Thursday, July 24, 2008
Jesus loves me, dis I know
Before dat Bible telled me so
I da one to him belong, dis I know
Yes Jesus Loves Me
Yes Jesus Loves Me
Da Bible telled me so
Oh the wisdom of little children :)
Later that night as we walked around the children’s wing we decided to venture further into the hospital into the labor and delivery wing and as we wheeled my daughter down the hallway I began to notice the clicking sound more and more until suddenly a woman came bursting out of a room behind us and yelled, “STOP RIGHT THERE!”. My husband and I froze, turned to see the woman and she rushed towards us barking, “What is your name? Let me see your id bracelet!” I held out my wrist, puzzled and she immediately grabbed my daughter and unwrapped her revealing a large ankle bracelet with a sensor on it and held it up to my bracelet to compare. We looked at her with complete confusion as she wrapped the baby back up and ordered me to return to my room. I asked her if something was wrong and she told me that we had been setting off alarms all over the hospital and they couldn’t figure out who was “stealing” my baby. You see, apparently that itsy bitsy little sensor on my daughters leg was SHUTTING DOWN ELEVATORS, locking stairwell exits and setting off a blaring alarm in the infant nursery. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, I was not allowed to leave the postpartum wing with my daughter until discharge. Oops.
I think sometimes we aren’t aware of the ways in which others see us, whether or not their interpretation of our behavior is accurate. As I reflect back on the work that our leadership team (elders and ministers) has been doing in the past few weeks I find myself wondering what the congregation sees in our leadership team. What can we learn from their observations of us as a team? How accurate are their observations? What role are we playing in accuracy of those observations?
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
There is nothing easy about surgery. It is invasive, it is painful, inconvenient, and it leaves you vulnerable and tired. Often, though, surgery is necessary for improving quality of life and/or repairing damage.
The past few weeks, the Elders and Ministers of our church have been engaging in some much needed team building exercises. It seems as though each time we meet the exercises become more invasive, more painful, more inconvenient, and afterwards I find myself vulnerable and tired. But, each time we meet I am better acquainted with what will be required of me and what I can do to speed the process and improve the quality of our time together. As we are progressing through each difficult session I am amazed as I watch walls breaking down, wrongs being righted, and friendships, authentic friendships, being forged. Every time we meet it is difficult and challenging but the need for healing is lessening and our strength as a team is building. Much like the surgery I underwent nine weeks ago, the blessing that comes from these invasive procedures is new life, new life as brothers and sisters, new life as team members, and new life as workers for the kingdom.
Praise God for new beginnings.
Monday, November 05, 2007
I’m inspired by him, I really am. I watch each and every day as he tries new words and new skills and is not at all crippled by the fear of failure or of being wrong. I honestly can’t remember the last time I REALLY tried something new much less something new in my quest for God and I find myself envious of his bravery. At what point did I reach this stagnant place in my life and in my faith? How did I become so complacent in my spiritual mediocrity?
O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Do you have any naysayer’s in your life? I do. I am sure you can relate because we can all be naysayers at one time or another, but this particular naysayer is someone that I respect a great deal and has been a friend of mine for many years. For those reasons, I often find the naysaying particularly hurtful because I receive very little, if any, encouragement from that person. I confess that many times I don’t even want to be around my friend because I feel like no matter what I do, all I get is “no, no, no”, so to speak. It is so stifling and so spirit crushing that many times I find myself passing on the bad behavior to other people in my life as though reciprocating the negativity will somehow alleviate the way it makes me feel.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Monday, July 23, 2007
Shout it! Shout it out loud!
Shout it! Shout it out loud!
I’m gonna tell the world about Jesus
What he’s done for you
What he’s done for me
I’m gonna tell the whole world that Jesus is the truth
Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I never have to be a worm again
The snake gets tired of being him
He wriggles from that itchy skin
Leaves it lying where he’s been and moves on
I’ve been longing for something tangible
Some kind of proof that there’s been change in me
Only to fight with the same old stuff
Change is slow and it fills me with such doubt
Come on New Man where have you been
Help me wriggle from this Self I’m in
And leave it like a skin upon the ground
The Other Side of Something
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
When the little guy was brand-spanking new, we were encouraged to develop steady repetition in his routines because his preemieness (if that is a word) would cause him to be sensitive to over-stimulation. To be honest, the repetition also helps with a lot of other issues like putting him to bed at night and keeping him occupied while I get ready in the morning. For instance, he knows without a doubt that when mommy snuggles him up and sings "God Is So Good" that it is bed time, period. The repetition that we provide helps him feel safe, gives him something to rely on, and teaches him about consistency.
