Friday, May 29, 2015

In Summer (mom version)


Bees'll buzz
Kids'll blow dandelion fuzz
And I'll be doing whatever MOM does in summer

First aid kit in my hand
Bikes and children crammed in the van
It's not a vacation- you don't understand- it's summer!

One thinks flies are bees and one's afraid of storms
Another won't go into the water till it gets warm

And I can't wait to see
If my body holds up for me
Just imagine how much more work they'll be in summer!

Dah-dah, da-doo, a-bah-bah-bah bah-bah-boo

Each of my kids are just so intense
Put 'em together, it just makes sense!

Rrr-raht da-daht dah-dah-dah dah-dah-dah dah dah doo

Winter's a good time to stay in and sit
But summer is coming and I say Oh... happy summer!

When days get rough and somebody's being mean
Just think of the laps that they will run, the things they'll clean...

Oh, the sky will be blue
And the mowers will eat their shooooes!
And we'll finally do what moms get to do in summer!



Thanks for the inspiration, Olaf :)

Summer Peptalk (for moms with school kids)

How are we going to survive this summer?

When I read about wide open summertime, with no plans or scheduled activities, nature bursting to life and kids everywhere just free to be kids, I get as excited as the next mama.

But then I have a Saturday home with my children, ONE Saturday, with little structure, and plenty of family togetherness, and rain.

Each one wants to do this or that, and I try to say yes to it all, bending and twisting to keep each one entertained, and meanwhile, nobody is looking after the housework, and how do they go through all our bath towels and pool towels in just one Saturday? Yes to this and yes to that and still they fight about the little things, and if I hear one more potty joke or one more yell about who DIDN'T flush the potty I am going to lose it. After ONE Saturday.

Once again, head in my hands, I am wondering “how are we going to make it through this so-called vacation?”

First, a peptalk.

Mama,
Summer is coming, and you are no longer twelve. You cannot expect endless unstructured days, free of demands on your time and your patience. You will not read twenty books this summer. You will not have endless hours to work on your tan. Instead, you will have. . . kids.

What will you do when they fight? Tattle? Refuse to obey? Have bad attitudes? Complain about being bored? Get hungry? Want to play video games? These things will happen mama! Think through your reaction now, and tell the kids what they should expect!

What do you want to accomplish this summer?

The short mandatory list
I want them to have lots of unstructured time, but we also have a few goals: daily devotions, reading, basic chores, and piano practice.

Brainstorming
We're going to brainstorm about things we can do this summer. I have the poster board ready, and I plan to have three categories: Things we can do at home; things we can do away; things we can do for others. Lists! C'mon children, let's list ALL THE THINGS!

Technology
This seems backwards, and I'm sure I'm going to be kicking myself for this idea later, but we are starting out the summer with one week SCREEN FREE. After the initial twitchy withdrawl period, my hope is that they will begin to make a habit of entertaining themselves. (And yes, I'm doing it too, with brief exceptions for “family management” purposes.)

What else?
I'm sitting here with my coffee, mere hours before the last day of school is out. I do not feel ready.

I still wish I were twelve.




Father, 
Thank you for the gift and the challenge of summer. Please help me and all parents who will be adjusting to the changed summer schedule. Please provide good weather and safety and wonderful childhood experiences for our children. Please provide us with the energy and strength to facilitate those things. As we enjoy Your Creation, may we see it as a gift from Your hand.  As we watch our garden flourish, we pray that Your Word also my flourish and bear much fruit in us.  Most of all, grant that this summer may be one of growth in faith towards You and fervent love towards one another. In Jesus' name, Amen.





Monday, May 18, 2015

Isn't it time yet?

Right during service, she had another seizure. After a terrible weekend, after our prayers for relief from this very thing, the seizure still came. There, in the presence of God and His people, the seizure grabbed hold of her, again.  
Suffering, again. 
Waiting, again. 
Questioning, again.

As I prayed for this family, I remembered when my daughter had a seizure right after she had been up at the communion rail, seconds after she had received the blessing of God on her forehead. It seemed more insulting, somehow, that her suffering not only should continue, but continue violently, right there in God's presence. 


"Lord, help us," we pray,

and then again the suffering comes, and it seems as if His "No" is loud,
like a punch in the face. 

What good is a religion that can't fix this, now?
Isn't it time, yet?




Isn't it time yet?


The apostles asked this question of Jesus after His resurrection. They knew His power.  They had seen Him destroy sickness, stop storms, and even defeat death. They'd seen, and they were ready to see nothing but His power and goodness and healing for eternity, starting right that minute. 


Isn't it time yet?


Jesus said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:7-8)


Not yet, 
children.
The glorious end of all things is near, but it is not yet.
Gather together and receive the Holy Spirit.
Gather together and wait.

