Saturday, January 23, 2010

Do You Really Know...

Do you really know...

what it's like to need help until you are helpless?

the true comfort of mercy until you are broken?

the real power of forgiveness until you have sinned?

the value of confidentiality until you've got things to confess?

the hurt of judgement and criticism until you are judged and criticized?

the great gift of friendship until you have nothing to offer?

how to hold on to only Christ until there is nothing else to hold on to?

the full meaning of humility until your failures become public?

the true heart of compassion until you know people who still want the best for you despite your problems?

the depth of God's love until you feel completely unlovable?

the warmth of God's grace until you are made painfully aware that you don't deserve it?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Had Fun Today

sledding 001

I took a twenty-four hour trip with my youngest girls yesterday and today.  We drove for four hours to attend a party for my Grandma’s 89th birthday.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  The trees were white with frost.  I enjoyed the trip and seeing my family.  I even had time to go to my favorite thrift store! 

Then nighttime came. At 11:00 p.m.  Maren and Annie were running around the house jumping off the steps.  They’d had pop, cake, and candy.  They were excited to see everyone.  At midnight, Annie went to bed with my mom.  Maren finally fell asleep with me.  Until 2:00 a.m.  She came to the bathroom with me, watched T.V., and then fell asleep with me in the chair.  I slept sitting up the rest of the night.  I think I got 3 hours of sleep. 

I had to head home right away the next morning to go to the “girl movie” with Jenna at school.  I was tired driving home and so were they.  I started to let our fun road trip get stressful.  They wanted this and that.  They couldn’t agree on a movie.  They couldn’t hear the movie.  They couldn’t reach their snacks.  Finally, they both fell asleep for a while.

We stopped for lunch and gas.  It took us 30 minutes for our potty stop.  I was getting frustrated.  I wanted to get going.  I wanted them to hurry.  My answers were getting short and snippy.

Annie got out the iPod and started listening to Go Fish, her favorite.  She kept playing the song “Snooze”.  And listening to that song, I realized that I am really glad these girls are mine.  I am glad that we got to go on a trip together.  I treasure the time with them.  I want every day to be a special memory.

It’s so easy to lose sight of what really matters.  At the end of the day, does it matter if it takes us 30 minutes in the bathroom?  Or if we have to stop another time?  Does is matter if there are skittles all over the floor or I have to listen to a kids movie instead of what I’d like? 

What matters is not letting the little things ruin a fun trip.  What matters is laughing when they trick you with a fake stick of gum or noticing airplanes making stripes in the sky.  What matters is making memories.  What matters is loving the time we have with them.


Jamison J. Statema

Verse 1
I had fun today doin’ what we did
I’m so glad that you’re my kid
I love all the time that we spend
I hope our adventures never end
But . . .

The day is over now
Another memory
I had good time being with you
I hope you had a good time being with me
Tomorrow is another day
We haven’t got a minute to lose
So lay your head down so you can rest up
It’s time to take a snooze

Verse 2
A perfect little product of God’s design
I still can’t believe that you are mine
Time with you is a treasure for me
So much to do and so much to see
But . . .

Verse 3
Before you fall to sleep tonight
Let’s fold our hands and close our eyes
You thank the Lord for all you did
And I’ll thank Him that you’re my kid
© 2005 Found Free Music (ASCAP)
Administered by Fun Attic Music


I’m on a short trip with my little girls to celebrate my Grandma’s 89th birthday.  We’re coming home today. 

I was just wondering if this beautiful baby quilt my mother-in-law made

sledding 003

can still be considered a family heirloom?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Do You Hate Your Family?

What a horrible question.  Of course not.  I have never thought that out loud

Family is obviously important to me.  It’s so important that I have put my whole life and any thoughts of a career on hold because of it.  I heard so many people say over the holidays that it’s all about family.  That seems like the selfless answer doesn’t it? 

The idea of family gives some people hives.  It brings warm, fuzzy feelings to others.  Even in the church I think we’ve gone and made too much of family.  Just a little.

God made it clear that family was important. And it is. Marriage and children are great god honoring pursuits. 

But it’s not the most important.

The kids just asked me today why I didn’t want to live by Grandpa and Grandma.  The truth is, I did.  And for a long time I resented the fact that God did not seem to get on board with that plan.  I didn’t want to leave.

In the early years of living here I detested these verses and yet kept coming across them.

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lost it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:37-39

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sister – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.”  Luke 14:26

What on earth?  Why would Jesus say that?  All I’ve learned in church since forever is that He is all about love and happy families.  Dinner time.  Family worship.  And rainbows. 

What God has graciously taught me is that there is a more important family:  God’s.  Everyone who believes and trusts in Him is part of his family.  It’s our forever family that we’ll be with in heaven.  What He’s saying is your eternal family is more important than the family you love on this earth.  You need to be willing to give up your temporary family and even your  life on this earth for God’s work, building His eternal family and displaying His glory.

Jesus says this shortly after the verse about hating family:

“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him.  Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside, wanting to speak to you.”

He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”  Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mothers and my brothers.  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”  Matthew 12:46-50.

I am guessing that this was crazy to the Jewish people because their whole tradition and society hinged on family.  And now Jesus hates it?  Jesus is making a point.  I don’t think that necessarily means that he didn’t love His earthly mother or siblings.  It’s just that His mission was so important that it eclipsed even the great things in this life.

There are more important things to be done for the Lord than keeping our focus on our families.  I’ve found myself saying that we can’t move now because the kids are so happy and involved at their school.  They are getting to the age when it’s really difficult to switch schools.  That is not hating my family for the Lord.  If He wants us to move then we should go. 

Sometimes I feel bad that I  can’t be with my family for a birthday or vacation or babysitting.  I’d like to be able to rely on my parents or have big family dinners every Sunday.  What Jesus is saying is that we have a greater purpose. 


Our true forever family are the people who believe in Christ.  Hopefully our biological families are forever family too.  Even if we have to sacrifice being by them in this life, we can look forward to being with them for eternity.  Jesus tells us to do good to all, especially other followers of Christ. 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Galatians 6:9-10

We have an amazing church family.  They are our support and encouragement.  We celebrate birthdays with them.  We have the best thing in common: we are all living for the same purpose.  Wouldn’t it be great if I took all the time and energy I spend missing my family and poured it out into my church family?  I could have big family Sunday dinners every week. 

On the flip side are people who really do hate their family.  Their hate is usually for good reason.  Their family is the bane of their existence causing discord, stress and problems.  But don’t take this verse as an opportunity to pat yourself on the back saying, “God does say in the Bible we should hate our families” and claim to be doing the Lord’s work!

Because God also says that we should do our best to live at peace with everyone. 

“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”  Hebrews 12:14

God calls us to love everyone and want to see them come to Christ.  Then they will be part of our forever family and eternity with them will not be like Christmas dinner on this earth because we’ll all be perfected. 

There will be people that will be impossible to be at peace with.  But that doesn’t mean we should stop loving them and showing them grace.  There is nothing harder than to love difficult family members.  Most of us would rather love a bum off the street! 

We may have to lessen contact with them.  They may choose to live in a way that is inconsistent with the way you were raised.  They may be mean spirited and hypocritical.  But they are God’s creation and Jesus died for them. 

We can’t control how other people act.  But God to help us change our own hearts.  Especially by keeping bitterness at bay.   I’ve seen so many families totally destroyed by bitterness over the years.  It runs so deep and seems so senseless.  Don’t let your heart be bitter and ruin your relationships in the family.  Seek reconciliation and forgiveness.  With God’s grace you can keep your heart soft and loving toward even the most difficult people. 

Family.  It’s not easy but it’s also not all there is.  Don’t let it slip into the most important place in your heart and life.  That belongs to God alone.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Because I Love Her

I love my daughter more than I ever thought I could love.  Despite the stress of raising her I love her.  God has graciously shown me just how deep my love runs this week . 

Even when she screams at church so loud that her Dad can hear her while he’s preaching.  Everyone around me probably thinks she’s a monster.  Sometimes I think so too.  But I’ll keep working with her because I love her.

Sometimes she won’t get in her car seat.  And I’m in a hurry.  It frustrates me.  It makes me mad.  But I‘ll be patient because I love her.

Sometimes at night she cries and screams and won’t stay in bed.  She needs a drink and a song and a night light.  She climbs into our bed at two o’clock in the morning.  It’s hard to sleep.  But I’ll cuddle up and then carry her back to bed because I love her.

Sometimes she gets mad when I say no.  I have to say it again and again.  But I’ll be consistent because I love her.

Sometimes she gets tired of shopping and doesn’t cooperate.  She throws things out of the cart and puts extra stuff in.  It’s exhausting but I’ll get through it because I love her.

Sometimes I think she is going to kill me but I would die for her in a second because I love her.

Sometimes I wonder why I had five kids.  I wonder why she acts the way she does?  But I can’t imagine life without her because I love her.

Sometimes we are swimming she jumps to me with pure thrill and fire in her eyes.  I never want her to lose that because I love her.

Sometimes she looks up at me with big brown eyes and laughs.  She smiles with her dimple and those are the moments I’ll always cherish because I love her. 

Sometimes she wraps her arms around my neck and says, “I love you, Mommy” and my heart melts because I love her.

I know another parent who feels the same way.  The daughter is stubborn and rebellious.  She is selfish and prideful and continues to go her own way.  Sometimes she does not seek to honor God first.

And her Father consistently replies I will be faithful, because I love her.  I will send my son to die for her, because I love her.  I will forgive, because I love her.  I will discipline, because I love her.

There is nothing the Father won’t do for his daughter, because he loves her.

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.