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Anxious or Trusting

by KimHarms 0 Comments

I just recently noticed that this devo of mine was published online. That was a fun surprise 🙂

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIVIMG_0301

“I’m a little anxious about this trip.” My husband’s words the night before he was to fly to Wyoming for several days of backpacking made me uneasy. Corey doesn’t get anxious. It’s a sign that something is going to go wrong. What if the plane crashes or he gets hurt on the trail? I was now anxious about Corey’s trip in a little four-seat plane.

He arrived in Wyoming the next day in one piece and had a fantastic trip. And I’m certain his anxiousness had more to do with the thought of leaving me alone with our sons in the midst of some significant life transitions than with his own safety. But his comment caused me to be anxious nonetheless.

It’s funny how small things can send our minds reeling. One off-handed comment snowballed in my mind into a disaster that never happened.

God gives us a clear remedy for anxiousness. Do not be anxious about anything. Anything! In everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, we should present our requests to Him. And His peace, which is a peace beyond anything this world can provide, has the ability to protect our hearts and our minds. The next time Corey flies off on a backpacking adventure, I plan to trust the truth of Scripture instead of trusting my untrustworthy imagination.

God asks you to trust him with your circumstances or life issues that are causing you to be anxious. Whether it’s a new job, a move across country, or a child who is having a rough year at school. Maybe like me, you need to let go of your fears and let God show you He’s in control.

 

You can find this and a lot of great devos at Christian Devotions.

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Secret Place Devo – Wallflower or Wildflower

by KimHarms 0 Comments

 

The following one of my devos is the April 24 devotion in The Secret Place. (It’s based on my Wallflower or Wildflower post from last year, so the content may be familiar to some of you.)

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James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

We catch our reflection in the mirror and see our mousey brown hair and our body shape that has always made us insecure, and we think we were meant to fade into the crowd. It’s easy to believe that the important life assignments are reserved for confident, poised, beautiful people.

But the truth is God did not create us to be wallflowers. God blessed each of us with talents and purpose. Instead of wallflowers, we can be like wildflowers. Once wildflower seeds are tossed on the ground, they grow and spread, covering vast areas with brilliant color.

So go ahead. Throw your seed on the ground and listen to that quiet voice that never changes, but often gets drowned out. That voice whispers, “You are loved. You are worth it. I have blessed you with a good and perfect gift. Toss the seed, and I will make it grow.”

 

To subscribe to The Secret Place Devotions for Daily Worship (a quarterly devozine) go to www.judsonpress.com.

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Joy in Trials – A Secret Place Devotion

I have been away from the blogosphere for a few weeks because life has been a little wacky. We sold our house, packed up our house, went on vacation to a tropical paradise, came back home to the frozen tundra and then moved across town about 12 hours after our plane landed. Subsequently, we’ve been settling in and trying to find things like shoes and spatulas.

I believe the human members of our family have found “the groove” again, but our poor little reptile has not. Traumatized Tyson the turtle shoots off his basking platform like a bullet smashing into the glass wall of his aquarium every time there is a sudden movement within a 10-foot radius.  It’s all right little buddy. I promise the next time we move you it will be at least 75-degrees warmer outside.

My writing goals for the winter have been seriously revamped as I haven’t been on my computer much for a month, but I was happily reminded by fellow writer Tammie Edington Shaw that one of my devos was published in the Secret Place yesterday, so I’ll share it here with you.

(The following devo was written while my dear friend Mara was living with us last year. She is now married to a super guy and expecting her first baby. Yay!)

Joy in Trials

Her wedding was only six weeks away. Two weeks ago she lost her job. Yesterday she totaled her car. What should be one of the happiest seasons of her life was riddled with stress and disappointment. How was she going to find a new job without a car? How would she be able to buy a car without a job?

I sat on my couch mentally creating various scenarios that might help her and reduce her stress. In the midst of my musings, she walked up the stairs with her laptop in her hand and a smile on her face saying, “At least I didn’t get hurt.” The she sat down to look for jobs online.

