Tag Archives: gods girlies

2 Comments

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:32

I yelled at the kids today. That happens sometimes on three day weekends. It happens when the kids have spent a significant stretch of time together. Interacting for too long typically allows room for personalities to clash. "Passive aggressive, bored sibling" antagonizes "she who wants to be alone and has succumbed to pouting". Then there's the sibling who is already distraught by my cleaning orders who goes into melt-down mode after being annoyed by above said passive aggressive sibling. There's sinister laughter, whining, false accusations and gnashing of teeth (the gnashing of teeth would be me). 

So I yelled. 

We'd just got back from Easterfest where we'd served the hordes Easter eggs  with a smile. I'd handed out a stack of church flyers inviting people to join us tomorrow morning for Easter services. I was inspired by bible verses and smiley faces and rainbows drawn on slab with bright-colored chalk. I posted a picture of such blessedness and I hash-tagged it "Jesus Saves". 

And now my kids were acting like they knew nothing about that. 

More sad, I was acting like I'd forgotten too. I began to tabulate my kids' transgressions along with my own (I'm really good at that). Grappling with the thoughts of "where are we going wrong", I began to feel more wretched.  

I live in the knowledge that there are some who question how I can call myself a Christian when I act unkind, or impatient or selfish(selfish is a big one). This is a question I ask myself too.   

....For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Psalm 51:3

I'll go to church tomorrow though. Not because I think I'm holy. On the contrary, I'll go because I haven't a hint of holiness of my own. Not today. Not on my best day either. 

 I'll go because Holy God saw it fit to call me His own through His work on the cross. I go in gratitude. He's never dissuaded from loving me. He's never shocked by my lack of faith or misbehavior.  He never calls it quits. 

 Nobody can produce new evidence of your depravity that will make God change his mind.  For God justified you with (so to speak) his eyes open.  He knew the worst about you at the time when he accepted you for Jesus' sake; and the verdict which he passed then was, and is, final. (JJ Packer, Knowing God). 

Jesus saves. 

I'll post and share on Facebook that which is Jesus-related. Not because I emulate Christ rather well.  But because Jesus is who I aspire to be more like. We ALL need to be more like Jesus. 

I'll wear my "Forgiven" bracelet 

-sometimes forgetting I'm covered in his grace 

-sometimes erring so, that grace seems in vain. 

Still. 

Jesus saves. 

I'll hashtag #jesussaves and #christlivesinme even though I act rather hopeless  sometimes and I sink into despair for the smallest of reasons. Because he does.

Jesus saves. 

I'll cast aside the heaviness in my heart that has weighed me down this week as I've hurt alongside those with those deep hurts. I'll leave the hard questions without answers. Because I know one thing that matters above all things. 

Jesus saves. 

  1. Sing above the battle strife:
  1. Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
  1. By His death and endless life
  1. Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
  1. Shout it brightly through the gloom,
  1. When the heart for mercy craves;
  1. Sing in triumph o’er the tomb:
  1. Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

His grace is greater than my sin. So I'll sing brightly, shout triumphantly. 

Jesus saves. Jesus saves. 

  

2 Comments


Can I speak in normal dramatic fashion and say "This past winter lasted FOR.EVER…"? When I say this past winter, I'm not just talking about the earth's season. I'm talking about my soul's winter season. This past winter, with many of you, I experienced loss. It was a icy cold winter. And it clinged to my soul though I tried to rid myself of it. I found myself stuck in a mopey depressed-like state . I was negative; grumpy as a matter of fact. I lacked general motivation and my fervor for serving. But as I mentioned it was winter.

Easter is next week.

unnamed (45)

The last couple of days Pandora has been playing the Easter "Jesus songs". This Sunday in church we sang one of my favorites-When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. Such a powerful song. Simply listening to its words I was reminded of the gift of the cross.

Through the cross we receive forgiveness for our sin, forgiveness for our wretchedness.
Through the cross we receive the gift of life
The gift of hope


The gift of a future winterless forever

What could possibly be an appropriate response to the ultimate gift of the cross?

"Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small"......

As the song goes, if I were able to lay all of nature at God's feet it would still be an unmatched gift to the life Christ brings through the cross. And, of course, the whole realm of nature isn't mine to offer.

