Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Growing Up Daily

I looked at Nathan the other day and for a brief moment he did not look like my son. Before me wasn't the sweet baby that I held and rocked nor the toddler that crawled around my feet. For the briefest of moments, I looked into his flashing eyes and impish grin and saw a little boy.

Now, I know I do not want to get ahead of myself. Truthfully, he isn't two yet and he has quite a bit of growing to do before he is truly a little boy. Still, for that moment, I could not help but wander, how did it happen...how did this

become this

so quickly?

Daily, I see changes and growth in him. Almost weekly, he adds new words and skills to his rapidly growing collection. I guess, somehow, at some point, I just missed the long term accumulation of all those little changes...my baby is on his way to being a little boy.

I was pondering this last night when it struck me how similar this is to my recent growth in faith. Repeatedly, through sermons at church and through the books I am reading, I have been asked, how has your faith changed the way you live? While this is an excellent challenge and question...to be honest...I have been frustrated and a little disappointed, because I couldn't really answer the question all that specifically.

Last night considering how Nathan's growth as been an accumulation of changes got me to thinking if I was missing the point of the question being asked. The question is not how much your faith has changed your life from one day to the next, but overall, is your faith directing the way you live in all circumstances of life?

You see, I think I fell into the trap of looking for HUGE changes on a daily basis. Instead, it is the small changes that add up in the long run that are really making a difference in my faith walk. It is daily, even moment by moment that we are called to be faithful to God's hand in our life.

I think about life before I began walking with God. Is my life different? Absolutely. I think about my first years as a Christian. Has my life changed radically since then? In some ways it really has. I thought about my life last year. Has my faith changed the way I have lived since then? Yes, in some very important ways it has.

If I am faithful in this moment and in the next moment, than the big changes will be evident sooner or later.

As for my faith walk, I can hope the changes are evident sooner and as for Nathan growing up...I can only hope it is much later.

Friday, July 23, 2010

He's Baaacckk!

He's Baaacckk!

My precocious, lovable, super talkative 4 year old is back from a week with his Nana and Papa! He had a blast going fishing, to the train museum and being the center of his grandparents' attention. Can I tell you what a difference he makes to this household? We went from it being a very quiet, relaxed time with just little man and mommy, to a full blown, energy-packed hurricane of fun.

I really missed Caleb while he was gone, but I think the time apart did us both some good.

For one, it showed me just what a difference his presence makes in our days- for good and for bad. Caleb is a great distraction for Nathan. While Caleb was gone, Nathan followed me around, looking a little bored for the most part. Don't get me wrong- Nathan THRIVED as an only child. He revealed in getting our total attention. I did not realize before just what a little ham my little man can be! Now that Caleb is back though, Nathan can follow both of us around, whichever is the most exciting to his 20 month old mind at the time. It may be no surprise, but Nathan also naps better after spending a day with brother- I think Caleb gets some of his extra energy from zapping Nathan of his.

Another thing I noticed from our time apart is how different I parent Nathan and Caleb. I have a lot more patience with Nathan. I am not as sharp with my tone of voice, nor do I get as easily angered as I do with Caleb. I think some of it is the knowledge that Nathan, at this point, does little to intentionally disobey, while I figure Caleb knows better and intentionally chooses not to follow the rules a lot of the time. Still, I liked myself as a parent better last week and I need to figure out how to transfer that to parenting both boys effectively. That is going to be a hard one to figure out.

I am so glad my big boy is back, but I am truly thankful for the time we had apart. I am thankful for the things it taught me and for the ways this time will help me to be a better mom to both my boys.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Even There

if I rise on the wings of the dawn
even there Your hand will guide me...
if I settle on the far side of the sea
even there Your hand will guide me...
if my heart aches with a longing hope
even there Your hand will guide me...
and my life overflows with abundant fullness
even there Your hand will guide me...
when the day by day overwhelms
even there Your hand will guide me...
and the moment by moment inspires
even there Your hand will guide me...
if I fail to trade the old for new
even there Your hand will guide me...
if the love I show is Yours alone
even there Your hand will guide me...
if I go up to the heavens,
You are there;
if I make my bed in the depths,
You are there.
if I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Abba Changes Everything

More and more God is growing my heart for the orphan. It has been a long time coming, but just this week...

The Livesays, missionaries in Haiti, had a series of guests post on adoption. Very informative and real stuff. Click on over and read away.

One of the posts sent me to this article, Abba Changes Everything. It is a MUST read for any believer. I warn you though...I sobbed over it and I am not a big crier.

I will never see Jesus' cries on the cross or our cry in Galatians 4:6 the same again, EVER.

Then, my good friend and blogging buddy is hosting a great giveaway to support the adoption efforts of a missionary couple we are blessed to know and support. Click over there and buy away! I have to add to her list that a kikoi also makes a great super hero cape. Just ask my four year old who wears it as a cape AND a sling for his stuffies. Impressive, huh?

When God starts working, He works from all sides, Amen? Amen.

A father of the fatherless, and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His Holy habitation. Ps 68:5

Tuesday, July 13, 2010



Being Alone With Children For Too Long Stress Syndrome

What are some of the symptoms of BAWCFTLSS?

With BAWCFTLSS you might experience some, all, or something similar to the following:

- Roaming from room to room trying to get away from your kids as they follow you thinking this is a fun game.

- Telling your 20 month old you really need some space. (1. Like he understands your words. 2. Like he understands what "space" is. 3. Like he would ever dream of being anywhere but in your lap.)

- Taking an extra long time in the bathroom, thinking if you stay in there long enough with the lights out, they might forget your are in there.

- Craving adult relationship, feelings of loneliness, short temper, getting down on yourself, mommy guilt, etc.

If you struggle with BAWCFTLSS, you are not alone! I, myself, have suffered from this funk this week. I blame it on the after effects of being carless last week. A rental this week has helped tremendously, but the symptoms of BAWCFTLSS have continued on strong.

Is there a cure for BAWCFTLSS...or at least a treatment?

Yes! Call a friend, chat, meet up, have lunch (caffeine helps tremendously), just sit and enjoy their company, reach out to other moms (BAWCFTLSS sufferers of the world unite!), go to the park or some other fun place.

You do not have to suffer from BAWCFTLSS alone!

I was blessed to be able to have lunch with a dear friend today and confessed to her just how much I needed to be out of the house with another adult. We talked for a bit about how common BAWCFTLSS is, but how we as moms often do not reach out to others. Maybe we are too busy with the kids or do not want to appear needy to other moms. Maybe we fear if we tell someone we do not want to spend another moment alone with our child, we will miss out on "Mom of the Year" award....whatever it is, get over it! I sure am glad I did!

Monday, July 12, 2010

radical? {part 2}

Last week I shared with you my general thoughts on the book Radical by David Platt in hopes that I would be able to share a little this week about the personal changes I have made in response to reading the book.

And I would share with you those changes...

if honestly there were changes worth mentioning.

You see, at the end of the book there is a commitment form to fill out practical ways you can work to meet the five goals Platt details:

1. Pray for the entire world.
2. Read the entire Bible.
3. Sacrifice money for a specific purpose.
4. Spend time in another context (serving others.)
5. Commit our lives to a multiplying community.

I didn't sign the form.

Maybe I am a commitment-phobe or just a realist, I did not see myself following through with the plan. I must know myself really well, because I am right so far.

I love the idea of praying for the entire world and even looked up Operation World, a book Platt suggests using to guide your prayers. I got really excited about buying it, but they are coming out with a newer version in September and I want to wait till then. I told myself I would keep up with their website in the mean time, but I haven't really looked back at it at all.

I love the idea of reading the entire Bible in a year...I have even done it a couple of times...but I never went and found a reading plan.

I love the idea of sacrificing money for a purpose...but what purpose, when there are SOOOO many?

I love the idea of spending time in context...but I have two little guys who are rather dependent on me and this is a truly stressful time for our family with David's work, which makes spending time in context not high on the list of priorities.

I love the idea of being in community...and honestly this is the easiest for me to follow through on because I am in a multiplying community that streeetttcchhes me and challenges me like none other I have known. If you don't believe me check out my pastor's sermon from this Sunday.

So while I love the idea of being radical, I am finding it harder than I thought to implement. I have been taking little steps...thinking twice or three times before making even the smallest purchase, limiting the number of times I eat out (which is a sacrifice for me), putting a world map on our table where we eat all our meals...I guess I have to start somewhere right?

The devotion we read this morning with our breakfast started out by saying "Our true beliefs are revealed by our actions." This cut me to the core when I thought about my response to Radical. While I have been telling others about this great book, I have failed to let its ideas truly change my actions. I am praying that this realization spurs me into action and am prayerfully seeking God's next step in my becoming radical for His glory.

Friday, July 9, 2010

radical? {part 1)

I finished reading the book Radical by David Platt recently and with the accident and sickness and other summer "stuff" I have not had a chance to sit down and share my thoughts with You, my fabulous readers, yet.

I HIGHLY suggest this book to others who are looking to grow in their faith or who wish to be challenged in their walk.

That being said, here are the things that I have learned from Radical:

1. I need to read the book again.

2. I need to read the book again, in community. It is just one of those reads that BEGS to be discussed and thought through out loud, with a Bible in hand, searching for God's heart for His children. (Book club this fall, anyone?)

and here is the kicker...

3. What Platt calls radical, really isn't all that radical.

Now, I don't mean this to be a let down or a dig on Platt, because it isn't. Truly, it is a dig on myself and the other millions of Americans who call themselves Christians.

For those of you who have not read the book (and you SHOULD), Platt calls us to intentionally:

1. Pray for the entire world.
2. Read the entire Bible.
3. Sacrifice money for a specific purpose.
4. Spend time in another context (serving others.)
5. Commit our lives to a multiplying community.

