Happy Halloween

Tomorrow is Halloween. I’ve shared my thoughts on Christmas and Santa Claus. I’ve told you where I stand on the Easter Bunny.  So where do I stand on Halloween? Is it a satanic holiday that we stay completely away from? Is it all just fun and we go all out?

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I guess you could find us somewhere right in the middle. Yes, the boys have costumes. Yes, we went to a Halloween party last weekend. Yes, we are going to do a little trick-or-treating this year.

I believe Halloween is just like everything else. If you want it to be satanic, you can make it that way.  You can also worship Santa Claus at Christmas and make that holiday anything but holy. It’s a matter of where your heart is, and our hearts are good.

Of course, there are things that I dislike about Halloween. Honestly I despise anything where you ask people to give you something (this includes bridal and baby showers). I can’t stand the idea of going to strangers and asking them for candy. When I was little, on the handful of Halloweens we actually went trick-or-treating, we would go up and down our street. We knew everyone. We currently live in a neighborhood where there aren’t a lot of kids and few houses even turn their lights on. Each of the last three years, we’ve had exactly two trick-or-treaters.

If there’s no one handing out candy in our neighborhood, then where can we go? I really don’t like the idea of driving to another neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. (Although we have been invited to go with friends in their neighborhoods.) Instead, we put on our costumes and go see the grandparents. We are going to take part in our town’s business trick-or-treating in the afternoon, and we will spend the evening at home waiting for those two trick-or-treaters that will stop by.

And don’t get me started on the costumes. Halloween may be the one time I’m grateful to not have a little girl. It was hard enough finding appropriate costumes for my boys. Have you seen the little girl costumes? The little girl police costume has a short, frilly skirt, handcuffs, and fingerless gloves. Why are we sexualizing our little girls?

For my boys the costumes were slightly easier. However, the first costume Connor picked up was a zombie doctor. Why are there gruesome zombie costumes for four-year olds? And then, because he is big for his age, the age appropriate costume he really wanted didn’t come in his size. Thank goodness I had that elephant costume in the closet.

Earlier this month we went to our local orchard. There was a hayride out to the pumpkin patch. The boys loved it, and they got to pick out their own pumpkins. Instead of carving them, I gave the boys paint and paintbrushes (and their fingers) and let them paint them. They were so pleased with the results and put their pumpkins on the front porch. (Note: if you let kids paint pumpkins with washable paint, set the pumpkins outside and it rains, the paint will wash off.)

There is nothing wrong with pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns. I’m pretty sure God loves pumpkins since He made them. Unless you are kneeling down and worshipping your pumpkins, I don’t see anything satanic about our pumpkins,

So we have our wholesome, age appropriate costumes, our pumpkins on the porch, and our trick-or-treating plan, and I think that’s okay. We’ve had the talk so they know that anything scary that might see is pretend, although we are doing our best to stay away from the scary stuff. We are going to get some candy and remember to say thank you. We are going to walk through downtown and interact with the local businesses. We are going to hold open doors and wait our turn. There will be no satanic rituals in our Halloween.

I was wracking my brain this afternoon trying to find good holiday comparison for Halloween. It took me a while to come up with the right way to describe my feelings about it, but I finally figured it out. Halloween is a child’s St. Patrick’s Day. Sure, it probably meant something when it first started and it may still mean that to some people today. However, today St. Patrick’s Day is about green beer and Halloween is about costumes and candy.

The most important thing is to guard your heart. Everything that doesn’t move you to God will move you away from God. If you let it, anything can be turned evil.

And if you are looking for us tomorrow evening, you can find us at home with the porch light on waiting for that random van that happens to be driving down our road and stops.

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Raising Boys With Giving Hearts

I can’t believe how fast this year has gone. I was pretty sure summer had just started, and it actually turns out that Halloween is next week, Thanksgiving a handful of weeks after than and then a month later it’s Christmas. Time seems to move faster and faster every year. And it seems like the retailers are trying to move it even faster. This year I saw Christmas decorations next to Halloween costumes.

