Remember Who You Are, revisited

On Saturday, I watched my "little boy" graduate from Ravenwood High School. Simply because his last name starts with "B", he was in charge of leading one side of the processional entry in the graduation ceremony. The moment I saw this 6'2" son of mine walking down the aisle as the graduation music played, dressed in his red robe and red hat, with the hundreds of other students in tow, I caught my breath. Up until this point, only my mind had accepted this milestone of his, but now my heart was involved.As I sat through the different graduation speeches, there was a  gentle whispering in my soul: remember who you are. This phrase took me back in time because I have spoken it to each of my kids over the years, especially when they leave one familiar place and walk into another. The culture, the media, and their peers persistently shout to each of them, telling them who they are "supposed to be"; but they too, must choose to be still and listen to the whispering truth that resides within their soul.When my older son Bink entered high school (he is now 21), I wrote words to define the phrase remember who you are; nothing fundamentally has changed over the passing years, except that my stake in the ground has been steadfastly pounded more firmly and more deeply. These words are for you as well, my fellow believer:

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE

I am what the world calls a "Jesus freak," but what I call "saved by grace."I am living for the One who died for me.

I salt the earth with His kindness; I light the world with His love.

I choose to walk by faith and not by sight, and to dance to the beat of a different drum.

I am the one who has Power beyond my own strength, Peace beyond my own understanding, and Purpose beyond my own ambitions.

I am the one who answers to the Commander of the Universe; and yet, I am also calmed by His Spirit that lives in me.

Because of Christ Jesus, I am living Life to the fullest--yesterday, today, and FOREVER.

I am changed; I am more than I am.I am a vessel that holds a treasure, a lamp that shines a light, and a well that springs a fountain.

And with these abiding truths, I am the one who is pursuing YOU, my friend, the way He has passionately pursued me. I am His ambassador. I am His image bearer. I am His messenger.

By the grace of God, I am who I am.

I am a Christ follower. I am free.

So, as I sat in the midst of thousands of hopeful parents as well as supportive loved ones, all of us peering down into a sea of bright red robes, I found myself wanting to shout at the top of my lungs to my gentle giant sitting in the first chair, first row, "Davey, always, always, always remember who you are."

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Monday, May 26, 2014
By Chris Baxter

Mothering, a mixed bag of Emotions

For the past four days, I've had the privilege of having all four of my kids at home at the same time; the older they get, the less frequently this happens. We shared a few meals together, as well as laughter and love. No doubt, this momma cherished every minute.

And then yesterday, my 23 year old, Maggie, drove off to begin her first (short term) job as a registered nurse in Georgia. And this morning, my 21 year old, Bink, headed back to Haiti to serve at Hands and Feet for the summer months.

I think I can safely say that a common parental goal is to raise and then launch our kids as God-dependent, parent-independent, confident, Light bearing contributers to society, right? Why then, if they seem to be heading down this path, does it still bring an ache to my heart when I see them drive or fly away?

In contemplating the answer to the above question, I came to the NOT NEW conclusion that mothering is, and forever will be, a mixed bag of emotions. Over the span of almost two and a half decades in this non-paying job, I have been stretched to the limit, humbled to my kness, a jet stream of "wisdom", completely dumbfounded, overjoyed, underappreciated, really happy, really really angry, perplexed, at great peace, hysterical with laughter, just plain hysterical, utterly exhausted, delightfully surprised, momma-bear defensive, teddy bear affectionate, frustated beyond belief, content without questions; and then, this list cycles back around, and around. Can anyone relate?

In spite all of these conflicting emotions, however, we moms steadfstly press on.

So from one mother to another,  I would like to "gift" you with a few hopeful encouraging charges, taken from my weathered and worn mixed bag. Of course, these words of wisdom were graciously given to me when I was in the thick of things; I'm just passing them along to you:Give your kids TIME, give them your TOUCH, give them your TREASURE, and give them your "TALK".

I love my Mother; she gives and keeps giving!

TIME--no agenda on your part, no "let me fix you while we are here together"--just you, your loving, listening presence

TOUCH--hugs and high fives--touch brings healing--Jesus did this all the time

TREASURE-- a note on your child's pillow, her favorite little "happy", his favorite meal

TALK-- talk to your children a lot about your God, and talk to your God a lot about your children...teach and pray, two daily essentials (for more detail, see: A Mother's Privilege respitefortheweary.com)

Press into this job, mothers; it's one of the highest callings on this earth. There will be a return, God promises. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed dow, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38

Someday, your children will rise up and call you blessed. Proverbs 31:28

You can do this moms. Stay the course. Your children need YOU.

And now, it is with a little sadness in my heart over my older kids' departures, mixed with a joyful desire for each of you to love your kids well,  that I want to genuinely proclaim, "Have a HAPPY Mother's Day!"For the past four days, I’ve had the privilege of having all four of my kids at home at the same time; the older they get, the less frequently this happens. We shared a few meals together, as well as laughter and love. No doubt, this momma cherished every minute.

And then yesterday, my 23 year old, Maggie, drove off to begin her first (short term) job as a registered nurse in Georgia. And this morning, my 21 year old, Bink, headed back to Haiti to serve at Hands and Feet for the summer months.

I think I can safely say that a common parental goal is to raise and then launch our kids as God-dependent, parent-independent, confident, Light bearing contributers to society, right? Why then, if they seem to be heading down this path, does it still bring an ache to my heart when I see them drive or fly away?

In contemplating the answer to the above question, I came to the NOT NEW conclusion that mothering is, and forever will be, a mixed bag of emotions. Over the span of almost two and a half decades in this non-paying job, I have been stretched to the limit, humbled to my kness, a jet stream of “wisdom”, completely dumbfounded, overjoyed, underappreciated, really happy, really really angry, perplexed, at great peace, hysterical with laughter, just plain hysterical, utterly exhausted, delightfully surprised, momma-bear defensive, teddy bear affectionate, frustated beyond belief, content without questions; and then, this list cycles back around, and around. Can anyone relate?

In spite all of these conflicting emotions, however, we moms steadfstly press on.

So from one mother to another,  I would like to “gift” you with a few hopeful encouraging charges, taken from my weathered and worn mixed bag. Of course, these words of wisdom were graciously given to me when I was in the thick of things; I’m just passing them along to you:

Give your kids TIME, give them your TOUCH, give them your TREASURE, and give them your “TALK”.

I love my Mother; she gives and keeps giving!

TIME–no agenda on your part, no “let me fix you while we are here together”–just you, your loving, listening presence
TOUCH–hugs and high fives–touch brings healing–Jesus did this all the time
TREASURE— a note on your child’s pillow, her favorite little “happy”, his favorite meal
TALK— talk to your children a lot about your God, and talk to your God a lot about your children…teach and pray, two daily essentials (for more detail, see: A Mother’s Privilege respitefortheweary.com)

Press into this job, mothers; it’s one of the highest callings on this earth. There will be a return, God promises. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed dow, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38

Someday, your children will rise up and call you blessed. Proverbs 31:28

You can do this moms. Stay the course. Your children need YOU.

And now, it is with a little sadness in my heart over my older kids’ departures, mixed with a joyful desire for each of you to love your kids well,  that I want to genuinely proclaim, “Have a HAPPY Mother’s Day!”

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Saturday, May 10, 2014
By Chris Baxter

Daily Prayer

How should I shine?

No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.  Luke 8:16

Dear Lord,

You gave us your eternal light for a purpose. Help us to remove the covering of fear or doubt or passivity that hinders your truth from shining out of us. Instead fill us with strong courage and active faith. May your light within us shine out on whomever we encounter today.  Amen.