So This Is A Way To Combat the Darkness?

sunriseBy Katy Rose

I spent an hour after our boys were asleep watching eye-witness accounts from Iraq, Africa, and the streets of Ferguson. It all felt overwhelming. Yet it’s real and relevant and involves living, breathing, hurting people.

If we are privileged enough, we can build a life for ourselves free of experiential injustice. Or at least one where the “injustices” we incur are limited to rude treatment by minimum wage employees and getting cut off in traffic. When we choose to live in that kind of fictitious world, we end up absorbing those inconveniences with the spirit of a martyr and anger of a prophet. That’s how I often respond anyway.

I closed my computer, plagued with a sense of urgency. I opened up another eye-witness account — one that I’ve been returning to often lately. It’s a story about ultimate injustice and brutal betrayal. But there’s this astonishing response from the oppressed that keeps drawing me back.

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Jesus is with his twelve best friends at dinner, the supper he knows will be his last before his imminent death. According to this witnesses, he gets up from the table, ties a towel around his waist, and pours water into a basin.

Without much discussion he just begins washing his friends’ feet. As you’re likely aware, they would have been dumbfounded by this as it was a chore reserved for slaves. In a walking, sandal-footed culture, feet were disgusting.

But that’s just who Jesus was. He came to serve, not to be served. He came for the sick, the sinner, and the hurting. At least once he had to remind his friends that the healthy weren’t the ones needing help.

The part of the foot-washing story that especially floors me is that he took time to serve and clean the feet of each and every one of his friends. Even Judas — whom Jesus knew was about to commit unthinkable betrayal — was tended to.

After Jesus finished, they all sat around talking for a while. He told them that just as he, their teacher, had washed their feet, they also should stoop low to wash one another’s feet. They should continue on with this way of living. He actually said they’d be called “blessed” if they did.

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There are so many “enemies” in our world. Back-stabbers. Betrayers. Judases. So many sinners. So many just like me.

And what is Jesus’ response to us all? A heart postured in humble service. A gesture of greatest love.

This trumpets a call to serve within our homes, and then move outward into the world.

When the darkness of the world feels overwhelming, remember Jesus knows the darkness. He mingled with a demon-possessed man living in the shadows of a graveyard and showed him love. The people we might consider corrupt today? He ate in their homes — and offered love.

I don’t believe our role is to retreat in fear and hopelessness, but to do what we can to bring light to the dark.

When we look into the tear-filled eyes of a actual person, rather than the abstractions of a social issue, it’s easier to empathize with the pain. When we try to understand others’ pain, it becomes ours. And this is what compels us to cry out to God on behalf of our brothers and sisters, and on behalf of our enemies.

When in doubt, stoop down low to serve and humbly wash feet. Take on the hard, less desirable work. Jesus’ life was not glittered with glamour. He washed feet. But the love he offered was breathtakingly extravagant.  IMG_8360-001

Choosing Courage in Fearful Times (Mentoring Mondays coming back!)

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COURAGE

CHOOSING TO BE BRAVE DURING FEARFUL TIMES,

BRINGING HIS LIGHT INTO DARK TIMES.

Fear has been a threat to people over all of history. This week as Joy is preparing for her semester at Oxford, several people have sent her articles about ISIS and the increased danger of terrorism in England. We have had to talk through the issues and reality of living in a fallen world. We all have to make decisions for our lives based on wisdom and discretion. Yet, God has opened amazing doors for Joy to study in Oxford. He has ordained this path for her to take. She feels called to the studies she has been led to pursue, and so she is taking firm steps of faith to prepare herself spiritually, emotionally and mentally to go to England this week, and to cultivate a heart of trust in her companion God.

All of us have choices of how we will face our circumstances–the days in which God ordained that we would live. Our only choice as believers, is to hold His hand to believe in His reality and to walk our days by faith, and to seek to choose courage.

And so we are arming Joy with courage, faith, strength and wisdom as she prepares to walk the road God has set before her. None of us have control over all of the circumstances of our lives, but we do have the choice to hold God’s hand and allow Him to companion us well through the days of our lives.

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
JOSHUA 1:9
Moms have the unique opportunity in this time, to model to their children what faith looks like in the face of fear. We show by the way we live what it looks like to seize this moment that God has ordained for us to live in, to praise Him, trust Him as the one who holds control over the universe, and the one who will reign forever.

Today is the day for courage.

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you have tribulation, but TAKE COURAGE! I have overcome the world!

I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS! John 16:33

Five Things to do to help you and your family.

1. Write out Joshua 1: 9 on a small poster board or white board and memorize this verse this week as a family.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2. Don’t watch the news with your children in the room. Images create fear and are difficult to take away from the brain.

3. Stop looking at the feed on facebook that has articles that are fear oriented. Whatever you water will grow. If you feed your mind on images, newscasts, terrible happenings in the world, the natural consequence is that you will grow more fearful. I quit watching and listening to the world news, (except for the exceptional times when it involved my family directly.) about 20 years ago. I rarely watch images of violence, war, cruelty, as I know that for me to be a steward of my mind is to stay away from things that bring about false fears.

4. Read hero tales and stories of people who served others in difficult times. Define on character trait of each person you read and make a list of the character traits, with definitions, that you want your children to understand and the ones you want your family to exhibit. (Daniel–courage in the midst of lions; Mother Theresa–compassion for those who needed comfort; etc.)

5. Read through the heroes in Hebrews 11, one person at a time in the weeks ahead, and talk together with your family about how you will live the circumstances of your lives, the days of your own history, by faith–to bring His light, goodness and hope to a world that needs to know the hope of Christ. Talk of how your family might be a picture and words of hope and comfort during this time and use the difficulties that opens peoples hearts as a place of ministry and comfort to others.

Today, sweet friends, Jesus admonished  us to choose to take hold of courage, to face fear with His light, to choose to be strong, giving, redeeming in a time that needs to see His reality. May He give you peace of mind and the courage to live well during each day He has granted you.

Listen, listen, He whispers secrets every day

 

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This small framed verse stands on my small hall table to remind me of what really matters, daily taking time to listen, to understand His guiding love.

Today, thunder boomed while mist rolled in amidst winds and rain pounding our grass. Joy and I wrapped ourselves in warm wool throw blankets, carried steaming cups of tea, and sat under our front porch together, lost in the grandeur of the summer storm–together enjoying the company of shared moments, stolen from the duties of our day.

All the dishes in the sink did not get washed, there were still piles to be dealt with–but later. His voice reminded me that next week, she will be in Oxford and I will have more time to wash dishes, straighten piles. But I will not be able to look into her large brown eyes to see the wonder and excitement deep within, waiting to spill out her deepest thoughts,  as she adventures to her future days with an unknown ending ahead of her.

Today, I have the peace that comes from knowing the moments were invested in each other, not spilled on the busyness of life to be lost forever.

How often do we allow the noise of the world to overwhelm His voice. Do we take time to listen? It is only as we quiet our hearts amidst the moments of our days that we will hear His whisper, walk in His ways. But the quiet of His leading always takes us to the eternal treasures, the hearts that are waiting for us to listen, the memories that are waiting to be lived now to impress what is precious on our minds.

What is His voice whispering to you today in the midst of the noise of your life? Only you can respond to what secrets He has prepared uniquely for you to celebrate and to enjoy.

 

 

Creating Your Own Cozy Corner

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“Because my life is rarely neat and together, I attempt to make my devotional spot a regular place where I can spend my quiet, holy moments resting in beauty and having a sense of civility. I needed to have a place that was ready–and that would give peace to my soul–even if for a few moments. This gives a sense of order to the rest of my life, even when the other edges of my life are seemingly out of control. Life in our home with four kids, a dog, and people in and out rarely provides composure.

