Double Digits

Reblogging this today in lieu of his birthday week. I so love this little man who is that little anymore! ❤️

the grizzle grist mill

This week, we celebrate my sweet baby boy turning 10! It is so hard to believe. It feels as if it was just yesterday when he was a baby.

He is my sensitive, caring, very observant child. He loves to play, and he loves to cuddle. He is tenderhearted; yet, fierce in competition and intense in convictions. He has a love for life and adventure like his Daddy, and he has a calm, quiet nature like his Momma. He smiles easily and loves to just be at home.

He is eager to please and sensitive to others’ feelings. He has a strong but compassionate nature, and he has a love for God that has only come from Him above. At night, I will often find him, in his bed, having fallen asleep reading The Word. He’s always been very intrigued by what the Bivle has to say, and I simply…

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Your Words

 

psalm-19-14

kellyarcidiacono.com

Your words matter. Your words count. What you say can wound or heal those around you. Choose your words wisely.

Years ago, our nine year old son came home from school sad. He felt like he had a bad day. Now, this child has always been more sensitive to those around him, to his environment, words said and actions done. He’s my rough-and-tumble, tenderhearted boy. He likes things to be peaceful and stable, fun and joyful, and this day hadn’t been quite like any of that.

He told me about his teacher snapping at him, how kids had laughed at him, and how the lunch lady had harassed him. As the story played out, I realized the teacher had “jokingly snapped” at him when he told the other kids to be quiet in line, causing the kids to chuckle around him, and the lunch lady had “jokingly harassed” him when he spilled a little of his spaghetti from his plate, saying, “Your mom needs to teach you how to do this.”

Now, to you and me, as adults and people who have experienced pain, criticism and strife, what he went through may not be that big of a deal. I could tell, by the information he had given, that his teacher hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings; she probably didn’t even think twice about it. There was no part of bullying or harrassment meant in her statement.

Don’t we all do that from time to time? We will quip our answers “short and sweet” to those around us, never assuming that it might impact them differently than we intended. Yet, the sharp remarks he received from those two adults at lunchtime, combined with the snickering of children around him, had cast a cloud on his usual joyful demeanor and caused him to feel like his whole day was just horrible.

proverbs-18-21

mybible.com

As he grows, he will learn how to handle jokes, sarcasm and harassment. His tender heart may not always remain as tender, but I can assure you, this day reminded me that we should all be more cautious with, not only what we say, but also the attitude and tone in which we say it. There are times for sharpness, and there are definitely times for rebuke.

Don’t mistake my comments here to be an agreement with the recent cultural push for a kinder, meeker society where we can give no rebuttal to anyone without a cry against “tolerance.” When there is evil and wrongdoings present, it angers me to hear those trying to settle down a conflict when the only persons they’re trying to calm down is the very one confronting the sin or wrong being done! It seems this nation is working hard to excuse certain beliefs, actions or opposing viewpoints simply because they’re “new and culturally accepted.” These actions and attitudes are not what I’m talking about here.

I am referring to the words we use with those closest to us and the tones and attitudes we portray behind these words. It is so easy to be in the middle of having a bad day, be approached by a child and respond to them by snapping their little head off. It’s so common to be stressed out, right at the time of a deadline and just “blow a gasket,” simply, because your spouse asked where a clean pair of socks are. It’s such a ‘knee-jerk reaction” to be worried and concerned over a situation and respond to your ‘aggravating’ teen in an overemotional manner instead of stopping to realize they weren’t trying to get on your nerves; they’re just being a teenager. I know. I’ve been there, and I wonder if you have been, too…

proverbs-12-18

deebrestin.com

The heart of a child, a teen, and even our spouse are at stake when we allow our emotions to rule over our words and actions. We should not only have the mind of Christ, but we must have His mouth as well! Let our words always be tempered by His grace, love and Truth.

psalms_19-14

kingjamesbibleonline.org

 

Hold On Tightly

I want to be so close to God that His nature is mine. I want to walk so close to Him that our steps combine, and I find myself tripping over His. I want to be so in tune to His voice that I hear nothing but what He longs for me to hear.

Yet, I find myself time and again, wandering on this path He has set. I find myself distracted from where He is, and I end up tripping over my own fleshly desires and appetites. I get clouded in my vision and become reduced to a straining-to-hear-even-a-whisper MESS of carnal reasoning and wisdom-like-faith filled with nothingness.

