Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If You Give a Poet a Lawnmower

I love taking thoughts and giving them order and flow. Words that once bounced around in my head find their place on a page. Now organized and deliberate, they make sense of my feelings in a way that is beautiful.

Rhyme and reason. I love writing poetry.

You would think that I would be able to bring some of that to the lawn as I mow.

Not so.

As I ride aimlessly through the yard there is not an ounce of rhyme to be found. No reason. No order. No flow.

I usually sit back when my writing is done and enjoy the satisfaction of my work. It is a gift God has given me and I can't express the joy that I feel when it is complete. It's a wonderful feeling.

Today, I surveyed the land when my work on the mower was done. All I could think was "what was I thinking?" The closest thing to rhyme or reason was the circle I was doing in the middle of the backyard. Of course as I got half-way done with the circle, I got a vision of what I was going to look like once I got to the middle of the yard. I would have been driving in the smallest possible circle unable to cut the last square yard of grass. Kind of like the car that keeps driving around the gas pump but never gets on the right side. So, I stopped driving in circles and made lines straight across (straight being a relative term of course).

In the end, though, the grass is shorter and my husband does not have to do it after a long day at work. And that's all that matters.

I hope.

Owner's Manual

Problems on the playground. There are two sides to the story of course and I want to get to the truth. God, I need some direction here. I need a trouble-shooting guide. Instructions laid out in easy to follow steps.

I need an owner's manual. The only problem is that the manual I need is not for something I own. Contrary to his birth certificate, Aidan belongs You, God. He was born into our family, placed in our care by Your design. But I don't own him. God, he was born as lost as the rest of us. He is really only mine to lead to You.

I want to lead him to you. God, help me reach him. Help me to hear from You because You know what will reach him. The fierce love of a mother bear in me, wants to tear someone apart. It's just not sure if that someone is my own son or the "other" kids. Your peace that comes to rest in me tells me that the "other" kids are worth praying for but my job is here with Aidan. God let the truth be revealed. Let nothing be hidden. Reveal what lies beneath the surface we see. And give me all that I need to lead Aidan to You.

My prayer is that through this struggle, Aidan will emerge stronger. Convicted and justly disciplined. And closer to You with a desire to hear Your voice, obey, and please You. That he will grow in favor with men and with God. That he will live this life in the world but not of the world.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You Are What You Eat

I know the secret of being healthy and fit. Eat right and exercise. Of course, knowing and doing are two very different things. If I want to be healthy and fit, I have to change my eating habits and get active. If I did that you would start to see changes.

What about our spiritual health? I think it's the same secret. Eat right and exercise.

We are constantly being fed. The movies and t.v. shows we watch are feeding us. The music we listen to is feeding us, even if we claim not to be really paying attention. The people we listen to are feeding us. They can feed our egos or feed us lies that leave our self esteem malnourished. They can feed us God's truth or their version of it.

If we want to be spiritually healthy, chances are we need to change some of our eating habits. It's been quite awhile now since God made it clear to me that I needed to change the music I listened to. And more recently, He's been changing my t.v. habits. He's not putting me on a diet where I'm forced to deny myself everything enjoyable in life. He's helping me to make lifestyle changes. Replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones. He's also shown me that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. So, I get up before my day starts to get in His word. And He feeds me.

Exercise. Physically, eating right without exercise or exercise without eating right, doesn't work. I don't think it does spiritually either. We need to get active. Get involved. Put our faith to work. Becoming active in the church has brought new friendships. Godly friendships that have brought about growth. And serving, well, that definitely brings growth.

If you eat right, you have the calories for the energy you need to be active. In the same way, when you are being fed by God's word, He gives you what you need to be active. So do something. Get involved in the lives of other believers. Serve them. Fellowship with them. Get involved in the lives of non-believers and love them. Show them the God you serve. Get active.

My husband and I have been starting to change our eating habits and get active. I can see the changes it's making, I hope the world can too.

John 6:46
Ephesians 4
Philippians 4:8-9

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Does it Make Me a Bad Mom?