I don't control the changing winds and seasons.
In fact, there's not a speck of nature under my control. I'm rather glad too. I'm pretty sure things would go badly if I controlled any portion of nature. I'm thinking of Queen Elsa from the new Disney hit Frozen. Like Elsa, the exposure of my ungloved hand would be enough to send all of nature in a tizzy.

No. Thankfully nature isn't mine.

But a thought struck my tender heart while singing.

There is a realm of nature that is my very own. -My human nature. The complicated emotions are mine. And the ill responses are all mine too. My sorrow and my guilt and my tendency to hang on to each, my hope that is too easily dashed when my feet have taken two steps backward, my fears, my fatigue and my restlessness all originate in my realm of nature. Those things are all mine.

And though the whole realm of earth's nature would be too small a gift, God allows us to offer up a nature (our nature), something rather the opposite to a gift. He allows us rid ourselves of our filthy soul by offering it up to the cross. And then again and again, he bids us come and lay down our long wintery mood, our consumed with trouble, consumed with self, nature.

Newness in Nature.

Not only when I became a child of God, but always the cross stands ready for the offering of my humble gift, my nature. Over and Over.

Can't explain it better than these lyrics by Rend Collective-

My future hangs on this
You made preciousness from dust
Please don't stop creating me

Your blood offers the chance
To rewind to innocence
Reborn, perfect as a child

Oh Your cross, it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross, it's where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven's heart

When sin and ugliness
Collide with redemption's kiss
Beauty awakens by romance

Oh Your cross, it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross, it's where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven's heart

Listen to the song here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6RNJ6HDTpU

 

2 Comments

I grew up on a dirt road in the middle of Texas. I used to have a distaste for the dirt road because it was miles from town and because it caused flat tires with its jagged rocks (every time the road was grated). The dirt road causes you to slow down,..... such a bother. I see that road differently now. The dusty road leading to the house where I grew up still makes me sneeze something awful, but I've learned that the brown cloud of dust that envelopes the car as we drive down FM 1232 is rather enchanted. It transports me to a place where the clock works differently and where things other than my schedule matter.

unnamed (32)

Things I can count on when I go back home

  1. Sunday dinner; ham with a healthy side-dish of arguing. Every once in a while we'll have roast, but we usually have ham and we ALWAYS have arguing. Home is where I learned that people who love each other don't always agree.  Disagreeing with people lovingly takes practice.  There's been plenty of that practice in the house I grew up in.unnamed (39)
  2. Hands rustling in the M&M jar – My mom has a huge glass container of M&Ms. Always. She even has micro candy bowls. When I say micro I mean small, but the bowls most always go into microwave too. We melt our M&Ms. I've written about this before. The way the whole "M&M melting thing" got started is a pretty special story. You should read about it here http://godsgirlies.com/?p=1458.  I've thought before that it's quite miraculous, the feeding at my parent's house. There are always twenty plus people there. And we can eat a lot of M&Ms.  We eat everything else in the house too. This leads to the next thing I can always count on back home.
  3. A trip to Wal Mart. I never go back home without making a trip to Wal Mart to "get a few things". M&Ms and several gallons of milk are always on the list. This doesn't sound like a big deal, except for the fact that the nearest Wal Mart is thirty-five miles away.
  4.  Eating at Jake and Dorothy's - in Stephenville, TX-Home of the legit Fried Chicken Dinner with Waffle Fries- This is one of my favorite places to eat in the entire world. Eating there on a trip back home is a given. A whole wad of us meet up. Their waffle fries are indescribable. They're cut thin and fried crispy. Putting catsup on them would be an insult. The chicken is fried just right. That's all I can say.
  5.  We go to the creek -with its mostly dry bed and small swim hole. The Duffau is a playground for all ages. This is a popular spot for the man card ceremony. Let me explain.unnamed (37)
  6.  An informal man card 'earning' ceremony typically takes place. These kinds of ceremonies are presently pretty frequent at family gatherings because there are six boys who are either teenagers or close to being teenagers, and one younger one watching. In the country, you don't just get your man card (with fear of it getting taken away). You have to earn it. Over and over. Earning a man card usually involves doing something stupid and somewhat painful like jumping in near freezing water just because. (just because you want your man card) Occasionally one of the girls will try to earn a man card too which I find odd, but I was one of those girls on a few occasions (like the time I volunteered to be the first one to have my foot shocked with a Snake Doctor stun gun.) I'm still trying to figure out how to redeem those man card points.

