The Single

I spend a lot of time writing about my family and the blessing they are to me. I try me best to always give credit where credit is due and speak plainly about the difficulties I struggle with as a mom. The seasons and stages of motherhood can be challenging even in the best of circumstances. Even so, I would do it all over again, hurts and all, because it is the one piece of my life that has given me the greatest hope and joy.

Yesterday in our morning church service I was deeply moved by something I observed and I wanted to share my thoughts. It would be an unusual day in church for us as our daughter and oldest son were both traveling, and our youngest son and daughter in law would be the only ones with us. We are blessed to delight in worshiping together on most Sundays with our adult children and their spouses. We do have one son away at college but there have been times when we are eight deep in a row together. This was not that day. In fact my daughter in law was a bit late to service and so I found myself looking behind me to make sure I would not miss her when she arrived.

During that process, I noticed an young man behind me two rows back that I knew (he is the same age as my second son). I greeted him with a smile and a wave upon one of my checks for my daughter in law. Not soon after, she would arrive and the four of us would spend our time together in the presence of God. It is always one of my most cherished times with my family.

However, I could not stop thinking about the young man behind me. There he would stand, all alone. I see him alone a lot. I am aware he has family, a fairly good size family, but he alone comes to church and other activities in church. He has no visible support. He appears to be single in his pursuit of faith. My first thoughts were of complete thankfulness. Surrounded by my family, I felt so blessed. Next I could not stop thinking about the sweet young man behind me. His courage, his discipline, his strength. I wanted, as a mom, to wrap him up and make sure he knew that he is loved and how proud I was of him. I wanted to invite him to sit with us so he would not be alone. My mama heart broke as I believe so much in supporting my children in any way I can.

My take away from all this was simple. It is easy for us to get comfortable in our own family bubble. Extending a hand, supporting someone just because, takes effort. If I see this young man next week I am going to extend the invitation to sit with us. I am most definitely praying for him, and at the very least I plan to thank him for the grand example he is setting. He taught me so much in that intimate subtle moment and gave me pause to consider my own faith and how I walk it out.

Fixin Fence

As a mother, I thank God everyday for the love and health of my children. I am humbled to watch them grow and walk along side and witness God’s hand in molding who they each are to become. I was reminded of this the other day when we got a call to check one of the pastures we have cattle on, as there was a report of a hole in the fence. A calf had ventured out and gotten herself into trouble eating the ditch grass on the wrong side of the fence. After a quick trip to the pasture the problem was remedied but the hole in the fence was not. Of course my “Man of the North” was working the other farm and unavailable. So as is most days the burden falls to my oldest son.  He has become my mainstay in times of need.

Wyatt in PastureHome I went to gather him up along with the fencing supplies and off we were to fix the fence. If you have cattle you understand that fixing fence is a never-ending process. What struck me this day was not the fence fixing but the opportunity to witness the pure joy of one of my children living his dream. My son Wyatt has made it very clear that he is destined to be a cattleman. He lives, sleeps and breathes cattle.

Now on this day while we had no choice to but to deal with this situation, we were truly over committed with other duties the did not involve fixing fence. It was an unplanned event in our schedule and for that reason I was in a hurry. Fence is done let’s move on to our next task. After all, I am the task master, that is my job. Wyatt made it clear to me on this beautiful afternoon that his job is cattle. On our way back to the truck, he made a detour for the cows. “Mom, we are here and I need to walk through the cows. It’s my job to make sure they are all okay. Dad would expect it.”

That was it! Expectation! My husband and I have set expectations of excellence for our children since the day they were born. With the pure purpose being, to establish a clear understanding of what excellence actually looks and feels like, so that when we are not there to encourage them, they will be empowered to encourage themselves and those around them. My experience has been that even when we set the bar high for our children, they far exceed our expectations with their own and in doing so are developing a sense of confidence in what they are truly capable of.

And I got all that just “Fixin Fence”.  Make it a great Monday and God Bless.

The Gift Of Play

My handsome son Wade.
My handsome son Wade.

