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Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Memorial Day!

There's a poem I've read a number of years in a row about Memorial Day that never fails to bring tears. I don't know who to give a writing credit to, but as you read, I pray you will remember our Veterans and the men and women who are serving our country right now.

My daddy is a Veteran and proudly served our country. To him and to all the men and women who have served and are serving us well...THANK YOU!

Remember Our Veterans

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN, not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the VETERAN,
who salutes the Flag,

It is the VETERAN,
who serves under the Flag.

Please remember to pray for our VETERANS today!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mother's Day surprises

I received in my inbox yesterday some very cool surprises. After receiving my HUGE edits on Tuesday with two months to rewrite my first novel and word from the mechanic on Wednesday that our car is dying, I tried to listen to the Lord and instead let fear win.

Then I sent a prayer request to my awesome ACFW friends and the return emails opened the door for me to truly hear the Lord and stand in faith. God is sooo good! Not only did my friends encourage me with their prayers and words of "you can do this!" but they also prayed for my little girls~ that God would provide a car so we can take them to special horse riding lessons we found for a very low cost. Something extra incredible we wanted to do as a gift for them.

My mommy heart was so touched that happy tears slipped out.

Then another email surprise came. The National Institute of Marriage (an AWESOME resource worth your time in checking out) sent a Happy Mother's Day email with a special story of encouragement.

The story?

It was mine. ;-)

I was so excited and humbled that God and the great folks at NIM would use my words to encourage other moms. I'm going to share it with you all as well.

May God encourage all of us today to be the people He created and smiles at as He watches over us with His perfect loving care.

The Article Archives
Topic: Encouragement

A Mom's Greatest Gift
May 11, 2006
Amy Wallace

Written by: Amy Wallace,

There's one thing the Lord consistently uses to touch my heart when nothing else will— My three pint-sized princesses. Through them, He shows me more of His heart and more of my need for Him.

My girls greet me with hugs and kisses and tell me I'm, "the most beautifulest and wonderfulest mommy in the world" even when I feel every bit the opposite. A precious glimpse of His unconditional love.

When their sad eyes water because of the hurtful lies they believe when I speak harshly, God uses those little faces to drive me to my knees and back to Him.

When I want to hide from the world because of all the pain and unhealthiness I see "out there" and in me, my little girls smile and tell me that when they grow up they want to be like Jesus and help people and tell them God loves them. Their pure enjoyment of God and desire to share Him with others reminds me that even in the bad, God is good and He has good plans.

But I have to say the neatest thing they've shown me is a picture perfect example of a truth I learned at the [National Institute of Marriage] Intensive. I'll share two illustrations...

The first is from the day after my husband and I returned home from the [NIM] Intensive. After four full days of not seeing our girls, we went into each of their rooms together to say good morning. We shared a little of how God answered their prayers in that He was working in our hearts and healing our marriage. My oldest daughter's eyes danced while we talked. Then when we were done, she jumped from her bed and hugged us at the same time~ a very long and tight hug. Our middle daughter had the same intense reaction and added, "I'm so happy you went and that you're home." Our youngest wiggled with smiles.

My girls all danced with hope that God was indeed healing their mommy and daddy's hearts. I will always treasure the look in their smiling eyes. Eyes full of joy, anticipation, and brimming over with love.

Another illustration is from a few days later. As the girls and I settled back into our everyday routine, I shared many of the things we had learned at the intensive. We talked about living out of fear and how to get out of that fear cycle by running to God and asking Him what's going on in our hearts. Then asking what He says about the heart messages.

One morning's chaos gave an opportunity to put into practice what I'd been teaching. My oldest spent the morning talking over people, talking when she was supposed to be working, and not giving anyone else a chance to speak. I pointed out her demand to be heard was coming out of a heart wound. She looked at me with sad eyes and said, "I don't think anyone will listen to me. I'm afraid people will think I'm not good enough to listen to."

My heart hurt. We sat on our couch and I asked her when was the first time she could remember feeling that way. She talked about me yelling at her years before over a handwriting assignment. I listened and my heart broke for the pain I'd opened her up to with my unhealthy way of handling stress by yelling. After she finished sharing her memories, I suggested she head up to her room and grab her teddy bear and talk to God about all that hurt and ask Him what the truth was.

She went to her room and the crying I heard nearly shattered my heart. She bawled and bawled. I bawled with her downstairs, but didn't go try to make it okay. I knew God could do a better job than I could.

When she came down we talked about her hurt. I listened and cried with her. I shared how I was so wrong to yell and how sorry I was that she hurt. We talked about the lies she believed when I yelled. The lies that she was “not good enough” or “not worth listening to.” I asked her to forgive me for yelling. She did. She went on to share what truth God spoke to her hurt. "He told me that He loves me no matter what I do."

