God's Girl

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

What Would You Do?

 

 

It was a beautiful day at the zoo. A memory making, sunshine filled, smile inducing kind of day. I sat relaxing in the shade as the kids climbed on the giant tree themed playground. Parents sat all around in nearby chairs. So many families were enjoying the day that some stood around due to the lack of places to sit. Two families standing in front of the tree caught my eye. One woman commented to another, “I think she’s lost.” The other turned from packing a stroller and looked up, “Yes, I think she is.” “That’s great”, I thought. “Just look at those safety conscious moms.”

What happened next shocked me. I felt like I had just become part of a scene in the “What Would You Do?” tv show. A show in which people are tested with different scenarios to see if people will chose to do the right thing. My eyes searched for the child. There she was. She was probably five. I expected the two women to take her hand and help her. I saw something quite different. The women gathered their children and left. They did nothing to help this lost child. NOTHING.

My attention turned to the little girl. She didn’t look distraught. No tears were on her face. She began to wonder her way into the building attached to the playground. That’s when I knew she was lost. I sat stunned. I still could not believe those people had done nothing. A few moments later, it finally hit me. I felt like I’d just been punched in the stomach. A sick feeling crept into my body. I did nothing. I could have taken that child by the hand and helped her. I let her walk right into a potentially dangerous situation. She needed help. I didn’t give it.

I kept waiting for the “What Would You Do?” guy to step in at this point. The guy who brings a microphone and tells you, “It’s okay none of this was real.” He never came. Someone did come. The child’s parents. They walked out of the building and called their children. One came. Another came, but the third was no where to be seen. The parents looked at each other and quickly went in the building to find their child. I still couldn’t get over it. I began to pray for the parents. Can I tell you it felt like way too little way too late? I could have stepped in. I didn’t.

All of this happened in the blink of an eye.

Sometimes that’s all we have to make a difference.

The Blink of  an eye.  

That’s why I need God. I can’t be trusted to chose right as a reflex. I just can’t. I’m a lost child, too. I’m lost without God. I’m lost without his love in my life. I can’t bridge the giant chasm between me and my creator. All I can really do is take the dive. I can jump off the cliff that separates me from him and be caught by the net of his mercy and grace. That’s the kind of love to get all tangled up in.  The kind of love that makes you want to be so close to the one who saved you that you don’t really know where He ends and you begin. The kind that speaks to my heart, hears my soul, yet still loves me more than I’ll ever deserve. That’s the kind of love everyone needs. Why would I want to keep that to myself? Why would I choose to see a lost child and not step in?

Someone needs to hear why I hope, why I love, why I live now. I want to have a reflex reaction with the lost. I want them to be found. The time is short, I may only have the blink of an eye.

I don’t know what happened to that child. (Just a moment after the child went in the building, her parents stepped out. They quickly went in to find her. I didn’t see the reunion.)

I do know what will happen to the person who doesn’t know Jesus. No happy reunion. Forever separated from God. Just like this little girl, a lost person doesn’t always look lost. She is the woman next to you in line or the mom you just met in PTA. He’s the guy sitting next to you at the football game. He may have the biggest heart. She may be the best mom. That doesn’t make them any less lost. He needs you. She needs you. Hold out your hand. Lead them to the most loving Father they will ever know. Lead them home. You could change a life forever in the blink of an eye.

 

 

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“You Don’t Look Like You Have That Many Kids!”

Bethany Beckett is today’s special guest blogger on God’s Girl. Bethany is a Jesus-lovin’, great style rockin’, army wife and wisdom filled mama of 6 boys who currently resides in Tacoma, Washington. She has the gift of organization and a knack for all things crafty.

You can visit her website at http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWhimsicalTree to order her homemade items for children and the home, but please read her blog post first!

“You Don’t Look Like You Have That Many Kids!!!”

Today I prepare my wardrobe for the adventures ahead regarding the errands for they day… comfy jeans, sneakers, and my “Yes, all those kids are mine” t-shirt. You see, I am a mother to 6 wonderful boys and beginning to “rock out” my newest “baby bump” for little one number 7.

We all load up the Chevy Traverse and begin our day.

I have a strict routine of running all of my errands in the same day… Yes, it means a very long day and sometimes a handful of meltdowns, but I have found that time, gas, and energy are saved this way. It’s much easier to knock out groceries, post office, doctor’s appointments, and bank trips all at once, than to have to dress, pack snacks, etc., for all of us, numerous days of the week. I call it “one stop shop” although most times, it involved quite a few more than one or two “stops”. Nonetheless… We load up for our day.

