I have been thinking about a conversation Brett and I had yesterday. It started out with a question of, are you happy with our relationship? We both agreed we are not – not that it is bad it just isn’t where either one of us wants it to be. Neither one of us have put it as priority lately. We have let too many other things get in the way and taken priority instead. We agreed to work on that.
Then we talked about our own personal relationships with God. We agreed those are not where we want them to be either, but we have different views on that. Mine isn’t where I want it to be so I feel guilty. My answer I need to “do” more. I need to do more to appease my guilt. I don’t feel I need to do more to make God love me again. I don’t feel like he doesn’t love me. I just feel guilty I am not doing my “part”. I feel guilty, Brett doesn’t, or does but isn’t motivated by that guilt.
I asked Brett how he could not feel guilty. His answer was something along the line of, feeling guilty means Jesus dying on the cross means nothing (ouch). The thing is he doesn’t feel guilt or shame he just accepts God’s grace. I feel there must be some medium in there somewhere.
I often struggle with these two things in my life. I struggle with seeing myself as a horrible sinner instead of someone God sees as righteous, because of Jesus blood on the cross. I also struggle with combining the God of the old testament, with the God of the new. The God in the old testament told the Isralites when you take over a town annilate everyone there, even women and children. So that you will not start worshipping their Gods. That God also wiped out whole families for something a husband/father did wrong. That God is the same God who sent his son to die on the cross for me.
The old testament is full of violence and gore where sin is concerned. Annihilation and sacrifice were gruesome, bloody, gory things. But, so was the cross-it was violent, gruesome and full of gore. The difference in the old testament, it had to keep happening to atone for sin. Jesus death was full and final atonement for all sin.
So, when I put other things ahead of God and don’t read – Jesus blood covered that. When I get mad at work and lose my temper – Jesus blood covers that. When people don’t live up the my expectations and I get angry with them – Jesus blood covered that. When I get jealous and bitter – Jesus blood already covers that. My part, confess, move on, and do my best not to do it again. My part is so easy, that it’s hard for me to accept that is all I have to do. Thank you God for giving me the easy part.
Some honesty this morning, because I believe we all struggle. We can try and make it look easy and make it look like we have it all together, but we are all in the same boat on this earth. We all drag around an old sin nature, some days he/she is more dead than others, some days she is very much alive. Some seasons we have it more together than others. Maybe I am wrong, and the rest of you do have it all together, all the time but let me tell you, I don’t. So, sharing some honest words from my journal entry today.
Good morning God – I sit here on the balcony in Panama Beach this morning. It’s 7:00 AM, the sun is up, and the moon is still out. How does that happen? It’s probably already 75 out and it is going to be over 90 today. This may be the only enjoyable time outside all day. As I sit here on the 20th floor I can hear the waves rolling in and I can see them below. The ocean is one of your creations that fascinates me the most.
The constant in and out of the waves, the constant in and out of the tide. The way you command the waves to stop at the shoreline and they do. Maybe that’s why I love the ocean so much, the constant of it. The rhythm of it. The flow of it. That is what I crave in my walk with you, a constant, rhythm that flows. But, so often like now I am so far from that.
Instead of constant bible reading there is hit or miss when I have the time. There is an old 70’s song by Cat Stevens, called the Cats in the Cradle. It talks about the relationship of a father and a son. At different stages in each of their lives they crave the attention of the other one, but one is always caught up in life. They can’t (or don’t) find the time for each other. They get caught up in the “things” of live, work, school, kids. Things that aren’t bad but things that fill up their time.
I am caught up in that right now, even here at the beach on vacation. I brought my bible, a study book, a journal, a notebook, all with great intentions to get in the word and spend time with you. Uninterupted time. Here it is Tuesday and I just pulled my Bible and journal out of my bag. I have been caught up with walking on the beach, running around, time with Brett (much needed time with Brett), a pleasure book I wanted to read. None of those are bad, but they have distracted me, from reading my Bible, praying, stopping to enjoy time with You. I think sometimes at the beach or in the moutains I get caught up worshipping the creation and not the creator.
There are times God when I just want to feel your presence, but that may be the wrong request. What I really need to be praying is God let me know who you are. So, today God I pray you not only show me who you are, but let me seek to know who you are. Thank You for the ocean, and the wonder of it.
My grand babies have been great blog inspiration lately. I love this video of Milo. He hates tummy time. His Mommy and Daddy joke about him hating it, because they tease about him having a big head. Early on his head measured in the 90 percentile. Chris likes to lovingly call him 91. They are going to be great parents, they can joke instead of becoming offended.
In this video he makes it look like tummy time is such a struggle. He may be right there with Bella receiving an Oscar award someday. He makes it look like it is taking everything he has to lift up and hold up his head.
Sometimes I feel like that. Some days there are mornings I just don’t want to lift my head off the pillow in the morning, and I groan just about as much as Milo.
Sometimes in the mornings when Brett and I walk he will say did you see that? Usually I say no, because when we walk Brett is looking all around, observing everything around us. I am tunnel vision, head down, focused on the road ahead. On how much further we have to go and anything that might get in my way. I keep my head down and miss life around me.
Sometimes my inability to lift my head comes in another form. I can hold my head down from shame or sorrow, from guilt or regret. In those instances, it can feel like my head weighs 90 pounds. Like lifting it takes everything out of me.
One thing I love in this video is KC’s voice in the background. Her lovingly calling his name, encouraging him. God does the same thing for me. When I hang my head in shame and regret, He lovingly calls my name and encourages me. He says here I am look up.
Then that look on Milo’s face when he finally gets his head up and sees his Mommy. It’s the same when I lift my head and know the acceptance and love that comes from a faithful, loving, forgiving Father. Look up child.
It is hard to believe that this little guy is almost three and a half months old. The time really has flown by fast. He has always been fun to hold, he is such a cuddler. Now though he is really approaching a fun age. He interacts with you, and smiles and coos all the time. He recognizes Mommy and Daddy’s face and gives them super big smiles.
Capturing a video of a baby doing something you want them to, is almost as hard as capturing a good sunset or rainbow. You can never do it justice. This video however is my attempt at getting him to imitate, because he is into that now. His first imitation was sticking out his tongue. His mommy taught him that one, and it entertained us for hours. Then he moved on to cooing and blowing bubbles. I taught him the bubbles, you are welcome Chris and KC.
It is so fun to watch him observe your face and mouth and try to get his to do the same thing. He studies really hard, then tries to imitate what you are doing. Then he gets excited with your reaction when he gets it right. It is so hard to believe that at such an early age babies are able to do that, and are so eager to.
What if we were as eager to be imitators of Christ? That is what he calls us do to. Paul tells us in Ephesians, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.” Just like Milo imitates his Mommy and Daddy we are to imitate our heavenly father.
What does that look like for us? For me? For me it means to be more loving. To love God more, to love others more. The greatest commandment in Mark 12, is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. God gave us the greatest example of this by laying down his life for us. By putting us ahead of him, by being a servant.
How can I imitate this in my life? By putting others ahead of me. Those words are easy to say but what do they look like in real life?
When I am sitting on the couch in the evening all relaxed, what if my phone rings and I know it might be a call of someone needing something. Do I answer it or ignore it?
When my wallet has money in it and I see a need it is easy to hand over a $5 or a $10, but what if that $5 or $10 is the last one in my wallet am I as eager to share? What if Brett and I are arguing about something and I feel I am right, but he feels he is too, am I willing to lay down my pride and let it go? What if someone has let me down multiple times in the past, yet they come asking for one more chance, do I give them grace or do I play judge?
Milo is so eager to imitate his mommy and daddy, and tries so hard. God let me be as willing and eager to be an imitator of you.
This girl turns two in just a couple of weeks. She is starting to learn to deal with emotions, and the power of a look. She already has the pouty face and fake cry down to an art. I am pretty sure there might be an Oscar in her future somewhere.
