Category Archives: Inspiration

Magical Moments with My Beloved

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Last night…just for a moment…I was 22 again!

As I was kissing my kids goodbye (who were headed back to our home in Stockton) and jumping in the shower before tackling my long “to do” list of errands for my upcoming retreat, I put in an old ’80’s CD of Deniece Williams and as the familiar songs began to play (My Soul Desire, His Eye is on the Sparrow, I Surrender All) I found myself transported back to a time in my life that I affectionately refer to as my “Season of Singleness”.

It was during this time that I developed a deep intimate relationship with my Jesus without the distractions of being in, or even looking for, a relationship with any other man. He was exclusively my beloved and I nurtured and cherished that relationship and intimacy with lots of communication and time spent together in beautiful chapels, long walks by the water, afternoons at the park, warm cozy mornings wrapped up in a blanket with coffee in hand and sharing my heart with Him. I also had many a “date night” with my Lord…getting dressed up and heading out to dinner with Him alone. It was magical!

Years later when I was married and then began having children those special moments became less and less as I invested in the important and wonderful relationships of being a wife and mother. And while I still have occasional magical moments with my beloved Lord (in church during worship, sunrise service and midnight mass or the rare moment alone on a walk)…our relationship, while strong and healthy, often lacks the spark that happened in those years of singleness. (It appears 1 Corinthians 7 is correct – “One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how they may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how they may please their spouse and their interests are divided….singles can have undistracted devotion to God”)

But last night in an empty house l began to belt out “My Soul Desire” with my hands lifted high, dancing around the room with my beloved and felt that sweet whisper and nudge to drop the to do list, get dressed up and go out on a date with my Jesus! And that is exactly what I did…

…and it was <sigh>…. magical!

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An Advent Primer

 

For many of us this time from November to the beginning of January is considered the “holiday season” and it truly can be the “most wonderful time of the year”.  And yet today with so many competing & conflicting messages surrounding these holidays – we often let the TRUE meaning slip away from us and we miss this wonderful opportunity to build up our faith and teach our children.

It is sad to think that the day set aside to celebrate the birth of our Lord & Savior has become vastly commercialized – fully exploited for profit.  The sales seem to start earlier and earlier each year enticing us to buy, buy, buy!  The pressure to give gifts is relentless and fills many with a dreaded sense of obligation or “guilt gifting”.  How many of us have lamented this commercialization & yet we let year after year go by without being purposeful about making sure Jesus is at the very heart & center of our celebrations.

In today’s culture there is also a full on assault on the Christian faith that is being being attacked relentlessly from many avenues – everywhere from court decisions, to politics, to the marketplace, to education as well as atheists who take offense at the fact that Christmas truly is about Jesus (whether they like that or not). Billboards like this are popping up everywhere during the holiday season.

When children were recently asked at a shopping mall what the true meaning of Christmas was….they responded with —

• Santa Claus
• Presents! Presents! Presents!
• Christmas Trees & Lights
• and even one said…something to do with the Discovery of America

Children learn about Christmas like they learn about most things in life – from their families. Even in our own very purpose driven family when I ask my five year old, at the beginning of the Christmas season, what it is all about  he responds with….“Presents!”  I then explain to him that it is not really about getting  presents at all but rather a celebration of the birth of Jesus. It takes him several weeks to instantly answer…“Jesus!” …after being quizzed as to the true meaning of Christmas. (Yes, repetition IS the key to learning!)

I don’t know about you but I want my children to grow up and reject the commercialization of Christmas, to not “cave in” to the pressure to spend and make the season all about gifts and to stand strong against the anti Christian culture that is gaining strength and momentum.

I believe that as purposeful Christians we should have three main goals during the Christmas season –

  1. To teach the true meaning of “Christmas” to our children – (after all the word “Christ – mas” – means Christ worship)
  2. To emphasize the spiritual & NOT the secular – let’s have everything point to Jesus!
  3. To use the holiday season to share the love of Jesus Christ with others!

