Words of Encouragement

Archive for April, 2011

MAMAS’ HAVE SPIES

I have known for a long time that the only network that is greater than the CIA, KGB, and the FBI is the alliance of neighbourhood Moms.  It is an underground movement that spans generations from the grandmas right down to new mamas.  It is an organization that is to be reckoned with and not to be messed with. 

My husband and I learned young that you not only had to respect your own mama but all your neighbourhood mamas as well. When my husband was about five, he decided that he would cross the street with his tricycle, something that was dangerous and forbidden.  He knew that if he crossed the street far from his house he would not be seen, and also that his parents had company. If on the off chance they did find out, they would not discipline him in front of the company.  His hind end later discovered that he was wrong on both accounts.  He never knew who ratted him out.

My children learned early that we moms had a system far faster and more sophisticated than any intelligence agency.  I overheard my eldest daughter briefing her younger sibling on the fact that they could not get away with anything.  The younger sibling said “how can she find out?”  The eldest said wisely “cuz she has spies … EVERYWHERE!”

The mothering instinct is overwhelming.  What happens to a quiet mild manned mama if she thinks you crossed one of her children?  It is not pretty.  I would not recommend it.  You were warned.  I was surprised at my fierce feeling of protection for everyone’s children and not just my own.  I noticed on Facebook that when one teenage girl posted something negative about herself, a half dozen mothers wrote affirming words to her in reply.  We just can’t help ourselves.

I am thankful for the many mamas whose arms reached out to help me when I walked into my church frazzled with four young children.  I am also grateful for the many mothers who have nurtured my own children, loved them, and encouraged them.  Often it is hard to allow other women to assume this role in addition to us but sometimes we just have to stand back. At certain stages of their lives we may be hanging onto them too tight and have to release them and give them space. 

I thank God for my own mother who I heard praying for me out loud in her room.  It had a profound impact on me.  I now have the joy of watching my daughter who is discovering this overwhelming love that she has for her new baby.

For all the mamas out here who are part of my extensive network of spies, I praise God for you!  And for all the women who have prayed for my children and extended those nurturing arms, I am forever grateful.  God bless you!

by Cyndi den Otter (C)

Copyright 2011 April 29 Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission


HE IS RISEN

I saw a man
Trudge up a hill
A heavy cross He bore
Each step was pain
But all the same
He knew what was in store

He bore it willingly
Without a word
On His bruised and beaten back
He slipped and fell
But I could tell
This man would not turn back

On that hill top
They took that man
And nailed Him to the tree
When the hammer fell
Upon that nail
I could see His agony

But the look
Upon His face
Was filled with sadness too
He hung His head
And then he said
They know not what they do

They laughed at HIm
And spit on Him
A crown of thorns on His head
His body bruised
Wrongly accused
Not a word in defence was said

As He hung there
In misery
The thief hanging by His side
Asked of Him
To forgive his sin
And He lovingly replied

Today in paradise
You’ll walk with me
Because you have believed
Your sin is gone
And all your wrongs
Will be buried today with me

Did they know
Just what they did
When they crucified a King
He died in shame
He took my blame
But on the third day rose again

I soon found
My sin as well
Had crucified my Lord
But Victory
For you and me
Is written in His Word

Even in death
Upon that hill
That humble man was King
His name is Jesus
He died to free us
He paid for all our sin

by Cyndi den Otter (C)

Copyright 1993 Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission


HEAVENLY CHOREOGRAPHY

Do you feel like you don’t fit in? I do. At times I feel like I just don’t fit anywhere. I wonder why that is? Sometimes I laugh when it is not the designated time and I blurt out the truth when I am supposed to be pretending everything is okay. I mess up the script too much. I am in this box of whom everyone expects me to be, or who everyone thinks I am, but I really don’t fit there either.

Sometimes I feel like a weed in a flower bed, tattered jeans at a wedding, a dandelion in a bouquet of roses. It’s not because I don’t try, or that I wish to be rebellious. I really do try to laugh at the appointed times but I’m off. I try to sing the right notes and dance to the right steps, but I am usually a note high or low and a step or two out of the dance routine.

Being an analytical sort, I thought that I might try to figure this out. Does anyone else feel like this or is it just me? After letting it rattle around in my brain a while, I had one of those “duh” moments because it is something we already know but often forget.

I think that we as believers are not supposed to fit perfectly into this world because it is only temporary. Perhaps we are not to get too comfortable here because we are destined for much greater things later on. Possibly the box that we are stuck in is the confines of this world. Life can be hard, complicated, tiring, and messy at times, and maybe we are hearing another song when we are trying to concentrate on this earthly stuff.  We hear the far off sweet sound of heaven. Deep inside we have that longing for those wonderful perfect days of glory. We want those days when our bodies are not too tired to dance and that feeling of weariness to be gone.  Meanwhile, God has a wonderful purpose that He has for us to fulfil, so we rely on His strength and wait.

So, my earth challenged friends, what do we do while we wait? Perhaps we believers should strain our ears to hear the notes of HIS song. I know that if we listen, the choreography of our heavenly Father will help our tired feet sweep the dance floor of earth in a perfect combination of steps, the ones ordered by God while we are here. Our days will be much sweeter. If we let Him take our hand and hold on tight, we can hang on through all of this earth awkwardness. We can experience the freedom that we have in Him and soak up the love he showers on His children.  Our steps won’t seem so out of place with Him taking the lead. 

I know that in Heaven my song will be in tune, my laughter always right after the punch line, and my dance steps matching the choreography. I will have no fatigue and I won’t be worrying about getting it right or missing my cue. My dance will be with the King of Kings and I know that I will be a perfect fit at last.

But for the present, for the times that I feel like an oddity, an enigma, a round peg in a square hole, I continue to look forward to greater things later on.

Ephesians 1: 13-19 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life. That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!  The Message Paraphrase

 By Cyndi den Otter (C)

 Copyright 2010 March 14 Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission


PLAY DOUGH

I am going to share my wonderful play dough recipe.    It is easy and  inexpensive to make and is worth many hours of play time.  I have sweet memories of the kids waiting  with excitement for it to cool enough to play with.  They got to choose what colour I made theirs.  I sometimes made several different colours and kept them in different containers …  but every mama knows what eventually happens with this plan.  I would make a giant batch and kept it in an ice cream container in the fridge.   The strong salty taste usually deters kids from eating it.  I say usually, some children are persistent.  Don’t ask me how I know this.   There was one incident when Rianna and Kendra made a volcano out of their play dough with Kool-aid.  It was quite effective.  The Kool-aid dissolved the play dough volcano and the resulting “explosion” of red gooey “lava” oozed everywhere.  Neither would confess and now they are adults and their lips are still sealed 🙂 Aneke, I  am looking forward to making my first batch for Amariah when she gets big enough to not eat it, although Lieneke always tasted hers and insisted that the different colours had different flavours.  Yuk!

STOVE TOP PLAY DOUGH

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

Stirring constantly, cook on low to medium heat for three minutes or until thick. Add food colouring while still quite runny. Knead. Cool and store in a sealed container. It keeps best and lasts longer in the fridge. 

(When it is full of lint, cheerios, lego pieces, and  cat hair, it is time to discard and start over).

Okay Moms, make some memories. Enjoy!

Cyndi