Monday, April 28, 2008

Got Dirt?

This is an oldie, but one of my favorites. Some of you have read it, you may enjoy it again...I do. (Is that bad?) For any of you that haven't read it, I hope you enjoy it.

Sometimes I say, “shut-up” under my breath. I’ve slammed my van door once this week alone. I let my kids play in the dirt and then forget to tell them to wash their hands before they eat. Sometimes we skip brushing teeth just to get the kids to bed faster. I’ve eaten a cookie on my kitchen floor so that no one could find me and ask me to share. I want to scream in Wal-Mart too. I walk on egg shells around my two year old, but she doesn’t know that. I have forgotten to brush my own teeth. I don’t always make the kids eat their vegetables. I don’t wash my face before I go to bed. I drive with the gas light on. Sometimes, when I get up to go the bathroom, flushing the toilet scares me. I forget to wash sheets. I don’t always sweep my floor, but I still let people pick things up off of it, and eat it. I have baskets of clean clothes lying around my house. I don’t make the kids clean up everyday. We say butt, not always, but it does happen. I watch Grey’s Anatomy.(actually, I don't anymore...but I did...) Sometimes I watch Dr. 90210. My kids watch T.V. Sometimes they watch too much. There are days when the kids sleep in the clothes they wore during the day. I eat peanut butter on a spoon with chocolate chips and chocolate syrup when the kids take their nap. I have favorites, they change, but I have them. I sang “I want to Sex you Up” by Color me Badd with my sister and my kids were in the car. My husband cleans our shower because I plain don’t want to. One time, Mike and I ate a whole half gallon of ice-cream, and I didn’t then, nor do I now, regret it. I don’t go to Mike’s softball games, and I don’t feel guilty. (Now he doesn't even that my fault? hm...) Sometimes we skip church on Wednesday nights because we’re tired. I get jealous. I get angry. Last night I was angry that my ice melted too quickly. I’ve gone to Wal-Mart in my pajamas, and no one knew. I waste time. I don’t always wear my seatbelt. I think other people have better gifts and talents than I do. I don’t always believe what God says. I get scared. I could go on. Why would I make a list of all of the things that I wouldn’t want anyone to know about me? Because they don’t matter! This list is not even close to being exhaustive. We were listening to Wee Sing Bible Songs and a favorite of mine came on. It’s so simple, yet so profound. Sing it if you know it, “I am so glad that Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me, I am so glad that Jesus loves me. Jesus loves even me.” Isn’t that beautiful? I could make a list of all of the good things that I do. All of the things that I would want you all to know about me, but it wouldn’t matter either. Nothing we do would be good enough. Isaiah says that our most righteous acts are like filthy rags. So, the field trips, the homemade baby food, tithing, serving, nursing for a year…doesn’t matter one bit. They are good things, but they do not make me holy. Only Jesus. What can wash away my sin? You know it, Nothin’ but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothin’ but the blood of Jesus. Oh precious is the flow that makes me white as snow, no other fount I know, nothin’ but the blood of Jesus. So, you got dirt? Maybe you make your kids eat their veggies, maybe you memorize scripture, but whatever you’ve got tucked away in the closet of your heart, doesn’t matter. It’s all about Him. So, wherever this finds you, today, I pray that you will turn to the Father of heavenly lights and thank Him that we do not have to make it on our own. Nothing in my hands I bring, Only to thy cross I cling. Rock on, my dear friends. Rock on!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Yes, a cup of crap.

"You two need to turn around please before you either knock something over or you fall. These will be ready in a minute, now sit down." I was struggling to get the second batch of pancakes to flip. I neglected to smear my Crisco on the griddle and apparently these weren't looking as "well flipped" as the others. As my 3 year old girl was turning around she said, "Well, they look like crap." Silence. You think, "Nah, she didn't just say that." My husband looked at her as patiently and straight-faced as possible and of course asked the question, "What did you say?" Why do we ask that? They almost always admit to repeating the same garbage that we thought we heard them say in the first place. Hearing it twice makes it that much more difficult to discipline them. You are either trying really hard not to laugh or you are trying really hard not to break something. In any event, he asked. As expected she repeated, "I said, 'they look like crap.'" So, he asked her to please be excused and meet him in her room.

Now, you may be shocked and a bit disgusted that my children would use the word, "crap." To be honest, it beats some of the alternatives! I guess I should go ahead and tell you that sometimes they say, "butt" and even, "shake your booty." It's absolutely abominable at times!!! Now, the fact that I'm mentioning the word lets you know where I was coming from. That isn't a nice word and is especially distasteful coming out of my sweet little girl's mouth. Mike didn't hear the word, he heard her heart.

When they came back out, she did not apologize for using the word. She apologized for being disrespectful to me. That part didn't dawn on me. My husband saw me standing in the kitchen preparing something for them to eat, and she was complaining against it. It was not what came out of her mouth that was the problem, it was the attitude of her heart. Jesus is very clear in Matthew 12:34 that it is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks. We must check our hearts and the hearts of our children.

