Turn It Up!

One of my greatest delights is standing between my children in church and hearing their sweet voices join mine in worship. Now before you get the wrong idea, my two little ones are experts at disturbing these idyllic moments.

The truth is, it’s not unusual for me to lose a child during the worship time. Eventually, I notice one is missing and start glancing around; someone behind me usually catches my searching eye and points under a seat somewhere down the row. I smile my thanks and bend over to remove my child from under the seat and return to singing only to get tapped on the arm by the seven year old asking what does that or this word mean, you know, weird words like “hosanna” and “worthy.” It’s delightful that she wants to know, but this is like the seventh time she’s asked. I once again return to singing and soon realize the five year old is now lying in the middle of the aisle, I whisper loudly to her, “someone’s going to step on your head.” I silently blame myself for forgetting to bring a coloring page and crayon packet once again. At last I hand the little one the pen and “welcome card” from the pocket in the seat in front of her to entertain her.

I wouldn’t change it.

singingNo, mine are most definitely not the perfectly dressed in their Sunday best little girls with white tights and bows in their hair. Mine are the children who look like they dressed themselves (they did) and I am the mom licking my thumb to remove dried icing from the little one’s cheek before she exits for Sunday School – and yes she got it on there by clandestinely licking the icing off her big sister’s cinnamon roll before church. This child seriously needs Jesus.

But it is those brief moments of unified voices in praise with my girls beside me that I cherish. A combined 120 seconds of that? I’ll take it. Joyfully.

Three years ago my daughters and I stepped onto a plane with nothing but the clothes on our backs. We flew across oceans and continents from one country to another. The first six months in the US are still a blur. The girls were not yet in school. The younger two children did not even speak English and the older two were barely bi-lingual. They could not read. They could not write.

But they could listen.

Almost from our first day in the US we listened to a Christian radio station and we learned every song. I consider it the number one most healing influence in our life at that time. Even today, it is all we listen to in the car.

The other day I borrowed my dad’s car to drive my daughter to the dentist. His car’s dial is set to Sports Radio. That, of course, was unacceptable. As I was driving I scanned through the channels, trying to find something a ten year old might like. After about ten minutes of skipping from song to song she said, “Mom, can we put on our regular station?” Gladly.

We might not have a wide variety of songs in our repertoire but there are few things in this life that give me as much pleasure as listening to the sound of my children singing worship songs in the car and hearing them say,

“Turn it up, Mom, this is my favorite one.”

Copyright © Rebecca Onkar, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved

This post was originally written for Moms of Faith®.

Advertisements

Not Awesome

Everything is not always awesome. If you’ve been a mother for any amount of time you’ve probably experienced your child being hurt. Not physically hurt, although that happens often enough, but hurt emotionally. Recently my teenage daughter texted me and asked to be picked up early from a school event. Once home she asked me for a hug and cried in my arms for a while.

Feelings were hurt. Kids were mean. My heart breaks.

On those less than awesome days I’ve found that the best thing is to just hug, be there for her, and not try to fix. Can I be real honest here? My flesh urges me to tell her to go upstairs, get a bowl of ice cream and relax in front of the TV, as if that would make it all better. But that is the response of my flesh and the ice cream will provide no real comfort. In these moments, a bowl of ice cream teaches my daughter to find her comfort in something other than the True Comforter.

So while we hug, I pray.

God knows, He saw, His heart breaks too.

I was recently reading the passage in Luke 18 where Jesus told His disciples to let the little children come to Him. How many times have I read that, seen it, heard it? Yet on this particular day I understood something new about our Heavenly Father. Honestly, who among us doesn’t melt at the sight of a newborn or enjoy making a nine month old laugh? Whose heart doesn’t fill with joy while watching the freedom a four year old feels to pirouette through a parking lot or at a ten year old’s excitement and anticipation over the one line she gets to say in the school play?

Our hearts swell with love, often for no other reason than because these precious creatures are children. I forget that God looks at our children and that He also experiences that same warmness and joy that we feel in their presence – but He experiences it in perfection – even better. Then, even so, when our hearts break with our children, it is only natural that we turn to the One whose heart is breaking with us. He is the True Comforter, not just for me in my sorrow, but my child’s Comforter in her own sorrow.

Her sadness is not too insignificant for Him to care.

I must constantly remind myself that my children’s faith journeys are their own to traverse and I am here to guide. The God who comforts the downcast is as much their Father as He is mine. And as I have personally experienced His comfort time and time again, the greatest response I can give to my daughter in her own moment of sorrow is to lead her to The Source of all comfort and The Healer of all wounds, so that when the day comes that I am no longer with her, she can find her way to Him.

Then after a little while, when the tears subside, she and I can share another hug, and maybe a bowl of ice cream.

not awesome

Copyright © Rebecca Onkar, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved

This post was originally written for Moms of Faith®

Part of My Job

parenting

I am the mother of four girls ages 13, 11, 7 & 5. Drama is nothing new in this household, but sometimes the pain of friendships that are damaged or broken is deeper than usual. My prayer is that every experience with my children will be teachable. I thank God for reminding me that part of my job as parent is to disciple my children.

I write every Wednesday & Saturday for Moms of Faith. Find this entire article herePraying for Our Children’s Spiritual Journey

Follow me on bloglovin’

I cried this week…

alf

I was a missionary for 12 years. I vividly remember the emotions my friend A.L.F. is describing in her post, “I cried this week…” I was in a position, as she is, to lead hundreds, sometimes thousands – it is a lonely place up there all alone and thoughts of throwing in the towel are never far from your mind. After over a decade of that life, no wonder I tend to write humor…

A Living Flame

I cried this week. I almost never cry. I am not one who prides myself on not being a crier but I just don’t respond to emotion often by crying. Life has been hard though. I have cried more in these first months of 2014 then I have in years. It is not brought on by shallow, petty or even circumstantial things but by deep hurt. Mostly the hurt of being misunderstood.

I am thankful for the honor and position that God has given me. It has allowed me to make a great impact in my sphere in the world I live in. Being in a place of position does have great disadvantages. Often people in ministry are placed on a pedestal. It is not a pedestal that we have asked to be placed on. It is often a pedestal of honor. However when you are on a pedestal you…

View original post 1,185 more words

Shimmying

shimmy

I like to wear skinny jeans because when I pull them up I get to do a little shimmy to get them over my bottom. I love to shimmy. We good Christian girls don’t get many opportunities for shimmying. I take what I can get.

I shimmied into my bathing suit for the first time yesterday since last summer. There was also some tucking and stuffing involved.

My eleven year old was having a birthday party with her two besties at the local indoor water park and I admit to seriously looking forward to those five hours in the hot tub by myself. Sadly, I was hardly alone, the hot tub was packed. On top of that, most of the jets didn’t work and the ones that did were so forceful I needed a seatbelt to keep myself from being ejected from the seat and out of the pool. To top it off, as soon as I sat down, a man with a towel on his head (yes, an actual towel) sat right in my personal space. Not cool.

However, before any of this ever happened, I did need to spend a little extra time in the shower shaving parts of me that hadn’t seen a razor since last August. The Winter Build Up. I figured if the amount of time shaving The Winter Build Up equaled the amount of time I would get to relax in the hot tub, it would be a pretty fair trade.

In the end I spent most of my time with a damp towel wrapped around me (not my head) reading a novel that I read before. Not bad for a Monday night.

And at least I enjoyed the shimmy.

Psalm Snob

ps

There was a time, a time before I was broken, a time when I didn’t know, but thought I did, that I proudly would have worn this title. “Psalm Snob,”  that was me.

I’ve written about this experience in my bi-weekly blog post for Moms of Faith. Read it Here.

As usual – you don’t have to be a MOM to visit. 😉 This one’s for everyone.

One Good Man

one

Once I was naïve.

I thought I could tell if a man were good or bad, kind or mean.

But I was wrong.

I learned the hard way that a man is not always who he portrays himself to be. I learned the hard way that he could hit and slap, kick and shove, beat and rape, subject you to public humiliations and break your heart.

I learned the hard way that the one person in the entire world who is meant to love and protect you is the one person in the whole world that you need protection from.

Recently I was invited to the 60th birthday celebration of a dear family friend, a man I have known my whole life, a man I admire and respect. You know who you are. We were told, no gifts, just a card. As I sat to write my hand and brain seemed incapable of expressing what was in my heart. It came out a mish mash of random thoughts that probably just seemed weird.

What I wanted to say was this: When I was growing up, I saw men who loved their wives and families. My father. My grandfathers. My uncles. My brothers. My Christian brothers. I was not unaware that there was evil in the world, but I had been exposed to men of integrity all my life, so when a man came along who lacked integrity but radiated charm and possessed a dynamic personality, I was easily deceived.

When I was at last free, my heart was broken once again, then a third time.

I can’t help but think of my favorite Christmas Carol taken from a poem by Longfellow.

Christmas Bells

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

At times I feel like changing the words, “There are no good men on earth I said,”

But like Longfellow, I am reminded,

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

And I remember those men, the ones that I have witnessed all my life, who love their wives. Who love their children. Who love their God.

And I am thankful for them. They are my own bells that chime to remind me that all men are not bad.

Turn it up!

music

God used music to heal us.

Every Saturday and Wednesday my articles are featured on Moms of Faith – Mom blog, but you don’t have to be a mom to visit, no one will check you at the door for mom parts. 😉

Over there you’ll find a different side of me than is usually present here at clothedwithJoy and it’s been a growing experience for me to push myself in this way.

This week I’ve written about music, worship and the healing that it has brought our family. Check it out at the link provided here – “Turn It Up, Mom!”

Thanks! – Rebecca