November 2009


This is a hard post for me to write.  But growing is sometimes hard and I am wanting to share about God working so here goes…

I am a pretty prideful person.  I have always prided myself on being responsible, being self-sufficient, being a high achiever, being a ‘strong’ person.  From stuff like being a good employee, to having a clean house and always shoveling the driveway right after it snows, to being financially responsible, organized and efficient.

So fast forward to now.  I am pregnant and I have been quite sick this time.  (See I am even having a hard time writing this because I do not want to seem like I am fishing for pity and I know so many people have ordeals that they would LOVE to trade for this small bump now that will be so joyful later.)  Not that the first trimester with my other two kids were a walk in the park but this is something altogether different.  For about a month I was basically useless.  I was feeling so miserable and just wanting to be done with this already.  I was talking to a friend who has had it way worse than me as far as pregnancy sickness goes and she mentioned that the last pregnancy she prayed that she be refined by the sickness – that God somehow use it to change her.

At first I thought – This is such crap.  (I know how embarrassingly unhumble.) Why the heck would I have to go through this to grow somehow.  What good change in me could God be wanting to bring about from this??  This is only making me and my family miserable – I couldn’t see any reason for how this could be how God wanted to bring about any refinement in me.  (And again I know it is small potatoes compared to what others go through that must be feeling the same way only magnified.)  I am not taking proper care of my other kids, or being a partner to my husband who was basically having to do everything – work during the day, cook and clean when he got home, put the kids to bed.  Any other commitments I had were just let go.  I was just feeling a big heaping dose of self-pity for what I wasn’t able to be doing (and for not being able to keep holding up my idol of pride in myself).

So anyway my mother in law lovingly cooked a whole bunch meals for us and dropped them off to my husband.  A few friends also made us food.  Friends and family offered to help with the kids and help clean the house.  Friends I volunteer with had to pick up what I wasn’t doing and did so happily.  I had help (that I did not accept easily or gracefully but basically had lovingly forced on me) from so many people.  Yes, I had to (or in reality was so sick I didn’t put up a stink) swallow my pride.  My pride that I wasn’t cooking food for my family.  My pride that my house was messy and I couldn’t clean it.  My pride that my children were watching obscene amounts of television.  So yes, I started seeing refinement.  Started seeing that my pride can get in the way of accepting God’s care and love of me via other people.  I swallowed my pride more (this time with urging from the spirit but still not easily) and asked my small group for prayer – which was really hard when I know that people have so much more important prayer needs than this and because it was letting even more people know that I needed help.  Not all strong after all…

That’s when it became so clear.  This was not just a small deal about me swallowing my pride in myself a tiny bit or making a god of living such a responsible life.  Because being responsible, strong and self-sufficient are to some extent good things.  But not to any extent that they remove me from being totally dependant on God.  God wants me to rely on Him – living as if I only need to rely on myself in any area is SUCH a lie.  This is where my pride was being so harmful – it was separating me from God, His grace, His forgiveness, His comfort and His love.  It was stopping me from even seeing that I needed to repent of this.  Friends I am literally crying typing this.  Has it been hard – yes – and not just the sickness part, more the growing part – hard but so good in the end. As drawing closer to my Saviour always is.  Thank you God.

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“Come Lord Jesus.”

“Santa Clause is coming to town!”

I’m not sure what your traditions are, but growing up, Santa has always been a HUGE part of Christmas, and then as Santa just wasn’t cool anymore, it was the “Gift List” that was of upmost importance. Surely, Jesus was in there somewhere, maybe on the Christmas card or sung about, or possibly attending church or the Sunday School pageant. As an adult I did/do appreciate the true meaning of Christmas, but gift getting and giving was just so fun! Now,  that I have kids, I want something more for Christmas than running around, from store to store, worrying about getting that perfect gift that is useful, thoughtful, and will be loved for all time by the receiver. In reality it will probably be exchanged the day after Christmas for something better, something more, since now it will be on sale for half the price and the receiver can get a whole outfit for what you paid for that lonely sweater. Rethinking Christmas, for me, means giving up that game. Focusing on things that really matter. I want so much more for my family, for my children, for others too.

