Friday, August 31, 2007

What would you do with $100

So, my first few posts have been mostly about my daughter Mary Lyndsey. She is most definitely my strong willed child. She is alot like me and I'm fairly certain that God put her into my life to teach me how stubborn and strong willed I am. Independence and control issues are big for her and me.

My other child however, is my compliant, easy going child - Spencer. Aside from the whole epilepsy challenge, he is so easy to parent. He has great spiritual insight even at his young age. One time I asked him where he learned so much about God (of course hoping he would say from me) and he said that the angels told him in heaven before God sent him back to us. (That is a story for another day) He has got to be the most positive, optimistic child I know. If you ask him about anything he always says "it was awesome."

Today he brought home some of his first graded papers from school this year. One of the writing assignments from class was "At last, I have saved 100 dollars! I am going to..." I thought to myself, if I save $100 I'm going to the mall... but not him. Here is his answer - "I'm going to give it to the poor and the hunger. And also to the church so they can send it to mishanaryes all around the world and also to my friends." I guess this shouldn't surprise me. Especially after the goats.

Let me explain.
A little over a year ago, after Spencer's birthday, I asked him what he wanted to buy with his birthday money. He answered "a goat." Well, as you can imagine I was a little taken aback and wondered what in the world he was talking about. Was there some new interactive stuffed animal I hadn't seen the commercial for. Upon further prodding, I discovered that in AWANA they were having a contest between the boys and the girls to see who could raise the most money for a missionary family in Croatia (The Belles) to buy goats. They were giving them to needy families and teaching them how to use them to supplement their income with milk and cheese etc.

He had decided that he wanted to give all of his birthday money ($50) to buy a goat. Furthermore, he wanted to have enough money to buy a goat for the Belle's all by himself, so needed approximately $25 more dollars. Thus, his quest began. He started to ask everyone in our family for money to buy goats. And of course, everyone gave it to him. Once he realized that people were responding, he decided he wanted to buy 2 goats and at my mom and dad's 25th anniversary party he proceeded to ask everyone there to give money toward the goats. (Now this is in a small rural town in SC where many of the people in attendance are farmers and several of them told him they would just give him a goat if he really wanted one).

One day we were in Target shopping. I was distracted by something and when I turned around he was talking to a lady who was pulling out a $20 bill and handing it to him. I was at first mortified and ran over to apologize thinking that my child had just asked a complete stranger for money to buy some new video game I had refused to purchase... but the lady insisted that he take the money and explained that she was happy to help buy a goat!

When all was said and done, he raised over $250 for goats and needless to say, the boys won the Awana contest. Later that year, he got to meet the Belles when they came to our church to speak about their program. And... he got to see pictures of the goats.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Feeling Your Pain

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Today was Open House at my daughter's preschool so we had to go "meet and greet" her new teacher. Recently, my husband has been home more so I have been leaving ML at home with him while I go run errands because let's face it... it's just easier that way... and if you remember I said earlier...she is a Daddy's girl. Sooo, today when I announced we were going to the school, she said she wasn't going, she was staying home with Daddy. We both tried to explain to her that she couldn't because Daddy was leaving for work and she had to go meet her teacher and all of her new friends and find out about all of the fun things that were in store for her to experience and learn this upcoming year at school. But, she was having none of that. At that moment, you would have thought her heart broke. She began to cry and say that she didn't want to go to school this year, or make new friends, or learn new things.

Now, this wasn't a cry like a temper tantrum cry... this was a true, my heart is broken and I really don't know to deal with this situation cry. Well, as usual I was running late so I didn't have much time or patience for her breakdown because to be quite honest at that moment it didn't seem all that important. I knew that once she got to the school, she would be fine because she would see some friends from last year, all of the toys in the classroom and be totally happy within the next 30 minutes if I could just get her out of the door.

Well, we struggled out the door and into the classroom where she wasn't pleasant for about the first 10 minutes. Of course once she saw some friends and decided to play with the toys and color - she was fine. However, as we drove home... I was not. I began to feel convicted about the way I had treated her in the middle of her breakdown. I didn't take the time to realize or consider that in a 3 year old's mind and emotional maturity level, her situation was a big deal to her. Her pain was real to her and her suffering was real to her. And I had shrugged it off and glossed over it and moved on to the next thing because I was focused on me and where I was going instead of stopping to comfort her in her pain.

