A Living Legacy

Growing in Legacy
At age seven our oldest daughter, Victoria, began taking piano lessons.  She was studying classically, but she told us her goal was to someday accompany her dad when he led worship.  At age twelve she began to play back-up keyboard on the worship team at church and focus her attention on growing in her skills as a musician.  Some remarked at how young she was, but she was only following in the footsteps of her grandmothers.  At age 12, my mother began to play piano and accordion at church for the services her minister father conducted.  At age 12, Harold’s mother began to play piano for the services her mother held.  Victoria is a living legacy.

Over the years, she grew in her piano abilities and began to play lead keyboard and to sing back-up on the worship team.  In 2009 God clearly opened more doors to grow her skills, giving her the opportunity to serve as one of the worship leaders for our congregation on Sunday mornings.  The following year she began to play for smaller groups who desired to rest in God’s presence.  Victoria continues to be passionate about using music to lead people into the peaceful presence of God.

Walking in Legacy
In July Victoria released her debut CD, a collection of worshipful songs for solo voice and keyboard, entitled Rest.  Some songs have been previously recorded by other artists, however two are original songs written by Victoria.  From the first song to the last note, the peace of God and the love of the Father pours out to the listener.  Here is what others have said about the CD:

  • Wow, Victoria!  What an amazing CD.  I love it!
  • I was listening to your CD on repeat today as I drove to work and while I was at work, as usual, and was super enjoying two certain songs.  I  looked to see who wrote them and it was YOU!!  Just wanted to say you are amazing and I LOVE the CD.
  • Love your CD. Wow, God has blessed you with a heart of worship. Thanks for sharing your gift.
  • Your music is so beautiful. Thank you so much.
  • Amazing voice and amazing CD.
  • I was listening to your CD in my car when I went to my sister’s house. I walked in and she was playing it. Then I went by my other sister’s house and she was also playing it. It's safe to say we are all fans.
  • I heard it today and, well, frankly it is amazing.  I love listening to this.  I thank God for you.

Here’s what Victoria wrote about the CD:

Contentment is the fruit of deeply rooted trust. This phrase was echoing in my head one morning as I spent time with God. Satisfaction. Happiness. Peace. My heart desires it, but when I finally take a break from the life spinning so rapidly around me I find that my heart has, more often than I'd like to admit, become discontented with the way things are. I'm worried. Fearful. Unsure. Void of hope or peace. I've often been forgetful, but over the past few months the Lord has been reminding me that trusting Him is ultimately the first step to finding rest in any situation. A gentle, unshakable hand is guiding me on a journey that requires my heart to be rooted in the truths and promises of the God I've chosen to trust. He does not fail nor forsake me. He is my refuge, my stronghold, my hiding place. In quietness and trust is my strength, because I know He is for me.

This album is a gift from the deepest part of my soul, a direct result of my desire to find contentment in trust, through rest. It's not perfect nor does it contain fancy instrumentation or the next big, chart-topping single. But my hope is that as this music fills whatever space you occupy it will become a reminder of the importance of rest, trust, and the necessity of storing the truth of who God is deep inside of you. He is for us and only when we root ourselves in that truth can we rest regardless of the storms that come our way.

To preview or purchase Rest, please visit:  http://victoriamoore.bandcamp.com

Reflections on Letting Go and Launching a Daughter

Five weeks from today, our oldest daughter will begin a new season.  She will be furthering her education in the areas of Bible and worship.  For the first 17 years of her life, I had envisioned my sweet daughter finishing her high school education, maybe attending college from home, and finding a wonderful husband so that they could pursue a life together serving God.  But God challenged my ideas for her future while the two of us were serving on a missions trip to China just before her senior year. Close to the end of our time in China, we had the opportunity to take a short hike to an overlook in a remote village.  As I stood gazing at the expanse of the incredibly beautiful mountains piercing the sky, I heard in my spirit, “This is your Mount Moriah.”  Immediately my mind flashed to a picture of Abraham with his son Isaac, standing before an altar.  His heart may have been filled with pain and grief, but through his surrender came great blessing to him and the world.

