Saturday, February 28, 2015

Building a Temple

I have been married to a college student, a hardware store worker, a project manager, and a student pastor - all in the same man.  David has included me in his work since before we were married. He has invited me to come on lunch breaks; he has introduced me to those with whom he works; he has shared with me thoughts on what he was processing; and he has walked me through many stages of the job sites on which he has worked.

I do not have full understanding of what it takes to build a building but I do understand it takes time, there are setbacks, and there are successes. Lately I have been processing the description of our bodies as temples parallelled with memories of watching buildings go from breaking ground to grand openings.  It is interesting how this life so closely resembles this building process. I used to believe that the grand opening occurred closer to baptism than death, but as I age and as I see in my own life, perfection is not yet here.  He has been building on me for some 28 years and continues.  I rest that He is not merely Author but Perfecter as well.

Investing in My Children's Relationships with Each Other

Yesterday, the kids had a snow day from school.  It was the third day off in a row...my routine was already shot as was the idea of a clean house...so I chose one target for the day: Invest in their relationships with each other.  Our recent schedule has begun to separate us with birthday parties etc. so I wanted to undergird and strengthen their esteem of one other.

I prayed but I didn't have a clear plan . The morning was more of an observation to recognize it when it happened because I wanted it to come naturally and not be my manipulation or fabrication. (Yes, I have come to terms with the fact that I can do both and unfortunately I do them well if I am not careful.)  I wanted to notice their mutual appreciations and then I was urged to just comment on them, not throw a party, just comment (because I am a gifted exaggerator as well).

What happened this day I want to always remember!  I loved my firstborn, Dax, with some affirming words before we went outside.  We all played in the snow; I chased my secondborn, Cole and loved him in his ways: Wrestling (in the snow).  I loved my third, Korwyn, with some snuggles when we came back in for breakfast and let her play with my wedding ring on my finger (she chose that finger at a few months old and has been attached to it since).  Then I waited....

My boys began to work together solving a video game situation that my younger had trouble with a couple days prior.  He had lost several things in a to a "glitch" and it was the end of his world! (literally and figuratively - pun intended)  My eldest offered to work on it with him and they retrieved it! The process took about 45 minutes and at the end there was a celebration of jumping and hugging and whooping! They were kind enough to include me. I commented on their teamwork and we reenacted it for these pictures:


Later, Dax wanted to go back out in the snow and invited Korwyn to go along.  I was about to go too  because I usually go to be responsible for her, but I followed a nudge to use self-restraint in order for them to share this experience.  (He had already showed great care and protection of her when we were out earlier).  So I released them to the moment and watched from the window to ensure safety and get pictures - diminishing any need for more reenactments.  I saw this: him leading her through the snow, folding her in his embrace at the top of the hill, them giggling together all the way down, him gently securing his arms and leaning them both over to avoid sliding into any twigs or getting hit with falling snow from branches above.  He protected, she trusted, he led, she followed, she dropped one of her gloves, he picked it up and put it in his pocket, they both laughed and shared the experience, and I stood taking it all in (husband would probably call it "stalking":)
putting her glove in his pocket


While they did this, Cole was into his salvaged video game and I interrupted him with a hug.  He randomly pondered aloud about he and Dax "never getting along".  I was once again caught in the war between reaction and self-control.  I wanted to argue but instead asked if he couldn't think of anytime lately that they had gotten along.  In less than a second he recalled the morning's team effort and overturned his own conviction of their relationship deciding that they get along more than they disagree.  

Upon Dax and Korwyn's return from outside, we had lunch. After lunch Korwyn requested Cole play with her and he through some dice, counting dots with her before she went to take a nap.  
Camera Flash would have blown"Mamarazzi's" cover

The kiddos have all become very interested in the TV show "Psych" on Netflix. David and I have seen them all and can filter the episodes they can't watch as well as Korwyn filtering scenes throughout. They were recommended for boys' on a website and we have begun to like watching them as a family.  All three of them had been hoping to watch one when Dad got home from work, but Dax had to finish up a project first.  In an effort to expedite the process, Cole stepped forward and volunteered to contribute assistance to his brother.  So he took over the cutting out of pictures before his brother glued them down and wrote about them.  I had no response but shock and awe and praise to God because that was WAY above my skill or ability or pay grade.  

