My husband doesn’t know it, but I’ve been sitting in front of the TV all morning watching the terrible images of the Oklahoma Tornado. I can’t imagine wondering if I will ever find my child buried beneath the rubble. I can’t imagine it all being stripped from me, in an unexpected moment because of wind and rain. I can’t imagine… Did you know that the winds were so fierce they stripped the bark off of trees. But the trees were left standing–rooted. Being rooted in Christ, I feel like our family is that tree, and no matter what we’ve been through, we are still standing. And because of that, we have to do something.
Everything in me is ready to pack and start the 20 hour drive to Moore, OK. But every doubt and question and reason not to is flooding my head. My attachment to stuff and my worry about money and bills keeps my feet planted. And for the record: I HATE IT!
This can’t be how Jesus intends for us to live our lives. Unable to help, to reach out to those in need, because of stuff. I can’t imagine He desired for us to be so comfortable that it hinders, and pretty much enables us to feed the poor, help the needy, love the broken. More and more I resent this life I’ve created for myself and my kids. This life of stuff and materialism. This world of work hard at a job you may or may not like, that may or may not be your God given gifts to buy more stuff, and bigger houses, that you absolutely do not need…that with a little wind and rain, can be taken in moments.
So I’m concocting this plan…to leave. I believe that going to Oklahoma could change our family, our lives, and my marriage. I believe that going to Oklahoma will ignite a passion for people in my children. I believe that going to Oklahoma will deepen my families faith in a way that we will never be able to be at this place again. I believe going to Oklahoma will further the kingdom, and help a family believe in Jesus who never knew Him before. I believe I want to go…I believe we need to go. In order to go, I’m going to need to raise the money to prove to my slumbering husband how serious I am. I am praying that God is speaking to him in his dreams right now, and I’m praying that by the time he wakes up my plan will be in full swing, and he will be unable to say No.
Will you donate? I don’t need pledges, I need the cash! Can you give? Will you give? I’m thinking we would need anywhere from $1500-$2000 to stay a week, have money for gas and food and be able to freely give to those in need. I will be taking photos and documenting our trip, so you know I’m not trying to swindle you! Help me get my plan in motion, and so I can be completely convincing when my husband awakens. I don’t think my blue eyes alone are going to get me this one.
He looked up at me with his big brown eyes, “Mom, will you color with me?” Who can say no to a sick kid with brown eyes? Not this mom. So we spread out the crayons and self-containing paint brushes and smelly makers. (Score! Remember when smelly markers were the coolest thing ever? And only the coolest teachers had them? Well, now WE have them, so if that makes me cool, then so be it.)
After drawing a few hearts and flowers I started this project. Dots. Small dots. Lots of dots. Dots that take forever.
By the 11th red dot, I was over it. As I was entering into my time machine, transporting myself back to the days of rainbow bright and unicorns, these dots reminded me of how much I HATE hate hate process. Before I even started this little piece of art, I envisioned the finished project. But actually doing the work is a whole other cup of tea.
I hate process. There. I confess. But I made myself finish. And the whole time, I felt the pain of Jesus trying to turn that switch on my heart. And it’s not a flip switch. It’s a turn-one (and yes, that’s the official and proper name for it). By the time I picked up the yellow (lemon) marker I was pushing myself to the finish line. Trying to enjoy every dot, every size, every moment of creativity. In order for me to learn to love the journey, I have to take myself on the journey, over and over, I have to walk that road.
So today I forced myself down another road, to teach me to enjoy the process. And I hated almost every minute of it.
I loved the finish product but by the time I sanded the first plank, I had to remind myself of the beauty of the journey. That there are moments of frustration, and moments you have to force yourself through. Even when you don’t feel like it, you have to take one more step. And each “one more step” brings you closer to the end.
I’ve decided that I will regularly push myself to learn how to enjoy the journey. Even if it’s forcing myself to make colored dots on a piece of paper, I will force myself out of my comfortable, and sometimes unproductive bubble. If I want God to teach me something new, I have to do things differently than I’ve done before. Are you willing to do the same ?
You Are Loved,
Today was wonderful. It started with breakfast, a great day at church, then shopping and dinner. I got some much needed shorts, and some perfume…ahh…it smells so wonderful. All day today was about mothers.
I think it’s wonderful to take a day out and acknowledge your mom for all the great things she’s done for you–like give birth, or clean up your puke or mop up your forgotten frozen beer in the freezer when you were too young to be drinking and the butt-whoopin’ you got for drinking too young to begin with. (thanks mom, but I still swear it wasn’t mine!) Mom’s do above and beyond for us. I know, I have a mom. I know, I am a mom.
Yesterday I was wondering what my family was going to do for me. Fear crept up at the thought that maybe they wouldn’t do anything. My husband works long, crazy hours. My kids are –well, they are kids. I convinced myself that if they didn’t do anything for me, that I would be okay with that. (yah, right! My husband is amazing!) Then this ugly feeling crept up in me. This nasty, too familiar feeling that can ruin you, than can rob you of all joy possible….this….feeling of ….
At the end of the conversation with myself, I convinced myself that I was entitled to presents, and doting and acknowledgement. That somehow, because President Wilson thought it was a good idea to make it a recognized holiday…or Hallmark encourages us to use their words to describe our love for our moms….or the flower industry convinces us that mom’s like already dead things that will continue in that process…somehow, I was entitled. I deserved it. Damn it, I earned it!
In that moment, those feelings of entitlement robbed me of the joy that comes with serving my family. I love taking care of my family. In fact, today, I found it difficult to not handle things. Probably because I”m a control freak, but that’s for another post. Even though I work hard to love my family, I am not entitled to anything. I serve my family because I want to, because I’m called to. Do I want to be honored and respected for what I do? Absolutely. But I want it to flow out of a natural love of God through my kids and husband, showered over me. And I want it everyday. Not because I deserve it, but because I find joy in showing that love to them, and they will ultimately find joy in showing it to me–and any other person in their life.
Mother’s Day should not be that have-to day when we painstakingly try and figure out what to buy a woman who already has everything. It’s a day to do a heart-check.
Are the things you do in your life for your family a natural outflow of God’s love?
Is your reservoir empty? How can you refill it?
Do your kids show a natural outflow of God’s love in their lives?
Love God first, everything will come easier!
You are loved,
Lots of you are wondering, okay some of you, okay two of you are wondering, what is going on in my life. A few post ago, I mentioned that God was doing something to rock my world and no doubt He has.
Last Sunday was my last week serving on a church plant. The 3 1/2 year journey has never ceased to surprise me and even shock me. God has humbled me by using me, and taught me about building His church. After all this time, I've grown but not sure I know much more.
But I'm stepping out trying to use my slightly increased knowledge and a tremendous amount of faith growing a ministry out of my house. A year ago I began ministering to the misfit teenagers in my neighborhood and community. And now, well, they just keep coming. I just keep feeding them (both spaghetti and spiritual). For some reason God wants me to keep doing it, and on top of that, all these other things.
So now, I'm without a paying job, without a church, and without a clue as what to do next. But I'm certain, pretty certain, that I'm exactly where I need to be. I just have to figure out exactly how to do it.
I have to find some rhythm in my days, and accomplish something, anything, before the sun goes down bringing in the night, which brings another day. My greatest fear in all of this is wasting time accomplishing nothing. I'm pretty good at nothing. I can do days and days of nothing. I'm hoping that this will make the somethings, the anythings, mean so much more.
So for the two of you that asked, thank you. Pray for me. And since I have so much time on my hands, how can I pray for you? Comment and let me know.
“For three sins…even four, I will not turn back my wrath.”
My husband can be quite the funny guy. Sometimes, when the kids come home from school he will tell one of them that he got a call from the teacher and wants to know what happened. Whichever child he chooses to pick on gets a deer-in-the-headlight- look, obviously combing every memory of the day gone by to see if there is anything they possibly could have done to warrant a phone call. After a few moments the poor victim of the practical joke finally realize they’ve done nothing and everyone starts laughing. Except this one time, when my middle child was in second grade, he confessed to pushing a girl at recess. Even now, six years later, we all laugh about how what was intended for a joke turned out to be a time of confession.
We always have those moments with our kids when we really have to call them out on their behavior. To me, it’s the most dreaded time of parenting. In the first chapters of Amos we see God calling out the Nations of Israel sin by sin. Their sins boiled down to absence of worship of God and absence of justice. But the sins were many: violence, sending friends into exile, broken promises, lack of mercy, extensive anger, greed, disrespect, disobedience, stealing, mistreatment of the poor and sexual immorality. My guess if you really looked at this list, your family struggles with much of the same. Siblings hitting each other, friends being mistreated, anger issues among the youngest, disrespect toward parents and flat out disobedience of what you’ve asked to be done.
Most parents make excuses for their kids: they’re tired, they’ve had a rough day, they didn’t really mean it. We don’t want to see our kids suffer and most of the time it takes a commitment from us to follow through with discipline. Anyone who has ever grounded a child knows that it’s more punishment for ourselves than it is for the child. Who wants to deal with that?
But God dealt very seriously with his people when it came to their behavior. Time and again we see God deliver his message through Amos:
“I will not turn away its punishment”
God called them out on their sin, and explained specifically how he was going to handle it: I will send fire, I will cut off, I shall devour palaces, the strong shall not strengthen his power. God says, “I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
The word punishment has become taboo in the last decade. We should never punish a child, only discipline. Punishment has become a dirty word meaning violence and harshness. Discipline or punishment, whatever you want to call it, God was making himself very clear. He would not tolerate the Israelites behavior any longer. And it would require drastic actions to put his children back in their place.
Same is true for us. There are times we must be drastic in the way we discipline our children so that they really get the message and understand who is the authority. So many families, maybe even yours, are living out of balance because your children have too much power. What they want, what they say is what goes. This is what the Israelites thought, too.
God is clear with us, his children, that He is the authority and that he sets that standard. There is no grey area. And although God deals with us gently, he also deals with us with tremendous justice. We should desire to parent our children by His example to us.
Share with me:
Is God your authority and standard?
Where did you learn your parenting skills from?
Do your kids have too much say-so in your home?
What does the word discipline or punishment mean to you?