Thursday, August 12, 2010

Home from Haiti

I decided to post what I wrote in my journal today:

Back home now for almost a week. It's always hard to adjust to "normal" life again. I always have this resolve to live differently and to be more aware of my blessings, but it's so easy to slip back into old patterns.

Canez was an experience. Such extreme poverty. Dirt floors in the huts, with nothing to sit or lay down on at night. Convicting! I have too much! The villagers prayed over us as we did the same for them. Powerful! God, never let me forget the faces of these precious people. They need us to remember and to help!

This trip was so different for me. I come home feeling as though I didn't do enough; as though my attitude was not right. Sure, I taught precious children about some men and some fish. I shared with them about Jesus knowing them by name and providing for their needs. But do I believe it in my own life? Really? I again think about my attitude on this trip. Did I allow God to use me? Did I go out of obligation or out of love? God, that my heart would be set on you and on loving and serving others in your name!

I'm reading The Hole in Our Gospel Seeing so much that I've never seen or taken the time to see from God's Word. The author shares from Isaiah 58 to identify the massive hole in our gospel. It speaks to why it feels as though God is not hearing our prayers. God called the Israelites on their "appearing to seek His will and presence". God points out their wrong attitudes behind their actions. They were superficial. Insincere hearts don't work with God! Lord, forgive me for having an insincere heart!

In Isaiah 58:6-7, God clearly shows that we must feed the hungry and the poor; to provide shelter! It's there! Read it! Verses 8-11 reveal what will take place in the lives of believers who pursue and live out the whole gospel in their lives. The crazy thing is that this passage was brought to my attention in a small group study a couple of years ago. It's highlighted. And, I've read it numerous times over the last few month. Now, it's more real to me! I get it, but will I do something about it? God promises to hear and answer when we tangibly demonstrate compassion, mercy, justice, and love. God, my prayer is to live this out in my life and to model this for my children!

The author goes on to share from Matthew 25, which speaks to serving those who are in need. Serving these people is like serving Jesus. Jesus speaks about the sheep and the goats. This passage is so important! Am I a sheep, faithfully serving? Or am I a goat, claiming to be a follower of Christ, but not acting on it? Lord, that I would be a sheep - one who not only professes faith in Christ, but who lives it out in her actions and service to others. My prayer is that others would see the love of Christ boldly displayed in my life!

The paraphrase by the author of this passage in Matthew 25 smacked me right in the face:

"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank
bottled water. I was a stranger and you wanted me deported. I needed
clothes, but you needed more cothing. I was sick, and you pointed out the
behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison and you said that I was
getting what I deserved." - Wow!

God's expectations are clear! Now what? I John 2:3-4 says, "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says I know him, but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

Thank you Lord for meeting with me today and showing me the massive hole in what I've been living.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Busy, but Blessed!

I've really been stressing about writing on this blog! Ughh!! I've just had to come to the conclusion that I will write when time allows. If it were up to me, I'd have my blog all decked out. Sadly, I'm completely confused with buttons, blinkies, and templates.'re stuck with this lovely shade of green for now. I'll get to all the extras eventually.

It's been a busy week for us around here. I had been promising Holly and Jacob that they could each have a friend over. Holly was really excited to take a friend to Carowinds. Luckily for me, two of my favorite teachers, Jeni & Michelle, were available for a waterpark day together. We had the best time in the wave pool watching out kids hang out, while we filled each other in on our summer adventures. And you know we had to talk about the upcoming school year, but only for a bit.

It was so nice to just be mamas hanging out at the pool. Our kids had the best time riding the waves and the slides! We actually got a little crazy and went on the Lazy River. Who knew they put sprinklers in there to mess up your hair? Umm...I vote to have those removed! Thankfully, we were all out of the pool when the thunder and lightning arrived. A trip to Wendy's ended the day. We did get some strange looks from people as we were leaving the restaurant. "Yes sir, these children all belong to us. Thank you." Everyone knows the fourth grade teachers took to heart the Lord's command to "be fruitful and multiply"!

Jacob was next on the list for a friend day. This time, we were in for a sleepover. It's fun to just sit back and watch your kids with their friends. Seeing their personalities come to life (all the good and the bad) is quite entertaining. Let's just say a certain little fella in this house is a mini version of his father! As it was getting dark outside, Holly made a request for S'mores. Now friends, I was t-i-r-e-d! There was not a marshmallow or a bit of chocolate in this house. Everything in me wanted to say no, but mommy guilt kicked in. How could I deny my children a memory around the firepit making S'mores? Off to the grocery store I went. I'm not sure if more marshmallows were eaten or burned, but it was fun!

Today we took the kids to Toy Story 3D. Soooooo good!!!!! There was a scene in the movie where a little girl, Bonnie, is sleeping with all her stuffed animals/toys lined up beside her in the bed. It brough back memories from my childhood. I also found the whole "child going away to college" scenario a little overwhelming. I don't know if it's because my oldest son is on a trip away from home this week or because tomorrow is Father's Day (or because I really love Woody & Buzz and didn't want Andy leaving them behind), but I got a little teary-eyed by the end of the movie. Of course, when David asked me if I was crying I laughed and said, "Of course not". There actually were a few tears hidden behind those 3D glasses!

