So, it's that time of year again. The holidays are pretty much over, most folks are back to work, school will be starting next week again... life is starting to get back to normal.
And yet, January 1st often marks a grand entrance in our minds. It's like a big official day to kick bad habits, practice and learn NEW habits, get thin, workout, save money... the list goes on. So often, people makes lists of New Year's Resolutions...
While goals are good - they can also give ME a sense of failure. I am a list maker. While lists can be motivating, they can also be debilitating, depending on the pressure or the amount of grandure that's put into them. How realistic are we when we set out with our goals? We get this burst of "drive" and "enthusiasm"... somehow sparked by this new year and by February, the list is burried and half the "goals" forgotten.
Or the ones that seemed lofty to attain seem TOO far away and I give up.
Last year, on my family's blog I said that for 2008 my goal was to simply be a blessing. That was my heart's desire... I pray that I honored the Lord last year in blessing others. It was a far easier "resolution" to fulfill as it wasn't "About me". Reaching out and blessing others seems natural and fits with my heartbeat.
This year, I have some goals, yes. But above all, my desire in 2009 is that above all us, I will praise the Lord, in all things. That I will live and bask and find peace in LIVING in Jesus. Psalm 63:3 (the Message) sums it up beautifully for me. This will be the verse I will hold on to this year. I'd like to memorize it so I can take it wherever I go. What a perfect promise between my Lord and I.
So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love, I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.
Oh Jesus, in YOUR presence is where I long to be, and what a promise you've given to me, that you'll never leave me, never turn your face from mine, and never shut your ears from hearing my voice cry out to you. What a comfort to have you as my closest friend. Your love IS generous, so far beyond what i can comprehend, so much greater than my ability to fathom... May my lips speak words that edify and lift others up. May my thoughts be pure and without sin... and when they are, may I be quick to repent... quick to shift my thoughts to you and be filled with your goodness. May my hands and feet be thoughtful and determined. May they walk a path that honors you, choosing deliberately to follow the direction you lead me into. I ask for strength and endurance to stay committed to your calling. May I be driven by your calling and not by my desires. I want to praise you in all things.... good and bad... hardship and trials...in abundance and blessings .. in my marriage, in my children, in my friendships, and in my ministry. You are an amazing God, and I love you... more today than yesterday.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
So, it's that time of year again. The holidays are pretty much over, most folks are back to work, school will be starting next week again... life is starting to get back to normal.
Posted by just me at 1:18 PM
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I haven't written for a few days. Maybe more, I guess, since Christmas was in there a few days, huh? It hasn't been for lack of thoughts. All kinds of things have been floating around in there.. bumping, colliding, smashing, interrupting, confusing, frustrating, surprising, and unexpected.... I suppose all our minds are like that... always working, always running ahead of us... i rather hate it, as I feel I can't keep up most days. And it isn't that my mind or heart is fickle. it's just plain busy and preoccupied and then occupied, and then off track, just as easily as it was "getting on" track. It seems it is the curse of the woman, i suppose.
But, in all seriousness, friends... there is a word that has been rather haunting me lately. i say haunting (and no i don't mean there's a white friendly ghost hovering!)... and in that i mean it just rather lingers in the back of my mind. it nudges me, pokes, nags, inspires, reminds, tortures (ha!), and doesn't leave me be. it's this word "surrender". i haven't really wanted to talk about this word. if 9 letter words were curse words, i'm sure this might qualify. don't get me wrong, surrendering to the Lord is a good thing. some areas in life, are easy to surrender. others, not so much.
i know the Lord has me on a journey of surrendering. while i want to - whole heartedly, with my whole being, my flesh fights and is weak. my mind reasons and rationalizes and tells me what i want to hear. sometimes it is so hard to "hear" through the noise and the clamor.
along with surrender i think of the word trust. trust is vital to the surrender process. it fails w/o it. and then when i realize i'm not surrendering an area over to the Lord, I want to ask myself "WHY am i not trusting that God will handle this?" it makes sense right? perhaps it'll put into perspective for me?
obedience (that word i talked about before) ties into surrender in such an intimate way too. it's all so mingled and meshed and intertwined.
perhaps it all comes down to simply loving Him. loving Him with all that I am. out of that loves come a heart bent towards obedience, a heart bent toward trust as God proves himself faithful.. TIME and TIME again... and a heart bent toward surrendering.... ALL areas of my mind, my heart, my spirit, my flesh, my intentions, my actions, my words, my thoughts... in sweet surrender God fills in the gaps of my soul. Filling me with abundant joy...
Jesus, you know my heart...i want to love you with a passionate and holy love... i want to be "mad" about you... to have you consume me, be the fool for you.... set aside the thoughts that get in the way. set aside the pride and the insecurities. set aside fears and inadequacies. fill me with your love... to the brim... to overflowing.. that your joy can't be contained in me...
I love the song "Pure and Holy Passion". Give it a listen and let me know how it encourages you.
Posted by just me at 10:08 PM
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I heard this a few years back and loved it. I googled it tonight in hopes of finding it... and walah! The internet is the coolest. ENJOY :)
The Night before Christmas for Moms
| It was the night before Christmas, when all thru the abode|
Only one creature was stirring, and she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping, all snug in their beds,
While visions of Nintendo 64 and Barbie, flipped through their heads.
The dad was snoring in front of the TV,
With toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
"Ho-ho-ho!" cried Santa, "I'm glad you're awake."
"A clone?" she asked, "What good is that?
"She'll cook, she'll dust," She'll mop every mess.
From the room above, the youngest began to fret.
