There are days my ears ring nonstop. Days that someone at every point in time seems to need me. And days that I think if I hear "hey Mom!" one more time, I might hide in the closet and have a minor cry fest.
There are days I feel just like this: (and I in NO way support the show Family Guy - I've just seen this clip multiple times and find it entirely fitting for this post).
It's days of constantly hearing things like:
Hey Mom, the cat threw up in the floor.
Hey Mom, Anna stopped up the toilet.
Mom! Mom! Mom! Momma. Mom!!!! Can't you hear me calling you??
Hey Mom, there's no shampoo.
Hey Mom! Anna's poop is green. Come look!!
Hey Mom, there's a hole in my shirt.
Hey Mom, did you know that -c-a-t spells cat?
Hey Mom, what's for breakfast?
Mom, I don't feel good.
Hey Mom, we're out of toilet paper.
Hey Mom, can so and so come over....again?
Hey Mom, can you come eat lunch with me today?
Hey Mom, did you know that "stain" starts with the 'st' blend?
MOM!!! Eli made my room a mess.
Hey Mom, don't forget I have soccer practice tonight.
Hey Mom, where's my other flip flop?
Hey Mom, did you wash my white shorts?
Hey Mom, do you want to color with me?
Hey Mom, can we build a tent?
MOM!!!! Anna rubbed her sticky sucker on my arm and got germs on me.
Hey Mom, where's the remote control?
Hey Mom, can I have $1 for the school store?
Mom, why do you have to go to the hospital when you have a baby?
Hey Mom, can we go outside?
MOM!! Anna's making mean faces at me.
Hey Mom, what's for dinner?
Hey Mom, can we have movie night?
But I don't like that shirt, Mom. That one either. No Mom, I don't want that one.
MOM!!! Eli's blowing bubbles in his milk.
Hey Mom, how do you know when you're having a baby? I know you pee on the stick thing, but how does it know? No. How do you know you're supposed to take the test? (Lord, help me, she's only 7).
Hey Mom, can the cat sleep with me?
Hey Mom, can we go to Chuck E Cheese?
Hey Mom, can't you show us grace this one time? Well, I know you did last time, but how about this time too?
Mom. Mom. Momma. Mommy. Mama. Mum. MOM! MOM!! MOOOMMMMM!!!!
It's always something. And most days those somethings aren't of much importance, just of great irritation when piled one on top of the other.
But at days end as things are winding down, there's a sweetness to it all. A precious snapshot that I know I'm going to miss one day. Especially when I'm making my rounds, tucking them in and giving them hugs and kisses for the night.
A: Hey Mom.
Me: Yes, honey?
A: Can you play the piano? I always sleep better when you play.
Me: Ok. Good night, Roo.
A: Good night, Mom. I love you the mostest.
Me: Not possible! I love you the mostest! Good night sweetheart.
Me: Good night Eli.
E: Hey Mom.
Me: Yes, son?
E: I love you.
Me: Mommy loves you too. Good night, Bubba.
And so it is, there is no sweeter name.
Friday, May 17, 2013
There are days my ears ring nonstop. Days that someone at every point in time seems to need me. And days that I think if I hear "hey Mom!" one more time, I might hide in the closet and have a minor cry fest.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
I have scars. And each one of them tells a story.
Like the one on my right arm, wrist, and hand where I fell out of a tree one summer while at the baby sitter's. The mean baby sitter's. The one who would make us stay outside during August, smoldering in the summer heat. The one who tried to force us to eat hominy (which I still won't touch to this day) in exchange for dessert. The one who yelled at me instead of comforted me when I fell out of the tree. And although they're barely visible now, I bare the scars.
How about the one on my left thigh, also barely visible, where after my brother had gone motorcycle riding and went inside, I decided I would try to climb up on it and explore. And being 5 years younger than him meant I wasn't capable of doing that by myself, which turned into my thigh touching the burning hot motor and ripping the skin off my thigh. I have the scar.
