Friday, March 25, 2011

Lent Day 12

I am worn out. My husband is out of town. Jordan had two allergic reactions in four days. Single parenting (even for a couple of days) and working at home don't seem to really go together. Worn out.

But that was all erased when I watched my two boys lay down together in bed tonight with their pajamas and blankies and big "brubba" read his Bible to little "brubba." With surprising accuracy.

Thank you, Lord, that for all the things that I mess up and all the noise that I create Every.Single.Day. they are still hearing Your voice over it all.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lent Day 11

I've been putting in quite a few strollerless miles lately thanks to some early mornings and my helpful husband. But now he is starting track season and it was time to face pushing the double stroller again today.

Just four miles. No problem. Except for the hills. And the somewhat flat tires on the stroller. And the 84 degree weather. And the eighty pounds to push.

A simple four mile run was suddenly not so easy after all. I felt sluggish and tired as I slogged up the hills with my stroller. Weighed down. Weary. Burdened.

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you." Psalm 55:22

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Let's be truthful. It's not just the hills and the heat and the weight of the stroller that were weighing me down. Allergic reactions and time constraints and dirty floors and taxes and laundry and relationships. Worries and stress and guilt.

How much more pleasant are my runs without the extra eighty pounds?

How much more pleasant would life be if I would truly lay my burdens down at the cross?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lent Day 10

Lord Jesus who dost love me,
Oh spread thy wings above me,
and shield me from all harm.
Though evil would assail me,
thy mercy will not fail me.
I rest in thy protecting arms.

I sing this to my boys every night. My mom sang it to me every night. Her dad sang it to her and her siblings.

Jordan refers to it as the "me" song (see the end of the lines) and demands it immediately when it's time to go to bed.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the comfort of knowing you are always there protecting me. And thank you for loving grandparents and parents who daily instilled this in me. Help me to do the same for my own boys. Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lent Day 9

Dueteronomy 6: 5-9

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

What a responsibility I have as a mother. These two little boys are listening to my words. Looking at my example. Responding to my lead. And I think I fail them much too often.

It seems that in my quest to raise my children to be "good" kids, I can lose sight of what is more important. Teaching them they are sinners. Teaching them that they can never be "good" enough on their own. Teaching them that they are forgiven children of God.

Teaching them to LOVE their LORD with their EVERYTHING.

All day long. In the little moments. As we go about our day. Lord, help me to lead them to you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lent Day 8

I heard a great sermon in church tonight about NOTHING. About how we our lives are filled with nothingness. No good thing. But, praise be to our Lord and Savior who fills that void and brings HOPE and GRACE and PEACE in its place.

II Corinthians 12:9-10

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

How interesting it is that the answer to Paul's prayer to take away the thorn in his flesh was not the removal of that thorn! Instead, it was a call to greater and fuller reliance upon Christ.

Lord, thank you for the thorns. Thank you for the weaknesses. Thank you that your grace is and always will be sufficient.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lent Day 7

I was recently asked the question, “What do you want most for your children?” and I heard one person reply that she wanted her children to be happy.

The pursuit of happiness.
Isn’t that what we all want?
What we all are striving for?
It would be almost un-American to say otherwise.

Then, someone, please tell me, why are we all so damn unhappy?

How is it that we pursue it, we buy it, we chase it, we corral it, we sacrifice for it and yet, it seems to elude us? We search for it in money, family, education, food, health, love, drugs, and yet, it seems to elude us.

It seems that absolutely nothing in this world can truly fill us up and make us happy.

Maybe that’s because we were not made for this world.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:3

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Matthew 16: 24-26

I’m not saying that I don’t want my boys to be happy. But I don’t want the pursuit of happiness to lead them on the path of destruction.

Instead of happiness, I pray for them the true JOY and PEACE that is not found in this world.

It’s from above.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lent Day 6

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Today was a time to be born.

Today I experienced the miracle of new life.

Today I saw God the Father, our Creator.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lent Day 5

Psalm 27:1, 13-14
The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

I'm leaving shortly to head the hospital to photograph a birth for the first time! Prayers for me, mama, and baby are appreciated. I'm pretty nervous and would think I'm playing an integral role or something. Regardless of my importance, I'm excited to be a part of it and capture those memories!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lent Day 4

I Timothy 4:8
"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

Right now, I’m pretty committed to training for a half marathon in less than a month. With our busy schedules, it’s not always easy to get the training in. I’ll wake up before the sun comes up or dash outside as the sun is going down or push two children in the double stroller just to get that run in. This morning I ran ten miles even though I had only had five or so hours of sleep. I’ve signed up for the race, I’ve committed to it, and so I rarely miss running.

This verse definitely makes me stop and think. About setting priorities. About making sacrifices. About valuing what is truly important.

About training not just my body, but my heart, mind, and soul.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lent Day 3

It’s all just a matter of perspective.

My 19 month old who never gives me a single moment of peace and won’t let me out of his sight.
A love for his mama that knows no bounds.

It’s all just a matter of perspective.

Glass door covered once again with grubby little fingerprints.
Three year old staring outside, counting down the hours until his daddy’s ‘cation (spring break).

It’s all just a matter of perspective.

Too much work to do and not nearly enough hours in the day. Being pulled in too many directions.
The blessing of vocation. Helping my family get by. Never feeling bored.

It’s all just a matter of perspective.

A sick boy crying all afternoon and refusing to nap.
A loving doctor who gets us in fast. A boy whose main concern is why his “brubba” didn’t get to come with him to the doctor. Smiles in spite of it all.