As I sat back and thought about this I thought about how many times God is doing something for me and I don't thank Him. I don't look at the God of the universe who is loving me, providing for me, sending His only son to die for me, and say, "Hey, God, it's looking good in there! Keep up the outstanding work. You are incredible the way you provide for me. It amazes me that you would have anything to do with me. I just love you for being you. Thanks a million!" No, sometimes I say something like, "Well, it looks like crap." I'm just being honest. I look at the situation or circumstance and grumble of the job that He has done. "Seriously, God? Can't you do any better than this? I mean, come on, you've got the entire universe on a schedule. You made the earth and all that is in it in 6 days, why don't you give that another shot?" Oh, my heart breaks even as I admit to feeling that way! The good news is that if you have also said that, we can repent! We can admit that we disrespected God and we can ask forgiveness, just like in my kitchen last week. We tell our kids that when we sin against God we have to confess, ask for forgiveness and then walk in freedom.

So, that's my cup of crap. I'm so thankful that God is a patient and gentle Father. He is "a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." Psalm 86:15. That is just such good news to me as I struggle to live a life that is pleasing to Him. Often I find that I am just like those men of whom Isaiah spoke and that Jesus addressed as well, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." Mark 7:6-7 That's me. I'll smile and appear glad at what He's "cooking" up for me, but my heart, oh my heart says, "Well, that looks like crap." Knowing this and being aware of this causes me to rejoice that I have a Savior. I sure do need one. I pray that you will check your heart as well, and then rejoice with me that we do not have a Savior who leaves us as He found us.

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A cup of...crap?

That's right my dear friends. Coming soon! I'm cooking up a little something based on the comment that my pancakes "look like crap." I hope you'll check back. For now, it's ice cream sundaes and Survivor! Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My cup overflows.

"Babe, you know what I need now? If I'm going to write consistently I need a laptop so that I can go sit at a coffee house and eat a cheese danish while I write." I was finishing up the dishes and was peeking through the pass-through at his response. I just giggled because we both knew that it wasn't even worth discussing.

Let me take you back a few years and you'll see why a laptop was so not worth discussing. We were living too large and decided, with Dave Ramsey's help, to eradicate our debt. We were going to "live like no one else, so in time we could live like no one else." We sold two homes that year, the one we were living in (and loved) and the one we still owned in Valdosta. We ate a lot of pancakes and baked potatoes. To change it up some nights I would make waffles...I know, clever you say. Anyway, we decided that we would live without a few bells and whistles for the sake of our financial health. It was quite a process, but together we did it and we vowed to never return again. I should mention that we do carry a mortgage. We don't do "extras." If we want something we save for it, it's that simple. (really not, but in theory)

We have a computer. The monitor is almost 8 years old, it's HUGE and we LIKE IT! It sticks out behind the computer armoire, but it works. There was no need for us to purchase a laptop, even if it sounded glamorous to grab my purse, laptop, give kisses and head out the door for some "quiet time." That's that.

The NEXT day was playgroup. I walked in and where I normally drop all of my "supplies" was a Victoria's Secret bag. She was beaming. "It's not anything that should actually be in the bag, it has nothing to do with Victoria's Secret." That was a relief, because after 3 big babies and 3 c-sections there are a few things that I keep "secret" if you know what I mean. "Should I open it now?" She could barely speak she was so excited. I pulled the tissue paper out and all I could recognize were a lot of wires. Then it dawned on me, it was a LAPTOP!!! I looked up at her, almost crying, and said, "Is it a laptop?" She immediately explained that it was her husband's old one and they didn't know what to do with it, and then when I started the blog, she was one of my biggest fans. I said, "I didn't even think to ask God." A free laptop with wireless capabilities. I'm still humbled because of His great love for me. Thankfully my friend realizes that she was merely a vessel God used for providing for my wants...not my needs. I love that about Him. Psalm 23 says, "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want." It's a precious thing to me that with all of the strife in the world today, He is still the Good Shepherd. He knows our hearts, He knows our desires. There are things He withholds, absolutely, but always for our good.

A verse that keeps coming to mind is found in James, "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created." I believe that God has given us gifts that are spiritual (salvation being the first one that comes to mind!) and that He also gives us little treats here on earth. It's sort of like a little shout out from God. I pray that the laptop will be used for His glory and that after reading this some of you consider your life and count the little "extras" as love from your Heavenly Father who desires you to know Him in the most initmate ways.

I could go on and on, but there are certainly things to do. I just didn't want another day to go by without sharing how precious the Father heart of God is...absolutely precious.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A cup of giggles

We've sort of been on lock-down dealing with what we have believed to have been intestinal parasites. (please don't ask and I'll spare you the gritty details) Yesterday was a beautiful day and the kids and I were able to get out and spend some time with my brother and sister. (Just a funny side note, there was a time when all 5 of us were unemployed! We thought it was rather comical, I don't remember if Mom ever laughed or not, hm.) I'm somewhat of a self-declared nap-nazi, but we were a bit tardy in coming home. We rolled up at roughly 3:00.

Now, I love motherhood. I spend my days enjoying my children, but there is one thing that I absolutely DETEST about this stage in my life. Do you know what that is? Some of you may roll your eyes, others will groan in agreement. I DETEST getting my children in and out of the car!!! How lame is that??? We have an older van and I used to think how ridiculous it was that people had van doors that closed by themselves. Seriously, can't you shut the door manually? Yes, you can...but WHY if that is ONE thing that you don't have to do. So, if you see me out, don't let me see you push a button to shut your door, it hurts my feelings. So, I'm getting the kids out of the car and giving them the, "No, you brought it out of the house and you need to take it back in. No, we're not blowing bubbles right now, you need to rest. No, not until Daddy gets home. Well, then go potty. Where are your shoes? What is on your face?" You get the picture. So, I'm in that temporarily cranky mode because I'm not choosing joy when all of a sudden I hear a familiar voice coming from down the street. Could it be? I think it is, it's REBA MCINTYRE!!! This gave me the strength to make it to my house.

My neighbors two doors down are having a new roof put on. So, the roofers have been here for about two days. Now, I do not want to paint a picture and people think I'm being stereotypical and what-not. I just never really imagine roofers being like, "Oh, man it's REBA! Turn it up!" She's not exactly "Freedom Rock" if you know what I mean. So then I pictured the scene on the roof. (For those of you who are wondering, I'm making this part up in order to enjoy the scene and avoid the fact that everyone is STILL in the van) I pictured two things. The first one is the men being trapped up there with Reba blaring from their delapidated van and not being able to do a thing about it. I imagine one guy is commenting on how "Sally" insisted they listen to this station and would glad if he never shows up again. Now, I'm in the south where Reba is a favorite no matter who you are. I think they may be saying, "Oh, I love Reba! One time, 'bout 15 years ago, me and my girl saw her at the Civic Center..." Maybe one man has tears streaming down his face pretending they are beads of sweat because he is remembering "The greatest man he never knew" which is the song that was playing. I had this whole scenario playing out in my head and just giggled.

I have NO idea what station they were listening to, or if someone lost a bet and the whole lot of them had to listen to the foreman's "Reba's Greatest Hits." Maybe they all voted, or maybe God wanted to remind me of how good it feels to giggle and to be reminded that everyone wants to know their Father. Whether we have had an amazing relationship with our Dad, or one that has been non-existant or strained at best, God's word has great news for us. Romans 8:15 states, "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." I LOVE this verse. The fact that the maker of heaven and earth is my Daddy! That is how we cry out to him! The end of the song that the roofers were (willingly or unwillingly) listening to says, "He never said he loved me, guess he thought I knew." That makes me cry EVERYTIME! I'm sure that there are people who have experienced that kind of heartbreak and rejection. It has to be true, or let's face it, Reba wouldn't have sung about it! In any event, God's word tells us over and over of His great love for us.

I could start today and never finish finding all of the places where God utters his unwavering, unstopping, unshaking, uncondtional, AMAZING love for His children. I pray that's refreshing for you. Maybe you are having a fat day, maybe you never heard someone say "I love you." Maybe they said it and they misused you and those words. I am deeply sorry for that, but today you can make a decision to believe the words of God himself when He said, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1b. This He spoke to the clans of Israel, they are remembering His words in Jeremiah 31:3b, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt..." It goes on and you should read it. However, my point has been made. God is not the man in Reba's song that sits down the hall with his nose in the paper neglecting those that he loves. God is the Abba Father that will stop at nothing to redeem His children to himself. Drawing them into a loving relationship with Himself. I can't wait to meet with Him today and talk to Him about the things I love and I'm fearful of. I pray you feel the same way.

So, I better get going there is a "campsite" being assembled in my house with my pantry items and there is laundry and...and...there is always something. I'll tell you what, if the roof ever needs replacing I'm calling those Reba Roofers...I sure as heck love me some Reba!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Cup of Cold Water

Here I sit, very nervous about the world I've been dangling my toes in for awhile now. I have a list of blogs that I check regularly and I started to feel like I was only taking and not giving. The Lord was urging me to write, to share with my friends, and this is a super way to do it. The technology overwhelms me, I know, it's "user friendly" but still! So, to decide on a name. What's in a name? What should I choose? Then the other night my little girl was up and to console her I offered her a cup of cold water. I thought, "That's it!" A cup of cold water.

I love having friends over, but we hardly ever have anything to drink other than water. When people enter I always say, "Would you like something to drink? Actually, all we have is water." Inevitably the person says, "Oh, that would be great. Water is fine." (Maybe they leave and get a fountain coke from the gas station...I don't know!) That's what we all desire when we are really thirsty, isn't it? Just a cup of cold water.

In Mark 9:38-41 we see the disciples questioning Jesus regarding someone who was driving out demons, but wasn't "one of us." Jesus tells them to relax that no one who is for them can be against them, I love what He says in v.41, "I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward." There are several places where we see servants providing cups of water to thirsty travelers. That's what I would like this to be. A place for a cup of water for thirsty travelers. I pray that this would be an outlet for me to laugh and cry with friends old and new. So, if you are thirsty and need to stop for a cup of water, I pray that this humble little blog will be just the place for you...for us. Thanks for stopping by.