She has started this new thing that when she gets mad at you, or you tell her no, she stomps her little foot, dramatically throws her arms at her side, looks you straight in the eyes and says, “you promised”. Sometimes for more effect she dramatically throws herself on the ground. I am not positive that “you promised” is what she says, but if you listen close to the video it sure sounds like it. Her Mom says she thinks that is what she is saying, but she has no idea where she got it.
Now as Mimi it is all I can do not to laugh when she does it. Because she has the actions down to an art and has perfected it. As I watched her do it the other day I thought. I must look like that to God sometimes. Maybe Bella and I not only share a deep love for macaroni and cheese, and books, and ice cream, but we might have the dramatic “you promised” in common also.
I don’t think Bella has any idea what the words you promised mean. Maybe I don’t either. Because, I think sometimes when things don’t go exactly as I planned, I stomp my foot, throw my hands at my side, look straight at God and say, (at least in my head), you promised. My actions say I am doing all the things I am suppose to be doing, didn’t you promise things would go my way?
But just like Bells, maybe I don’t understand what God really promised, or maybe sometimes I just forget. God never promised things would go my way. He did promise in 1 John 1:9, that if I confess my sins he is faithful to forgive. He did promise in Psalm 103:12, that as far as the east is from the west, is how far he removed our transgressions from us. He did promise in Ephesians 3:18, that his love is wide, long, high, and deep. He also promises me in Deuteronomy 31:6, that He will never leave me, nor forsake me.
The Bible is full of promises from God, but none of those promises say, “Janet if you do your best, and always try your hardest things will always go your way and be in your favor.” Just like in Bella’s case, stomping my foot, and telling God he promised something he didn’t, isn’t going to change those times when things don’t go my way.
Thankful for the reminder that just like I love Bella, and won’t always give her her way (Not always). I do promise to love her, no matter how she might act or react. Thankful God loves me, and keeps his promises no matter how I might act or react.
Sunday morning after church, I was following Bella all around the worship center. We are in the middle of a big renovation, so things are kind of in a mess right now, and she was having a ball running in and out of doorways with no doors.
As I followed her around, so many people called her name as she ran past. Most people there know her. They followed her adoption story, and prayed for her before they knew her. So many helped with a gigantic yard sale as a fund raiser for her parents. She’s kind of like a mascot for answered prayers.
It’s a blessing to see that, to know she has that support even at her age. That’s what church should be, a place of support, for all of us. I remember my kids running around Park Church in St Louis, sharing in the same type of support. My kids like the Lunn and Shaw kids grew up there. They spent lots of hours at that building not just during church.
They learned a lot of life lessons, one big lesson they learned was respect for people in authority. My kids knew that Sunday School teachers, Children’s Church leaders, youth leaders, people in authority, had the right to tell them if they were doing wrong. They knew as parents we were going to probably be behind the person in authority.
In fact, even to this day, I think Chris may still feel a little guilty if he wears a hat in church, or if he were to run through the worship center. Why? Because Lou Richardson taught him and Adam those things were not respectful in God’s house. Did I tell Lou that wasn’t his place to correct my child? NO WAY. In fact, I was probably relieved that someone else was getting on to him instead of me.
When we take the side of our kids over that of authority, what are we teaching them? When we tell a teacher, or youth pastor, or police officer, or soccer coach that they are wrong and our child is right what message does that send? It isn’t wrong to listen to our child’s side of the story, but to always take their side probably is. If your child has an issue with all his teachers, and all his coaches, and then has issues with police and employers, maybe you need to look at the common denominator in each of the situations.
Our kids need to learn to respect authority, even if they don’t always agree with it. Do I always agree with speed limit laws? No. But when I get stopped, I respect the officer who is enforcing it. That’s part of being an adult, learning to respect authority figures in our lives. Things won’t always go our way. They shouldn’t always go our way, we are not always right, and we are not always the voice of authority in all situations. We have to teach our kids that, if we want them to function in society. We need to practice it, by respecting the other people who are authority figures in our children’s lives.
Sorry (actually really not), if I offended anyone or stepped on anyone’s toes. You can ask, what authority do you have to write this post? I raised two adults, that respect authority, and are functioning members of society. Thank you to all those people, who were authority figures in their lives, who helped them become adults I am super proud of.
