Category Archives: children

Shout for Joy

 

ShoutForJoy

Shout for Joy

Shout for joy, O heavens;
rejoice, O earth;
burst into song, mountains!
For the LORD comforts His people
and will have compassion on His afflicted ones
—Isaiah 49:13

 

Here comes the bus!

The entire camp staff had assembled to greet our campers. We gathered in a circle, each in turn offering prayers for these precious children who had been placed in our charge for the week.

Years ago, I was one of the counselors at this camp for abused and abandoned children. Because of all the hurt, pain and anger they experienced every day, we were determined to show them the joy, love and grace of their Heavenly Father.

We heard the rumble of the diesel engine before we saw the bus and smiled nervously before turning to greet the unknown faces in the windows. We waved, wondering if they were as nervous as us—probably more so.

The bus stopped in front of us and the door opened. When Peter, our ‘fearless leader,’ appeared at the top of the steps, we began waving again and welcomed our little visitors with shouts and whoops. Peter smiled his approval at our enthusiasm, then yelled, “Are you ready to meet your kids?” We clapped as hard as we could and were rewarded with smiles and waves from many of the children.

Peter stepped out of the bus and consulted his clipboard. Every time he yelled a camper’s name, we jumped, clapped and shouted a spirited welcome. The children seemed to enjoy the noise and attention so we continued to act like crazy fools, hopping and jumping in accompaniment to our shouts of welcome.

These children, who usually had no hope or joy in their lives, were like sponges in our care. They soaked in the wonderful news about a Father Who truly loves and cares for them and during that short week, learned how to turn to Him for comfort and peace.

Unlike those little children, we’re old enough to understand that life isn’t always easy. Instead of lamenting what we can no longer do, let’s try shouting and singing joyfully for what we do have. No matter what is going on in our lives, God is always there with us and shouldn’t that make us want to shout for joy?

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Thankful for My Children

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Can I just say that I have the greatest children? Kathy and Alan—as well as my daughter-in-love, Denise—are such big blessings in my life and I truly do thank God for them every single day.

Last year I shared a bit about each of my children and how special they are to me, which you can read here. I am thankful that they are all walking with the Lord and seeking to follow His will in their lives.

Here I am with them at Alan and Denise’s wedding in 2010:

MyChildren

Left to Right: Kathy, Denise, Alan, me

Kathy, Alan and Denise, if you’re reading this, I love you all so much!

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

 —Ephesians 1:15-17

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AnnaSmile…..

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My Treasures, Part 4

On May 8th I posted about the treasures in my life and decided to expand on each of those treasures for the next few Treasure Tuesdays. This week I want to share the third of the treasures on my list:

My precious children: Kathy, Alan and Denise (my daughter-in-love)

I don’t normally write very much about my children so as to respect their privacy but I’m making an exception today because each of them is a true treasure to me.

Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me. –Mark 9:37

A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous…full of beauty and forever beautiful…loving and caring and truly amazing. Deanna Beisser

Kathy is my first-born and what a treasure she is in my life! I became aware of her existence while I was still engaged to be married to my first husband (Rick is my second husband). Like many women who find out they’re pregnant before marriage, my first thought was to have an abortion. Yes, as difficult as it is for me to share this with you, I gave very serious consideration to having an abortion. I even made the appointment but God had other ideas. After making the actual appointment, which was a couple of weeks away, I became so despondent that I slept almost every minute I was not working, and boy, did I have nightmares about babies dying!

Since I’ve shared a tiny bit about Kathy here before, obviously I did not go through with the abortion. And the blessings I have received since deciding against the abortion have been HUGE! Kathy is precious to me in ways I can’t even express. I am so thankful and blessed that she is not “only” my daughter but one of my closest friends. In fact, she knows me better than anyone else, even my Rick. After all, she and I grew up together and we’re both pink girls!