The clone changed the small one, and hummed a tune,
The mom frowned and said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal. "
The mom kissed her child, and tucked her into bed.
The clock on the mantle began to chime. -Author Unknown
Posted by just me at 10:54 PM
Monday, December 22, 2008
So, today Noah looks to me and says, "Mom, we're having a really good day today because no one has been angry!" It took me slightly off guard, but upon thinking about it, I told him he was right! On both accounts! HA!
It's been a couple weeks now that this has been an area of SPECIFIC work in my heart. There are still moments when I'm failing miserably, but there have been far more moments, as of late, where I have seen myself making better choices! Yeah for God, because it is only his power that is pulling this off. My flesh is still terribly selfish and distracted.
Being a parent is such hard work. It seems that I'm having to think twice or three times about things because I'm running the possible scenario's of every situation... just hoping I will be prepared and not taken off guard! I like to be prepared. I like to feel in control and I like to be on top of things. Most times things go wrong is because I'm under prepared and i'm OVERLY distracted by my unpreparedness.. did ya follow that?!
Sometimes though, in trying to over plan and over prepare we are left UNDER appreciating the moments of the day. The moments where our kids WANT to spend time with us, the moments we could have spent reading or playing or talking or just BEING.
True confession of my day today.
It was about 6 pm. We'd all eaten dinner by this point. Carissa asked me, "Mommy, what would you like to do with me?"
Answer (and I cringe and tear up even as I think about my words back to her).
"Nothing Carissa, I need to get these dishes unloaded and reloaded.. and I need to get the clam chowder going for our party tomorrow, and i need to get a few more things cleaned up... so nothing right now..mommy's just too busy.... "
Even after I said those words, inwardly I was smacking myself around. Lecturing myself as to how ridiculous the words out of my mouth were, how her little heart must have just been smarting with sadness. Here, her mommy was just telling her she was too busy to "be" with her in that moment.
Now of course, there are times when we have to be the grown up, and we have jobs and duties to do. It isn't healthy for us to cater to our kids last whim or desire either. We weren't meant to be their source of entertainment. However, at that moment... all of the things I listed to my daughter COULD have waited. Or at the very least, I could have spoken to her in a kinder way. There should have been compromise at the very least.
Instead, she went about cleaning up her room as she was told. She read books like she was told, and she was tucked in, prayed with, and smooched. And the night was over.
There wasn't any reading together tonight. There wasn't any girl talk on her bed. There wasn't any whispers of excitement about our day tomorrow when family comes over to celebrate Christmas. There weren't any secret words shared or tickle moments.... it was just me... in a hurry, rushing through the evening, my mind preoccupied with my "to-do's" and running through tomorrow's day, hour by hour.
Today I got my package I had ordered a few weeks ago. In it is a book called "Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God" (by Mary E. Demuth). I read through the first short devotional tonight. Oddly enough (or rather PLANNED by God....) it was about listening... what we so often let our ears here... and how much we can miss...when our ears are tuned to the wrong voices.
Here's an excerpt:
"But to listen well we have to make a choice. To have a new ear, we have to blot out other distractions that pepper us all day long. The seemingly important things- the things that assail from left and right, from above and beneath - are like tiny insidious monsters, pulling us in directions we never intended to go. They have loud voices, disguised in ringing telephones, ding donging door bells, blaring televisions, static-loving radios................It's really not their fault. I have to learn to turn things off, to not clutter my life with so much noise. I can't hear the important things if the unimportant clamor minute by minute for my attention. 'This is what the Soveriegn Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In Repentence and rest is your salvation, and quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15'
If I disdain repentace, rest, quietness, and trust, I will not hear what God wants me to hear. I will be tossed here and there by noise, neglecting the cries of my children or stifling the cry of my heart to be quiet before Jesus. Many times the noise I refuse to quiet is my own, coming from deep inside me. Its voice utters words like 'should,' 'you'd better,' or 'so you can cross that off your list.' When i listen to these voices, i am more apt ot snap at my children's innocent needs or miss a friend's nonverbal plea for a listening ear."
Oh Jesus, my choices today didn't reflect an ear that was listening to you; and as result i lost an opportunity to listen to my daughter. My heart was hardened and my mind was busy elsewhere. Forgive me, please... and open my ears to hear her. And to hear more than just her words, but to hear her heart too. soften my heart, fill me with just enuf of your love each day to share and give to my family and friends. Thank you for always leaning your ear my way... for always waiting for my whisper, my cry, my shout, my love. I love you... Amen.
Posted by just me at 9:02 PM
Friday, December 19, 2008
So, this week I picked up an old devotional I got a couple years ago. I had started it and gotten through the first couple chapters and then for whatever reason, quit. I have about 10 studies on my book shelf, much like this one. Some I've bought, some were gifts, ALL are unfinished. I'm not sure when starting something and NOT finishing it came to be such a regular part of my life. Regular and even, dare I say, acceptable? I used to be a much more disciplined and organized self.
The particular study I picked up was "Becoming a Woman of Excellence" by Cynthia Heald. A few years back it had been a Mother's Day gift from our church. I'm sure I took it home that day, popped it open and eagerly started it, just knowing I would do this study and be much more the wiser and obviously, by the title, i'd have become an EXCELLENT woman. Yes, I'm easily excited and just thumbing through the book made me smile. But, I digress.
It's obvious I didn't get far ... as i had picked it up and was in the middle of an unfinished chapter. And yet, I had to smile... because the verses and the thoughts posed to me were applicable to ME, at that VERY moment :) Love that God. (And to you satan, i refuse the guilt trip for not finishing. God was just holding that page for me til I was ready to read it and needing to hear it! so there!)
