Monday, April 22, 2013

My apologies

I'm sorry I haven't written lately. I don't feel like I have very much to say, certainly nothing I haven't said before.

My days are filled with emotion:

Joy at the sight of each face in the morning or when little people dance and sing or when children work or play together kindly.

Frustration when a two year old insists on requesting a diaper change by sticking poop covered fingers in my face or when teenagers insist on maintaining their just cause rather than repent and win a brother or sister or when I walk in the family closet to find the floor covered in clothing because the toddlers and small people play hide and seek behind the clothes and the 4 yr old changes clothes multiple times a day.

I have longings in my heart that are not unique to me or to today, the desire for more fruit born in my life, the need to be heard and understood, the hope that I am still a mystery to my husband worth pursuing. It is, somehow, sometimes a lonely place to be, in a crowd of people.

I am challenged to raise my children up and send them out wherever God calls them, even to the ends of the earth, but I whine and bellyache so pitifully when they merely are gone a few hours for a class on the other side of town.

I am disgusted with myself when I withstand temptation for days on end, only to blow it on spaghetti and potato salad, which I don't even like! I wonder if I'll ever be thin.

The restless, overwhelmed, frustrated me just wants to eat away the pain, not that that works, but it provides momentary relief. And who doesn't want relief?

Jesus, would you meet me here, on Monday morning. I need Your help. Even though I love my life I find myself running away to food and Facebook when it doesn't feel good to be me. Fill me with You again.

P.S. While I wrote this the toddlers played in the sugar, ate it and put it in their hair.

Monday, April 08, 2013

I get to do this

The other night as my alarm went off to wake me for my 3:00 a.m. shift on the Moravian Night Watch prayer chain that I hold each night, every other week, I remembered something that I sometimes forget, not just about the night watch, but about many other things, in fact, most things that are hard in my life right now.

I get to do this.

I am not on the night watch for any other reason than this. I want to talk to God sometimes, and the middle of the night is a good tome for that. I don't have much else going on. I get a text from a friend when I start and a text from a different friend when I'm done. It helps me do what I want to do, which helps me be who I want to be. No one is making me. I get to do it.

I get to be my kids' mom. I get to break up fights, clean up messes, wipe tears and snotty noses and poopy butts and vomit soaked carpets. I get to hold a baby or two or three, get my lip biffed and hair pulled and toes stepped on. I get to listen to speeches and critique papers and help with memory verses and multiplication problems. I have the privilege of helping daughters work through emotional moments and helping angry sons find peace again.

I have the pleasure of being married to a wonderful man who has a job, works hard, and needs an ironed shirt every day. It is something I get to do. He also needs quiet when he works from home. He has late night phone calls sometimes, and emails to read, and leaves me to fend for myself with millions of children almost every day. We get to do this.

I get to eat healthy, wholesome food that makes my body stronger and better equipped to handle life, hopefully including another pregnancy or two, if I am afforded that luxury.

These blessings I sometimes mistake for burdens. I sometimes grumble, get weary, complain. But truly, almost everything I would complain about is actually something I get to do and am grateful for, if I really think about it.

So, Monday morning, I start the day low on sleep, because I had the joy of getting up at 3:10 a.m. to pray with my MNW brothers and sisters. I have big things I'd like to get done, laundry caught up, sew a couple blankets, clean out the basement. But maybe all I will get through today is not getting any further behind. That's ok. That's a gift too.

Thank You Jesus for my blessings. Help me remember to thank You for them.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Quote from school today

"He doesn't love because I am awesome. He loves me because He is awesome."

My best day doesn't impress Him. My worst day doesn't discourage Him.

He gives me His righteousness.

I can't make Him love me more by being good. I can't make Him love me less by being bad.

With all the discussion about gay marriage going around, I just want to say that Jesus has way more trouble with the "pride" part of gay pride than the "gay" part. Don't get me wrong, He doesn't like homosexuality, but He doesn't like gluttony, lust, fornication, adultery, greed, or course jesting either. But there are not 'fat pride' or 'porn pride' parades that I am aware of (Mardi Gras?). And if there were, He'd be opposed to them too. He is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

I would hope that our churches would embrace any repentant person, regardless of what sin they're struggling with, so long as they're not trying to get the supreme court or a legislature to officially recognize their sin as equal to something ordained by God. But I'm sure we, as the church, have screwed this up plenty. That doesn't make us right, and it doesn't make homosexuality right.

It's like there are 2 conversations we need to have. 1) Has the church done a good job of having compassion on repentant or not yet repentant sinners? Not always, for sure. Totally separate question: 2) Should the government officially protect (and therefore endorse) certain folks in a specific sinful lifestyle? No. They shouldn't outlaw the sinful activity, but to sanction it (you know, like we do abortion) is to defy the law of God our country is founded on. Historically, God does judge nations. He does.

1) and 2) have nothing to do with each other. Christians should both love people struggling with sin and stand for what is right on a governmental level. Not wanting the government to protect gay marriage is not equal to being a hater. I can have compassion on people in that lifestyle, whether they're trying to get out or defending it, and still want the government to make righteous choices.

I am trying to understand/comprehend God's love for me. I think if I can grasp it in some measure, I could both receive love from others in greater measure, and share His love with others in greater measure. Up close, I'm not all that impressive, and God's love for me is hard to fathom. The most encouraging thing to me is the fact that my very best isn't good enough to impress Him, let alone my normal. But He has blessed me with every spiritual blessing, redemption, adoption, power, the revelation of His mystery, and the pledge of His Holy Spirit, all for me, from before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1)

Why? Because I'm great? No. To the praise of the glory of His grace. Not just for me, of course. For the drug addict, the compulsive gambler, and the shop-a-holic. For the gamer and the player. For the gangsta and the e-trader. For the people making bad movies and the people watching bad movies. For those performing abortions, those contemplating one, those recovering from one and those dressed up in horrific constumes defending the right to get one. For the L and the G and the B and the T. For the unmarried couple living together and the married couple just separated.

Don't you see? It is our wicked, wicked pride that wants so badly to say, 'My sin is better than your sin.' Silly, silly human. There is none righteous. No, not one. Well, there was this One Guy, but they killed Him.

God waits to show compassion on ANYBODY who repents. He had mercy on Ahab, for crying out loud. Who are we to withhold mercy.

And it is also true that our nation cannot continue to make choices that are contrary to the Word of God without suffering the consequences. We can't. Thanks God for mercy. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. I need it. I was conceived a sinner. It's in my DNA, and I will struggle against my natural desire for sin all my life. But His grace is sufficient for me. For you.

He doesn't love me because I'm good. He loves me because He is.