Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sunday School Lessons

I'm back to preparing a Sunday School lesson for a group of preschoolers every week. It was hard to get back to but I think I'm ready. I have coloring pages, games, songs and an edible craft.

We are around church a lot. At the beach and in the bathtub there are often impromptu "baptisms". We sing church songs. On the rare occasion we have grape juice they think about communion.

The other day we had an unusual and exciting event: I washed the kitchen floor. I had all the dining room chairs in the living room. Abby, Annie and Maren were playing some type of "church boat". They were busy beavers but I guess it is time for Sunday school to start up again.

They prayed for their baby that had surgery. Maren sang "Happy Birthday" from the bible. We do sing that in Sunday school. Then began the preaching by Abby and Annie.

"Whenever you have trouble always ask someone or Jesus."

"Always panic - oh that's the wrong page."

"Whatever you say, don't panic, don't worry, it's always ok."

"Now I'll hold your baby so you can read or I'll just put him in that box."

"Don't be mean, be nice, never selfish or your eyes will pop out!"

Maybe we need to clear a few things up in their theology.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mundanely Monotonous

I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. I'm not a morning person so I don't normally leap out of bed but today I was really dragging. Some days I have a hard time getting ready to get up and face another 18 hours of screaming, cleaning up messes, laundry, attitude problems and fighting. The same thing, day after day, month after month. Reading the same books, putting away the same toys.

Mike stayed home a little longer so I could go jogging and he told me to "come back happy". It's not that I'm not happy, I'm just bored (but busy) and tired of the mundane job of motherhood. I was reading about someone going back to work and how nice it was for them to read emails in peace. I was jealous. Until I talked to my friend who is sick of always having to go to work.

Maybe it's not just motherhood, it might just be life. There are times in life that are trying. I feel guilty whenever I feel this way because I am totally blessed to have a beautiful, healthy family. But I really didn't think a 20 minute run would make me happy.

While I was running a part of a verse came to my mind about "the joy set before Him." I looked it up when I got home and it's Hebrews 12:1-3.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
There are certainly a lot more difficult and painful trials I could go through. But to get through this, I can't just look forward to the joy of naptime, bedtime or time alone. I have to focus on the joy I have in Christ. Jesus died and rose again to bring glory to God and salvation to all.

I was encouraged through this verse to continue to press ahead with my eyes fixed on Jesus, whether the days are happy and fun or boring and mundane I can't lose heart. May you also be encouraged to run with perseverance in the days and jobs that are in your life.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All's Well That Ends Well

Today was Annie's first day of preschool. It's two afternoons a week through our school district. The best part is they get to ride the bus home. Annie has been looking forward to this since she learned to talk. We kept telling her when she was four she could ride it for preschool. Last April, the DAY she turned four she thought she was going to hop on the bus with the big kids.

To add to the excitement, this preschool is in the same room and has the same teachers that we've had for a several years during ECFE. She has always loved that class too.

So imagine my surprise when we were getting ready to go and she starts showing hesitation. But she quickly rebounded and off we went backpack in hand. She would not carry it in because she thought the kids might laugh at her. I tried to assure her that every kid has a backpack.

I brought my camera and we got to the classroom. She flipped out and clung to me when it was time to go next door and do paperwork. I tried to reason with her for a while then I finally left her screaming. Not just a sad scream but a super ticked off scream. It really did not seem to be the best time for pictures.

While I was filling out paperwork and listening to the teachers, I was also chasing Maren down the hall, pulling her off the chair she pushed up to the drinking fountain and trying to keep her from screaming just for fun. Question and answer time seemed to go on forever. But maybe it was because no one else was wrestling two kids in a 250 degree school or had heard this preschool talk four times already.

Parents that didn't know me probably wondered what my problem was. The parents that do know me already may have clued them in after I left. Luckily the teachers know us well enough to know that I am not totally off my rocker and have seen me in control of my children at least once.

We came back from paperwork for our bus safety ride just as she had calmed down. She was happy on the bus ride. At the end I told her, "It's time for Mommy to go now."
She replied, "I don't want to be here by myself!"

I asked the teachers what I should do. They told me to leave. So I quick said good-bye, grabbed Maren and my papers and ran out the door knocking over small children and other mothers.

I really was not prepared for that response. It seemed like we were getting past the point where it is impossible to take the girls places. I even offered to help my friend who had three little ones with her. She had it all together anyway which was good since I was in no position to help.

