Time to Play

Wednesday, March 30, 2011  ::   3 important comments

Since we've lived in Tucson, our family has not had the privilege of enjoying spring break. Tucson Unified School District opts for shorter school days and less longer vacations.  I've hated it, but they didn't care to ask me my opinion.  This year we tried out a charter school for Morgan and Carah. The great news is my sweet twin daughters are enjoying a week long vacation. It's been glorious.  

Monday-- Shopping at Old Navy.  They each picked out two t-shirts and a cheap pair of flip-flops.  Chad took us to eat at Chic-fil-a.  The girls were ecstatic, silly, and completely enjoyable company.  They ended the day by heading over to their good friend Nevaeh's house for a sleep-over.  

Tuesday-- Picnicking at Reid Park with Neveah, Josie, and Angela. My shoulders bare the crimson sting of a warm Arizona spring break.  Thankfully, the girls were sensible enough to play in the shade. 

Wednesday-- Cuddling on the sofa for over an hour after they slept in until about 9:00.  After we rested from sleeping all night, we headed to Udall park to exercise.  Morgan ran into a classmate who exercised with us for a minute.  He looked at me like I was crazy.  Maybe making your kids do jump squats and sprints isn't normal?? 

Thursday and Friday are shaping up to be full of fun as well.  I seriously, absolutely, tremendously love spending time with my fabulous kids. I'm sad Kyle and Esther can't join us (not nearly as sad as they are), but I am thoroughly enjoying quality time with just Morgan and Carah.  

Our post work-out smiles 

Grace for Mom

Wednesday, March 23, 2011  ::   3 important comments

Kyle and Esther taught me about grace today. Wednesday for Tucson Unified School District means early out day. I've picked up my kids every Wednesday for the past few years at 1:45.

Until today. I forgot. I was going to pick them up at 2:45 like the other days of the week. For some reason, I just completely spaced that it is in fact Wednesday.

Kyle called at 2:15 and simply said, "Where are you?" My heart instantly sank and realized my mistake.

I jumped up from my meeting and quickly (but law abidingly) drove to get him. He just smiled at me. He knew I was distraught. But he just told me it was no big deal and proceeded to tell me about his day.

Unfortunately, I was also late to pick up Esther. Kyle's school is a good 20 min drive away, so I was really going to be late to get her. She eventually called me to check and see if I had forgotten her. I explained, she chuckled, and said, "See you soon."

When I arrived at her school, she smiled. I profusely apologized and felt like a loser mom. She said, "It's ok, Mom. Don't worry about it!"

She and Kyle moved on very quickly.

Here's the thing. Moving on from my mistakes is so difficult for me, especially when I've wronged someone I love. But, seeing their faces, their sweet smiles, their kind words did something in my heart that just isn't natural to how I usually respond to my mistakes.

I moved on, too! I didn't call myself stupid, or loser mom, or make excuses. I just said, "I love you guys. Thanks for not being angry and forgiving my mistake."

Oh, that I could have that response with Jesus! I so often feel like I need to wallow in my lame-ness. I'm not talking about a healthy grief over my sin. We're talking guilt, discomfort, blame. I desire to truly listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, confess my sin, repent and change, and then allow his grace to bring restoration.

There are endless amounts of beautiful lessons about God I learn from my children. This was a short burst of awesomeness that happened today and I thought I would share.

My Sweeties

Wednesday, March 23, 2011  ::   12 important comments

I have proof that if you pray for God to change your heart, he will.

Some of you don't know that I am not a dog person... at all. Pets just aren't my thing. It probably has something to do with all the animals I helped take care of as a kid through a great program called 4-H. If you sell enough of your sweet little piggies for someone else to eat, you eventually get to the place that animals are for food, not fun. I'm not complaining, just speculating about one possible reason I'm not a pet person.

My husband, however, is a dog person... for sure. He's great at training them, taking care of them, and loves to play with them. I've tried several times in our marriage to give him the opportunity to enjoy a dog. Each time I was reminded in different ways just how much I hated pets...in my house...in my schedule...in my way.

