Friday, September 19, 2008

I love this...from Mom and Jesus

Pursue love…1 Cor 14:1 yet desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. Love and prophesy build up and edify the body of Christ. Unity.
Without love I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal, I am useless, nothing, I am not profited or benefited without Love. 1 Cor 13: 1,2,3.
2 Cor 5:14 For the love of Christ controls, and compels us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died, (that means I died too)…
I have been crucified in Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and delivered Himself up for me. Gal 2:20
When He died, I died. When He rose, I rose. When He sat down at the Father’s right hand, I sat down. (rest) This is my true identity.
I am not the forsaken. I am not the lost, I am not the forgotten. I am not the condemned.

I am the redeemed. I am the called. I am the healed. I am the forgiven. I have been bought with a price. I am the beloved. Our identity is in Christ and Christ alone.
Let the eyes of our heart be enlightened and receive the identity Our Savior has bought for us through His love for us.

God is love. His love working in us compels us to love others. It never fails.
His Divine Love working in us brings healing to us emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
His Divine Love completed our healing at the Cross.
His Divine Love working in us brings unity.

Father, I thank you that the women meeting to pray for Clapham have an anointing from the Holy One and they know the truth. 1John 2:20
Thank you that your Love is poured out within their hearts through the Holy Spirit. Rom 5:5
Thank you for your Love that indwells them and compels them to love and support one another and their families.
Thank you for the abundant, overflowing grace that you have lavished upon them to join together and move mountains.
Thank you that you impart to them all wisdom and understanding of the finished work of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Believe and rest in His love.
I love you, mom

Digital Scrapbooking

Oh, am I having fun! I've been digital scrapbooking on and off this year, but lately I'm really diving in. There is so much to learn, but there are so many wonderful tutorials and websites out there to help people along. I'm going to see if I can post here some of my layouts. It's really awesome to have a passion for something outside of motherhood. I jump out of bed in the morning because if I do laundry and house stuff at five in the morning, I can have time to play later. It's been great motivation!
When I discover new little subcultures within our world, it always amazes me for some reason. When the boys started swimming last year, I learned about the swimming subculture and what that's like. I had no idea. Triathlon culture is crazier, and bikers are definitely their own breed (William always feels perfectly at ease in his teeny little biking shorts! Amazing!) I felt the same when I started researching digital scrapbooking. All of a sudden I was exposed to this completely different subculture where all these women journal and preserve life digitally. It's a really big trend that I was completely unaware of, yet appparently thousands of women have been doing this for years! There are a gazillion blogs, digital scrapbooking "challenges," contests, magazines, websites, etc., devoted to this art! It's so fun!
The boys -- Christian especially -- love sitting down with our scrapbooks and going through them. Christian curls up in a chair and settles in, turning the pages slowly and carefully. He smiles contentedly when he reaches a page about himself. These pages capture his character and our love for him and his uniqueness. It's neat to see how the Lord works through these pages in his little heart. He feels loved as he looks at them. I feel love as I create them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Wonder of Instant Sisterhood

Today I am delighted and touched by God. I had my first Moms in Touch meeting, and I feel it's going to be quite a year. Women of different backgrounds, children of all ages, but united in Jesus, who have a burden to pray for their kids. As one mom said, "It's amazing how God weaves lives together." She's right. There are lots of new faces this year, and all experience life in different ways. Even among "the regulars," circumstances are different than they were a year ago. Several are dealing with the awfulness of cancer; several are in the midst of major change, whether it be school or moving; others are living life with young children, others with teenagers. I feel our own family is on the brink of changing circumstances. God is leading William in a different direction career-wise, an unknown direction so far. I find it fascinating that in only a couple hours' time these women can meld together, bless one another and pray for one another. It's the amazing unity of the body of Christ. All of us are covered by His blood, chosen by Him, and united by our faith in Jesus. It's really unheard of. Sure, women bond over all sorts of strange things. We experience this when we ask a complete stranger in Nordstrom, "Do these jeans look cute on me?" Of course they say yes, and we've instantly made a friend. For a moment. Women also bond because they have kids that play the same sport or because they have similar political views or because they both attend that 5 a.m. spin class.
The really neat thing about the unity of the body of Christ is that we as believers bond with people who are different from us! We don't have to have a thing in common other than our God, and yet we're able to experience an automatic sisterhood when we pray together, lifting our hearts and focusing on Him. I guess you could say that when He's the focus, the unity happens. And it's an everlasting bond. I don't think I will ever forget the faces of the women I've prayed with through MIT, but I won't recall any of the women on Ethan's baseball team last year, although we bonded for a season. Unity in Christ is such a gift.
Back to this morning. We prayed. We dedicated this year to the Lord. I pray for all of us in our varied circumstances: Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24
Through Jesus, we will approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance (freedom from doubt) of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Tough, but Redeemed, Day

