Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Parenting Advice from the Cross

John 3:16 (New International Version, ©2011) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

6:40 a.m.  Down the driveway they go, gobbled up by the big yellow bus.  I pray each morning as they pull away that God will protect my most precious possessions. No mother forgets what it takes to bring a child into this world, and they certainly don't forget the amazing moment when you meet that precious gift for the first time.

As Easter approaches, we take time to reflect on the sacrifice made for us at the cross.  Seeing that sacrifice from the eyes of a parent has given it new meaning for me.

My oldest is a drama queen to the most literal of terms.  She loves the crowd, and seems as though she never breaks a sweat performing in front of them.  My knees shake thinking about doing something like that!  I think of her in front of the crowd.  Its all I can do to watch, praying she does well and the crowd loves her.  But what if she were standing there, her life in their hands, being made a mockery?  What if people were hurting her, making her bleed.  Could I watch then?

My little guy whose growing like weeds in my garden grabs my leg in a wrestler-like hug.  He's always loved his momma.  That snaggle-tooth grin and big blue eyes melt my heart every time.  Could I watch him bleed and die for the sins of others?  Others who could care less about the greatest gift on earth, given free to them?

As parents we make many sacrifices.  We put our desires behind those of our children.  We protect our young against the world and all it has to offer.  We make sure these precious possessions are taken care of even if we ourselves are not.  We would take the place of our babies if we could to keep them from having to suffer.

Parenting is not easy.  God charges us with the responsibility of training up a child in the way he should go...all while learning to be that Christlike child ourselves.  Its the scariest thing in the world to me, to know that its my responsibility to make sure these little ones are cared for.  And as they grow, parenting becomes more than changing diapers and feeding a bottle.

Yesterday I was taught yet another lesson about parenting from the example of the cross.  The power of letting your children go, to live out their destiny.

Matthew 27 paints a vivid picture of the moment when Jesus died.  The temple curtain was torn, rocks fell.  There was a great earthquake.  God could have very easily taken Jesus out of there, unharmed.  But he didn't.  I can only imagine the grief my God must have felt as he watched his son carry out the painful and humiliating destiny that would change history, because he knew it was the best thing to do.

Our children may not have to die at the hand of others, but they will endure pain.  They will make mistakes, stumble and sometimes fall.  We'll watch helpless as they face situations beyond their control, the life changing situations that ultimately make us who we are.  Our destiny.  But the best parents know you have to let go, even if it hurts.  We can't take the world away from them, we have to teach them to fly in it.

Praying for my friends today who are doing just that.  God bless!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rest

Psalm 62:1-2 NIV

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
   my salvation comes from him.
 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.


Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.


I'm a busybody.  It is not my nature to sit still.  And waiting...oh...I don't do that very well either.  I've got to be doing something, always.

Today, God reminded me why the Bible is filled with all sorts of references to rest.  Because we are supposed to ACTUALLY DO IT!

Two twelve hour work days (plus mom duties) into the week, my voice was rather froggy, and my spunk withering.  No need to let a little allergy issue slow me down though.  After all, I managed to make the weekend go pretty well thanks to dramamine.  My to do list was made for days 3-5.  Even if it read like a novel, I could do it.

Then I got up today.  Not even a squeak.  No audible sound would come from my mouth.  By the time I got the kids and hubby out the door, I was fading fast.  Two hours later I had visited my local walk-in clinic and was anxiously awaiting my sinus shot to kick in.  Two hours after that...back at doctor with one of the kids.  My day was spent watching my phone blow up with calls I couldn't return if I wanted to and waiting.  At 3 p.m. I threw in the towel and took a nap (outside in my beach chair-I guess I was wishing). 

Writing was the last thing on my mind today, but as I laid there, he put a message on my heart.  "Rest my daughter.  It is good for you."

Why do we need rest?  The body requires it, to refresh and rejuvenate.  Its essential for a healthy body.  That body that is our temple remember? 

Its also essential for our spiritual health.  Think about it.  When do your best talks with God come,  those heart to heart conversations that refresh our souls and quench our thirsty spirits?  Are they during quiet, restful times or during the insane rat race?  How did Jesus pray?  It wasn't driving down the road trying to get to ball practice on time while running the grocery list in his head.  He went off alone and focused on the task at hand.

The dictionary includes "peace of mind" and "free from anxieties" in its definitions of rest.   Who couldn't use that?