Mara did not complain in the midst of difficulties. As I worried about my young friend who was temporarily living in our basement bedroom, she was focusing on the p0isitive and moving on to the next step. Her refreshing atitude despite her challenging life circumstances was a reminder to me to find joy in my trials.

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds…

To receive The Secret Place quarterly devotional in the mail visit www.judsonpress.com.

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The Secret Place Devotion – The Right Answer

My following devotion was the December 31st reading in The Secret Place devozine winter 2013-2014 issue.

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The Right Answer

Society seems to script certain questions for each new life phase. We ask high school seniors about their college plans. We ask newlyweds when they plan to start a family. We ask stay-at-home moms what they are going to do to fill their time once their youngest children start school.

I have fielded all of those questions; most recently the last one. Each time someone asks, “What are you going to do now that your baby is in school?” I feel a certain amount of pressure to have “the right answer.” I sense an urgency to know exactly what my life is going to look like and how I’m going to reach my goals.

However, God has not promised to show us the blueprint for our entire lifespan in advance. Instead, we need to trust God with our future and rely on God’s wise counsel along the way. So instead of giving in to the pressure of coming up with “the right answer,” let’s place each day of the year ahead in the hands of God.

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

(It’s easier said than done, but I so want to be more concerned about what God desires for me than what the world expects of me.)

Head on over to Judson Press to order a subsciption to the quarterly Secret Place devotional magazine.

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This Little Light of Mine

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Ephesians 5:8-9 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

Author and speaker Luci Swindoll writes ” Note (Ephesians 5:8) doesn’t say we are like light, it says we  are light. Just as the flashlight draws power from its batteries, we draw power from the son of God. As light, we dissipate fear, bring relief and lift spirits. We don’t have to be big to be effective. We just have to be on.”

Thanking God for sending Swindoll’s  devo my way this week and reminding me that I don’t have to be perfect or anywhere close to it.

I just have to be “on.”

He’ll do the rest.

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Grace and the Mom Who Always Forgets

It was right there on my dry erase calendar in green marker and I missed it.

Lewis – Reading Under the Stars

I know I  looked at the calendar during breakfast. I know I saw the words. And somehow I still missed it. So I sent my sweet little six-year-old to school without his pillow…without his book…and without the coolest and most important part of the equation…his flashlight.

What did I feel like when I noticed my oversight shortly before it was time to go pick him up from school? Worst mom ever. That’s what.

Uggghhh! I am a planner. I like to keep our finances organized. I like to keep our house organized. But when it comes to my kids schedules, it’s like the part of my brain that processes dates and times is missing.

Last week I took Carter to basketball practice on a night that he didn’t have basketball practice.

A couple weeks before that I took him to a 7:30 practice at 7:00.

I completely spaced off one of Lewis’ soccer games this fall.

And I arrived 20 minutes late to Lewis’ Halloween parade missing my little zombie’s debut.

(The list could go on, but I choose not to embarrass myself further.)

My delinquent brain seriously drives me crazy. My friends all tell me a smart phone will solve my problems, but I’m not so sure. It may just accentuate the fact that I am incapable of keeping track of my life. . .

But I have received a gift in all my absentmindedness. The gift of grace.

My kids always forgive me. Always.

And usually when I’m feeling like the antithesis of Mom of the Year, they just shrug off my errors and move on to the next thing.

That is just what happened with Lewis and the flashlight.

When he ran up to me after school, the first words out of my mouth were “I’m sorry I forgot about your flashlight today buddy.”

“That’s okay. Dallen and Blake shared. Dallen has a really cool green light. Did you bring a snack?”

And that was that. No complaints. No disappointment. Just a happy kindergartner who has some super-kind friends and is hungry for an afternoon snack.

Oh the things I learn from my boys when they don’t even know they are teaching me.

Thank you Lord for the picture of grace you give me through my children.  And thank you that you are continually extending grace to me in my inadequacies and failures, just like my kids. Most definitely undeserved but absolutely appreciated.  Amen.

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

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View from the Bleachers

file00011578973“Why can’t you see what I can see!?!”

