Friday, March 27, 2009

How He Loves Us - Kim Walker / Jesus Culture

This song has been running around my head for the last several days. I wanted to share it with you!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Well God has spoken and I must listen! Yesterday Portia had a complete meltdown after skinning her knee. It was ridiculous! I realize that hurts. I also know my daughter. She is one tough cookie. She doesn't wail FOREVER about these sort of things. But yesterday (my birthday) I took the girls swimming. Everything was going well until 5 seconds after we got out of the car Portia was running and fell. And then she set to wailing, and wailing, and wailing...I really should have just gone home but I did not want to disappoint M. So we proceeded. It was a gong show needless to say. I won't bore you with the details but it made me realize several things. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
Since we moved at the end of last August I have been sick quite a bit (like ulcers and such), likely a little depressed, feeling displaced, etc. I have not done well with this move. I allowed my self to slack off in the area of my parenting. And now I am reaping the harvest of the seeds I have sown over the last 7ish months. It shows mostly in Portia but you can see it in M as well in more subtle shades. I have been at my wit's end with my baby girl and that's the truth of it.
I realized yesterday that while Portia was wailing away my desire was for her to behave "the right way" in the situation as she was embarrassing me by being "that child" instead of wanting to understand her and her needs and using it as an opportunity...I became "that mother". Now while she did need to stop wailing I needed to be her mother. Anyway, this situation is much more complex than I have time to explain here so I don't think you will get the whole picture accurately.
Needless to say that situation was my swift kick on the backside to spurr me on to once again pursue Godly parenting which I have neglected since moving...with many "good" excuses. I woke up this morning and was praying for wisdom for today. I was praying that God would give me the grace to encourage my children and to love them as He wanted me to love them today. That in times of conflict He would show me the path to pursue...that He would help me to control my irritation and anger. I am weary so I prayed for renewed strength and joy, but most of all grace. While I was praying God reminded me of a little book that has been sitting on my shelf the last 3 years. I have read part of it and then put it down for other more interesting reads. This book is called "Shepherding Your Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp. So I dusted it off and started reading. And as I read I repented of my many many sins towards my children these past months. Don't get me wrong I am not talking about abuse here I am talking about not engaging them, having a high level of annoyance, and the list goes on but it is still sin none the less. They are precious precious girls and such a gift.
So, if you are inclined, pray for me as I once again pursue this. I pursued it quite passionately until we moved. It is something that is deeply important to Shaun and I. Shaun is an amazing father. He excels at this role. But he is also at work all day and so the majority of the parenting falls on it should for a stay at home mom.
Over the next little while I will write down what I learn on here. Perhaps it might help you too. This role of shepherding a child's heart is quite complex. I am indeed thankful that I have the ultimate source of wisdom to draw from.
So today that source of wisdom said this to me:
"My brother (or sister in this case) take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's (or woman's) anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." James 1:19-20
"The purposes of a man's (or child's) heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out." Proverbs 20:5

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shiny Happy People

Yesterday Shaun and I went back to the church that we went too when we were engaged and first married. We loved it ten years ago and I think in the back of our mind we kind of wish we had never left. I am not sure why we didn't go there in the first place when we first moved back to this area. But hey! ANYWAY! I digress.

On Sunday mornings the church service is filled with the "shiny people". You know, the ones like you and me who are educated. Have a lot of the rough edges taken off. Our emotions are very "proper". We clap at the right time and sing on key. We are very polite. Our children know how to behave in a church service. And we are dressed to the nines. We look GOOD people! We don't get too exuberant. We love Jesus because it's logically the right thing to do OR perhaps we saw that life was empty without Him. We call on God when we need Him but other than that life is going pretty well thank you very much! I am not being cynical here. I is one of this group. So I get it. I am making a comparison so just bear with me.

