Monday, July 23, 2012

What about you?

A little story to give you something to think about.

At camp this last week one of the counselors asked the small group of students, "What is the next step for you in your walk with Christ?" (A great question to ask!) The students had different answers but one in particular said that he wanted to spend more time in the Word. (A great answer.) The response was what is amazing: another question, "What in your life do you need to be doing less of in order for that to happen?"

WOW! So simple. So obvious but very profound.

There is enough time in your day to be with the Lord but I ask YOU:

What in your life do you need to be doing less of in order to have more time with the Lord, specifically in His Word?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Done with this week!

WooHoo! Tommy is home, but what an amazing week! So many opportunities to see God's goodness and His sovereign work in our lives. 

Monday did not start out so well. You can read about that here if you need a refresher. The rest of the week was so much better and so much crazier all at the same time. 

I really don't want to be loaded down with the details of what happened during the week because that is not the important thing, the amazing thing however in order to grasp the magnitude from my perspective I'll give you some highlights:

  • 9 children 10 and under for 18 hours at my house
  • I don't sleep well when Tommy is not here therefore never more then 6 hours a night and always interrupted
  • Making a pinata the entire week, three layers a day
  • Grown-up girl birthday party
  • Normal life with 5 kids
There was a list, an idea in my head of what we were going to do this week and God changed just about all of it.

  •  My friend and I watched one movie together instead of one a night. 
  • We cleaned house on Friday instead of Monday and we never made it to the basement
  • I did not crochet anything, ever, let alone finish a project
  • I was exhausted the entire week, instead of rested and lazy
All of things were wonderfully okay though. I have been praying for God to use really shake up my life and use me in ways that my family was able to make healthy sacrifices and show love for others. He did that this week. I was able to often and continually let go of my agenda and embrace His. I did not have a meltdown in a week of situations that in the past would have sent me over the edge into freak out land. In fact, though I did not spend consistent time in the Word (something I am sad about) and though I did sin often, I lived in trust of God and His goodness and sovereignty every day. Taking naps when I felt like I should continue working because I wanted to display the fruit of the Spirit more then I wanted a clean house. 

I am glad the week is over. I am glad that my husband is back. I am thankful that no one is sick and that tomorrow is the Lord's day. I am thankful for friends who helped get everything ready for tomorrow so that we can celebrate Daniel after we worship and fellowship together. It was a good week because God is a good God and His work is so evident but I am thankful to go to bed and be done with this week!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

John Piper vs. Pierce Brosnan

It was just after this interview that I met John Piper.

We had just finished worshipping at the Throne as we saw God's glory magnified through this man. It was awesome and fearful as Jennie describes. I had to be alone during the break after he finished speaking, but I walked by the interview area and saw this line forming and Dr. Piper turn to pour his attention on these women.

I had to join them. Why? Because this man has shown me GOD. I am tearing up just thinking about it. God has used him to open my eyes to the glories of my God and King in ways that were then used to change me, strengthen me, humble me. How could I not tell him that God has used him in my life.

It's true, it was a feeble attempt to communicate the magnatude of my gratitude but I think that is because the glory and thanks belong to God. John Piper is merely His vessel and he would say the same thing. Praise be to God that He chooses to use us in each other's lives. Praise be to God that He allows us to participate in His glorious work, to show grace and glory and to exalt Scripture and share real stories. It is amazing.

In 2008 I went to the True Woman conference in Chicago. On my way there Pierce Brosnan and his wife stood in line before me, boarding the same plane. It was exciting. He is attractive and I still remember it BUT I was not compelled to give glory and thanks to God because I saw him. There was no need to thank him. There were no tears and there was certaintly no worship of God because of how Mr. Brosnan had been used in my life. It was only kind of neat.

As I spoke to Dr. Piper I tried to express how I am encouraged: Being a mom is wearying and sometimes tedious and often thankless. There are many blessings and joyful times too but it is easy in the repetion to lose sight of how God is working and to forget the value and honor God has placed on you as a mom. (no this is not what I actually said, it was more like: I struggle with feeling insignificant because I am at home with 5 kids all day) I will not forget his response: he scoffed at me! and then he asked "With five souls in your care, how can you feel insignificant?"

Those are heavy, fearsome and encouraging words. To find my significance in Gods perspecitive and definition of me and what He has given to me to do. It is a battle and I am reminded again by the interview that the fight will follow me wherever God takes me...but it is worth the fight. God is worth the fight and God will keep me in and thru the fight.

Praise Him!

If you would like to hear Dr. Piper's exalt over Isaiah 6, follow this link.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Mercies in the Morning

Today Tommy left for mission camp with the youth group. I made plans for this week and so was actually a little excited for this time to come. I guess I was a little too excited and my plans became more important then anything else and so my mind was a little messed up.

The gang pulled out at about 7:45. The kids and I (one extra kid too) all went home after saying good-bye and ate our breakfast. By 8:30 we had all piled in the car ready to start our errands.

I started the car and pulled up to the street...I forgot something...ran back inside and grabbed it.

Drove to the doesn't open until 9:00...ten minutes to wait.

I forgot something else...drove home and grabbed it is late enough to drop Christian off at a friends for some school and fun.

