Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sad and Scary

Have you ever had to eat humble pie? It’s pretty bitter. I know because I’ve had to do it a lot. Does that mean I’m prideful? Because I really do not know why I have to continually do the stupidest, most embarrassing things on the planet.

I was trying to be prepared for Sunday School and bought stuff for an art project based on a phrase that apparently is not in the Bible. I think I might have confused it with the “Days of Our Lives” tagline. As I’m trying to figure out plan B I knocked a piece of glass my Grandma gave me off the shelf and onto the cement floor where it shattered into a bazillion pieces.

I have broken cameras and lost cell phones. I can never find my keys. I make lists for the grocery store and lose them along the way. I forget to buy eggs when that’s ALL I need. I just had to pay a $26.00 fine at the library. The librarian had to give me one of those looks they give you when your cell phone rings in there. It’s scary.

I just switched to my big girl purse because I’m trying to look less like a bum. I even wore a turquoise (not black!) cable knit sweater the other day. I’m not really used to a purse that isn’t always strapped to me . I had to go to a bunch of different places yesterday and needed my purse. Today as I was driving to the grocery store to get the things I forgot to get yesterday, I realized my wallet was not in my purse. Yes, I realized this while I was driving. But I was not talking on the phone because I forgot my cell phone at home.

I turned around and went home. I looked in the van, on the desk, on the dresser and everywhere else I could think of. I logged on to our bank account because I was sure it had been stolen. Only I can’t remember our password. Mike told me while he was on the phone. Why would he be on the phone at a time like this! My wallet has been stolen with my credit card and *gasp* my library card!

There were no charges at the bank. What could have happened? There was a loud announcement from the other room. The wallet had been found. While I was frantically ripping apart the house, Mike calmly picked up the phone and called WalMart to see if a wallet had been left there. He went on to describe it, “It’s a fake Louis Vitton wallet that probably has two dollars in it and a bunch of McDonald’s receipts.” And it was there. Sadly this has happened before. And sadly it will probably happen again.

As I was driving to pick it up I was thankful it wasn’t stolen but dreading the coming humble pie. I was worried that they might look at it and say this driver’s license says you weigh 125 pounds and not believe it was me. I waited until all the people returning dolls and video games left and quietly said I was here to claim a wallet.

The girl behind the counter picked up her walkie talkie and said, “Customer Service Manager, the idiot is here to pick up her wallet.”

The manager gave me a motherly look and said, “Scary isn’t it?”. I tried to manage a humble little smile.

As I tucked it back in my big girl purse I thought yes it is. It’s scary that I’m such a scatterbrain. It’s scary it took me 24 hours to notice something so important was missing. It’s scary that my husband knew right where it would be. It’s scary that I still have the weight I weighed when I was 16 years old on my driver’s license. Scary and sad.

Tonight I’m going to switch back to my backpack purse and super glue it to my head.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Need a Timeout

This week I've been impatient. It's been a whirlwind of activity and I'm barely keeping up. I'd like to say that it's because my young children are pressing me. No doubt they are, but that's no excuse.

Just when I think Maren is throwing fewer fits, she ratchets it up a notch. She wanted her blanket and didn't want it, changed her mind of mittens after we left and wanted to buckle her car seat by herself. She won't get in the bath and won't get out. She won't get into bed. She won't ride in a cart. All of which resulted in loud, wailing tantrums.

I seriously don't know how much more I can take. I thought maybe it would be better when she turned two, Ha! Now I keep counting how many months it will be until she's three. It's really not that I want to wish her life to go faster. I feel like time is going too fast already! I would like it if there could be less screaming and more cooperation.

There's a lot I can handle when it comes to mothering but the screaming tantrum is tough. I can feel my face flushing and my temperature rising the minute it starts. Have I done something wrong or been a bad mom?

I probably have let too many things go with her. I figured I could do better so I tried to consistently put her in a timeout on a little bench in my room when she didn't cooperate. I've read a whole bunch of thoughts on discipline. I've tried getting mad and I've tried ignoring. I've concluded that I am the one that needs a time out. Can Mom's run away? It just seems that I do not have the depth of patience or character needed for this gig.