We’ve talked about the upcoming holidays. The boys want to know what order they come in and how much longer until they get here. They’ve asked almost everyday if tomorrow is Halloween since we got their costumes. And then they asked if we could get a Christmas tree tomorrow. Umm, no to both, but it got me thinking.

The boys have an abundance of toys. They have so many that they can’t play with them (or keep them picked up.) Sometimes it feels as if they multiple while we are sleeping. I’ve been saying for weeks that we needed to go back through them and get rid of the broken ones, put some up for a couple of months down the road, and pack some up to give to Salvation Army. And though I keep saying this, follow through has been a little lax as sitting on the floor is extremely difficult with the cast on my foot.

Yesterday I had enough. We were going to start sorting through stuff. We sat down in front of a giant pile of toys and started talking. I told the boys that there are some kids that don’t have a bunch of toys to play with, and we were going to give some of our toys to those kids.

I have 2crazylittleboys with giant hearts. Their eyes just grew wide at the idea that some kids might not have toys. They both began to sort through the toys.

At age four, Connor struggled a little. He would pick up one of his animals and ask if he had to give it away. I had to explain a little better that the toys that he loves, he could keep. I wasn’t going to force him to give things away. After that he was feeling much better about our project.

Cameron understood a little better what we were doing. He has an ambulance that makes noises, lights up and with the push of a button will drive backwards and forwards. He plays with this truck regularly. He picked it up and put it into the give away box. I asked if he wanted to keep it, and he told me no. It was for the kids with no toys.

We got very little work done before it was time for me to fix supper so I told them we would finish the next day. By the time that bedtime rolled around, the ambulance and a couple of toys Connor had said to donate had made their way back out of the box and onto the floor. I wasn’t surprised, but I wondered how we’d ever get through everything at the rate we were going.

This morning I was drinking my coffee and taking a break when the boys came running up to me from their room. They started pulling on my arm and begging to clean up the toys. I hadn’t even thought about toy sorting yet but they were so excited. I finished my coffee and off we went.

They were dancing around so excited to get started. I walked into the room and the empty box from yesterday was once again full with the ambulance and other toys that had been removed from it. “We’re giving those to other kids.”

I can not explain how my heart filled with joy in that moment. They were so joyful to be giving toys away, and not just toys that they never play with but toys they had been playing with moments before.  By the time we were done for the day, we had filled four boxes with toys and a garbage bag full of stuffed animals.

 

A Giving Heart

 

Most people probably look at giving like my boys did that first day. You pick out the old or broken stuff to give. Maybe you put “good” stuff in your box to give away, but then pull them back out to keep.

And maybe it’s not stuff you have to give but time. You’re willing to donate your time to help someone, but not the “good” time. I can give on Tuesday from two to three but not Saturday afternoon. Or maybe you give the “good” time, but you give it grudgingly.

Maybe it’s not stuff or even time that you are giving. Maybe it’s a listening ear. Maybe it’s a smile or wave. Maybe it’s your understanding of patience. Maybe what you’re being called to give is as simple as letting the person with one item in front of you and your full cart at the store.

When someone mentions giving, we normally think about money or things or even time. Those, while they may seem hard to give, are the easy ones to give. Maybe we should start bigger and harder. Let’s start giving our patience, our understanding, our love.

The most important thing, regardless of what we are giving, is the way we are doing it. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

I want to give like my boys did today. They picked out toys that they were playing with to give to little kids they don’t know. And they were excited to do it. They gave with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts.

In just over a week, my newsfeed on Facebook and Twitter are going to start filling up with people sharing what they are thankful for. Let me get an early start. Today I am thankful I have two little boys who are cheerful givers.

It’s Hard to Believe It’s Been 10 Years

Today is the anniversary of one of the biggest and most important days of my life. Ten years ago this happened:

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Ten years ago today, we were standing on a beach with a handful of our family and friends and vowing to love each other til death parts us.

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And ten years later it’s even better than I ever dreamed it could be. Don’t get me wrong. It’s been hard. We’ve had our ups and downs like anyone else.