One of the best ways that our family has been able to keep the Christmas season focused on the gift of the Savior (rather than the gifts under the tree!) is by celebrating Advent.  This is one of those rare years that Thanksgiving fell so early in November that Advent did not begin the Sunday after Thanksgiving…but rather has its start next Sunday December 2nd. This morning as I contemplated the calendar…it struck me how many of my blog readers would actually have a chance to implement the observance of Advent this year as they would have the entire week to prepare if I could quickly get a blog post out to inspire them to begin this awesome family tradition!  So my dear friends…lets begin an Advent “primer” to get you all fully up to speed and ready to begin this coming Sunday!

What is Advent?

The word Advent means “coming” – celebrating Advent means celebrating the coming of Jesus. This is three fold for our family:

  1. His historical coming – as in His physical birth over 2000 years ago.
  2. His coming into our hearts – the moment in time that we commit our hearts and lives to Jesus (as the Christmas hymn O Little Town of Bethlehem so eloquently describes: “O holy child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in; Be born in us today”)
  3. His prophetic final coming in the last days – the ultimate return of Jesus Christ for which we wait expectantly!

 When is Advent?

The season of Advent begins four weeks before Christmas. This year it is Sunday December 2, 2012

  • Advent 2013 begins on the First Sunday in Advent, December 1, 2013
  • Advent 2014 begins on the First Sunday in Advent, November 30, 2014
  • Advent 2015 begins on the First Sunday in Advent, November 29, 2015
  • Advent 2016 begins on the First Sunday in Advent, November 27, 2016

 Celebrating Advent

Celebrating Advent helps you to set aside time every day or at least once a week to concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas. We have celebrated advent in our family several ways over the years but our main annual tradition that we have always done is having an advent wreath and weekly family devotional service.

The Wreath

The Advent wreath is in a circle which represents eternity and is  surrounded by evergreens which represent life….eternal life. The wreath is decorated with five candles….one for each of the four Sundays before Christmas and one for Christmas Eve.

The first candle (purple) symbolizes hope – the hope that the Messiah would come

The second candle (purple) symbolizes love – Gods love towards us for sending His Son Jesus to save us from our sins

The third candle (pink) symbolizes joy – the joy we find in Christ and His coming

The fourth candle (purple) symbolizes peace – the peace that comes in knowing Christ as Lord and Savior

The fifth candle is the Christ candle (white in center) which symbolizes purity

The wreath is always in the center of our table so everyday we are reminded of the Advent season.

The Family Advent Service or Devotional

We have our weekly advent service every Sunday evening during dessert. We always dim the lights and set the table with some festive china….we want to make it a special time that the kids look forward to! We use a simple advent devotional book that is not too cumbersome so we don’t lose the attention of the younger children. Our service includes – scripture reading, lighting of the advent candle, a short story, singing some Christmas hymns & prayer. Different family members take part in each aspect of the service so everyone is involved. (they love that!)

After our service we enjoy yummy desserts & egg nog, hot apple cider or cocoa while we savor family time together.  Having a weekly Advent family service I believe has been one of the key components of keeping Jesus the focus of our Christmas season.

There are multiple resources out there for good devotional books or head on over to the Christian bookstore and pick one up.  I have two that I have written which I hope to have up for you before Sunday!  (UPDATE: got’er done!  You can access the devotionals here)

Other Advent Adventures

There are many other things that you can do daily for Advent and if you search the Internet I am sure there are a plethora of great ideas.  Don’t get overwhelmed just pick one or several and just do it!

We have had an Advent Prayer banner in our home where we list people who are lost, hurting, in need of a healing or a Christmas miracle. Everyday we pray for these people and add new names to the list. It helps us keep our focus on others and not ourselves.