Then today she was the sweetest little thing imaginable. We went to class and just smiled and waved when I left for coffee time. We took Annie to preschool and she cooperated. She was charming and compliant at the store. It was so fun and I was so happy until I wondered why she can't be like this all the time?

While I was driving home I was thinking that this is just how life is with little ones. There will be good days and bad days. It's not necessarily a result of my parenting. It just is. Kids get frustrated, parents get tired. We are human.

I've been reading through the Old Testament and was reminded what a stubborn and rebellious child God had on his hands with the Israelites. Continually God tells them to follow Him and they will prosper. They continually fail. But even after their terrible failures, time and time again, when they are ready to repent God is there with open arms and blessings. That's how God is with us. He is a faithful parent, even though He knows we are going to fail.

I want the idea that I will be there for my kids through thick and thin, obedience and disobedience, good times and bad times to pour out of my heart. There are going to be difficult days. They will fail and so will I.

There is something more important than the day to day challenges and victories. It's faithfulness. When it's tough and they are crying and screaming over a mitten, I need to be faithful. When it's fun and they are laughing and fun at the store, I am called to be faithful.

Will I choose to be faithful to the job and calling that God has given me with my kids?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thinking About Haiti

Yesterday we heard from the missionaries to Haiti that came to our Vacation Bible School last summer. They hadn't heard from a young man that had been with them. JP had a big impact on the kids. He was saved by missionaries after being sacrificed in some religious ceremony as an infant. They brought him back to the U.S. and raised him. He's currently living back in Haiti.

Later on we got word that he is ok. But obviously there are many devastating stories. I've heard of other missionaries and pastors that are there right now too whose status is unknown. I thought I'd re-post what I wrote after the visit we got from our Haitian friends since everyone's hearts are focused there this week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rotten Manna

We're halfway through a great week of Vacation Bible School. Yesterday we had some missionaries to Haiti come and share with the kids. They had some Haitian men with them. It was such a powerful time for the kids to hear about this other culture, not very far away from America but a world apart. The kids are so excited to raise money for this mission. If they raise a certain amount they will get to "Pie the Pastors".

Jenna was impacted greatly by what was said. She wanted to bring all her money for the offering. I caught myself wanting to discourage her from bringing all $14.00. After all, she might want to buy a much needed stuffed animal or I don't know, what do 8 year olds do with their money? Instead I thanked her for her willingness to give it all to Christ. Why would I want to stifle that desire in her heart?

The funny thing is the Bible story that day was from Exodus 16 and 17 when God provided Manna and Quail for the Israelites in the desert. They Israelites were complaining and wishing they were back in Egypt where there was food. They seemed to quickly overlook the whole slavery thing. God provided them with quail and manna to meet their needs. Every morning they were to gather a certain amount per person for that day. When they began to store more than they needed, it became rotten. God wanted them to obey his commands and trust in Him.

I want to know we have a reserve: some savings, a retirement account, a full pantry, an alternative heat supply so we are ready for anything. Then we are relying on ourselves. But God wants us to rely on Him and His provisions day by day.

In the fall I worry about how we will buy winter gear for everyone, and at Christmas I worry about where the money for presents will come from. If only I could KNOW for sure that we'd have plenty. I don't know and sometimes things are tight. All I can do is trust God day to day to meet my needs. He always does and it never stops amazing me the ways he does it.

I'm thankful that my daughter taught me a lesson this week in her selfless act of giving.

Exodus 16:17-20
The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed. Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning." However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

Matthew 6:31-34
So do not worry, saying , "What shall we eat?" or "What sahll we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bad Turned Good

There have been some bad moments around here in the last week.  Some issues between Mike and I came to a head.  I’ve been less than patient with the kids.  The kids have been arguing, talking back and complaining. 

Yesterday morning as I was getting the kids off to the bus a large scuffle broke out over a hat.  That’s right.  A free hat.  We used to have about seven of these hats laying around and now there are two.  Someone was mad, someone crying and another pushing.  In my gentle, motherly way I told them to quit fighting about a stupid hat and get to school!  Then I slammed the door.  It was not a great way to start the day. 