Yet when my inner life is composed, my outer life feels manageable.
-The Mom Walk

Often times, the way we begin our day sets the tone for how the rest of it will look. It’s crucial that we counter the loud, stressful alarm clock or toddler with some peace and quiet prior to jumping straight into the chaos of the day. Some mamas I know do this at night before they go to bed. Whatever your habits, intentionally decide to breathe peace into your soul before you go out into your day. I spend a lot of time straightening my house and attempting to keep a peaceful, orderly environment that soothes and blesses my family.  And so I have understood that I need to continually seek to bring peace and centeredness to my soul, which is constantly being tested and getting in disarray! I am a passionate, philosophical, artistic person.  I am very relational but love, hunger to have time to think, read, write, and drink lots and lots of tea and coffee and to do it all alone! It doesn’t always happen, but when I fight to find a place for a few minutes of this kind of centering with my heart, mind, and to give the day to God, then a habit is built and a foundation is laid over days and days of practice.

Don’t allow your desire for perfection to rob the joy out of this day. Each day is filled with it’s own set of tasks and troubles, but try to find the beauty in this morning. Even if it’s just a cozy corner, for a very few moments, it is important to sit down, create your own little place that’s in your control in the midst of chaotic life. Cozy devotional corners can include:

-Candles
-Hot cup of tea or mug of coffee
-Comfy pillows
-Flowers

-Journal
-Bible
-Artwork 
-Beautiful music ready to go at the push of a button

A basket full of devotionals or inspiring books that can be picked up for short bursts of inspiration.

When you take a moment to invest time and energy in your own sense of calm, you will find the rest of the day much easier to manage. Peace begins inside of our hearts, and only when we are filled with it can we pour it out into the various areas of our lives.

As you prepare to do this week’s mini bible study with the scripture and questions below, go find your comfortable, quiet, devotional spot (your cozy corner!).

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
-Isaiah 26:3

When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.”
-Luke 10:5

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.”
-Psalm 59:16

Ask yourself:
-Which spot in your home can be the safe haven for your morning devotional?
-How can you make time to have a moment to yourself? Does this mean waking up earlier? Setting aside a special quiet time during the afternoon? Enjoying a quiet evening on the porch at sunset?
-How much more efficiently do you think you will be able to handle the rest of your day if you had your very own quiet time each morning?

Beach, Great Food, Friends, Retreat–Sarah & I would love to see you!

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Calling all North Carolina Moms and those near by!

September 19-20

Start your school year off with inspiration, fun, sharing with friends and a retreat. For all of you who have attended our Raleigh Mom Conferences in the past, this is for you., as we will not be able to have the spring Mom Heart Retreat there this year.  I miss being there the past couple of years but now, I have been invited to speak in Wrightsville Beach, nearWilmington, North Carolina–the darling, artistic town, at a retreat just for mamas–to fill them up, spoil them and give them a sense of grace, peace and wisdom as they enter another school year.

Sarah will be speaking about her newest book, Caught up in a Story, about the importance of winning your children’s hearts through great literature, intentional mentoring and strong foundations. She will also be speaking about her favorite books, lists of the best books we used in our home, and the ways we inspired boy and girl alike. Our own practices of reading, discussion, and cultivating a high standard of education in our home will all be a part of our story for you. And of course we hope to have some of these books available for purchase–though we will be giving some away!

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I hope to inspire you about the rhythms you set up in your home to cultivate learning as a way of life. On my heart is helping moms to learning to inspire your children to love education, to become critical thinkers and to be passionate about becoming leaders in their generation is all a part of the message on my heart. Discipling your children to have a strong faith in God in a challenging culture is essential.

Finally, I wanted to end our time together to encourage all of you precious moms how to stay fresh, to take care of your own soul, to rid yourself of performance guilt and comparison, and how to refresh your own heart, mind and soul so that you can stay resilient in your ideals while enjoying educating your children.

I hope to be at the retreat center early so that there will be time to visit with all of you in a more casual setting and to provide time for questions and answers with Sarah and me.

We will also be giving away some books during our talks!

Please pass the word around. Please share this with all of your friends and we shall make a grand weekend of it all.

Can’t wait–I have wanted a mini-vacation at the beach for a long time!

But hurry, the deadline is coming soon and the retreat is almost full. For more information, and to register,

go HERE.

http://www.nche.com/nche-moms-retreat-sally-clarkson

Hope to see many of my old friends there!