Or the time I stepped on one of my dad's tools on the porch and sliced my pinkie toe open. The scar remains.
Or my more recent ones from having Anna and Eli via c-section, from my appendix rupturing and having an emergency appendectomy, and from having my gal bladder removed (it had 30+ stones in it). They remain and they're not at all invisible. They are blatant reminders that I have scars. As are the stretch marks I have from carrying our children.
Yet there are more than physical scars that I carry. I carry the scars of emotional losses and trying times in my life, the regrets and bad choices.
Oddly enough I still remember sitting in 11th grade Chemistry class being asked what I made on our latest test. When it was discovered I was who set the bar, rendering no curve because I did so well, I remember a boy turning to me and saying "Did you know you're an ugly witch." Although the word he used wasn't witch but it did rhyme with it. I carry that memory with me. I'm not sure why. But it remains.
I carry the scars of losing all of my grandparents.
I carry the scars of losing our babies after years of trying for them.
I carry the scars of watching my best friend love her baby a lifetime in the 34 short days she had him. I was blessed to see him, hold his hand and touch his tiny little feet. And I was there watching her honor him and lay him to rest. Oh how my heart has ached for her, wishing her never to experience the pain of losing a child, knowing full and well her pain is so much deeper than mine has ever been, and that brings me to my knees on her behalf.
There are scars. And I'm willing to bet you carry some too.
But one thing you might not know is that I carry mine proudly.
Well, most of the time anyway.
Each scar tells a story. Each scar has shaped me into who I am today, be it in a small way of learning to stay out of trees or not get near hot objects... to learn from my mistakes. Or they've shaped me in a larger way of showing me that in my deepest, darkest, most trying times that He is always faithful. They have shaped and formed me into who I am today.
Scars are seen as undesirable. Associated with ugliness, with pain.
But aren't they beautiful too? The scars on my arm remind me of a babysitter none of us much liked, yet of funny stories of my sister shoveling her mouth full of hominy and running to the bathroom to spit it out and flush it down the toilet, only to get caught and lose her dessert.
The scar on my leg reminds me of the old house we grew up in, the dirt mound next to it that my dad and brother would ride their motorcycles on. All the good times we had there.
The one on my toe reminds me of how much of a daddy's girl I've always been. It didn't matter if he was working on a car or something else, I wanted to be there, even if it meant a sliced toe.
The scars from my appendectomy remind me of God's faithfulness. That we caught it early enough that it didn't have time to fully rupture. That the surgery was successful and that I'm still here.
The scars from my gal bladder remind me of how thankful I am for modern medicine and the relief I've felt since having it removed.
And my scar from my c-sections and all the accompanying stretch marks? Well, those are the ones I carry with the most joy. Do I like stretch marks? Uh, no. But am I thankful that God has made me a mother 5 times over? Absolutely! And while these hands have never held 2 of them and while they're waiting to hold the one I'm currently carrying, I rejoice that God gave me the privilege of carrying each of them. Stretch marks and all.
Do I want my babies back? Yes. I would be lying to say otherwise. I have unanswered questions. I have scars from the cruel things people have said and done. From being in the pit of despair and from watching those close to me suffer.
But those scars... they are some of the most precious to me. Because it's been in those moments that I've grown the most. That God has drawn me close to Him. That He's shown me that I don't have to understand to trust Him. That He's ever present, even with me as I sit in the bottom of the shower crying out to Him for help. He's been there. Going behind, before, and staying beside, hemming me in, showing me how He carries those who are hurting.
And that's beautiful.
Instead of scars reminding us of all that we despise and dislike, what if they reminded us of His love and provision through it all?
Because, you know, He carries scars too. The hurt of all the ridicule and rejection. Being spat upon. Beaten. Stabbed.
He bares the scars in his hands and feet.
And they're beautiful. Oh so beautiful, friends.
They remind me of His immense love for us. The sacrifice He was willing to pay for us even as we were still in our sin.
