Archive for the ‘Answered prayer’ Category

Esther’s Prayer

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

My sweet Esther became a Christian today.

I had no idea that Daniel was filming with his iPhone. What a precious blessing to have a portion of our conversation recorded! All day I’ve smiled thinking this will be such a treasure!

Before he began recording, Esther came down from her room to proclaim that the Bible says in Matthew 19:14, “Let the little children come to me.” This has been a verse she’s been working on in AWANAS. “Mommy, I want to be a Christian and I need to know how right now!” she proclaimed. She had been talking with Bethany who encouraged her to talk to Daniel and me.

We discussed sin and her need for a savior. I can’t even begin to describe how precious her words were. Shortly after she admitted she is a sinner, Daniel began the recording…

Sure… She doesn’t have a complete theological understanding. She is young. But Jesus calls little children unto himself. He is working in my little one’s life. She “wants to believe those things.” (And about those earrings… I wore some big hoops today with little jade beads. I think they were a tiny bit of a distraction:))

I am rejoicing that she is a child of the King!

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

My Overflowing Mom Heart

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

My precious friends and me with Sally.

Thursday night of last week, I “lost it.” When things get hectic, I usually turn on auto-pilot and “do the next thing.” But I’ve done the next thing and the next and next with very little down-time for so long, that I just couldn’t hold it together any longer. My husband, who had noticed a change within me, lovingly inquired and asked how he could help. He mentioned we could make changes in our schooling or get some help or let some things go, but one thing was certain… he missed my “passionate and optimistic spirit.” With those words coming from the one who knows me best, I began to sob because I missed those qualities about myself too.

My head ached from stress, I’m sure, and the events of the next 48 hours filled me with dread. I’d signed up not only to attend, but drive my 12-passenger van to Raleigh for Sally Clarkson’s Mom Heart Conference. I’ll admit that as I looked at the work that always piles after a busy school week, I wanted only a nap and a magic wand. I did not want to subject my friends to my downcast disposition. Daniel prayed for me – that I would gain perspective and that the Lord would reveal himself to me and my heart would be encouraged.

And God did just that!

Sally - one of my mentors for well over a decade. What a blessing to hear her speak! One of my friends said, "WOW! This far exceeded my expectations!" Another claimed the Mom Heart Conference to be the most encouraging event she'd ever attended.

I can’t possibly write all the truths I brought home with me. Sally told story after story and I could relate to each and every one. She even told one of her son ten years ago – her then 11-year-old Nathan. Yes, I have an 11-year-old Nathan too, and as she described so beautifully a poignant moment of his childhood and her privilege in sharing it with him, I was touched. I don’t want to miss life changing opportunities with my children. I want to stop and pray with them. I want to watch sunsets. I want to live out Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Sally shared scripture after scripture. Her husband, Clay, led us in worship. My friends and I prayed and discussed

Several dear friends of mine attended this conference. Here I am with my sweet friend Kelly from Atlanta.

such important truths! I felt a sisterhood with the precious friends who attended with me. As I listened and prayed and worshiped, the Holy Spirit convicted me of some areas in my life that have become “cluttered.” Just as I can not concentrate with a cluttered house, I can not grow spiritually with a cluttered soul. And this weekend, the Lord told me to put away my to-do list and do the next thing His way. This “next thing” is to focus totally and completely on my first love. I am responsible only for my relationship with Him… not even for the outcome of my children! That is His job and he is oh so faithful!

Sally asked, “What is robbing you of your life, energy and victory?” We must guard our passion! Anything that robs us of our passion for God, must be removed from our lives. We can’t pass on to our children what we do not possess.

I want to love my God, my husband and my children with a whole heart. I want to be “thoroughly alive” with the love of Christ. And this weekend, I received a precious gift – time to sit and soak up words of truth, time to be still and time to enjoy fellowship with my sisters in Christ.