Looking through the wedding pictures today, I can’t believe how young we look. Over these last ten years we’ve grown up together. We are still crazy in love. We’ve created two amazing little boys. We know that through hard times we can cling to each other (and God) rather than letting it pull us apart.

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Ten years later, we have found that we’d rather spend a night at home with our little family than a night on the town. We’ve made each other better people. I don’t know what I would do without him.

Ten years ago I couldn’t have told you what we’d look like today. I couldn’t have come up with a picture of our life today in my wildest dreams. God made him for me, and me for him. I can not imagine my life without him.

I love you more today than I knew I could ten years ago and there’s no where else I’d rather be.

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To Be Like John

There is a ridiculous amount of quizzes on the Internet these days. They cover everything from what 80s hair band are you to what 90s tv character to what decade should you be living in to what Disney character are you. They are everywhere, and if you are on Facebook, your news feed is probably full with the answers your friends have gotten.

More often than not, I just scroll past these posts. Sometimes I’ll see one that seems so silly I can’t help but click on the link and spend the five minutes to see what result I get. I follow that up with just closing the screen, feeling no need to share the results with the rest of the world.

This week one caught my eye. It was “Which One of Jesus’ Disciples Are You?” I couldn’t help myself. I went to the website and took the quiz. And even stranger than me going and taking the quiz, I’m going to share the results with you.

Lets be honest here. Off the top of my head, I cannot name all 12 disciples. And even if I could come up with all the right names, I couldn’t tell you something about all of them. I know Matthew, the tax collector, and Judas, the betrayer. There’s Peter, the fisherman, and Thomas, the doubter. The list of disciples I can name concludes with John, who wrote Revelation, his brother, James and Peter’s brother, Andrew. The names that I had to look up are Philip, Bartholomew, Jude, Simon and James.

So I took the quiz. According to it, I’m most like John. Here is the summary:

 

Like John, you are a deeply spiritual and emotional person. You are a keen observer of relationships and personal character, often seeing connections and patterns that others miss. You are an imaginative dreamer with a strong grasp of spiritual matters and the purpose of human existence. You can also be extremely dedicated and loving.

However, like John, you may have a fierce nature. Like a true “Son of Thunder” you may be prone to believe that your spiritual intuition elevates you above others. You may see yourself as morally superior to those less spiritually attuned than you. This is a side of yourself you must temper with love and understanding.

Your role as a disciple of Christ is one of a visionary or prophet. You speak the truth as you see it, even if it can’t be proven or isn’t popular. Others may see you as mystical or possessing a connection with Christ that goes beyond their comprehension. Yet, in your most honest moments, you know that your greatest strength lies not in your love for Christ, but in His love for you.

Bonus– The Biblical woman who beat matches your personality is Mary sister of Lazarus and Martha.”

 

I read through the summary, and it felt pretty accurate. I am deeply emotional and spiritual. I am a dreamer. I am dedicated and loving. I absolutely speak the truth as I see it even if it can’t be proven or isn’t popular. I definitely know that my greatest strength comes for Christ’s love for me.

On the other hand, I would be shocked if anyone saw me as “mystical or possessing a connection with Christ that goes beyond their understanding.” And I certainly hope I don’t see myself as being morally superior to others.

I do love the bonus at the end with my female counterpart being Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha. Mary infuriated her sister as she sat at Jesus’  feet listening to Him teach rather than helping get thing around. (Luke 10:38-42)  Mary used expensive oil (or perfume) to wash Jesus’ feet and used her hair to dry them.  (John 12:1-8) She is the believer that I would like to be.

 

But back to John. You can see his emotions in the books of the Bible he wrote. The gospel of John includes some of my favorite Bible verse, including 11:35, “Jesus wept.” and 21:25, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.” And maybe the best description of Jesus, 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And, of course, the most well-known Bible verse, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

John was one of only three disciples who were with Jesus when He brought Jairus’ daughter back from the dead. (Luke 8:40-56). It was John whom Jesus told to care for His mother. (John 19:25-27) John is repeatedly referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 21:7) And it was John, with Peter, that went into the tomb that most amazing Sunday morning and found Jesus gone. (John 20:1-10)

John also wrote first, second and third John. The first being a defense of Jesus as false prophets filled the early churches. It is filled with examples of Jesus’ love for us and how we are to love each other. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20)

Through out the book, John refers to the readers as “little children” for Jesus told us we must have a childlike faith to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19:13-15) and because we are all children of God. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

The second and third epistles of John are both just a chapter long. They are written to specific people (although second John is address to “the elect lady and her children” and the is much debate about who she is). They are filled with love, truth and warnings against false prophets. I would definitely recommend you all read John’s three letters.