Chapter 5 is called "Exemplified by Obedience".
Philippians 2:13 "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
Hmm... here's what Cynthia wrote:
"Obedience is submission, habitually yielding to authority. If we have surrendered our lives to God, then it will be natural to want to yield to His authority, to obey His commands and to please Him by living His way. But obedience is not forced; it is motivated by a heart of love."
WOAH! Maybe read that again. Or again? Especially the last line hit me up side the head. "Obedience is not forced; it is motivated by a heart of love."
As a mom to 4 young children, the word obedience immediately makes me think of parenting and getting my kids to do what i say, when i say it, the way i want it done, in the timely fashion I'd like it done, and definately with the attitude that shows respect, love, thoughtfulness, kindness, yadda yadda yadda....
And then I hear that "And what about you, daughter?............... Have you followed through on calling that friend I prompted you to call? ..............What about actively blessing your family with a servant heart? ..................Or what about handing over the control on that area of your life you're still desperately holding on to?.............. I'm waiting........still here..........."
Has it ever occurred to you that the Lord doesn't yell at you? Never do you get belittling tones, sarcastic inferrences, the disapproving eyebrow, or the slow sad nod of the head from side to side.
How often do I send messages to my kids that imply nothing but disappointment? Trust me, an area I'm WORKING on!
So, back to the idea of obedience being motivated out of love. Brainstorm with me, will you? How can we model this for our kids. We all know they WATCH us and DO what we do far more often than doing what we "SAY" they should be doing. Why do you think we get so horrified when they do something embarassing?! Because we KNOW where they learned it! (Maybe I'll tell the story about my whisk and chipped paint on the wall another day!)
So, while we can talk to them about wanting to obey as a way to show our love to the Lord... how can we SHOW them obedience with the right motivation? Don't get me wrong.. dialogue is important! Huge, infact. BUT..... actions speak louder than words, yes? So often their motivation is simply to avoid discipline... but we never get to their hearts when simply dealing with the surface actions/choices they make.
SO.. hit me with some ideas.. lets talk about it! I have some of my own ideas but i do all the talking here.... surely my readers have something to say. Here's your chance!!!!
Posted by just me at 10:40 PM
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I don't even know how to put to "screen" (paper sounds better, but who am i kidding? i can type WAY faster than i can pen my thoughts...) my thoughts tonight. Organizing would require lists, and topics and brainstorming... when really my mind is just sort of full of things to say.
Posted by just me at 10:03 PM
Monday, December 15, 2008
This season I am feeling extremely blessed. While I have moments of near insanity, they are nearly almost always followed by intense emotions of gratitude and thankfulness. I've been praying that God would open my eyes to the hurting and I've been praying that He would break my heart and show me ways that I could love others and show others His love.
Posted by just me at 8:33 PM
Friday, December 12, 2008
Isn't there a saying (or is it fact?) out there about the brain being the most powerful muscle in the body? I was thinking about this when I was in my state of grouchiness this morning. I was irritated about being tired (hello, who chose to go to bed late?!), and frustrated that the kids weren't moving faster with the morning routine (not that *I* was!). This morning, my husband was watching me, in one of my lil mood and he was just trying to hold back the smile. I'm sure i looked much like one of my kids. You know, when we see them making an idiot out of themselves and we're trying to hold back the laughter at theire ridiculous antics. And if they'd just STOP, take a deep breath, and start over; it's surely be more effective. He was good to not point out obviously what a complete fool I was making of myself. As he left for work, I was still pouting inwardly and he looked at me and said, "no pity parties today!".... Hmph.
While even THAT phrase, at first got to me, I realized he was right. Why not just choose to start over!? Let all the little stupid annoyances go. It wasn't like they were affecting anyone else. It wasn't as if anyone else was bothered. And life would keep going. :)
I needed to run some errands this morning and they went well; well, as well as they CAN with the hoodlums in tow. I think some dialogue about shopping with children with you will have to wait for another post. I'm not sure my brain has the stamina to relive it as I recount various store stories with my children. Exhausting. Who needs a gym membership? Just take preschoolers to Fred Meyer or Costco. By the end of the trip, you are certain you'll never step foot back into those sliding doors w/o a warning automatically going off and an announcement coming over the loud speaker that says, "Warning, warning... wild, uncontrolled children that like to touch, run, and tackle each other are entering the store. Continue browsing at your own risk."
Anyway.. another day :)
Back to my point... As I was driving home.... I started to think of my blessings and my heart really started to feel a sense of extreme gratitude for God's gifts. The grouchies from this morning a complete thing of the past. When I chose to put my mind on the things of Christ, the things of the world had to take a step back. Praise God for that.
I want to live in a season of gratitude. Where i'm continually reminded by his goodness. Not because he gives me things.... but simply revel in HIS greatness. Gratitude for the cross and His blood. Gratitude for the communion that I get to have with the Father - gratitude for the promise of life eternal and gratitude for his faithfulness to my sinful self. Undeserved mercy and grace. Amazing.
I'm gonna work on the lettin' the little stuff go.... and concentrate on the moments that DO.... to simply Pour my energy into glorifying not grouchifying! :)
Posted by just me at 1:46 PM
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Okay, so I wrote last night... and then headed to bed shortly after. I always end up still mulling my thoughts, even after I've written... and often more things come to mind... (remember how I had to come back and visit seasons again? and i'm still not promising you won't see THAT word again! ha!).
So, I continued to think about expectations vs. anticipation. And here's another thought to chew on.
