Saturday, May 30, 2009

Refiner's Fire.

I had a mouth. I have a mouth. Before coming to faith my mouth could spew some serious venom. Some of you may find that shocking, others, my cussing friends...just giggle. Coming to faith didn't change my mouth so much as it changed the venom. It didn't seem as vile as four letter words, but I still cannot get my forked tongue under control. A verse that I have had stored in my heart since 1997 is found in Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips." I feel like I need an armored soldier standing outside of my lips arresting any detestable thing that flows forth. I could blame my words...but Jesus says that the real problem is not my mouth, but my heart. In addressing the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34 Jesus says, "You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." I need the armored soldier...but I also need a clean heart.

This year has been really stinkin' hard. Since I started keeping another child my days were more like managing than mothering. I missed my children. I missed my house. I missed my life. My children have been with me, but when you babysit everyday (at least this is true for me) you become more like a babysitter than a Mama. I'm a pretty good babysitter, but I'm a much better Mama. I have seen alot of my human frailties and to be honest...I'm a little surprised. I really didn't think I was that bad. I joke about my sin, (which is despicable since sin is what nailed my Jesus to the cross)but have really seen that it's no joke. I'm just going to be honest. I thought I was a pretty good Mom. I my children. I don't know everything about parenting...someone else's child. I know mine. God has given me divine insight, understanding, and wisdom to parent my children. I'm not the mother of the year...I'm their mother...this year...and every year, so I guess I am a Mother of the Year! I have seen how judgemental I really am. Thinking that I got where I am because of my own awesomeness. I mean...what else could it be? Hmmm how 'bout some GRACE? FAVOR? MERCY? God has shown me kindness because of Jesus. That's humbling. Do you (I say you because when I write this it's like I'm talking to a friend on my sweet front porch rocking chairs)think that you must be responsible for at least some of the great stuff in your life? I'll take credit for the screwed up parts, but can't I take some credit for the good stuff too? Nope. He is the Breath of Heaven. The Bread of Life. The Father of Heavenly Lights. Giver of every good thing. My Creator, Redeemer and Friend. He enables me to obey, repent, and love. I have made some great choices, but it is because He was leading me. They weren't my ideas.

So, I've just been sort of introspective. I'm finding some insecurities. I'm worried that I'm going to say something ridiculous and offend thousands. I find I want to withdraw a bit to protect myself and others. I'm finding that without the Cross...I've got nothing. It's been so precious to see my need because it makes me love Jesus more and want to honor Him in the things that I do. Then I make a dumb comment or mistake and feel like I'll never get it. I suppose that's where the whole "sanctification" comes in. A verse that I go to sleep thinking about is that His mercies are new every morning. I LOVE that Truth. I love knowing that in the morning I start over. I want to be that kind of person. I want to start new every morning with everyone and everything. I want to live in awe of His ability to deal with me.

So, I say all that to say I'm really excited about June. I'm excited about tearing down some alters and worshipping God instead of the other foolish idols that I've been looking to for salvation. I'm looking forward to having my kids back. I did't realize how much I enjoy them until I was managing them. I'm excited that the Lord has refined me this year. Burning away all the yuck that isn't of Him. I know that I'm not finished, but I can only withstand the flames for so long. He takes me out, looks me over, and in I go again. Thankfully. Thankfully there will be more refining. The thought of being the same for the rest of my life turns my stomach. I invite it, Lord. Please, burn away all that isn't of You. As long as You are the One doing the work I know it can be trusted and I know it will be worth it.

I'm very proud that I figured out how to put music on this. I don't love it because I can't read and listen at the same time. However, I felt like these songs were appropriate and maybe it will give you a taste of what I enjoy listening to. Jo...whenever I listen to Jennifer Knapp I think of you...playing your guitar in our little dorm room...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day...Wreckage.

So, there I am in all of my pregnant glory. The pictures are in order of the children. The first was taken a few weeks before my due date with Anson, the second was the day before my c-section with Julia, and the third was the morning I went in for Ella. I'm so sorry to sound so cliche', but, it seems as though it was only yesterday. The kids are now 6, 4, and 2 and I'm shocked at their abilities. I suppose that is where it all started. That is where the wrecking began.

They wrecked my body. I used to have some body. I look back at pictures and think, "Man, I thought I was fat? I was beautiful!" Just last night I happened upon a high school photo and noticed my shirt was tucked in, I had on a belt, and there was NO MUFFIN TOP! I was a cute little thang if I do say so myself. Some parts of my body have sadly yielded to the powerful force of gravity and only my feet are faithful when it comes to choosing a size. My feet never (only during pregnancy) feel tight in the size that they are supposed to be. My feet are good to me!

They wrecked my mind. I never forgot to brush my teeth until I had children. I used to speak in complete sentences and not use "potty talk." I found it inappropriate to talk about various parts of the body, nausea, or breast infections in mixed company...those days are long gone. I remember being so embarassed by my inability to communicate over the phone to some insurance lady that I actually told her that I was a college graduate, but couldn't think straight because I was pregnant! It was pretty bad. I never put cereal in the refrigerator until I had children. I've never heard an incessant beep telling me that something was ready and been unable to remember what I was timing. I wasn't top of the class (like Mike was) but I wasn't the bottom of the barrel, either. Now I have been known to scour the trash cans for missing pictures or utensils that have been inadvertantly thrown away by an overly zealous toddler.

They wrecked my sleep habits. I used to sleep through the night and wake refreshed and ready for the day. Now it is not unusual to wake up only to find my hands scrubbing "pee-pee" off the floor and trying (quietly) to find clean panties and comfort a screaming child while begging the God of the Universe to let the other children stay asleep. Then I crawl back into bed only to wake my husband so that he knows that I was up...and he wasn' least until I woke him up! Saturday mornings Mike and I would sleep in, wake up to eat breakfast and maybe go back to bed. Not anymore. We wake up with 3 other people making their needs known to us and we, well, we comply...we just want peace on earth!

They wrecked my marriage. We used to talk quietly about our day over dinner and then watch some Wheel of Fortune before piddling around the house and then heading to bed. We used to go to movies without 3 weeks notice to find a sitter...we'd actually just go to the theatre and see what was playing and decide right there what we would watch. Then, we'd go to dinner.

They wrecked me. I used to meet friends for lunch, or dinner, spend hours with the Lord, finish books and write more letters. Now my lunch and dinner dates include them, I am teaching them how to meet with the Lord and how to read and write themselves. Lots of wrecking, but you know what...I needed it.

Before my children I don't think I really relied on God for the fruits of the Spirit. I was pretty capable of getting through my day on a wing and a prayer...although there was all that Bible study I was able to pull off! I was self-centered and selfish believing that serving others could take place on short-term mission trips and "special occasions."

Mike and I are a team now. We have a common honor the Lord in our marriage while we train our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. We cling to each other and dinner involves reviewing our scripture memory and discussing the adventures of the day. We snuggle up and watch movies on the couch. Saturday's are full of life and abundance. Our cups overflow. We were wrecked, we are wrecked, thankfully God has a Savior for wreckage. They wrecked me, for sure and if you know me well you know that I don't sugar-coat the joys and pains of motherhood. I am so thankful that I am not the same woman that I was even 4 years ago. They have changed me, refined me, they are certainly instruments in God's hands as He molds me more and more into the image of His precious Son. They are gifts, I know that, I hug them a little bit tighter everyday.

So, to all of you out there that are enjoying this day...the breakfast in bed, the pampering and hugs...let's not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest...maybe our children will even rise and call us blessed. Who knows...until then...I hope that you enjoy the wreckage and trust God that He will pick up all of the pieces.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I just like to say that...Blogella...there have been a few things rolling around in my head lately...but the computer is off alot more than it is on (for SEVERAL really good reasons!) so I'm just gonna post em' all right here...right now...

What's the Weather?
We have the great privilege of knowing the BEST weatherman and his family very well. I would say that we LOVE spending time with them probably as much as this guy loves him some Storm-Tracker! So, a few weeks ago, they were over for their monthly dinner and I had a blogha (that's an AHA for the blog). I had the kids pick their clothes out for church before our company got here so that once they left we wouldn't have to do all of that "get ready for the next day" stuff. Well, Anson picked out a long sleeved shirt, which I replaced with a short-sleeved shirt. When he finally realized this he came out and this was the conversation:

"Mom, what happened to the shirt that I picked out?"

"I put it away. It's going to be warm and you'll get too hot in the shirt you chose. I put a short sleeved shirt on the hanger for you."

"But, Mom, I wanted to wear the other one."

"I understand that, but you need to trust's going to be hot."

I was just about to head over to the computer to prove that it was going to be hot when Christine (the weatherman's wife...or Chief Meteorologist) said, "You've got the weatherman at your table...ask him." At which point Jeff leaned across the table and said, "It's gonna be hot."

DUH!!! Fireworks in my heart. Why would I check the computer when the person responsible for telling the CSRA what the weather will be like is sitting at my table? He wasn't above giving us the forecast. He was totally accessible to us and it would have been foolish for us to struggle to find the weather with him sitting right there.

Did I really get fireworks in my heart because the weatherman was at my table? No. I got fireworks because the Maker of the Heavens made His home with man and when He left He left the Counselor with us. We have the God of the UNIVERSE at our disposal and we just act like He isn't even sitting at our table. We just struggle and try our hardest to make things work and to find our own answers when He says, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3 or Jesus says in Matthew, "Come to ME all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Not only do I need to call to Him and come to Him...I need to be sure that my children know they can talk to Him as well. Jeff didn't look at me so that I could interpret for Anson, he looked directly at him...and Anson responded. Got questions? Ask the One with answers.

