Remembering

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I remember where I was.  Most of us who are older than 22 remember where we were.  The moment we first heard.

I was getting out of my car at Babys-R-Us in Augusta Georgia.  Jacob was 8 months old and I am sure we needed something baby related.  I got out of my car, a stranger started talking to me, not the norm.  She asked if I heard what happened.  She told me.  I was certain she lost her mind and was talking nonsense.  Seriously.  I got back in my car to quickly leave this weird situation.

Robert was at the Advanced Course for the Signal Corps, he was in class this day.  My dad was in DC working, like was normal then, as a contractor.

Crazy.  That is what that lady was.  What was she talking about airplanes?  New York City. Whatever.

Well, 17 years later we all know she was not crazy.  We all remember where we were.  I called Robert, he told me they stopped classes and they were all gathered around a tv watching.  Horror.  That’s what they were watching.

I left the parking lot before entering the store and headed back to our apartment.  I tried to call my dad.  Listening to that tone on the phone, anxiety rose.  No calls were going through, everyone who knew anyone in DC was calling them.  Everyone in DC was trying to call out.

That day changed our country.  I think it changed our world, as every country watched as two iconic towers that stood so tall, fell.

Following 9/11 our country turned to God.  We do that.  We remember.  Those weeks that passed we remembered where we find comfort in times of need.  We remembered what and where our strong tower was.

Yes, 17 years later we, like the Israelites, have forgotten.  They forgot who provided manna and quail to feed them.  We forget the truths that ground us.  They forgot the protection He gave them over and over.  We forget who we are and who reminds us of that.  We’ve stopped attending that church, that in our time of trial offered comfort and peace.  We’ve stopped reading the Word that pours truth over us again and again.  We have forgotten.

So today, as I face some tension in my day-to-day (no where near 2001), but tension none the less,  I remember.  Instead of letting external things define internal truths, I am trying to let them go and cling to the truths of God.  Instead of letting fear and condemnation, often my constant bedfellows, take up residency in my mind and heart, I am going back to my true north.  Scripture.

We remembered in 2001.  Yet, in 17 years we have slipped away.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” EPHESIANS 2_8-9 “-3

For me, when I forget and when fear creeps in I remember that faith and fear cannot occupy the same space – it is one or the other.  So I kick the fear in the face, and I let faith cover me.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and goodness, by which he has granted us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of HIS divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:3-4a

As I remember that day : hours later when Robert arrived home, when I talked to my dad on the phone, when we all attended a very full church the next Sunday- my heart aches and rejoices.  I remember the classmates and friends who served, some who died, some lost marriages, the list goes on and on.  We remember, so we know.   I let the memories define my attitude, my courage, and my heart.  Today I remember so that I can cling to courage and love and grace.  Those are the bedfellows I choose today.

If we remember and only mourn, then we miss the bigger picture.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

We need to remember and take heart!  Today I hope that you find reasons to take heart no matter what you are facing!  The best place to take heart is at the foot of the cross, in the Word of God.

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I did it again.

Do you ever do it?  I do.  Sometimes too many times in one day.

I know it is not good.  But at times I feel it is the only option.

What about you?

I am talking about escaping.  Running away.  Allowing the overwhelming parts of life to overwhelm to the point of hiding. 

How do I hide or escape?  My go-to escape is Facebook.  I hate it.  I have this love/hate addiction to Facebook.  The worst part is I think I can control it, and well I can’t.

So when life is crazy here, when I want to yell (and sometimes after I yell) I turn to cope with Facebook.  I don’t stop and realize that Jesus is right there in the midst of my being overwhelmed.  I don’t stop and pray that He would give me what I need to deal with what I am running from.  I run.  I hide.

So, today I deleted Facebook off my phone.  I admit, it may not be permanent, but for now it is necessary.  I need to face life.  I need to be here.  I need to deal with the hand I am dealt and not cope by entering the alternate reality of Facebook.  You know?

We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who had been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.  Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence , so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Hebrews 4:15-16

Oh, my.  I need to put this somewhere to remember, maybe a screen saver to stop me when I am tempted to run.

I serve a priest who knows about temptation, and while sometimes I might add “but not the temptation we face with children” – but really, those disciples were just like children!!  He faced trials and he never ran away, instead he ran into it.  He stood his ground or he went deeper. 

When I run I miss the chance to go deeper with my kids, with my struggle, with my need.  I miss it because I run away, and the moment is gone.

So, instead of running (for a while) I hope to stand firm, lean in to my struggle, and see where God leads me and what God teaches me.

Want to join me?

Where to start

Recently, my dear husband and I have felt like we need to back up and start some things over.  What prompted this?  Well, when you realize you are still falling into destructive patterns, say when you fight, it is not a good thing.  Not when you are on the brink of your 15th anniversary.  You know?  So we had to go backward a bit, dig up some of the yucky and ask ourselves how can we do this different?

