Saturday, August 30, 2008

I Love Blogs!!

I was reading a friends blog about her time with her little boy. I was struck with and encouraged by how she really enjoys her kids. She talked of spending time talking with her son taking pictures with him and drawing with him while her youngest slept. What in the world? Nap time is equivalent to MY TIME!!! I don't want to here from any children for atleast an hour.

I want to enjoy and have fun just being with my kids. I prayed that the Lord would show me how and just like my lesson on loving people he reminded me that it was a choice. Instead of focusing on what I want to be doing right now or what I really should get done, I can choose to focus on this moment right now with this person and in this case my children.

So, not 10 seconds later when Zo whined that his head hurt, instead of sending him off and telling him it would be ok. I picked him up and hugged him and just cuddled with him for awhile. That somehow (I guess in answer to my How? to the Lord) turned into a game of run from the dangerous bees that we even got daddy involved in.

He's such a good Daddy. He had no clue what was going on as the kids and I huddled on the couch being very careful not to touch the carpet where the bees were. Alonzo walked in the room and I said, "Daddy hurry you have to jump on the couch so the bees won't get you." He didn't miss a beat. He ran and jumped his grown tail on the couch as if he'd been a part of the game all along. (thanks Honey!)

It was such fun and I could tell they were really loving it. Then we made lunch “together”. Another of those things I just don’t do because it’s so stressful and frustrating. I think it’s a matter of perspective. They had a great time and Alonzo and I actually had a great conversation while they were having fun fixing lunch. Both things I would never normally do.

Thank the Lord for blogs. I am so encouraged by them.

Thank you Lord for yesterday!!! Help me to keep the perspective of enjoying my children and making that a priority.

I talked with my friend Kim the other day and my huge take aways were huge in helping to change my perspective on life and children:

~~~One of the things that was huge from our conversation was having the perspective that everything is appointed by the Lord. All of my children's little arguments, the fact that I’m in Tuskegee, AL after the Wal-Mart has gone because people were stealing all of the merchandise, all of the students that were in my home last night and who felt welcome here, Ericka calling (or facebooking) to see if she could come and spend the weekend. All of these and all others are appointed by the Lord. This is what He has given me to glorify Him. Though it’s hard work and I often shy away from hard work (or RUN away to be more exact) this is really what I want to be doing. I do want to be here raising my children, homeschooling, and sharing my life with college students. It sounds good in theory. The reality is often much more difficult. I realize that now and I embrace it, with the Lord’s divine and limitless help. I will make a choice to enjoy!! In the face of the difficult and maybe one day because of it, because I know that God is using these times to make me stronger and better able to serve and love Him and those He brings around.

~~~Another of my take aways is that I must continually speak truth to myself. By continually I mean continually. The lips of my mind should always be moving the truth into my heart. There is no other way to serve the Lord. The world, my flesh, satan are fighting constantly to pull me in another direction. How can I survive if I don’t continually pull myself back with the truth. Taking “every” thought captive has taken on a whole new meaning. Every single thought!!!!

~~~Yet another take away was that I need to die to my expectations of what my children should be doing. “I have told you this a million times you should get it by now” DIE DIE DIE!!! To my expectation! That doesn’t mean that I don’t train or that I don’t discipline, but what it does mean is that I do it with an entirely different heart. I should not become as irritated and frustrated as I have been. This is what the Lord has given me to glorify Him. It is appointed by Him. All I am to do is ask Him what I must do with it in order to show my children Jesus, who I so long for them to see and know!!

Praise God for His commitment to finish the work that He began. He is so faithful and loving to show us our sin and give us grace and power to turn away from it.

Well, I must go now. According to Zo the bees are back!!!!

These are just a few pics from the fellowship we had at our house with our Tuskegee freinds last night! It was a packed house and a really great time! I praise the Lord for putting us in a position to be a part of their lives. If only I can keep speaking the truth to myself, I might continually thank Him for this blessing!

When the students come over it's always like a party for my kids! They absolutely love it!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barak Obama

I have been watching the Democratic National Convetion this week (trying to be an informed voter and all :). Last night as Obama made his first appearance I was struck by the work of the Lord in our country. Less than 50 years ago there were some places in this very country where Barak Obama (though his mother and grandmother are white) could not vote!! and today...he has been elected to run for president of the United States of America. I looked at the television screen and saw a black man...a real black man.

I was listening to faith radio today and they pointed out that this is the exact day that Martin Luther King gave his "I Have A Dream" speech 45 years ago. There are no coincidences!!! Only the Lord could transform the evils of slavery, segregation, and racism into the opportunity that we will witness tonight! A black man giving his acceptance speech to run for President of the United States. I'm not saying that all is well in America and that the issues of racism and injustice no longer exist. What I am saying is don't miss the Lord in this. He has done great things in America! Let's celebrate that tonight!!

Regardless of your or my political views. Let's not let that get in the way of us seeing the Lord and what He has done. Again, I'm not saying we have to vote for Obama because the Lord is in this (I'm trying not to loose anyone here...I know this political thing can be real touchy :) I am only saying even if you totally disagree with Obama agree that he's making history that's good for America and Praise the Lord!!

My husband and I have made a date (forgoing our real date night) with our children to watch this historic event and talk about the goodness of the Lord. Why don't you join us?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

One Thing Is Needful! luke10:42

This blog from I Take Joy! encouraged me so much that I had to post it here. I am very easily overwhelmed and confused by all of the voices that cry out with all of the differing "right" answers to every conceivable situation! Just yesterday I wrote a journal entry about this very thing including the verse from Psalm 131 that she includes here. Isn't the Lord wonderful!! I just want to rest with Him and fight to live in the peace that He came to give His chldren. Not always looking for the "right" way to do it, but looking for Jesus and the way that honors Him and draws me closer to Him. The "right" ways may be and are very different for each of us. That's that's great!!! God works in sooo many different ways and we celebrate the vastness of who He is when we can look at someone who does things differently than we do and see how they honor the Lord in what they do!! Praise the Lord that we can live before Him...our audience of one...and seek the glory that comes from the one and only God (John 5:44)!

Too many choices--replaced by love
Last night, around 7:30, I was sitting in a chair by my window up in my second story bedroom. Our home sits up on a hill that is about 7500 feet high, and we look out over tall Colorado pines with the mountains not too far in the distance. As I sat amidst the peace of my darkening room, I looked out on the horizon and across the sky, once again, the Lord had painted the most vibrant sky--luminous, "screaming pink"--(the color of shirts my mother used to love to buy for me!)--seemed to be dancing across the
sky for those who would see it! Then fading into hews of orange and finally darkness. I was reminded again how present God is in all of our moments yet wondering how many people in my little town took the time to notice Him and His art.

I was pondering some of the dilemmas of modern, Christian life---way too many choices. Choices scream at us and block out the simplicity of Christ and His love and His voice. We live in a time of so many voices that represent so many choices--republican, democrat, independent; theologies--charismatic, reformed, catholic, baptist, emergent church, Bible church; public, private and homeschool; whole book, curriculum, or classical; pro-Shack people (referring to the book)--anti-shack people; is it acceptable to watch the dark knight or it is sinful --good imagery or poor imagery--dating or not-dating; what movies are acceptable; universalism or limited atonement; whole foods or MacDonalds, soccer or piano lessons; t.v. or no media at all; infiltrate culture or draw back and seclude, spanking or grace-based parenting; and on and on and on. And then there is the busy-ness associated with getting it all right and reading all the blogs and books and reviews and making all the choices--frenetic that we might make the wrong choice--yet confused in the midst. There is such a pressure to be involved in all that is relevant and the pressures of our modern Christian culture cultivates insecurity and fear and isolation. Lots of head focus, not so much heart.

So much wrangling over words and so much judgment and pride and finger pointing--what is the right way to believe? So many who are involved in these issues have a heart that desires to find what is best and to do what is right. Who is the right authority? Such choice overload obscures the simplicity and presence of God.Satan can use the frantic searching and frenzy to obscure what is essential--loving God and knowing Him. So many I talk to long to be close to Him, but find Him illusive. No wonder there exists so much shallowness in our culture--we are seeking so hard after the answers and He wants us to seek Him.

Now don't get me wrong, I am orthodox in my beliefs and trust in Jesus for my salvation and am so very grateful for this. I have a strong foundation of ideals for my home and children. But the older I get and the more countries I have seen and the more people I have worked with, the more I see that it is the heart--where love and faith and beauty and humility exist where the life of Christ flourishes. It is in Him and His presence that I find peace that transcends "getting it all right." I have learned that God is much bigger than I originally thought and that He understands and has compassion for many outside the comfort zone of my own ideals and beliefs and values and that I would be wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak and even slower to judge. His purposes and ways transcend time, history and cultures and I would be wise to focus on Him above all else.

I find rest when I ponder the One who took small children into His arms to bless them; who gently and lovingly washed the disciple's feet, who threw the vibrant colors into the sky for me to enjoy last night. Jesus, came in simplicity--not a man of titles or authority--but the authority that comes from within.

I ponder His messages--admonishing us to give cups of cold water; taking care of our enemies as did the good Samaritan; parenting in such a way as to have the heart of the father looking every day for his prodigal son to return; encouraging us to be like the gentle, humble Mary who chose the "good part"--to sit at his feet and rest in his love and be filled with the life of His words--not being like Martha who was "worried about so many things."

It seems His priorities were for us to be anchored in character and deeds of goodness and kindness--the simplicity of being a good neighbor, giving grace and forgiving as we have been forgiven--making bridges of peace--not walls of separation.

Often, with the media and so many "experts"--(everyone is an expert if given the opportunity to blog!)--I see people laden down with the voices that seek attention in their heads--seems that with all the conflicting messages and so much media in our face, pleasing and finding God can be complicated, confusing and overwhelming and impersonal--more about knowledge than personal in an intimate relationship. Wouldn't Satan just love for us to confused and insecure--since God so clearly wants us to be secure and stable in the knowledge of His love, His calling and His grace.

Jesus had great scorn and condemnation for the Pharisees who "tie up heavy loads and lay them on men's shoulders," --those who were so dedicated to defining every jot and tittle of the law. Just this morning, I was reading in Matthew 23:23 where Jesus says to them, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel."

Then I read in John 14 and 15, some of the last chapters recorded of Jesus's personal messages to his disciples. His desire and heart to comfort and encourage his precious disciples is so evident throughout these chapters. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled or let it be fearful."

He comes not to give as the world gives to us--but peace--restful, filling, assuring peace--that keeps us from being troubled or fearful.

There is so much more. But, the God who told us the most important commandments were to love Him and love others, is the gentle shepherd who will not judge us today if we get all the answers and choices right, but if we abide in Him, love Him, rest in Him and walk in the abundance and security of His love for us and His redeeming love for those needy in our lives who need not just answers and words, but love, forgiveness, healing and peace.

Lord, let me today and every day, abide in you, see you, rest against you--"not being concerned with things too difficult for me, but composed, like a weaned child rests against his mother, so will my soul be within
me." (Psalm 131)

Monday, August 4, 2008

O Happy Day!!!

The Lord is amazing and He is intimately involved and concerned about the details of our lives. He wants good for us. He really does but that good doesn't always come in the way we want or the timing we want!! I know we know that, but last night it hit me smack in the face.

Alonzo and I cancelled our YMCA membership when we moved to Tuskegee. I have regretted it ever since. We know how life in Tuskegee has been a struggle for me and I really felt like having the option of going to the Y a couple of times a week would really help. Alonzo was not so sure. We've had tons and I mean tons of conversations about this over the last 6 MONTHS!!! We never could come to a conclusion. I must confess that I didn't at all times handle it well. I had to repent and ask for forgiveness at least once if not more times. I really should have left it alone along time ago and just waited on the Lord to work it out. There were different times when I felt that way,but something would happen that would be the "perfect opportunity" to bring it up, so I couldn't resist.

Yesterday was one of those times. We had a very normal and I think helpful conversation about life in Tuskegee and ways to make it work for our family. As the day was ending and we were coming home from my parents house. I thought, "what if the Lord really doesn't want me to have a Y membership and it really wouldn't be the best thing for my family?" I said to myself, "ok Lord I'm going to leave it alone and just trust you...for real this time" :)

Alonzo asked me something and I told him that I was going to leave the whole Y situation alone. I was not going to bring it up again. I was going to step back and let him lead and trust the Lord. I had never told him before that I wasn't going to bring it up and believe me telling him would give me some serious accountability! He said "ok" and I thought that was that!

I started thanking the Lord for the ways that I could exercise and trying to come up with a plan. I prayed that the Lord would open up a gym in Tuskegee (you know praying for the prosperity of the city where I'm in exile :)) I was really trying to put feet to my faith.

About five minutes later Alonzo said almost to himself "we're going to have to adjust our budget if we were going to do the Y"

I thought that was a little strange. He hadn't said anything even hinting in the direction of rejoining the Y in 6 MONTHS!!!! But I was trusting the Lord so I didn't say anything at all!

We came home and I was thanking the Lord for my home and my children. You know continuing to put feet to my faith...trusting in the Lord. We laid the children down and I started unloading and loading the dish washer. Alonzo came and sat in the kitchen just chit chatting. All of a sudden he said, "I don't think joining the YMCA would be a problem" You don't understand! I literally almost hit the floor. I had been waiting to hear those words for 6 MONTHS with NO!! response.

I knew immediately it was the Lord! I started thinking oK so what was my lesson, because clearly this was a setup and for a purpose. As soon as I truly surrender it to the Lord He gives what I've been asking for for (let's all say it together) 6 MONTHS . I was almost too overwhelmed at the Lord to realize I could finally rejoin the Y. I ran over and hugged and kissed Alonzo!

I then started asking the Lord what my lesson was. I love the Old Testament! To see the Lord full of wrath but also with overwhelming compassion. He warns and warns and warns the Israelites of the consequences of turning away from Him, but in the same breath He often tells them how He will bless them if they turn from their sin and back to Him. He is good and wants to do good to His people!! I felt like that was the case last night. The Lord really used this to teach me to trust Him. I really struggled to do that the whole time. When I'd had enough of that lesson (from His perspective) and moved forward in that area, He blessed me. Immediately!!!

I know that it won't always be that way. That's ok! I'm very grateful for this time, but I'm equally as grateful that the Lord loves me so much! Enough to order the small details of my life to teach me to come to Him. Thank you Lord!!

So if there is something you're waiting for. Know that whether that something is coming or not the Lord is using that wait to draw you to Him! John 17:3 says, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." God is concerned that we know Him and He's willing to take us through things that we might know Him and come out on the other side with a deeper more intimate walk with Him. In that I can rejoice!!!

Look What I did!!

I braided Zo's hair all by myself!!! I think I did I really good job for my first try. I did it on Saturday and it's Monday and it's still there! Yes me!!!

My sister Traci's children are here for the week. My Daddy is keeping them!!!! You have no idea what an astounding statement that is. He's doing a good job and the kids are having a great time. Here are some pics of them and Amorri:

Brianna is 6, DJ is 3, CK is 2