Growth in the Blink of an Eye

It seems like just yesterday we were watching the mama robin build her nest in a rafter on our front porch.  We marveled at the beautiful little blue eggs, being careful not to disturb “the babies.”  Then they hatched – featherless and funny-looking, big heads and beaks protruding from the nest, begging to be fed whatever their mama brought back for them.  Before I knew it, one was hopping on the walkway.  Though it couldn’t fly, it was out of the nest.  Amazing – it happened so quick!  We mused among ourselves whether it had fallen out or if the mama bird had pushed it out.  Whatever the case, that tiny nest was no place for that bird to make its permanent abode. 

Over the course of a few days or a couple of weeks, all of the birds were out of the nest, and we could see them testing out their wings and swooping through the yard, sometimes in a wobbly pattern.  But they were trying.  Why?  Because they were created to fly, not to sit in a nest they’d outgrown.  Sure, it’s safe and comfortable to stay in the place where you’re nurtured, fed on schedule, and taken care of from morning until night.  However, over time, you are required to take what you’ve learned and apply it.  That process, my friend, is called growth.  I recently had a real-life experience to underscore that lesson. 

When picking up my daughter from daycare one afternoon, I called myself leaving the car door open so she could get in on her own – imagine, a child of mine with an independent streak? Tee hee hee!  I tend to be a “helicopter parent” (hovering over my children – LOL!) and I’m trying to relinquish my tight hold on some of the more mundane tasks of the day.  Kudos, right?  Well, I turned to say something to the daycare provider, and in literally 2 seconds, I heard my daughter cry out in pain.  When I turned my head, she was lying in a fetal position near the rear tire on the driver’s side of the car.  To this day, I don’t know HOW that child fell; her shoes were tied, I don’t think her pants were too long, and I don’t think the earth’s gravitational pull shifted suddenly.  But whatever the reason, she fell and ended up with bloody boo-boos on her elbow and knee (through the clothing…did she lose her balance? I’m still puzzled).  They weren’t life-altering emergencies, but you don’t know how I wished I’d held her hand and walked her to the car, watching her like a hawk (like I usually do)!  Nonetheless, though I want to protect her 24/7, it’s ridiculous to think I can tote a 5 year-old from daycare door to car door every blessed day God gives.  At some point, she’s got to learn to walk on her own.  When she gets hurt, I’m there with the peroxide, antibiotic ointment, band-aids, hugs and kisses.  But to obsess about preventing every accident or growing pain isn’t realistic for me as a parent.  If I’ve taught her well, she’ll apply my lessons and flourish.

Isn’t that how God is with us?  He watches over us, fiercely protecting us from hurt, harm, and danger.  He gives us instructions on moving ahead, going beyond what we know and moving into areas where we have to exercise our faith in HIM knowing the outcome.  We don’t have to figure it out; He’s mapped out our course for us.  When we obey, we’re covered by Him.  What could be better?  We’re not on our own in this day-to-day walk.  When we trip and fall, He’s there to correct us and set us back on the right track.  Praise God!

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

(Psalm 91:1-2)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

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Consistently Inconsistent?

Have you ever wondered why you just can’t “keep it all together?”  That thought often comes to me in cycles.  I’ll be doing great (so I think), then all of a sudden (so it seems) – WHAM! – I’m off-kilter and trying to pick up the pieces, get reorganized, and get back on track.  Whether it’s morning devotions, regular exercise, making healthier eating choices, or whatever goes into having a balanced lifestyle that glorifies God in every facet (not just the examples I’m willing to show others!), I know that I must become more consistent in my practices instead of being “hit-or-miss.”

However, I know it’s a process that builds consistency.  And inherent in that process is (ugh!) discipline.  My hubby told me I was just gonna have to learn to love discipline.  Now that seems like an oxymoron to a free-spirited creative type like me, but I know he’s right.  And exhibiting discipline is a manifestation of love.  So just as I discipline my children because I love them and want them to grow up healthy, successful, and making wise decisions, I must discipline myself so I can be who God has called me to be.

As I walk in obedience to God’s Word, I’ll build consistency.  Simple, isn’t it? 🙂  Pray for me as I walk this out – not easy, but very necessary! 

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

(I Corinthians 15:58)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Getting Dressed: God is at Work in Me

An ornament adorns; it is something one puts on.  This morning, before I was anywhere close to getting dressed, God spoke.  And I listened.  What a blessing for me.  Thought I’d share with you before running off to work…be abundantly blessed.

Get back to the core of who I created you to be – and let nothing and no one but Me define who you are today. You are a work in progress, and I continue to mold, make, form, and shape you for My good pleasure.  Nothing can contain you because I am in you.  Abide in the True Vine (John 15:5) and be nourished and replenished. 

Even as you wonder whether I’d stopped calling you because it had been a while since you sat at my feet and soaked in my presence, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I say to you that My character of unconditional love won’t permit me to stop calling you, longing after you, desiring to spend quality time with you.  I hear your heart’s cry – even through the clutter of the carnal abyss – and still it beats strongly for Me.  And that delights Me.  It is a good heart condition to have. 

Go forth and greet the day I’ve created just for you – with you in mind as I touched each bird to sing, each ray of sunshine to beam down where you’d be.  You can’t control unconditional love – that’s why tears are leaking from your lids, My daughter.  Even when you feel most miserable and wretched, My love reaches out to you.  Now can you allow My love to do the same thing through you to others?  That is evidence of true growth.