Let's see, where have I heard all that before...pray, learn God's word, give your time and talents for His purpose, and grow alongside other believers. Hmm...Let's see...who said it...that's right...JESUS! That's it! These are the very things He has always called us to do....crazy, huh?

Now, don't hear (read?) me wrong- I am not saying that all God cares about is what we are DOING. Our relationship with God is NOT based on our works. It is based on His immense love and sacrifice for us. Out of this love, grows our love for Him, and in turn, our desire to DO what He desires of us.

While the five things Platt mentions may not be radical, what is radical is intentionally applying them to our lives. The call of living radically is not some new-fangled concept or plan, it is a return to the central focus of our Christian walk- loving God and doing what He commands.

I have been reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan (a book with a similar message as Radical) this summer with a small group of ladies. (See! Some books really do need to be read together.) In this week's chapter Chan had two statements that sent me back to thinking about Radical...

"I quickly found out the American church is a difficult place to fit in if you want to live out New Testament Christianity." p. 68

"Lukewarm people are moved by stories of people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for "extreme" Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call "radical" what Jesus expected of all His followers." p. 71

It is a sad state of affairs when we have entered a period of Church history when that which is simply expected by Jesus is truly thought of as radical. I don't want to go bashing the Church, for she is the Bride of Christ and I know He'll stick up for His Bride. Still, I think that books like Crazy Love and Radical are pointing out some important facets of the Church, specifically the American Church, that need some deep examining and Holy Spirit transformation in order to be the Bride He deserves and desires.

In the end, we truly have no say in what the Church as a whole looks like. All we can change is what we personally look like as a member of that larger body. That being the case, next I will try to cover what I am personally trying to do to radically and intentionally apply these actions to my own life...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Missing Heart

Part of my heart is missing this week.

You see, this is the first year in three years we have not attended beach camp with the 4th-6th graders from church.

I am bummed and a huge part of my heart is with them. I stop during the day, thinking they would be at the pool now, or eating dinner or listening to some great teaching. I pray for them and go about my day.

We have known for months we would not be attending- mostly we thought because of David's work schedule this year. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew even more. He knew we would need this week to get over the wreck, work through insurance stuff and get back on track as a family. He knew David would have mono this summer and need the time even more. In His wisdom, God knew we shouldn't go and so we clued in a bit and didn't.

I am thankful for God's wisdom and direction...but, I am still bummed and my heart is still at Caswell this week and to be honest, I think He is ok with that. He is using this heart ache to draw me into prayer for the campers and adults. Truly, I hope they are having a God-filled time and I CANNOT wait to hear all about it when they get back (and I CANNOT wait for the hope of possibly going back with them next year.)

Till then, my heart and prayers are at Caswell this week.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Could Use That

A small, empty cardboard box.

"Mama, I could use that."

A piece of yarn that is unraveling at the ends.

"Mama, I could use that."

A stray rubber band.

"Mama, I could use that."

A scrap piece of lumber.

"Mama, I could really use that."

The pull-out trunk cover from the totaled car.

"Mama, I could really, really use that."

I have come to realize that my oldest is a hoarder of junk...well, really more than a hoarder, he is a user of junk. The child's eyes light up with the sight of scraps of cardboard, paper or yarn. A rubber band sends him into ecstatic fits of joy. A length of rope and he is in toy heaven.

The boy will take these "toys" and play with them for hours. He constructs, hauls, gives his stuffed animals baths and does all kind of things only a 4 1/2 year old can imagine. Recently, he was running fiber cable (actually yarn) to his stuffies' houses,

"Like daddy does at work, mama."

We can hope this penchant for using scraps will mean a cheap Christmas this year..."An entire bag of rubber bands?!? For ME?!?!" "Yarn and a cardboard box! You shouldn't have!"

I can only wonder if he will end up being an engineer like his daddy. It is fun to watch him explore, create and use the things around him to do so. (I have to remind myself of this fun whenever so often we go through his room to clear out the stash of boxes, string and other various items.)

And while I am truly impressed with his creativity and usage of the simple things he finds around him, I did not give him the trunk cover.

"But mama, I could really, really, really use it."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Accident Update

What a difference three days will make! I am finally feeling back to my normal self for the most part. I am still sore at moments, but not chronically dazed in pain...which is a good thing, a very good thing.

Now on to the oh.so.much.fun part of settling with the insurance company...yeah, not so much fun really.

We praise God that the truth of liability has been settled and that the other driver is fully liable. We are now praying that His justice and timing comes forth through the settlement and that we show Jesus' love even in the midst of what can be difficult negotiations.

We also pray that we have His wisdom in choosing what type car to buy. We went car window shopping today and it is very tempting to get what we *want* instead of what we *need* (and can afford.)

A huge thank you for your kind comments, your calls, the yummy dinner brought to us and your prayers! You have made a world of difference in our lives!
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