Just To Remember

Since Brent didn’t get to experience any of the ice/snow/being trapped in the house with sick kids, I thought I would document the week for him.

Day 2: “Snow is so fun!!” We played outside for an hour and then Avery stayed outside with neighbor kids for another hour (first freak out as a parent when I couldn’t find her ANYWHERE in the neighborhood when it was time for her to come in! ) Day 3: “Yup, the snow/ice is still there. Go out and play and get out some of your energy”. We lasted 10 minutes before ALL three kids were crying. Went back inside and had hot chocolate and then everyone continued crying until nap time.  Such a fun day.Day 4: MORE SNOW. “Please go out and play in the snow.  I promise its more fun than the days before.  I don’t think its as cold either.  We’ll all bundle up.  We really need to get outside and just play!” Took 20 minutes to get outside because Justus threw a fit because he wanted a pink hat and purple gloves, Elliana threw a fit because she wanted blue gloves and no hat, and Avery threw a fit because she didn’t want any gloves or hat. We lasted 4 minutes before Justus sat his little bottom down on a snow drift, crossed his arms, and said “don’t like snow”.   Day 5: The snow has lost all its appeal. The kids wouldn’t even go outside.  We tried to leave the house that afternoon and discovered the car was dead.  A neighbor pushed it out of the garage and jumped it, we braved the streets to go to the bank and discovered I left my wallet at home.  Stopped at the library and learned they decided not to open because of the snow, found $7 in my pocket and told the kids we could stop at McDonalds and they could get something off the dollar menu.  Set our food down at a table and a little girl threw a basketball on top of our tray and all our food.  Her parents laughed and said, “guess its a danger zone in here”.  I forced a  smile and said, “kids, I have no more money.  Eat your squashed food.”

Day 6:  Everyone was REALLY sick. I gave up trying to be a super mom and have fun.  We watched 8 hours of veggie tales, Strawberry Shortcake, Cookie Monster clips on Youtube, and some cute little dog cartoon I found on Netflix.  Friends gave us some new bath toys from Disney World and so the kids took quite a few baths throughout the day.  In fact, every time they started to get restless, I said “who wants to take another bath?  This time you can wear swim suits!” I also decided that I’m a terrible single parent and began counting down the hours until Brent comes home.  24 more hours at this point.

Yes, Brent is the better half of this parenting gig we have going on.  All day long, Justus keeps grabbing my phone saying “want daddy! want daddy!” He may only be one, but he knows who the fun parent is!  24 hours and counting buddy.  24 hours and counting.

So Wise

“She’s smiling and laughing at me!”
“She really, really likes how God made me!”
“I think she knows God made me perfect mommy”

Habits

One of my beautiful children looked at my husband and I last week and stated, “I think I’m going to work on breaking my habit of picking my nose.  I seem to pick it a lot.”

After trying not to make eye contact with Brent or choke on the drink I was drinking at the time, I calmly nodded and told this child I thought that would be a great idea.

A few days ago this child, who will remain nameless, came to me and said, “I can’t seem to stop picking my nose.  Its just so fun.  Maybe if I put money in my pocket to remind me not to pick my nose, it will help me stop. Then, every time I pick my nose during the day, I have to give money back, and if I don’t pick my nose, I get to keep the money.” (this idea came from a Berenstain Bear book we had read that morning in case you are now thinking my child is a genius.)

I’m happy to report the child is now a millionaire and all nose picking has ceased.  The other two children, on the other hand, now pick their nose in front of this child and giggle.

If God made me beautiful, why don’t I feel beautiful?

Brent and I spoke to the youth last Wednesday night about God creating us beautifully.  When we finished, the biggest question asked was, “If God made me beautiful, why don’t I feel beautiful?”

Such a valid and real question. If we were all honest with ourselves, it is a question we’ve all asked many times. A question we’ve all wished could easily be answered with a snap of our fingers.  So today, instead of writing about my personal spiritual journey, I thought I would try my best to answer this question in a way that moves us all forward on this journey of transformation.

And to do that, we need to go all the way back to Genesis.

Genesis 3:7-8 “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”

The answer to our original question about why we don’t FEEL beautiful is simply “sin”. Before they disobeyed God,  ate that apple, and sin entered the world, Adam and Eve walked naked with no shame.   They walked in the knowledge that they were God’s creation, and they were beautiful. After they chose sin, they “made themselves loin clothes” and “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God.” This is the first time we see God’s creation believe the lie that they were not created beautiful.