I love Colton Dixon's song, Scars, and the line that says "Your scars remind us of who we are." Because it's because of the holes in his hands and feet that we can relinquish our scars and rest in who we are in Him.
Scars are beautiful.
Let's all remind ourselves of that and of who we are because of the scars He carries.
Posted by Phoebe at 9:09 PM
Monday, April 29, 2013
I must admit, I've been a bit down here lately. Some of you who are friends with me on Facebook may have deduced as much from me commenting on my bestie's post when she posted this verse:
The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.
~ Isaiah 58:11
The following day she posted another verse and then tagged me in it.
But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength. ~ 2 Timothy 4:17
Might I just sidebar here and say this is one of the reasons I love her so!? It's what friends do. I'm blessed to have her, as well as my lifelong bestie that I don't get to see as often but that also means the world to me. Friends check in on friends. They encourage and uplift. They're there in action, not just in words. This has been true for both of them.
Back to my point. Sometimes life is just plain hard. It slaps you in the face, has you rolling around in the mud and grime of the pity party you've thrown for yourself, and it can lead to you seeing life through blinders.
What are blinders you may ask? Well, there are varying types, but when I think of blinders, this is what comes to mind.
A race horse. One that's wearing blinders. Blinders that prevent him from seeing anywhere but directly in front of him. He's rendered incapable of seeing side to side, behind..... only what's right in front of him.
And that's where I've been. Satan loves blinders. If he can get us to only see the problems in life, then he has us in a place where we're vulnerable (even more so) to believe his lies and fall prey to his manipulations. He can begin twisting our thinking and convince us that life is about things that don't really matter.
Sure, life has thrown us some curve balls. There's a lot going on within our families. A lot of added stress, particularly at a point in my life when I don't need extra stress. But alas, sometimes life doesn't afford us a break. Such is that time.
There are adults acting like children, there are financial burdens weighing on some threatening to consume them, others holding grudges and taking their problems out on me, as if because they have a problem with someone that I should as well. There are situations that appear to be lose-lose, regardless of which path we take.
My phone is constantly blowing up with calls and texts. It can barely keep its charge. I tire of hearing it ring and ding and beep and glow. I tire of holding my finger up to my kids telling them "just one more minute" which turns into 20.
There are those who've offended me and hurt my feelings (most likely unintentionally), causing me to feel left out and unvalued.
There's my need to live a more simple life, in part because of the simplicity and freedom it brings, in part because I want my children following after the Father and not stuff, and in part because I feel God has called us to be more simplistic in our living. And there are times I feel I've offended people, yet it's not about them. And there's proceeding from here and how to best handle the situations that have helped feed into the problem of clutter and the mentality of "I want, I want, I want."
There's being pregnant with Emilee and all that goes with that - you know, hormones and being extra emotional, which only feed in to the other surrounding problems and help my blinders to grow larger and larger. And then there are those that make things worse with their comments. Allow me to sidebar here again for a moment.
If you know a pregnant woman, see one, have any interaction with one: BE CONSIDERATE with your words. Asking if she's sure they have her due date correct is not considerate. Asking her if she's having twins is not helpful. Saying "that shirt sure is getting snug" isn't beneficial to her in any way. We do not need to hear your horror stories. We do not need to hear your unwarranted opinion on what size our family should be or how children ruin life as we know it. All your doing is being hurtful. If you're referencing her size, you're not telling her anything she doesn't already know. In fact, you're only making it worse, causing more self consciousness. Be considerate. Use the brain God gave you. And if you're her husband, it's your job to make her feel beautiful and remind her of the gift God has given you two, to cherish your baby with her, to take every opportunity to feel the baby move and kick. You're the one God gave her to help counteract the idiots in the world. Be that person.
Ahem. I'm done now. Where was I?
Oh yes, blinders.
Blinders leave us feeling under valued, hopeless, isolated, and stressed out. They blind us from the good around us, the blessings that are still in abundance. I hate blinders. When you're wearing them it seems perfectly legit. You have every reason to. And sure, everything I've said is true. It's all going on in our lives right now. But so is soooo much more! So much good. So much faithfulness.
