Friday, May 08, 2009



One night our kids were supposed to be cleaning up the toy room and they didn’t. Mike sat down and asked them what they thought they deserved. They all said they deserved to be punished. But Mike graciously pardoned them from their deserved fate.

Have you ever had the experience when you knew you were in trouble and were steeling yourself for an angry response? My attitude in those situations is usually “bring it on!” and I’ll harden my heart to protect myself. But there have been times when what I actually got was not harsh discipline but gentle grace and it breaks right through me.

Gentleness is a powerful thing. Gentleness is meekness, willing submission and rest in God.

There are a lot of images of Jesus’ gentleness in the Bible as a shepherd, healer and savior. I think my favorite story of Jesus showing gentleness is the story of The Adulterous Woman in John 8:1-11. Talk about having your sin hung out for the world to see! The Pharisees found a woman caught in the act and brought her out to have her stoned. They were more interested in trapping Jesus than punishing the woman. I suppose they thought they could kill two birds with one stone - so to speak. Anyway, Jesus starts writing something on the ground. And He says, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7) Then he starts writing again! They began to turn and leave until only Jesus and the woman were left. And I can just imagine him helping her up and telling her "Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin."

Can it get any better than that? He shuts down the Pharisees without saying a word!

And, even better, he offers us his gentleness.

Matthew 11:29
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls.

In this world full of hate and rage and anger, having Christ-like gentleness is beyond important. I am not sure we can win the world over to Christ by trying to out-protest, out-shout, or out-politicize others. But by showing the undeserved gentle grace of Christ people can see the life-changing love of that He offers.

1 Peter 3:15 offers some input that
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Gentleness and meekness are not the way of our world, it’s another counter-cultural part of following Christ. The world says we should do the best for ourselves no matter what the cost. But Jesus shows us a different way and, from the looks of how things are going in the world so far, it’s a better way.

I’m not sure I could really classify myself as a naturally gentle person. When I think about gentleness, I think back to those first moments holding a brand new baby. All the emotions of joy, awe and tenderness. A precious new life that you softly caress a cheek and so much want to protect.

Although in my own family, those precious moments are giving way to two year old temper tantrums, school projects and baseball games. Don’t get me wrong, there are precious moments now too but I seem to always be giving direction, structure, discipline (which are all also needed). It doesn’t seem as natural to pour gentleness on to our family. But it’s still a vital part of what they need.

Mercy, grace and gentleness are avenues for pointing my kids to Christ. It’s such a powerful way to break through our hardness of heart and learn to love like Jesus.

And it’s powerful in drawing me closer to Him. In the face of all I do wrong, oh do I need his gentle grace!

Philippians 4:5
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009



I spent the day Saturday at a pastor's wives group I was invited to join by my friend Nicole. The ladies were great and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better over time. In the chapter we were working through, there was a large section on women in ministry. There's debate going on in some circles as to what role women should play in the church. We didn't really discuss it in much detail at our meeting and I do have an idea where I stand on the issue. But God impressed something more important on my heart during that day.

Am I willing to put aside my gifts, callings and talents for the Lord? Am I willing to pour out my gifts in the role I have with my family even if it is not noticed or praised by many?

I usually consider myself willing to use my gifts for the Lord in the way I want to. But, I want to be in control of where I serve. It’s easy to hide behind my gifts or talents by saying either I can’t do this or I can ONLY do that.

Since the beginning of time women have tried to grab control. Eve did it when she ate the fruit (Genesis 3:6-7). Sarah did it when she conspired to have a son through her servant (Genesis 16). Rebekah did it when she helped Jacob steal the birthright (Genesis 27). Rachel and Leah did it when they had a fertility battle to prove who could provide the most children to their husband (Genesis 29-30).

And I do it, all the time. A lot of times I think it's cultural. And that is partially true. Our culture has taught us that we can do anything, be anything, let nothing get in our way! From looking at Genesis, it seems that the desire to control things is simply a part of our sinful nature.

But I have found the most fulfilling freedom when I willingly let go. Letting go of my need for recognition, control, career (Maybe willingness includes giving up a career, taking a break, or keeping a job that you don't love because your family needs it) and callings has not been my way. God has had to humble me and show me HIS way.

Can I choose to follow the pattern of Christ in his willingness to make himself nothing. My purpose in this life is not to demand fulfillment. It’s to let Christ mold me into what he wants me to be: set apart and different, humble and gentle, seeking His glory, not my own.

By making less of myself, I make more of Jesus.

Philippians 2:1-11
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very natureF5 God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death--
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Not Me!

When I read about Not Me! Monday I figured I’d better get on board. Here are my unconfessions for the week!

I did not get out of the shower to find my youngest in the cupboard dumping out all the kool-aid and pudding packets she could find. And I definitely did not take a picture of it for my blog. That might make her think it was ok.

Upon hearing that one of the kids vomitted while I was gone, I did not think “I’m so glad I wasn’t here!” I would never do that.

I did not hear my girls talking about their school field trip to the circus. I did not hear one say, “The girls were dressed to inappropriately!” And the other one say, “Yeah, I could see one of their cheek butts!”

I did not have to take my screaming child out of church three times yesterday. I’m the pastor’s wife and I sit in the front row.

I did not eat ½ the pan of chocolate crunch brownies. I made them for my family and everyone knows that I DO NOT eat sugar anymore!

I did not make such a big fool of myself on the tennis court that my husband literally fell over laughing. After all, I am a good tennis player who has a lot of time to practice.

I did not leave my purse at the coffee shop after our tennis date. I didn’t have any kids to keep track of and I am always attentive to where my stuff is.

Upon returning from tennis and coffee, I did not pick up my two year old because she was crying in her crib and let her come watch T.V. with us. I would never do that because bedtimes and sleep schedules are important. And two year olds are not supposed to watch T.V.

I did not spell "hear" the wrong way and go back and fix it later.