Thursday, January 26, 2012

Old Clothes, New Beginnings

With the new year well underway, I find myself once again thinking about new beginnings.  I love the idea of a fresh start--a brand new year to resolve to change things for the better and see what God will do.  Some years, I take on a resolution, though not always.  I don't like the idea of starting off strong with a resolution only to watch myself let it go. :)  Last year, I resolved to try and drink a green smoothie every day.  I really did stick with that one, and I felt great as I even craved my daily green smoothie throughout my entire pregnancy with our latest sweet baby.  Each year, Todd and I set aside a time in January to reflect back on the previous year and then to pray for the new year to come.  I love this time, as I am always reminded of all the wonderful things our God has done, and as we look forward to what the new year will bring--the challenges, joys, all that comes with the adventure of walking with the LORD.  

Many years ago at a New Year's Day service at church, I sang a song by Randy Stonehill entitled "Old Clothes."  I love the words of this song, and how they speak of the new beginning I have in Christ:

Toys from my childhood,
Old photographs,
Left in this dusty old suitcase.
The things we once cherished 
Are lost with the past.
Seek out the treasure
That always will last.

So I'm packing up my old clothes
With my old and foolish ways.
They just don't seem to fit me anymore.
I see the light of morning
With different eyes today.
And I'm giving my tomorrows to the Lord.

So many heroes
That never came through,
Too man roads going nowhere--
But Jesus was whispering
"I still love you,"
With a love that makes
All things new

So I'm packing up my old clothes
With my old and foolish ways.
They just don't seem to fit me anymore.
I see the light of morning
With different eyes today.
And I'm giving my tomorrows to the Lord.
--Randy Stonehill, 1990

When I sang this song in church, I was a very new believer, just beginning my journey with the Lord.  I sang it to Him from the heart as a promise that I would give my life to Him every day.  And I have!  More than 17 years later, these thoughts and words still ring true today in my life.  I was a very different person before I found Jesus.  When I came to Christ, I changed so much, and it was just like the image of the old clothes that don't fit anymore.  The things that were once appealing to me, and the things that motivated me were no longer important.  I had been transformed, renewed.  I really did feel like I was taking off ill-fitting old clothes and putting on fresh, new beautiful ones!  

Each day I also get a new beginning.  I love to wake up early, before anyone else is stirring, grab my coffee and my Bible, and pray for the new day and all the challenges I know it will bring as I strive to raise the precious brood of children with whom I have been entrusted.  I am blessed knowing that even when I stumble and fall, even when I am not the perfect parent, wife, friend, daughter (which, of course, I never am), I can always begin anew!  He makes all things new!!  Praise the Lord for new beginnings.  May 2012 be a year full of the grace and wonder of walking with Him.

 "If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth."
Ephesians 4:21-24

"And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'"
Revelation 21:5

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kisses last a lifetime

A few weeks ago, my 4-year-old little boy was watching me care for our newborn son. I just can't stop kissing that sweet little face, and Simeon observed this. He asked, "Mama, do your kisses stay there forever?" What a sweet little thought! I answered him yes. Yes, I believe that they do stay there forever. Every Mother's kiss remains imprinted on the mind and heart of her child forever. Every loving touch, every smile, every kind word or gesture is there burned onto the heart of a child to last his whole life through. Think of all the memories you have of your own mother, and what an impression they have left on your heart. We mothers have the opportunity to touch our children's hearts for eternity. The seemingly fleeting kiss pours warmth into the soul of a child that tells him, "You are loved." This does not fade away. Simeon's innocent question seems very profound to me. It reminded me of the importance of those little kisses and touches not only for the little face of my newborn boy, but for all of my children. I am their first glimpse of the love of their Father in heaven. My kisses and unconditional love for them are but a dim reflection to them of the love that the God who created them has for them. I model to them the reality of an eternal, perfect, unconditional love that I can only feebly imitate. And yet it is so important--not insignificant in the least. It is through my love that my children will see that they are loved enough for the Father to give His only Son for their salvation! I don't think I will ever forget the beautiful picture Simeon's question painted in my mind. I see all of my children covered by all the kisses I have planted on them over the years, enveloped in my love for them, and even more so surrounded and penetrated by the love of God.

"And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you..."
Isaiah 66:12-13

A Mother's Love by Helen Steiner Rice

A Mother's love is something that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it or take that love away...
It is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails nor falters even though the heart is breaking...
It believes beyond believing when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty of the rarest, brightest gems...
It is far beyond defining, it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret, like the mysteries of creation...
A many splendored miracle man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence of God's tender guiding hand.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Late Night Musings

I find that life takes on different patterns all the time. My routines can just be solidifying, a nice rhythm forming, and then a twist and all is again chaos. The last 9 weeks have been a whirlwind! We had our lovely baby boy in early November, then we marched right into Thanksgiving, then onto Christmas, and now a new year is beginning. Just a few weeks ago, my routine consisted of getting up early to exercise, walk, pray, read my Bible, make breakfast and then start the day with the children. Now, our sweet baby boy has his more solid sleeping pattern late at night into the wee hours of the morning, and I am finding myself taking advantage of that and staying up during those hours to do things around the house, organize, read, etc. So here I am blogging at 1:30am! It used to irritate me that I could just be getting comfortable with a routine and then life would once again throw changes at me. Now, I am discovering that I am much more willing to just go with the flow! How freeing! I also realize that I need to let go of so many expectations and just rejoice in every small victory that I have each day--cooking some meals to freeze, reading books to the children, finally getting the rest of the laundry folded.... Most importantly, I have realized over the years that not too many things compare to cuddling my little newborns, for all too quickly they are growing up! When I am tempted to feel guilty or complain because I just haven't "gotten everything done," I look at the sweet faces of my children, or I smell the sweet baby's breath of my little Hezekiah, and I remind myself that this time is fleeting. All the pressing needs of today will still be there tomorrow, and all my routines will always be in a state of flux! Above all, I pray that each day I would "count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:8).