Perspective

Reflection Collection

By Lindsay Dryer

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A Valuable Lesson From Paw Patrol

I have to believe I’m not the only mom who sometimes feels like Paw Patrol is the soundtrack of my life. I’m not even a huge fan of my kids watching a lot of tv, but if it’s on, there’s a 90% chance Paw Patrol is playing. My kids love it so much that I finally got smart and set the DVR to record every episode of the show so it would be available anytime I need 25 minutes of quiet kids on the couch. C’mon. You know what I’m talking about.

Last night before bed, the kids requested “just one episode” of Paw Patrol, and so I sat on the floor folding mounds of tiny laundry and listening to the narrative of another grand rescue by those brave pups. Except, two minutes into the episode, I realized it was the one…the one that drives me absolutely CRAZY.

In this episode, there’s a villain named Lady Bird who loves all things shiny. Throughout the episode, she is on the hunt for anything that shines, and she steals it as her own to put in a lair of sorts. (Honestly, it kind of reminds me of that show Hoarders, but that’s a different issue.) She calls this shiny stash her “reflection collection.”

I never thought the Holy Spirit would speak to me through a Nick Jr. show, but He is pretty creative, so I guess I’m not surprised! As I was cringing listening to Lady Bird’s annoying voice, those two words hit me like a ton of bricks. Reflection collection. She is so obsessed with herself that she spends her days collecting items that will allow her to stare at her own reflection. All at the expense of other people.

Do you have a reflection collection, Lindsay? I love the way He prods so gently to get my mind thinking and my heart stirring.

I began thinking of what this “reflection collection” might look like in real life for a person like me. No, I’m not running around town stealing shiny things from innocent bystanders (thank goodness!), but is my life a collection of moments that are focused inward?

Let me just be really transparent with you for a moment: 

  • When I’m frustrated because my kids are fighting with each other for the 99th time in three hours, is it because I want them to be best friends and I want them to show the love of Jesus to one another? Highly doubt it. It’s most likely because they’re driving me crazy, and I don’t want to hear their arguing anymore, and I’m trying to get something done, so they need to stop.

  • When I’m scrolling through social media, and I see something that strikes a jealousy cord in my heart, is it because I want the best for my friend and I’m celebrating with her? Of course not! It’s because I feel like I’m missing out or that I deserve more than what I already have.

  • When there are challenging circumstances in my life and I begin to cower in fear, is it because I’m placing my full trust in Jesus? Absolutely not. It’s because I’m considering my own strength instead of His.

INWARD OR UPWARD?

I’m realizing that so often we are faced with the option to either look inward at our own reflection or look upward to Christ. Sometimes we don’t even make the wrong decision out of selfish or impure motives. I think sometimes we just get so lost in our own navel-gazing that we forget to look up.  

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We’re encouraged in Hebrews 12:2 to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” In the Greek, that literally means to turn your eyes away from other things and fix them on something (in this case, Jesus). It’s really easy to walk through life focused on ourselves, but it takes intentionality to focus our attention on Christ.

I don’t know what this looks like for you in your current season of life. It might mean fixing your gaze on Christ while the chaos of life feels too much for you to carry alone. It might mean holding on to hope when you receive devastating news from the doctor. It might mean literally taking your eyes off things that are causing you to focus inward (social media, tv, etc.).

All I know is that there is only One who is worthy of a reflection collection. Only One who can stand to have every eye fixed on Him. Only One who won’t crumble under the weight of our attention. Only One whose reflection can change our hearts and lives. That’s Jesus.


The Middle: Where He Promised To Be

By Jennifer Edewaard

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The Middle: Where He Promised to Be

It was a moment that changed everything. The list of all that could go wrong with just a small piece of what could go “right” in the end would leave a life of unknowns. It was here I found myself in the middle of a space--a gap really--that I didn't fully comprehend.

Shortly after this moment, my son was born at 23 weeks and with that came so much unknown. There was a middle ground I couldn't see and in the darkest of moments, where I didn't know where to plant my feet, He was there, in the middle where He promised He would be. Right where He promises He will always remain.

I found myself in the middle: a point that is defined as the equal distance from the ends of something. It was a place where years of infertility finally brought life smack dab in the middle of His plan for my life. Where I had to make the choice to release my need for certainty so that I could live in Him.

As I pleaded in prayer with Him to save my son's life, I remember hearing Him whisper, “I will always meet you here. Step up and stand firm where I place you, and I will surely step in.

Through life as a mama of a special needs son--my Red Sea that He has and continues to part for me--I keep placing one foot in front of the other as He parts the way. I tell myself and my son that in this beautiful yet sometimes unbelieving world, we will experience trouble, pain, and sorrow but because He has conquered the world, we get to be courageous.