    You can see somebody got his man card -Proud moment
    You can see somebody got his man card -Proud moment
  7.  I can count on a downtown that feels unphased by time. There's one blinking light in Iredell and I'm almost sure it blinks slower than other blinking lights I've ever encountered. People still stop on the road to talk to other people. If the weather's nice at all, they drive around with their windows down. You can count on getting waved at by everybody you pass; even if they don't know who you are.

    Mom and Pop at his shop downtown Iredell.  He's saying hi to somebody who'd stopped in the road to shout "Hey".
    Mom and Pop at his shop downtown Iredell. He's saying hi to somebody who'd stopped in the road to shout "Hey".
  8.    The hum of a mixer in the kitchen -You can bet there will be brownies or cookies; the homemade kind. We like to eat them piping hot. Not just because that's the way they taste better. If you don't get a hot cookie or brownie, you don't get one at all. They disappear before they cool off.
  9.   I'll always hear the creaking of a screen door -I noticed my parents got a new screen door that leads into the backyard. I wonder how long it's been there without my noticing. And I wonder if the new one actually creaks. Even if it doesn't,  I can still hear it along with kids running in and out. It's one of my favorite "home" sounds. It indicates that the real kind of playing is going on. I imagine I'll always hear it
  10.  Going back home is always a reminder for this "just starting to gray" girl-

Change your opinions, keep to your principles;

change your leaves, keep intact your roots.
-Victor Hugo
unnamed (35) unnamed (38)

6 Comments

Dear Hallie,

Tomorrow is your 13th birthday.  I have a million things I want to say to you. I could tell you the story of how you put yourself in time out when you were three and told me in no uncertain terms that I wasn't allowed to talk to you while you were self-disciplining. Oh there are stories. I could rattle off my hopes for your future. But I'll spare you those tales and wishes because the events leading up to your thirteenth birthday are worth being recorded.

You've been wanting a dog since last Fall, if not long before then. You're an animal lover, if not part animal. Still, getting you a dog had not been a part of our plans.
One week before your birthday, I asked you to get out of bed (around noon) and to do something stimulating (besides washing your hair), something that would better your life or the life of someone else. You wrote me a witty, charming and convincing text explaining that getting a dog would provide just the stimulating opportunity you needed.

Your dad originally was't having it. I, however, was "ON IT"!  I began to look at the Humane society website for pictures of a possible pet. Several cuties didn't work out and being approved to adopt a dog was a pretty serious process. I'm pretty sure we could have adopted you a baby brother just as easily. But going through the frustrating process revealed some good stuff.

1. We found out Griffin has a mild case of heartworms. Had we not tried to adopt a dog, Griffin would have gotten more and more sick without our knowing. Getting the bad news is the first step in solving problems. You can only mend what you know is torn.

I also found out that you're supposed to give your dog medicine EVERY MONTH to prevent them from getting heartworms. Who knew? (Apparently everybody but us). Boy I felt like a dummy. But here's the deal. You'll have more occasions than you want where you'll figure out you messed up, sometimes royally. Wallowing in dumminess does nothing to better the situation. Educate yourself. Learn from your mistakes. You'll be better because of it. And you'll serve people better by your learning from errors.

2. Several times I saw a dog I thought "was the one" on the shelter website.  You almost got a dog named Mallie; a couple of the dogs I had my heart set on weren't available. Some times when things don't work out?..... They really do. Remember this every day of your life.

3. I relearned the importance of patience.  I didn't say that I like being patient or that I'm good at it, I said that patience is important and sometimes the only option, besides freaking out (which, by the way, is never a good option).

4. I was faced with a test of my integrity. I had the chance to lie to the people at the shelter so that we could for sure get the dog. Everything else had checked out and all I had to do was give them one little dishonest answer when they asked a question about Griffin. I had to silently pray repeatedly something like "Please don't lie, please don't lie..." while I talked to the people at the shelter because I have a creative mind (which is a nice way of saying untruths at times pop in my head and find their way to my mouth conveniently and quite naturally). Sometimes being dishonest to ensure you get what you want is SO tempting. Integrity is always the right choice.

