Monday, September 28, 2015

I will try again tomorrow...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Computer Failings, Hairy Legs and other Reasons to Run to God.

So my computer has been having issues, especially, it appears, when I'm trying to work on my teaching/tutoring tasks. It's a force that keeps driving me to the Lord. My Mac (which I really do love) has been having issues and I know what it's trying to tell me... you need to get a new one. But I don't want to. I can't afford to. And I just want to make this one work as long as it will possibly give me.

Even while typing the last paragraph I had several weird things pop-up on my screen as I typed that I had to click closed in order to keep going. I use my Mac for writing. For creating schedules. For editing pictures. For venting into the air and then rapidly deleting. I use it for teaching, tutoring, gathering resources or just putting my thoughts all into one place.

Please Lord, let this Mac last as long as possible!

My days are full. So full in fact that it doesn't leave me time to deal with my hair legs. It doesn't let me squeeze in all the many needed tasks. And I have to pick and choose what I say NO to. And it's tough. There are so many good things out there. So many ways to serve. So many opportunities to bless others. So many good intentions.

So I'm constantly returning to the Lord and saying "HELP! What do you want me to do with my time, energy, resources?"

Michael's therapy (speech, occupational and physical) occupy over 6 hours a week. Libby has American Heritage Girls and Art. We like to go to the play ground, the zoo, and the library. Add on top of that schooling, managing a house that needs constant upkeep, dishes that must be washed, meals made, errands run, and doing laundry for 7 and top off with my preparation for tutoring in my homeschool co-op and keeping up with my fabulous business and my week is consumed.

And I shouldn't fail to mention all the healthy changes I'm making... trying to eat well, make good choices, prepare healthy meals, get in exercise, drink water, etc. Thank goodness my Juice Plus+ gives me more energy!

I woke up before 5 this morning. I got my Bible Study reading done and worked on organizing my computer files and filtering my e-mail. I'm drinking my delicious Dutch Cocoa Complete Protein drink. I am NOT super woman. This is a day for the exception not the rule.

I have a husband who loves me so much. Mike had already started dinner and took one look at me as I crawled through the door last night and let me stumble into bed. Brought me a drink and then dinner in bed and encouraged me to just read and fall asleep... and I did. Keep in mind the kids were crazy and he managed them. What a treat it is to have my husband home on a WEEK DAY!!!!! I woke up at 10 and night and thought it was morning. I read for an hour and fell back asleep until 4:45. Mike's got incredible tuition for knowing when I'm on a brink of a major melt-down. And I felt I was definitely about to snap... how kind of God and my husband to halt that kind of impending doom.

So with the day ahead of me I will exercise. I will shower. I will gather all the materials I need for the baby shower Saturday. God willing I will get the opportunity to have the kids help me clean the house. By 8:30 this morning my house will grow from 5 children to 8. We will practice our grammar review together and I will let the kids play outside as long as possible.

And I'm thankful. Thankful that the Lord is kind to me when I don't deserve it. Thankful that He gives me moments of respite when I feel too weary to move forward. Thankful to Him for inspiring my brain with ideas and leading me into activities that will bless my family. Thankful that what He calls me to He will provide for.

This grace wraps around me. I know that my worth isn't derived by my productivity, my efficiency, and my accomplishments. In fact, my worth isn't merited by my credit. It's merited by Christ's. His Work was enough. His life was perfect. His death was for me... He sacrificed Himself for me. He atoned for my sins. And He rose, conquering death. Now, I'm a daughter of the King of Kings, a princess. Not because of any work of mine, but because I'm covered by Christ's perfect work.

I can go forward knowing that no matter how much I accomplish or how little that God looks on me with favor. That I am His child. That I am perfect in His eyes... because when He sees me He sees Christ over me. And Christ over me can never be shaken, removed, dulled, or deteriorate. His perfection covers me... in spite of my weaknesses, my failings, my sins. What a glorious Savior.

So whether I accomplish all that I want today or go back to sleep for a few more hours I take hope, rest, comfort and joy in knowing that I am His... and nothing can alter or change that position. I am secure for eternity. I belong to Him.

I hope you know that you too can rest in that knowledge. If your faith is in Jesus Christ as your Savior you can have that hope, that grace, that peace that nothing you do or don't do can separate you from His love. No matter how much we accomplish or how epically we fail we are secure in the work of Christ. His blood washes away our sins. His blood atones for us. His blood purchases us and makes us secure.