Why do we slip so easily? How is it that we entered this race so passionately, only to realize we may not endure till the end? I have found it is so similar to a child’s journey through life. As a babe, he clings desperately to his mother in exteme demand for his every need and desire. As a toddler, she learns to toddle along, still needing help but ever learning strength and resilience on her own. As a teen, he pushes back, needing space and independence to find his voice in this world. Finally finding adulthood, flying to depths beyond and, often times, wishing that we could one day return to the comfort and security of a mother’s arms.

Maybe, that is why Christ said, “…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven...” (Matt. 18:2-4) Maybe, we work so hard to become “all grown up” that we forget to hold tightly to His hand. Just maybe, if we held tighter to His hand, we would find our steps are sustained by His grace rather than our own strength. Maybe, we would find this journey of life just a little more endurable, not because we have easier days of circumstance, but because we lean so heavily into His presence that He carries us through those moments rather than us trying to walk through them alone.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

 

 

Where Are You Leading Them?

millstoneLet us never lead a little one to stumble. I have found that this Scripture can be interpreted in so many different scenarios. Literally, it can mean leading small children away in their faith (or in other things, for that matter). It can, also, mean distracting new converts from their new commitment to God’s calling, and it can even be mature Christians being directed down the wrong path by prideful, egotistical or ambitious fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

As Christians, we must be so careful not to lead “little ones” astray from the Word of God and from what He has in store for their lives. The Bible says it is better for a millstone to be wrapped around your neck and you thrown into the depths of the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble! In case, you don’t know what a millstone is, it was one of the large circular stones used to grind grain in grist mills years ago.

milllstone2

markcommentary.blogspot.com

When we are called into leadership, when we are called into teaching capacities, and even when we are placed in situations by God to help someone learn more about Him, our number one goal should be to lead them closer to Him not away from Him! We can only do this as we seek His face and listen for His answers to their questions and wonderings.

Whether we are a parent, a mentor, a teacher, or simply a friend, we should never take lightly a position of influence in someone else’s life. We should boldly walk in the authority He gives us but never because of our own wisdom, strength or abilities. We should approach it with buckets full of humility and grace, lest we get filled with pride and lead one of His precious ones away from what He has in store for them.

Let us be ever prayerful and ever mindful when it concerns someone who is impacted by our words and deeds. Let us always be humble and full of grace, and never let us take lightly the positions of leadership and influence He gives us in someone else’s life.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

 

His Delight

Over my lifetime, I’ve heard so many people talk about how God is our Father…that He’s really like our “Daddy.” He’s the one who delights in us. He’s the one who thinks we are precious; we are the apple of His eye; we are simply like a treasured child in His sight. He loves us that much.
I am precious in my Daddy’s sight
This analogy is great… unless you never had a Dad who delighted in who you were as a child. This is a wonderful illustration for those of understanding; however, for those of us who grew up without a dad present, without a father who showered us with hugs and smiles, without a Daddy who daily convinced us of His love, this picture of a loving Father just doesn’t quite make sense. It doesn’t quite bring the measure of comfort and peace that those who propagate it may wish to convey.
So, how do we translate this kind of love to those with whom a father’s love is foreign? How do we paint a picture of “Daddy’s little girl” or “Dad’s little buddy” to that one whose own father was abusive, neglective or even absent all together? How in the world do we portray this image of a wonderfully, loving father who enjoys seeing His children happy and full of life? The only way I have found to communicate it is by learning about it myself and sharing my life experiences with those whom I encounter.
…He delights in me…
Sometimes, it’s revealed to me by a surprise, tangible blessing like what happened last year on two different occassions: I was on a mad-dash Easter dress hunt the night before Easter. At the very  last minute, I decided I was just going to drop by a store and see if I could find something new. As I was pulling into the parking lot, I had a little prayer conversation with God. I said, “It sure would be nice if I could just walk right in and just a cute pink jacket to go with my pants. I know, I don’t have to have it, and I’m okay with not. I can always wear that old suit I have. I just don’t feel comfortable in it, but it’s really ok, not a big deal.” I went in, looked at one rack, went to next, and there it was. Right size. Right fit. Perfect. Two weeks later, we were at a ladies retreat, and they had a white jacket on display that I just loved! I thought it was so cute. At the end of the retreat, I mentioned this to the lady who owned it, and she handed it right to me. She said, “You enjoy it!”
…I am His precious child…
Sometimes, His delight is shown to me by what others share with me. A widowed friend of mine told me one day, “I am spoiled. I asked Him to help me see Him, and He has. I see the little things He does all around me, the little blessings He does for me everyday, and I feel treasured by my Father. I am cherished by Him.” Another friend was recovering from major surgery. Someone brought her a quilt the very day she returned home, and the person didn’t even know she had had surgery. The quilt was made with scriptures on every square. She said she felt blanketed in The Word while she recovered, and it was a reminder her of God’s love for her. She said, “It was as if in that moment, I could feel Him saying “I love you, you’re my precious child.”
…I am the apple of His eye…
Sometimes, I am simply reassured of His delight in His love for me in nontangible ways…a prayer unanswered, a wound healed, a moment of protection, a feeling of peace through the storm, or a simple reminder of His faithfulness even when I am not. He loves us, and He delights in us, His children. No matter what type of earthly father you may have had during this lifetime, you can be certain that your Heavenly Father loves you more than you could ever imagine! You ARE the apple of His eye. You are His delight!
 