This is my son Chris, with my grandson Milo. Chris is a very all or nothing guy. I give him a hard time about it. I am always telling him its about moderation. He says he can’t do moderation, it’s either all in or nothing, go big or go home, sink or float.
That is usually frustrating for me. I appreciate his will power but I want him to give himself a break. I realized today why it is so frustrating for me, because he gets it from me.
Have you ever noticed that the things about your kids that drive you crazy are usually because it’s a character defect in yourself? You don’t want to see it in yourself, so you certainly don’t want to find it in your child. No matter how old they are.
I am an all or nothing person. That can be good on some levels, but it usually doesn’t show up as a good character trait in me. When I start something I am gung ho, all on board, ready to go. If I am going to exercise, I am going ot exercise every day, and instead of just walking I need to add weights, and sit ups, and planking, and on and on and on. I go to such extremes that my mind set becomes, if I can’t walk five miles today then walking two won’t do any good. If I am trying to watch what I eat, then I cut out everything that is enjoyable to me. My mind set becomes I ate one small piece of candy today I have blown the whole day, I might as well eat as much as I want. I don’t have an hour to sit down and read my bible, what good is ten minutes going to make?
It also means that I usually burn myself out after about two weeks. Instead of starting out slow and building a new habit, that I can develope as a life change, I start out fast and burn myself out, and give up.
Moderation, practice what I preach to Chris. Set a goal for walking, a realistic goal, not five miles, seven days a week. If I slip up and eat a candy bar, get back on track as soon as possible, don’t destroy what I have done the rest of the day. Don’t waste the ten minutes I have, pick up my Bible, how many verses can I read in ten minutes? There may be one verse that my mind meditates on all day.
Are you an all or nothing person? Cut yourself some slack. Celebrate the victories, and move on from the setbacks, crush the unrealistic expectations, enjoy life.
God gives us things to enjoy (1 Tim 6:17), but all those things must be used in moderation (Phil 4:5).
God don’t let Chris and I pass this trait down to Milo. Let us both be good examples of moderation in our lives.
Thanks to my family for being fair game to my blogs!
Saturday morning as I was running errands I made a stop at Sam’s and Walmart. At both places I ran into two or three people I knew. I stopped for just a short time and said a few words. I probably spent less than a minute with each person I saw that I knew.
As I was leaving Walmart I ran into a man I knew and just briefly said Hi. As I got in my car I thought about that. I thought about the rush I was in to get to the next task on my list. I thought about how many people I maybe didn’t even see, that I knew, because I was checking my list and in such a hurry.
I thought about how frustrated I get sometimes when Brett is shopping with me. He will stop and speak to everyone we know and not just hello, how are you. He takes time to ask questions and then listen for the answers. I am usually already two aisles over.
I know we have different gifts and different personalities. Brett’s gift is servanthood and he is a laid back guy. Mine is organization and I am a type a with a capital “A”. But I can’t use that as an excuse.
I thought about Jesus and how he was here on earth. Jesus was a servant, he washed the disciples feet to show them that. He was also into details, because he made sure everything was set and in place for that last supper. He knew how to be laid back and slow down and he knew how to get things done.
Where do I fall short on this? Jesus knew how to see people. He took the time to look at them, and truly see them. He saw the women at the well and knew what her need was. The woman with the blood issue, he didn’t have to see her to know her need. Zachaus the wee little man he knew his need. Martha he knew her need. The demon possessed boy, the blind, the leper, the lame, he knew all their needs.
It’s the same need that people all around us have today. The need for Jesus. How do we show that? By slowing down. By looking people in the eye. By seeing people as people, not just someone in our way. By taking time to stop, and talk to, and listen to the people we know. By giving someone a hug we haven’t seen for awhile. By smiling at that person we pass in the aisle, the one we don’t know. By saying excuse me. By letting the person go down the aisle before me instead of flying around the corner with my cart. Simple by being kind, courteous, and putting others ahead of ourselves.
It’s the same need today as it was in Jesus day. JESUS. I just have to choose if I am going to show them Jesus or Janet. Janet they don’t need, Jesus they do.