5. Dogs are fur real friends. The minute I met your little dog we were instant and forever friends. I think about the trouble we go through with our people friends and the people we think are our friends. I'm glad to have them but it's nice to hang with a canine girl who may not "get it" but just loves you like the dickens. The handful of girls in this world  with whom you find friendship is easy and real, be thankful!

6. The whole "To give is better than to receive" thing? That's legit! I've been more excited about this gift than ANY gift I remember receiving. Be giving and trust that God will put you on the receiving end more than you'll deserve. Let Him be concerned with your "getting". 

I hope this is a birthday that will go down in history as one where you felt love and experienced laughter and one which made you look forward to rest of this thing called life.

I love you much,
Mom

1 Comment

The past few days have felt like Spring. And though I never feel like Spring cleaning, there's a fresh feeling in the air that makes me want to do something. So I cleaned the kitchen; like I mean I cleaned 100% of the counters with mild cleaner and then I shined its top instead of doing the 60% countertop swipe. I cleaned the laundry room too and helped about forty socks find their match. To the kids' dismay, around noon, I urged them to do something stimulating.

"Do something to better yourself or do something for somebody else," I orated.

Hallie said she'd take a shower later, but I told her that didn't count.

Her 13th birthday is in exactly one week. I think she's using the birthday thing as an opportunity to seize whatever gifts and privileges she can, while she can. Who can blame her?unnamed (31)

Jason and I ran to the store to pick up some S'more fixings (hotdogs cooked on clothes hangers and S'mores will be our afternoon stimulating activity). Here's the text I got from Hallie just as we pulled in the driveway.

Well……I asked for it.

Dear mommy,

I've been thinking about what I want for my birthday, (notice I am using correct grammar so I must really want this) and there is only one thing I truly desire. It is not the latest smart phone, not a tablet, it is a puppy. When you said "you should do something stimulating today" I thought, why not give an animal in need a home? I think we should adopt a dog in need from the humane society. It will also help me learn:

A: responsibility

B: socail skills (which I am in desprate need for) and

C: that you two are the greatest parents on earth.

When consulting dad on this matter remind him, that I am using an astronomical varity of vocabulary so I am smart enough and, I am his little girl still. By the way, might I remind you that you and dad both had many dogs, and turned out to be great adults. I did a little research and, Hitler did not have a dog, coincidince? I think not. I have been putting much effort in to griffin now and I think it is time for me to have another dog.

Sincierly,

Hallie

p.s roses are red

violets are blue

I want a dog,

mom does too.

 

2 Comments

 

I was talking to my mom on the phone just yesterday. She abruptly asked me if I'd been keeping up with David Wise, to which I replied, "Who?".

Apparently he's an American freestyle skier who's living an "alternative lifestyle". I looked him up. He's won the gold. So now curious people like myself want to dig in his trash and creep his Facebook. Winning the gold, being in the spotlight, makes everybody want to know who you are.

unnamed (30)

Well David Wise and his lifestyle (which is being referred to as alternative) is the conservative hot topic of the past couple of days. I probably don't need to tell you that I read conservative news sites to find out what's going on in the world. I'm a FOX News enthusiast. I wish I could tell it like Megyn Kelly. Besides FOX, I almost always agree with the viewpoints on conservative sites.

I'm an "up in arms kind" of girl. I believe passionately and I hold my values dear. When I feel those values (which were once the American norm) are attacked, I get a little excited. Lie. I get a lot excited. Jason grounded me from the news once because he got tired of me yelling at the TV.

That's why I'm a little rattled at the litany of angry responses to NBC's article titled "David Wise's alternative lifestyle leads to Olympic gold". Many are angry that his lifestyle is being referred to as alternative. Upon reading what his alternative lifestyle is, you'll find that he's 23 years old, with a wife and a two-year-old. He's also a devout Christian. Alternative really just means "not a usual choice". Anybody paying any attention these days knows that a Christian-focused lifestyle is getting more and more unusual.

