Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Not So Invisible Moms....

Not so invisible….

I’m the Invisible Mom

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I’m thinking, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?”  Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.  I’m invisible.  The Invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more;

Can you fix this?  Can you tie this?  Can you open this?


Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being.  I’m a clock to ask, “What time is it?”  I’m a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?”  I’m a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please.”


I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.  She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!


One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England.  Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.  I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.  It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress;  it was the only thing I could find that was clean.  My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.  I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I bought you this.”  It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.  I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription:  “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”


In the days again I would read – no, devour – the book.  And, I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names.  These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.  They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.


The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, but he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam.  He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into the beam that will be covered by the roof?  No one will ever see it.”  And, the workman replied, “Because God sees.”


I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you, Charlotte.  I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.  No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over.  You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.”


At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction.  But it is not a disease that is erasing my life.  It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness.  It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.  I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder.  As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.  The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.


When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up at 4 a.m. in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.”  That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself.


I just want him to want to come home.  And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, “You’re gonna love it there.”


As mothers, we are building great cathedrals.  We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right.  And, one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.



Share this will all the Invisible Moms you know….I just did!

(Author Invisible)


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lessons from a Butterfly....

Have you ever watched a butterfly for more than a minute?  They are beautiful creatures which come in all sizes and shapes and colors!  When my son was little, we read a book on butterflies over and over and over again.  It was the Alphabet of Butterflies and here are some of the names:
Apollo, Baltimore, Cracker, Dogface, Easter Comma, Falcate Orangetip, Great Purple Hairstreak, Gulf Fritillary, Harvester, Indian Leaf, Jezabel, Kamehameha, Lady Slipper, Magdalena Alphine, Narcissus Jewel, Owl Butterfly, Painted Lady, Queen Alexandria Birdwing, Regal Fritillary, Snout, Transparent, Urania Moth, Ulysses, Violet Copper, Western Pygmy Blue, Xami Hairstreak, Yellow Angled Sulphur, and Zephry Metalmark Butterfly.  Look one of them up and see the beauty and magnificence of these tiny creatures who wing their way between butterfly bushes, spirea bushes and the flowers in your garden - they are gorgeous!!!

The life cycle of every butterfly begins with an egg being laid on the surface of a plant.  Almost all female butterflies lay their eggs on certain preferred plants such as a passionflower vine.  Then, the caterpillar hatches from the egg and begins eating the leaf on which it was born.  After growing and shedding its skin several times, the caterpillar pupates into a chrysalis.  Before long, the adult butterfly emerges from the chrysalis to start the cycle all over again.....

Imagine being a butterfly for a moment.  The beginning of life is almost unnoticeable, fragile.  Then, you become a hairy little creature that crawls very slowly on the leaf and/or vine you were born.  Changing and shedding layers numerous times until it becomes a chrysalis.  Imagine living in a cocoon for most of your life!  Growing, changing and waiting to be released from the chrysalis to fly for the very first time. emerge into a world that is unknown to you and you soar on wings that take you here and there, to and frow!!! 

What a beautiful way to think about life:  our start in life is so fragile.  Our growth and maturation process seems interminable at times as we wait until that day when we can fly on our own.  Out of the cocoon woven just for us and onto a vast unknown, we fly into a world where we can choose to stop and pause on this flower or that, this bush or that, all the while being admired by the on-lookers who observe our journey! 

Pause and think about your life's journey....your flight from childhood to being a teenager to becoming an adult and growing into old age.  What has been the best part?  What are your favorite "flowers" that you have landed on?  Which part of the journey has caused you the most growth and change?  Were you able to embrace the beauty along the way?  Did you realize that your journey was being observed by outsiders?  Did you realize the beauty within you has possibly sustained others on their way?

Many times we focus only on the hard parts of this life, the tough situations, the rough spots along the way.  Try for just one day to focus on the beauty of your life!  What has been beautiful to experience?  What has been beautiful to be a part of?  What has been beautiful to pass on to others?
Imagine yourself in that chrysalis once again and starting over...What parts would you keep?  What parts would you change?  And, finally what parts are you most grateful for experiencing in this life?

Become that butterfly of your choosing in your mind....choose the color you would like to be...choose the flight you would like to go on....choose the lives that you would effect in a positive, beautiful way. Then, give thanks for the color you are, the journey you have taken and all that has been a part of you taking flight in this world!!!  Soar on............