How often do our expectations come with hidden agenda's? Mine do. When I build up a person or situation with (especially UNSPOKEN) expectations it's often about "how the situation is going to benefit me" or "what" that person is going to do for/with me. Often it's me expecting or wanting someone to say or do something that gives me a boost... something that gives me a sense of pride. It's the same way with my relationship with God... don't we often come to the Lord in a panic or in frustration because we've done "what he asked" and now our expectations aren't being met. Isn't He slacking on his end of the bargain? This surely wasn't what WE thought we were in for! Isn't it like our flesh to think of ME ME ME ME...
So.. here's again, where in MY mind... eagerly anticipating is different. Here's my simple definition. Eagerly anticipating is waiting for the unexpected and trusting that the end result is God's perfect plan. Not to say every situation smells like roses! We know better than to think that - but to know that through every valley, God can take us to the mountain top on the other side. There's no hidden agenda. It's simply flying by the seat of our pants, every day, waiting to see what will happen. Again... it points back to surrendering .... maybe that will be a topic for another post.... For now.. motherhood calls..I just had to get this down this morning so my mind could move on (wink!).
Posted by just me at 8:37 AM
Monday, December 8, 2008
Let's talk about expectations. Oohhh... did any of you feel tempted to quit reading?? Maybe you cringed inwardly or allowed yourself to groan outloud. Yes, my friends... expectations. If we were honest with ourselves, how many of us would say we set HIGH, UNttainable expectations for, NOT only ourselves, but for EVERYONE else around us? How often do we set ourselves up for disappointment and failure...not to mention how damaging this can be to relationships in our lives. SO often, it's those unspoken expectations too are never met; which leave us feeling empty, unloved, unpersued, and unimportant to a loved one. Or how about that sense of personal failure, never measuring up, constantly striving for something we'll never be.
Is this ringing true for anyone?
So, here's a concept I heard not long ago. It was this. Instead of having expectations set in place...... it called us to "eagerly anticipate". Hmmm..doesn't that sound better, even? :) I think it's a process of re-framing our thoughts... refocusing our attention and settling in for what could be a wait, but with a heart of anticipation as we know God always answers. I know they seem so close in wording... and i do think it's a fine line b/w the "expectantcy" and the "anticipating"... even when i looked them up in the dictionary their definitions even used the other word in it's definition. Language wise, they are practically the same in meaning and in the way you would use them.. nearly interchangable in nature.
However, it could just be me.... BUT... i hear a different connotation in them. Because of failed expectations, I think that very word; "expectation"... can have a negative connotation to it. With it comes a sense of "uncertainty" of what's to come... a realization that your wants/desires/ and hopes may never come to fruition. Disappointment seems to lurk behind expectant hopes.
As a people, though; I think we are by nature hopeful. We, by nature, long to see the best, hope for the best, and plan and dream for what seems out of reach. God gave in us, the unique ability to dream and to have visions of what could be... Perhaps that's why the phrase "Eagerly anticipate" rings so sweetly to my ears. It sounds as if I am in a state of being hopeful in a manner that is excited... in a way that shows childlike awe as I wait to see what it is that God wants to show me, unfold to me, surprise me with. It somehow holds less promise of disappointment. And it holds on to the promise that in TIME God's dream that HE placed in me, WILL come to fruition.
In my mind the timeline for eagerly anticipating seems imminent and yet long lasting... no time barriers...just waiting and wondering and accepting... It surely requires a better trained set of ears for listening and sitting with the Lord. I envision whispers of reassurance and encouragement from the Holy Spirit... "hold on daughter... great things are in store... the Father can't wait to see your face... His plan is good and it is eternal... it is beyond your dreams... just hang in there.. you're doing fine... ". It seems personal and intimate....just what i'm longing to share with my Savior.
Will you eagerly anticipate with me? Lets wake hopeful of what God can and will do in our hearts, in our marriages, in our children's lives, in our friendships, in our finances, in our quiet times, in our ministries, in our churches, in our thought lives, in our motives, in our words, in our actions, and in every area of our life that we have yet to surrender to Him...
Eagerly anticipating together... what could be better?
Posted by just me at 9:10 PM
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Wow, what a week it has been! It's been a week of challenge but also a week where I really feel that I've done some growing. You'll be happy to know that i tweaked the "i'm good" response at church today, to the friends that asked how I was doing. Some got more information than others; but I THINK I only said, "i'm good" to about 3 people instead of 10!! :) I'm good generally came out - and then I quickly followed it with some tidbit. Obviously, depending on how well I knew the person depended on the kind of info i blurted out... BUT... it felt good to not feel that I was hiding or putting on a face for the crowd. So, should you ask me how i am.. and i reply with a "i'm good", make eye contact with me and ask, "how good?" (wink!) don't let me get off with that kind of answer!
Today was the kids program at church - 3 of my 4 got to sing in our 3 services. What a kick! They did great and were completely enamoured with the idea of being on "mommy's stage". they are used to seeing me singing on stage Sunday mornings when they get to church with daddy. Carissa talked about getting to sing on "mommy's stage" for weeks! She was adorable today up there... "C'mon ring those bells... light the Christmas tree...." Sweet sweet sweet.
Micah proceeded to be all that a boy COULD be... yawned, turned around, tried to sit down, pointed at himself on the projector screen, and even picked his nose and ate it... yes, what a proud moment that was. I even got a picture on a girlfriends camera of the finger in the mouth. Hey, if it keeps the girls away when he's 16 years old... it'll be well worth it! HAHA!