If I'm guessing correctly, I'd say as practicing Christians, it makes us pretty nervous to think that we just might be becoming a minority. I'd like to say simply that I'm broken for those deciding to live lifestyles contrary to Christ. That knowledge has its effect.  If I were honest though, I'd say that it makes me fearful to see that there are less and less Americans standing by my side. Like a game of Red Rover, I want to be on the side where more people are lined up.

David Wise is on the side with the shorter line.

NBC is calling it like it is on this one.

Here's the NBC link http://www.nbcolympics.com/wrc/news/david-wises-alternative-lifestyle-leads-olympic-gold

Christians have always been at odds with the world. I think we're called to be unusual. There's nothing offensive about that. Though the term alternative seems ill-fitting, it's a term I think we're going to have to live with. Growing up sheltered, I believed in a Christianity that was popular and mainstream. It's a safe and pleasant idea.

We're the David in the Bible. We face a Goliath; namely a world who thinks our lifestyle is pointless, odd and even malicious. The difference is, THIS giant beckons Christians to its side convincing us that we can both be Christians and of the world.  In a worldly sense, the right end of the tug-of-war rope is seeming to have less weight and less weight. But we have to remember. It's not weight or size that will determine who wins the battle.

David Wise's alternative lifestyle leads to Olympic gold.

He's unusual; a real weirdo. He's a young Christian guy that's happily married with a kid already…..at 23! Maybe more than his ski moves, his out-of-the-ordinary lifestyle is the very thing that people are paying attention to. He made clear that the gold is not "the big deal" in his life. We have to be willing, in obedience, to make people ask the question, "What. Are they doing?!" It may be the very thing this world just might take notice of.

Acceptance for the Christian weirdo is slipping.  That usually has me up in arms.  Today I've just got my arms up. Victory is in the bag.

…..even though you have to put up with every aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure…..when Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory 1 Peter 1:6-7

Be alternative. It's worth it.

 

I hit a familiar roadblock this morning fixing Rylie's lunch; a stubborn drawer.  I gently tapped the fridge's produce bin with my foot expecting it to close. It usually does. But every now and then my foot meets resistance; this morning was one of those times. I did what I expect most people do when meeting such resistance. I used a little more force; I pushed harder. But the drawer stayed locked in wrong position dangling out from the tracks.

Sometimes using more force works. The drawer slides back into position. But it was clear to me this morning that no amount of foot shoving was going to get that drawer back in place. Unless of course I shoved so hard that the drawer goes back, but with shards of plastic breaking,  the drawer's edges snapped into pieces.

I've broken objects before with my brute force. This morning I considered using such force, but then I thought better. I paused and took a deep breath. I got down on my knees and investigated the root of the "drawer not closing" problem. I simply had to reposition a package of grilled chicken fajitas so that they weren't busting outside the allowed drawer borders. And the drawer closed. Thankfully, sometimes it's simple like that.

Being that parenting is one of my most important and toughest jobs, I find that most everything that happens both good and difficult turns my thoughts to my children. That stubborn drawer is no exception. Neither was my initial response to the dogged drawer.

Because we all get out of line
Because we all get out of line

Out of Line Kids and Refrigerator Drawers

There are times in the precious privilege of parenting that we are met with kids whose will reflects a heart malpositioned. (Not that my own heart doesn't get off track.)  And so very often we match their wills with a persistent ill-will of our own. In my experience, the battle of wills often ends up in double loss.

If we want our kids to simply obey, then the strong-arm is the necessary approach. And many times the strong-arm is needed. But there are times when what we want with our kids is not only a change in cooperation, but a change in heart. And it's those times that we need to stand before that out-of-place drawer and pause. The approach to getting an open drawer back on its track is much like our attempt to get an out of line heart back in its right place.

