch through some leaves!

Well, it's past my bedtime, so I'm going to go. I'll be back soon. Plan to grab a cup of coffee and join me when you can. Thanks so much!


Friday, October 17, 2008

"Grounds" Keeping

Who makes the coffee at your house? I usually make it here, mainly because I'm the one who drinks it the most. (Does that surprise you?!) I guess I could have the title "keeper of the grounds". This is a very important job if you are a coffee drinker, and should not be taken lightly. Just kidding!

There is an important "keeping" job that I do have. That is being a "keeper at home." Titus 2:4-5 gives a list of things that young women are to learn from older women. Among this extensive list is the commandment to be a "keeper at home". God says this is so important that if we do not learn and practice it, the Word of God will be blasphemed (Tit. 2:5).

Some women feel that they cannot be content or fulfilled if they are keepers at home. The Word of God teaches just the opposite. Proverbs 14:1 says, "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." We need to take our responsibility seriously, and do the best job that we can for the Lord.

1. Follow the Commandment

We need to realize that being a keeper at home is not just a good idea, it is commanded (and commended) by the Lord (Tit. 2:5; I Tim. 5:11-14; Pro. 14:1; Ps. 113:9).

2. Be Firm in Your Commitment

We must be committed to fulfilling our role as keepers at home. Just because we know the Bible says something does not mean we intend to obey it. Or, sometimes, even though we are obeying, we are not doing it with our whole heart. God's Word says, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might..." (Ecc. 9:10). We need to make a commitment to giving our best to the Lord in our homes.

3. Find Your Contentment

When we have chosen to follow God's commandment, and are firm in our commitment, it is then we will find contentment in the place God has given us to serve. Do not view being a keeper at home as a lowly task (although we should be willing to do anything for the Lord), but rather as an honored position. God sees it this way, and so should we. Read His glowing praise for the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, and the many other godly women of the Bible.

God has entrusted us with a job, and we will one day give an account for how we have done it. He has asked us to be stewards, keepers, of our homes. The greatest requirement is that we be found faithful (I Cor. 4:2). In relation to the fulfillment of our duties as keepers of our homes, will the Lord be able to look at us one day and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."? I hope so!