I heard once that it takes 28 days of repetition to form a pattern and 90 days to form a habit; it is the reason that many rehab centers offer 28 and 90 day programs. I've been thinking a lot about my habits lately, both the good ones and the bad, and wondering what new habits I could be developing. Believe it or not, I've actually posted a 90 day calendar on my bathroom mirror and have been putting a little gold star up for every day that I work out. Lame, I know, but you won't believe how effective it has been. When I get home after a long day of work, make dinner, pick up the house and put the munchkin to bed, working out is the very last thing I want to do until I see that chart. Knowing you are 65 days in and that skipping that day will cause you to start over breeds a new kind of motivation.
I won't bore you with the details of the new habits I am trying to forge but I will ask, have you considered your habits lately?
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Last night as I read off the last email from my friend, readied myself for bed and began to unwind I thought a lot about my friend and the memories we shared. As I laid my head on the pillow and began to drift off to sleep I thought about heaven and how wonderful it will be to reunite with so many dear brothers and sisters. The small glimpse of heaven that I was afforded in a simple conversation with a long lost friend was truly a gift from God.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
At night I would find our little guy hammering the wall, measuring everything in sight, and leveling anything with a flat surface. Last week I walked in and found him with the telephone wedged between his ear and shoulder while tapping on my laptop with all 10 of those pudgy fingers.
This weekend we were shopping in the grocery store when a stranger walked up and started talking to him and he mimicked her laugh. Then this morning when someone cut me off in traffic I yelled, "Hey! Watch where you are going!" to myself, really, and I heard from the backseat, "Hey!"
Living with a sponge is fun but scary; it is amazing to me how much he is taking in and processing but it forces me to think about the kind of example I am serving up for him to mimic. I am told that it will really hit when he begins mimicking something I don't want him to pick up on but it is already making a significant impression on me.
Has anyone ever told you that they look up to you or admire you?
When my husband and I worked in youth ministry there was a girl in the youth group who said those exact words to me. I was so flattered and honored at first but as I began to see her emulate my actions it became completely terrifying knowing that she was looking to me for an example.
One time during our weekly Bible study I talked with her about the danger of putting faith or hope in each other instead of Christ and encouraged her to focus on Christ and not her Christian brothers and sisters. Less than a year later my husband and I left youth ministry and the state to be closer to family and the disappointment was so devastating that she completely cut me out of her life, literally.
I still have the letter that she wrote me, telling me all of the ways in which I disappointed her and how it was easier to not be friends than to be disappointed.
A bit dramatic? Probably, but she was 15 so her reaction was not surprising, just disappointing. It has been 5 years since we last spoke and I googled her name the other day and found out that she is now in college, active in ministry, and has even published some articles on the faithfulness of Christ.
One lesson I am sure she learned? Christians disappoint but Christ doesn't.
Who do you put your hope in?
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
As an avid "people-watcher" I find the whole experience completely fascinating albeit irritating at times. Watching him test his world, his mommy, and his boundaries is such a growing experience for me as a parent because it gives me newfound respect for both my parents and my God. It has caused me to be more intentional with what I say and how I follow through on my words and it has caused me to be more consistent with the boundaries that I set for him.
The first time that I put him in 'time out' (one minute in the corner) he thought it was a game and kept looking back to see if I was still watching and if I would make him stay there. By the third or fourth time he had stopped looking back to see if I was there and just whimpered, bottom lip sticking out, and big ol' crocodile tears streaming down his face until I told him he could get up. Then his morning he did something he knew he shouldn't do (hit the dog) and looked at me to see if I had witnessed what he had done. When we made eye contact I said, "Do you want to sit in time out?" and his eyes grew like saucers as he said emphatically, "No, mama" and raised his chubby arms for me to hold him.
I am not naïve; I know that the boundary testing has only begun, but I also know that my consistency will not only teach him about obedience and respect but also about a God who will never give up on him. The boundaries that I set and enforce will be just as influential to his spiritual development as the middle of the night hugs after he has had a bad dream. I know that as painful as it is to watch my little guy cry because I told him "no" it is nothing compared to the pain that I cause God every time I sin and that the pain he is feeling is formative and important to his development.
Being a parent makes me see my relationship with God in a new light; it causes me to think about the pains I have experienced and will continue to experience in my life and what purpose they have for my spiritual formation. What lesson is he teaching me or allowing me to learn?
Monday, April 16, 2007
I spent the day hanging out with my boys, catching up on household forgottens, and just recharging my batteries in general.