I've neglected to see it because of blinders. I've been overwhelmed, exhausted, feeling like I'm barely present for my husband and kids.
I'm tired. I'm worn out. And when I sent a message to my singing buddy this past week about songs we wanted to do for services Sunday, my heart wasn't in it. I didn't want to sing. I didn't want to be in front of people. I didn't want to think about songs, sing them, or even hear them. I wanted to stay in bed and throw myself a pity party. But alas, as I've already said, sometimes life just doesn't afford us a break. And so we chose some songs and carried on with our week. Days passed and I must confess I never even listened to the songs, much less rehearsed them, you know, until Sunday morning on our way to church.
God must have a sense of humor. And I love how He often works, because yesterday was no exception.
There I was riding on the way to church, listening to the tracks we'd chosen, barely even humming along when Mark asked me "Why aren't you singing?" My reply was simple: "Because I don't want to."
And as the second song began to play, God began moving. And as I sit here typing this, recalling that moment, tears are filling my eyes because of His faithfulness. Because of His divine providence and how He uses ordinary things to bring us back to Him.
The song? How Can I Keep from Singing.
Go ahead. Laugh. I did too. Shoot, I am now. It's funny.
And funny turned to thankfulness as I listened and began singing these lyrics:
And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through
And sing the songs You give
How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing
I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
and I fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
and the saints around the throne
I can sing despite whatever life throws my way!
I can sing in the troubled times, when I lose my step, I can sing knowing He's there, that He'll pick me up and carry me through.
And so I (we) did. I would like to say it was a complete 180* moment. It wasn't. It was a quick change in the right direction, one in which I'm still in the process of turning around completely. But oh how He used that song to help me see.....
To remove the blinders.
He's oh so faithful!!
He's been working through others to show me His faithfulness. My bestie told me someone (a mutual friend) sent her a text asking about me and then committed to praying for me despite not knowing the circumstances.
Another friend that I don't even know all that well sent me a text asking how I was doing.
He's faithful. He has not forgotten, not even for a second.
My bestie constantly reminds me of verses of His provision and faithfulness, prays for me daily (if not multiple times a day), and has patiently listened to me whine for some time now, despite having her own struggles to deal with.
He's here. Ever present.
It's going to sleep at night with Mark's hand resting on my belly, feeling Emilee move and kick. It's waking up from a nap with his hand resting there awaiting her next move. It's poking me to see if she'll kick back. It's his hugs and kisses, assuring me he loves me, that I'm not fat that I'm just carrying our baby, that I've only gained 8 lbs so far. It's him, everything about him and his love for me that reminds me of my Father's love for me.
He's using the people around me to remove my blinders and open my eyes to His goodness.
It's a stranger at a banquet saying "Well look at you. Aren't you as cute as a button?!"
It's Anna and Eli hugging my belly, saying "Hi Emilee. This is your big sister" or "Hi Emilee. This is Eli. You can sleep in my room."
It's everything that I've been blinded to for the past few weeks because I've chosen to see life's problems instead of its blessings.
And brick by brick, I'm tearing the wall down, removing the blinders.
Seeing His faithfulness.
And He's oh so good!
Posted by Phoebe at 1:52 PM
Monday, April 15, 2013
It all happened really quickly. Truthfully, I knew it was happening but
didn't realize the extent. Or the damage.
Of what, you may ask?
Of the clutter in our home.
It may seem a bit trifle but if you'll hang with me a bit, I hope to show you just how significant and important the amount of clutter can be in your life, to those around you, and in the spiritual development of your children.
Seem a bit far fetched? Read on.
I remember being newly married. Not only was I newly married, but we had gotten married, went on our honeymoon, came home and moved 2 1/2 hrs. away from our family and friends for a job my husband had taken. To say it was an adjustment would be a gross understatement. I was adjusting to being married, to being in college at a new university, to living outside my parents' home, to not being near my family, my friends... It was hard.
