Thursday, May 7, 2015

Its All About The Truck

In our morning bible time, I asked what "little" faith might mean.  We all sat there and had a real hard time coming up with an answer.  I think we were all in agreement that the things we could think of that required faith, were all in the end, BIG!  So faith, according to the word of God in Hebrews 11 is: the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Little faith turns into a  BIG lesson!

I went to our local pet supply store to get rabbit food with our 6 year old.  We went through the normal routine of looking at the toy trucks, tractors, and trailers.  We also went through the normal routine of the question/answer game that ends with, "no honey, I can't but that today."  There was a specific little truck he REALLY wanted and he wanted a trailer to go with it.   I told him I WOULD buy the truck because he had helped me earlier that day clean and he had been very diligent at keeping on task.  I continued to tell him,  I cannot possibly get the trailer to go with it yet and that maybe soon, he could earn some money to buy it and I gave him my word that we would come back when he had earned the money.  He shook his head 'yes' and walked out proudly with his little blue truck.  I will say, I thought there might be a little more of a protest or at least some sort of bargaining that might happen.  I was so proud of him and told him that it made me so happy that he listened and respected my "wait" answer. 

The next stop was our local discount bread store.  We were waiting in line and an elderly gentleman in front of us turned around and looked down at my little boy and said in a weak, scratchy voice, "This is what you call being at the right place at the right time little man!"  He then handed my son a $1 bill.  Then another, and then another.  My sons eyes grew bigger and bigger with each dollar he gave him.  He said, "Thank you so much!"  The gentleman slowly turned around with a smile and walked out.  The cashier had a huge smile on her face and looked at me and winked.  My little boy turned to me and said, "Mommy, he gave me ALL the money he had!"  Such a sweet thing for him to notice that the gentleman made a sacrifice for him. 

We continued outside and I took him by the hands and looked into his big blue eyes and said, "Sweetheart, this is God's reward to you for listening and obeying me earlier.  Do you remember how much that trailer you wanted was?"

" I have enough in my hand mommy?"  He questioned.

"YEP!  The trailer was $2.99 and you now have $3 in your hand!  God knew your heart and He has blessed you for your obedience!"

With eagerness in his voice, "Can we go get my trailer now, mom?"

"That's where I was planning on going!" I said with a smile on my face.

About 2 blocks later, God quietly whispered to my heart, "If I care about a 6 year old and finding him a way to get a trailer, don't you think I can take care of you and provide all that YOU need?!

So, when it looks like everything around me is caving in and I have no answers and only questions, I can walk in BIG faith knowing that my God CAN and WILL take care of me!  My son's little trailer sitting on his bedroom floor, is a reminder of all that my God can do!  If he can whisper in a man's ear to give a little boy all the money in his hand, then I know that He can take care of our family and it only takes one whisper to turn everything around!  I will continue to look to Him and I am persuaded that He is able!   My hope is that He sees and knows our needs, the evidence is that He is working in our behalf to bring glory to Him through our circumstances.

Just ask my little boy!  He has no doubt!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


                        Do you ever picture yourself as a princess?

When I was growing up, I am not sure I dreamed much of being a princess, but I did dream of being beautiful and important.  I wanted to be accepted, loved and sought after.  I don't think there are many women who don't desire those things.  I remember dreaming of my wedding day when I could put on a dress that I looked so beautiful in that the whole room would just turn and stare as I walked down the isle.  I also remember just putting on a pretty skirt and twirling and twirling pretending I was a wonderful dancer.  (That was truly pretending because a dancer I am NOT!)  I also can remember the day I watched Princess Diana walk down the isle.  My mom and I woke up at 3 am that morning to watch the day she married Prince Charles.  I was captivated.  I wondered what it would be like to be in her shoes.  Well, we all know how that ended up!  Everything seemed perfect at the time and then ended up well...not so perfect! 

So how should we see ourselves?  How much does the world affect our view of "me"?  The media says we deserve the best.  Even if it means going into debt up to your eyeballs!  We should treat ourselves because after all, we worked hard to get where we are!  Well, there is a problem with that philosophy.  It only leads to more emptiness.  More focus on "self" and more empty.  Yes, things may satisfy for a time but eventually, the newness will wear off and we will only want something else to settle that craving for more.  New houses, cars, clothes, and the list goes on and on, will only lead to wanting more.  So how do we get to that point of contentment?  I am coming to find out that it comes from knowing who we are in Christ.  Not just that we are saved, but who we REALLY are in Christ!  Growing up, I really did not understand all of that.  I knew God loved me but I did not understand that I am royalty!  Did you hear that?  ROYALTY! 

