Game Seven

Fourteen years ago, Kara and I took a road trip out west when I graduated medical school. Currently, we are making a similar trip  with our girls.

As we are traveling across the country, one thing that it seems every place has in common: sports. I’ve seen baseball diamonds in towns that didn’t even have a gas station.  And no matter what national park we visited, the sports’ fans are easy to spot.

It’s a good time of the year if you’re a sports fan. We have the consistency of baseball as the season is getting into to full swing (pun intended) and the anticipation of football with the draft and spring practices.

But what really gets sport’s fans excited are the playoffs, and right now we have hockey and basketball to enjoy. As sports fans, we love the playoffs. We love the do-or-die, no tomorrow, no-holds barred, give-it-all-you-got approach to the game. We like to see our favorite players on our favorite team really playing hard.

And what we like most is Game 7.  Do you know why everyone loves a Game 7? It’s because there’s no Game 8!  

Sure, it’s easier to see your team win in four games, but that’s not what the true fans really want. No true fan ever goes to bed early during Game 7.

It’s in these moments, when it really matters because it’s all on the line, that history is made and legends are born. And who wants to miss those moments?

Dad’s, I am encouraging all of us to not miss those moments in our families.

Father today in the reality that every-day with our kids is a Game 7 kind of day. Every day we have the opportunity to make history. Every day we have the opportunity for greatness. Every day….we Father! 

Father your kids today like it’s Game 7….every conversation matters, every attitude matters, every choice matters.

Your job may be important, but it’s never more than a Game 3.

The yard and garden….they’re just regular season games.

Watching TV and playing video games…those just are exhibition games.

But your family….they are your Game 7.

No excuses. Our families deserve our best. We can father through illness, fatigue, stress, boredom, and busyness.

Father today like there’s no tomorrow…Father today like its Game 7!  

 

 

 

What Your Husband Really Wants This Father’s Day

We were driving home from D.C. a few weeks ago, and I said something in passing to Casey that I appreciated about him. It wasn’t anything earth shattering or amazing…just a little something small and seemingly insignificant.

I didn’t even know the girls were paying attention to our conversation when, all of a sudden, Ellie says, “Mom, what other appreciations do you have for Daddy? You don’t give him appreciations that much.”

Ummmm. Ouch.

The worst part about it? She was right.

We fly through life, day in and day out. Casey and I both like to get things done…we like efficiency, productivity, and we genuinely enjoy working at whatever is in front of us at the time…but that doesn’t leave a lot of room for noticing the small things and expressing gratitude.

It’s not that it’s not there…it’s just that it doesn’t come out enough. (Obviously…my eight year old is noticing it!)

What happened next was probably a good forty-five minutes to an hour of the four of us sharing “appreciations” with each other. I loved seeing the smiles on our daughters’ faces as they heard us give our “appreciations” to each other. You could see how our love and hearts for each other were filling their own hearts. Then they wanted in on the action and had their own “appreciations” to share with us and each other.

Ladies, could we slow down enough to find some “appreciations” for the man we share our life with?

With Father’s Day quickly approaching, maybe we should be asking ourselves what we see, and more importantly what God sees, in the heart of the man we’re married to.

Let’s face it, at times life can be hectic, complicated, and frustrating. Sometimes we feel like we’re on the frontlines, and when we should be fighting for our family together, we just end up fighting with each other.

Your husband, the Father of your children, is a warrior BY your side…not an enemy soldier from the other side.

A wife has a tendancy to focus on the things her husband isn’t doing that she wishes he would do…or the things he is doing that she wishes he wouldn’t do!

When we do this, what we’re actually missing out on is the gift of who he is in our lives.

Oh, I know there are things he could do better..but couldn’t we all?

I think if we spent more time appreciating and recognizing the gift that he is, the little things he does or says, we would come to realize that all those other things…all those things that seem like a big deal fade to the back and become a lot less of a big deal.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that what your husband, the father of your children, wants more than a new power tool this Father’s Day is the power that comes from a supportive and thankful wife.

I think one of the best gifts we could give him this Father’s Day is the gift of being seen.

Stop and take notice over these next few weeks…and help your children do the same.This Father’s Day take a second, and tell that man what you see in him.


Click here for a printable to help you and your children show your “appreciations” this Father’s Day!

 

 

 

 

You Can Do This

I will never forget the day I wrote these four little words in a card for my sister. It was just after she’d had her first baby girl. I sat with a blank card in front of me, pen in hand, when a wave of emotions came flooding over me as a million thoughts filled my mind.

What do you say to your little sister who’s on the brink of a new journey…she was stepping into one of the most beautiful, rewarding, exhausting, and challenging roles she will ever have the honor of walking in? I could have said a lot of things. But these four words are all I could get out…

“You can do this.”

That was it.

Because sometimes all we really need is a big sister to step up and be our cheerleader. There are moments in our lives that we don’t really need a list of do’s and don’ts. We don’t need advice or a three step plan. We just need someone to stand by our side and say, “You can do this.”

Mamas, let me be your big sister today. Let me be your cheerleader.

YOU can do this.

This incredibly hard job of motherhood – You can do this. 

When you’re so exhausted you can’t think straight – You can do this. 

When baby spit up is the perfume scent of the day – You can do this. 

When pizza and popcorn are on the menu for the third time this week – You can do this. 

When you leave a buggy full of groceries parked in the middle of the aisle at the store because your kid is having a meltdown – You can do this. 

When you’re not sure you can handle hearing “Mom, mom, moooom, mmmmoooommm, for the 27,864th time that day – You can do this.

When the days are long and the nights are even longer – You can do this.

When peace and quiet and “personal space” are a thing of the past – You can do this.

When you’re in the passenger seat of the car wondering how the child you buckled in the car seat year after year is now buckled in the seat behind the steering wheel – You can do this.

When it’s a late night and you’re waiting up for your almost grown child to walk through the door – You can do this.

When your looking at your child thinking, “I don’t even know what to do right now…” – You can do this.

When you sneak into your child’s room late at night just to watch them sleep – You can do this.

When you feel insecure and insignificant – You can do this.

When you feel like a failure – You can do this.

When you’re absolutely certain that you don’t have what it takes and you are utterly convinced that you most definitely CANNOT do this – You CAN do this.


Sweet Mamas, you really can do this.

How do I know? Because you are doing it. You wake up and you show up day after day after day. I know every day isn’t full of sunshine and rainbows, but even on the stormiest of days, there you are…showing up for your family.

Good job.

Good job, Mom. Good job doing hard things. Good job making tough choices. Good job loving your children. Good job serving and sacrificing. 

You do have a cheerleader. He’s cheering you on as He sees you kiss the scraped knees, feed the hungry bellies, and clean up the spilled cereal. He’s watching as you read books and do crafts. Yes, He’s there in the moment as tension is rising and you lose it, flinging hurtful words at each other. And then He’s there watching in the quiet of the night as tears stream down your face and you wish you could have a do-over. He is there with each new sunrise…new mercies in hand, a gift for your day, ready for the taking.

You don’t have to do this alone.

It’s precisely because you don’t have to do this on your own that you can do this.

He’s watching you mother the precious gifts He’s given you. He’s by your side in every joy and through every challenge. He’s whispering, “You can do this” in your ear every step of the way.

This Mother’s Day listen for that voice. Every time you feel like you can’t…hear Him say you can.

So, that’s it…that’s what a big sister says to her little sister when she’s facing one of the greatest, hardest journeys of her life…and I’ll say it again and again.

You. Can. Do. This.

Raise Them for Greatness

We spent last weekend in Washington D.C. It was a much needed family get-away! We saw monuments, went to museums, saw a hockey and a baseball game, visited Mount Vernon, had a tour of the Capitol…we had three crazy awesome jam-packed days! (Homeschool Mama’s dream!)

As we walked around looking at monuments and the incredible relics and treasures in the museums, I would remind myself that these were real people…living real lives…just like us.

IMG_5542-1

We stood looking at the sword George Washington used in battle, the desk that Thomas Jefferson used to write the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, and the hat Abraham Lincoln wore the day he was assassinated.

We walked the plantation grounds of Mount Vernon where Washington lived. We saw the bedroom and the very bed he took his last breath in. We saw the “broad stripes and bright stars” of the American Flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write, what is now, our National Anthem.

We were up close and personal with our nations history, and it was both beautiful and solemn. 

I kept thinking about the fact that these incredible men and women who made history were once just young boys and girls. They had no idea that one day there would be statues in their honor.

They laughed, cried, played games, and probably said, “I’m hungry” just like our kids do. Do you think they dreamed of adventures, never realizing they would grow up to be history makers?

IMG_5494

Did their moms and dads have a clue where their sons and daughters were headed? Do you think they knew they were kissing the scraped knees and wiping the tears of future Presidents? Did they know they were raising children who would, literally, change the world?

Do you think their parents knew who they were raising? 

I don’t think George Washington’s mother knew the little boy she tucked in every night was going to be the first President of a new nation. I don’t think Abraham Lincoln’s parents knew he was headed for greatness or surely they would have given him more than one year of “proper education.”

