Just a Little While Longer~ Devotional Reflection #5~ Written on Sept. 25, 2012

I kiss my sweet boy on the forehead, utter the last word of the familiar bedtime song, and then start to make my way toward the door of my son’s bedroom. In my mind, I am already am putting together a “to do” list for what I can accomplish while he is sleeping. I am on a determined mission to accomplish much, to busy myself with all that needs to be done, and to fulfill the expectations which I have set for myself for the day. Yet, as I turn to walk out the door, my son catches my hand and grips it as if to say, “Just a little while longer, mommy.” I stop and turn toward him as he looks up at me, his eyes gleaming with a love that penetrates deep into the depths of my heart. I pull in close to him, and at the same time, he responds with delightful giggles and outstretched hands. He is not ready to drift off to sleep, but rather, he wants a few more moments with the one he loves. This, to him, is of greatest importance. All else fades in comparison.

My heart is touched, for once again, this precious son of mine, has spoken to my heart. He does not teach me by any spoken words, but rather through the simplicity of his life. My life so often is just the opposite of simple; rather it becomes filled. Yes, filled to the brim. Filled with the weight of expectations which I place upon myself–expectations to have the house cleaned, laundry done, bills paid, schedules set, people called, “the good mom” tasks completed, and devotions checked off the list. Yet, the continuous pursuit to somehow base my worth on performance leaves me exhausted, worn down, and feeling like I fall short over and over again.

As I now close the door to his room, I am left with these questions and thoughts that go deep into my soul: What truly is the definition of “simplicity” as it relates to my very being? Could it be that I have not fully grasped onto what it really means? Is my life moving farther from simplicity and becoming more complicated as I seek find satisfaction in all that I can accomplish as a wife, a mother, and a friend? Maybe my life was meant to reflect the same kind of simplicity that my son models for me in these very moments. His life is not defined by what he accomplishes, but rather by the fact that he is cherished, and that is enough for him. He does not try to impress, nor does he seek to accomplish much. He has chosen to simply exist as one who is loved.

Lord, I too, want to choose to live by this kind of simplicity. Instead of focusing on fulfilling expectations, I want to find myself seeking that which is of greatest importance: Your heart. I want to be the one that reaches out to You again and again, and at the end of the day, gaze into your lovely face, just a little while longer.

Baby Kisses~ Devotional Reflections #4~ Written on Sept. 5, 2012

My little one reaches up toward me with arms outstretched. In response, I swoop him into my arms at which he responds by pulling in close, his soft cheeks right next to mine. In the next moment, he turns toward me with a wide smile and proceeds to bring his lips, wet with spit, up to mine. In the only way he knows how, he kisses me once, and then again. Finally he places his arms around my neck and brings his head into my chest.

In recent days, I have found myself reflecting on this interaction between my son and me, and I can’t help but to ponder these moments filled with baby kisses. Oh how beautiful are these times; for when he brings his lips in next to mine, he does so without regret, without shame. There is nothing that causes him to hesitate or to second guess this gesture of love. Further, he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will not neglect his sweet embrace, but rather, I will respond by pulling him in even closer, and kissing him in return. I whisper into his ear sweet songs of adoration and speak truth into his little heart–truth which tells him that there is never any shame in whom God has created him to be. I whisper truth that he is one who reflects the love of His Creator; he is a child that is loved unconditionally, and his heavenly Father loves him with no regrets. In response to hearing my voice and the words that I speak, he rests once more, for he knows that these words are true. His little heart knows.

Could I, too, approach my Savior with my arms outstretched, knowing that He is there to swoop me up into His loving embrace? Could I also pull in close to Him with such confidence, knowing that I never need to feel any shame or regret? Can my trust in Him be so complete that I am able to hear Him whisper sweet songs into my ear and blessed truth into every crevice of my heart? Oh, Lord, may I be like a child again! Let me wrap my arms around your neck as I gaze into your beautiful face. Bring me back to a place of sweet rest upon your chest as you sing over me the words, “My Beloved, you are mine.”

Delight~ Devotional Reflections #3~ Written on August 21, 2012

It is two o’clock in the afternoon, and her feet make their way slowly up the stairway while her five and a half month old snuggles in a little closer. He lays his head upon her chest and listens. He listens to the heartbeat of the mother who loves him. And once again, he is at peace, for he knows that she delights in him.

Together they enter his tiny room where his crib sits firmly tucked against the wall. She holds him a little closer as she whispers into his ear, “It is time to rest my son; it is time to close those eyes and dream ever so sweetly.” He knows that his mommy will not forget him while he sleeps, but that she will indeed watch over him so that he can rest securely. Again he lays his head down on her chest, and he listens. He listens to the voice of the mother whom he trusts. And once again, he is at peace, for he knows that she delights in him.

She places him in his crib, and shortly after he settles, he is looking up into her eyes as she returns his gaze. For a moment, his arms stretch upward as he reaches to touch her hair that has fallen out of the ponytail, once fresh in the early hours of the morning. She chuckles as his little fingers gently swipe her cheek, and then she asks him, ” Shall we sing?”

He doesn’t have to consider her question a moment longer, but instead, in excitement, his arms move rapidly up and down as he waits for the music to start and for her voice to utter its familiar melody. While she sings, he watches intently, sometimes trying to mimic the movement of her lips with his. And while he watches, he listens. He listens to the voice of the mother who sings over him. And once again, he is at peace, for he knows that she delights in him.

