Monday, March 28, 2011

If you can't verbalize it, then write

I am not one for conflict. I very much like to have things resolved, and quickly. I want everyone to like me, which isn't going to happen, and it might explain why my opinion of myself is so negative.

We've just ended birthday season as I call it. My children are 6, 4, and 2, and I just turned 30. Rich's grandfather decided that he had had enough of his earthly body, and flew to the arms of Jesus on Jack's and my birthday. A day of celebration my sister-in-law called it. Indeed. His life's journey is over, his heart and health have been restored, and his sanctification is complete. God called him home because the death of His saints is precious to Him, (Psalm 115:16). We all miss him, and we will do everything that we can to keep his memory alive for his great grandchildren. His hobby after retiring from practicing medicine was wood working, and was he ever good at it. We are fortunate enough to have some pieces of furniture that he made for us. He made amazing toys for each of our boys, and he made a jewelry box for Emma that even has a music box in it. Rich brought it home 2 weeks ago when he went to visit Grandpop. How cool that he got to give it to Emma himself.

We were blessed to have Jerram Barrs preach at church yesterday as part of our send off for our pastor. He's headed off on a 5 month sabbatical. I need to pray for him while he is gone. He asked for prayer for his ability to relax; I can relate to that.
Mr. Barrs led Sunday school too, and talked about Jesus' interaction with Zacchaeus, who was most despised by the people of the day because he was a tax collector. But Jesus chose to display not only a desire to spend time with Zacchaeus at his home, but to show him mercy. He forgave him and Zacchaeus repented, and then went on to restore what he had taken wrongly in the form of taxes. I've been struck by Mr. Barrs talking about our being commanded to show mercy to others because Jesus showed it and does so for me each day.

I've had a lingering issue with a former friend that came up unexpectedly this week. We corresponded last week and forgave each other, or so I thought. We feel differently about something, we handled it differently, and I was expected to forgive her, but she didn't really forgive me for something that had hurt me. We could keep playing the equivalent of tennis with this, but she shut down when I brought my complaint to her(after hearing her complaints and asking for forgiveness). But I need to show mercy and drop this for good. I must not let Satan fill my head with what I want to say because I don't want an "I told you so" moment; I want this buried.

So more importantly I need to strive daily to show mercy to my husband, my children, my friends, and to the driver who cuts me off in traffic. I deserve death for my sin, but God allows me to see the sunrise each day. That's mercy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

worry wart

I worry A LOT. About what, you may ask? Oh, everything. That's got to be one of the biggest struggles in my life. A sweet friend once told me that her husband told her to not sweat the small stuff in life, to which she replied, "But if I don't then who will?" I laughed out loud in spite of myself. That's me.
You know that recurring bad dream that plagues us throughout college about that class that you signed up for but never attended? and so you're going to fail it? But you know it's not your reality, and it still haunts you? Yes, that's me.
I have been given the amazing gift of a husband who loves me and wants to provide the very best for me and our children. Do I show gratitude like I should? Oh, the shame of having to tell you no. Most of you know about our new house that we will be moving into, Lord willing, sometime in April. Am I overjoyed at the prospect of our family having room to play, grow, entertain, and serve in? Yes. So why is my beforewemoveinorI'lljustDIE list so stinkin' long? Do I really need my kids' new bathroom to have everything that it has to have in order to suit me, like now? Nope. So why do I worry about these things?
I have given Satan his foothold when I do this. I was to reading my kids from their Bible story book one evening last week, and I read the passage about God's clothing the lilies of the field, and that if He does that, does He not care so much more for you and me? Yes, my doubting heart, He does! My treasure is in Heaven with my God who gave me precious things like His son's sacrifice, my husband, my 3 beautiful children, my parents, siblings; the list goes on and on.
What have I to worry about? I know that this life is full of struggles as we wage daily war against self and Satan, but that battle has been won. The last chapter has been written, and my daily focus is to be on the cross.
The grass withers, the flower fades, and so do my to-do lists.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Moving On

I married a guy who has big ideas. Ideas that sometimes make me suck in my breath sharply and think, "Oookaay." One of these big ideas has been to build a custom house. "Excuse me? Custom? As in, design it yourself? Um, well, let's see... Remember those times that you dressed the kids yourself? Yeah..."

