Friday, July 19, 2013

liberty and freedom

It was three years ago this past April that I woke up with a very heavy heart. I knew exactly what needed to be done. I walked into the living room where Warren was drinking his coffee and rather than saying 'Good Morning,' I proclaimed 'today is the day.'  I had tossed and turned all night and knew it was time.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way
which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you."
Psalm 32:8
A relationship in our lives was broken. Severed. Disunited. The events surrounding the broken relationship was confusing and really there was nothing at the heart of it. Just some feelings hurt. But it was a broken relationship. My husband, kids , and own heart were heavy everyday because of this broken relationship.  I am sure it was even affecting ministry and the church.
It was on that morning 3 years ago that I had my Esther moment. Not the beauty part. Not the Queenie part. The Courageous part. My people needed me. The 4 people in my house needed me to be courageous. I had to put aside my fear and pride because something way more important was at stake. 
"The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?"
Psalm 27:1
That day I searched the scriptures like I never had before. This broken relationship had produced silence for almost 4 years now. The broken relationship caused so much to be missed out on for both parties involved. My three kids were missing the memories.  Warren and I were finding ourselves making excuses, making intentional opportunities to avoid this relationship, and become somewhat numb to the fact this relationship needed repair.   But I was SO SCARED! In fact, scared may have been an understatement. Terrified. Terrified of their reaction to me, scared of the humbling I may have to take, and nervous about the road from here.  I have to admit, I was a  little prideful as well. But God quickly reminded me who I was in HIM and what our family had been called to.
"...To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives,
And freedom to prisoners..."
Isaiah 61:1
How can we do that when we are prisoners to a very binding broken relationship?
How can we tell others how to be set free and find liberty in Christ when we have chains of a hurtful relationship always on our minds?
"Now all these things are from God,
who reconciled us to Himself through Christ,
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation..."
 2 Corithians 5:18
There was only one thing to do. Call. Make that call. I couldn't completely serve, love, and honor the Lord with this broken relationship in our lives.
"If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar,
and there remember that your brother has something against you,
leave your offering there before the altar,
and go your way;
first be reconciled to your brother,
and then come and present your offering."
Matthew 5:23-24
So I made the call and the rest is history. Praise the Lord history. Thanks upon thanks history. God is sooo good history. Humbled like never before history.  I mean it was very humbling. 
Why was this so important for me to do? Jesus. Simply Jesus.  Jesus.  His kingdom.  Sharing HIS good news. Salvation. Healing.  Oh, the healing.
But it was also important for generational changes. Doing things different. Our children. Being a family who is on mission together.
"Know therefore that the Lord your God,
He is God,
the faithful God,
who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness
to a thousandth generation with
those who love Him and keep His commandments;"
Deuteronomy 7:9
So a stone was laid that day 3 years ago on April 28,2010. The stone of God's faithfulness. I don't want to forget what His faithfulness and goodness is. I don't want Tyler, Ethan, or Elise to forget what it is. The stone is also a reminder to forgive, be forgiven, be humble, without bitterness, love, serve, and do whatever you can to be reconciled with others. That's what ministry is all about.
"Let this be a sign among you,
so that when your children ask later;
'What do these stones mean to you?'
then you shall say to them,..."
Joshua 4:6-7a


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mirror image

I have a girl in my house with two older brothers.  Two older brothers who constantly challenge Elise to math questions, free throw tournaments in our driveway, and sun flower seed contests.  She is taught by these boys the best teams in NBA, stats in MLB, and how to draft fantasy teams in NFL.
She is in a constant battle between being wrestled by Ethan and her heart being wrestled with the often reminder from me, "gentle and quiet spirit." (I Peter 3:4a)

Of course Cutie Patooties is Elise and my team :)

Tyler and Ethan are best friends to the core right now in life.

 Tyler takes Ethan everywhere he goes.  They lay in bed or on the floor watching superhero movies, Andy Griffith, or John Wayne most nights.  They love to wrestle each other.  I am not sure the wrestling is going to last much longer though, Ethan is growing fast, real fast. They camp together, grab Sonic together, and Tyler has been known to post Ethan as his #mcm (man crush Monday) on Instagram.

All three of these kids are so different, yet impact each other more than any other.  I hear Tyler stepping on Ethan's toes about choices.  Ethan will work with Elise on the proper way to catch a baseball many afternoons.  Tyler and Elise push our family to memorize scripture.  They work together, fuss together.... a lot, forgive each other, and play together. 

Not too long ago my dad (aka GT or Grandpa Texas), the kids, and I visited Lake Meredith in the Texas Panhandle.  I asked them to take a picture with GT.  This lake holds many memories for my dad.  There in front of me were 3 (almost) young adults.

 I promise it was just yesterday that they were young and I couldn't wait for them to GROW UP!

 Let me say, I didn't have to wait for that to happen.  Moments like these (and I have them quite frequently) stir up such an urgency in me. 
Am I doing all I can to teach them to walk in HIS ways? 
A crazy sense of double dose of Jesus down your throat kids starts to take over.  I feel the complete urge to pick up the gazillion parenting books I have and learn more ways to make sure they walk in HIS ways forever and ever.
My summer reading pile....

But as I read Deuteronomy 6,  God beautifully lays out a plan to raise children that walk in His ways.  It starts with our hearts.  I have read this passage probably a million times and never noticed the command for us personally.  Before we ever start the talking with our children, we have a command as parents from God.

"And you shall love the Lord your God with
all your heart and with
all your soul and with
all your might.
And these words, which I am commanding you today,
shall be on your heart;"
Deuteronomy 6:5-6

It is then, when our hearts are set on HIM, we can talk about Jesus.  And it will come naturally.

It is when Jesus is our love.  Our priority.  Our reason for being.  Our purpose.  Our vision.  Our goal.

Our children will get it. 

"Know therefore that the Lord your God,
He is God,
the faithful God,
who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness
to a thousandth generation
with those who love Him and keep His commandments." Deuteronomy 7:9

We won't have to shove awkward conversations down their throats.  We won't have to wonder what to say. We won't have to depend on someone else teach our kids about Jesus.  Our kids will get it.  When we are head over heels in love with Jesus. 

I absolutely love my man.  I could talk to you all day about Warren.  You ask, I could tell you how awesome he is.  This is because I spend time with Warren, love him with all I have, desire him, and want to do everyday of life with him.  Talking to you about him would not be awkward.  You would know from my actions and words, if necessary, that he is who I am crazy about.  We text and  talk on the phone when we are apart.  I cannot even imagine going a day without some kind of communication with him. 

When we love God , like the command gives in Deuteronomy, it will be like that.  But even more so.  Talking about God will be natural.  Spending time with Him will be natural.  Knowing what His Word says will be natural.  Because we have that close relationship.  It will be something we desire.  It will be something we will talk about. 

When we love God with every aspect of our lives, that love will guide our parenting.  The choices we make for our home. 

Rules and Boundaries.

"and you shall teach them diligently to your sons
and shall talk of them when you
sit in your house and when you
walk by the way and when you
lie down and when you
rise up.
And you shall
bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall
be as frontals on your forehead.
And you shall
write them on the doorposts of your house and
on your gates."
Deuteronomy 6:7-9
My devotion and love to the Lord is directly related to my children's love for the Lord and His ways.
It's time to seek the Lord like never before.  Every time I blink, they grow a little faster.
My children, my future grandchildren and generations after are counting on me to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to keep His commandments (Deut. 7:9). 
Parents, let's set our hearts on Him!  Warren and I are cheering you on as we raise these kiddos together up in the Lord!