Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Legacy

 When my children are grown and my hands are wrinkled and smattered with sun patches, what will matter? What is it that I'm leaving behind? Right now, even now, I'm leaving a mark on this vapor of a life that has been given to me.  It is easy to feel like to make a difference, to really have any sort of a legacy that you must be doing something. I often ask myself, "What am I doing?"

 Here's the answer for today, 26 Aug, 2011: wake after an ENTIRE nights sleep (the first Gideon's slept through..yaaahhhooooo), corral these 4, eat...something (pretty sure it was Nutella and toast), scurry out the door for an appointment at the housing office (jealous aren't you?), come home and try not to freak out because our preinspection is next Friday (ick!), clean...and clean some more (all those places you clean only once a season), clean up a mess on the carpet which involved a diaperless baby...oops, clean the baby in the tub and then the tub, morning chores for the kids, find something else to feed the kids (peanut butter on a tortilla, oh and an apple), help Justin unclog the toilet (this is going my top 5 most gross list of motherhood), wrangle #3 into napping, put down #2, try to read and understand 1 John, kids play outside and I clean some more, drop Jordynn off at a friend's house to sleep over, run to my very favorite place...the commissary (the grocery store to you non-military peeps), schlep them all home again, clean up, put the groceries and entertain Hunter and his friends, make hamburgers, and chocolate chip cookes (of course!), eat and catch up with one ever-so tired husband, no wonder the upstairs smelled like vinegar (it got spilled)...clean that up too, watch a movie...and maybe another one (it's Friday, ok?!), boys..sweet boys snoring on the couch while I check e-mail and other blogs I love, feel convicted about freaking out a little because what trials do I REALLY have...and now I'm here typing and wondering and praying because this does not seem like important business or at least it doesn't look like it.

Looks can be decieving.

 I seem to remember a man from Nazereth who wasn't much to look at and to the shock of just about everyone on earth, turned out to be the most important man in history.

Isn't it easy to forsake the important things because they don't seem or look important in our own self centered eyes?

Isn't it easy to think that we're not doing anything really worthwhile and buy into the lie that you have to be finding a cure for AIDS, or working at the homeless shelter, or selling insurance for that matter to be making a difference. That same lie that says to be serving others outside my home is somehow more honerable than to be serving my husband and family within our home.

The Savior of the world says that he didn't come to be served, but to serve and the American dream says to get, have, aquire, do...do...do. Oh, and I deserve it too! There isn't even a limit really in all of this getting and doing. Sometimes I think I've lost sight of it all, lost sight of Jesus and the cross. Instead I've fashion Jesus into a little idol that looks almost entirely like my American Dream.

Come and die, he says. Take up your cross he bids. So that's what I do, that's what we should do. Whatever the cost, even at the expence of our own dreams. This is my heart's desire.

Merciful Father, give me the grace I need in each moment to come and die so that you may live through me. Let my life point to you, and not to myself. Forgive me for making you into a God whom I want you to be. Help me to leave a behind a humble story that merely points to your glory.

"For to me: to live is Christ and to die is gain." ~Philippians 1:21


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Psalm 30:12

To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee,
and not be silent. O Lord my God,
I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
~Psalm 30:12


241. challenging books
242. a little boy and his new boots
243. listening to Justin share the truth with little ears and hearts, not avoiding the depth; always ready to discuss the hard things
244. time with sweet friends
245. a gift: dishes washed...thanks Michelle
246. newly knitted snow hats; a labor of love
247. birthday cards with written with kind words
248. start of a new year of learning with our kids
249. seeing Jordynn's eyes light up when she put those lovely hats on her dolls
250. running errands with my love
251. Christ: sustainer



Monday, 22 August 2011

Tantrums aren't just for Toddlars

"I don't WANT to be thankful!" This is my exact thought late this afternoon whilst scrubbing the dishes...so many dishes that they all won't be able to fit into the dishwasher. Overflowing the dishes are everywhere, from last night..perhaps even the night before? "Haven't I told them at least a hundred, no a thousand times to use the SAME cup?" There are at least ten cups on my counter, in my sink, every where around the house and I don't WANT to be thankful. I want to wallow in self pity. I want to feel sorry for myself, to think that I'll never get my act together, that this mess just will always be that: a mess!

This is me. This is me throwing a tantrum. This is me throwing my first tantrum in year 29 of my life (it's only day 5 of this 29th year...it could be a long one). ;)  I cannot be discontent AND thankful at the very same time. I know this! Right then, I'm choosing discontent. Like a child I have dug my heels into the floor and I. Am. Not. Moving. I am not thanking the Lord for the food eaten, clean water that I don't have to walk hours for, a table to sit at and chairs to sit on, little smiles to behold, full tummies, a dishwasher that does the dishes for me and those sticky, little hands that help.