I just sorted through the dirty laundry. I was looking for the cleanest of the dirty pants for Aidan to church.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Decision to Make a Decision

I am afraid of being wrong. I want to be right. I want to know that I am right. To be sure. Certain. I'm not talking about winning arguments. I'm talking about doing what is right. Doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I don't want to do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing. I'm so afraid of doing the wrong thing that I do nothing.

I have decided that I am going to start deciding.

Here are some things I can be sure of...

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

"For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." I Peter 4:10

I want my life to please God. I want God to be praised through my life. How does that work, then, if I don't use the gifts He's given me.

I hate making decisions because I'm afraid I will make the wrong one. And I will.

Instead, I have decided that my decisions are God's to make. He blessed me with a gift for writing. Denying my gift is not humility, humility is giving God all the glory for it.

He has also given me a desire for writing. When I'm not writing I literally go crazy inside, desperate to do something, make something, create something.

And last fall, He gave me a book to write. I knew He was asking me to write it. And yet, fear continues to creep in. What if I was wrong? What if I claim that He gave me a book to write and He didn't?

I will stand firm in my faith. I will trust Him. I will trust that all that He said was true. This gift is from Him to be used for His glory. I will seek Him as I make my plans and trust that He will determine my steps.

I'm going to write a book. It's what I'm supposed to do. I'm not sure what He'll have me do with it when it is complete, but I can't wait to find out.

I've made my decision.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Square One. Ah, It's Nice to be Back.

Here I am, back at square one. And I couldn't be happier. Here's a look at how I arrived.

Aidan wanted a camouflage room. Garrett agreed. I don't remember when they first mentioned that but it's been fairly recently. I do remember that the creative mind God blessed me with, immediately began crafting "the vision".

I had found camouflage comforters at Walmart, which I didn't purchase yet, just making a plan. Well, after getting the go-ahead from Gary this weekend, I headed out Monday morning for comforters. Didn't happen. They didn't have twin sized and they ended up being $30 instead of $20 like I thought.

Not a problem. I'll start with paint. So I spent my Monday afternoon with a gallon of primer, saying goodbye to the baseball theme I had painted for "my little man" 7 years ago. Sniff. The boys were very excited for the project to be underway. Except. Garrett wants a dinosaur room.

Not a problem. All the dinosaur comforters I've seen had brown in them. It will all coordinate fine. Monday night I tested the beautiful, beautiful "gaucho" brown that my beautiful, beautiful friend came to loan me.

Love it. Love it. Love it.

Aidan and Garrett got home from Awanas and I sent them up to see the small brown space on the wall.

There was no love.

Then Aidan tells me, "Mom, I want the gray and white and black camouflage."

Now I have no love.

But not a problem. Tuesday I spent some time online searching for gray camo bedding. Target has it! $60! Problem. It's out of stock. Solves the problem.

After school I called the boys over to the computer. I show them the gray out-of-stock bedding. Yes, that is the one they both now want. I explain that it's not available yet, do you like the blue? Then I hold my breath and pray for a "no" (it's still $60, after all). "No, we don't like the blue." Now I can breathe again. I start to scroll down and before I said a word, they both spotted the normal green camo bedding and shout "that one"!!

Gaucho is back in. $30 Walmart comforters, back in. Not another word will be spoken of this project until it is complete. I am back at Square One and I'm not leaving.

I do wonder, however...if you come full circle why do you end up back at square one?

Please Don't Feed the Bears

I was standing in the kitchen, Sunday, talking to my husband. I just really wanted him to know how I loved the changes I was seeing in him. I commented on "his growing" that "he's been doing" and he interuppted me. He asked me to word my comments more carefully, saying that he could too easily get a big head. So, I rephrased my encouragement and praised God for the changes He's been making in Gary and for growing him.