After we got home we sat down to eat lunch. From time to time, instead of praying for the meal, we'll say "Lets be thankful!". This means we go around the table and say what we're thankful for and then we start eating. Carissa wanted to go first; "I'm thankful for the beautiful day we have today (mind you she says this EVERY time but i never tire of it!), and for getting to sing songs to Jesus on stage today." Awww..... :)
I'm determined to make the little moments count this holiday season. Holidays are often a mixed bag for me. Internally I create a grand set of moments... and then it often feels anti-climactic.... I get these ideas and never follow through, etc. I'm determined to start traditions with OUR family. Before we had kids - and even when we first started having kids, it felt like we were still trying to fit in to everyone else's idea of what Christmas should be. This year, it's about our family and our plans.
I'm determined to keep my focus on the birth of Jesus. While it's beautiful to give and receive at Christmas; I want to be ever vigilent to keep my children thinking of WHY we celebrate. It's so easy for them to see Christmas as a time to GET GET GET and WANT WANT WANT.
In light of that, we've scaled the buying back. Not that we were EVER extravagant; but mentally I think always felt like what i had to give my kids wasn't "enuf"... this year, my attitude is different and it is such a peaceful feeling.
In honor of Christmas here are a few questions for ya. PLEASE leave an answer in the comments! I'd love to hear your answers!
What is your.....
-favorite Christmas Carol
-favorite Christmas food
-favorite Christmas tradition
-most special memory from childhood
and HOW do you keep Christ the center of Christmas.. for you or/and your children!?
Posted by just me at 7:49 PM
Friday, December 5, 2008
It's time to get honest. My heart and flesh are conflicted. Remember how I said the other day, that I figured I'd be in for a few rough days at home? That, in my efforts to honor the Lord, that there'd be "opportunities" for me to practice and such? Yah well. There have been plenty and I have failed quite miserably. While it'd be easy to keep posting and act like I'm dealing with my "season" in a spiritual manner... it'd be nothing but a smoke screen and my conscious can't handle that (Thank You Holy Spirit!).
So, my heart is so passionate about loving Jesus. That passion is literally growing every day! I'm eager to read the Word, I'm eager to be reflective and silent in His presence... I am more and more eager to talk to Him daily. This is exciting for me as for a while I felt like I was in a bit of a desert. It didn't seem like a LOT was soaking in. When it did, it seemed temporary and I felt parched soon after. God is faithful and He never walked away, never stopped loving me, and for whatever reason, His voice is close to my heart again and I am ever so thankful.
BUT, my flesh.... oh, my sinful flesh...
I struggle with anger. There I said it.
Lots of you who know me "in real life" MIGHT be surprised by that. When you see me I'm happy, funny, telling stories on my kids, laughing at life... But behind the closed doors of my house (or my CAR! why DO they act like maniacs in the car?!), I admit that a different woman sometimes comes out. It's nothing I am proud of. This morning, in tears I apologized to my oldest son. It seems that he and I are a lot alike in temperment. He's emotional, dramatic, quick to frustration, sensitive, and easily hurt.
His heart is huge (he gets that from me too!!!) and he loves people, he's creative and energetic (that MUST be from his daddy!), and SOOOO smart! I am proud of him, SO proud of him..... and yet.... the two of us can butt heads on a bad day that make me fear for the days he's a teenager!
As he and I were engaged in a battle of words today, inwardly I was telling myself to just STOP talking! The ridiculousness of the conversation was comedic and sad at the same time. Here I was engaged in a conversation with my 6 (almost 7) year old son that was going no where. It was one of the talks that no matter what I said, he'd find a way to dramatize it; which would further irritate me, I'd scold him for over reacting or making assumptions that were NOT even brought up; which would then send him into tears and he'd start spouting off how naughty he was, and how stupid he was and how he'll never get to do anything fun anymore, and he'll never play the Wii again, and mommy doesn't love him......... blah blah blah... it could go on for minutes if i let it. At this point, I should walk away... well, actually, i SHOULD have walked away LONG before this! By now, i'm furious. I'm demanding he LOOK at me, telling him to "knock it off", speaking to him in tones that I'd never speak to a friend in.
And then this comes out of my mouth, "Would you talk to your teacher this way? Would you talk to your friends at school this way!? Do you ever show them this amount of anger or disrespect?"
"No," he says.
I reply to him, "Then you do NOT act that way at home. You will not speak to me or your dad or your brothers and sister that way! You will treat us with the same respect and love you treat other adults at school and your friends there. Your friends will come and go but your family is FOREVER! Do you hear me?!"
"Hhmmm... do YOU hear me, child?" whispers the Spirit. "DO you talk to your friends like you speak to your family? Do you raise your voice, use sarcasm, or get angry over little things? Do you show your true colors infront of strangers? Do you openly show disapproval and frustration or regret? Can you hear what you're saying? Have you modeled the behavior you are so desiring in him? Think about it.... get back to me on it...."
Tears immediately welled up in my eyes. I looked into his angry eyes this morning and a wave of such emotion flooded my heart. My poor baby... he carries so much around - and he shouldn't need to. He reacts according to me. He follows MY lead. And I let him down... over and over and over. I'm short tempered... easily frustrated and i am WRONG, dead WRONG to let my emotions control me.
I told him that we needed to pray. He was slightly resistant but he curled up in my lap. I asked forgiveness of the Lord and I prayed for my son and I. I prayed that God would make me a better mom, that He would help me with my anger and my reactions.... I asked that He would help him have a good day at school, and that his words and actions would be pleasing to Jesus' heart.
The rest of the morning went better. He hugged and kissed me when I dropped him off at school today - even OUTSIDE the car, where people can see!! :) HEE HEE!!!
Later in the day, I was doing some Christmas shopping and I had the radio on. The lead singer from the band Building 429 came on. His opening line was, "I used to have a problem with anger." Yes, I laughed outloud!
He went on to read Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." Thank you Jesus... such confirmation of what you're doing in my heart...such constant reminders and words to encourage me...
Thank You Jesus, for this season you have me in. This season, where I am more and more aware of how I am allowing my emotions to control my behavior. It's ugly. Thank you for opening my eyes and convicting my spirit. It's hard to admit. I don't want others to think less of me... but even more Jesus, I hate to imagine your face as you watch me treat your children w/o respect, w/o unconditional love, and in a manner than does nothing but teach them how NOT to love others. Set angels at the doorway of my mouth if you have to; send extra measures of patience and grace that i might extend it to my kids. Create in me a new set of eyes, that allow me to see situations as teachable moments, and not as a chance to "set them straight". Thank you for your word that continually reminds me of your faithfulness and love.
Create in me a clean heart, O God
and renew a right spirit withing me
Create in me a clean heart, O God
and renew a right spirit within me
Cast me not away from thy presence Oh Lord
and take not thy Holy Spirit from me
Restore unto me, the joy of thy salvation
and renew a right spirit within me.
Posted by just me at 8:06 PM
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I've been loving this song lately. I'm working on getting it added to my playlist. In the meantime, you can always go to youtube and listen to it. Give these lyrics a read.
It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
And all I can do is surrender
Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something Heavenly
Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything I surrender...
Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears
Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly
Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly
It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time breathe in and let everything out
Posted by just me at 8:10 PM
So, I think I warned you that I was still thinking about the idea of seasons and how they affect us. Over the last day and a half, thoughts have kept popping in and I've been mulling and pondering. So, lets dive in :)
Okay, so we each find ourselves in a season. No matter the season, God never intends for us to stay in that season forever. We weren't created to simply BE one way or EXPERIENCE one kind of season. I think the passage in Ecclesiastes was pretty obvious about that! ( Granted, some seasons can last a LONG time, just ask the Israelites as they wandered the desert for 40 years! )
For the sake of ease, lets choose a difficult season in life. I won't pick a specific "situation" as i REALLY don't want anyone reading this to feel it's in any way directed at them! I have friends in all kinds of seasons.. and regardless of YOUR season, the same thoughts apply that I want to share. So, there's my disclaimer!
When I enter a particularly difficult season, my first instinct is usually panic, fear, guilt... and usually if not always CRYING.... and then I got about preparing myself mentally for the worst to come.
I play the what if game, I play out various scenario's of how to remove myself from the uncomfortable season. I start to wallow. I start to talk to my friends. I start to feel alone. I start to FEEL far from God. (notice all the EMOTIONAL responses!!! ack!)
My attitude goes to pot, my children start wondering why I am so snippy, why I'm so short, and why my joy is lacking. They don't say it in as many words as they're young, but they'll say things like, "Mommy, are you still angry?".... Talk about a blow to the gutt!
Communication at this point with my husband is hit and miss. I start making assumptions of this thoughts, I put upon him, in my mind, what i am guessing his intentions or meaning is behind what he says or does... And I can tell you, almost every time, i'm FAR from accurate. I start using my emotions to interpret his actions! Boy, is that dangerous!
After my initial self centered pity party, a friend will smack me up side the head (in a LOVING way of course!) and remind me that God's in control. Remind me that God is good, and point me to the WORD. So, that's where I go. I wish I could say I go there first. Though i CAN say, that in the last year, God has been pointing back to his Word more and more frequently at the beginning of a season than ever before. I think this comes more and more w/ me surrendering control and realizing, "Hello, i CAN not fix this on my own!"
So, what DOES the word say we're to do when trouble comes our way?!
Here's what James 1 says... (Message)
FAITH UNDER PRESSURE:
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
Pardon me?! A gift? Aren't those wrapped in bright colored paper and meant to be offerings of love and affection? Aren't gifts meant to bring joy and satisfaction? I'm supposed to look at my tests and challenges and EMBRACE it? Be grateful for it? Notice too, it says FROM ALL sides! Sometimes seasons start to feel like they are piling and multiplying... and even THEN I should welcome them?
You know that under pressure, your faith-life if forced into the open and shows its true colors.
Ahh... yes... where DO i turn when i'm feeling that pressure? how do my actions show God where my trust lies? How do my words and actions reflect my heart?
So, don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do it's work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way.
Um, isn't our first reaction when in a crummy season, to think of the FASTEST way to get out of it?! How can we fix it? What can we do with the set of circumstances we are in to eliminate the discomfort and simply RUN AWAY from it? Not to mention how we often act like if we don't acknowledge the situation it'll just magically discenegrate and we'll be left NOT having to deal with it. But, no, God is actually saying.. DON'T try to get out so quickly. I don't think He's asking us to settle in for the LONG haul.. But I think HE wants us to embrace our hardships, being fully confident in HIS ability to carry us through it and then being aware and open READY and WILLING to be shaped and molded how He would desire.
I think we've all been through rough times and when we come out the other side, we all say, we're so much strong, we're closer to God, and we feel better equipped for the next storm.... we have been tested and found faithful... The fire never "feels" good. it's not "pleasant" but the end result is beauty!
So, you're in a season. Make the most of it. Pray continually, seek the wisdom of godly people, reach and and ACCEPT help, don't hide your season, be vulnerable, and be asking God to prepare you for each new step along the way. Embrace the hard times as you KNOW God is faithful. Rejoice in the good times, as you marvel and TELL of his great love for you and continue to GROW in HIS love, so that when the next season comes that is difficult; you'll be prepared and ready and confident in HIM.