Towards the end of the day I took my little guy to the local park, something we haven't done in a while because of the weather. It was rather sunny that day and he wouldn't keep his hat or sunglasses on so I took him beneath the mecca of slides and plopped down in the sand with him.
We sat there playing with the sand, cupping it up in our hands and letting it slip through our fingers onto our skin, clothes, even hair. At one point I took the little toy boat he was playing with, dug a big hole in the sand, dropped it inside and covered it with a mound of sand. His mouth dropped open, he looked up at me with THE saddest face you've ever seen and tears immediately sprung to his eyes. I was surprised, certainly not the response I expected.
I quickly pushed back the sand and dug up the 'lost' toy, handing it back to him. He looked at it, then the sand, then me, and let out this deep chuckle like, "Well, look at that!" before putting the boat back in the hole and sprinkling sand on top. For the next half hour we buried and unburied the boat, our hands, our feet, our shoes and everything else we could find.
That night as I gave him a bath and tried to rid his hair and skin of the remaining sand, it occurred to me that teaching him that unseen does not equal not present would one day help him better understand God. As I rinsed the soapy bubbles from his soft little curls I thought about all of the lessons he had yet to learn and about the ways I could use even the simple things to testify to my son about my Heavenly Father. Who knew a lazy afternoon in the sandbox would be the first of many God lessons for us both?
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
For the past few weeks, our church has been studying the conversion stories of John in a series entitled, “Changed: Why and How Jesus Changes Everything”. Two weeks ago we studied the story of the woman at the well in a sermon entitled, “Come and See”. If you have the time, it is worth a listen and can be found here. Towards the end of the sermon
This week I was reminded of that quote each and every time my son pointed out an airplane because I knew my love for him caused me to be excited about something I couldn’t care less about on another day. Aren’t we all that way? I hate cold calls and telemarketers but if a friend were to recommend the same product as a random telemarketer calling during dinnertime, I would be so much more inclined to check out the product because of my friend’s recommendation. I can’t help but wonder how my relationships with people cause or prevent them to want to know Christ more. How about you?
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Rhesa – compassionate (Psalm 103:13)
Jackie – truthful (Titus 1:2)
Becky – wise (Job 12:13)
Travis – loving (1 John 4:16)
Hayley – merciful (2 Corinthians 1:3)
Jon – righteous and just (Isaiah 45:19)
Jennifer – beautiful (Psalm 27:4)
Christopher – glory-filled (Psalm 24:10)
Kathryn - nurturing (Psalm 104:27-30)
Glen - Protecting (Psalm 91)
How do you see God in the people around you?
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Yesterday was different though because as we walked down the long aisle of paper towels and sandwich bags, a man approached our cart, looked at my waving son and kept walking without a response. My son instantly looked at me with a puzzled look and then strained to his right to look around me at the man as he walked away still waving just as eagerly as before. He watched until the man was out of sight and then looked at me with big puppy dog eyes and his hand cocked to the side like, “What happened?” I kissed his sweet head then waved back at him as exuberantly as I could which pacified him until he found his next instant friend.
In the long run, the moment probably had little if any long term effect on him but it affected me because it made me realize all of the heartbreaking lessons he has yet to learn. Granted, having someone not return a friendly wave isn’t big in the grand scheme of things but I know it is just the beginning of some very painful life lessons. I know that if I could prevent him from enduring the heartbreak that he will inevitably endure I would, but in my heart of hearts I know that those lessons are necessary for his emotional and spiritual growth and that they will ultimately play a role in the kind of man, husband, and father that he becomes.
Romans 5: 3-4
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
"I long to worship Jesus with the heart of a child, in a state of pure and true adoration. Yet so many things of the world cloud my thoughts and pull on my heart until it's no longer just a girl in the arms of the Father."
"The Mom Complex"
Every time I think back to that moment, my eyes tear up because I've felt that adoration in my heart towards my heavenly Father many, many times in my life but I don't know that I've ever let my joy creep to the surface like my son. What holds me back? Oh, so many things: insecurity, fear, judgment, laziness, doubt, you name it. How different my life would be if my Father had allowed such petty things to stifle the expression of his love for me!
Monday, February 05, 2007
Boy #1 “Hey let’s build forts in the sand!”
Boy #2 “Nah, I wanna build the Giant Wall of China.”
Boy #3 “You dummy, it is the
(the other boys laugh)
Boy #2 “ Well….it IS giant!”
Boy #1 “Hey! Why are you building your city so close to mine?”
Boy #2 “Don’t worry – we aren’t enemies!”