Miss Mable
A few weeks ago Mike and I were at Lowe's trying to figure out what we wanted to plant in our garden. A familiar face walked by me, but I couldn't place the name, thankfully Mike did. It was Miss Mable. Mike teaches her granddaughter and we had dinner with her a few months ago at our Missions Conference. I love old women. I don't mean "older" I mean, like late 70's and 80's. I could listen to them for hours. Learning what their life was like, what they did and how I can learn from them. I just think there is a treasure trove of information in the elderly that we aren't tapping into, so whenever I get a chance...I LOVE it.

So, Miss Mable was telling us about her garden and what she has planted and where she put it and where it came from. I was mesmerized, really. I finally said, "How do you know where to put it all? Do you read in books or magazines?" She sort of chuckled and put her elbows on her cart and said, "Honey, I'll be 80 years old next January. I just know where it goes by now cause' I've been doin' it for so long." Wisdom. She just knows. That doesn't only apply to her garden. As we grow in the Lord we just know some things. We can skip the trial and error really hard lessons because we've already endured them, lived through them...and can now enjoy just putting the plants where they go and enjoying them. I invite my birthdays.

Another thing she said was that she shared a few of her plants with her neighbor and now his backyard is like a Botanical Garden. My thoughts started racing...she just shared a few flowers. Just a cup of cold water. Sometimes as we share our life we have no idea what people will do with it, or how it will change them. God will multiply whatever it is that we have to offer...'member the bread and the fish? Whatever we have could inspire others to grow a garden of faith that would knock our socks off. What can I share? She looked at me as we parted and said, "Be careful, it's catchy." She was referring to the gardening...working the earth...enjoying the fruit. I would have to agree. Already we check our garden daily and rejoice with the fruit we see. I'm also working in another garden. I'm laying seeds in the lives and hearts of my children, neighbors and family. It's not much, to be honest...but my prayer is that it's just enough to turn their lives into a Botanical Garden that King Solomon himself would approve of. What flowers can you share?

Lots of Jesus
Last week my brother came over because he needed some help on some schoolwork. He's attempting to finish up a degree at UGA...that's another story altogether! When he left I said, "Ans, isn't it nice that Uncle Andy can just stop in from time to time and see us. I sure hope that he sees a little bit of Jesus while he's here." Anson's response was, "Well, I hope he sees a lot of Jesus." My heart stopped. Me too. I want people to see alot of Jesus...all Jesus...none of me...that means I've got to become less so that He can become greater.

Here's a random snapshot into a day in the life.
The kids went exploring in the woods with a little boy from down the street while his mom and I chatted. When we called them to come home they seemed really far away. I got a little nervous even though I could hear them and decided to walk into the woods to see where they were. I kept calling and they kept answering, but I just couldn't see them. When they finally came into view, they were sopping wet and Anson was barefoot with his boots in his hands.
"Anson Arthur...put your shoes on! You cannot walk through the woods barefoot!"

"But Mom, we put something in them."

Then my sweet little Julia pipes up, "Yeah, we caught a fish!"

Sure as the world they had caught a fish with their bare hands and then put it in Anson's boot to bring it home. I never saw it because I made him dump it out to put his boots on, but he says if we would have eaten it we would have been finished in about 10 seconds, because it was just little. It still makes me smile.

Since the computer has been off I've been playing a few more games that I wouldn't normally play. I was playing with Ella last week and we were playing Mommy and Baby. I was the baby and she was putting me to bed (Praise the LORD!). I was giving her a taste of her own medicine. "I want my lovey. I want water. Kiss me. Hug me. Pray for me." Eventually do you know what she did? She said, "I'm leaving." and she walked out the door! She still gets out of bed at night...maybe we'll have to play again soon until she figures out how rough bedtime can be!

I think there's one more that I'm forgetting, but for now that will have to do. I sure love sharing the stuff that goes on in my head and pray that it reaches you all as the cold water that I pray it is. I've got dishes in the sink, laundry in the washer and dryer...and I promised to make some popcorn for story time...promises, promises...enjoy this day...


I remembered the other one. This came to me on the way to Kroger this morning. It's titled,
"There's a hole in my umbrella, but we sure do need the rain." Sometimes life is just plain inconvenient...but it's necessary. We do need the rain and the fact that my umbrella has a hole in it shouldn't prevent the earth from getting the water that it so desperately needs. We've been in a drought for some years now, so any rain we get is welcomed...even though there is a hole in my umbrella. Do you have holes? Do you have days where things just have to happen, but it just makes you wet? Rejoice! WE need the rain! It keeps things cleans the refreshes everything. Instead of trying to be safe from it under a leaky in it and feel the difference!