Today I was thinking about what he said. I used to feel that he needed my words to make him feel good about himself and I never seemed to succeed. I couldn't feed his ego enough. Now, he's asking that I stop feeding it and put the praise where it belongs. That's humility. (but don't get a big head about it, Gary)

It reminded me of times when he would want to "sing my praises" and I would get uncomfortable and actually irritated. I'd love to say that I was just humble and didn't like receiving praise. But I was really just afraid that I would eat it all up.

These two thoughts came together in a picture.

A national park with a sign posted "Please Don't Feed the Bears."

Why not? Because they will become dangerous!

We all have an ego. It is our self-image. I'm sure that brilliant philosophers could intellectually explain the ego, but I prefer to picture it as a bear.

Bears survive naturally, in their natural habitat. Then people come along and feed them. And it's never enough. They want more. They seek it out. They become extremely dangerous.

The natural habitat of our self-image is Christ. We need to be fed by Him. When we are looking to others we never get enough. We become beastly. Our egos will either become too big, or too small, but in Christ they are just right. Hey, look! There's another bear analogy there...Goldilocks? Did you catch it? Moving on.

Our egos are all just as dangerous. It may seem harmless enough to toss a bear a ding-dong, but I pity the family that camps there next.

Please Don't Feed the Bears
Let God sustain them.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


We lost our bookmarks tonight on our Internet. It's very annoying.

Since it's 11:23pm and Rachel is still awake (in her crib now but still awake), I've been searching the computer for a way to get our bookmarks back.

I came across a document titled "Thoughts" so I opened it.

It was blank.

I found that extremely funny.

Pray Without Ceasing

Okay, I'm going to confess something a bit embarrassing. I don't remember exactly how old I was when I did this, but I'm guessing 10? 11? Somewhere in there. I'd love to say that I was 3 or 4. Then it wouldn't be as embarrassing. Oh, well.

I remember lying in bed one night. I even remember how my room was arranged when it happened, the head of my bed was against the wall that my door was on. Anyway, I started praying. It didn't take long for my mind to drift elsewhere, so I started over. And I do mean started over! I don't remember what I was praying for but I remember starting back at the beginning each time my mind wandered. Why you ask? Because I had just learned this verse...

I Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing." (KJV)

I wish I was joking but I thought that meant that my prayer could not stop and start. Each time my prayer was interrupted it was no good. Ruined. Back to the beginning. I didn't get a lot prayed for that night. I did ask my Mom about it, I think I got so frustrated that I got out of bed to go ask her. So it was only one night that I wrestled with this dilemma.

All these years later though, I'm still working on praying without ceasing. So, here's what I'm learning now.

I used to be, ha!, I am a mumbler. Gary, if you don't know this then you really just don't pay any attention to me, do you? A few years ago, God greatly convicted me of this. I was behaving as if it were alright to say anything I wanted as long as it was under my breath and no one really heard it. Oh, yes. God had something to say about that. I couldn't get away with mumbling anymore. In addition to all the anger that I had when I started to mumble, I would be flooded with pangs of guilt over what I was mumbling. And I thank God for that blessing because it turned my mumbling into a conversation with God.

I have found that God helped me not to stop mumbling, but to start mumbling to Him. I am humbled by the relationship He wants to have with me.

Think about it. Prayer is conversation with Him. He wants us to be in conversation with Him continuously! I don't love anyone that much!!! I can't imagine a love as pure and deep as we have with our children...but kids, please don't talk to me without ceasing!!!!

"Pray without ceasing." That's love.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Goldie's Last Day

PFR. I loved this group in college. Loved. They did not have a song I didn't love (at the time they didn't have many songs at all) but Goldie's Last Day is the only one I remember. I mean really remember. I remember the tune, I remember the words, I remember the moment you realize that the song is not what you think.

(If you have not heard the song, I still have the tape. Yes, I said tape.)

I was just typing my last post and the kids' radio was on across the hall. It was just barely background noise. I hardly noticed it at all, I was deep in thought (see last post). Until. I heard a tune that shattered my concentration. I stopped mid-thought and strained to listen. It could't be. My seriousness melted immediately and I just smiled. An old familiar song. I never expected to ever hear it on the radio again but there it was.

