3.31.2011

What Does Hate Look Like?

I'm not talking about the hate you are thinking of.

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:26

I'm talking about the kind of devotion to the Lord that makes every other relationship look like hatred. John Wesley's commentary is this, "Comparatively to Christ: yea, so as to actually renounce his field, oxen, wife, all things, and act as if he hated them, when they stand in competition with him. "


But what does that kind of hate actually look like? 

I have a precious student in my classroom. She has a mother, father, older brother, and younger sister and they are all from another country. They are missionaries and have been in the States for roughly two years now. The father returned to his home country today, leaving behind his wife and children. They plan to join him later in the summer.

I can't imagine being the mother in this situation. No family anywhere near me other than my three children. My husband on his way to a country that is known for persecuting Christians. Can you imagine the faith it takes to be the wife? Can you imagine what a WONDERFUL eternal lesson this is for the children?

Many would say that it is selfish of him to leave his family. What if he is injured, thrown into prison, or even killed? Wouldn't if be safer if he just stayed with his family? Wouldn't it be better if just waited until school was out and left with the family this summer?

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. --Jesus


I spoke with the mother today to let her know I would do whatever I could to help her out. She was very somber, of course, and any sign of makeup had been washed off earlier by the rush of her tears. She told me her husbands words were, "I have to go now." The Holy Spirit was leading him to leave now. He understands the sense of urgency. He understands that his life is but a breath and though he does love his wife and children, he loves his God more. We are put on this earth to warn people of God's wrath and give them the hope of Good News. We hear the Great Commission preached all the time, but this man is one who isn't just a hearer of the Word, he actually does it and does it immediately.

Will you please join with me in prayer over the "J" family? Pray for safety, peace, provision, and continued faith. Pray also for the people the father will come in contact with. My student's prayer request was that the "police don't get him." So...pray that the police won't get him :) Thank you!

It's gonna be worth it.

3.28.2011

My Day in a Sarcastic Nutshell

Can I just be me for a minute???

Thanks...

  • It's 8:30 pm and I haven't been home since I left the house this morning at 7 am. Days like this are not exactly my favorite.
  • I have 7 emails stuck in my outbox. For whatever reason, they don't want to be sent.
  • I learned today how incredibly disproportionate I am (is that even a word?) when getting measured for a bridesmaid dress. I emailed the dress shop to see what size they suggest I order...but guess where that email is? Sitting in my outbox.
  • Lily had her 15 month appt. this afternoon. Everything is looking great except her ears. She just finished a round of antibiotics for an ear infection. It cleared up the infection but there is still a ton of fluid in her ears.
  • Dr. B thinks she isn't walking yet because of all that fluid...her balance is off.
  • Because of this lingering fluid (which I don't think has ever completely gone away since she started getting all these ear infections) she has been put on amoxicillin again and a nasal spray.
  • I had planned on cooking dinner tonight, ya know, because we are super duper not spending money right now. But we ate out instead because we would have eaten really late had I gone home and cooked.
  • Then, I went to the grocery store to get a few things. Guess what??? They had everything but one item that I had to have.
  • So I went to another grocery store to get the one thing I couldn't get at the other one and realized I have a new pet peeve...when you only buy a few things and the cashier is so friendly that she throws the receipt at you and watches you stand on your tippy toes to reach over the debit card swipe thingy to get your grocery bag. Why don't you just hand it to me?
  • The pharmacy was my last stop. I had to pick up 3 prescriptions, one for me and two for Lily. First, I had to give them our new insurance info. Then, he rang up the the meds and I was ready to swipe my card and go home until he said, "Do you know that the nasal spray is $109 on your new insurance?" And I said, "Oh, that's fine. I'm made of money  Do I know WHAT?" No thank you. I asked for the generic, but that doesn't exist.
  • My prescription has gone up a whopping $47 dollars. 
  • Thankfully, the amoxicillin (which has become so common around here I think Lily can spell it) was still under $10.
  • Finally, I arrived home. I stood in the doorway and realized that I better find a bathroom fast. My bladder was overfull. Hmm...maybe that's because the last time I went to the bathroom was at 1:20 when my kids went to PE.