Several years ago when my second son Wade was about 5 years old he and I had an interesting discussion that I was reminded of the other day. I think it is worth sharing.  He and I were having a chat about God and the gifts that He graciously bestows on each of us as He directs our purpose here on earth.  At the time I was so delighted by the mature insight of my five year old and also brought to tears of laughter by his comments.  He told me that he had a pretty good idea what everyone in our family’s gifting was.  He stated that his sister had artistic gifts, among may others, that his older brother had the gift of athletics and driving tractors. His father had the gift of work and I the gift of cooking.  I asked him what he felt his gifting was and with a deep sigh he looked at me in complete seriousness and said, “Mom, I have the gift of play.”  At the time  I really thought this statement was not only humorous but potentially challenging for me as a mother when it came time to motivate him later.

It has in fact been the opposite.  Little did I know that two years after this conversation, my husband an I would be blessed with another child, a boy, seven years younger than my Wade.  Wynn is constantly after his older siblings to “play” with him as he is now six and they are 15, 14 and 13.  Wade has assumed the role of his primary playmate over the years and I know that without Wade, my life as a mother would be much more challenging. Wade is using his gift each and everyday to love on his baby brother and he desires nothing more than to care for him in every way.

Additionally, Wade’s “gift of play” has influenced us all as he reminds us of the necessity to stop running and just for a moment, spend some time playing and pretending and dreaming. His gifting is so much more than superficial time with toys.  His gifting is the essence of what makes him pure and real and an absolute joy to be around.  I have learned through this experience how important all the gifts our children are given make them into the people God would have them become.  Most of all I have learned that we are never too old to take a minute out of the busyness of life to play.

Sunday Afternoons

Sunday AfternoonsWhen I moved to Minnesota nearly 19 years ago, I anticipated that there would be an element of culture shock.  I expected to learn things from my new state of residence and that adjustments to things like winter would take some time. What I did not expect was to be so encouraged by a traditional lifestyle form that would change my view on many things and give me a great sense of belonging for certain aspects of my new life.

One of those things is Sunday afternoons, and as I was preparing for our weekly gathering yesterday I was reminded  of how much I truly love dinner on Sunday. Now you are probably thinking, what are you talking about.  You see, I grew up in California in a loving healthy family, but even with that, we did not have a traditional dinner on Sunday after church.  Soon after accepting Christ as my savior, marrying the man of my dreams and moving to the frozen tundra, I became exposed to “Dinner on Sunday”.

It generally involves family and friends, mountains of  food, laughter, love and long conversations about life.  It truly feeds my soul and allows me to serve others in the process.  And I realized yesterday that it is one of the things about midwestern culture that has become a deep part of who I am today.  I am so thankful that our house has become a place that people gather in for this tradition.  Moreover, the fact that my parents are now Minnesotans allows me to envelope them in this cultural tradition and share the richness of what it means to be surrounded by people you love.

I want to encourage you to find time for Sunday afternoons in your life.  Don’t worry about the house projects, the bills, the laundry,(it will all be there on Sunday night).  Instead commit to take a brief pause one afternoon a week and soak up the love of those you care about the most, oh and eat too!!


Clocks-300x225Ever wish you had more time??? I mean unlimited time and freedom, no restrictions, no appointments, no anxiety about how and when you will have enough time to get everything done you need to do.  I bet everyone of you would say YES!!! Everyday I wish I had more time.    I believe it to be an obsession we have, all of us, with time.  An addiction really.

We want more and more and more.  If I just had five more minutes, or if I could figure out a way to get out of this so I can go do that.  Or, I am sorry but I am out of time and I have to be very careful that I don’t get over committed.  Sounds grossly unhealthy doesn’t it.  And yet , most of us operate in this mode of functionality, completely at the mercy of our time schedule.

Okay I am sure you are wondering, where am I going with this.  Well, for the first time in a long while my whole family, including my “Man Of The North” are home this glorious Saturday with no commitments or appointments and I have been witnessing the sheer turmoil created by all this available time and the struggle with how to fill it up.  Everyone of us is in a quagmire of how to use this precious gift of  “time” on a Saturday, panicked that it will sneak away and we will have nothing to show for it.  It is quite humorous actually, not to mention really sad.  My fourteen year old daughter is so distraught over how to use her time today that she is paralyzed in her own space continuum.

After suffering through the agony of watching her I finally sent her outside with a directive to share with her brothers.  Go out and begin by breathing in the fresh air, and then do something that makes you happy.  Not something you need to do but something you want to do.  Don’t come back in until you can breathe freely and have found the true joy that is missing from your heart.

Here’s the thing.  I know that all of my children will accomplish great things that need to be done in the yard and around the farm while they are outside finding their lost joy.  What I hope they lose, is track of  time.  All of us need to remember a couple of things.  First God is in charge of all the time in the world.  And he is our constant source of joy, peace and love.  All of which exist in every minute of every day. His timing in our moments is all that really matters and his timing is perfect.  Enjoying our moments, regardless of how they fit together in our monstrous, out of control schedules is completely available to us through Him.  He is our constant, He is the breath of life, in Him, is our ability to manage our time and in Him, is our peace regardless of the “time of life “we are in.

So today, try something “out of the box” and breathe deep, laugh loud and even lose track of time.  He will make your paths straight.  Honor God, give time back to the master clock maker.

Sewing Treasures In Heaven

39_Montana (1)I realize I was indulgent last night in posting my daughters original oratory.  I believe so much in the philosophy of fostering the gifts of your children.  It is so important to empower them to recognize the gifts they have been given by the Almighty and assist them in becoming all that He would have them be through the use of their gift.

My daughter loves speech.  She can hear the Lord speak to her and put it down on paper in such a way that allows her to communicate His words and inspire those around her. For that I am truly thankful.  I just randomly decided to post her speech for all to see last night  without knowing that tonight would be the high school speech team banquet.

Montana did suffer major rejection during competition due to the subject matter she chose to deliver. Passionate and heartfelt, her speech was well received by fellow teammates, competitors and coaches.  Everyone but the judges.  It was agonizing to watch at times as she would hope for worldly reward only to be criticized for choosing to talk about God.  I spent many evenings reminding her that she is sewing treasures in heaven.  Witnessing the love of Christ to all.

At the conclusion of the season she has come full circle and was awarded by her teammates tonight the “Mother Theresa” award.  Her team captain proclaimed to all that she is the nicest person he has ever met, with courage and conviction.  I have learned so much through this parenting process.  Her gift is real and pure and from above and her influence is significant and I am humbled and blessed to be her mother.

Dreams are Forever…………..

I have just finished doing some overdue typing for my daughter.  She has been competing in high school speech for the past few months with a highly controversial piece on God and dreams and now our church is potentially interested in having her speak to the congregation.  Lately I have been struggling a bit with my own dreams and desperate need to make progress on them.  As a sat here this afternoon typing this speech up to send to my daughters youth pastor, I actually began to read her anointed words and allowed them to sink into my soul and I found myself abruptly reminded of all the basic principles necessary to reach for my dreams.  I thought they might inspire others as well.  And so here they are………


Who Are You?

By Montana Lawrence

When you take a look at your life what do you see? Who have you been, who are you going to be? Maybe you are exactly who you always dreamed you would be or maybe life is not going the way you had always hoped. Well, I pray that the words I have for you today can show you that no matter who you are, no matter what you are going through, God loves you and He has a plan for your life. When we begin to seek God’s plan for our lives we must first examine our walk with God. Then we will take a look at the importance of trusting and believing in God and finally we will learn how important our dreams are in our lives.

In seeking God’s plan you must examine your walk with Him. Psalms 23:3 says, “He guides me along the right path for His namesake.” Now this poses a question. What is my path? God’s perfect plan is something that He reveals to us gradually throughout our lives. He guides us through life step by step showing us who He wants us to be and what He wants us to do. Everyday God gives us opportunities to follow His plan but He leaves it up to us to make the choices and decisions.

