Monday, December 31, 2012

Laundry and Gummy Bears

Wake up...rub eyes...brush teeth...bathroom time...run like mad...dress children...sort laundry...wash laundry...eat...drink coffee..move laundry...eat...sit down...drive...run like mad...eat...fold laundry...eat...laundry, laundry...eat gummy bears... laundry!...wake up....

Have you noticed how life can be a bit unrelenting? It knocks you when your down and doesn't stop! It is sometimes a bad record on repeat! 

Now, all of the mundanities of life are not bad. The routines bring special delights and comforts, like the morning greeting of a four year old or the cuddles and smiles of a new baby. But the truth is...no matter how much laundry you finish, there will always, always be more laundry waiting for you. It will never end.

My mom always...always did laundry. I think the only time her washer or dryer was not running was in the middle of the night, when she went to bed at 1am! (She was a night owl to the core!) That is one thing I missed when I moved out of her house was the smell she managed to perfect in her laundry. Some beautiful mix of Tide and Downey...just perfect! I can never manage to get that smell and may never smell it again...

We can rush through the laundry list of life or enjoy the quiet moments: the hidden sock or the refreshingly familiar smell of fabric softener, or the remarkable gummy bears that managed to stick permanently to the insides of my daughter's jean pockets (yep...should have checked that!). 

Tonight is New Year's Eve. A moment for welcoming new beginnings and making changes. Also, a night for making resolutions that we will probably fail. However, I guarantee that if the Lord prevails, we will be doing a lot of laundry in the new year!

Don't just let the dirty clothes pile up. Keep going, keep walking, keep running. I want my life to bring glory and pleasure to my Jesus! Even when I am doing mundane activities.

Here's the challenge in the New Year: Glorify God in the small things and be faithful...even to do the laundry!

"One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much" ~ Luke 16:10


Love Love, 
JessAshleigh




A Gaping Hole



As the holidays round the corner to a brand New Year, I peer into the distance with an odd mix of emotions. Anticipation for what God will bring, fear of losing others in my life, and loneliness from the missing mama in my life.

Christmas came and went. My dad made a decision to do Christmas in honor of mom. She loved giving gifts! She used to spend months finding the perfect gifts for everyone in her family. She would scour the internet, hit all the shops and peruse the aisles. Her favorite thing, my dad reminded all of us, was to set out all the gifts under the Christmas tree with one of her kids receiving remarkably less than the others. This son, or daughter;-)...would open presents, watch others open presents and sit slightly sullen in the corner. Little did we know that from the garage or bedroom or backyard would emerge a beautiful, bright, large or small gift! One year, when I was 11, it was a spectacular drum set for me (so I could play like Larry Mullen from U2!)

So this year, we exchanged gifts and my brother David received the secret present, a fantastic golf driver! It was an enjoyable time and Emma was especially hyper until 10:30pm playing with her new RC cars from Papa.

In the middle of the gift exchange, there would be moments we talked about mom and felt a little joy with a twinge of sadness. Christmas was so her "thing." I drove away feeling as if there was a huge gaping hole in the fabric of our lives, this hole that we all wanted to sew together, but it was just...gone.

Gone...it's hard to deal with loss. That emptiness will never be filled again. Yes, I know my mama is dancing and singing with Jesus right now and that I will see her again around the corner! But...for now, she is gone. No more phone calls, text messages, Bible studies, late night advice, silly words, surprising emails, encouraging gifts, divinely inspired blog entries... just gone.

I remember so many beautiful times with my mom, I just don't want to forget. I don't want to lose those memories. So I write them down or I look through pictures. How do you deal with loss of a loved one? What helps and what does not?

I am so thankful for the people who see me and give me a hug, or just smile and say, "I love you."

In the gaping hole of loss, it really helps to reflect on the power, might, and love of God. I take comfort in the fact that His Hands are holding us. Those nail scarred hands which made the deepest demonstration of love, are holding our lives together.

Yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me ~ Isaiah 49: 15b-16

Jesus, has inscribed you and me on the palms of His hands. The nail scarred hands (or wrists possible) serve as a reminder of the cost. Jesus laid down His life to give us eternal life, without which I would be utterly in despair. When I think of my mom, I have a peace and assurance that she is in heaven.

