parenting

God of Wonder by Julie Delamarter

I’ve never looked forward to a broken heart. Have you? Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.” If we saw our broken hearts, our trials, our tears as an opportunity for His nearness, would we view our trials differently? Would an opportunity to be near HIM in a different way change how we function in that trial?  I’d venture to say that when we witness the nearness of God when we are hurting, it changes everything.  

A Mother’s Heart 

It changes everything, especially as a mother. If you are a mother, chances are your heart has broken. It probably started the moment your son or daughter was born and you realized this “love” they talk about regarding a child is something that cannot be described; only experienced. I think from that moment on, our hearts break on different levels as we guide, direct, and ‘mother’ our kids through this life. The scraped knees morph into broken hearts over relationships, misunderstandings, not making a team, or even bigger losses. The tears over a ‘boo-boo’ somehow become harder to wipe away when it involves their hearts. As moms, we cry out to the Lord on behalf of our children.  Whether it be a friendship gone awry, issues with mental health, a diagnosis, a decision or string of decisions that you know is only leading down a dangerous path – The difficulty of toddlerhood somehow pales in comparison to the raising of future adults. 

In my 17 years of motherhood, I feel like I’ve had two choices: 

One – Believe that God is just a bystander in my life and the life of my kids and He steps in only when necessary.

Two – Believe that God is actively involved in every heartache, every loss, every surprising turn and He desires to be near in very tangible ways. 

I believe He desperately wants to give us ‘good gifts’ as we walk through this life as parents and as individuals. The pain that we experience as we watch our kids find their way is an invitation to see the tangible hand of God at every turn and be near Him. It only requires one thing: That we ask.  

“Ask? But I ask all the time,” you may be thinking. You pray, believe, and know that God is faithful. He is good like all the Bible stories say He is. In your own life, you know He is there, but out of fear of disappointment we may not ‘ask’ for specifics. I believe God does not want us passively waiting for Him to show up; He wants us LOOKING, asking, pleading.  We can ask boldly and wait in expectation for the God who wants desperately to give good gifts to those who ask (Matthew 7:11). Especially, when our hearts are broken.  

A Beet Salad

I remember the moment. We had just received news of a life altering diagnosis for our oldest son. At the time, it completely derailed all his hopes and dreams and quite literally put him on the sideline for the foreseeable future. Because the diagnosis is genetic, it reframed our whole family. We felt like we were being suffocated.  All that we knew had just been taken in a moment. I remember hearing of God’s tangible goodness in people’s life when walking through trials, but had never experienced it myself. The kind of undeniable, “Wow” moments that could only be described by a good God who orchestrates every detail. When we say “He is good.” What is our proof? So I decided to ask. I decided to ask for a tangible ‘gift’ not knowing if it would be in the form of a miracle in his health situation, a person on the street, or a shadow on the sidewalk that communicated something specific to me. 

I had specifically asked the Lord to show up in our brokenness that day. I said, “Lord, I need a gift to know you are near.” My husband and I met at a local restaurant to decompress and process after the trauma of the few days before. Not a minute later, a server came by and said, “Here is a beet salad. It is extra. It is a GIFT. Would you like it?” I looked at my husband and said, “Did you hear her? She said it’s a gift.  It’s from the Lord!” I think the Lord’s sense of humor was coming through when he gave me the beet salad and the server said, “It is a gift.” I think He was saying, “You want a gift, I’m going to give it to you.” I like beet salads, sure, but as a gift from the Lord? One could say that would be questionable. It didn’t matter what anyone thought, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was meeting me in that moment in a big way. It was quite literally an opportunity to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)! We laughed at the way God showed up that day but that simple moment was a catalyst to viewing God’s faithfulness actively in our lives rather than passively. I now refer to all the ways God shows up for me as my “beet salads.” 

The Wonder and Awe of His Nearness

The next few months were filled with doctor visits, tests, hospitals and all the things you don’t want to be doing with your child. I filled a journal with the big and little ways God showed up for us during that time and as my eyes shifted to the beauty of my God who loves us, the trial was filtered through a new lens of awe and wonder of God in the midst of our broken hearts. Our son’s diagnosis was not the end of trial in our lives. We’ve had countless opportunities to trust Him to be near in the years that have followed. What is different is when the waves come, we ask and expect Him to calm the storm with his nearness.

 Author Priscilla Shirer once shared, “Those who don’t expect to see God, won’t.”  We have to change our vantage point to see God’s fingerprints on what we are walking through.  When we shift our focus from the pain to the God who wants to do abundantly more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), the trials we are walking through with our children or in our own lives become an opportunity to see God in exciting, awe-inspiring ways. Our trials become an opportunity to shout His glory from the rooftops because of how He has showed up. Job 5:9 tells us that God “performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” Our trials become our worship because we serve a God who always comes through when we ask. It may not be how we expect. It might even be through a beet salad, but however He speaks to you, it will be with wonder. Being near to God in His wonder, might just make that broken heart a miracle over a burden.    

Scripture to Ponder

Psalm 34:3 – “Proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me; let us exalt his name together.” 

Psalm 34:8 – “Taste and see that the Lord is good.  How happy is the person who takes refuge in him.”  

Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit.”  

Psalm 33:20-22 – “We wait for the Lord; he is our help and shield. For our hearts rejoice in him because we trust in his holy name.  May your faithful love rest on us, Lord, for we put our hope in you.”  

 

About the Author – Julie Delamarter grew up in Southern California, met her husband who is from Pendleton, Oregon in college, moved to the PNW, and never looked back! She has been married for almost 20 years and has three amazing kids. She is a behavior therapist for kids with autism by day and a carpool driver by night! Some of her favorite things include country music, lots of sun, food, friends, and adventure. Passionate about many things including youth, the special needs community, and mental health. God has shown Himself real to her and she prays He will use her however He sees fit! 

 

Guarding Their Hearts – One Mama’s Reflection on Being the Gatekeeper

My grandmother welcomed Jesus into her heart as she began to slip away from this world. She had been a hard-working nurse and mother of four. Widowed at a young age, she did not know what she did not know raising her young children. She did not know to guard their hearts from that which would seek to destroy them. She did not have a life filled with experiencing a relationship with Jesus, but I do believe she saw God’s goodness from time to time – Through her children when they were young, through the grandchildren that adored her and through her daughter who met Jesus in her 20’s and began to change before her own mothers eyes. 

That daughter was my mother – A woman who transformed the direction of our families’ spiritual legacy. 

She did this by making the boldest of changes when she said yes to Jesus among friends, siblings, and neighbors who could not see what she could see in Him. My mother went against the status quo and gave her life to the Lord so she and her children could live a different kind of life. So we could find a life of joy, peace, faith, and hope – Rooted in an understanding of true love. She undertook the challenge of what it meant to guard her own heart and ours. I continue the process of building this kind of legacy by creating a home centered around Christ – That my children may know how valuable their hearts are and learn to guard them on their own. So they can jump off my shoulders to reach even greater heights.  

The Castle & Its Sentry

I once heard a beautiful metaphor about guarding your child’s heart: “Build your castle strong and it will not crumble under attack.” In other words, guard your heart and you will not be destroyed by the things that would rob you of the life God has planned for you. It radically solidified my beliefs that this was my job with my children – To help build protection against influences that seek to destroy the goodness and purity of our children’s hearts. 

Before becoming a mom I had spent over 25 years caring for other people’s children, learning about children, and studying human development. The heart is the center of the castle, the eyes and ears are the gates. Do you remember the little song from Sunday School? “Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear.” While children are at home, parents are the keepers of the gate or sentry.  Webster defines a sentry as “any of the men of a military guard posted to guard against danger.” A sentry has three responsibilities. First, they are to watch for the enemy or sheep in wolf’s clothing. Second, when the castle is under attack, the sentry must close the gates. Thirdly and possibly most importantly, the sentry notifies the King’s commander when an intruder has entered.  

