Tag Archives: children

Give God Your Failed Plans…God Prospers and  Encourages Us with Silver Linings, Smiles, and Truth

Sometimes you’re feeling down, maybe really down… and your eyes light on something out of the blue… something that makes you smile. Today it’s one of my daughter’s simple deer drawings. The notepad is lying open, because she’s working on her book, in my room, on the floor… because she never likes to be alone. They are all over the house, the books she creates… millions of them! She’s already the author and illustrator of many animal books about puppy dogs, deer, and lions!  If you’re struggling today, I hope this brightens your day; I find that children’s art always makes me smile. I love the innocence and cute charm of their simple pictures, don’t you? 

Today I can choose to look for the silver lining… the many gifts God gives me in spite of my struggles. There’s a mockingbird chirping outside of my window. Her mate has been feeding her yellow flowers all week long. It’s been so much fun to discover the male sitting atop our shed, being the lookout, then sailing into the woods, only to return and dash in to please her feeding her the delicious food he has found just for her. She’s chirped for him to come when she’s hungry. We’ve watched in awe at how he’s taken care of her. We laughed as I tried to capture the beautiful moment, only to see her “poop” on the deck. My daughter and I laughed until we almost cried! It was the silver lining in a moment that was not perfect.

I had perfection in mind for this weekend, with everything laid out exactly how it should go. But I forgot, as I still sometimes do, that my God doesn’t work like that. Everybody has free will, and because of that free will, there will be interruptions and problems which may interfere with my plans coming to fruition. But God’s plans always come to fruition, and His plans are the best, no matter what it looks like on the outside. I know this is how God works, but I forgot this weekend. I became extremely discouraged when a family argument prevented us from getting something completed that I felt was extremely important. 

And now as I write, God is at this moment revealing to me that He allowed it; not only because our family needed prayer time more than project time, but that He wanted me to see that this is often the struggle my husband has. My husband wants to “check things off the list.” He is learning that his list often does not coincide with what God wants him to do first. Well… in experiencing this frustration for myself this weekend, I realize now that God allowed it, so I could experience all the emotions my husband experiences when he doesn’t get to “check off that important item.” This helps me to better understand my husband, so I can keep praying for him. It also provides my husband an opportunity to empathize with me, because he knows exactly how it feels when something doesn’t get done.

God has a different checklist in mind than ours. His checklist is less about things getting done, and more about people’s hearts being changed to be more like Jesus. It’s a guarantee that if it comes down to a project getting done, or prayer time for hearts to be changed, God is going with the heart. Maybe we need to be less about getting things done, and more about spending time with God so he can change us. Yes, God cares about our projects too; but He cares more about our individual walk with Jesus. He cares so much, that when He knows a stormy argument is going to cause an upset, He provides the silver linings along the way; to give us hope, and to encourage us so we won’t give up! 

During the weekend which did not go as planned, God planned His gifts ahead of time, because He knew I’d need them to keep my spirit afloat when I felt myself sinking. Because of my abusive childhood, I tend to get extremely discouraged when there’s a family argument. I begin to listen to lies that tell me no one cares and that I’m not loved. As a child scapegoat living in a completely dysfunctional home, I was blamed for everything; neglected and ignored, told I should feel guilty, and that I ruined everything. The problems were not even about me. But when circumstances come along that feel familiar, so comes a spiritual attack, and I will feel myself drowning in discouragement. Though I’ve learned to battle the lies with the truth, sometimes I forget to use my power and authority in Jesus Christ and tell the devil to sit on a tack! 

The only way to chase away those lies is through prayer. Why? Because we can’t count on our emotions. Evil spirits lie to us, and strive to cause strife, division, and isolation in our families. But as my husband reminded my whole family last night; because our kids are fed and clothed and live in a nice clean house, some people may think from the outside that our family has it all together; just as people might have thought my family had it all together when I was a child. However, the truth is that all families struggle, but there is a vast difference when Jesus is in the middle of a family, as opposed to when he is not. My husband remarked that though Jesus was not at the center of my family when I was growing up, Jesus is at the center of OUR family now! All five of us have received Jesus into our hearts, and we all desire to have a relationship with him. 

Therefore, Jesus has always been with our family, even when we’ve been on different walks in our pursuit of him, and even when we haven’t understood how a healthy family functions. For, neither of us experienced God’s truths taught in our families; the truth that we are completely forgiven for all of our sins, the truth that we can battle lies with prayer, the truth that we are loved and cherished by God unconditionally, and so much more! We are creating a whole new generation for our children and children’s children; as we all pursue God and learn together, and find that we are loved beyond measure! Because our family pursues Jesus, and because our family prays together, we can have hope, and be encouraged that God is taking care of us through it all! 

And God knows we need tangible proof of His love for us. After all, we are only human. A huge silver lining that carried us through this weekend was an on-the-spot invitation from our dear family friends, as we left church. It came when George said, ” Hey! Do you guys wanna come over later for a barbecue?” My daughter couldn’t wait. She was watching the time, and asked if our friends still had their cats. They did.

