Thursday, March 25, 2010

The week ahead

I grew up going to a traditional Lutheran church and I have very fond memories of the Advent and Lenten seasons. I find that attending a modern church that does not really celebrate the traditional church calendar compels me to be a bit more intentional about my own spiritual preparation for Christmas and Easter and I also feel encouraged to teach our girls in a more hands on way. Though I do favor hands on teaching all through the year I am loving the ages the girls are at and just how excited they are about the stories we read and teach about.

Our virtue this month is obedience and the girls are really doing well. (I will post how we are teaching it at another time.) This coming week I have organized several crafts and projects to work on. We will be learning about Easter through the help of the colors in our Easter basket and each day we will focus on a different color and what they represent in the Easter story. We will wear that color, play with toys of that color, eat that color, paint/color with that color.....well, you get the idea. I love teaching kids because the story of just how much God loves them and what extraordinary lengths He went through to show His love is so new to them. I am challenged to be renewed in my sense of awe towards just how much was sacrificed for me! I can echo the prayer that David prayed, Lord, restore to me the joy of my salvation. Let this Easter season take you deeper into your journey with the One True Living God. Blessings!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Musical Monday

IT IS SPRING! I am so excited after a week that included getting outside everyday. I love the freshness of spring, digging in the dirt and all the newness of life that seems to come alive. Spring is a wonderful reminder that although things may appear dead in the winter there really is life there waiting to be made new.

Michael Gungor Band just released a new album a week or two ago and I have really been enjoying it. There are several songs that have led me into some holy moments of worship and I wanted to share the lyrics to one of those songs. Beautiful Things captures, for me, one key characteristic of what God does, He makes all things beautiful and new. From chaos to order He created the world we live in, throughout history He has chosen to use broken people to accomplish His perfect will, from death to life He has brought us out of bondage from sin into salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. I am so amazed that He continues to make beautiful things out of my life.


Beautiful Things by Michael Gungor Band

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll even find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us


Here is the YouTube link (it is worth the listen) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqy1a_Gz0zQ

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

I never cease to be amazed at just how much God teaches me through my children. I know that God would have found other ways to teach me lessons if I had not had kids but the richness it adds to my life to learn so many life lessons from them and through them is incredible. To date one of the richest lessons I have learned from my girls is about control and how I don't have it. No matter how much I worry or become anxious about things I am continually reminded that I am not in control. Having experienced postpartum anxiety and depression and just the over all experience of parenting has forced me to confront my struggles with worry and anxiety. Above all other parenting goals I have for my kids it is my desire that they would understand that the chief end of man is to glorify God. I say this to them and myself over and over again because I want them to understand that there is no greater goal and accomplishment in this world than to glorify God in all that we do.

Tomorrow is a big day for me, I'm not sure it is a big deal for anyone else in our house but it is for me. Tomorrow I register Lydia for kindergarten. I think there must be something wrong with the calendar because there is no way that she is that old but I have been assured that she is indeed that age already. It seems like such a short time ago that I found out I was pregnant and now she is entering school. I never once considered anything but public school for our girls until this last fall when I knew it was the last full year I would be spending with my firstborn. I spent a great deal of time praying and talking to others and though Justin thought I was a bit off my rocker for even considering homeschooling he prayed with me and let me talk about it. In the end I believe we are making the right decision for our family by enrolling Lydia in public school but it does not come without a great deal of concern and fear for me.

I was listening to a teaching by Erwin McManus earlier this week and he had a quote that really resonated with me. He said that "Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the absence of self." I am freely admitting that I am struggling with the fear of releasing Lydia to the world. I know that she is not mine, she belongs to God, but I still have been given the responsibility to raise her and that is not a task I take lightly. I have spent the last 4 1/2 year shaping, molding and pouring into her life because I believe so much in the importance of the first foundational years but now I am releasing my grip on her. Up to this point I have been the most influential person in her life and to give even a little bit of that away to a teacher and her peers is pretty scary to me. Through the midst of this I have to understand that God is in control and though I may be struggling with fear I know that the courageous thing to do is to step out of the way and let God do what only He can do. I need not to look at myself but to look at Him and His goodness and trust that He is working in Lydia's life.

