Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Paper Mess

Whenever I tell someone I am homeschooling our 3 children they respond in these ways: "oh, you must be very organized," and "you must have sooo much patience" or something of the sort. The honest answer is no and nope. But I believe God has a plan. I think that sometimes (often) He calls us to do things that we cannot do on our own strength so that we fully depend on HIM to do it through us. In this way, when things go well, God is glorified all around, because we know that it is nothing other than a miracle that we accomplished something only God could do!
Yesterday I had a blistering homeschooling "moment." On the way out to read our history book in the refreshing spring weather, I (and my full binder of history curriculum) was soaked by a bucket of water. An accident. I understand. But huge bummer. Huge setback. Instead of reading our History, we were blow-drying and ironing our work. HMMM? God has a plan in THIS? Yep. I would bet on it. And sometimes I wonder if God and my children are homeschooling me more than I am homeschooling them? Its a daily test of my trust in God's power and presence and peace. And He is strong. And He is here. And all is well. Wet papers don't matter for eternity. Relationships do. So mommy said she was sorry for her tantrum over wet History, and we moved on with drying our curriculum; and I spent some time putting them in page protectors (what a novel idea!), as the kids happily moved on to working on their science projects, researching sea animals, building volcano's, and designing paper airplanes. A reminder that forgiveness heals and the sooner the better. Isn't it true that the one who does not forgive is the one who suffers most? I am glad I am re-learning that lesson. So all is good with the paper mess. The crinkly papers will stand as a reminder to remember people over task. And they shall stand the test of time (page protected) and I can use them again in 4 years when we repeat this era of history in our homeschooling, when I am a much-more-organized and super-patient mother!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Fellowship of Sharing in His Suffering

Philippians 3:10 "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to his death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

I have been suffering from pain for months as a result of a car accident in November. From Doctors to Chiropractors to Physical therapy and massage, I have been around the block to deal with this pain. Even a myopractor. Who has ever even heard of a myppractor? Anyway, after so much "help," I was recently re-injured from a therapy session of traction and sent into MAJOR pain! It was worse than anything I have ever experienced. I couldn't lift my head to sit up in bed without agonizing pain. After two trips to ER, a doctor visit and then an outpatient surgical procedure and over a week in bed, I was on the way to recovery. It has been slow going, but I am getting better. As I have been dealing with pain for months, I have been helped so much by modern medicine. However, I had a exasperating experience at the doctor's office yesterday. It was unbelievable. I went in for a refill for my meds and MY OH MY did I get WAY more than that! I was treated like a druggie or drug dealer. The "substitute doctor" went on to insult me left and right. She insinuated that I was taking too many pills (or maybe even selling them?????) She commented that she would only see these prescribed meds in my urine sample, right? REALLY! What does she think I am doing, smoking pot or snorting coke? Or just popping pain pills left and right? I have NO idea. WHO knows what she was thinking!!! She also hinted that she thought I might be making up this pain to GET pills. Unbelievable! ME??? Like I said, she doesn't know me at all. I tried to be patient, and be patient some more. But then I broke down. Enough arguing with the Doctor. ENOUGH! Somehow the nurse straightened things out and the Doctor came back into the room backpedaling. "I am sorry if I offended you in any way." "WHAT???" Yeah, lady, BIG TIME. I continued to be kind in the face of misunderstanding. She totally changed her tune, gave me my script and sent me on my way. Talk about insult to injury. I have not been able to get the encounter out of my mind! I have NEVER been treated this way before. For the first time, I felt what it must be like to be persecuted. I was tested and tried and treated as guilty of a crime before there was any trial! I can't help but relate my pain and suffering and false accusation to what we recently remembered in the death of Christ. He suffered beyond anything I could ever relate to or comprehend. And He had the knowledge and power to retaliate, but He did not open his mouth. "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5
For some reason, in God's great goodness, He chose to allow me to experience this test of pain and suffering and even false accusation. I can only guess at His wisdom in this. But doesn't say in the Bible somewhere that we become like him in His death? And we should take up His cross, dying to ourselves and follow Him? Yeah, here it is: "knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin....Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:6-11. And, Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Also, Matthew 10:38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me."
There is something to be said about going through a trial with the strength of the Lord. There is joy in the midst of suffering. There is hope in affliction. There is peace, knowing that God has done away with evil and sin once and for all, and HE WINS. In the end, there will be no tears. And I will be with Him in the end. This life here and now is just a teeny tiny bit of the journey. And the trials make us stronger if we trust in Him. They sanctify us, if we look for Him in our times of need. They purify us from our sin to make us holy like Jesus. They sharpen us so that we will be able to be strong warriors, clothed with the armor of God and ready to fight the enemy. We have to trust in Him that He will not allow us to experience anything that He will not use for our good and for His glory. He can redeem any situation and use it for his purposes. He loves us. He has our best interest in mind. He knows that it is best for us to be challenged in this life so that we will be changed and we will be conformed to His likeness. I am thankful that I do not have to walk this road alone. I couldn't do it. I need to be totally dependent on Him. And I think that's His point exactly.
And as for forgiving the doctor? Thats for a later post.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just do it

