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Monthly Archives: February 2009

Warning! There’s a Plank in Your Eye (and a spec in mine)!

3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  Matthew 7:3-5

So this week at counseling is my personal one-on-one time to admit all my sins. Wow am I totally psyched about that. Through my preparations for this session, I’ve discovered just how spec-like I have considered the wrongs I’ve committed against my husband…especially compared to what he’s done. Right? I mean I’m the LEAST to blame for our struggles and conflict right? I think not. I’ve learned that my specs are not specs but planks…they really are. Why? Because  despite the “size” of my sin, it still hinders me from seeing clearly the sin of others which, in turn, makes my sins planks (or logs…either way very big).  I’m blind.  Who am I to judge others’ sin when my sin is so blinding?  My views of others’ sins (i.e. Bloke’s) are distorted.  This is not to say his sin is greater or lesser to contribute to our difficulties…only to say that I am not one to judge.  Only Christ can righteously judge our sins because he is the only perfect person.

You know you’ve done it. In a store most likely. You’ve seen the lower class lady with five children who are all barely clothed, no father (or at least no ring on her finger), and pregnant standing in the check out line. Not to mention the children are probably unruly and dirty. Or the rich woman with all the nice, name brand garments and accessories who is snooty, rude, and generally not very nice. You know you’ve thought it if you haven’t said it.  Maybe not either of those specific examples but there is an example in your life somewhere. You know that, at some point, you HAVE judged someone. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I am 100% certain that the only person in history that did not unrighteously judge someone was Jesus. Everyone else, you’re guilty.

Another point is, while you’re judging that other person, are you looking at you? How do you look to others? Are you blameless? What are YOU doing that others can judge? And how does it feel to be judged? I’m sure you know that too. I know I do. As a Christian, it is my job to look at ME first…my sin, my witness, my example. I have to be right with the Lord AND with man. This is not to say that I give in to worldly things or influences. It’s only to say that I should make every effort to be at peace and remain at peace with everyone.

This is a difficult task. Analyzing and admitting who you REALLY are and what you’ve done and recognizing that your sin is great is daunting at best. Even worse, everyone wants to be right. It’s nice to be right, right? You can flaunt it, be smug, and even use it for later conflicts. No one wants to admit that they’re wrong. However, God commands this of me: love thy neighbor as thyself (Matt. 22:39)…the golden rule. Playing target practice with your fellow man’s sin is not really loving them. It’s also not really loving YOU.

So, while I’m pretty nervous about admitting my part, my role, in the separation of Bloke and myself, I’m glad I have the opportunity to do it. And I’m glad that I see my sins now (no matter how small they may seem to others even) as planks and not specs.  And it’s kind of relieving to be able to say that.  I get to once again see the redeeming love of my Savior guide me through this process and bless me at the other side of it.  I know that my marriage will benefit from the task of hashing through areas of my life that need work and my contributions to our marital struggles.  I know this because, by confessing, I am following the commands of the Lord and He promises to bless those who believe and are obedient to Him.  I know this because He has blessed Bloke and I already.

1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Matthew 7:1-2

So if you have a spec in your eye, you may want to reconsider the view.

plank-in-my-ey

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Musings of a Multitasking Mom

So Tuesday rolls around yet another time, but this Tuesday is different. My car has a gas shortage and my gas envelope is also short which makes traveling very far rather difficult. The wonderful Wal Mart Supercenter is about 25 miles from me…SO it’s off to Food Lion and the little Wal Mart here in town.

Last week, the Bean and Peanut had a head butting contest and, well, the Bean lost. She got a black eye which is slowly but surely dissipating. These days, if I am only getting a couple of things in a store, I put the Bean in the big part of the cart because she’s really active and likes to jump around and such….less hassle for me, more fun for her. So I take the Bean and Peanut into Wal Mart. I put the Bean in the big part of the cart and while we’re looking around and old woman is talking to the Bean in a high pitched sweet voice that would irritate a deaf person. The Bean is looking at her like she’s nuts. I mean, babies are just little people. Let’s talk to them as such. Well, her voice wasn’t as annoying to me as what she said. She said, “you’d better sit down before you get another black eye.” WHAT?!! I mean I’m sure she meant well, but really. Come on. I’m all about it takes a village to raise a child, but I really want to know that village first (i.e. my church…any member pretty much at my church has the right to correct my children). It really “grinds my gears” when perfect strangers come up to me or said child and correct me or them. I’ve had people tell me the craziest stuff over the years and each and ever time, I go bonkers. Needless to say, we moved on…and no, I didn’t smile politely because she’s my elder.

