Coffee Stains…

March 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

So my attitude has been terrible lately….

Bad attitude about events I needed to attend

Bad attitude about potty training

Bad attitude about cleaning my house

Bad attitude about writing

Bad attitude….I prayed my attitude would not infect others. I believe mostly I kept it between God and I…There was that one morning…My bad attitude infected my kids…I am glad for grace…

And I have stained my clothes with coffee the last two days.

Here is what I realized…My bad attitude lasted as long as I kept to myself. My cave, my cocoon. Yes I need time to myself and I need quiet and I need to think, but God created us for community

My bad attitude feeds on my solitary self-centered meditations. It feeds on my thoughts, my concerns, my disappointments. I flounder in self-pity and continue to pet and primp my bad attitude. I deserve better. I don’t want to do that! Everyone else needs to get with the program.

Then it happens…A friend calls, I enter into her world. I listen to what God is doing in her life, her concerns, her frustrations, her fears. I stop looking only to myself, my frustrations and see there is more out there. I discover that the world does not revolve around me. I find perspective in the middle of my irritation. My frustrations do not dissipate. My attitude doesn’t magically get better. However taking my eyes off of me and placing them on the One who has plans for me changes my heart. Why does it take a friend’s difficulties to draw my eyes to Him? I don’t really know, but one thing I do know.

God created community for this…to draw us out of our self-centered little holes and bad attitudes.

What have you learned through community that you couldn’t learn any other way? I can’t wait to hear!

Praying For You: Does it Mean Anything?

March 12, 2011 § 21 Comments

Facebook status: “My last ultrasound showed my baby was small, next test scheduled on Tuesday.”

I commented: “Praying for you.”

Facebook status: “My husband is going on his 50th job interview over the last nine months. Pray he gets this one.”

Many comment: “Praying”

The question is what does “praying for you” really mean? Do we really pray right then as we send our comment into cyberspace? Are we adding these people to our prayer lists (if we have them)? Or are we holding up our Christian card and keeping up appearances?


Or is it possible that “praying for you” is only another way of saying “hugs” or “thinking about you?” It is a comfort term rather than something we are actually doing? Does that term make us sound good and holy when we are not even bringing the concern to the Throne of Grace? Have we gotten too comfortable with praying that we don’t even realize we are addressing the God who created all things, the all-powerful One?

I admit it is easy to say, “praying for you,” and not really mean it. I pray that I never say/write it without actually praying for that person right then…Most often when I say/write it I mean I have prayed for you and as God brings you to mind I will pray for you again. I am not a list maker or a prayer journal-er. I sometimes aspire to be, but it is not the way I am wired.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, most of my prayer time is the “pray continually” kind. As I am wiping noses, observing children, washing dishes, driving, I am praying. So I have my mental list and my mental list may not be as “good” as it used to be. I am becoming more and more forgetful. Ok I admitted it, I like to blame it on my kids. I mean I have more brain cells dedicated to different people now than ever before…My point is that I may only “pray” for a situation rather than truly “praying.” Does the comment “praying for you” hold water when I only pray once?

I know what I think, but I want to know what you think.

What do you mean when you say/write, “praying for you?” What do you think others mean when they say/write, “praying for you?”

Jump in and join the discussion… And thank you Justin Voris for the idea that prompted this post!

Accountability…

February 10, 2011 § 9 Comments

Deep down that word makes me cringe. It makes the inner rebellious child in me stand up and say, “I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do.” It is hard for me to swallow the truth that I need help.

The bottom line is that I like to think I have it all together and I don’t need someone to speak truth in my life except for God.

There I said it. It is ugly. It is pride. I don’t like it about myself.

So for years I had this debate going on inside me. I knew I needed someone to keep me accountable, but who? How do you decide? How do you open up the ugly parts of yourself to someone? I feared rejection, I feared the ugly would make others think less of me. I feared my response when I didn’t live up to the accountability.

So essentially pride and fear kept me from obeying God. As I searched for and prayed for someone to help me. Someone I could do accountability with, God started speaking to me. Here is what I discovered:

Accountability is either specific or organic. Specific is you come to a friend and say, “Please hold me accountable for _____________ .” Then set up times to get together and talk about it or text each other.

The organic kind is sticky, but it happens when you and a friend are chatting. It happens in sharing the stories of your lives together. It must be wrapped in grace and left as a present. Your friend may not accept that present. Your story may be too raw or fresh, but if shared with love, given as a gift in grace, then you can leave that gift with him or her to open and use as he or she feels fit. If your friend does not use your gift of accountability and falls headlong into sin you lovingly speak of God’s grace. We all need it. Grace to get out of the pit we dug, grace to redeem our dirty messed up lives.

