Monday, July 18, 2011

I am a Pharisee

I am breaking a cardinal rule in my mind. You all are going to think I am crazy and legalistic and the truth is... I am.  Geez, I hate it when I have to admit that.  I'm supposed to be perfect, my life is supposed to be perfect and all my sin is behind me right? If only. Oh yeah, my sin is getting on my computer before "completing" my "quiet time" ... Other cardinal sins are not having a quiet time, another rule I set up for myself was reading straight through the Bible and it was working so well and so swimmingly until I got to all the laws and regulations at the end of Exodus and then I got to Leviticus and it fell apart. So I am breaking another one of my man-made rules and skipping over to John.

Honestly, I'm really weak right now. Not just in my own man-made rules but just in my walk with the Lord. I remember thinking yesterday as I was helping lead worship, "What in the world am I doing up here? I have not been spending time in the Word and prayer, I'm such a fake, I have been resenting my Bible study time and I can't wait to go do this instead. I have been walking straight into sin." I've been really selfish lately. Been holding grudges and just keeping Ben at an arms length. I've been just thinking about me and what I want and if I do anything nice for other people it's only because of what I can get out of it.

So what is the root of all of this? I've been dealing with this for several weeks now. It's been at the back and I haven't wanted to think about it, but this morning I realized it was pride.  Pride in the fact that I could do this Christian walk thing by myself and set up all my little rules and regulations and I didn't need the Holy Spirit to lead me.  Pride to think that I have my rights when it comes to other people and what they can do for me.  Pride to think that I am in control.  Pride that says I am "worthy" or "unworthy" to get up and lead others into worship by myself and that God can't use a broken vessel.

I am shocked to think that my attitudes and actions have been exactly like the Pharisees in Jesus' Day. The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the Jews. They were supposed to be holy men who knew the scriptures and would lead the worship and teach others about the laws and the beauty of God. But pride had gotten in the way.  They set up all these side regulations to "help" keep God's laws. (Hmmmm, this sounds familiar).  When Jesus came he had the MOST judgment for this group of people.  He had the harshest things for them.  Why?  Because pride had built up and corrupted their hearts.  Pride is the number one thing that keeps us from God.  If we think that we can do anything on our own we are dead wrong.  We are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and our righteousness is as filthy rags before the Lord (Isaiah 64:6).

Lord, soften my heart.  Humble my heart.  Let me walk in humility with You.  Please hold my hand as I learn this way of living that is so counter my nature.  Help me Lord, I am in desperate need of you.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

children are a blessing... children are a blessing

This morning I was thinking about how kids are inconvenient. I thought that being married was inconvenient because I had to make sure my husband would be fed, his dirty laundry done, that kind of thing... but I really had no idea.

Do not get me wrong, I am so thankful for my little Levi and this new one on the way, sometimes I don't know what I would do without him in my life... hmmm, probably go to the grocery store a lot faster, run errands during nap time, probably meet friends for coffee at cute little coffee shops, take nice long showers without little hands pounding on the shower door wanting to come in... I used to shower while he took his morning nap, now I try to shower before Ben leaves so Levi will be distracted. Today I missed that window of opportunity and he pretty much cried the whole time. Some of you moms may be asking, "Why not just bring him into the shower with you?" Oh no, you don't know my son. He LOVES water. That is even more stressful for me because we don't have a lot of room in our shower and then when the water goes of he FALLS APART. So I'm standing there wet, trying to get my towel and then he's in a crouched position literally screaming in agony because the water has somehow been shut off. If it were up to Levi the hose, faucet, bath, shower, all those things would be running constantly. We have meltdowns over water activities more than any other thing in his whole life. It is remarkable. So then he's running around wet and naked and crying, dripping water on the carpet and I'm just trying to dry myself off... No, it's easier for me to just take a shower with him crying outside and then he stops when I get out. Much less stressful than trying to catch a slippery, wet 18-month old while I'm just trying to dry off myself. Yes, feel free to laugh at the thought because I am too.

What was I even talking about in the first place? Oh yeah, children, kids... inconvenience. Ask any mom who has had to pack her kid in a carseat, especially when they are screaming and arching their back, makes you loathe cars (I completely understand the safety factor here and wouldn't dare drive without Levi in one, more than anything, it just makes you not want to leave the house).

Other times I don't leave the house are during nap times. This was really frustrating when Levi was taking three naps a day. That was a challenge to do grocery shopping then. I remember just being home a lot.

Okay, that's enough complaining, I'm starting to get on my own nerves now. Sorry about that. The Bible says that children are a blessing from the Lord, that they are arrows in your quiver, I guess that means that they are an asset and a help to you. But I also suppose that means you have to sharpen them and make them straight so that they will go where they need to go. I sit here on my couch, semi exhausted from all the chatter, crying, doing, playing, fixing food... and I think, why am I doing this? I could have chosen to work and send him to daycare all day long, I wouldn't have to deal with this. I could have made it so that I would only have to interact with adults all day instead of baby talk... I guess my answer has several folds to it. Ben and I both had moms who stayed home with us. The whole way through. We decided that if we have children we want to be the main ones to raise them and teach them. Every day I'm teaching Levi not to throw his toy cars, not to hit, to say please, to obey, to not fall on the floor in a temper tantrum, I'm able to pick him up and hug him when he falls and hurts himself, I am able to take him on walks and we point out the birds and squirrels... this is why I stay home with him. I look forward to when we have our next one and I can begin to teach him that the world doesn't revolve around him and how to love his new little brother or sister.

The other reason I am realizing more and more each day is that it's not about me. It's not about what I want. It's not about convenience and me getting my way and life being simple and care-free. Levi teaches me every day that my needs can be put aside... to change a poopy diaper, to fix breakfast, to fix lunch, to put him down for a nap, to just play with him when he's lonely and longing at my feet. Really, I just want to read my book, or I just want to get the house clean, but sometimes these things get put aside so that I can mother my son.

It's hard, this whole parenting thing. It's not for the faint of heart... It takes perseverance, consistency, time, energy, sacrifice... lots of sacrifice. I'm thankful I don't have to do it alone, thankful that I have Ben. Even more, I'm thankful that I have the Lord. What would I do if I could not call on Him for help when I am confused or frustrated? What would I do if I didn't have the plumb-line of His Word to guide me? What would I do if I didn't have hope that things will be better when we reach eternity? I'm tired of living in a broken, shattered, messed up world where things get stolen or wear out? Where people hurt me and I hurt others, I'm anxious to see my Savior and tell Him face to face how much He means to me.

Levi is a blessing. Children are a blessing, a gift from God. Not an easy gift, not a convenient gift, but a good one. For sure.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Help me Lord

This is how my conversation with God went this morning.

"I don't want to do this. I don't want to do the laundry that's all piled up, I don't want to go grocery shopping, I don't want to discipline Levi, I don't want to go to this meeting, I don't want to email these people..."

Just me complaining to God. Ever had a conversation like that? No, I didn't really get much of a response. I don't know that I was listening really. Just listening to me. How does my heart become so selfish?

The good part is that I can present these things to God. I can just throw them at His feet and ask for wisdom and strength. I'm tired and I'm weary, but Lord, help me to take steps of faith. As I walk through the house with the laundry, as I clean my kitchen, as I go to the grocery store... Teach me to walk by faith and not by feeling. Give me strength Lord, I cannot do this without you.