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© 2014 Connie Davis Johnson

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By Angie Faulstich

There is a danger in becoming a parent.  After I bundled up my newborn and took him into my home, that wee little one took over my entire world. It took all of my effort and more strength than I thought I had to keep my little guy alive.

From midnight feedings to mid-afternoon snacks, my mission was to keep my little one fed, dry, warm, and safe. But, as time has passed, Aidan is becoming more and more independent, and he needs me a little less with each passing day.

After an extended break from school over the Christmas holidays, Aidan went back to school, and a large chunk of my heart left with him.  The loss feels like- well, to be honest, it feels like you may just as well have carved out a piece of my heart with a spoon.

That’s how it felt in the beginning as well.  His first semester of kindergarten did not go well for me.  I felt alone and lost, without a purpose.  I grew tired of spending my days alone at home.  And while still not sleeping well most of the time, I just felt tired.  So as the days of Christmas break came to a close and there were no more snow days or 2 hour delays in sight, I began to fear that the emptiness would return.

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It was an emptiness that could not be filled by anything of this world.  Not hobbies that I enjoy.  Not my favorite foods.  Not entertaining movies- even the good clean ones.  Not even the thought of taking on a job outside of the home could fill the empty hole in my heart.

My life lay before me as a beautiful tapestry cut into a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.  The puzzle was finished save one last piece that should have filled a hole near the center of the picture.  And as hard as I searched, high and low, around the puzzle, on the floor, inside the box, in the cabinet from which the puzzle came, I could not find the missing piece.  It was lost.  And I could not fill the empty hole in my heart that I knew had been stolen from me when my son went away to school, and I was no longer needed.

I sunk into bed after their first day back to school, and I cried, “Lord, I cannot live alone anymore.  I feel like I’ve been left behind.  There is emptiness in my soul that I cannot fill, and I do not want to be alone anymore.”

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And then startling words flooded into the cavern of my soul.  From somewhere deep within, I heard the words: “You don’t have to be alone.”

Instantly, I knew He was right.  The Savior of my soul was the missing piece of the puzzle.  And it suddenly dawned on me.  No matter what stage of life I find myself in.  No matter whether my children are home or away at school.  No matter where in the world I find myself, as I often dream of traveling and going on great adventures.  No man, child, friend, food, or entertainment can ever become the missing piece in my puzzle.  For if they do, I have left myself in grave danger and in desperate need of the only One who can ever fill the missing piece of my heart- and that is Jesus.

He has now promised to walk with me through these days of uncertainty.  And I will each and every morning invite Him to lead me through them.  And somehow now I feel hope.  Hope that one day I will feel whole again.  Peace that He will mend my broken heart.  That He is and always will the missing piece to my puzzle.  If I make Him that piece, I will be whole.

I just have to keep inviting Him in, and I can’t let anything else take His place.

Is there an emptiness in your life that needs to be filled?  Is God the piece that is missing?

My incredible guest writer today is Angie Faulstich.  Angie is a child of God, a mother of two bright and wonderful sons, and a wife to an amazing husband.  She is the author of a weekly newspaper column entitled “Finding Peace” that encourages readers to turn to God for all of their needs so that they, too, may experience everlasting peace.

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© 2014 Connie Davis Johnson

Praying Kids are Scary!

September 3, 2013 — 6 Comments

One night during family prayer, our 3 year old daughter, Calan, asked God to give her a brother named George. Kneeling nearby with our 13 month old daughter, Cauriana, I stole a glance at my husband, Craig.  He was looking at me with wide eyes and we both chuckled.

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When Cauriana was born, she came into the world demanding a manicure and a massage.  High maintenance was her calling card.  She would only take twenty minute naps and scream during the rest of our waking hours.  If I wasn’t holding her, I was feeding her.  And if I wasn’t feeding her, I was changing her diaper.  And if I wasn’t changing her diaper, I was trying to figure out what was causing her ear splitting screams.

While I tended to Cauriana, I also tried to give proper attention to Calan by reading to and playing with her.  I was exhausted!  All the time!

So when Calan prayed for a brother, I decided to help God out.  After all, this prayer would not be answered in the way she hoped so I was a bit concerned that it would crush her childlike-size-of-Texas faith.

I gently explained although God is in control of all things, He does let us have a bit of control over some things.  And her dad and I definitely had some control over whether or not she would have a little brother and it wasn’t going to happen, nope, no way, no how, nada, not happening!  Okay, maybe it wasn’t so gentle.  But I was panic-stricken.

Calan didn’t seem to notice or care so I felt we dodged a bullet.

The next day, I began to feel strange.  In the early afternoon, I stopped in my tracks as I realized the only times I had felt this way was when I was pregnant.  I immediately looked up toward the sky and said/yelled, “NO WAY!!”

I sped to the store and bought a home pregnancy test.  By this time, you’ve already finished this story in your head.  And you would be right.  The stick turned pink.  I was pregnant.

I was shocked.  Craig was shocked.  Calan was not.  Calan said, “Of course you have a baby in your tummy.  It’s a boy named George.”

During the entire pregnancy, she never deterred from, “It’s a boy named George.”  Even when we tried to reason with her saying it could be a girl, she would respond, “Nope!  It’s a boy named George.”

When delivery day came, lo and behold, we had a boy.  I was shocked.  Craig was shocked.  Calan was not.

We called Craig’s parents house where the girls were staying to give them the good news.  I said to Calan, “You were right!  We had a boy!  But honey, his name isn’t George.  It’s Colby.”  She said, “No it’s not!  It’s George!”

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She had been right about everything else so I was ready to rip the birth certificate from the nurse’s hand to ensure I had named our little boy Colby and not George.

Calan insisted on calling Colby, “George,” for the first week of his life.  She finally conceded after that and began calling him, “Colby George.”

Today is Colby’s 12th birthday.  And we are extremely blessed God answered Calan’s prayer.  At least the “brother” part.  And Calan has finally dropped the “George” from his name.

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Calan’s special prayer taught me I never need to try to “explain” God.  And I definitely don’t take credit for having control of things I do not.

So now when the kids pray for outrageous things that scare us, we let them.

Then Craig and I pray against them.  It’s the “battle of the prayers” at the Johnson household.

Yep, praying kids are scary!  But it just adds to this adventure we call life.

This post is part of the following link-ups:

whimsical-wednesdays_edited-1 

You may also like:

My Daughter’s Birthday Reminder of My Worst Mistake

Should You be a “Yes” Parent?

A Marriage Beyond Hope

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

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I knew the carnival had come to town even before I saw the rides.  Friends on Facebook announced it by posting comments about the influx of ex-cons and drug addicts with no teeth and filthy clothing.  I didn’t think too much about the comments and even laughed at a few.

When I took my kids to the carnival on opening night, I struck up a conversation with a woman carnie who wasn’t busy at the time.  She shared how she was a mom of three kids, one of which she delivered just four months earlier.

When asking if her kids were with her, she about burst into tears as she explained they were at home and she wouldn’t get to see them until carnival season ended 4 months later.  She didn’t feel the road was a good and stable place to raise kids so she left them with her parents during the busy carnival season.

While looking for a job, she had been rejected by corporations, gas stations, retail stores, restaurants, and on and on.  She was getting desperate as she worried how she would care for her children.  She then met some carnies who showed her love and acceptance and offered her a job.

She now found she was rejected by society as a whole because of the job she held.

As she opened her heart, shame filled my own.  The pain on her face was evident.  And I had added to her misery by participating (even silently) in the social media fodder and buying into the stereotype.

The fun we sometimes have at others expense is often greater than the concern for their heart.  Those “funny” comments hurt real people with genuine feelings.

Everyone has a story.  Everyone has needs.  Everyone needs love.

This woman was working hard to give her kids the best life possible on the limited means she had.  I felt for her as I watched her love on the other carnies’ kids who were traveling with the group, while missing her own so much.

I could relate to her because I had been rejected in different areas of my own life.

I’m sure you’ve also felt the sting of rejection.  When made to feel unwanted, unworthy, or unacceptable for one reason or another, it’s miserable.

So let’s no longer take part as others “tear down.”  Let’s counter that by “building up.”

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There are 2 simple ways to “build others up.”

First, we need to see everyone as God’s masterpiece.

People of all ages, races, social classes, well-educated, non-educated, agreeable, disagreeable, from all walks of life, each are made in God’s image.  Each has value and worth.

Second, we need to do something.

In Australia, there is a rocky cliff called, The Gap, that is a notorious suicide spot.  For nearly 50 years, Don Ritchie, who lived across the street, scanned the cliff each day.  If he saw anyone standing alone and too close to the edge, he hurried to their side.  He would give them a warm smile and ask if they would like to come in for a cup of tea.  He never counseled, advised, or pried.  He just offered a smile and an invitation.

Don is officially credited with saving 160 people but unofficially the number is closer to 600.  Many of the survivors said it was Don’s smile that made them want to live.

Don says, “Never be afraid to speak to those you feel are in need.  Always remember the power of the simple smile, a helping hand, a listening ear, and a kind word.  It’s pretty simple.”

What if we are the catalyst that helps someone feel accepted, loved, or cared for all because we were willing to engage them in conversation, offer a listening ear, or give a simple smile?

At the very least we will bring a boost to their day.  But we may just save a life in the process.

Who will you see, accept, value, and love today?

You may also like:

Feeling Bad About Yourself?

Should You be a “Yes” Parent?

My Kid Doesn’t Meet My Expectations

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

 

 

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Visit Jill Savage’s site to learn more about Hearts at Home’s Compassion International trip.

Sponsoring a child is an amazing way to make a difference in a child’s life and possibly save them from exploitation and poverty.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

You may also like:

Desire To Be Weak

A Scary Yet Amazing Trip

Does God Shop at Garage Sales?

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

 

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“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..” ~ Jeremiah 1:5a

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  ~ Psalm 139:13-14

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  ~ Psalm 139:16

“God created you with a longing to know you are significant, accepted and secure – and then He met that need through Jesus. You are LOVED with measureless grace and affection.”  ~ Renee Swope A Confident Heart 

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ~ Steve Furtick

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  ~ 1 John 3:1a

“The way we continually talk about our own inabilities is an insult to our Creator.” ~ Oswald Chambers

“Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted. i.e., keep fulfilling all the obvious duties of your station (you really know quite well enough what they are!), asking forgiveness for each failure and then leaving it alone. You are in the right way. Walk – don’t keep on looking at it.” ~ C. S. Lewis

What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries. ~ Matthew 10:29-31

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”  ~ Malcolm Forbes, American magazine publisher

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  ~ Jeremiah 29:11

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” ~ Helen Keller

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17

“All your efforts to win God’s affection are unnecessary. All your fears of losing his affection are needless.” ~ Max Lucado

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. ~ Philippians 2:13

“Every artist was first an amateur!” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~ Psalm 34:18

“Don’t let people’s compliments go to your head, and don’t let their criticisms go to your heart. The degree to which you do either of these things is the degree to which you’ll be ruled by what other people think of you.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  ~ Romans 8:31-32

You may also like:

Are You Insignificant?

When to Heed or Disregard Criticism

Don’t Shut the Shades on Life

This post is part of the Whimsical Wednesday Link up

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and the Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesday Link Up

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

The request came at a point in my day when I was exhausted.  “Mom, will you come outside and watch for meteors with us?”  The request materialized a couple of hours ago at 10 PM.  One of the nights of the Perseid Meteor Shower.  Not only was I physically drained but I still needed to make a grocery list and write a blog post.

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“Mom, over here!”  On a beautiful and cool night we had been invited to a friend’s house for a party.  I had just filled my plate with food and was heading to sit by the pool with some friends when I heard my son call to me.  I noticed he was sitting alone and my heart evoked the pain of having nobody to talk to when everyone else is having a great time visiting with each other.  So I quickly diverted my path from the table filled with friends laughing and having fun to sit with my little boy.

“Mom, will you play volleyball with me in the yard?”  Although, my body was tired from already doing a hard workout and looking at a daunting to-do list, my daughter’s request could not be ignored.  She was working hard to expand her skills in the sport she loved most.  I mustered the little bit of energy I had left and used it to bump the ball, run after serves, and dive for kills.

With three kids, the requests for Mom seem unending.  Unfortunately, my task list and schedule also seem endless.

When my kids asked if I would join them on the deck for the meteor shower, I was tempted to say, “Not tonight.”  But then I thought back to the days when they were smaller and the many bedtime stories I would read to them.  Scheming against going to sleep, there was always, “Just one more, Mom.”

Now I searched my memory for when the very last request for a bedtime story came.  I could not remember that night and I was left to question, did I end with a, “Not tonight,” or a “You bet we can read one more.”

Our kids only grow up once.  Someone wise once said in describing raising kids, “The days are long but the years are short.”  The long days often tempt us with a “no” answer.  There is always something else competing for our time on a daily basis.

But as our kids grow, it’s important to remember there will be a last time for certain requests.

  • “Mom, will you hold me?”
  • “Mom, will you play a game with me?”
  • “Mom, will you read me a book?”
  • “Mom, can I make cookies with you?”
  • “Mom, can we do something special together today?”

The thought of not knowing when the last request will come encourages me to say, “yes” more than I say, “no.”

After considering my children’s fleeting requests, I donned a sweatshirt and sweatpants and headed outside with my two excited children to watch for meteors.

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Without computers, phones, video games, iPods, and other distracting influences, we began a lovely and focused conversation.

  • We contemplated if bugs sleep.
  • We questioned God’s choice of sound for certain animals upon hearing an owl hooting.
  • I answered questions about the bible.
  • We discussed the upcoming school year and all the fear and excitement it’s generating.
  • We oohed and awed over each meteor we saw and took a tally of how many each saw.
  • We saw a bat.  A BAT???  Okay, I’ll admit the bat sighting made me ponder if my love for my children really needed to supersede my grocery list.  But I planted myself in my seat and proceeded to fling my arms in a frenzy when a moth would pass by fearing it was the bat.  I soon became the entertaining headliner eclipsing the meteor shower

Although my grocery list sits blank on the kitchen counter and I’m working on this blog post at midnight, I feel good about my decision.

Grocery lists will await me the rest of my life.  The opportunity to write will most likely continue long after my kids have grown and moved on with their own lives.  However, the time I have with my children at home is fading fast.  I want to make the most of it while I have the opportunity.

Are you in the midst of busy days while raising kids?  Are you inundated with your kid’s requests?  Which ones will you miss most someday?  Will you begin to say, “yes” more than, “no”?

You may also like:

I am the Worst Mom Ever!

Can I Get a Witness?

My Kid Doesn’t Meet My Expectations

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

 

Are You Insignificant?

August 7, 2013 — 10 Comments

“Connie, you’re just a slut and I have no doubt you will be pregnant before you’re 18.”  Those were the words of my “Christian” Vice Principal at my private school after he learned I sneaked out of my house the night before.  He presumed upon what I had done (and was wrong by the way) and chose the most hurtful words possible.  Words I found devastating!

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The news reached the other teachers and each, with the exception of one, treated me as if I wore a scarlet letter.  I was a disappointment.  I was someone who failed at life before I had even reached the age of 16.  I better marry rich because I would never amount to anything in life.

They had me convinced.  If they, being Christians, thought so ill of me, I couldn’t imagine what God thought of me.  So by the end of the day, I decided I was done with Christians.  I was done with church.  I was done with God.

Have you ever been belittled?  It can be through biting sarcasm or serious insults.  Have you ever ached to have that all-important person in your life believe in you only to have them ignore your greatest accomplishments?  Has anyone made you feel as though you would amount to nothing in life?

Take heart, there are others also.

David, in the bible, is also among the rejected.

David is the youngest of 8 boys.  The runt of the family.  When Samuel, the prophet, shows up at the door to anoint a new King (per God’s instruction) among one of the brothers, David was not even invited to the feast.  He was told to keep the sheep while David’s dad paraded each of his brothers in front of Samuel.

After each son is rejected by God, Samuel has to ask if there are any other boys.  Only then, did David’s dad mention his existence.  David had killed bears and lions to protect the sheep but those accomplishments did not impress his dad.  He thought of him as the least.  The hobbit.  The one who would probably never advance above the lowly position of shepherd.

When people we admire don’t believe in us, their negativity can seep into our conscious and breed insecurity.  It’s not long before we are repeating their words to ourselves, convinced of their validity.

But David did not buy into the belief he was insignificant.  How did he escape the prison of insecurity?

He believed in the person God said he was more than the person his dad and brothers said he was.

Can we drown the voices of the world?  The loud voices telling us we’re not good enough?  That we’ve made too many mistakes?  That we will never do anything of importance?

Is it possible to listen to the voice of God telling us we are valued?  We are worthy?  We are significant?

Yes!

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Thankfully, the day I walked away from God on that dark day in High School was the day He pursued me.

When I came home, my mom could tell something was wrong.  Even though I didn’t want to tell her knowing she would be mortified from the embarrassment I caused her at school, she would not leave me alone.  I had to tell her.  I told her word for word what the Vice Principal had said.  Her face became red and little veins popped out in her forehead.  I knew it was a mistake to tell her and braced for the punishment to come.

Instead, she turned, grabbed her keys, and walked out the door.  I had never pushed her so far that she had to escape from my presence so now I was terrified.

Later, I learned she drove across town, marched into that Vice Principals office and made him wish he had wandered into a Mother Bear’s den.

That was the day I realized my mom was on my side.  She saw something in me that deserved to be defended.  She believed in me.  She knew I was capable of being great and that I could do something significant with my life.   And she didn’t appreciate anyone telling me differently.

My mom taught me imperfect Christians who make frightful mistakes is no reason to give up on a perfect God.  People cannot do what God has already done.  God is the One who gifted me, assigned my value, and wrote a perfect plan for my life.

If you are struggling with insecurity, I encourage you;

  • Look past the bad others think of you and the mistakes you’ve made.  God forgives and redeems.
  • See the value God assigned and the beauty He gave you.
  • Rather than walking in the plan others presume on your life, walk in the perfect plan God already wrote for your life.  Remember, He even took into consideration all the mistakes you would ever make as He made your life plan.

You are significant, worthy, beautiful, important, gifted, and have value.  He believes in you!

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”  ~ Psalm 139:13-15

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  ~ Jeremiah 29:11

 

You may also like:

When Someone Refuses to Forgive You

Perfect Mom?  Hardly!

Are You Noticeable?

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

Forgive to Live #3_test

From my guest post on Suzie Eller’s blog – http://tsuzanneeller.com/2013/07/08/forgive-to-live-frenemy-or-real-enemy/

You may also like:

A Marriage Beyond Hope

When Someone Refuses to Forgive You

An Imperfect Home is One of Life’s Greatest Gifts

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

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View more pictures at Susannah Cushman’s blog here.

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“Chau” or “Adios”

And We’re Waiting….and Waiting……and Waiting…..

3 Surefire Ways to Live Your Priorities

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson