Monday, February 20, 2017

The Two Kings

Enjoy the story!
Side Note: I put what I wrote on each page below each picture so that the story would be easier to read.   



Once upon a time, there were two kings, King World and King Love.  King World was a mean king; he wanted to do things HIS way.  King Love was a kind king who wanted to love others.





One day the first subject in King World's kingdom asked the king,
"Oh King, what shall I do with this cake? Should I eat it all myself or share it with others?"

"Eat it yourself, YOU deserve to have the WHOLE cake!" said King World

So...The King's first subject ate the whole cake. Yum! Yum!  It was so good!
 BUT...

As anyone knows, eating to much sweets makes your tummy HURT!
"OOOOhhhh!!!!" groaned the King's subject.  "I feel AWFUL!"
He wasn't the only one to feel awful; the other subjects of the kingdom were sad too because they had  had no cake.






Another subject went to King World for advice.
"Oh King," asked the second subject, "What shall I do with these apples? Keep them for myself or use them to feed the hungry?"

King World said, "Why you worked hard to grow that apple tree!  You shouldn't share them with the hungry.  Let the hungry work to find their own food!"

So...the second subject kept his apples, and boy, were they good to eat!!!
BUT...

Because he didn't share with the hungry, the hungry went away to find food in another place, and the subject had NO friends.  "I am lonely! Boo Hoo!"  cried the second subject!

One day another subject came to the King.
"Oh King World," said the third subject, "I really want this car that my friend has.  May I take it for myself?"

"Of course!" said King World, "Please take it!  Whatever your heart desires, TAKE!"

So...the third subject took the car from his friend.  VROOOM! VROOM!  The car was so much fun to play with.  The subject thought he would  be happy forever with his car.
BUT....

After playing with the car for awhile, the subject soon grew tired of it.  Plus there was an even bigger and better car out there that he wished he had.  And...it was also lonely for the subject.  For he had no friend to play with.

Everyone in King World's kingdom were unhappy.  It seemed that the King's advice made them happy at first, but now they were miserable.  I guess doing things for yourself is not much fun after all.  So all the subjects left King World's kingdom and went to look for another king to serve.  After searching high and low, they found.....

King Love!!!!
Once again the subjects went to the king for advice.
The first subject asked, "Oh King Love, what shall I do with this pie? Shall I eat it all myself or share it with others?"

King Love answered, "EVERYTHING in my kingdom is mine, but I share it all with my subjects. Please share for my sake."
So...the subject shared the pie.
AND...

There was no tummy ache this time!  The subjects enjoyed the pie.  More importantly, they felt so loved because the first subject chose to give his pie to them just like King Love had given everything to them.  Never had they felt so loved by their King!




The second subject loved to watch things grow, like his apple tree, but he really loved to watch King Love's flowers grow. One day the subject noticed two sad people in the kingdom.
The subject asked King Love, "Oh King, there are two sad people in your kingdom. Should I ignore them?"

"Oh no, not at all!" replied King Love, "My heart is for the hurting.  I want to cheer them up and let them know how loved they are by me. Why don't you pick some of my flowers and bring it to them.  Maybe that will bring them some comfort."
So...the subject picked the flowers and gave them to the hurt people.
AND...

Never had the hurt people felt so loved by their king.  The flowers served as a reminder that even in their pain, King Love cared and wanted to comfort them.

The third subject had seen how kind King Love had been with the pie and flowers.  He wanted to show the same kindness, but he was struggling.
"Oh King," said the subject, "I want to have that airplane toy so bad.  May I please take it for myself? I think it will make me happy."

King Love gently replied, "Dear subject, did the car you took make you happy?"

"Well," said the subject, "It did for awhile, but I soon grew tired of it."

"Dear one," said King Love, "It is not things like cars and planes that can make you happy, but ME.  My heart is to LOVE.  How do you think you can love this friend with his plane?"

"I can give him back his plane." said the subject
So....the subject did just that and gave the plane back to his friend.
AND...
His friend loved how King Love had helped the subject, so he decided to show kindness as well.  "Lets take turns and share the plane," he said.  So the two friends played with the plane, knowing that it

wasn't the plane that brought them joy, but rather knowing that their King loved them so much. For a plane cannot love a person, but a King can.
AND so...
Everyone in the kingdom was full of joy.  For making King Love the ruler of their hearts was just what they needed.  King Love was so kind, giving, and loving.