It was like what she was experiencing wasn't important to me, because I wasn't feeling it. I'm not sure if this makes any sense, but I guess the lesson I got from it was that we do this same thing alot with our Christian brothers and sisters - and to those who aren't Christians. We think that what ever pain or situation they are struggling with isn't that big of a deal, or that it seems silly or trivial, or that they will be just fine if they will just get on with it. But... we don't take the time to see things from their point of view, to consider what their feelings are at their emotional or spiritual maturity level. Maybe what ever they are going through or struggling with isn't a big deal from our point of view, but from theirs it is. This has reminded me to stop focusing on what I have to get done, and comfort others when they need it. After all, Jesus always comes to comfort me with whatever breakdown I am having on any given day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Learning from Everything

I am leading a Bible Study at church called The Frazzled Female by Cindi Wood. It's a good Bible Study and I have already taken it once and led it once before, so this is my third time through. I still learn something every time I read through it. The first week's study starts out in Luke 10 with the story of Mary and Martha. I've heard this story so many times and have sometimes beat myself up because I so identify with Martha and I really want to be a Mary. (I have also read the book "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" which I highly recommend for all of you Martha's out there.)

When I say that I want to be a Mary - what I mean is I always want to be sitting at the feet of Jesus. One of the questions Cindi discusses in the first session is "What do you consider sitting at the feet of Jesus?" I used to think this was just having a routine hour or more quiet time everyday, and was pretty convinced that it was never going to happen for me. There always seemed to be too much to do and I lacked self discipline. I must say I have gotten better about spending quiet time alone with God everyday, but I no longer consider that the only way to sit at the feet of Jesus. Now I try to invite Jesus to be in on every detail of my life and and ask the Holy Spirit to control my thoughts, actions and words and teach me something through every life experience - even the everyday mundane ones.

With that said... let me tell you what I learned from brushing teeth. My daughter Mary Lyndsey hates to brush her teeth. It is a battle every morning and every night. I have tried to logically explain it to her that if she doesn't get her teeth clean, that decay will start and she will have holes that will have to be filled by the dentist. She has already had 2 cavities (I'm ashamed to admit) and she fully remembers having them filled, so I thought that the logical explanation would be enough to persuade her. Not so. Anyway, I have to brush her teeth for her if I really want to get them clean and I have to hold her face and say "look at me so I can get them clean." If she tries to brush them herself, it doesn't do the trick. Well, recently, I spent an unsual amount of time trying to get them brushed (she had somehow snuck into the pantry and got an oreo right before bed time). We had to brush and rinse several times to get all of the black stuff out. Then, she decided she was thirsty. We usually have water bottles handy at bedtime, since being thirsty is a common excuse to put off actually going to sleep but I had forgotten to bring them upstairs. I sent her to the kitchen to get a water bottle and she came back drinking a Sunny D. I couldn't believe it. Here we had spent all this time brushing to get all the gunk out and get clean and now we were going to have to do it all over again... and what's more her thirst wasn't really quenched because she had chosen something to drink besides water.

As I was fussing at her about having to do it all over again I felt the Spirit of Christ say... "Aren't you glad I don't fuss at you when I have to clean you up all over again." I too fight having to have my sins brushed or washed clean every morning and every night. Sometimes I try to do it myself which doesn't do the trick. Having to admit my sin and ask for forgiveness is a hard thing to do but at the same time the easiest thing to do. If I leave the sin, it causes me to decay and leaves holes that can only be filled by the Great Dentist (Hey a dentist is a type of physician LOL I think my Dentist would appreciate being compared to Christ). I too choose things to try to quench my thirst other than The Living Water; and even though I logically know I have had to have holes filled before and I fully remember some of the pain and numbess, sometimes it doesn't convince me to get brushed or washed clean. I am stubborn and don't want to admit when I have done wrong. But Christ patiently, over and over again, holds my face and says "Look at me... I want to wash you clean."

So, sitting at the feet of Jesus for me is not just listening to him in uninterrupted quiet time. While that is a treasure and is great when I get to, it is also listening to him and learning something in every little thing in life... even in brushing teeth.

A Work In Progress

I think I might actually understand the basics of starting this blog site now but it is definitely a work in progress - just like me. As I was trying set it up, and getting a little frustrated because I couldn't get it to look exactly like I wanted or seem to to make it do what it was supposed to do with the commands given to it, I wondered to myself if that is how God must feel when he is trying to get me to look like Him and I am not following his commands. The song "He's Still Working On Me" that I sang as a child came to mind. If you aren't familiar with this song, it goes like this...
"He's still working on me, to make me what I ought to be,
It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the Sun and the Earth and Jupiter and Mars, How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me."
He sure is patient with us. You'll have to be patient with me too as I figure out all this computer stuff. More to come later.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"It's A Wonderful Thing to Learn Something New"

My mother in law who is a retired school teacher of 35 years always says this. She is an advocate of life long learning. Everytime my son resists listening to some of the "words of wisdom" she is trying to impart to him on any given visit, she always tells him "It's a wonderful thing to learn something new." I usually agree with this statement except for right at this moment while I am trying to learn how to set up this blog site. I am most definitly claiming the scripture "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 More to come once I figure this all out.