  1. A gentle nudge never hurt a drawer and it doesn't hurt our kids either. But excessive force often ends up in broken pieces that are hard or impossible to put back together. The drawer is still usable missing some pieces (I know from experience), but a drawer is better whole.  Avoid preventable damage. Know when using force just isn't working. Know when to stop using brute force.
  2. Choose your battles.  I know my dad didn't come up with this advice, but it's one of the things I hear from him over and over when I've went to him for counsel. Some drawers you can walk away from until you have your wits about you.  Refrigerator doors can't be walked away from for too long, because letting the cool out costs.  Know which stubborn drawers (and conflicts) to walk away from.  And know which problems must be addressed. Knowing the difference is a matter of constant prayer.
  3.  Upon examination I've sometimes found that the drawer has too much stuff in it. It won't close right simply because stuff that doesn't need to be in there is overcrowding the drawer space. Rylie eats individualized cartons of cubed chicken for her lunch. These little cartons come in a big package that takes up more room than necessary. I need to remove the excessive packaging to make more room.
  4. I know without a doubt that there are things that need to be removed or reduced from the schedule that takes up the day's space. Too much TV is one thing that comes to mind. TV uses space that could better be used relating to each other. If I looked, besides excessive packaging in the drawer, I'd probably find spoiled cheese and other items that just don't need to be in there. Some of the music I myself listen to and some of the music and television programs I catch my kids watching are not conducive to right living. I'm sure of it. It might be worth taking an inventory of what's filling our kid's time space. It might be worth removing excess and things of an adverse nature.
  5.  When my refrigerator drawer won't go back in place like it's supposed to, there's one thing that is more effective than a gentle nudge, brute force or a clean-up on aisle nine. From a standing position, it's almost impossible to know what the problem is.  Standing upright is not the place to fix it. So I get on my knees. And that's where that refrigerator door slides back where it was meant to be. Sometimes it slides back easily and sometimes there's a work ensued.  Often times it's a slow process getting the drawer to where it needs to be (I'm thinking of times when I've had to clean the whole drawer out.). I prefer the quick fix, but the good fix is often one we wait for.  With stubborn drawers and kids who often slip from the place they need to be, more than anything else we do,

 We need to be on our knees.

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Parenting is an important and beloved charged, but it's tough.  Any other thoughts on this?

2 Comments

I've worked in Day Cares and church nurseries enough to see countless block towers sabotaged. I bet you've seen them too. A child constructs a tower by tediously placing blocks one by one and then someone comes along and knocks it over. And the result is always the same, the tower builder is devastated. I can't tell you how many kids I've had to console over crashed towers. I also couldn't count the times I've warned kids to stay away from someone's tower lest they accidentally knock it over.

I knocked over Hallie's tower this morning. I didn't mean to. In fact, I helped her build it all day yesterday.

She had EDA today. Don't ask me what that stands for, but I know it's a contest where she reads poetry and prose and performs dramatically. It's really important to her; so important that she asked me to wake her up at five-something this morning so she could be ready.

Yesterday I picked her up from school and we headed to the mall. I offered to buy her the pair of shoes she's been wanting since last Fall. She needed new shoes (Shallow or not, I think every girl knows that wearing something new gives you a little extra flair). She was thrilled. We had stimulating conversation. We talked about how her little sister had been hurt by some unkind words at school. We talked about the power of words. She helped me pick out some picture frames for my new bookshelf, we then ended our short date with a Coke and some chocolate. I was so happy to have had the time to invest in her, particularly with her having a big day the next day. Last night as she rehearsed I beamed with her as she recited her monologue about having Wonderbread stuck in her braces. She's practiced for days.

She bolstered out of bed this morning and was ready in near fifteen minutes. She walked in with her hair in a high bun. I reminded her that she'd said last night that she was going to wear it in a low, side bun, my favorite way she wears her hair. And then as she left the room, it occurred to me that she was ready, but hadn't washed her hair.

And that's when I crashed her tower.

With urgency I knocked on the bathroom door jogging her memory of the condition of her hair when she doesn't wash it daily. Giving her a picture of herself as an impending greasy mess, I made her wash her hair so she "might be presentable" to a panel of judges. In less than two minutes I demolished an entire framework of confidence building and the effort I'd put in to let her know how valued she is. No. This morning, all she heard was I don't care how good your acting is, your appearance doesn't cut it. Those aren't the words I used, but I'm pretty sure that's what she heard.

We expect small children to wrecklessly destroy towers, but we never expected we'd be moms destroying our own kids' towers.

Towers can be rebuilt, but the more a tower has to be put together again piece by piece, the more that tower is going to be guarded. Towers aren't always built easily.unnamed (14)

Everybody wants their tower to be safe.

Moms are good at helping their children build towers. We clap and cheer them on.  We speak words of unconditional love and affirmation into their lives, only to undo those words when we barge into their safe zone and speak wrecklessly.

