Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Because she can

My 10 month old is learning to walk. She has well mastered crawling and standing up on things and is now moving on to the exciting, and much feared toddling stage. Yesterday I was watching her negotiate this new found skill. She was walking behind a cart type toy with wheels and was SO excited. She would stop, look at me, wrinkle her nose and squeal - very cute! Then she would let go and sit down and stand up - unassisted. I watched her do maybe four "baby squats." Stand up - sit down - stand up - sit down. I began to think about how I would feel doing that - I think my legs would buckle after the first two, and here she was doing this and finding joy in working her muscles and learning a new aspect of her abilities. I thought, why would she do that? I never would willingly do squats without a ton of encouragement or a whole lot of prodding. I think she does them simply because she knows that she can now, and couldn't a couple days ago.

Then I started think about my spiritual walk and how many abilities and gifts God gives up and really wants us to discover and learn. I've obviously known all along that Macey would walk someday, that sooner or later she would be in the running, keeping up with and chasing down her siblings. I'm not sure this has always been obvious to her. In fact, I can imagine she has often looked at Kylie and Caleb running wild and wanting with all her might to join them, but she just wasn't ready. She didn't have the practice or the coordination yet.

My thoughts then when to last Sunday at church. During worship a guy started running laps around the room (check out Tom's blog site for a more detailed account - Anyway, by 3 year old was really taken by watching Tyler run. She asked if she could run, too. I said "of course," and off she went. Then my two year old started running, walking, jumping in the line too. I felt tears in my eyes and didn't quite comprehend why. As I've been mulling this over in my mind and heart I think I've realized a couple things. Kylie didn't care that she was is 20 years younger than Tyler, she didn't care that she couldn't run as fast or that she was smaller. She just wanted to run. She just wanted join in what she saw happening.

Every time she would pass by me, she would stick her little fist in the air and say "Mommy, I'm doing it." Wow - that really made the tears start coming. I think I was seeing a prophetic picture of her future- that she has such determination, such drive to join what God is doing, that not much will hold her back. I also think I was seeing her run as a prophetic picture of myself. My fears often hold me back and though I've been walking with the Lord for 15+ years, I often still see myself as 3. I am afraid of falling, I am afraid of not keeping up. But there are so many people around that are cheering me, us, on that I should just get up and go!

I know there are times when I look at those who are more mature in the areas of their walk with God than I am and want desperately to join them, to run with them. Perhaps I do have that ability, that calling that will be developed after a while. Perhaps I just need to willingly do spiritual squats - they may be difficult and I will most likely fall on my bum a few times and may not always keep up - but, hey, my Daddy is there chearing me on and holding my hands while I learn to walk, even run!

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us , looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the sham, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 11:1-2

Monday, May 15, 2006

The conclusion of the whole matter...

I read finished reading Ecclesiastes this afternoon. Good book. As I have been reading it and studying some of it over the past month or so I found many nuggets of truth, a couple things that changed my outlook dramatically and a few things that I know that I don't really comprehend.

When I started reading through the book I read the last verse first - don't know why, but it has been hanging next to my kitchen sink for quite a while. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil."

This whole concept really went deep with me today - maybe because I finished the book and it makes more sense, but I think it is more likely that I was in a place to really listen and hear. I know there are a lot of decisions in life to make. Specific to my family are decisions like: more schooling? More kids? How do we use our finances? How/when do we step into minsitry? And many, many more.

I am a worrier by nature and tend to get overwhelmed by decisions easily. I will go around in circles in my mind until I am dizzy and never come to a conclusion. I think I realized on a new level today what trusting in the Lord, and not leaning on my understanding really means. I have heard it said that when the Psalms say that "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," That the light used in those days was only enough to see the next couple steps. And here I am wanting to see the whole path! It stands to reason, that based on my understanding of God's character, that if I "Fear God and keep His commandments," that he really will take care of the rest- and infinitely better than I would. That if I truly make this my "all" then decisions will be clear, and only having enough light to see the next step will bring more peace than anxiety.

I love the way Solomon sums up all his thoughts, all of the passages that end in "vanity of vanities" with an admonition, to let God be God and to seek Him. Pretty cool - or as my 3 year old would say "That's amazing!"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

characteristically out of character

Sometimes I surprise myself. There are times when I do things and then look back and wonder if that was really me. I think I am recovering from such an incident of this calibur that occured last night. I will spare you the details - it's not pretty. But I've been thinking a lot today (in between helping 11 three year olds in a classroom and lunch and naps and feedings).

I'm wondering what happened. I am wondering why. I am wondering where do I go from here. I think in this place of brokenness I am hearing God more clearly than I have in a while. I recently wrote about how God allows and invites mistakes. I know I believed that when I wrote it, but maybe now and I learning to embrace it a have definitely experienced it a little more close to home.

I am not sure why I acted so seemingly out of character except that maybe that really is my character. Out of the heart, the mouth speaks, right? I think I usually hold things together pretty well, I can usually keep things, including myself, under control. As I've been seeking God today, I have a feeling He allowed what happened to happen so that I could be broken. (I seem to remember writting about "Be broken or get crushed") I think I am getting crushed.