John also wrote the final book of the Bible, Revelation. It is the book of prophecy of the end of times. John was trusted to share with all of us what the end will look like and the knowledge that no matter how bad it gets, that Jesus always wins. When the hour comes, victory is His. Revelation also serves as a reminder to us that Jesus is coming quickly so we must be prepared. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

So I would be very happy to be John-like in my faith and my actions, although however “John-like” I may be I doubt anyone has ever had that thought. It was fun for me to take the quiz and then to take the time to really dig into the biblical information we have on John. Honestly, there is only one disciple that I wouldn’t want to be identified with.  You can find the survey here and I’d love for you to come back and share your results in the comments if you do take it.

I’ll leave you with the words John used to close Revelation, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (22:21)

 

 

 

What a pain in my…foot

Wednesday afternoon I fell down the one step we have in our house. I tripped over air and hit the ground hard. And of course where I landed is the one spot that is cement covered by a thin layer of carpet.

I screamed as I hit the ground in an amazing amount of pain. With 2crazylittleboys, I try very hard to not make noise when I get hurt as I don’t want to scare them. Wednesday there was no controlling the screams. They both came running and my phone started ringing. (amazingly I didn’t drop it when I fell.)

My mom was on the phone. To the boys I said I was fine. To my mom I said I was hurt. I tried to move and every movement cause pain to shoot through my body. I reassured my mom that my foot wasn’t broken. The boys ran to get stuff to help. The oldest came back with a cut off leg from a pair of panty hose. The youngest had a soaking wet kitchen towel. My mom offered to come and hide my house slippers if I had been wearing them (I wasn’t).

As you can imagine, none of their ideas helped. I got off the phone, asked the boys to put the wet towel in the sink and tried to figure out how to get off the floor. I considered just lying there for the next hour until my husband got home. I eventually got myself standing and hobbled the six feet to the nearest chair. Once sitting I was able to look at my foot. I already had a lump and it was turning black and blue.

Now the boys were in full help mom mode. They got me pillows to prop my foot up. They made me an ice pack and wrapped it in a towel. They really wanted me to put the piece of panty hose on it. They finished picking up their toys while I sat in the chair planning out my next move.

I had to use the bathroom. It might as well have been a mile away than just through the living room and around the corner. I cried on my walk there and back. I spent the rest of the evening sitting around, using ice and trying not to holler every time my foot got bumped. Eventually I climbed into bed and tried to sleep. It wasn’t easy but I did manage to get some sleep.

Yesterday when I woke up, I didn’t move right away and felt okay. I thought maybe my foot was getting better. It looked terrible. The lump had spread to the whole foot being swollen and it was all a lovely blue color. My positive outlook lasted until I set my foot on the floor and tried to stand up. Wow. The pain was back and even worse.

I lasted through the morning do very little but icing my foot and resting. The boys were amazingly helpful. They got their own drinks and snacks. They played nicely together. They read books together.

By lunch I decided that my foot was probably broken. It was starting to hurt all the time whether I was putting pressure on it or not. I knew if I went over to the ER (which is just a block away) they would just refer me to another doctor so I decided to skip that part. I set up the appointment for that afternoon and then started making calls to find someone to keep the boys.

I found a friend who was willing to come to the house and watch the boys, but that led me to my next problem. How was I going to get to the doctor?  I hobbled out to the garage to see if I could back the truck down the driveway. Success! Driving was much easier than walking.

