Thursday, December 03, 2009

My Day So Far

This day started in the wee hours of the morning with a line up of girls waiting to get into my bed.

Laundry. Shower. Eggs.

Gas Station.

Gas Station Cappaccino. 99 cents.

Grocery Shopping.

Girl Scout Preparations.

Pick up Girl Scout.

Pick up Avon. It was a make-up emergency.

Reading Group with 5 fourth grade boys. They like me because I bring them food.

Girl Scouts.

Five minutes into Girl Scouts Annie's tummy hurts. I decide I should take her home. She pukes all over me in the parking lot.

Go home. Change. Bathe. Clean car. Start laundry.

Back to Girl Scouts. We made gingerbread houses. Big clean up job.

Home. Slam two tacos.

Basketball Practice. Lots of Drama.

Deliver forgotten coats and give rides.

Home. Clean up.

Go to grocery store to buy crackers and Sprite. It's cold and my coat is in the wash.

Help get kids to bed.

Not impressed with my homemade laundry soap.

Help Mike with paperwork and bills.

Wonder how long it will take for everyone to get this bug.

Bedtime. I have a feeling my night is only beginning.

Hmmm I think my stomach feels a little queasy.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Details of Discontent: Part 4.1 ~ Making Comparisons


See I told you I wasn’t good at math.  If you are a left-minded thinker I am sorry.  I have to make this 4.1 because there are a few more things I wanted to add to the comparing myself to others thoughts.  So I had to make up a number. 

What I was thinking about is that if we are going to believe that God loves us and has a plan for us, what do we do when we don’t like the plan?  How could he love me if THIS is his plan for me?  We’ve got a big problem, a beef with God.  There are a few things in the Bible that deal with this.

Romans 9:19-21

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us?  For who resists his will?”  But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?  “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”  Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

So, let’s pretend I am a quilter.  Nothing could be further from the truth but a girl can dream right?  Plus, I think you have to be good at math to quilt.  I go to the quilt shop and buy some cotton fabric.  I take it home and make a beautiful quilt for a king sized bed.  With the leftovers I make some cloth diapers.  It’s up to the creativity of the quilter what is going to be done with her fabric.

And I think that is what the verse in Romans in saying.  God gets to choose.  He’s in control.  Who are we to say I didn’t sign up for this!  I don’t want this!  I want to be a fancy quilt not a diaper. 

Romans 9:14-16

What then shall we say?  Is God unjust?  Not at all!  For he says to Moses,

‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,

and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

And that is a hard thing to deal with.  We are not in control.  Everything began with God and His purpose.  But guess what?  God’s mercy is for everyone.  Mercy is forgiving and compassionate.  He wants us all to have the opportunity to know him.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

The thing I tend to miss is that as I grow in my relationship with Christ, I should grow in humility.  That’s not a word we like to talk about or revere.  But it’s of great value to God.  Jesus showed the ultimate act of humility.

Philippians 2:6-11

Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

but made himself nothing,

taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

and became obedient to death -

even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the  earth,

and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

When I was younger I loved to sing.  I wanted to be a singer.  I took voice lessons and spent a lot of time singing in front of a full length mirror with a pretend microphone.  I cannot believe I just admitted that. But just ask my sister, it’s true.  She’d love to tell you the whole story.

I never really had the opportunity to sing in front of real people very much.  When our youth group was preparing to go on a missions trip to Mexico we were featured during the Sunday Morning service. They asked my friend Jenny to sing a song and they asked me to speak.  I wasn’t that happy.  I really couldn’t understand why they didn’t recognize the talents I thought I had. 

What I didn’t do was step back and ask God about the talents and plans he had for me.  I know I have the gift of gab and maybe that is more the direction he wanted to use me.  Instead of accepting and embracing that, I kicked and stamped my feet that he wasn’t using me in the way I saw fit.  Because how could God have a better plan than me? 

So as I am trying to learn to trust God’s plans for me, it changes the way I operate.  He has given me this personality and gifts that he wants to use.  I need to be humble enough to let him use them.  And better yet, embrace them.  It’s not productive for me to look at Jenny and say boy I wish I was her.  Although I do because she’s beautiful and talented to this day.  I want to trust Christ and say I’m glad for the way he made me and I’m willing to be used however He wants.

Does it mean I have to stop singing?  No way!  I still sing a lot at my piano.  Music is a big part of how I worship God.  It just may not be used in performance mode.  But I can still sing to Him and I’ve found it’s a little more special when it’s just between us.  Although I do miss my microphone.

There is so much peace and contentment in that place.  That’s where I find peace with who I am and how God created me.  By cultivating humility and surrendering myself to do His will.  You may think that is silly.  Or stupid.  But that’s what the New Testament continually tells us to strive for.

Part of God’s plan in making everyone different with different gifts was for his work to be completed on earth and for His glory.

Romans 12:3-8

For by the grace give me I say to every one of you:  Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.  Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift if prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage, if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

1 Peter 4:10-11

Each one of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.

I can display the awesomeness of God by doing what He’s gifted me to do.  I want to be encouraged to be humble and eager to serve,whether it’s in the way I want to or not.  It’s hard to serve as a Mom and wife.  I am continually giving up more and more.  When I think I’ve finally given everything, God shows me I can give more.  The term give until it hurts seems to apply here.  I am trying to learn to embrace that.

I know this isn’t a hot seller anymore but I think it’s worth recommending The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.  It is such a great help in finding your purpose and place in life from a biblical perspective.  I have a copy that I’d be happy to give you if you can’t find it or buy it. 