I know without a doubt my God sometimes slows me down on purpose.  Today, it was waiting in a doctors office...and having to listen because I could not speak.  (I'm sure I will comments if I say I need to close my mouth more often.)  Two and a half years ago it was major surgery with six weeks of recouperation.  That time changed my relationship by allowing me clearly hear the voice of my father who loves me and speaks to me every day, when I take the time to listen. 

So in spite of my desire to go and load the washer one more time...and put away the pile on the counter, I am going to do what I was commanded to do today...rest.  Good night all!




Monday, April 11, 2011

Have Fun

“So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 8:15 NLT

These verses spoke to me so loudly this morning!  18 days.  That's all that are left until its showtime.  Another bout with vertigo in a time when I don't need to slow down has left me in a state of panic.  I can't get sick...I can't function with ringing ears and a dizzy head.  How will it all get done?

My husband can come home after a hard day, flick on the television, and get lost in the screen. He can drop in the middle of a busy day for a 15 minute nap, or go outside and just meander around. It frustrates me! Why...because I am a doerIf there is a project to complete anywhere in sight (sometimes not in sight) it calls my name. On top of being a doer, add perfectionist.

I've been with people time after time who are worried things aren't going right, or get overwhelmed with their position. I tell them it will all be fine, and to have fun with this. If you can't have fun, then its not what you need to be doing.  Have I stopped to take my own advice?

Its the busiest time of the year for me...kind of like Christmas for Macy's.  Projects don't get finished, and the work never ends.  Long hours, let downs, things that don't go right...they all weigh on my shoulders.  Not being able to go far enough or last long enough tugs at my heart.

I've let the hard work overwhelm me, and I've forgotten to have fun.  Fun with the family, to escape the pressures.  Fun with my friends who remind me how blessed I truly am.  Fun with my volunteers who are so precious and give back to me in ways they never will fully know.  In the end, only a bride knows what didn't go perfect at her wedding, and so it will be with these five amazing events.  When all is said and done, it will be a beautiful day, full of celebration.  And it will be fun.

Hard work, its a given.  But don't forget to have fun along the way!  Here's to a great week.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Simplify

No verses to go with this one.  Just a simple request to join me in prayer.  At the beginning of the year, K-Love put out the challenge to listeners to choose one word that you would work on during this next year to improve your life.  I immediately knew the battle I had been called to face, but not the word.  So, three full months into the year, I have my word.  SIMPLIFY

Its not an easy word, and the mere mention of it makes me nervous.  Simplify...You see, I am a type A perfectionist.  And I happen to be one of those people who has many interests and enjoys multitasking. 

So how did I get here in the first place?  I've just not been feeling very useful lately as a Christian, and I had been praying for God to show me where he could use me.  Instead, God has told me enough is enough...in order to live the life He wants me to live, I'm going to have to let go, simplify. Not the answer for which I was seeking.

I started praying January 1 for the revelation of where to simplify.  So far, I'm not doing very well.  I've let go of only one thing only and took on another.  Even with the one sport, church and one other activity rule in our house with the kids, its a monumental task.  Especially when both parents travel and we don't have family here...except for one amazing extra "mama" who we couldn't live without and a best friend who listens to me melt.  I don't punch a time clock, and the work never gets finished each day...I just have to finally quit working.  Learning to draw the line in the sand is very hard for me.

Cooking?  Its therapy.  Writing?  That too...even if I may be the only one who reads it.  Spending time with family...priceless.  I do okay with the kids, but I find myself exhausted by the time Troy and I get that valuable alone time.  Date nights?  Yes, we need to do that more often (or do them period-can't remember the last one), but by the time I arrange a sitter and find an available night, I find myself overwhelmed once again.  I've been strongly convicted about this lately.  I've often heard the first years of marriage are the hardest...I think they come later when couples let "stuff" get in the way and don't spend time together. 

So in my mind, I can't get past my "stuff".  After three months, I can't see much difference.  I'm still treading water and praying.  Why would I be called to simplify and not seem to be working toward a solution? 

He has told me simplify won't be just giving things up, it may be rethinking tasks, like letting Betty Crocker do part of the work, or teaching the kids (and demanding) they do more chores.    Simplify may mean letting go of perfectionism and learning the art of delegation. Three months isn't much time to change habits that are this strong, I guess.

 So today, I ask for your prayers as I try to accomplish the hardest thing I have ever been asked to do, to simplify.  And I am looking for some verses I can claim and pray when things get hard and I feel discouraged.  For those of you reading this and saying "I'm there," don't give up.  We will have victory, and think of how sweet it will be when we can see the next great task God has in store for us.  Have a blessed day!