I made it to the doctor’s office where I filled out a ridiculous amount of paperwork, was weighed (stupid lying machine), and had my blood pressure taken. I wanted to laugh when the nurse told me my blood pressure was good because it was actually high for me (but normal for a regular person). Doctors make me nervous and I was in pain. She probably thought my pulse was good, too, even though my heart was racing.

Finally I had three X-rays taken and the doctor came in. She asked some questions and then started messing with my foot. I believe she wanted to play the game “how hard can I press the spot that hurts before I get kicked in the face.” Once she completed the game (no, I didn’t kick her.), she started looking at the X-rays on her computer. She’d make them bigger and then smaller and then bigger again.

Finally she told me my foot was definitely broken, but she needed to go look at the actual X-rays to double-check where the break was. Apparently I broke the worst bone to break in your foot. She told me that depending on where the break was it could disrupt blood flow to my toes and I could need surgery.

I’m not sure I can describe how hard I prayed while the doctor was off looking at the X-rays.

After what felt like forever, she came back and told me the break was okay and I wouldn’t need surgery. (Thank you, Lord!) I then got fitted for an air cast and a pair of crutches. The cast can come off only when I shower. If someone has any ideas on how I can stand long enough to wash my very long hair in the shower or how I can get out of the tub if I take a bath I’m looking for suggestions.

The drive home was ridiculous. With a couple extra inches added to my right foot, it was very hard to press on the gas. I did make it safely home but irritated the drivers behind me as I traveled much slower than they wanted to.

Once home, the boys thought the crutches were the coolest thing they’d ever seen. I made it through the evening mostly sitting and trying to figure out the most comfortable way to have an air cast on. For the record, there is no comfortable way. My foot ached. My toes had started to hurt. And then my very loving husband said, “wait until it starts itching.” which it immediately did. I may have threatened to hit him with my crutches.

Finally I got in bed. With my foot held firmly in an awkward position, I wasn’t sure I’d ever fall asleep. I posted on my personal Facebook page that my friends should put on one winter boot, add a ten pound weight to it, toss a couple of tacks in the bottom and then they might understand how I was feeling.

I did manage to get some sleep. Not enough and not good but some sleep nonetheless. And that leads us to today.

I’ve made it through day one of my four to six weeks of healing. I’ve had to use the crutches a lot today just being in the house. The pain has been intense today. We are trapped in the house because it’s chilly outside, and even if I could drive, where would we go that would require little to no walking? All of that equals 2grouchylittleboys. (To their credit the grouchyness has come in short bursts and they are trying to be helpful.)

I’m sure it will get easier. I’m sure there will be good days and bad. Eventually, I will be able to move around better, and we will be able to leave the house. How amazing is God that when bones break with time they will fuse back together? How amazing is God that if my break was one centimeter either direction I would have needed surgery?

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The Church of My Childhood

 

I spent the majority of my childhood attending a Church of Christ. We sang hymns out of a hymnal. We had traditional Sunday school that wasn’t called a fancy name. We had Sunday night services. My grandma played the piano. We had communion every Sunday. Baptism could happen any Sunday, no appointment necessary. Sunday nights, instead of having a specific list of hymns, they would take requests, and the kids seemed to pick as many songs as the adults.

There are days that I really miss all of that. Don’t get me wrong. I like the church we attend now. I enjoy the preacher. I love the music. However, we attend a contemporary church and sometimes I miss the traditional church.

I miss the hymns we used to sing. I’m trying to find ways to hear them and teach them to my boys. But even more than the hymns, I miss communion every week. I miss taking that time to reflect on what Jesus did for us.

I really don’t understand why all churches don’t have communion more often. My church has communion on Easter and Christmas and then a couple other times a year. And some of those times are on Wednesday nights instead of Sunday mornings. I know my church isn’t the only one like this.

“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it amount yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’

“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.'” Luke 22:17-20

Do this in remembrance of Me. Why aren’t we having communion more often? Why isn’t is a regular part of all church services? Why aren’t we having that quiet reflection time of remembrance? Why aren’t we begging our churches for it?

I’ve had people ask it having communion every Sunday makes it more like a habit than in reverence. Let me tell you, if taking communion has become a habit for you, DON’T TAKE IT. Get back to your bible and your faith and your God. If your heart isn’t right, DON’T TAKE IT. Communion should never be something you are doing just because it’s offered.