Thinking about my childhood reminded me of how blessed I am to have such a great Daddy! Some of my favorite memories were of spending time with him. He always made sure I had a new stuffed animal every Saturday from the flea market. I would take them home, find a spot on my bed for them, and line up my favorites beside me each night - especially my little monkeys! And if anyone dared to move them from their assigned spot, it was on! Just so you know, I actually like the whole Toy Story idea that the toys come to life when people aren't around. Jacob and I discussed this on the way home from the movie and decided that no one would really ever know for sure that toys don't come to life. I know, I know. I'm confusing the poor kid, but can you prove that they don't come to life? Just sayin'.

Another memory that I have includes waking up on Sunday mornings to hear my Daddy playing the piano. I would get dressed for church and run in the living room to sing with him. We would sing songs while my mom got ready. He always sang "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" and barked like a dog. It just cracked me up! Rather than going to regular Sunday school with my friends, sometimes I would go with my parents to the nursing home. Daddy taught Sunday school at three different nursing homes during my childhood. I came to love spending time with those precious people! I admit, at times the people scared me. Hey listen, I was little and you know what I'm talking about! It's a little unnerving to have everyone around you telling you how cute you are and pinching your cheeks every five seconds! However, I quickly got over my fear when they snuck me some of their candy and made booties for my baby dolls.

One of my favorite memories of spending time with my Daddy is when he would let me help him and mama paint the gutters on our house. I always painted the same one with my little red paintbrush. I was terrible! It never occurred to me that he wasn't letting me paint anything else - just that one lone gutter. More paint was on me than on the gutter! Unfortunately, my painting skills have not improved. David won't let me anywhere near a paintbrush! Anyway, my daddy would let me paint until I decided that I was done. He always had to go back over it to cover all the spots I missed, but he never complained about it.

Those are just a few things that I remember about my Daddy. There is so much more that he has done for me! He's been there for me no matter what. I wasn't the most easy child to love! I know that most of you find that hard to believe, but some of you are thinking, "Ain't it the truth"! I was stubborn (note the was - haha!), sassy (hmmm...still sassy), and a bit rebellious (too old for anymore rebelling). I know there were times that he was disappointed in me, but he never gave up on me. He believed in me when I didn't think anyone else could! I am so thankful for my Daddy and what he has meant in my life.

So, just in case he ends up reading this (highly unlikely), Happy Father's Day Daddy! I love you more than you will ever know. You are everything a father should be and more! Thank you God for giving me my Daddy - an example of Your love in human form!

Now, if I could just find those little stuffed monkeys out in the garage, I'd line them up in the bed and dare David to touch them! I'm sure they're out there trying to figure out how to escape that horribly unorganized garage. Go ahead, laugh, but like I said before, you can't prove they don't come to life! :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who Needs a Pantry Door Anyway?

Well, I've finally decided to join the blogging world. I know a lot of you love to hear about all the crazy things that happen in our family. So, this is a convenient way for me to share our life with you! There's only so much you want to tell the world in a facebook status. And besides, those status updates are too restrictive for a girl with so much to say!

While we laugh a lot in our house, there are plenty of tears to go around. Most of the time we are so out of control with laughter that we cry! Tonight, I couldn't decide whether to laugh or to cry. As we finished up choir practice, I called to let the kids know we were on our way. Well...what do you do when one of your children says, "Mommy, something bad happened, but we don't want to tell you until you get here?" My first inclination was to threaten her into telling me, but I decided that maybe we should wait until we got home. After just one more phone call to assure that they were all okay, David and I talked through some of the things that we thought could have happened. Did they break a window, the TV, a vase, each other...???? Needless to say, we were a little concerned!

We walked in to find the girls sitting in the living room, looking towards the kitchen. It didn't take long to see a hole in the pantry door. Yes, a hole. A "foot-sized" hole. It seems that the girls had gotten into a spat, involving name-calling and a laying on of hands! After a couple of deep breaths, we expressed our frustration, not only with the brand new peep-hole (If only I were a Smurf!), but with the way they treat one another. We didn't really have to say much though, as they (with their puffy, red eyes) told us that they had talked it out and realized that they were both guilty of being hurtful to one another.

Hmmmm...was this a tactic just to throw us off or had they honestly realized how hurtful they had been? After some questioning, we determined that they were really sorry for their actions. Now, that doesn't replace the door; however, the door stood as a great example of the effects of hurtful words. How many times have I raised my voice in frustration or been short with them when they needed my grace and mercy? How many times have my hurtful comments left others wounded? This was just one of those times where there wasn't much for me to say. They knew we were disappointed. They were disappointed in themselves. They are also upstairs at this current moment about to wake their father from sleep! It seems they've now decided to talk all night. Oh, the joys of sisterhood!

So, if you come for a visit anytime soon and notice that the pantry door is missing, you'll know the story! It's just another memory to tuck away on this journey through our crazy, beautiful life!