Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's all broken!!!

It started with hearing little feet pattering around prematurely. If the sun isn't up, why are they? I always get ready for dealing with a cranky person when that happens, well, 2 cranky people including myself! Then I tried to turn the stinkin' light on in the living room and the chain was over extended, and wouldn't turn the light on. The floor was littered with the stuff of life and folks weren't fired up about chili for breakfast. "Durn it Mike! Would you please fix that chain? I shouldn't have to pull a kitchen chair in here everytime I want to turn the light on! It's making me crazy." His response irritates me further, "Ali, it's not broken. It just doesn't work properly." Hmmm. Really? It just doesn't work properly? "Yeah, Mike, another word for that is...BROKEN!!!" He continues to argue (which is rather unlike him) that the light isn't broken, it simply malfunctions from time to time. "Call it what you want, Babe, it's broken to me and it's making me nuts."

It was then time to sit down to breakfast (y'all know we eat "dinner" food in the morning which is why it was chili) and read the Bible and pray for our kids and show them what it's like to put Jesus first and I just wanted to go back to bed. I bowed to pray, mostly because I wanted to get on with the torture of making people eat that which they do not, and said, "Lord, I say I'm frustrated, but what I really am is broken. Please help us, heal us...fix us I pray that we wouldn't make up excuses masking what is really wrong. Please. Amen."

We make excuses for practically everything. If my kids are cranky they are "tired" if they are snatchy they are "struggling with sharing" if they are lippy they are "trying to communicate" when really all of us are broken. Now, nothing is ever a perfect analogy...on our own we are a broken mess. I do have Christ's righteousness rather than my sin when it comes down to it, but in this world, in this life, before glory...I malfunction from time to time. I get angry and say things like, "What is wrong with your English that when I say, 'Get into the van' you 3 stand around chatting on the porch?" I say it loud and ugly and then look around to see if any of my neighbors heard me. I choose to check e-mail rather than read a book to the children begging for my attention. I get frustrated when lights malfunction and when children are "tired" and when my husband is late. We can call it whatever fancy word we can think of. We can make up excuses until we are blue in the face, but this world got a crack in it when the father of lies whispered seductively into the ears of our first parents, that "God didn't really say that."

He's working though. All of creation knows that it's coming. The reckoning. The day when it's all set right for good and forever and there are no more malfunctions. No more "Will you forgive me?" No more guilty consciences and shame. We have the hope now. We hope for that day. We have peace from God for sure. I know that I have been justified by grace through faith and that I will stand before a Holy God and not be consumed because of the work that Jesus did in His life and on that cross. I do, however, live in a world that is broken. I'm going to call it what it is and then look to my Savior to help me get from here to there with joy!

The picture is somewhat unrelated, we wanted our family in PA to see Anson and Mike at the game. But, these are the best broken boys I've got!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Cup Running Over

I thought about it this Sunday. We were waiting quietly after the first two verses of "The Old Rugged Cross" for the body and blood to be administered to us all. We had come to the table, bellied up for a reminder that God made a promise. Made and kept a promise. We never run out.

I grew up in a family of 5 kids. My step-dad worked insane hours at jobs that he was more than qualified for to be sure that we ate. Mom came home after all the other teachers and sometimes still had a heavy load of work to do. We ate dinner together. We had delicious meals. We "called" seconds. Do y'all know what that means? That means while you are still eating the food you've been given, you study what is left and you "call" it. It sounds like, "I call last biscuit! I call last drumstick!" We wanted to be sure that if there were extras, we got them. We would split the favorites from time to time, look out for each other, but we ate up to be sure! We never went hungry, please don't misunderstand, we just fought for leftovers!

As I sat in the very last pew this Sunday I smiled almost thinking that that's probably the only meal that I don't fret over running out. When I serve people at home I always make too much. I want people to be full when they leave. I usually have a big meal and dessert...just to be sure. When I go someplace to eat I am always nervous that there won't be enough, maybe we'll be hungry. Mostly this reveals an unhealthy love of big portions!!! However, this post is about The Table. The Table that has one requirement, that you realize how desperately you need to dine. The Table that says, "You've got nothing and I've got it all...and I'm giving it to you." The Table that beckons the worthless sinner to run, not walk, to the seat next to the Master and says, "Eat and drink, I've made a way." That Table is one that you don't have to "call" seconds. There is always enough.

Are you hungry? I mean, hungry. I'm beginning to get my appetite back, I'd been sort of lazy for a while. Picking off the bones, or living off of leftovers. Why? There is a table spread before me. A table of abundant grace and mercy. A table that offers what this world, and the everlasting type. Oh, man...I'm bout' starved thinking about it.

P.S.I put the picture up to prove none of us went hungry...and to show everyone this family that God continues to feed.
This picture was taken in December of's hard to get recent pics as we aren't all together all that often. We are always thankful for His Grace when it happens!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why Songs Matter

I'm beat. I think I'm having a delayed reaction to having a baby. Her first 6 weeks of life my husband was home and we had family in town and we were getting meals and I was practically on vacation everyday! So, now I'm not. The laundry and the meals...they are all still very alive and well. So, I'm sleepy. That's just an update.

The other night we got together with some other super Moms from our Classical Conversations Community. It was a getting to know you shin-dig, so I decided to get to know the real "you" we should answer 2 questions. They were, 1.)What song do you have to sing out loud no matter where you are or who you are with? 2.)What movie are you super excited to see with your kids...when they are old enough? My answers were, "I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more just to be the man to walk 1000 miles..." The movie? The Goonies. There were many songs and movies that we shared that brought some serious laughter. It was fun. Do you realize how many songs are stuck in your head? Ice-Ice hear the music don't you...ALRIGHT STOP...collaborate and listen...or Blame it on guessed it, the RAIN!

Growing up my family sang a birthday "medley." It starts with Happy Birthday, then Happy Birthday, Happy, Happy Birthday...this is your day but we have all the fun, then a big finish with Roll out the Barrel. My grandpa's doing. Everyone who has parties with us now sort of waits for it, some are like, "Can we eat yet? Blow out the candles already!" My kids sing it. We never told them, "This is how we do it." They were simply present when we sang it and it's their normal. My grandpa established a normal for our family that continues eventhough he is no longer singing with us. (He was super awesome at a party!!!)

I would like to challenge you all with a little something. God's Word. Now, I'm no professional, but we've started doing some stuff that actually works. We have been choosing Psalms and putting them to our own tunes and committing them to memory. So far we have the following chapters memorized 23, 24, 121, 65, 67, 84, and we are just about finished with 34. I'm not tooting our horn (although I'm proud of us for continuing this practice) I just want us to all be aware that what goes in, stays in. Another example, "Girl you know it's true!!!" We could play this all day long. We are all humming something all day. You know the, "I've got this song stuck in my head." How about, "I've got this Psalm stuck in my head." It will matter for generations to come. I want a new normal for my family tree, I think most of us do! Do you have any tricks for memorizing scripture? Please share!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So let us know...

The grass doesn't bend under my barefeet, it breaks completely. It's dusty and dry and hot as blue blazes. I walked out to get some paint from the van, "I don't know what this heat will do to it if it sits in there all day." I told Anson as I walked into the electric blanket of Georgia heat. Something you hear around here when it rains is, "Man, we sure needed it." We so welcome rain around here. We seem to think it cools the air, but I think it simply cools the asphalt for a spell. Either way, we welcome the rain.

How is your soul? Dry, dusty? Does it bend or does it break when pressure is applied? We have been (finally) diligent in reading the word with our children and I'll tell you what, my soul is softening. My heart is beginning to yearn for Him again. My desires are for His desires to be fulfilled in me. I am smelling the rain (oh how I love that smell) in the distance and know that I desperately need some rain to fall on my parched soul. Lord, Jesus, indeed rain on me!

When in Africa we worshipped in this little chapel on our property. We didn't have any fancy equipment. We has some guitars and some college students lifting their voices in earnest prayer and petition to their One and Only. One of my favorite songs that we sang in that little chapel, and in our little combies (those were our vans) was a song that came from Hosea 6:3, the song paraphrases the verse:
So let us know
echo: So let us know
So let us press on to know the Lord
So let us know
echo: So let us know
So let us press on to know the Lord
His going forth is as certain as the dawn and He will come to us like the rain
Like the spring rain watering the earth
Let us press on to know the Lord.

Mike and I started teaching the kids that song over the weekend and I can't tell you how my heart rejoices at the opportunity to press on with my 4 little sinnin' blessings by my side. Refining me, challenging me, loving me and urging me to press on to know the Lord.

So, if your soul is parched, dry, cracked and looking brown and dead...take heart...He will come like the rains. Press on.