There was a time when I was a part of a youth group. We were a close group of kids from high school freshmen to early 20s. We grew up our faith together. We wanted to reach our peers and for a time actually put together our own church services.

At one point there was some anger and hurt feelings among us, as there is with teenagers. We got together one night and were talking about communion and getting our hearts right. That evening we took turns getting on our knees, asking each other for forgiveness and then we washed each others feet as Christ did before the last supper.

It was an amazing experience that I will carry with me always. We left there whole and filled with faith.

Now I’m not saying for the church to get out there and wash everyone’s feet. But maybe it’s time to get back to the basics. I’m not saying ditch the band, but let’s remember our roots. I’m not saying we need hymns and communion every Sunday, but I’m looking for that feeling, that closeness with God.

There have been times that I’ve had the feelings I get from communion through the music and I could feel it affecting the people around me as well. And then what should be a moment of quiet reflection or prayer, is interrupted with applause. Could we have more prayer and less applause? Maybe less of a show and more heart.

I do want to be clear. I’m not saying that my church or any other like it are bad. There are just times I’m looking for more. I’m looking for the church of my childhood, and I’m not sure it even exists anymore.

This Worship Wednesday post is looking more like a Throwback Thursday so I’ll leave you with the song that we sang at the end of every Sunday morning service.

 

 

 
You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

A day of hard questions

Today on our way home the boys and I drove by a graveyard. It had been a while since I’d driven by there and as we got close I slowed down. Just over a year ago we buried my husband’s grandma in that graveyard, and I always think of her when I go by.

She was the first person in my husband’s family that I claimed as my own. I didn’t say my husband’s grandma. She was just Grandma. I may have married into her family, but she always made me feel as one of hers. She was always happy to see us when we stopped by and never seemed to care when the boys acted their age.

As I drove by the graveyard, I couldn’t help but slow down and think of her fondly. I’m not sure if it was my slowing down or if they could just tell I was thinking or maybe it was just the first time they paid attention. Whatever it was the questions started. “Mom, what is that?”

They’ve reached the age where the answer “a graveyard” isn’t enough. I really wasn’t wanting to have a death and burial conversation with them and “Oh, Glorious Day” came on the radio so I was able to buy some time. When the song ended, the youngest says to me, “Will you tell us now?”

There was no putting it off. They had questions and it’s my job to answer them. It was the first BIG QUESTION moment in parenting. They know about death from the dog dying, but they don’t really understand. And trying to explain a body being dead and a soul going to Heaven is not something I think you are ever prepared for.

Apparently I did a good enough job because they seemed satisfied with the answers I gave. I thought I had answered all of the hard questions for a while.

Boy was I wrong.

As the boys got ready for bed, I went to YouTube looking for a good video to go with today’s Worship Wednesday post. I had planned on using NewsBoys “We Believe.” I found a video and started playing it. The youngest told me he loved that song and cuddled close as we listened.

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life

We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again

When the song was over, a whole new set of questions started. Why is God called the Father? What’s the Holy Spirit? I tried to explain that since God made everything He’s like everything’s Daddy, and that Jesus is God’s Son. At the mention of Jesus, they popped up with, “Jesus is a baby.”

I had to laugh. Yes, Jesus was a baby. No, Jesus doesn’t have small hands. His hands can hold the whole world. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us when He went to Heaven.

I continued to answer their questions the best I could trying to use words that would make sense to a 4 and 6-year-old. And I must have done okay because they seemed satisfied, said their prayers and fell asleep.

And while they may have been satisfied, I wasn’t sure. It was one of those BIG moments in parenting, one of those moments that you don’t want to screw up. Did I use the right words? Did they understand?

I want them to understand. I want them to have a big faith. I want them to believe.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42 NKJV

“Then the little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 19:13-14 NKJV

Have you had a faith talk with small children? What words do you use?

 

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

Just Be Held

 

 

This song seems so fitting for this week. By now, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you have heard that Robin Williams died this week most likely by his own hand. Death is always hard. Suicide is always hard.