And Brent says, "Sounds like a fun day." 

I'm SO thankful that God gave me a sense of humor so I can laugh at days like today. 

I'm also thankful that my biggest medical expense right now is $109 for nasal spray to help clear drainage, as opposed to thousands of dollars spent on cancer treatments. I realize there are many other families out there that would give anything to trade their illnesses for ours. 

I'm also thankful that my entire day and all its details were appointed by God. And I know that when the pharmacist told me the price of the nasal spray, He certainly wasn't picking his jaw off the floor saying, "WHAT." He was the one saying to me, "Oh, it's fine. I made money." 

Please know that I'm not complaining...this was meant for laughter. Days like today, when there are a ton of things that don't go exactly the way you wish and hold a few surprises, are just reminders that God is never surprised because He is in control. Nothing happens that isn't either caused or allowed by God. 

And by the way...if you are one of the lucky few (more like the lucky thousands) that got an email from me with a sketchy link, I DID NOT SEND IT TO YOU.  Disregard and delete. 

3.23.2011

Lily Lately

Joy.

That word alone sums up what you are. An absolute joy. We are so grateful for you and there are still some days that we can't believe you belong to us.  

March has flown by and it's hard to remember what all has happened. 

 Our goal is to spend time with the Lord as a family every night before you go to bed. Does it happen every night? No, but we do try! Here you are with Daddy's hat on your head and Mommy's brush in your hand and Daddy attempting to read to you. 

 Forget the story, let's brush Daddy's beard. 

Daddy decided to just lay down while you crawled around on the couch. 

 Then you decided that it would be best to hear the story while sitting on Daddy's face... 

 ...or crawling over him. Needless to say, family worship time wasn't very, umm, reverent that night (or most nights for that matter). The good thing is, God wants the little children to come to him (Matthew 19:14) and I hope that our crazy attempt to read his Word together glorifies him. 

 Grandma Reese bought you this hat and pair of sunglasses from the $1 section of Target...who knew that they would quickly become your prized possessions? Forget all those toys you got for Christmas and your birthday...as long as you have your hat and sunglasses, you are one happy girl! You become SUCH a diva with those sunglasses on :) 

You have learned to get in your rocking chair all by yourself. You have also learned to stand up in it and use it to climb onto the couch...thanks Aunt Allison! 

One of your favorite things to do...remove all books from the basket, get in the basket, and read one of them.  

Reading in your chair is also a favorite. Actually, reading anything anywhere is something you really enjoy. Anytime Mommy or Daddy get a magazine in the mail you are the first to read it. You love the books you get with Chick Fil A happy meals because they have dogs in the pictures. You usually read these while in the car and if I didn't know English, I would think you really were reading the pages. You have such expression when you jibber jabber! 

Sanibel getting her bone from you. You and Sanibel love to throw the bone together! 

Cutie pie in your adorable overalls that Mom and Pop gave you for Christmas.  

Of course, the outifit wouldn't be complete without your hat.  

 Wussup?

 Grandma Reese also found you some bunny ears...another favorite of yours. 

 The hat is even worn when you are eating. 

 Pulling all of the pots and pans out of the cabinet so you can crawl in!

 TBone reading your Bible story before you went to bed. See how nice you are sitting?

 Mommy had an event at school one night and you and Daddy went with her. You fell asleep in the car on the way home, but we still had to change your diaper and clothes. You were so tired that you stayed asleep through all the changing...definitely out of the ordinary!

 This takes talent. 
You must have a thing for wearing things on your head. 

Don't tell Minnie, but I think "Melmo" is your new favorite character. You don't actually have a stuffed Elmo, but he is on your diapers, in one of your books, and on a DVD. You talk about Elmo all the time. When we are changing your diapers, you ask to hold a diaper with Elmo on it. If the diaper has another Sesame Street character on it, you hand it back to us and said "Melmo". I think we are going to take you this weekend to get you an Elmo. 

"Mac Mac" is your friend at daycare. His name is Mack and he must be your boyfriend because you sure do say his name a lot. You talk about him on the way to school every morning and all day long while you are there. 

You know that "no" means to stop but you don't understand that it is a command that must be followed immediately and if not followed immediately, it means a spanking. For the record, I do believe in spanking (Proverbs 13:24) and I'm not beating my child. You like to tell Sanibel "no no" when she comes near your high chair (which is everytime you are eating). I must admit, it's quite funny when you tell us "no no" but we can NOT let that show! We can't lead you to think that telling us no is a funny game.

You've had many visitors over the past month. Grandma Reese, Grandaddy, Uncle Ryan, Aunt Katie, her boyfriend Zach, Grandma Ruby, and Papaw came up to our house to grill out for Daddy's birthday. Nana No Name and TBone came up to see you on their Spring Break. You went to Birmingham to stay with Grandma Reese and Grandaddy while Mommy and Daddy did DNow with the youth at church.

You can sing the "tells me so" part of "Jesus Loves Me" and it is SO cute!!! You can also sing the Elmo song. Unfortunately, only Aunt Katie knows that song so we don't sing it very often.

You love being outside so we recently bought some patio furniture, thanks to gift cards from Mom and Pop and Granny Rosie. You crawl to the back door and say "sigh", "dog", and "ball" letting us know that we need to go outside with the dog and play ball :)

We took you to see an ENT since you are consistently having ear infections 1 or 2 times a month. He was ready to put tubes in your ears until he heard that you would be out of daycare after May. He told us it would be ok to wait. However, you recently got a double ear infection so Mommy and Daddy are praying about what to do. You see your pediatrician for your 15 month check up next week. After we talk to him, we will have a better idea of what to do. Mommy is most worried about your development. You don't eat when you are sick and if you are sick an average of 2 weeks out of every month, there's no way you are getting the nutrition you need. And the medicine you are on to clear up the infection rips your stomach apart. We thought blow outs were a thing of the past. This round of antibiotics have made us realize that they are not. It seems every time we turn around, you are in need of a bath and a change of clothes.

I thought by 15 months you would be walking, but you aren't. Daddy says it's not a big deal and I'm sure it's not. But I'm a mommy and I worry that something is wrong. I pray there isn't. Hopefully your pediatrician can give us some ideas to motivate you to walk. 

3.21.2011

For Once...

I have nothing to say.

Actually, I have a lot to say, I just can't find the time. It's been busy around here lately. I can't tell you the last time I even had time to go to the grocery store to buy more than a few random things.

I need to write an update on Lily.
I need to write a post I've already written in my head about serving.

I need time. And that's not happening tonight. So I'll leave you with this:

Lily has learned to say "no" and uses it quite often. I've been told that temper tantrums are normal at this age and it's best to ignore them. So that is exactly what we are doing...giving a yes to every no we hear and ignoring the tantrum that follows.

What I am NOT going to do is complain about her expected toddler behavior. Her days are numbered and the last thing I want to do is use one of those precious days to complain. I'm still in awe of God that He would even consider me to parent one of His children. I will do it with joy. My joy comes from the Lord anyway, not from my situations.

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom
Psalm 90:12

3.10.2011

Book Review: Sun Stand Still

Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible

I have been reading Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick for the past few weeks. This book came to me free from Waterbrook Multnomah publishers and it couldn't have come at a better time. I began reading this book at the same time that Brent lost his job and I obeyed the call to stay at home after this school year. The subtitle is "What happens when you dare to ask God for the impossible" and that is exactly what we have been doing the past month or so...asking God to provide for our needs with very little income and provide a job for Brent that allows us to financially survive after I quit working. I was excited to receive this book, hoping that it would give me much needed encouragement for what could be a very challenging season in our lives.