It was the most delightful evening we’ve had in a long time: laughter with friends, delicious grilled chicken, and another unexpected guest to add to the fun. My precious friend, Kim, even served homemade strawberry shortcake in honor of my boys’ belated birthday. She also served my husband’s favorite; rhubarb sauce. We even had the heavy whipping cream at home, which we were gratefully able to contribute, because my husband had bought some the day just the day before. We don’t normally have this item in hand, but we bought some to use with our new ice cream maker. God even cares about the tiny details! The night ended with everyone hanging out near the chicken coop. The chickens’ silly antics made us laugh. Their individual personalities came out, and many of them enjoyed being carried or sitting on laps! It was just a really special night, when another family made our family feel important and loved. God orchestrated that! 

I know that it’s these silver linings on which God wants me to focus; not the hardships, even though it’s difficult when you  feel those strong emotions, and the lies feel so true. Though yesterday was tough, there was an absolutely glorious sunset last night, reminding me that God is Lord above us all; watching over everything and everyone. And right before I went to bed, a text message came from my pretty, cheerful friend, asking if she could take my daughter today for a play date. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and with a girlfriend my daughter absolutely adores! Now I will have some time to write, clean, and be creative; which I’ve been trying to do, but just have not been able to find a slice of time that works for me. Even though things are far from perfect, the silver lining which shines brightest, is knowing my family is pursuing Jesus through it all… every single day… together. 

I pray for you to find the sweet silver linings today, which God has already gifted to you in advance, because he wants to bring a smile to your face. When things don’t go as planned, don’t be dismayed. Remember this: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (Jer. 29:11-12 New International Version).


I’m going to meet with God today, and ask Him to brighten my day, and the day of anyone who reads this message of hope, truth, and encouragement. Today, I pray God reveals many of the silver linings He has prepared just for you, in Jesus’ name. May God continue to brighten my day… and yours!  

Pretty Ponies? A Mother’s “Short Tale”

Yesterday, my daughter asked if she could give one of her ponies a hair cut. We had given a trim to one of her My Little Pony pets before, so I agreed. I reminded her that the pony’s hair couldn’t grow back, and gave her a small pair of scissors, and a piece of cardstick to set underneath.

My daughter returned to ask if she could give another pony a hair cut. “I guess so,” I agreed, while casually mentioning that if she later decided to sell some of her ponies at a yard sale, the other little girls might be looking for long manes and tails. She nodded her head, and then we both shrugged. Who cared about a yard sale? They were her ponies now, and she had a bunch of them. She skipped off to take them to the pony salon; and snip, clip, and shampoo their colorful locks into new hairdos.

After about a half an hour, my normally cheery, confident little girl came into my room, downcast. “What’s wrong, little one?” I asked.

She lowered her head, and her voice slightly trembled, “I don’t think I want to give my ponies a hair cut anymore.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because…”

“How many ponies got hair cuts?”

“About eight…”

“Ohhhh!” I laughed; “Well that’s a lot of ponies. But that’s okay, because you have a lot of ponies. But that’s probably enough ponies getting haircuts.”

But I knew. I could feel the guilt, anxiety, and self-condemnation clinging to her; because it was all too familiar. I was immediately brought back to my childhood; where everything I did was wrong, every mistake was shameful, and no bad choices were forgiven.

NOT MY GIRL, DEVIL! NOT MY GIRL!

“Wait!” I grabbed her skinny little self and folded her into a hug. “Look at me,” I coaxed. She looked up with sad eyes. Her huge, teary eyes displayed a rainbow of colors; just like her little ponies. “Did you have fun?” I asked. Her head nodded up and down. “Do you like their haircuts?” She nodded yes, again. “Then that’s all that matters, Honey!”

I pulled her close into me, and said “Let’s pray…” But she was already bowing her little head, because she knows Jesus brings comfort when Mommy prays. My hands started at the top of her own long, curly, tangled mane. As I prayed over her soft, sweet head; I combed my fingers all the way down to the bottom of her hair, which ended at her waist.

I renounced guilt, anxiety, and self-condemnations for my daughter, in Jesus’ name. I told the devil to go “sit on a tack” in the name of Jesus, and that he was not allowed to steal her joy. I thanked God for my beautiful daughter and her endlessly creative imagination, along with the ability to try new, exciting things. I asked God to fill my daughter with His Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. I asked God to replace her sadness with  joy and peace.  I thanked God for my little girl and her love for animals, including ponies. I asked God to bless her future and all that it entails! 

After praying, I gave her a kiss, and she ran off to play. It was GONE! The sadness, the worry, the doubt… it was all GONE! That’s because I have the power and authority in Jesus Christ, to intervene on behalf of my daughter, and tell the devil to get lost. I can only do this because of who I am in Christ, and my daughter knows she has this same power and authority within her too.

