Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Star Wars, Frozen & Scissors

      I make a grunting noise as I toss another lego into "toy jail". I step away and trip over one of the kids light sabers.  Glancing over at the breakfast crumbs (we could seriously feed a family of refugees, not that I struggle with the idea of how much we waste or anything), I feel my eyes well up and think "I could use some of 'the force' about now. Trying to determine if I should pull the kids from their happy game of Zingo or tackle the breakfast fiasco on my own, I decide on the latter. What was my dear friend's quote, I ponder. Oh yeah, "a little and often". She was referring to home maintenance (along with other things). Gently, she was reminding me to stay on top of things rather than let them build into tougher jobs. "This isn't a little and often", I sarcastically mumble "this is 'a lot and always'." Seriously, if I'd simply pray every time I pick something off the floor, I might actually get a grasp on the whole "pray without ceasing" thing.  Out of the blue, I remember my daughter's expression the morning her big (3 year old) brother decided to mow the lawn. At least that's what her hair looked like when he was done with it. Her eyes were so proud and they seemed to be saying "Aren't I beautiful mommy?" Sometimes I still wonder if my volcanic reaction (she was my only girl and her hair had just gotten long enough to braid) will be one of the many things that draw her to a therapists couch one day. Though it was years ago, it is forever etched in my mind - my husband still  says he's never seen me so upset. Shifting back too the present, I hear my sweet girl singing loudly and off key,"I can't stand it anymore" which, much to my chagrin, seems to be the only line she remembers from the movie Frozen. I look at her. She is beautiful. Her hair is thick, thousands of shades of blonde and almost touching her waist. When did it get so long, so gorgeous? Hmmmm,  I  suppose it was "A little and often". And I'm reminded that while my struggle lately seems to be "a lot and always", God is chipping away at my sin, my pride, my "I can do this in my own strength" mentality. And, I'm growing. Slowly. Surely. Beautifully - "A little and  often".

 (The before photo was after a sweet stylist & friend at Shear Talent had gone 
out of her way to do some late night styling for which I am forever greatful )

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Why you shouldn't give to the poor

     The day had just begun and I was barely holding it together. I had a couple of young kids and getting them dressed and out the door did not go smoothly. There were diaper explosions, bad attitudes, spilled drinks and a couple of arguments with my husband. We were both exhausted. The speaker had no idea how tired and discouraged we were. The Lord had given him a heart for the poor and he was passionately pleading with his listeners for help. He was begging us to open our eyes, to reach out, to make a difference. My eyes welled up with tears and I wish I could say it was out of compassion. It wasn't. I had no idea how I was going to make it through lunch let alone reach out to anybody. I wanted to stand up and scream "can somebody help me while you are at it?!" I left feeling like a total and complete failure. A few years later and yet another difficult day I sat holding my squirming toddler and tried to hear as much as I could of a Sunday morning sermon. The pastor was talking about quiet time with the Lord. Ouch, another struggle area for me. I braced myself and prepared to hear how that the way to be a good Christian was to make sure I spent significant time in the word every day and read through the "bible in a year" at least twice in the next six months. He, however, surprised me. This isn't an exact quote, but it went something like this...
     "Don't promise God, others or yourself that YOU are going to wake up early every single morning and read the word of God. The moment you make that promise you are committing to do something in your own power. If, on the other hand you beg God for a desire for His word and for opportunities to read it. He will be faithful "
     I remember thinking, that sounds good...but I just can't imagine it would really work. Praise God, though, I gave it a try. I started begging God to give me a passion for the word. And over time He answered! Though I do make it a goal to spend daily time in the word, it is no longer out of guilt. Typically, I walk away longing for more (rather than trying to get it over with). The word has come alive to me! And it continually reveals my deep need for Him and reminds me that His blood covers my weaknesses, insecurities and sin. Not only that, but it has awakened in me a deep desire to reach out to the poor. Not because someone was staring at me from behind a pointed finger, but because of gentle nudgings from the Holy Spirit.
     That being said, I'm not exactly sure what to do with this new found desire. Truly, with the all-consuming needs of my family I barely have time to empty my bladder let alone reach out.  Almost a month ago I signed up to do a bit of advocating/blogging for World Help and it has taken me this long to write my first post. There are days that I feel tempted (and sometimes give in) to beat myself up and make promises to make a difference outside my home. But then I remember the way the Lord spoke through that sweet pastor's encouragement, and I go before the Lord and ask him to somehow, someway help me make a difference - in His time. I also ask him regularly to keep my heart soft and my eyes open to the extreme needs around me and abroad - because honestly it is a lot easier to ignore it and harden my heart than it is too see it and feel like there is nothing I can do.
     If you happen to be struggling with a lack of desire for the Word, a lack of compassion for the poor or a lack of time to do much about either, there is one thing I know He wants you to do - "Come to me all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28. He doesn't want you to beat yourself up, make empty promises or even be guilted into sponsoring a child somewhere. He isn't referring to a perfect quiet time. He just wants you to trust Him with your heart. And in those times that your "just not feeling it" to sincerely talk to Him about it and ask him to "light the fire in your heart again". Don't settle for checking quiet times & a handful of change to a cold bell ringer off your "good Christian" list when you'd rather be running your fingernails across a chalk board. And don't make yet another promise that you are going to force yourself to read a few chapters in a book that bores you to tears. Join me in begging the God of the universe for more. "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it."John 14:13-14 (NASB). I don't know about you, but I think a desire for His word and compassion for His people are most definitely in His name. So lets put our seat belts on and get ready for the Lord to move mountains in our souls (and beyond!!).