I left home Friday a little directionless and depressed. I came home different – eager to give each of my precious children and my husband love from my heart that is overflowing with encouragement and thankfulness. As I pulled into our driveway on Saturday night, I was greeted by my yippee yorkie and wonderful family. As my two youngest fought over first hugs, I smiled. As my oldest showed me her speech that she composed without my assistance, I smiled more. The house was picked up. The aroma of homemade pizza and bread filled the kitchen. Such tasks, though not an expectation, blessed me! Bethany reported, “Anna was really awesome this weekend, Mom!” Her words were music to my ears! My son showed me a gold coin his daddy gave him. Esther gave me kisses. Could this have been the same home and people I left on Thursday? Really, not much had changed, but my heart had and that made all the difference. My husband took one look at me and knew that God had answered his prayer for me. His optimistic and passionate wife need no longer be missed!

Sally reminded me that my mom heart matters. When it is full of Christ, I am able to minister. I must guard it carefully and keep it that way. My friends and I unanimously agreed that the Whole Heart Conference needs to be an annual event for us. Next year, join us if you can! 🙂

“I came that they might have life and have it to the full.” -John 10:10

“It seems to me that we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good and we must hunger after them.” – George Eliot

Eating at Changs!

Dream On!

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

What are your dreams?

This was a question asked many times at the 2011 Revolve tour this weekend in Atlanta – a gathering of 6500 mothers, youth workers but mostly teen girls. These young girls were challenged to dream big and to trust God daily with their lives.

My daughter, Anna, loves to dance. She loves Jesus. She loves to dance for the Lord now and desires to do so after high school. In what capacity, she doesn’t know. She’d love to one day tour with Ballet Magnificat, a professional Christian dance company, or at least participate in their summer intensives. Dancing is a dream for her.

It was for Kathryn McCormick as well. Kathryn was a speaker at the Revolve conference. She told of being faithful in the little things… how her senior year of high school she wanted to dance to a Christian song by Britt Nicole but was scared. She was afraid she’d be misunderstood or ridiculed. She knew, however, God placed that song in her heart so she danced to it out of conviction and because it expressed her faith. Through that small act of obedience, the Lord eventually provided the opportunity for her to tour and dance with Britt – a dream even bigger than placing 3rd place in So You Think You Can Dance! She is living her dream – using her gifts for the Lord and speaking of His goodness to thousands of young girls. Her dance is a platform for her greater love – her Lord!

As I listened to this young woman speak, I was overcome with gratitude. “Thank you, Lord for this woman’s testimony. Thank you that my dance-loving Anna can hear this. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!” I found myself saying over and over.

The next day, during lunch at the conference, I told my friend and our Women’s Ministry director, Marci, how I felt God placed Kathryn on the Revolve tour just for us. Kathryn spoke to Anna’s heart. She inspired her and I expressed that I sure wished Anna could meet her.

I think I said, “Marci, it would mean so much to Anna to meet Kathryn. I sure wish I’d thought ahead to get a ticket. I’m sure she’s ministered to many, but I felt her testimony was delivered especially to my daughter. There couldn’t possibly be anyone who could relate to Kathryn’s journey more…”

… And then without missing a beat, a young girl sweetly appeared from the masses of teens in the fast food line to our little huddle of friends. She was holding a ticket and approached us and asked, “Would one of you like to go meet Kathryn McCormick? I have a ticket but I don’t have time to stand in line and use it.” She then looked at Anna and handed it to her. For the next few minutes, I breathlessly attempted to keep my daughter in sight as she darted through the crowds to meet Kathryn during the allotted time of her ticket. As I ran, I prayed that I too would be able to accompany Anna even though I had no entry pass. Thankfully, I was privileged to witness their encounter and listen to their brief but encouraging conversation.

Kathryn encouraged Anna to follow after Jesus! “I am in awe that God has used my dancing like he has. I was absolutely terrified of public speaking – yet through my dance I know God is telling me to speak as well.” Anna told her how she wanted to dance with Ballet Magnificat and actually enjoys speaking and is taking Gavel Club (speech) now. Kathryn then encouraged her, “God will use that! That is so wonderful! Dance for Him and speak for him! Just be faithful daily and He will reveal to you His plan!

