Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rough Starts & Loving Hearts

Today was a little bit of a rough morning. I did manage to get up at 5 to work out, and during my "quiet me time" afterwards I heard the boys stirring and starting to get up.

That was at 6:15am. An hour before "me time" is supposed to be over.

I did manage to ignore it until about 6:45, but then Haden decided to leave his room and call for me through the kitchen. This was followed by Liam yelling gibberish in his crib (meaning he was ready to get up as well). Things were fine. It was earlier than I wanted it to be, but fine. No big problems. Then 30 minutes passed.

Liam's breakfast went everywhere and he spit out all his medicine. Afterwards Danielle got up and Liam freaked out because he suddenly wanted mama to hold him while she was trying to get her coffee ready. Haden got his finger smashed in the bathroom door and, naturally, freaked out as well. I got mad because he was screaming and crying (not knowing about the finger smashing until I walked over to see the problem). 

The fits continued for far too long.

Then Haden decided to play Sonic. That was fine. Liam was a bit calmer, and there weren't any problems. For a bit.

After game time Liam decided he wanted mama's breakfast. She didn't let him have it and ate in the kitchen, while he screamed in horror that she would dare to actually eat her own breakfast. After breakfast Liam was playing with his own toy. Haden decided for whatever reason he did not want that toy to be played with. Trouble, anger, and pouting ensued. Liam was then allowed into the kitchen while Danielle did something, where he dumped and entire 1lb 2oz. box of Corn Flakes on the floor.

It was now 9:15am (about 1 hour ago). It was a rough start to the day.

About 15-20 minutes later everything was quiet and I heard some giggling. This is what I found:

Apparently they decided they were hungry, and Haden had dug out the goldfish from Liam's backpack. All the anger and frustration and general irritation seemed to evaporate right there. It was as if both of the boys had forgotten all of the badness of the morning and decided they wanted to have a little fun.

The way I saw it, I might as well do the same.

Sometimes we need to just accept and let go of what has happened so far. It's not always easy, but it definitely makes the rest of our day and lives easier. At this point there is really no reason for me to hold onto it.

Jesus tells us to place all our burdens on Him. He will take care of it. He will take care of us. We need to trust Him to do that. It is a big part of what gives us our joy. We are not forever linked to our rough starts. We can move past them because He enables us to, regardless of what has happened and is happening around us.

Instead, let us have loving hearts so that we, too, can giggle and share our goldfish with those around us. :-)

Monday, August 19, 2013


When I was in high school and college I was very much into the straight edge, punk and skater scene. I listened to a lot of bands and paid attention to a lot of famous skaters and just knew that I would never, ever change. I would like what I liked and not worry about what anyone thought about it.

One of the big, big no-no's in that culture is becoming a sellout. For a long time I (like most others in that culture), considered anyone who went to a big music label or changed anything about themselves as a sellout. Being called a "sellout" was fightin' words. You didn't do it lightly and you didn't take it lightly. It meant that you had decided to trade your genuine, true self for money or something else equally materialistic. In that culture, it was pretty much the ultimate sin.

Of course, being older now, I realize that most of those bands and people that "sold out," didn't really become disingenuous at all. In fact their music usually barely changed. They just got paid for it. As someone with a family of my own to take care of, I now respect the choices they made. The true "sellouts" were few and far between.

I've also learned that being a sellout is one of the best things you can become. If it is to the right bidder.

In Luke's gospel Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’." Let's break that down.

"Love the Lord your God," is pretty simple, right? As God's children we need to love Him. We know how to love our friends, family, and even strangers, so this one doesn't need much explanation here.

"with all your heart," is a little bit harder. This requires our full love. We don't get to split a little off and offer it. God wants us to love Him even more than we love our children, and even our spouses. He wants all of it, nothing less will suffice.

"with all your soul," is even more difficult. This requires our very being, the essence of who we are, to be wrapped up in Him. The love we have for God needs everything we have. There is nothing hidden from Him, and we can't try to hide it in the first place. We need to lay on Him everything (everything) if we are to love Him how we should.

"with all your strength and with all your mind," is perhaps the hardest out of all these. I say these are the hardest because it requires action. It requires movement. Loving with our heart and our soul are inner things. They can't be seen plainly with our eyes. To love God with all our strength and mind, however, is a very different beast. It means that we make those choices for God, even when we don't want to. It means we go to worship and help others and do what is right and stand up for the weak and everything else, even when there is something else going on or we feel like we can't. It means giving up things in our physical life in order to love God.

It means selling out.

It means giving not only your heart, not only your soul, to God. It means giving Him your arms, your legs, your head, everything.

So let's not go in circles. Let's make this plain. Please keep in mind that I am saying these things to myself as well, because I need to hear it too.

If you are replacing prayer and study in God's Word playing games or watching TV, stop it. If you are going to a sporting event (whether you are playing or not), instead of going to worship, stop it. If you are not going and meeting people and talking to them about Jesus because you feel weak or embarrassed, stop it. Instead, do one thing.

Sell out.

God did not say, "as long as you don't consistently ignore me it's no problem." He also didn't say, "just try to move your schedule around, but if you can't, don't worry about worshiping me, it'll be fine." Instead what He says is "Love Me with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength."

Sell out.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, "The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become - because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own."

Sell out.

It's the only way you will become truly real.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again

If you've taken the time to look at this blog lately (or even just scrolled down to the next post), you'll see that it has been just over a month since the last post. I'd like to blame various things (vacation, driving, youth camp, driving, catching up, driving...you get the idea), but I won't. Suffice to say things are a bit more settled and getting back into routine so posts will be picking up again.

There is something I noticed, however. We can be really good at doing certain things and achieving certain tasks when we are in routine. However, when we fall out of routine, for most of us things tend to explode all over the place until we are back.

In some areas of life this is OK, even necessary. There do come times when certain priorities need to take over in order for them to happen. I couldn't exactly write a blog post while I was a youth camp, and vacation/driving doesn't lend itself to a lot of quiet time for writing (especially with a 1 and a 4 year old running around). It is simply the way life operates.

When we leave the routine of involving God in our daily lives, however, it is more than unnecessary; it is actually harmful to us.

But this post isn't about having the routine of God in our lives. Not directly, anyway. This post is (as the title says), getting Back in the Saddle Again. Like that curve ball?

Chances are you already know how to build your relationship with God. Reading the Bible (God's love letter to us), attending worship (and every other time the church meets), prayer (speaking to the Creator of the Universe), taking God with you wherever you are, etc. There is a good chance that you do not need to be told these things again.

Instead, I want to encourage you. I want to encourage you to see God in every little thing. The rain, the wind, that nice old lady waving at you, the trees, the grass, the sky. Everything.

I want to encourage you, especially if you have fallen out of routine with God, that you get back into routine with Him. He is not going to abandon you because you haven't come around lately. He is waiting with open arms for you to come back to Him. So get back in routine with God.

And when you mess up and fall off, get back in the saddle again. As many time as it takes.

Because that is what it takes.

And He is always there waiting for you.