This year we will be adding a new Advent activity to our family traditions.  We have heard of these wonderful Advent storybooks – Jothams Journey, Bartholomews Passage and Tabitha’s Travels – from our friends for years and I finally purchased them.  They are fifteen minute readings that are simple, short and spiritual.  A wonderful way to keep shopping, traffic, rehearsals, concerts, parties and all the other preparations of Christmas in balance with the reality of God in our lives. We will begin the first book this Advent season…reading a selection everyday. I can’t wait!

I pray that today you will be inspired to begin your own celebration of Advent this year…setting aside time to really focus on the true meaning of this wonderful time of the year.  Whether you are a college student in the dorm with your fellow co-eds, a single young adult, a newly married or childless couple, a young family, small family, big family, crazy family, empty nesters or elderly grandparents….I encourage you to do prepare your heart for Christmas by observing Advent this year in a very special way!

I would love to hear what you plan to do this year for Advent! Leave a comment below so that we may all enjoy.

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Filed under Christmas Season, Church Calendar Traditions, Faith, Family Traditions, Inspiration

Fabulous 50: My List for Loving & Living Life

I am one of “those” people.

Those odd people who love their lists

…who live by lists

…who make lists for everything (and even keep files on the computer of “to do lists” for recurring events in my life)

…who start many conversations by saying “Let’s make a list

…who torture their family with their never ending “to do” lists, chore lists, packing lists and “honey do” lists

…who have been known to add things to their list that they have already done just to have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list <it is a sickness, isn’t it?>

So it shouldn’t shock or surprise you that in honor of my 50th birthday I created a list. It began a week or so ago as I was pondering having lived 50 years of my life and what I would like to share with others who are still in the first half of life! (although they are great reminders for whatever season of life you may be in!)

So….here is my 5oth birthday list (complete with many “Bethisms”) for loving and living life…and of course there are 50 points!

1. Life is short and quickly passing by (was I not just 30 and in a twinkling of an eye be 70?)
2. Life is even shorter when compared to eternity (wisdom & logic would say to invest your self in eternity)
3. Life is an amazing gift – enjoy it!
4. Life is a precious gift – celebrate it!

5. Life is a
beautiful gift – love it!

6. Life is a priceless gift – don’t abuse it
7. Life is a unique gift – don’t waste it
8. Life is a glorious giftSTOP worrying and stressing about it
9. Life is NOT a dress rehearsal! (this is the real performance people!)
10. Life is to be lived on purpose (and the occasional accidents are an exciting and sometimes course changing part of the ride)
11. Life – it’s not what happens to you in life that matters, it’s how you respond!
12. Life is not fair – “you get what you get & you don’t throw a fit!”
13. Life is not fair – if it were fair we would all be headed to hell (for all have sinned and fallen short and the price for sin is eternal death…but thanks be to God for sending us Jesus to pay that price for us! It was not “fair” that he had to pay the price…but I’ll take it!)
14. Life is not fair – it is not a matter of holding good cards in life…but of playing a poor hand well!
15. Life is hard…at times really hard. 
16. Life is not a respector of persons – the sun shines and the rain falls on the good and bad alike (Yes, bad things happen to good people. If you still can’t accept that refer to “Life is not fair”)
17. Life ends in death for everyone: statistics say 10 out of 10 people die  Live like you believe this fact!
18. Life’s ultimate goal and chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!
19. Life without love is nothing
20. Love is the answer ♥
21. Love covers a multitude of sins 
22. Love is not a feeling but an act of our will (we can always act lovingly without feeling the love)
23. Love is patient…enduring long 
24. Love is kind  (so simple yet so very difficult…)
25. Love is unselfish and self sacrificing 
26. Love is life giving 
27. Love bears & endures all things, hopes & believes all things 
28. Love NEVER fails…it never gives up 
29. Love the Lord with ALL your heart, soul, mind & strength 
30. Love your parents and honor them 
31. Love your husband or wife (if you are single love your future bride or groom by waiting just for them and keeping yourself pure and unstained by this world) 
32. Love your children…hug and kiss them often, speak powerful words of life to them & discipline them (yes that is a part of love) 
33. Love your friends through the good, the bad & the ugly 
34Love your neighbors (who is your neighbor? The one in need) 
35. Love your fellow believers – brothers and sisters is what they are called in the Word (even those from different denominations or those who have hurt you or that you vehemently disagree with) 
36. Love your enemies & pray for those who persecute you (this goes against our very nature and yet….)
37. Love and do good to those who hate you  (yes that is oh so very hard)
38. Love your self for you are skillfully & wonderfully made by the Creator 
39. Give generously…even to a fault!
40. Be faithful to your commitments…don’t quit!
41. Discover your passions in life and pursue them whether or not they are practical, financially profitable or held in high esteem by society
42 Build on your strengths…don’t pay too much attention to your weaknesses (not as in weaknesses of sin…but in gifts, talents & abilities)…you can’t put in what God left out!
43. Think outside the box…you don’t have to do it the way it has always been done or the way everyone else does it 
44. Decide how many children you want or that you can handle…and then have one more! (even better yet ask God to give you what He wants)
45. Take full responsibility for your life…don’t blame God, the government or others for your lack of opportunities or failures
46. Regular consistent personal disciplines – prayer, bible reading, exercise, weekly church attendance will pay off in the long run…both in this life and the one to come!
47. “Adoption” (of any type – a baby, foster child, an international orphan, a family in need, a floundering young person, senior citizen, single mom, widow, fatherless/motherless child, foreign exchange student…for any amount of time – short term, long term, permanent or for life) is something everyone should experience!
48. Make memories and take lots of photos (if you are blessed to live to a ripe old age…they will be such a treasure)
49. Done is better than perfect!
50. Give up your control issues as young as possible and let God be in control of everything… (so says this wise recovered control freak)

