Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Merit/Demerit

This poem I wrote awhile back in 2009. Things have changed much and at the same time they haven't. Maybe you too, struggle with this great idea of God's grace.....
Merit/Demerit


Jesus today I was a good little Christian
Opened my Bible right away
Folded my hands to pray
I didn’t lie, cheat or steal
Nor did I cuss at the guy who cut me off when I was behind the wheel


Jesus ,don’t you think I deserve a merit
A merit to receive your grace today
To deserve the blessings you have showered upon me
A merit for the sunshine
For my health
For my husband who works so hard
And the 4 children by my side
Jesus, don’t I deserve a merit?


But what about yesterday Jesus?
I didn’t open my Bible right away
Didn’t fold my hands to pray
I might have lied, cheated and stole
Maybe I didn’t cuss that guy out loud for I knew the children would hear
But what about the thoughts deep with in my soul?


Jesus, did I deserve a demerit?
A demerit for I didn’t deserve your grace
For the blessings you showered on me anyway
For those undeployed years
For a husband who loves an unsubmissive wife
And the 4 children who try their best to obey
Jesus don’t I deserve a demerit?


Merits when I’m “good”
Demerits when I’m “bad”
Isn’t that how it works?



Jesus, I want to believe I deserve your grace
I’m struggling to deserve your grace Lord
Pride, selfishness, unthankfulness
The list could go on
There is nothing in me to be desired
Lord, how can I deserve anything?
Why Lord would you die for me?



Help me Lord to see truly what you meant grace to be
Earning our way was never the plan
Only the FREE gift of grace can bridge the gap
THANK YOU Lord for it is your grace that has set me FREE!


~kj 20 April 09


But we are all like an unclean thing,And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6


For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Friday, 25 January 2013

Falling Snow and Growing Kiddos: FridayFavs!

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The snow falls again
and I give up and give in
to the messiness of raising a brewed of children.
I surrender.
Fighting against it merely frustrates the soul.
 
 
 "Do you think they'll always be close like this?"
he asks me right quiet.
"I hope so," I reply
My heart aches a little.





 
It's hard to remember what is really important.
To not rush around
all the while rushing them growing up quick-fast.
Or
not to wish ourselves into another phase of parenting.

 

And so
as the snow does fall away
so do my expectations.
 Because really, we only get one chance
my dear friends.

 
friday favorite things | finding joy

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Journey

 
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"Do you know how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
Elizabeth Elliot said she willed herself to, "Just do the next thing"
almost daily after her missionary husband was speared to death in the jungles of Ecuador.

And as I look into the Word of Truth, starting from the very beginning of it all...reading through, to the right end of it all, I realise that these oft-used quotes speak to the heart of how I feel about working through the Old Testament one big book at a time. "Just read the next book," is often what I tell myself when reading is long and laborious and the list of names or tribes or laws seems to never end.

There are many, many parts of this God of the Old Testament, this very same God of the New, that I did not know. Parts I would like to close my American eyes to and pretend don't exist because I don't understand. And I don't understand for many reasons and really much of it is because I am not Jewish. I do not know the customs of old. I know what is in front of me. And that which is right in front of these deep brown eyes is often the exact opposite of what I would expect to see in God's word. Much of who I create God to be or what I expect of him is decided by my culture that I am in and not who he is in His own word. But my Lord Jesus was. He was Jewish. And if I say I want to know him, and to know his Father would it not be beneficial to read the whole thing and start with the Book of Beginnings?

When reading through, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe to the kids, would it not be silly to start when the ice starts to melt in Narnia? They truly wouldn't understand the entire book would they? Yes, they would get that Aslan is the king and maybe even get the part about him dying on the stone table, but what about the entire first half of the book? What happened then? That is exactly what I want. I want to try to see what is really inside this book I type so much about in this space because I say that I want to know the One who it's about.



There have even been moments of indignation and intense struggle because how I see a situation through my culture, my American world view makes me want to shout, "NOT FAIR!! You are NOT Fair God!" I told myself at the beginning that I didn't have to understand every detail, that I just wanted an overview of each book. And this? It's been a challenge greater than I imagined because I have been trained to ask why and sometimes there really is not a why to be answered for. And I serve a God whose promises are in abundance but does not promise an answer to all of my why questions. (see the book of Job) And really, is God not fair or is my view that limited? Is it God or is it me?

And the answers? They are usually simple aren't they? God is God. I am not. He is able to will and do as he sovereignly wants for His glory and the good of his people. (Romans 8:28) The depravity I see in these books has shaken me, though it is the exact depravity I see when I look at the news in the morning. We just call it a different name. We people have not changed since that Book of Beginnings and thankfully, neither has the LORD who saves. These people who continually turn to other gods of this world (not unlike ourselves and our gods we turn to though we may not carve them with our own hand) and God chooses to use them anyway. He is long-suffering and kind. He is mighty to save.