My favorite quote in the entire book is, "Live a life that can be explained only by the existence of a God who is infinitely great." The perception of this book is that we should live out our audacious faith by asking God to do BIG things in our lives. However, asking God for the impossible may not always be some huge act...it may be as simple as obeying him. In my finite mind, it makes no sense that I, knowing my husband lost his job just minutes before, should tell my principle that I am going to be a stay at home mom. But I want my life decisions (which are ultimately already decided by Him) to only be explained by my God who is infinitely great.

Furtick encourages the reader to have a vision. He gives the example of the vision he had while at a U2 concert in the Time Warner Cable Arena in North Carolina. He leaned over to his friend and said that one day he wanted his church to fill that arena for a worship service. That vision became reality on Easter Sunday 2010. To me, that vision is HUGE and although God can definitely bring big dreams to reality, we need to be careful to not think that in order to have audacious faith we must have a large vision. Living out lives of faith looks different in each life of the believer. For some it may be big like growing a church to fill an arena or moving your family to Papua New Guinea to spread the Gospel to unreached people groups...but it also may seem small like starting a new ministry at your church or taking a job that means decreased or no income but great eternal benefits. Furtick doesn't really address those who have been called to live out their faith in the smaller things. No matter how big or small your vision, the common denominator is having the faith and obedience to lay it all down before the Lord and say yes no matter the cost.

(I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review)

3.04.2011

Forever Young




When I was 18, I got the children's menu at Niffer's in Auburn. When the waiter realized that the hostess didn't bring me crayons, he asked if I wanted any. As kindly as possible, I said "Umm...I'd rather just have an adult menu, thanks." 

Also when I was 18, I went to a Braves game with Brent and his family. At this particular game, they had a promotion at the entrance that kids 12 and under got a souvenir.  Brent's sister and I got the souvenir, but Ryan, who was well under 12 at the time, did not. 

When I was 22, Brent and I were flying home from Fort Myers for our first house hunting trip. We were on the emergency exit row and the stewardess squated down and said in a very sweet voice, "Sweetie, I need you to move to another row because only people 15 years and older can sit on this row." Again, as kindly as possible, told her that I was 22, had a college degree, married, and flying to Alabama to buy a house...I could handle the emergency exit row. What I didn't tell her was that in the event of an emergency, I would be a useless and frantic girl regardless of my age. 

The day Brent and I got married, I had been 22 for 3 days. I had Lily when I was 24. 

I'm young, I know it. I feel like I'm aging slowly and I guess that's a good thing. I want 30 to slowly creep up on me and so far, it is. But the more people I meet the more I realize that I'm very young to be married and already have a child. And my mother and MIL, who aren't even 50 yet, are very young to have a grandchild. 

The other night Brent had a dinner thing to go to with Farmer's Insurance and I went with him. We sat at a table with 3 other couples that were our parents age....they had grown children and some had grandchildren. It was very awkward because, well, those couples had a lot more to say to each other than to us. The part of the conversation that was most awkward was the part that I heard one of them say, in reference to their own child, "25 year olds, uh, they are SO irresponsible." And that opened a can of worms for the 3 couples to discuss their 20 something year old children that don't know what they want in life, haven't graduated from college, haven't found a job, still live at home, don't take responsibility, yadda yadda yadda. Every stereotype that could be mentioned about a 20 something year old was said. And I just sat there, rolled my food around on my plate, and pretended to not hear what they were talking about. It was all I could do to not stand up and say, "I am 25. I have a college degree. I am a highly qualified teacher. I teach TWO grades. I am married. I have a daughter. I own a house. I don't live anywhere near my parents and I don't depend on them financially. I pay my bills on time. I spend my money wisely and don't spend money I don't have. NOT ALL 25 YEAR OLDS ARE IRRESPONSIBLE BUMS!!!." 

For Brent's sake, I kept my mouth shut. I guess for once I was viewed as older than my actual age and that is something I have never experienced before. I don't like it...nor do I like it when people think I'm a teenage mom when I buy Gerber Graduate meals at the grocery store. There's just no happy medium is there? 



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