Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our Culture, My Time

The house is pleasantly quiet.  Both boys are already at school.  Baby girl is still asleep...thanks to a late night of baseball yesterday.  So, I am enjoying myself this morning as I sit quietly.  I've already consumed one cup of coffee, and the birds outside my window are definitely entertaining as momma bird works quickly to feed her babies.  The thing about sitting quietly...my mind has time to wander.  And that is what I'm doing on this cloudy April morning...just thinking.

If I really stop and contemplate the state in which our world is in...especially our country and our culture...as a momma and as a woman, the anxiety can really kick itself up a notch or two.  I was just thinking the other day of how my three children, if I stop and think about it, don't really stand a chance in this culture today.  To make it through life as a boy, without being tempted in some sort of sensual way, is simply out of the question.  As a girl, to grow up without being told, either directly or indirectly, that you are only as valuable as you are sensual, is just not going to happen.  These thoughts really began to unsettle my spirit.

I only have such a small window of time.  My oldest is already 8-years-old.  In another 8 years, he'll be driving.  Ten years from now, he might possibly be thinking about moving out on his own.  When I realize how quickly the first 8 years have flown by, the thought of the pace only picking up is devastating.  The sense of urgency I find myself feeling is overwhelming.  What am I going to do with the time I have with them?  How am I going to exactly spend it?  What will their memories be of me once they move on from their childhood and from their home?

If I calculated the time I spent on my iPhone or in front of my computer screen (I am sitting in front of one right now as I type this), I would be appalled at the amount of time I spend looking at other things, at other people, at stuff OTHER than my family.  These are moments, minutes, hours even, that I could be spending otherwise.  This brief amount of space that God has given me to spend WITH them, I could be using to help them understand who they are in the Lord, what He has planned for them, what He wants of them, and most importantly...what He thinks of them and what I think of them.

What do I want, truly? 

I want God to "give them the boldness of Paul, who was never ashamed of the gospel but saw it as a power that could not be attained.  Or how about the courage of Esther, who risked her life to intercede on behalf of her people.  Or the passion of King David, whose wholehearted devotion revealed him as a man after God's own heart."

I want my "children [to] have the spiritual sensitivity of Stephen, a man full of wisdom, grace, and power."

I want God to "give them the out-on-a-limb faithfulness of Noah, who built an ark before anyone had even seen a raindrop...the obedience of Abraham, who was willing to slay his own son at God's command...the moral purity of Daniel, whose refusal to compromise his beliefs set the stage for an undeniable miracle...or the loyalty of Ruth, who exchanged her pagan heritage for a place in the lineage of Christ." (From Praying The Scriptures For Your Children by Jodie Berndt)

These are things they can't teach themselves, and these are things I can not teach them behind my computer screen or while I'm holding my iPhone.  These are things they will learn as I choose to invest my time into their precious lives.  These are things they will learn as they watch my husband and me live and lead our own lives in this way, God help us! 

In the quiet this morning, I've asked the Lord to forgive me for all of the moments I have spent my time poorly.  I've asked Him to give me another shot, to help me see the value of my children and the time I have left with them.  This goes for anyone in our lives who we cherish.  How are we being honorable to the Lord in the way we steward our time? 

Time...something we all want more of, something we never think we have, something we almost always take for granted.  Time...it is one of the most valuable things the Lord has given us.

Lord, help me see the value in the time you've blessed me with.  Don't let me waste another moment. 

"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." -Proverbs 31:28-30 (NIV)  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Because I Love Him...

Because we're humans, it's inevitable that sooner or later somebody is gonna get on our nerves.  I'm gonna get on your nerves.  You may even get on my nerves.  Heck, I get on my own nerves.  And I get it...I get that we Christians can be annoying...what with all our Scripture quoting and Jesus lovin' and church this and that.  But when it comes down to it, at least I can say this for me, there is one very big reason why I am all sold out to this Jesus stuff.  And this is why...

Because I love Him.

That's it.  I really, really love the guy.  Like...I am head over heels...cuckoo for cocoa puffs...crazy in love with Jesus.  This is why I say what I say, do what I do, and feel like I feel.  Because I LOVE HIM!

And I want so much for people to love Him, too.  I pray that along the way folks will figure out just how much Jesus loves them.  It is, indeed, a process, but it begins simply with a willingness to accept the idea that God's Son came to this earth, lived a life of love and mercy, died, and then came back to life.  He did this to prove His love to this world so that we would accept His love, live our lives based on that love, and then spend eternity in the presence of His love.

No one gets that this concept is hard to grasp better than I do.  When you throw in the fact that life happens and life hurts, accepting this gift of Jesus can become a little too far fetched.  BUT...I can vouch for when life got the most painful for me, when people I loved hurt me, when everything I did in my life screamed anything but holy, Jesus was there.  He was there for me, and He is the reason why I know how to love.  Because He first loved me.

So, when I may over-post on Facebook with my Holy Scriptures, with my convicting quotes from Christian authors, with my lyrics from Christian songs...try to understand those decisions are made based on one simple fact...

I love Jesus.

And I want you to love Him, too.  He sure loves you. 

**This post was inspired after hearing Chonda Pierce's testimony at one of her events recently.  If you get the chance to hear her speak, don't miss it.  It will be worth your time and effort.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

That Dang Pendulum

And so the saying goes...

I take two steps forward and three steps back.

That seems to be the theme of my life lately.  For every wonderful thing that comes my way, it is usually followed with two whopping doses of reality.  And isn't it just like us to focus on the negative things that happen as if we have forgotten all of the glorious things that God has put in our lives?!  It's easier and dare I say...it even feels better sometimes...to fixate on the junk.

Life feels like riding a pendulum.  I can almost visualize it in my mind.  I hop on the pendulum of life, wrap my legs around it as if it were a swinging tire and hold on tight.  Some days I'm stationary, not moving from one side or the other.  I'm just still, complacent, non-responsive.  Other days, I take a giant swing forward and fight my way in trying to stay there without swinging back.  These are those moments where I experience the presence of God.  It's not a feeling, it's a state of mind.  Sometimes my flesh responds...perhaps through goose bumps, tears of joy, shouts of laughter.  Then there are the darker days where my swing hovers in the background as if it is being pulled back by magnetic force.  These are the days where I swim around in my self pity pool.  These are the days where I hate myself, I doubt myself, I scream at myself.  This is where fear blows in along with frustration, selfishness, and pride.

No one wears me out more than myself.  No one hates me more than I hate myself.  No one gets how I've disappointed others more than myself.  I don't need any enemies (although I'm sure I have some).  I am my own worst enemy.  No one suffers more than I do because of me.  But you see?  How many times did I use the words me, I, myself?  Even our self-loathing is still rooted in self.  Selfishness is a tricky thing.  Even when we're feeling sorry for ourselves, we're still wallowing around in self.  Every bit of that pendulum ride...swinging from "I got this.  Life is good.  Look at me," to "I can't do anything right.  No one likes me.  I am worthless," - every bit of that ride is rooted in me, myself and I.

Life is a pendulum.  And how we choose to ride it does matter and will impact our life greatly.  I wonder which side you find yourself on today.  I think, for me, I'm gonna jump off and let Jesus jump on.  I think riding on his shoulders gives me a better view, gives me a better perspective.  We are here for just a short amount of time.  Some of you understand that better than others.  What we do in this moment, in this brief space of time, impacts what happens after it's gone. 

I can't speak for you, but I know for me, I want to spend as much time as I can riding on the shoulders of Jesus.  Won't you join me?  He has room for us all.