Category: devotional thoughts

I posted on Facebook today that I heard my mother’s voice flying out of my head today. We were leaving the library, and Jonas had a stack of five books in his hands. As we passed through the automatic doors and neared the parking lot, I said, “Jonas, you have to pay attention to where you’re going. Don’t walk and read – you can read that in the car.”

WHAAAA—–????!!!!
I cannot count the number of times I heard some variant of that growing up. Don’t read and walk… don’t read at the dinner table… don’t read in the bathtub. (Although now they make these cool things, and since I read in the tub anyway, flouting conventional wisdom, how cool would that be? I digress.) The funny thing was, after a short period of time adjusting to my 5-year-old bifocals [CURB!] I was good at reading while walking. I don’t recall ever bumping into anything – anything major, that is. It was just “one of those things” my Mom always said. And today, without even thinking about it, it came out of MY mouth.
*****
Later today, Susannah was picking at a tiny scab on her leg. (This child is constantly dealing with bruises and scabs and various little injuries. Welcome to my world.) Now, here’s a dirty little secret: I’m a picker. I cannot stand to leave things like that alone. I don’t think I’ve ever just observed how long it would take my body to heal a little scab like that; I always mess with things on my skin.
But as I sat beside her, do you know what flew out of my mouth?
“Susannah, don’t pick at that. You’ll open it to infection!”
Hello, Dr. Chris Nebel, when did you take up residence in my Broca’s Area?
That was wierd.
*****
Yesterday, we had a few big rumbles of thunder. Jonas was having quiet time – not asleep, not absorbed enough in a major activity to ignore it. Down the hall he sped, onto the couch and into my arms he jumped. “Mama – it’s a storm! I’m scared of storms!”
I patted his back, and do you know what came to mind immediately?
“I know, baby. But remember: God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. We’re okay.”
Hmmm. Yeah, that wasn’t an original thought either.
*****
So here’s my take on losing my voice: in this case, it’s a good thing. They say that when we’re children, we think our parents know everything; when we’re teenagers we think they know nothing; when we’re parents ourselves, we realize they knew a whole darn lot. I think that this co-opting of my words is happening because the more I grow, the more I realize that the best wisdom comes from outside myself. Opening up to the wisdom of others, especially to the Creator of wisdom itself, and making it our own – that’s the only way to have a voice that matters.
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Proverbs 3:13-16

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

As we are preparing for Easter, it’s really amazing to see how Jonas is responding to the story this year. He is, first of all, very empathetic to the suffering of Christ this year.

The facts of Good Friday are a big deal – as we drive around town or color or take a bath, Jonas will suddenly tell me, “Mom, you know Jesus was HURT. And He DIED. On the CROSS. And he was DEAD.”

At first, I was concerned that he was too focused on that part of the story, so I made sure that we always told –as Paul Harvey would have it!– the rest of the story. On our way home from church Sunday, Jonas sounded the refrain again. This time, though, instead of telling him the Easter part of the story, I started asking him a few questions.

Jonas: Mom, you know Jesus? Was hurt. And He DIED. Up on the CROSS. And He was DEAD.
Me: Mmm-hmmm. Why did he die?
Jonas: Because the soldiers, they put Him up there, on the cross and He died.
Me: Yep, but why did He have to die there?
Jonas: For the sins. For everybody’s sins.
Me: That’s right, Jesus died for our sins. What’s a sin, buddy?
Jonas: Doing something wrong.
Me: And then what happened?
Jonas: [bursting into song] UP FROM THE GRAVE HE AROSE!

So now I think that he’s got the basic concepts down, and that in bringing it up so often he just simply wants to talk about it. There must be some detail he’s working out in his mind.

I heard someone on the radio, maybe Dr. David Jeremiah?, talk about kids who are raised in Christian homes having what he labeled “pre-conversion experiences,” where they start to understand the meaning of the cross, the basics behind salvation, maybe they even “say the prayer” at a young age – but as their knowledge and walk with the Lord develops as they grow up, they have further experiences in the journey. So I think that maybe Jonas is on the cusp of one of those kind of moments. It’s very intense for me; as a mom this is one of the most significant jobs I see before me: leading my children into a relationship with our Savior. I’m praying for wisdom and patience and the right words at the right times, and I really just have to leave it in God’s hands, I think.

*******

Susannah’s life is a little less complicated than her brother’s right now. 🙂 Her days seem to revolve around finding something to take apart and/or put back together… or something to climb… or something to knock over. As a result of these adventures, she will probably look like a prizefighter who went 8 rounds and lost in her Easter pictures. Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and bumps – oh, my! At the moment she’s got a goose-egg on her temple (running into the corner of the dresser), a big abrasion on her cheekbone (twisting as she came down the slide and landing on her face), a red mark on her nose (carpet burn from a race down the hall with Jonas), and some scratches on her chest of unknown origin. She’s exhausting!

She’s up to about 16 words now, with the newest ones being please, hairbow, cracker, hat, and bites. Her bedtime routine, after singing and nursing, now includes her patting my chest and telling me “Aw-duh” {all done} and then when I put her in her crib, she waves at me and says “Nigh-nigh. Bye-bye!” At least that part is easy…. she’s teething again (a molar and a canine at the same time – HORROR) so she’s waking up many times a night the last few days.

And the latest we-could-just-eat-her-she’s-so-cute move is giving kisses – to Mommy, to Daddy, to Jonas (if he’ll hold still), and to all her baby dolls. She puckers up and makes the “mwah” sound and everything. I turn into a big puddle of lovey goo every time she does it – especially when she’s kissing her “babies” and doesn’t see me watching her. Ahhhhhh! It almost makes up for The Crazy she causes the rest of the day.

*******

And in whole-family news, we’re going on a site visit in May! Chris has been talking with a practice in western Kentucky, and after seeing his CV and exchanging emails and a few phone calls, they are ready to interview him – and we get to interview them, too. We’ll be out there May 9-11, taking our tours (Chris will go on a tour with the surgeons to check out the practice facilities, the hospital, boring work stuff… I’ll be meeting a few of the surgeons’ wives to see one of the area churches and adjoining preschool, the downtown shopping areas, some of the local ‘sights’, the fun stuff!) and having Chris’ formal interview. Please pray with us that we’ll have a clear sense of whether this is where God is leading us for next year!

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

I’ve been using a worship song as mine. We sang it at Immanuel this
morning, which reminded me that I’ve been wanting to write about this
for a while!

We will seek you first, Lord.
You will hear our voices
early in the morning and late in the night.
We will sing your praises,
giving you the glory,
offering our lives to you
a holy sacrifice.

May our praises rise as incense, O Lord, to you.
May our worship be a fragrance, O Lord, to you.

Isn’t that just about perfect? I am finding that when my day
begins by seeking God’s face, making time to come before Him, that day
goes infinitely smoother. We will seek you first, Lord — before we
get caught up in the business and busyness of our routines.

A few months ago, when it took ages to get Susannah to sleep each time
she woke up, I sang this song to myself in the darkness of her room.
You will hear our voices early in the morning and late in the night.
That’s the special territory of Mommy, at least in our house – those
early morning wake-ups and late night nightmares. How beautiful to use
those times as the chance to bring our little ones to the Father in
prayer!

We will sing your praises, giving you the glory…. I think of this
when we literally sing God’s praises together, dancing around our
kitchen in the soft sunlight, baby pajama’ed feet and stinky little
boy feet and slippered Mama feet tromping to the beat. And I think of
it when I take a moment to point out the majesty of creation, a small
act of mercy, or an instance of providence – I want to always sing the
Lord’s praises to my kids, so they will recognize when to give Him the
glory in their own lives.

And no matter what I do- as I fold the laundry and wipe the noses and
clip the coupons and drive to the appointments and cook and clean and
read and teach- this is my heartfelt prayer: offering [my life] to
You, a holy sacrifice.
The more I embrace the idea of living out my
sacrifice in my mundane moments, the more those humdrum activities
have begun to bless me and to teach me.

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

I got this in my email inbox this morning – it’s a good follow up to my post about being so tired!

“The human body’s need for sleep has always amazed me. God has designed us to literally “turn off” like a machine for eight hours or more each night. Science tells us sleep is something our bodies need to do. It is not an option. During our sleeping hours, some parts of the brain actually increase their activity dramatically, and certain hormones are produced by many of the body’s major organs and regulatory systems that continue to work.

Unfortunately, as a young homeschooling mom, I was missing out on my much needed sleep…” Read the rest here.

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

null
Susannah was baptized into the family of faith this morning at Immanuel United Methodist Church.

Every time I hear the baptismal vows, I get choked up. Tears well up in my eyes as the enormity of the task before us parents hits me again. “Will you nurture this child in Christ’s holy church, that by your teaching and example she may be guided to accept God’s grace for herself, to profess her faith openly, and to lead a Christian life?”