deut32.10apple.eye

flickr.com

 “In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.
The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him.”
Deuteronomuy32:10-12

Mom’s Job

We, as moms, have so many jobs, so many responsibilities to fulfill. These change often, too, depending on the age of our children, the different seasons of life, and the various needs of our family. What my roll was, as a mom with our boys, 10 years ago looks somewhat different than today; yet, I have found a few “mom jobs” to remain constant over the years. If these go missing, chaos seems to presume.

  Speak Life – It is our responsibility to speak life into our home and our children. We need to encourage, admonish, admire and lead by example. Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…” When we speak life to them, it is the beginning of their seeing Christ. It causes them to see a better way than where their fleshly desires would entice them. When we speak life, it guides them in truth. Solomon, the wisest man in Scripture, had a mother who spoke life into him. You can see that in Proverbs 31, when she admonishes him about drinking and shares with him what kind of “good woman” he should seek. Speaking life is not condoning sin or emphasizing failures. It is giving them God’s best in their moment in order for growth, strength and transformation to occur.

  Provide Liberty (freedom) – It is incumbent upon us to give our children the freedom to grow into the man or woman they are meant to be. We begin this from a very early age. We hold their hand to teach them to walk, and then, we let go so they can. We hold onto the back of the bike so they can get steady, and then, we let go and watch them bike around the block on their own. We help them in so many ways, at the beginning holding on to make sure they’ve got it, and then, we watch them as they learn to do things on their own. We must do this with their dreams as well! It is our job to help them to dream and to one day fly to higher heights, and we must give them the freedom to do so! When we hold on to tightly, or we hold them back because of fear, competition or even jealousy, we cripple them and cause their way to be harder than it needs to be. They may still reach their dreams, but oh, the hardships and battles they have to face along the way!

  Give Love – It is our calling to love those God puts in our care. We were made as nurturing creatures. We were created as networking beings, to reach out, to connect. We have been developed to care, to cry, to comfort and to cover our loved ones with our love and prayers. If we are not reaching our arms up in prayer and out in love, we will wreak havoc on all those around us. That’s why it’s so important for us, as women but especially as mothers, to release anger, bitterness, strife and unforgiveness. If we hold onto these things, we don’t just simply “cover it up and hope it goes away,” as we often want to believe we can. It breeds in our home and eventually manifests in all areas of our lives, as well as, in the lives of our children. We must love. We must care. We must reach out. Hannah brought a new coat to little Samuel every year at the time of the feast offerings. There is a whole book in the Bible devoted to the story of Ruth and how she not only loved her husband but how she loved her mother-in-law. Esther changed the heart of a king by her love for her God, her husband and her people.

It is said, “The mother is the heart of the home.” I tend to agree with this statement, but I want to make it a little more specific. I believe she can be the heartbeat of the home. With her attentiveness, her effort and her consistent focus on Christ, she can not only keep a hand on the pulse of the home, but she can also become the heartbeat of that home. If she is stable, loving, courageous, bold, prayerful, gentle and kind, her home has a better chance of being the same. If she is imbalanced, hateful, fearful, lacking in prayer, grouchy and just plain mean, her home will most likely emulate the same attitude and personality.

Men weren’t created to do these things the way a woman was! They have their own purpose and their own calling within the home, but it is different than a woman’s. We have a purpose, and we must fulfill it, or everyone loses!