When Hallie was four, I sat in the kitchen floor with typing paper and a pencil. I'd told her countless times before how smart she was. I showed her how to write her name step by step in teacher fashion. I teacher-talked her through the "H", "pull down, pull down, and across". I helped her through each letter. But the marks she made on the paper in no way resembled my well-formed letters. I will never forget swiping the pencil out of her reach. She hasn't forgotten either as she's reminded me numerous times. I crashed her tower.

Behaviors have to be demolished, attitudes have to be taken down and mistakes should be corrected, but as Moms, we have to figure out how to do that without crushing their spirits. I read a blog just the other day about a Mom who has overcome yelling. She was writing from a sweet place relating about the improved health of her family. I'm not writing from that place. I'm writing from a place I believe many of you find yourself in. As Paul says in Romans 7:15-

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

We're our kids biggest fans, but we're still sometimes their biggest "Boo" section. Our kids will have enough nay-sayers in their lives without us being one of them.

So what do we do?

  1. We do the obvious thing. We pray about it. Not just when we've fouled up majorly. We make it a matter of daily prayer asking God to help us in our speech, and keep us from our condescending looks. We ask God to remove those unnecessary and critical thoughts that creep into our brains and right out our mouths.
  2. We ask our friends to pray. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit my austerity, but I know I'm in good company. By that, I mean that there are good moms out there that say stupid things while wildly loving their kids. And I know those moms would pray for me rather than dub me a bad mom.
  3. We have to be willing to apologize. I apologized to Hallie this morning. Twice. Though I know it wasn't an immediate fix to her self-esteem, she knows that I know the mistake was mine. I tried to get the point across to her that my words were wrong, not her appearance.
  4. We bite the unnecessary words on our tongues.  As my dad says, choose your battles.  Some words or conversations aren't needful.  Rylie came prancing downstairs this morning in two shades of pink (that equaled awful) just as she was about to go out with her daddy.  I swallowed my disapproval.  Does what she's wearing really matter? 
  5. When words are necessary, choose them carefully.  Because we need help with that, we must write words of wisdom on our hearts. Proverbs speaks right to us moms.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Set a guard , O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3

6.  We forgive ourselves. I'd be so bold to say that we moms have all made the mistake of using abusive speech once, if not a thousand times. Wallowing in shame does nothing to better our parenting. Giving our weakness to A God who understands and heals, is our only recourse.

I'm lucky Hallie has a strong will. I'm thankful that my children recover more quickly than I deserve. I'm thankful for grace in parenting that helps rickety towers to stand and allows toppled towers to be rebuilt.

Side note: Hallie approved this message.  And she's going to State in EDA!

3 Comments

Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her and she will guard you. Proverbs 4:5-6

I'm helping with ESL (English as a Second Language) half days at Helena Park. I love it. I work with a handful of really cool third and fourth graders. The innocent banter between one fourth grade boy and myself brings me unexpected joy. He has a collection of smooth sayings. For instance, if he answers a question really quickly before I have the chance to explain the question he smiles announcing, "You just got burned". Sometimes with a self-approving look he says, "Aww, yeah". I love his spirit.

Yesterday, though, was a different story. Most likely due to his disrupted sleeping patterns during the holidays, he was a little off his "A game". I had to assist him a little more than usual. He, like most of the students I encountered this week, seemed slightly sluggish. So when he answered a problem incorrectly, I explained the problem and then threw my arms up gangster style and said, "You just got learned". I don't know, but I think it was pretty effective.

Yesterday after school, it was just me and my girls. The oldest' birthday is coming up in several weeks, so some planning was in the making. I proposed going to Painting with a Twist. My daughter loves painting and I've kind of wanted to check the place out myself. My idea was immediately, but kindly dismissed.

"They tell you what to paint," she scoffed. "I really like to paint what I feel like painting."

 

"But you might learn something, like a new technique," I offered.

 

Then comes the honest reply, "I don't really like to learn."

 

"What!" I gasped.

 

Both girls started to chant, giggling "We don't like to learn, We don't like to learn………"

It was as I was feigning shock at the absurdity of their mantra that I realized the apples don't fall far from the tree. Truthfully, I don't like to learn all that much. I want to do things the way I want to do them. I'm comfortable with what I already know. There's vulnerability in the newness of learning ( I might not get it right). Learning can be painful.; sometimes humbling.

