Today – In One Sentence – #Trust30

#Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your now, and to create direction for your future. 30 prompts from inspiring thought-leaders will guide you on your writing journey.
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Today by Liz Danzico

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

My sentence – for yesterday, published today.

Today was a work day, filled with action and accomplishment, but completely devoid of all meaningful interaction with the people I care about the most.

Sounds like I need to nurture my relationships some!

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15 Minutes to Live #Trust30

I’ve just discovered that I have only fifteen minutes to live.  Frantically I search for my husband, my children.  My thoughts race as I run through the people who I need to call, the apologies never uttered.  My gut wrenches over the mistakes I made – wrongs I can never make right.  I wish that I could be at peace.  My heart sinks.

Twelve minutes.

I wonder how my death will be.  Will it just be lights out?  No time to think of that.  I have found my family now, they’re playing in the back yard.  Everything seems very surreal – like in slow motion, sort of hazy.  Almost dream like.  I reach out for them, and they seem so far away.  I’m so deeply sad, so sad for the hugs I won’t hug, the tears I won’t wipe, the laughter I won’t hear anymore.  The sounds of little feet that will still run the floors of my house, race over the soft grass in the yard… sweet sounds that won’t light on my ears ever again.  I wonder if I’ll be able to see them in heaven.  Will I even be in heaven?  A tear rolls down my cheek and I brush it away quickly – forcing myself to be strong.

Nine minutes.

It’s time to start to say good-bye.  Is nine minutes long enough to say good-bye forever to the people whom I’ve professed to love the most?  My guts twist.  It feels a little like I’m going on a long trip, but this is permanent.  Maybe God will change his mind at the last moment.  I finally reach my daughters.  I grip them tightly, running my hands through their soft hair, feeling their little bodies pressed against mine.  My husband looks at me strangely as I choke back sobs.  My son comes running to me, and says with all his six-year old gusto, “Mama, I LOVE you SO much!” as he wraps his little arms tightly around my neck.

I can’t breathe now.

Tim is quickly approaching as I begin to fall to the ground.  I gaze into the eyes of the man who has loved me through every moment of our life together.  I can  feel him picking me up as my breath becomes ragged.  The children are concerned, their eyes becoming full of worry.  He looks down at me and whispers into my ear the words that have comforted, the words that have loved, the words that have made me smile every day for the past fifteen years.

I wish it was not so painful, as I tell them each how much I love them.  I look into their eyes and gently touch their hands.  I promise to watch over them, even as I wonder if that’s allowed.  My heart aches for my family and at the same time, I feel my spirit start to lift.  It’s as though God above is opening the heavens for me, easing the pain and welcoming me home.  I’m ready, and as I start to drift away from, their tears start to fall.

They had no idea.

Future Leaders

I was dropping my daughter off for an orchestra field trip this morning at one of the junior high schools in our area, and noticed the sign in front of the school.  It said, “Home of the Future Leaders of America”.  I thought that was interesting. 

You see, this particular junior high serves inner city kids.  Most of the kids come from broken homes, are very poor, and their parents are uneducated minorities.  There are more gangs than parks, and sometimes the teachers walk kids home because the streets can be so dangerous.  It’s in an area that has been riddled with violence and drugs and negative influences.  Every day the kids who attend this school are inundated with negative cultural messages that go straight to their hearts.  Statistically, these kids are the least likely to be leaders. 

But someone believes in them. 

Whoever created that sign got it right

Someone recognized that every day, the kids will see that sign, calling for them to rise above the circumstances in their neighborhood and to someday lead this country.  I pray that simple sentence settles into the heart, soul, spirit of every single child who attends that school.  One sentence that says so much. 

These children are the future leaders of America.  Do you get it?

Best Mother’s Day Gift

I have a project I’m working on for Mother’s Day.  Shhhh…. don’t tell!  Ok, that’s kind of impossible, since I’m publishing this on the internet, and zillions of people might possibly see it.  Anyway, Mother’s Day.  See, most mothers have a lot of stuff.  Candles and lotions and jewelry are super nice, but for most of us, they aren’t really nourishing the soul.  So I had an idea, and I’d like to share it with you.  It’s nourishing to a woman’s soul, and encouraging at the same time.

It’s very simple. Write notes.

But before you write random notes and hand them out, you should first make a list.  Take a few moments, and reflect on the women in your life who have impacted you.  There may be many, there may be few; just jot down some names to get you started.

  • Think about the woman who has listened, hugged, helped, or influenced you.
  • Think about the impact that she’s had on your life.
  • Think about the reasons that you appreciate her.
  • Now tell her about it!!

Here’s the thing: if you share this idea with ten people, and they each share it with ten people (and so on), and each person does exactly what I suggest – can you even imagine the number of women who would be encouraged and lifted up?

Jeff Hendersen says it this way: 

“Encouragement is never small when you’re on the receiving end of it.  Never.”

I can almost guarantee you that she will keep your note, probably close by, and reread it often.

Go now, grab some paper.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to come from your heart. 

I would love to hear from you if you try this, and if you have any other great ideas for Mother’s Day please feel free to share!

For a little extra encouragement on encouragement, check out North Point Church’s Sermon on Encouragement. Jeff Henderson did an incredible job!