We were blessed to have two of Susannah’s five grandparents, and one aunt, uncle, & cousin present today. I feel so grateful that our kids are growing up surrounded by an extended family that isn’t just joined by blood, but by our saving belief in the power of His Blood. Sometimes I worry about this sacred duty – to teach them in every word, every action, about God’s amazing grace – about Christ’s preeminence in our lives – but it’s comforting to have the support of our fellowship of believers. And that’s why I love the last part of our baptismal covenant: the congregational pledge. “With God’s help, we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that this child, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.”

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

When we lived in Florida, we participated in an awesome Sunday School class led by Gay Robinson. One Christmas season, she gave us all a handout with information about Jesse Trees. A Jesse Tree is a simple tree (often just a bare branch anchored in a pot of sand; but it can also be a fabric “tree”, or a real or artificial Christmas tree) that is decorated with one ornament each day during Advent. The ornaments represent characters and themes from the Scriptures.

The thing I love about the Jesse Tree is that it’s not just a “chocolate-a-day” Advent countdown. It’s a way to focus on the great truth of the Bible: that God loves us and that He sent His son to save us. The story of Christmas doesn’t occur out of the blue, you know. It’s not like one day God suddenly thought, “Hey, that Mary chick looks cool. I’ll send an angel her way and see what happens!” No. He had a plan all along, from before the world began, from the moment that He breathed life into Adam. The Jesse Tree makes it clear and poignant that the entire story of Scripture points toward Christ and the salvation we can only receive through him.

From the research I’ve been doing, it appears that Jesse Trees can either emphasize the lineage of Messiah from Adam to Christ; or they can emphasize Old Testament themes, events, or covenants; or they can trace Old Testament prophecies about the First Coming of the Messiah.

This list is slightly modified from the one that Gay handed out. I wanted to primarily trace the members of Christ’s lineage who are mentioned in Matthew 1 (#1-14, 20-23); to fill out the list and have one ornament for each day of Advent I added the Old Testament prophets (#15-19).

Day

Ornament Character/Meaning Scripture
Jesse Tree Isaiah 11:1
1 Earth God/Creation Gen. 1:1-31
2 Apple/Snake Adam & Eve/Fall of Man Gen. 3:1-24
3 Ark/rainbow Noah/Flood Gen. 6:11-22
4 Tent/camel Abraham/Covenant Gen. 12:1-7
5 Ram Isaac/Offering Gen. 22:1-14
6 Ladder Jacob/Promise Gen. 27:41-28:22
7 Coat of many colors Joseph/God’s Providence Gen. 37:1-36
8 Stone tablets Moses/God’s Law Ex. 20:1-17
9 Trumpet Joshua/God’s Leadership Joshua 1:1-11
10 Wall with Red Cord Rahab/God’s Protection Joshua 2:1-21
11 Wheat Ruth & Boaz/God’s Plan Ruth 1-4
12 Crimson Robe with Staff Jesse 1 Sam 16:1-13
13 Harp/Slingshot David/Shepherd for the People 1 Sam. 16:14-23
14 Crown Solomon/Wisdom 1 Kings 3:3-28
15 Stone Altar Elijah/Threat of false gods 1 Kings 17:1-16
16 Hot Coals Isaiah/Call to Holiness Isaiah 6:1-8
17 Watchtower Habbakuk/Waiting on the Lord Hab. 1:1-4
18 Tears Jeremiah/Exile Jeremiah 31:31-34
19 Temple Haggai/Return & Rebuild Haggai 2:1-9
20 People Zechariah & Elizabeth/Joy Luke 1:5-25
21 Scallop John the Baptist/Call to Repentance Luke 1:57-80
22 White Lily (or rose) Mary/Hope for the Future Luke 1:26-38
23 Carpenter’s Tools Joseph/Trust in God Matt. 1:18-25
24 Angels Angels/Good News Hebrews 1:1-14
25 Star of David (or Chi-Rho) Jesus/Fulfillment of Messianic Promise Luke 2:1-20

Now that I’ve chosen the Scriptures, characters, and stories I want to include, I’m making my own ornaments. A handful are wooden shapes, painted with acrylics; the rest are felt and embroidery details. I’m not quite finished (but hey, it’s only January!) Here’s what I’ve done so far:
Photobucket
For more information and additional character/ornament ideas, as well as more about the history and tradition of Jesse Trees, check these resources:
Jesse Tree: Messianic Prophecies
Christian Resource
King of Peace
Domestic-Church
RCA

And if you want to buy a complete set of Jesse Tree ornaments, or a set of patterns to cross-stitch your own ornaments, take a look at Jesse-Trees.Com

Share with a friend!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

subscribe

Categories

Categories

Archives

Archives

Latest tweets