Whether your mother is loving or distant, caring or critical, this is a place to stop and reflect about the challenge of that maternal bond.
All daughters and mothers are welcome!



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Already?

Oh my, we are in the middle of the Advent season and Christmas is nigh upon us!  Do the years seem to be speeding up, or am I just slowing down?




Memories of past Christmases are sweet.  
I love to ponder the Christmas choirs, dramas, gatherings, and gifts of years gone by.  In the midst of reflecting, one feeling stands out above the rest: the “holy hush” I used to feel on Christmas Eve, which still floods my heart with awe.  How about you? 
Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?

Seated in church with family and friends, enveloped by festive d├ęcor and traditional hymns, I experienced an expectancy which was tangible.  A joyous hush would blanket the congregation at the annual candle light service.  As if pure and gentle snow fell upon us, we were bound together in silent reverie, awaiting the tolling of the bells at midnight.  No other night felt so “holy.” 

And now, decades later, I’m still thankful to our loving God who prompts that holy hush by giving the best gift ever!  Despite the stress of holiday schedules, and numerous “to-do” lists, I dare not miss the true meaning of the season…that Christmas is about the birth of JESUS.  And He was born with a mission to seek and save the lost.

Take a minute to ponder with me some scriptures that point to Christ’s arrival, His purpose and His love. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatian church the following:  “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" (Galatians 4:4) 
In the fullness of time, God sent His Son, so we could be adopted into His family!

 The prophet Isaiah wrote centuries before that holiest of nights:  “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)  
In the fullness of time, God sent a Savior, the Prince of Peace!

            Then Paul exhorted the church at Rome with these words: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) 
           In the fullness of time, God sent a Redeemer to pay for our sins!

Have you received Jesus as Lord, Savior and Redeemer?  This Christmas could be the “fullness of time” in your life.  May you know His healing grace and life-giving love.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Musings


 
 
Turkey Day is approaching quickly: all the groceries bought, dishes cooked, pies prepared, football schedule checked, and family gathering.  Hopefully you’ll be able to share this holiday with someone you love, and not get too consumed with Black Friday deals.  It’s sad to say, but what started out as a day set apart for heartfelt praise for God’s provision, has for many, evolved into a commercial event of gluttony and covetousness.  Forgive me if I sound harsh, I’m just under conviction.

 How often have I let a lack of thankfulness minimize my joy?  Too many times I fear.  This year, God is teaching me a deeper truth about gratitude.  He directs those who know Christ (and the priceless salvation found only in Him) to be thankful in all circumstances.  In fact, the apostle Paul wrote the following words in his first letter to the Thessalonians:  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (5:17)

That sure simplifies things. If I want to know God’s will for me in any particular situation, it’s to be thankful!   

Sure, no problem, as long as there is extra money in the bank, the kids are behaving, both cars are running and my husband is attentive. It’s the “in all circumstances” part that causes me to stumble sometimes.  For when unexpected medical bills arrive, a car breaks down, the kids get in trouble, or a friend betrays a confidence…I have difficulty being thankful.  How about you? 

Still, I’m learning the secret to contentment is thanking God for everything, by trusting He can use everything for my good. (Romans 8:28)  Is He faithful or not?  Will He provide for my needs, or not?  Just because He may not answer my prayers in the way I hope, or in the timing I expect, it doesn’t mean He isn’t working things out for my good.

Last week, it was my privilege to share about “Thankfulness” with the dear ladies of Victory Baptist Church.  After a delicious turkey dinner, I highlighted a wonderful book in my presentation.  Maybe you have read it.  Ann Voskamp’s memoir entitled “One Thousand Gifts” is a precious account of her journey in praising God for the ordinary “gifts” of life.  Thanking Him for a beautiful full moon; for clean, crisp sheets; for a pre-schooler’s toothless grin; are all ways to praise God for the multitude of blessings we often take for granted.  Ann’s premise is that the continual act of giving thanks promotes communion with God, service to others and a deep joy.  

Now, God doesn’t want us to “fake” thanksgiving, offering Him hollow or insincere gratitude, but rather to thank Him in spite of our trials and challenges. He doesn’t require us to be overjoyed when we are overwhelmed, only to realize He has the power and love to get us through anything.

So it was for my family this past year.  Not only did God get us through prolonged financial challenges, but also through major surgery and recovery too.  Though He didn’t answer my specific prayer for supernatural healing, He provided for my deep emotional need for connection.  Bringing thoughtful folks alongside me, not only helped me in my recovery, but filled my heart.  Oh, how I see His hand of blessing despite the hardships we endured.

Truly, God’s will for us who love Him, is to practice thanksgiving as a lifestyle.  A little adjustment to our attitude can go a long way, for “godliness and contentment are great gain.”  Let’s be a thankful people, not just in November, but all year through!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Improve Your Connection!

It's simple really.
Want to improve your connection with your mother or daughter?
Just spend some quality time with them.

Make some happy memories.
Purpose to do something that brings them joy!
What do they like to do?
Go to the movies?  Go to a park?  Make crafts?
Don't fret over mishaps or challenging logistics...learn to laugh at yourself and
the joy will grow.

Here are some Moms and Daughters at a recent "GIRL TALK" event at my church.  I'm tickled that our Ladies' Ministry leaders are serious about promoting mother/daughter time.  It is soooooo important!!!