The situation had not changed. The hair did not miraculously grow back.  But what did change, was the lies. The lies weren’t there anymore. They had been prayed away in the name of Jesus. The devil had lied to my daughter, and tried to ruin her day, by deceiving her, and stealing her joy. I was not fooled by his tactics. We had been here before when the devil had lied to her about her artwork mistakes.

NOT MY GIRL, DEVIL! NOT MY GIRL!

When our children are struggling with a  spiritual attack, the silver lining is that we parents who battle for our children, are already promised a victory! We don’t have to play or put up with the devil’s games; but we must pray, and fight back in the name of Jesus! There’s a battle for our children’s spiritual well being; so saddle up, and giddy up! The Bible says we win the race!

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”  (Phil. 3:14 New Living Translation).

Make your decisions, and ride your race without fear! 

15 Ways to Receive a Mother’s Day Blessing, even if You don’t have a Mom, or are Hoping to be One…

So many hearts find Mother’s Day to be a time of sadness and despair, instead of gladness and delight. Many have lost their mothers due to cancer or old age. Some have been abandoned or abused by their mothers, and are no longer a part of each other’s lives. Some have never known their mothers. No matter the reason, not having a mother leaves one with an empty hole; an ache to be nurtured, a desire to be treasured, a wish to be guided in godly wisdom and unconditionally loved.

Still others hearts are left feeling an empty spot, because they are aching to be mothers. It hurts when desire runs deep, and a woman has so much love to give and yearns to share it, yet it remains unfulfilled. It may be another miscarriage, a long struggle with infertility treatments, or an adoption process which is taking way too long.

But the silver lining is that there is hope for each and every woman; those who do not have a mom to love on them, and those who do not have a child to love. And there is hope for the precious mothers who have loved and lost their children too; children who are waiting in Heaven for their mothers to be reunited with them one day. As we wait for God to fully heal our hurting hearts, we can find joy in serving and loving the mothers who need us…sisters in Christ.

For God works in miraculous ways. As God blesses us, He uses us to touch the hearts of other sisters in Christ. NEVER give up on God; He knows exactly how to bless each and every one of us in His good and perfect timing! He can also fill up every empty spot that no one else on earth can… not even a mother.

Here are 20 ways to receive a Mother’s Day blessing, even if you don’t have a mom, or are hoping to be one…

  1. Bring a meal to a new mom who just had a baby. Stay and hold her baby so she and her husband can eat your delicious meal. In the meantime, get your baby cuddle fix!
  2. Volunteer to pass out carnations to all the moms at church. Seeing their smiles, are sure to make you smile too!
  3. Find a mom who treats you like her own child and give her a gift with a thank you card, telling her how much she means to you.  Or, send a card to a mom you admire, and tell her why. You’ll make her day with the unexpected.
  4. Offer to babysit for a friend who is overwhelmed. Bring a new game or toy with you. Play with the children while she runs errands or takes a nap upstairs! She will never forget it!
  5. Tutor a child in a subject where your mom friend is bumping heads with her own child. Mom gets a break from homework patrol and can bake you all some cookies while the math gets completed!
  6. Volunteer for a soup kitchen. Filling the need for hunger is one of the most important jobs a mother will ever have.
  7. Send some encouraging bible verses to a mom who is struggling with depression. Romans, chapter 8 is a great place to start:  “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1 New Living Translation).
  8. Bring flowers to a Sunday School teacher who loves and treats the children as if they are her own.
  9. Sign up to lead Vacation Bible School or to help coach a kids’ soccer or softball team. It’s a chance to use mom skills which can benefit the whole team!
  10. Look into fostering or adoption. There is an incredible need for children to be loved. So many need emergency care, and many more need forever homes. Sometimes God delays pregnancy, because he wants to gift a mother with more than one child. Many women enjoy the amazing experience of both adopting a child and going through a pregnancy! After all, God has adopted us as sons and daughters through His Son, Jesus Christ. God’s plans are amazing!
  11. Thank God for the moms who have been significant in your life. Maybe one of them has even led you to Christ! Ask God to send these mothers a special blessing, in the name of Jesus. Reach out to some of them and let them know you are praying for them.
  12. If you have a grandmother, give her a call to tell her how much of a role model she has been in your life. A personal phone call is a great gift, especially in these modern days of emails and text messaging.
  13. On social media, ask for prayer requests from your friends who are moms. Let them know you would like to pray for them during Mother’s Day Week.  Ask them to message you with their prayer requests.
  14. Take one of your friends, who is a mom, out to dinner one night. Make an effort to really listen to her challenges about being a mom. Offer to pray for her.
  15. Visit a nursing home, and read a book to an elderly mom, or to someone whom might need the loving touch which a mom would bring.

Whether you are hoping to be a mother because you are struggling with infertility, have had multiple miscarriages, and didn’t get to even hold your babies, or are fostering or waiting to adopt; Jesus says you are blessed.