noun: royalty
people of royal blood or status
Because my Heavenly Father is a king, I have royal blood running in and through me!  I am a princess!  When I accepted Christ as my savior, I became a new creature!  I am no longer a sinner!  When my Father sees me, He see's me in the image of His Son that He loves! Does that mean we don't sin anymore?  No, but it means that because we are now saints (holy believers), it won't come easily to us anymore.  It means we are good because we have recieved a new heart and a new mind. (I Cor 2:16)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Car Ride Full of Grace

 The title of my blog, "Nudges of Grace" has a background.  It came out of my crying out in my "self"ish mode.  Here we go again!  It is soooo annoying how I deal with this everyday!  Good can come from anything and God's grace is so awesome!

My daughter and I were on our way to meet with her friend and her mother for lunch.  It was a little of a drive and so my daughter and I had good conversation and also some quiet time to just think.  When I drive, many times I pray.  Well this time, it was more complaining to God I suppose.  I was tired of the struggles.  I was ready for things to go MY way.  (Do you see a pattern here?) My husband was unemployed so finances were tight to put it mildly, I really had no idea how I was even going to make it home looking at my gas gage and I had 12 children, 8 of them boys with 7 of them at the time, under the age of 11!  My life was at the overwhelming stage to say the least.  I told God of all of my woes.  I even wondered if He was listening or cared.  Yeah, real cool of me, I know! 

We sat down for lunch with a dear lady who was a more "seasoned" mother but also a mother of many children.  Her children were grown and she knew EXACTLY where I was in life.  To know I am not alone is sometimes the one thing that can keep me going on this journey!  She proceeded to tell me she remembered some days were just mere survival!  Yep!!!!  That sounded familiar to me!  All of the sudden, my guilt  of my parenting failures began to decrease and knowing I was not losing it (well, I use that term lightly) seemed to lessen.

 I felt lighter, so to speak. Motherhood is hard!  There is nothing selfish about it and if you even try to let selfishness take over, you will get set straight, FAST!!!  I don't like to be set straight, if you know what I mean.  At the time, it can hurt!  God has such a fun way of turning us around however, so in our selfishness, we see Him.  This dear lady had no idea of our financial troubles, only my interpretation of my bad mommy skills.  After a few tears and prayers, we headed to our cars.  Right before she got into her car, she said to follow her.  I was not sure where we were going but I followed her...right into a gas station.  I got out and she said that God spoke to her to fill up my tank, (the same tank I was unsure of how I was going to make it home that I spoke of earlier), and then handed me quite a large sum of money.  She said it was to be used for whatever our needs were.  There were MANY at that point!  Again, Grace showed up! 

I was on my way home, crying and thanking God. I also began to recollect how I had acted on the way to the restaurant and really began to understand what true grace from God means.  I was in "self" mode all the way and yet, God decided to cover me and still provide.  You see, I serve a God who not only loves me when I am "lovely" but when I'm so... uhhemmm, unlovely too.  He could make a choice to give me what I deserve OR give me what I so do not deserve....His unmerited favor~GRACE.  He knew the blessing was coming, and He even knew I needed it when I needed it.  If I were Him, I would have probably said, "Uh, I changed my mind.  If all she does is complain and refuses to see the blessing of Me in her life, then forget it."  Nope!  Not His way at all!  He gives us His "Nudges of Grace" when we least expect it and I don't know about you, but it encourages me to keep going.  It is worth it!  Even the bad days!  He wants it all!  We can trust Him with it all too!  He knows what is best, and even though we may doubt, He CAN be trusted!  The more you let Him in, the more you get to know Him and the more you learn He CAN be trusted.  His "Nudge of Grace" will come in like a flood and you will feel the love!  His love! 

One of my favorite Hymns that I grew up singing says it all:

                 Grace Greater Than Our Sin
  1. Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
    Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
    Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
    There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
    • Refrain:
      Grace, grace, God’s grace,
      Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
      Grace, grace, God’s grace,
      Grace that is greater than all our sin!
  2. Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
    Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
    Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
    Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
  3. Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
    What can we do to wash it away?
    Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
    Brighter than snow you may be today.
  4. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
    Freely bestowed on all who believe!
    You that are longing to see His face,
    Will you this moment His grace receive?

Look for His 'Nudges of Grace' in your life everyday!  They are there for all of us!!

A Quiet Cup of Coffee

I have 12 blessings, yes children, and yes they ARE blessings!  Even though people try to persuade me that they are not, they are the ONLY thing I can take to heaven with me so YES they are a blessing!

Is it work? Yes.

