did they really ruin my dryer? not quite. but they sure do turn gooey! i have 3 boys and one girl, and they all love dirt, digging and bugs. this blog is just a small glimpse into my life as a mom, wife and whatever else God puts before me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday's Manna

last night at our 'small group' we discussed the concept of gratitude. one of the participants posed a very poignant question that made me think about how grateful i really am. the gist of the question was how can we know if we are truly grateful in the absence of need? we live in a very affluent society. i am not talking affluent in the sense that we are rolling in the dough. but affluent in that we don't have practical knowledge of true need. need for food, shelter, clothing. the basics. in fact, we have more than we need and we are the most wasteful nation in the world. we (in our home) don't have the extras (iPhones, cable, dvr, whatever...) but we do have food in abundance and can just go the store in our 2nd car anytime we want and pick from our choice of coffee shops. so, how do we know if we are truly grateful?

the answers to this question by other members of our group were varied. one person said that gratitude isn't all about the big stuff. it can be found in the small day to day occurrences that can be mistakenly attributed to our own efforts instead of the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

or is gratitude about being content with our current situation? not having a sense of entitlement when we go to a restaurant or emergency room and expect to be served immediately because of who we are.

for myself, i think that my gratitude has grown since my journey as a christian began almost 15 years ago. in 1999 i was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. i was 24. i was scared to death. i had just completed 3 years on an oncology inpatient unit as an RN and had seen many young women come through with melanoma that had very short, painful lives. i was very new to my faith and struggled with why God would have me go through cancer. was i living my life so horribly wrong that He needed to chase me down with cancer to get my attention? maybe. after my surgery to remove the diseased spot i fell into a life of crippling fear. fear that God would have to shake my world up again to get my attention. not scriptural at all! in fact, it was just a lot of lies from the Deceiver about how i was to live my life. i have taken a lot of comfort from the scripture passage about the blind man in John 9. the mad was blind from birth and the disciples wanted to know whose sin had fallen on the man to cause him to be blind (falling in line with the belief that the sins of the parents would be visited on the generations to come). Jesus answered , "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9.3)" wow. so, my cancer was not because i was living a sinful life, but so that God might be glorified. now instead of living in fear, i could live in gratitude that i had been given an opportunity to live through cancer and share how Jesus is my Savior.

can we ever truly know gratitude if we don't know need or want? i am not sure. i know that i can show God i am grateful by loving Him and obeying His commands. is this perfected in my life...ummm, NO! but one day, i will be complete, because He has promised it to be so. for now, i will praise Him for His goodness, even in the midst of crisis or less than desirable circumstances. even if we lose everything, i have lost nothing, because i have a relationship with the God who created the Universe and is Sovereign over every little detail.

i had the opportunity to memorize the 23rd psalm with my oldest son this past week. i highly encourage it. it is full of promises and peace that might otherwise have escaped me. my favorite part of the psalm? aside from all of it?

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life and I willl dwell in the House of the Lord...forever.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

goodnight, booger brain

every night my husband does baths with the kids (don't hate me) because he doesn't get much time with them during the day. we share in putting the kids down. i put the baby down because she won't let daddy do it yet. our oldest usually comes downstairs to say goodnight to me and i ask him...what was the best part of your day? and what was the worst part of your day? then we do 'lovin's, kiss and head bonk' and he is off to bed. i get to put our middler down and the conversation usually goes something like this:

me: goodnight, booger brain!
him: goodnight, booger brain poopie head!
me: goodnight, belly button lint!
him: goodnight, belly button shampoopy lint!
me: goodnight, frog slime!
him: goodnight, frog slime poopy lick!

you get the hint. it goes on for quite a while and then i say i love you...to which he replies...i love you shampoopoo head...or some other goofy poop-laden comment...

he is about to turn 4. i wonder how long we will be able to do this routine. i know i am going to miss it when he stops. his goofiness is one of the traits i adore in him. there are lots of things i wish i had paid more attention to as he has grown. i cannot for the life of me remember his first steps, or the last time he breastfed...i am slowly learning, though, that every...single...moment of my children's lives are worth chronicling. i need to stop getting frustrated over the stuff that doesn't really matter anyway and focus on the things that i am going to want to remember when they are grown. like frog slime shampoopy licks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday's Manna

the kids are upstairs. daughter is sleeping and the sons are enjoying educational computer games. i am free, for now :) so i thought i would catch up on my blog reading. a post from girl talk caught my eye. it is about how we become so involved in raising and caring for our children that our husbands get pushed to the side. how that strains the marital relationship. a pastor of mine at a church i attended in california (the church where my husband and i met, actually) used to ask the following question of engaged couples in premarital counseling: If you and your spouse and children were flung out of a boat, and you could either save your spouse or your children, who would you save? the man almost always said he would save his wife, and the woman almost always said she would save her children. a bit harsh, i know, but eye opening. we are called to love our husbands. we are charged to respect them. we are to become one with them. i haven't found anywhere in the bible where it says i am to become one with my children. nurture and care for them, instruct them in righteousness, yes. but put them above my husband, no.

so i have a confession to make. in the busyness of life, sickness and homeschooling, i have neglected to put my husband into the driver seat of our marriage. i have taken control away from him in the smallest of ways, and have cut him off at the knees. eeeek. ok. i need to change this and change it fast. i need to show more love to my husband while maintaning my role as a mother. there are lots of ways i can do this. i am going to revisit the book "A Wife After God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George. i remember it being challenging and practical. i am going to pray every day for my love for my husband to grow beyond his wildest dreams. i am also going to pray for clear ways to show my husband respect.