While Dax finished up, Cole curled up to entertain himself with one more quick technology moment to get him through the night. Korwyn came to snuggle with him and began encouraging him with "Go Cole!" and "Don't give up!" and "You're so great at this!" etc.  
Once again shock and awe invaded but I did gather myself together enough to praise them all for the day of loving and valuing each other - from working together, to laughing together, to serving each other, and encouraging each other.  They processed back through our day and I think I saw shock and awe on each of their faces as well:)


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Endangered Anticipation

After dropping off the fellas at school, the girl and I had 30 minutes or more to pass before her drop-off line.  It was cold and I don't like the car to idle for quite that long.  This particular morning the boys were pressed to get to school early and so here we were left with this space in the time continuum...

We ventured into a store near her school to "dream shop" (A.K.A. keep warm while not wasting gas).  She saw M&Ms and she is my daughter, so this was becoming less of a "dream" shopping experience and more of an actual trip to the store.  However, it was 8:00 a.m.  I am not a big fan of the kiddos having food completely void of nutritional value prior to lunch; 10 a.m. is my maximum budge line.  But being an image of my God, I love " to give good gifts to my children".  I told her I would buy them but we had to wait until after school.  She is 2 months shy of 4! There are those who would say that this rarely works with this age group and I concur that it can be challenging if not made to be a way of life.  She was agreeable to the conditions, we made our purchase, and headed to her carline.  All of this got me thinking about waiting...and anticipation... and receiving...and enjoyment of the gifts from our Heavenly Father.  I began to strategize about how to engage her anticipation.

When I picked her up at noon, she greeted me with excitement and as we buckled, she requested her little bits of chocolate goodness.  I asked her if she had thought about how good they were going to taste.  Were they going to be fruity or chocolatey?  Could she guess which color she would get first out of the bag?  She grinned and giggled and we savored the anticipation all the way home where she indulged in her portion ( 2 for every year of her life) with her lunch.  It was a glorious lesson as He reminded me to anticipate!  I am currently in a place where He has not given a clear direction.  Because of that I want to wait on His timing instead of forge ahead.  I want what He is anticipating for me not what I have dreamed up.

  Our culture is stripping so much of the anticipation from life.  Microwaves, internet search engines, apps, and constant entertainment at our fingertips take away from active, engaged waiting.   Our children (and ourselves) rarely ACTIVELY wait in a line; we DISTRACTEDLY wait in line with some device.  They usually don't wait for classmates to finish an assignment. They find something else to DO. So when do we think about what is coming? When do we anticipate?  When do we engage in the act of dreaming about what is to come? Does this detract from the experience once it arrives?  What can we do to build anticipation into our own lives and the lives of those who imitate us?  How can we hinder anticipation from becoming extinct?

"The creation waits in eager expectation..." Romans 8:19a  LORD, please, please help me to wait "in eager expectation..." both for what You have for me this side of heaven and even more so, for the day you fulfill all you have said.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

"Do not give way to fear" and "Stand firm then" on "feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace"

Lately I have been afraid! Very afraid! Up restless at night afraid...

Of everything!

What if ...with the hubs? What if ...with the kiddos?  What if ...by myself?

I chose to saturate myself with 1 Peter 3 the past two weeks and attempt to commit the chapter to memory because of the repetition of verses relating to fear.  I had missed them before because of all the hoopla about submission in my head from humans.

Verse 6 tells me that not giving way to fear is better than eye liner or mascara :)

It actually says that not giving way to fear can increase my beauty.  This may seem egocentric but my beauty is a reflection of His Glory and Beauty; part of me as His Creation.  Hoping in God, having a gentle and quiet spirit, submitting to my husband, and choosing right as much as possible all contribute to my beauty, but I require MUCH help for all of this. Quiet and gentle are not words I would have used to describe myself in recent years. Thank goodness He is faithful to send His Spirit!