Check Advent Conspiracy for some inspiration.

I think it would be neat for people to list ways their family focuses on things other than consumerism at Christmas. Please share in the comments.

God’s been leading me on a journey in stillness, quietness, sabbath for sometime now. I am not a quick learner! At least not in this discipline. Truthfully, I have never been taught to quiet myself. I am the oldest of four kids. We are all pretty loud. We fought hard, with much raised voices everyday. I think there was lots of anger in my home growing up. I didn’t realize my own anger issues until I am now a parent myself (but that’s another post for another day). It started when I had my first born, Grace, 3 years ago. I was on maternity leave, I was at home, alone, with this little one. She was so precious. So beautiful. I would sit and admire her. I loved the stillness of just being in her presence. That little baby taught me many things about rest and BEING.

I am already preparing for the Christmas season. I am making my plans now so that I can enjoy and rest in the beauty of the gift of Jesus, and BE. I am making choices to simplify Christmas so that my time is not eaten by meaningless tasks. I want to remember that ‘silent night’ when God becomes man, humbly, in a manger, born into this world. Which for me will take some doing since there are so many issues going on.

The LORD your God is with you,
       he is mighty to save.
       He will take great delight in you,
       he will quiet you with his love,
       he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Quiet me Lord that I might take in the great gift of Jesus this coming Christmas season.

What a week… 12 weeks pregnant, 3 small children, and moved this past week. I am still unpacking this morning, and although I am full of gratitude how God continues to provide for us, the overwhelming keeps creeping in the corners of my heart.

Wanted to play some music this morning, couldn’t find a box of cds. God, knowing  just what we needed, led me to a box of christmas music. In it went. It is raising all the spirits in the house as we unpack and play to ‘Joy to the World’ and ‘Away in a Manger’.  And my heart keeps resting on this simple prayer…. ‘Come Lord Jesus, come.’ 

Come to our earth, come to our hearts, come to my wearied spirit, come transform our lives. Come.

My mind can only handle a simple verse this week, but my scattered thoughts and spirit crave a resting place.

‘Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.’ Revelation 22:20

My verse for Memory Monday is a bit tricky – but has given me a lot of thoughts over the past month or so.  Maybe you would be so kind as to share some of your thoughts on it too.  I would recommend reading it in context a few times to get the full gist.

Romans 4:20

No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.

And also inspirational in a giving glory way:  check out this.

 

I always seem to miss my Friday posting.  Nonetheless, here it is!

This past week I got to go to a U2 concert. I have to say it was a privilege. I’ve been a fan for sometime now. God showed up. This song spoke to me. It’s crazy that I have heard this song many many times, but never has it spoken so directly as it did this night. Maybe because there was a particular ‘moment’ I needed to give to God, maybe because I finally was open to hearing God on it, maybe because I asked for Jesus to ‘show up’. It sure is refreshing releasing the need to worry about it.  (Here’s part of the song “Stuck in a Moment” by U2, if you own the song, maybe listen to the whole thing.)

You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And now you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it

You are such a fool
To worry like you do.. Oh
I know it’s tough
And you can never get enough
Of what you don’t really need now
My, oh my

And if the night runs over
And if the day won’t last
And if your way should falter
Along this stony pass

It’s just a moment
This time will pass

Not only did these words encourage me not to worry and what worrying was doing, like missing the moment at hand, and thinking ‘later will be better’  it also encouraged me not to get ‘stuck’ in those times. The moment at hand is exciting and a blessing. At this moment I am so glad to be a mom, to have two little girls who love to play together. To have a warm home on a cold night. To have a God who loves me and speaks to me. To have a community of friends to share such moments with.

Ah, community of friends, reminds me a of a moment. It was a blessing to be with Meg, Leah, and Claire on my holidays. It was nice just being in their presence. Sharing from the heart. You 3 are a blessing to me. I could have sat with you girls all night. Alas, our children were having moments of their own and needed us.

Who is in your moment?