And then we ran back to our little group of friends as the BIGNESS of the previous 10 minutes sunk in and became a reality. Just as I praised Him as Kathryn spoke to 6500 girls, I praised Him again as we made our way back across the conference center. God revealed to me that He did indeed orchestrate that little meeting between my daughter and Kathryn.

That was SO COOL!” Anna exclaimed to her friends as she found the digital image of Kathryn and her on my camera to share with everyone.

And I am thankful – thankful for role models who can inspire my girl to dream on! God has a plan for her life and He is faithful! No doubt, Anna’s picture with Kathryn will be a reminder to her over these next few years that no matter what lies ahead, she can trust the Lord with her dreams and her future.

2010 Christmas Letter

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends! I hope you are all able to take a little extra time to focus on Jesus this season – truly the greatest gift ever given!

As I reflect upon this past year, I am full of gratitude. I’m thankful for many things but restored health is at the top of my list – especially for my dad who received a much needed heart transplant last Spring. Before his surgery, he and my mother moved in with our family so that they could be near Charlotte, the nearest city to their south Georgia town where he could have a transplant. The time my parents lived with us was a time of sweetness, yet also a time of

Our small group gathered around Dad's chair. He was in the hospital and sent the heart pillow for us to sign.

much anxiety. For five months, in the midst of a trial, the Lord gave our family extended time to be together and much grace.  Normally, out-of-town grandchildren are able to “put on their best behavior” for a few visiting days a year to see family. For that matter, grandparents and parents are able to do the same! For the first time in my children’s lives, they were able to “be real” with Nana and Pop. We lived life together. We laughed, cried, and yes, at times, showed our “at-home-and-not-visiting” sides. I consider that a blessing because I’ve longed for my parents to really know my children. Through our time together, we all grew very close. My parents also met many of my friends and were embraced by them. Our church and small group prayed with and for them. Our cell phones were always kept nearby because at any time a much anticipated phone call requesting we be in Charlotte ASAP could occur. We worried. We waited. And we wondered if the call would come before Daddy’s worn out heart might stop. When asked what she wanted for Mother’s Day, my mother replied, “For Byron to have a new heart.” Her wish was granted! Just as we sat down to a lovely Mother’s Day meal, that phone call came! Now, Daddy, while still facing some health challenges, is recovering well and enjoying the miracle of his new heart.

Mom and Dad after Dad's surgery.

Our family has so much to be thankful for. Our children are growing and healthy. Christina, one year ago, had leg surgery to correct tibial torsion, a twisted tibia that she’d had since birth but was not discovered until it began to cause her pain in adolescence. What began as a limp developed into a loss of her ability to even walk without severe pain. It was right after her surgery that my parents moved in with us. We are so thankful to live during a time that such things can be corrected. When asked what she was thankful for this Thanksgiving, Christina replied, “Doctors. Without them, I’d be crippled.” This is so true, and without them, my daddy would not have a new heart.

Yet, even greater than a fixed tibia or a new heart is the precious gift of our Savior. He gives new spiritual hearts to all who turn from their sin and believe in Him. This truth has become very real to me this year as I have prayed and prayed for restored health for my dad. Someone, who lost his life, was able to bless my daddy with a very precious gift – one that cannot be bought. And by this gift, my daddy’s earthly life has been extended. We are incredibly thankful. Yet, even still, all of our lives are merely a vapor. (James 4:14)

However, for those of us who know Jesus, our lives are eternal! He came to us as a tiny baby and those who believe will not perish! There is no greater gift! May we all come and adore the Christ child this Christmas and always!



Drama Camp, Cousins, and the Cupcake Angel!

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

What a week!

For the past several years, my children have participated in an outstanding

Anna got into the "hair dance!"