This death has left us all talking about depression and suicide. It’s left us wondering how someone who seems to have it all could be left feeling so hopeless, how someone who brought us so much joy and laughter could have been so alone inside.

And maybe it’s not fair or even right that this death is getting so much attention over others. I know to me it’s almost like I knew him. He was a part of our worlds through his movies and television shows. One of the first movies I really remember seeing in the theater was Hook.

There’s been a lot of talk on social media saying if you haven’t experienced depression, if you haven’t contemplated suicide, you shouldn’t be talking about this. I read Matt Walsh’s blog in which he said that Robin Williams didn’t die from depression but made the choice to end his life. I was shocked and horrified by the number of people who commented on it saying Matt should be killed or kill himself.

I’m not sure if the masses will think it’s ok for me to write about this or not. I have suffered through intense bouts with depression to the point where I have little to no memory of those time periods. However, I have never considered suicide.

I have suffered through periods of intense despair. I have laid on the couch in tears until there are none left feeling unable to move. I have felt alone and that no one else could ever understand what I was going through.

I have had times where I was so lost in the storm that I forgot to look to the cross.

But I have also had hope and faith and love surround me during those times. I’ve had people to talk to and help pull me back up.

Whether it be depression or just a hard time you are going through, there are times we all feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. We have this need to be strong. Don’t show them your weakness. Put on a happy face. And you can only carry that kind of weight for a time before your knees give out.

I love the pictures this song paints. How amazing would it feel if instead of holding on to all the stresses and hurts we would just put it down and let God hold us? There have been times these past weeks where I’ve been stressed and things aren’t going as I would like. And then I listen to this song and I can feel myself letting go. It’s almost as if His arms are physically around me.

If you are suffering, I would like to remind you that even if you are literally alone in this world, you are not alone. If you go to Him, God will hold you and never let you go. Instead of looking at the storm, look to the cross.  Let the cross be a symbol of love and hope.

 

 

Just Be Held

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you hanging on

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
You’re world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
You’re world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

 

 

 

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

**Depression is a serious disease. Suicide is not the answer. If you are considering suicide, please know that there is always hope and someone does care about you. I care about you. Find a preacher, a priest, a doctor, a friend, a family member or even a stranger to talk to. There is always a choice. There is always hope.

It’s back to school time

School started last week in our area. Summer break is getting shorter and shorter. The stores have been packed with shopping carts full of folders, pens, pencils, tablets, and more. Parents have started posting on Facebook about their excitement that the kids are going back.

My kids didn’t go.

That may come as a surprise to some of you. I have only recently started saying it out loud. The last person I said it to told me she wished she had homeschooled. So far I’ve only been met with support. I know that’s not always the case, and I’m sure I will hear from those against.

It’s not a decision that was made lightly. It’s something that has been on my heart since before I had kids. It’s something that has been covered in years of prayer. It’s a God led decision.

With homeschooling, we can work at our own pace. There’s no rushing to cover as much as we can as fast as we can to start preparing for a test. We can study whatever makes my crazy little boys light up and gives them a love of learning. We can start our “school” day with prayer. We can read the bible and talk about God’s influence in everything.

My kids are special (as are all kids). They learn differently (as do all kids). My 6-year-old loves to take things apart and figure out how they work. He can look at something and figure out a better way to do it. My 4-year-old loves animals. He uses words like carnivore, herbivore and omnivore correctly. As I’m writing this he has his animals all lined up and his brother just used a screwdriver to “fix” a toy so he could play with it the way he wanted.

We would miss out on these joys and countless others if they were sitting behind a desk. Sometimes my 6-year-old finds it easier to remember things when he’s standing on his head. He calls it his best thinking. That’s certainly not allowed at the brick building down the road.

Yesterday as we were working on writing our letters, my oldest insisted he needed quiet to do it properly. He made the first line down for the A and then the second line down. He then announced that to make the line across he needed it to be LOUD! His brother was more than willing to accommodate that request. Suddenly the house went from quiet to loud, the line was made followed by several more loud A’s and we ended the lesson in a fit of giggles at the silliness of it all.

