Lip Gloss and Sparkly Hearts

Nicole loves to play with our neighbors out front in the afternoons. This has been a wonderful blessing to us - friends her age just 2 houses down the street. Joshua enjoys playing with them too, which is really nice. Their mom and I enjoy fellowship while the kids play. Watching our children play together has also given me insight into my child's heart that I may not have seen in our own home. Especially Nicole.

You see, Kaitlynn and Gracie are girlie girls and they like make-up and high heels just as much (if not more) than any young girl. Nicole is somewhere in the middle - she likes to dress up and play princess, but she also loves to wrestle with her daddy, sword fight, and play in the dirt. I am not really a girlie girl myself - so she doesn't see a lot of make-up and heels around our house. Of course she is intrigued when the girls next door play make-up. Being the mean mom that I am, I have never allowed her to participate in the make-up free for all (and don't intend to any time soon). I am always willing to paint her fingernails and toenails and that has become one of our favorite bonding activities- doing our nails together. But no make-up. None.

The other day we were at Walmart and I decided it would probably be ok for her to have some CLEAR sparkly lip gloss. I was looking for the flavored lip smackers (chapstick), but couldn't find them anywhere. After much searching, we found the Bon Bons lip gloss and got her a cute little case with sparkly strawberry flavored lip gloss. I have never seen her so excited.

She had practically used the whole container by that evening. At one point she came to me -all puckered up and said," Mom, I cannot wait to show everyone my sparkly lips - everyone is going to love them!" I decided to reach for a teaching moment - "Nicole," I said, "Do you know what is even more important than people loving your sparkly lips?" She pondered, but was speechless. How could anything be more important than beautful lips? I replied, " Showing God your sparkly heart. God looks at our beautful hearts, not our beautiful faces. So instead of showing off your lips, lets try to think of some ways we can show off our sparkly hearts for Jesus." We brainstormed a few ideas - share our toys, give to people who are in need, obey mommy and daddy (my personal favorite) and tell everyone about Jesus. Now, when she puts on her lip gloss and shows me her pouty smile...she reminds me, "Don't worry mom, I have a sparkly heart that matches my lips too."

While I may not be overly concerned with my outward physical appearance (as a matter of fact, I should probably be a little more concerned with it :-), I am a people pleaser. I have a very hard time telling people "No" when they need a favor (although I am getting better) and I like to appear better than I really am - organized, creative, gifted, peaceful, gentle, etc. Like for example - I like to be early to Bible Study, but what good is that when I spent my morning yelling at the kids to get them out the door on time so I could look good to others? Or that I offer to bring a meal to someone in need, but grumble to myself because it means an extra trip to the store w/ 3 kids and an extra meal to cook and another trip out...Man may see the outward sparkly deed (always with a smile, of course), but God sees and knows my heart. Yikes. I better stop now because I am becoming more and more convicted with every word!

I guess now when I see Nicole put on her lip gloss, I will think of all the "good deeds" and "perfect image" I try to put on so other people will love my sparkle. Maybe I need to spend a little less time trying to sparkle and a little more time on my knees in the closet (prayer closet, that is...which does happen to be my clothes closet). Truthfully, I'll be glad when the sparkly lip gloss is gone, and we can focus a bit more on all of our hearts around here! And prayerfully, one day I'll be able to serve others and say, "Don't worry Lord, my sparkly heart matches my my sparkly deeds for You."

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7


"Where are you?"

In a recent study of the first few chapters of Genesis, I was greatly convicted by one simple line:

But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"
Genesis 3:9

You see, Adam and Eve had just committed the grievous sin of eating the forbidden fruit. Their eyes were suddenly opened to their nakedness and they were embarrassed. They sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves and when they heard the LORD walking through the garden, they hid in shame. The LORD, knowing full well of their sin and their current location, gently calls out to them, "Where are you?"

Begin conviction...

Somehow, "NICOLE ASHLEY GET YOUR HIND-END IN HERE RIGHT NOW...AND I MEAN NOW!" doesn't sound quite the same as, "Where are you?"

Our Bible Study Commentary notes that "God deals with His fallen creatures in grace, wooing them back to Himself in godly sorrow and repentance. Ouch. If that is how God deals with me (fallen creature that I am), shouldn't I be extending that same grace to my own children?

For example, when I find Joshua covered in permanent marker. And I mean covered. Face and all. Or my bible written in with permanent ink. Or the dog covered in finger paint (ok, that was a little funny, but it did mean that I had to give the dog a bath)...do I respond with gentleness, patience and self-control? Do I gently woo the offender to me with a loving, "Nicole - Where are you? Come see Mommy, please." Or do I yell? Well, you can bet that since I am writing this - I yell (see above comment regarding Nicole Ashley).

There is one thing in life that I never want to be called and that is a fool. Someone dear to me once called me foolish (over something very trivial - corn chips, to be exact) and it cut me very deeply. I thought to myself - the Bible says a lot of very strong things about foolish people and I am NOT one of them. This morning, I found this:

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Ecclesiastes 7:9

Foolish me.

Thank goodness my loving Father deals gently and patiently with me, revealing my own shortcomings in His perfect timing. Good thing...

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young

Isaiah 40:11


As my heavenly Father gently leads me (and continually pulls me back) towards His path of righteousness, I will strive to gently lead the young who are behind me...following me towards that very same path.

PS: I realized that I must need to lighten up a bit because I could not find a single picture of the naughty things my children have done. And some of them were pretty funny. I guess I should laugh a bit more and enjoy the fun of having 3 little ones ages 4 and under!