Saturday, January 26, 2013

Word Up!


Express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions.
An expression of sharp disapproval or criticism.
verb.   reprove - reprimand - reprehend - scold - upbraid - chide
noun.   reprimand - reproof - reproach - reprehension

I don't know about you, but getting corrected, criticized, reprimanded, scolded, etc etc...does not sit well with me. 

I hate it. 

It stings. It's embarrassing. 

No matter how gently the person administers the correction, it still stings. 

I'm not sure what I hate more...being corrected or knowing the person correcting me is right. 

You may not know it by looking at my appearance or my house. Or the inside of my purse or the floor of my van...

But I'm a perfectionist at heart. A rule follower.

I don't know many people who wake up every morning and say, "How many times can I be wrong today?"

Most of us want to do the right thing. 

One of my chief concerns when I started blogging here and now with a team of girlfriends at Deliberate Women is criticism. In any form. 

Sure, dress it up and call it "constructive"...I still hate it. Detest it. 

Confrontation is uncomfortable for me. 

If I dug really deeply, maybe I'd find that I avoid it so much because confrontation means standing up for something and [usually] having to be bold in your assertion. It involves a clash of opinions. 

Save for that brief stint in the 90's when it was fashionable, I don't like clashing.

I'm trying to get better when these situations arise. I'm trying to ignore that rush of heat--the same rush you get when you're going slightly over the speed limit and you see flashing red lights in your rear view--that rush of heat. 

I tell myself to look at what the person said, regardless of how they said it, and see if there is any validity there. Take the truth and learn from it. 

That sounds so after-school-special like. 

So nicely wrapped up in a bow. 

The truth of the matter is I'm usually seeing red so badly I can't stop thinking of all the things I wish I would say/had said instead of hearing what the other person actually said

The past 2 weeks have given me such "wonderful" learning opportunities. 

I'm embarrassed on the one account and annoyed on the other. 

I was called out by 2 people on 2 separate occasions for doing things that were considered by them to be inappropriate. 

As embarrassing as it was, I agreed with one and absolutely disagreed with the other. 

Funny though, I bristled the same on both occasions. It's interesting to see that I respond the same way initially regardless of whether or not the criticism is (in my opinion) warranted. 

Proverbs 27:5 (The Message) says "A spoken reprimand is better than approval that’s never expressed." 

This next one caught my attention:

1 Corinthians 5:12 (ESV) "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?"

How many countless minutes (hours?!) have I wasted on Facebook reading (and embarrassingly, commenting on) a page? It makes sense...rebuking those "outside of the church" or outside of the body of believers is not my place nor is it the most productive use of my time. It usually falls on deaf ears, anyway. 

2 Timothy 4:2 "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching."

I think a key to the verse in 2 Timothy is "...with complete patience and teaching."

One of the keys to rebuking, correcting, offering constructive criticism-- is doing so in love, with patience. I think your tone of voice plays a part as well.  

The first example from my personal experience last week was done so graciously and with a respectful tone. The person was quick to explain why she said what she did and actually apologized if it came off the wrong way. It still bothered me. I wanted to crawl in a hole and disappear, but she was absolutely spot-on and in the right to say what she did. (That doesn't mean I didn't obsess about it for days, though.)

The second example, however, I feel was out of place and inappropriate. Any value in the person's words was lost by the fact that it was "said" in a condescending manner and by someone that I don't even know. And, ironically, the offense I was reprimanded for was the very thing my "correcter" was doing. So, her hypocrisy was far more evident (to me) than any words of wisdom. 

Bottom line: being corrected or scolded is no fun. Most would rather avoid it at all costs. I know I do. BUT...believe it or not (ha ha), there are times I fail. I make mistakes. I flat out disobey. And in those times I would rather have someone rebuke me in love than turn a blind eye so they don't offend me. 

Example #1 "felt" better, but example #2 is also valid in that I can take from what was said, weigh it, sift it, and take the valid points to heart. That is, after my blood pressure returns to normal. 

I can also learn from example #2 how NOT to rebuke someone else. 

My kids come to mind here. I am quick to have a sharp tongue with my kids when they do something wrong. Funny how I "forget" how that stings when I'm not the one on the business end of the rebuke. 

I want my kids to feel that correction is a tool, not a weapon. 

I'm sucky at that. I'm a "yeller" and that tends to get in the way of any message I might be trying to convey.

It's a look-in-the-mirror moment when you realize the way you've been acting/speaking/treating others is a way you would not want to be spoken to/treated yourself.

This song by Hawk Nelson says it better than I can:


They've made me feel like a prisoner
They've made me feel set free
They've made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king

They've lifted my heart
To places I'd never been
And they've dragged me down
Back to where I began

Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

I've been talking to my kids about using words as a gift. Anything out of our mouths should be purposeful. Whether it's to make someone feel better, train someone, speak the Truth, share the Gospel, communicate, create a sense of community, and on and on...our words should have a purpose:

Ephesians 4:29 says, "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift." (The Message)

Boy if THAT isn't a hard one to live by consistently!