We get to the Army Hospital where all of our care is, since my husband is active duty, and today we have 3 children with back-to-back appointments.  As we unload the SUV I take a glimpse at my wonderfully large family and chuckle to myself about how we somewhat resemble a clown car, one by one exiting the “what seems too small for our family on the outside” vehicle.

With one in the stroller, 2 holding on to my sides, and the others following, we resemble a family of ducks headed into the building. As I walk inside and pass all the other patrons, I hear whispers of “oh, my! “all boys!,” and “1…2…3…4…5…” I proudly hold my head up high (because this time they are all behaving well) and continue on to our destination.

I wait patiently in line to check in at the counter as my little guys all grab seats and peruse the selection of tableside magazines. I think to myself “success!” and smile inside. My turn arrives and I approach the desk. The pleasant receptionist smiles at me and raises her eyebrows in a surprised expression and states, “Wow! You do NOT look like you have had that many kids!” Politely I smile back at her and reply, “Thank you,” as I let out a slight chuckle. But honestly, what am I supposed to look like?

Perhaps if I looked like I had “six kids and counting” I would have 8 arms, like an octopus! One for each little hand to hold on to, and two to do laundry, dishes, cooking, and the like.

Maybe I’m supposed to have untamed hair with Legos sticking out of matted tangles.

Perhaps every time I went somewhere I would wear evidence of my children on my clothing. Like the time I went to work with half of a strawberry pop tart sticking to my cardigan like a broach on my shoulder-blade.

Maybe the perception of motherhood has been so distorted by society that everyone forgets about the joy children are… I promise you that I have more laugh lines than I do frown.

While I understand and agree that raising children is exhausting and often sleep-depriving, I think that some people assume that mothers of many could only possibly look ragged and worn out. I mean, if one child is a lot of work, it must multiply for each additional child, right? Not always… If I broke down how I felt into percentages of happy, exhausted, hungry, ambitious, etc., and I was 20% exhausted with one child, that doesn’t mean that I’m 40% exhausted with two, and so forth… No, it just simply that the scale changes. The balance stays the same.

Or maybe because I have so many children I am expected to carry that extra bit of “baby weight” with each one. Honestly, chasing around this many tots would keep almost anyone in shape! And don’t you remember the times you made yourself a plate of dinner and your little one begged for a bite? Multiply that. Sometimes I feel like I never get to eat! Haha! Although I know that is not true. They just help me avoid overeating. Except for the Oreos I secretly stash in my bedside table drawer.

So what are we moms with children, especially ‘that many’ children, supposed to look like? I think I can help some out with that…

We are supposed to look like Christ.

Every child I have had has helped shape me into a better person. They have made me less selfish, more loving, more understanding, compassionate, resilient, persevering, more giving. I can see joy in little things, like finding a dragonfly for them to marvel and wonder at. I enjoy the smiles of innocence in playing in rain puddles. I cook awesome, yet budget friendly meals. I teach them to pray. I teach them to love. Laughter and playing are an everyday occurrence in our house. And so are little spats, naturally. But video games, lack of socialization, selfishness, and greed are not. I think our time with our children, and their time with their siblings is to be treasured. And so often that time just gets away from us and passes us by.

So, while, to some, I may not look like I have this many kids, neither does the mother of one who is sitting along side of me, face deep into her smartphone, while her child rolls around loudly on the floor simply seeking her attention, or begging to play her phone while they wait.

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The Glow of Friendship

Last night my daughter had a sleepover to celebrate her 11th birthday.

Lots of girls, lots of cake, lots of laughter, and lots of fear.

Yep, that’s right.

The girls had fun most of the night until late night paranoia set in.

Suddenly someone heard heavy breathing followed by lots of gurgling.

I watched as they tried a variety of methods to make the sound stop.

They decided to change the room they slept in.

That didn’t work.

Maybe if they tried switching around the spots they slept in the sound would stop.

That didn’t work either.

I tried to explain that they were just hearing the sounds of each person beginning to fall asleep.

They looked at me like I had lost my mind for even suggesting such a thing.

“The thing we are afraid of is real. Can’t you see that?”, they seemed to say.

These girls were not hanging out in dark scary rooms.

As a matter of fact, the sleepover had a glow-in-the dark theme.

