Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mom, why do you double bag my lunch?

 Why do you double bag my lunch?
 I was asked that question the other day by 
my 12 year old. 
My answer simply, so the bag doesn't rip through and you lose 
your lunch.
 But really why do I double bag?
 I double bag to save him the embarrassment. I double bag to keep him from being laughed at. 
I double bag to protect him that is what it comes down to.
As I thought about it, I wondered, what if?
What if life had a double bagging system? 
Then, I could spare my kids of the hurt, pain, embarrassment, guilt, suffering they will face in this 
life. I wish at times I could double bag my own life. Just an extra layer of protection. When life starts to hurt and that first bag starts to rip you have the other to save your "lunch" from landing on the floor.
That would stop the embarrassment, wouldn't it? 
Then I thought there is another side of this. 
If we always double bag...
 How do we grow? 
How do we learn from mistakes?
 Worse yet, if we always double bag how can we expose whats on the inside? 
What a shame it would be to keep everything hid and not let anyone see our insecurities,
 and weaknesses? How would we ever have a sincere relationship if all they saw was the outside? 
It is through transparency we develop relationships. Letting people in letting them see the messy.
 Letting them know you are human.
I will probably continue to double bag my sons lunch to save him unnecessary embarrassment. 
Maybe at times, that second layer will save him from being laughed at. I hope someday, his bag rips
  letting everything inside falls out. 
How will he respond?
 How will others respond? 
When everything is out there for others to see, that is when the real person inside shows.
The relationships in my life have grown because I have exposed my hurts and insecurities.
 When people see that you have struggles, they can relate and do not feel alone. 
After all, isn't that is what life is about...
Building relationships and loving people; 
when it's not so pretty
when it's not easy
when their bag is tore... 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We are all being "chiseled"

The truth is Bill and I are just two ordinary people. We have never seen
ourselves in a leadership role at church. We never thought we were worthy to
lead. We still feel unqualified. We were fine being people behind the
scenes.  God presented us with a need and we have tried to fill that need.
The last series Bill taught was on God using ordinary people to do
extraordinary things and I think that is what God is doing in our lives. We
are two people with broken pasts who met God has chosen to
use. I was a single mother, Bill a divorced father, together, the married
parents of three more boys. I am not perfect neither is my husband. We love
people but we've made mistakes and let some down. We are human and I know that
on this path God has put us on we will fall, we will stumble and we may get
hurt and we may hurt others. I believe our hearts are true and we love and
we don't take it lightly. We have cried, we have fought and we have asked
God why. We have said this isn't us. We have doubted, but I know I know that
nothing happens by accident. We are being used right here right now for a
purpose. The outcome is up to God. Only He knows. Personally, I wouldn't
want it any other way. This road traveled is worth it if at the end of it,
one person comes to us and says thank you my life has been changed and
through you I found God. In Luke 15, Jesus gives three parables. Each one
refers to someone or something being lost than found. Luke 15:7 says,
speaking of the lost sheep that was found, "I tell you that in the same way
there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over
ninety nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." Luke 15:10 says,
“In the same way I tell you, there is a rejoicing in the presence of the
Angels of God over one sinner who repents." Finally, referring to the
lost son, Luke 15:32 says, "But we had to celebrate and be glad because this
brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

 He is lost and is found!

 The same words you find in that old hymn everyone
knows "Amazing Grace." I once was lost but now I'm found. God's grace is
amazing something only He can offer. He just chooses different vessels to
work through. I remember another song, "I Want to be More Like You," in it
there is a line that says, "I want to be a vessel you work through." That is
who and what we are...vessels. God is at work, not us, we are an empty
vessel.  We are a rock being chiseled into who God wants us to be. I will
tell you, it's hard sometimes an I fall to my knees asking God why? Why me?
Why us? And the answer I get is, why not? I often feel like Moses pleading
with God in Exodus 4 about not being smart enough or having the right words
but God answers me by saying, "Go, I will help you speak and teach you what
to say." He does what He says. He gives me strength. I know I will still
say something and do something wrong. I know through all of this I am being
"chiseled" I am being forced to grow and change and see people how God sees
them. The God of the universe loves them and so should I.