God:  Are you willing to give me your daughter? Me: I did that years ago during a baby dedication service at church.  Of course she’s yours. God: But this is different.  Will you surrender her to Me—and to China? Me:  But she can’t go to China.  She’s not married yet.  Certainly you don’t want her to be here alone (God had clearly called her to China during a Kindergarten geography lesson in our homeschool, but we had imagined that would be after she was married.) God: Must she wait until I send her a husband?  What if she never marries?  Can she not return to China?  Do you trust me to take care of her? Silence. Me: (through tears) Yes.  I trust You.  She’s yours.

This whole conversation was a surprise to me.  When our children were babies we understood that it was important to commit them to God’s care and follow His direction for them.  It was no surprise that our children belonged to Him, but I had imagined that our girls would stay at home, learn a skill that could bring in money from home and then they would be married.    I had not considered the possibility that our creative God might have other plans.  When we returned from China, I shared the revelation with my husband and with Victoria.  Together my husband and I released her to follow God’s direction for her life—whatever that looked like.  She continued to pursue her love for China and training for worship while she studied graphic design at the community college.

Fast forward two years.  Victoria was about to finish her studies at the community college.  Clearly God was growing Victoria’s passion for worship and expanding her gifting.  Leaders in the church confirmed her gifts and gave her opportunities to grow.  Victoria sensed she needed further training beyond what she could receive in our area, but she was reluctant to even dream about what might be beyond our community.  We could see God’s hand guiding her and knew He was expanding her vision.  After prayer, long discussions, divine appointments, confirmations, and our blessing, she applied and was accepted to a program to study Bible and worship.  I knew it was God’s will but my heart held a seed of fear that I was losing my daughter—and my friend.

One day in my quiet time as I was praying about this situation, God showed me that my daughter was like a bird.  “She’s a bird made to fly and it isn’t good if she was allowed only to sit in your nest and sing.  She has a gift and she will bless many ‘nests’ with her voice.  A captured bird becomes unhappy and unfulfilled.  As she fulfills her call, joy will overflow—both in her life and in yours.  There will be some who prefer birds in cages and they may not understand.  But I created birds to fly.  Some fear the birds will never return, but I created migratory birds to fly away for a season and then return to the same location, a safe place.  She will always treasure the safe place of your home.”  I realize that only outside the cage can she fulfill the purpose of her Creator.  First and foremost she belongs to God and I know He loves her so much more than I ever could.  I trust that He is guiding her and that she is following His voice.

The next five weeks will pass all too quickly.  We’ll spend time together, sharing quiet moments, shopping for necessities and making more memories.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the day Victoria checks in at school is three years to the day we departed on our life-changing missions trip to China.  She may be thinking of her new adventure, but I’ll be thinking of the mountains of China and Mount Moriah.  I know that through surrender will come great blessing.

 Note:  Victoria is currently recording her first CD.  It will be available in the Daughters 4 God Shoppe in early August.       

The Family Orchestra

More than twenty years ago, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education.  Today my musical teaching is limited to helping my daughters with their private lessons, but my mind still thinks in musical terms.  Recently I’ve been thinking about the similarities between a parent and a music teacher or an orchestra conductor. Music teachers, the first instructors for beginning instrumentalists, teach the basics and endure hours of repetitious and often out-of-tune practice.  Parenting young children is often like being a beginning music teacher—you build the foundation and repeat the same instructions though the process is sometimes tiring and you may see little progress.

On the other hand, orchestra conductors direct instrumentalists who have mastered the basics and are ready to perform with other accomplished musicians.  It is quite similar to the role of parenting during the teen years.  If we parents do our job in the early years, our children won’t need the same level of instruction during their teen years.  Instead of being music teachers, we become more like an orchestra conductors.

