Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Day of Lovin'

on faith... and a Thanks to Mom and Dad

The house is quiet and the hour is late.  The living room is cold, and I am not ashamed to admit that I am wrapped up in my "slanket", loving every minute of the extra warmth it is providing me.  My thoughts have begged me to put off sleep for just a little longer.  Writing down what is filling up my heart seems appropriate on this, the eve of Valentine's Day.   
Monday's are usually good days around here.  I am productive (in an unproductive way) around the house, and I generally have a happy heart accompanying me throughout the day.  I attribute that mostly to what happens the day before.  Sunday.  I am grateful for Sundays.  They are a lifeboat of peace in the sea of busy days and short nights.  There have been seasons of my life when I wasn't a fan of Sunday.  That was mostly because I was too distracted to really experience what the Sabbath was intended for.  These distractions weren't always intentional; they were often just reflections of either the ages of my children or the amount of "serving" I was involved in.   Right now, though, Sundays have become a favorite day.  One of rest at home, and of being encouraged through friends at church.

My kids love church and no longer cling to my neck at the nursery room door.  My sweet older daughters love to bring their Bibles to church, and my little ones love to talk about what they learned.
Church is home for them.  They've been there since birth.  They feel comfort and love, noticed and remembered throughout the halls of the building.  It is a special, favorite place.
I have my parents to thank for handing down to me a love of church, a love of God, a desire for faith and a dependence on the Lord.  Without the gift that they gave me, I wouldn't be re-gifting this treasure to my kids.  If they had given in to what was easy (sleeping in on Sundays, a day "off" from getting kids ready), or buckled under what the neighbors thought, I might have missed out on the greatest joy of my life - the foundation of a love for God.  My mom and dad continue to be models for me of people of great faith, living what they have taught me over the years. 
How thankful I am that my faith is the firm foundation of my life. Having faith does not guarantee easy circumstances or protection from difficult realities.  I am not better than anyone else because I have chosen to trust my life to the living, loving Lord.  Having faith, however, reminds me that there is Someone greater than me who is in control; that I don't have to have all of the answers.  My faith reassures me that even when life is hard, and hurts so bad I think I will die, I don't have to make all of the ends meet.  The t's that I didn't cross, the i's that I never dotted - they are covered by God's grace and His love.  This is my faith.  And everyday, it gets easier to trust.  Not because I am anything great, OH NO.  It comes easy because it is familiar and it is what I know; God proves Himself over and over to me.  Faith is what I practice and what I live.  When I excercise a physical muscle, it gets stronger.  The same is true of my faith.  When life provides moments to choose to fear or believe, I must exercise my beliefs.  The muscle of faith gets stronger.  When I lack wisdom and can't rid myself of tiresome habits, I go straight to the One who can help me (time after time after time).  The muscle strengthens more.  I make mistakes, I throw faithless tantrums, and still,  I can trust that in those weak places,  I am loved and forgiven.  I may not be book smart on matters of science or math; I know the depth of what I don't know about philosophy and economics is unmeasurable.  But what I DO know, is all that I NEED to know.  I know God, and I know Jesus, and I am learning daily how to rely on the Holy Spirit's power inside of me. I have questions and I have worries and fears, but as I exercise my faith, it is getting stronger. Stronger not because of who I am , but because of who my Heavenly Father is.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

So... my intention for my family is to continue this legacy of faith.  Maybe even upping the anty on how valuable it is to us.    Knowing that there are no guarantees of ease, or trial-free lives, but trusting that what I have given them in words will only be furthered with what I show them.  How do we do this thing called faith?  How do we live it out in the midst of raging hormones, dirty laundry and over-filled schedules.  We take it one day at a time. and we PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.  We determine to do  less whining, and more thanking;  less worrying, more trusting.  Have less anger, more grace.  Recognize the miracles and resist the temptation to chalk things up to chance.   Get our butts to church every opportunity we can.  Love and serve everyone who comes across our paths.  Measure everything in light of what we know is truth and give credit for ALL things to WHOM credit is due.  Always. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting There

We're supposed to get snow this afternoon and evening.  It's supposed to come down hard and cover our warmish, brown, wintery ground.  Three out of the four short people in my house are hoping for a snow day; the fourth not so much.  She is worried that if the snow flies as promised, she will miss her pajama day.  I don't know who to root for!!

Isn't it all about expectation and perspective?  I base my hopes on circumstances that seem pleasant one day, and then change the next.  I live for the completion of a project or the breaking of a habit, only to find that weeks later, it's no longer such a big deal.  My heart breaks over and over at the silence where there once was noise; acceptance moves in to take the place of grief and eventually, I'm okay.  I have been basking in the "being okay" lately.  It has been freeing not to feel the pain of what once had me by the throat.  What I really need to remind myself is that eventually, I  "get there".  Whether it is through the grace of time, prayer, diversion, or forgetting, I arrive at a place where it all evens out.  It's the ebb and flow of accepting and trying and hoping and wanting.  A place where the hurt diffuses and acceptance shows up.  Pure desires, motives without manipulation and even though it comes up short, it's right and good.  Is it bad for my kids to hope for a snow day?  Is it awful for the one to desire her pajama day more than she wants a day off?  Nope - it's hope that keeps us moving.  Expectation that forces us into the next day.  Wishing, wanting - it's part of LIVING.

  The  temperature of my emotions, how badly something hurts or helps, is measured sometimes by productivity, other times by stillness.  Over the years, I have distracted myself into believing that I didn't really care when actually, I really DID care.  I have stomped out hope and in turn, stomped out life.  I thought I was fooling my heart but I was quite mistaken.  This heart hasn't been fooled,but  it has been freed.  It has hurt and it has bled, and now,  it is time to... MOVE ON.  Sometimes, I lose perspective on a situation because of my own short-sighted ness.   Other times, I actually need to change the channel on a situation in order for the perspective to gain clarity.  I desire an outcome that I cannot control yet must accept.  This has been a difficult challenge for me. Challenging, and a necessary step towards growth.

 In my own rosey outlook kind of way, I am frustrated when my expectations are continually disappointed and I foolishly think that I can "fix" things.  However, acceptance of NOW has moved in and I'm going to let it stay; rent free, permanent residence.  I'm evicting doubt, sadness and self-pity.  I'm choosing to embrace the freedom that accompanies the truth that has set me free. 

Psalm 34:17-19
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
He delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenheart
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers from from them all.