Friday, October 3, 2014

This thing they call life...

is still changing!
Even though I still don't like change, some changes are for good.

One of the biggest changes has been Bill filling in as pastor at our church, The Refuge. I know that it has been a challenge for him. He feels unqualified for the job, as I am sure a lot of pastors do. But, honestly, are any of us qualified? When I became a mom, I wasn't qualified. I was a young girl with a baby, I didn't know what to do with. As he got older, I still didn't know. It was a "learn as you go" process. I don't think I am qualified still even after my fourth one but I have healthy, happy kids who tell me daily they love me. Qualified, maybe not, but I am teachable and continue to learn every day. 

Another positive with your husband filling in as pastor, you are forced to look at your own life. Not that I walk a straight line because I don't but, I have caught myself more recently being more aware. Aware of other peoples feelings, aware of decisions I make, aware of words I say because you never know who may be watching. I have found that small gestures go miles;

*a smile 
*making eye contact
*asking about their day
*a hug
*a kind word
*a card

Most people aren't looking for much,
they want; 

Someone to care 
Someone to let them know they matter
Someone to tell them they are special
Someone to be proud of them

I don't have it all together. I have so much work to do in these areas. I fail, miserably, a lot of the time. But with the changes life has brought my way, I try and I want to try. I want to be different. I know I have a long way to go but God is working. 

God has put Bill and I in this position, we have found it to be challenging at times, but rewarding. I see God's hand working in peoples lives. 

I never would have thought God would choose to use us in this way but He has. We chose to accept the change and challenge, God will do the rest.

Friday, May 16, 2014

1, 2, 3 strikes you're out

Jacob has started his first year of baseball. He really seems to be enjoying it. In the past few games, he has really improved. He has been on a hitting streak. I am proud of him for giving it his best. I hope he will continue to play next year. 

Sports are a big commitment for everyone involved. There are times my life is just crazy but I wouldn't want it any other way. I am glad my kids are active in sports. It is good for them to learn sportsmanship and how to get along with others. I hope they realize that winning is a team effort and it takes everyone on the team to make it happen, everyone is important no matter what position they play.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Sometimes in life I think we try to hard to be perfect. 
I remember as a young girl, my brother's always called me "perfect." I am sure they weren't trying to be mean (after all they did love me, right?). I am sure they were just upset because I always did my homework, not that they didn't. I didn't get in trouble in school not that they did but maybe they didn't get as good grades as me (wink, wink)?

I don't know why they thought of me that way. I knew I wasn't perfect even though at a young age I wanted to be. I always thought one day I will marry the perfect man, we will have the perfect house, our children would be perfect, I would have the perfect career (of course, I was pop star material after all).

So, what is perfect? 
(according to the dictionary/world)
-having all the required elements or characteristics 
-absolute, complete
-make completely free from faults or defects

So, you ask...
Did I find the perfect man? 
I found the perfect man for me.
Do we have the perfect house? 
We have the house that was made for us.
Are our children perfect?
Of course they aren't but they are healthy.
Did I become the next female pop star?
Absolutely not! I can't sing a single note.

Lately, I have been finding myself thinking that if I could change certain things, I would be perfect.
If I had a new bigger house, life would be better.
If I could just have another baby, my family would be perfect.
I don't think there is any thing wrong with dreaming. I think you should always try to improve life. 

My problem has become this;
I find myself striving to have more, be more, do more and in the meantime I lose sight of what I do have. Everyone around me suffers because I feel like I am not "perfect." 
I need to realize that I will never be perfect by the worlds standards. I am, however, in the perfect spot. I am right where I need to be. I have the family I need. I have the friends I need. I have the home I need. 

Perfect? No way!

Perfect seems like it may be boring. Without mistakes, we wouldn't grow. Without imperfections, there would be nothing to change. If we never changed, we would always be the same. I am glad my brothers were wrong. I am glad I am not perfect. It makes my life interesting and worth living.

"I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection"