Making a Way for Your Ducklings

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Having grown up in Massachusetts, the story of Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings is part of my genetic make up like the Red Sox, clam chowder and the understanding that the letter R carries little weight in the American alphabet.

McCloskey writes about a female, married duck, Mrs. Mallard, and the journey she takes in navigating her babies through the busy streets of downtown Boston amidst speeding vehicles and honking horns. Ahh, Boston drivers. But that’s another story.

Safety.

Mrs. Mallard needs to get her babies to their new home safely. Key word as she protects them through the obstacles of traffic and city life but sees to it that they arrive (ironically), back at their destination–the Boston Public Gardens (and with the help and guidance of a Boston police officer.)

As moms, we are no different…we may not blow whistles nor sport official uniforms (though it feels as if we might as well on some days), but we are in many ways, police officers.

We’re the authority.

Protectors.

Peacekeepers.

There are plenty of honking horns and speeding cars on our children’s path and we help our kids through the various traffic jams of life as Mrs. Mallard did for her babies (all 8 of them!)

We can’t necessarily protect our children from what they will see and hear along their journey, as there are plenty of obstacles to dodge and activity that gets in the way. There is noise. There are difficult people. Unknowns looming larger than life that can intimidate and cause fear. Bumps that broadside. Hard knocks that hurt.  In our leading, we won’t always be able to cross the intersections successfully, smoothly or quickly. We can’t just blow a whistle and make everything and everyone stop or slow down. Oh, how I wish we could!

We are going to make mistakes. We are going to fail. Stumble. Sometimes crash. Other times, we will get the navigation right and steer with little interference or proceed despite the interferences, teaching our children how to do the same, modeling how to keep marching forward when the odds are stacked high.  We are not perfect moms but flawed women with weaknesses, raising children who are also flawed and weak yet we support them where they are going with our unconditional love and the reminder of God’s unconditional love for them.

Right now, we have the time and opportunity to guide, instruct and encourage while they are in our safe keeping. We have the time and ability to keep learning, trying, and pursuing the chances to carry on in our commitment to their growth because they are our first priority and are following right behind us. (Maybe not in a line, but they’re there!)

They are our ducklings and we will do what it takes to insure they get to where they need to be spiritually, physically, emotionally and psychologically—daily, and in preparation for their future.

For the day our children set out on their own will come…will we stand before them wondering, “Was it enough? Did I do enough? Teach enough? Love enough? Did I prepare them fully? Build their foundation with everything that was needed?”

The answer will be yes and no.  You did. With perhaps some spots perhaps a little muddled or not crossed as smoothly  as you had liked.  You are currently making your own way for your ducklings each day with your special uniqueness, gifts and strengths that God has purposed in you and He makes up for the rest. As God delivers us to our desired havens, He will use you to deliver your children to theirs—to their public gardens.

Their everlasting home.

And He’ll be there on the journey.

Keep making the way, Mom. Even when you don’t know the direction, the hows, whys or how-comes. You have love, which drives you to go the distance.  You won’t do it half way. Through it all, your way is the best one for your child. You are their mother for a reason.  Keep forging ahead.

One day, they will make their own way, but for now, you’re still in front…depending on God with every step as you cross and lead.

Recommended Scripture:

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke their chains.” Psalm 107:13

“They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:27-31

 

Morning Glory: Not

And then there are the mornings…..unbelievable how some of them go….how we go. Okay, how I go. I shouldn’t throw you into my mix.

We can plan how we are going to handle a situation (determined, fierce, go into whatever it is we are facing like gangbusters) or equally, be impulsively reactive. Guilty! I admit it, I am a huge reactor. I need a human, built-in “pause” button app. Come on Apple, can’t  you craft one of those?

“Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:12-14)

I think when we pray for God to change our hearts and attitudes, the words we speak, the tones we use and the responses we have are calmer, purer, firm yet still loving, patient, steady and just plain old pleasing…to everyone and to the One who has HIS hand over our lives. Our emotions. Our fears. Our anxieties.  And isn’t everyone happier all around? Don’t we spend less time apologizing and more time conveying truth yet without the harshness, hurt and defensiveness that causes others to have pain? The pattern can create a vicious cycle.