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”   Proverbs 31:28-31

Happy belated Mother’s Day!

A letter to My Pregnant Self…

If I could go back to when I was pregnant with JGrizz, I would tell myself a few things to be remembered…

Decide, now, you will not sleep for the first three months, and then, when you get that first 30 minute nap, it will be absolutely glorious!

Everything you need to know won’t always be found in a book, given by your doctor, or even spoken by your mother. Sometimes, you’ll just have to follow your instincts.

There will be a time, your instincts will be proven wrong. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure, and this doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. It means you’re human. It means you’re normal.

The house can’t always be kept clean. Toys seem to come alive in the night and find their way back to the living room before you awake. Learn to organize on a very small scale…very small…like one toy in one basket…at any given time.

One boy can have the volume of a surround sound system on level 55. Two boys can create a front row rock concert experience at 7:00 am. and, again, at 11:30pm.

When your three year old little boy refuses to come down from the Chic-Fil-A slide, it really does not mean you’re a terrible mom…Really.

That day when you have to literally step over your two and a half year old who is pitching a fit on sidewalk, in the front of the church, it does not mean you have failed at parenting. It means you are being brave and strong.

Enjoy those little scribbles and backward letters and upside down numbers … even when you find them on the bedroom wall. For one day, your child will be getting ready to apply for colleges far away from home.

Cherish those moments your two year old rides his Little Tykes motorized Harley in the backyard, for one day, way too soon, he will be talking about his soon coming birthday when he can get his license or driver’s permit.

There will be days when you just drink that cup of coffee and simply survive…and have one more cup of coffee to just make it till your early bedtime.


Find an outlet for your stress. Make time for you…even if it takes scheduling that night out on the calendar, and daddy has to keep the baby. He can do it. He loves that baby, too.

Make time for you and daddy, too. Dating your man IS important. If you and he don’t love each other, your child may not get to see what a great marriage is all about.

Most of all, make time for God, and this doesn’t have to be hours on end spent in the Upper Room. There will be seasons, especially when those babies are little, when devotions will come in snatches of time…it might be a Scripture today that brings peace to your weary mind, a Bible story tomorrow read from a children’s book that brings strength to your heart, and your favorite pastor’s sermon on Sunday morning which brings conviction and healing to your wounded soul.

God’s not about the rules, regulations and perfection. He wants a relationship. He wants to hear your thoughts. He wants to consume your heart. He loves you, and He wants to help you be the best mom you can be. He wants you to know He loves you and that YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Let me say it again, YOU ARE ENOUGH. This being a mom bit is CRAZY hard, but it is so very worth it!! … Be real. Be you. Find God in the chaos and hang on…Hang onto Him with all you’ve got, and you’ll make it.

“You just be you, and God will take care of the rest.” – Bones, Moms’ Night Out

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14

The Best Gift

The best gift you can give your child is the gift of hope. I’m not talking about the hope that comes from having a great job or more money. I’m not talking about hope that comes from being more or having more.

I’m talking about a hope that cannot be bought with a salary or influence or even wishful thinking. This hope to which I refer is not one made of human hands or even human aspirations. It’s a hope beyond your wildest imaginations.

This hope is truly a gift, because not only can it not be bought, but it also cannot be worked for or earned in any way, shape, or form. To obtain it, we can’t ever become a better person or act better; yet, because of it, we do become a better person, and it does cause us to act better.

This hope doesn’t make the world perfect, but it does make it closer to perfection. It doesn’t make us sinless, but it does make us sin less. It is a perfect hope, one without sin or blemish, mistake or failure.

This hope is Jesus Christ, His redeeming love, and salvation for us. This hope is wrapped up in heaven and our reconciliation to that wonderful world beyond. This is the hope of which I speak. This is the very best gift you can give your child.

For without hope, a man will surely perish. Without hope, a woman will grow bitter and full of malice and dread. Without hope, a child will be consumed with fear and confusion and rage.

True hope can only come from God, for His Hope brings peace and healing. His Hope brings strength. His Hope brings restoration and reconciliation.

True hope brings love into the home and runs depression, chaos and confusion right out of your mind. Hope gives a purpose and brings a calling. Hope will never fail you.

