Thursday, December 27, 2012

Daytona stinks

I am planning to restart blogging about my family again in this space. No fancy writing. Just writing memories. Today Daniel and Elijah left for Daytona. We were all going to go as a family together for "one last" race there. ha. I'll believe it when I see it. But myself, Lisabeth, and Annabelle got sick before Christmas, and Annabelle is still down and out with a stomach virus.Christmas as an adult is hardly what it was as a child. I loved Christmas - couldn't wait for it. It represented family and fun - a time of togetherness. As an adult it is stressful and despite all my efforts, there is never this wonderful family together time that I remember as a child. Partly because people have to be grownups and work jobs. Partly because my dad died, and my family is fractured. Adulthood is not as simple as childhood. I signed up to support Daniel in his efforts to please his family and go to Daytona. Wishing selfishly in this moment, that I had been selfish and had said no so that we would all be together.

Christmas in general hasn't been quite as fun with a sick little one. Annabelle, we will always remember your seven year old Christmas, where you spend everyday on the couch with a puke bucket beside you, slept several times on the floor of mommy's and daddy's bed room. We took you to the doctor yesterday, and she said it was just a virus. "Just a virus" is every mommy's favorite words! Before Christmas, your sister was in the emergency room because we thought she either had or was getting the flu. It was also "just a virus!"

Oh, the joys of motherhood and I might I dare say, the sacrifice of motherhood. Yesterday, my dear Annabelle, I took you to Publix to pick out whatever you wanted to drink, any popsicle you wanted so as to keep you hydrated. You picked out pink lemonade and left a present on the floor for the Publix workers to clean. We went to pick up your medicine only to find that they were out, and so were the next four pharmacies they called. I dropped you at home, went to get your medicine, picked up food for your daddy and siblings, and bought some onions because I read this crazy article that said onions absorb germs (which is not true by the way). I just want you to know that I love you. One day you are going to wonder if I do - maybe you already wonder that. I do. I ran all over town for you and our family, not because I didn't want to hang with you but because you needed me too.

With all my love,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Blog!!

Hello friends,

I wanted to let you know that I will no longer be blogging here unless there is a family update I want to share.  I will continue to write and try to get better at writing, but I will now be posting at Brown Paper and Strings, so please join me over there if you enjoy reading my devotional posts.  I actually tried to move my blog over, but had a few problems doing it, so I just decided to start a brand new blog.  I would love to have you join me over there.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Taking Back Christmas: Grace

Every story in our Bible points to Jesus, and Jesus brought grace.  I cannot mention anything about Jesus without also thinking about grace.

Last year at this time, if you would have asked me if I understood grace, I am sure that I would have said yes, but I most certainly did not.  But God was bringing about in me an awakening to the truth of grace.

Grace is unmerited favor with God.  It is His choosing of individuals simply because He chose them.  Not because they obeyed the rules or because they were good enough or tried hard enough.  Grace is explosive, out of the box, scandalous, and completely risky.

God became a man, stepped into our world, and suffered death on a cross.  All because He so loved every single person he ever made or created so much that He wanted to make a way for humanity to know Him.  Know as in a deeply intimate way.  He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners He suffered death (Ro 5:8).  He took a risk on humanity even though all of us would not chose to love Him in return for the love He offers.

The thing about grace is that it offers freedom.  When understood, it gives an amazing awareness to your sin all the while setting free.  However, I imagine that most of us will never totally grasp the concept of grace.

People are always making rules, rules that are meant to make it easier to experience God's grace, but those rules just make it harder to understand grace.  Some say we should teach our kids about Santa.  Some say we should not.  Some think Christmas trees are evil; some do not.  The truth is Christmas is rooted in pagan traditions.  Somewhere, some perhaps well-meaning group of people decided to merge the pagan celebration of winter solstice with their own Christian beliefs and began celebrating Jesus's birth at the same time.  Some say Jesus wasn't even born in December but in September.  So what should we do?  Does our celebration of Christ interwoven with pagan symbols such as the Christmas tree, mistletoe, and Santa Claus betlittle or degrade Christ?

I believe the answer because of God's grace is no.  In 1 Cor 8, Paul addresses a similar manner, and he says that we are free to eat food sacrificed to idols if we so desire, unless in doing so, we are a stumbling block to a weaker brother.  Romans 14-15 is also a passage important to this conversation.  I believe in this instance Christmas trees are like meat formally sacrificed to idols.  They have pagan roots, but are generally accepted by Christians as a fun way to decorate and celebrate Christmas.  And we are given freedom to do so in grace.

The Holy Spirit will lead us to the truth for us in the gray areas. What the Holy Spirit convicts me to do in certain situations, He may not convict you to do in your own situation. 

The truth of the matter is that people who don't understand grace often have much to say about others sin.  They see situations only as their rules dictate and have very little understanding of others heart conditions.  Grace gives you eyes to see and ears to hear and understand.  It doesn't allow you to get past your own sin without responding in gratitude and extending at least a portion or measure of the grace received.  Grace is gentle and speaks truthfully and lovingly.  It allows you to be you with no pressure of following all of the rules.

This year, the gift of grace is the greatest one I've received.