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Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Faith, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Marriage, My "take"

Fabulous 50: A New Decade is Dawning

This week…Saturday September 1st to be exact…I am turning 50. <deep breath> Yes, one of those milestone birthdays.

I clearly remember my first “decade day”…my 1oth birthday… as we had just recently moved from San Pedro, California to Springfield, Virginia and I had zero friends. After spending the weeks prior to my big day living in a hotel while my parents searched for a house to buy, I only had my family to celebrate with. It was fairly uneventful but I had an awesome sense of hope and excitement for the future as just a few days later I would begin my life in Virginia with a new school, new friends and a fresh new start.  One of the greatest things, as a kid from a military family moving every few years,  is that you could “re-make” yourself with every move. Literally the slate was wiped clean and you could start all over and be whomever you wanted to be!  My childhood and youth were spent in that decade and life was good.  It was during that season that I met Jesus, at almost 17, in a very real and personal way and I have never been the same!

I turned 20 at the start of my junior year at UOP…such an awesome time of my life as we were seeing God move mightily across our campus and the Lord was using me, despite my youth, my many flaws and personal struggles to reach others for Christ! It was an amazing season of  life….and when I think back on it I am still in awe at the powerful happenings all around me.  I loved being in my 20’s…I felt youthful, confident, independent and strong…in fact in my heart and mind I still often feel like I am in my mid 20’s.  I graduated from college in my 20’s, started in ministry in my 20’s, got married in my 20’s, had my first baby in my 20’s but more than anything else during that era I learned that Jesus is all I need, my everything…truly a life changing decade!

One of my favorite photos from my 20’s (and it’s not because I am a cat lover) but because at this point I was in full time youth ministry…passionately following the Lord and wanting to please Him and do His will. In that way I am still the same!


