Monthly Archives: March 2012

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Yesterday, I introduced the first of the
 2 things
I had to learn about
 raising my adorable monkeys.

#1 They have a sin nature.

I called this,
Monkey Be, Monkey Do.

Monkeys don’t need to see to do,
monkeys do because monkeys are.

However, in addition to their own sin nature,
our kids have another downfall to their behavior.

Thus, we venture on to point #2.

2. Their parents have a sinful nature. 
( I included my husband because I don’t want to take all the blame. )

Even with the new nature that comes through salvation,
the old man still shows up.


I have a temper.
I am not always kind.
Sometimes I gossip.
 I harbor bitterness in my heart.
I can be a bad example.

A memory from my early years  in parenting still sears my heart.
I was frustrated with something and slammed a kitchen cupboard door.
Really hard.
Really, really, hard.
The sturdy wood made a resounding bang that soothed my ruffled soul.
It felt good, until my little precious toddler waddled over to the same cupboard door,
slammed it, then looked up to me with a few-toothed smile, waiting for my approval.
Instead, she broke my heart.
I wondered how I would survive parenting
when I couldn’t even survive my own sinful self.

Twenty years later, I’m still wondering.

Only now, I live in a house where the cupboards are plastic and pressboard,
and when I slammed a drawer shut soon after we moved in, it broke.
My husband has fixed it several times,
but the awkwardness of the drawer and the dried dripping glue
is an ugly insight into to my own soul.

I have grown, but not enough.

But, lest we become discouraged and throw ourselves down in disgust,
there’s hope,
it’s called forgiveness.

The Lord doesn’t call perfect people
to become parents,
He calls parents
to become perfect people.

The book of James explains we become perfect through trials.
That’s why the same things happen over and over.
We face it until we conquer it.

It’s a hard job,
being a sinner
raising sinners
to not sin
against a holy and mighty God.

Isn’t it wonderful
our holy and mighty God
helps us not sin
while raising sinners
to not sin?

Sometimes, it means confessing sin.

Sometimes, it means apologizing to our children.

Sometimes, it means confessing to our husbands and asking for prayer.

Sometimes, it means asking an older woman for help, encouragement, advice.
As we deal with our sin,
we teach our children how to deal with theirs.

If we try to gloss over it and blame it on hormones or lack of sleep,
we’ll teach them to do the same.

If we harm relationships and don’t heal them,
we’ll teach them to do the same.
If we don’t forgive others when they sin against us,
we’ll teach our children to not forgive us when we sin against them.
So, there’s hope,
there’s joy,
 there’s a way to bring
 the Lord glory in all our failings.
 
As our precious little monkeys
see us
turn to the Lord for forgiveness and strength,
they will
do
the same thing.

Because Monkey See, Monkey Do.

I Gotta’ Nag More

The majority of my parenting life was spent
feeling guilty for nagging.
All those glossy magazines in the doctor’s office advise to
stop nagging.
They don’t give useful advise on how to get your kids to
do their chores
be nice to their siblings
do their schoolwork
put away their toys
hang up their coat
and flush the toilet,
but they put a lot of emphasis on all the
wrong things parents do.
It almost seems like the bad behavior
is blamed on the parent
who brings on more bad behavior
by callling attention to the original bad behavior.
I vascilate between nagging and biting my tongue,
and then nagging with a bleeding tongue.
The other day, I walked into a public bathroom and was
disgusted.



Someone didn’t flush.
I walked out because I won’t flush for someone I didn’t give birth to.
I  thought about that person’s mother.
She would be SO disappointed in her child.
 I KNOW all moms,
except in countries where they don’t have toilets,
teach their children to flush.

 
That nasty toilet not only confirmed my disgust for selfish humans,
it confirmed my decision to up my nagging, just a notch.

 
Apparently,
moms DO need to nag.
Going out in public proves this.
Not only do people not flush toilets,
adults don’t always wash their hands.
I’ve seen restaurant employees not wash their hands.
I’ve seen highly intelligent, well-dressed people not wash their hands.
I’ve seen mommies not wash their hands.
Bad mommy!