Don’t delay. Don’t hesitate. When you have this hope, your best days are ahead of you. Seize that hope for your child’s better future. Hope for brighter days, and hope to make the most of the night, wherever you are. Hope for a better future, an eternal hope. This is the best life gift to give your child.

Find it, and give it today.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

Build Superhero Status


When our boys were little, they were always posing, play fighting, and attacking life as some kind of superhero. Our oldest would dress up in the full Batman mask and cape, ready to face every enemy lurking around the corner; it didn’t matter that we were only going to the store. He was ready for whatever may come! Our youngest didn’t dress up in the cape as much, but he wore out that Batman mask! 🙂

Our children always want to be something great. Let’s let help them. Let’s let them be the heroes they choose, no matter what age they might be. Let’s imagine with them, pretend with them, even believe with them. They are only little once. Those years fly by so quickly. It’s as if I blinked, and now, I see a teen growing into a man and a young boy growing into a teen. I miss those younger years, sometimes, but I know they must grow. I know they cannot stay small forever.

Yet, even as they grow, they still have dreams of being a hero. It might not be Batman, and it may not be Superman, but there are dreams still alive, villains still to be captured and battles still to be won. Find out what those are, and help them not just make it and survive; help them conquer and thrive. Breathe life into those imaginations. Let the dreams live on. Give them the tools to fight those battles and win BIG.

For every Superhero was once a small child. Every mother, every father, for generations past, was once a little girl and a little boy dreaming of the hero they would on day become, and so many still, yet, dream of the hero they once were or the one they desire to be…

 

Old Before Your Time

Life is hard sometimes. People get sick. Family members pass away. We have bills to pay. Debts to reduce. Money that must be earned from long days of hard work.  

We have children who won’t listen, spouses who don’t hear. Bosses who place demands and leaders who set higher goals than we think we can ever achieve. Yes, life can be difficult. It can be a challenge. Life can be downright tiring!! 

It’s no wonder too many of us grow old before our time. It’s no surprise that we walk around frazzled and bedraggled. It’s not a shock that we’re, too often, tempted to give up the fight, to let the friction in our life take over and win. Life can just simply wear a good man out, and a mom with little ones, well, let’s not even get started!! 

Yet, Christ said we must become like little children. More Specifically, He said, “If you do not become like one of these little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” So, how do we do this? How do we live up to that kind of expectation when life just drains the life right out of us?? 

I think we can start to answer that when we stop looking at the trouble and problems of our lives and begin to look at a little child. Too often, the older our children grow, the quicker we forget the joys and wonders of childhood. Sometimes, I wonder if that’s why God allows us to have grandkids later in life…as a simple reminder of wonder.  

What are the cares of a little boy when he walks in his room full of toys? …where’s my train, my truck, my bouncy ball? What does the little girl think about as she sees her stuffed animals at the table? …why a tea party, of course, and whom she’s going to invite!    

These children aren’t consumed with the cares of this world. Most of the time, they don’t even know the cares of this world! They can get lost in a world full of imagination, wonder, fantasy and fairytale. All they long to do is play, sing songs and find the next fun adventure to take!  

We can take a lesson from them. You might want to argue that we, as adults, must put aside those foolish things of childhood in order to succeed in life, to accomplish the many tasks and expectations that are placed upon us.  

Oh, but I have to disagree. It’s not that we should remain in immaturity and never take the responsibilities of adulthood, but that we should never lose our wonder. We should never shut out our intrigue for imagination and adventure. We should never put aside our joy simply because we’ve grown a few years older. For this is where dreams live. This is where we go beyond simply surviving through life, and we begin to thrive!    

The Word tells us, “The JOY of the Lord if our strength!” It even says, “For the JOY set before Him, He endured the cross.” 
Even in our moments of sorrow, our moments of heartache, the child within us can still learn and grow. Even in our deepest time of fear and doubt, that child can push beyond that fear toward faith and a new tomorrow. It is the choice in how we think, how we see, and how we live out our lives that determines if we are thriving or simply surviving. It is a choice we can make, even today, to continue to grow old or to stir up the child within and allow him or her to breathe and to dream again. 

A great place to start is with thoughts of heaven and all the laughter and joy we will find there. Can you hear them? Can you hear the children laughing and playing? When a child laughs, it’s like liquid gold, for it brings a lightness to the air. Laughter washes away sorrow. Laughter drowns out fear. The laughter of a child can mend a heart and revive a soul. Can you hear them? Wouldn’t it be fun to join them once again?