You see, King World is a bit like us.  It is about what WE want, and what we want is not necessarily always good for us. But King Love is a lot like Jesus. Jesus is kind,  giving, and loves us so much.  We are all hurting. Our hearts are hurt, but Jesus has a heart for the hurt, and cared so much that He died on the cross to bring healing to our hearts.

Who will you make your King?  YOURSELF? or JESUS?

Like the subjects in King World and King Love's kingdom, we have to choose which King we will serve.  Who will you listen to, yourself or Jesus?



I loved writing this book for my kids because it reflects the battle that mankind has fought since Adam and Eve.  A choice to either serve themselves or serve their creator.  So often humans choose to do things their way (King World's way) because they think it will give them more pleasure, but it often leads to more brokenness, pain, and heartache. Lying, anger, gossip, fornication, murder, jealousy, coveting, etc all result from something that has gone wrong deep inside of us, a desire to serve OURSELVES.   Thankfully, God has provided a way to rescue us from ourselves.  He gives us Jesus (King Love), our ultimate rescuer.  As I heard our pastor say one time, we are often times standing on train tracks about to get hit by at train, and another person comes along and pushes us off the tracks and takes our place.  Sin leads us to more brokenness, more heartache, and ultimately death....not just a physical death but a spiritual death...one that includes eternity without God.  Our sin will result in being hit by a train. Jesus is better because he took the punishment that we deserved and paid for it on the cross.  Jesus is our ultimate treasure, and ANYTHING that is good in this world comes only from Him.  We have this misconception that there is goodness in humans, but there is no good in us.  Romans 7:18 says, "or I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out."  The only good in this world comes from Jesus,  "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17) It is my deepest prayer that you run to Him and make Him your king.  He is the only good thing worth serving. He showers us with continuous grace and love...there is no condemnation or shame because of Him. What a mighty King to serve!


Note to Parents:
Parents, 
I am sharing this so that you may have another resource and idea of how you can point your kids to Jesus. My boys personally had a blast making this book with me.  They got to glue the crowns in the pages, place stickers in the book, and color some pages.  As we were doing each page, it sparked their interest in the book, and they couldn't wait for me to read it to them when it was finished.  

It is now one of my oldest's favorite books.  It has sparked several discussions about the gospel. Even in moments of discipline or correction, I have lovingly referred my children to the characters in this book and encouraged them to choose Jesus' way.   

As Paul Tripp says, "Parenting is not a behavior-control mission; it is a heart-rescue mission." Many parents tend to focus on whether their child is behaving perfectly, doing well in sports, has a lot of friends, etc. Not that all these things are bad in themselves, but our greatest mission is to show them JESUS and allow the Holy Spirit to initiate lasting change. With the help of the Holy Spirit,  Jesus will use our children to bring Himself glory and to advance His Kingdom.  I hope this book will help fuel your calling as a parent.  I am cheering us all on.  Lets keep pointing our kids to Christ!!!


In Christ,
Katrina Arnold

Monday, June 27, 2016

My Family is NOT Perfect

Here is my family...


I would love to say that we are the perfect family sorta like pictured here.....

Maybe we have our moments and look picture perfect, but the reality is that we more and likely resemble this....






Don't forget dad too.....



One evening during supper, Brian was sitting at the table tired and stressed and ready to vent on what happened at work. I looked brain dead from being so tired from my daily childcare and household duties. Our three year old, Brayden, was busily shouting out "Pee, pee, and Poo, poo." while laughing his head off. And our one year old, Carson, was crying and pulling a fit because supper wasn't in front of him.  

During the course of the meal, Brian tried to vent 10 different times to his exhausted wife about work, but was interrupted with either Brayden playing with food, Carson throwing food on the floor,  Brayden getting another kick at saying "pee pee and poo poo,"  Carson throwing a fit, and Brayden getting out of his chair without permission.  

The result:  I never got to hear what had stressed Brian out at work. Brayden was finally removed from the table, and his remaining food was reserved for breakfast for not behaving. And....Carson had to go to timeout for throwing his food.  

Far from perfect.....maybe you can relate?

Yet if we were to take pics of our family at dinner time and email it to family or put it on facebook for friends to see, we would always show this....


Or this.....