 


Adults don’t always pick up after themselves.
Litter is everywhere, even in a state where the cheapest fine is $103.
I can walk into Ross on any given day and find mountains of
merchandise blocking the aisle.

 

Adults don’t always use manners.
Simple words like
 thank you
 please or
you’re welcome,
are easy to pronounce and easy to use,
but often overlooked.
People don’t always open doors, even when you’re carrying
enough in your arms to qualify for the Olympics in weight-lifting.
Adults don’t always share.
Money and time are hoarded like the last cookie.
What if kids always sold things to each other?

 
Adults don’t always take turns.
Why do you think businesses have the little ticker machine
 spewing out numbers?
Ever notice the competition at a 4-way stop to go first?
Ever had anyone cut in front of you in the grocery line?

 
Adults don’t always eat healthy.
I like to spy on items in grocery carts.
Ya’ know what?
A lot of people are buying WAY more snacks than vegetables.
They didn’t listen to their mommies.
They don’t know those jugs of fruit punch have no fruit in them.
They don’t know barley in beer isn’t considered a whole grain.


I’m tossing my guilt with my garbage.
My kids may not end up being rocket scientists,
but I’m determined they will at least
flush and wash.
To further elevate my parental aspirations,
I aim to teach them all how to
(Hey, a mom can dream, can’t she?)
Watching adults function in public has confirmed
my belief that the experts are wrong.
I gotta’ do the world a favor
and nag my children more.



Don’t Waste Your Trials

I grew up with generations of extremely frugal women.
Remember that squeezing a penny so hard a booger comes out of Lincoln’s nose?
Yea, well, that’s the kind of amazing women I spawned from.
Not only frugal, they were creative and could make anything, really.
Mom and Gramma could cook up a tasty dinner out of almost nothing.
My Mom can sew anything. 
She even sewed a new top for a pop-up camper when we were kids.
Uh, HUH!  She did! 
She figured it was cheaper to buy canvas and ribbits,
as we kids called rivets, and replace the failing one,
than to buy a whole new camper. 
She made piggy banks and paper dolls out of bleach jugs. 
She made hats out of pop cans and yarn scraps.
She sewed doll clothes from scraps.
Her mother was also frugal and creative,
and we have adorable little panties that say”sugar” on the rearie
just to prove it.
Gramma was known for her quilting and crotcheting abilities,
each kid and grandkid have items to prove it.
We have piles of Christmas ornaments carefully
crafted with a bajillion sequins.
How could she sit still so long?
So, with this long line of amazing, talented, creative and frugal women
lining up for generations behind me,
sometimes I have a hard time…..
throwing things out.
There’s not a bleach jug that goes into the garbage
that doesn’t make me cringe.
Last year, I actually cut that thin strip of bleach jug from the middle,
and laid it under something heavy in the garage to make it flat.
I was pretty sure I was going to make paper dolls,
just like my mom.
I threw it out this week. 
It’s so not gunna’ happen!
I long ago lost that feeling of anguish over throwing out bread bags,
but not washing out ziploc bags makes me kinda nervous.
They can be washed in the washing machine and hung to dry,
as long as you don’t use them for food again.
I also realized you can just buy a new box.
After  reading Tightwad Gazette,
the guilt just grew leaps and bounds.
Do you know people actually make stuff out of
The shredded paper from the shredder? 
Frugal people have uses for that stuff.

I hate wasting things.
But, I confess, week after week
I still throw out my dryer lint and shredded paper.
Guilt taunts
“waste not, want not”
“what would your gramma say?”
“waster, waster, waster!”

There are things I don’t want to ever waste,
as advised by my husband’s mentor, John.
He loves to encourage us,

“Don’t waste a good trial.”


Trials have a spiritual purpose in our lives,
or the Lord wouldn’t have allowed them.

James 1:3-4
“knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
But let patience have its perfect work,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Throw out the lint and shredded paper,
but look at the trials with new light.
What can the Lord fashion in your life with these struggles?

C’mon,
waste not, want not!

Trying to be "Calmly Happy"

With every burden and sorrow added to my life,
my body groans.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
My flesh protests the trials,
but my spirit knows they are not out of the plans
of my loving Heavenly Father. 
He loves me.
He truly loves me.
He proved that at Calvary.
But, I am weak, frail and human.
When my flesh tells me the pain is more than I can handle,
 that still, small spirit reminds me~
I Corinthians 10:13
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man;
but God is faithful,
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will also make the way of escape,
that you may be able to bear it.”
When my flesh whines about the lack of joy in my life,
my spirit reminds me~
Because He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me,
joy is available.
I just need to bask in His presence instead of my misery.
I was struggling with walking in joy,
then I read this blog post by Bevy at Treasured Up and Pondered.
Her son’s pre-school teacher sent her the most amazing note.

Dear Mom,Enjoy this Tuesday. “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it” Psalm 118:24 – I just heard this verse again 2 days ago. I purposed in my heart to Rejoice (Bible meaning – full of cheer, calmly happy). I forgot how nice it is to Rejoice through the days. I know life is not easy – some seasons are like Spring and some are hard like Winter. I pray for strength for each of you today as you are at a job or at home, as you parent and as you play. If you are finding it hard to Rejoice – I pray you will talk to God about it and He will encourage you with His love.


Sincerely,
Mrs. B. (Pre-K teacher)

I’m in a winter season,
but the  buds and blooms in my yard
give me hope and promise of
new life,
new joy,
a new season in life.
How do you resurrect joy in your heart and life?
With winter lingering this long,
some of us can use all the encouragement we can get.

The Sting of Death

Several years ago, a dear older brother from our fellowship
gave me two copies of a book he wrote.
I mistakenly thought it was a book preparing a believer for death.
The books were placed on my shelf for future reference.
Afterall, I wasn’t planning on preparing for death,
I was praising the Lord for keeping my three tiny cancer tumors from growing.
When this dear brother, Doug Kazen,  went to be with the Lord he loved
Saturday, March 17, 2012,
I felt a great sting and a horrible loss.
It was then I realized his purpose in writing the book.
He wrote this to comfort those who had lost a loved one to death.
It felt like he wrote it just for me.
Although we mourn the passing of his physical body
and the loss of his earthly ministry,
he leaves behind a great legacy of faith.
He loved the Lord Jesus.
I often heard the story of his conversation at the age of 12
and he still marveled about his lovely Savior.
He loved the Bible.
He was a gifted Bible teacher and studied faithfully.
You always learned something, even in a short conversation.
He preached across the United States and in several other countries.
Even though he was well-known, he humbly chose to serve
as a Bible teaching elder in a very small fellowship of 40 people.
(Voices for Christ has a few of his messages available online.)
He loved the believers.
He bestowed his love in a myriad of ways:
words of encouragement, a fatherly hug when needed,
listening with his ears and heart, and words of thankfulness for service.
All my kids felt his love and appreciation.
He loved the Gospel.
His first message preached was a Gospel message,
and he never lost the thrill or joy in being able to share
about the salvation he’d experienced.
Even in his last days on earth,
he joyously preached the Gospel to the hospice nurse.
He loved his wife.
All of my kids knew and loved the story of how he fell in love
with his wife, and knew his love had only grown in their 55 years together.
I know brother Doug is not feeling any sting or any pain.
I know that he is in the presence of the Lord.
I know he is better off.
I know.
I believe.
But, like many others left behind,
I feel the loss deeply.
Other than the story of how he fell in love with Edyie in one glance,
I loved to hear the story of one of his greatest disappointments on earth.
You see, Doug was going to be a dentist. 
He was brilliant.
He was talented.
But, he had big hands,
too big to do the delicate work required as a dentist.
At this point in the story,  he would hold up his big beefy man-hands,
that looked like they should be holding a football, an axe or a sledge-hammer.
He would tell of the despair that caused him great  to doubt and fear the future.
But, it took this great discouragement
to put him on the path the Lord intended.
He was also drafted and served  the United States
off the battlefield as a Conscientious Objector.
Two things he didn’t plan.
Two things that were beyond his control.
Two things that brought him to his ultimate destiny.
You see, Doug ended up inventing and manufacturing
portable dental and medical equipment for the military,
fulfilling a great need and providing a great benefit to the world.
Click on the link to see how this amazing device unfolds.
His greatest disappointments in life were only roadblocks
 to make him turn to the path of the Lord’s purpose.
Missionary dentists also this equipment.
Check out the story of his company, Aseptico.
His equipment also blessed Jamaica after Hurricane Gilbert.
But, if we only honored him as a successful businessman,
he would be disappointed.
He asked his wife to ensure his life story would NOT be told at his funeral.
Still marveling at the salvation he’d experienced at age 12,
he asked that  only the Gospel be preached.
Now, that’s a godly man whose death leaves others
feeling the sting of his loss.