Whether you have had an abortion, and regretted it, and repented and asked God for forgiveness, and are now making your way past the guilt and self-condemnation with Jesus by your side, you are blessed.

Whether you’re a mother who has gone through the trauma of having birthed, raised, loved, and lost your child or children, and face the devastation of their death, which no mother should have to endure; Jesus says you are blessed. He died on the cross while watching his own mother pour out her heart of tears over his suffering and his death.  Jesus understands, and He is The One who will carry your burden and help you through your profound grief and suffering.

For Jesus loves us all: whether we are barren or fertile, orphans or claimed. If you are poor in spirit because of anything having to do with motherhood, especially mourning;  Jesus says you are blessed!  For the silver lining is that God is watching over you. Even if it doesn’t feel like it; God loves you and He wants to heal your heart and take away your pain. For God’s own beloved Son, Jesus, proclaims your blessing in The Beatitudes from The Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Matt 5:3-4

The confidence we have in Christ of knowing we are blessed right where we are, in the midst of our deepest heartbreak and heartache, is a reason for hope. If we trust God, we can believe Jesus when he says we are blessed. It means he is taking care of us even now as we weep, and that he will provide blessings of joy for us both here on Earth, and up in Heaven.

Pray for whatever it is you seek regarding motherhood. If you want salvation for your mother, ask God. If you want truth to be revealed about your relationship, pray for it. If you want healing for your hurting heart, because you miss your mom in Heaven, pray to God and ask Him to comfort you. If you want to have a baby, pray for it to happen. If you want to adopt a child, ask God to lead you to the child who is waiting for you. And if you are among the blessed mothers who have a broken heart, because your child left this earth before you did, my precious sister in Chris;  ask Jesus to comfort you, strengthen you, and give you joy, rest, and peace. He loves you!

My own story involves four years of infertility, so I was already praying for a baby. As we started infertility treatment, since I was getting older, I decided to prayed for twins. So why was I so surprised God gave them to me?! When they were were born 2-1/2 months premature, I prayed for their very survival; I prayed for them to live. God heard my prayers, and He helped my babies to hang on, and to thrive! When one of my twins almost died at the age of three, God heard me pleading for his life, according to the will of God. God spared his life, and I’m forever grateful. God had a plan for my boys to grow up together.  God has brought my children through severe illness and traumatic injuries. God kept my daughter alive when years later, it was time for her to be born, and my doctor found the cord wrapped around her neck. I needed an emergency C-section. Many people were praying for my baby girl, and God brought her to us in perfect condition! Praise The Lord!

I don’t have all the answers to why things happen the way they do, but I do know that prayer is powerful, and that God has a perfect plan for His own children… all of us!  Keep trusting God and pursue Jesus through it all! Remember, you are blessed!

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jer. 29:11


We are NEVER alone or without hope, in Christ Jesus. God will heal us, show us joy, give us love, and provide us with everything we need! 

Jesus Is INSTRUMENTAL to your Healing!

No one can tell me there isn’t a GOD! God gave my son a MIRACLE! He gave my dad a MIRACLE at the same time! They are no longer sick. They have been healed! JESUS IS THE MIRACLE! Repent, and ask him to come into your life!

I posted this good news to social media, on March 27, 2014; three years ago, and as a ‘butterfly blip’ on my blog. How timely, to discover it again during this Easter month, when I’ve chosen the theme of HEALING. 

There is more to share about our family’s trial of suffering through the terrible diseases of eosinophilic esophagitis, cancer, and a pulmonary embolism resulting in three brushes with death. There is much to say, in order to offer hope to those who’ve given up because they’re so sick; and to tell them how Jesus heals generational illnesses through the simple act of forgiving through Jesus Christ. Those stories, and more, will come. 

But today, it’s the day before Easter! And I want to tell you that Jesus is The Great Physician! He is a Miracle Maker! He can do what no earthly doctor can; simply by choosing to answer our prayers! Doctors, nurses, and medicine are wonderful things. Of course they are, for they only came about, because God created them. God guides doctors’ hands and gives them wisdom. God fills nurses’ hearts with compassion and knowledge. God creates men and women with intricate brains, so they can research and invent medines to help cure what ails us. 

But none of it works without God’s healing touch, and God needs none of it at all to heal us; when He can simply reach down… and perform a miracle! The power of prayer and anointing makes modern medicine go farther… and it can also stand alone, leaving us in awe at what God can do without human intervention. Prayer and anointing bring us closer to God, and they point us to the Great I AM; proving He is solely in charge of our health. God can heal in an instant… but He wants a relationship with us. He wants to show us how much He loves us!

This is why, three years ago, I was able to write this post on social media!  And GOD gets ALL the glory! For both my son, and my father, had over 500 people praying for them to be healed. Both were anointed in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. And both… were mightily, and miraculously healed!

My Easter praise from 2014:

“Praise the Lord!

My son is in remission from his Eosinophilic Esophagitis!