Turning 30 was not something I looked forward to….30…it sounded so “old” and  besides I wanted to be in my 20’s forever!  I was seven months pregnant with my second child and I was sick, tired and blah. I remember being so ambivalent about turning 30 that I told Dan that I did NOT want a birthday party of any kind and yet he put together a small shindig anyway at Mallards Restaurant with a few friends…I was not very happy about it at all (that poor guy!) If the Lord had opened up a window to let me peek at the simply miraculous things that were to take place in that new decade, I would have been thrilled to watch it arrive.  In my 30’s I had four of my children. I was a teacher,activity adviser and guidance counselor to students who would become life long friends. I helped found a Christian High School that many said could never happen. I started my Creative Memories career that to this day continues to bless my life in spectacular ways. I also began homeschooling, something I never considered attempting and yet I truly believe it is one of the biggest factors in my children becoming who they are today. My 30’s also included some life changing, course altering tragedies as I lost my dear father (much too young) and I was betrayed and fired from a ministry that I poured my heart and soul into for over a decade. It was definitely a decade of great growth, faith building and new beginnings!

Then 40 came along and I was “loud and proud” about reaching this milestone! I threw myself a big fancy birthday party, despite being three months pregnant with my sixth sweet baby and as always sicker than ever , I was thrilled to get together with my friends and family to celebrate! I felt in some way that I had “arrived” in life…that I had finally made it! This past decade since turning 40 has been filled with both the very good and the very bad:

  • I was blessed with three more precious babies…one through adoption, the most miraculous thing I have ever experienced in life!
  • I began to have health problems that sent me to the hospital on several occasions
  • I had the unfortunate gut wrenching experience of a couple of my children in serious life and death situations  where I was forced to deal squarely in the face with my control issues and truly give God complete control of my life.
  • I experienced both the best of financial times in our married life and the worst  of times(and not because of the economy’s ups & downs)
  • I started writing and speaking…two things that I have become passionate about and are sure to shape my future.
  • I experienced stellar personal achievements, awards and accolades running my own business, to then be led to scale way back on my efforts there and use those same God given gifts & talents at the high school we had started years earlier, to then be cut loose after three years of great success and momentum because of pride and power struggles in leadership (pride & power…a double edged sword with the ability to do so much good or so much harm depending on whose hands it is in).
  • I have had the thrill of launching my first three daughters out into the world and watching them soar!
  • I had learned in the previous decade, in my 30’s, to put all my trust in the Lord  and had seen the Lord take the worst thing I thought could ever happen and turn it into the greatest thing in my life! This decade I was able to sail much easier through the “bad” knowing that in the end it would be for my greatest good. I enjoyed the peace that comes in knowing that the Lord uses authority, even unwise or misguided authority to lead me in the direction He wants me to go….it felt like I had passed the “Truly Trusting God Test”.

Now here I am turning 50 this week…and ready to celebrate the amazing life I have been blessed with and the great things that God has allowed me to experience and be a part of these past 50 years ( a half a century…doesn’t that sound impressive?!) I am at the beginning of a another new decade of life…a decade that is sure to include many life changing and monumental events (the launching of three more children, college graduations and major life choices for those children in the areas of careers, ministry, marriages and children,  helping my mother and inlaws walk through health and other challenges that come with aging while rejoicing in their milestones of 80th birthdays and Lord willing a 60th wedding anniversary as well as celebrating our own 30th & 35th wedding anniversaries, to name a few of the very real possibilities this decade). And yes this decade is sure to have it’s share of hardships, pain and sorrows  that I pray I can walk through with grace, peace and strength in my Lord….a living testimony to the greatness of God and an encouragement to others!

As I stand at the edge of this new beginning, the dawn of a new decade of life…I am also filled with excitement, anticipation and hope:

  • Hope for even greater things to be done in and through my life than ever before!
  • Hope that my dreams of speaking and writing to inspire others to live a life of passion, purpose and praise would come to fruition through Inspire Ministries and perhaps even by joining hands with others to run a Camp and Retreat Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains or wherever the Lord opens doors (I have so many retreats I want to host – Engaged Retreats, Marriage Weekends, Family Camps, Mentoring Moms, Treasured Traditions, Purposeful Parenting, Passionate Living…and more!)
  • Hope for a season of provision & prosperity…to not always be the one in need but to generously meet the needs of others!
  • Hope for the Lord to use our children to do abundantly above and beyond all that we could ever imagine!
  • Hope for the Lord’s return in all His glory! To see Him and to be like Him!

