Friday, March 29, 2013

What's Rooting You?


More than just a 1970's novel.

And beyond what holds a plant in the ground and supplies it with nourishment.

Although the parallel is right on.

Just like a plant that is rooted firmly in the ground, able to brace against any wind or storm, fully nourished and thriving...what is rooting you in life?

Go with me here. It's a little deep (no pun intended).

My Facebook page is loaded on any given day with pithy, deep, philosophical posts about life. Some are nice. Some are cheeky. Some are (in my opinion) flawed and ridiculous. And some are downright dangerous.

Many choose to follow the "universe" (that term really gets on my nerves). Many follow the seat of their pants. Many follow an ethical code or the "Golden Rule". And many follow whatever fad is "in" at that time.

I have been a follower of all of those. For a long time the seat of my pants was very busy leading me from one poor decision to another. Many drunken nights, loads of bad memories, lots of wasted time and energy, lots of strained relationships, broken friendships, 3 marriages and 2 divorces later and I am just now really starting to see what should be my guide post. And how "it's my life and I'll live it how I want to" really doesn't affect just me.

Today, though, it seems like I can't get away from people's philosophies that grate on my nerves.

And, as I sat, seething every time I refreshed Facebook, I made myself sit back and relax. Chill for a sec.

I tried to examine WHY my reaction was ANGER to these viewpoints opposite of my own.

And I think what I came up with was I get MAD when someone else isn't following the rules.

In this case, God's rules.

I couldn't understand why they were championing what is so blatantly sin. And for the record, I still don't understand why people do that, but I have had some awesome, amazing, ridiculous, startling "shifts" in my thinking of late.

I have had so many things rocking my world lately that I don't even know where to start. SO maybe I'll just list them and blog about them one-by-one, so as to save you 17,000 chapters of my enlightenment.

*We can love AND be firm in our convictions. The two are NOT mutually exclusive.
*Christ died for everyone. Not just some. Not just for those who welcome Him into His life and do their best to follow His directives. Ev-uh-ry-one.
*I am far from perfect. I know--that one's a shocker.
*Everyone is invited to Christ's table. Who am I to say who should or shouldn't be there?
*I am so filled with sanctimony and self-righteousness that I don't know how my organs fit.
*God has called me to love people and share the Good News that Christ died for all of us. Changing hearts and lives is (mercifully) above my pay grade and left up to the CEO of this world.
*When you truly seek to be used, and sold-out to God and His will--and you tell Him that-- you better hold on to your hat because He will take you at your word.
*Following the path you've been put on by God will sometimes be a lonely journey. People won't always agree with or understand why you do/think/act/believe the way you do.
*When you pray to be sold-out, pray that your spouse will be too. It's no fun to be uneven in this category.
*Finally--at least for now--there is no room for fear or apprehension when you're sold-out. Despite angry comments, dubious relatives, and disenfranchised friends, it is not an option to make Truth softer, more palatable. Not to be confused with loving someone right where they are. Never confuse loving someone right where they are with making exceptions to God's Truth. This is an area where I am still furiously taking notes and studying the syllabus so I can get a better understanding.

So getting back to my intro: Roots.

What used to be mine {or what I THOUGHT were mine} and what used to hold me planted firmly in the ground were really not what I thought. My Root is God. But the the little sub-roots, if you will, were man-made laws, assumptions, and misinterpretations of the Bible that were more than likely causing more harm than good.

You know what...let's just call those "sub-roots" what they are: weeds. They were weeds. And I'm pulling them one by one because they were strangling me and my faith and my testimony to death.

It's time to put some RoundUp on their arses.

I am starting to come awake and alive. I feel like, for the very first time, I am plugged in and here.

This is gonna be a wild ride.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Letter To My Daughters

Dear E & H,

It's late in the afternoon on St Patty's Day and I've been puttering around the house, hearing so many people's plans and fun times for this day and it got me to thinking...

Your dad and I are so happy we had you both and your brothers. We would not change or trade even one thing if we could. You six are easily the most satisfying and wonderful things on this earth to us.

However, I want to write this down while it's fresh in my mind and I hope that even as time goes by and the freshness of these feelings fades, I'll be able to recall exactly how I feel today.

I love watching you play and hearing your laugh. I know these times will go by so quickly--and already have. I love the sound of your voice and when you run to share something that is so very important to you--like when you collected enough crystals in the My Little Pony game to "buy" a Pinkie Pie or when something on La La Loopsie made you laugh, or hearing your laughter while you're playing who knows what with your brothers and laughing at some private joke between the 6 of you....

I lock these things away in my heart.

But I also want to bottle this feeling...what it's like to be caught in between loving you so much it hurts and wanting desperately to reclaim a little of what makes me ME.

I love being Mommy.

I cherish that title. With all that is in me I cherish it.

But I also realize that to be a good mom, I need to also be a good wife and individual.

That means time away from you and your siblings so that I can recharge and refresh.

So that I can reconnect with your dad and remember what we like about each other, and maybe discover some new things.

It means that sometimes I need to carve time out to be a little selfish...which isn't really selfish at all, but enables me to be more present when I am with you and more engaged when we're together.

I want to remember this season in my life--the good and the bad--so that I can really be there for you both when and if you decide to have children of your own one day.

I have long said I am waiting for my "June" (as in Cleaver) to sweep in and tell me to put my feet up or go get coffee while she washes my dishes, folds my laundry, feeds you dinner, plays with you, and gives me some much needed time to myself--away from the demands that my beautiful babies place on me. Demands that are a blessing and not a burden, for sure, but still demands.

And while there have been times here and there where that type of scenario has happened, it's few and far between.

So, I hope one day, when you're at the middle of an already long day, feeling absolutely blessed, yet undeniably overwhelmed and exhausted, both of you and I will remember what I've written here. I hope what you'll both take from this is that this is just a season. It will pass. And you will miss these times. Babies are demanding and take lots of time and work. But it's fleeting. You will undoubtedly feel guilty for wanting to close yourself in a closet at best, or--worse--run away when the pressures seem too much.

But don't beat up on yourself. It's normal. You are one person and you only have so much to give. You do your very best to be patient when that little one interrupts you for the 600th time to share with you what they've built on Mine Craft. Or to smile when they explain--in great, painstaking detail--what they have drawn. And you'll just have to swallow your pride when they cry that you never do anything "fun" and that they want a new toy or game because they're bored with what they have. You know you do what you can and give as much as you have to give.

Don't feel weak when your shoulders slump and you can't hold back the tears and the stress of being the sole human being who can answer their every need gets to be too much. Don't come down too hard on yourself when you just want 5 minutes alone and you don't run the first time you hear "MOM!"

Give yourself permission to be lax in your day-to-day chores and responsibilities on occasion. Your house won't always be spotless. won't always be habitable...but it is still your little ones' favorite place on this earth. And do you know why? Because you're there.

And try not to get too annoyed when a well-meaning individual tells you to make sure you sit down and relax once in a while...when you can't seem to sit down to pee without commotion. They truly mean well. They don't understand that you are constantly in demand for one thing or another; to get a snack, to tie a shoe, to prepare a meal, to change a diaper, to kiss a boo boo, to referee a fight, to fix a toy, to fold the laundry, to put a baby in bed, to wash the dishes, to pay a bill, to make a phone call...your list is never ending.

I know that.

And try to forgive those moms whose babies are grown and when they share their plans for the day and don't swoop in to give you a break. It's not their fault. They may have forgotten the season you're in. They may consider that they've paid their dues and survived and so will you.

Do your best to not resent when you are face down on the living room sofa, sicker than a dog, with babies hanging off chandeliers and your 7 year old is getting everyone's dinner...cereal...and most of it is landing in the bowls...and the most you get is a "feel better soon" wish from others.

And as I sit here, with tears streaming down my face, I am trying to tell myself all of this too.

I know this is a season. And I know it will pass.

But as I cling to this very moment in time, hoping and praying that time will stop so you won't grow older and I can feel your sweet breath on my cheek and hear your soft voice in my ear for always, I am also yearning for the day when I can reunite with that woman deep inside me.

It's a bitter battle. And I pray that I will help you remember you're not a "bad" mom because you want to reclaim a little of your independence. You're not depriving your kids for wanting time to yourself and alone with your husband. You're not an awful mother when you get frustrated at the barrage of questions throughout your day.

And--most of all--I hope I swoop in to be your June.

And if I get to that place where I forget what it's like, please remind me of this letter.

I want to be to you what I have always wanted for myself.

Your support. Your cheerleader. Your friend.

And at times, your cook, nanny, housekeeper, and therapist. ;)

I pray I'll have presence of mind to call you regularly and ask how your day is...and then really listen as you lament the challenges of your day.

I pray I won't disregard your struggles or minimize your stress. I hope to remember how all consuming this time in your life is.

I so hope to be ready to drop everything to come to you when I hear the strain in your voice and hear you say, "I'm gonna lose it today."

And I'll remember what that's like.

I'll remember how something as silly as a spilled cup of juice can send you over the edge...into a raving lunatic on the verge of a melt down.

I hope I jump in my car, on a plane, or whatever it will take to get to you, to be there.

To give you a break. To play with my grand babies. To remind you that you are a great mother. To tell you I love you. And to give you some much needed time alone and with your husband.

I am committing to you now to be that person for both of you; your "June".

I love you both. More than I can ever put into words.

And now...back to cleaning who knows what off the kitchen floor and answering for the tenth time what's for dinner.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Running In Mud

I feel frustrated today.

It's never a good idea to wake up and read your email first thing. I find more often than not there's AT LEAST one message that will just start my day off wrong.

There are so many things in this life that can frustrate. I'm sure that's no surprise to you.

One of the major things is people.

We are all so very complex. I heard someone say once that with all the millions (trillions?) of different background experiences that shape who we are, how we think, and how we perceive things--which becomes our reality--it's amazing that we have any successful relationships in our lives.

And it explains very well why we struggle in our personal relationships.

And it also explains why it's so dangerous to compare ourselves to others; whether it's our strengths, our weaknesses, our abilities, our priorities, etc.

We are all so stinking different.

But in some basic ways, I think we are all the same.

I think about Moses. God wanted him to go to the Pharoah and demand he set the Israelites free. Moses gave a few convincing (if only to himself) reasons why God shouldn't rely on Moses.

And I think...are you kidding me? You HEARD God speak. He TOLD YOU to go to Pharoah. And you argued with Him?

But then of course, I climb down off my high horse and I realize there have been a number of times I have argued with the Big Guy myself.

"No, I don't want to wait until I'm married."

"No, I don't want to stay in this marriage."

"No, I don't want to get to know this person before jumping in."

"No, I don't want to walk away from this life that I've chosen because it's contrary to You."

"No, I don't want to STAY here just because I've made a commitment."

"No, I don't want to share that part of my life with anyone because I'm embarrassed."

"No, I don't want to make sure I'm in the Word every day. I have so many things on my to-do list."

"No, I don't want to give them the benefit of the doubt. They annoyed/hurt/angered me."

"No, I don't want to forgive that person."

"No, I don't want to re-prioritize my life."

"No, I don't want to apologize."

"No, I don't want to respect my husband when he makes decisions that I disagree with."


And on and on and on.

As part of our lessons, the boys and I have been reading through their children's Bible. It's a nice, kid-friendly, condensed version of the Bible. We just read the part in the Old testament about Moses leading the Israelites through the desert. The time came (after MUCH time wandering) to spy out the Promised Land.

12 spies were sent to check on the land and the people.

The spies reported back to Joshua that the land was terrific and lush. But the people were big and strong. They were afraid. They didn't believe that they could take these people on and succeed.

And I couldn't help but think, these are the same people who saw 10 plagues in Egypt every time Pharoah wouldn't let the Israelites leave. They saw the angel of death pass over and take the first-born son of every family who didn't have the blood above the doorway (as they were instructed to save their first-born son), they saw a cloud by day and a column of fire by night every single day and night as God led them through the desert.

They miraculously had manna and quail to eat and fresh water to drink every single day and every single night. In the desert.

They watched the Red Sea part. The walked between enormous walls of water, safely to the shore on the other side. They watched those same walls come crashing down on the Egyptian army as they pursued the Israelites.

But this...THIS...they just didn't believe God would come through on???

They told Joshua, we're afraid. These people are too strong.

It didn't matter that Joshua reminded them that God was with them. Not sure that they could have forgotten all that God had already delivered them from.

It makes me wonder what it was about THIS that made them put their foot down.

So as a result, God said they couldn't enter the Promised Land.



Wasn't that the outcome they were all anticipating? The Promised Land?

And then of course, I have to start looking inward.

And I hate that part.

I KNOW there are many things I have seen God do in my life.

So many ways I have seen Him deliver me.

And yet I tend to doubt or down right refuse His prompting in certain areas of my life.


Well, sometimes I'm lazy. Sometimes it's fear holding me down. Sometimes I lack faith to know He'll give me whatever it is I need to get through. Sometimes I'm too busy listening to that liar whispering in my ear.

And I many times have I short-changed myself from the Promised Land?

Or blessings? Or wonderful experiences that lend themselves to other blessings and other wonderful experiences?

And I get sad.

I don't want to be like the 12 spies.

I also don't want to be like Moses.

I don't want to be so busy arguing with God about why he was silly for choosing me to do XYZ.

I don't want to hear the One who I believe created the world and everything in it from the tallest dinosaur to the smallest, microscopic bug, in 7 days--created outer space and all the solar systems it's made up of--created human beings with all their complicated intricacies both physical and emotional--sent a flood that covered the earth--parted the Red Sea--destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah--turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt--fed 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and a few fish--turned water into wine--brought people back to life--and most importantly, raised His Son from the dead and saved the world--And believe He can't be right about me.

How many more opportunities will I miss out on--opportunities to be fulfilled and more importantly, to fulfill His purpose, aid in winning a soul, aid in comforting someone else, aid in completing what needs to be completed so that we can leave this wretched, depraved world behind--all because I don't have faith that God will take care of the details?

Moses couldn't speak well and lacked faith at a critical time. Jonah ran away. Jeremiah whined. Saul refused to follow directives and went crazy. Paul was a Christian killer. David had an affair and had a man murdered to cover it up. Peter swore an allegiance to Christ and then denied Him 3 times. Rahab was a prostitute. Joshua caved and created a golden calf for the stiff-necked Israelites to worship when Moses took too long to get back from speaking with God. Samson had an affair with a prostitute and told her the secret to his strength and she used it against him. And Mandy told God she couldn't because she wasn't good enough.

We all have reasons why we "can't". God says that's where He comes in.

He can.

He'll take care of the details. He'll fill in the blanks.

If we had all the answers and everything was mapped out perfectly, every I dotted and every T crossed...we may confuse ourselves and others that we did it.

Gideon had 30,000 men willing to go to battle with him.

God said that was too many.

So, 300 men ended up going to battle with Gideon against so many enemies that they "couldn't be counted."

God said He didn't want there to be any confusion about WHO actually won the battle.

So, I am praying that I will believe that for myself.

I pray that I won't pass up amazing opportunities when I feel God put them in my path or place them on my heart. I pray for discernment to tell when it's God's idea and when it's my own.

And I pray that I will choose the front row of life.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mama Interrupted

I'll tell you what...

I'm just a little bit tired of every time I open my mouth lately to offer my children one pearl of wisdom or another, the good Lord interrupts my listen-to-mommy-because-she-has-it-all-figured-out speech to teach me a lesson.

I mean, talk about rude. It totally derails my train of thought and knocks the wind right out of my holier-than-thou sails.

Yesterday the kids were plying me with request after request. I swear, sometimes they act like they've never received a toy or a snack or a MEAL in their lives.

It was about the 5th time E asked me for something that I'd had it. Lucky for her, I have a soapbox I keep handy for just such occasions.

I hopped up on it and began..."Four Score and Seven years Ago..."

No...wrong speech.

"'re always so busy asking me for things that you never give me the opportunity to surprise you with anything. I was just about to give you [whatever it was she asked for at the time], but you asked me for it before I could even get it for you. You're always so busy asking that you don't allow me the opportunity to be generous..."

It was right about there when I felt God whispering to my heart.

And I literally stopped talking and thought about what I felt God was trying to say to me.

How many times do I beat God to the punch? How many times do I ask and ask and ask, without allowing God the opportunity to be generous with me. And then I wondered if He felt anything like I do when my kids hound me.

I know they don't intend to be naughty--they're just kids. They want something, so they ask. It's that simple.

But it drives me batty. I feel resentful sometimes when I am just about to offer them a treat and they--with their uncanny blood-hound like senses--start begging me for one. It makes me so annoyed that I don't even want to give them the daggone treat anymore.

Does God feel that way with me? Does he ever wish I'd just sit down and button my lip for 5 minutes so He could surprise me with something special??

Wouldn't it feel better to be given something with joy than to ask and receive it with annoyance??

Thankfully, I know God has faaaaaaaaaar greater patience than I do. So I'm not sure He gets annoyed as easily as I do.


But I many times I have burned up His Holy phone line asking for things He already had in store for me, things I never gave Him the opportunity to be generous with.

What's that you say? God already knows what I'm going to ask for before I ask?

Don't interrupt my object lesson with details, m'kay?

My point...I want to be more patient to see what God has in store for me and less impulsive for what I want. I want to offer more thanksgiving and take more time to really give some heartfelt gratitude for what I have already been blessed with.

And darn it all if I wouldn't be more grateful for the Lord to stop interrupting my lectures to give me one of His own. ;)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Words Of Wisdom From My 3-Year-Old

Our 3 year old little guy (who we call "M" on here) has a way of melting my heart.

I do NOT have a favorite, but there is just something about little M that makes me swoon.

For example, when I ask the boys questions during lessons, no matter what the question is, M pipes up and yells "Jesus!"

And whenever we make a mistake--like today I accidentally spilled his juice--and say "Sorry, M!!" M always says, "It okay, mommy. It not your fault."

He's so generous like that.

I laughed at him once when he gave his "Jesus" answer. I said, "Oh, M, you're so think the answer to every question is 'Jesus'!"

And then I stopped and realized...Hmmm. He may be on to something.

Really, when it all boils down, the answer to everything really is Jesus, isn't it?

And his ability to so graciously and easily offer forgiveness and accept someone's apology is enviable.

How many times do I carry a grudge when I've been wronged or when someone makes a mistake?

Oh, sure. I may say "I forgive you" but inside I'm still harboring annoyance.

There's a lot to be said for living life thinking (in some ways) like a preschooler.

It makes me remember Matthew 18:3 (Message version):

"For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me."

Sometimes I'm so busy being a "grown up" that I forget the simple Truths of life.

It's something to consider. I think My 3-year-old is on to something.

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