No need to chase the things of this world.  Seek first My kingdom…and all these things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).  There is a tenderness inside you that not many know the depth of.  That’s why you try to cover up and protect yourself with humor or other “shells” – but there’s no need to put up a pseudo-tough exterior façade for Me; I know you – inside out, through and through.  And I love you still.

“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.”

(Jeremiah 18:3)

 

“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

(I Peter 3:4)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Are You Blessable?

What a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend I enjoyed, surrounded by my munchkins and their daddy…and saturated, drenched, and overwhelmed with lots of love. 

My crew nearly had to alligator wrestle me into going out to breakfast on Saturday morning.  What can I say?  I’m genetically predisposed to think it’s much easier and less expensive for me to make pancakes at home than for us to sit in a restaurant that obviously doesn’t add “mama’s love” as an essential ingredient.  Though I was quite delighted and content with the colorful array of homemade cards and paper flowers that came home from school on Friday, I finally gave in and we headed to breakfast.  I knew they wanted to show their appreciation for me, but it was hard not to orchestrate all the details – since that’s what we moms do 24/7!  I ended up enjoying myself.

Saturday afternoon, the Women’s Fellowship at my church visited a local women’s shelter to make arts and crafts with the residents’ children so they could give their mothers a gift for the holiday.  I saw a range of expressions on the children’s faces, and I was even more grateful to have a home where I could raise and nurture my own children.  Outreach to others is key for balanced perspective maintenance.

On Sunday morning came the biggest surprise of all.  As my family walked into church, the men of the church (lined up like an Honor Guard) welcomed each woman with a single wrapped rose and directed her to a continental breakfast prepared in the Fellowship Hall – completely unexpected.  The brothers looked sharp!  I had no idea that the black suit, white shirt, and black tie look my hubby sported had been planned, let alone coordinated with the other men of the church for weeks…impressive.

After savoring a donut I didn’t need, I headed to the sanctuary to prepare for my role as choir director.  My pastor stopped me to say that we didn’t need to put on choir robes until after he made his opening announcement.  No prob – I adjusted my microphone to my 5’0” frame and handed the sound booth tech my CD for the sermonic solo, then headed to Sunday School.  An hour later, I was seated in the congregation, awaiting Pastor’s announcement before taking my place in the choir stand.  Wasn’t I surprised to see eight brothers – including my hubby – file up to the choir stand and begin the Praise & Worship service?  I thought, “Well, when they finish this song, I’ll get in place.”  But they just kept on singing (with my short microphone in front of a tall brother) – and they sounded good!  They’d been rehearsing for weeks…unbeknownst to me!  What a splendid gift to be able to bask in God’s presence and enjoy intimate worship during a break from serving.  I’m glad a box of tissues was nearby; tears flowed freely down my cheeks until the sermon began.  I was truly touched, and I experienced the love of God poured out through the actions of His people – His men.

That morning, I had planned to perform my regular routine, but God had fantastic surprises in store for me.  Are you able to receive the blessings He’s ready to bestow upon you?  Allow His pure love to soften your heart so you don’t miss one goodie!

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

(I Corinthians 2:9)

 “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

(Psalm 37:4)

 “…he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

(Hebrews 11:6b)

© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart

Mothering is an Action Word

Guess what?  The baby robins have hatched!  After getting over last week’s trauma of seeing one bright blue egg that fatefully tumbled out of the nest and shattered on my front porch (c’est la vie, I suppose), I’ve gotta say that it was pretty neat to see tiny yellow beaks poking out from the top of the nest this morning.  Soon, we’ll have more chirping melodic strains filling the air than we know what to do with.  Until then, these little creatures appreciate their mother’s presence and welcome the sustenance, protection, and nurturing she provides.  This will be interesting to observe in the coming days.

Mothering (which I use as a verb) is an action word – just like love requires, is accompanied by, and is manifested through action.  The skills, traits, and abilities that make one a good mother may not be inherent or innate, but we learn what to do over time, with patience, and through the process of trial-and-error.  We blend influences from our own backgrounds and personal experiences – along with input from various “mommy mentors,” as I like to call them – to create our personal brand of mothering. 

From the woman who can’t recall the last time she pampered herself – to the woman who makes “me time” a priority so she can give her best to her family – to the woman who multitasks until she can’t remember what she was supposed to be doing in the first place…I admire you all, and can relate to many of your experiences!  Each mother is unique, and each child is unique; hence, each mother-child relationship is unique.  I believe God grants us favor while we make necessary sacrifices and commit to building healthy relationships with our children during every stage in their lives as their needs change.

My daughter ministered in dance for the first time last Sunday with several other young girls – it was an absolutely beautiful sight to behold.  I found myself blinking back tears (of joy, of being overwhelmed, of seeing a miniature version of myself doing what I was once flexible enough to do) as I watched my own “little robin” finally outside of her nest and branching out beyond my incubating feathers.  Just days away from her 5th birthday, I saw her whole life – from birth to that very moment in time where she danced like an angel – flash before my eyes.  She is growing up – and where did the time go?!  Yes, I got emotional for a minute there, but I had to “keep it together” long enough to sing a solo right after they danced…what a tough act to follow! 🙂  Nevertheless, that is why we raise our children – so they can grow, develop, mature, and become equipped to face life confidently with the lessons we’ve instilled in them.  

So to those of you who are mothers, I salute you – not only on Mother’s Day, but every day.  Because truly, every day is Mother’s Day!  May we answer God’s call to minister to His children with love, grace, and joy.  Indeed, it is an honorable and noble calling…

“For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.

 By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.

 I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.”

(Psalm 71:5-7)

 “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

(Psalm 139:13-14)

 © Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart