Life has been so very busy lately. Working, running North for church and band performances, South for family and band rehearsals and ministry and more work...busy, busy, busy!!! At times it seems as though my husband and I are constantly heading in opposite directions and barely have time to speak to one another.
Three weeks ago, we drove my mom back to where she lives with my sister in Va. As we did, our car broke down. My sister and her husband graciously offered their van to take to FL to complete our trip. There were no rental cars available, so we took them up on it. Our car has been there ever since, and we needed to go get the car. Conveniently, the weekend after our return was also the weekend of my mom's surprise 70th birthday party. My sister Cheryl had also planed to get Sarah that weekend to go to her home. So, we were all at Lynn's home for very good reasons but the most important was mom's party. However she was completely unaware of this at the time.
My mom's friend was to come get her and take her some place while we went to the church to set up. Her friend was late and it made us late getting to the church. However, when we got there, we had our choice of where to have the event. An air conditioned room that was already set up, or a pavilion that was totally not. We took the room. All was set up & the last person arrived, just before mom got there. Mom was very surprised. It turned out perfectly.
Only God could plan our car to brake down, Cheryl to have time off and want to get Sarah, Sarah to have stayed with Lynn while Paul and I went back home, all necessitated going to Lynn's home, and the church only had that weekend available. This all worked out for mom's party to be a total surprise. Sometimes God surprises us too.
A man makes his plans, but his steps are ordered by The Lord.
This morning I read several Bible passages about love. I need more in my life. The fact that I have become too dogmatic and isolating for my own good, has recently become apparent to me. Love has nothing to do with being right all the time, but everything to do with what God wants.
I hear all the time from people who have not really read the Bible deeply that the vengeful God of Israel could not possibly be the same as the God who sent us Jesus in the Christian Bible. This morning's paassages spoke the exact opposite. This God is One. This God loves profoundly.
From Exekiel 33:10 and on God makes an passionate plea for the wicked to turn from sin because He is not willing that any should perish. He sent Exekiel to be a watchman and warn that God was upset with His people's sin. He sent Exekiel to plead for them to return to God and forsake idols of unrighteousness. His reasons are, He loves His people, wants to feed them personally, and like a father speaking to a child He says, "Do not make me punish you for this, turn away from wrong."
In Romans 8 Paul tells us we can not turn from wrong doing, but on this point, God again made a way. Not wanting that any should perish, God gave us His righteousness. The worst of all sinners, even I, can have flat out righteousness that gains salvation from the death of Jesus and belief in His resurrection. Out of love, He said our past was over we could have His life. To read of grace and love in both parts of the Bible is to truly understand the plan God has for us. Believe and be saved today.
Here is the passage from Exekiel 33:10-16 that shows us the loving God of Israel:
I was late for my first appointment thanks to an uncooperative child. I had to cancel my next appointment due to locking myself out of the house and having to send my daughter through a window. My third appointment lasted longer than I had planned for. After losing my keys for the second time in one day and then driving 35 minutes (arriving 15 minutes late), my fourth appointment was cancelled due to an illness.
In the midst of all of this, I was dealing with a whole mess of what I will call "stuff". Today feels like a total bust. Nothing accomplished. Nothing resolved. Exhausted. Depleted. Defeated.
Today is coming to a close, and I am already trying to plan for what is to come when my eyes open tomorrow morning. These are the times when I desperately need to be refilled and recharged with hope for a new day. So for tonight, I will find comfort in Romans 15:13 which says "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit".
Secrets are always a burden, even the good ones. Right now I have a secret the size of Christmas. All I want to do is talk about it, but the minute I do, it's over. So, I'm sitting on the secret like a dragon sits on its gold horde, zealously refusing to allow a peep to escape and roaring with fire when anyone else makes a peep. The secret is tattered and torn with such loving care, but still mine, mostly.
As a child I craved attention. As I grew up I learned that being an attractive female gained the attention I craved. So I dressed as provocatively as allowed by my parents, which was not at all really. I was a size 4 at 22 years old and blessed with attractive looks. I was not blessed with confidence though. I thought if men liked me and wanted me, I was worth something.
Then God changed me and I didn't want that attention. Desiring attention from all men went away and I became disgusted to the point of being ill, when guys would leer at me. I gained weight, I guess subconsciously, to better avoid unwanted attention. Now I'm a size 12, dress very modestly and don't take as much time with my looks. I don't get as much attention. I don't like my size but it's comfortable.
The other day a young attractive guy winked at me. I was like, What? I said something to my coworker about it. She said, of course he winked at you, your beautiful. I said, I use to be beautiful, but not now. Her mouth opened as she breathed in loud and hard. She said, you ARE beautiful, stop putting yourself down! Later that night I thought about my earlier life and how I had been utterly vain, on many diets, spent thousands of dollars on beauty products and expected every man's attention, then wondered why, if I didn't have it. Was something wrong with me, was my hair not in place, what? Later, I was seriously bothered by getting attention. Could I find a middle ground?
Then it came to me. I, can look at an attractive guy and say, "Wow, great handy work God, what an artist You are". I can simply appreciate what He has made without desiring. I can't control what others do with their eyes or thoughts. So why try to eliminate, possible problems, with extra weight that could cause me to be unhealthy? God made my body and He doesn't make mistakes. I don't need extra weight to guard against looks from men. I can dress modestly but attractively, and let God deal with others thoughts. Then it really hit me. I better get with that program, cause I just turned 40 and I may not have my looks much longer. So with God's help, I am going to be comfortable in my own skin, and say thank you to God for His handy work in me. When I say I am not beautiful, I insult my maker. I am a princess, so I may as well look like one. May we all see through God's eyes and appreciate His handy work, we are beautiful in His sight.
Summer break was always my MOST favorite time of year. My joy at watching my children soak up days of little pressure and responsibility parallels mine when I had summer vacation off. Even though this time of year is my busiest, I cherish every moment. I have been jealously guarding their glowing screen time for I am THAT mom. (RE: Rabid and Extreme.)
God has given me a clear goal with my kids. It has been a hard one. No kids, you aren't getting a Game Gadget 3000. Oh! How I wanted to give them one! God said no. The whining insued. I looked up at God and He gave me strength to not break down and buy it. I wanted to be the cool mom. The mom that gave their kids the best gifts. Admidst the loud complaints I kicked them outside. Again at God's clear leading. They scream for 20 minutes every day about it.
There have been pay offs. Big ones. My children surprised me no end when the most cantankerous one piped up at lunch, "Sarah, (his oldest sister) remember that game we played in your closet with the lights? Let's take Ellanor (youngest sister) in there and play that really great game we made up." After lunch is tv time. He'd rather play with his sisters! Then we went to the park. My kids started spontaneously rolling down the hill because that is what Buttercup did to Wesley in the book they just READ. (ok we did watch the film after the book was managed, who wouldn't?) My son and daughters laughed as they called out, "AS YOU WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiish!" (read The Princess Bride the backstory on Fezzik alone is worth the author's rambling about the movie; that part you can freely skip.) Last night my children found the most DELICIOUS and AMAZING wild blackberries because I "80's mom style" told they had to go out and play in this crazy-mild, summer evening. My children became explorers.
Yes. This has been hard on me and them. "MOOooooom I am the only one in my class without a phone." Says MOOOoooom, "You have a phone. It is called a land line. Your friends can call it anytime." MOOOoooom, all my friends have Game Gadget 3000 with earbuds!" Says Mom, "Great in 5 years time your hearing will be WAAAAAAAAAAy better than all of your friends."
****************You're so MEAN MOM!****************
God strengthened my own weak spots. These are the tools that helped me get to the good side. You don't have to start where I have. But start somewhere. Use a loud timer to limit the glowing addiction time, kick them outside and make them earn the time they play on computer by an agreed upon time they play outside. The delicate process of unplugging their little, forming, precious minds from things that go BEEEPLYBOOP to things that really inspire them is so totally worth it.