In hindsight, the amount of "stuff" we brought with us didn't make things any easier. And truth be told, we didn't have that much back then. We lived in a 1 bedroom apartment, yet it was packed to the brim. So much so the shelving in the closet collapsed at one point sending junk all over, game pieces to be found, sheet rock to be cleaned up, and holes to be patched. It was frustrating.
It was always cluttered. Not so much in the living room, but in our bedroom. And I hated it. I couldn't ever seem to be caught up or find a home for everything, so it got shoved in the closet or under a bed or in a corner somewhere.
And I always complained because I hated it. I hated that disorganized feeling. Yet I didn't know the deeper reason of why I felt like that.
A year later when we moved into our 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a basement and garage I thought "Wow. Look at all the room!!"
It didn't take us long to realize that we had more in that 1 bedroom apartment than we realized and now we had almost filled our house. Before too long, there was a room designated as the junk room. If I didn't know where to put something or if I didn't have a home for it but couldn't seem to part with it, that's where it got put. I hated this too. Because a junk room can only be a junk room for so long, particularly if you fill it to the brim or if you have guests that come to visit and need a place to stay. After all, it's incredibly inconsiderate to have space for family and friends and not use it because of an inability to part with things I never even used.
I was forced to clean that room when people were coming for an overnight stay. And then I'd find a home for the things I thought didn't have a home. And you know where that usually was?
Yep. In the garage.
It was a mess. And then fast forward a few years and now we have 2 kids, another one that'll be here in a few months, a cat, and 4 chickens (don't ask).
I thought I had it under control. And for awhile, I kind of did. Once I determined it was absurd to keep piling stuff in a room only to have to clean it out every few months when we had overnight guests, it got better. In part because that room was turned into a nursery. And then when we had our 2nd, the office was turned into another bedroom. And our room? Well, it doubles up as our room but also our office.... and now kind of the designated junk room.
Once the kids got here, it forced us to create a spot for them. And it was great! We had yard sales at least twice a year to just get rid of the junk that came into our home that we no longer had use for or no longer needed or wanted. And certainly with 2 kids (16 months apart at that) we had an abundance of stuff that needed cleared out.
But the past couple of years caught me off guard. I'm not sure what happened other than life and well, one year passed, then another and no yard sales happened. No giving away, donating. And now our kids' rooms are overflowing with toys they not only don't need, but don't play with. Our garage is a storage area instead of a place to park and our room, well, it's not the safe haven, intimate area I'd like it to be. It's kind of the catch all room.
So when my bestie sent me a text asking if I'd like to go in with her to rent a booth at the local flea market, I jumped at the opportunity. And literally, just days later, we had our booth up and running.
Now 250 items later, I'm looking around thinking "I can't even tell I've taken anything up there." And no, I'm not kidding. It's that bad. And the reality is that if you're ever at our house you wouldn't really notice. I can't stand clutter. It makes me anxious and overwhelmed. And so, it gets put in the garage (or in cabinets and under living room shelves). Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, until you can barely walk in the garage. And until you pull stuff from the garage to price for the local consignment sales only to miss the deadline and now it's piled up in our bedroom.... heaping over out of the tote, mounded in the floor around it. And I can't stand it.
So, what's the point of me sharing all that?
Frustration. That's the point.
Clutter = frustration.
And more importantly, clutter (and hoarding) are signs of a deeper heart issue of discontentment. It boldly proclaims like few things can: "I'm attached to 'stuff.'" "I seek my worth out of buying things, acquiring them, or merely refusing to let anything go." or "I care more about keeping this item I never use than I do about giving it to someone who could benefit from having it."
I am not that person nor do I want to be that person.
The bigger question of why I felt frustrated all the time? God calls us to simplicity. He calls us to sell everything we have and give to the poor, homeless, and orphaned. He calls us to love Him above everything else. Above our family, our house, our cars, our I-phones, Ipods, Ipads, Ijunk..... whatever equates to our 'stuff'.
