Monday, June 26, 2017

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

By Cassie Glubzinski

You know that moment when your kid opens her mouth, and you hold your breath because you know, deep in your gut you know, that whatever your kiddo is about to say is gonna be either epically profound or epically embarrassing?

Yeah, you know that moment.

About three years ago my daughter, Gemma, and I were leaving Target in Arizona. While walking across the parking lot we both heard a man on his phone. His tense posture, gruff appearance, and loud conversation (which included a very colorful and animated vocabulary) caused me to allow him a wide berth. I weaved around cars in order to get to our vehicle, all the while hoping that the man would not pay us any mind.

So of course he saw us as soon as he hung up.

And of course he had to say something.

"What?!" He screamed at me. "You got a problem with how I talk? Why don't you just say so rather than avoid me like the plague!?"

You know that moment when you have said nothing, and yet a can of proverbial worms has been opened?

Yeah, you know that moment.

"We're just heading to our car, sir." I said quietly, ushering my two year old over to our car and trying desperately to avoid the man.

"That's what I thought!" He yelled at me. "Better keep that pretty little girl away!"

Okay, here's what you need to know about me. You can say whatever you want about me, but as soon as my kids are involved I am a WILD MAMA BEAR. I froze, and turned slowly toward him with deadly calm. And even though I stood a good foot shorter than him, the look I gave him was one of fierce protectiveness. I opened my mouth, ready with words that would make even the foulest of mouths blush when my little Gemma opened her mouth.

"You know, sir, Jesus loves everyone! Even when you are mad, he loves you!" she shouted excitedly to him. And in a blink the entire atmosphere shifted. My mouth was agape, his face softened, his shoulders dropped, and my stiff back relaxed.

Out of the mouths of babes.

My knee-jerk reaction was blowing a bridge and building a wall, while my daughter's was kindness and love. My only thought was hatred and judgment. Hers was calm understanding. I was burdened with hostility. She was burdened with humility.

All I could do was stare.

Then, as if nothing was amiss, Gemma asked me, "Can I have ice cream when we get home?"

Girl, you just put me in my place in a humbling way. You can have the whole box of Klondikes.

The man looked at her, then at me, then at her again before his head swung backward and he began laughing. Like, a full blown belly laugh that was neither contained nor guarded.

My daughter had bridged a gap that was miles wide, with one simple statement.

How often do we judge others and only think of ourselves? How often do we ignore and look the other way when God calls us to reach out? To be His hands and feet?

In the book of Matthew Jesus tells a story of sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus explains that on the day of judgment everyone will be divided before the King, either on His right or His left. Those who know Him (the sheep) will be on His right, and the ones who do not (the goats) will be on His left. Here's what He says:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Today I challenge you, what have you done for Jesus? What have you done for the least of these? I ask you, what is your knee-jerk response? What is your go to reaction? Is it hostility or humility? Is it judgment or kindness? Is it hatred or love?

Out of the mouths of babes...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Popsicles and Ponderings

By Cassie Glubzinski

I am happily blessed to have two sweet daughters who take part in a daily exercise called 'Rest Time', but I secretly call it 'Mommy Sanity Time'. My oldest just turned five, and my youngest is two and a half.

The other day I went to get my girls up from rest time and found my oldest (Gemma) still sleeping. Knowing she had had an exhausting day I went ahead and let her sleep, but my youngest (Evolet) came downstairs with me. She began playing with her little people, and seemed completely content. So in true mom-fashion I hurriedly finished all the tasks I wasn't fully able to complete while my children slumbered. I was running around putting away clean dishes, folding the last bit of laundry, and clearing the table before trying to figure out what we would eat for dinner.

During this time I heard Evolet talking under her breath. I walked a bit closer and asked her if everything was okay. She looked up and showed me the two little people in her hands: Prince Eric and Princess Ariel.

"Oh," I told her. "Are Eric and Ariel talking?"

"Yes," she informed me seriously. "They are playing together and sharing."

"Sharing is very good. Are they also going to eat together?"

"Yeah, Mommy. They are having chicken nuggets and apple slices."

"Wow. Eric is taking Ariel to dinner? Sounds kind of like a date to me."

I had to keep myself from laughing out loud at the expression on my daughter's face. She looked exasperated! She sighed heavily and shook her head at me as she calmly said, "Mommy, chicken nuggets aren't what you get on a date."

"Huh," I supplied. "What would make it a date?"

She pondered this a moment before looking at me with quiet confidence and said, "Popsicles."

Well, okay then.

May I take this moment to say that if a date is only a date if popsicles are involved then I have been grossly cheated by my husband. ;)

I chuckled as I turned and went upstairs to wake Gemma and bring her down to play with her sister as well. In my mind, however, there was a part of me that so grateful for her quiet confidence and her decisiveness. I was NEVER that confident or decisive when I was two, or ten, or twenty for that matter. And  in that moment I realized something: God had been slowly but surely answering my prayers all along.

I think every mother deeply desires for her children to learn from her mistakes instead of having to make those same mistakes themselves. I am no different. My earnest desire to please absolutely everyone around led me to never wonder what I would want. I spent all my time and energy being a peacemaker, and it left me feeling hollow. I wasn't making peace for God's glory; I was doing it for my own comfort.

