I Wuv You Berry Much

August 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Susan Dollyhigh –

Pulling out of the parking lot of the church, I earnestly thanked God for ‘Mothers Morning Out’- in my case ‘Grandmothers Morning Out’ – and drove away to enjoy three blissful hours all alone in my quiet house.

I loved having the opportunity to care for Katelyn, my two-year-old granddaughter, during the day, but that little blessing of mine was a handful, and could zap every ounce of energy from her Nana’s body.

Some days when my daughter, Emily, came by to pick up Katelyn she would say, “Wow, Mom! You really look tired.”

I have to admit, there were days I could have collapsed as the door closed behind them.

Katelyn was funny, sweet and loving, and wide-open at this stage of her life. One day while chasing her to change her diaper, I stopped and said, “Katelyn, I’m not chasing you anymore.”

After that, Katelyn’s new favorite saying became, “I not chase you anymore, Nana.”

Sometimes it was hard to keep a straight face around that little girl.

Katelyn was perceptive for her young age. She could tell when Nana was at the end of her rope, and she learned just how to handle the situation. One day as we were driving to the store, I looked back to see ten wiggling little toes. I had just put socks and shoes on those feet and asked Katelyn to please leave them on.

Just as I thought, this child is going to get the best of me yet, she said, “Nana?”

“Yes, Katelyn?” I replied in a weary voice.

“I wuv you berry much.”

I glanced in the rearview mirror and couldn’t help but smile.

“I love you very much too, Katelyn”, as my heart grew warm with love — Nana’s hearts are just like that.

I know there has to have been days that if God ever did get tired, I would have exhausted Him; days when He might have felt He was at the end of His rope with me.

Yet, God’s Word tells me He is forgiving, gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love.”

Katelyn has taught me to remember to say, “Father, I love you very much.”

I believe His heart grows warm with love when I say so, same as ours – Father’s hearts are just like that.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank You that Your Word tells us that we are Your children. Thank You for being slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank you for lavishing us with great love. Help us to lavish others with that same great love. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are” (1 John 3:1 NIV).

Naptown, is That Very Far Away?

July 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Jarrod Spencer –

It is not uncommon for our family to run to “America’s Drive-In” a few times a week. Sometimes we will eat lunch there, while other times we will go through there to pick up a drink for my wife. Either of these times will be at the end of the typical lunch hour.

Following lunch, our children will take a nap. At least that is the ideal situation. Our two kids may go down for a nap at the same time, but may not end up sleeping at the same time, unfortunately. This lack of symmetric schedules often affects my wife much more than me.

One such day as we had been out running errands around town, we had gone by the drive in before we went home. It was later in the afternoon, and our kids were showing signs of fatigue, which meant that a nap was just a few minutes away.

After we left the drive-in, we came to an intersection. Our son asks us where we are going to go next. My reply was “Naptown, do you want to go?”

My son then responded, “Is that very far away?”

His mom, after her initial snicker at his remark, said “‘NAP-TOWN’ means you’re going to take a nap, it’s not a place.” My son is not usually a gullible person but this caught him off guard.

It reminds me of the times when I am trying to think my life’s plans instead of leaving them up to God. I want one outcome and God has another planned for my life.

PRAYER: Father, may I learn to enjoy or at least appreciate the interruptions You place in my life.

BIBLE VERSE: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, s are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 44:8-9).

Footloose and Fashion Free

July 19, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Hally Franz –

Kevin Bacon’s 1984 original, Footloose, was released during my college years, and twenty-seven years later, the remake starring Julianne Hough hit the big screen. I’ve seen the first several times, but have not yet viewed the updated version. However, I did attend our local high school’s musical production of “Footloose” just recently, and it was both fun and frightening.

In the live show, students unabashedly replicated the 1980’s fashions. I envisioned girls reviewing their mothers’ old photos and raiding their closets for vintage looks, as any dedicated artist would. And, each actress embraced those crazy trends, working every terrifying one into the outfits worn on stage. Neon-colored leggings and tights, leg warmers, gym wear hanging topsy-turvy off their shoulders, cock-eyed pony tails, and gloves with lace and without fingers—scary fashion flashback to the third power!

While inspired and amazed by the talent of our local young people, I think I sat mouth agape when reminded of how I no doubt looked some thirty years ago. Then, I looked down at my 10-year-old daughter. She was enthralled by the performance of the teens on stage, and she was sporting some of her own styles.