Good thing he left behind a book to comfort my sorrowing heart.

Didja’ Ever Get Hit By a Mack Truck?

I was crying at my computer,
again.
Praying, reading the Word, writing
and longing for
answers
comfort
hope
help
strength.
It came from the heart of my15 year old son, Jon.
He heard my weeping and came in with a hug
and words of encouragement.
He promised
me the Lord would work all these things out.
He can promise me,
because the Lord promised first in His Word.
Sometimes, I forget.
He had just been to a Christian concert and remembered a song.
He pulled this up on YouTube and played it for me.
“The Hurt and The Healer”
Why?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains
So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide
Breathe
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through
So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide
It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now”
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide
Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide
Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
********
It was a beautiful, encouraging song,
but I had to hear the story behind the song.
Some of my favorite quotes from Bart Millard’s testimony~
“God is still bigger than this.”
“I feel like I have more life in me right now than I ever have
because I’m thinking about the things that matter.
“The sad part is a lot of us have to go through devastating moments
to get to the point, this absolute collision with the healer,
to realize who we’re supposed to be.”
“We have all these questions,
but the truth is,
if they were explained to us,
the hurt would be the same.”
This last thought was simple but profound.
Not too long ago I blogged about asking WHY.

But, even if I had the answers,
I’d still have the pain.
Are ya’ feelin’ like you got hit by a Mack truck?
Thanks to the encouragement from my son,
I understand my hurt has collided with the Healer.
If I really got hit by a Mack truck and survived,
I’d never be the same again.
I want that to be true with this suffering.
The pain proves the
 healing has begun.
I just can’t let the pain
be in vain.

Waiting To Be Rescued?

One day on the Christian radio station, I heard an amazing story of survival.
A man, his wife, 4 year old son and pilot crashed into the ocean.
It just so happened  a smaller boat was nearby and the people dove in and began the rescue.
It just so happened  a larger boat nearby joined in the rescue.
It just so happened  there were doctors that began medical assistance immediately.

It just so happened they all survived.

It was an amazing story.  It made me cry.
It was miraculous and could have only been orchestrated
by a Holy and Mighty God.
Honestly, some tears were from joy, some from jealously.
I selfishly wondered why the Lord choose
to deliver some people and not others?When I find myself having these kind of
wrong thoughts about the Lord,
I seek an answer in the Word and in prayer,
then I might blog about it.
That’s how I birthed the blog  God Doesn’t Always Deliver.
I have to daily surrender my “right” to plan my own life.It’s ridiculous, when you think about it.
We boldly sing and proclaim that Jesus is Lord of everything,
we gladly give Him all,
He’s on the throne,
Take our Lives and Let Them Be,
blah, blah, blah.
Then, in the privacy of our homes and our hearts,
we hold back.Like kids unwilling to share their toys or treats,
we withhold our
time
checkbook
health
children
time
marriage
jobs
home.

We’re all being challenged in one or more of these areas,
that’s why we cry out for deliverance.
We’re not willing to “share” an area with the Lord.
It belongs to Him, we gave our lives to Him,
we just don’t trust Him with His plans for that area.

Let’s open our hands and release what we’re withholding from the Lord,

then raise our hands in
surrender
understanding
praise
adoration
trust.

Are you waiting to be rescued?

Leave a comment  and let’s pray for one another.
If you can’t share details, just say unspoken.
I will pray for you and I ask my readers to pray.

Until the Lord delivers us, tread water in faith.
We don’t know how our stories end,
but I’m confident it will be like that ocean rescue~
miraculous!