Do we have good moments in our family. YES...I wouldn't trade my family for the world.  I do have a selfless husband who tries to put me first.  I do have a tenderhearted 3 year old who loves more deeply than I have ever seen any human love.  I do have a happy, laughing one year old who loves to cuddle.....however, that is only part of the picture.

We are not perfect.....

Brian and I have many times responded selfishly towards each other, and dare I say it... we do argue at times.   And while Brayden can love deeply, he can also be the exact opposite and throw the "laying on the ground kicking and screaming" kind of tantrums.  And Carson, has recently decided he likes to hit when he is angry.

Why is it so important for people in society to know that my family isn't perfect? Simple...

Nobody can obtain perfection in this world. 

Yet, we still see people spending so much of their time trying to make their lives and family look perfect to others, and when others see that perfect family, they despair knowing that they cannot ever reach the standard that they see.

Mothers try to make their children look perfectly behaved, and other mothers who see these perfectly behaved children despair...

Husbands try to make their jobs look perfect, and other husbands despair when they see they they will never have that dream job....

Families try to show how perfect their vacations are, and other families despair when they see how their vacations never measure up to what they see in those photos...

Spouses try to show the world how amazing and perfect their honey is, and other spouses despair thinking they will never have a spouse like the one they see...

Here is the point I want to make....

Are you ready for this?  Read carefully...






People don't need to see how perfect your family is, they need to see how perfect our Savior is.

While Christians DO need to show how Christ has changed them through the way their lives are led (faith without works is dead as said in James 2:17), they should NEVER feel that they should have to show a perfect life. Perfectionism can only be seen through Jesus, that is why we NEED Him.  

Read this next part carefully,

Ready?



When people try to strive for perfectionism, they are saying that they DO NOT need a Savior but that they can do life on earth on their OWN and can obtain eternity on their OWN.  

The world constantly says that we can't earn our way to heaven on our own, but the apostle Paul says differently in Philipians 3.  In the first part of the chapter in Philipians 3, Paul was criticizing people who were putting confidence in their "flesh" to obtain righteousness (or perfectionism). He even went on to say that if anyone could put confidence in themselves (or flesh), it would be him, and he goes on to brag about the amazing things he has done, but then he concludes with this.

What is more, I consider everything [that he had done to obtain righteousness] a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Italics mine)

Righteousness (or perfectionsim) can only be obtained through Jesus.  He is the only one that meets that standard.

Apart from Jesus, we are completely wicked. Paul even states how "There is no one righteous, not even one," in Romans 3:10.  Even when humans perform acts of good deeds and kindness apart from Christ, it is always with a selfish motive.  That is why we need Jesus!

Humans need Jesus every second of the day....for He is our righteousness.  I always loved this song by Matt Maher:

Lord I need you,
oh, I need you
Every HOUR I need you
My one defense,
my righteousness
Oh God, how I need you

Apart from Jesus we can do no good.  Even, Jesus himself says that, I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

We can do nothing good apart from Christ.  We can do good things, but if Christ isn't our motive, then it is a sinful motive.

So why does this matter?  

We need to stop trying to show people our so called perfect lives and show them our need for a perfect Savior.

I remember one time when I was so frustrated...I wanted to be an example to others on what the perfect Christian life was, but I was messing up.  I told a friend this,  "I can't seem to respond appropriately to people, my son keeps throwing fits, and I keep getting angry."  She then said something life changing...she said this,

You ready?  Read carefully....





"Katrina, when you mess up, it is just another opportunity to point to people your need for Jesus."

You see, my family isn't perfect because we need Jesus.  Apart from our Savior, we are broken, flawed, and messed up.  I don't want people thinking my family is perfect, for if they believe we are perfect, then the need for Christ no longer exists.

You see, Christ died on the cross to pay a debt we couldn't pay.  He died for all of our flaws and mess ups.  We no longer have to achieve perfectionism to enter heaven, Christ did that for us.  All we have to do is make Him Lord of our lives.

Does my family have some perfect moments...sure.  But I want to make one last point. 

Ready?  Read carefully...




If anything GOOD comes from us, it is because of Christ, and ONLY Him.

You see, Christ gets the glory either way...in the good or bad.

My family isn't perfect, but that is ok...we are dependent on our perfect Savior, not ourselves. And for that I am thankful! 

I am proud to say my family isn't perfect so that I can point people to our perfect Savior...

By the way, His name is Jesus.








Monday, May 23, 2016

A Three Year Old's Compassion

This is a story of a three year old who showed Christ's compassion and love....