I hope and pray that you can find people around you that will encourage that in you.  Seek people and mentors that will challenge you with using your gifts for the Lord and assure you that your surrender is not a waste.  Do that for your kids.  Allow God to show you areas you are gifted and and serve wholeheartedly and joyfully.  That’s the place of contentment.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Details of Discontent ~ Part Four: Making Comparisons


There are things I do not like about myself.  Lots of things.  I have small eyes and my face is too round.  I don’t feel like I am a productive member of society.  I am disorganized and talk too fast and loud.  I am forgetful and stay up too late.

When do we start hating things about ourselves?  Every four year old thinks she is a beautiful princess and by the time she gets to junior high she can’t stand anything about herself.  Girls are cutting themselves because they are so miserable. 

Society conditions us to want perfection.  We want happiness and strive to be like those who seem to have achieved it.  We look at airbrushed models and hate our bodies.  We look at people with exciting careers and lots of money and feel insignificant. 

Comparing ourselves to others seems to take two paths.  It either leads to total depression and self-hate or snarky nastiness.  Why do women do this?  I think it’s because we are looking for significance and love.  We are searching for meaning in our lives.  We have a longing for something and we aren’t sure what it is.  We think that that purse, husband, degree or job might finally be the key to our happiness.

We won’t find what we are looking for in a self-help book or beauty magazine.  We won’t find it in a career.  We won’t find it in a husband or children.  Those longings can only be filled by one person and that’s Jesus Christ. Before we go any further, let me share some of God’s thoughts on the subject.

He made us in his image.  

Genesis 1:27

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

He made each of us special and unique.  He made us just the way he wanted us to be.

Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

you works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of the came to be.

God loves us enough to die for us.  He has a plan for our lives.  No matter what we do or don’t do, where we go, who we marry nothing can change his love for us. 

Jeremiah 31:3

I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

Romans 8:37-39

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


Soak those words in.  God loves me and you just the way we are.  It doesn’t matter how we look or what we do.  We are made to perfection.  But instead of going to Christ and being filled with his love, we are constantly drowned by bad knock offs.  We think that if we only had what she has we would be happy.

So here are some things I’ve learned in this area.  Most people that I compare myself to are not what they appear to be. 

Most people that have to talk themselves up and flaunt what they have are deep down insecure.  But it’s so easy to get sucked in.  I think the internet is especially dangerous because you can be whoever you want to be.  When you read your Facebook friends status or look at their pictures it only tells the part of the story they want you to know. 

What good does it do if you tend to fall into despair over what you are not?  Does it help?   It hurts your marriage and your family.  It stifles productivity at work and friendships.  It’s a path to a dark place.  Please take the words of Christ to heart.  He loves you.  Even if no one else in the world cares you are alive or gives you a second thought, God does.  He is the only place you will find true contentment and worth.

I probably fall into the catty and nasty category most often.  It’s a defense mechanism.  Tear down everything else and you will feel and look better.  Only it doesn’t work.  It doesn’t make me feel better.  It’s adds insult to injury because not only am I the same person I didn’t like in the first place, but now I’m mean and cruel.  That makes me like myself even less.  

Part of how I get past insecurities and comparisons is by letting my vulnerabilities show.  By being genuine.  We shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed about the struggles we are having in life.  The older I get the more I want to stop trying to impress people and be perfect.  I am way more happy when I’m real.  I’m much more fulfilled when I’m open.

I have many times asked God to replace the jealousy or anger I have toward someone with His love.  Why am I always so surprised when He answers my prayers?  It is a freeing thing to be able to be truly happy for other people’s new jobs, babies, houses, or haircut. 

When we are willing to be real and vulnerable we can connect with others.  We are willing to reach out to others and be reached out to. 

Last week at our small group, it came out during casual conversation that a family didn’t have an oven.  They hadn’t had one in months.  They needed help and there was help available.  But no one can help if we aren’t connected and vulnerable enough to have our needs known.  Through the generosity of some brothers and sisters, they now have one.  I’m so glad that they opened up and reached out.  Through their vulnerability, they gave others the chance to serve and share. 

I have a great desire to teach my kids not to love themselves as the secular psychologists would want them to, but to love Christ.  If they can embrace his love for them, they will have a self-image that is based on the right things.   They will look out for others and show them love.  They will be real.

Everyday I am going to look to Christ and His love for my value, not others.  I am going to keep my eyes and heart fixed on the promises that he will complete the good work he started in me.  He’ll do it in you too.


Philippians 1:3-6

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


We’ve had a grand week.  Both sets of Grandparents have been here. The kids are over tired from staying up too late, spoiled from getting everything they want, and happy for the time they had with them. 

After I had kids, I appreciated my parents and in-laws even more because no one else cared about every little thing the kids did or loved playing with them like their grandparents.  Grandparents are the only people who don’t mind changing your kids diapers or eating things they’ve already licked.  They don’t mind having kids in their bed or reading those really long books that parents hate. 

The love of grandparents is special.  I know how special my grandparents are to me.  We’ve had such good times together. They think I am the best, most talented person on the planet,  in equal measure to all my cousins of course. 


They like to go on outings for ice cream.

CanalPark 056

Do crafts.

CanalPark 135 CanalPark 144

Do laundry.

Babysit so I can go out and be a grown up.

CanalPark 134


They sometimes like to sing and be goofy.


My grandpa loves to sing.  He’s 92 and still sings.  He taught me this song and I have in turn taught it to my kids.

Last night as I lay on my pillow.

Last night as I lay in my bed.

I stuck my big feet out the window.

And now all my neighbors are dead.


This week my father-in-law taught a song to my kids that they cannot stop singing or giggling about.  It goes something like this:

Food, Glorious, Food

Grandpa’s getting fatter

When I move my belly jiggles

It makes my little granddaughters giggle.

Not only do my kids know some odd and politically incorrect songs, they have a bunch of fun memories that will be special for a lifetime.