In the last few years, I was very aware that I was making all five of my family members very sad. The kids would pathetically talk about their desire for a pet. Chad never bugged me about it, but I knew he wanted a dog. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I prayed that God would change my heart and help me like dogs. I prayed this prayer often. It may sound silly to some of you, but I really wanted to be able to give them this gift. My guilt at that time was not overriding my selfishness.

However, one day I had the realization that I love my family more than I hate dogs. Sounds like a duh statement, but it truly made a difference. Hence, Jasper. He is our obnoxiously loud stubborn sausage like beagle. One day, I accidentally called him sweetie. Kyle, Carah, and Chad heard the mistake and I will never ever live it down. The nickname has stuck. He's my sweetie Jasper.

Chad had a habit of perusing Craiglist's pet pages. He talked about how Jasper needed a friend. Blah, blah, blah. No, no, no.


Last Friday...

And now...

I have two sweeties...

Sweetie Jasper AND Sweet Daphne

God really did change my heart, but not for my sake, but for my family that is so happy with our doggies. Here's a little secret, I really do like my two sweeties.

Significance as Small as a Seed

Wednesday, March 16, 2011  ::   3 important comments

While I was visiting friends in San Francisco, we attended a Sunday evening church gathering. There were about 15 people. We sat around tables in a comfortable room, and the leader perched himself on a stool in front of the room. He asked questions and gave input as needed. My impression of the leader and the church was that they are sincere, devoted to Jesus, and desiring to grow and challenge one another in authentic community. Visiting and observing another community that loves Jesus was a great experience. A particular topic of their conversation has had me contemplating faith for the last few weeks.

One of the stories in the Bible that I’ve read or heard about a thousand times is the “if you have mustard seed faith then you can move mountains” story. It is also one of the stories that I can outwardly slowly shake my head in agreement with a look of deep contemplation on my face, but inwardly be thinking “What the heck does that even mean?” Do you ever do that? Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m trying to make myself look smarter. I can fake it even subconsciously.

A tiny speck of faith can move a huge gigantic mountain. I’ve been told that a mustard seed is about this big: O For reals. That much faith can move a mountain? Naturally, I start asking myself how much faith do I think I have? What ways has God grown my faith? Do I have a faith that is naive in that I literally think a mountain will move? Am I a name it claim it kinda gal? Do I trust my faith enough to truly trust my God enough for huge things?

The San Francisco group of believers talked about faith briefly on that Sunday evening. I could tell the man sitting on the stool in front of us was a really wise person. He paused and asked if we had thought of the potential of a mustard seed. He said the passage says the faith of a mustard seed.

I’ve looked at several translations and read through the story many times. One translation may say, “the faith of a mustard seed,” and another may say, “the faith the size of a mustard seed.” Either way I think the new concepts the man on the stool stirred in my brain apply.

The seed knows its job is to grow mustard. It has the faith to believe that God will accomplish his purpose in growing a mustard bush. The seed doesn’t try to do grow into an oak tree or to become a duck. It knows it was created to grow mustard. The seed may not realize it at first, but there is an infinite amount of mustard plants in that seed. It is planted, grows, is harvested, produces more seeds, and so on. There is limitless potential inside that one small seed.

As I’ve processed and pondered this in my own life, I begin to realize how significant this can really be. I want to have the faith that God is going to accomplish in my life exactly what he created me to be. There are definitely seasons that I’ve faced that I struggled to believe I could do what he was asking me to do. I want to believe God in such a way that it is a righteous belief. When Jesus said that through the Holy Spirit we would do even greater things on earth than he did, do I take this profound statement personally?

I often feel like my life is as tiny as a mustard seed in an insignificant way. What I want to deepen is the belief that my life is as tiny as a mustard seed, but also see the significance of the infinite amounts of growth and purpose in the seed, in my life, because of Jesus, for the glory of God. This will take deep reliance on the Father. The seed can do nothing in and of itself. Without being planted, the seed sits in a dark little envelope on a shelf at Target. It must be planted, take root, and establish itself in the soil. I, too, want to remain in Jesus and allow his Word to be implanted in me so that I am established to do his will and hopefully, produce fields and fields of beautiful mustard plants!