There are no eosinophils (white blood cells) in his esophagus. Zero!

No signs of damage. Complete remission!
God is so good!


How interesting it is that God’s timing for healing my son is at the same time that God’s saved my father’s life!

It is true that God does things in a big way (abundantly).

Both my father and my son each have more hurdles, and they both each have a big one, but God is good, and I’m excited about the plans he has for us!

“The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness” (Psalm 41:3 New International Version).

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 ).

Thank you everyone for your prayers!”

That was my message in 2014, and I believe in it three years later, more than ever! So, go ahead; make your appointments, and go to the doctor. Do not neglect your health, which should be high priority; as we care for our children, parents, and ourselves. But in doing so, do not spiritually neglect your health. I’m not talking about “meditative states,” “colorful energy,” or “sending positive vibes.” These actions do nothing; and in fact, can cause both believers, and unbelievers, to stray from The Truth. I’m talking about reading healing scriptures from the Bible, praying to God,  and pursuing The Great Physician; Jesus Christ! NOW we are talking about HOPE for HEALING!

Take your suffering, pain, illness, infirmary, sickness, emotional distress, depression, incurable disease, hopeless dire situation… and LAY IT BEFORE THE FEET OF JESUS, AT THE CROSS, FIRST! Then go where God tells you to go, and take it one step at a time. Let Jesus carry your burden. He has already promised to do it for you!

” ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’ ” (Matt. 11:29-30).

Now I must get some sleep. For it is almost time to enjoy “Easter in the Park,” where my now healthy son, will be playing music under the gazebo with his twin brother… ALL to serve GOD; so children can enjoy the day hunting for colored eggs, and most importantly, learn about Jesus Christ… The Miracle Maker!

Trust in Jesus to heal you… and give you VICTORY! 

GOT JESUS? He’s got enough love for YOU too! Here how to get to know him! HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART, AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!

Visit The Silver Lining Facebook page for even more encouragement on: HEALING, by other Christian authors, poets, and bloggers as well as myself.  I invite you to join my page, and invite others, so they can be lifted up by godly truths founded in scripture; which when applied, can change, heal, and save lives!  

Read more blog posts on HEALING!

Original link:  Looking Back on Easter Miracles

The Heart of a Child Seeks Wisdom

Last night, while praying with my family, and discussing the Proverbs, my seven-year old daughter reminded me that she wanted to read the Proverbs too! Convicted, I realized this was the second night in a row that she had mentioned it to me, and that I had not included her when I had invited my family, friends, and readers; to read a Proverb a day during Lent. Though we were reading her bible stories, I had not thought about taking her on this journey of gaining wisdom through my favorite book of The Holy Bible: Proverbs.  

My heart was touched by my child’s yearning to grow even more in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. She wanted to learn more about God’s promises,and His commands which protect us, and keep us from going down the wrong path. I read a few to her and explained them, while promising to find her a children’s book of Proverbs, because she also likes to read by herself. My young artist’s eyes lit up, as her little fingers reached for the thin pages of my coloring bible, as she realized she could also draw and color, while reading her way through the scriptures. I realized I needed to get her a coloring bible too!

I was filled with joy, as I took in the truth: Even with all my imperfections, my child is watching me walk with Jesus, and making the choice to walk with him too. Our family found out she knew Jesus, and already had a relationship with him, while she was yet only the tender age of three years old. My daughter showed a gift for discerning and understanding scriptures, forgiving easily, and  comforting others by perceiving their pain, along with ability to melt it away; even before her preschool years. She has wisdom beyond her years, and it is not credited to me; it is because God has given her these beautiful gifts. I marvel at them, just as I do at the gifts he has given to my twin boys, who are now young adults, and just as I see gifts within the children of my friends, and the children who have attended my Sunday school classes. 

The Proverb I read to my daughter last night happened to be: “These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance–for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise” (Prov. 1:4-6 New International Version). Never assume someone is too young to follow Jesus, for the innocence of children is clean and pure. They don’t have the dirt and lies of the world to spoil their view, so they can see truth and love more clearly. Share God’s wisdom, truth, and love with a precious child today! 


“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.  Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:1-5 New Living Translation).

*Bible page pictured from Inspire ~ The Bible for Creative Journaling ~ NLT



Dear Daddy, Please Dance with Me! (Father Daughter Dance: An Open Invitation)

Daddy you might have missed out on some love when you were my age. I understand. Daddy, don’t you know that’s why God gave me to you, to help heal that sad place in your heart? When you take me dancing you will forget your pain as we slip and slide on the dance floor. We will laugh, and we will eat sweets together. Then we will get a tummy ache from all the sugar.

You will teach me how a girl should be treated. You will tell me I am the prettiest girl in the room, and ask for a kiss on the cheek. We will get our picture taken; just the two of us together. At the cookie table, you’ll help me with my plate, and serve me a glass of fruit punch. Then, we will sit down to eat and tell jokes. When you ask me for a dance, I’ll put my feet on yours, and stand on my tiptoes!  You’re taller than me, but that’s part of the fun, because you can pick me up and twirl me around until my curls come undone! 