This afternoon Redemption will celebrate the life of William Kinley. In the past twelve months Redemption has grieved and celebrated the lifes of four of our family members, all to the terrible “C” word. Georgia Roach, Stacey Cobb, Mike Edwards, and now William, all people who loved the Lord. These were not people who just showed up on Sunday morning. These were people who served, who were active, who were making a difference. People who were sharing their faith, and the love of Jesus with others.
It’s kind of like pulling your best player from the game, when you are down by one point in the last few seconds. You wonder what is the coach doing? That isn’t the way I would coach, but thankfully I am not the coach.
We as a church prayed for healing in the lives of all four of these people. We prayed for God to remove cancer from their bodies and make them whole and well again, but God didn’t do that. There are some who would say, God answered your prayers. They are whole and healed in heaven.
I don’t feel that way. They are healed and whole again. But, that was not my prayer. My prayer was that God would heal their physical body here on earth. That they would have many more years with their families, many more days, and laughs, and hugs, many more years of serving the Lord here on earth.
We could question and say but, Matthew 18:19, says “ Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” With these four people there were many asking for healing, many on earth who agreed they should be healed. So, why were they not?
1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
Because, we pray selfishly, when we pray for healing for someone we are praying for us. We are praying for that person to stay here with us. Who would choose this world over heaven? Who would choose to be here with us if they could be in the presence of Jesus? We pray for our will, our desire not his. Which is the normal thing do to in this situation.
So, do I feel like God didn’t answer all of our prayers for these four people? No, I feel like we were praying the wrong prayer. James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” It isn’t wrong to pray for healing, I believe God tells us to ask, and to keep asking but we have to pray for healing that is in God’s will.
I even struggle with that, because I feel like if I pray for healing then I am stepping out and asking God for a miracle. I am asking and believing he will do it. I feel like if I add, if it’s your will, on to it then I am adding insurance. As if to say, oh he didn’t heal, it wasn’t my lack of faith, it just wasn’t his will.
It can all be confusing if I over think it, which I tend to do. But I believe John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything, in my name, I will do it.”
I believe God answered our prayers with these four amazing people. We prayed in his name, it wasn’t his will that they be healed here on earth, we selfishly wanted to keep them, but the Father was glorfied in the life and death of each of these four precious people. And my life is better for having known each of them. Georgia, Stacey, Mike, and William you are missed by many.
Saturday morning I woke up with the words from the following song on my mind, “Oh come to the alter, the Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness is bought with the blood of Jesus Christ.” The worship band played that Thursday night at CR, and the words had been on my heart for two days.
As I lay in bed I thought about those words, “come to the alter, the Fathers’s arms are open wide.” My mind always creates instant pictures. I thought of God and I imagined an old man, in flowing white robes with light radiating all around him, sitting on a throne. Then I thought of Jesus and I pictured someone in lowly robes, with long flowing brown hair, warm eyes, and children climbing on his lap.
I know these are not accurate images, no one knows what God looks like. My mind only imagines pictures I have seen, created by others. But those are what I see when I hear the words. I see those two images at the alter of our church, because when I think of the alter, I think of the church alter.
Then I thought about times I have come to the alter. Have I come as a child into a Father’s open arms? No, I usually come as someone dragging a burden. Whether it be the burden of sin, or a burdened heart, with a need for someone else or myself. I usually come downcast, rejected, or broken.
But this song says, the Father’s arms are open wide, with forgiveness. What if I came to the alter, not about what I was bringing, but what I would walk away with. I bring my burdens to the alter and I walk away with forgiveness and peace. That should make me excitedly run to the alter. To those open arms.
For a few years now the desire of my heart has revolved around the following picture. A little girl running to her Father, with outstretched arms and jumping into his arms. I watch Bella run to her Daddy, her Poppy, and her Papa. She runs to them holds up her little arms and says please. Knowing they will gladly pick her up. Knowing they are a safe, loving place.
I want to run to God with unleashed, uninhibited, excited expectations and throw myself in his arms. What about you?