Minion Mom Monday: Hope and Glory!

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With GREAT excitement I bring to you a weekly devotional by Assemble the Minions (aka Monica—supermom to THREE boys!).  Every Monday she will encourage your soul with her words of encouragement.  She is pretty much my favorite author.  Ever.  And a pretty superbly awesome woman in person, too!  So, look forward to Mondays as our Minions’ Mom shares a devotional to begin our week!

God bless because you know the saying—Only the first 5 days after the weekend are the tough ones!

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As a kid I was always nervous about asking my parents for anything, which was really silly because my parents are fantastic, salt of the earth type people. I had no reason to fear them but I was terrified they would say no to whatever my request happened to be, so I just didn’t ask. Finally, after I had a massive childhood breakdown about not getting something I never asked for, my mom gently told me that it was her job to determine a yes or no and by not asking, all I was doing was determining a no before the request had ever been made. My not asking only served to make be angry at my parents for a decision they never had a chance to consider.

There is a story in Scripture about a woman with some serious lady problems. In Mark 5, the author tells us that she had been bleeding for 12 years and all the attempts to heal her had actually made things worse. But one day, Jesus shows up. She knows he can heal her, but she is terrified to ask. Instead, she decides that if she can just touch him, she would be healed. So, she dons her ninja gear (ok, maybe not) and squeezes herself through the crowd and touches the hem of his robe. Jesus feels the power leave him (isn’t that so fascinating?!) and he turns around to ask who touched him, knowing full well it was her. She comes to him completely terrified and trembling and confesses. “Daughter,” he responds, “your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Can you hear the mercy and compassion oozing from that one word, “daughter?” I love how He responds to her as a Father, matching her fear with His peace. What if she had never approached him? What if she’d let her fear keep her from the peace and healing that was hers for the asking? Not only would she have continued in her suffering but she never would have known Jesus, not just as God’s Son, but as God incarnate, capable of calming our deepest fears at the deepest level.

There are somethings in our life that can only be healed/fixed/attended to by the Father, but sometimes we are terrified to ask. My guess is that we don’t ask because we are terrified He is going to say no. Its better not to ask then to have Him reject our request, because, what, then, would that say about Him? About us? So we continue on, alone in our suffering.

The thing is, He might say no. But a no doesn’t mean “get lost.” It means that as we draw near to Him to ask and He draws near to respond, we are closer than we were before the request was made. Jesus knows what we need just like He knew who touched Him, but the relationship is built in the conversation.

P.S. A no may be a no to something good, so he can give us the best later.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

I have a box of chocolates, but you can’t have a piece.

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My husband was invited to preach at a Polish church in Poznan a few years back (well, he’s preached at multiple churches, but I am going to use this illustration today).

He is such a stinker sometimes, too.

You know, if you meet him in real life, you don’t know if he’s funny or serious.  And you don’t know whether you should laugh or be afraid.

And his deadpan face is not giving you any indication which emotion you should feel.

So when he got up in front of this congregation, he broke out a box of chocolates.

You need to understand that when he preaches in Poland, he has a translator.  Therefore, he is standing up there with the pastor of the church who is acting as the translator for him.

And when Richard broke out a box of chocolates, he began to eat them.  In front of the pastor.  In front of the congregation.  In front of God ;)

Anyhow, he began to eat them and he did not share.  And he kept telling all of us how good the chocolates were.

Then he began his sermon.

It went something like this, Do you know these chocolates?  Are they good?  How do you know?

Have you tried them?

Or are you believing they are good based upon how much I am enjoying them?

Let me tell you.  Let me guarantee it.  This box of chocolates is GOOD!  

At which point I believe he even began to smack his lips and lick his fingers.

Friends, God is like this box of chocolates.  Good!

But the thing is, you will never know unless you try.  

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 (NLT)

And, of course, he continued with his sermon. (And, yes, the chocolates got shared with great enthusiasm later)

But the thing is, we all probably remember a different famous quote that has to do with chocolate from Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates; You never know what you’re going to get.”

My friends, God is not like Forrest Gump’s chocolates because with God you do know what you are going to get.

You are going to get peace in times of trouble.

Strength in the times of weary.

Courage in the times of timidity.

And understanding in times of confusion.

How do you get these things?

Today I read from The Message in chapter 8 about the Roman captain that came before Jesus for the healing of one of his workers.  Jesus said that he would go with the captain to his worker.  But the captain said (paraphrasing), “Just tell me you’ll heal him.  If you do, I know it will happen.”

Jesus said (paraphrasing) “I have never seen such simple trust!”

And, with that simple trust, the man’s worker was healed.

Friends, I encourage you today.  Simply trust in the fact that God is good.

Even better than a box of chocolates!

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 (NLT)

I don’t remember what I ate for breakfast. That’s okay.

My husband has been preaching for many years, and I remember nearly every sermon he shares. Perhaps because I am partial to his thoughts. Perhaps because I know his heart.

He shares in a matter-of-fact way.  He takes the Word of God and asks us to look at what it says.  He doesn’t embellish or dramatize it.  He keeps it at face value.

Once he asked one of our favorite friends what he preached earlier that week.  It was so fun to watch them squirm and move uncomfortably in their seats.  Until they finally squeaked out the answer.

It was such a fun “put you on the spot moment” that we (the 4 of us) still laugh about today.

But the thing is, Richard preached once about breakfast. And this is how it went…

Do you remember what you ate for breakfast this morning?  Yesterday?  A week ago?  A month ago?  A year ago?

For some of the answers, you may clearly be able to say, “Yes.  I remember what I had for breakfast today and yesterday.  A week ago?  A month ago?  A  year ago?  Nope.  No way!”

And Richard proceeded…Even if you don’t remember what you ate for breakfast a month or a year ago does not mean that WHAT you ate did not nourish you.

It nourished your body so that you had fuel to keep going.

The Word of God is like that.

Just because you don’t remember what it was you heard this morning, what it was your read yesterday, or even a month ago, does not mean that the Word of God is not at work nourishing and feeding your soul, acting as the fuel we need to keep going strong.

I try and begin each and every day in God’s Word.  By the end of breakfast, however, I have a hard time remembering my name much less what I read earlier that morn.  But I always recall what my husband said, “Just because I don’t recall what it was I read, does not mean that it did not act as a refreshing spring for my soul.”

Thankfully, I love to take notes while I read.  And, therefore, when I want to go back, I can look and see what spoke to my heart.

Today it was from the Message, and here is the passage:

passage from today

Friends, I pray that each day as you devour your breakfast you remember that while breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so is starting the day off with the Word of God.

And while we may neither remember what we ate nor what we read, we go into the day knowing we started it off right, “…with foundational words to build our lives upon!” (The Message Chapter 7)

Amen.

When you give up reality TV for your sanity.

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My husband, kiddos, and I were suppose to appear on a rather popular reality TV show that shall remain nameless—but I will tell you that it does involve looking to purchase a home when you live in a foreign country.

It is one of my all-time favorite reality TV shows.  In fact, when I was pregnant and at the doctor’s office like one gazillion times a week, I would sit in the office and watch bucketloads of this show.

My daughter, Adelyne, was super duper thrilled at the prospect of appearing on this show because she loves the limelight.  Or, pretty much, any shade of light that shines upon her—even if when in front of it she becomes shy.

My husband, Richard, was as excited as I was because it would be GREAT publicity for sharing about our passion for rescuing the forgotten (www.rescuetheforgotten.com)!

And our littles, Maxwell and Josephine, well, unless they were going to meet Elmo, they were pretty much apathetic about it all.  Go figure.

But, you see, a lot of things took place right before the show.  I had unexpected travels—couple that with, when I returned, my husband was to travel.

It was the dead of winter.

And, most devastating of all, our home would be packed and unpacked in a day.

Did I mention that it was the dead of winter?  This is not the tropics, my friends.  Not.The.Tropics.

Needless to say, as much as I wanted to be on the show—with pretty much all of my obsessed heart—we had a choice to make:

Proceed with the show OR give up my big and littles (because I just couldn’t foresee handling it all).

We decided to keep two things:  My sanity and the little stinkers.  So, we had to contact the show and tell them we were not the subjects we had hoped we would be for their show.  They graciously accepted our denial and informed us if we move to another country and look to purchase a home to keep them in mind. (Total bummer because if we move again and look to purchase a home, we won’t qualify for this show because we’d be moving back to the good ol’ US of A)  But it was even more confirmed affirmation how this show totally rocks.  I knew I hearted that show!  Even gracious in our non-acceptance of appearance.

But, really, my friends, I challenge you today to ponder this:

Perhaps there is something out there amazingly awesome that you can participate in.  It may even be super fun and even benefit your work.  And, yes, truth be told, I even thought it might increase my Twitter following.  Oh, wait.  Is having 78 Followers considered a following?  More like my Twitter slight breeze (smile and wink).  But in all reality (see, there is that word again), when you come to that crossroad in your life between uber fame (now you know that I am exaggerating) and sanity—choose sanity.

Fame only lasts 15 minutes anyway!

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…  

Ecclesiastes 3:1

This literally just happened to me!

My youngest woke at 5am crying as if she was in agony.  She shares a bedroom with her slightly older brother, so I popped out of bed and ran into the room.

It was bad enough that I was going to have one awake at 5am—but two ages 1 and 2—no way!

So I grabbed her and brought her downstairs.  I kept her cuddling with me for an hour until I decided it was safe to put her back to bed.

Quietly I tip-toed up the stairs and laid the babe gently down.  She was so content and tired.  So she quickly rolled over and went to sleep.

Or at least for the 10 seconds it takes me to go down the stairs and flop myself back on the couch.  Because as soon as I did that she started screaming bloody murder once again.

I ran quickly up the stairs to find her covered in throw up.  Her bed.  Her floor.  Her clothes.  Her pajamas.  Her stuffed animals.

So, I scooped her up where she proceeded to empty whatever remained in her belly ALL OVER ME!  And I headed to the bathroom.

But, you see, the bathroom was a gamble.  I have a home heated by coal.  And my hot water is heated by coal.  And yesterday I noticed that there was no hot water—hence no coal.

I went to the coal furnace and noticed it was empty…the coal oven completely stone cold dead.

I am not a pioneer woman.  I am fired from that job.  But, alas, I had only one choice—to get that coal stoked again.

So I did.  And I hoped beyond hope that tomorrow we would wake up to hot water.

I just didn’t expect to be testing my pioneering at 6am.  Hesitantly I turned the hot water faucet on and waited.

Cold.  Cold.  Cold.  Warm.  Warmer.  Hot!

Woot-woot.  I had it.

Hot water, tempered with cold water, and I plopped a throw-up baby in the bath.

I bathed her, cleaned her, and brought her back downstairs to try and keep her quiet while the 2-year-old still slept.

WELL—eventually the 2-year-old, little Maxwell, woke.  And he and Josephine played for a brief bit until I could tell Jo needed down for a nap.

I went upstairs and barely had placed her in her clean bed before I heard agonizing screaming downstairs.

So, I dropped her the rest of the way (Okay, kidding), and ran back down the stairs.

At this point, my son is now covered in throw up.  The floor is covered.  The carpet is covered.  And he said, “It came out of my mouth, Momma!”

Oh.  Thanks, Maxwell.  So, that is how this works, huh?

Needless to say, had to get a bunch more cleaned.

I have not had any coffee at this point because I was certain that I would catnap while Josephine napped and Maxwell watched a show.

After the puke number two episode, mind you, I decided that I needed coffee stat!  Three shots later, I am still barely surviving because THIS happened…FOR REAL…NO KIDDING…Next!

Josephine has arisen at this point from her nap.  Both kids are puke free.  We play a bit upstairs and then they decide they are hungry.  So as we head downstairs, I notice one of our three dogs is running around in the field.  Which means that she is NOT in our backyard (that’s how she came to be—her momma ALSO escaped our blasted backyard).  Anyhow, I had the 1-year-old tucked into her high chair.  The 2-year-old on the armchair.  They both had their lunches and the television going.  So, I put on my stomping boots and ran outside to call the pup in.

She was great and immediately came to the gate.  The back gate.  But it was chain locked and I couldn’t seem to find the hole that she got out of to get her back in.  So I abandoned the back gate and tramped through the yard to the front gate hoping she’d follow me there and not get sidetracked in the neighbor’s fields or barn or compost pile (we lose our dogs to those a lot).

THANKFULLY she came.

I get her inside our property and head to the house when I realize the front door is locked.

Oh.  That’s okay—I came out the back, I’ll just go around back and come back in.

And as I walked I thought—the day could not get any crazier when YES.  YES it could.  And did.

My 2-year-old LOCKED the back door.

But, you see, the back door has no back door doorknob.  It is an inside only open door.  Which meant that in my pajamas and bare legs (it’s still cold here).  In no proper undergarments and no socks.  I am L-O-C-K-E-D out of my house.

You should know we have windows of steel.  Even Superman would have a hard time getting these suckers open.

And, no.  We have no spare key outside.  Why should we?  We live in a peaceful village and hardly lock our doors during the day because we have three enormous dogs that protect fiercely our home and howl like crazy.

Howling dogs have nothing on meddling toddlers because today I was a victim of inside intrudering (if there is such a thing).  I was locked out of my own home with two littles stuck inside.

So I did what any parent would do, I banged like crazy on that back door.  “Maxwell, Maxwell, help mommy!  Let Mommy in!”

“No, Mommy.  I can’t open door.”

It’s probably very true because the doors are extremely heavy and the handle has to be pushed UP not down.  That’s why it was so easy for him to lock it—but unlocking it is another issue.

“Maxwell, go and pull the chair over to the door and stand on it and push the handle UP for Momma, okay?!”  This is also probably a good time to tell you that he ALWAYS gets his adjectives and prepositions opposite.  You know up for down.  Hot for cold.  In for out.  AHHHHH!  If he does opposite of what I ask, the door will become even harder to open.  Now I am really nervous.

I proceed to ask, but then this happens.

“No, Momma.  I can’t unlock door.”

“Yes, Maxie.  Yes, you can.  Go get the chair.”

Blasted carpet by the back door.  Poor kid couldn’t pull the chair to the door because we have a back carpet there.

“Okay, Maxwell, move the carpet!”

Grunting and groaning as my little man is pulling and moving the carpet and pushing the chair to the door.

And then it happened  He tried and couldn’t, and so he sat down.

And gave up.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.  “Maxie—you have to open the door.  Momma is locked outside.”

“Too hard, Momma.  Too hard.”

But he tried again.  And again.  And again.

I look through the window, my littlest is eating a hot dog with her fork.  Oh GREAT!  A choking hazard and an eye-stabbing device and I am locked outside.

I can go to my neighbors—but I am literally in my pajamas with no undergarment.  I look ridiculous and this will be my LAST resort.

So I bang and plead and ask and holler and …

None of it was convincing him to bring about super strength to open the door until I spied his Easter basket.

“Maxie…If you open the door, Momma will give you cookies! Just try and push open the other handle (to the attached door).”

Lots of effort and groaning and whatnot, he got the second handle sightly up, combined with the first handle, and I was able to shove the door open!

Glory day!

He came and hugged me and I told him how PROUD I was…(And I was also thinking—THANK YOU, LORD, that I do not have to go to my neighbors in my tank top, shorts, and bare legs!)

Max came and hugged and hugged me and told me “I zuw you, Momma!”  Which, if you speak Max, means “I love you!”

Oh glory day.

Now he is eating his Oreo cookies and I am wondering when oh when I will be cleaning them off of the floor???

It’s only two in the afternoon my time—but I think that so far I have lived two lifetimes in one half of one day.

So that leaves me to beg the question—who is babysitting tomorrow?

Just kidding.  I’ve got this!

Well, as long as I remember to stoke the coal, and clean the puke, and NEVER ever go outside again when the front door is also locked, and give away the dogs (just kidding?), and buy more cookies for my devilish slash hero son…

And live off of coffee until my husband returns home.

I’ve got this.

Right?!

Philippians 4:13 “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!”

Parenting truth…Oh my! Take notes.

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I nearly snorted through the entire reading of this blog.  Even the beginning.  “Holy. Crap. Cannot. Deal.”  I feel the EXACT same way ;)

You know…there are those people in the world that can just be so ridiculously real that you want to sit next to them and never leave.

I have a friend like that.  Her name is Lindsay.  I won’t give her last name as she may not appreciate the initial shout-out.  Who knows?  Some friend, eh?!

But, really.  There is something about authenticity that makes you feel real.

And this blogging/reality star/real mom, Jen Hatmaker, keeps life real about being a mom.  Raising kids.  And living.

Wouldn’t you DIE to discover that her mom raised her to be THIS awesome simply by drinking Tab all day long and locking her out of the house?!

Okay—slight exaggeration.  But I know that this real post from a real woman about being a real mom is going to just make your day.

Did you know that YOU ARE DOING A-OKAY?!

After reading this, you will, my dear mothers out there.  You will be assured that you are doing a GREAT job.

Now, go and find that coffee.  That Coke.  That Pepsi.  That box of cookies.  And enjoy your day.

I know I will…

Well, when my “Littles” let me!

Here is the article that will warm your heart.  Enjoy:

What Would My Mom Do?  (Drink Tab and Lock Us Outside)

Because He Lives…

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Because He Lives…
I can face tomorrow.

Because He Lives…
All fear is gone.

Because I know…oh…oh…
He holds my future!

Life is worth the living JUST because He lives!

Can I be honest???

As I sit typing this, I am not sure those are the exact lyrics. They are, however, the lyrics resounding loudly in my head.

And I love them.

I look at each of them…
Because Jesus lives, I can face tomorrow.

I remember when we miscarried our baby, I could not face the light of day. I could not face the exit of our house into a different part of the real world. I could not face the presence of people that did not lose babies…

I could not face anything.

I wanted to remain curled in my dark dungeon of death and hide.

But He was there.

Loving me. Holding me. Comforting me.

And, eventually, I began to live again.

Because He Lives, all fear is gone.

I remember when God asked me for Maxwell’s life.  My only son’s life.  He asked me to give Maxwell to him.

I remember shouting, “No, God!  I will not give you Maxwell.  I gave you my other baby and you TOOK that baby from me!  Therefore, you CANNOT have Maxwell.”

I remember the fear of losing my son.  My only son.  To death.

I remember the fear of trying to imagine life without my son.  My only son.  To death.

I remember the fear of not knowing if Maxwell would live or die.

I remember that fear as if it, that fear, is sitting next to me at this moment while I type this.

But the VERY moment that I relinquished my son completely into the hands of God, I remember that fear leaving me.

Instantaneously.

Gone.

Did I know if my son would live?

No.

Did I know if my son would die?

No.

I knew absolutely only one thing—God had Maxwell in his hands.

And with that, my fear was gone.

Because I know he holds my future…

When I was on the brink of a mental breakdown.  My marriage was in shambles.  My life was far different than I ever dreamed.  When I was on that brink — when I did not see my future as a family whole, I realized, probably for the first time in all of my life, that God is enough.

At first I thought God was enough—plus my family—plus my friends—plus my job—plus my husband—plus my children (I progressed as I got older and more married, you know—things like that).  God PLUS everything and everyone else were enough.

But when I was left with nothing but the very shell of who I was — THAT is only when I realized that it wasn’t God PLUS the rest.

It was only God.

Life is worth the living  just because He lives!

Take it from a woman that knows.  Life is worth the living just because he lives!

I pray that you come to this beautiful peace in your life, too.

Happy Easter, my friends!

***

After writing this, I went on Google, and look what I found!  Enjoy.

Also, in the above photo, Maxwell is in a full coma and simultaneously receiving a life-saving blood transfusion. So, if you donate blood, THANK YOU!  Also fitting for Easter, the fact that someone gave so that my son could live.