Well, one way is to get away more often.  The past, say two years, we have had about 6 dates I think.  Especially if you do not count the company Christmas Party, or similar things.  Because, honestly, who talks about deep stuff at the “crazy” company Christmas party?  Not me. (it is hard to get my husband to talk about deep stuff anytime, but especially not in front of people who know him!!)

 

So we took some time to talk about our marriage and where we are looking for changes.  We talked about what we each do well, and where we are needing some improvements.  It was good.

Next up, date night.  So fun to get away and catch a movie, but the best part was the plan to work on our family mission statement over some dinner.  I was impressed that when I told Robert he was in charge of planning the conversation, that this is what he wanted to do.  Floored is more like it. 

So I printed off a few things that I found on the internet to help guide us, and I did not really look at it prior to printing, I mean, we were walking out the door….

Mistake #1.  When you sit down to do this, you need to make sure the guide you are using is Biblically based, otherwise you will see words like happy, fulfilled, and fun throughout.  Not sure those are God’s call to us as believers.   Honestly, I think we could build a mission statement with a piece of paper, a pen and the Bible.  Really, that is the only guide we need.  But it is helpful to see some steps outlined as we go through this.  The most important part of this statement, though, is that it reflects the overall vision of God, his word.  It must be able to lay next to the Bible and support what it tells us we need to do, and how we need to live. 

So, this morning I went back to my search and found the Simple Mom’s version of a guide HERE.  LOVE it!!  I am printing this so that my husband and I can look it over and we can start again.  There are other great bloggers out these who have shared their journey through this, but for now, we are going to follow Tsh as she went through her journey and the steps she took.  I know we will end up in a good place for our marriage and our family!!

So, do you have a Family Mission Statement?  I am so sad to say we have never written one down.  We have talked about it many, many times – but I guess we felt like we were good.  Now that our kids are flying through childhood, approaching adolescence, it is not a desire any longer – it is a REQUIREMENT!!  Life is far to hectic and crazy to not have the main purpose defined, clearly. 

So we are off, to plan, to share and to create. 

Parenting 101 (Romans)

I keep thinking this parenting thing will get easy.  What a lie!  I mean, when people told me when I had 4 kids 5 & under – when they told me it did not get easier, only different, I was sure they were wrong.  How could it not get easier?  2 to 3 in diapers, the physical needs of 4 kids being met primarily by me.  How could it not get easier?  It must!!  It must!!

But, again, I was wrong.  And now, as I talk to Kristen who had 4 closer than mine and 4 years behind, I tell her “It does not get easier.”  When I call in distress I think she is realizing it does not get easier.  My distress is not over potty training.  It is not over biting, or hitting, or dirty diapers.  It is over heart issues.  Big stuff.  Eternal stuff, if you will.

My day Tuesday was ugly.  I sent her a quick email half way through to say “uggghhh” – a quick plea for prayer.  I do not want to battle my child every day, all day.  I want to love him.  Or do I?

All day, we battled.  All day I remembered the advice I doled out but a few days before.  “Woo him Kristen,” – my point that God woos us, he loves us.  He does not treat us like we deserve to be treated.  Our blessings are not directly linked to our good works.  Woo him.  I heard it, in my head, over and over.  But I could not live it.  Instead I yelled (a little), lectured (A LOT), and grasped for light at the end of this tunnel (Does it end???).

 

Then, I wake up at 5:30 today (Wednesday).  Why!!??  I am frustrated, trying to grab sleep back, and put it on.  I toss and turn.  Then I hear Romeo “crowing” outside.  And I am more frustrated. (one – I know I will not go back to sleep, two – I beat the rooster to wake up – Ugghhhhh) Looks like it is going to be day 2 – a repeat of yesterday,

So I slip out of bed, walk through a quiet house (rare here), make some tea, grab my Bible and BAM.  There He is, waiting for me.  Accident that I woke at this crazy hour?  I know, not.  He wanted me.  He wanted my mind clear and fresh, He wanted to pour some truth into my heart.

Romans 4:21 – being fully persuaded that God [has] the power to do what he [has] promised.

A look back at the promised God gave Abraham.  A man who loved God but had not law, not Christ.  Just loved and obeyed.  A promise to me and to my sweet son.  He will do what he has promised.  He will guide my steps as I parent.  If I go to him, he will steer me down the path I need to go.  He will fill my son with what HE wants to, if J is looking to Him.  God has the power to do all that he has promised.

