Wednesday, July 30, 2014

To give credit where credit is due

Sometimes I need to remember that God is good all the time.

It seems like such a simple thing, but sometimes I forget to be amazed by the fact that the One who flung the planets into space loves me fiercely ... sometimes I only remember that He's good when the answers to my prayers are 'yes.'

We're praying for clarity with Emma's current walking (or not) situation, and we're praying for her to get better.

And if she's all better today or tomorrow, I'll probably post something like, "Yay!  All better!  God is good!"

But even if these light and momentary troubles continue for a little while longer ...

He's not safe ... He's not Santa Claus ... He's not a genie granting wishes ... and He's not a supporting character in MY story, I'm hoping to play a small role in His.

Which makes it even more amazing that, as my Abba Father, He asks me to come and lay my cares at His feet.

There's so much I don't understand, but this I know: God is good

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I am not God

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's might hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. - I Peter 5:5-7

I've been struggling with anxiety in the past couple of days.  Emma is dealing with something unknown again.  I don't know why, but (despite the fact that, developmentally speaking, she's been walking for years) she's not walking.  It's been a couple of weeks.  She either can't or won't walk independently.

We've rounded up the 'ologists, doing all we can to check all systems.  We're trying decode what my little non-verbal 5-year-old is "telling" us by the fact that she just isn't walking.

Anxiety, right?

It's a difficult area for me to discern in myself.  A friend of mine said it well recently: on one hand, as parents, it's appropriate to feel care and concern for our children.  But, on the other hand, Jesus said, "Do not worry."  Where is the line between concern and worry?

Emma had a sedated scan yesterday (and we don't know the results yet).  Even though this was not a surgical procedure, she needed to be sedated to lie perfectly still.  Because of Emma's history of airway issues, doctors worry about mild sedation and usually just recommend going all the way to general anesthesia if she needs to be sedated.  This involves intubation and all the same monitoring that would be necessary if she were actually being cut open ... so it makes a simple scan much more of a big event.

And if you've ever had the "pleasure" of sitting with me while my daughter is sedated in another room, you know I struggle a bit.

I try to be strong.  I try to be patient.  I try to trust and lean into God's peace and tell myself that it'll be okay.  That works for, like, an hour.

But, without fail, I eventually have a moment where I sigh, I huff, I throw something, and I announce "Okay, that's it, I'm ready to have my daughter back now!"

Josh tells me to calm down and be patient, and I think loving thoughts about him when he does that ... or something ... it's a lovely moment for all involved ...

So what am I doing wrong?  Jesus said, "Do not worry!"  He commanded it.  Paul reiterates it in Philippians when he tells us to not be anxious about anything, and both Peter and the Psalmist say to "cast our cares on the Lord."  So what is my problem?!?

I thought about it a lot yesterday, and I think a piece of the puzzle is pride.

Care and concern involve doing what is within my power to do and trying to learn what is available for me to know so that I can care for my daughter the best I can, being the mother God would have me be.  But anxiety and worry ... they are different. There are two big reasons I worry:  Either I want to know what's going to happen in the future, or I want to change something beyond my power to change.

Anxiety hits me when I aspire to either be all knowing or all powerful or both.

Anxiety is the result of me thinking I should or can have those characteristics of God.

And when I don't recognize that I am not God ... that's pride ...

Peter says, "Humble yourselves," and then in the next sentence he says to "cast your anxiety on the Lord."

Said another way, "Becky, recognize that you're not God and recognize that He is."

Father, forgive me for when I worry because I try to take you off your throne.  You are God, and I am not.  Thank you for caring for me

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oh, to return to Narnia!

This is a post without an end.

If you haven't read C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, it will make no sense, so you could just stop now

(OR YOU COULD GO AND READ THE NARNIA BOOKS!  I'm just sayin ...)

But for the sake of this post not being a spoiler, I'll just tell what happened and hope the moral of the story is as obvious to you, dear reader, as it was to me.

:)

Charlie has never read the Narnia books.  Last week, I asked him if he'd like to read them, and he asked me why I liked those books so much.  I told him it was because they were written by someone who loved God and believed in Jesus and wrote his hero in the stories to be like Jesus.

So last night, after Emma was in bed, we settled in for me to read the book to him.

We read to the part where all four children are in Narnia.  Tumnus has been arrested by the White Witch's Secret Police, and the Beavers are telling the children that, though the situation seems grim, all will be put to right when they go and find Aslan.

Now, I haven't read a story out loud to Charlie in a long time.  He's big now, you know, and likes to read books on his own.  He's a boy who loves a good story of adventure, where after a long, hard battle, the good guys win.  So I am LOVING reading this to him.  He was clearly concerned for the childrens' safety when they walked into Narnia and found Tumnus' cave had been torn apart.  I felt his arm tense beside me as the children decide whether or not it was safe to follow the Animals away from the cave to go and talk to the Beavers.

But then I read the Beavers' description of Aslan.  The Great Lion, Aslan is the King.

Charlie interrupted me, "Oh!  I remember you telling me about him!  He's like God in the story, right?"

"Yup"

"Well, then, that means he's going to be INVINCIBLE!"

And with that, Charlie settled into his spot on the couch, happy and certain that victory could not be far off ...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The power of Story

I'm thankful for the power of Story.  I think there's a reason that the Bible is, primarily, a book of stories.  I think God is much much bigger than I will experience during my time on earth, but I also believe that He will reveal some of Himself to me through my story here.  And the bit of Him that I get to see through my mortal eyes may be not the same as the bits of Him that you get to see through your story here and now.

Which is why I think it's so important to share our lives, and to tell our stories.  If we're limping toward Jesus together, we miss out if we are silent.  And I can tell you my opinion about theological issues all I want, but what authority do I have to do that?  I can speak with some authority, however, about my Story.

Story is where (as my pastor would say), "God can swing a home run with a broken bat."

I would be the broken bat in that analogy :)

But that's okay.  He's a pretty awesome God who has given me some pretty great stories to tell.

Want to hear one?

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Princess.  She had a very handsome Big Brother, and he was her Knight in shining armor.

One day, the Knight in shining armor spent almost the entire day of his summer vacation going to appointments for the Princess.

And yet, when Princess Mommy (a daughter of the King) found them snuggling together and interrupted for long enough to take a picture, the Knight looked up and smiled and said ...

  "I'm lucky"

I praise my God for the tender and compassionate heart he has placed in my children.  All good gifts are from heaven above, and I am thankful!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

To make much of ...

Frankly, you need to get over yourself.

Maybe life's pretty good for you right now ... you can show the world a person who enjoys blessings, but who is still totally obsessed with God.

Or maybe life is tough right now, and everything feels like a struggle ... you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard.  

To be brutally honest, it doesn't really matter what place you find yourself in right now.  Your part is to bring Him glory

 - Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Silence felt holy, there, for a little while.

It felt obedient to not share

Some aspects of my blogging were starting to feel self-indulgent and self-aggrandizing, so I stopped.

It felt like a good way to make sure I was squelching pride.

And I'm not saying that it was wrong to take a break.  And I'm not saying that I'm a vastly different person than I was when I was blogging before, or that my blog will be any different than it was before.

I'm just saying that I've pondered the idea of motivation quite a bit lately and decided maybe it's time to give myself permission to come back here :)

A podcast sermon I listened to today struck a chord with me with the following idea: "Sometimes pride can manifest itself in using your gifts to impress people instead of to serve.  And sometimes, pride can manifest itself in NOT using your gifts - if you are not using your gifts because of a fear of what people will think or say, that also can be a form of pride."

Oh

Ever had those moments, good ones or awful ones, where you just want to shout it from the rooftops?  "God is Good!  All the time!"

This is my rooftop :)

And ALL the time, God is good.