It's not really all that bad of a place to be. I am seeing for the first time in a while just how huge my dependence is, and needs to be, on God. I am realizing how hopeless victory is on my own. Granted, these are things that I have known in my head for a while, things that I would undoubtedly recite and preach to others, but now I am gaining and more intimate experiencial knowledge of these truths.

If not for the reality of God's grace, if not for the promise of victory, if not for knowing that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," who knows where this day would lead. He is HOPE!

Sorry if this was a little depressing. I don't even know why I chose to write about this, of all things, on a blog wher everyone can read it. Maybe I just needed a bit of an outlet. I think that maybe through writing I have discovered a bit more truth...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I've been a mom for almost 4 years. Definitely not a long time when you look at the big picture, but long enough to know for certain that I am not a perfect parent. Actually I think I figured that out in the first day or so of Kylie's life...

I don't think I ever really expected to be perfect, per say, but there were certain things that I swore I would NEVER do. I would never yell. I would never spank out of anger. I would never...and the list goes on. Well, recently, my "never" list has become more the norm than the exception. I don't know if it's lack of sleep, or lack of understanding, or just having three incredibly different and active kids - but lately I feel like I have been doing more harm than good. So, like any good parent, I've aquired some parenting "guides." As I've been reading about creative correction and daring to discipline, there has been one common thought - "Man, I really screwed that one up."

Now, I am not having a pity party, or looking for sympathy. Just trying to give the background to what I have discovered. I've been praying, and really struggling with the concept of grace towards parents. I imagine that if another young mom came to me feeling the same way, I would be able to speak of God's grace and His love and covering, all the while feeling the same helplessness and she.

Looking back on my childhood I know that my parents made plenty of mistakes, but I know that my sister and brother and I all turned out pretty good. I recently asked my mom about this, about how she felt being a stay-at-home mom of 3, and she replied "I really don't know how you all turned out the way you do. It was definitley nothing I did, but all by the GRACE of God."

Insert hope here!

It's hard to wrap my mind around the concept that I am allowed, even expected to make mistakes as a mom. I mean, it's not like I burned the spaghetti, or wrecked a car, or even screwed up the finances. I am directly impacting the life of a human being. It seems like that is one area that mistakes should not be allowed.

Today on the way home as my 9 month old was screaming, and my 2 year old was having a cow because my three year old, who was asking why my 9 month was screaming, was touching his seat, I think I had an epiphany. Mistake are not only allowed but required. If I did everything perfectly, if my kids were always angelic and my house was always spotless, then I would NEVER cry out to God. It would be easy to take credit for their good behavior (yes, that do behave sometimes). I also know that I would not have any deeper an understanding of grace.

As it is now, when someone compliments their behavior, my first thought is "are you sure you're talking about MY kids?" Then I realize, God's hand is definitley in this whole parenting journey. Maybe there is hope for my "never" list to be overcome, I think there is hope that they will all live to see their teen years (beyond that I guarantee at this moment)!

Thank God that He does indeed "gently lead those with little lambs."

Monday, May 01, 2006

Be Broken or Get Crushed and Other Things

So I am kind of having a hard time with this whole blog thing. It's not that I don't like to write, or don't want to write, or even that I have a lack of ideas to write about. It's just that I feel it is so rare that I get not only a chance to sit and write what I feel, but also very rare that I can develop a whole thought to the point where I feel it is blog worthy. So, I've decided to give that whole idealogy the boot and just be random and maybe use this to clear my head a bit. Nothing profound, nothing deep, maybe not even coherent, but - hey, that's me!!

My husband and I went on a wine tour with his company the other day. We invited some of our friends from church to join us and had a great time. Through the course of conversation we were talking about being ruined and wasted by God and one of our friends mentioned a guy that was being prayed for and the dude praying for him prayed that he would have a case of spiritual turrets. Sounds pretty weird. Well to make the story short, and if I understood it correctly, the guy could only speak what God wanted - would speak the word of God to people even when he didn't necessarily plan to. That scared me.

I often pray and sing and really think I do desire to do only what God wants. I know that spirit longs to speak life changing truth into people's lives. But I also am very well aware that I like to be in control. I like to chose when I listen and when I talk and when I ignore it for convenience, or pride.

As my hubby and I were talking later he mentioned his own experience with being rocked by God. It kind of led him to the idea of - Be broken or get crushed. You can chose to be broken before God, you can chose to let go of the junk that ties you to this world, to your soul and be wasted on Him - OR he will do it for you - ouch.

My pastor was talking on Sunday about being in a time right now where walking/living in the Spirit is optional. That really cut to my heart. Why would I chose NOT to walk in the spirit? Is there anything about this world that I desire more than the presence, the glory, the love of God? My Spirit cries a resounding "No - there is nothing!" and yet I cling so desperatly, so incredibly stubbornly to fading illusions.

I found myself asking - so what is the answer? What's the fix? I can only think of one thing. Relationship, relationship, relationship! (Hee hee - i snuck it in there Deep Impact guys)! No really though - I think that if I truly had any idea of who God really was, if I could taste just one drop of Him, get one glimpse of His glory, I would be wasted. How do I get there? Seek, ask, knock, press in. I know He is there, I know He desires this more than I do. I think it is just a matter of putting aside what my soul thinks I need and living, decidedly, on purpose, with a vengence and resolve - in and by the spirit.