Monday, October 26, 2015

All God's Children

In case you are just tuning in, we live in a narcissistic, entitled society.  We've been conditioned to get everything our way, right away.  It seems like the perfect set up for life until you compare it to the paradigms of the Bible.  We are literally called to an existence at the opposite end of the spectrum.  That can create an intense inner conflict as we seek out a path in the midst of this struggle.

Lately, I've been overwhelmed by my over abundance! I am admittedly, an empathetic, heart on her sleeve, emotional woman.  It's an aspect of my personality that I equally love and hate.  I love that I can go there with people in ministry and feel what they feel.  The other side of that coin is becoming so invested that I become debilitated by the cruelty exposed in the life experiences happening around me, something only magnified by the small world afforded to me with social media.  Videos depicting the plight of countless refugees, Christians and other humans tortured at the hand of ISIS, innocent people murdered as a result of someone's fame obsession and young girls sold into sex trade to satisfy the perversions of sick individuals have all left me asking some hard questions.  

Its hard to stomach the vast array of life occurrences that are experienced by individuals all equally loved by the same Savior.  My routine drive through the Starbucks line and quandary over getting the right hair products can seem vapid in light of the simultaneous struggle happening in the lives of those experiencing persecution and abuse.  Who am I to belly ache about my poor service from my home warranty when I have a home! 

My life has it's struggles and I don't want to diminish the challenges so many in Western countries face with disease, divorce, addictions, abuse, familial loss and the like, but truthfully my everyday routine is free from danger and oppression.  That fact alone has illuminated a truly humbling perspective.  As I have taken all this to God, I've discovered some clarifying tenants to my outlook.

I had nothing to do with the circumstances I was born into; I can take no credit for when and where I came into existence only how I respond to that existence. Yes, my culture has bred a hyper-selfish nature! I do think a great deal more about myself than I should.  I do spend too much time on the details often forsaking the heart of what matters most. This is a struggle, I believe, I will always work at because it is so innate in our society.  I can be intentional to pursue others-focused activities and volunteerism to keep on track and honor the lives those in lesser circumstances.  I can also stand up against injustice when I see it around me or have opportunities to be involved in efforts across the globe. 

 I also have come to understand guilt, while understandable, is not a healthy response.  I was recently speaking with a friend about a family who were visiting Mexico. During their stay, one of their two daughters was abducted. That would be tough to walk out as those parents did what they could to save their lost child, but would still continue to give their best to the daughter in their care.  They wouldn't want the one in their custody to have guilt, as she did nothing wrong, nor treat her badly to keep things fair. That would never happen. This scenerio is a great metaphor for us as God's children.  God loves us all the same, but sin in this world can create some undesirable circumstances for some of his children.  The rest of us can pray and do our part but continue to live in God's best and desire for all, which leads to the next point.

God's goodness is not bound by the parameters of circumstance.  Recently, I was reminded of this truth at a day of worship I attended. Circumstances reflect the state of our world not the goodness of God. Even in the harshest of realities, God is at work to bring goodness to his children.  

We often focus on the moment when God sees the journey as a whole.  He is not limited by time like we are.  If we could have a broadened perspective spanning the scope of our entire lives we may come to see God in vastly different ways.  

Be grateful for the life you've been given and continue to pray for the people of this world, just as you would a sibling who was lost, knowing WE ARE ALL GOD'S CHILDREN! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Surrender All

I've been in two major tornados in my life. Once as a little girl living in my grandpa's (Pappy) trailer in Indiana and again as a college student at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas.  Both were pretty intense situations. 

The metal roof of the barn behind our trailer was torn off during the first tornado; in the second, whole buildings were ripped up in the heart of downtown Fort Worth.  I still recall seeing a beautiful church sitting next to the steeple removed and placed just adjacent to the building.  

Tornados come through and when a structure gives way to the powerful winds it's taken apart piece by piece until nothing is left.  Imagine with me, if you will, a barn.
 As a tornado plows ahead in the path of the barn the roof comes off, the screws come loose, the walls burst forth.  It's a force that cannot be denied!

This afternoon I left my kids at home with my husband.  I got in my car and I drove to an event called, Oasis, put on by Full Sail Ministries.  This is a "come as you can" event with worship, prayer and spiritually directed stations to meet God on your own as you choose on a beautiful, peaceful ranch.  For someone like me working in ministry and motherhood, two things that are both busy and mentally taxing, this event is a HUGE gift. 

After a time of worship in the barn, the first station I visited centered around our posture of prayer before The Lord.  I laid my body down, face to the ground and said, "Lord, I surrender." As I said these words, God gave me a picture, something he does often.  This picture was of a barn and, you guessed it, a tornado. I could see this barn giving itself to the tornado saying, "I surrender."  As I saw this a sense of freedom filled my being.  

God has so much for me but it means letting go and wholly trusting him to do as he wishes, no matter the circumstances or feelings to the contrary.  It means giving him all and allowing him to get to work.  The surrender makes the process easier.  

So often my type A personality (my husband might say controlling), keeps me in a regimented schedule that pulls away from the force of the tornado instead of just giving in. When I fight the surrender I end up causing more pain and damage. The fight in life isn't mine, it's God's, and like with a barn and a tornado, I have no work to do, just be still! Exodus states this very truth in the fourteenth verse of the fourteenth chapter. As long as we fight it, we miss out on being apart of something bigger than ourselves. God is working for our good both personally and as a collective, and I'm glad for each opportunity he gives me to be the barn, because I need the practice.  What are you holding back? What do you need to surrender? It's not enough until you surrender ALL! 


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Motherhood: A Message Amongst the Chaos

Today was a great day, you know why? Today, I only had to wear the "Mommy" hat! The work hats and the juggle I normally face weren't an issue.  I wasn't racing around with errands either.  I was able to focus on my kids! 

My son responded well to the multi-hat absence, and I was able to ask him for cooperation without a panicked "I've got a million things to do so get with the program" voice that usually flies from my mouth.  I calmly interacted with my son.  I encouraged him to help me with household chores and to treat his sister kindly and when he first disobeyed he got a response not a reaction, which only made things better!  

I've been a mom long enough to know that doesn't always work out.  Some days even with just one hat and well tempered responses you still get a defiant grumpy gus.  

I also know on days where my list is a mile long, all that has to be accomplished wrecks my motherhood which dominoes into a self-loathing pity party ending in a guilt trip and complete devaluing of my abilities as a mom.  

It's nice to look back on history where moms were just moms, but for many today that look back does nothing but cause discontentment and resentment to reality.  

I have to work.  

We weren't created to do it all, but sometimes we have to do more than God intended when He created the world. I try to work from home some days so my kids still get me but that also creates some serious chaos.  I chose this particular mix of work and home life so I wouldn't miss out on these precious years.  These days go quickly! 

I realize I have to: 

1. Make the most of each day
2. Give myself a pass now and then
3. Let stuff go sometimes - Supermom does not exist! 
4.  Understand I'm doing more than God ever intended, it's not best case scenario, but it will all be ok if I persevere. 

I am a GOOD Mommy!  I don't always have good days, but my kids were given to me with purpose and they need me.  They will survive my "moments." 

On days when I start believing anything else I need to remember the truth in the sentences above.  

Today, maybe you need to give yourself a break.  Embrace the truth that you're a good mom! Sometimes it's not you that needs to change as much as the amount on my plate! Take off what you can and give the rest to God!! You've got this!!