Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Prayer Warrior Arises

E is just about two. She now plays toddler versions of Hide and Seek, I Spy, Memory Match, and Simon Says. Sporting a big water bottle and Dora undies, she is my big little girl. The most exciting moments this year  were in her spiritual development. I'm in awe of how she was created and how I get to be a part in this uncovering of gifts.

Worship songs- E would sleep to how Great is our God and I Love You, Lord. Sometimes she would kick her hands and raise her hand up in church.  She likes to sing with me sometimes.

Praying at mealtimes and at bedtime- Esaid Amen at an early age after our meals. She closes her eyes and shouts a hearty amen, especially in gatherings. When we pray at nighttime, she says Amen as well.

Praying when hurt- when she has diaper rash, Daddy would pray for her, she even requested him to pray HEAL for her.

Sirens- When E hears a siren, she gets a little nervous, especially if the dogs start wailing in reaction. We would stop and pray for the people aloud and she caught on. If J or I would ignore the siren, she would say PRAY, MOMMY. PRAY, DADDY. Often she would close her eyes, peeking out of the corner.

Nativity-When I explained the story of baby Jesus to Eusing the neighbor's nativity scene, E was thoroughly interested in all parts. She even pointed to the star up in the sky. When we came home, she made a phone call on her toy phone. Hello Jesus, Found You. Good. See you later. Bye Jesus.  

Bible- E flips through the mini New Testament. She hands it to her aunty when she visits. Awesomeness!

God Bless You--We taught this to E last night. She has heard us say it for sneezing but never repeated it. I told her the meaning and she caught on. She started saying Bless You Daddy. God Bless YOU. She told the same Bye, bye. God bless you to the worker at the store today.

Scripture- Esays Psalm 4:8 almost on her own. It helps me to memorize the scripture as well. I am so blessed that she can and wants to say it. The word is hidden in her heart:  I will both lie down in peace and in sleep for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cheer

Worry weighs a person down, but an encouraging word cheers a person up. Proverbs 12:25

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Rebellion

In the past few months of toddlerhood, I've been correcting Emi for misbehaving.  After hearing my request, she submits after one or two no-nos with a stern look. She used to cry. But more recently,  she just redirects to a new approved activity. With satisfaction, I was always pleased with her remorseful look and immediate obedience.  "Give Mama the crayon. That's not for eating."  Presto! The beloved grape crayon is placed in my hand. Such is the life of a good mom...HA, or so I thought!

 And then came the time of a very special awakening of said, cherished daughter.  Repeated choices during the course of the day lead me to the conclusion that my spunky keiki was testing me. My patience, my kindness, my grace, my discipline, everything.  Good ole Mama.

Can you imagine how it grieved me to see her dashing about, no matter what I said, and going right on doing whatever she intended? Throwing her food, spitting out milk,  sliding on her back repeatedly in the tub, eating things off the floor, drawing on her hand, whining in the store, biting off the crayon tip, grabbing at my face, smashing dinner into tray, refusing to hold my hand and much more ALL IN ONE DAY. I was caught off guard, ignored and on the receiving end of wild defiant laughter as she repeated her offending behavior.  I was so shocked, I just stared at her for awhile, disbelieving my orderly, obedient sweetie had morphed so suddenly. AAAAgh. Where did I go wrong? This must be what parents of teenagers feel like.  After a full day of drama, I thought I heard  Emi saying, "Bad Ma-ma" during dinner. When the horror wore off, I realized she must have just been practicing her newly acquired word-Banana.

The heavenly Father has been in a similar personal relationship with me lately. I haven't spent much time thinking about His instruction.   No matter the correction- gentle or stern, I was on my own agenda. My prideful illusion of control took over when I've stopped listening.  Consequently, I suffered as things worked out badly as a result of my mistaken action.  I did the very things that put my whole family in a bad situation. I've been able to observe firsthand what happens when I just jump off the deep end, ignoring God's call on my heart.  Because I trust my Father's love for me, confessing and repentance is the welcome path back to safety.
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Emi just cried out for a moment and then unexpectedly returned to sleep without waking. I started  weaning last night and know this is her way of becoming more independent. he listens when I tell her she needs to learn to sleep and is learning to let go of her dependency on being nursed, even though she is not thrilled. She soothes and is at peace in her rest. I realize this is no run-of the mill rebellion...she has been putting up a little daytime fight, building strength and trusting I will love her throughout her growing pains.  I realize my own personal rebellion with God, followed by repentance was a short-lived period that I passed through as I am maturing into an even stronger leader of faithfulness.   Like Emi, I have been seeking the limits of freedom and learning to trust the guidelines that are set for my benefit by the ONE that loves us dearly. With grace and humility, I ask for another day in His embrace and wisdom to guide me.