James 1:12 says: Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is LIFE and MORE LIFE.
That's who I want to be.
Posted by just me at 6:30 PM
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Today, the thought of seasons has been mulling through my mind. And, no... I don't mean Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. If you ask me, those seasons are much easier to prepare for, deal with, endure, and eagerly anticipate the next one to come around! After all, we generally know the climate to expect, the precipitation (or lack there of), what kinds of clothing to wear, what kinds of activities to participate in during that given season, and we all know WHEN that season is "over". Thanks to all the "solstices" we have exact "days" even for when a season starts and ends... Sure, sometimes mothernature throws in a late this or an early that... but for the most part it is consistent, expected, and we know the routine...
Ecclesiastes 3 gives a LONG list of seasons...
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Wow. That's a lot of seasons, don't you think? Life is hard, life is good, and life is FULL of periods of time where we get in a "place" that just holds us for a while... In God's time, we inch out (or sometimes leap) and start a new "Season".
God created us to be dynamic, enthusiastic, complex people. And each one of us, is just that... we hold depth, and breadth, and intricacies that often only our Maker sees. You know, the thoughts and dreams you keep to yourself, the silent hopes you don't share, for fear of appearing silly or stupid or even worse being called a dreamer or fool. How about the people you want to meet or get to know better, but you feel you have nothing to offer, nothing to give, nothing to contribute to... That, my friend is a season that I call "fear". It's a season where we're always holding back, where we're always being just slightly (or sometimes HUGELY) less than the person we were created to be.
All to often, we somehow start to buy into that season of fear and we allow it to become our place of normalcy. We accept the lies and untruths and we adjust our dreams/hopes/desires accordingly. We downsize internally and we settle for less than our potential.
Here's my challenge to you... close your eyes (when you're done reading of course!) and remember back... back when you had BIG BIG dreams... when you had BIG ridiculously huge aspirations... remember the thrill, the excitement... the shiver or that tingle... the heart rate that would pump and the sparkle in your eye.... God GIVES us those for a reason! Sure, not every wild concocted dream will become reality... but you'd never know which ones would be CLOSE to a reality if you never tried, never pursued, never followed through and never sought God's thoughts on the matter! The God of the universe, who put your frame together, KNOWS you, more intimately than another other breathing being... and He sees you at your full potential... I think if we could just get a glimpse of ourselves thru HIS eyes, some of us would be unrecognizable..... are ya following me, here??
Okay, not to totally squash that beautiful flow up there... but something else is just picking at me and I have to get it down and I know i'm getting long... I told you I would never promise to be short!
Here's the hard part... we're all in different seasons from each other. The beauty of nature's seasons is that we all share and embark thru the same weather... we can all partake in the same activities, look the same, act the same, and expect the same...
Not so with real life... I have friends in life who are in seasons of mourning; seasons of grief; seasons of denial; seasons of joy; seasons of illness; seasons of healing; seasons of being too buys; seasons of growth; seasons of peace; seasons of letting go; seasons of anticipation; seasons of hiding; seasons of giving; seasons of accepting; seasons of vulnerabitlity; seasons of change; seasons of trauma; seasons of drama; seasons of pain; seasons of fear; seasons of intimacy with their Savior; seasons of worship; seasons of awe; seasons of waiting..... and the list goes on!
And... the really tricky thing about our "inner" season is that we can HIDE it really really really well.... from most people! So, we often go through our day to day interactions with others, shoving our "season" down so that others only see what we want them to see.. so that others see only the glimpse of them that we feel is acceptable... so that we appear to have it together, so that we appear to be something that deep down we're really not! GUILTY as charged here, ever so many times! How many times have we greeted a friend or acquaintance at the store, at church, when dropping kids off or picking them up, on the phone, where EVER ... and someone asks you how you're doing and you say.... "GOOD!" Never mind that your husband just lost his job, never mind that your marriage is crumbling, never mind your child has walked away from God, never mind your battling an illness , never mind your anxious about finances, never mind you're mad at God stuff he allowed happen in your past, never mind... never mind... never mind.... We throw in the "Good" answer to speed up the small talk, all the while not making eye contact so that we can resume or hasty retreat...
But if you're like me, and you've DONE THIS VERY THING.. you walk away feeling even a tiny bit more empty than you did moments before... part of you is sad, that the person didn't see through you.. part of you is sad you didn't have the gutts to show you're real heart... part of you is regretful for missing a chance for encouragement and a big part of you feels invisible...
So, we've go to TALK to one another. We've got to LISTEN to one another. We've got to SEEK each other out. We've got to FOLLOW through with those nudges from the spirit that says, "Call so'n'so"... Just obey! Just do it. It's uncomfortable, yes. It's scary, yes... But who cares?! The last time someone said to me, "You know, God put you on my heart and I wanted to check in with you and see how you were doing..." I literally teared up instantaneously! It wasn't someone i knew REALLY well, but the bond that we now have is amazing...
As a mom, I often feel locked into my season of being a mommy! It's hard to switch gears into being a friend, being a wife, being a daughter, being a ..... you name what it is for you... And, honestly, there are days when i WOULD rather give my attention to being in the season of "Friendship" and "ME" than being a "mommy". Here's the season I'm struggling in right now... It's finding JOY and contentment in being a mom to my kids. Ouch, that hurts just saying it. Don't get me wrong, I love and adore my kids... But i'm getting lost in the day to day and not building a firm foundation to grow upon in further years. I'm in a rush throughout my day to get to the next thing. It's like a mental checklist. I've found myself begrudging the little things... and not using those little things to be teachable moments... but rather using them to fuel my frustration and sense of entitlement.