Have you ever had the feeling that God was asking you to do something? And maybe just waited to see if He really meant it?? I think that if we live in readiness, then we will be able to move when he says move, or go when he says go, or wait when he says wait! We just need to be ready in a posture and attitude willing to surrender to him and his will no matter what the personal cost to us. Pouring out our lives for others, that is the model we received from our Savior. What is He calling you to do?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I am not talking about baskets, chocolates and eggs.....

Or bunnies or picnics or even gigantic church services. I am talking about your heart. Easter-time should be a season of preparing ourselves to embrace Jesus. His life. His ministry. His words. His death. His resurrection! It is a time of reflection. Evaluation. Confession. Restoration. Redirection. We need to realign our wills with Gods will so that we can say with Jesus, "not my will, but yours be done." so often I think we hit cruise control, spiritually speaking, and we forget to stop and consider the magnitude of what God has done for us. We get lazy and forget our resolve to do what Jesus would do, say what Jesus would say, go where Jesus would go.........we forget to be his hands and his feet and to remain intimately connected to the body. We lose our focus on Him; then we lose our purpose. We start to find worth and fulfillment in temporal things-a yummy dinner, a clean home (as if that ever happens here!), or career success, our vacation plans or our checkbook.....or even how many friends we have on facebook! Easter is a blessed reminder in our year that we have been given new life. Jesus' life! We have been given new power-the power of the holy spirit who is living in me! Let's take a look at where we are. Things all peachy in your spiritual life lately? Or maybe they feel 'a little off,' but you feel that conviction rising up in you to embrace a new day today, walking with Jesus! know it has to happen to everyone during certain times. In April we can find loads of distractions, and little time to step aside and fellowship with our heavenly father. I think He is up to something! I think He gets our attention in different ways through our lives so that we will wake up out of our 'happy little worldly home' fog, and step into the bright light of His presence and ask Him to search our hearts, What will he find? When we look at our lives He looks with us. Not surprised by anything he sees. Do we dare take him there? Show him the beauties and also the uglies? Do we really want to see our inner selves as he sees us? Then much is required. He calls for surrender to his lordship.....meaning you get off the throne in your life.....see and embrace and enjoy the Savior and that will lead you to fulfilling your life's calling! Oh yes, this takes work. Being done with sin is a hard thing to do, especially if they have become bad habits, or all of our other sweet Christian mommies do this so it must be fine, justifying treasuring up some sin in our hearts that Jesus really wants us to get rid of, and find freedom, and experience true joy that comes from that continual community with the Lord Jesus. Has knowing Jesus changed your life? What has he called you to? Are you where you are supposed to be or is God gonna grab your sweet hand and put you on the path that is best for you!

Easter is coming, are you ready?

Friday, April 8, 2011

What is your NET?