But, I am working on making each word purposeful, important, useful and used for good, not harm.

I'll talk a little more about it on Deliberate Women on Monday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What's Your Oozing Sore?

Title catch your attention?

I posted not too long ago about getting a splinter under my finger nail. A nice chunk of hardwood floor completely underneath my right index finger.

I considered it a *gentle* reminder to clean up my language.

After about 15 minutes of pacing, holding my hand in my arm pit and convincing myself the end of my finger would be gangrenous when I looked at it, I peeked to find this little piece of wood under my nail. The tip of my finger felt like it was the size of a watermelon. It was throbbing with its own heartbeat.

I snapped at the kids as they asked what happened and if they could see it.

Finally, about 45 minutes later, after the kids were in bed, I was brave enough and able to focus on it. I got the tweezers, peroxide and my courage.

Naturally, as I imagine all surgeons do before surgery, I Googled how to get a splinter out when it is completely underneath the nail. I learned you need to cut the nail back as much as possible.

That did the trick, I was able to expose enough of the splinter to get a grasp on it with the tweezers. Then, I held my breath and tugged.

Then I almost vomited.

Nothing happened.

This happened a few more times. That darn thing was really in there.

Just when I had resigned myself to forever having a lacquered and probably lead- soaked piece of wood under my nail for ever, I took a deep, cleansing, Lamaze breath and tried again.

I connected and felt it give way a bit.

I started to believe that I would survive.

Only a couple more tugs and it came free.

Funny, once I had it out and got a close look at it, it was minuscule. It SEEMED so big when it was trapped in my finger.

I poured some peroxide under my nail and watched it bubble. I rinsed it and could still see a tiny dark spot under the nail. I figured it would work its way out, so I let it go, so grateful that it was over.

The next day, my finger started getting super hot and red. It hurt to the touch. I started typing without using that finger. It was almost impossible and a pain in the neck (and finger!) I carried on this way for at least a full day.

That dark speck was still there. I set out for surgery again, and this time tried to lift the nail a bit to make better access for the tweezers.


If you're eating or have a weak constitution, divert your eyes now.

Really gross, white stuff oozed out.

You're welcome.

I was both horrified and ecstatic. Once that happened, the pressure went away and my finger didn't hurt anymore!

I poured in some more peroxide, watched it bubble, and went about my business.

Believe it or not, I allowed this same scenario to play out for days.

And then, one day, I just decided, "this dang thing is coming out!"

And it did.

I held my breath and excavated until the rest of the wood was removed. This time, I knew I'd gotten it all because I could see it and feel how much better it was. The peroxide I poured on this time was actually able to penetrate the wound and clean it out.

And peroxide DOES hurt, FYI, regardless of what your mom tells you...

End of story. I am healed.

Why in the world am I {over}sharing this story with you?

Because...a few days later God smacked me in the face with this awesome analogy.

How well this applies to other infections in our lives?

What splinter do you have that you choose to hold on to because 1) you're too afraid of the pain of removing it, 2) you're unsure how to start the process of removal, 3) you think you've addressed the problem, but there are still lingering issues, or 4) you're just too lazy to make the effort?

How many times have I recognized something in my life that is a detriment? Only to ignore it because I was afraid or unsure of how to begin? Once I decided to give it a go, did I do a half-arsed job because digging in deeply was too painful?

Did I put on a bandaid, knowing there was still infection inside?

When the "healed" wound began to ooze with infection again, did I finally have the courage to really, fully address the situation at its core? Uncover things, dig deeper and really get at the heart of the matter?

I realized it then, only once I fully removed the offending splinter could the antiseptic cleanse the wound and genuinely begin the healing process.

The analogy was revealing to me. It was so simple and yet so profound.

There are many areas in my life that I let fester. Sometimes I believe I'm addressing them. Sometimes I'm too afraid to take an honest inventory, and sometimes I want to meet them head on, but I'm overwhelmed or unprepared.

In those times, praying feels like I'm talking to myself and reading the Word falls flat. I cry out to God to heal me, remove this from me [whatever "it" may be in that instance] and let me be whole.

I feel frustrated as it still continues to hurt and ooze infection, but what I take a while to realize is that God can and will heal me...but only when I allow Him to. Sometimes I have to get some things out of the way.

Just like the peroxide won't heal (or heal as effectively) a wound that still has the offending debris in it, God and His Word isn't effective in cleaning and healing a would of our soul if we aren't willing to be honest and look intently at what is causing the wound.

And then do our best to amputate that which is causing it.