Christian performing arts camp called KidShine. It is a much anticipated week full of singing, dancing, and acting from 9-3 each day. Each year, I am absolutely blown away by the quality of the performance at the end of the week… solos! puppets! comedy! choreography! “This is a well done production,” remarked my father-in-law as he enjoyed watching all the campers, but especially his grandchildren, perform last week. “I mean, I’ve been to lots of kid shows and so many of them are just b-a-a-a-d!” Not KidShine!

Nathan and cousin Jeremy on the air guitars

Making our week of drama camp even more exciting, my sister and her children traveled up from Georgia and joined us. This meant fun for sure, but it also meant a whole week of packing 7 lunches each morning, a FULL 12-passenger van multiple times a day, sleeping bags everywhere, nearly impossible bed times, A LOT of energy, and 13 people at every meal. To minimize the chaos, my sis and I have the implementation of this week down to a science and the secret is simplicity. This is the one week my children get convenience foods in their lunch bags. We pull out the freezer meals. We do a few meals out. We do not make cupcakes for drama camp…

Anna on her birthday with some of her drama camp friends

…Except for that the last day of camp was Anna’s birthday. Her friends wondered if her mother would be doing anything. Then the dear parent coordinator volunteered to do it for me! She is truly a saint. She spent all her waking moments of the week with 50 drama campers, coordinated countless details, and offered to make my child birthday cupcakes because I’m busy. Ummm…. no!

So Thursday night, after teaching two classes, transporting Esther and my niece, Abby, to co-op classes (they are too young for camp), picking up the seven campers, driving children to dance, picking them up and making a decent dinner for my parents who were joining us (making our total occupancy 15!), and checking ahead for lunch fixings for Friday for my in-laws, brother-in-law and niece who’d be joining us, my sister and I cleaned up the kitchen and dreaded the task ahead… cupcakes for campers.

Just as I was kicking myself, thinking, “Why didn’t I just pick up already made cupcakes at Wal-Mart today?” my mother asked, “Byron, will you please go get the cupcakes out of the van?”

Yes! She said cupcakes! Having no idea of my after dinner plans, she bought the exact number of cupcakes I needed. “I just knew I needed to buy them!” was my mother’s explanation for the divine inspiration to purchase them. I’m serious!

I remember participating in a Beth Moore Bible study a few years ago and hearing her by video encourage women to look for “God moments” in their days. It’s so easy to be amazed by coincidences and forget that our Heavenly Father really cares about little details of our lives. I truly don’t believe my mother bringing me cupcakes was a coincidence! My mother has never brought cupcakes to my house (candy, cakes, and countless other treats, yes… but not cupcakes!). It blessed me. It was a message to me from God himself. “I love you… you can use these, right?” He answered a prayer that I didn’t even pray.

It’s been a busy week. But a visit from the cupcake angel certainly helped!

The cupcake angel and me


Saturday, September 25th, 2010

I’m ending my day thankful.

It started terribly stressful.

Esther burned her hand on my cook top while I held her. It happened so fast. Crying for the next three hours, she found relief only with cool running water. Water in a cup or a baggie of ice gave no relief. Thus, I held her over the bathroom sink and prayed for the pain to stop. Her tears flowed like the water running from the faucet and once or twice mine did too. It hurt to see my little one suffer and I felt awful that I didn’t prevent the accident from happening in the first place. I put my huge to-do list aside and comforted my child to the best of my ability.

My friend and neighbor, who happens to be a nurse,  stopped by and recommended medication. Daniel called and  spoke with our pediatrician who called in some pain relief. Though it took a while to receive, it worked its magic within five minutes of application. My prayers were answered.

While I tended to Esther, my older children cleaned up the kitchen, folded laundry and picked up their rooms. I had no idea what they were doing while I stood for hours in the bathroom soothing her burn. I felt love when I realized my older children had been working behind the scenes. They chose to bless me.