Well, when we moved to Spring from State College, PA, our plans to settle in this part of Houston put us incredibly close to a PCA church and reasonably close to Rich's new job. We loved this little starter house, and could never have imagined where we would be six and a half years later. We're about to more than outgrow this house, we now attend a PCA church in The Woodlands, and Rich's ingenuity, and some might say dogged persistence, have led to this dream home becoming a reality.

We now have new friends at a pretty wonderful church. And though the memories of our early church years in Texas sometimes still sting, I am humbled when I see again how negative circumstances can bring about much good. I would never have met the people that I've been so blessed to meet and call friends. Rich and I long for our family to be a part of that community 100%.

There is much to be done in the next few months, and my children ask with much frequency if they can take their toys and beds to our new house. I think they might be confusing home ownership with crashing in a hostel while hiking through Switzerland. Anyway, we have been blessed beyond anything either of us could have imagined. And then God gives us perks, if you will. He has blessed us above---and beyond.

So, to our Woodlands friends, please know how elated we are to join your neck of the woods. And I am learning, slowly, that change is good. Things that happened in 2005 have played a part in who I am today, and I wouldn't change it. Any of it.
"When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." Indeed. And I am currently at peace with the draft.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You might not want to hear this

As I sit here inside my big picture window, I can see the American flag flapping majestically in the wind across the street in my neighbors' yard. And I feel a surge of pride and emotion right now. There's no one singing the National Anthem, or God Bless America, but so what? That's my flag. The flag that belongs to the greatest nation on earth; by God's grace.

Men (and women) have fought relentlessly to defend her and that which she represents: freedom and liberty. The freedom which allows some of my fellow citizens to burn that very symbol of freedom and hope. The freedom to vote. The freedom to speak out against things with which we disagree. And yes, the freedom to take a tax payer funded trip around the world and declare that America isn't the super power she once was. I warned you that you might not want to hear this.

I disagree with my president on that one. This is America. We love our baseball and apple pie, but we love those things because we love something greater. We love our country and her people, and we have overflowing compassion for other countries that are in need. Our status as a super power is used far and wide to be that shining city on a hill. Our men and women in uniform, past and present, have given the greatest sacrifice they could to ensure that. My grandfather was a witness to what happened on D-Day. He never had much to say about it. He didn't care to relive it, but it doesn't do anything to dampen my gratitude and sense of pride. What he did there continued the swell of what we get to do here. Are we sinful and depraved? Yes. We murder the unborn. God, forgive us. Are we self serving? God, forgive us. But we have the freedom to worship as we see fit. We are truly a blessed people, and may God see fit to continue to display His mercy to us.

Thank you, our veterans, for what you do for us. The American spirit is strong, and will not be snuffed out. I love this country, and I thank God that I can call it home.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Could use a Starbucks Run

My mind often wonders over to that difficult topic of home schooling and legalism. Well, topics, I guess. One doesn't have to affect or influence the other, but often they get horribly tangled in the same web.

I spent years of my life just taking it from people; advice, criticism, discipline, even. Ah, the joys of Daddy's being a preacher man. And there are; but there's a lot of other stuff too.

I'm reading Charlott's Web to Jack again right now, which I love. What a wonderful book. And what an interesting way to look at my life as that web that Charlotte weaves, writes descriptive Wilbur words in, and then watches the wind and other elements of nature tear her web to shredded strands. A thing of former beauty. That's me. I can try with all my might to appear as something other than what I am, but inside I'm that torn web flapping in the wind. God has a plan specifically tailored for my life, as He has one perfectly tailored for yours. Will life be bump free? No. We are being sanctified and made whole, but we won't be what we were completely created to be until we rest in Jesus' arms.

Part of the struggle for us as those fallen creates who, I remind you, were created just "a little lower than the angels," Psalm 8:5, is our desire to tell those around us how to live, how to raise our families, and whether we should buy organic. But our lives should be about how we can best glorify God in our day to day. But I fail at that, as do we all. Jesus is our Gospel; our choices should not be.

My hat's off to those moms who homeschool, soak their whole grains, and make their own mascara. Yes, I said mascara. I'll just go buy that at Walmart, send my kids to school, feed them mac and cheese (with broccoli), and hum "Jesus Loves Me."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thoughts on being refined

"For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:10

What a month it's been for me. My baby #1 started kindergarten and seems to still be transitioning smoothly. Thank you for all of your prayers. While we were on vacation on South Padre Island, he said more than once that he was looking forward to seeing his friends from school again.