If I cry at the dance because I suddenly feel shy, you will hold me in your warm safe arms, and take your thumb and wipe the tears from my eyes. Then you will kiss both of my wet cheeks, and rub my back, and I will feel better. You will be happy when you see me do the Choo Choo train dance with my friends. You will watch my dress swirl around me as I spin in circles. You will be happy to see me running wild and free in my stockinged feet, because I kicked off my fancy shoes as soon as we got to the dance. 

If you’re a social daddy, we will cut up the dance floor and people will cheer. If you’re a shy daddy, you will watch me, and you will smile as I dance with my friends. If you’re a daddy with two left feet, you will just hug me for the slow dance, and we will figure it out by shuffling our feet around in a circle. You will laugh, and I won’t be able to control my giggles. If you’re a sharp dresser, you’ll wear your suit and tie. If you’re a more casual daddy, you’ll wear your jeans. Because Daddy, all the daddies are just right for the Father Daughter Dance. It’s easy, because you don’t have to know how to dance; the daddies just need to bring their daughters! And Daddy, if you bring me to the dance, and we just hang out and give each other hugs, that’s dancing enough for me! 

I don’t care which kind of Daddy you are at the dance; I just want you to come to the dance with me. I don’t want an absent daddy, unless, of course, you can’t help it. It might be because you are saving someone’s life, or working to get us money for food, or you’re fighting for our country. Or, you might be out making sure there are no bad guys in the streets, or you might be making sure no houses are burning down… or you might even be sick. I understand, Daddy. If that happens, we can have our own Father Daughter Dance at home. I’ll be ready. We can make cookies, and play a game, and dance to the radio. 

I just want to know that you love me Daddy, that you think I’m smart and beautiful and fun. I need to know I am special enough for you to want to spend time with me. I want to know that I’m a princess in my daddy’s eyes. Because Daddy, this is how I learn that my Heavenly Father loves and cherishes me. The way you treat me is how I first view GOD! And I will learn to follow, trust, and believe in GOD as my Heavenly Father; just the way I learn to follow, trust, and believe in you! Daddy, I need you to lead me!

So thank you, Daddy, for bringing me to the dance. And for all the little girls who don’t have a daddy like you; I want to tell them to look for the silver lining: Girls, God loves YOU! God is your Heavenly Father! He thinks you are beautiful, and smart and fun, and He wants to spend time with YOU! His name is ABBA, and He is perfect! 

God loves you so much, He came down to earth as a baby. That baby grew into a man. That man died on the cross for all of our sins. That man is Jesus, the Son of God! All the daddies and mommies and daughters and sons who believe in HIS name, will get to dance in Heaven one day. Believe me, you will not want to miss that party! 

Daddy, please make sure you meet Jesus and become friends with him; because this way we will never, ever miss a dance in Heaven, and we will be together forever and ever! I love you Daddy! 

Love,

Your Daughter

“A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

(Psalm 23: 1-3  New International Version)

Daddy, lead me on The Lord’s path of righteousness and love! 

Adopted by God, Never Alone! 

Many children are living on earth as orphans. They are left fatherless and motherless. Sometimes it’s because of circumstances that couldn’t be helped; sometimes it’s because of the sins of the forefathers, and the fall of man. But the silver lining is that God loves adoption! God promises to come for those of us who have been left alone and abandoned. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (Jn. 14:18 New International Version).

Jesus, Miraculous Son of God, was adopted by his earthly Father, Joseph. Joseph was engaged to Mary, who gave birth to Jesus, while she was still yet a virgin. Because of this amazing birth, we are able to be adopted as sons and daughters of The Lord God Jehovah. Only through Jesus Christ, do we have the privilege to be called children of The Most High God. “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (Jn. 1:12 New Living Translation). 

God fills us with His Holy Spirit. He calls us to adopt children who need earthly mothers and fathers to look after them, care for them, and love them. He tells us to look after widows and orphans. “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (Jas. 1:27 NLT).

We can show obedience to God by fostering, adopting, supporting, sponsoring, and praying for orphans. When we care for orphans, we can be a shining example of the great mercy, grace, and love God displays for us! How is God calling you to help orphans today? Just as we need God, orphans need us. Open your heart to love. Pray for the orphans living around the world!

Find loving, daily encouragement on The Silver Lining’s Facebook page! 💙

Forgiveness is a Chewed Shoe

“Forgive…

Or, you can choose not to forgive, and get farther away from God.

Usually, if you’re not a forgiver, you’re not a Christian…

Like, if your dog chewed up your shoe… you still love him!”

~Abigail Pelleman, age 7

These were the words my daughter said to me this week, after she overheard me telling her dad that I had forgiven him, but I still struggled over the fact that he had convinced me to throw away over ten years of teacher files. For our homeschool lesson, I was teaching my daughter a grammar lesson on contractions, wishing for some of the games and activities I’d had 25 years ago as a public school teacher.

