Monday, 25 February 2013

Raising Winners

The AWANA Grand Prix is a big night for the Pope family. Usually the cars are bought weeks in advance, and much like the rest of my life, get put into a box, a drawer, somewhere out of sight and then....well, you understand don't you? If you look my name up in the dictionary, right after limited time management skills would be procrastinator in disguise (because I like to pretend that I am over that and have it all together.)

And so, a few days before the race, my Love, he gets together with the 3 bigs, sandpaper in hand and they scrub and scrub. He helps, encourages. The cars are smoothed, primed and painted all by them. Oh, we help when it is necessary. We guide, but they do. And you know what I want for my kids? I want them to be doers and much of this parenting gig is about appearances and the parents, really. It's not really about he kids learning and spending time with their family...it's about winning.  It's not that I don't want to be helpful. It's not that I don't want them to be winners, but I guess I want them to see a different kind of success. I don't want to do the job for them so that they can get the credit and I can feel like a good parent.



Somehow in the wild world of ours we have decided that when our children win, that we are a success. And somehow, this translates into good feelings of oneself. Who knew a blue ribbon held so much power. But what if...what ifs parents we stopped measuring our success by the "success" of our children. What if, instead, we realised that they will fail. At some point they have to, and sometimes we have to let them. What if when they do "fail" (in the eyes of the world anyway) we trusted the Lord enough to do above and beyond, immeasurably more with that "failure" than he ever would with "success."

Oh, I don't know but somehow along the way our children have gotten the idea that getting a blue ribbon handed to them means that they are winners. But that is not what is see in the Word. I don't believe that Jesus was ever given one, a blue ribbon, I mean. I see Jesus there. And by our standards, I would not call him a success. He didn't have a place to lay his head (Luke 9:58). Those closest to him thought that he was a loon (Mark 3). He chose men that were not the most desirable to follow him (see any of the New Testament.) He did not even have "real" rabbinical training. And then those he did choose, also chose to abandon him at his most needed moment...falling asleep in the garden, then running away when the slightest hint of trouble came their way (Luke 22). And these men? I am just as they.


And when will I stop accepting the standards of the world
and start opening my hand to something better?

Now hear me on this. I want my kids to succeed in the things that really matter and not because I have done the work for them. But as much as I want them to succeed in life, even more I want them to know Jesus. I want them to know what it's like to be happy for a friend (or sibling even) who won first place or perhaps did better than they. I want them to encourage the one who has lost and offer a friendly, "nice try." I want them to enjoy the process of learning about how to make a car that is fast. I want them to enjoy the time with their dad...time that I never had with mine...time that is wispy and wondering....fleeting. I want their attitude to be one that honors the Lord.  And when they do succeed I want them to point to the One who gave them the strength, and wisdom to do so.

And all of these things?
They are hard!
But they are better still aren't they?
 
From L to R: Hunter, Koen, Jordynn's car
 
 
 
Heavenly and Gracious Father,

Thank you for your example of success...for showing us a better way. Thank you that you do not leave us to ourselves. Thank you that even in what we see as failure, you can be glorified. Thank you for a changed heart and Father...help us to point my children to you...to something better. Your wisdom is what I need...what they need. Thank your for always, always picking me up when I fall. Thank you that we have you to look to for with out you we are lost...

in Jesus name ~ amen

more of this crazy counting:

821. a fun night at AWANA Grand Prix, and all those helpers who put it together
822. hard lessons about success
823. confidence in Christ, knowing can identify with it all
824. that Spirit, that fills me up...daily, giving grace for every moment
825. God, who was and is and always will be
826. a husband who struggles, but wants our littles to know what is true..and teaches by doing
827. mistakes made, lessons learned, grace and mercy given: thank you Jesus!

Working on this verse this week! Hope you all are getting in some memorising too!!





Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Be Loved



There are these times when I sit down here at my dusty computer and plunk something out that I think I might have some clue as to what I am talking about. And then I am reminded that perhaps I don't have it all together...not even close. Standing isn't for the faint of heart.

 In the movie, Shadowlands, we meet an ageing, and at times, an almost arrogant CS Lewis, author of many and much loved Christian books. Some of these books carry the weight of suffering as the main theme. Written for adults going through trying times in their lives, Lewis' desire, rightly, is to point them to Christ, who suffered for us all. The problem? Lewis himself has never had tragic suffering looming in his life in such a way that has left him broken or despondent. Writing while not really knowing the experience, Lewis meets Joy, a spirited poet who has known a great deal of loss in her own life. Lewis is undone in many a ways. He learns, much like speaking, living...standing is all the more difficult.