Stop Praying For My 5 Children

Yep. You read that right. Stop praying for my five children.  I have four children.  That’s right.  FOUR.  As in 4.  One, two, three, four.  Four children who live in a household that’s headed up by a partnership consisting of two people called parents – a mother and a father.  A wife and a husband.  Four kids.  Two adults.  Under one roof.  A family, as defined by Websters.

 fam·i·ly:  the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children

When you’re praying for me, don’t pray that “things go well for Sarah with her her four – nope five (hee hee) – children”.  Don’t pray that.  Praying for my husband as though he is a child has disastrous consequences.  Don’t do this to me, and don’t do it to anyone else.  It’s not funny.  It’s not cute.  Oh, and guys don’t appreciate it.   

Let me explain.

When you pray for a man as if he’s his wife’s child, it’s emasculating and disrespectful.  It implies that he’s impish and childish, and that he needs mothering.  He doesn’t.  He’s a grown man.  He has a mother, and she’s not his wife.  It’s high time that society stop treating men as if they are half-wits, then complaining when they act like it.

It also implies that, in a family unit with six people (four of whom are legitimately children), there’s only one person with enough sense and maturity to lead the family – Mom.  That’s not the case.  There are two adults in that family unit, and the one people want to dump all the responsibility on (Mom) doesn’t want all the responsibility.  She wants to be equally yoked with her husband.  And guess what?  That’s what he wants too.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”  (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:31; Mark 10:7; Matthew 19:5)

Together.  One flesh.  Adults.  I love my husband as my spouse, and would never want it any other way! 

So please, if you’re moved to pray for my husband, pray first that he knows that he is a child of God.  Pray that he is secure and seeking in his faith, and that he is intentional about sharing it with his wife and children.  Pray that he will live each day driven by the Word of God.  Pray that he continues to love his wife and children the way God has instructed him.  Pray that he measures himself against standards that God sets, not society.  Pray that he is bold and courageous and masculine in all the ways that he needs to be.  Pray that he is humble and courteous and respectful, and that he is able to provide for his family, even though providing is HARD WORK.

God did not intend for my husband to be my child.  He intended for him to be my husband. Lets keep it that way!

PS – The four kids still need the prayers!

The Trouble with Parenting

I am exhausted today. We were at two doctors appointments and the kids are all home. You know what that means? No time to recharge the parental batteries.  And bickering. And tears.  And some whining.  And hearing my name – a thousand times.  Hmmm…

I’m tired today. I would like to crawl into my bed and rest some.  It’s dreary outside, and frigid.  Did I mention that the ground is snow-covered?  It is.  So a delightful book, a warm blanket and a steaming cup of coffee sound like the ultimate RX for my fatigue.  But there will be none of that today.  You see, that’s the trouble with parenting. 

The kids aren’t the problem.  The whining and bickering and incessant calling of my name, those aren’t the problems.  The lack of good coffee isn’t even the problem.  It’s the parent part that’s the problem.  Me.  I’m the problem.  You see, God gave me four beautiful kids.  He sent them to me because He trusted that I would care for them, which I do.  I care for them a lot.  I suspect that he also thought that they might teach me a thing or two about selflessness, which they have.  They have also taught me about it’s evil cousin selfishness, which I sometimes must exercise to get a moment alone.  My apologies, I digress.  

The trouble with parenting, my dear friends, is parents. 

When you became a parent, did you have any clue the amount of time, energy, and money that that darling little bundle would take from you?  When I decided to become a Mom, I had no clue.  Not a single idea of the sacrifice that it would require of me.  I did not have even the slightest hint of the perseverence, diligence, and overall maternal fortitude that it would take to raise up a child.  That is probably how I ended up with four.  Because of, and in spite of my cluelessness, I managed to birth four healthy children into this world.  And thus I began to bleed energy, money, and time.  The trouble with parenting in our home?  Me.  Well, and my husband too.  It was us.

When our kids became seemingly out of control and we were frustrated beyond belief, we were forced to take stock of our situation.  We were struggling because we were tired.  We were distracted.  We were moving in 50 different directions, pulled by things that really weren’t all that important.  We were busy busy busy, but not with the things (or people for that matter) who were most important.  We were being consumed by the mundane, the unimportant, and the selfishness within ourselves. 

I realized that parenting takes time.  It takes immeasurable amounts of energy.  It takes diligence, and follow-through.  It takes courage – courage to say “NO”; courage to prioritize; courage to stand up for your family.  It takes presence, both of mind and body.  Parenting takes intention.  It takes rules and boundaries.  It takes a good memory to remember the rules and boundaries!  It is an overwhelming task, no doubt. 

So here I am… distracted by a blog.  But I have one ear on my children.  They think that because I’m on the computer that they’re flying under my radar.  They’re not.  They try, but I’m onto them.  The reminders are continual, and they’ll learn.  But so will I.  So am I.  I’m being courageous, present, and intentional.  I remember the things I asked them to do, and I’m onto them.  I’m onto myself.  The bedroom will get cleaned, the household jobs will get done, and I will follow through.  But there’s one more thing.  It’s more of an undoing and I challenge you to do it too.

I’m going to clear my schedule.  I’m going to be selfless.  I’m going to plan things that give me opportunities to be with my kids and “unplan” things that take me away from them.  I’m going to turn off the TV, the computer (as soon as I publish this), and the iPhone.  Really.  I am going to listen to them and look at them when they speak to me.  It’s not much, but it tells them that they’re important.  And they are! 

The trouble with parenting may have been me.  It may be you.  But the best part of all, is that within the trouble – within me and within you – lies the solution.  Us.  Parents.  We can give to our kids so much more than stuff.  So much more than a clean house.  So much more than distraction.  We can give them ourselves.  Arnold Glasow once said,

“The best thing you can spend on your children is TIME.”

He was absolutely right.