Yes, things are going to aggravate us. People are going to hurt us and treat us and/or our kids unfairly. Should we pray for people to change and for their hearts to be softened? Sure. But more important, we need to pray for our hearts to be changed because the world is full of pain, unfairness and problems and we need to live with some of that muck and live with it well and righteously. Our right, Godly response is a far greater tool to have in our arsenals than the elimination of the problem in some explosive way. Let’s pray that God would shape our hearts since everything we are about comes from its condition. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:22)

We do have power, we do have control and we do have the ability to take the high road when life presents the low ones. Why? Because God can take our hearts and molds them to be pretty awesome, and that’s because we are pretty redeemed.

And then afternoon will come with a fresh, new start….

Bread Trucks, Pursuit and Rest

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 As seen on themomcafe

In the movie, My Best Friend’s Wedding, starring Julia Roberts, a conversation between Robert’s platonic pal, George (Rupert Everett) and Julianne (Roberts) suggests that it’s a man’s job to pursue the woman in a dating relationship. The fact that this lecture takes place as Julianne is desperately driving a bread truck she has stolen down Michigan Avenue in pursuit of her best friend while talking on her cell phone to George, makes the conversation that more entertaining:

“Michael’s chasing Kimmy?” (George)

“Yes!” (Julianne)

“You’re Chasing Michael?”(George)

“Yes!” (Julianne)

“Who is chasing you? Nobody. There’s your answer. Jules, you are not the one.”  (George)

Ahh, an honest friend.

But this post isn’t about a man pursing a woman in a dating relationship.

It’s about God’s pursuit of you.

As moms, we do a lot of chasing, pursuing, carrying, lifting and supporting.  I am sure you have flopped down on the couch many times and sighed, “I wish someone would carry me!” (to the spa for a massage, right?!) And for single moms, oh just to have someone to help with the load.  If you are dating or not dating, maybe your desire is for someone to pursue you.  I hope that if you are in a dating season, that God will deliver His very best to you…your own Dermot Mulroney!

Know moms, that today, whatever or whomever you are chasing, there is someone who DOES carry your burdens and who carries you as well.  As you chase, as you run, as you sustain your little ones and your responsibilities (at times like a crazy woman driving a bread truck down a busy, city street, believe that God sustains you.) Let God pursue you.

He wants to give you rest.

He wants to give you freedom from your burdens. Hurts. Past mistakes. He wants to give you freely His salvation.  He wants to give you joy. Peace. Comfort.  He is the true sustainer and lifter of our heads. He is available and doesn’t need chasing, tracking down or pursing. He is at your side, pursuing you and you don’t have to do anything crazy to get His attention, nor prove yourself. There’s no panic or reason to react frantically.

He is the bread.

Your foundation.

Your sustenance.

“I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4 

Loss, Loss, Go Away, Come Again Some Other Day. Deal?

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Who doesn’t love a colorful welcome mat to make their entry appear warm and inviting?

Cute pots of flowers, stone-made animals, flags that blow in the breeze or wired figures, antique tables, shapes and flags that twirl in the air or blow in the breeze can all brighten our front step.

But there are the things that you definitely do not want on your front steps. Things that are SO not your style, look cheesy or are just clearly, not your taste. Then there are people. Salesmen with flyers and business cards.  Solicitors. Brokers who want you to know the latest comps in the neighborhood. Even the adorable neighborhood kids selling wrapping paper for a school fundraiser can create annoyance. Some people and some things just aren’t desirable to have on our welcome mats.

One of them, is loss.

We lose things, though, right? Sometimes it feels as if it’s our sanity :), our needed or beloved job, a favorite series that went off the air (I was crushed when Alias ended and that was years ago), a relationship, a neighborhood, our dear home, aspects of our health, a loved one. Sometimes we lose time or an opportunity. Often we lose sleep,the ability to organize….the list goes on.

