Thank you Lord for Laundry?!

Today as I was folding the laundry and thinking about the dryer which was full of sheets and towels that would need to be folded next, instead of complaining about a task that I’d rather not be doing, I found myself saying a silent prayer of thanksgiving to God. Thanking Him that I have people to love and take care of, and people that love and take care of me as well. It’s interesting what a little perspective will do for you.

If we think about it, there are probably plenty of mundane tasks that we engage in on a daily or weekly basis, that could be turned into moments of praise. Preparing a meal could be a call to pray for the farmers who have grown and harvested our food and a chance to thank the Lord for the people who will sit around the table and fellowship with us as we eat it. Dusting, mopping, vacuuming, scrubbing and generally tidying up the house are chances to ask God to remove the dirt and clutter from our lives which keeps us from enjoying His presence and to thank Him for washing our sins away and leaving us whiter than snow. Unloading the dishwasher or unpacking the groceries and putting everything in its place might be a chance to thank God for the order that He brings to our lives.

These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless! So the next time you find yourself doing another mundane task, before you allow a spirit of complaining to enter in, stop for a moment and relish the fact that in many ways the very act of doing this task proves that you are blessed beyond measure. If you decide to give it a try, I would love to hear about the ways that God speaks to you in the simplest of activities!

Transitioning Pre-teens and Teens into Youth Leaders

One of the challenges for many churches is transitioning pre-teens and teens into youth leadership roles. I feel this is vital to a young person’s walk with the Lord.

During the pre-teen and teen years, many temptations can draw youth away from the church. At this age they seek greater independence and continue to express their individuality. Some feel the need to decide if what their parents have brought them up to believe is truly what they believe.

Transitioning pre-teens and teens into youth leadership roles takes time. One of the ways we have opted to begin the process at our church is to assign each student a week to draft a Sunday school lesson and applicable activities, which they present to the group. They can choose to share any story from the Bible, even if it is one previously covered in class. The one rule is that they must find a new take-away from the story to share with the students.

My daughter’s turn comes up in October, and she is both nervous and excited. I have agreed to help her a bit, but overall this is her assignment. She has expressed interest in getting involved in a more meaningful way at church. While she is still young (11), beginning the process now will better prepare her for her future role in the church.

How does your church help pre-teens and teens transition into leadership roles?

Running for Water

Don’t you just love when you have one of those God moments where everything just comes together in such a way that you could never make happen on your own and you just know He was involved.  It is so important to recognize these moments as God is at work in our lives, and this past weekend I had just that kind of a moment where so many of my passions collided in one fantastic morning!

Early Saturday we dragged (literally) our girls out of bed and bundled them up in sweats with the promise of donuts if they would hurry along.  The night before we carefully stocked our car with cups, tables, posters, chairs and gallons of water.  We were on our way to set up a water station for a group of runners.  You might be thinking “This was your fantastic morning, your passions colliding – I don’t even know what a water station is?!?!”  If that’s you, let me back up and share with you a little bit about myself through some of my previous posts on this blog.  First, I love spending time with my kids and am always looking for ways to involve them in service to others such as this.  In fact, having young children serve is something that has been on my heart for so long I have been blogging about it for several years over here.  Secondly, earlier this year my family sponsored two little girls from a village in Africa through World Vision and getting water is a daily struggle for them.  Finally, running is something that I love to do and is a hobby we have involved the whole family in.

Several months ago our church organized a group of runners who were committing to run the Chicago Marathon in October in order to raise funds to build wells in Africa.  Not just anywhere in Africa, but in the same village where our sponsored girls live.  For those of you who are runners, you know that training for marathon is a grueling task that takes tremendous dedication, culminating typically in a 20 mile training run before the actual marathon.  So when a friend of mine said they were looking for people to encourage, support and pass out water to these runners on this final long training run, I eagerly signed my family up.

The night before the run the girls and I decorated posters with words of encouragement, knowing that for most of these runners this would be the farthest they had ever had to go.  As we drove to our spot on the race route the sun was just coming up.  As I turned the corner, I actually had to stop they car because the morning sun was shining so brightly it was all I could see.  It was undeniable, He was here.  He was with us.  He was with those runners.

It. Was. Amazing.

We spent the next two hours passing out water and cheering as we saw friends, Sunday school teachers, pastors and many we had never met run by.  I defy anyone to run pass a smiling three year old offering a cup of water and not take it – needless to say the runners who passed by us stayed hydrated!  Again and again we were thanked, sometimes tearfully, for our support on this difficult run.  My girls beamed as they received hugs and were told how encouraging it was to see their small smiling faces on the trail that day.  It was not lost on any of us that by our small contribution of handing out water on this one September morning, that thousands of people, tens of thousand miles away would be able to enjoy water everyday.

 

 

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Where We Belong
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Delight yourself in the Lord …

 and he will give you the desires of your heart.

 Psalm 37:4

“There’s something delicious about writing those first few words of a story. You can never quite tell where they’ll take you. Mine took me here…where I belong.” Beatrix Potter, the greatest children’s author of the 20th century, belonged at Hill Top Farm in rural England. She found inspiration and freedom to write about the many adventures (and misadventures) of her animal friends surrounded by beautiful, lush, rolling hills. It’s where she was most herself and where her passion as an artist flourished. 

We all long to find where we belong, don’t we? As small children we belong to a family. We live where they live, find our identity in who they are and take our rightful place in the birth order amongst our siblings. As we mature, we find everyone in our family is different. Our eldest brother likes sports and our middle sister lives for fashion while we find we are most ourselves playing the piano. We’re shy. They’re social. We like solitude. They like crowds. We’re most obviously different. And so, our journey of belonging begins.

In part, the journey can answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When we’re first asked, we usually don’t have a clue. To some extent it answers “What do you like to do the most?” But more so, it’s a journey of the heart and soul.

Belonging, is knowing your purpose – doing what God created you to do – where your heart soars. It’s a place that feels like Paradise.

So how do you get there? First, deal with your heart-wounds alone with God. Once you do, you can put the past behind you and move forward on your journey. Next, lay down your passion, your deepest desire before God in prayer.  Ask God if what your passion is truly His desire for you. Most usually, His desires align with our greatest passions, but how we are to exercise our talents/passions needs to come into alignmenet with His will. This may take time listening to God and examining our own hearts. Finally, step out in obedience to God’s leading.

Our passions make our hearts soar and create a place in this world where we belong. When we’re doing what God purposed us to do we’re welcoming the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth – a bit of Paradise.

What’s your heart’s desire/passion? How do you live it out? What steps are you taking to discover God’s purpose for your life or the life of your children?

Blessings,

Dawn Aldrich
Author of Auntie’s House
Host of Penn’s Pals

My Rocking Chair

Spending time with my granddaughter brings back so many precious memories of when I was raising my own little ones. One of my favorite things is to rock her to sleep for her nap time or bedtime. The feeling of her cuddly warm body against my chest is the best feeling in the whole world! It’s a time to be still. To hum gentle lullabies and caress her forehead. Grandchildren are one of God’s greatest blessings. It gives us one more chance to hold a little life in our arms and remember how amazing our Creator is.

My Rocking Chair

I rocked my precious babies in my cozy rocking chair.
I held them closely to my chest and gently stroked their hair.
I shared the chair with Mother Goose and bedtime lullabies.
My rocking chair was always there for weepy, sleepy eyes.

It rocked a frightened child through a rumbling thunderstorm.
And when my baby had the flu, it helped me keep her warm.
It calmed a restless child for an afternoon of rest.
And when I cuddled more than one, it always rocked the best.

The chair sits in the corner now so quiet and alone.
Our rocking days are in the past, my children all have grown.
But sometimes when I’m in the mood, I sit and rock a while.
Remembering those rocking days always brings a smile.

Crystal Bowman

 poem taken from: Meditations for Moms, by Crystal Bowman, Baker Publsishing, 2001.