Boy #3 “Hey Parker, what are you building?”
Boy #1 (Parker) “A church”
Boy #3 “Cool! Can I build mine next to yours?”
Boy #1 “Yeah, that is a good idea. We should probably just combine them with a bridge or something.”
Boy #3 “Yeah, churches are always better when they work together.”
How ‘bout that? Four rowdy boys, dressed in fatigues and cowboy boots with plastic rifles, oblivious to the little guys in their pathways yet onto a concept so profound. What a lesson to be learned.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Be sure to check out this month's installment of the Christian Women Online Magazine with special guest and Christian novelist Robin Lee Hatcher. Love is the theme and I think you'll love it! Click here. This issue also includes a really interesting column by Kim Brenneman called Top Ten Time Theives...check it out!
Check out Jim Martin's blog God Hungry for a number of great posts including 'Marriage and Following Jesus', "When Life is Hard' (2 parts) and "What do you wish church leaders knew about everyday people?'. Be sure to leave him some love!
Make a stop at Curl, Up and Read to welcome brand new blogger Kristi and enjoy a number of excellent posts. Be sure to leave her some love!
Finally, check out Christopher Green's blog Green Pastures for a number of great posts including "Checking Our Balance", "Feed Me Seymor" and my personal favorite (because it is about my son) "Little Friends". Be sure to leave him some love!
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
In that moment I remembered a night almost 8 years ago when a group of 7 or 8 friends were night hiking in the mountains of
He paused and read the last part a second time, “He also made the stars.” then a third, “He also made the stars.” We sat in silence drinking in the magnitude of those five simple words. It was several minutes before my friend broke the silence in a whisper, “If the stars you see before you were but an afterthought, how much valuable are we as the culmination of his creation?” Thank you Cliff, for the perspective I needed.
“He also made the stars.”
Friday, January 26, 2007
I’m distracted. Not just a little bit but totally, completely, undeniably distracted. Funny thing is, I am not even really sure what I’m distracted by. It has been several weeks since I have consistently written on my blog and several weeks since I’ve had consistent quiet time with my Bible or in prayer. If I look back over the last month, I am sure I could find tons of excuses, but if I am honest with myself, I can’t really see anything that would take up more time than my normal activities over the last year. In fact, I am less busy now than I was this time last year and yet I seem to have less time to get things done.
It occurred to me today that I’m distracted because I’ve allowed myself to be distracted. I have a choice as to what things occupy my time and what things are expendable and yet I have convinced myself that I don’t have enough time or that unimportant things are important. If someone were to measure up my life by the things that I make time for, I’m sorry to say that my life probably wouldn’t amount to much. This week I am going to try and reprioritize my life based on the things that I value rather than the things that ‘fill’. What distracts you?
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Anyone close to me knows that I am terrified of throwing up. In fact, it has been 19 years since the last time I had a ‘food reversal’ (sorry if that is TMI). When my husband started showing signs of rotavirus I started to panic. As a result, I’ve been obsessively washing my hands, as well as any surface that either of them has touched. The frenzy with which I’ve attempted to avoid contracting the virus is embarrassing; I can’t honestly say that I’m as passionate about anything else. I wonder how differently my family, or even the world would look if I had half the passion about spreading the gospel as I do about avoiding a stomach bug. Truth hurts. Where is your passion misplaced?
Monday, January 15, 2007
The week before my first visit, I poured over the text and spent a great deal of time considering each and every study question before answering, so that by the time our meeting rolled around I was eager to participate. The group was so kind and welcoming and we had a very lively discussion that was followed by a time of sharing and prayer requests.
We spent about 15 minutes going over each individual woman’s prayer request and as we neared the end I found myself caught up wondering about the logistics of the impending prayer (will we hold hands? Will everyone pray or just one person? Will we go in a circle or in ‘popcorn’ fashion?) so much so that I was startled when suddenly I saw everyone gather their things and head down to the group lecture. I paused, embarrassed for a moment wondering, “Did I miss the prayer!?!”
I gathered my stuff and headed out to meet my friend in an adjacent group and as we walked down the stairs she began to ask me questions about the group and our discussion. I shared all the juicy details of our lively discussion and listened as she told about her group’s discussion and when she asked me what I thought I told her I loved the format but that I thought it kind of strange that my group ‘forgot’ to pray.
She laughed and said, “Yeah, there are two major rules here; you aren’t allowed to tell where you go to church or what denomination you are and you aren’t allowed to pray together because it might give indication as to what denomination you are.”