Loss is out there–far and wide, other times, close and narrow.

We long for a remedy from those empty spaces that run deep or dryness from the tears, energy to combat the affects of what has been taken, the need for joy to replace the ache.

Are losses blimps on the screen of our lives defined by waiting out the passing of pain with the infamous “this too shall pass” worldly hope?

Perhaps.

Or is there a deeper hope? Are losses markers, bigger than blimps, more like hot air balloons, that ultimately inflate us with strength, sensitivity, compassion, perspective and growth rooted in God’s purposes and plans?

Likely.

To know that loss hangs over the horizon as a known, forthcoming event and is just a matter of time before it darkens our doorstep can carry a level of anxiety that we’d rather not receive nor think about. Other times, loss can broadside us in the present moment, jolting us into a state of shock and even despair. If only keeping the front door closed could block its entry into our lives….wouldn’t that be nice?!

When loss barges in through our front doors, standing on the other side is the One who shares the spot with its pain.

Jesus.

He has not only teamed up with loss, but coached it through till its bitter end.

He feels it. Mourns it. Is familiar with the dark, empty spaces that fill our souls. He knows about suffering.  About pain. About what you are up against. He also knows YOU and grieves with you. In His knowledge of knowing you, is the depth of Jesus’ love, care and provision for you through your tears.

Jesus stands on our welcome mats waiting for us to open the door, not so that we can greet the loss but so that we can welcome what He has for us in the loss. We can go through the loss with or without Him.

Which do you prefer?

God may not bring back what you are missing, but He promises to bring something else to you in the process. What that “something” is looks different for each  one of us and can only be discovered by opening up the door and setting out our welcome mats for Him. The One who restores. The One who brings healing and hope. The One true God.

What a sight and visit that can be for those of us inside our house feeling hopeless and experiencing what Jesus has for us on His welcome mat.

In our pain, our opening the door can be the best choice we make.

Scripture References

“I, even I, am he who comforts you.” Is 51:12

“I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4

“The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; The LORD accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:9

Sharp Edges that Don’t Have to Pierce

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“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9 Do you have those times where as a mom you think, “I handled that so well,” or, I am so on top of my game here, I am doing great. I know my kid, I know how to handle things, I know their needs and wow, I am doing pretty good here.”

And then…..crash!

We can hear the sound of brokenness, the clatter of destruction echoing throughout our being. Their sharp edges pierce our hearts and dent the flow of what we know is right and true in our minds.  We slip. We fall. We BLOW it. We think, “I am the worst possible mom there is! How could I have responded that way, said ______,  made that decision to____, or….?”

If you are sweeping up  broken pieces today, take comfort in knowing that we are made strong through our weaknesses as the Apostle Paul said. God gives us the strength and correction we need in those difficulties we come back from and when we disappoint our children and ourselves because of our weaknesses. In those times when we are weak, as Paul said, “then I am strong.”

Paul  delighted in his “hardships, in persecutions and in difficulties” (2Cor 12:10) for it was in those trials that he was able to endure because of God’s power, not his own.  We are no different. We have our weaknesses, we have our own personal persecutions, hardships and difficulties but we have the power of Christ. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2Cor 12:9.

Today, if you crash,  you can rest in the healing strength and power of God.  If you didn’t have struggles, you wouldn’t need nor possess the strength God gives you. And it’s in the crashes and broken pieces of our lives where we can discover wholeness, rest and true healing that comes only from His power and love.

Let that truth dull the sharp edges that cut to give you the soothing strength you need today.

Where do you need God’s strength today, mom?

Milk and Cookies, Moisturizer and Making Me Dwell in Safety

 

Image credit: rnl / 123RF Stock Photo

A glass of milk with something brown, cakey or chewy, being able to think against the background of a still, quiet home and a good book propped between my hands with a pillow against my back are my favorite ways to end the day.

So not happening in my world. Yours?

Often, it’s a march from making lunches or a cleaning task that leads me straight to the bathroom, willing myself to brush teeth, clean face and apply eye cream and moisturizer to those fine lines before falling into bed.