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Today I learned a new meaning of being devoted!  Yes, the main definition is well known:
To devote oneself to something or someone, you basically have to set them apart or give them to some specific purpose or activity in your life.  To be devoted means  to be very loving, loyal and/or faithful to the person, place or thing.  To be a devotee is to be strongly devoted to that entity.  Also, to be so dedicated to one purpose is to have a zeal for that purpose that goes beyond any normal limits.  So, to be dedicated to one person means that you devote yourself to them, and you actually address yourself, apply yourself and/or buckle down to be loyal to that one person.

And, the new definition I learned from my pastor this morning comes from the Greek meaning of the word devoted:  Strong, Earnest and Steadfast.  Have you ever heard that God's love for us is that type of devotion???  His Word is strong.  It is earnest.  It is steadfast.  And, that strength, earnestness and steadfastness is His devotion for YOUR benefit and mine!!!  God states that intent many times in His Word, The Bible.  Over and over, God lays out in scripture His devotion for us.....WOW!  Have you ever really let that sink in???  That is truly amazing in my mind!!!  We have the God of the Universe who has OUR best interest at heart and tells us so....every day, if we will read and just pay attention.

Are you devoted to someone or something in this life?  Do you have that "nth" degree of strength, earnest desire or steadfast spirit that treats another human being with such devotion???  Have you ever felt it from our Father in Heaven?  Have you ever studied His word to find this treasure for yourself?  It is there for the asking.  There for the seeking.  There for the taking.  All we have to do is read His Word.

Since I have joined Crossroads Christian Church in Shawnee, KS, my faith has grown exponentially in the past four years!!!  Each year, our head Pastor, Brad challenges the congregation to read the Bible through in one year.  At first, I thought I might try it!  I read the Bible every day anyway, but never have read it cover to cover.  My beloved grandfather, "Gramps" read it through many times! 
I don't even know how many times he read it in his lifetime.  I am sorry to say that I still have never done it.  Sure, I tried it the first and second year I was at Crossroads, but I let my travel schedule and other devotions take the place of reading the best book in the world !!!  So, I am beginning again this summer.

We have a blueprint for every ailment known to man in the Bible!  Every one.  Not just some.  Not just part.  Not just most.  ALL!  We can improve our parenting, our relationships, our finances, our perspective on life and come to know the purpose for which we were born in this book!  We can find a solid foundation for which we can lay our faith, we can learn to forgive and avoid temptation and we can learn to discern what God is trying to teach us IF we just sit down and read His Word.  Wow!!!  Amazing.............

Our faith will grow, our lives will change, our hearts will soften, our mistakes will lessen and we can learn to be more effective in the world, if we will just take the time to listen to what God is trying to tell us.

Some people say the Bible is old, outdated, or just plain "stories" made up for some weird religious purpose or maybe to brainwash us into believing old fashioned rules and regulations.  Some people say you cannot believe what you read it the pages of these sacred scriptures.  For example, do you really believe Jonah was in the belly of a fish for 3 days???  Well, I used to wonder how in the world that could be true, but now after studying the pages of the Bible and taking several Bible Studies through our Small Group ministries, absolutely, I believe it!  Think about the possibility during the latest Tsunami in Japan....could a survivor have made it because he was swallowed by a very large fish?  It is definitely possible in today's day and age with all the weird environmental issues we have on the globe!   

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:
"All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

If you haven't taken the time to test the waters, try it!  Open your Bible and read it! 
Each time we as believers read God's Holy Word, the Holy Spirit will show us what a specific chapter or passage means, if we ASK.  Each time I read one of my favorite scriptures, I find peace and reassurance that His Word stands firm.  His Word is Holy.  His Word is Sacred.  And, it is REAL.  Yes, the Bible was written by humans and has been translated into a million different translations and languages across the globe, but God used specific people that HE chose to write these scriptures.  Each time a new translation is brought out or published, it is poured over to make sure each word, each phrase, each sentence is correct.  Checks and balances happen in the publishing world, too.  The people who do this job take it very, very seriously because it is God's Holy Word to us.  It is not to be taken lightly.  It is not to be tossed aside.  It is to equip us for each day for each relationship, each challenge,  each set back, and even each miracle.  Yes, I said miracles.  They happen every day if we will just open our eyes to the wonder of it all. 

God loves us with a love that is beyond description. And, actually, God doesn't just love us.  He adores us!!!  That's why He has given us this treasure, this gift, this incredible, infallible Word from Heaven above.  It is just as relevant today in 2015 as it was over 2000 years ago.  Read it.  You will be amazed!!!