Several years back, my files had been accidentally stored in the garage, and little critters had visited the box. They’d left a few marks…and I’m not talking about A+’s! Any elementary through high school teacher will tell you about the important of his or her teacher files! The files are a cumulative collection of our college professors’ teacher tips, copies of activities created and shared by ourselves and other teachers, and copyrighted lessons which grant special permissions to reproduce for education or classroom use. I’d hoped to salvage any folders that were hiding and had escaped, untouched. My husband had insisted I should just throw the entire box away; it would be daunting work to go through it paper by paper. I reluctantly agreed, and later deeply regretted it, feeling I’d made a dreadful mistake. I wondered at times, if I should have checked to make sure. It didn’t matter. The files were long gone.

There were other items my husband had convinced me to throw away, including: a fire place mantel, a hutch, and an old favorite beat up desk which was past its prime. These were things my husband wanted to”check off his list,” while the gears in my mind were considering options to repair, sell, or donate. We each had a different approach for getting rid of items we no longer needed. The differing opinions always eventually came again to the surface, as they do in any marriage where there is an attempt at communication. Sometimes these differences rub over the “sore spot” of an old wound from a long past argument. I was discussing the old wound of regret with my husband, as my daughter worked quietly at kitchen table.

My young daughter, in her godly wisdom, knew exactly how my old wound could heal…through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Even if we have forgiven people over past events, sometimes the nick of the old wound brings about feelings of regret. Regret is actually a form of guilt. When regret visits, we need to take a second look, and make sure we have forgiven anyone who has offended us through Jesus Christ. I’d forgiven my husband, which caused me to wonder why I was still struggling with regret. I didn’t realize until much later, that the person who needed my forgiveness most, was actually…me. I renounced the spirit of guilt, in Jesus’ name, for not being able to provide my daughter with those delightful activities from long ago. My prayer worked. And so did my daughter’s. Today, on impulse, I created a brand new lesson. The activity made her laugh so hard, she had tears in her eyes!

During those first days of my teaching career, when I was just beginning to build up that precious box of teacher files, money was budgeted carefully. I’d come home to discover that my puppy had chewed up my brand new leather career shoes and my brand new leather purse. I was not happy! But, as I scooped up the ball of warm, wriggly cocker spaniel, and looked into her chocolate brown eyes, the forgiveness came immediately. The silver lining is that God feels the same way about us! He gathers us into His arms, and covers us with the forgiveness of Christ.

Whether a mistake from the past is real or perceived, we may come face to face with regret. Whether regret comes from old wounds requiring surgery, or just a tiny little paper cut, it all needs to be healed through the power of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Accepting God’s grace and mercy is the greatest gift towards living a hope-filled life of joy and freedom here on earth. Give your past regrets to Jesus: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14 New International Version).

Summary of 3 biblical truths on forgiveness, backed by scripture, based on the words of a young child filled with The Holy Spirit:

1. “Forgive… or, you can choose not to forgive, and get farther away from God.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matt. 6:14-15

2. “Usually, if you’re not a forgiver, you’re not a Christian…”

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20 

3. “Like, if your dog chewed up your shoe… you still love him!”

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

 

Fill Your Shopping Cart With Love

A couple weeks ago, as I stood in line at Costco to purchase my groceries, a young mom struggled with her three children in line. She wore a baby in a pouch, had an older baby in the top seat of the cart, and was trying to calm an angry preschooler who sat in a friend’s cart on the other side of her. Her friend was another young mom with her own baby, and they were both trying to buy their items while keeping all the kids under control. 

I had seen this young mom earlier in the store, begging the older baby to stay in her top seat in the cart. The baby was attempting to stand up in the top front seat of the cart over and over again. The young mother would sit the baby down and run to get something, and dart back to the baby who kept wriggling herself out of the unfastened seat while trying to stand.

Honestly, it was scary! I was so concerned the baby would fall out and hit her head on the concrete. It was an accident waiting to happen, as the mother kept turning her back, and returning quickly to the cart, begging the baby to sit back down again. 

I didn’t understand why the mother didn’t just strap the baby into the cart, or just push her a few feet over to the next aisle. But I did know that the young mother was incredibly stressed out, and I surely could understood that! Perhaps the cart was difficult to push with the smaller baby sleeping in a pouch attached to Mommy’s belly. Maybe something was wrong with the strap. Maybe it was painful to push the heavy cart. I don’t really know why safety wasn’t being practiced or put into place. I thought maybe I could stand nearby to catch the baby in case she fell. So that’s what I did.

As the mom returned, I was coaxing her baby to sit down. I gently let the mom know that I was standing there so the baby wouldn’t fall. But it was obvious. Her baby was wriggling upward in the cart again. She asked the baby to sit down again, and thanked me for being there. I said bye-bye to her little one, and we both continued to shop. Now, a half hour later, we were in parallel checkout lanes, and the pattern was being repeated. 