Such simple truth shone from her eyes. I knew she'd heard the Lord and He'd worked in her heart. But what she shared next, I will forever treasure in my heart. My oldest looked at me and with tears in her eyes said, "Thank you, Mommy. I'm so glad you went to that marriage thing." She hugged me with a fierce hug and skipped away.

I sat there awed by what God had done in my heart and in hers.

In my daughter’s eyes and thanks I saw an amazing truth: The greatest gift I can give my children is my own health.

Without getting with God to heal my heart, I could not have helped my daughter learn how to run to God.

Without being healthy, I could not have heard her pain, cried with her, and asked forgiveness.

Without God’s healing in my heart, I could not have shown my girls what Christlikeness looks like in skin and bones.

And without both my husband and I receiving the healing that only truth from God brings, we could not have shown them the power of forgiveness, the picture of Christ and the church in marriage, or given the gift of a healthy home.

All these things will aid them well in their walk with the Lord. They won’t have to spend thirty plus years wondering around in a desert of longing and pain with hurts and lies from the enemy filling their hearts. Those lies that constrain us like the grave wrappings Jesus commanded taken from Lazarus when He raised His friend from death.

My girls will have to make their own choices as they journey with the Lord. My heart health won’t prevent them from experiencing pain. But living from a whole, full, and healthy heart will show them how to handle that pain. It will show them truth not hidden by an unhealthy life.

And we know as absolute fact, “You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”

That’s the greatest gift of all.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A child’s perspective on Mother’s Day

Today I’m doing a new thing. Something I haven’t seen on any other blog. I’m featuring what I believe is the youngest guest blogger ever. She’s an eight-year-old dynamo kiddo and very special to my heart.

My own firstborn precious princess.

The reason for featuring her is many-fold. First, Elizabeth is an aspiring author who’s already submitted one story for publication and has such a talent this proud mommy wanted to share her second story. Second, I wanted her to know how special her story is to me. And third, this mommy wanted something a little new for an encouraging Mother’s Day message.

We moms wear all sorts of hats on any given day. My favorites are kid-hugger and chocolate-sharer. ;-) But I also do a fair share of discipliner, dish washer, sick day cleaner upper, boo-boo kisser, devotion leader, book reader, teacher, and role model.

Very often I’m not proud of how poorly I do the above listed jobs. I often fail to speak kindly and love well. And I cringe when I think what type of example I’m setting. Especially on those terrible, awful, no good, very bad days when I should have just stayed in bed.

That’s where Elizabeth’s essay comes in. She wrote about why her mommy is the best mommy in the whole world. I was in tears when I first read it thinking more about how I fail to live up to what she penned.

Then it hit me… this is how my daughter remembers me. She sees beyond my failures and has seen my heart. A heart I know for a fact is filled with love for her and her two precious sisters.

So please read the following story and hear not a “look at Amy” essay. My prayer is you’ll hear my daughter’s words and consider that maybe, just maybe, your children see beyond your mistakes and love you so very much too.

For those to whom this might be painful because you can’t imagine your children saying such things about you…remember your Heavenly Father has already paid for your failures and He knows for a fact there is so much good in your heart.

Isaiah 40:11 says, “He gently leads those that have young.” God is leading you in this most precious calling and cheering you on as you wear one of my favorite names in the whole world, “Mommy.”

So here’s an early Happy Mother's Day to all you moms!!! You are such a precious gift to your family.

Now for my most wonderfulest guest blogger…

My Awesome Mommy
By Elizabeth Wallace

My mom is wise, priceless, helpful, and attractive. She loves to spend time with me and I love to be with her.

She homeschools me and we sometimes go on mommy dates to fun places like the park. She likes to play games and read with me. We do crafts and learn other languages, such as German. It’s lots of fun to go on field trips and walks-or just to play outdoors. Mommy wears lovely dresses and clothes when we go out, and nice sweaters at home. Mommy and I both like music-dancing, listening to it, or singing it. It also brings us enjoyment to read a good book. My mommy is gentle, loving, and kind. We have the best time together.

My mommy encourages me to do my work well all the time. She is glad when I read good books that help me use my imagination. She lets me play and helps me to do my best work. We do projects like mixing vinegar, baking soda, and red food dye in a “volcano” to make it erupt or dissecting an owl pellet or sewing a teddy bear.

For the summer, we go to the beach, do art, explore, study nature, and many other fun things. She uses money she earns from writing books to buy me new clothes or other things for our family. She also gives me what she knows I’ll like for my birthday and Christmas.

In conclusion, my mommy is awesome and deserves much praise. Clearly, She is terrific and helpful.

May all you mommies know how much you are loved! Happy Mother’s Day!
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