Brayden had just received a gift from his sweet grandparents, but unfortunately he was not a big fan of the gift...a Raggedy Andy doll.  I suppose that Andy might look a bit scary to a child with his big wide eyes, triangle nose, and red hair.  After all, he does look DIFFERENT from what normal dolls typically look like. After several prompts from me, Brayden finally said "Thank you," quietly to his grandparents, but did not touch the doll for the rest of the trip.
A doll all alone and in need of some love. 

One morning after the trip,  I had set Raggedy Andy on the rocker, and Brayden saw him.

 "Mommy," he said,  "I don't want him, he looks so different."

So began a discussion.  I said, "Awww....poor Andy.  How does he look different to you?"  

Brayden pointed to Andy's nose and eyes and talked about how they looked different.  

'Brayden,' I said gently, 'Remember one of your favorite books, "The Love Monster,"  where no one wanted to love the monster because he looked scary and different, but then a Mama found him and loved him anyway?  He wanted a home too, but no one would love him at first.'  

We then proceeded to talk about his favorite "Jay Jay" plane book where it talks about how God loves those who are different. The story showed different looking planes.  

I looked into Brayden's eyes and said, "I think Grandmommie and Granddaddy wanted Raggedy Andy to have a home where he would be loved even though he looks different, and they chose you because they knew you would love him."  

The result: I have never seen a more compassionate three year old.  He took Andy into his arms and started hugging him and giving him kisses.  He spent the morning sharing his cereal with Andy, giving Andy a drink from his cup, and took Andy for a piggy back ride on his shoulder.  He cuddled with Andy while watching TV,  took Andy with him to Walmart, and even put chap stick on his doll.  That night he hugged up to Andy and went to sleep with him safely in his arms.  He is now in love with his doll because he took compassion on him and decided that Andy needed love to.

I wonder what would happen if we would love people the same way?  If we would not turn away from them because they were different, but if we saw them through the eyes of Christ....through the eyes of his unconditional love and acceptance. Maybe we should learn a lesson from this three year old child and show people compassion no matter how different they are from us.  We all may be different, but our hearts are all the same...broken and in need of a Savior.  Instead of looking down on others, lets take the time to show them Christ's love and point them to our need for Him.  

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11




Monday, May 16, 2016

Hope

Lets face it, all of us have something we place our hope in...

We hope that we will get that job promotion.  We hope that our marriage to our spouse will bring the happiness and joy that we desire.  We hope that our children will behave.  We hope that a friend doesn't have cancer.  We hope that the new house will turn out to be our perfect dream home.  We hope that our kids will stay well and not get sick.  We hope that our vacation will go smoothly.  We hope that we can catch up on sleep after not getting enough.  We hope that we will excel in school, jobs, and sports.  We hope....we hope....

What exactly is hope?

Hope is simply a feeling of expectation or desire for a certain thing to happen.  It  is wanting something to happen or be the case. (taken from google dictionary)

People's hopes and dreams originate from a desire to live in a perfect world. Therefore they place their hope in things that will give them such a world. 

Yes, humans desire a perfect world, but where did that desire emerge from?

Humans did not originally live in a broken and imperfect world...they lived in an eternal state with a perfect God.

Whether a person is a believer or not...we have forever instilled inside of us because that is what we first lived in....  

When Adam and Eve first lived in the garden of Eden, they lived in utopia.  They lived in an eternal state in the presence of God.  Every hope and desire was given because their hope and desire was placed in God.  Eternity was beautiful, perfect, and full of everything that we keep searching for here and now  in this world.

But all that changed when they rebelled against God and did things their own way....Eve hoped to be like God and gave in to the devil's lies and ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  She placed her hope in the wrong thing...herself.

As a result, this beautiful utopia that we were supposed to live in became an awful dystopia. 

So now people spend their lives in this broken messed up world trying to place their hope in broken things only to discover hopelessness....their desire to live in a perfect world has become impossible....

or not....

Thankfully Jesus came to restore our broken lives to God.  He gives us hope by paying a debt we couldn't pay on the cross so that we could have that utopia...eternity with Him forever.  All we have to do is believe and place our trust and hope in Him.  

Jesus is our hope....

He gives us ETERNAL HOPE....



So here is the major question...

Why do we, as Christians, continue to live our lives hoping in the here and now?