In my head were visions of toddlers falling out of grocery carts onto the hard concrete floor. I’d read stories about children having concussions, and even dying, because they had stood up and fallen from grocery carts. I thought about the brazen attempts of kidnapping that had been caught on video camera, where children had been grabbed, while distracted parents had left them unattended, beyond their reach. Why would any mother take that chance?  

But I saw the stressed out face of a young mother who had way too many balls in play. I’ve been there too; multitasking, forgetting something important because of my long list of priority to-do items. This young mother definitely had her hands full, even with her friend there to help her. She also clearly did not want anything to happen to her sweet baby. Taking a deep breath, I walked over to her cart, once again. Meanwhile, the nice man in the checkout lane at Costco, unloaded my own groceries for me. He was aware of the dilemma, as well as many other customers. As the mother returned to her cart in line, I once again told her I’d be glad to stand near her baby until she could come back to the cart. I looked at the baby and told her she was a wiggle worm. The baby’s eyes twinkled, and her mommy laughed. 

Costco is a place for packing up your food, keeping your kids happy, and getting out the door. This young mother didn’t need criticism. She needed some support, and she needed it NOW. Judging her parenting skills wasn’t going to help, but showing her Christ’s love, could! God was leading me to be the hands and feet of Jesus for a young mom in a short moment of desperation. Isn’t that exactly what God does for us? 

When we are left without food or shelter, caught up in our messy storms of life because of mistakes we’ve made, there’s a silver lining. Instead of scolding us, God sends Jesus to meet our needs…right where we are standing. Instead of condemning and criticizing us for all the things we’ve done wrong, Jesus comes alongside us with compassion, mercy, and grace. He offers us protection, even when we aren’t paying attention. Then, in God’s timing, The Holy Spirit convicts our hearts, giving us wisdom and discernment for us to use in the future.

The Holy Spirit warmed my heart, as I got a chance to chat with the two young moms that were together, and ask questions about their cute kids and how old they were. They walked out with happy smiles, laughing together, with full control over their very energetic babies! I know God can be trusted to care for that young mother and her child in a way I never could…just as He cares for my own children when I make mistakes. 

Criticism and judgment fall on deaf ears, are self-elevating and non-productive. It’s like having someone offer you a meal or clothing or a prayer, with the expectation that you first promise to get a job, stop every bad habit, admit all your wrongdoing, and promise to immediately change your life completely around. Love opens up the path so those things can eventually happen in God’s perfect timing. If we are going to help, let’s offer it in love, or we may as well not bother doing it at all. 

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” 

(1 Cor. 13:1 English Standard Version).

  
When criticism and judging attempt to make a stand, we can sit them down in their rightful place, by filling our shopping carts, and hearts, with love! 


#Spreadlovenothate!

Barbies at Church…Preach, Pastor Chocolate!

I walked out of my bedroom today, and laughed out loud… Barbies were lined up, one by one, their backs sitting neatly against each and every spindle of the balcony railing at the top of the stairs. Several held itty bitty Barbie babies in their arms.


I surveyed the entire scene with amusement.  “What are your Barbies doing?” I asked my daughter.

With confidence, she proudly announced, “They’re at church!”

Joy. I felt its warmth. I told her I thought it was wonderful that they were at church. She had also established: a parking lot with red and pink plastic convertibles which were lined up one behind the other, a Barbie to run the projector via miniature computer, and a food area (her favorite!) for fellowship time after the service. She then asked me if a lady could be a pastor or preacher too. (She already had a Barbie picked out for this job!)


I told her that first a pastor must be called by God. I told her that God calls many women into ministry too. This brought a smile to her sweet face. I told her God is pleased and happy when we spread His good news by telling people about Jesus. I mentioned a Christian female speaker I admire, and she asked me to repeat her name. I reminded her of how Mommy teaches Sunday School (She’s in my class, so her eyes lit up.). I told my daughter that she too, can tell lots of people about Jesus!

My daughter informed me that she was going to name her Barbie “Pastor Chocolate.” She told me Pastor Chocolate was going to preach to her church about “patience.” I told her I thought it was a wonderful topic and that people need to learn how to be patient! I told her I also thought even more people would want to come to church if their pastor had a name like that, because it would make them think of something good! After all… The love of Jesus is sweeter than chocolate!

When we are tired and worn down, we can become susceptible to believing the lies the enemy tells us about ourselves. We may think we’re not accomplishing much, and we may begin to wonder if our children are missing out. But in the chaos of life’s demands, there’s a silver lining: Our children are watching us. They are observing, questioning, and imitating the good things and the godly things. They watch us give our testimonies and walk in obedience to Christ. They are thinking about Jesus when they eat, and sleep, and play. Their Barbies might even just happen to be…going to church!

 Preach, Pastor Chocolate, Preach!

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Prov. 22:6 English Standard Version