If you have read this blog to any extent or browsed over my face page or peeked at the "mourning to dancing" scriptural reference, you are already well aware of the great significance of these two verses in my life:
"You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to You and not be silent, O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever." ~Psalm 30:11-12
"Wailing to dancing" for so long has been the theme of this verse for me, but the phrase "not be silent" has become the theme of my life presently…because I want to inspire people in general towards being intentional mothers and fathers, patriots, and Christians. I want to tell the world that there is great peace and hope and joy in life! I want to be instrumental in turning the culture of this world rightside-up.
We fill several roles in our lives. Here are many of my own:
...and I am just a regular girl. Think of the multitude of roles you fill.
Given these roles, I often ponder my personal sphere of influence. I hope I am:
- Inspiring others to salvation.
- Being an example in trials.
- Of good character and moral reputation.
Of course the role "Mommy" is most significant in my life since I spend the majority of my time raising two little guys to be godly heroes and patriots.
So, how do I inspire them toward goodness?
- The habit of going to church
- When my children were babies, I was up early on Sunday mornings to pack up the diaper bag with all the necessary items. Then I would drag myself, baby, Bible, and bag to the car. Upon arriving at church, I would drag myself, baby, Bible, and bag to the church nursery where I would hear 3 words of the sermon as I mixed formula, fed, changed, cleaned up after my little guy. I often thought, "Why do I keep doing this? I never hear the message. Everything I do here I could do more comfortably at home and actually catch the sermon on the radio or the internet." But still, every Sunday I went through the same exhausting routine. Why? Because I wanted my children to know that fellowship with other believers and being taught the Word of God is a priority and it is just something we do and we don't compromise on it. Church is a big part of who we Peterson's are.
- We can only answer questions if we personally are educated in Biblical teachings, knowledge, and wisdom. Read. Learn. Do this for the sake of your children. And how often have I run to Bing or Google to answer one of my kid's questions? Resources are at our fingertips...literally.
"I am responsible to whisper the secrets of the Kingdom of God into the lives, hearts, and minds of my children." ~Sally ClarksonThe dictionary definition of "inspire" is: to infuse by breathing; to infuse with ideas or poetic spirit. Mommies, you have such a beautiful opportunity. Don't you want to breathe into your children beauty, love, and truth?
"All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her." ~George Washington
"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." ~Proverbs 22:6
"All great change in America begins at the dinner table." ~Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan had this to say about Jesus:
"A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father's shop. He has no formal education. He owns no property of any kind. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father's shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the countryside… This uneducated, propertyless young man who preached on street corners…had a greater effect on the entire world than all the rulers, kings, and emperors, all the conquerors, the generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists, and philosophers who ever live--all put together."
This same inspirational and influential Jesus lives in you.
I so often meditate on the idea of influence. It motivates the majority of what I do. My posts on Facebook and Twitter, my posts here, what I read, how I educate my children, the opportunities I choose to involve myself in, the people I choose to associate with (Do they inspire me toward righteousness? Can I offer any encouragement or direction to them?). I, however, never considered how I might negatively influence others until my recent President's Day visit to the Nixon Presidential Library. I stood captivated in the Vietnam War P.O.W. exhibit. I want to share with you one of the things I read on a display:
In spite of international treaties and conventions calling for the humane treatment of prisoners of war, as many as 95% of U.S. prisoners were tortured in an attempt to extract military information or propaganda statements. Commander Eugene. G. "Red"McDaniel took 900 lashes with a fan belt over 15 days and was forced to hold his broken arm over his head for five days. Asked during these torture sessions for military information, he replied again and again, "Shove it." Another prisoner was hung by his broken arm until he agreed to a staged propaganda meeting with anti-war activist Ramsey Clark. Upon returning from his fact finding visit, Clark assured Congress that prisoners were being well treated. Yet another had an arm and leg broken for refusing to meet with activist Jane Fonda during her visit to Hanoi. Later she branded those who claimed prisoners were being tortured as "liars."
I don't know what Ms. Fonda's or Mr. Ramsey's motivation was in pursuing this so avidly. Perhaps they genuinely thought they were doing the right thing. Regardless, the end result of their efforts did nothing to help American P.O.W.'s, but quite the contrary, it caused them more pain and suffering, and spread deception over those who should have been doing all they could to help these soldiers.
Unfortunately, I have been guilty of a similar offense. Shortly after my own abortion, a close friend of mine found herself in a crisis pregnancy. I can offer all sorts of excuses here for my bad judgment, but the blood on my own hands was undeniable because I took her to Planned Parenthood for an abortion: a beating heart was halted and a woman was burdened with grief and secrecy. I felt like I'd be a hypocrite if I told her not to go through with the abortion. I should have, at the very least, remained silent and not aided in the murder of an innocent life.
In the great wisdom of Spiderman: "With great power comes great responsibility." We all have influence on someone. Have we always used it for good?
"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father and through Him." ~Colossians 3:17
Did you know that each of us is called by God to be influential?
"But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: …the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things -- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." ~Titus 2:1,3-5Can you think of godly women who inspire you?
Let me share with you two women who, through no extra effort of their own, but just in their regular daily lives inspire me to be a better wife.
I was able to witness dozens and maybe hundreds of love notes written on little slips of paper and even with a marker on the bathroom mirror. Just the word "more" was all that was necessary to tell the other that he/she was so deeply loved. This continued until my sweet step-dad exited this life...still my mom's heart remains his.
The blessing was all mine when I met Bill and Denise. I was taken lovingly under her wing and what I witnessed will remain with me for all eternity. She is one of the most godly women I have ever known and, I imagine, will ever know, but let me share with you a couple of little efforts taken by her that shout to the world that she adores her husband. When Bill bought a truck with a big bench seat in the front, I ALWAYS saw her slide all the way next to him in the middle seat so she could be near him. Denise ALWAYS refers to Bill as "my Bill" whether she addresses him personally or is introducing him. They have been married for more than 45 years.
You are influential and inspiring...even if you don't see the fruit of it in this lifetime.
I dreamed I went to Heaven. You were there with me.
We walked upon the streets of gold beside the Crystal Sea.
We heard the angels singing, then someone called your name.
You turned and saw this young man, and he was smiling as he came.
He said, "Friend, you may not know me now," and then he said "But wait -
You used to teach my Sunday School, when I was only eight.
And every week you would say a prayer before the class would start.
And one day when you said that prayer, I asked Jesus in my heart…
Then another man stood before you, he said, "Remember the time,
a missionary came to your church, his pictures made you cry.
You didn't have much money, but you gave it anyway.
Jesus took that gift you gave and that's why I'm here today."
One by one they came, far as your eyes could see.
Each life somehow touched by your generosity.
Little things that you had done,
sacrifices that you had made,
they were unnoticed on this earth,
in Heaven now proclaimed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am so glad you gave.
And I know up in Heaven your not supposed to cry,
but I am almost sure there were tears in your eyes
as Jesus took your hand and you stood before the Lord,
He said, "My child, look around you, great is your reward."
~Thank you for giving to the Lord by Ray Boltz