If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it-how shortsighted to refuse correction!

Proverbs 12:1

To think that you can work hard to deepen your well of knowledge, only to hear God say that your lack of willingness to learn more means that you're being shortsighted..... Ouch.

Learning takes up too much of my precious time. It means that I have to be still. It means that I have to temporarily cease the pouring out of my knowledge….. shamefully I rather enjoy doing that. As I listened to the girls chanting (much after they were finished), that fourth grade boy appeared in my head. He threw up his arms gangster-style, and smiling, said, "You just got learned".

Yesterday I was learned ( reminded rather) that I still need to be learning.

I need more books in my life to inspire my monotonous inner and outer dialogues.

(More time in THE book)

Talking is pouring out, in which case I should be pretty empty. Listening is filling up. I need to do more listening.

My prayer word count could stand to decrease too. I hardly take the time to actually listen to what God may want to say to me.

I want to learn more often from my experiences; better shaping tomorrow.

…for everything that was written in the past was written to teach us

Romans 15:4

I want my opinion and thoughts to matter less and for my understanding of things and people outside my realm to grow.

Maybe I could better inspire little minds by my desire to know more and not by what I think I already know.

I want to know… that I don't always know. And in the mystery and with the questions I want to search for The Answer,……you know the one.

 

There was never found in any age of the world, either philosopher or sect, or law or discipline which did so highly exalt the public good as the Christian faith.

–Francis Bacon

 

 

4 Comments

It's a new year. I always start the year, a mixed bag of emotions. I feel nervous, but excited......overwhelmed at all the empty white calendar squares with the possibilities and responsibilities they hold. Speaking of those calendar squares,

I have a job!

Not a new job per say, but I have a real job. An important one. I was born for it....

It's the same job I had last year, but it's a pretty good one so I thought it worth mentioning. Really, the same job was mine when I was in diapers and it remains mine today even when I stink things up (like I did when I was in diapers). I don't really know the official title for it (um, maybe Christian?), but my job description is really quite simple; bring God glory. That's it. I didn't have to interview for it or turn in a resume'. With God aim, it fell in my lap.

I can do my "bringing God glory" job wherever I find myself. I'm allowed, rather encouraged, to work at home And I can work while I'm driving down Nederland Ave or over nachos at Carmelas.

I have a thousand  other things I do like being a wife, a mom, a coworker, a life coach, a daughter, a sister, a teacher, a chauffeur, a counselor, a chef, a maid, an activity planner, a nurse and a friend, to mention a few. Those jobs compete to fill up the white squares I mentioned earlier. But I got to thinking today. When I'm working really hard at being an awesome mom, I'm usually lacking in the friend department which may explain why I forgot to call you on your birthday or to check and see how your doctor appointment went. If I'm a really good maid, I'm talking I spent hours spiffying the place up, you can bet I'm going to score poorly in the mom department. Especially if you spill something on the floor. My chauffeur job takes away from my nurse job and my activity planning keeps me so busy that sometimes I forget I'm a wife. And that doesn't even cover my work outside the home.

Back to my "bringing God glory job".

I was thinking fresh thoughts today (It is January, right?). Bringing glory to God is truly THE job. It's the job from which all other jobs should stem. There aren't that many mom bible verses. I've looked.  The bible does, however, provide some examples of Godly women.  Those women are all about bringing glory to God more than they are the other "stuff". The bible doesn't prescribe the perfect maid. I haven't found that much direction in scripture on activity planning.

It's not that all of my other jobs aren't important. The thing is, if I am truly seeking to bring God glory, then God will make me into the wife, mom and woman he intends for me to be. He might even fire me from a couple of those other jobs I don't need to be doing in the first place. Hallelujah.

2014 is feeling a little freer.

Here's a little motivation to get after it in 2014 from the job-giver himself:

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through

Christ Jesus, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. 1 Peter 4:11

…..but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

 

Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God. Romans 4:20

I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Because your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. Psalm 63:3

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Romans 11:36

 

So the moms, the waitresses, the teachers, the wives, the diva wannabes, the clerks, the minivan drivers and the calendar square fillers said

Amen.