As such, I often felt like wasted space. I wouldn't make decisions because I didn't want to have to take the blame if and when things went wrong. I longed for the confidence of my peers.

In that beautiful moment, seeing my young daughter form an idea in her mind and speak so clearly about what she thought and believed, I didn't care that she thought a date was going out for popsicles. I cared that she answered with certainty and authority. My prayers to my Heavenly Father for her and her sister to be strong, poised and decisive women are coming to fruition, even at this tender young age.

I was reminded of Joshua in the Bible. He is told over and over by God to " strong and courageous...", and when the idea was first presented I thought, well, he's following after Moses, and those are big shoes to fill. 

But as I studied more and more I wonder if God was telling him to be strong and courageous because he was about to step far outside of his comfort zone. His decisions as leader of the Israelite nation (at that time about two million people) would have very long term repercussions. Talk about intense!

Now, I am no biblical scholar, but it is so reassuring to me that a spiritual powerhouse like Joshua was reminded repeatedly to " strong and courageous...", and he is told why:

Joshua 1:9 - "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." [emphasis mine]

Where are you needing to be strong and courageous? How can you practice? Maybe it's something as simple as telling your spouse what constitutes a date (even if it's popsicles) or maybe it's a more sensitive area. The fact of the matter is that we are all facing situations that require us to be strong and courageous, and we often need reminded that we can be strong and courageous BECAUSE the Lord our God is with us wherever we go!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Wonder Woman, or Wonder Blunder?

By Cassie Glubzinski

For those who have met me you know I'm an Army wife. My husband is active duty. We have been married for six and a half years, we have two beautiful daughters, and we have survived two deployments and countless trainings that have taken him far from his girls.

Just after he left on his most recent deployment a dear friend of mine gave me an odd gift. She said that her favorite phrase to tell wives who were left at home was to 'strap on your big girl panties and get things done'. 

Well, okay then.

I look in the bag and there is a single pair of Wonder Woman panties.

I kid you not.

She told me that she had been saying this same phrase to countless other wives, before realizing that she never had really ensured that the women actually owned a pair of big girl panties.

I questioned whether or not having panties with the emblem of a Justice League member counted as being 'big girl', but who was I to judge a gift? I love gifts! I love giving gifts and receiving them. And this gal knew me well, because I am an EPIC Wonder Woman fan.

So... she gives me my very own pair of big girl panties, and they work. Seriously. Every time I wear them I feel as if I can take on the world and win. And goodness I needed it through that deployment! The only person who was as excited about this gift as me was my oldest daughter, Gemma. She loves superheroes, and she knows I adore Wonder Woman.

A couple of months ago I took Gemma into Walter-Reed for an eye doctor appointment. The place was buzzing with activity as she was sat next to me in the hall waiting. Folks were all running around heading to appointments of their own. The largest group to walk by was seven soldiers talking together, all young like they were fresh out of high school. They smiled at Gemma and told her good morning. Rather than responding with a smile and saying "Good Morning" like her mother taught her, (why would my toddler want to do that?) she looked at them, then calmly turned to me to ask, "Mommy, did you wear your Wonder Woman panties today?"

Yeah. That happened.

Sitting there watching as this group of some of America's finest young men faltered a step (a couple snickered, a few gasped and had jaws dropped, and one even quirked a brow daring me to answer), I was torn between running away and hiding or laughing hysterically. It was equally funny and mortifying at the same time. I giggled a bit and told her that we don't ask those kind of questions when we aren't at home. That seemed to satisfy her, and the men went on their way. But the crazy part was that I was actually wearing them that day.

And somehow Gemma knew. 

When I told my husband about the incident later (he chose to laugh, though not hysterically) he said even he knew I was wearing them, even though he hadn't seen me dress that morning. 

"How is that even possible? Do you have x-ray vision like Superman?" I had asked him jokingly.

"No, I don't," he told me seriously. "You carry yourself differently when you wear them. Like you are more confident and sure of yourself. And I honestly have no idea why. But it doesn't surprise me that Gemma noticed. She notices everything."

What?! I didn't really know how to respond to that. As I sat there digesting that bit of information I found myself pondering the fact that it shouldn't take an article of clothing to give me confidence or to make me feel better about myself. I am the same woman when I wear Wonder Woman apparel as I am when I wear Fruit of the Loom. Nothing should affect that, and nothing should taint it.

I am a wife and a mother who has always loved Wonder Woman. But first and foremost I am woman of God. That and that alone is more than enough to give me confidence, to give me gumption. Wonder Woman is pretty amazing, and her apparel lines are fun and a quick fix to a slump, but at the end of the day nothing comes close to the kind of surety our God gives.

Paul's words ring out loudly with these thoughts:
"You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tablets of stone but on the tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." [2 Corinthians 3:3-5]

I had confidence wearing 'big girl panties', until my four year old opened her mouth and I found myself being stared down by seven men in uniform. Worldly confidence fades in times of trouble. Godly confidence, the kind that comes from knowing we are His and He is for us, never even wavers.

Wonder Woman has nothing on that.