This world changes and remains the same. It's evil and dark with glimmers of hope. But our hope can not be in this world, not in our government or legislation, not in the moral fiber of our community... our hope must come from Christ alone. He alone is secure. He alone is unchanging. He alone will never let us go... never let us down... He will never defer our hope. We are secure in Him.

That is my hope and my peace today... not in my early rising and accomplishments but God's unfailing, never ending, never stopping love.... let it consume me today how loved I am and motivate me to pour out myself, my life for others.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Papaw Ralph... and hard good-byes.

He tenderly reaches for Michaels hand and let's Michael crawl up into his lap. I see his eyes soften and his lips turn up in a smile.

I see him with a cap on his head.

I see him with freckled hands that have been worked hard over the years.

I see Papaw Ralph in my mind.

He's gone home to be with Jesus.

I got the news the day before school started. Mike was out of town with work and I was home with the kids preparing for our new school year. I made the decision to not tell the kids. I didn't want to cast a shadow on their first day of school. But it cast a shadow over me. I didn't sleep well. I stumbled through my day. I waited until Mike was home so we could tell the kids together on Wednesday morning. We were packing to leave for the funeral.

The kids stayed in town and Mike, his brother, John, and I drove west. We stopped at their brother, David's home and we enjoyed the fellowship and rest of being with family. I got to see my beautiful niece Soleil and listen to her burbles and squeals. She's amazing. I got to be with my gorgeous sister-in-law and feel the comfort that comes with being a safe person. A person who is loving, kind, accepting, and strong.

Last December with Papaw Ralph
The next day we journeyed together to the funeral. And I had the privilege of being a part of this family. Of standing with them in a time of sorrow. And I admired the community that rallied around them. The songs sung. The meditations given. To hear Papaw Ralph commended and loved. Of the people who knew him, were affected by him, the people who sat with him or nursed him. And after the loving tributes and songs we gathered together to say goodbye.

We stood in the cemetery as his casket with the now bodily shell of Papaw was prepared to be lowered into the ground. But Papaw Ralph wasn't there. He's home. He's with Jesus. No more suffering. No more pain. No more sadness. I'm so thankful for the privilege of being a granddaughter in this family.

That week as we came back together as a family (the kids, Mike and I) we talked more about death and Heaven. How are hope is in Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross. How He led a perfect life and died the death we deserved. That He took our punishment upon Himself so that we could be called children of God.

During the week Michael cried. He was heartbroken over Papaw Ralph's passing. I held him and rubbed him with lavender oil as tears streamed down his face. I take joy in knowing that Michael loves much and I ache with him as he tries to understand loss.

When someone leaves their earthly body behind and their spirit goes to be with the Lord, I don't weep for them. They are in a better place. They have arrived. They are home. They have shed mortality and become immortal. They are in the presence of God. Their joy is complete. But it's for us left behind, that move forward with the loss of those we love, that is who the sorrow is for. That is where the grief comes from. The loss. The change. The missing of the person who was always a part and is now always "gone".

The kids and I have been praying daily for our 7 year old friend Johnny. He has a brain tumor and he  had some treatment (chemo and radiation) which has allowed him to live longer than originally expected but we know his time on earth is coming to a close.

And I cry. Not for Johnny. No! He will be with his Lord and Savior Jesus. He will be healed and restored. I weep for his Mom and Dad... for his siblings that won't be able to know their precious brother. I cry because of the brokenness and fallenness of this world.

I know Christ will make all things new. I know that there will be a new Heavens and a new Earth but we are not there yet. And sometimes life hurts. It's painful. I know death is a part of the current reality of life but it's so WRONG! I'm so thankful that Christ has conquered death... that parting is only "for a little while".

Trusting God with these hard good-byes and knowing that it's just for a little while... 

1 Corinthians 13:12 and 13 (NLT)tells us...
12Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Asking God's love to cover us. For faith and hope to guide our journey until we too are on the other side....
2 Corinthians 5: 1-14 (the Message)
1-5 For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.
6-8 That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.
9-10 But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad.
11-14 That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It’s no light thing to know that we’ll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That’s why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God. God alone knows how well we do this, but I hope you realize how much and deeply we care. We’re not saying this to make ourselves look good to you. We just thought it would make you feel good, proud even, that we’re on your side and not just nice to your face as so many people are. If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.