I tried to get my focus back on task. With a big cheesy grin still on my face, I read again the verse I was about to post "He also set eternity in the hearts of men."

Hmmm. I wonder if heaven will be familiar?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Importance of Missing Something

Crushing is how I would describe what this father's words were to his son. His only son. My heart broke just hearing the pain it caused.

Pitiful cries break the silence of the house. She can't voice loud enough the fact that she does not want to sleep. She wants Mommy, who is just around the corner with a heart breaking, trying not to give in.

The sins of the world have just rested on his beaten body. His Father turns His back. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

Would it all hurt so deeply if we didn't know what we were missing?

"He has also set eternity in the hearts of men."

It's there. It's set in each of us. Something missing. Something we can't figure out, we can't gain, we can't achieve, we can't fill. But what if we don't know what we're missing? Does it hurt as deeply?

Born with a dull ache. Hardly noticed because it's just always been there. It's become normal. It's a part of life. Every now and then an accomplishment, a thrill, a dream or passion, or even a love comes along and for a moment the ache has faded. It isn't gone...just ignored.

And then God speaks. Suddenly it is obvious, that something missing all along...God are You?..."I Am."

And from now on, His silence will bring you to your knees, pleading for His presence...because now you know what you are missing.

If that father knew what he was missing, would he have crushed his son?
If that son didn't know what he was missing, would he have been crushed?

Jesus was God. Jesus was a man. He was a man who lived from conception with a relationship with His Father. The moment that was gone, He knew what He was missing. After all that he endured, this He couldn't.

Thank you God for having the patience to be silent. For letting me find that it's You I'm missing. There is nothing sweeter than being filled by You. If You need to be silent at times to remind me that it's You I need, thank You.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wanting Someone New

I have to confess. I've had this relationship for a long time. I don't remember when we had our first morning together but we've been together every morning since.

I need someone new. I hate to say goodbye but we've grown cold. He doesn't rouse me like he used to. He speaks and I don't even notice. He doesn't get through to me anymore and all I do is push his buttons.

Gary? Can I buy a new alarm clock? I slept through the buzzing for almost an hour today and that's not the first time either. But I didn't push snooze! Hooray for small victories!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reading Through the Bible in One Night? and a few random thoughts

There are things I want to write. My thoughts today about prayer. Parts of my book that are starting to flow in my mind. But more urgent tonight is reading.

The conviction I shared in my last post has left me desperate to catch up on my Bible reading plan. I started Jan. 1, 2008 on my path to reading through the Bible in one year. I felt the need to have something keeping me accountable to being in the Word daily. It is exactly what I needed. It has definitely been a tool in my training myself to spend daily time with God.

I don't know what got me off course, but April has not been a good month. I've been undisciplined and sloppy. I've read some of a day's reading but not all and tried to play catch up and failed. I think I may be a whole week behind. But worse, I'm not sure what I've read and not read from the last week. I have utterly confused myself.

I have contemplated scraping the goal and just focusing on spending time in the Word. But I can't. I have to press on. I want to be committed and get back on track. Not so that next January I can say I did it, but because I've seen how it's disciplining me to be in the Word each morning. I don't feel like my goal of reading the through the Bible is any higher than choosing a particular book to study or even just reading random passages each day. Whatever I choose to read each day is not about conquering the Book, it's about knowing my God. Whatever I choose, or feel lead to read, I know God will reveal Himself to me.

But tonight I want to try to catch up, to get back on track. This reading plan has been a great exercise in discipline for me and I don't want to abandon that.

A few random thoughts before I go...

...I can sum up, in one word, the reason I don't home school. Alison. (I love you to pieces, Al!)

...I have no idea when Garrett had a shower last. I keep forgetting about him. (I love you to pieces, too, Gigs!)

...I love writing.

...Jason Castro should be the next American Idol. But if he's not, it's my fault because I don't vote.

