Monday, June 18, 2012

A Radical Dad

Recently I had the opportunity to visit an assisted living facility.  I must say I was amazed at what I saw.  I was filling in for work in helping an elderly lady with Alzheimer’s.  My job was simply to follow her around to all of her activities and make sure she didn’t wander off.

She is one of many of the people there who is in her nineties.  One couple I met during my visit had been married sixty-seven years.  Wow… what a legacy.  I was impressed at how active, alert, and engaged everyone was.  I felt old compared to them.

I spent two days there following Miss Polly around.  We worked on puzzles, went to several meals together, played cards, watched movies, played bingo, and even hit up an ice cream social.  She is an active old lady.  I had a hard time keeping up with her.  I kept asking her if she needed a nap, but she kept going like the energizer bunny.  Nothing stopped her or slowed her down.  On the other hand, I could have used a nap or two while I was there.

Miss Polly had a “special friend” who joined us often.  He picked her up and escorted her to each activity.  It was cute!  He was half blind and she had trouble remembering things.  What a pair they make!  She leads the way and he helps her remember where to go.

On Saturday we headed down to a special Father’s Day event.  The activities director brought in for the morning a Model T and an old fire truck… the very first one ever made for their town for everyone’s viewing pleasure. They sat in lawn chairs eating ice cream on the front lawn reminiscing about the good old days.

I sat back watching the people come and go.  Some talked of times they had actually participated in being on the volunteer fire fighting teams.  It was interesting.  There was no organized program of sorts, but after a while I noticed Polly’s friend stand up at the front.  I wondered what he was doing so I moved closer to listen.

Polly’s friend shared of how he was a part of a volunteer fire fighting team of sorts in the past.  He related this helping others to God helping us.  Wow… I don’t think this was planned.  He was preaching to the people!  He said he could remember four generations back and has four generations forward now of family.  All of his extended family were gone, but he was still alive for a purpose. 

He shared of how we all have a purpose in living.  He said…“We will all die some day.  It’s going to happen.  But God has a plan for us.  God knows the number of hairs on our heads and He cares about us.”  He encouraged those there to choose God and ask Him into their lives.  It was awesome!  Some listened intently while others were distracted or ignored his heart felt words.

It was a divine appointment!  An eighty-nine year old father took his moment to shine for God to impact his generation.  That just shows we are never too old to be used by God.  He was a radical dad!  I thanked him later for his obedience to God.  He took the opportunity to obey God and he will never know how many people were touched that day.

I learned a long time ago that if I feel God leading me to do something that I need to obey.  I may never know the impact my obedience could make on the life of another.  When we share the good news of God’s love with others, seeds are planted deep within their hearts.  Some day those seeds will be harvested into changed lives.

Take a lesson from this “Radical Dad” today and learn to listen to God, obey His leading, and be available to help bring people to know Him.  Your life will never be the same and neither will theirs!

Living to leave a legacy,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Feed Your Spirit

Summer break has officially begun.  Yesterday my boys were home from school and so was I.  My husband’s truck broke down, so instead of getting up with him at 4:30 a.m. to take him to work, I stayed home.   The boys slept in and we took our time getting around.  One important priority of the day for me was to have some God-time with them.  It is a time where we can spend talking to God and reading his word… the Bible.

My husband and I have been trying to teach the boys at a young age how important it is to feed your spirit daily.  Everyone focuses so much on feeding their bellies that they forget about their spirits.  Each time we read the Bible and talk to God it helps us to grow inside.  When we neglect this important element of our walks with God, we starve ourselves spiritually.  Eventually we can begin to die inside.

It says in Matthew 4:4
“People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (NLT)

We want the boys to have their own relationships with God.  They can’t live on our faith alone forever.  A personal relationship with God is just that… personal.  We want them to experience God for themselves.  We have given the boys tools to help them grow in their walk with God.  They have Bibles that are easy for them to understand and we encourage them to read them.  We also try to carve out time to make it happen.  Kids have good intentions, but they don’t manage their time well (or maybe it’s only my kids that struggle with this). 

We don’t want our boys to just know about God, we want them to know Him personally.  We pray with our boys every night and give them opportunities to pray and talk to God too.  They pray for us, the food, the day, and one is even the chaplain of sorts for their Boy Scout Troop.  But talking to God goes beyond saying a simple prayer, it’s communicating with Him daily.  It’s sharing the good and the bad.  It’s talking to God like you would a best friend.  We encourage the boys to seek out special time to be alone and talk with God daily.  We know if they will draw closer to God on their own that they will experience Him for themselves.

James 4:8 says…
“Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you…” (NLT)

Yesterday I decided to help the boys facilitate time with God.  We met in their room and I had each of them ready with their Bibles and instruments.  My oldest is learning to play the keyboard and my youngest is learning the guitar.  I decided since they both each knew one song pretty well that they could lead us out in that particular song for a worship time with God.  Gavyn played “How He Loves” and Trey did “God is Able.”  It was amazing.  They did such an awesome job!  It touched my heart to hear them sing and play for God… such sweet, tender hearts hungry for God.

After we finished singing I had each of them read part of a chapter in the Bible and then we prayed.  It was a simple, yet powerful way to start the day.  I want them to learn that it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but feeding our spirits is important.  It builds us up on the inside and makes us stronger, so we are ready for whatever may come our way that day.

When we neglect to feed ourselves spiritually we become weaker by the day and when Satan comes to attack, we are defenseless against him.  Learning to feed our spirits and help others do the same is a process.  I remember the long process of teaching my children to eat by themselves unassisted.  They were messy and uncoordinated, but eventually they figured it out.  I couldn’t spoon feed them meals forever.  Eventually they would have to grow up and learn to do it on their own. 

The same is true with feeding our spirits.  Our children, spouses, friends, and family have to learn to feed themselves spiritually on their own.  One Sunday morning message from a minister at church isn’t enough to last us all week spiritually.  Would one big buffet dinner one day a week keep our bellies full all week long?  I don’t think so!  We need to feed our spirits daily!  Our faith needs to rub off onto others so much so that they want to grow their own.  I feel at times like a mother bird watching my babies jump out of the nest and learn to fly.  It can be painful, but that’s how they learn and grow.

You may be reading this and you are at a place where you don’t even know God or maybe it’s been awhile since you have been close to Him.  I encourage you to draw close to God and experience Him for yourself.  There is more to God than you realize.  He is alive and real and you can know Him personally.  I encourage you to get a Bible and start reading in the book of John (the story of Jesus).  Learn about God and start to talk to Him.  Share with Him the good, bad, and ugly of your life.  I think you might be surprised at what happens.  I am available and ready to talk with you anytime.  Send me an e-mail and I would love to share with you my story.  I’m excited to see what God has in store for YOU!

If you have a relationship with God, then it’s time to get busy.  Think about it!  Who are you helping grow in God?  If you can’t think of anyone, perhaps it is time to get creative.  You need to find a place to use your giftings to help others grow.  It could be a children’s ministry, youth ministry, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or prison.  The list is endless.  God has the perfect fit for you to pour into others and help them grow.  As you begin to pray and pursue God in this area, He will reveal to you where you need to be.  You will be impacting your world for God one heart at a time!

Feed your spirit today and find someone else to teach to do the same.   But don’t stop there… teach them to find someone else to teach as well.  It’s a domino effect of growing in God!  Simple truths, but they bring powerful results when applied to our lives.

Living to leave a legacy,