Matthew 18:9 says (NIV), "And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."

Now am I going to gouge out my eye or cut off my finger? No...this is a dramatic representation of how to fully address something that is causing us an infection. Instead of ignoring it or poorly "doctoring" it, we should take the bull by the horns and fully examine and remove the offending item (addiction, struggle, stumbling block...) from our lives. Be done with it. Take control of it. 

It was empowering, actually, to meditate on that for a bit.

Many times I don't even begin the arduous task of removing the splinter and cleansing the wound because I'm afraid of failing. 

But 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."

So there it is...the death knell for my hold-out of "failing". God gives a spirit of self-discipline and power. The ability to do what we set our minds to. 

So, while it may not be easy (and most likely WON'T be) it IS possible. 

And I don't even have to Google how to do the surgery. Just open the Word. After all, Jesus is the Great Physician. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Get A Move On...Making Peace With My Imperfect Home

Where do I even start?

It's been a long time since I posted here. We have SO MANY changes going on.

I am SO welcoming of change, too. :-/

But this is all good change.

*We started homeschooling.
*We decided we're moving!
*We put our house on the market.
*I joined forces with 3 other ladies to start a new blog.
*I undertook a 30-day self-imposed ban on Facebook and Twitter.

So, we are packing up our beautiful 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bathroom home that has been the site of many, many happy memories.

Our oldest was only 9 months when we moved here and this has been the only home of the other 5 littles. I have lovingly and laboriously DIY'd and decorated this home from top to bottom. I have stretched as much as I can out of every single square inch. I have used as much creativity as I POSSIBLY can to create storage and use our space as efficiently as possible. You can see interior pics by clicking the tab at the top of the page called "Tour of our Home".

We had 3 "first days of school" from this home. Countless trips up and down the stairs with new babies, sick babies, and sleepy babies.

Many a fight, many fun moments, and a truck load of happy memories wrapped up in these 4 walls.

We have lived here 7 years. That is the longest I have lived in any one place before.

I am incredibly sentimental. I attach easily to things.

I know this will be a  tough move.

But we are not kidding when we say we are outgrowing this house.

We have outgrown this house.

We have 6 kids, 2 adults and 1 dog.

4 boys in one room and the 2 girls in another.

And the dog wherever he darn well pleases.

I have often wondered what the people were like who lived here all the years before us. This house was built in the early 1940's.

I have stared at the beautiful plaster walls many times imagining what the families looked like, what kind of people they were, what kind of memories they created here, wondered if they loved this house as much as I do.

It seems that JUST when I made peace with this home...with the creaky hardwood, the light switch that flickers a couple of times when you turn it on, the slight slope in the basement floor, and the less than right angles on every wall....

We found a really beautiful, BIG house only 20 miles south of where we live now.

I am SUPER excited and I've been decorating the new house for weeks on Pinterest...but I feel like I'm cheating on our current home.

I know the day we move out I will be a wreck.

And then I'll place the enormous task on myself of being all moved in and Pinterest ready in record time.

But I am taking a new stand.

No More Perfect Homes.

Along the lines of Jill Savage's book No More Perfect Moms which I blogged about HERE, I will NOT let myself get bogged down in having to have the "perfect" house.

At least I will try not to.

But a home is such a very personal space.

I consider it such an honor to have someone compliment my home. Some of my identity gets wrapped up in my home. For better or worse.

Now that the house is on the market, I have been even more obsessed with keeping everything tidy. I am the toy and food gestapo.

It has been more than 1 occasion when our play room has looked like this:

And more times than I care to admit there has been fur on the fan blades, dust elephants under the couch, and so many fingerprints on the storm door that you can barely see through the glass.

And I turn into a raving lunatic.

And my kids run and hide.

And my husband retreats to the basement.

I wouldn't call myself a Type A (hardly), but I get stressed when things are out of order. THAT (above) is definitely out of order.

Granted, I don't allow it to get to that point often. But there are those days when I just CAN'T pick up another Lego.

So...from now on...I am going to remember that I do have permission to LIVE in my home. And so does my family. My home doesn't define me. It is and should be a safe place, a respite from the outside world, but it is not a direct reflection of who I am.

My home will NOT look like it walked out of House Beautiful Magazine.

It will not be camera ready at any moment.

If you drop by without notice you WILL most likely find me in my sweats with 6 kids--3 of whom may be half naked at any given time--running around. And I'd be willing to bet that at least one of  'em will need their diaper changed. ;)

Instead of freaking out about my house all. the. time. I will instead praise God for all the belongings we've been blessed with, the abundant space we will have, and a beautiful place to hang my hat.

I can stop expending that energy on inanimate objects and put it toward other, more important things. Like homeschooling, launching a new blog and ministry team.....sleeping...ahhhhh, sleeping.....
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