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Filed under Blessings, Goals & Dreams, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges

What will you do with your bonus day?

Today is a “bonus” day!

Yes, that’s right every four years we are given a “bonus” day on February 29th! Every four years instead of 365 days, we get 366! Every four years we get a full extra 24 hours! Today is that extra day.

In an “average” lifetime you only get 20 “bonus days”…that’s right just 20 days!  This is my 13th bonus day so I don’t want to “waste it a way”. As I lay here in bed watching the rain pound with vengeance against the windows I am pondering just what I want to do (or not to do) with my “bonus” day.

 How about you? What will you do today with your bonus day?

How about all those things that you have been putting off until you have “more” time?

  • Reading or finishing that book that you heard was so fabulous
  • Making that long overdue doctor or dentist appointment
  • Cleaning or organizing that “junk drawer”, spare bedroom or garage
  • Organizing those photos, making a dent in that scrapbooking project or completing some journaling
  • Sitting down and planning your yearly calendar to include meaningful family traditions that you keep wanting to do but never seem to get going on them

Or maybe you could use your bonus day to do something positive for other people and your community?

  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
  • Grab a trash bag and go pick up all the trash on your street
  • Visit the elderly, sick or shut ins
  • Call a stressed out Mom of toddlers and take her kids to the park or mall playground for a couple hours
  • Help a single Mom or widow with the yard work, house or car maintenance

Or what about spending the day enriching your relationships?

  • Spend time really playing with your kids on their level (even if that means getting down on the floor and playing cards or dressing up as a pirate or Maid Marian)
  • Call your spouse just to say I love you & appreciate you (and husbands – bring home flowers for no special reason) – go out on a special date night
  • Ask your loved ones what would be their “perfect day” and then make it happen for them
  • Call that long lost friend from the past just to say hi and catch up
  • Invite that family you have been wanting to get to know over for dinner
  • Take your neighbors some yummy fresh baked cookies
  • Sit on the couch with your family and read a book together (and turn OFF the TV!)
  • Write notes of love, support and appreciation to all those important people in your life
  • Mend a broken relationship – say you are sorry, ask for forgiveness – forgive and forget

Or maybe you just need a complete day “off” to rest, relax and be renewed and refreshed so that you can continue to live a life all year of meaning and purpose.

Just some thoughts for you on this – February 29, 2012 – now you decide how you will spend your “bonus day”. Will it just be “the same ole, same ole” or will you make it truly a special bonus day?

P.S. – The photo above was taken 4 years ago on my “bonus day”…you can read about it here.

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I want a personal Epiphany!

I have a celebration to get ready for tonight!

Today, January 6, is Epiphany, meaning “vision of God”. It is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. Western Christians commemorate principally (but not solely) the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christian celebrations commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. Christians fixed the date of the feast on January 6 quite early in their history (The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was in A.D. 361) and it is the culmination of the Advent and Christmas season. It is celebrated by believers in many countries and cultures around the world….

….but not so much in the good ole USA.

When I tell friends that we are celebrating Epiphany I usually receive puzzled looks or blank stares indicating that they have simply no earthly idea what I am talking about.  Every year we invite families to join us in our celebration in hopes of inspiring others to begin to celebrate this important spiritual day. And many of those families have gone on to have their own Epiphany celebrations making it a part of their family traditions (which blesses me beyond measure! I have explained how we celebrate, complete with our menu, devotional and pictures here & here)  And if you are thinking…”Why would I want to celebrate Epiphany?”  I want to challenge you to instead think…”Why not?”