The discontentment I felt was because I cared more about keeping the 'stuff' than living a life of simplicity.. The discontentment was also that God calls us as wives to be keepers of the home. I cannot be an adequate keeper of my home when it's stuffed to the brim with junk. It's near impossible to keep a house clean when it's overfilled. It's a constant struggle of picking up toys, trying to find a home for things that don't need a home or that can't be put anywhere because of lack of space. It's a re-shuffling of sorts and nothing ever gets done.
I refuse to be discontent. I am beyond blessed. And the bigger picture here is what I'm teaching my children.
On one hand, they get it. They understand that there are those less fortunate. They often will make statements about putting toys away for the shoe boxes we fill each Fall to send to those across the world who literally have next to nothing. But on the other. Well, it's not that simple. They have meltdowns when I ask them to go through their stuff and choose things to get rid of. They're rough with their toys and break things and then act like it's nothing because they know a birthday or Christmas, or some other holiday will be right around the corner. And I despise that.
I not only despise that, it infuriates me.
And I'm to blame.
I've allowed too much to come into our home and too little to go out.
So, I'm on a mission.
And the buck stops here.
I cannot expect them to have a heart for others, to live a life of simplicity, to learn and live contentment if we don't model it and expect them to do the same.
So, we're donating things. A lot to our local Pregnancy Resource Center. And we're selling a lot of things at my flea market booth. Might it be a slow process? Yes. I find myself wanting to spend all day, everyday finding stuff, pricing it, and taking it out of our home. Yet I also must balance that with my need to care for my family and be a keeper of the home.
I'm very much looking forward to having less. Less stuff to pick up. Less stuff to dust around and under. Less stuff to shuffle here, there, and everywhere because I can't find a home for it. Less frustration and stress, particularly when having guests over because I have high standards for what our home looks like for guests. It's a matter of ensuring they're comfortable in our home. That they feel welcome. That they know we took time to prepare for them and care that they've come to visit us. And a clean, clutter free home relays all of those things. And the best part? It makes it easier for me because I have less to do.
Less is more. So much more. And not only that, but so many others can benefit from us having less and giving more.
I'm on a mission.
Won't you join me?
Posted by Phoebe at 8:21 AM
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
On the heels of the aftermath of the election, there lies a country divided.
Some are jubilant in their victory. Hopeful for the future. Others, downtrodden and a lot less optimistic about what's in store. Questions remain.
How could this happen?
Can we survive four more years?
And it's in those questions that God has been slowing revealing things to me - even prior to knowing the results. It's amazing how He weaves things in and out of my life and somehow brings them full circle where they all mesh beautifully together.
Today was that day.
I'll be the first to admit. I'm one of the millions left wondering how this could happen. How our country has seemingly abandoned the very principles upon which we were founded. My heart is heavy for the direction we're headed and the price we'll pay because of the stance we've taken as a nation. There's something eerily wrong about an entire party booing God as being part of their platform and then going on to win not only the presidential election but the Senate as well. This from a country of professing Christians.
Therein lies the problem.
Professing something and being something are two entirely different things.
Stick with me here. I'm not on some witch hunt, making judgements that aren't mine to make. I'm simply reiterating what the Bible already says.
"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matt. 7:21-23
Believing in the Master and knowing Him are not the same thing. The Bible says that even the demons believe in Him (James 2:18-19).
There have been estimates as low as 50% (if you can even consider that low) to upwards of 75% of the church being lost. And that's among those attending church. Let's not neglect the millions upon millions of others who aren't attending church and/or aren't professing Christ.
When I take that into consideration, things begin to move from the blur of my confusion into the focus of His light.
Father, they're lost.
And then it all makes sense.
I can recall a time in my life when "judgemental" should've been my middle name. I don't look back on those times fondly and am so incredibly thankful for grace and the changes He's enabled me to make. It was during that time in my life when Mark said something to me that has stuck with me every since.
"Why do you expect them to act any different? Lost people act lost."
And so it is.
At a time when so many people are up in arms about who our president is, very few are as enthusiastic about reaching the lost all around us.
We'll stand on our soap boxes about abortion, gay marriage, supporting Israel, etc. (as we should) yet completely miss the bigger picture. And please note, I'll be the first to admit that I've been there, done that.
And please also note that I'm not linking who you did or didn't vote for with whether or not you're of genuine faith. I am saying that there are lost people all around us and that the church looks an awful like like the world. And I find that to be the bigger problem of the two.
Stick with me as I try to bring this full circle like God revealed to me this morning.
We're so focused on our soap box that we can't see that blame lies squarely at our feet.
Take a minute to let the pain subside. Believe me, it was painful for me too.
We've seemingly equated saying a prayer with knowing the Master. Not - the - same - thing. At all. We have churches full of people who are content to sit in their pew for an hour a week, walk out the door and look exactly like everyone else around them. We have those who are members of churches but for some reason or another choose not to attend. Those who walked the aisle, said a prayer, and yet live with no peace at all in their lives because they missed the very essence of Christianity: that it's about a relationship with the Master - not a prayer - not a list of rules and regulations - not a 1 hr. a week thing. It's a personal relationship.
We've missed the biggest picture of all.
We've allowed it. We're content to sit in our air conditioned buildings with coffee shops and bookstores while millions upon millions of people have never heard the name of Jesus or those who have but have a false assurance of their salvation or else just downright deny Him. They're everywhere. Not just Africa. China. Everywhere. They're in the pews next to us. They work in the cubicle beside yours. They're in the check-out line in front of you. They're your neighbors. Your family members.
Now to bring this full circle. Several days ago I noticed our neigbors' vehicles missing. Their trash can was curbside 2 days before our pick up day. Their ironing board was beside it. I recall backing out of our driveway one day and seeing their car backed up to their front door with the trunk ajar.
They're moving, I thought.
And so it seems. I haven't seen them since. And I'll tell you right now I'm incredibly bothered by that fact. Why? Because here's where it begins coming full circle for me.
We lived next door to this couple for 11 years. ELEVEN years.... and I can't even tell you their names.
Lord, forgive me.
I'd occasionally wave when I saw them in their driveway, but more often than not it was simply about business - getting the kids to school on time, rushing to football practice or a soccer game. It was never about getting to know them and where they are in life. And the sad thing is, I recall hearing her on the phone one day (she loved siting on her back porch talking on the phone) and her saying to the person on the other end how she'd called and asked about information from the Jehovah's witnesses or Latter Day Saints. I can't recall which. It occurred to me that something needed to be done - some action on my part. They were searching for answers when right next door I held the answer and merely had to share it. But I didn't.
I missed the bigger picture. And for that I am truly ashamed.
We can't expect this great nation of ours to be any better than it is when we continually sit on our bottoms doing nothing to change it. When we watch TV instead of read our Bibles. When we skip out on church because we're tired or want to be at the lake instead. When we avoid witnessing to others because it's out of our comfort zone.
Now I'm stepping on toes. And no, I'm not sorry for that.
I am however sorry that I've failed at doing what Christ has called us all to do - GO. Whether that means to Africa, Asia, NYC, Chicago, or to your next door neighbors, we should all be going.
As I woke up this morning with the realization that we have the same president that we had the past 4 years, my mind immediately began wondering what the future holds in store. And it wasn't in a positive light. I got ready for the day, dropped my son off at Kindergarten, then went to spend the morning volunteering at Anna's school. As I stood in the gym watching the kids dance to their morning movement, my eyes filled with tears.
God brought it full circle, clear as day for me.
There stood 100's of children, dancing, laughing, living. And I heard it:
The fields are white for harvest.
They're everywhere. Waiting for someone to tell them about the difference Christ can make in their lives.
And until we're willing to obey and GO we can only continue to expect lost people to act lost and for elections to be given over to the very ones booing the God too many of us merely claim to serve.
Lord, help us make a difference in showing others that You're the difference.
Posted by Phoebe at 10:51 PM