...Coughing really grosses me out. And not many things really gross me out. But coughing, bllleckkkk.

It's Aidan coughing, by the way, so I'm off to get the cough medicine out and then settle in to finish off Deuteronomy and half of Joshua!

Filling My Day

There are really only two things that fill my day. Thoughts and actions.

There, that's simple enough. I have time for both.

I wish.

Each day the same dilemma surfaces. It starts with the buzz of the alarm clock and the inner conflict of choosing between the snooze button and quiet time with God. It continues all day with thoughts that will either move me to action or die trying. There is work to be done and rest to be desired. Demands on my time require filing to be done. "Want" box or "need" box? My boxes, my husband's boxes, and of course the kids each have boxes. Once I have filed, though, to what do I devote my time? Inevitably there are additional "wants" and "needs" that will pop up if you happen to have extended family, friends, neighbors, a church family, kids in school, an employer...I can't go on, but I know there are more.

Sound familiar? It should, it's life.

There are two things that fill my day and I believe there are two things I need if I'm going to make it through that day. God and a game plan.

Notice I listed God first. He is all I really need. He created me and called me and has a purpose for my life. He knows best when it comes to my day and how I should fill it.

So, my game plan? Give each day to Him first! He should always be my first appointment of the day. And before any demands or choices find me I need to meet with Him and surrender my day to His game plan.

I've fooled myself before (often enough and for long enough that I'm thoroughly embarrassed) into thinking it was fine to fit God into my schedule. "I'm not a morning person." "I don't have as much time in the morning." "I think better in the evening." Or just penciling Him in to a time slot I happen to have free.

I've even fooled myself into thinking that it was righteous of me just to be spending time with God. But here's the deal. That is arrogant. I need to fit myself into God's schedule. When did Jesus have His quiet time alone with God? Oh gee, first thing in the morning before He was met with any demands of the day! Who am I that I think I can make it through a day and seek God at the end of it? It would be like trying to run a marathon and planning on getting in shape as soon as I'm finished. In other words, it doesn't work.

Here's my desire. I want to train myself to give God the first appointment of my day. And it will require training, Gary, if you knew how much I loved my snooze button, you'd be jealous. And then I want to give Him the authority to plan the rest of my day. He's going to anyway and I'd much rather be a willing participant. I want to surrender each day to His will. I want to be listening to Him, to seek Him in every decision I make about my time. And He deserves nothing less of me because He is God, and that is my game plan.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Oreo's, Coffee, and a Pink Plastic Tea Set

I'm not sure why, but Max has been on my heart a lot lately. I almost (as in, my eyes filled with tears but I was able to avoid having to wipe them) cried in church yesterday during worship. I don't remember which song started it but I was overwhelmed with a love for my God. Then "Indescribable" about did me in and I couldn't stop grinning as we all sang "Indescribable, Uncontainable, You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name, You are amazing God!"

No one here was privileged to meet Max. Only a few even know he existed. The few in the medical field who knew that I carried him may not have acknowledged his existence. To them he may have just been tissue that could have, but didn't, become a new little life. I don't know though, I didn't ask what they thought. I knew he was.

I was not blessed by the sound of his heart beating. I was not blessed to know his gender. I was not blessed with the opportunity to name him. But I was blessed to be able to love him. And he was known by God.

He was a gift from my God, a gift I am grateful for. But in this fallen world where nothing has not been cursed by sin, I didn't get to keep him. But the hope I have in Christ reminds me that I will meet him someday.

And today, he has met my Great Aunt. And I love the thought of it.

Now, I don't believe that anyone I long to see again in heaven will be my first priority when I get there. I can't fathom meeting the God I serve, meeting my Savior, falling at His feet and asking, "Can I see my Grandma?" So, I don't like to hear things like "oh, Max must have met her at the pearly gate" or "Max welcomed her to heaven". Jesus took her home. She met her Father. And I'll bet no one else mattered.

So, now, she's been Home for 10 1/2 hours (or so). And if "with the Lord a day is like thousand years" then she's coming up on 500 years at lunchtime! I think they've met by now.

