Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Years ago, whether our family was arriving home after a week-long vacation or a day-long excursion, our kids could accurately predict that the words out of my mouth as our car pulled into the garage would be, “Home sweet home.”

I have always loved going away. However, when it was time for a family trip to end, an undeniable joy would grow inside of me as our car neared our house. As much as I love family time in exciting locations, and even though these trips provide treasured memories to reminisce about, the truth is, I love being home even more. I feel comfortable, content, and cozy. I feel “at home.”

My husband and I have four children and two daughters-in-law, and all six of them are in varying stages of their college or career pursuits, which means “coming home” has an entirely new meaning these days. 

When our adult children come to our house to stay for a day or two, they open the refrigerator for refreshments and are aware that they are more than welcome to use any household items. It feels natural to them as they “make themselves at home,” and I would not have it any other way.

John 14:23 says, “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”  Ephesians 2:22 says, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Clearly, God’s Word reminds us that we are to be a dwelling place for our Lord – that He is eager to make His home in us with His Spirit. 

What an unbelievable blessing that Jesus chooses to abide in us and take up residence in our lives. Regardless of the fact that we are unworthy of such a gift, He sincerely desires that our hearts will be His home. Friends, our Lord longs to “make Himself at home,” in us!

What are some ways that our hearts can be a more welcoming place for Him? Are we striving to live our lives in such a way that it will feel natural for Him to dwell in our hearts, as He opens our eyes to His plan for us and uses us for His glory?

As we boldly love Him and bravely live for Him, let our prayer be that we will be a “home sweet home” for Jesus Christ! 

Enjoy the Ride

IMG_2734When I was a young mother, I remember being appreciative of some advice that experienced parents shared with me.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps,” “Pick your battles,” and “Time goes by quickly, so enjoy every moment with your children.” I wholeheartedly agree with these words of wisdom and have passed them along to others from time to time.

I went into motherhood armed with that short list of recommendations found above, but the list of things I didn’t know yet was much, much longer. A couple of decades of parenting has given me new insight. I’m crossing my fingers that a couple more decades will only increase the amount of knowledge! (Well, I’m praying it will, because the finger-crossing trick isn’t very effective.)

This is not a list of advice, as much as a list of “Things You Won’t Realize Until…You Realize Them.”

I now know being a mother is the most exhausting, emotional, educational, enlightening, and extraordinary experience known to mankind.

I now know that you are going to want to give anything to go through the sicknesses and injuries your children are facing in place of your child. Anything. If there was a way to do some sort of Disney-style Freaky Friday movie flip-flop, this mom and every mom I know would have found it by now.

I now know that you will want to shout it from the rooftops (and all of your social media accounts) when your child wins an award or is recognized for an achievement, but the moments when they stand up for themselves or others, stretch out their hand in kindness, or step into bold faith make you beam with an even greater pride. And those instances make you attempt to think of ways to shout from rooftops and post on social media about what an awesome human being your child is without sounding like “that mom.”

I now know that kids can bring you so much joy that the risk of being “that mom” is worth it.

I now know “mother’s intuition” is real and “perfect mothers” are not.

I now know that kids are quite forgiving of parenting mistakes, and staying mad at yourself is pointless and damaging. Decide to do better and be better. When we screw up again, we can decide to do better and be better. Again. Repeat as often as necessary.

I now know that being in unknown territory as a parent is a real feeling, but it is not a reality. God is there through it all. I mean, honestly…He is already there – the territory is not unknown to HIm. He is ready to ride along with you.

Motherhood is full of moments of triumph and turmoil; satisfaction and sorrow: glee and gloom. It is a roller-coaster ride evidenced by the fact that you will scream, throw your hands up in the air, brace yourself, laugh, hold on to your loved ones, and just when you think you can’t do it anymore, find yourself in line to get right back on and continue the ride.

Remember not to ride alone. Through every twist and turn, God is eager and willing to sit beside you, hold on to you, and guide you through unknown territory.

Singing Over You

Singing Over You

Ever since I can remember, music has had a profound effect on me. Certain songs seemingly transport me back in time, lift my mood, and even motivate me.

Singing, songwriting, playing the piano, and leading music in my church are all activities that I treasure and consciously find time for in my life. When my life lacks music, my life feels as if it’s…lacking.

Zephaniah 3:17 is a verse that has always intrigued me…it says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” The entire verse is an incredible picture of Who God is, but the part that fascinates me is that He sings over us. It is so intimate; so meaningful.

I wrote a song entitled, “Singing Over You,” inspired by this cherished verse.
The lyrics are: “Feeling alone again in a crowd. Sick and tired of being left out. When tears start falling, I pray You’ll hear Him calling. May you believe His word to be true. That your God is singing over you. I see you questioning again. When will this feeling ever end? His arms are open. Bring to him a heart that’s broken. May you believe His Word to be true. That your God is singing over you.
Your Heavenly Father takes delight in who you are. He draws you closer, and He heals your wounds and scars. Give him praise. He is a God who saves. And He renews your strength. May today be the day that you hear His glorious song.
May His perfect love overwhelm you. May you believe me when I tell you: that your God loves you just the way that you are, and He sees who you can be, His love transforms us amazingly.
Your Heavenly Father takes delight in who you are. He draws you closer, and he heals your wounds and scars. Give Him praise. He is the God who saves, and He renews your strength.
May today be the day that you hear His glorious song. Over you. His glorious song.”

When a mom sings a lullaby to soothe her baby or a group of carolers lift the spirits of the disheartened with their Christmas tunes, there is an unparalleled sincerity and sweetness in those actions. This sweet sincerity can be seen, heard and felt. The song brings a sense of peace to the listener’s ears.

The verse in Zephaniah reminds us that God is a personal God. God sings over us. What a loving act by a loving God. He showers us with unequalled tenderness, devotion, and safekeeping. If you are feeling alone, lost, or less-than, remember that God is truly in your midst. As He sings over you, may the beauty of His melody and His love bring you His matchless peace.