Romans5:13b But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 

WOW!!  Sin is not taken into account.  Do I live by the law in my house?  Do I hold my son to the law?  Jesus abolished the LAW.  He took away the Law with his death.  We live by grace.  Do I parent by grace?  Do I live out the book Grace Based Parenting that I read years ago?  Or do I need to dust it off and have a refresher?  Do I show grace to J every time he messes up?  Anytime he messes up?

Thank goodness God does not parent like me!!  My sin is wiped clean.  Jesus defeated the law – and my sin is wiped clean by his death.  It is all about grace.  Grace.  Grace.  Grace – I need to keep reminding myself.  I do not feel it.  I do not want to pour grace to a boy who rolls his eyes, grumbles about EVERYTHING, hits his brother, shoves his sister, and did I mention rolls his eyes???  Grace for that?  Really, Lord? 

Ughhhh – Grace.  Grace. Grace.  I need to tattoo that on the back of my eyelids.  I need to see it every day, all day.  I need to offer more grace. 

Romans 5:20b But where sin increased grace increased all the more so that just as in reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Oh man.  You mean, by offering grace I might point to eternal life in Jesus?  You mean, that by wooing my boys heart, instead of bruising it will guilt, I might draw him deeper into the kingdom?  Not that I could really do that, I know it is not about me.  But my grace to him might reflect a God who offers is so much freely?  My grace is really HIS grace anyway.  My grace is a reflection of the REAL grace  – like a magnet – it draws other closer to HIM.  Oh man.

{Can you tell God woke me up for a reason, really though?  5:30?}

Finally, I turn back, I need to catch up in Chronicles.  And I see it again – a word to me.

1 Chronicles 5:13b We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.

This is David, talking about moving the Arc.  David.  Again, this Godly man – like Abraham in Romans.  David.  A man who God loved – and a man who loved God.  Two men who grasped what grace was.  They were given it, just like me.

They did not inquire and he did not bless their actions.  Truth to me : ask Him.  Daily, ask God for guidance on this parenting journey, and just maybe he will daily lead me as I lead these kids.  Just maybe he will give me the patience I need for that day, the kindness, the love, the GRACE. 

This morning was good.  I hope, next time I wake up early I do not toss and turn trying to grab hold of sleep – this time with Him was so much better than another hour or two of sleep.  This was real stuff.  Right where I am.  He met me there.  Right in my need of encouragement and promises.  God is good, all the time, even when your 10 year old rolls his eyes at you.

**Note – just another way God is amazing.  After I finished my time with God and my reading, I checked email and Kristen read the same passages this morning and typed many of them up and sent them to me with a brief message too.  God is so amazing – he knew I needed to hear these truths, twice even!!

Little Disciples

It is amazing how when our hearts are filled to be poured out again, there is so much to pour out!

Sally Clarkson talked a lot about disciple-ing (training & leading) our children instead of just disciplining (punishing).  Sometimes I fail to see that as my role as much as I should.  I know I am teaching them about God, daily.  We read our Bible, we apply it, we talk about it all the time – it is a REAL part of our lives – we live it.

But when they falter, when they fail, when they sin, sometimes I get distracted (frustrated) and maybe look at it like I am just doing a job for so many years and then I will be done.  Their failure sometimes  makes me think I am failing them too.  I am not really but it feels that way sometimes.  Sometimes it is hard to see a boy – almost young man – fail. 

And when he does I have a hard time processing it sometimes.  I have a hard time responding like I am training him to deal with failure and how to recover from it – instead I want to make him never want to fail again.  Not the healthiest approach, per haps.

But then I read

They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about he loaves; their hearts were hardened. Mark 6:51c-52

And it hits me.  These were Jesus’s best friends.  These were the men he was pouring his life into 24 hours a day.  Boy.  Jesus had kids too.  He had 12 of ‘em.  {in a sense if you will}

And those silly disciples were dense at times.  They failed to get it.  I know I have talked about this before, how these men are real men, like us – they fail.  They disappoint.  They question. 

And yet, Jesus rarely rebukes them.  I think in that moment after the feeding of the 5000, I would have blown a gasket if I saw their hearts were hardened and they did not get it.  Honestly, I think I have blown gaskets for much less.

But, He did not.  I should not.  He loved them.  He was probably often disappointed, but did he ever heap guilt on them?  Did he ever rebuke them, unless it was REALLY a big deal?  No.  He spoke in love.  He understood our sin nature far more than I do. 

So, as I disciple these little people, I see that I need to be more patient, loving, and less “gasket blowing”.  Really.  My kids get so much of it – they get it.  They love HIM.  They want to live for HIM, and yet they sin.  Kind of like someone else I know.  {Ahem}   Yet, Jesus still speaks truth into my heart, he loves me, he encourages me, and blesses me far beyond what I deserve or expect.  Shouldn’t I do the same for my children?

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