Now on Sunday nights at this church there is a service called "Fire and Freedom". It's been going on since before we first went there almost 11 years ago...I think it was just getting going though. Well we went the last 2 Sunday nights. And let me tell you about this crowd (and it is indeed a crowd) that shows up to this church service. This is a much rougher crowd. There is a distinct smell of drugs, not just cigarettes. They aren't dressed quite like the morning group. Their children run wild and are absolutely fascinated (to the point of almost getting on stage before they get grabbed by a parent at the last moment) by the musicians. They are much rougher around the edges. There are tatties everywhere...not that I mind tatties but these aren't the nice pretty ones these are the ones with skulls and blood...the wilder versions.

On a side note, have you ever noticed that the it's these ones that are the most charismatic in personality? It is these that are the best is a rough sort of way? At our last church we had a drug and alcohol rehabilitation place and these boys would come by van to the 11 o'clock service. They would sit in the front rows and sing and praise their hearts out to Jesus. They were the ones that I most looked forward to seeing when I helped to lead worship. They did not look bored...they looked thankful and expectant AND EXCITED to be there! I always had the same feeling upon watching them that God had a powerful plan for their lives and Satan knew it. He had thwarted them and God with every trick he had up his sleeve to "kill steal and destroy"them. But God...BUT GOD! I love those 2 words put together! That says it all! BUT GOD! My life was headed for destruction BUT GOD...

Now, back to last nights service...let me tell you about their worship style because this is what caught Shaun and I the most and made us think. There is a vibrating air of expectancy. They sing with all that is within them, on key or off. There is a wild passionate power. They scream and dance and shout out to God. You get the feeling, just by being in the room, that these are the ones that Jesus loves the best. They know that from which they have been saved. They have been in the arms of Hell. They have been in the darkest places and seen the the true side, the ugly death-giving side of sin to it's fullest degree. And now they have been brought into LIFE! And they cannot possibly contain themselves. It just seemed more real like they have grasped the gift that was given to them. They understand grace.

You know, as Shaun and I were walking to our car we were talking about this. The truth of the matter, when we accept Jesus as out Lord and Saviour, is that we too were saved from the same death-giving life. The same sin-infested grotesqueness. It was just in a prettier package. For us the transformation wasn't as visibly juxtapose. So we go on being happy plastic people.

The song that Casting Crowns did "Stained Glass Masquerade" (that played on the song by R.E.M "Shiny Happy People") keeps coming to mind...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"My Eyes Are Soooooo Silly Mommy"

2 days ago the girls and I were running errands and we were about 10 minutes away from being done. I didn't want Portia falling asleep in the car as we were headed home and I was looking forward to a quite time while the girlies napped (yes they do still nap...for my sake more than theirs I must admit). So when I looked into my rear view mirror and saw her beautiful blue eyes closed I started making a lot of noise and calling her name so she would wake up. Then a little voice from the closed-eyes face piped up "Mommy I have been trying and TRYING to keep my eyes open. But they won't listen to me. They just keep closing (her eyes are now trying to open without much success). My eyes are SOOOOO silly Mommy!"

That's my Portia!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A beautiful blue sky day...

It was one of those days too...I just posted a blog on another part of this "those" day. Here is the other part. It was beautiful more ways than one!
1) On Tuesdays I drive A LOT....It was a clear crisp blue sky day. When the sun shines my world always brightens no matter what. It also helps that I live in God's neck of the woods...have you been here? It's gorgeous! I could see Mt. Baker with fresh snow all the way to Golden Ears (also with a smattering of fresh snow) and on around to the North Shore Mountains...what a breath-takingly stunning view...and all of this was set against the clearest bluest sky in sharp contrast! As I said Gorgeous! It has the ability to take your breath away. Creation screams of God and today it was screaming so that no one could ignore it.
2) We are all well on our way to being human again. It has been a long cabin fever filled haul. We have been sick for way too long. And I felt maaaaaarvelous today!
3) I got a new crock pot today! Yipee! I am pretty excited about it! I have needed a bigger one since we are feeding more people on a daily basis.
4) As we were driving home the moon was just coming was a full moon and it looked like a harvest moon. It was HUGE just coming over the horizon.

