Saturday, December 31, 2011

An Announcement!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I have been pondering much a worshiper's heart and what is inside. What sets apart some people as worshipers who find it easy to rejoice in all life's ups and downs? Where is my heart?

I have been counting gifts as the days pass. I am not necessarily writing them down, but the heart captures them as they float on by.

I have been thinking about the upcoming months as those are the months that are soul dark and I search for Light, but cannot see. Where I must trust and lean on my God who supports and supplies my every need.

I have been convicted that this one life I have been given to live should not be about me (as I so often live it to be). I feel the Lord gently nudging me and prompting me to do this for the year. (Eek--a year of consistency?--oh, help!)

What is this going to look like? I can't give you the details as I am along for the journey as well, the individual steps are illuminated, the whole passage is, as of yet, dark.

But I am excited. I want, no, need to learn to turn everything back into praise to Him. The mundane is holy because I serve Him. The dirty dishes are holy because I feed my family for Him. And that is all good. But God is holy. He is to be my focus this year. Not to look for him in the mundane, but to see him despite the mundane. To acclaim him.

Because of this focus, this place, Heart Reflections will be quiet for a while. I hope friends will join me and if you have a story where you can say 'Bravo!', then please share it with me! Joy is multiplied when shared with friends.

Friday, December 16, 2011

5 Minute Fridays

Five Minute Fridays: Write for 5 minutes flat, no editing, no back-tracking. Just write for the joy of writing.

Connected. All my life I have longed for connection. And I have received it. And it has been taken away. But through it all, the One who Sees, is the one with whom I stay connected through it all.

If only I would remember. To remember the Babe who became flesh so I could know him. To remember the grace that connects me to the Father when this life spins and twirls me about and I cannot find the center.

It is the daily 'Good Mornings, Lord' and the mid morning, 'what next, Lord?', and the lunch time crazies when He is the strength that gives me courage to keep on marching. It is in those little daily reminders of His presence that I stay connected to the One who gives me life and breath.

And when I am connected to Him, I am connected, fully, in a way that I cannot describe, to my family and friends.

Connected. This Babe, this God who became Flesh, this Christ crucified, the King resurrected....He is the connection of us all.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

He is my Trust

I hear it as a whisper in the wind as it rattles the windows and rushes around the corner of the eaves.

I hear it in the clank of dishes being loaded into the dishwasher.

I hear it in the unsticking of a sock on the sticky spot on the floor, that 'ssshhlunk' that only a sock can make as it unsticks.

I hear it in the wonderment of 'it's already 5?'

I hear it whisper in the chaos of the day. The teaching, the loving, the messes.

The message?

'Trust me.'

Trust. It's one I have long struggled to hold onto. It's the key to successful days at home. It's the key when I do disappoint these loves. It's what goes missing when I lash out that the little one is not moving fast enough and the big one is not catching on quick enough. Trust is what's missing when the mess of everyday life overwhelms. The sticky floors. The floors that I can't remember when I last scrubbed them. The moldy shower curtain that needs replacing and I forget, once again, to buy a new one. The cobwebs on the light fixtures and corners of the rooms.

If trust somehow gets lost, life overwhelms.

'What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?' Romans 8:31-32

God is for me. God is for you. How can trust get lost when we keep this Truth tucked in close to our hearts?

This is my challenge this week. To remember not to fret and worry and be overwhelmed, but to trust what he says. He is for me! To lay my days and my agenda at the altar of His love and say--'I trust you'.


Monday, December 5, 2011

A Heart that Beats for His

'I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.' Jeremiah 24:7

This verse has been on my heart this week. I want a heart to know Him. For He is the reason I live and breathe. This verse is a reminder to slow down and acknowledge the God who created me and you and all we see.

You see, I can get caught in the whirlpool of doing all the right things. The church thing. The devotional thing. The worship thing. But it's not. about. me. and what I do. It's not. These things are good, but it is God who turns my heart towards himself.

And it is true for my children as well. Taking them to church, giving them a Christian education, living the Word before them, talking about Jesus as we sit and lay down and walk along the way. These things are good and necessary in our home, but it is God who turns the children toward His heart and this is what I pray for.

Jesus, the Living Water,
I pray that you would call my heart to your heart. That you would capture my kids' heart. That we would know you. That you would be our God and we would be your people. Yes and Amen.

Blessings be poured down like rain,

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lessons from a Penny

It's called a throw away coin. A coin not worth bending over and saving it. A coin we don't really count anymore.

