Bus Stop of Blessings

Written by April Dawn White
Is it just me, or do you ever have feelings of inadequacy?
It was one of those blah days. I had no reason to possess this temporary humdrum emotional state. Yet, I could not shake feelings of inadequacy in every aspect of my life: writing, marriage, parenting, career, and friendships.
“Lord, change my perspective. Bless my perspective. Amen.”
I prayed those words as I drove to my parents’ house. Meeting the school bus head on, I slowed to a stop a few feet from my parent’s driveway. Bouncing off the bus and waving enthusiastically, six-year-old Ethan yelled, “Hi, Mrs. White!”
Two more balls of energy jumped off the bus, waving and hollering “Hi!” This brother duo was hard to miss in their neon yellow shirts.  It wasn’t until Finn and Ramsey turned to hug their dad that I recognized the writing on the back of the shirts:
Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for other believers in your speech, behavior, love, faithfulness, and purity. ” (1 Timothy 4:12, ISV)
Tears spilled down my cheeks as the full weight of what I had just witnessed crossed before me.
This past summer, Andrew and Rachel hosted backyard Bible Club every Wednesday. This K2K Club was complete with lesson, games, crafts, and snack. This was completely kid run. The theme for K2K Club was “Little kids learning about a big God.” Between seven and nine kids attended each week.  God abundantly blessed K2K as Andrew and Rachel led three boys, Ethan, Finn, and Ramsey to the Lord.
On the last day of K2K, Andrew and Rachel surprised the kids with neon T-shirts they helped to design. 
On this particular day, I prayed for God to change and bless my perspective. As the three young boys, Andrew and Rachel led to the Lord bounced off the bus, I realized the answer to my prayer, crossed in front of my car. 
 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
(Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV)
Within a matter of seconds, those feelings of inadequacy vanished. I had a front row seat to God’s abundant blessings.
What front row blessing have you recently received?
~April Dawn White

 

 

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Crown of Beauty

“[The Lord will] bestow on them a crown of beauty
 instead of ashes…for the display of His glory.”
(Isaiah 61:3, NIV)
I padded into Rachel’s room to return her missing hairbrush.  Oh, the drama displayed by my ten-year-old when such items are missing. I keep telling Rachel “I’m a no drama mama” but she continues to test her acting skills on the family. As I laid down her hairbrush (the pink one with a mirror on one side, because how else are you supposed to know what your hair looks like?) I noticed her open jewelry box and something didn’t look right.
Over the summer Grandma Clark, gave Rachel a wooden flatware chest which would normally hold silverware. Rachel repurposed the large walnut box to hold her costume jewelry. Nestled among the plastic bracelets and BFF necklaces was a golden crown made of diamonds and rubies. Yes, something was certainly out of place.
“A crown of beauty instead of ashes.” (Isaiah 61:3)
I lifted the beautiful crown from its hovel and gazed upon its beauty. We won this pendant at a silent auction in 2010 benefitting our friend, Renee Bach and her Ugandan feeding program, Serving His Children. I recall my husband eyeing the piece and suggested we place a bid.  “Diamonds are Rachel’s birthstone and rubies are yours, April we must bid” urged my beloved.  To our surprise we won and gifted Rachel the responsibility of taking care of this precious piece of realjewelry.
I rubbed the piece, admiring the intricate detail and gemstones. I soaked the piece in cleaning solution and polished it to a shine. How could this piece of jewelry be keeping company with the cheap counterfeits from the tween stores at the mall? This deserved special care and attention. Furthermore, it should be worn not stored in a box. This was meant to be displayed.
“…for the display of His glory.” (Isaiah 61:3, NIV)
As I held the polished pendant I thought about how God rescued me, not only by salvation through Jesus Christ but also from a two year battle of depression.
I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)
I searched through my own jewelry box and found a simple gold chain. I carefully slid the pendant over the clasp and looked in the mirror. “Thank you Lord, for trading my depression for joy and ashes for beauty. Amen.”
Each time I receive a comment on this necklace, I am able to share of God’s ransomed love and His desire to bestow on each of us a crown of beauty instead of ashes.
~Humbly,

 April

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First Day of School Lesson: Let Go and Let God

Andrew 7th grade & Rachel 5th grade.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

 
“Hurry up and take the picture.” hissed Andrew and Rachel. The first day of school photo is one I will forever cherish, but the kids dread. Andrew is entering 7thgrade and Rachel 5th grade. After embarrassing my kids with a photo and a hug, I shout out, “I love you! Have a great day!” They run off, hoping no one heard me. I rub my hands together and laugh “My job here is done.”
I have my own first day of school tradition, coffee at Panera, with a group of other moms. This year marked the eighth year of meeting and catching up on summer adventures, the kid’s growth spurts, and overall concerns for the coming year.  Before we disbanded our caffeinated selves to Target and Staples, I asked “How can I be praying for you this year?” Balance was the main concern. These women were sincere in their concern for balancing work, family life, parenting issues, sports, and homework. Oh how I can relate. I shared my own prayer request. My longtime friend Sherrita, laid a well-manicured hand on my shoulder and said, “Girl you gotta let go and let God.”  
Let go and let God. She was correct. Over the years I have seen our faithful God work in her life. I think back to the time when she shared, over coffee at this same Panera, that her company was downsizing. Her secure job was being out sourced to another country. What appeared to be a crisis was the beginning of God’s miracle. After graduating with a degree in business, Sherrita chose to work for a large corporation. However, she secretly harbored a desire to own her own salon. After being downsized, my ever stylish friend enrolled in Cosmetology classes and much prayer. She is now a successful business owner of Fusions Salon and Day Spa.
I am thankful for the truth my friend spoke over me. Each passing day, God has used that coffee talk to remind me to “Let go and let God.”
What situation are you harboring that you need to turn over to Him? Let go and let God!

 

~April Dawn White
 
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Recommended Reading

“I cannot live without books.”
-Thomas Jefferson
 
‘Tis the back-to-school season. I love shopping for school supplies and organizing binders, but most importantly, I love books.
 
My fondness for reading was suspended until after graduating from pharmacy school. Reading for pleasure became a new hobby once I was no longer forced to study physics and racemic isomers. 
 
In honor of back to school I determined to share with you the books that have made a positive impact on my life and my family. This same list will be permanently available under the “Resource” tab. 
 

Inspiration:

Parenting: General


Parenting Girls:

Parenting Boys:

Parenting the Strong-Willed Child:


The Power of Prayer:

Marriage:

Daily Devotion:

 
Let’s keep the list going. What are your favorite books on family, parenting, marriage, and spiritual growth? Please share in the comment field below. 
 
Happy reading!
 
~April 

What Text Message Do You Desire from God?

What text message from God would you want to receive?
At times, I feel suffocated by technology. The need to return text messages, phone calls, and emails in a timely manner overwhelms me. Finding balance in returning communication and family time it is an honest struggle.
God does not share that problem. He is not suffocated by our constant prayers and messages for help. He is never overwhelmed by communication. In fact God specializes in communication; “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1, NIV).
God sent us His Word (another name for Jesus) and text messages in the beginning of time, long before technology was created. All of God’s text messages are bound in a reference book called the Bible.
Last night I decided to write out all the text messages underlined in my Bible. These messages given directly by God have encouraged me in throughout the various stages of life, marriage, and parenting.  This will be a long range project, but here are a handful of text messages to jump start your weekend:
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  (Joshua 7:1)
Is there anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14)
God himself will provide (Genesis 22:8)
Do not be afraid, for I am with you. (Genesis 26:24)
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised to you. (Genesis 28:15-16)
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good. (Genesis 50:20)
God heard…He remembered…He was concerned. (Exodus 2:24-25)
I AM who I AM. (Exodus 3:14)
The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still. (Exodus 14:14)
I am the Lord who heals you. (Exodus 15:26)
The Lord relented. (Exodus 32:14)
My Presence with go with you and I will give you rest. (Exodus 33:14)
Is the Lord’s arms too short? (Numbers 11:23)
The Lord your God is going before you, He will fight for you. (Deuteronomy 1:30)
The Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 14:2)
The Lord your God is God; He is a faithful God. (Deuteronomy 7:9)
For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the works of your hands, and your joy may be complete. (Deuteronomy 16:15).
My prayer is that these text messages from God will speak to you in a profound way.
Blessings,
~April
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The Invisible Mom: From Mundane to Miracle

PB&J and iconI loathe packing lunches. “Mom, pack me extra snacks so I can share” my son requests. So I can share . . . My mind wanders to the story of five loaves and two fish, a miracle that occurred because a little boy shared his lunch.

“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9).

Invisible Mom Note

Do you know who the story doesn’t mention? The one whose hands are invisible and remains unknown—the mother who packed that lunch.

As I pack lunches, I begin to weep. I cry for all the times we as parents, particularly mothers, perform all the mundane tasks that go unnoticed. Standing in my kitchen, spreading peanut butter onto wheat bread, God whispers to me, It might appear mundane, but I can turn the mundane into a miracle.

Your mundane task might be the foundation for God's future miracle! Click To Tweet

All four Gospels record the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 (a number probably closer to 15,000 people when women and children are included). Only John’s Gospel explains that the food offered came from a little boy’s lunch. Jesus multiplied what the boy shared and fed a multitude (John 6:1-15).

We know little about this boy and his mama. Was she among the women in the crowd or did she stay at home tending to younger children? This invisible mom played a part in Jesus’ miracle, even though she was unseen. God blessed not only the meal, but also her mundane task.

Her story reminds me that God sees my work and effort, too. He sees the mundane lunches I pack and the endless pile of laundry I wash. He sees the dirty floors I sweep and the runny noses I wipe. What if I knew God was going to turn one of my everyday tasks into a miracle? How would God’s touch change my outlook? Who knows, God might be using our mundane tasks to lay the foundation for a future miracle.

With this in mind, would you like grape or strawberry jelly on your peanut butter sandwich?

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work or our hand for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:17)

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of author and Pixabay

© 2015 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of author and  Pixabay.

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