All of this saturating led to an astonishing epiphany as I was reading through the Armor of God in Ephesians with the fellas.  For 37 years, the "people pleaser" Farah had read the word "peace" verse 15 as "no arguing, no war, no conflict".  However, last night the saturated Farah read the word "peace" as "not giving way to fear".  This made so much more sense!! Standing firm and not falling over or running away is so much more possible when feet are fitted and grounded in "peace" - the Gospel of Peace.  "Absence of fear peace" is so alike soldier ( I like to imagine knights') armor/ gear, heavy and weighty, sturdy and protective.  Being grounded and secure is something that I have longed for most of my life but has not been my usual state.  And currently (as I type) I am in one of the most fearful moments of my life and yet that peace has eclipsed all other emotion.  And I am thankful!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

The "Doxology of Romans 11:33-36 stirs my heart and soul.  I so enjoy receiving input and information; it is one of the ways He wired me.  BUT I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HIM or figure out HIS WAYS or even "trace out" his "paths" completely.

"Oh, the depth of the riches of wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements and his paths beyond tracing out!  Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God , that God should repay him?  For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen." (Romans 11:33-36)

When savoring these words and the fact that they were delivered by Paul, I am astounded.  Paul, both in his legalism and it his redeemed work "gave much" from my perspective.  He knew that he had at this point in his life from his other writings.  And yet it was not a question of repayment...or earning.  His humbleness is enviable.

My prayer: "Like Josiah, may I do what is right in Your sight Lord. May I walk in the ways of David and not turn aside to the right or to the left. Give me a tender and responsive heart, so that I will humble myself before you when I hear Your word." (Face to Face Day 6 Renewal, Kenneth Boa from 2 Chronicles  34:1-2,27)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blind Side

It is one of my favorite movies.  Plus I love Sandra Bullock.

We saw part of it replayed on t.v. the other night and David mentioned reading an interview of Sandra where she was asked about Mrs. Tuohy and how Sandra shared her challenge historically with people who had faith "preaching" more than "practicing". David shared how she went on to share that Mrs. Tuohy seemed to "believe more than she speaks".  He wasn't sure if that was exactly how it was worded but it was essentially the meaning.

I tried to search for it and found several such articles, but couldn't read them all.  They did however support her views on Mrs. Tuohy's faith.

That phrase "believe more than I speak" resonated with me! I have "said" so much in this life, especially in my younger years.  With age, He has been faithful to answer my prayers of "please help overcome my unbelief"(Mk 9:24) and this grows my hope and prayer that this will be true of me. I am not abandoning my "acknowledgements" of Christ as my Savior and Lord.  However, I hope for believing and moving in belief!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Beauty from Ashes



In previous years, since the fellowships in which I have encircled myself haven't celebrated any corporate Ash Wednesday ceremony, I have remained aloof to it.  This year however, it has come to my attention.  In researching it and finding the origins to be so closely connected to my Jesus, I have begun to marinate in verses of Scripture to do with ash in the days leading up to it.

Of the almost 45 references I looked through, I found some to be so heart binding as well as various connections between them, which have evaded me previously.

-I have held Genesis 18:27-33 dear to my heart for years because of the intimacy that is evident between God and Abraham as the man tugs at the heart of the Deity he loves and respects much like a child to a parent in attempt to influence His decision.  This time Abraham's acknowledgement of his being "nothing but dust and ashes" influenced me to once again acknowledge my "nothing but dust" condition before my Holy God and His Son.

-On through chapter 19,  I read all the great lengths to which God went to save the few from destruction culminating with these words, "{God} remembered Abraham and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived" in verse 29.

-As I read all of this in one sitting, when I arrived at Jonah 3, I was overcome with just how opposite  the King and the Ninevites reacted in heeding similar warnings given to Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis.