This morning was rough. I kissed William goodbye at 4:45 a.m. (He's in Canada today.) I jumped out of bed at 5:15, full of the promise of a new day. At 6:00 I sat down with the Lord. We had a great time. I prayed, read, felt fairly warm and fuzzy at the end. And then it was time to wake the kids up. I vowed to treat them with total kindness and love, no matter what. I rubbed Ethan's back, gently roused them with a soft, cheery "good morning!". Within five minutes, I was gritting my teeth and forcing a smile. "Please get up. Now." Okay, deep breath. Lord I can do this. "Okay, boys. You need to get up." Christian rolled out of bed, but within another two minutes he was downstairs writing three sentences out of "7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens" (Yes, I realize he's only 8). This is the current method of punishment for disobedience. I was feeling fairly good. He had disobeyed when I had asked him to try on a pair of pants for me, and I had calmly meted out a consequence.
Ethan came downstairs a few minutes later. I'm not exactly sure how it all went down, but before long we were drowning in a heart-wrenching verbal war of words. Everything I said, he misunderstood. Everything he said, I had a comeback. Before long, tears were flowing and my 10-year-old told me his heart was broken. He didn't feel he had a mom anymore. And then he asked for a hug. It was one of those awful times when you can't say a thing to make things better. I realized my child needed actions, not words. I hugged him. I told him I loved him. On the way to school, I prayed for Jesus to help us.
After dropping a tear-stained Ethan off at school, my heart broke. It broke for all the wrong things I said. It broke for the raw emotions Ethan expressed. I could only pour out my heart before the Lord. I prayed blessings upon Ethan. I prayed for restoration. I prayed for mercy. I prayed for victory. I thanked God that today was a good day, a day of victory, a day of joy, because I know that His power is perfected in my weakness. Ethan said later that God answered our prayers because he did have a good day, a day of joy. He greeted me with a smile when I picked him up. I told him I was sorry about the morning. He smiled a sweet smile and said, "Me too." I started to say something else, but he stopped me with a "Mom, do we have to?" I said that, no, we didn't have to go there.
Ethan and I are choosing to pursue peace. We are choosing to believe truth. I saw God work today on my heart, on Ethan's heart. He is on our side. According to Ephesians, we are rooted in love, established on love. Today I felt nothing but love after the storm -- His love for my son, His love for me.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Truth = Peace

It's a beautiful, crisp Saturday morning. It almost feels like fall. William has gone out for a bike ride, and the kids are sleeping in. They really need the rest. I've had to wake them up for school this week, and they are sleepy ones in the morning! Ethan loves school. I know he's going to have a great year in Mrs. Ross's class. Christian is playing football and has his first game tomorrow. As one of the running backs, he's supposed to memorize plays. Who knew they actually have plays in 3rd grade football? I don't even know what a running back is. I think it'll be a fall of football education for me. William and the boys are going to Dominic's and Connor's games all season, and then Christian has games every weekend, and Christian wants to go to a Bears game. And then there's the Fantasy Football and football on TV. For my BD, Ethan got me a Bears sweatshirt. Ethan's flag football got canceled, which is okay; he starts swim team in a few weeks. He was disappointed, but Ethan's disappointment never lasts more than 2 minutes --what a gift!

I had breakfast with another mom yesterday, and we talked about the energy and focus on kids' sports in our town. If you have a kid that doesn't play a sport, you feel the need to defend them, even if you're personally okay with them not playing something. We do live in a town with 90% type-As. It's easy to feel inferior around such driven people. You feel like your kids need to be really good at SOMETHING, preferably something very obvious to all the other families that have kids seemingly good at EVERYTHING. This mom I was chatting with is feeling the weight of the competiveness. I have felt that same feeling many a time.

I'm glad to be in the Word, God's very words that tell me that my kids have been given unique gifts for His glory. He has a plan for them. He created them to be just who they are. He loves them no matter what. He favors them because they are children of the Most High King. Ethan and Christian love Him because He first loved them. They are really cool kids, kids who have a heart for Jesus. I love seeing Ethan's heart of service and Christian's easy wit, and they both love to pick up their Bibles and read (usually something I would have considered extremely boring when I was their age). The Lord is working in their little hearts and growing them. It's a great thing to focus on to counteract the Wheaton culture. Truth sheds peace on my heart.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

School Starts.....

School has officially started, but I'm having a hard time just getting to the start line. It's only been two days, and we've already forgotten homework assignments and Bible readings. I have yet to fully read all the necessary info, sign the forms and get the uniforms in order. Ethan is surviving on one pair of shorts. Christian's shoes are two sizes too big. We completely missed the school picnic (we thought it was Sunday, but it was Saturday), and we decided to go golfing instead of attending the open house. At the open house, we were supposed to get all that necessary paperwork, meet the teachers, get acquainted with the classrooms. Instead, we played. My kids went to school their first day not knowing where their rooms were. Oh, well. In a school with barely 60 kids, does it really matter? I'm just praying that all of this irresponsibility on my part doesn't multiply! And, to top it off, I got into a little scuffle with the Head of School on the second day. So those are the circumstances, but I am at peace with it all. I am glad to leave behind the anxiety of last year, the uncertainty of a first year at Clapham. We survived...barely. This year I think we'll thrive, despite ourselves.

Monday, August 25, 2008

True Greatness through the Cross, by Mom

Mom e-mailed me this morning about yesterday's post:
What comes to my mind is that the fillter also is the Cross of Jesus which is the Father's love for us.
The greater understanding we have of the very deep and infinite love of the Father toward us, that He delights in us no matter what, the greater our capacity to love others and extend His grace to them.
I see a Shepherd. He is looking at His sheep which He paid a very high price for. With all their peculiarities, failings, struggles with sin, He is so excited that they are His. He delights in them;He cares for them;He protects them; He wraps them in His Divine Love. Nothing can change His mind about them. He calls them by name, He desires that they follow Him and seek Him moment by moment in their day. He will teach them every good thing that has been given to them in Him. (Philemon 1:6) Nothing will separate them from His Holy Love.
They are His.
Continue to teach the children and believe ever so much more deeply in the Father's love for you.

I am very blessed to have two parents who love Jesus and who tirelessly support us in prayer. They are a beautiful picture of what it means to walk through life with Jesus, His love pouring itself out through them as they bless others and serve others (especially with yummy meals around the table!) Growing up, our home was always open to others, and I remember lots of nights spent listening to the adults fellowship around a table of spaghetti, or enchiladas or tostadas. They would talk forever. I don't remember what they talked about, only the smiles around the table and my dad's jokes. As I think about what a strong legacy of faith they are leaving to me and my children and their children's children, I am inspired and grateful for the
love and grace that God has continually poured out on our family.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

True Greatness

Some quick thoughts: I'm currently reading Raising Kids for True Greatness, by Dr. Tim Kimmel. I love how the Lord has me reading a books that aligns with Phillipians 3. Here's a quote: "True greatness is a passionate love for God that demonstrates itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others." Then he tells us how we accomplish this: "The secret weapon that fuels a true heart for greatness is GRACE. The very thing that drew us to the heart of God and keeps us there is the very thing that God wants us to instill into our children. Grace is the phenomenal power behind true's the filter we look through, feel through, and reason through."

2 Cor 2:9: "My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you."

In Moms in Touch this year, I think we'll deeply soak in prayer the need for our kids to have a deeper understanding of grace, which then demonstrates itself in two attitudes, which lead to two actions. Humility and gratefulness result in actions of generosity and a servant attitude.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

As school starts next week, I will once again be setting new goals and thinking all sorts of random thoughts, like wanting to be a more organized person (this has been in the works for years), achieving BALANCE between the Oh-So-Fun and the Not-So-Fun-But-Necessary stuff of life. For me, New Year's Resolutions start in the fall. But, really, as I was reading Philippians 3 this a.m., the Lord reminded me that all that matters is one thing. The rest will follow.

For my determined purpose is that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection... Philippians 3:10

So I pray for a determined purpose to know my heavenly Father more deeply and intimately as I embark on this new year.

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