Colossians is a great book! It is all about the supremacy of Christ and how everything, literally everything, is held together by Him, the Creator God. In light of this knowledge, our only response is to gape in awe of His Presence! If we are living in His presence, then the natural effect will be that of holiness.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.~ Colossians 3:1-4

Seek those things above. What a challenge!? Am I daily seeking Christ? In all that I do, am I bringing glory to Him? Hmmmm... it's a tough one. I want to say yes, but sometimes I am so caught up in examining others or trying to frantically run from one thing to the next that I miss sight of God! Amazingly, He will use me for His plan, but I don't want to be so nearsighted that I miss it!

So, as I stare into the New Year and a seemingly gaping hole, I am challenged to seek eternity. To step out in faith. To go to uncomfortable places and meet the needs of the people around me.

And at the core of all my life, I am comforted by the realization that His Hands are holding me. He will carry me through the difficult days and moments, He is big enough.

Do you have a story of how God is holding you right now? Share it!

The song of the day: "Your Hands" by JJ Heller. It was in my mom's recently added playlist titled "Worship." 

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That you would take my pain away
You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crooked lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
Lisa, sitting pensive and pretty (I think I look a bit like her here:-)
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands

When you walked upon the earth
You healed the broken, lost and hurt
I know you hate to see me cry
One day you will set all things right
Yeah, one day you will set all things right

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands

Your hands that shaped the world
Are holding me
They hold me still
Your hands that shaped the world
Are holding me
They hold me still


See you around the corner!
Jess

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Looking Up

"Merry Christmas! Jesus Loves You!" In a merry time that is shrouded with grief, those words bouncing happily off the lips of my 4 year old Emma are truly beautiful. As she misses her beloved Nana, she genuinely rejoices in the faith and hope that Nana is celebrating in heaven. Her joy is contagious.

As we visited a nursing home yesterday, Emma, full of sweetness and delight, placed candy canes on the laps and in the shaky hands of surprised residents. Some, would not remember her, others lit up the moment she entered with her bouncy, golden curls and saw them, not as old or sick, but as a person worthy of love and joy. I have never seen anyone so happy to give and bless others. She truly has a gift and I pray that gift remains.

While walking through one corridor, we noticed that there was a church service going on. We did not want to disturb those attending, but the nurse assured us we could quietly give them to those sitting outside the chapel door. One man remembered Emma from a previous visit, "Hi, Emma!" He smiled and she smiled back.

Just as Emma gives her third or fourth candy cane, the minister, reading from a script in a folder, begins to say, "Teach the children about the candy cane. Teach the children that the candy cane symbolizes the shepherd's staff. Teach the children that the candy cane symbolizes the stripes of Jesus blood shed for them and the white symbolizes the purity that comes only through His forgiveness."

It was almost as if it was scripted and Emma was cast to come in on cue! Really, God!? That's pretty cool. Here is a child passing out candy canes while the minister is reading and exhorting to teach the children about the candy canes. Beautiful and unexpected. I am so thankful He lets me see His presence in our lives.

I pray that God truly touches the people we met, Linda, Josephine, Marlene, Joseph, Emma, Kay, Carlos, Oscar, the man who loves chocolate and the woman with the earrings and so many others whose name is escaping me, but God knows their name.

In a time where I struggle to remember that God is good ALL the time, I glance at Emma and Evan. Their sweet faces bring me back to that place of faith. The faith that my own mother taught me and clung to until the day she died.

I read a card a friend of mine wrote to my mother about a year ago, thanking her for a gift card and a wallet with a picture of an anchor on it. The anchor truly spoke to my friend and reminded her to keep anchored in the hope that Jesus brings through truly difficult times, and my friend has truly experienced difficult times. I pray she still glances at that anchor wallet and is reminded of the anchor of hope.


"we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." ~ Hebrews 6:18b-20

He is our Hope. My mom, Jake LaJoy, DeDe, Moses, Abraham, Rahab, Ruth, Mary, Joseph, Isaac, King David, and so many others have entered the Presence behind the veil.