  • It’s a Christian observance that dates back 1,700 years…if it was important to the early church, perhaps it should be important to us!
  • It is a phenomenal way to instill biblical accounts of Jesus and build a firm faith foundation in your children through a fun celebration (and if you make it a tradition…you will create memories that will last a lifetime and are centered around their faith)
  • We should all take every opportunity possible to remember and celebrate Jesus…the one who changed our life!

As I woke up early this morning I had Epiphany on my mind.  Yes swirling through my head were logistical aspects of our celebration like….the seating arrangements for 22 friends & family, the mental shopping list of things I need to pick up, the job assignments for my kids to carry out today…but even beyond that I kept saying the word…Epiphany…over and over in my mind.  You see just the word alone is really interesting….and different….and smooth as it floats out of your mouth with a puff of air. “Ehhhh…Pifffff…aneeee” And as I often do I pondered the definition of the word and it’s implications in my life taking those thoughts with me as I began my morning routine.

Epiphany: e·piph·a·ny  [ i píffənee ]

1. an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.
2. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence
 
I don’t know about you but I want a personal Epiphany!
 
I want God to appearto manifestto show up in my life!
 
I want His amazing grace
 
I want His perfect peace
 
I want His healing touch
 
I want His abundant provision
 
I want His unlimited wisdom
 
I want His creative touch
 
I want His inspiring revelation
 
I want His boundless love
 
I want His unspeakable joy
 
Yes I want an “Epiphany”…a personal appearance of God in my life…everyday!  And then it hit me.  I have just that!  I have been given by God….the Holy Spirit, who lives in me and desires to manifest in my life everyday!
 
“And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.” 1 John 4:13-14
 
I have the very spirit of the living God living in me and I can allow Him to manifest grace, peace, healing, provision, creativity, wisdom, inspiration, love and joy every day of my life.  And yet….all too often I don’t.  I have moments throughout my day where I give Him the chance to manifest, but sadly all too often I let me, myself and I be in the driver’s seat of my life. Why? I guess I could say because it is easier (than having God show up…not!), because I want to be in control and must think I am better at it (ha! how ridiculous is that?), or because I spend much more time taking care of my body, soul and mind than I do my spirit (ouch! truth hurts sometimes)
 
So today on this Epiphany I will once again renew my commitment to let the God of the universe rule and reign in my heart and life…allowing the Holy Spirit to manifest through me and give Him control of my life.  I know, I know…easier said than done…but yet I will continue to press on to this goal!
 
If you are a believer, I hope that perhaps you and your family will begin today to celebrate Epiphany in some way, be it big or small.  But my prayer is that all of you reading this might have your own personal Epiphany today, where the Lord appears to you, right where you are, and takes what you thought was an ordinary day…and makes it divine!
 
 

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Filed under Christmas Season, Faith, Family Traditions, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins

What will our children say?

I have so much to tell you about my recent 10 day trip to New York and Boston.  Hopefully I will have the chance to share some tidbits here and there over the upcoming weeks before it all fades into a distant memory without the life lessons I gleaned from this trip being etched deeper into my being through the process of writing about them.

Real quick though, before I share this first tidbit, I have to tell you about some of the Lord’s gracious provisions for us while we were traveling “by faith”. (For an explanation of what I mean to travel by faith and if you missed my post the day we left, you can read it here –> “How do you do what you do?”)

  1. A dear friend provided a gift to my girls of a Broadway show! What an amazing blessing to not only have provision for our needs but even some of our “wants”!
  2. While we were picking up one of my daughters, who arrived on day three of our trip, a lady at the airport tapped us on the shoulder and asked if we wanted her seven-day metro pass with four days left on it. We enthusiastically said “yes! we would love it!”.  A providential gift from God as we had exactly four more days in New York and were able to save the money we would have spent on the Subway.
  3. My name was picked from the lottery for tickets to see “Wicked”.  Me, who rarely ever gets picked from any random drawing was the third name drawn of just over a dozen people to receive front row tickets to the show.  We all squealed with delight at this blessing! God is so very good!
  4. As we were walking to church on Sunday night we spotted a resteraunt that I had received a gift card for two years ago to an establishment in our city that closed it’s doors just weeks after I had been given that card.  I had been carrying it around in my wallet ever since hoping to be able to “someday” use it!  Voila…the perfect timing arrived in New York as we were looking for the Lord to provide every step of the way…we got a free dinner out on the town!  Don’t you just love the way God works?