We don’t have a classroom in our house. We have a living room floor, a dining room table, a couch, a bed, a front yard, and a backyard. Maybe it doesn’t look like what people think schooling should look like, but it works for us. These boys are learning, sometimes more and faster than I realize at the time.

We love the freedom homeschooling gives us. Both of their birthdays fall during the school year. We have the freedom to take those days off and do whatever we want together. If we want to take a family vacation in the middle of September, we can. If we had to get up at 6 in the morning to get to school in time, the boys would have to go to bed earlier. If they had to go to bed earlier we would miss that family time we get in the evenings. How many kitchen dance parties would we miss out on?

This is what works for us right now. If your kids are in public school, maybe that’s what works for you. Maybe that’s where God has led your family. And that’s okay with me. This decision, as are all decisions about our kids, is a personal one and what works for us may not work for you.

 

This is not the post I thought I was writing today. This isn’t what I thought I would be sharing. But it is what was on my heart.

I was hiding, but I’m not going to hide anymore. I’m going to be proud of the decision we’ve made because I know that it’s the best one for our boys. If people ask what grade they’re in or where they go to school, I’m not going to be afraid to answer honestly.

We are homeschooling, and we are loving it.

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Where Feet May Fail

 

I’m surprised by how often I’ve been brought back to Peter recently.

Simon who was called Peter. The fisherman whom Christ called to leave his nets behind and become a fisher of men. Who’s mother-in-law was sick and healed. Who walked on the water until he let his fear overtake him. Peter who knew Jesus was the Christ and who was the rock Christ built His church on. Peter who swore he would die before he denied Jesus, though Jesus told him he would. Peter who fell asleep when Christ asked him to pray that dark night in the garden. Peter who would fight when Christ was arrested but Jesus called for peace. Who would weep after denying knowing Jesus three times.

And after Jesus conquered death and appeared to the disciples, He told Peter to feed His lambs, tend His sheep, and feed His sheep. Jesus told Peter to “Follow Me.” (John 21:19 NKJV)

I’ve been brought back to Peter’s story time and again, through the songs I’ve been listening to and the words I’ve been reading. Today it finally occurred to me to look deeper into the story that continues to find its way into my path.

Can you imagine what it would have been like for Christ to call you to leave your life behind and follow Him? To love Him so much you would walk away from your family, your job, your life? To trust Him so much you would step out of a boat and onto the water. How violently would you weep if you had denied knowing Jesus just moments before they would crucify Him? And then after all of that, imagine seeing Jesus, alive after you saw Him die, calling to you, telling you to tend to His people.

Peter’s story could be the story of any of us. To love Christ with all your heart, to fall short of what you know He wants you to be, and He still calls for you, still wants you.

Oh, to have the faith Peter had that night on the water. To step out onto the unknown and instead of sinking, to walk.

One of those questions that people ask and I’ve never had the answer to until now is, if you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be. If you take Jesus out of the options, it would be Peter. To be able to ask him what it was like to be there, to step out onto the water, to fall short and have Jesus call you to Him anyway. What must it have been like to touch His hands before and after the nails?

Maybe this is my Peter moment. Maybe Jesus isn’t calling me to literally walk on the water with Him, but maybe these words are my waters. I pour my heart out onto these pages and then press the button that sends them out to the world. Every time it is scary. Every time I expect to fail, to sink. And every time you read them. And every time it’s as if I’ve stepped out of the boat and onto the water.

Maybe we are all being called to be like Peter. To have a faith so big you step out of the boat. And maybe you only take a couple of steps on the water before you start to sink and call out for Jesus to pull you back up. But maybe, just maybe, you keep your eyes on Jesus and walk all the way to the shore line.

Find your Peter moment. Jesus is calling you to put down your net and follow Him. The journey is amazing and hard and wonderful and you will fall short. It will bring you to tears at times. You will fail and you will sink. But the rewards are eternal, and there is nothing like those moments when you are standing on the water.

My feet may fail, but my God never does.

 

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine.

 

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.