I've been long winded. I've felt a little bit skitzofrenic in my thoughts tonight.. jumping here to there and back... but it's how my crazy brain works! Not to mention It's nearly 11 pm :)
Thanks friends for reading... I'm so excited to just write and i'm ever so encouraged by your posts to let me know I'm not alone.
I still have more season thoughts rattling around... but those will have to wait...
I'll close with this...
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!
now go close your eyes and go back to a time you drempt big... feel free to share comments :)
Posted by just me at 10:10 PM
Monday, December 1, 2008
One night last week, after the boys were tucked in to bed, I crawled into bed with Carissa to have a few minutes of girl time. She wanted to talk about our Grandma's and Papa's, so we first went through her list.. she'd say something she liked about him/her... then she asked me about my grandparents... I spoke about my mom's mom and dad and then went on to tell her that my Dad's parents have both died. She had a momentary pause and she said, "Well, what DID you like about them..." I went on to share and then she said, "Will their bodies look the same in heaven as they did here?" Quite a mind on her for a 4 year old, don't you think?? :) So we talked about roads and parties and what kind of fun activities we might do in heaven.... and we went on to list our favorite songs.... which then lead to SINGING our favorite songs... After about 20 minutes I finally left the room! She was very pleased and as I said goodnight she said, "This was the best and I wanna do it every night!" to which I said, "This was fun... but I don't know about EVERY night!!!"
So, tonight she asked me again to come "talk about things" as I was tucking her in. I told her I'd be back after helping tuck in the boys. That mission accomplished, I came and crawled onto her twin size bed (which is VERY comfortable mind you!) and snuggled in.
"Lets talk about our best friends. Who is your BEEEESSSTTT friend mommy?"
"Auntie Jani is one of my BEEEESSTTT friends", I said.
"Laura's mine... OH and EmmaDean ...." (which yes, she isn't just EMMA.. she's EMMA DEAN! everytime! Even when we lived with Dean's for 2 weeks... it was "emmadeaannnn....)
She then went on to ask me who else was my best friend... I went on to say Daddy... to which she giggled, put her hands to her face, and said, "Mommy, he's your husband!" (said in almost a whisper!) I said, "Well, yes he is, but he can still be my bestfriend!" The thought seemed almost too hard to contain w/o laughter as she threw her head back and laugh! LOL Makes me wonder if we don't let her see the "friendship" side enuf, of if it's is pure hilarity for her to think a BOY and a GIRL could be bestfriends!?! hmmm..
We were winding down the night as I was praying for her... That her heart would continue to grow in Jesus and that she'd long to follow and obey Him and that she'd make choices that pleased His heart....along with the generic, please give good dreams and no scary/naughty dreams.... Sweet times with my only daughter... I so want to cherish these memories. When we sit alone and "talk about things" as she calls it, she comes up with these amazing thoughts and I wonder how i lose sight of her creativy the other millions of moments we share...
Posted by just me at 10:21 PM
Man oh man. I wasn't even out of bed this morning before I felt the inner battle starting for the day. I went to bed last night, with a plan for my morning, the alarm would go off, i would hop out of bed, iron Eric's shirt for work (don't worry, this is a rare occurrence so don't think i'm anything to aspire to!), get Noah through the shower and the kids through breakfast, fix Eric's lunch, and do it all while having a heart of JOY. Sounds perfect, huh?
Enter stage.. Carissa at 5:45 am... "I want to get up...when will it be morning... I have to pee... I want a drink... will you tuck me back in... I'm not tired...." I'm knowing my alarm is due to go off in about a half hour and I so want to get the last few precious winks of sleep. I guide her through the routine of potty and drinks and tucking back in and try to not engage in eye contact or verbal conversation as I really am pretending I'm still snug in my warm bed...soon I am back under my covers... ahhh sleep... just a few more minutes....
Enter stage... Noah at 6:24 (by the way, my alarm SHOULD have gone off at 6:20 but low and behold I hadn't actually turned it ON after setting the time... I should have been thanking the Lord for getting me up as I'd planned.......).... He'd had an accident and was drenched... he AND his bed... *big sigh* as my feet hit the floor and i shuffle to the bedroom, still pretending it's night and completely planning to send his behinder back to bed... We go thru the necessary steps to get him back to bed and i walk back to bed... slip under the covers and lay there... Oh, and I forgot to mention Micah followed Noah into our room at 6:24 am. When I asked Noah if he'd woken Micah up on purpose he said, "YES, b/c i was scared!" OH the thoughts that went thru my mind... but i DID manage to hold my tongue. Perhaps and angel was sitting on it.
As i crawled back into bed I mumbled to Eric, "Well, good thing he didn't shower last night because that would have just been a waste." ACK, as soon as I said it i knew it was ugly. It wasn't necessary, it wasn't purposeful and it certainly didn't start my day out living regret free...
Throughout the day, as I've been ever so conscious of my thoughts and words, I've repeatedly had to seek the Lord's face for strength and patience. It seems that Micah has literally lost thousands of brain cells during the night, because surely the behavior he's exhibiting today is just so THOUGHTLESS and done on such impulse. It doesn't hurt for me to remember he IS only 3 years old... :)
I honestly think, that I'm in for a few rough days here at home. I think that there will be all kinds of opportunities for me to slip into old habits, plenty of chances for me to spew words that don't build up or edify... and as I go through my day, my constant prayer is "guard my heart and guard my lips"...
Posted by just me at 12:06 PM