hold me to it, ok? we shall see where these 3 steps lead :) God is good and i have faith to know that He will accomplish His good work in me to completion.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Manna from the Husband

my hubby is so much more generous than i. i have known this since we got married almost 10 years ago. he has always wanted to give away huge chunks of our savings to churches and causes worldwide. this was a serious bone of contention for me early on. i was raised in an unbelieving home. my family ascribes to the theory that if you are a good person, you will go to heaven. (imagine the waves i caused when i witnessed to my father in a letter soon after becoming a christian and essentially told them they were all going to hell because they didn't believe in Jesus...still haven't mended the bridge from that one) so i was raised to look out for ME. not anyone else. even in marriage, my parents were pretty focused on earning money and insuring their own personal security. i don't want to bash my mom and dad here, they are both hard-working morally driven people who don't like injustice. they just have their focus on the wrong thing. and so i grew up with my view a little askew. i never in a million years would have considered giving people on my doorstep a check for their cause. i never would have even opened the door, really. so when we got married, i had to really reign it in and take a good look at my lack-of-generosity views of my life.

it all boils down to this. what i have isn't mine. it is HIS. it all belongs to God. my money, my house, my children even. all things are created by Him, for Him. i have been given some gifts while i am here on earth and i am called to be a good steward of these things. i am to be responsible with what He has blessed me with. i am not to squander my money on insignificant things. i am to think of others first before myself.

this is very hard for me to do. i have had to readjust my thinking. i oftentimes find that i have been selfish with my time or money without even realizing it. it is just the way i have grown up. but i want to change. i desire to change. i know that He will change me if i ask Him to. He will probably do it even if i don't ask. He is like that. He wants what is best for me, and what is best is to be more Christ-like. i am grateful for the Holy Spirit who works in me to grow me and counsel me. i am glad i am not alone. because, if it were up to me, i would stay the way i am and not even know i need to change.

so yesterday a young man came to our door around dinnertime from an organization called Teen Challenge. my husband opened the door and then stepped outside to talk with him. me, i would have told him it was dinnertime and that we couldn't talk right now. but, my husband went outside and heard him out. he was a young man with quite a past. and he was trying to make a better life for himself, and he was on his second attempt at getting clean. my husband came in and asked me (bless him for including me in this decision...another trait i love about him) if we could afford to write a check to this group. i balked. i even offered up a few objections...but he persisted and i relented, and i am ashamed i even hesitated. i am so glad my husband has such a generous spirit. it is good for me. he is also gentle in leading me this direction, because he knows how deep-seated my fears run about financial security. God knew what He was doing when he put us together.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday's Manna

i am sick today. really sick. wish i could have a day off from mothering sick. plop in front of the tv, kids...it's gonna be a long day kind of sick. so it is amazing to me that i managed to pull out my bible study this morning and answer the day's questions. wow. thanks, God! at least i managed to get that right today :)

the biggie for the day was the question "Read Isaiah 29.13 and Matthew 23:23-38. What are "acts that lead to death"? wow. i know that my basic sin leads me to death. but what does it look like? these passages went beyond the sin of the garden. they delve into the hypocrisy that we (as Christians) often express. we pay a lot of lip service to what we do for the Kingdom, but where are our hearts?

Matthew 23:27-28 reads:

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."

my answer to the question? honoring God with our lips and having our hearts far from Him. neglecting justice, mercy and faithfulness. cleaning the outside so that we look good to others but not attending to matters of the heart. being full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Abba Father, i pray today that you will empty me of all the things that separate me from You. You alone are God. i do not want to be a shell of a christian. i want people to look at me and see Christ. empty me of me and fill me with desire to love you and serve you and obey you. amen.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday's Manna

i attended a moms group wednesday morning at our church. it was very fruitful, and i think i gathered manna that was both nourishing and challenging. the topic for the morning was how to be busy at home. the scripture reference was from Titus 2.3-5

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

several questions were posed to us as moms of young children (birth-6ish). i thought they were worth pursuing on a deeper level. i think it would do my heart good to see what God has in store for me as i answer them for myself. i want to be honest with Him, first and foremost. and i may even share the answers with my husband. if i answer them and do nothing, i lose out on the blessing of character change *wince* that God has in store for me. below are the questions.

1. What does being busy in your home look like?
2. Who or what has inspired you to be content working at home?
3. What has God shown you to focus on in the home?
4. What things tempt you away from you priorities in the home and what do you do to fend off the temptations?

the last one is going to be the one that challenges me the most, i think. i let a lot of things get in the way of my daily duties in the home. identifying the things that get in the way should be easy. changing them is a whole other ball game.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

manna for the day

sunday i was able to gather a little manna...a little of God's goodness and mercy. i know that these are always mine for the taking, but sunday i recognized them as such and grabbed enough for the day. we have been blessed beyond our belief with the health of our children, in particular our middle child. God is good. we still have a bit of a long road ahead of us in our quest to determine exactly what is going on with him, but the scarier stuff has been ruled out. so on sunday we were singing about how God is good and i decided to just soak it in and gather some goodness for the day. it was simpler than i thought it would be. i highly suggest it.