And very often, none of that happens either.

Fatigue seems to be my regiment.

What a perfect match to the stillness of the Psalms that can bring rest to those jumping thoughts that come alive at night and help put to REST the rest of the continued to-do list, work in the form of paper piles and the pressing questions that can race through our minds as moms…the ones that call for immediate answers and solutions and that cause a small, evening anxiety party to break out in our minds.

“Keep it down in there, would ya?”

Thank you nocturnal, mental madness for invading my head.

I think God wants us to rest well. That means without worry. 

Free from doubts.

Free from fear.

Free from restlessness. 

We may not have perfect peace in our circumstance, but we have perfect peace that He is in our circumstance(s). God is alongside you doing dishes, making lunches, knowing your hopes, hearing your questions and planning the answers. But He’s not as concerned with those things as we are.

He’s more concerned about where your mind is dwelling in the midst of all that you are dwelling on.

So tonight, as you drift off to sleep, will you dwell in His mighty power and comfort? Where will your peace come from? He may very well provide a cookie, a can’t-put-down novel, the energy to clean or tidy up and even an effective moisturizer. But  more than all that, He’ll provide His presence and that’s a goodnight regiment worth taking every night.

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

How do you like to end the day? What brings rest to your soul? Can you make reading His word the last thing you do so you can make the last thing you do (rest)  a success?

 

 

Lost & Found

“But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.” 2Chronicles 15:4

We look for so many things each day, don’t we? When we can’t find something, we stress and worry yet when our children lose something, stress and worry, we do our very best to help them through their anxiety, comforting them by letting them know that it’s okay, they’ll find what they are looking for, what’s missing will turn up.  As moms, we travel around the house searching for the toy that appears to have hidden on its own, for the other flip flop that looks as if it hopped away or for the homework that is by your child’s every recollection, complete and thought to have been placed in the backpack.  Lost things….sigh. Usually found, sometimes not.

We don’t have to scramble when looking for God.  He is always there, always waiting for us and always available. He may not be visible, He may not always speak to us in an audible voice, but He is present. We find Him in prayer, in the scriptures and within our hearts and spirit.  He is near and can always be found–for the big things and the small, and for everything in between. We just need to look.

So look for Him today in all that you are doing, Mom.

He may even know where that flip flop is hiding.

 

Finding Rest in Unrest

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5 Even in the carefreeness of summer, there can still be an unfreeing feeling of unrest and at times, hopelessness as we continue through the different seasons of our days.  There are still struggles, there are still challenges we battle as moms, as women. Some of you battle with a habit that seems to plague you over and over again and you are tired of it–wanting it to change or to just stop. Perhaps it’s the battle of not yelling, or the battle of waiting something through until it ends.  You may be experiencing unrest in feeling just plain old worn out. Today, if any of this describes where you are at, perhaps you can find rest not in your circumstances changing the way you need them to, but in God–for in Him, we can find true restoration, correction and hope for that something new needed in our circumstances. See what He has for you today as you put your trust in Him for the hope and newness you are needing in your life. He will meet you where you are at and surprise you in new and in unexpected ways!

Related Scripture References:

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2

“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.”  Psalm 25:1

“You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:5

So Much, So Much

So much living to do while we are mothering, so much to accomplish, so much that can make our insides feel overwhelmed, anxious and sometimes a little scared. Fear can often run that peace right out of our personal town. For any of you beautiful MOMS feeling overwhelmed today, a Biblical truth quite simply put is that God protects His people. (Gen 31:3)  “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 118:6) May God be with you today and give you His power and strength to help you handle and do what you need to–work, shop, drive, teach, tackle, approach, feed, cook, volunteer, clean, decide, get done what you need–all of it,  today. Let that knowledge that God protects His people and you MOM, shape that peace right back into your front door.

In all that you are doing…

Good Morning! Whatever you have before you today, remember The One who goes before you. He is in control of all you are doing.  “I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:2-3