I can't begin to imagine them in heaven. I can only picture them the way I remember them. So I imagine what I know. I know that Max met a Great, Great Aunt today. An Aunt who would have introduced him to oreo's and coffee in a pink plastic tea set. Who would have called him a "little darling" and patted her knee and giggled about all the amazing things he would have done, like rolling over or growing hair. An Aunt who would have plopped him into an old wooden high chair and celebrated an ordinary day with petite fores. She would have turned on her organ and played "Let's go down to Mary-Ann's" and "Take me out to the Ballgame" just to make him smile. If Max were a girl, she would have opened up her jewelry boxes for her just to see her eyes sparkle brighter than the gems on the fake jewelry. If Max were a boy, it would have been frogs and a barrel of monkeys. And if Max had known any birthdays here, she would have sent a card that she wrote herself to tell him she loved him and thought of him often.

I miss her. The hope I have in Christ reminds me, I will see her again someday. And that Max has met a Great, Great Aunt today.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?"

I've been thinking lately about being known. I love being able to write here. I love that my husband can read all that pours out of my head and my heart and know me. It's a really wonderful feeling to be known. To have someone interested in you and knowing you better.

But I'm coming to realize that it's not what I want at all. In a selfish way I long for people to see me and know me and to understand me. When I consider my life with eternal perspective though, when you look at my life I want you to see Jesus.

I live in a world obsessed with identity. Find your identity. Hold on to your identity. Shred all your documents so no one can steal your identity. Leave a marriage if you start to lose your identity. And having children! Well, if you're going to do that then you'd better work extra hard to keep your identity! Darn kids - identity thieves!

God, however, has a different plan for my identity. He says lose it. His Son died that I may be made new. A new creation. In Christ. Jesus is my new identity.

Okay, are you wondering yet what this has to do with Sponge Bob? Well, as I pondered these identity thoughts in the shower, a certain Sponge Bob episode came to mind.

Squidward wanted to transform the Krusty Krab from a burger joint into a 5-star restaurant. Sponge Bob was given a new assignment. The porous little fry cook was asked to become...a waiter! What is a waiter? What do I do? Where are you taking my spatula!! Yeah, it sent my favorite yellow sponge into a quite a panic. The solution? Squidward gave him a book. In it was everything Sponge Bob needed to know to be a waiter.

Now, the book was very large and time was very short. Squidward gave Sponge Bob a pep talk. Empty everything you now know out of your head! This book is all you should know.

So, here's the picture that comes to mind as I'm pondering wanting to be known and my identity in Christ. Inside Sponge Bob's mind, little Bob's are racing, scrambling, sirens blaring, as they shred and burn every document in every file.

In the end it didn't work out because the poor little sea creature couldn't remember his name. But in Christ, that's okay with me. My name? I don't need to remember it, my Father has it written in His book. It's safe.

In a world of people clinging to identities for dear life, I want to let go of mine and find life. My identity is in Christ so if you get to me you will meet Jesus. That is my prayer.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Expert on Me

Here it is. The long awaited revelation from the shower.

I have to say first that it is really not uncommon for God to speak to me in the shower. This is for a couple of reasons. 1) He's got my as-undivided-as-it-gets attention. Think about it...lather, rinse, repeat...I've got it down, doesn't require much thought. And 2) I ask Him to.

So, I was rambling on and on. And on. Trying to understand my own feelings. Attempting to pinpoint exactly what I was struggling with because all I really knew was that I was struggling. In the end I felt at peace with the conclusion that what was bothering me was that I felt that my husband was not being sensitive to me. (Don't panic yet, Gary, this is not the part that God spoke to me!)

Once I recognized just what the issue was, I did the next logical thing. I started whining about it. He's being selfish. He's not being thoughtful. I don't matter at all. God I just want him to focus on me for a change and try to understand me and be sensitive. Sensitive to my needs, my pain, my struggles. Yeah, can you see why God had to say something? I was getting nowhere on my own!