It’s all just a matter of perspective.

A farmhouse that sits empty with no Grandpa or Grandma anymore.
A gathering place for family to return to, remember the treasured moments of the past, and look forward to a reunion in heaven.

It’s all just a matter of perspective.

Numbers 13-14
Fortified cities, powerful people, towering giants, flashing swords, imminent death.
Flowing milk and honey, exceedingly good land, protective God leading the way.

It’s all just a matter of perspective…

Or is it? Maybe it’s so much more. Maybe it’s not about how we are looking at things, but WHO we are looking at.

Blazing our own path, trusting our own swords and pocketbooks, looking within.
Waiting for Him to lead, believing that He is LORD and Savior, looking up.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lent Day 2

Lies. It’s what he does. It’s the way he tempted Eve and the way he tempted Jesus and the way he still tempts me each day. He is the father of lies (John 8:44) after all.

What are some of the lies that Satan tells you?
To me, he whispers...

Lies about myself. You are ugly. You are fat. You are unloveable. You are not good enough. You failed again. You are always letting them down.

Lies about my relationships. You have no one there for you, no one who understands you. He is your enemy, not your partner. You don’t deserve to be loved. They don’t appreciate you.

Lies about my Father. Are you sure He’s taking care of you? Surely, He wouldn’t want you to be experiencing this. You are alone in this journey.

And the sad thing is, all too often, I believe him. I don’t respond. I don’t refute. I believe him and I sink down, crushed.

Yesterday, as I was driving to church, late, crafting in my head the reasons that life was too much and I was not enough, this song came on the radio.

Days will come when you don't have the strength
And all you hear is you're not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart
They'd see so much

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful

Praying that you have the heart to fight
Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long
But they are nothing in the shadow of the cross

Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You're the one He madly loves
Enough to die

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
In His eyes

You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful
You are treasured
You are sacred
You are His

Yep. Needed that reminder. Need it every day.

I am treasured. I am sacred. I am HIS.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent Day 1

Day 1
Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Preschool kids singing at the Ash Wednesday service at church and a potluck to follow. Spend bulk of morning getting children dressed nicely and making salad with homemade dressing for potluck. Twenty minutes until it’s time to leave. Better get myself dressed and ready too. Run upstairs. Briefly leave children unattended. Older child covers one entire leg and hand with marker. Dash down the stairs to put a stop to it. Look up in horror as younger child bounces down the entire wooden staircase. Comfort him and make sure he’s okay. Sprint around the house to find everything we need. Somehow manage to sprain ankle slightly in the process. Finally make it out the door. Yes. Mission accomplished. Going to be on time. Practice Xavier’s songs. Sing to Jesus. Ten minutes into our drive. Wait. The salad. Forgot the salad. Pull off. Turn around. Head back. Mommy, why aren’t you singing anymore? Drive fast but not fast enough to get pulled over. Grab the salad. The salad that was sitting right next to the front door. Back on the road. Make it to church. Two minutes late. Sigh. Oh well. Only two minutes late. Survive church service. No idea what was said, but survive. Make it through potluck without any major catastrophes. Drive exhausted children home. Head inside with potluck remains. Realize that my purse (i.e. the only expensive thing that I own) is filled with two inches of salad dressing. Oily, smelly salad dressing. Never eating salad again. Throw children in bed for naps. Grab everything out of purse to clean. One. Two. Three. Three ruined books. Try to figure out how to wash the (don’t-dry-clean-or-machine-wash-or-anything-but-spot-clean-me) purse. Decide to throw it in the washing machine rather than the trash can. Younger child awake and screaming for Mommy. Not done cleaning purse and haven’t even thought of opening my computer for work yet.

Oh, the joys of motherhood. Or life in general?

This was my day today.
My Ash Wednesday.
The day when I was excited to hear the sermon and introduce my children to the idea of Lent.
Excited to start these forty days fresh with a new focus.

(I think my last day this disastrous was New Years Day…maybe I should change my expectations of fresh starts??)

I’ve heard a lot people say recently that “at least we know God won’t give us more than we can handle.” And so when I headed out the door alone for my run tonight (thank you, Jesus, that my husband understands me and knew that was exactly where I was headed when he got home), I was thinking about this phrase.

And the more I pondered (yes, I am one of those running and solving the world’s problems types), I realized that this is NOT WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS AT ALL.

Life and God (and the devil for that matter) will ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT QUESTION, EVERY SINGLE DAY, give me so much more than I could EVER handle.

On my own that is.

I am a failure. I mess up. I break down. I yell. I cry. I lose it.
I repeat.
Like every day.

Because I can’t handle life and its burdens. I never have been able to and I never will be able to. And the more I try to handle life on my own, the worse the results (please see above).

So, back to what the Bible really says… The verse that is often is misquoted actually says this:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” I Corinthians 10:13

A WAY OUT. How often do I find myself in need of “a way out” of temptation?

And while Paul does not specify what this “way out” is in I Corinthians, a quick review in Matthew and Luke of Jesus’ temptation by the devil after forty days in the desert provides the answer to this question.


I can feel it. My heart and my soul are hungry for his Word and I haven’t been filling them up to the degree that I need to. To the degree that I can find that “way out.”

So forty days. Instead of starving myself during Lent, this year I’m going to be fed.

Forty days of intentionally reading the Word and reflecting and writing and sharing.

(I promise not every day will be this long.)