The girls were surrounded by light.

They slept in a sea of glow sticks and glow balloons, yet all they could think of was the darkness.

Have you ever noticed how emotion spreads through a group like wildfire?

One person gets scared, then fear spreads.

You talk to a negative person enough and suddenly you can see flaws in others you never saw before.

You get swept away in what appears to be real.

After all, if most of the group is feeling it maybe you are the crazy one.

 

Is it wrong to share your feelings with friends?

Should you just walk around with a plastic smile?

Of course not.

Emotion isn’t bad at all, but accepting the emotion as the complete reality you are living in is dangerous.

It’s like being in a dark room full of those glow sticks yet never seeing the light all around you.

Have you ever noticed that glow sticks don’t last forever?

Eventually they just burn out.

You can’t create your own light.

I can’t either.

That’s why we need the light of God in our life.

We have to spend enough time in God’s word, that His word becomes the last word to resonate in our hearts when we feel the darkness closing in.

If we don’t keep returning to Him our light won’t stay lit.

We will burn out.

We will break down.

We will give in to whatever emotions we create and feed off the emotions of others.

Emotions aren’t wrong, but they aren’t always reality either.

That’s why our group of friends is so important.

The good ones will call you on your crazy and allow you to call them on theirs.

We all need people in our lives to tell us like it is with their mouths while they point us to God with their fingers.

Choose your friends wisely.

They will become the climate you acclimate to.

You will become like the people you are around.

Remember friend, they will also become like you.

The girls in our home may have been a little scared last night, but they woke up this morning laughing, loving and hugging.

Sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning!

Real friends will walk with you through both seasons.

If you have the kind of friends who encourage you, who point you to Jesus and aren’t afraid to call you on your crazy, give them a little shout out in the comment section below these words.

Tell us what you love about them and why.

Share this blog post on Facebook and tag them.

Good friends are hard to find.

Let’s thank God for them today!

 

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Burnt Out

 

 

My family and I drove by a popular restaurant sign a few nights ago.

Our children nearly fell over laughing in the back seat.

“Look, Mom, that sign says, “Affle House”, “you know, like, Awful House.”

The first letter of the sign had burnt out, sending my family into fits of laughter.

Sometimes I feel burnt out.

It seems to get harder to keep it all together.

I get tired of burning the candle at both ends so I just let one end fizzle out.

I’m running on empty, yet I keep going.

It has to get done and it has to get done now!

The tyranny of the urgent.

 

 

One of the first things to go for me is usually my time spent in the Word.

My big “W” that used to shine brightly becomes dim, until it eventually burns out.

When that happens, my body, the house God entrusted to me, can quickly turn into the awful house.

 

My temper flares.

My sleep is affected.

My money spends faster.

My food gets junkier.

My workout time becomes a distant memory.

 

Take a moment to think about what is beginning to flicker out in your life.

 

What is one of the first things to go when you fizzle out?

Maybe it’s a habit that keeps you healthy.

Sometimes a relationship is neglected.

Financial situations may  get ignored.

 

Try to catch it now before the burn out.

Who really wants to reach the point of being the “Affle House”?

Listen, Dear One, urgency is a killer of the soul!

Is it really worth killing yourself to get it all done?

Is there something you can say “no” to this week, so you can say “yes” to your sanity.

Talk to God about it.

Sometimes taking a nap, eating healthier, or spending time with an important person in your life is the most Godly thing you can do.

Write it on your “to do” list.

Don’t feel guilty for self care.

Don’t drop the big “W” and become the awful house, when stress enters your life.

You can avoid this!

You can.

I’ll be here rooting for you and cheering you on.

No guilt here, Dear One, just move forward and do one thing today that will prevent burn out tomorrow.

 

Leave me a comment to let me know what fizzles out first in your life.

What will you cut out or do differently this week?

I want to hear from you!

 

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3 Surprising Reasons to Budget

We all know we should budget.

Right?

Why don’t we?

Yes, I know this is one of those questions, like “why doesn’t a child eat his green vegetables?”

 It’s not fun to budget.

Who really says, “Oh, yay! Honey, I know the perfect way to have fun tonight! Let’s pay the bills and track our money. Woo, hoo!”

If you know these people, please do me a favor and slap them for me!

They are not normal.

I have done the Dave Ramsey thing. It’s great. “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else” has been my personal mantra many times. I love this idea, but truth be told I’m an instant gratification kinda girl. I have NO patience…at…all.