Moxie Memorizers

Tuesday, March 15, 2011  ::   21 important comments

Are you ready to post your verse for the second half of March? I'm not going to lie. I memorized my first half of March verses this morning. Whew. My brain is feeling pretty crammed lately. I just wanted to give you that bit of information to remind you that memorizing scripture is for the glory of God. If we get competitive with how many verses we are taking in, we've missed the point. If we stop altogether, we will miss out. If we take verses into our memory without really meditating on what the Spirit wants us to learn, we may miss what He wants to speak to us. Our number of posting memorizers has dropped by about ten, but do not be discouraged, and especially do not judge others or yourself. Jump back in at any time! This is about life-transformation and discipline, not competition or condemnation.

Here is what I will be working on for the next couple of weeks:

Psalm 130:3-4 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

Love it! I'm so thankful that he doesn't keep a record of my sin. Not only could I not stand, but I would be crushed to the ground by the weight of all my yuck. Because he does not keep a record of my sin, I can stand. This is one of the main reasons I choose to stand as I sing worship to him, as a sign of thankfulness and honor to him who has freed me!

I absolutely loved the gathering on Sunday night at Second Mile. It was jam-packed with slides, music, reading, review, testimony, videos. I. Loved. It. Every single part. Can you ever feel the momentum of the atmosphere? That's how it felt to me. The new song moves me. The slides going during the music of all the Holy Spirit zingers we heard through the book of James re-convicted and excited me. Oh, the reading of the book of James! Powerful! Such a great display of unique personalities and insight into God's holy word! As Chad talked I could see in his face his hopes and desire for the future of what God is doing among us. The testimonies from others about how James has impacted them were beautiful. And, everyone stayed 20 minutes over time so that we could worship our Great God together. What a night!!

Eph 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

What are your memorizing? If you have something to share from Sunday night's gathering please do!

Bursting at the Seams

Monday, March 07, 2011  ::   3 important comments

I've been struggling with posting blogs lately. It definitely isn't for lack of topics to write about. Mostly, my head is spinning with so much that it is difficult for me to sit down and write out something that will make sense. Last week in Chad's message he said that he gets smarter by talking. In case that doesn't make sense to you, it basically means that organization comes to his thoughts while he is processing out loud with someone who actively engages. More ideas are generated through talking which leads to more clarification and organization. He is definitely an external processor. And so am I. To sit and write something out that I haven't really had the opportunity to talk through takes a lot of time and discipline. Please know that I do engage in the discipline of sitting, thinking, and listening, but it is not my natural tendency. When I have so, so, so much going on in my head I have to make idea webs in my journal just to make sense of it all. I can't just sit and make co-herent sentences when my brain is stuffed full. It would seriously be a jumbled mess. All that to say, I've been struggling with posting blogs lately.

The plan is to unpack and write some of the things God is teaching me through the next few weeks. But, I don't want to lose you by not being faithful in writing so I'm going to give you some highlights of what is in my brain. I'm looking forward to seeing how God brings it all together.

  • caring for the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, the poor
  • living out His righteousness
  • what is going on next in Second Mile
  • the faith of a mustard seed (Oh, this is a good one. I can't wait to tell you about it.)
  • Not using the crutch or deflection tactic of talking about the lies I believe, but actually moving to repentance when he reveals issues in my heart
  • fear of failure as a leader
  • insecurities
  • wisdom from God and not selfish ambition or bitter envy
  • processing so much from the James series
These aren't light topics. Most of them are life changing for me and my family, and hopefully, for those I have the privilege of leading. I once heard that many American Christians stop learning when they turn 30 and just coast and pretend to hear new things from Jesus as they age. To be honest, this terrified me. I begged God to not let that be true of my life, that he would teach me, stretch me, and grow me until I meet him face to face. Almost eight years past thirty he has not disappointed.

What are some highlights of what God has been revealing to you lately?