Maren and I had to run to the store for a few things after we left. I was very anxious to see how Annie was when she got off the bus or if I had a message on my answering machine telling me to come pick up my screaming kid. Diet Coke was on sale at the store.

We waited. Maren celebrated being the only one at home by drinking Diet Coke out of my new dollar store goblet.

She also colored on it with permanent marker along with my living room chair.

We walked out to the end of the driveway. As the bus came down the road I wondered what the verdict was?

She was smiling and happy as you can see. She thought school was awesome although she claims she cried for "80 million hours" before snack.

Then she ate her first day of preschool bribe snack.

You'd think that it wouldn't be as hard to leave a screaming child when it's your 4th, but it was. You'd think I'd be ready for anything at this point in parenting, but I'm not. I am learning to take it all in stride and not feel like a horrible parent.

When she was eating her snack she told me she was just a little nervous. I'm hoping her next bout of nerves will be a little less loud and a little more private.

She's sound asleep now and ready to go back on Friday. I guess the old saying is true: All's well that ends well.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Have you ever felt like you were in a funk? I hadn't been able to put my finger on what my problem might be. It lasted way too long to be PMS. I kept taking Pamprin anyway hoping that it might help me be less cranky, tired, moody, and disinterested in life. Finally on Saturday I was desperate enough to pray about it. And wouldn't you know God answered my prayer! A new bottle of pamprin was not the answer. The answer that I felt in my heart was to quit sinning.

I was a little taken aback at first. I mean I am a Pastor's wife. I go to church and teach Sunday School. I appear to be a very nice and good person. But there have been several things I've let creep into my life that are not God honoring. And I didn't care. I could always find a way to justify it. From "I deserve to do this" to "Just one more time". The whole thing left me with a cold heart.

God sent His only Son Jesus to suffer and die for me sin. I cannot believe how easy it is to slip into having a callous attitude toward His sacrifice.

Ephesians 5:3 says
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.

Not even a hint. Just a little sin is too much. And I could feel my little thoughts threatening to blow up into bigger ones. I'll be honest, a few things had already become way bigger than I would have ever thought possible. But the more I allowed my heart to continue down that path, the less I cared.

The word Holiness has a lot of negative connotations. It makes me think of people with stiff suits, singing hymns without smiling. But holiness is God setting us apart for Him.

I picked up a book that I've had on my shelf for a long time called "Holiness The Heart God Purifies" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It hit me right where I was at. I read the whole thing in a day.

"None of that [Christian stuff] will get us one iota closer to God if we are ignoring or cherishing sin in our hearts." Holiness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Page 54

I think cherish is a great word choice. For me, it feels good to hold on to some things. They are a little reward or happy place. Why should I have to give everything up?

"The greatest need of your mate, your children, your friends and fellow workers is not your friendship or your acts of service; it is not your abilities or your financial provision; their greatest need is not even your verbal witness of your faith. What they most need to see in you is a reflection of what God is like and of the transforming power of the gospel." Holiness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Page 57

Psalm 19:14
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

I needed to STOP! There are things that I know I need to change, stop watching, stop reading, and stop thinking. The problem is it's hard. It's hard when I rely on myself to fix it and try really hard with all my human sinful might. Then I'm doomed to stay in the pit of sin. But with the power of Christ, I can change. Why am I continually surprised when God does what he promises?

1 Corinthians 1:8-9
He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

God's already giving me some victory. Don't get me wrong: it's a battle. I don't feel stifled or like I'm missing out. I don't feel like I have to start starching my capri pants. I feel freedom. I feel, period. And I'm so thankful.

Are you in a funk? What are the things in your life that you are unwilling to let go of? Things you are watching on TV or reading on the internet that are "no big deal"? The things you say about other people. The angry responses to your family. The many, many ways you can justify everything. (One of my favorites is: "I wouldn't have to get mad if you would behave!") Those little half truths that aren't hurting anyone? The greediness that keeps you running after the next thing? The person you just aren't willing to forgive?

STOP. Whatever it takes come to Jesus and repent. Don't worry if Harry or Susie quit what they were doing. Don't wonder if there's some way around it or if it's no big deal. It is a big deal. God is heavily invested in His holiness and ours.

Romans 6:22
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

1 Chronicles 16:28-29
Ascribe to the LORD , O families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength,
ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name.
Bring an offering and come before him;

Isaiah 35:8
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.