The Still Butterfly

14 01 2016

There once was a butterfly that was as

still as a stone.

Her wings were

flat as a mat.

She was carefully laid inside a protective case. There were other butterflies also in the case and that case was placed in a cold, dark room. For many weeks, the butterfly lay still wondering what might happen next. She feared that she would be trapped there forever.

She began to stop dreaming of flying and only dreamed of crying.

She couldn’t imagine the smell of a flower or even rising up to the heights of a tower.

One day, she heard a creak.

Her heart skipped a beat.

A moment later, the case she was lying in popped open. She saw a glimmer of light. Could it be? Was it real?

Would she be free?

Light burst all around. It wrapped her like a blanket. Warmth travelled through her wings.

Blurs turned to shapes and

shapes became flowers and grass and trees.

Wonderful smells filled her up like a deep, refreshing breath, energizing her little being.

And her wings

trembled…shifted…fluttered…opened.

A moment later, her dark and cold prison became

bright and warm vision.

She looked back and what she saw she’ll never forget. With hands raised toward her, she saw the kindest, most gentle, most humble smile that could ever be smiled. She smiled too, because now she was

truly alive.

Jesus came as a man to set us free from the grips of darkness. Now you can fly as you were meant to.

[Fact: Did you know that butterflies can be preserved in an envelope in your refrigerator for long periods of time, even more than a month? The sunlight awakens and warms them and helps them prepare for flight.]

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Touch: Using Physical Affection for Greater Bonds

8 12 2015

…touch is as important to infants and children as eating and sleeping.

-Tiffany Field, Touch Research Institute

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.

-Matthew 8:3

When Jesus healed, he often also touched. He gathered children around him and placed his hands on them. He washed his disciples feet. At the most fundamental level, humans need physical affection. Much research has been done demonstrating powerful positive effects of healthy touch, including emotional and social bonding. Next time you’re around a child, share a…

  • side hug
  • high five
  • pat on the back
  • some crazy handshake!

Touch can also be a “touchy” issue especially with children. You’ll need to build some trust. For example, when you first meet a child, you could…

  • Ask them for a fist bump.

(They may be shy and turn you down, but there’s nothing to feel awkward about here.)

  • Smile and comment on something interesting about what they’re wearing.
  • Stay positive and welcoming.
  • If you’re with them for a while, engage them with some form of play.
  • You may want to give them a light tap on the shoulder and say, “It’s super cool to meet you!”
  • Next time you meet them, ask them again.

Even as a parent, you may need permission from your child if they’re feeling hurt or grumpy. Or you might have a child like mine who is constantly wrapping me up whether I want it or not! Parents could also…

  • Stroke a cheek for wake up.
  • Celebrate a success with a high-five.
  • Habitually hug at least once per day.
  • Give a piggy back or shoulder ride to bed.
  • Wrestle.
  • Snuggle and read together for five or ten minutes minutes.

What ideas do you have?

Build trust and share some healthy, life-giving touch this week.

Lord, your “touch” changes me. Use my touch to fill up a child’s love tank.

 





Jesus Loves You: The Ultimate Message

1 12 2015

…this I know, for the Bible tells me so…

-Anna Warner and William Bradbury

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.

-Jesus (John 3:16)

The famous song, called “Jesus Loves Me,” was written as a poem by Anna Warner and later, William Bradbury added a chorus and the tune. It endures to this day perhaps because of it’s simplicity and yet also because of the profound truth it conveys. There is no greater message than knowing that God has revealed his everlasting love through his Son, Jesus Christ, our promised rescuer.

When was the last time you said, “Jesus loves you,” to a child? These are simple words that bring a powerful and lifelong impact. There’s something amazing about knowing that God, Creator of the universe, became a man, Jesus, who identified with us in our sin and struggle and made a way for us to return to a relationship with God. Say it as often as you can!

Lord, thank you for loving me in my weakness and in my misery and in my wrongdoing.





Questions: Stimulating Wonder

17 11 2015

Wisdom begins in wonder.

-Socrates

What do you think about this?

-Jesus (Matthew 21:28)

 

A good, well-timed, thoughtful question can turn drab into fab! Here are some qualities of a great, relationship-building question. Open-ended not closed allows for more than one word answers. After asking, allow silence to process. Follow it up with, “Tell me more about…” Listen for understanding without interrupting. What compelling question will you ask a child this week?

Starter examples:

  • What if…
  • Rate from 1-10 (why?)…
  • Tell me…
  • Why do you think…
  • How would you feel when…
  • Can you help me understand…
  • What did you learn from…

Lord, you asked questions that moved people to wonder about God. Help me to be like you.





Purpose: Created to Care

6 10 2015

We were created to love. We were created to give. We were created to care.

-Sue Miller and Adam Duckworth

You will never know fulfillment, deep satisfaction and gratifying joy until you serve. The more you strive to feed your greed, the more you’ll feel your gut in a rut. You’ll remain empty until you empty yourself for others. My bent is helping children and families know and follow God. What’s yours? Get after it!

Lord, forgive me for only living for me. Excite my soul as I seek and find ways to pour love into someone else.

We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.

-Ephesians 2:10





Did Jesus Battle Depression? {pastors.com}

10 04 2015

This link is a helpful perspective for anyone fighting through various degrees of depression.

Did Jesus Battle Depression?.





Win

10 02 2015

In relationships, winning can be difficult to identify. In ministry, to me, winning relationships are marked by the presence of Christ. I’m not talking about flashes of light or some awesome supernatural experiences, which on occasion throughout history have happened. I just mean the simple awareness that God is close and making us a little more like Jesus. That gives me hope as I spend time with children.

Screenshot 2015-02-10 11.22.33








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