Do you trust Him? My prayer has been that those around me grieving, my daddy especially, would be see His Presence in their lives, at unexpected moments and when crying out to Him.

I love you all so much. Seek His face today and I know He will be seen.

Click on the link for a beautiful song, "All I Need Is You, Lord"
When You said, 'Seek My face,'
My heart said to You, 'Your face, Lord, I will seek.'" ~ Psalm 27:8

Saturday, December 8, 2012

As YOU Wish...A Look at True Love


Princess Bride. Easily one of my favorite movies of all times, embodies the idea of true, sacrificial love... with a comic twist! The titular princess Buttercup falls in love with her servant Wesley only to hear of his death on the high seas. Years later, she is announced as the evil Prince Humperdink's new fiancé. Her nightmares, involving a hideous peasant woman with nose moles, scream at her for being engaged to a man she does not love.
What is the difference between the servant Wesley and Prince Humperdink? Besides the obvious social status, to Buttercup, the difference is love. Love that is willing to say, "As you wish" and serve another. I find that in ministry, as well as in family, true love is the key.

As I stare at my family, my kiddos and the man who so faithfully walks in integrity and love towards God and our family, I am convicted by love.

Jesus loves me. The classic childhood song resonates in my soul. And His love is true and sacrificial. He says to the Father, "As You Wish" and shows us an example.

In my life, am I fully surrendered in love to the Father? Do I greet each day saying to the Lord, "As You Wish." Not, "As I Wish." Truthfully...no.

Walking with Jesus is not about being perfect, it is about love. Only in glorifying God do we find true satisfaction. I know this all to well, but rarely admit it to myself. I think everyone knows this in their heart.

"God--His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is pure. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord?" Psalm 18:30-31

Who is God besides the Lord? I will trust in Him.

Evan "Little Man"
Sometimes, I am not the most loving mother. I know...shocking! :-) Sometimes, I am not the most loving wife... But God is Love. When my daughter does something that is so obviously not loving (like smushing her baby brother's face with a baby wipe...) I remind her what love is. "How do you like to be treated?" Then we pray for God's help, to show us how to love.

If we love, we do no wrong! Pretty awesome! This is what Romans 13:8-10 says, "the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

Ok, all right. So what?

Today, I greet the morning by turning to My Heavenly Father and saying, "As You Wish." It is my expression of love. I trust Him. He is faithful. Jesus endured the cross for my salvation. I can endure this life for Him. But I want my life to be marked by love. True Love:-)

My pretty mama and baby Evan:-)
PS. Thank you all for your prayers and support through a difficult time. More than you know, you have shown me love, true love and I will cherish that for the rest of my days!



(Blessings- Enjoy this version from Shane and Shane)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Just Dance!

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. 
~T. S. Eliot 
Now, I'm no fantastic dancer. I know fantastic dancers and their movements mesmerize me as they glide and express the emotions found in music in a beautiful fluid motion. 

I do like to dance though! My mother choreographed my wedding dance with Hubs to U2 music. It was pretty spectacular! And fun. As a young mama, sometimes, I just gotta dance. I forgot that so much of having a baby is rocking and singing and shhhhing and consoling and laughing and dancing! 


Emma, my lil' girl, she can dance. She does this amazing ice skater dance and throws her hands in the air, twirls and laughs. There is nothing more beautiful. 

I can get so caught up in chores, laundry, food prep, helping my three year old, that I forget to stop and dance! Have I forgotten the motion of our lives that hearkens heavenward?

On the good days and the bad days, a little dancing never hurts. Maybe it hurts to watch someone else dance... Dancing can be an expression of joy, joy in Our Creator!

I love the account of David dancing. The ark of the covenant is brought back to the city of David and everyone is celebrating. David, the new king, is not only celebrating, he is dancing like crazy! Yes, truly! The Bible says that David danced with all His might! 

"And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn." 2 Samuel 6:14-15

David got it. Yes, David made some major mistakes, but he got it! He understood the joy of Lord was his strength and he delighted in the presence of God! He just danced before the very presence of God returning. 

Jesus calls us to delight ourselves in Him. Sometimes, I get so caught up in myself and my own bid-ness (business;-) that I don't realize it is not about me. I know, I'm selfish! I can so often approach God's word trying to apply and squish the precious truths into my own struggles. Yes, God does speak into my very life and circumstances through His Word. BUT- my life is not my own! When I approach God's Word, I want to dance and delight in Him! 

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~ Psalm 37:3-4


So maybe it's time to kick off those shoes, put on some music and dance! Or if dancing is not your style, I get it, so no pressure! But do delight yourself in Your Creator God! He is amazing. 

Happy Dancing ~
Jessica Ashleigh

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ahh the sweet days!

Big sister and Daddy holding Evan! 

Oh the sweet joyful days of motherhood. Waking up at 3:30 every morning to the delightful sleepy eyes of my beautiful brown eyed daughter or the uncomfortable hunger pains of my new baby boy. I am not even being sarcastic! Ok, maybe just a little...

I have a new addition to my life! I am so happy to have a little boy whose sweet face sleeps already for good stretches in the night. 5 hours last night! Then another 4! Yay, yay! I have to admit the first two nights, I had moments almost at tears. He would scream, I would pray, plead, beg. I was falling asleep, singing every song imaginable and my dear husband took the baby so I could get a few hours of sleep. Then, the babe finally slept.

I've noticed something about life, and motherhood. We take everything for granted and we even make too big of a deal out of things that really do not matter! Yes, it happens to everyone. For instance, when I get a horrible stomach flu, I realize that always take my health for granted. It is only when I feel bad that I usually yearn for the days of feeling normal or even just having a headache or feeling a little tired. Or when I am sick, all of a sudden fashion, diet, exercise, has no meaning! I just want to survive through this horrible sickness.

Now, as a mother, I cherish...I delight in 5 hours of sleep! Even with my preschooler! A straight blissful 5 hours. Delightful:-)

Papa dancing with little Evan
I know this is not true for everyone. Having a newborn has just reminded me of the small things that I take for granted. I want to cherish his sweet little grunts and let some of the other stuff go! I have also enjoyed getting up with my daughter while the babe is sleeping and just spending time with her, talking to her and praying with her.

Yes, the JOY of the Lord can be our strength. "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." ~ Colossians 3:23-24

Mamas and Papas- we are given little buddies and little princesses to care for as unto the Lord! The burping and spit up, as unto the Lord!

I know there are others out there that are past the age of little kiddos. I pray that you find a chance to live heartily as unto the Lord!

That is on my mind today. Be so encouraged and blessed as you sit in the presence of beautiful Jesus and you see His delight in the children He has given you to cherish.

The SON is Shining-

Jess Ashleigh

Friday, October 12, 2012

God's Gifts: The Sacrifices of Mama-hood!


On a grueling walk with a giant stroller through the rough terrain where the pavement ended around my neighborhood park, I envisioned myself a pioneer woman fording rivers, hunting wildlife and foraging for berries to feed my young family. If they could do it, so could I! I stared at the tiny, beautiful face of my young daughter looking up at me. Yes, I would sacrifice anything for her, anything at all. I wiped the sweat from my brow and continued seeing the paved path just a few yards away.

Ok, so I am being a little sarcastic and over-dramatic. The path I took around the park was nothing like the terrain traversed by the amazing pioneers who headed West to start a new life for their family. My deluxe stroller with rubberized is not nearly as heavy as their covered wagon with metal or wooden wheels. But I was sweating! The more I thought about the pioneer woman and all they sacrificed for their families, the more respect I had for many of our Western founding woman! Many died protecting and providing for their families, with the hope of new life, new prospects, and adventure out West. 

I too have hope, after traversing the rough and difficult terrain of this temporal life, of reaching new life forever in an eternal city. 

However, like the pioneer woman, I am still stuck walking through difficult rocky paths, over mountains and through valleys and my biggest concern is not for my safety and survival, but for the safety of my family. 

Something happened to me when I held my daughter in my arms for the first time. Not about me.

Yes, I had been married for some time and had experienced the sacrifice of self. No longer did I get to make my own schedule without consulting another person. My decisions effected another and I could not always act in my own best interest, but in the best interest of our new family. I am so thankful for the man God placed to join me in this journey. He is a true servant and his gentle answers have so oft turned away my wrath. (Yep! I know it is hard to believe, but I can sometimes have a temper...:-)

Then, when I held my daughter, my heart leapt into my chest, I would stare for hours at her little, perfect face and think, "Thank you, God. Thank you for giving me her to take care of for just a few short years." I know in my heart that she is not all mine. She is the Lord's. He gave her to me, and I want to show her and lead her always to His amazing love. 

Wow! As a mother, I no longer cared as much about my hair and makeup. Even going to the bathroom was difficult as I would hear her little cries. Ha! 

The birth of my daughter
Now, I wake up to her fuzzy hair in my face in the morning, sleep no longer greets my eyes as it did when I had no children. Miraculously, I want to wake up with her. I want to talk with her about her silly dreams and hear her imagination run wild...(Did you know my 3 year old daughter has 18 daughters and a baby in her belly too!? Yesterday, as we pulled out of the driveway, she pointed to the trees and told me, "My daughters are climbing the trees." Oh really! That's great! How can you not smile at that?)

As parents we learn to lose ourselves. We find challenges and new delight in a child's face. Yes, we still need to take care of ourselves and find time to be with dear friends. However, when I sacrifice time and sleep for my daughter, I know I will never regret it, never!

So, pioneer mamas and papas! Forge on! Traverse the difficult terrain and sacrifice time to be with your kiddos. Enjoy their nuances and know that they really belong to the Lord. He gave them to you for what really is a short time. The sacrifices are small and the eternal city is waiting for us!

Our children are a gift. Consider the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel:  "the Lord remembered her. So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel,[e] saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever.”

I am really blessed to have amazing Godly parents. Although no one is perfect, they are pretty close to perfect as parents go! I was and always am pointed to Jesus. They showered His love on me, established me as God's child and I am securely in His hands. I want to be that for my children and those around me. Don't you? 

I leave you with the hymn "It is Well With My Soul" by Horatio Spafford. Surprisingly, this song is birthed from the pain and sorrow, written after the tragic death of his young 4 year old son to the Chicago fire, and the drowning of all four of his daughters in a ship collision. In the wake of such a loss, he declares, "It is Well With My Soul." No matter the terrain we traverse, may we gaze into the eyes of our Savior and declare, 


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul....

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Will Trust in You, Right NOW!

I woke up this morning, groggy, but not wanting to stay in bed any longer. As I stumbled downstairs in the light of the sun just rising through my slated blinds, I flipped open my iPad Bible to this encouraging verse:

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might, He increases strength." Isaiah 40:28-29 ESV

Oooo RAH! (That is my Marine chant of formidable strength!) Ahh, these words just fell over my heart like a cool glass of water with a lot of ice. Weary, going through a fainting spell. He is there to give power and increase strength. It's a promise, and a good one!

Later in the morning, driving my young daughter to school, we were listening to some Vacation Bible School songs that she loves singing! Boy, howdy is she a cutie when she sings them! Her little 3 year old arms flailing and her face shining in delight. Yep, that is a blessing.

One of the songs almost brought tears to my eyes! A little kid song...I'm thinking to myself...really? Really? Crying to this boy band sounding song? Yes, I nearly was.

The lyrics of the song describe a "confused" someone who is feeling "sad, and afraid, and kind of angry too." In the chorus, we are reminded to "Think, think, think, think about the goodness of You, my God. Because I know, know, know, no matter how I feel I've gotta trust in You. I will trust in You, right now! No matter how I feel, right now!"

If you want to take 2:47 to listen to this song the link is below:-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33cq4RR_lUc

Think, think, think- think about the goodness of You, my God
If you, like me, are dealing with some uncertain circumstances and feeling confused, sad, alone, and kind of angry, may you truly think of the goodness of our God. No matter how we feel, we've gotta trust in Him.

This also reminds me of the Jeremy Camp song, "I will walk by faith" (Here's the link to the song- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEkh_KxKao0 )

Jeremy Camp wrote this song after losing his first wife to cancer after only a few short months of marriage. He reminds himself of the faithfulness of God despite present circumstances, that God's grace is present even in the midst of the storm and we have to make the decision to trust in God, to walk by faith even when we do not understand.

I do not understand. There are so many things I do not understand. Yet, I choose that Today, so long as it is called Today,

I WILL WALK BY FAITH- I will trust in You, right now.

Help me, Jesus.

In His Arms and On His Wings,
Jessica Ashleigh

Friday, October 5, 2012

I Don't Want to Miss It


Last night, at the end of a delightful day motherhood, this scene greets me suddenly and unexpectedly. Emma, full of joy and laughter and silliness all day, stubbed her little toe climbing into bed. The. world. ended. 

After a few minutes of consoling and praying with her, reassuring her that everything would be fine, she was calm, I turned off the light, closed the door and heard her yell, "Good night mama! I love you!" 

"Good night, Emma! I love you forever and always!"

As a mother, I have learned the joy and delight of laying my own needs second to another person. I have felt the frustration of not understanding what is happening or how to help lead her in the right way. Screaming, giggling, crying, laughing. Every season of her life has taught me new lessons about myself, sacrifice, love, and how to enjoy every moment, rather than rush through a day. 

One day, my little girl will not yell to me from her bedroom, "Good night mama! I love you!" She will not run down the hallway of her school to see me. She will not climb the play structure and pretend that she is my mommy and I am her "sweetie." One day, she will be grown, she will leave my home, and she will continue to show me Christ's love in new ways. 

Not to be too sentimental, but tears fill my eyes as I write this. I think of my mother. The time she spent pouring into me and loving me, nurturing my gifts and showing me how to get through difficult times. Now, I am grown, but she is still my mommy. I love her forever and always.

I love the story of Mary and Martha. I, like many women, sympathize with Martha, always feeling the pressure to work and do laundry, clean and be productive. But Mary, oh I want to be like Mary! I do not want to be caught up and miss the beauty of relationships. I want to enjoy the creation that is people and the fact that God has given me a family, children to get to know and encourage and lead to Him. I do not want to miss the beauty in simply sitting and listening to Christ, in simply reading His Word and finding comfort in Him. 

As I muse about the different seasons or phases of life, this story of Mary particularly strikes me. Jesus' death is fast approaching and Mary takes an alabaster flask of expensive oil, breaks it, and pours it on his head. The disciples think this is a waste; Jesus responds differently:

"10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” ~ Matthew 26:1-13

Jesus does not look at things as we do. He does not see our value in how productive or perfect we are with our time. He sees us. 

Mary had heard the words of Jesus, that He was approaching death and she acted out of love. She anointed him with her most precious oil rather than selling it and giving it to the poor. This would not have always been the right action, but at that moment, Mary, who knew Jesus and had truly listened to Him, gives him the most generous gift she can. 

Life is not measured in money. Our value is not hinging on perfection of house cleaning or cooking or structure. These things are always good to invest in, but they do not define us and our worth. Jesus created us for good works, sometimes this just means loving Him, loving people, really listening, and really giving. 
Emma watching the rain

As a mama, do I sacrifice my time truly to sit with my daughter? Do I listen and soak in all the phases of motherhood? Truly, these phases are fleeting. I want my daughter to have confidence in her identity, excel, and not to always strive for unattainable perfection. 

I don't want to miss it.

I now find myself facing two new phases of life. I don't want to miss what God has for me now. My son, my second child's birth is fast approaching. This will inevitably bring changes in my life. Usually, I am not fond of changes and transitions. But, as my husband put so wisely on our last date night, "It is good to realize that life is full of phases and God will take us through each one." Yes, life is full of phases, as one chapter ends, another begins. Each chapter holds its own difficulties, its own mystery and its own delight. 

The second phase is the difficulty of seeing my mother go through cancer treatment. She was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last year and has fought this disease with every weapon. She started a gene therapy which was very successful for some time. However, as this gene therapy is failing, she recently started traditional chemotherapy. Through this difficult phase, I want to be sure to invest in things that matter. I love my mama. 

I don't want to miss it. I pray you find time today to sit and give of your time to someone you love. Seek God through all of life's phases. And especially if you are a mama, don't wish away any years. Don't miss it.