Monday, August 13, 2012

God is necessary, in all things

Does it ever seem like lessons, sermons, and even songs seem to follow a running theme?  For the past few weeks any time I stop long enough to pay attention to anything - besides Veggie Tales music in the car - the messages have been connected and drawn me back to remember God's necessity in and authority over all things.  I sat down yesterday to piece it all together.  The reminder is always important, so I thought I'd share with anyone who cares to read...

So many people I know have been dealing with infertility.  I mentioned our brief struggle trying to get pregnant on here once.  I can only imagine the grief and pray for the struggling.  I know women in the middle of it wonder at their bodies' inability to do what they think it's supposed to do.  Husbands (if they're like mine was) want to fix it and probably want their wives to be able to focus on anything but the baby they so desire.  A few weeks ago the sermon reminded me of these things.  A guest preacher spoke on God's ultimate plan of salvation throughout Scripture, and he used examples of infertile women God used to bring His people back to Him.  I've never once made the connection.  Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth... all women who had begged for a the gift of a child.  All women who eventually received a child who changed history.  Reading their stories, we see God's amazing plan of salvation unfolding, and in it God proves to those women (and anyone else who reads scripture) that (1) God gave them their children, just as He gives all good things.  (2) God is necessary, in all things.  In other words, we cannot work out life for ourselves, no matter how basic it seems.  (I need to make this my mantra!)

Whatever our season is - especially one of darkness - the place to be is in prayer and worship, even when we don't feel like God has been hearing what we're saying.  I've especially struggled with this in the past.  Sometimes I have to be intentional about making sure church doesn't become just the place where my husband works - instead of my place of worship.  Even when the last place we want to be is with other believers, that's the best place for us, for a whole host of reasons.

When we say "Your will be done," how honest are we being?  When we pray for specific things (healing, safety, a "normal" child, a season of happiness, etc.), are we giving God a list of what "I need"?  Or maintaining a posture of obedience, sincerely realizing that whatever the Lord's will is, it is better than anything we could know or imagine?  Sometimes a season of pain or struggle is what we need to learn or remember, and to live out the fact that
"My grace is sufficient for you" and
"My power is made perfect in weakness" 

Job 13:15 says "Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him."  God's authority is based on His identity.  We are called to trust and obey because of who God is, not what He has or is doing.  We have to learn who Jesus is, so that knowledge of Him can continue to transform us into who He created us to be.  John 15:1 -12 teaches me I should make this my prayer for every day:

Oh Lord teach me how to abide in and reflect You in all things! 

My child is apparently learning things, too.  This morning she saw a wedding on TV and told me she was going to get married to Jesus.  :)  Shouldn't we all be in the mindset of becoming Jesus' bride?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A two-year old's stalling tactics...

You may think that the stalling tactics of a two year old are immature or innocent.  Surely we shouldn't use the word "tactic"?!?  That implies manipulation.  Well, naive friend of mine: my gal excels at manipulation!  She has worked it into an art form!  Already!

Sleeping has been a struggle for us for a while now.  Even before we converted her crib into a toddler bed (when she climbed out about 3 months ago), A was avoiding napping at all cost. She doesn't scream to get up or cry when we put her down.  Instead she sings every song she knows, names every person in our family, calls out the names of her friends, calls out the toys she sees around her room... you get the picture.  If I'm in the right frame of mind, it's pretty fun to sit in the hall and listen to her.  Especially now in her big-girl bed.  She can stand up (which earns a spanking if we catch her), hang onto her bed rail, and see herself in the mirror.  I first discovered her doing this, dancing back and forth, and telling herself she was pretty.  (Ugh!  I mean, she is, but have I created a monster???)  So you see, naps are a rarity these days.  If she happens to fall asleep in the car she's good, but otherwise she's up for almost two hours playing, and once every few days she actually falls asleep.  It's exhausting to this pregnant mama, and a little nerve-wracking to imagine no naps when I have a newborn, too.

Back to the stalling tactics.  These include but are not limited to,

"I cannot take a nap."  "I don't yike to go to seep."  "Can we wead da Jesus Bible 'gain?"  "I yove you."  "Want to give baby sister a kiss."  (This involves kissing my belly button, which is apparently a portal through which the girls can talk and hug and kiss already.  Ha!)  "Will you say prayers 'gain?"   "Mommy!  I'm going to stand up!"

You get the picture.  How can you say 'no' to saying more prayers?  Apparently even a spanking is preferred to sleeping.  Our girl is definitely a mess.  And - not to brag - but how smart to use Jesus to stall?

I used to think my frustration about naptime was selfishness on my part.  That I just wanted that time alone, to catch up on email or shower or start dinner in peace or whatever.  That's certainly true at times.  I just cannot be convinced that a two year old doesn't need a nap!  Especially when she's whiny and grumpy all afternoon afterwards.  Or when she wakes up the next day like this:
Anyone with morning hair like this has had some desperately-needed sleep!  I'm at a loss on all future naps.  Sigh.  Perhaps she's just my girl in all respects: too nosy or interested in what's going on around her to calm down.  Heaven knows she's every once of mine in other ways...