Possible Intruders

When I was a girl I had a cousin who loved scary movies and I loved my cousin. So guess what I would watch when we were together? Yep. You guessed it. We were between 8-10 years old when we would go to our Grandmother’s house and spend the day running errands with her and playing outside. Our grandmother’s home was the home she had raised her children in. It was built in the 40’s with two stories and several bedrooms. Each bedroom had a small closet and was filled with all sorts of items from years of life including a bed left behind from each of the four children who were raised there. Three of whom were daughters who sewed. There were dress forms and sewing machines, boxes of fabric and other items that sparked the curiosity of young children. At times, several of her 13 grandchildren were in the house playing hide and seek together.  We loved her, so we loved her home. Unfortunately her house was broken into several times over the years. She was a nurse who lived on her own and worked nights. She had to put a special door on and she had loud feisty poodles on guard. This made for quite the setting for late night movies and wild imaginations.  So when she would go to bed we would stay awake and fill our minds and ultimately our hearts with what came across the television. Those characters made it into my heart and tried to haunt me for years. Leaving fear of places, situations and interactions. My parents had no idea we were watching these movies, no blame is to be placed, nor did they know the fear that had entered me. The experience had left its mark on my heart and the enemy had invaded my “castle.”

Other invaders through movies are pornography, sexual activity in youth, drugs, violence, and death. The lack of the value of life seeps in so quickly when your mind is numbed over time to the darkness of media through your eyes and ears. It makes me think of a movie where a man is sent by the enemy masquerading as friend. His chief purpose is to whisper evil into the ear of the king. As time passes and the words seep into his heart, the king begins to age and rot as he sits on the throne. Day by day the filth that is being spoken into him manifests on the outside as a once vibrant King begins to shrink on his throne. His beautiful blond hair turns stringy grayish white (not the beautiful salon style we see on models today) and his body grows weak.  The viewer can watch the damage done when an outsider who seeks to destroy goes after the heart to tear down the man. It is a guard who recognizes the strategy and does not give up attempting to rid the evil one from the kingdom.

As the mother of two teenagers I am glad I learned this while they were young. I am glad that God showed me the connection between what goes in and what comes out

Raising children to be solid and strong and in love with God is hard in this world of temptation and media all around them, but what I think would be even harder is to let them choose at a young age to listen or watch whatever they desire and then try and work in reverse to “clean it out” as it comes out of them with age. I am the guard of my child’s castle, and the sentry of our home.

Assuming Position

Dear mom, we are human. We are not perfect. We are tired. We are weary. We are distracted. 

We are also not alone on the journey of Motherhood. 

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Moses is our same God. He can give us the wisdom, energy and discipline to guard our children’s hearts. I challenge and encourage you to sit with Him today. Ask Him for courage if you need to better guard or change some things in your home, energy and wisdom to be more intentional with schedules or influences, and the desire to look at what is going into your children now that could come back and haunt them or derail them later. Put on your armor, take your position and stand guard. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Romans 8:28

 

 

Recommended Resources  
  • Love Is: A 21 Day Interactive Journal for Mama’s – Available to purchase by emailing Jen Windus. Inquire here.

 

Scripture to Encourage
  • Proverbs 4:23-27 
  • Psalm 84:11
  • Luke 6:45
  • Colossians 3:15
  • Philippians 4:7
  • 1Peter 5:8

 

About Jen Windus

Hi I’m Jen. I’m a friend of Jesus. Daughter of the Most High. Wife to my boyfriend and Mama to two miracles. I am a teacher by trade & at heart. I love the mountains, all creation and seeing light bulbs go off in people’s minds and faces as they learn and experience God’s love for them.

 

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