Saturday, August 12, 2006

Is That Blood? - Part 2

Is it any surprise that hurt leads to anger and anger leads to bitterness? For some reason, it was news to me. It seems easier to bury those feelings and pretend everything is ok. Or maybe it is nice to have some ammunition to throw out during the next fight. Sometimes it just feels good to be mad or have someone to blame (I tend to like to play the blame game). But it only adds up to devestation!

One thing I learned during that time in my life was to keep a short account with God. I need to regularly ask him to show me any areas where I have either been hurt or caused hurt. And then I need to deal with it: forgive or seek forgiveness. (Here we go with the humility thing again, but really, it takes humility to seek forgiveness.)

I'm not sure what I'd do without God showing me the things in my heart that need to change. The devil would love for us to let our relationships bleed to death, but only Jesus can stop the bleeding and prevent a trip to the emergency room.

Ephesians 4:26-27
In your anger do not sin:
Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4:29-32
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit fo God,
with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice.
Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Is That Blood? - Part 1

We were visiting some friends from our church the other night. They have 4 boys! We had a fish fry with some of their recent catches. (yum! I love having fisherman in our church - especially generous ones!) We proceded to walk through the woods and ride their horses. While some kids were riding horse, Mike was chasing the other kids around the farm: up big round hay bales, through bushes and around the fences. Their oldest boy came running with a smile on his face until he realized his face was all wet. When he touched it and pulled his hand away it was covered in blood. His head had snagged the barbed wire fence. He was really tough about it until his dad mentioned stitches, then fear struck. His parents did wonder how they would explain to the E.R. doctor that the Pastor was chasing their kids around and their son got hooked by a barbed wire fence. However, it stopped bleeding quickly and it turned out to be ok.

It got me thinking of the time after Jenna was born. She was my toughest delivery and ended up in NICU for a few days. Needless to say, it was a pretty stressful time. Of course, she was born on a Friday. Mike had a wedding on Saturday and church on Sunday. I can understand doing the wedding, but he went to all the other scheduled things of his day like nothing had happened. If anyone else in our church would've had a baby in NICU we would have dropped everything and run right down there. But he couldn't (or wouldn't) do it for me.

It was two months later, after things were falling apart that I suddenly realized I was super angry that he hadn't been there for me. It seemed like our marriage was fine, but there were things brewing under the surface. It was like finding blood all over my hands. All of a sudden our marriage was hemmoraging and we needed to get to the E.R.

We were dealing with some other big issues as well. And for us, things got worse before they got better. The situation around Jenna's birth was just the point at which we realized we were bleeding. We're grateful for God's grace and forgiveness in our lives. And honestly, although we sought professional counseling, the major turning point was both of us turning our lives and hearts completely over to Christ in some areas that we hadn't. He was not coming first and we were both being selfish and just plain sinful in many ways.

The counselor we met with was trying to negotiate the details, but he was missing the point. Once we sought God's forgiveness, forgave and started serving each other, the details really didn't matter. When we were focused on Christ and his amazing forgiveness, it really didn't matter where we lived, how small the house was, who did what chores, who did the most work with the kids or who made the biggest mistakes! Christ's forgiveness is bigger than all of that stuff.

2 Corinthians 4:18
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal."

Ephesians 1:7-8
"In him we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God's grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Enough About TV!

I'm really being challenged about what I fill my mind and time with, so I had a few more thoughts on TV. I was thinking that it isn't only about the amount of time I spend watching TV, but there is something to be said for the content of what I'm watching. How many of the shows that I enjoy watching include majorly, bigtime sinful behavior? Murder, adultery, stealing, dishonesty, bad language and worse. What should my standard for viewing be?

It reminds me of the time Mike and I were on vacation with my sister and her husband and my parents. We were watching TV and came across Austin Powers. I'm sure that my sister and brother-in-law had seen the movie before as we had. We thought it was funny I guess. But as we were sitting there watching it with my parents, the sexual innuendos and lewdness didn't seem so funny. We were all adults, but one by one we decided it was too weird and headed off to bed.

Another time when my sister and I were in high school we accidentally left a copy of the Woody Harrelson movie "White Men Can't Jump" at our grandparents. (Does that date me? Have most of you heard of that movie?) My Grandpa found it and watched it. He was in World War 2, so I figure he's heard a few swear words in his day, but it made us feel pretty uncomfortable to think of him watching that movie. So then I wonder, why were we watching it?

There are things and situations that we as adults can handle watching But I'm realizing that I'm becoming pretty laid back with my standards. I want my life to be pleasing to God in every area and to be pure before Him as much as I can in my sinful state. I think I need to remember that Jesus sitting in the room with me while I watch TV. I wonder if it would change my viewing habits?

Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever in noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

1 Corinthians 10:23
"'Everything is permissible" - but not everything is beneficial.
'Everything is permissible' - but not everything is constructive."

I'm All Ears!

One of the best things about this blog is meeting other moms! So I would love it if you contacted me. Feel free to challenge, disagree, commiserate or share your heart.

I don't have a huge audience and love getting mail, so rest assured you will hear from me in about thirty seconds.

You can find me right here,

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hey - Where's the TV?

I was standing in the kitchen with the remote control in my hand, but guess what - no TV. We had a little TV in our kitchen this year for Bible study. Well, Bible study is long over but I thought it was kind of nice to have in there. I could watch the news or other shows while I was working in the kitchen. But suddenly, it had vanished.

I got a note in the mail from a ministry encouraging people to turn off their TV for a month. A month! I like watching TV. It's relaxing to unwind and watch a few things, but I always feel a little unfulfilled after a night of viewing. But not unfulfilled enought to get rid of the thing completely!

But, Mike decided it was time to put the kitchen TV away (we have another one in the basement so it's not that big of a deal). I was kind of annoyed. Didn't he know how many countless hours I spend doing menial labor in the kitchen? How dare he come in and just decide to take it away! So, being the submissive wife that I am, I decided to just go with it. I did have the inclination to go dig for it in the garage or basement and bring it back in while he was at work, but that' s another story.

Then while he was reading one night he said, I can't believe how much I can get done when I watch less TV. I had to agree that it was true. We were both reading more and I was using my evening hours to do more praying.

I don't think it's wrong to have TV in your house, kitchen or bedroom. And come fall when our shows come back on and it gets cold and dark outside at night, I'm sure we will watch more of it. But I realized that I watch it out of habit. Some shows I really don't care about, the news I can get on the radio.

I've been thinking a lot about how to make my life more pleasing to God and being more like Him. It's spurring me on to evaluate lots of things in my life that I thought were outside the "Spiritual" part of my life. I hope it helps me be more discerning about how I spend my time.

Ephesians 5:1-2
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us
as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Golden Moments

Just when I think I'm really going to go crazy there are those golden moments that make it all worth it. Is there anything better than looking out the window at your kids playing together in the sandbox or the sight of all of them on the swingset eating a popsicle? I try to sit back and engrain those memories in my head so I can remember them forever. Plus, soon enought they'll be throwing sand at each other and sword fighting with their popsicles, so why not savor the moment!

Oh and another one is when they are asleep at night! So sweet (and quiet!)

Psalm 129:3
"Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
children are a reward from him."

More Pie Please

I like pie a lot! But I'm not sure how many more pieces of humble pie I can stomach! While we were in Colorado, we had a pass to the water park. There are a couple of pools there including a big kiddie pool with a little slide. Jenna was helping Annie go down so I was going to hop in the pool to catch her. I thought I'll just step on this soft little landing mat, little did I know that althought soft, it is very slippery - so I fell. Now, I didn't just stumble or lose my balance, I did a total face plant in the kiddie pool in my swimsuit. Not a pretty sight!

After I got over the initial shock I started to laugh. Mainly because my husband was already laughing from across the pool! What I didn't realize until a few minutes later was that I scraped my foot down to the muscle. I was really wussy about it. (I'm not sure how it is that I can pop out a 9 1/2 pound baby like nothing, but limp and moan for weeks because of a scrape!) And now 3 weeks later, I still have a band aid on that spot and can't wear certain shoes, which is also a major source of pain to me.

There are so many times that I do a spiritual face plant! Just the other night, Mike and I were meeting with a couple and I just blew it. I had actually wanted to reschedule because Annie was cranky and I was tired. I felt off of "my game". But we plunged right in and I was way too talkative. I have gotten better about being quiet and listening in those situations, but not that night! Fortunately we know them well and I think they'll forgive me. But I was so disappointed with myself! Sometimes my ministry needs to be sitting there with my mouth shut!