Back to the bank: kids throwing stuffed animals, fighting over chairs and playing tag at 9:30 in the bank lobby on a Monday morning...not my idea of proper behavior and unfortunately an indication of the rest of the day.

By 1:30 we made it back home and I put the girls down for a nap and fell into a chair at the kitchen table to eat leftovers and rest. I still had two errands to run after all.

By 2:30 unexpected guests arrived. By 3:30 Christian was home and the continued tension with 6 kids was building even more. Expected guest arrives and I am sad and excited. This was who I was waiting for, to have a great time with and I am still two errands behind, haven't even begun to clean the house (an essential for relaxing enjoyment of girl-time) and the children are arguing with each other and myself to the point that I can't think straight.

I continue to indulge myself with watching youtube videos and sharing favorite songs with my friend while the kids jump out their energy on the trampoline. Still I push away the thoughts that perhaps I am being a little selfish here and should interact with and work with my children.

Somehow dinner gets made and we all sit down at 6:30. The phone rings. The children have a temporary lapse of memory as to dinner expectations due to 6th child and messes, arguments and tears ensue.

A moment of calm between 7 and 8 when I decide that I can focus on the children since they will be going to bed soon and then I will be free. My dear friend cleans the kitchen.

Eight o'clock finally arrives, the little ones are in bed and my friend and I start a movie. Christian wants to watch. I say no. I want to be free of them. He is hurt...I don't blame him (I really don't want to be with him and he knows it) and try to soothe his pain and my conscience, then send him to bed.

We watch our movie. We talk.

I review my day and analyze why it was so difficult. Then I realize that I have been so focused on my agenda and what I want that I never stopped to consider God's agenda or really Him at all. When the Holy Spirit tried to poke and prod at my conscience I ignored it, distracting myself and rationalizing my actions. It was a sad day and we all could feel that something was wrong.

Praise God for grace and mercies that are new in the morning.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Just another day in the life...

This is the problem with taking such a long break from writing. I sit down and there is so much that I would like to share that it is difficult to decide what to write first. I guess I will tell of what has happened most recently and maybe I will be able to go back and maybe not, we'll leave that up to God what He has for me to share. I will also leave to Him any good that may come from my opining.

Three things come to mind that stood out today.

1. We were late for a doctor appointment today. My reaction was the reason that this stands out to me. We were very late...25 minutes late and the office is about 40 minutes from our house. Needless to say, I had a long time to sit in the car and think about how late we were. I was angry. I was angry because it was not my fault that we were late but I was going to be the one who had to interact with the nurses and other office people. I was angry that I was going to have to be at the mercy of someone else's grace for something that I didn't do. I was so angry. I wish that I could say that God made everything right by the time we got there but that isn't the case. I prayed, a lot. I tried to counsel myself too. I have just finished reading The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller and so I reminded myself that this was just my bloated ego being deflated and the only opinion I should care about is God's opinion. I also reminded myself that I was in good company because Christ suffered on behalf of other people...including ME! I pleaded that He would enable me to accept what He had ordained for me in that office and that I would be humble but I couldn't let go of my anger toward the one who had made us late. We arrived and everyone was so kind and gracious...God's goodness to someone who was and still is so undeserving and when everything was fine I could easily let go of my anger. It was grace from God and blessing but I do wish that the anger would have been let go of before the verdict in the office waiting room.

2. D has strep throat. If you know me very well then you know we use alternative and natural remedies first before we head off to the doctor for tests and antibiotics. Ear infections? Garlic oil. Rest, fluids, garlic and vitamin C are our first defense. Last summer however I tried to fight strep throat on my own and it became scarlet fever. I learned that this is the kind of illness that antibiotics are supposed to be used for.  All that to say I am trusting God for grace to endure this time of trial as I am anticipating more children being sick and wisdom as schedules will be changed, events will be missed and life will have to be even more flexible.

3. Finally we attended a beautiful wedding tonight. It was everything a wedding should be. Two young people who love God, are redeemed by Christ and who are seeking to honor Him in their lives as they begin a life of love and sacrifice. I got all teary-eyed at more then one point. Marriage is so difficult and painful at times. It is frightening how badly we as sinners living together, can hurt each other. On the other hand it is beautiful and freeing to work through those disappointments, unmet expectations and sins with grace and forgiveness and humility to something that is more real and more true and more valuable because it is built on Christ and sustained by Christ.

There you day in a nutshell. I pray the Lord will bless and encourage you through it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mental Overload

I don't really want to blog. I am having internal conflict again.

I am tired, going on day three of a headache...continual dull pain. Reading biographies of men and women of faith who were workaholics while having this, sometimes incapacitating pain, trying to serve my family all at the same time is a struggle for me. What is laziness? What is taking care of yourself to better serve your family? What is most glorifying to God?

I am still processing some things that came up while at this conference. My husband and children were not with me and somehow my extroverted, slightly overwhelming, usually self-centered personality came out. This also brought out desires to be used more publicly, which stirred up discontent and questioning and analyzing the motivations behind those desire.

When I get this mental overload I tend to freeze up and have a difficult time expressing much of anything. Throw in the headache and the continued fast pace of a family of 7 and I just don't feel like blogging.

Reading the Word and a few new books from the conference, one on prayer, hoping that will help sort me out.