Maketh me

The Lord is my Shepherd,
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.

Scripture comes alive in real life, every day. God doesn’t intend to only exist inside the pages of a book, He came be with us day in and day out, residing in our hearts. No matter the type of day I have, Jesus is with me, speaking to me.

So, when my daughter absolutely refused to take a nap this afternoon, and a kicking, thrashing showdown ensued, I took a breath and prayed. And as I rocked and sang, and sang and rocked and held on tight, I kept praying. I knew she needed to sleep; her weary eyes and tired cries told me so. She is my daughter, and I know her through and through. That’s why I knew that naptime wasn’t optional.

Every parent understands there are times when children have to be made to go to sleep. There is that point where they become “too tired to go to sleep” or just plain stubborn and refuse. That’s when a loving mom or dad steps in and makes sure that they do.

As I was going through that longer-than-I-was-hoping-for process with Lauren, God spoke Psalm 23 to me. And I wondered, why does God say He leads us by still waters, indicating to me that we follow him to the still waters, but He has to make us lay down in the green pastures?

Every person I know ultimately wants peace in their life. They want the still waters. But laying down in the green pasture means I have to stop doing what I want to do, let all those “great” opportunities pass me, kneel down and trust that God will protect me. I must halt the busyness of my life and accept God’s rest. Only then can I be led to still waters. More times than not, to get to God’s peace and blessing, He has to make me do something I am resisting and lie down in complete submission to His plan, His purpose and His authority.

My daughter did fall asleep and is resting peacefully. When I came downstairs to help my son get ready for his naptime, he was already asleep on the living room floor in the tent we had set up this morning. So, I went to get his blanket, quilt and pillow to tuck him in, closed all the blinds and turned off the lights.

Now I sit here in the quiet, listening to my God as I write this post, knowing that the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Jackson’s heart for Joplin’s children

My four-year-old Jackson has really discovered the meaning of compassion this week.

With the tornadoes and storms hitting so close to home in the last several days, Jackson really wanted to understand what had happened, especially in Joplin. We have had many, many talks about tornadoes, and when he finally began to comprehend what these storms did to the city and how people were affected, he became very concerned.

In particular, he continued to ask me what happened to the children in Joplin. His heart was broken over them, and we have prayed together, on his prompting, for the children. He asked God to find their roofs and doors in the sky and bring them back so they could have houses again. He asked God to send the storms and tornadoes away so they could be safe. I encouraged him to keep praying, because by praying, we are taking action and helping those children and families.

After praying, Jackson decided he wanted to go to Joplin and build all the children houses so they could be safe again. He was very adamant, and talked about that for most of the day yesterday. Though that idea was a very sweet and caring one, we decided that instead he would practice here with Lincoln Logs. I recommended we look around the house for things we could give to the children to help them. So, we began our search, and he helped fill two boxes with toilet paper, toothbrushes, soap, etc. Today, our whole family went to a drop off point here in town, and Jackson delivered our gifts to help the children he is praying for.

This is the first time as a family we have done something like this. Independently, Matt and I have reached out to families in need, with the kids in tow, but this time Jackson took the lead. I am so proud of him, and I hope to continue encouraging him to show compassion to those around him, sharing Jesus’ love.

It’s never too early to encourage empathy in children, because even four-year-olds can have a heart for the world.

Jackson and Matt carrying our gifts to Joplin's children at a drop off point in Mountain View, MO