I couldn’t believe it; the omission was intentional! I have to confess it bothers me to the very core that a group of believers can gather together, discuss God’s word, share personal, intimate details about their lives, ask for prayer requests and then not pray! It is as bothersome to me as a sentence without a period, a song without a resolving note, or a book without the final chapter. The more I think about it the more it bothers me. Why? First because prayer shouldn’t be political! Second because I think we don’t pray enough as it is!
I am not trying to have a 'holier than thou' attitude because if the truth be told, when things get busy in my life, very often prayer is the first thing to go. As much as I can excuse it away, the truth is that you can’t have a relationship with someone you only read about; relationships are interactive. I am not sure where to go from here, in regards to my Bible study group, but I do know someone I need to talk about it with!
Thursday, January 04, 2007
A small word.
Maybe a funny word, if taken out of context.
Most definitely a powerful word.
"Great work today, but..."
"I love you, but...."
As Christians we behave like a 'but' (not a butt, although I am sure there are Christians who behave like the latter as well) far too often. I forgive you, but..... I accept you, but..... You are welcome, but.....
Are we really representing Christ's love if our actions come with a 'but'? It is my prayer that I may be generous with my compliments and stingy with my 'buts'.
1 John 4:19
Thursday, December 28, 2006
The memory gives pause for reflection; how am I blessing those in need? What small things can I do to ease their burden or to carry their load? How can I be the hands and feet of God today?
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Because of the constant threat of heat loss, irregular heart rate, and loneliness, the NICU staff strongly encouraged a practice affectionately termed Kangaroo Care. Kangaroo Care is a form of skin-to-skin contact between a parent and their preterm baby. The baby, wearing only a diaper, is held in an upright position against the parent's bare chest with a blanket, shirt, or robe wrapped around the baby's back. Kangaroo Care has been proven to regulate the baby's heart and breathing rates, help the baby maintain body warmth, and promote natural weight gain.
One evening, as my son and I shared Kangaroo Care during a gavage (tube) feeding, I looked around the NICU at the other "pods". The pod that caught my eye was in the far corner of the room, the only glassed-in pod with a separate ventilating system, reserved for the sickest of babies. Inside the room sat a tiny enclosed incubator where two twin girls, born three months early, were huddled in the corner of one bassinet laying side by side, hands touching. I watched their monitors through the glass for a solid hour as their hearts beat in perfect unison. In the moment I was struck with the realization that God did not create us to be alone, he created us to be a part of each other and of community. Even during creation he acknowledged that it was not good for man to be alone; for that reason woman was created to be man's helper. How fortunate to have a God who recognizes our need for community but more importantly, our need for him.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Two days ago, my Little Man turned one year old. He is a happy, healthy little boy with an infectious laugh and twinkling eyes. He takes his “lovey” everywhere and falls asleep at night stroking the soft fur of the special blanket. Looking back on that day, I have so many treasured memories: the stolen moment with my son and husband, opening presents with my entire family stuffed in my tiny little hospital room, the visitors, the calls, and of course the generous gift from complete strangers. I’ve thought about that day a lot over the last year and feel compelled to bless others in the same way that we were blessed by the generosity of strangers. Yesterday our little family made a trek out to the NICU where my little man spent the first month of his life to provide gifts for the families in the NICU in a tradition that we intend to make annual. I don’t share this story for a pat on the back but to recognize how truly blessed my family was by a seemingly small gesture. Every day we have the opportunity to bless others with seemingly small things as well: kind words, encouragement, cards, prayers, even a smile. How have you blessed or been blessed this holiday season?
2 Corinthians 8:7
Friday, December 22, 2006
We later found out that our when the doctor had opened the womb to remove our sweet little boy that she had found the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck and that just two minutes later would have been too late to save his life. Little did we know that our baby boy had been trying to tell us he needed to come out because he was tangled up in the one place we thought he was safest. I can't help but acknowledge that God had a plan for our little man that is and was far better than anything we had planned.
As Little Man begins his second year of life, I find myself excited to know that God already has a plan for this year, and the next, and the next, and the next. He knows the kind of man my little boy will become, he knows what he will do for a living, whom he will marry, how many children he will have and the kind of impact he will have on the world and in the Christian faith.
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be."
P.S. Many thanks to all of you who have continually checked my blog for new posts even though I have been MIA. You are loved!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I can’t count the number of times my spiritual life has been like those terrifying moments on black ice. Despite every effort to walk in the path that God wants me to travel I find myself doing the exact opposite of what I want to do and regardless of the feeble-minded efforts my human spirit makes I realize that I can do nothing until I release control and allow God to direct my path.