Second, we must understand the importance of trusting and believing in God. God’s plan is perfect and He does love and take care of us, but that does not mean following His plan will be easy or nothing bad will ever happen to you. We live in a fallen world. Sometimes bad things happen and sometimes it’s hard, but no matter what you are going through, God will always be with you, for Psalms 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” You see God will never leave you no matter what the circumstances. We have to be strong and choose to listen to God instead of all the other voices that tell us it’s too hard and that we can’t do it because let’s face it, there are going to be people in your life that are going to reject you because of your faith in God. But the truth is, God’s opinion of you is so much more important. Sometimes in life, we see ourselves as being caught in something that’s too big for us to handle. When we are in these situations one of the most powerful things we can do is pray. Some of us may think that prayer is simply asking God for things we need, but prayer is actually talking with God. Philippians Chapter 4 verses 6-8 says, “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

We have to trust God because He sees the whole picture when we only see small fragments of it. When we think there is no way out, God makes a way. If we constantly tell ourselves I can’t do it, it’s too hard, then it will be. We have to be more like the little engine that could. As she began that ascend that mountain, she said, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” All the way up the mountain she kept on saying that she could do it and she believed she could. Instead of running away from her challenges, she

faced them with all her might. We have to be willing to face our fears and challenges because God has a way of using them to make us stronger.

Finally, you must both identify and believe in your dreams. On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington DC before thousands of Americans and he declared to all of them that he had a dream. He did not get up and say, “Well guys, segregation is horrible and you know people are being killed, neglected and hurt. Wow, things are really awful for us, maybe we should just give up.” No, he got up on that podium and he said, “ I have a dream.” he knew what he was fighting for and he understood that he had a purpose in life and that now matter who he was and no matter where he came from, God wanted to use him to do great things. A lot of times we as people have difficulty determining what we are working towards and ultimately what we are living for. We spend too much time worrying about our circumstances and not enough time focussing on the things God wants to do through us. That is why dreams are so important in our lives. Our dreams are what set the foundation for some of the major accomplishments we will have. Everyone needs dreams because it’s extremely difficult to determine who you are and who you are going to be without them. God lays certain dreams on everyone’s heart and we have to believe we can accomplish the dream He puts in us. He wouldn’t have given them to us if we could’t accomplish them. However, just wanting your dreams is not enough. You have to work for it and like I said, “It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.” You have to believe in yourself because if you don’t that will set you up to fail. Your mind is a powerful thing. The thoughts you form eventually become a reality. As my dad often puts it, “The body achieves what the mind believes.” Most of all, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it because it’s not true. Philippians chapter 4 verse 13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I believe that if you work for your dreams everyday and trust God to guide you, that you will accomplish them. I also believe that anything is possible with God.

In this life, there are very few things worth living for. It’s not enough to live for money or fame or even for ourselves, because you will find that living for our own selfish desires will never give us the ultimate fulfillment that we long for. The only thing that fills that gap, that emptiness in our hearts is Jesus Christ. John 3:16 says, “For God so live the world that He gave His only son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” God loves you so much that He was willing to give his own son to die for you. His love is so great it is more than your or I can comprehend. Maybe you think that you can’t find God,that it is too late, but I am here to tell you that every day God gives us opportunities to follow His plan, to love and be loved by Him. We examined our walk with God and then we took a look at the importance of trusting and believing in God and finally we learned how important our dreams are in our lives.

The truth is that God will never stop loving you and when you do choose to receive Him and choose to follow His perfect plan, you will feel His fulfillment in your heart and it will change your life forever.

The Day Of Rest…..

When God created the earth He did it in 6 days and then……..He rested.  Interestingly enough, even God knew the need for balance.  He created the whole world and then took time to rest.  I have spent much of this day preparing for the upcoming week as I was unable to attend church this morning.  Sick, fever ridden child.  Upon finishing supper and clean up and laundry folding, I was struck with the sudden realization that my quest for balance must begin with the most important day of the week.  My day  of rest.  And so it is that I am sitting quietly, sharing with you, enjoying my family, the warmth of the fire and the peace that only resting in the Lord can bring.  For when resting in Him true wisdom is found. Happy Sunday

Fun At Fine Arts

Well, Montana was on her game this weekend and did her very best with her speech.  Competition was stiff but she still received a superior certificate.  So proud of her.  However, she and I both feel the most important thing is for this message to get out.  So I am reposting today just in case you did not get a chance to see “The Word”. Montana is available to deliver this message anywhere God calls her to go.  Have a blessed day!!!