Today I was reading the gospel of Matthew with my kids. You know the story. The guys had been out fishing all day. They caught nothing. They were super tired. Jesus comes by and says to "throw the nets in again" and they are like, "SAY WHAT???" (again, Jodi version). And of course, then comes the miracle. They obey Him, throw their nets back into the 'empty' water, and they can barely raise them into the boat, they are full to overflowing with fish that were not there before.
This story makes me wonder. What is Jesus asking me to do that I am resisting, and telling Him, "SAY WHAT???" And have I obeyed and watched for the miracle? Have you? I can't help but think of what I am missing by telling Jesus, "nope, there are no fish here...." and not stopping to consider that He might know something I don't know (duh). It also reminds me of the prayer of Jabez. Remember him?
In 1 Chronicles 4:10, we read:"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."
I wonder what grief and pain we face because we don't believe Jesus and obey Him? I wonder what blessings we are missing because we are not asking? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given; Seek, and you shall find." Are we asking? Are we seeking? Or have we relied too much on our own understanding and given up on Jesus' (divine) suggestions? To fish here. Again? Let's obey. Let's ask. Let's seek. And then, lets share and celebrate the miracles He WILL bring forth!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Making Mosaics

I attended our women's ministry retreat last weekend. We talked about how God is making a mosaic with our life. He is using the beauties of the lightness and the beauties of the darkness to come together to be a work of art. I want to take that thought one step further. If we are moms, and most of us are, we know that we are fellow-workers with God in making more beautiful mosaics! I have three mosaic beauties that I am privileged to be co-laboring on with God. I watch as they grow, make choices, take on attitudes and opinions, experience joy, sorrow, pain. And I see it. God is doing something in their little lives. He is in the details. He cares about the boo boo that needs to be kissed. He notices the wonderful job she did on her presentation. He sees the frustration at being the littlest. None of this slips past God's heart. And, as an added bonus, these small human treasures have Moms who consider it an honor to be working with the Master Craftsman on His greatest creation of all time~a beautiful, God-loving, God-glorifying human being!
So what do we contribute? We can make the darks darker or lighter. We can help them see the light through their tears. We can bring comfort while they are waiting, tired, longing for Home, where there will be no more pain. We can speak truth into their lives when they are afraid. When they don't know which way to go, we can share our wisdom and guide them to the good road. We can live a bright and beautiful mosaic of our own so that they are attracted to the way of life that we have chosen. Then we can model the attitudes and actions that have gotten us to a place of reflective beauty. And, we can let them see us when we hurt. We can let them watch us in our struggle and pain. Allow them to see us crawl to Jesus and beg of Him for relief, yet all with the understanding that above all, YOUR WILL BE DONE. How we handle trials speaks loudly of our faith. Do we cling to Jesus. Do we continue to relate in prayer? And Worship? And Fellowship? In order to lead a child to the abundant life, we must be a-livin' in it ourselves! Are we indeed abiding? Living daily in his presence. Delighting in His word, his truth. Sharing our faith with those who do not know Him. Being filled with the Fruit of the Spirit and carrying the Armor of God? Are we fully equipped to live in this world and raise up our children to become beautiful mosaics of God's continued faithfulness from generation to generation?

Monday, April 4, 2011

That'll be the day!!!

Psalm 17:15
"And I-in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness."

Are we living for that day? It could be sooner than we think. Are we living in righteousness so that we will be prepared to see Jesus face to face? Are we walking with Him day to day, ready to meet Him at any turn? We should be. Our lives should be lived in readiness, so that if he appears (like in a twinkling of an eye!) we are blessed to see Him and He is blessed to receive us!!!
So often I think we forget what Jesus was trying to say when he was explaining how He wants us to treat one another. Do you remember the sheep and the goats? "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.....The king will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
I believe that He was giving us an example of how we should love one another. This is a follow up to the greatest commandment, 'Love God AND love one another' (jodi version). My hypothesis is that we can love God BY loving one another well. This puts skin on those commands to feed the hungry and thirsty, to clothe those who are needy and to give help to the hurting. We all most likely have many 'one another's' in our lives. That means we have many many opportunities to 'love Jesus' by loving well those whom He has placed in our paths. He is watching. He sees when we love in His way with His strength. And He smiles. He enjoys us when we are enjoying serving Him (by cleaning the dirty hands of a three year old, or giving someone your last apple you were saving for yourself, or sharing your favorite pair of boots, or taking care of someone who is sick for days on end........). May God give us the strength to love others like Jesus did, and let Jesus love others through us, using our hands and feet, our treasures and resources. For in fact, they all belong to Him, anyhow. Oh, how we should delight when we recognize that we are partnering with God in the mission of Jesus Christ to bring men to know Him and love Him and therefore share in joy and expectant living; always looking forward to His coming!