And I pray for you this:

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work
2 Corinthians 9:8

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Taking Back Christmas: Do Not Be Afraid

Earlier this week, I had a disappointment.  I am full of insecurities and this disappointment played on my insecurity.  It made me pause and question who I am and how I am made, and if I had heard truth spoken to me personally.  It lead me down the path of fear and of shame.

I was reminded of Mary and of Joseph and how crazy it must have been to hear an angel tell her that she was going to have the Lord's child.  How Mary must have wondered if she was crazy!  That is until she felt that baby kick within her and until she realized that a baby grew though she'd never been with a man.  Surely amidst the disgrace and doubt, she would have known it was true.  But just as certain as that, surely others looked at her in disgrace.  She had become pregnant without laying with Joseph.  As far as anyone else knew, there was only one way to get pregnant, and people supposed that Mary had done something shameful.  Yet she was innocent.  Isn't it interesting how God chooses the "foolish things to shame the wise" (1 Co 1:25)?  Our Lord was birthed into a blameless situation but people assumed otherwise.  Our sin already upon Him from the moment He entered our world.  The Pharisaical criticism already there.

The Bible does not talk about the details of those days, but I recently heard an interesting perspective on Joseph. Joseph was supposed to take Mary and have her stoned.  At the time he did not fully understood that Christ was within her, and he was going to give her a quiet divorce.  Perhaps, she even traveled to Bethlehem with him in hopes of protecting her and keeping her safe from others while he was gone.  He dealt with her with grace.  As he pondered what to do with Mary, he dreamed a dream and an angel told him the truth of Mary's situation.  He too would suffer consequences of saving and marrying a woman many believed carried an illegitimate child.

Both heard an angel say to to each of them separately, "Do Not Be Afraid."  Mary and Joseph had much reason to be afraid.  And yet they chose to submit and believe.

They acted in faith as they married.  No one would know whether this was indeed the Christ child until 30 years later when he began to minister.  Surely they saw evidences as they did at the temple when he was 12, yet I bet no one had stopped the scandalous whispers as Jesus grew up.  They chose not to be afraid of man's response and walked in faith anyway.

How often we are knocked off our rocker and driven by FEAR!  My disappointment could have driven me to fear.  In fact I considered it several moments throughout a day's time, and then God spoke and the fear was gone.  He reminded me of who I am in Him, not who the enemy wants me to think I am.

Rebekah Gilbert said on her blog recently, "Don't be afraid of the what-ifs. Don't be afraid to share the redemptive love of Jesus. Don't be afraid to live life. Don't be afraid to love. Don't be afraid of the people who would put you in shackles if they could. Don't be afraid."

Will you join me in walking in freedom from fear?
Come with me out of the darkness of men's lies and into His glorious light.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Taking Backing Christmas: more thanks

Christmas - sometimes I just find myself getting stressed with the season for no apparent reason, except the enemy.  At any rate, I want to count my joys and be mindful of my happies.  Actually, I've been missing my kids a whole lot and that's part of the problem - battling a sense of sadness.  Princess thrives in big school, but I just miss her.  {Can't wait for the Christmas break, which is far too short.}

So on to counting.

8.  Watching my son stand at the door in his footie jammies and hair sticking up this way and that waving to his sister as she leaves on the bus.  {Bittersweet because every day he too says, "But I didn't want her to go" and I join him in my heart.}

9.  Watching DoodleBug eat with her mouth so full of french fries it looked like she would explode.

10.  Watching her climb into the toy box and lay down on the stuffed dog and say, "night night."

11.  Listening to her chirp with glee, "bakpak, bakpak, bakpak."  (Backpack)

12.  Kissing Buzz Lightyear to hear Doodle's laughter.

13.  Encouraging emails from friends

14.  A love, a hope, a joy that wells up to overflowing due to the incredible goodness and presence of the Lord.  Inexplicable and immeasurable.  I have seen the favor of the Lord this year.  Experienced Him anew and grace, deep grace.

15.  Christmas cards!

16.  Listening to Princess read.

17.  Playing Star Wars music and making Princess and Speed Racer laugh.

18.  Seeing my children light up when they spotted me watching them rehearse their Christmas songs.

19.  A rendezvous to the gas station with my hubby.

20.  Waking up to this song:

First day of gratitude.

Join me in listing your joys, the things you are thankful for.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Taking Back Christmas: Conviction

I know I have probably shared things on this blog that God has since convicted me of and told me not to do.  As I grow and change, this little ole blog will grow and change.

God's been talking to me lately about convictions.  As believers we are one in the Spirit, but He convicts and moves us to different actions sometimes.

This blog and my Christmas posts are not intended to tell you how you should or should not celebrate Christmas.  I want to be careful to allow you to decide to do what God wants for you or your family, which unless it is spelled out black and white in the Bible will be different for each family.

The passages I've been looking at are Romans 14-15 and 1 Corinthians 8.  Romans 14:22 has particularly hit me hard: whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God, so that you do not condemn yourself by what you approve.  Being a word person, I must be more careful with my words.  :)

"Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.  As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.  If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.  Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.  It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.  So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves."  Romans 14:13-22


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