Why do we continue to place our hope in people, situations, ideas? 

Why do we place our hope in our families, our homes, our jobs, and our friends?  

Why do we try to jam pack our lives with hope in broken things as if this is the only chance we have for a utopia?

Perhaps it is because we don't fully comprehend that our hope for a perfect world doesn't come from this life on earth...

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, 1Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

We don't lose heart because this life's troubles are only temporary.  We are wasting away and will die someday, but that is not the end.  So we focus on what is unseen...

 eternity with Jesus...

Think about this life in comparison to eternity...our life here an now is like a mist as stated in James 4:14.  Eternity is forever.....
OUR WHOLE LIFE: The dot is life on earth...the line is eternity with Jesus.

If we truly understood and lived our lives for eternity with Jesus instead of making our forever here on earth, how would living our lives change....

Instead of hoping for all of the good things that we believe this life has to offer, we would be preparing and pursuing for the life to come. 

Instead of pursuing the perfect job, perfect house, perfect retirement, perfect marriage, wouldn't we be preparing ourselves and others for eternity?  

There is a beautiful missionary couple I know that had it all. The wife was a nurse with a solid reputation, and the husband had a nice high paying job.  They lived in a beautiful house with all the comforts that could be offered, but then they realized their true hope...

Jesus.  

They realized that this life here and now was temporary, and they are now in Zambia living in tents, traveling from village to village trying to prepare others for eternity by showing them who their true hope is.

Not all of us are called to become missionaries in a far away country, but we are all called to be missionaries in the lives we live here and now.

Take it a step further...suppose you place your hope in eternity with Jesus...the troubles then that we face in this world become temporary in light of the perfect world to come.  

Instead of grieving for the loss of a loved one, we would rejoice in where they have gone.  Instead of placing false hope in creating perfectly well behaved children, we would place our hope in Jesus and work to prepare our children for eternity, not to make them look perfect in this imperfect world.  Instead of falling into despair over the disease that has overtaken our body, we would rejoice in knowing that we will someday have no pain. Instead of responding to a mean co-worker in an unforgiving way, we would display love and forgiveness in order to reflect Jesus so that our co-worker could know true eternal hope. Instead of pursuing wealth, we would show people what true wealth is, knowing Jesus and resting in the hope we have in Him knowing that money here on earth is temporary, but life with Christ is eternal. Instead of trying to see what joy and happiness our spouse can give us, we would be focusing on helping each other with our walk with Christ, preparing each other for eternity.

We no longer place our hope in broken things but in the one who is unbroken and promises us an unbroken world. 

Jesus is our hope for a perfect forever world....


So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.....

*To learn more about viewing life through the eyes of eternity, read Paul Tripp's book Forever



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Motives


For the third time once again, my body was going bonkers. Hormones were going crazy, food looked awful, nausea constantly attacked me with no rest from it some days, and exhaustion could be felt throughout my whole body.  While, I was thrilled to welcome another baby into our family, I dreaded the feelings that came with the first trimester.   When I was pregnant with Carson and Brayden I tended to at times walk around with dark stormy clouds hanging over my head.....

that could erupt into a hurricane!


Feeling tired? Then I had valid reasons to yell at my husband and  snap at my oldest child. Feeling sick?  Then it was ok to curl up on the couch and wallow in self pity. Husband not responding to my every need?  Then he deserved a cranky wife. My feelings completely dictated how I responded to my family.  I literally was Hurricane Katrina!

After Carson was born, Jesus has been doing beautiful things to my heart.  He has shown me his beautiful unconditional love and grace daily.  While, I have known Him and asked Him to live in my heart at a young age, I only originally understood my need for Him in the future, heaven, but I have learned an even deeper truth: I NEED HIM HERE AND NOW.  He has shown me how dark my heart truly is when I do life without Him.  Without Him, I am consumed with myself, and He has shown me that I need Him daily and constantly.  Apart from Christ, I can do nothing as it says in John 15:5. This realization has caused me to get on my knees with praise and thanksgiving for the fact that He is indeed my hope when without Him I have no hope in how I live my life.  Anything I try to do in my own strength leads to continuous frustration. Anything else I turn to will lead to disappointment, but He never disappoints. I have learned to rest in the unbroken one, because without Him, my heart is completely and utterly broken. He paid a debt that I couldn't pay on the cross, so that my heart could be made new.  He gives me a new identity and a NEW MOTIVE that is not consumed with me, myself, and I.  2 Corinthians 5:15 sums up well with how I feel:


    And he died for all, that those who live should NO LONGER LIVE FOR THEMSELVES BUT FOR HIM who died for them and was raised again. 


