Monthly Archives: May 2011

Green Shakes & Exodus 33

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Warning: This is just a “this is my life and I’m going to ramble about it” post. But, this is how God works in the mundane days of ups and downs and taking care of my boys. Also, I’m wrestling a bit with some extra emotions right now. Nope, not pregnant. But, (boys cover your ears) I do think weaning Justus might be wreaking a bit of havoc on my emotions.

Anyhow, just sharing my ebb and flow the last 24 hours. Yesterday, was our staff party on the Isle of Palms. I was so excited that Josh, our campus pastor, invited spouses and love the call on Pastor Greg to truly grow even more the oikos of our staff. One little piece of that was child care for the staff kids (free!) and spouses invited. I was so glad Travis could make it out for lunch and just loved having him there and be a part. Even though he’s a part of our church and has served in different areas, the “staff world” is a strange place and I am sure I never translate all of it to him as well as I could.

After I came home, I just had a snap into reality moment and started stressing over ridiculous things. Everything piled up really fast from all spectrums of health to the boys to logistics to finances, etc. I ended up calling my sister who reminded me that us “Miner Girls” like to beat ourselves up when we are feeling emotional and get upset at ourselves for not snapping out of things faster. I love that I can call my sister. I love how different we are and how similar. I love that her life is so different from mine and that she can encourage me. I also love that she and I share things like our parenting philosophy and that she still lets me be the big sister sometimes and share things with her.

I was still feeling out of whack, and was so glad that Travis strapped Justus into the Baby Bjorn and the 4 of us went for a walk around the neighbor. Thank you, Jesus that Baby J likes that Bjorn! (When your first child doesn’t really like to eat baby food or sit in a bjorn or crawl or do anything that you think babies just do- you go bananas when the second one does these things. And by bananas I mean I’m crazy lady making all of Justus’ food because I’m so thrilled he’ll eat it!)

Then I moved on to what my choleric temperament does when I’m struggling. I start organizing. I talk alot to Jesus when I’m tackling a project and part of my issue has been that my house is in chaos. I also think when my house piles up and is messy it usually reflects my heart pile up, too. I always think it’s therapeutic to throw things away as I shrug off all my unnecessary stress and worry at the same time.

Papers. Clothes. Toys. Food. Those are my issues. I just got off track. Yes, I’m reading Organized Simplicity & in general am a super organized person. But, the spring shift from 6 month clothes to 6-9 mont & summer/winter clothes for the boys and for myself has taken a toll. Also, the non stop organizing of Austin’s toys and the pieces that go to them is mission that only the brave of heart dare venture into. Phew!

Part of my other underlying stress is that I’m digging in to some more health options (now that I’m not nursing I can do more natural treatments) and know I need to give up sugar. Maybe forever. I’m serious. I’m for sure an obstinate people about this right now.  I know what I need to do. I know how to do it. I just am wrestling with myself and have had some legitimate time restraints.

This morning, I was feeling a bit wishy washy on taking Justus to church because he’s still coughing so badly. He spiked a fever last week with an ear infection. I don’t want to put him in the child care until he’s not as drooly with the congestion. I’m so grateful my Bible study teach doesn’ mind if he sits in our class with me, and so I took him in hoping that he’d stay calm and quiet enough for me to stay. And I’m so grateful that he did well and I could stay. Fed him early and he cooed a bit and then slept. Ahh! Again, thank you, Jesus! If I had not gone, I might have missed two major blessings in the middle of this:

When I walked into Bible study, my friend Christy walked in with this crazy green shake. God is calling Christy & I into a closer relationship which I’m so excited about because our boys are buddies and are so similar. Christy is also super knowledgable about healthy living, etc but she’s not shoving anything down my throat. Well, until today..

She walked in with this crazy looking shake. As I noticed it, I thought: “Oh, I bet that is so healthy. Yum!” She turns to me and says “Are you hungry? God told me to make this crazy shake.” I said: “What’s in it?” She said: “I can’t tell you til you drink it.” Well, I didn’t care. I knew God had that shake for me, I was hungry and I was trying to get out of the house and also feeling sluggish about my health challenge and need a jump start. And besides, if God told her to make a shake, I didn’t want to block that blessing! Right?! Blessing number 1 for my day.

So, during our study, I must confess, I didn’t really dig into the passage ahead  of time as much as I wish I had. But, I guess I’m glad I didn’t because I might not have had this moment. Jolie was taking us through the first few verses of Exodus 33. After the people go nuts and have a whacked out worship service, there is a change of plans. God basically says to them: Here you go. You can have a land flowing with milk and honey (remember they were in the desert and always griping about their manna and quail); but I’m not going with you. He doesn’t take away his covenant that they are his people; but there is a gut check here.

As Jolie was sharing and relating and asking us to really stop & think through this, I began to cry. Here it is, you can have it all the way you want it. You can have the life you want. No more problems. No more desert (or dessert for me!)

I’ll take care of it all for you. But, my presence won’t be there. If I could wipe the slate. If I could not have pain. If I could have a perfect marriage and children who were perfect angels and all the things I think I wanted; but I could not have the presence of the Lord while I’m on earth (yet still know I’m going to heaven) would I choose that?

My heart melted as I realized that in God’s grace my hearts cry for the last few years to understand and really know how to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind and soul…. was a reality. I was glad I was not the only one in tears; but, I was so grateful that my heart and my head and my soul ache for the presence of God. That knowing that God could wipe the slate clean but I might miss his presence in the process, would I take it. No!

My friend Stephen wrote a song years ago on Exodus 33:15 “If your presence does not go with us. Do not send us up from here.”

Does your heart ache that deeply for the presence of God? If yes, how sweet it is. If no, can I tell you please, that it’s possible.

There it is. My crazy 24 hours. I’m hitting “Publish” so welcome to my rambling. Our God is big! He loves us. He brings green shakes and heart melting lessons from Exodus to the mundane days of our lives when we are seeking Him.

Oh, and side note bonus: Jolie is reading Reason for God by Keller right now! Whoot!

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Thoughts on Prayer

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There are scores and scores of books, devotionals, studies and sermons on prayer. Variations of the word prayer/pray is listed over 500 times in the KJV.

I realized in the last six months that God has been redirecting my prayer life. Here are some of the ways He’s been leading me.

Pray without ceasing. I Thess 5:17. This follows the words “Rejoice always”. And obviously, one of the ways to continually rejoice is to be in prayer. For me, this is simply shifting my inner monologue to a conversation with God instead of a conversation with myself. Amazing what happens in my heart & head when I’m talking to Jesus all day. I also have realized lately that even when I try very hard not to ramble on to my friends or family that I am a verbal processor. So, talking to God all day is very important to me.

Scope of my prayers. The other day I was listening to John Piper online. As he was opening his message, the gut level humility of his prayer was astounding to me. He closes by asking his congregation to pray for his faith. He went on to ask that they would pray that his faith would be strong and not waver. In my life, I spend a lot of time asking friends for specific prayers for healing or details of life with my kids. I have not thought to ask that God would keep me faithful because I was thinking that part was my job. My job to be faithful. My job to trust God more. So, I’m just catching a hold of this; but God is showing me to pray for my own faith, my own trust, my own strength to seek him & to multiply that prayer for my friends and family, too. This also leads into the nudge from the Holy Spirit that I’ve been feeling to continually ask for wisdom to “see” things that are going on. I feel that God has been granting this to me in amazing ways; but by continually asking him to see the needs of my children or the heart of family members or friends when they are struggling thatI have been able to move forward with much more confidence in my action.  

Pray in the moment with others. A few of my friends will start praying with me on the phone immediately during hard discussions. A few years ago, this would throw me. I felt like sometimes when we say “let’s pray about it” that we can’t talk about it anymore or was a secret way to end our conversation. Well, there is probably some truth in there to that for me (as a professional talker); but the truth was that we always need to redirect our conversation. I want my conversation to be taken to the Lord immediately.

Pray like Austin. I never realized how much I would learn about God and Jesus by having children. I love that Austin truly believes that when we pray that our petitions are taken care of. He prays for his “boo-boos” and for mine. He will lay his hand on my back or neck if he knows I’m in pain that day and pray. He will then ask me later if Jesus healed the pain. He also has started to spontaneously pray during our day which reinforces my first point.. The other night, he liked the sunset as we pulled out of the church parking lot. “Oh, wow. That is beautiful. Dear God, thank you for the beautiful sunset that you made. I like it. Amen!”  

Just some things that the Lord is growing in my heart. Thougth I’d share. How does God challenge your prayer life?

Preschool Activity #4

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I’ve been saving the random parenting and baby magazines that come into my house instead of trashing them lately for activities.

Today, we pulled out the Pottery Barn Kids summer magazine and started our search to work on some character training and for the letter “B”.

Austin loves to sound out words, cut, paste and glue.

We started by talking about “loving one another”. Austin has been making typical 4 year old statements like: “This is mine and I don’t want to share.” Followed by a stomping the foot and making mean faces. He is also learning new techniques of trying to hoard his toys since Justus can scoot after his things. We’ve made major progress over the last few years with sharing; but have room to grow. And sharing is an issue for most kids. Again, my desire and goal is to reach his heart. Last night, he was in a bit of a rage about something random and said: “I only care about myself. I don’t care about any body else.” Yep, Austin. That sums up most of our hearts and attitudes and most of the world’s thought process even though we’ve learned as adults to craft our words differently and would be aghast if anyone said that outloud even if they mean it.

So, we looked up a few verse on loving one another and talked about ways to show love. We also talked about why we love each other and I walked through a few question/answer conversations with him to see if he could tell me why we love others. He found a few pictures of kids sharing and one of a child sitting alone and how we could show love by including him, etc.

Then we moved onto the “B” activity. We flipped through the pages of Pottery Barn for “B” words. Of course, we all think our children are brillant; but it was so much to see his face light up. He even caught some words before I did.

Here is his list:

Boat, Books, Baby, Blocks, Letter B, Bear, Bed, Bucket, Balls, Basket, Backpack, Bag, Beach, Bicycle, Board, Bow, Bird, Bubbles, Bird House. My favorite is that he started saying “Bbb. Bbbb. Bible”  I have no idea why PB didn’t have a Bible in their magazine. Ha! But, I grabbed the Bible Study magazine and like a good Christian magazine found a picture of the Bible within 2 seconds.

He was thrilled.

So, this was a great and easy activity.  As the mom, I was impressed with “Backpack” and “Basket” and “Board” from the Surf Board. And, of course, the B-I-B-L-E – booyah!

Being-Right Syndrome

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It’s great to strive to do well. Perform at our peak and offer our perfect performances in our vocation, family and socail lives.
It’s awesome to be educated. It’s imperative to know right from wrong- mainly with the understanding that all Truth is not relative.

But,what happens when being-right sydrome invades our desires for doing well and becomes the focus of our attention and the striving of our hearts more than anything else.

How often does that translate into legalism? Or rather, how can that syndrome not translate into legalism? How often can it paralyze us?
How often can we not move beyond the log in our own eye?

Sometimes, being-right syndrome creates a paralysis that prohibits engagement in real growth. We miss the entire point of Jesus’ death if we are just striving solely to be right.

Further, this syndrome creates a static existence that is only self-made. If our goal is to never be perceived as being wrong or we are unable to admit an error, how can we say that we understand Jesus’ death on the Cross?  How does that play into our salvation?