We get home with groceries and said Wal Mart stuff and I am once again slapped in the face with the task of quickly unloading all the groceries before the Bean and Peanut either 1)break something 2)hurt the dog 3) hurt themselves or 4) hurt each other. Well, I’ve been on a winning streak where I’ve managed for quite a few weeks now to get them in without a complete disaster. Today, was the breaker. The Bean adds to her black eye a beautiful shiner right on the forehead. How you ask? Whilst playing in her old infant car seat on our patio, she tipped it over and smashed her sweet little head on the concrete floor. Now my little Bean is a tough cookie, but even she had to admit that hurt by screaming at the top of her little lungs. Loving sister Peanut hurriedly disappears out of sight as if she did something wrong…hmm, must be reflex nowadays.

Anyway, so after some comfort from Yours Truly and a little lunch, the Bean was sufficiently satisfied. And after such a distressful morning, she was so tired that she passed right out in her chair! Another first for the Bean!

Well, I’m signing off to continue the jet set, fact paced, on the go lifestyle of a mom that I’ve so grown accustomed to…

black-eye-and-boo-boos

asleep-in-high-chair

Day of Unrest – A Look at Sundays

I love Sundays. I love going to church and worshipping God with all of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I love fellowshipping with them. I love the fact that I know my children are surrounded by others that love the Lord and serve Him. I love the singing and music. I love the teaching, Sunday night Bible studies and programs. I love seeing my heavenly (and kind of earthly too) family. I love everything about Sundays. But it is absolutely THE busiest day of my week. It is certainly not a day of rest. It is replenishing and nourishing to my spirit, but not really restful.

When I was a kid, Sunday was definitely a day of rest. We went to church, but our church was so small that they rarely had evening events, much less services or Bible studies. We came home from church. I remember stripping down out of my lacy socks or tights, dress, and patent leather black shoes and putting on comfy clothes (something I still regularly do…love my comfy clothes). I would sit down in front of the little TV in my room and watch Shirley Temple movies or some other black and white classic while my mom fixed a typically nice Sunday lunch to be eaten at the earliest 2 pm. My dad would watch football or baseball depending on the season or he’d read and listen to oldies classics on the radio. There is a distinct smell that I associate with my childhood Sundays too. My home. My family. Comfort. Rest. My mom would often take an afternoon nap after we ate, leaving the dishes and clean up from lunch until later. And if it was spring…oh, wow. We’d open up the windows and let the fresh breeze in and our whole house would smell wind blown and sweet. Everyone rested on Sundays….even the animals couldn’t be bothered to get excited about anything.

What I have found important as I’ve grown older and been through many different seasons is that I don’t think God cares too too much about WHEN your rest is as long as you take it and as long as you congregate with other believers to worship him. Whether they are the same day or different days. And I think God would want to know that whatever day our rest is on (for me it’s usually Friday), that we actually enter His rest as well. I think it would be pleasing to the Lord to be grateful for the rest He provides. For me, my quiet spiritual and physical rest….my personal and intimate time with God comes on Friday. The girls and I watch movies, read the Bible, sometimes cook muffins or cupcakes. I get my alone time with the Lord. We rejuvenate from the week and prepare for the delightfully busy weekend.

How sad to be a Christian and not enjoy the rest of the Lord, the peace that surpasses all understanding, the rejuvenation of mind, body, and soul. How much sadder if we do and don’t thank Him for it. NOT resting is actually disobedient to the Lord. I, personally, like to be busy. I don’t need a lot of down time. I like doing things with my children and for other people and spending time with friends and family. I LOVE parties, get togethers, events (especially anything involving good food), and being on the go. But I still need rest…not just physically, but spiritually. How can I be a good witness for Christ and glorify Him if I am not resting IN Him? Sometimes, I really miss those childhood Sundays where my rest was on Sunday. I reminisce often and wonder how my children will one day view their childhood Sundays. I think as long as they can say that during any given week they worshipped and adored the Lord and that they spent time with Him alone and in Him, they’ll remember their Sundays as sweet….if not all that restful.

Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:11

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. Hebrews 4:1

My Every Day Valentine

So after my Valentine’s post, something rather significant happened (Husband promised he hadn’t actually read the previous Valentine’s post). I invited husband over (again! : )) yesterday to watch a movie…his choice. He shows up with my favorite Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, cookies for 3 year old, and “baby” goldfish for Baby! And (drum roll please) flowers! On top of that he brought a movie that I wanted to see. It was a good time.  He even stayed to help get the girls ready for church.  It seemed like a normal family…even though it’s not.

flowers-from-sam-2

I love these times we’re having…times to learn about who we are NOW as individuals in Christ and as a couple in Christ. Though we have times where it seems like we’re making no progress, it’s been many of our moments alone where we realize that we actually are. It’s so exciting to see what God is doing in each of us and our relationship every day!

My non-Valentine Valentine was awesome. It told me a lot more about the New Normal. It showed me more about Husband’s desire to love, forgive, talk, communicate, and strive for righteousness even when he doesn’t feel like it. It was proof of that desire. While he certainly didn’t NEED to prove it, he did anyway (and probably not on purpose which is even better).

We still certainly have ups and downs, conflict (resolved and unresolved), and, unfortunately, still a long road ahead, but I’m consistently thrilled with the changes in both our hearts. I’m excited to see and hear about answered prayers in my life and his. And, while he may not really share this particular enthusiasm, I love being courted again! He did a good job the first time around, but I think it’s even better now.

I see the example of what marriage should be starting to form. I want to please Husband and he wants to please me. Husband is striving to place God first and to find his correct place in the family, and I am striving to submit to husband in a biblical way even though we’re not actually dwelling together.

So on this happy note, I officially have bloggy names for Husband, Three Year Old, and Baby. They are (drum roll again please): Bloke, Peanut, and The Bean. What’s my name you ask? Well to one person only, I’m the Bird, and I think I’m peeking over the wall.

flowers-from-sam-close-upHe will heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3

Musings of a Multi Tasking Mom

Let me introduce you to the new and improved pack n play. It’s mobile, can be made somewhat comfy, relatively safe, and multi purpose…and it lets mommy drink coffee at the Starbucks in Target while having a normal conversation with another adult…without going nuts. It’s the SHOPPING CART (otherwise known as “buggy”)!!

Baby can sleep in it.
shopping-cart-sleeping

Baby can lay down on it.
shopping-cart-lying-down

Baby can generally look cute in it.
shopping-cart-cute-boy

Amongst other things, they can eat, play, and dance in this wonderful self contained little space! It’s fabulous!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, God

I was blessed with the best Valentine’s Day I think in my entire life….yes, including those ever so sweet grade school ones where I received thoughtful cards with Jem, Gummie Bears, and Smurf characters that had been signed in some weird form of sanscript on the back (I can’t say anything really, my handwriting is pretty bad even now). I generally have a strong disdain of the commercialism of the holiday. You know, the cheesy stuffed animals and chocolates in shiny heart shaped boxes….extortionately overpriced cards and flowers. I don’t like that many times Valentine’s Day is the only day of the year couples do something special for each other.

This year, however, was different. My husband and I, in an effort to further the progress of reconnecting and learning how to communicate with one another in a way that glorifies God and that is loving, decided to go on a date.  Mind you we’ve been separated for about 4 months now. I prayed about it beforehand. I asked some of my friends to pray about it. I so didn’t want this to turn into a heavy laden discussion about our situation or to wind up in yet another conflict that needed to be sorted out through more heavy laden discussion (interspersed with apologies). I hoped for a light, sweet, fun night where we laughed and talked about funny things we used to talk about…when we were getting along. I really, quite honestly, wasn’t expecting a lot. But I prayed about it and hoped anyway.

I went to pick up Husband who was sharply dressed and looking quite cute if I did say so myself. And what did he have in his hands? The biggest, gawdiest, most adorable stuffed red dog, a tin of chocolates in a shiny heart shaped box, and an extortionately overpriced card! And I LOVED IT!! I realized that, while most have had some sort of typical Valentine’s Day, I have not…not ever. And I was excited. It was cheesy and cute and wonderful! Husband and I decided to detour the typical steakhouse restaurant meal and opted for the quieter more intimate setting of a fantastic Indian restaurant. And alas we talked….about normal things, sweet things, funny things, a few serious things (not in the category of heavy laden discussion though). We laughed…I mean really laughed. ‘This is different’ I thought. This is fun. Husband was a gentleman, kind hearted and affectionate. Husband paid for dinner and we went to a popular bookstore. I know, kind of odd that we’d want to spend time in a bookstore, but we have had lots of good memories in that bookstore. We hung out, talked some more. Actually we didn’t wind up buying any books…funny that.