 



And so, last week as I attempted to write about love in light of Feb. 14, I began to feel a bit like Lewis. The Love in my life (AKA as my ol' man) helps make my life easier (in most instances), not harder. He is kind. He is considerate. He works hard to support us. His love is sacrificial. Agape. It is undeserved and I relish in it. I cannot relate well to not being loved well as a wife, just as Lewis was unable to to fully relate to Joy's suffering. I can come across harsh, and trite, and ranting and not at all kind.

And if love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)...then the words here should be so. Now this certainly doesn't mean that a person who has not suffered great loss, can not themselves write of suffering, or a person who does not have a difficult marriage can not write about how to love well, but I do believe they should tread lightly. And so that is what I will attempt to do here tonight....

Love is hard many times. Many women have not been loved well. Ever.  Many, grow up much like I did with out much of a father figure or a very distant one at best. And then they get married and they hope against all hope that they will, indeed be loved for all that they are. But they are not. Not at all. And it is a struggle. And it is hard to extend love so in self preservation, we women, become defensive, cold even. And really, what is the point to always love and never get that love in return?



The only answer I have is the same the Lewis had for suffering. In order to love well, you must first know the One who is Love. It is easy to want our husbands, friends, family to love us the way that only God can. It is easy to look to them for the only kind of love that will truly fullfil our deepest desires as women, sister, mother or friend. I know this well. I have made many a idol in my heart over wanted love instead of lingering long, and tasting the sweet nector of joy on the love I know to be truest of all.

And if I look to Him...to Jesus and the kind of love that he had....the kind that, in spite of my wretched heart, died a heinous death for me...for you....I am reminded that I am able to love like that if he is my Savior. And this, my dear friends, is the deepest, richest, longest love ever come down. Look to him, would you, with me and be loved well though the mountains are high and the valleys are low....we can know Him and just be loved by him.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Winter Is

 
Winter Is...
 
 

 
Naps on the couch
 
 
Good Reads.
With leaves for bookmarkers.
 
 
Lots of light saboring.
 
 
 
Snow Forts.
 
 
 
Dogs pulling a sled 200 miles.
 
 
And the musher behind them.
 
 
Coats zipped up to our eyeballs
 
 
Frozen Face.
Seriously, his face was frozen.

 
 
 Skiing

 

Falling down while skiing

 
 
Success! while skiing.
 
 
 
Lot's of yelling, "Do the pizza!!!" at skiing children.
 
 
Together.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Stand

Not long ago I knew this girl. When asked at a youth group leader meeting to write down what is most important to her she wrote one word: Truth. Not sure what all of that entailed, she then endeavoured to live her life chasing hard after that Truth. Failing, falling, bumping, bruising along sometimes this chase looked more like a scared run or a hide and seek game of the ashamed.

This girl, she knew that Truth must be her anchor, but didn't really know what that looked like. She wanted to stand for it, but how to do this was always a challenge that seemed to be the better.  It seemed as if the world had invaded the church...that those wanting to stand for Truth, including this girl looked a whole lot like those who said that you couldn't know it and to claim to was arrogant and self righteous.

Wrapping herself tight in her own wisdom was folly. Comparisons always lead to discontent and this girl? She spent almost four years in Germany, just that...discontent. As Humility leaned in and breathed its wispy soft blows to her bleeding heart the Spirit helped her realise that grace and truth....those two must go hand in hand.  Words from the Word of Life, kind words from friends who know the Word began to take root to blossom something anew. This is not a Truth ladder to climb, rather a race with the goal, the prize given not to the winner, but because of the Winner, Jesus Christ who lives inside her. She claims Him as her prize and because of him is called Child by the One who made all things past to present and makes all things new today.

This girl.
She Stands
because of the One who stood in her place
and yours....
 
 
 
More counting of these wondrous gifts...
 
812. learning to stand
813. looking back, seeing grace
814. grappling, praying KNOWING the Lord will show us the way
815. friends
816. running late: learning humility, and some time manangement ;)
817. a husband who hates to leave us...even for a night
818. knitted hats
819. sisters in Christ who pray, I know they do
820. kids playing freeze dance in the living room to Britt Nicole. Her cd Gold is super fun BTW. :)
 

 

And yes, I am still memorizing...though this brain of mine is slow. I am challenging myself to get Phil. 3:7-14 memorized this week...and trying not to worry about falling so. far. behind.  I do hope you're challenging yourself too!

Friday, 1 February 2013