...I enjoyed my our children and niece and nephew today. I enjoyed my sister-in-law. I enjoyed life today. All the little things that make life LIFE.

Yep it was one of "those" days! And I am thankful!

P.S. I did not take these pictures. I found them on the web.

My Portia and her button pushing limit bending day

So today has been one of those days. I know you moms know what I mean. One of "those" days that left me gaping at my 3 year old and then threatening to take her completely out of gymnastics and then watch her cousin do the gymnastics for an hour each week until June if she EVER behaved that way again...not my shining moment either!...yeah one of THOSE days. She pushed every button and limit today. She was in fine form. Mischief personified.
Now usually my Portia is a rather charmingly precocious child. She is still required to be sweet and exceptions. Today it didn't matter. I will give you 2 examples that happened in an hour's time...and the day, as you know, is so much longer than an hour.
She had gymnastics today and truly I wish that I had made a video of her a couple of times. While we were waiting for class to start she was chasing her cousin and sister around and fell and skinned her Portia is my second born. She is VERY tough. Not much makes her cry. She can hurt herself in ways that would send my first born to emerge and she will get up and keep going.AND she is, by nature, VERY independent. So "I can do it myself (with great emphasis on myself)" is a common sentence from her. Well today that skinned knee got the better of her. She would not walk on her leg because she needed a band-aid. And boy did she howl. and howl and howl and HOWL! So we got her a band-aid and some polysporon. Do you think that did the trick? NO in fact I think she set to howling even more. She wanted me to carry her throw away her tissue, to go to the bathroom, to get a drink...remember we are still waiting for class to start with everyone looking on at the show. And then she did not want to go into class. I finally convinced her to go in and she went and sat on a mat in the very middle of the class and just sat and watched for a good while. And then she decided it was time to RUUUUUUUUUUN!
She is generally in her own world anyway but today she really was in her own world. And the rest of the time while her whole class, including her cousin, where going through the routine she was running like a banshee around the ENTIRE gym...let me make that clear...the ENTIRE gym. She would come bang on the window and wave exuberantly at me before taking off again at a gleeful gallop around and around. And then it would be my turn to tap with authority on the window to try and get her attention to go "listen and obey". Oye Vay! Not sure why I bothered. She was "that" child today. The teachers would glance at her every once in awhile and gently call her over to participate in class. She must have known they were not going to require her to participate because for all the attention she paid them they might as well have not been there. I guess she is feeling better. It's been a long while since she has felt like running so it is good to see her with so much energy. A lady sitting next to me leaned over and asked how old she was (she is 3 but she is in the 4-5 year old class b/c she will soon be 4). Her son, who was doing a make-up class is also 3 it turns out and she said in his class they all act like Portia was acting today. That was a small comfort...very VERY small.
I told my mom that latter story tonight on the phone and she thought it was "so cute" as a grandma has a prerogative to think. And she had a good laugh. But me, the mother who is trying so hard to raise her to be a wonderful citizen of this world, did not think it was cute (well...maybe now I do...just a little...I have been giggling recalling it but at the time...) and in fact I wanted to sink through the floor while throttling her. But of course I would never do that! The day went on from there to hitting and pinching and whining, and crying, and more whining.
But you know...I am sitting here, as I type, thinking that, in all, I am thankful that she has her spunk back. I missed it while she was sick this past while. I am thankful that she is a healthy beautiful child and that she is my child. I am thankful that God lent her to me. I am thankful that I am the one that she calls "mama". She is a such a sweet, funny, cuddly, and joyful child. She is my little joy bubble. As her name means so she is. She is a all who meet her but most especially to me. She is so very full of life. And as for the days that try my sanity levels...well, as a friend reminded me not too long ago, the days are long, when they are this young, but the years are so very short.