We make sure everyone is on the same page.  You can imagine the cacophony of sound that would emerge from a symphony if only one  player was reading music from the wrong page.  Similarly, the beautiful melody of a family can only be achieved if we are on the same page.  When the girls were very young, we tried hard to communicate what was important and why.  We talked about what it means to follow God.  We explained why we chose certain activities and didn’t choose others.  Today, Harold and I try hard to communicate our goals and expectations not only for the girls personally, but also in regard to our schedule—what family commitments we have (We keep a master calendar.) and how each person can best serve our family during a certain period of time.  Our children can’t read our minds.  If I don’t communicate, I can’t expect that we’ll be on the same page.

We set the tempo of our home. As the girls have grown, so have the number of activities and opportunities they have opportunity to be involved in.  When the girls were young, Harold and I discussed which activities were beneficial for the girls and for our family.  Today, the girls come to us with requests and together we discuss the commitment and all of the ramifications to our family life and to our schedule.  As a pastor, my husband has many responsibilities and commitments so we try to look at the calendar and set a reasonable pace for our schedule.  We live in a fast-paced world that seems only to speed up with each passing year.  We try to set a reasonable family pace, balancing busy days and busy weeks with times of Sabbath and refreshing.  Some Saturdays we declare a family day—we disconnect our home phone and Harold turns off his cell phone.   The world has much to offer to fill our days, but it’s our job as parents to set the tempo.

We direct entrances and exits. With two drivers who are very committed to church and attending college, I sometimes feel like we have a revolving front door.  Our culture tends to accept the division of children and their families—children of all ages are involved in sports, music lessons, school activities, church activities, youth group, part time jobs, etc.  None of these activities are bad in and of themselves; however when activities become a “drop and shop”—drop the kids off so you can do what you want—it can divide families.  Give thought to the “entrances and exits” in your home.  All too soon your precious ones will be exiting the front door to start their own home.

We control the volume. In a house of four girls, this one is pretty tough.  Those who know our family well know that there is a certain level of excited chit-chat that accompanies our daughters.  (Some call it noise; I call it happy sounds.)  It is sometimes easier to live a life full of noise and activity than to take time to be silent and alone.  It is important that we teach our children to choose moments of solitude so they can think, process, create, and most importantly, hear the voice of God.  If the volume is turned up too loud, we may miss the still small voice of our Father.

We encourage each one to listen to the other. In an orchestra no one instrument should stand out louder than another, unless they are playing a solo.  Each player needs to carefully listen to those around them.  Listening can be a challenge in our home.  It seems there is never a lack of response to any comment made by one member of our family.  Most certainly at least one other member has an opinion or suggestion about the topic at hand.  More often than not, I hear overlapping layers of conversation interspersed with laughter.  I believe that all individuals, no matter their age, have a desire to be heard and understood.  I sometimes feel that my job is to be the “conversation traffic police”—stopping conversations that don’t build each other up, encouraging one speaker at a time, and reminding speakers to slow down so I can understand.  Monologues are like solos, but dialogues allow the beauty of each individual to shine through so that each one feels heard and understood.

If you are a parent, you are like a music teacher or orchestra conductor.  You may not be capable of teaching piano lessons or conducting a large group, but God has given you, and your family, the ability to create beautiful music that will bring honor and glory to Him.  Soli Deo Gloria.

13th Birthday Celebration

Some families celebrate birthdays in a big way and others barely acknowledge the day aside from any other.  Our family has chosen to honor and celebrate each child, on each birthday, as a confirmation of their uniqueness and identity.  Since no child is the same, no celebration is the same; however, each celebration must have the elements of honor and surprise. Recently, our youngest turned 13.  Since we’ve chosen not to use the term “teenager,” the age 13 is not so special to our family but in the mind of our youngest daughter it represented a milestone.  It was shaping up to be a pretty uneventful day since I had nothing special planned and no precious gift to give.  (A month earlier we had helped her purchase an upgrade to her violin—an early birthday present—so she would have time to get used to it before her spring recital.) Since she was already aware of her gift, we were searching for some sort of surprise that would also show her honor.