Rosaline’s skinny wrist was encircled by numerous “bracelets”: hair bands, rubber message bracelets, elastic shape bands and bead craft jewelry. Apparently, she figures that more is better. She recently purchased a very interesting “hat”. Imagine marching band shako meets Russian fur hat. Next, picture long hot pink yarn braids down each side of the—hat. Now, against the background of spiky hot pink faux fur, add the face of famous Muppet character Animal. You’ve got quite a headdress!

When she first wore her hat, I noticed moms looking at me with big eyes and nervous smiles. I had to respond truthfully. I said matter-of-factly “her money, shopping with Dad,” and, in Forrest Gump style, indicated that was all I had to say about that.

As my daughter grows into a teenager and young woman, I’ll continue to question her fashion choices sometimes. I may question other decisions along the way, too. While I hope she’ll always make good clothing choices and, more importantly, wise life choices, I know she may not. That’s when my guidance, understanding and forgiveness will be important. So, bring on the wardrobe, friend and school drama, frightening though it may be.

With His help, she and I are going to have fun!

PRAYER: Gracious God, provide me with wisdom and understanding so that I may raise my daughter well. And, please walk with the two of us through the challenges of the teen years.

BIBLE VERSE: “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:9 NIV).

Good Company

July 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Robin J. Steinweg –

“One of my students needs the same things repeated every week,” I said. “It’s like she’s never seen a quarter note before, and she still can’t identify the keys. She’s bright; her parents say she practices, so it must be me. Do any of my words stick with any of my students? What’s the point?” I had lain awake wondering if most of my life had been spent pouring water into a sieve.

My husband, Tom, responded, “How many students have come into our home over the years? Of those few hundred, how many have continued to play or sing—one percent? Two at the most?”

The question kicked me in the stomach. I’d already imagined that if I worked for a large company, Quality Control would’ve handed my head to HR (that’s Human Resources, AKA Heads Rolling) on a tin platter. In Willy Wonka’s factory, I’d have gone down the Bad Egg chute.

“Wait! Hear me,” Tom said. “After years of lessons I don’t play piano anymore, even though I’m a musician. But the impact those lessons had on me will continue to affect my life forever. It’s not just about playing piano. The time you spend with that little girl… you just don’t know. That is priceless.”

My husband isn’t named Thomas—“good company”—for nothing. Those encouraging words have fed me for years. He’s given me an example to live up to. My goal this new year and every year is for my words to be good company, just like my husband, Thomas.

QUOTE: Words are the most powerful thing in the universe…Words are containers. They contain faith, or fear, and they produce after their kind. –Charles Capps

BIBLE VERSE: “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is.” (Proverbs 15:23 ESV)!

Gettin’ Schooled on Faith

June 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Hally Franz –

I am now down to one semester left. My baby boy, my eldest child is one semester away from completing elementary school. We have been tormented by a big decision for several months. While he has attended a wonderful Christian school since kindergarten, that school goes no further, and we must now determine where he will go to high school.

My husband and I have spoken with our son about this numerous times, but I think both the males in my life have become exhausted by my examination of the problem. By now, I think they’ve checked out and are leaving it up to me.

There is so much to consider. Do we go public or private? What’s the distance from home, how much will tuition and gas cost, are there extra-curricular options, and which school has the best quality of education? Where do his friends attend? Will he resist peer pressure, and what about a Christian environment?

Recently, a good friend of mine gave me a pocket-sized spiral notebook. We had been talking about the habit of memorizing scripture, and I commented that I needed to make that a priority. So, she had written a few of her favorites in the notebook and given it to me for my own. I began writing verses I liked a few months ago, and I revisited these today in a few minutes of study.

I came across one that I had written from the Book of Joshua. It was just the one that I needed to be reminded of now that I am in the midst of this school decision. Isn’t it funny how God has a way of doing that? He brings us the piece of information we need when we need it, if we take the time to ask. Sometimes, my minister seems to be talking directly to me, because his messages seem so timely. He may not be aware of it, but our God is.

We parents have to invest time and energy into the decisions we make about our children. We must take our jobs seriously. However, we can also be assured that God is working with us. We’re not alone in our parenting efforts, nor are our children ever alone, either. Even if I’m unsure about my son’s high school, I know this to be true, because the Bible tells me so.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, guide my children’s steps wherever they may go each day. Be my partner in parenting, so that these children will grow to be servants of You.

BIBLE VERSE: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9).

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