There are days I’d like to try to knock some vision into my children. I’ve paid attention over the years. I think I have a pretty good sense of their giftedness and their capabilities. And I usually believe I know the best way for them to reach their potential.

But here’s the deal.

Though they share some of my DNA and character traits, they are not me. I can’t make them see anything they don’t want to see. I can’t force them to change their perspective. And on top of that, sometimes I’m wrong. So I stand by and watch and wait and get on my knees and pray and on occasion ask God why this whole parenting thing has to be so crazy hard.

But sometimes, just when I think they will never get it, that they will never see the potential I see, they surprise me.

And I am like the parent on the bleachers watching my boy push through the blockers to sack the quarterback, and feeling as if my heart is going to burst. “Did you see that?” I say to everyone within earshot. “Did you see what he just did? That’s my boy!” Because there is no prouder moment than to see your child take ownership of his abilities and use them.

Sometimes I wonder how God feels as he sits in the hypothetical bleachers watching my story play out.

He has gifted me too.  He has set talents and passions deep inside my heart. Am I using them? Am I so scared of failure that I bury them deep inside? Am I afraid of what people will think of me? Have I grown complacent in my comfortable life?

How about you?

Maybe you can paint a picture that causes someone to stop in their tracks. Maybe you can silence a room with song. Maybe your fluency in Spanish is just the first step in a call to serve Christ in a foreign country. Or maybe your brain can solve a complex math problems or take part in technological advances or develop a new treatment for cancer.

What if in the bleachers on the sidelines of your life God was at the edge of his seat on the 50-yard-line? Do you sometimes wonder if he’d want to knock some vision into you? Would he be thinking, ‘I know what she can do. I have such plans for her, if she could only see it.’

And what if one day you finally gave in. What if you said, “I’m scared out of my mind. People might think I’m crazy. But I know this is what God wants me to do.” And you do it.

And maybe nobody else will ever get it.

And maybe nobody else will ever even see it.

Your Father will.

And as he sits there in the stands, I imagine his heart might feel as if it’s going to burst from his chest as he wipes a tear from his eye and speaks quietly to your heart. “I saw that,” he whispers. “I knew you could do it. That’s my girl.”

Romans 12: 6-8  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

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A Time to Hold On and A Time to Let Go

by KimHarms 0 Comments

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Sometimes my kids say things on the fly that resonate with me for a long time afterwards. This following little Lewis phrase is one of those statements. Letting go is hard. In this case it was literal, but in parenting it seems I am always figuratively letting go of something I want to hold on to.  

“Mom, let go.”

Those three words hit me like a punch to the gut. Hot tears fogged up my sunglasses.

It was just the mastery of a 2-wheel bike, but it wasn’t. It was more.

My six-year-old’s words echoed in my head as I loosened my grip on that little black bicycle seat and watched my baby boy cruise down the path unassisted.

He doesn’t want my help.

One more item added to the list of ways he doesn’t need me anymore.

That’s what this parenting thing is about though, isn’t it? Training our children up in such a way that they grow in independence. If it is precisely what should happen and what I want to happen, why does it hurt so darn much?

As I watch him reach each new milestone of achievement, my great sense of pride is mixed with an equally great sense of loss. I’m not sure there is an emotion stronger than pain and joy mingled together. And it is such a common one in parenting.

My prayer is that as he grows more independent physically, spiritual growth becomes increasingly evident. That he will one day take up this faith his father and I have been impressing upon him and say

“Mom, Dad.  Let go. I own this now.”

And I will let go; hard as that may be. And I will watch him become his own person. And I will be grateful for the feeling of joy and pain mixed, because with deep love comes deep emotion.

As I watch him go and grow, I will continually pray that the joy of being on the right path, feet on the pedals cruising along without my help, will outweigh the bumps in the road that try to knock him off course.

What about you? Is your child asking you to let go? Maybe you too need to peel your clenched fist off the seat of his bicycle and let him navigate the trail on his own. Go ahead and try it. Just don’t be surprised when tears fog up your sunglasses.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

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Songs That Make Me Switch Stations

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I absolutely cannot listen to Mercy Me’s  All of Creation. And it’s because of the keyboard. Such a silly reason to dislike a song, but seriously, I find it so annoying that  I hit the button every time it comes on. It’s too bad cuz it might have great lyrics.  I just never stick around long enough to listen to them.

And then there’s this song called “He Said.” It drives me nuts because He didn’t say what the song says He said.  Here’s the chorus.

I won’t give you more, more than you can take
and I might let you bend, but I won’t let you break
and No, I’ll never ever let you go
Don’t you forget what He said

“I might let you bend, but I won’t let you break?” Where in scripture does God tell us He won’t let us break? Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics but these lyrics irk me to no end. Seriously.  I. have. been. broken. Haven’t you?

The idea of bending gives me the sense that when tough things happen life will naturally just bounce back to what it was before. You know, like memory foam or something. You lay on it or squish it and then walk away and walah, back to it’s “normal” shape. That is not the way life works.

I believe that God not only lets us break, but there are times in our lives He has called us to be broken.  And when He heals us, we are not the same.

We don’t “bounce back.”

We change.

I broke my arm when I was four. It was a compound fracture and the bone actually came out and hit the dirt. Gross, I know. Well, 2 surgeries, 7 days in a hospital, 4 months in a cast and 33 years later, I still have a giant scar on my left arm. It is a part of who I am. My arm is not the same as it was before it was broken, and that scar will remain until my soul takes residence in my glorified body in heaven. That is a picture of what  God does. He lets you break sometimes, but he doesn’t leave you broken. If you allow Him to, He will heal your broken parts and leave you changed.

Being broken sucks. The healing process pretty much sucks too. But when you take your brokenness to the Healer, you can rest in the knowledge that one day you will make it to the other side. And you will be different. Not bent. Not broken. Beautifully transformed.

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

Psalm 51:17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

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Manifestations of Smallness

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The reality is –

Through the Holy Spirit dwelling in me I can experience peace even in uncertain and uncomfortable circumstances.

The reality is – 

Because of God’s great love, I am continually on the receiving end of gifts of grace.

The reality is – 

because Christ took on human form and  gave himself up for me, I have hope in the knowledge that God cares about my life here on earth and ultimately my eternal future.

“Our trouble begins when we forget these realities and concentrate on our inadequacies, our fears, and all other manifestations of our smallness.”  (the late author Gladys Hunt)

Oh do I struggle with forgetting these realities and instead concentrating on my inadequacies, my fears and all the manifestations of my smallness.  And there is an ugly issue I have discovered at the center of my concerns.

Insecurity.

I do not consider myself an insecure person.

I am secure in my relationship with my husband. (Hands down the most awesome guy ever.)

I am secure in my parenting. (I screw up sometimes, but I think we are raising relatively responsible and incredibly lovely children.)

I am secure in my eternal destiny. (No doubt in my mind that Christ died on that cross and rose again so I could be forgiven.)

But there are circumstances in which my security waivers and I focus on my inadequacies.

Hanging out with a bunch of teenagers can throw me for a loop. (I sincerely enjoy them, but my insecurities tell me I am the awkward lady who lives with the fun guy.)

Writing. (Oh, I’m being published…I’m must be a good writer. Oh, rejected…I guess I stink… I know how this business works, but my insecurities can cause me to put to much emphasis on the rejections.)

Family decisions that differ from what is considered  “the norm.”  (What’s right for my family and what’s right for your family may be two different things. But when I start comparing, my insecurities cause me to second-guess myself.)

God did not create me to be insecure. He created me (and you) with a purpose and we can best fulfill our purposes when we trust that God knew what he was doing when He created us.

It’s a daily surrender, but I so desire to let go of the magnifying glass with which I dissect the manifestations of my smallness and instead magnify the the manifestations of the awesomeness of the One who created me.

What are you doing with your magnifying glass?

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. Because he is at my right hand I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made know to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:7-11.

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