So, my Kathy, I know I’ve told you before how much you mean to me, and how thankful I am that you came into my life, but I don’t think I tell you often enough how precious our relationship is to me. Because, as you well know, my eyes would leak too much … as they are right now! Thank you for being such a wonderful and caring daughter to me. I am so proud of the woman you have grown to be, one who loves the Lord and seeks to always do His will. I you soooooooo much!

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. –Proverbs 22:6

It is truly a gift to have a son like you who grows more precious with the years! Author Unknown

Another treasure is Alan, my second-born. As I’ve shared before, I am one of 5 daughters (no sons), and Alan was the first boy born into our family in over 20 years. To say I was a bit unprepared to raise a boy is a huge understatement. Oh, in my babysitting years I had of course watched boys as well as girls. But raising up a boy of my own?

As a child, Alan loved anything to do with trucks and construction equipment. He went through a phase when he was around 3 years old when he wanted to be a fireman. He had a child-size fire helmet (red) and a plastic riding fire truck and loved both of them. Fast forward to about 15 years ago [please forgive me, Alan, if my math is slightly off] when he became a true firefighter. And these days, as a captain, he’s wearing a red fire helmet again!

Alan’s faith walk is a story that bears sharing because it shows how God honors the prayers of a faithful heart.

Alan asked Jesus into his heart as a youngster, but as a teen and some years beyond, he became very disillusioned with organized religion and did not want to hear or talk about spiritual matters. That terribly hurt this mother’s heart but didn’t stop me from praying constantly for him to come back to the Lord. For many years I prayed for the Lord to bring a godly friend into his life, and not only that, but for a godly wife for him too. How was I to know that the Lord would honor each of my prayers by bringing Alan both things in one person?

When Alan told me he was going to propose to Denise, he said, “She’s the one God used to bring me back to the light.” Oh, how happy and thankful I was to hear that!

But wait… there’s more.

Alan thought he knew the Lord intimately then (that was about 3 years ago), but last year while he and his crew were helping to fight one of Arizona’s inevitable summer wild fires, God showed Himself to Alan in such an incredibly personal way that Alan was immeasurably changed. He not only became baptized—and I got to witness that special event!—but he is now involved with a mission team that serves in Albania to teach medical and life-saving procedures and protocol to medical personnel there. In fact, he has been on two missions so far and will be leaving on another one this September.

Can you say gratified … joyful … thankful … and a bunch of other praise adjectives I can’t even think of right now?

Alan, I always have and always will appreciate your love for me and  how much you care for and want to protect me. I am so proud of the man you have grown into, and will never cease to thank God for you in my life. And I’m guessing He still has some mighty big plans for you, Son! I love you more than you can imagine!

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. –Proverbs 31:10-12

Daughters are angels sent from above to fill our heart with unending love. J. Lee

Denise is my next treasure. I know it’s a cliche, but I call Denise my daughter-in-love because she is! And besides, daughter-in-law sounds so technical… and legal [which it is, but that's not the point here].

Denise was first Alan’s friend and that friendship blossomed into something more. I have often said that a solid marriage needs to have the base of friendship and Denise and Alan’s marriage has that.

To say that Denise is a gift from God to Alan is to state the obvious. That she is a gift to our family is undeniable. She and Alan complement each other very well, and support each other spiritually and personally.

When Rick and I were doing our premarital counseling, the example of an orange was used as a way to describe marriage. If you tear (not cut) an orange into two halves, each half has ragged edges and you can only fit the orange back together in one way. In the same manner, husbands and wives have strengths and weaknesses that complement one another so that they “fit well” together. Where one may be lacking something, the other can fill in.

This is how I see Alan and Denise’s marriage. Denise just completes Alan and vice versa.

I love Denise immensely because of who she is, because of her strong faith, because God chose her to bring Alan back to Him, because Alan loves her so. And last but not least: because she loves Alan—my son—so much.

So it’s no wonder I consider Denise as one of my children even though I did not give birth to her. She is the daughter of my heart if not my body. Denise, I thank God for you every day and love you so much!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. –3 John 1:4

So there you have it: the treasure of my children. They are truly astounding and precious gifts from God to me!

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