He started with a question that ended my whining immediately.

"If you are learning that you need to focus on Me and only Me, why exactly do you feel that your husband should focus on you and only you?"

Good question, huh?

Out went the whining and I pondered the thought.

Going back to the beginning of my struggling with my struggle. I have a desire to be understood. To be considered. To be given what I need when I need it, for healing, for growing. To have my pain, my struggles, my doubts, fears, and concerns, seen and reacted to with sensitivity. I decide that it is my husband who is supposed to treat me this way because he loves me. And then I'm frustrated and feeling hopeless as I hear from all sorts of different sources that men are just not sensitive like women are. Where does that leave me then? Stuck. Stuck with a husband who can't be what I need because he's a man and I can have no hope that he can or will be able to meet my needs.

But something about that bothers me. (This is where you can really start feeling better, Gary, because I'm about to stand up for men.) Why can't men be sensitive? I am fully aware that we are different and I'm am fine with that. I know that when I have a heart to heart with Gary it will always be different than the way I have a heart to heart with a girlfriend. And I'm okay with that. But to be sensitive to be mindful of me and what I'm going through and then act accordingly in words and actions...I just can't believe that men are not capable of that.

So, I want a husband who is sensitive to, and meets, my needs. And now I am convinced that I can actually have that, despite what some people think about men.

This, then, takes me way back to counseling sessions where I was told that I needed to figure out what I need and tell my husband or he couldn't meet my needs. It made perfect sense but it flooded me with panic! What do I need? What do I ask for? What the heck do I do if I don't know! God made a very, very good observation at this point. "You are not the expert on you." He knit me together, He formed me. He knew my needs before I existed. He took care of my needs before I existed. I only know I am in need of Him because He revealed it to me. He is the expert on me.

By this point I can clearly see two different ways to approach my marriage.

1) I can feel needy and demand that my husband focus his attention on me, figuring out my needs and then meeting them in just the right way. I can then focus on me, because he'll need help figuring out my needs and being the expert on me that I am, I can surely enlighten him. (Notice, by the way, that in this first scenario both of us are focused on me. Yeah, I can't figure out why this won't work.)


2) I can feel needy (yes, in both scenarios, I will be needy, sorry honey) and focus on God, seeking Him and lifting up my husband in prayer that he and I will both be more sensitive. Not to each other but to the Spirit. Because the truth is, He is the expert on us and if we are sensitive to His leading we can truly begin to recognize our own needs and meet each other's needs. Our real, actual needs, not the ones that we, in all our wisdom, think we have.

Isn't God amazing?

And Gary, because I know and love our sense of humor, I'm going to clarify something. This does not mean that we are not supposed to communicate our needs to each other. If I have a computer issue or you find a spider you want dead, let's not just pray that God leads the other to come to the rescue.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Missed It!

Yep. I did. I knew it was coming but I didn't see it happen.

I've been putting off housework for a day or two now. I've done little things here and there but not much. I like to call it "maintaining a lived-in look." In reality, it's actually "living on the verge of catastrophe." This morning I could sense that it was close. I determined that I would devote my afternoon to cleaning. So, off I went with Garrett and Rachel to run our errands and get back in time for lunch. I was planning to settle everyone in for some quiet time and tend to the house while it was still a manageable mess.

I am too late.

I missed it. I missed the stage in between "lived-in" and "catastrophe." There is such a stage, right? Yeah, I'm beginning to doubt it myself.

So, here I sit with my feet up. My laundry hamper is empty. I have laundry on the bathroom floor. My bedroom floor. My rocking chair. The kid's floors. The worst part is that not all of this laundry is dirty. I just can't tell it apart anymore. There is not a room in the house that does not need the floor vacuumed or mopped. My sink is full, as is my dishwasher. I have paperwork from a number of different sources all waiting to be given a home. Waiting on the desk. The other desk. The counter. The half wall. None on the table though, that is actually, wait, that's where some of my groceries are still sitting waiting for their home.