They didn’t have the ability to see what the future held, but they had enough wisdom and insight to raise men of character. 

What about the people who changed the world, and we don’t even know their names?

We stood at war memorials and honored the many men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I thought of the women who’s husbands never returned home, the children who never saw their fathers again…they are heroes too. We don’t know their names or their whole story, but their place in history is just as significant.

We are left with the question, “Do we know who we’re raising?”

Just like the parents of so many who have gone before, we don’t know where our kids are headed. Someone, right now, is raising a future president. Someone is raising the next Billy Graham or the next Thomas Edison. Someone is raising another Jim Elliot and Amy Carmichael. It’s happening in their homes right now, and they don’t even know it.

I am raising the mothers of my grandchildren, and that means I’m raising women who will change the world.

I don’t know what the future holds for my daughters, but I know they are headed for greatness…not because of what they will do but because of who they will be.

Let us be diligent as we raise our sons and daughters to become men and women with strength of character: men and women who will stand resolute on truth.

We need to raise children with a sense of significance. We are a part of something bigger than today.

“Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” – Andy Stanley

 

 

The Honest Truth…

Do you ever feel like all you can hear are the lies? There they are like the constant, steady drip of a leaky faucet.

It’s national honesty day. So let’s get real. The honest truth is this…Some days it seems like no matter how hard I try to stand on truth…I find myself sinking into a pitfall of lies. Anyone else ever feel that way?

A few weeks ago, during church our Worship Pastor began to pray over the ladies in our congregation…it was a prayer he had been praying over his own daughters, “May the loudest voice they hear be the Father’s voice.”

It wasn’t, “May the only voice they hear be the Father’s voice,” it was “May the loudest voice…”

There are countless voices coming at us, but which voice has our attention? Which voice has our ear?

How many times does it feel like all you can hear are the lies screaming at you?  You know the ones I’m talking about…

You’re not enough.

You don’t do enough.

You’re not smart enough.

You’re not good enough.

You’re not strong enough.

You don’t know what you’re doing.

You’re failing your kids.

Your husband deserves better.

You’ve missed it.

You’ve blown it.

You’ll never change.

Things will always be this way.

Who do you think you are?

Is God really good?

Did God really say that?

What you’re doing doesn’t matter.

Why bother trying so hard?

One by one it feels like the thoughts just keep coming – accusations and lies. Sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere…and sometimes it seems like they’ve been there, a part of you, for as long as you can remember.

One day you’re walking through life just fine and then suddenly the lies are screaming at you; so loud that they seem to drown everything else out.

We hear these lies about ourselves and then we hear and think lies about others.

They don’t care.

They don’t love you.

They are so selfish.

They think they know it all.

They wouldn’t understand.

We take these little thoughts and dwell on them for so long that suddenly the lie feels like a truth.

You’re trying your hardest to hear the actual truth…but in the face of the lies, the truth just sounds like a faint whisper. Anybody? 

At some point, if we can strain to hear the truth through the blaring lies we’ll find that it really is there…the voice of truth is still speaking. Our Father’s voice is speaking.

The voice of truth is steady, constant, and unchanging. It keeps speaking identity, value, destiny, and purpose…on repeat, all day, every day. The voice of truth speaks life in the face of lies.

Which voice are we choosing to give weight to? Which voice are we focusing on?

The voice we choose to focus on will become the loudest voice we hear.

Don’t give up. Keep listening until you hear truth overriding every lie.

Keep listening until, one by one, every lie is quieted and what remains is that constant, steady, voice of your Father…the voice of Truth.

When you say, “I’m not enough.” He says, “Christ in you is enough.”

When you say, “I’ll never change.” He says, “You’re a new creation.”

When you say, “I’m not strong enough.” He says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

A line from one of my favorite songs right now says, “For every lie I know there’s truth.” What if we believed that? What if we took every lie and said, “Jesus, I trade this lie I’ve been holding onto and believing in and I trade if for the TRUTH you speak instead.”

The good news is that it’s not a one time opportunity. We can make the trade as many times as we need to. Is there a lie you’re believing about yourself…trade it in for truth…and trade it in again ten minutes later if you need to!

Our Father will never grow tired of taking the lie and handing you truth. Make the trade. 

Oh, for the day when truth speaks louder than the lie. The day that the Father’s voice is the loudest voice. That day can be today.

We get a choice. We get to choose the voices we listen to.

The honest truth about a lie is this…it will have the power we give it. 

The honest truth is we don’t have to be victims to the onslaught of lies thrown at us.

The honest truth is our Father’s voice is there…we just need to listen for it.