A penny.

I found one the other day. It was darkened and dull with age. I picked it up and tossed it in the drawer for the Sunday School offerings and in that drawer was a bowl full of tarnished, uncared for pennies. Waiting. Languishing.

How long does it take for a penny to tarnish? How long does it take for the bright, shiny coppery finish to wear and collect the grime and dirt of everyday living? I think it all depends on what that penny experiences.

I held that tarnished, dirty penny in my palm and I pondered the fact that I am twelve and a half years into this mothering journey and I have lost the shine of a new penny. My efforts appear to be tossed aside. The idealism has worn thin and I wonder if all my sacrifices have been discarded like the little forlorn penny. a tarnished penny, I can be made shiny again. I need the washing of the word. I need the assurance of Isaiah 52:12 that my God leads me and he is my rear guard. I need to take the time to spend with the One who can wipe the tarnishing of teaching decimals, or forgetting to pay the bills, or pronouns verses possessive nouns away and reveal the shiny heart beating for motherhood beneath.

I believe in mothering, I believe that all my efforts will not be wasted, but it is like walking in the dark, and sometimes it feels really dark and I just want a little glimpse into the future, but my Jesus, he says, 'Jess, take my hand, let me lead you over decimals and english and little boys and squabbling baby girls; just hold my hand and hang on tight and look. at. Me.'

Wherever you are at today in your mothering or teaching, know this: The Lord longs to be gracious to you, he longs to lead you, he longs to hold your hand and walk you through the mines of raising children whose hearts beat for him.

Reach out and Hold. On.


Friday, November 25, 2011

5 minute Friday-Grateful

For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.

For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.

Won’t you join us?


when life is great, it is full, but when life stretches and pulls and tugs and stabs, gratefulness becomes a sacrifice. It becomes a sacrifice because I must lay down my rants and stop my whining and lift my sacrifice of praise to the One who sees.

So when life pulls and stretches like a woman swelling with new life within my heart must swell and nurture grateful thoughts, grateful actions. Gratefulness which is free of comparisons and contrasting my life with my friends' or my neighbors' or my 'wish-they-were-my-friends' bloggers.

Gratefulness reflects God's great full-ness towards this life he has graciously given me to life. Gratefulness = God's greatness. He is mighty, magnificent. He sees. He cares. He knows my words before I do. He holds the world in his hands and I am in his hands and he will. not. let. go. Praise God!

Gratefulness is my heart filled with His Greatness. My heart stretches and swells until it bursts into songs of joy just as my body once swelled and gave birth. It wasn't without it's discomfort and pain, but the joy. Oh the joy. And so it is with gratefulness.

Blessings to you and your family this wonderful, wonderful day,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Harvest

The cycle is complete, or has it just begun? The fields lay quiet; stripped of their fruit. They await the winter snows and spring rains and the spring-time implements ripping the surface open to lay in the seeds for next year's crop. It is the cycle of all growing things. A time of rest. A time of preparing the soil to receive seed. A time of planting. A time of growing. And a time of harvesting only to begin again.

My heart is the soil the Gardner is tilling and amending to prepare His seed. My heart is the field where the harvest will happen. And just like in real soil, there will be pockets of beautiful loamy soil and in others it will be clay-like. Other parts will be sandy where the water flows through and is always dry. Sections may be missing a crucial nutrient for ideal seed growth. The Gardner does what He needs to do the prep the heart soil to receive His seed.

I have sections of my heart that are like this. There is the sandy part of me where the assurances of God's promises flow right on out and those parts are continually parched and dry and I continually need reassuring. Or the section of heart soil that is a bit clay-like. The words of the Lord sit and soak in, but don't drain out as well. This is the section that needs help in giving to others, to serving others. Then there is the heart soil that is perfect for growing. It soaks in and drains out. I take the Words in and breathe them out. In and Out. Over and over. And what remains is a flourishing, beautiful harvest.

'Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is is for the autumn and spring rains. You too. Be patient and stand firm because the Lord's coming is near. Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door!' James 5:7-9

This is why grace is the rain we all need to shower on one another. All of our heart-soils are being worked and tilled and prepared for God's seed and some areas of our heart-soils are still weedy and sometimes those weeds spill over into how we treat one another or our speech. Grace is the rain that covers it all and allows those weeds to be pulled more easily. Grace. When we respond with grace we water the heart-soil and the weeds give way to the Lord's gentle tug.

Blessings poured towards you today.