When those bad moments come it leaves me with a sick feeling.  It doesn’t feel good to fight or be angry.  I don’t want our family life to be full of squabbles and skirmishes.  But the bad has a way of slowing things down.  Maybe it’s the sick feeling or the emotions involved.  I can’t just keep going amidst the hurt and dischord.  It makes me stop and think about what’s going on and why things are the way they are.

When I hit those low points it’s humbling.  I have to admit that I’m not a perfect mother or wife.  I have to admit that my kids are less than perfect.  It makes me think about what we need to do to get off the path we are on.

Once we are humbled, we can forgive. The bad moments can bring tender times of forgiveness. Those times after a boiling over of emotion can help me refocus on what’s really important.  It’s not a hat or a car battery or a bad attitude.  It’s our relationships with God and with each other.  The point of forgiveness is a new beginning.

Along with forgiveness comes time for reflection and redirection.  After feeling bad all day about how our morning went, I started to think about what we need to change.  We had a little conference after supper and talked about how we all have areas where we have not been living the way God would want us to.  I have been impatient.  Everyone else had their problem areas too.  We talked about what we could do to change and help each other.

The best part is reaffirmation, reminding each other that we are loved.  The kids need to know that will never change no matter how many bad moments we have.  And so do I. 

It’s easy for me to let those bad moments fester and give way to bitterness.  But there’s an opportunity to slow down and let bad be turned good.  This morning we had the same hat issue.  Someone turned around and grabbed a different hat and everyone hugged and hopped off to school happy and loved.

There are so many areas in our life where bad moments threaten ruin.  With family, work, church, friends, sports (ask me about our basketball games on Saturday!)  just to name a few.  Those emotional climaxes are an opportunity to change course.  I don’t want to stay on a path to hurt and despair.  I want to let bad be turned good.

Colossians 3:12-14

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved clothes yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Monday, January 11, 2010

God Revealed

Have you ever wished the God would show himself to you? It seems like it might be easier to believe and follow Him if we could see Him. We look for signs of God or His work to help us get a grasp of who He is. When I was just reading about God revealing his glory to Moses, I saw for the first time that He’s already done that.

Not long after Moses and the Israelites left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, the people sinned. While Moses was on a mountain getting instructions from God, Aaron helped the people make a golden calf to worship. This was strictly against the rules. God alone was to be their God. Now, I know I sin a lot and grumble against God a lot. But I think maybe if it was still in recent memory the things God did to get us out of Egypt I might have lasted at least a few months. Or would I?

When God sees what they have done he gets angry. He tells them they can still go to the land He promised but His presence will not go with them. I love this part.

“Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you along the way.”

Exodus 33:3

It’s really parent-like when He says you can go ahead and go, but I’m not going because I am so angry I might smite you on the way. Moses pleaded with God to stay with them. And God listens to Moses.

Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. how will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?

And the Lord said, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Exodus 33:15-17

Then the Lord tells Moses that he will cause all his goodness to pass by and proclaim His name, but He will cover Moses with his hand so he can’t see his face. When the Lord passes by and reveals His glory and goodness to Moses this is what happens. The Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with Moses and proclaimed his name, the Lord.

And He passed in front of Moses proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

Exodus 34:6-8

After that Moses bowed down and worshipped. When God revealed His name, he showed his character: compassion, grace, loving, faithful, forgiving, just. Those are the very things that are revealed about Him in the Bible. HE is shown through His Word. Who He is, is His glory and goodness and that’s all we need to worship Him.

He continued to show all the goodness of His character to the Israelites every time they sinned. Over and over again. And He does the same for us. Our response should be reverence, obedience and worship.

God can reveal things to us in our hearts and still does. But sometimes, I’m tempted to keep looking for God. I need more. I need something exciting, maybe an easier way or a more charismatic leader. I need something visual. The thing is I don’t have to keep looking. It’s all there. He’s the same Lord that revealed Himself to Moses. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.

The only looking I need to do is looking forward to the day when we’ll all see His glory and be able to be with Him forever. The Lord, the lord, the compassionate and gracious God!


It’s been a long and busy weekend.  The big kids are back to school.  The little ones are watching Sesame Street.

What on earth

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should I do

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with myself today?

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