People's motives in this world for the things they do has always been geared towards self, but I have realized how much better He is than anything in this world including my motives apart from Him.   JESUS IS MY MOTIVE!  He lives the life in me and through me.  He is beautiful and better than anything I desire apart from Him.  He is the light in this dark world that will never fade.


Circumstances will change.  Good and evil happen.  Feelings come and go. The world is messed up. Our bodies suffer.  BUT Jesus is constant and never changing.  So despite the rise and fall of circumstances in life, I can rest in Jesus and respond for His sake.  


Feeling nauseous?  For Christ's sake, I want to respond patiently with my boys.  Feeling exhausted?  For Christ's sake, I want to speak lovingly towards my husband despite how I feel.  Hormones going crazy?  Jesus is better, and I want to reflect Him despite the roller coaster of emotions that are running through me.  My heart is consumed with Jesus.  He receives the glory in ALL things.  It is not about me, but about Jesus.  So for His sake, I respond with His love despite how I feel. There is no better MOTIVE.

Have I messed up at times throughout this pregnancy and filled my heart up with things other than Christ? Do I at times try to do life on my own without Him?  Sure, but those mess ups constantly remind me of my need for Him.  I am forgiven, loved, accepted; and my heart is still a new creation because of Him.  


JD Greer puts it this way:


In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.” “Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy.” “As You have been to me, so I will be to others.” “As I pray, I’ll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.


What a beautiful Savior we have.  He is truly all we need.  He is truly the only motive is worth having!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Letter to My Youngest Son

My Dear Sweet Carson,
I cannot believe you will be turning ONE in just a few more days.  I am so incredibly blessed to have you in my life, my sweet tempered child. You were 11 days late, but worth the wait and the horrible pain I went through in labor.  You have brought calmness and joy into our home, and I am so delighted to have the privilege of raising you.


There are many things I love about you sweet boy...one is your incredible patience.  I can still remember leaving you in the nursery at church, and three hours later you were still in good spirits despite the fact you had not drunken from your bottle, skipped your morning nap, and was still waiting patiently for the good stuff, Mama's yummy milk.  Your patience amazes me, and I pray that God will use your patience and perseverance to reach people that the world would consider a hopeless cause for Christ .

I love your passion for water, sweet Carson.  You would stay in a swimming pool for hours if your Mama would let you.  I love seeing you splash away with your hands, reaching for the water as if expecting to pick some of it up, and putting your face straight down in it and coming back up delighted to have water all over your face!  I do pray that you will have that same passion with Jesus, our TRUE LIVING WATER.  I pray that you will grow to understand His grace and love and in return give the same love and grace to others.  I pray that you will recognize how special you are in Christ: accepted, loved, and clean in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

I remembered how you surprised Mommy by waiting to crawl at 11 months.  I wasn't sure why you waited so long, but then one day it hit me.  Doing all that time you weren't crawling, you were watching.  You were taking everything in and observing life on the sidelines.  You were thinking, learning, and reflecting.  You are my little thinker, and I pray that you will continue to observe and reflect as you grow older and see and view situations differently.  That you will use your deep thinking to help others to view their problems, blessings, trials, and tribulations in a new way: through the eyes of Jesus.


My son, you are the calm in the storm.  Things can get crazy in our house at times, but no matter how hectic or crazy things get, you are always calm, content, and happy.  I can always count on you for a smile during a bad day and sweet cuddles when I am exhausted.

You are so loved, Carson. Never forget that.  You are loved so deeply by Mama, Dada, Brayden, and Jesus. My deepest prayer is that you will love Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to point the world to Him.  I pray that you will use your patience, calmness, and beautiful mind to bring God glory.

You are special.

You are loved,

You are cherished by your family and Heavenly Father.



Happy First Birthday my sweet baby boy.  I love you more than you know.

Love,
Mama


Friday, August 28, 2015

A Letter to my Tenderhearted Warrior

Dear Sweet Brayden,
Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet boy.  I can still remember when you were first born.  You came into this world screaming at the top of your lungs.  As they placed you in my arms, I remember feeling so overwhelmed when I saw this crying baby.  What was I supposed to do to help you stop crying?  I was clueless, but God knew we needed each other.