Israel was not a mighty nation and yet he chose to make a name for himself with this monty crew of a people group. No, because God does not use the mighty...he uses the base things of this world. (1 Cor. 1:27)

 If God needed the mighty would he really be a God I want to serve?

Instead, He used an old man and gave him a promised child still after that same man managed to have a child his own way, a trickster with a manipulator of a mother, men who were not exceptional fathers, women who laugh in unbelief, a harlot with great faith, a girl who chose the hard life of going to places unknown to her because of a kind mother in law, judges, and kings who did not always obey.

To the extent that we are faithless....God, He is faithful.

And this is backwards isn't it? Our backwards God. Almost always doing the exact opposite of what we would expect. And I come away thankful that I am not God though I don't understand it all. I am thankful that my ways are not His. I would have chosen a far greater nation than Israel. And in the end, I would not have chosen myself. No, I would not have because I would not have been worth it, because I am not. Hard to swallow, I know this truth is.....

 But this God? Isn't that what makes Him SO great? Isn't that why his love is SO fierce? Because he did choose Israel, and he does choose those who are not worth it.

And really, we all, no matter how good we think we are.....
are unworthy of such a love as this.... 
that is found in Christ. 
How much greater a love to die for something or someone that is deemed unworthy than to die for something worthwhile!

And, so it is in the not understanding where I find understanding because of Who I know Jesus to be and what He has done for me...for us on the cross. This is the truth that yields to understanding. It is in this truth I find peace, hope and all joy!

 My my life be a testimony of this.... 
 
 
 
801. reading, reading, reading
802. talking to my Love about what we are discovering together in this Word
803. an unexpected call: grace
804. soft toilet paper used for tissue
805. little feet
806. a smiling college student coming for a visit and a good conversation starter: blessing!
807. kids playing pirates/bank/hospital/ice cream game and a boy who is learning that time periods can intersect when pretending
808. learning that learning is not always easy for one girl
809. our first Upward game: humbling
810. boys that sit still the entire game
811. a husband who I know prays for me, for us....

 

 
And this week the Fighter Verse is a repeat of last week because this girl just can't get it...really, I'm having a hard time. So go on ahead if you are there but this week I'm still studying Phil. 3:7-8.  Thank you God for grace!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Dearest Son,

 
 
 

Dearest Son,

I look at the world, and I look at you. You, this beautiful boy. Out you came, this wrinkled little bit, into this world, broken, full of pain with a body struggling to breathe. You grasping for the very thing that could give you life. And this world, it seems to suck it out of us right quick sometimes doesn't it?

I look, and I see and I think what is it that I want you to know because you are now 8 which is another 2 years away from 10 and that, halfway to 20 and son, it goes by fast. And what's a mom to do with all that she wants you to know when you are growing up fast-strong in boy years and I am panting far behind in momma years.

What do I want you to know?



What is a mom to do when she knows right then, right when you step out in to this wide open world of ours that every. single. thing. you have ever been taught will be backwards to this upside down world of ours. That people will not understand. They will tell you to trust you heart. And God? Who is he anyway. Aren't all those gods just the same...leading to the same place?

And we talk. I know we do. We talk. A lot. We talk about everything and tell you, son, to look through the lens of the living, breathing, life-giving, Word. And I'm not so sure you like the talking. Well, actually I know it's not your favourite. And you listen. You listen well, most of the time you listen. But there is nothing like stepping out, on your own...and it's beginning....yes, even now it's beginning.

I know about not wanting to let go because when they took you to the NICU, I thought that maybe I should not have given them to you...I wanted smother you with the momma love that I thought would make it all better. Even now, I don't want to let you go. I want to cling right tight. Cling and cover you and shield you from the pain and all that is bad in the world and all those mistakes you can and will make. Because, dearest, I see you with this big heart ready to love, ready to give, ready to learn and soak all there is up in this world of ours and am I ready for that? Am I ready? Are my hands open?



What do I want you to know...for yourself?

Truth

That is what I want you to know.

That there is truth. It is found in this gift of a person Jesus and it is Him that grace is propelled through us towards others.

 And this truth?

  it can. not. be found in anyone or anything else.

For yourself, I want you to know this because what Nana always said is true, that God does not have grandchildren...only children.

I know that you know this because I'm the one that taught it to you. But I want you to know it....to know it because you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. I want it to reach the depth of who you are and change the way you see the world and people so you don't have to fear when others have a different point of view or version of truth and are able to point them to Who truth is.



