Sunday, March 28, 2010

Living the Resurrected Life

I had the priviledge of going to see Beth Moore in Tucson this past Friday and Saturday. Her theme for the weekend was Living the Resurrected Life. The text was I Corinthians 15, the whole chapter. She had six points, which I will number and then some of them I may go off into further detail.
Because of Christ's Glorious Resurrection
1. By grace, we are what we are.
2. The tomb ALONE is empty.
    Because the tomb is empty, our lives are NOT empty. Anything we experience in this life is for a greater purpose. It is NEVER for nothing.
3. All is proceeding as planned.
    God is a God of perfect order. And He is perfectly creative. And according to II Corinthians 5:16-18, WE are the new creation until Christ returns and makes a new world. We are to show the hope of what is to come. As long as we think like the old person, we will act like the old person. Through the power of the resurrection, we have no excuse to stay in our bondage.
YOU were meant to be profoundly and powerfully free in the resurrection power.
4. Stone-rolling power is ours for the victory
    When we don't understand the how, we don't believe He will.
5. We get to be part of a mystery
6. We'll cheer that death is history
I have to say that one of my favorite things she talked about this weekend, was in the beginning of the chapter where Paul is laying out why we can believe that the resurrection is true, and he lists all the eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after He rose from the dead. As Paul goes through the list, he says Peter and James separately. Now, this is something I never noticed before, but nowhere in Scripture does it talk about these two meetings Jesus had, one with Peter and one with James, except here in I Corinthians. They were personal and private. She goes on to say, that Jesus, in His tenderness, met with Peter alone before He showed Himself to the rest of the disciples in a group, because He knew how ashamed Peter would feel in front of everyone else because of the way he had denied Christ before Christ was crucified. And also with James. James was the half brother of Jesus, and did not believe that Jesus was God's Son, when Jesus was crucified. But Jesus, again, in His great love and mercy, showed Himself to James privately, and their relationship was restored, and James goes on to be in charge of the church in Jerusalem, and when he writes the epistle of James, calls himself a servant of Christ Jesus. What I love about this, is the availability, the desire Christ has to meet us in private, where we are. This just really touched my heart in a deep way. That if anyone is unapproachable in my relationship with God, it's me. All me. He is just waiting for me to soften my heart and let Him in.
The praise and worship was awesome. I just can't say enough about Travis Cottrell and the rest of the men and women who work with him. They are so talented and anointed.
Coming home from something like this is always hard. You feel like you have been given all this information and it takes me a couple hours, usually at least a day, to kind of decompress all the information, let it sink in and figure out how to apply it to my life. And I don't want it to just become a distant memory, I want it to stay active and be present in my life at all times.
I am so thankful that I was able to go. It was great to be able to get away for a night, and receive some good teaching, and the chance to focus on worship admist all the distractions in this life.

Friday, March 26, 2010

March 26

Today, March 26, 2010, was the due date of our fourth child. And those of you who know me, know I am pregnant and not due until the end of July. Nate and I experienced a miscarriage back in August. August 2, 2009, to be exact. For reasons unknown to us, we lost our baby. And even though we are expecting another child, I just felt like I couldn't let this day pass without acknowledging this life that we did not get to meet. The face we did not get to see, the hands and feet we didn't get to touch,  the soft skin and new baby smell we didn't get to experience. But I know that this little soul will be waiting for us in Heaven, and I can't wait to see him or her. We had been trying for a while for baby number four, and when we found out we were pregnant, we were thrilled. About two weeks later, I started bleeding and cramping and knew that there was something wrong. It took a while for me to recover physically. There was something especially difficult in not even knowing whether we lost a boy or girl, so that we could at least name this little one. But there are several things we have learned from this experience. Namely, compassion for those who have suffered the same thing, and there are some women who have suffered the same thing over and over again. And there are some who never can have a biological child of their own. And when I think of those women, I feel so selfish, because here I am, with three healthy beautiful girls, and I am pregnant again. At times I feel so unworthy. But I believe God is faithful, and there is a miracle just waiting around the next bend in the road. It might not look like what we are expecting, but I believe it's there. So to our little angel up above, we just wanted to say how much we love you and are looking forward to seeing you one day, even though we never got a glimpse of your sweet face here on earth.
And to this new little one now moving and kicking around in my belly, we are so very excited to meet you as well, in hopefully four more months. Your sisters can't wait to love on and mother you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Mission of Motherhood

I am reading a book called, "The Mission of Motherhood," by Sally Clarkson. It has been one of the best books I've read on being a mom in a long time. It was so easy to read, and she gave examples from her own life with her four children on how she applied the principles she was writing about.  I just wanted to share some of the quotes that stood out the most to me.
     "Someone once observed, "Christians are like people who are trying to straighten the picture on the wall while the house is burning down!" Isn't that what we as mothers are tempted to do--to waste our energies trying to meet external standards while our children's deep spiritual needs go unmet and unnoticed?"
How true is that? At least, for me. I can become so consumed with how things look on the outside, that I don't always realize that what is important is the heart, and what is going on inside my child, not just their behavior. Your child's behavior is always a reaction to what's going on in their heart. This statement really convicted me about the tendency to worry too much about how my children appear to others, rather then the heart of my children.
     "In my observation, however, many of these experiences are more like day camps than true discipleship tools. They entertain the kids, and the best of them offer some valuable biblical training as well. Yet I know that the real work of digging deep wells in my children's hearts with Scripture, a biblical world-view, issues, of prayer and faith, and Christian convictions is a job for which God will hold Clay and me responsible, not the volunteers at church. And this is a task that is best accomplished day in and day out with our focused attention on each child's heart."
This, too, caused me to step back and really think about how much I am discipling my kids. It's so easy to overlook our responsibility and leave it to our children's club teachers, children's church teachers, and Sunday School teachers, but no, ultimately, we will have to answer for the discipling of our kids. They are our responsibility. And no one else's.
     "I have realized that one of God's purposes for my children is to be his tool for disciplining me to make me more holy! I do not have to be a perfect mom--just an authentic believer. From interacting with my children, I have seen my own selfishness and my lack of patience more clearly then ever before! I have blown it many times with my children, but even these mistakes have helped me to mature and depend on God more than I would have without my parenting responsibilities."
Amen, Amen, and Amen!!!! I have realized this so many times the last five years that I have been thrust into parenthood. This is a constant refining process, and to be honest, most days, I hate it! I hate being reminded daily of my shortcomings and failures. But that's the only way change can happen. And sometimes I need to be reminded multiple times before I grudgingly make change. God really has a sense of humor, doesn't He? He sends us little toddlers to teach us lessons! Mothering is such a humble undertaking. And frustrating. But so worth it.
If you are looking for a good book to read on how to be a better mom, and to use the dailyness of life to teach your children about God, pick up this one.