Friday, November 8, 2013

Following the Leader

Who are you leading? Who are you following? Where are you going?

Literally, as a mother, I must lead my children. Everyday, across the street, into the car, through the grocery store, to bedtime, etc. Spiritually, they follow me! They look to my example and how I respond to situations and people. I hope I am leading them in all righteousness and integrity.

In the age of technology, leading and following could be as simple as a twitter account. The world is full of leaders and followers. The more predominant voice sometimes seems to drown out the honest, the genuine, the pure.

Reading the story of Ruth, Ruth’s determination to stay with Naomi shines through. Naomi, the infamous mother-in-law, does not seem to be the star of the story. However, she was the leader of the story! Ruth saw Naomi as a leader and someone worth following in all things. Ruth gave up her own family in order to make a new life in Israel with a bitter and broken Naomi.

“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you." ~ Ruth 1:16-17


Naomi must have been quite a strong personality. Throughout the story, Naomi instructs Ruth where to go and how to proceed in her relationship with her future husband, Boaz. And Ruth follows. The end result? Ruth and Naomi go from widows without hope or home, to a family and heritage in the line of King David and the future Messiah, Jesus. Naomi led, she was willing to speak and lead her daughter-in-law and Ruth listened and heeded her advice. This is not always a good formula! We often lead and try to control situations in our children’s lives that we should just let go. However, this speaks to Naomi’s commitment and example. She knew God and through her, Ruth knew and experienced the hope and blessing of Christ. 

In the SON-shine

You see, we are all leaders and we are all followers. The question remains. WHO will you follow? This answers the question of HOW and TO WHOM you will lead. If you follow Jesus, if you are devoted to Him and meditating, singing, recounting His truth, those who follow you will be led to Him, to HOPE.

In Matthew 4: 19-20, Jesus calls out to two fishermen: Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew, “And he said to them, “ 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.' Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

Immediately, they followed Him. And their lives were never the same. They saw wonders, miracles, joy and life restored. They saw lives changed and they saw the Messiah die and rise again. They led thousands to follow Jesus and they even followed Jesus to the death.

Following requires some sacrifice. As a leader, are you willing to follow Jesus in sacrifice? Your kids, your friends will be watching. And they might just follow you, to life. If you won’t lead, they will find someone else to follow, maybe to destruction. Just take a look at the world and its current “twitter” leaders.

Be a leader. Jesus cries out: “Follow Me!”

Love Love,
Jess, the Musing Mama
 
These two Follow the Leader


 
*Lead and read! Read the Bible to your kids every night. Find ways to sing or say verses. I want to include a kids BOOK Review. If you are scrambling to find good books to read at bedtime or for storytime, this is one of the best! I would read this to children anywhere between the ages of 3 - 8. The concepts are deep and thoughtful, so the older kids would have a good time discussing the Biblical truth presented.
Fool Moon Rising written and illustrated by Kristi and T. Lively Fluharty

http://foolmoonrising.com/

In this rhyming short story, a young boy ponders the faulty actions of a foolish moon. This moon pridefully croons his own tunes of praise rather than realizing where his light ultimately comes from. This story sparks spiritual lessons on pride and humility in light of Jesus, the Creator. It also includes marvelous moon facts which show and illustrate the amazing design of our creator.

Enjoy and have fun leading your little ones!

Friday, July 12, 2013

You are my SON-shine

In a few short months my life has taken a course I never imagined. I have experienced loss, discouragement, pain, fear, anxiety, loneliness, aching emptiness all in the midst of joy, triumph, hope and a new-ness.
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Yes, new-ness. As the summer heat beats on thirsty desert land, creating deep and painful cracks choking the life from the soil, my soul is aching for refreshing rains to fall upon my life. To fill the cracks and heal the hardness which has calloused my weary soul. I long for an embrace, a word, a note, yet dry howling, empty wind is all that meets my ears.

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And then...the rains come. At first soft and hardly noticeable. Then they grow, and grow until the beating upon my heart is inescapable and the tears are mixed with fresh water descending from the soft, yet imposing clouds above. I am safe in the rain, to cry and sit and wonder why. And then, when I awake, the rains have ended, but the moisture clings to the air and the dry cracks are softened and soon filled with flowers.

When I awake and hear the soft babbling of my 9 month old son, I walk wearily into his pirate-themed room and look bleary-eyed at his soft and chubby face. He greets me immediately with a smile, three little teeth growing precariously up from the bottom of his gums. His eyes sparkle with joy just at the sight of my presence. He is my son, my son-shine.

My mum used to sing that son to me and my brothers, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey. You'll never know dear how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away."

The skies are grey, physically emotionally and spiritually. But grey skies bring rain and rain produces growth. I welcome the rain, and then when the rain is ended the sun shines through.

Through this rainy season, I find myself surrounded by "SON-shines." Friends, kids, family whose presence is my delight. Nothing needs to be said, just a smile, an embrace.

This is beautiful. If you have shone the love of Jesus to me, thank you.

"Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." Matthew 13:43

You are my "SON-shine"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Make Someone Happy

As I placed Evan in my mother's arms for one of the last times, he smiled at her and she sang, "Make Someone Happy" to him as she held his hands and bounced them to her tune. It was an unforgettable moment.

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My mom was a person who liked to make someone happy. I wouldn't characterize her as soft spoken or necessarily sweet ;-), but she loved to do things which made others happy. Now three and half weeks since she passed, I am beginning to see how everyone was her project! She would see a friend in a crisis of fashion and help them buy a new wardrobe. Her ear was always listening and she was always offering the best godly advice. If I even mentioned needing...say, diapers...she would drop them off on her many errands!

Now as I grow and see my children grow in the gifts God has given to them, I see the opportunities all around. My daughter, who is always social and ready to make friends, has begun playing with a neighborhood boy in the area. At first, I was a bit hesitant to let her play with him, because, let's face it, there are psycho people out there! I see the opportunity to share the love of Jesus and make this neighborhood boy happy. We gave him candy canes and he helped make cookies, then he brought over some baked goods the next day.

It was my mom who always welcomed our neighbors and friends as an opportunity to love. I remember countless conversations she spent driving my friends home in her big toyota sequoia, giving them advice on their love life or high school admissions, etc.

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

Me and Emma (2009)
Today, I will look for opportunities to love. My Evan's smiles always make someone happy. Instead of looking for ways that I can be happy, I choose to love and maybe in making someone happy, I might even be the happy one!

Make Someone Happy by Jimmy Durante