It felt a lot like falling in the pool - instant humility! The trick to a humbling experience is to learn from it. I'm going to slow down and pray before those kind of meetings that God will be in control of my tongue and help me be focused on the people we're meeting with even if there is a lot going on in my little life at the time.

And, I'm going to slow down and be a lot more careful in the kiddie pool!

Proverbs 11:2
"When pride comes, the comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom."

Philippians 2:3
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
but in humility consider others better than yourselves."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Weeds Be Gone!

Every year as fall rolls around I get crazy thinking about all the activities we could get involved with for the coming year. Opportunity abounds! Piano lessons, gymnastics, karate, scouts and the list goes on. It's so weird how in the spring I can't wait for everything to be over so we can have a more laid back schedule and in the fall I crave routine and activity.

For some reason last fall I had this need to do way too much. I was helping with Sunday School, hosting Bible studies and in charge of the Christmas program. While I was trying to get all my stuff together one Sunday morning, I looked over and saw Mike feeding the kids breakfast. Not that he had any important stuff, like a sermon to think about! All the activites I was involved in were good things to do, but were they edifying my job in serving my family? If I'm not home to keep the "home fires burning", then the home might just burn down!

As you know, I have been spending a lot of time in the garden lately. Not only do I not really enjoy gardening, I'm totally ignorant about it. It's unbelievable how weeds grow and look just like the plant. They are smart little things! If you aren't careful you could pull the actual plant and not the weed. And when the weeds get too big, when you pull them the plant come right out too!

I think activities can be like weeds in my life. They'll uproot our whole family if I let them get too overgrown. Even if I could keep up with all the running around and costs, I must ask myself if it's going to be edifying to my family and our desire to be followers of Christ. Why is that so hard to do? I think I better get out the weed wacker!

Matthew 13:7
"Other seeds fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants."

The Late Show

I didn't get a chance to blog at all yesterday, which was very distressing to me. But, there were some laundry issues that needed my attention and we took the kids down to the Lakewalk along Lake Superior. Their favorite outing!

After we got the kiddos to bed, we got a babysitter and went to a late movie. We don't go out as often as we should, but a lot of times at night I just don't feel like I have the energy. Typically, we go for a more interactive date at a coffee shop, but last night there was a pirate movie we wanted to see (which was awesome by the way!). So we went to the 9:20 show. We were the only ones there and I was tired. But it was good to get out together, get away from the stresses of life and enjoy getting lost in a pirate movie together. We bought way too many snacks - we must have been thinking family style. But we got to sit there, watch and eat uninterrupted together.

On the way home at midnight, we were tired so we didn't say much. But I was reminded that it is really important to take time out together. When was the last time you dated your mate?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Why Bother With Church?

We've been away from our church family for 9 weeks, so I was really looking forward to being back with them today. It's nice to go to other churches and worship with other believers, but there is just nothing like worshipping at SonLife for me. The people there have known us since before we had kids. They have been with us in good times and bad times, they have allowed us to make mistakes and grow. And they still love us. They are a great and gracious group of people.

So, I was excited, my children however had other plans for me. Annie cried and screamed almost the entire hour. Grant and Abby came running outside to find me (during the sermon) to tell me that they were tired and hungry. They didn't pick up their crayons like I asked them to after church and did several other annoying and disobedient things. All of which was made worse by Annie's screaming. Then we headed home and I made lunch and fed everyone before Mike even walked through the door. What a fulfilling worship experience!

So, I was thinking to myself, Why did I come to church today? I never get anything out of it and I could just as well be chasing kids at home. That's been on my mind a lot lately! Why bother?

Of course I have to go to church because I'm the Pastor's wife, right? That is true, but I want to be in church - even when it's hard. Here's what I've realized:

I need to be in church with my family. We need to worship together. They need to see that this is an important event. Not that we are legalistic and are there by force, but that we WANT to be there. It's a joy to be with our church family and to praise the Lord together. I like to shut my eyes while we are singing sometimes to keep from being distracted. One day last year Jenna asked me, "Do you shut your eyes so you can see Jesus?" I do not want to miss those moments with my kids.

And if I'm not going to go because I don't get anything out of it, that really is just plain selfishness isn't it? Who said church is about me and what I can get from it? Isn't it really about God and what we bring Him?

Acts 2:42-47
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and good, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."