Is it all worth it? Yes it is! 

Does it always feel like it's worth it?  No, not always.
Its in those moments, I realize where this yuck thing I struggle with creeps in.  Its called....SELF! 
I struggle with that "thing" quite often actually.  God has a strange sense of humor.  I like quiet.  Noise stresses me out and yet He chose to give me 8 boys!!  7 out of 8 of them are 14 down to 5 years old!  That's funny!  Ok, some days its hard to laugh at times, but I realize just how much work I needed to become more like Christ and He choose to show me through noise I suppose.  If you didn't know, boys are LOUD!!  Everything about them!  Voices, ESPN, bodily noises...ugh (think about it, 7 boys at home AND a husband!), playtime, and even "quiet time" is never quiet.  For about 7 hours out of 24, for the most part, while they are sleeping CAN be quiet.  What do I then, listen to my ticking clock.  Yes, it ticks and tocks!!!  You wouldn't know that it does during the day!  Anyway, back to my point...


I don't like it.  I can feel it creeping up on me almost constantly.  From the time I wake up, to the time my head hits the pillow.  Even my dreams revolve around me!  Ha!  Just this morning, I was sitting on my porch and I was alone for a few seconds, sipping my coffee.  I was actually enjoying my silence A.L.O.T.  Suddenly, one boy comes out, then another, and soon, all seven and my youngest little girl, all joined me.  They saw my stillness, and respected me greatly and just sat quietly and stared at me until I completed my coffee.  (Insert roaring laughter)  In reality, I felt my tenseness grow as the first one started to argue with the other one and then a baseball comes flying onto the porch missing my head by inches, and soon the youngest is screaming at the top of her lungs because a brother has tripped her "accidently" and she fell and scraped her knee.  Within seconds of my quiet coffee moment, the battle with "self" began.  I desire to be patient, loving, kind with my responses, but I fail miserably so often.

I want to teach my children to respond patiently, lovingly and kindly but then I realize, I need to be their example.  How do I do that?  Moment by moment.  Truth is, more often then not, I respond incorrectly.  The first, second and maybe even the third time, I got that covered but by the fourth or fifth time of arguing, tattling, or screaming I hear in 1 minute or less, I have HAD it!  I would like to sit here and tell you I have all of this figured out, but I don't.  I will tell you, that I run to my Father.  My Heavenly Father helps me put things in perspective.  Yes, HE is my answer!  I have to turn to Him day by day, moment by moment, to get a hold of "self".  Does He know the struggles I face raising this next generation for Him?  Yep!  Think of all the "unruly" children He has to parent!  When He walked this earth, it seemed some days everybody was against Him and yet He CHOOSE to put others first.  I am finding out more and more, it is a CHOICE I make to embrace the job given to me as a mother of 12.  I CANNOT put myself first hardly ever!  That's hard!  I'm guilty of letting my kids watch a movie so I can have some time to myself.  Is that wrong?  Not always but what is my hearts motive at the time?  It's the times when I get off my duff and go play baseball with them or shoot some hoops, I'm horrible at both of those things but they don't seem to care, or build a bike ramp, that we laugh, and connect and suddenly "self" doesn't seem so important.  I only have this time for a short time.  Its been 21 years since my last one was an infant and what I wouldn't do to go back in time for another hike, have one more picnic, or color a picture together with him.  It's gone!  I won't remember all those quiet sips of coffee I missed or the ticking of the clock.  Those things will ALL be there when I'm gray and old, well the gray has kicked in already, but old anyway.  These precious years are quickly going by.  Use these moment of His "Nudges of Grace".  I see it in pictures and I hear it in their voices.  I also hear it in my Fathers voice...

 "I have given you this opportunity to show these children MY love and MY grace.  Spend these moments wisely.  Treasure the time when you have all the answers and they want to sit on your lap and stroke your hair, mama.  I am using this time to mold you and them, into something that goes beyond your "SELF".  It reaches all the way to MY heart.  Love them. Simply, love Me and teach them to do the same.  That is my desire and in that dying to "self", you will find rest." 

You see, it is actually MORE of a struggle to be selfish then it is to learn to rest in Jesus and give "self" to Him.  The rewards are so great!!  Better than a quiet porch with a cup of coffee.

It is so true.  When we find that only HIS love satisfies our "self" desires, then we can rest in the tasks that seem so hard.  How do you find Him?  Ask Him to show you.  He will!

I think I will go climb a tree now, or at least watch and act how scared I am that they are climbing too high and tell them how brave they must be!  Yep, that's what I will go do! :)

 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 (ESV)