“By the way, did you see that great sale?”

Who cares if I actually have the money, I saved money…right?

Here are three reasons you should “Budge-It” your money before it “budges” you:

1) Your relationship with God.

I didn’t budget.

Where did the money go?

“God isn’t providing for me.”

“He must not really care about my needs.”

“The car broke down.”

“It’s the most expensive part.”

“It must be replaced today.”

“God, where are YOU??? Arghhh!”

Not only does your car break down, you do too!

Not that God, doesn’t do all kinds of miracles and provide in all kinds of ways.

He does.

He also gives us guidelines for living throughout the bible that help prevent many financial crises.

2) Your relationship with others.

Scenario #1: The Blame Game

“What happened to the money?”

“I’m broke.”

“We will never have any money.”

“________ spends it all.”

(“It couldn’t have been me after all?”)

End of this scenario: Relationship problems with ________. Yelling. Fighting. UG…LI…NESS!

Scenario #2: The Unaccepted Invite or The Great Mastercard Handover

Friend(s): “Let’s go do ______.”

You: ” Umm…sorry… can’t go.”  (or I can go, but this one is gonna have to be on the Mastercard.)

This scenario also ends badly.

If you don’t go: Friends may feel brushed off. You miss opportunity. Who knows what that opportunity might be? The chance for you to provide a listening ear or maybe have the moment that becomes the inside joke you’ll be laughing about for a long time to come.

If you do: That Mastercard has just mastered you. You may have just created that inside joke together, but when you get the bill you won’t be laughing for a long time to come!

3) Your relationship with yourself.

Budgeting money can be a fantastic way to avoid temptation. Lots of temptations involve things we can buy. Can you think of a few?

If I make a plan for my money and that plan does not include much room for the things that tempt me, it will be easier not to give in to temptation. Notice I did not say it would be easy. I remember being told a zillion times, that if I am tempted God will provide a way out. Could it be that following what he says to do with my money in the first place, might put a plan in place to create that “way out”?

Suddenly, those “Twinkies” don’t look quite as good, when you know you are taking money away from something else you had planned.

How can you use money  as a tool to achieve your goals right now:

spiritually?

physically?

emotionally?

socially?

mentally?

Keep money in perspective. It is a tool. It isn’t security. Only God can give you a solid foundation worth standing on. Have you ever tried to stand on a hammer? Chances are, you will fall!

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Finding Easter

My family and I were sitting around the table after enjoying our Easter meal together.

My parents were visiting from out of town.

The kids were in the backyard jumping on the trampoline.

Suddenly, we heard a noise.

“She started it!”, my son burst through the door to defend himself.

We all laughed.

My daughter had come inside a few moments before to get a drink.

She had not said a word about her brother.

He was ready to defend himself when he needed no defense.

It’s easy to get a little overly defensive when we have a guilty conscience, isn’t it?

We know we are to blame.

But who really wants to fess up?

 

When Eve took the fruit from the tree and ate it,

Did she run to God and say, “Hey, I really messed up.” ?

Nope.

There was a lot of pointing of fingers that day.

Trouble was no one was pointing it back at themselves.

God, said no.

Satan said, “Are you sure?”

Eve said, “Well, maybe it’s okay.

She rationalized her sin.

“Just this one time.”

“No one will notice.”

“God is holding out on me.”

“It will only affect me anyway.”

Truth is we started it.

A cycle of sin that breaks God’s heart.

A cycle that begins with broken relationships.

Broken families.

Broken hearts.

A broken world.

All in one moment.

That’s all it took.

That’s all it takes.

We started it, but thank goodness we didn’t finish it.

God sent his son to earth.

At his birth we found him wrapped in linens in a humble stable.

At his death we found him wrapped in linens in a tomb.

On the third day, we didn’t find Him at all.

That is the wonder of Easter my friends.

We picked the fight, but Jesus died to finish it.

He took on the school yard bully that we had picked a fight with, and He won.

Now, there is no power in earth or heaven that can separate us from the love of Christ.

Think of a reason why God can’t love you.

Think of a reason why he won’t accept you.

There is none.

Not one thing can make God go away.

Well, one thing can.

What is that one thing?

YOU.

You can choose not to invite Him in when he knocks on your door.

You can.

But, why would you?

Easter eggs hide.

That’s just what they do.

But, their true purpose is to be found and enjoyed by their creator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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