So, what can you do today to grow your relationship with your loved one?
How about next week?
Over the holidays?

I'm praying that you will be creative, keep it simple and have some fun.
GOD bless you!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Learning Downline

When was the last time you took some time just to reflect?
I mean, when did you stop a minute and assess what you've learned over the years?
If it's been a while, I encourage you to treat yourself to a block of time (maybe just 10 minutes) to think about the lessons you've learned in life.

This is at the forefront of my thinking because I've been asked to speak to a group of mothers tomorrow who are coming to an event with their young daughters.  While sorting through my "hard earned" parenting advice, it dawned on me  maybe I should share some of the lessons my daughter taught me!


I raised her the best I could, praying that she would survive my imperfections.  We had our struggles because we are both strong-willed, yet she grew in grace in response to God's Love. As she blossomed into a young woman, I realized she had qualities I admire.  Most importantly, she modeled meekness, and an ability to be other-focused with out feeling taken advantage of.  Whereas I would naturally want her to strive for the best, she was more mindful of others, allowing them to have the best.  This was a frustration at times, even as I witnessed her peace.  Though she is still better at putting people first, I am learning from her example!

What lessons have you learned from the lives of your children? Please leave a comment...
I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Heart for Honor

Choosing to honor my mother was a liberating act!
Oh, I thought I honored her during my childhood. I was well behaved and always tried to take care of her when she was ill or hung-over.  But real honor involves forgiving and blessing some one.
It is a daily choice that has to be made, and then put into practice.



Christ forgave me all of my sins, and commands me to forgive the sins of others.
My Mom was the best person I could choose to forgive, and thus, truly honor!

How about you?  Do you need to forgive your mother?
Can you accept her for who she is, and not hold her to an impossible standard?
Have you experienced the forgiveness of Jesus?
He is only a prayer away.

God bless you as you walk towards healing and forgiveness.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Stretch and Bend!

Conflicts are inevitable in this life, especially between mothers and daughters.
Here's an exercise to follow when someone hurts your feelings!  Ready?


Quickly, before you get entrenched in a 'tude, imagine your heart - and then visualize it bending as you think to yourself: "I forgive you."

That's one way to repel thoughts of anger and unforgiveness.
It may sound simple, but in the heat of the moment, this takes intentional focus!

Stretch your will, by choosing to forgive.
At first it might be a struggle.  You know, our humanity is pretty self-centered...
but Jesus can help you.  He modeled true forgiveness for us and His Spirit helps us do the same.
By thinking to yourself, "I forgive you," you are freeing your heart from the pain of unforgiveness.
Yeah!  Keep your heart open and free.

So stretch towards love and bend your heart, do this as many times as needed each day!

((HUGS!))

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Calling All Daughters!

Have you ever struggled in your relationship with your Mom?

Is it too easy to take her "suggestions" as criticisms, and too hard to forgive her for having "loving" opinions?

If so, I need you to spread the word about this blog!

My heart is to encourage daughters to have better relationships with their mothers.  I yearn for mothers and daughters to love each other, and stop comparing each other to an impossible standard. Amen?

Actually, my desire is to share how forgiveness and unconditional love, set me free to love my mother despite all the pain between us.  It's a heart-warming story about how a Great God, enabled me to love and serve my Mom the last four years of her life.

Here's where you come in...
I'm just about finished with my book, and I need a platform (you know, that buzz word that means "people's attention") in order to catch the eye of a publisher. 

So, I will get busy writing on this blog if you will get busy inviting gals to check it out and follow!  Deal?

See you here tomorrow, and thanks from the bottom of my HEART!  Really!!!

Blessings~
Jess



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Writing and Reading

It's been over seven months since I posted on this blog.  Life has been full and busy.  Beginning at the end of March, my main goal was to recover from major surgery.  With God's healing touch and physical therapy, I'm back to functioning and writing.

My "down" time afforded much opportunity to read.  I highly recommend the five book series by Lynn Austin: Gods & Kings.  These Biblical fiction tales deal with three of the kings of Judah: King Ahaz, King Hezekiah and King Manassah.  Intriguing and well worth your time!

I also just finished a memoir by an author who contributes to the New York Times.  "Mother Daughter Me" is a powerful story about loss and forgiveness.  Author Katie Hafner shares about her relationships with her mother and her daughter with transparent grace.  When divorce, alcoholism and abandonment impact a family, no one escapes unscathed.  And yet, when hearts seek to understand and extend love, the impossible is possible.

Well, I've reached the half way mark on my memoir.  It is a far more difficult task than I ever imagined!
Hopefully, by year's end, I'll be able to release it.

Wishing a very Happy Summer to you all!  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

This Is THE Year!

Have you ever procrastinated so long before getting to a task, that it was far easier to forget about it entirely than even beginning?
I mean... other than wall papering the guest room or re-painting the bathroom, or cleaning out the garage!

Well, I hate to confess that my desire to write a book about my relationship with my mother has been pushed aside, covered over and buried by busyness for nearly THREE years!

I've run out of excuses, and with a looming surgery, out of avenues of distraction. 

No more stalling, no more deflecting...this is THE year to write IT!

Please pray for me.