So if sin causes us to doubt we are beautiful, what can I do to stop doubting and begin to believe the truth?

Believing truth is hard when false notions continually plague you. So let’s start with a simple question.

Ask yourself: What feeling/emotion do I feel when I think about myself?” THENWhat about that feeling/emotion contradicts the truth that God stated in His word.”  This should help you identify a specific sin in your life.

Now that you’ve identified a specific sin that is keeping you from believing truth, you need to begin “putting off” that lie and “putting on” truth to replace it. This is where it gets hard. Its easier to SAY you want to change than to actually DO something to change.

See the problem here is that we have begun to make ourselves our own idol. We worship how we look, how we feel, how we think. All that worship of self makes it impossible to walk in the presence of God and to walk in truth. To stop worshiping ourselves takes work.

Since generally our feelings are what are tempting us to doubt God’s truth, we need to start replacing those sinful feelings with truth.  Phillipians 4:8 tells us “finally brothers, whatever is true…think about these things” The work begins as you start to write out what is true about you.

Where does truth come from?

The only place truth comes from is God’s word.   Its the only thing that will set you free from the trap of your emotions and feelings. So here’s your plan…

Step One: Pick a verse that directly contradicts the lie you’ve been believing about yourself.  Write this verse on an index card, text it to yourself, write it on your hand, write it on your bathroom mirror, tape it to the shower wall, whatever it takes to make sure this verse is readily available to you throughout the day. A few good verses to choose from are:

Psalm 139:13-14 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Psalm 45:11 “The King is enthralled with your beauty. Honor Him for He is your Lord.”

Isaiah 62:3 “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”

I Peter 3:4 “but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

Step Two:   Every day, for a month, begin replacing your thoughts with truth. For example, you stand in front of a mirror and think “if I could just lose a few pounds, I would be pretty.” The minute that thought is out there, you then say to yourself, “that is a lie. Psalm 139 tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made and Psalm 45 tells me that the God of the universe is held spell bound by me. God made me perfect”.

This step may seem silly, but it is the most important step. You must begin replacing your lies with truth from the scripture. You must begin “taking every thought captive” and allowing God to speak truth in your life. You will never feel beautiful until you do.

And that’s it. Why don’t you feel beautiful EVEN THOUGH God said “it is good” when he created you? Why don’t you feel beautiful EVEN THOUGH God creates beautiful things? It is simply because you have allowed sin to reign in your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It takes work, it takes effort, it takes relying completely on God’s grace in order to change your feelings, but the good news is God desires you to walk in freedom from this sin. In fact, God has already given you freedom from the slavery you are currently walking in. The choice is yours whether you accept His gift of freedom, walk in the presence of God, and believe the truth, or you walk in the slavery of the world and believe lies.

I pray today you begin the journey to believe the truth.

There’s Never Enough Birthday

You think one of these days Brent would remember that I LOVE birthdays and there is no such thing as just a one day celebration. But every year it surprises him that his birthday celebration begins days before the actual event. This year, it began 4 days early with a little surprise as he pulled into the driveway from work. This was the first b-day party that was planned completely by our children. We ate, played Duck, Duck, Goose, played Simon Says, and had cake. And notice the cake. My first ever gluten free cake made from scratch. Brent heard the words “gluten free” and sort of looked disappointed. I reminded him of the many days of birthday that laid ahead of him and there was a good possibility there would be more cake in his future. He relented, tried the cake, and we all decided we like it better than regular cake! Who knew?!We had birthday on Friday, had another party with another cake on Saturday, and the Sunday, he got surprised at morning rehearsals with this.He left the house that morning wondering why we were all up, dressed, and ready to go to church 2.5 hours early.everyone needs lots of surprises to make them feel special on their birthday! The kids each picked out his presents this year too. He got a toy gun, 2 felt flowers, and a shirt. Who could ask for anything more.Happy Birthday to the love of my life!

Today

Its January 27th, all the windows are open, and we are spending our morning doing this. Just wanted to make all my sisters up North jealous =)

Love

I knew going in that I was probably going to get hurt. At first it was very tempting to put up emotional boundaries so when the hurt came, it wouldn’t hurt quite so much.

just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another

That scripture hounded my thoughts…just as I have loved you, just as I have loved you, just as I have loved you

So I searched and I asked God to show me how He loved me differently than I was loving others, loving those outside of my family, loving those who would probably hurt me in the end.

He brought to mind Peter.  He knew Peter would deny him, but yet He never withdrew any love from Peter in anticipation of the hurt that would come in the future. Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, yet we never see Jesus withdrawing His love from Judas simply because Judas would turn on Jesus in the end.

Jesus never withdrew love in order to protect himself from future circumstances that were sure to come.  And He called me to love in the same way.

Its a lot easier to be hospitable, kind, and generous than it is to love.  Hospitality, kindness, and generosity are all within your control. Loving someone and not withholding any of that in order to protect yourself leaves you with very little control.

Loving others without reserve has been where I struggle.  I watch this little 4 month old baby, and I love her like she’s one of our family, but yet I am fearful of that kind of love.   I want to protect my heart because I know she’s not mine, and I know at any moment, she could disappear from our life.   I love her 16 yr. old mommy like she’s part of our family.  I would do anything for her, but deep down I struggle with the fear that down the road she could throw that love back in my face.

That’s hard to say aloud.

I encourage the mommy to make good decisions, I pick her up with she falls, I hug her, I tell her I love her, I feed and bath the baby, and then I wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats thinking about them.

Kindness and generosity are easier.  You don’t lose sleep praying for someone when you simply offer kindness or generosity. You can still emotionally keep your distance.  Wholehearted love allows for no emotional distance.

This week has been hard.  I watch choices and I see stress and I see the effects of choices and my heart hurts.  But yet nowhere in me is judgment or condemnation because of this unconditional love God has placed in me.

I think that may be the key.  Withholding love from others will force me to judge them.  Its really the only way to justify why I won’t completely invest in them.  Sacrificial love leaves no room for judgment of others.  It simply continually pushes you to your knees seeking the grace of our Father to reign down over those you love.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Unconditional love for our family is easy.  Unconditional love for others is supernatural.

I pray we all humble ourselves so God can teach us how to quit withholding our love in order to protect ourselves and beginning lavishing love trusting that God will indeed take care of us.

Hmmmm?

Out of all my children, he is the only one who has taken a liking to lip stick. Especially when the lipstick in hidden in the bottom of a purse.

Just Like Daddy

Where are you going bud?

play daddy

Silly me thought he was on his way to find daddy to play with him.  As I went after him to tell him daddy was at work, I discovered what he really wanted to do.Play daddy = pretend to be daddy. Can you tell what Brent does every morning of his life?

Puzzle Pieces

God often works insignificant things in our lives together to form a beautiful picture.

The insignificant things are often as random as puzzle pieces.  When scattered on the floor, they look like nothing.  There is not beauty or substance to them.  They are just pieces to a bigger picture that is not yet seen.

But then something big happens and suddenly all the little pieces begin to fit together.  The knowledge you’ve gained, the experience you’ve learned, the joy and contentment you’ve discovered all begin to fit together so that you can walk through the next thing God has for you.

My puzzle pieces began to fit this past week.  In the past two years, God created in me a passion for learning to cook from scratch, eating healthier, pursuing simplicity in my life, and reducing frustration in my household.

These seemingly unrelated items where just a few pieces of the puzzle God was putting together in my life.

I list these things not to recount God’s activity as much as to show His overall plan. Two years ago, God knew that six days ago I would be told I couldn’t eat gluten anymore. He knew that our budget couldn’t afford to buy prepackaged gluten free items. He knew that if I had not developed a love for cooking, I would be overwhelmed.  Changing the entire way you look at food is difficult.  Changing the entire way you prepare food and feed your family has the potential to overwhelm.

God’s puzzle pieces fit together perfectly.  While every day still has its challenges, God has given me the discipline I need for THIS  moment so that I can walk through this challenge stress and frustration free.

While my challenge may seem small or insignificant to you and yours to me, God doesn’t see it that way.  He loves us enough to love us where we are at, pushes us into becoming better, and prepares us for what lies ahead.

Is it comforting to anyone else when God allows you a glimpse into what He is fitting together in your life?  Anyone else feel pretty special that the God of the universe loves us enough to give us puzzle pieces that will form a beautiful picture?

what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
(Psalm 8:4 ESV)