With only two weeks to spare, God inspired me to honor Abigail by inviting 13 friends—ages 5 to mid 30’s-- to celebrate with her.  (Abigail loves her family, but she is an encourager and has quite a collection of friends and pen pals!)  I chose Dad as her first friend and sent emails to the parents of 12 of Abigail’s close friends explaining my plan.  (I would’ve sent invitations, but I didn’t really consider it a party and the idea came to me kid of last minute.)  I would purchase 13 pink roses.  Each guest would arrive between 7 and 8 pm bringing one rose and a card or letter of blessing.  Cake and ice cream would be served promptly at 8 pm.  I knew that some friends had prior commitments for that evening and may not be able to participate so I asked for RSVPS’s to make sure all 12 would be present.  Amazingly, every friend but one was able to make adjustments to the schedule and participate in honoring Abigail.

On Abigail’s special day, we celebrated as we celebrate each birthday--donuts in bed.  Along with the donuts, Abigail found a small gift on her tray—a fancy green key to our home on a cool key chain.  This has become a traditional gift for 13th birthdays.  It is more symbolic than practical, but as the girls get older they sometimes have need of a key after a babysitting job.  It’s our way of saying, “You are responsible.”

In the afternoon, Abigail and I went to Starbucks for a surprise meeting with Miss Kelly, a young woman who sings on the worship team with Abigail and the one of the 13 special friends who was unable to attend our evening celebration. She presented Abigail with a pink rose tied with a ribbon and bought her a Passion Fruit Tea Lemonade.  The three of us chatted together for about 20 minutes and then Miss Kelly had to go back to work.

While Abigail and I were at Starbucks, two of my older daughters baked and frosted a cake, shined the bathroom, and delivered the roses to Abigail’s friends.  Some of the roses were delivered to the church, a central location for others to pick them up, and some to friends in the neighborhood and surrounding area.  When we arrived home, the house was completely ready for a surprise celebration.

Dad came home from work and presented Abigail with a pink rose—tied with the same ribbon.  Abigail remarked how it was the same ribbon as Miss Kelly’s, but didn’t catch on.  Dinner was Abigail’s choice, taco salad, and then she opened her presents from the family.  Just as we were finishing, the first guest arrived, followed quickly by the next friend.  By the third rose presented by the third friend, Abigail had caught on.  For the next hour, friends, siblings and parents arrived, one family at a time, until at 8 pm we all sang and she blew out the candles on the traditional Moore Family Birthday Cake.  (Recipe)

The celebration was a success.  Our sweet daughter enjoyed our special time together as a family.  She was also quite surprised and honored by her friends’ presence and their sweet words of life to her.  Daughter honored and surprised.  Mission accomplished.

 

Post a comment and tell us about a special birthday celebration in your family

The Blessing of Teen Daughters

Our parenting goal has always been to raise children who love God with all their heart, mind, and soul; however, each phase of a child’s life is unique and requires different parenting skills to achieve that goal.  Whether or not you choose to use the label of “teenager,” the ages with the word “teen” are years of enormous change, growth and development.  In our home, it has been a joyous time of great blessing and precious memories.  Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past seven years, but most apply to any age: Parenting Daughters Find joy in who she is. Focus on her good traits. Pray for her weaknesses. Make memories. Mentally record her laugh. Do it her way, sometimes. Ask if she wants help. Declare your love. Always respond with kindness. Spend quality time together. Compliment her often. Expect the best. Drink in her smile. Kiss her goodnight. Listen. Gently guide her. Share her excitement. Try something new. Be silly. Hug her tightly. Value her opinions. Enjoy her company. Tackle a challenge together. Encourage her attempts. Listen more. Take lots of pictures. Correct her privately. Think outside of the box. Speak respectfully. Dream together. Treasure the beauty of today. Trust God with the future.

By:  Joy Moore, Copyright 2011