When Esther’s tears stopped, I didn’t want to stop holding her so we cuddled and watched Tinkerbell and I cherished her smiles. After her morning of tears, they seemed all the sweeter.We were invited to a baptismal celebration of a dear friend this afternoon. I had no time to cut and prepare vegetables like I’d planned so I decided to stop on the way to the lake and buy a side dish at the store. And then I remembered the homemade canned applesauce in the basement. Delicious. Done! Trip to store avoided.

A child, my daughter’s dear friend, professed her faith in Christ. Her daddy baptized her. We, her friends and family, shared scripture, prayed and rejoiced. Later, as we celebrated with one another over dinner,  I watched little Esther, with her thumb bandaged, play with other little girls as if she had not a care in the world.

My oldest daughter befriended a sweet girl and helped her get to know the other teens. That made me smile.

Esther is darling and her finger is healing. My children attempted my chore list while I tended to her. Medication is a gift from the Lord as is the doctor who called in a prescription without requiring an office visit which only would have delayed relief for my child. I thank the Lord for sending my friend over to encourage me to call the doctor. I’m thankful for applesauce, the perfect ready-to-go side dish. My friend’s daughter was baptized tonight!  What a celebration! What joy to spend time with other dear families! I’m thankful that my teens have such good friends and that they are maturing and learning to exercise their spiritual gifts.

I didn’t grade papers, vacuum or mop, go to the store or plan next week’s lessons. Those were my plans for today. Instead, I treated a tiny little finger and spent the remainder of my day thankful.

I love this card Bethany made for her friend. The blue flap lifts to reveal a sweet personal message.


Toilet Training In Less Than A Decade

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Written for and shared with my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) friends

I hate potty training.

Had all my children been like my first, I wouldn’t feel this way. Anna passed my potty training boot camp with flying colors. She was an A+ student! I simply checked out a book called Toilet Training in a Day, read it, implemented the techniques and truly had a trained 2 year old within 24 hours. Anna never had more than a couple of accidents, mastered #1 and #2 the first day and within 3 days was also night trained  – all at 26 months. I became a huge believer in this little book and completely admit… a little proud and a little smug. What was all the fuss over potty training? Obviously, mothers with difficulty either waited too late to train or needed to read the book. I found myself entertaining entrepreneurial thoughts of starting a potty-training business. From talk I’d overheard, there were moms out there who could use my expertise! Then came Christina…

I used the same techniques with Christina as I did with Anna. I was even more motivated to get my second-born out of diapers because by this time I was expecting twins! I had no intentions of diapering three children at once! Thus, when Christina became 26 months old, I skimmed over the potty-training-in-a-day guidelines and got to work.

This is how Christina felt about potty training!

Christina didn’t get it. She refused to cooperate. As a matter of fact, she despised the potty game. At the end of the first day, she had not, even once, pee-peed in the potty. She’d pooped in her pants. She’d thrown fits. And I counted the months I had left before my twins estimated due date and decided to give it a little more time –like 3 more months, but not 4… no way! That would be too long!

Two months before my due date, I again attempted potty boot camp. “Epic fail” as my teens would say! Not only was Christina as stubborn as ever, I resembled a whale and was in no condition to squat near a toddler potty fifty times a day! It was inevitable that two and a half year old Christina would not be out of diapers by the time I was due with the twins.

We survived. Eventually, Christina trained and over the next five years, her three younger siblings did as well. Sarah and Bethany were relatively easy. Nathan was not and was over 3 before he “got it.” (WAY too old by TTILTAD standards!)

You’d think with my experience in potty training 5 children, I’d think nothing of training our 6th child, Esther. However, she, of all six, has been the most difficult! Esther, who is almost 3, is afraid of doing her poopies on the potty. She was completely trained for several months and then became constipated. After going several days without a #2, she finally went and it was terribly painful. She bled, cried for hours and, once done with the job, decided she’d just not ever put herself through it again. That was 5 months ago and she has tried with all her might to keep her promise to herself. Unfortunately, her fear that going potty is painful has become a self-fulfilled prophecy. When poopies are held in, they do hurt when they must come out. Going to the potty is traumatic for her and there seems to be nothing I can do to convince her that she is causing her own discomfort.

So why am I writing about this “trial?” It’s just potty-training… something very common. I’ve heard it said that no one goes to kindergarten in diapers and I believe that statement is usually true! However, kindergarten is 4 years from now… and that’s a long time to wait for her to “get it!”

Our children will, from infancy, test our patience. It’s tempting when faced with a trial, be it a toddler with potty refusal or a teen with an attitude, to turn to the experts.

TTILTAD might call me a failure. With certainly, the author pities my child and me!

So often, I want to “fix” my children’s “issues.” I’ll admit that I am a controller and lean toward finding “potty-training –in-a-day” types of resources. Just give me whatever works fast! However, my children don’t read the books and they certainly don’t respond like the model children described within the pages (well, Anna did… but 1 out of 6 is not a good statistic!)

The parenting books and internet experts are not my sources of wisdom regarding Esther’s potty refusal issue. We are consulting the Bible and we are praying for her. I wrote some of my dearest friends and asked them to pray as well. We are implementing some dietary changes and that is helping a little.

This is the first of many “big things” for Esther to tackle. It’s easy to get impatient. Yet I believe when our children struggle, they often need us to back away from externally controlling them and instead believe in them. This doesn’t mean there is not a place for discipline. All children need discipline. Yet it takes discernment to know when to just be patient.

I Corinthians 13:4-8: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I am convinced that potty training has been a small trial that the Lord has used to teach me how to love. It takes patience and kindness. Desiring Christina out of diapers at 26 months was a bit self-seeking. She wasn’t ready and was unaware how inconvenient her immaturity was to me – soon to be mother of twins! Why couldn’t she “get it” like her big sister?!? I once was proud and boastful to have such a fast learning first-born child! Yet my future children humbled me in this area just a wee bit! (I know God has a sense of humor!) I’ll admit cleaning up poopy panties can bring out some rudeness in me – especially when it’s the 5th pair of the day and we’ve not even eaten lunch! Yet my frustration brings shame to my young one’s face… and she needs tenderness. She doesn’t need to be reminded of the other times she’s failed in this area. She needs encouragement and the assurance that I believe she will succeed.

As mothers, we all will face trials that test our patience. Knowing when to discipline and when to extend grace requires the Holy Spirit. Does your baby not sleep through the night? Are you tired? Are you frustrated trying to implement routine? Does your kindergartner talk too much in class? Do you wonder if your child will ever learn to read or their basic addition facts? Are you weary of sibling rivalry and bickering? Do you feel like if you’ve said it once you’ve said it a hundred times?

Pray. Read the Word. Consult I Corinthians 13 and be guided by love. Sometimes we must correct and discipline… but we should always be guided by love for our children and one another. When the trials come, there is a place for parenting books. However, resist the urge to turn to a resource before turning to the Word.

Also, the Bible has a commandment to older women in Titus 2:4 to “teach the younger women to love their husbands and children. However, so often we young mamas receive not because we ask not. I am guilty of this. I try to figure things out myself. However, I have never regretted turning to my mother, mother-in-law or older friends and mentors. I know these ladies will pray for me. I’m blessed by their life experiences. It seems that sometimes I need to only hear “This too shall pass.” They can tell me this with assurance because they’ve lived it! We are so blessed in our church to have godly, older women who are willing to pray for our children and us and share their experiences. Take advantage and be teachable!

Hooray for Esther!

I have a praise! Several days ago, Esther, while swimming in a pool, called her Daddy to get her out so she could go potty. AND SHE DID A #2 IN THE POTTY! We celebrated! We rejoiced! And we gave her a lollipop just for triple reinforcement! She has since succeeded two more times! I hope this means we can put the potty training season behind us! I’ve trained six children now and have either “just trained,” “must train” or “will need to train” a child for 13 ½ years. I do not, however, consider myself an expert! I can only say, that with God’s grace, I’ve learned a lot and survived.