Then, all at once, he's there beside me so sweaty he almost looks like he showered in his ABU. Me pouting, him smiling wide. Getting up at 3 and walking home at 5:30, it's been a long day for him too and there he is with that smile. It's a quick kiss, but it's that smile that helps me remember to slow down....to give thanks.

221. another year gone by with all these lil' Popes
222. sweet birthday gifts
223. delicious fajita dinner
224. ice cream cake
225. sweet time with an even sweeter family
226. YouTube party; my very first
227. honest discussions
228. friends always challenging me with this truth; really it's only God and what he thinks of me that matters
229. early morning dew
230. refreshing rain
231. flip-flops
232. long walks
233. HOT, sunny Summer days
234. kids playing in the lil' pool
235. library books
236. Hope in Christ who changes the heart
237. Confidence in Christ
238. his smile
239. a quiet, sleepy house
240. my dishwasher

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."
~Psalm 100:4



Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Giving Thanks

In a world where African babies go hungry, leaders fail us, and everything else seems to be crumbling around us, is there even much to give thanks about? Sometimes it feels a bit trite, and even condescending to those who are in much harsher conditions, but perhaps giving thanks where we're at can give a glimpse of the fullness of God's blessing and remind us that there is MORE to be thankful for especially when life is hard because in the grand scheme of things what really is too hard for the Lord?!

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."  Psalm 107:1


193. children with full bellies
194.bowling with friends
195. walking with the kids
196. 3 days of supposed to be rain....then....little rain while camping; answered prayer
197. safe travels: to Garmisch
198. makeshift campfires
199. smores
200. hot tubs
201. dirty/stinky feet
202. marshmallow fights
203. loud laughter with friends
204. listening to oldies, but goodies and...
205. the look on Jordynn's face while Kim danced to New Kids on the Block
206. gifts of possibilities and a friend's surrender to the Lord those gifts
207. new t-shirts
208. no car trouble
209. ghetto rigged propane tanks that didn't blow up
210. walking down the Alps in Garmisch; beholding God's greatness and glory
211. muddy little boys
212. week long fun for the 2 bigs at VBS
213. wonderful teachers at VBS taking the time to love my kids and teach them about Jesus
214. cool winds whisping in the back door
215. Jordynn: always a helper...even helping me to remember
216. readying a room for another year of new learning adventures
217. the steam mop
218. siblings getting dressed up like "basketball players"
219. safety while climbing the ropes course
220. almost another year behind me...almost 29 Yipeeee!!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Fear

At what point do we become people of fear? When do our shrieks of adventure turn to trepidatious caution? I've been mulling this over in my mind since our recent trip to Garmisch, Germany where we spent 3 nights camping with friends. When did I become so fearful? When does fear spill over into control and control over to discontent?

Just as a disclaimer, I'm not speaking of "throwing caution to the wind" or not considering consequences of our choices. It's just that I look at my kids. I try to see things through their newer eyes; eyes that don't see through hurts, life scrapes and trials, only through what they know to be true. What is it that they know to be true that I tend to forget?

I watch a girl run around in the dark woods with friends. No flashlight in hand, just a smile on her face and a giggle in her deep brown eyes. All I can think is, "Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to trip over themselves and get REALLY hurt." No one does, well...not really.

This same not-so little girl asks to walk with friends to the bathrooms. She doesn't want to use the "disgusting" port-a-potty. I don't blame her. "Yes," I choke out but think "what if someone tries to hurt or take you my sweet daughter?" Then there she is again, head swayed back, smile wide only a little while later.

Boys climbing on rocks, big rocks and even bigger rocks. Boys making bows and arrows out of sticks. Boys running around with out shoes on. Boys being boys. Mom is thinking, "what if...."

I see a little boy, an ornery little boy running, panting down a mountain. This isn't even those Colorado Rocky Mountains. This is an Alp. "Hold my hand....my hand...hold my hand now!" I holler loud. What if he just runs over that side of the mountain to never be seen again?

Fear. Worry. Lack of control. Discontent. These words resonate deep with in me.  Yet, even in scary situations I do not see this in my kids most of the time. What is it I'm forgetting? The answer comes soft.

"For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control." 2 Tim. 1:7


and again...

"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful." John 14:27

We are always with our children to love, help and protect them. How much more is my heavenly Father doing the same for me? Our 4 know this to be true. It isn't something they question or second guess.  The reason this is SO convicting is because of how imperfect we are, how untrustworthy and unreliable we are. The One who is deserving of that trust, whom has proven himself in every instance even unto death does not receive the same response I do from my children.

Change my heart O' God, make it ever new. Thank you for the lessons of humility taught through the eyes of my children. Thank you that I need not fear all of the "what ifs" because you are the Perfect One, embodied in love, casting out all fear.