Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I've got skills...

It all started this morning when I looked into my shower and saw my shampoo bottle on the floor....right in the same spot it was in yesterday afternoon. I didn't pick it up then, thinking the next person to take a shower would pick it up. Three showers later, it was still there on the floor. I was tempted to get really frustrated. I mean, how hard is it to pick up the bottle of shampoo? That's when I got to thinking about all the other things that only I seem to have the skill set to tackle.

I seem to be the only one in the family who knows how to pick up things that find their way to the floor. I am highly qualified to change out the toilet paper roll when there is only a brown paper tube spinning on the holder. I can actually fold towels and replace them so that the next person does not have to run down the hall leaving duck prints for someone else to slip on. I've got skills that no one else in my family seems to share!

Of course, in all this I was tempted to complain. Why can't they see that shampoo bottle and pick it up? Is it really that hard? I mean, come on! Do I always have to be the one to take care of things? 

It's so easy to find fault and forget what others do....

That's when I felt the Lord's loving reminder.....When I get my eyes on what "I" do, I tend to forget all the things my family takes care of around here. Loading and unloading the dishwasher, mowing the yard, taking out the trash AND replacing the trashcan liner, washing clothes, cleaning the bathroom....even occasionally cleaning their own rooms. Yeah, I have skills - but I'm not the only one.

I was reminded of the story of Mary and Martha. Seems like Martha had a pretty impressive skill set herself. She was busy taking care of things and focusing on what SHE was doing and what Mary was NOT. We all know how that story goes.

I was also reminded of a verse:

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

The Message version puts it this way:

1-4 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Seems that my "Mad skills" are really best when they are used to serve like Christ. He could walk on water, heal the blind, raise the dead and yet He willingly washed the feet of those pesky disciples. Pretty sure he didn't gripe and complain about what they weren't doing.

Seems that one of my "skills" that is lacking is in the area of service WITHOUT grumbles or complaints. Looks like I've got some work to do....cause I do want to have skills!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pay no attention to the crazy woman in the stands....

Last night began my favorite season of the year - football season!

People have often asked me, which team is my favorite. The answer is very simple - whichever team my son is playing on. I am a football mom! (I say this with great pride!)

Before EVERY game you will find me making my way into the stands to get the best vantage point to see the game. You won't realize it, but I'm also praying....Please God, let them have a good game. Keep them safe. Use this game to develop them into the leaders you want them to be.

As soon as the first kickoff occurs, I'm no longer SITTING in the stands; I'm standing and yelling at the top of my lungs. BLOCK! HIT HIM! DON'T LET HIM GET PAST! RUN! RUN! RUN! Those around me probably wonder who this crazy woman is. Those who sit really close get to hear even more! They get to hear me lean over to my husband and ask, "Was that a good play?" or "Did Levi do something good just then?" and of course the inevitable, "Why did they just throw a flag?" You see, I really don't understand the game. All I know is that is my tiny baby boy out there and I plan to cheer till the final whistle...or horn...or whatever it is they use to end the game.

Of course, I cannot do ANY of these things when my son is close enough to hear. He would be mortified! As long as he can see me, I have to act cool. That does not stop me, however, from making a fool of myself when he is on the field and out of earshot.

I don't just cheer for my son, though. I also yell and cheer and jump up and down for the other players on his team...because for a time at least, they belong to me, too! They are ALL my boys! I love to see them play and succeed. With every play, I cheer. I turn around and encourage everyone else in the stand to join in!

All too soon the game is over and the crazy cheering mom disappears only to be replaced by an even stranger lady...the one who starts asking my son, "Did you hurt that boy you hit? Are you sure he's okay?" I become the mom who looks over at the losing team and worries about those boys. My heart absolutely breaks for them as they walk off the field with their helmets hanging limply from their hands. I want to go over and hug them all and tell them life goes on, that they played a great game, and that I'm really proud of them too. I want to look into the eyes of those who didn't get to play and reassure them that their day will come. For a moment, they all become my tiny baby boys and I want to make it all okay.

Of course, I can't. To begin with, it would embarrass my son! But honestly, I can't even make it all okay for him...all I can do is cheer like a crazy woman while he is on the field and make sure he has a cold drink and sometimes a needed ice pack when he comes off.

I'm not sure what the connection might be in all this. Maybe I am a little crazy when it comes to kids. Maybe those around me are laughing at me (instead of with me.) Maybe my son will grow up and tell his friends about his nutty mom. Or maybe, just maybe, there's a little crazy in all of us....most people are just afraid to let it out.

Either way, I'll be in the stands again next week, praying before the game, yelling all the way through it, and worrying after it's all done. Care to join me?

Colossians 3:23 Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB)

 And whatever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men,

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It is well....

Today I had the privilege of seeing my oldest child, my daughter, be baptized. I wanted to say awesome privilege or amazing privilege or precious privilege but none of these words come close to what I felt. A new beginning for my child, this child, for which I prayed....

My daughter made a decision when she was a small child, but in the years since....well, let's just say they have been rocky at times to put things mildly. I would watch her over the years and realize something was missing. I wanted to "fix" things, but I just couldn't.

Diagnosed with Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome when she was about 10 years old, this sweet child had 3 holes in her heart that could have caused her death. Thankfully God allowed us to "catch" it and she had surgery that repaired those holes. She was declared "healed - as though it never happened." The doctor told us we didn't even have to put it on medical records because it was as if those "holes" had never existed. I was so thankful, but while I knew her physical heart was now healed, her spiritual heart still seemed to have holes in it...and I didn't know what to do.

I prayed. I gave her back to God...over and over again. I watched as she made decisions that hurt both her and those around her. And I was helpless to do a thing.

Then this summer at camp, my daughter made a decision to give her "heart" to Christ. SHE made the decision, not as a child, but as an adult. She made that trip to the cross...and she was made whole. She came back and let our pastor know she wanted to be baptized. Today was that day.

I admit my eyes filled with tears when I saw her up there, but I'm not a really "emotional" type. Well, that was true until after the baptism when we sang the old hymn, "It is well with my soul."

When we sang the part, "My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!"
,  my heart and eyes both filled to overflowing.

I think there is only one feeling in the world more overwhelming than knowing that your sin is nailed to the cross and you bear it no more. It is that your child's sin is nailed to the cross and she no longer has to bear the weight of it in her life. She can go forward into her life FREE! That is the most precious feeling I know.

I've always known that Samantha was not mine. Oh, I don't mean because she is adopted. She didn't belong to her birth mother either. She belongs to God. And now...SHE has decided that she belongs to Him with all her heart...a heart made whole in Him. She is declared "healed" through Christ - as though it never happened.

While she will always be my daughter, she is now so much more. The "holes" have been filled by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit...and it is well with my soul.

3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.