My beautiful first born, you are my Tenderhearted Warrior. I can't even describe how excited I am for you as I watch you grow.  You are so special, and I am so honored that God chose me to be your Mama.  You have so much potential that it makes my heart ache and leap with joy all at once.

You truly are a warrior.

I have never battled a human being as much as I have had to battle you.  This Mama has taught over 900 children and none of them can hold a candle to you my Warrior.

As a baby, I can still remember trying to teach you the word "no."  People had told me amazing stories of how their child learned the word no  the first time they told their baby or within a week after teaching their baby, so I thought that the task of disciplining you would be a piece of cake. After all, I had taught children for many years and managed to keep classes with over 30 students under control, but God knew what I was up against....It took me over a month to teach you "no"....it took disciplining, distracting, and consistency to get you to stop, and even then you still tried.

As a toddler, bedtime was my favorite battle and still is....I remember battling you during naptime for an hour and sometimes up to two hours EVERYDAY for two straight months.  Getting you to stay in your bed and go to sleep was like trying to teach a dog to stop breathing.  Fast forward to a year and half later, I still have to discipline you for getting out of bed at least one time EVERY DAY during naptime!!!  We have made progress though....

My most recent memory that gets me to laughing is teaching you to say "Yes Mam" instead of "No" to me.  On this particular battle, you didn't want to say, "Yes Mam."  The result was several timeouts and spankings. Finally, I got you to say "Yes Mam,"  but to my utter surprise the word "No" quietly followed the "Yes Mam,"  ....I remember looking up baffled at my husband who was trying so hard to keep from laughing. Wow...such stubbornness! :)

Sweetheart, you indeed are a Warrior.   I have cried over you, prayed over you, and battled you daily....and still do....Your stubborn, strong willed spirit excites my heart.  As you grow and continue to learn more about Jesus, it is my deepest prayer that you will be a Warrior for Christ.  That you will not budge or give in to the ways of the world, but that you will battle against the world for the sake of Christ.  I pray that you will use that strong willed spirit and stubbornness to fight for Christ, when the world seeks to destroy His name.

Yes, you indeed are a warrior, but a TENDERHEARTED one.  I love your sweet tender heart, Brayden.  You cannot stand to see suffering in this world, and it makes you cry if someone or something is in pain.

Whenever you read books and see someone crying or hurt, you immediately bring that picture to me, troubled. Then we work together to try to make that sad face happy....many times you will kiss that sad face hoping it will start grinning back at you.

You indeed care for the tiniest of creatures.  Recently, you found a mosquito who had drowned in your pool.  You gently placed the dead creature on your finger and made a sad face.  "Ohhhh...." you said all sad and then proceeded to give the mosquito a kiss to make him feel better.  I didn't have the heart to tell you that he was dead and told you to put him in the grass so that he could sleep and get better.  You gently laid the dead creature on a single blade of grass and then resumed your playing.

Another time, you found a dead cockroach and brought him up to me to make better.  I quickly grabbed him out of your hands before you could kiss him!

You care for your mother too.  One day you found me crying, and you sat and cried with me and then proceeded to hug me.  Your empathy and love towards me warmed my heart, and made me feel so much better.

You are always so eager to help me.  If I say I am going to do laundry, dishes, carry groceries in, vacuum, mop, or cook, you look up at me with eagerness in your handsome face and say, "I help."

Sweet boy, I pray that God uses your tender heart to reach out to the broken, lost, and hurt.  I pray that your empathy, compassion, and love will bring them much comfort and ultimately point them to the healer of hearts, Jesus.

I pray that you will use your Warrior spirit to defend the weak and your compassionate heart to show them Christ's love.

Yes,  my sweet boy, you feel so much.  When you are happy, you show it to the extremes; when you are sad, you show it to the extremes, when you are angry, you show it to the extremes;  and when you love, you show it to the extremes, and when you are compassionate, you show it to the extremes.  You feel so much in that big heart of yours, and I know that God will use your emotions to draw people to Him.

I am so proud of you Brayden, and I am so privileged and blessed to be your Mama.  I am so glad God chose me to raise you, take care of you, and teach you about our amazing Savior.  Already I see a blossoming relationship growing between you and our Creator.  It excites me so!

I love you, my Tenderhearted Warrior.

Love, Mommy