And then we went shopping. Husband used to hate shopping. Very impatient. You know a go-in-get-what-you-need-get-out kind of man. When we entered the store, we shopped for him first. ‘He wants to buy new clothes? He cares about what he looks like? This is different’ I thought. He picked out some pretty swanky clothes that really do suit him. At this point I’m thinking, ‘You know, he really is quite handsome’. I don’t think I’ve looked at Husband in such a way in, oh, over four years or so. Alarmingly, he shopped with ME afterwards! He was patient and interested. He took notice of what I was buying. He didn’t rush. He didn’t get that “can we please leave now?” look on his face. He was having a good time. I was having a good time. This new normal is getting better and better! We checked out and it was time to take him home (not before he so sweetly filled up my gas tank because I freaked out about how much money I spent shopping. So he’d rather buy me some gas so I could have that much more in my pocket for whatever I need….so sweet). Here’s where I have to break for a moment.

Three year old baby girl often tells me that butterflies tickle her skin. She loves things that tickle her and she loves butterflies. She thinks they’re beautiful and soft and she loves the way their little legs tickle when they land on her. When it was time for me to leave Husband after a perfect sweet night, God made butterflies tickle my heart. How sweet it was to FEEL something for Husband. How I’ve longed to feel something…anything …for a very very long time…years even. I mean I don’t think I’ve gotten butterflies in over 5 years (and we’ve been married almost 8). I’d forgotten what it felt like. But this time was different than the very first time even that I felt something for him. This time Husband and I both are new creatures and constantly being transformed by the grace of Christ. This time we were blessed. I gave a little bit more of myself to Husband last night. Together, we took off a brick from the wall that surrounds me. But I realized on the way home, tearfully, that it wasn’t Husband and I that removed a piece of my wall of fear and mistrust. My God took off that brick. He just used us to do it….for His glory and for our marriage.

So my Valentine’s Day was perfect. It was filled with hand holding, laughter, corny stuffed animals, curry, quiet moments, and, most importantly, butterfly tickles. And amidst all of that I realized that the best Valentine’s card I got last night cost the most extortionate of prices, the loss of the One and Only Son of God.  God reached out His loving arms and enveloped us.  He made our time sweet.  Our prayers were answered!  Not just a little answer, but a HUGE one as our night wasn’t average, but awesome!  Husband and I are still a long way off from being a true family again, but at least my wall is one brick less than it was and I think it was another big one.  Who knows?  If I tippy toe, I might just be able to peek over.

butterfly-on-finger1

Guilty As Charged

I saw this on someone else’s blog and I can’t remember who’s now….so if you see this I’m really sorry and feel free to let me know who you are! I’m guilty. Very guilty in fact. I mean some of these I’m guilty of on a semi regular occasion:

1. Blindly answering “yes” to whatever my 3 year old has asked me fifty times in a row (this will really be a problem when she gets older)

2. Cutting out tangles instead of brushing them out (less pain for her AND me)

3. Checking my email while feeding my poor baby and realizing that I actually haven’t made it to her mouth with the spoon. It’s actually pretty cute to see her little head bobbing out and in with her mouth open ready for the grovel.

4. Asking my 3 year old if she needs a spanking. I mean what do I really think she’s going to say? “Yes”? Umm. Probably not.

5. Giving baby girl milk that was left in the car overnight because I ran out and didn’t think about it until the morning when we needed it. I mean it was cold outside so it couldn’t have been that bad…and she’s obviously still alive.

5. Multitasking while giving the children a bath. Ahem…as long as they’re making noise I’m not worried. Baby is a natural born swimmer anyway. She’ll save big sister from drowning.

6. Telling 3 year old that the cookies I bought for her are all gone. Mommy ate them. But, yes, we will get some more. Don’t worry, I really did get more.

7. Jamming in the car parked in the car port with the girls strapped in in the back seat.  They love it and so do I!

8.  Letting baby play in the toilet so granddad could get a picture…it was clean…kind of.  Once again, she’s still alive.

9. Letting baby eat the dog biscuit that she somehow managed to get out of a ziploc bag.  Hey, she was happy. It’s digestable.  And it might make her hair grow!

10. Last but certainly not least, I’m guilty of absolutely adoring both my children and loving them to the extreme…even if I might let them do some pretty questionable things.

So, what are you guilty of (that you’re willing to admit)? You don’t have to be a mom to answer!