I don't want to give you a religion or tradition or a list of dos and don'ts. I want this truth to set you free, so that you may live a life fully and radically devoted to the one who knit you together in my womb and knew you before he even did so.

And so, again today,
as every day I hand you over
because son,
you were really never mine to begin with.....



More counting of His graces

791. so thankful for the incubator of a gift when this boy was born!
792. his imagination and love of history
793. this boy: he loves to read
794. God has given him a heart of compassion. His love is fierce.
795. my Love and that these boys do not have to grow up wondering what it looks like to chase hard after Christ.
796. and all this wondering what chasing hard actually looks like...and does my life reflect it???
797. good, needed conversations
798. growing pains
799. one girl realising that perfection isn't the goal
800. the gift of motherhood



And just in case you are wondering about the Fighter Verse this week. Here it is.

"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ..." Phil. 3: 7 & 8

Saturday, 12 January 2013

A Mother's Love

Water runs deep
in the well of a mother's love.
 
 
 
This Boy
 
 
Sheeeesh, I do love him.
In his cowboy hat...
 
 
shootin' a gun...
 
 
in his bundies.
 
 
I don't think I'll ever forget sitting on the floor at my step-mother, Pat's baby shower for one of my little brothers. I remember her weeping after reading Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I was a little embarrassed.... for her, I mean. Who cries over (of all things) a silly book about a boy and his mother. I thought that maybe that is just what very pregnant woman do. My little brain just didn't understand. Nope, didn't get it.
 
Now I do.
    Now I do....
:)
 
 
 
 

friday favorite things | finding joy

Monday, 7 January 2013

A Pretty Picture of Paris


There is much the Lord is teaching 'round these here parts. So much so that I have not been able to articulate them even in my mind in such a way that makes sinse on paper...in a way that I think is thoughtful. Usually, that is where the writing begins...with some prayer and meditation. Reading through the Bible has stirred much inside me, but it's hard to know where to begin....so I'm not going to...not yet anyway. So instead, I'll post this pretty picture of Paris. Yeah, sometimes it's pretty unreal that Justin and I were there together!



And until next time...
 my heart is filled with joy and peace knowing that Lord, You are in control. I rest in knowing that I may plan, and plan but you, Mighty God are the One who guides my steps. May my walk with you deepen as I grow in knowledge and the truth of your word and who this Jesus really is. You mercy is new every morning and you give grace that fills me overflowing. Humble I come in awe of you, Father for Great is your Holy Name. If ever I don't understand why you do what you do, I can rest in knowing Who you are. Help me to love you ever more. ~ Amen

Some more of this counting of gifts...thank you Father for:

781. snow tires
782. one boy: excited about starting school
783. Super One coupons: the best!
784. being taught through the words though my understanding is not always where I would like
785. our AWANA leaders and commander and wife
786. committing, with my Love, to learning a verse a week this year
787. warm beds
788. a God who cares and is in control
789. remembering to focus on today, that yesterday is G.O.N.E.
790. UPWARD basketball starting tomorrow :)

On a side note Justin and I have decided to memorize a verse per week this year. Wanna join in? I'll list the verse every Monday. We downloaded the app Fighter Verses. I was shocked it was $3.00, but it turned out to be a great because there are many activities to help memorize the verse at different levels so if you're kids aren't already learning 100 verses at AWANA or some other program, they can join in also. It even has a way for you to record yourself saying the verse aloud...which is pretty funny!

For some reason we started on set 3. Go figure, us doing something weird. This week's verse is found in 2 Chronicles 16:9:

"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him." ESV

Another great place to go to memorize the Word of God is Scripture Typer. It is free and I believe that they now have an app, but I can't recommend it because I have not downloaded it myself.

Happy learnin' Y'all!




Saturday, 5 January 2013

Two Choices: FridayFavs!

There are two choices
'round these here parts...

 
be miserable because of the snow....
 
 
or go sledding...
 
 
 
we choose the sled!
Well, most of the time anyway.
 
 
 
We do read a lot too....
 
Isn't that true of life itself? See the good gifts. See the blessings even in the midst of the fog and sometimes pain, or be miserable. Only by focusing our mind on what is true and real today are we about to do this. Feelings can be false. Feelings can lead us astray. And contrary to popular belief (and every Disney move ever made ;) ), following your heart is not ever a good idea. (Jeremiah 17:9). This is not mere optimism like taking lemons and making lemonade or a sticking your head in the sand and pretending life doesn't exist beyond dew drops and rainbows approach to life. No, this is a methodical choice, sometimes moment by moment. It's hard when life is hard and "snowy". It hurts when life hurts sometimes, but it is a command, really. So take solace here friends:
 
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Phil. 4:8
 
 
 
 
friday favorite things | finding joy