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Over the last few years, we have worked on many different goals, benchmarks, and therapies. We try one new thing and start over with the next. Ahead lies a lot of work to be done on my part and it has required a “whatever it takes” mindset. I have stayed close to this middle place because no matter what He is orchestrating behind the scenes, He's always working and providing what we need, which is so different than what I want. In the middle of my special needs mama walk, there is one constant and it's Him. And because of that, even in the really hard days, I have His joy. It's a joy that fills me up with the biggest sense of gratefulness. And I wouldn't change any of this. I wouldn't have it any other way because when I lay my head down at night, He is there parting the ways and carrying me.

For a long time, I thought that whenever God needed me, wherever He called me, that I would surely feel equipped and qualified for the task. I had my ideas, and maybe you know the feeling. We think we know what the plan is--we think we have control over a situation. But He is so much more powerful than that; He has His way of doing things and He always has a reason. I am learning each day, really in each moment, that He has gone ahead and prepared the way. Life as a special needs mama is one that I never planned on because I looked at my capacity and knew my qualifications were lacking. He has quickly taught me that I just need to continue to be open to what He wants to show me--what He wants to take and use for His good. So I cling to this verse in Proverbs, when I have any doubt, fear, or anxiety.

A person may have many ideas concerning God’s plan for his life, but only the designs of his purpose will succeed in the end.
— Proverbs 19:21

We are overcome with peace because His peace lives in us. We move forward with the Truth because the Spirit of the Lord is powerfully upon us. We surrender dependency on self because we abide in our faith instead. It's not about what I think I am qualified or equipped for because He never meant it to be that way— it’s up to Him to fulfill and up to us to walk obediently in.

He knew exactly what He was doing when He gave my son to me, with every need that He might have. He knows today as He did in all the days past, and all the days to come, how much I really do need Him. How much you really do need Him. And He doesn’t break us. No, He weaves Himself into us, giving us grace so that we can go and tell others about His glory.

Sweet friend, I don't know where it is He has you planted. Where He might be pruning, growing, or pausing in your life right now. What I can encourage you with is a truth that will remain and that is Christ. Can I challenge you to invite Him into your middle today? I don't know what your walk in motherhood looks like but would you turn to Him? Would you pray and ask Him what He wants you to do, not why? What it is He wants to do here in the middle? What it looks like to live, seek, and stand in His abundant grace, truth, and glory?

The abundance that overflows from the imperfections is not for our comfort but for those passing by or staying for a while--so that they would know and see Jesus. It's this part of self-sacrifice that sheds light on the biggest sacrifice--Him-where we don’t have to fight the friction because we can trust His intentions are, in fact, steadying us.

I stand on these truths, His words, His power and capacity, many times when I feel like I might be fighting the friction where I am planted. Of what is to come.

Friend, He is right there, in the middle with you, where He promises to be.


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Jennifer Edewaard is a wife, mama, and friend passionate about living our His perfect purpose ok making Him known, even in her own imperfection. She writes and speaks while stepping daily into God’s mission to bring Him glory. Jennifer is married and has two sweet little ones, living in beautiful Colorado. She writes over at www.jenniferedewaard.com and you can find her on Instagram.


Living in the Present

By CarrieBeth Sherwood

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There are lots of negative aspects of social media, I admit. But ever since Instagram became popular (2012, 2013?), I have found the online community of Christian women to be life-changing for me.

At any given time, you would find about 150 screenshots on my phone of inspiring posts that I don't want to forget. Now, of course, my main direction and instruction is found in the Bible; in studying God's precious word. But I feel like God has put social media in my life so that I can have access to wisdom from women who are going before me, and pointing me and others to Jesus.

There have been times in the past when I was drowning in babies, work, and responsibilities and I didn't have many opportunities to be with other women. I could have felt so alone in those times. However, social media allowed me to feel connected and spurred on, even in those seasons.

My most recent inspiration came from Jess Connolly; she lives in Charleston, South Carolina where she is a mom, author, artist, and pastor's wife. She recently posted:

"I almost made a huge mistake. I've had this idea that I'd pick a date on the calendar that would feel 'normal' and I'd count down to that day...here's the truth for me and for you.

ABUNDANCE IS HERE. Joy is a promise from our Father in the busy, broken, beautiful, easy, boring, stressful-ALL THE DAYS. Abundance is here. This is it. This is life. Now is where I get to worship, to love, to rest, to talk to Him, to laugh, to trust, to smile. Abundance is here."

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This spoke to my soul because I feel like I LIVE in the in between. I have had three different jobs in the past five years and am even looking to transition to a new job in the near-ish future. I am 8 1/2 months pregnant and patiently waiting for our new baby to arrive. We have lived in 6 different houses in the last 6 or 7 years. There is always something I am looking towards where I can finally settle in and just BE. But this post inspired me to do what Jess says and worship now. Right here. Love now. Be with Jesus.

The Bible says that the enemy's plan is to "steal and kill and destroy" but Jesus came so that we may "have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10) It would thrill Satan for us to put our worship on hold until we "arrive."

But there is no ARRIVING until we get to heaven. Until then, my lifelong goal is going to be to live in the middle, worshiping and serving and being until I see Him face to face.