I know there will be many other situations I will face as a mother that send me to my knees in prayer and there will be times that I can't see what God is doing in my life or the lives of my children but I want so badly to remember in those times that it is God who is in control and that my selfishness and desire for life to turn out the way I have planned is not what God wants. I want to be courageous despite my fears by releasing to God my wants and desires and exchange them for His perfect and pleasing will. God is good and I know He will accomplish a good work in Lydia's life.

BTW, if I wrote this long a post about kindergarten registration you better watch out for the first day of school!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's day






I have never done anything to celebrate St. Patrick's day but this year I made some crafts and cookies with the girls and we watched the Veggie Tale short about St. Patrick's day and that is about as good as my celebration gets.

Here is a good quote (that I stole from a friend of mine) and some pictures.

St. Patrick's Day (385-461 AD) Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ at my right, Christ at my left,...Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that ...sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. --St. Patrick

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Creative Tip Tuesday

Two primary goals I had when I started this blog were to 1. document some of the daily happenings around our home and 2. document some of the things that God is teaching me. No audience is necessary to reach these goals but I figure if someone else can either laugh with me, at me or learn alongside me its all for the better. The tip I have today is not particularly creative or as much a tip as it is a goal but I figure if I am learning it myself I may as well share it here. I find that in learning how to apply creativity to every area of my life I can easily get overwhelmed and discouraged. I try so hard to find the perfect schedule or routine or time management skill that makes my life perfect by allowing me to get everything done that I want to accomplish and enjoy life too. That is quite a lofty goal and one that I believe is unattainable because I often look in all the wrong places to figure out what it is I am supposed to be doing.

The tip (or should I say life lesson) today is to learn to be content. Phil. 4:13 says "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." I want that to be true of my life, knowing that I have strength to do all things. So, if I am empowered by Christ to do everything why is it that I sometimes end up feeling as though I have accomplished nothing? This verse is a great encouragement to many people but in the context of the preceding verses it becomes much more clear as to what the "everything" includes. Vs. 11-13 say, "Not that I (Paul) was ever in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." The impact of verse 13 seems so much more powerful to me when I recognize that Paul is talking about contentment in the life circumstances I am in rather than the power to do everything I want and think I should do. I need to learn to be content in the life God has given me rather than be on a self improvement plan to get the life I want. I have to remind myself that God cares more about my contentment than my productivity.

I have a deep desire to be a creative wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, volunteer, and well you get the idea. You see there are so many different roles we all have in life that to be creative in all of them is only possible when we recognize we need to be content in all of them. Constantly striving to be the best, most creative person in every area of my life causes discontent because I am never able to attain the perfection I long for. I try so hard to be content in the things I think "should be" that I miss out on being content in the here and now. Linda Dillow - "Most of us either try too hard or we quit trying. In both cases, we miss God. We miss His infusion of strength that leads to contentment." I like that quote because I am a person who try's too much and often I miss God's strength because I am just going about doing my own thing in my own way. I often apply creativity to life trying to change my circumstances rather than resting in His strength to help me right where I am at. Paul is reminding us that we are to learn to be content and trust that God will give us the strength to do so. Paul learned something that I am still learning. I am not sure that it was ever his plan to live on an empty stomach or have little, but he learned that it was not for him to strive to get out of it, he could have applied every effort he had to find a creative solution to deal with his circumstance but instead he learned to be content. This leads me to ask myself whether or not I want God's strength to accomplish my plans or if I want His strength to learn to be content.

I get overwhelmed by using creativity in my different roles when I lose focus on being content in them. God wants me to learn to trust Him to guide me and lead me rather than looking to other sources for validation of my efforts. God wants me to be faithful to accomplish that which He wants me to do and to go about that creatively but I do not want to lose sight of God in the midst of my plans to accomplish everything. I want my "everything" to line up with the "everything" He has for me. Contentment is not an easy path and it is something that must be learned. Some gifts God gives us are free and require nothing more than our faith and trust in Him but the gift of contentment is one that comes as we learn to rest in Him and learn to know His voice in our life. I am so glad God is a patient teacher as my learning curve is not always the speed I would prefer. Contentment is a journey and I am glad that you are reading about how God is using it to change me for His glory.