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!  Hebrews 5:12

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Washed Clean

Every night, Emi scrambles to climb over the side of the porcelain tub.  She would dive in head first, fully clothed, if I allowed her.  "Wait, " I say as I quickly grab some toys and balance them on the edge of the tub so she can drop them in one by one. This delays her just a bit while I check the temperature of the water.  She grunts with impatience, stretching her arm to close the gap between her and the water. This is how bath time always begins...

Each day, the Lord offers me a special time of renewal with Him. It's much like a daily bath.  Some days, like Emi,  I go, willingly and eager, anticipating what awaits me. Other days, I go desperately, in meltdown mode. These times I am  hurt, troubled or just plain filthy. Then, there are days when I delay because I simply don't want to be cold and uncomfortable in my naked vulnerability. On the days I avoid the bath, the outcome isn't pretty.

In the bath, my spunky keiki shrieks and splashes wildly with fervent hands. She jumps up and slaps colorful foam fish on the wall. "Sit down nicely," I say with a protective hand guarding her in case of a fall.  Back on the floor,  she is enthralled,  pulling up the slip guards, swishing and pouncing on floating toys.  I seize the moment and wash over her. The soapy water dissolves the invisible residue of greasy avocado and grimy shopping cart.   I check carefully for bruises, cuts, or rash that may have afflicted her throughout the day.  No part of her body is overlooked. I marvel at her growth and health. While she is still immersed in her water adventure,  I rinse and rinse and rinse.  Emi loves following the flow until the final swirl goes down the drain. She cheers with applause and grins ear to ear.  At last, Emi looks upward and reaches toward the warm towel I hold. She is refreshed and glowing in my awaiting hug.

Watching Emi at bath time, reminds me of what our approach to Presence time with the Lord can be like.  A pure joy and eagerness drive us forward, anticipating what is about to come.  He gives gentle, clear instruction, which keeps us safe and strong.   Throughout prayer and what is revealed in His word, we are scrubbed of the gunk that accumulates in subtle, yet critical places.  The cleansing washes over every sin we confessed as we are forgiven and healed again and again.   In the end, we find ourselves wrapped in the Lord's love, revived and thriving.  Let us spend time bathing in His living water each day.  We can completely trust Him to restore us.

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts, fully trusting him.  For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.  Hebrews 10:22 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Kissing the Ground you Walk on

Entering toddlerhood with my daughter is a welcome challenge.  My inauguration as a first time mom was a stage only passed by the grace of God.

I've lived a chaotic childhood, wild teens, whirlwind twenties, and soul searching thirties. Then, I became a mother. A wife of a pastor. A veteran elementary school teacher.  A follower of Jesus. A steward of a home as old as I am. And a closet creative wannabee. (Not necessarily in that specific order).  Here begins a memoir, one of my outlets, perhaps even something meaningful to someone else out there. The stories to come are ones of a mother raising her child and helping to build a family with faith, that He will pull us through any trial and build us up with every victory we are blessed with. 

My spunky keiki, Emi, is still learning how to walk. Recently, she has been able to clear a room with no problem but every so often, she takes a tumble. "Uh-oh, bonk the head!" We like to say to her. She usually responds by rubbing her head, looking a little confused and disappointed. It transforms to a smile as she starts back up again.    Yesterday, she took a particularly hard knock to the  head.  This time she cried so loudly, I had to pick her up to console her.  She quickly recovered. Releasing her to the floor to give it another go, she immediately bent over and kissed the ground. Then she went on her waddling way to her playthings.  Happy as a clam. 

What did she have instilled within that caused her to kiss the ground?  A sense of forgiveness...making peace with the ground that had been part of her fall....a need to make things right again?   It made my heart question and wonder as I beamed with joy at her sweet actions.

As we move, walk, learn and grow with the Lord...we will stumble and make mistakes. It can hurt....at times, it hurts a lot.   We can do more than just let go of the pain of falling before we begin again. We can cry out, get comforting healing by our Father and then with complete readiness, humility and love, we can walk again, strong and happy.  With renewed hope, we walk on the sturdy ground that has been kissed with fresh beginning.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 4