I could go on and on. But it's making me tired.

So, what am I going to do about it?

I'm going to write.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Why I Write

I do not know what greater purpose God may or may not have for my writing but I know I have to write. How do I know that? Let me tell you.

God spoke to me in the shower. No, the fact that I need to write is not what He was speaking to me, I’m getting to that.

He took my ramblings and with one thought He corrected them. What He said to me can change me. It can change my attitude, my prayer life, my focus, and my desires. I am in awe of Him this morning. I am in love with Him this morning. I have been deeply moved by Him this morning as He spoke to me in the shower.

So what about this gives me the conviction to write? The simple fact that it is Wednesday morning and by Friday I will have a hard time remembering whether or not I even had a shower two days ago.

I have a longing to hold on to His insight that I am blessed with this morning. It sickens me to realize that this incredible moment I had with God could slip away unremembered. It shames me to think of all the moments that could have changed me but didn’t. He has given me the opportunity to grow, to grow closer to Him, to grow more like Him. I don’t want to walk away unchanged.

I need to remember, I need to grow, I need to be changed. And so, I need to write.
(I’ll share what He spoke, but not until tonight when the house is quiet!)

Thoughts About Thoughts

How many can my mind possibly have at one time? And how is it that when my mind is most full, my page is most bare? Out of all the hundreds of things that raced through my head today, I had literally only 1 clear thought. I know nothing.

Now, this probably sounds like the beginning of something dark. Like a deep depression is brewing and soon you will be visiting me on a ward somewhere, comparing notes with each other to determine whether I look any better than the day before and commenting on the lifeless look in my eyes and how you think, or hope, it’s just the medication.

Well, put all your crazy fears aside. It was a wonderful moment and I will explain.

I know nothing. That was my one clear thought. A beautiful thought. This thought flooded my being with a sweet freedom. See, you have to understand something about me. I like to know things. This is probably why my daughter’s nosey interruptions into every conversation I have bother me like they do. She is so me, and to be honest, I annoy me.

I used to wonder why God punished all of mankind for the sins of two people. If I had been the first woman, surely I would have seen right through the serpent’s temptation and chosen obedience. Yeah, who am I kidding? Knowledge of good and evil, you say? You mean someone knows something that I don’t? The only real question is “would I have been as quick to fall as Eve...or quicker?” I just can’t stand to know that someone knows something I don’t.

Each time I was pregnant, I imagined how wonderful it would be to find out the gender of my new little one on the day of their birth. At ultrasound appointments, I wished that I had the strength to say with conviction, “No. We do not want to know the sex of the baby until he, or she, is born.” Only once did I find that strength, and I certainly didn’t have it on my own. Had I had another ultrasound with Garrett, I am confident I would have caved. The thought of an ultrasound tech knowing something that I did not know, tortured me.

Yes. I like to know things. And not just about things that involve me. If not for the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I would be all about gossip. Even with God working in me I am not innocent of it but left to be my natural self I would pull up a chair and get good and comfy with anyone willing to talk. I just like to know things.

There are things that I could literally drive myself insane trying to figure out. I want to know. I want to know why God allowed my miscarriage. I want to know when my marriage will be restored. I want to know what will become of my writing. I want to know where I should be in life. I want to put all the pieces together, see the big picture, figure it out, and know.

Almost worse than all the things I want to know but don’t, are the things I think I know but don’t. What I see and what I think determine what I “know”. I can know what is wrong with someone else. I can know what will surely happen in a situation. Only at a closer look can I see the judgment and pride masquerading as “knowledge”.

So, today, my head crowded with thoughts I couldn’t process, God gave me one that was clear. I know nothing. And with that thought came peace. I am at peace with that because God’s thoughts are not my thoughts, they are higher. And I know God. My flesh wants desperately to know many things. My soul wants to know the God who knows it all.
Sweet freedom. It is a freedom from this need to make sense of my thoughts. I am going to go set aside everything to fill my heart and mind with God’s Word. Lord, You are all I need to know.