In this moment too, his mother is listening to her Savior. He again reminds her of how these cherished times with her son are ones on which she can reflect. He says to her, “Oh my precious child. See how you cherish your son? You love him deeply, passionately, and tenderly. Your heart is filled emotions and feelings that you never knew existed. Yet as deep as your love goes, can you imagine how my love for you is that much greater? And not only do I love you, but I love to spend time with you as you gaze into my eyes and reach out to me. So, my precious child, take time to rest upon my chest and listen to the sweet songs that I sing over you. Be at peace once more, my beloved, for in you, I delight.”

Dear Lord,
Thank you for your promise in Zephaniah 3:17, which says, “…He [the LORD] will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (NIV). Thank you that you rejoice over me and that you truly do delight in me. Let my love for my son be an outpouring of the love that you have given me. And let me always be listening to the sweet songs that you sing.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

Unafraid and Unashamed- Devotional Reflections #1~ Written August 15, 2012

Beautiful...

When my first son was born, I soon realized how the hours in the day seemed to slip out of my fingers more quickly than before I had a little one. ūüôā Along with the many things that I was unable to accomplish during the day, I also realized how hard it was for me to sit for an extended period of time and do my Bible study. And so the “mommy guilt” set in…Was I failing God because there were days in a row where I didn’t open my Bible? Was I a “bad Christian”? Yet, God gently and graciously spoke to my heart: “My Child, I know you are tired, exhausted, and feel badly for not being able to spend uninterrupted time with me each day. I understand! I love you with an everlasting love, and I will meet you where you are at today.” And so He did…While I wasn’t able to open my Bible each day, He gave me priceless moments with my child in which He which He whispered His truth into my heart. I felt prompted to write them down for the purpose of hopefully being able to also encourage other moms as well. I pray they uplift your heart and that they remind you of how much you, precious mama, are loved. This post begins the first of a mini-series called, Devotional Reflections. May you be blessed and feel embraced. :)\
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Small hands with tender fingers stroking her face. Piercing blue eyes staring into those of the one¬†who loves him. Arms outstretched and unashamed. It as if he says, “I am your beloved one.”¬† Oh, how beautiful and free.

It was a morning like any other, and maybe some would still consider it a normal day when all said and done, but for me, it was one that is forever etched in my heart and mind. Little did I know that one interaction would give me a new perspective on what it means to walk freely, forgiven.

Just as a stroked the last of the mascara on my eyelashes, the sounds of my sweet son could be heard from upstairs. As I made my way to him, my heart was again reminded of the tremendous gift that God had given to me by sending him into our lives.  He truly was a miracle. Having found true healing from a past eating disorder that had plagued my mind, body, and soul, I had spent years desperately praying that I would be able to conceive. Pregnancy test after test, I became discouraged by the negative results again and again. Would I ever hold a child that had grown in my womb? Would I ever have the privilege of wiping little tears from rosebud cheeks? Would I ever feel the tender hands in mine as I listened to my little one utter simple, child-like prayers before bed? Yet God knew the deepest desire of my heart; He had not forgotten the cries that poured from my soul. And, in His perfect timing, he sent us our first son, His beautifully created child.

Now my little boy lay awake with anticipation in his eyes. The soft creaking of the floor was a familiar sound for him as I approached, ready to swoop him into my arms. Reaching his bedside, I stopped, and in that moment, our eyes locked. It seemed as if our hearts beat to the same rhythm. And then, in the next instant, my precious boy did something that I will¬†never forget.¬†Without reserve,¬†shame, or fear, he reached with both¬†of his hands and tenderly¬†placed his¬†hands¬†on¬†my¬†cheeks, all the while, never losing eye contact with¬†me.¬†We were one. No one¬†and¬†nothing else mattered in that moment but our relationship. Our souls¬†danced¬†to the same song, never losing step with¬†each other. In words spoken loudly from his heart,¬†he said to me,¬†¬†“Mama,¬†I am yours. Hold me, and let me rest my head upon your chest as I trust your love for me.”

As I picked him up, I found myself reflecting upon that brief but powerful interaction with my precious child.¬†His heart knew that he could reach for me and that I would respond with unconditional love. He¬†did not have to do anything to prove his¬†worth or his¬†value; rather, he trusted my sweet embrace.¬†The Lord spoke to my heart saying, “Beloved child, I love you. You are mine. Come to me without reserve, without shame, without fear and let me feel your tender hands upon my cheeks. Let me wipe your tears. Let me hold you as you rest upon my chest. I am your loving Savior who will not reject you in¬†your messes, your hurts, your failures, or your pain. Rather, I stand here with open arms ready to swoop you up and carry you through it all. I am full of grace. I am the Lover of your soul, the One who has paid for every one of your sins¬†through¬†my shed blood on the cross.¬†You are forgiven,¬†child.¬†¬†Oh, how beautiful and free.

“Lord, thank you¬†for what you are teaching me through my children.¬† You¬†indeed,¬†are the lover of my soul. You are the one that has forgiven me. Help me to come to you as a child today, unashamed.¬†I want to trust your grace.”

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen