The prompt for this week is…
Sometimes I think I’m getting a little too comfortable with my life here in Berkeley. A little too settled. If the Lord were to call me and my husband to pick up and move somewhere right now…in theory I’d like to think I’d be willing. I’d like to think that there would be the openness in my being to say “Amen” to the Lord or even to my husband. That’s in theory. In reality, I think there would be a lot of “But Lord…” and “What if…” instead of amens. In reality, I think it would involve a lot of tears and maybe even kicking and screaming to uproot me. So once in a while, the Lord will gently remind me that we are sojourners here…that like our father Abraham, we live a life of the altar and the tent. Everything we are and have needs to be placed on the altar, consecrated to God for His use. And our earthly dwelling can only be a tent, something so small and movable, not tied down to one place. That’s how Abraham and Sarah lived their whole lives and that’s how they taught their children to live. Their life of faith was one of having God’s appearing, building altars, and pitching their tents wherever God led them.
I recognize that I’m not there yet, that maybe I’m not so willing. But at least I can pray, “Lord, make me willing to be willing. Whether it’s here or there, I want to be rooted in You, not in any earthly place. I don’t want my comfort and convenience to dictate where I live, but that Your kingdom would govern where we pitch our earthly tent.” Like Abraham, we look forward to a better country, a heavenly one, and we eagerly wait for the city “which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10,16). Sounds like a much better place to be than Berkeley.
Posted in Daily Bread, Five Minute Friday | Tagged Abraham, berkeley, faith, Five Minute Friday, moving, Willing | 1 Comment »
The prompt for this week is…
He’s in the throes of his first tantrum and it’s barely 7:30am. We sit on his Ikea bed and I wrap my arms around him while he flails and screams. He doesn’t like it when I use the human strait jacket on him so it makes him kick and scream even more. As calmly as I can, I tell him he has a choice. He can choose to start his day with a tantrum or he can choose to calm down and try to start over. Eventually he starts to tire and I loosen my hold on him. I watch him as he sobs on the bed, chest heaving, and I keep telling him to breathe. I repeat it like a mantra over him until he calms down and the sobs turn into a silent whimper. When reason again returns to him, I ask him to explain to me what’s wrong. Somehow we manage to reach a compromise and we both walk out back to the kitchen to finish breakfast.
I’ve noticed that both my husband and I do that a lot with CC. We present him with choices (sometimes too many) and we try to make him understand that by choosing an action he also chooses the consequences of that action. Everything we do is a choice. Even our not choosing is to choose the default. Maybe that’s too much to expect a 4-year-old to understand, but being an indecisive person myself, I’m determined to have my son not take after me. So I like to present him with options whenever I can – the dinosaur shirt or the Thomas shirt, mac and cheese for lunch or PB&J, etc. – and in situations where I make the choices for him, I try to explain to him why. This is all in hopes that he’ll grow up knowing how to make wise choices and that when it comes to big things, like choosing to follow the Lord, he’ll stand firm in his decision and not allow others to choose for him. I’m starting to realize more and more what a sacred responsibility has been entrusted to us as parents. We have the power to shape little souls, little vessels that can either be unto honor or unto dishonor, vessels that one day can be useful to the Master (2 Timothy 2:21). So as my little boy does the choosing, you can be sure that this mommy will be doing a lot of praying.
Posted in Five Minute Friday, Motherhood | Tagged children, choose, Five Minute Friday, parenting | 5 Comments »
If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking today is Monday. You’ve probably had to remind yourself a few times already that it’s Tuesday and you’ve been busy running around playing catch up all day trying to recover from the busy long weekend. You’re probably scrambling to figure out what to make for dinner tonight and how to get it all done before you need to take your son to swim class later this afternoon. If this sounds familiar, I’ve got a hymn for you:
O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me,
And all things else recede;
My heart be daily nearer Thee,
From sin be daily freed.
Each day let Thy supporting might
My weakness still embrace;
My darkness vanish in Thy light,
Thy life my death efface.
In Thy bright beams which on me fall,
Fade every evil thought;
That I am nothing, Thou art all,
I would be daily taught.
More of Thy glory let me see,
Thou Holy, Wise, and True;
I would Thy living image be,
In joy and sorrow too.
Fill me with gladness from above,
Hold me by strength divine;
Lord, let the glow of Thy great love
Through all my being shine.
Make this poor self grow less and less,
Be Thou my life and aim;
Oh, make me daily through Thy grace
More meet to bear Thy name.
This hymn has been in my head for the last couple of weeks so I’ve been using the words of the chorus as my prayer to the Lord. How wonderful that each day we can experience the Lord’s supporting might embracing our weaknesses, our darkness vanishing in His light and His life effacing all our death. Every day, whether it’s Monday or Tuesday, we can learn that we are nothing and He is all. May this be all our prayers this week – “O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me and all things else recede!”
Posted in Daily Bread, Hymns and Songs, Truth Tuesday | Tagged faith, hymns, Jesus Christ, Truth Tuesday | Leave a Comment »
I’ve tried writing this post a couple of times today, but kept getting interrupted. Now both kids are finally in bed and I’m staring at the blank computer screen trying to think of what I’ve enjoyed in the Word recently that I can share. Truth be told, I’m having a hard time coming up with anything. The last couple of weeks have been filled with sickness, busyness, exhaustion, and just a bad case of the blahs for me. I have to confess that I haven’t been as diligent to get into the Word or that desperate to spend that personal time with the Lord in the mornings. When I don’t have that daily spiritual supply, things generally go downhill. It’s kind of like when you’re sick and you know you need to eat to get better, but you just have no appetite and no strength to get yourself to the fridge. Except that as all moms know, even when you’re sick and you don’t feel like eating, not feeding the kids is not an option. So for the sake of those little hungry mouths, you somehow find the energy and strength to drag yourself to the kitchen, to put that pot on the stove, to come up with something edible to fill those mouths…and in the process you’re somehow able to feed yourself as well.
This has been my experience both physically and spiritually. If it were not for my kids, I’d probably go through some days without eating…or at least not eating well. I think the same applies when you have spiritual children. When there are some that you are caring for, you often have to eat for their sake. When others come to you with spiritual needs, that in turn forces you to go to the Lord. I’m reminded of the parable in Luke about the person whose friend came to him at midnight to borrow three loaves. He didn’t have anything to offer his friend so he goes to another friend to ask for the food. That’s the context of Luke 11:9-10, verses that so many Christians love but probably misunderstand – “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.” It doesn’t mean that if you ask for that new BMW you will receive it because the asking, seeking and knocking here is not for your own needs, but for the needs of others. If we ask and seek the Lord for the supply that we can minister to others, He will surely grant it to us. And the wonderful thing is that while we’re meeting the needs of others, our own needs get met as well.
So even though I don’t feel like it sometimes, I know somehow I need to get myself to open that Bible because that’s where the food is. I know I need to enjoy and process the word I read so that I can feed it to others. I know I need to be desperate in seeking the Lord because you never know when someone will come to your door at midnight in need of three loaves. Having hungry little mouths around you is the best cure for the case of the blahs.
Posted in Daily Bread, Truth Tuesday | Tagged Bible, caring for others, Luke 11, Truth Tuesday | Leave a Comment »
The prompt for this week is…
Today is a gray dreary day, rain has been coming down steadily though not hard. I know right now California desperately needs the rain, but I’m solar powered so it’s hard to be motivated to do anything on a day like this.
But the kids have both gone down for their naps and the house is quiet except for the sound of falling rain. I’m sitting at my laptop with a cup of hot cocoa because when the sun’s not out to power me I switch to chocolate instead. Perfect time to clear my head and write…but write about what…what is my story today? Doesn’t seem like I have much of a story to tell, only the mundane, sometimes even boring, things of everyday life – laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, picking up kids on a never ending repeat cycle.
Yet still I sit at the computer and write, fingers tapping away at the keys in rhythm to the falling rain. I write because it makes me happy, just as the warmth of the hot cocoa does on a dreary day like this. I write because it reminds me that I’m more than just a cook, a housekeeper, a chaffeur. I write because it keeps my brain from turning into mush. I write because I do have a story to tell, however unexciting. And on a day like this, when life is gray, I envision another mom somewhere out there sitting with a cup of tea reading this on her laptop while her kids are napping and being able to relate. And that makes me smile despite the rain.
Posted in Five Minute Friday, Ordinary days | Tagged Five Minute Friday, hot cocoa, rain, write | 3 Comments »
As I described in one of previous posts, it has taken us awhile to settle into this place we moved into 6 months ago. For the first couple of weeks I was running on “we just moved!” adrenaline and unpacked, organized, and rearranged furniture like a crazy woman. But once my kitchen was all unpacked and there were at least sheets on every bed, I kind of just sputtered out and gave up. School started and I was too busy doing the chores of daily maintenance to unpack any more boxes. So whatever was not absolutely necessary to the running of our daily lives stayed packed in the piles of boxes in our room. Things got unpacked on an as-need basis.
When I stared at all those boxes before going to bed, it was easy to get discouraged and feel like we would never get it all done. But eventually I discovered that, for me at least, the best way to go about it was to do a little every day or every week. Instead of trying to unpack a whole box, sometimes all I had energy for was to take one item out and put it away. On another day, I moved all the frames out of our room and put them in the rooms where I wanted them hung and that felt like a major accomplishment.
So what does all this have to do with Truth Tuesday? Well, this past weekend, as Larry and I scrounged up the energy to put up two frames in the living room before going to bed, I was struck that this is kind of like how God makes home in our hearts. When we received the Lord, He moved into us and He brought with Him all the riches of His divine life. But sometimes those riches stay packed in boxes in the rooms of our heart and never get experienced or expressed by us. Maybe when we first got saved, we allowed the Lord to come in and make major changes that were really dynamic, but as time goes by, we might fall into a daily christian life of just routine maintenance and the Lord never has a way to fully move in. We relegate Him to a certain room in our heart and only go through those boxes if we need something…like patience or love or endurance. We may become content with having Christ only partially moved in, never realizing that His real goal and intention is to fully make His home in every part of our heart.
If this is your situation, as it is mine, don’t be discouraged. Don’t stare at the pile of boxes and say it will never happen. Just allow the Lord to unpack the boxes little by little. Maybe you got up five minutes earlier today to read the Word. That’s great! Maybe you stayed up for five minutes to pray before going to bed even though you were dead tired. Awesome! Maybe you obeyed the Lord by not saying what you really wanted to say to your spouse. Great job! Maybe you included the Lord in your decisions while you were out shopping. Bravo! Don’t despise the day of small things; all these little things eventually add up and before you know it, the Lord has gained a little bit more of your heart. The Lord loves moving into fixer-uppers and He will work and work and work in us until our heart becomes the home that fully expresses Him. Some days we’ll have big experiences like the knocking down of a wall, but most days we’ll have small experiences like putting away a spatula or hanging up a frame. Big or small, all these experiences are Christ moving in. Before you know it, your heart will be a place He’ll be happy to call home sweet home.
“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man; that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love.”
Posted in Daily Bread, Truth Tuesday | Tagged Christ, Christian life, faith, home, moving, Truth Tuesday | Leave a Comment »
I’m happy to report that our little super hero is feeling much better this morning. After some children’s Tylenol and going to bed early last night, he bounded out of his room at 5am this morning full of energy and ready to start the day. Fortunately, a bowl of cereal and our stubborn refusal to get out of bed convinced him to go back to sleep for a couple more hours.
I had an interesting conversation with him over his second breakfast of French Toast and I wanted to write it down while it’s still fresh in my mind so I wouldn’t forget later.
CC: I vote for Turner to stay alive!
Me: Uh…I vote for that too.
CC: I vote for us to stay alive to bring God back!
CC: Why are there so many names for God?
Me: Like what?
CC: Like God, Jesus, Jesus Christ, the Lord…
Me: Well, “Lord” is His title and “Jesus” is His name. Just like Teacher Susan. Susan is her name and Teacher is her title.
CC: And Teacher Marcia and Teacher Zoe and Teacher Mathilda.
Me: Yes, Teacher is their title.
CC: Teacher Mathilda is the fat one.
Me: It’s not nice to call people fat.
CC: But she’s fat.
Me: But it’s not nice to call people fat, it might hurt their feelings.
CC: Oh. So God has many titles in the Bible?
Me: Yes, Lord is one of them. Lord means like…King.
CC: The Bible also tells us God loves us.
Me: You’re right it does.
It still surprises me when CC brings up things about God and I’m amazed that he’s already thinking about these things. It’s a real exercise for me answer him in a way that he can understand but yet not oversimplifying the truth. I really enjoy having these conversations with my son because his questions always force me to look at things through the eyes of a child. They often see things that we take for granted. So I’m glad to be reminded today by a 4 year old that the Bible indeed does tell us that God loves us. And yes, we should vote for us to stay alive to bring Him back.
Posted in Conversations with CC, Motherhood | Tagged CC, conversations, God, Jesus, kids, Lord | Leave a Comment »