Through the Lord’s Eyes

Fall is upon us which means homework, after school activities, and cooler Texas days. I love the season of fall. It’s absolutely my favorite time of year. The changes that accompany it are often welcomed but include opportunities for growth as well.Through the Lord's Eyes

This fall our family will experience a first. All three of my kiddos will be in school. My oldest in middle school, my 4 year old in a morning session of an autism classroom; and my 3 year old, my baby, begins his journey of half day autism program as well.

Sending your baby off to school is always a tough moment. It doesn’t help knowing that if something were to happen to one of mine, they couldn’t tell someone their name, my name, or where we live. This isn’t a season I planned for though I knew it was coming.

We often know the season is upon us but don’t always prepare in the way we should. Some seasons of our life seem to last forever while others go by so quickly you almost miss them. This season of our life seems to be going on forever. Take for example the season of diapers. Our kiddos will wear diapers well beyond the norm. We often find ourselves hunting down diapers in size 7, all the while knowing that we realistically still have another five years of diapers ahead — most kiddos like ours don’t potty train until 1st or 2nd grade at best.

We also realize that the season for family vacations is still far away. It’s too risky to uproot everyone’s routine and stick our kiddos on airplanes. It is also way out of our budget to hire someone to come along to help or even to stay home with them. So we find ourselves making a timeline for 2017 with places we could travel and possible things we could do as a family, taking into account that our activities will still need to be age appropriate for children who have the cognitive and physical ability of a toddler.

So many people say, “Oh, it goes by so quickly! Enjoy them while they are little.” Most people who know us don’t say that to us any more. I guess they realize our seasons don’t change very quickly. From the outside looking in you might not even see the season changing. Ah, but if you look close and look at our world through the Lord’s eyes, oh what a glorious season you will see.

Trust in the Lord for He knows every detail of your life, and He has planned every season for His glory. When my seasons are long and difficult I remember Proverbs 3:5-6. It brings me peace.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”  

About the Writer:
Tamie is a stay at home wife and mommy of three kids with autism. She is a member of First Baptist Dallas and enjoys spending time hanging out at home with her family. Tamie has a servant’s heart and it passionate about encouraging other woman in their daily walk with the Lord.

Tamie’s personal blog is about her journey rearing three kids with autism and the lessons the Lord is teaching her along the way.

 

Here We Go

We have entered a new season in the Duncan household. My precious eldest daughter is a senior in high school. A senior. How did this happen? It truly does seem like yesterday she was born. Then her first day of Kindergarten. I cried like a baby. Now here we are. She is beginning her last year of high school. I’ll be honest, when the moms of older children would tell me to “enjoy every minute it goes by so quickly,” I secretly thought to myself, “but these days seem so long.” I really didn’t have the experience to understand that indeed they were imparting some parenting wisdom. As it turns out, they were right. It has gone by faster than I could have ever imagined. Now I am faced with questions I think every parent faces when their child is preparing to leave home. Have I given her a solid foundation? Can she stand strong in her faith? Will she ever be able to drive alone? Can she discern “good folk” from those that would mean her harm? Y’all the questions are relentless. What’s a mom to do? Here We Go

Here is what I am resolved to do. I am going to enjoy every single minute of this year. Will it be perfect? Nope. Will it be easy? Don’t think so. Yet here’s some truth. When I choose an attitude of thanksgiving, my emotions always fall in line. When my mind races with the “what if’s,” I can take those thoughts captive. Years ago we decided to cast a family vision, a family motto if you will. We came up with, “a transformed family transforming generations.” Romans 12:1-2 would be our guide, “I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Have I been a perfect mom? Absolutely not, but she has a perfect heavenly Father. Have I taught my girl all she needs to know for the rest of her life? Not a chance, but she has His word which is the greatest blueprint in life. Will I be able to keep her from seasons of pain and heartache? Again no, yet she has His spirit to be her comfort and guide. I see these last precious days as a gift. I get to watch her bloom into the beautiful young woman God has created and called her to be. So I will spend these days enjoying my girl, praying with fervency, and trusting in the Lord to guide our steps.

About the Writer:
Born in Kentucky, growing up in Arkansas, and now living in Texas, has given this southern preacher’s daughter many unique experiences. Whether setting a table for a new friend, preparing a meal for family, or sharing the love of Christ with a wounded soul, Nesli does it with passion and style. Married to her best friend, a mom to three precious girls, and a life long learner of Gods word, Nesli is excited to share her journey.

Embracing the Seasons

It was a lovely fall day as we sailed along State Highway 19, all framed in by trees sporting every hue of orange, red, and gold. I felt like I was living a page out of “Texas Highways” magazine!

AutumnSpringAs we drove along and marveled at the colors, a new thought came to me – the proverbial light-bulb flash. It struck me that God hadn’t just gifted us with autumn beauty. He presented those same trees in every shade of green in the spring. He could have done it all in gray, but that’s not His style. Looking at all of creation, it is evident, He creates with flourish.

I think of God creating Adam and blessing him for no reason except that He is a God that loves to give good gifts to His children. Surely God delighted in every new discovery Adam and Eve made. Then came those people who settled for the Plain of Shinar to build their tower to the Heavens. “Wait, there’s more,” God could have said. “Discover the ocean’s beaches, Victoria Falls, the Alps, and of course — Texas!”

I’m not sure if the Plain of Shinar has our four seasons. Personally, I prefer summer, because in my formative years I lived in a city that averaged 43 inches of snow each winter. Still, I enjoyed sledding, snow balls, and the ice designs that formed on the inside of my cold bedroom window. However, I don’t think Dad enjoyed going to the freezing basement every morning to “start the furnace” or got much of a kick out of shoveling snow. I never knew him to complain, though; he’d just laugh and make the best of it.

There is a reason for all that snow, and it has something to do with filling the aquifers with beneficial fresh water. That’s not what kept Dad smiling though. He knew the snow would only last for a season, and summer would eventually come. On top of that, he was planning on better days ahead — he was moving us all to Texas!

Our lives are divided into seasons, and while some are more enjoyable than others, they all serve a purpose. This is why Paul wrote so positively, “my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). He viewed his life as seasons and embraced each one. “In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content,” he could testify. He could make these claims because “the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.” and ”the Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (Philippians 4:12,17-18 HCSB). Even my dad would say that assurance is better than moving to Texas!

About the Writer:
Ruthe Turner spent the first seasons of her life in North Dakota, where her daddy promised someday she would meet a tall Texan and get to go to a really big Baptist Church. Daddy always kept his promises. Ruthe is thrilled with her current season, serving as Director of Truett Library of First Baptist.

Celebrating God Daily

It’s not usually my habit to buy something new until the old version is unusable. If anything, I err on the side of comical, giddy with delight when the old toothpaste is finally gone and I can try something new. Though I seldom regret an unfortunate choice in something as simple as toothpaste, I have been known to show up, receipt in hand, to return a product I didn’t like.

Some things in life can’t be returned; some choices don’t come with a receipt. Mistakes happen. Wrong choices are made. No one is exempt. Not one of the heroes or heroines of the faith could look back and boast of a spotless, untarnished track record. I find it particularly encouraging that most of the major “mess-ups” recorded in the Bible were created by God’s own people walking in their own strength. If God didn’t use the imperfect, the history of the Church would be…well…dead — or, at the very least, it would not hold a place for us.

As true followers of Christ, children of the living God, we accept the fact that we stepped off the path of righteousness somewhere along the twists and turns of life (Ecclesiastes 7:20). We are not like the unbeliever who considers himself innately good or “good enough” to get by. And though we realize our personal shortcomings, the memory of them goes down in the grave with Christ.

God promises that a broken and contrite spirit He will not despise (Psalm 51). He assures us that He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). This does not, however, mean that we are to shackle ourselves in the guilt of our past sins in an attempt to keep God’s grace close at hand. Even if life can never be as it was, there is no need to forever regret what cannot be undone.CelebratingDaily

To me, living in a new season means that I am willing to accept what I cannot change about the past. Not only does it require relinquishing my natural inclination to try and fix what I cannot repair, it allows me to celebrate again. There is no choice, made by us or by another, that God cannot breathe life into. God beckons us to accept His mercies. Each day He is faithful to pour out His lovingkindness and mercy in a new way (Lamentations 3:22-24). There is no need to hold onto yesterday’s brokenness. If we keep our eyes fixed on Him, and not the past, He will give us new opportunities to celebrate His perfect provision and His ability to satisfy our souls (Psalm 145:15-16). Looking for God’s goodness in our present needs is the best way to let go of the past.

The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.
Psalm 118:24 (NIV)

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Lyndsay has a blog dedicated to sharing and celebrating the work of Christ through her experiences as a missionary, world traveler, knowledge seeker, and recipient of God’s lavish grace. 

A Season of Faithfulness

Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

I volunteer with CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates. It is the most impactful and rewarding community service I have ever been involved in. Through CASA I meet many of the family members of the children in CPS care, including great grandmothers in some cases. My heart breaks as I can clearly see that the hurts and brokenness of these families began many generations ago.

I’ve also been blessed by the opposite.

For our third wedding anniversary (leather for those of you who haven’t memorized traditional anniversary gifts), I had a Bible that Eric’s grandmother gave his grandfather in the 1970’s re-covered. The notes and the underlined verses in that old Bible are precious to me. I am blessed that our grandparents and parents have cultivated faithfulness in us (Psalm 37:3). Their (and our) actions reverberate through the generations.

We are blessed with a daughter, 9 months old and cute as a button. God has clearly told me that His calling for me in this season is to cultivate faithfulness in her. Nothing I do as a parent compares in significance to teaching our children the unchanging truths found in the Bible of Christ’s love.

I recently read a sweet blog that was shared on First Baptist Dallas’ Great Expectations Facebook Group that reminded me how I can share Jesus with my 9 month old. I’m not talking deep theology—this is basic. I read her a baby Bible and when I get to the part about Jesus my face lights up. I get super excited and loud proclaiming, “Baby JESUS! Baby JESUS!” My precious daughter’s eyes widen in amazement.

My most frequent prayer is probably, “Lord, grant my children the gift of salvation.” I want to be very intentional in how I raise children because God requires my obedience in that. However, I also acknowledge constantly that He saves them, not me.

One of my greatest fears is that we would do all the right things, but they would completely miss the love of Christ. It is so easy to model that performance matters more than the heart. I pray that our daughter will see that the Bible and our relationships with Jesus Christ aren’t something mama and daddy do to “check the box,” but are a road map for how we live our lives.

How do you cultivate faithfulness in your family? I’d love for your to share what God has laid on your heart. And if you read this and feel discouraged in your past attempts, please remember it starts with grace. God’s grace covers every way in which we’ve failed. It’s a new season. Seek God, and He will show you His will for how to cultivate faithfulness in your family. Begin anew today.

About the Writer:
Caroline Moore is a wife and mom who loves Jesus. She also has a career in commercial real estate investing. God has given her a heart for encouraging other women. She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class, at First Baptist Dallas.