Oh, and for the record, I don’t plan to start that potty training business I considered years ago when Anna basked in her star-pupil, potty-trained glory! There just isn’t time for it. Now I must begin teaching the first of all my potty-trained children how to drive!

This gal is still a superstar!

A Mindstorm Blessing

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

My son has been talking about Lego Mindstorms for quite a while and I have been ignoring him. I love Legos and think they are possibly the greatest invention for little boys ever… and I have invested in quite a few, but I just didn’t want to do the Mindstorm thing because they are extremely pricey.

When Nathan decides he would like to own something, he is persistent. Over the past few months, I’ve heard nearly daily one of the following questions/comments…

“Mom, how do you think I could earn money?”

“Do you think ebay might be a cheaper place to get some Mindstorms?”

“Mom, sometimes I wish I had harder stuff to build. Ya know… challenging stuff.”

“Mom, have you ever built a robot? I think that would be really cool.”

“Do you think that if I didn’t get anything else for both my birthday and Christmas and everyone went in together, I could get some Mindstorms?”

It became apparent that  ignoring my child and hoping his Mindstorm fixation would pass was a failing strategy. Finally Daniel and I told Nathan that he just would not be getting Mindstorm Legos. They weren’t in the budget. We didn’t ask him to pray about it because honestly, we didn’t really want to pursue finding them cheaper, saving for them or organizing a “let’s get Nathan Mindstorms for his birthday” campaign. Sometimes it’s ok to just say no.

Last week, Eric, a 16 year old great guy and friend of ours, e-mailed Daniel and asked if it would be ok if he gave Nathan his Mindstorm Lego set. Daniel spoke with Eric’s parents and was told that Eric felt led to give and they wanted to encourage that. They felt like it was a God thing. Humbly, we accepted this nice gift for our son.

Nathan is overwhelmed with appreciation. He is enjoying his new Legos and has spent about 8 hours today building a motorized car. I have never seen him so happy when his invention actually worked. He was stunned. “Mom, I just took an online tutorial and it’s so neat to actually HAVE all these cool pieces!”

“Nathan,” I asked my son, “Did you pray about getting those Legos?” His response was, “Yes, Mom. I prayed a lot and God answered my prayer.” With tears in his eyes he could hardly answer my question.

Now, I am overjoyed… and not because Nathan has a new toy. His life has been spiritually influenced by a young man who is sensitive to the Lord’s leading. Nathan wants to be a giver, like Eric. He also knows that God not only cares about our needs, but He also cares about some of our wants.

Next time maybe I’ll be a little braver when my child wants what seems unattainable and suggest, “Well, let’s just pray about that.” (even if it’s Legos!)

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Thank you, Lord for young men like Eric who are willing to listen to your gentle leading and bless others. You can use any and everything for your glory – even Legos! I thank you for providing Mindstorms for Nathan, and I thank you even more for the influence of Eric’s godly character in Nathan’s life.

Welcome Holland

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

One of my dearest friends recently welcomed her 5th baby into the world. Words can’t describe this child’s beauty. She is tiny; just 5 lb 2 oz – a full term, petite little girl. She is welcomed and loved by a mommy and daddy and 3 big sisters and one big brother as well as loving grandparents, aunts, uncles and a church family of which I am blessed to be a part. This precious child has perfect little features. She has a beautifully shaped, round little head, the tiniest little hands and feet and gorgeous almond shaped eyes. She has Down’s Syndrome. Her name is Holland. I love her name and the story behind it…


Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Lord, Thank you for my dear friends and for the gift that you’ve given them. Little Holland Grace is a gift from your hand. She has some special needs. Don’t we all? Thank you for everything about her that makes her unique. She is lovely. I pray that as she grows she will radiate your love and bless others with everything about her that is Holland. You know the plans you have for each of your children… And we trust you completely.