- The account of Mordecai in Esther 4:1-3, the reply of Job in 42:1-6, the proclamations of Isaiah 61, and the words lovingly embedded through Hebrews chapter 9-13 all speak to the heart behind what is commemorated and acknowledged on Ash Wednesday: "though I am nothing but dust" I anticipate Your salvation through Your Son who withstood the 40 days in the desert, completed the work He came to do on my behalf, became the sacrifice that I needed to cleanse my sin, and ultimately arose to prepare a place for me to be in Your Presence.  I look forward to celebrating that in 40 days (minus the Sabbaths) from this Ash Wednesday.

Yes, it can be just another religious ceremony; it can be mere actions with no meaning; it can become an idol if not carefully checked.

I have a dear friend whose house burned years ago and her sister had framed some words including the "beauty for ashes" for her.  That frame usually sat on my friend's mantel and I read them often when at her home.  It's image stuck with me in later years as I experienced heartache, distress, and mourning.  I have usually associated ashes to be those of broken dreams and defeated hopes, but what is pressing me on this Tuesday night, on the Eve of Ash Wednesday is the beauty He can bring forth from the ashy remains of my sin not merely my shattered dreams.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Rebel

Target: Be good. Do right.

This has been my focus since I can remember focusing.  Don't get in trouble; don't make authority mad; don't reap negative consequences.

Only problem: I am not good.  And as I get older "right" can seem fuzzier and fuzzier at times.  Sometimes it is just plain fuzzy and other times my sinful bent and maturing tendency to justify warp it until it favors my children's pictures when my camera is not on action mode.

That is why Grace is essential for me and astoundingly it is also SUFFICIENT! ( I still can't attempt to wrap my brain around that without becoming dizzy)

 As Grace continually arrives on the scene the overwhelming desire to bask in the Good, move in the Good, follow the Good,  and imitate the Good blots out everything else.  Be good.  Do right.  The same and yet oh so different.

 Once again, as so many times before in the last 36 years, He blinded me with an oxymoron.  He flipped life over.   Up is down; East has become West. But His Love, His Constant, His Truth, His Saving Grace has not changed.  It is still the Core, the Axis, the mental gymnastics bar on which my perspectives flip. I begin to glimpse that in order to bask, to follow, and to imitate, there must be a bit of a rebel inside me.  (Me? A rebel?)

"How?!?!?!?!" you ask. "How can targeting good (under Grace) and a rebelliousness coincide within one person?!?!?!"

In our culture (as I mature I now see in any culture), to follow Truth most often means moving against the norm.  To swim upstream.  To counter.  Rebel. To feel the mass with whom I love to hang go about things differently, head in a different direction, grow increasingly distant.  I am not for knocking anyone over in the process just inching another way.  I have initially planted and am forging ahead opposing their inertia while attempting to gain my own.  Once in a while faltering and quaking are apparent; it is exhausting.  I have sensed myself spinning as they brush by.

Eventually the dust settles.  Familiar words echo in my heart,  "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:39)  The words, although comforting, have new meaning.  However exhaustion is still winning in the flesh; the journey is acknowledged as unfinished. There will be more losing (frighteningly and hopefully) for His sake and their will be more finding (anticipating the Day).

Quote:  "The world certainly was designed with a sense of humor, wasn't it?  Inside every truth and every appearance, there's a bit of opposite tucked inside."  -The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann






That word: "NEVER"

I thought I was careful with it.  I tried not to say it much, ...and then I got married, ...and then I became a parent and realized even though it may not have exited my lips, it had left a definitive path out of my brain.  (somewhat of a slimy one similar to a slug or snail)

I have since found that the lips were too often involved as well.

I am currently chewing on my latest serving.  At least I saw it approaching (served by my precious kiddos) and so I just began to gather the seasonings necessary to get it down: zesty self-humor, splash of hopefulness, and pinch of nuttiness.  So far it hasn't been as difficult to digest as some past "nevers."

It has even had a bit of appeal as though maybe I daresay I am developing a taste for it.

I can say that my lists  of "nevers" are changing. I sense that my "never wills" list is growing shorter (I am learning not to add things) as is my "never haves" ( I am being afforded opportunities to mark things off). These are added bonuses of growing older and hopefully wiser.

(currently on menu: homeschooling)