Here we gather Lord, and we look to You, and we wait. We gather with our seizures, our arthritis, our cancer.  We gather with our depression, our longings, our questions.  We have been punched in the face, the gut.  We limp into your presence, and you do not heal us, not yet.

It is not for us to know the reason.

Isn't it time yet?

We ache with our question, and yet we know we are not alone.  He has sent us a comforter, the Spirit who reveals Christ's continued presence with us here, even in this place of suffering. 

It is this Spirit within us that cries out Abba, Father! (Romans 8:15)
Thy kingdom come! (Luke 11:12)
How long, Lord?  (Psalm 6, 13, 35, 79, 80, 89, 90, 94, Habakkuk 1:2, Rev 6:10)
Is it time yet?

Like the apostles, we are ready to see nothing but His power and His goodness and His promises fulfilled. But it's not time yet.  
Not quite.  
May God uphold His aching people. 
Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.




We wait in hope for the Lord;

    he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
    even as we put our hope in you.


Psalm 33:20-22

Friday, May 15, 2015

Depression: Lookign up from the stubborn darkness

Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn DarknessDepression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness by Edward T. Welch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"God sometimes puts his children to bed in the dark."

True enough. But how do we wrap our minds around that? How do we move forward, still in pain, and trust? How is it possible to keep living even in the dark?

This book is an honest, yet gentle help for the depressed spirit. While admitting that there are biological components to depression and encouraging medical treatment for them, this author addresses the spiritual questions and struggles that are often intertwined.

"What depressed people need—what we all need—are daily reminders of spiritual reality. As the truth of Christ is impressed on our hearts, we must offer that to others, and they to us. The target is always Christ and him crucified."

"Etch this in stone: if depression gives you an early warning—and it usually does—bring everything you have to the fight. Take your soul to task. Ask for help. Force feed yourself Scripture and words of hope. Be on guard against self-pity, grumbling, and complaining. And keep the cross close at hand."

This book is a great resource for those who strive to do that very thing.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

let her sing!

Once, in a college class, we were discussing finding God in nature. I was asked to look outside at a nearby tree, and tell the class what it told me about God. "Um... it's reaching up to the sky to show us we need God?" Maybe. Or maybe it has outstretched arms to teach us to embrace the whole world? Or perhaps a tree has disorganized branches because God loves wild spiky hair and hairspray is an affront to God?

Point made, professor. We can be inspired by nature, but we can't "read" it.  Without revelation, there is little we can say for certain. But we have the Word of God, and by it we know He is the author of this world, the creator and maker of all things.  And that which He has made is not silent.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. 
(Psalm 19:1-2)

Read the rest of this article over at Sisters of Katie Luther

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A blessed flattening

Head in my hands, tears and prayers flowing,  I am flattened.
And in the flattening, blessed.

I am face down in the ugly realities of battle.
It rages: the battle inside, and outside.
The headlines blare, my own failings shout even louder, and it appears evil is winning.
I am powerless and the battle seems pointless.

I am powerless.
To whom shall I go?
He has the Words of eternal life.

When I was a helpless babe, the battle raged then, too.
And in the middle of the battlefield,
His name was put upon my forehead,
written in blood.

I wear it still.
I am not much stronger now.

I forget this, until by the grace of God again I am flattened and again I see:
my help is from the Lord,
maker of heaven and earth.

I am powerless.
But the battle is won.

Health, family, good food: these are all blessings from God, and I am grateful.
But those things He sends, those hard things,
for those, too, I must give thanks.
All things that wake me from apathy
and open my eyes
and lead me into His arms;
all these things are for my good.

Christians, let us go forth in battle today,
powerless as we are,
trusting in His goodness and mercy,
in Jesus, alone.


-------------
I forget so often, but then I find myself on my face in tears and I remember:
I am a daughter of God
Weak, for now, loved forever in Jesus.

Have you been flattened by your own powerlessness lately?


Monday, May 4, 2015

silver grace


I look into the wrinkle-framed eyes that have seen decades of life in this broken world.  Wrinkles deepen with the smile of welcome.

I sit beside my pastor-husband at the nursing home. 

We bring updates, hugs, and cheer to our grandparent-in-the-Lord.
Pastor opens his book, and the Words open a crack in the soul that few get to see.
Shaky hands, shaky words of regret and repentance spill out to pastor, to God.
God replies with comfort through human hands, grace from human lips.

A young pastor and an old soul,
speaking words of a Father together.
It is marvelous and strange, this work of God.

Trembling hands take and eat. The body is weak, but the soul is steadied.




Come you souls with silver hair
Take and eat what is prepared
Christ- He comes- you to embrace
Rest now in His perfect grace.

In the waters of your Baptism, Jesus has called you by name and promises to be with you always.
Even here.




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