Our vacation on SPI turned into a 4 day rain fest and then ended with Rich's being the unfortunate recipient of food poisoning. Watching it happen to someone was enough for me. I'm thankful that it wasn't a bug so that I could get us the heck out of that place last Saturday. That was a part of Texas that neither of us was fond of. On part of the drive we passed through Refugio. I told Rich it should be renamed "Refusio," like "Refuse." There ain't nothing there, or in the entirety of what is referred to as The Valley. A very deceiving label, indeed.

On our way home we were stopped at a check point. I chuckled and said to Rich, who was hanging on by a thread, that we were about to see some of our govenment employees at their finest. And they didn't disappoint. I rolled down my window, and the immigrant employee who was packing serious heat said to me, "Are you citizens?" And then he proceeded to stick his head in the window and eye my children with authoritarian suspicion. "Oh, please," said I to myself. "Yes, sir. We're citizens." And I hit my window button as quickly as I could so that the important man wouldn't hear my snicker. My husband, who reserves his coy humor for the best scenarios, said, "You should have asked him, 'Citizens of what?' 'Mehico?'" Oh, well. It was pointless, and our little joke about the lack of seriousness that seems to be the security of our borders. Sleep well, my friends. Because if you say "yes" to the question, you're in.

I've also lost a friend this past month due to circumstances beyond my control. That's the hard part for me; beyond my control. I have prayed, given advice, tried to be a good listener. And, Mom, if you're concerned about who will read this, don't be. She has cut me out of her life. I saw that she even removed herself as a follower of this little blog. She missed nothing. I have been so enlightened during our current Sunday school class concerning Jesus being what SHOULD unite us as Christians. But sadly, we don't operate that way. We compare, and nitpick, and back stab, and look down our own noses at those who aren't like us. Jesus came to heal the sick. He hung out with prostitutes, and lepers, and tax collectors; bottom feeders. But for those who trusted in Him for their very breath, they were the richest of all. They could see beyond the struggles of this life when they encountered Jesus. They stopped running for an earthly reward and instead set their eyes on their eternal reward.

Sadly for this friend, our loving Jesus isn't enough to keep us friends. I know that she is hurting, and I am sorry for that. I wish that I could fix it. That's one of my flaws; I want everything to be okay. What, if anything, could or should I have done differently? I may never know; until this friend comes back to us. I hope that she can find a church family where she is loved and content.

I know that I have. And I am so thankful for these people every day. Being a part of this church has changed me in many ways. And it's all due to God's work in me through His people who have shown love to my family in countless ways. What a picture of Heaven.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A piece of my heart goes to kindergarten

So as we're getting ready for our first day of kindergarten, we ceremoniously break out the camera for all those pictures that will go in his baby book, and that's when it makes its ugly, glaring shortcoming known. Rich asks me, "Um, have you charged this lately?" Nothin.' Dead as a door nail. Completely, 100%, totally DEAD. Break out the shovel and put this thing 6 feet under kind of dead. So, I head for the charger and let the miserable Fuji Film start the recharging process. So we had to resort to the iPhone. I heart that iPhone, really, but I don't know how to get those pictures from said phone to my hands so that they can join the baby book picture family. "We are fa-mi-ly!"
Dear hubby kept reminding me that Jack would take his cues from his mom. Translation: if you're a blubbering idiot in the morning, there's a good chance that he'll be unsure of this new chapter in his life. Me? A blubbering idiot? Two words. Steel and Magnolias. 'Nuff said.
Rich went with us to school and waited in the car with Things 2 and 3 so that the transition into the world of kindergarten would be a little smoother. I asked him if he wanted to hold my hand, to which he said no. Oh, my beating heart. You little precious piece of my beating heart.
But as the day progressed, I realized that we have a 5 year old child who has been doing this school thing for 3 years now, and, you know something, he's pretty well rounded. Praise be to God that he isn't a shaky little leaf, afraid of the world around him. It might just be the first day, but we got this. By God's unfailing grace, we got this.
I haven't heard a lot about his day other than it was good, but I do know that his teachers have been added to my prayer list, just like his preschool teachers were.
Will asked me this morning at about 9 am if it was time to go get Jack from "his 5 year old school." Maybe it will be even easier the next time around. Not easier to let go and trust him to someone else for a few hours a day. Not more hours a day than I'm with him; that's simply not true in our case. Just easier to be happy for my children when they walk away from me on that first school day, knowing that they sit in the palm of God's hand. And there's no better place for them to be.