Ok so back to one of the thought provoking life lessons I gleaned on this adventure.  As we walked into the cemetery next to Park Church in Boston the first thing that caught our eye was a large monument in the center of the cemetery that read FRANKLIN.

Of course I immediately thought…”that must be Benjamin Franklin’s grave” (my apologies to you history buffs who of course know that he was buried in Philadelphia).  Upon closer inspection I saw that it was actually the grave of Ben Franklin’s parents – Josiah and Abiah Franklin – and that the monument had been erected  and inscription written by their youngest son, Ben Franklin.  As I got up close to the monument and read the words that Ben Franklin had written about his parents I was both touched and inspired by them. 

Josiah Franklin,
and
Abiah his wife,
lie here interred.
They lived lovingly together in wedlock
Fifty-five years.
Without an estate, or any gainful employment,
By constant labor and industry,
with God’s blessing,
They maintained a large family
comfortably,
and brought up thirteen children
and seven grandchildren
reputably.
From this instance, reader,
Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling,
And distrust not Providence.
He was a pious and prudent man;
She, a discreet and virtuous woman.
their youngest son,
In filial regard to their memory,
places this stone.
J.F. born 1655, died 1744, 89
A.F. born 1667, died 1752, 85

I read those words over and over again thinking about the things that Ben Franklin valued in his parents

  • That they had a loving and life long marriage
  • That they were not “privileged” (ie – no estate or profitable employment), they were simple hard workers
  • They knew that as they worked hard they could trust in God’s blessing to provide for their large family. (Ben Franklin was the youngest of 13 children)
  • They were committed to the bringing up and training of both their children and grandchildren to be highly esteemed and respected by others
  • Mr Franklin was a man of devotion to God (pious)and was wise and judicious (prudent).  Mrs Franklin had discernment in her action and speech (discreet) and was morally excellent and righteous (virtuous)

I was so impressed and struck by this 88 word description of his parents and the vast array of accolades that he gave them to be remembered by, not only he and his relatives but by those of us hundreds of years later who get to read that inscription. And to top it off he had the foresight to talk to all of us reading it today by saying:

From this instance, reader,
Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling,
And distrust not Providence.

He was inspiring and challenging each of us to be diligent in our calling – whether that is our calling to be faithful in our marriages, hard workers in our jobs, purposeful in our parenting, dedicated to our character or devoted to our faith. He also reminds us to trust the providential hand of God in our lives.

It got me thinking about what our children would say about my husband and my life after we are gone?  Would they admire our marriage?  Do they see us as hard workers who also trust God to bring the blessings?  Would they know from first hand experience that we were purposeful in raising our children and our grandchildren?  And what character qualities would they admire most in us? 

I am sure that we would all love to know that we are leaving a legacy like Mr & Mrs Franklin have accomplished.  And Ben Franklin has certainly inspired me through this monument inscription to be diligent in my calling as a wife, a mother, a “worker” and a Christian.  And while I know I have a long way to go to merit such an inscription and I hope that I will live long enough to gain some ground, I was blessed to receive a little glimpse of my legacy this last week in the form of a text message from my daughter after I spoke a message to her college peers:

“Mom, I didn’t have a chance to say it because everyone else was telling you…today was awesome! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us. I am so honored to have you as my mom, mentor and supporter.  I love you.”

Between that text and Ben Franklin’s inscription I am encouraged, inspired and have renewed my commitment to be diligent to my calling and to trust in God’s providence! Will you join me?

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Filed under Faith, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Making a Difference, Marriage, Parenting