Accountability is God’s grace. It is His way of helping us avoid the pits of sin we are apt to fall into. I discovered that my fear was really pride. That my pride was sin and sin is exactly why I need accountability.

Tomorrow I will share a story of organic accountability. I hope you tune in to see what happens.

Do you have an accountability partner? How do you work that relationship out? Is it organic or specific? I would love to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment.

Rethinking Rejoicing…

February 3, 2011 § 8 Comments

Well, I finally figured out my YouTube issue I had yesterday. So now you can see my vlog! Woo Hoo!

Also I want to thank Julie Gillies for the tweet that inspired this vlog!

Can’t wait to hear what you think! Jump in and share!

Eyeballs

January 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

Today was one of those brilliantly sunny winter days. The kind where the snow has mostly melted, but it still reflected the sun and made it seem ten times brighter than it does in the summer. This sun was particularly bright when my sweet two-year-old and I made our way to the post office.

“I put my eyeballs on you shoulda mama,” his voice chirped as I pried him from his car-seat.

I couldn’t believe what I had heard so asked my two year-old a profound question, “What?!”

“I put my eyeballs on you shoulda,” I could hear him smile as he spoke.

Then he buried his head, face  first into my shoulder.

The sun was too bright for his precious eyes and he found refuge in my “shoulda” or shoulder for those of you not yet fluent in two-year-old-ese. I nearly burst out laughing, but decided it best not to make a scene at the post office. ūüėČ

Do you have someone you can put your eyeballs on when the sun is too bright? Write them a note or give them a call so they know how much you appreciate their support.

I would love to hear your eyeball stories! Leave a comment.

The Trip…

December 27, 2010 § 5 Comments

We went to visit family last week. We loaded the van with bags, toys, DVDs (to keep the kids from rioting), and presents. We were nearly done with our trip. About two-thirds of the way to our destination and it happened.

I threw-up…in an empty cup, but none-the-less I lost my cookies.

The next two plus hours were a blur to me. We stopped two times for me. I slept briefly, then one of my sweet girls threw-up in a cup. I cleaned her up and got her clothes changed…Not long after that, my other daughter threw-up. At that point it hit me that I was in need of a bathroom and a cup would not do the job. We made it to the bathroom in time…As we made it to our destination, my daughter threw-up in again this time in a puffs box.

At one point during this amazingly difficult trip, I told my husband that we just needed to stop. Quit, give up. It was too hard to make it. Let’s just find a hotel and stay there for the night. He said no. In fact he said, “We will make it tonight.”

Thinking back it struck me. I’ll be honest this took days and days…I am pretty slow in learning God things from the mundane. Anyway this is what struck me:

That is the kind of friend we need to walk this life of faith. The friend that encourages you when you are worn out, smelly, bloated, and have puke-breath. The friend that exhorts you to take care of yourself and your family. The friend that rejoices in your triumphs and cries with you in your difficulties. My husband was that friend to me on our journey to visit family.

But in life, I need these kind of friends. We all know that there are days, weeks, months, years when we just want to sit down and say, “I quit. This faith, this journey, these difficulties are too hard. I am done.

Oh, but God…God doesn’t quit on us.

He doesn’t say, “They are never going to get it. I am done with them.”
No, instead He says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

We need friends around us to build us up.
To tell us, “You can do this.” (Phil 4:13)
To remind us, “God is with us.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
To keep our perspective, “Life is short and we have heaven waiting.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Don’t have any friends that encourage you like this? First I challenge you to be that friend to someone else. We can only encourage, remind, exhort others when we are in God’s word. So read His word, memorize it, breathe it. Then be prepared to love, encourage, and exhort others.

Second, I encourage you to pray and step out in faith. Seven-and-a-half years ago my husband and I moved to our current location. I was a new mom, in a new location, and I had just given up my vocation. I needed a friend. I prayed for a friend. After a year without really finding one, I asked a woman from church. I told her I needed someone to pray with me and meet with me regularly. She had been at our church for over ten years and she said that she had been praying for someone to meet with too. God knit our hearts together and we remain close to this day!

Finally I will say to you like my husband did on our trip, “You can do this. We will make it.” God is there for you my friend. He wants you to live this life in victory holding on to Him through it all. So rest in Him.

Oh Job…

February 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

So January found me reading Job. ¬†I have to say that Job is a difficult book for me to wade through. ¬†For one, the idea that God points out someone who is serving Him to Satan and says have you considered Job. ¬†Makes me cringe a little. ¬†Ok, it also makes me a bit excited. ¬†I mean the God of all creation and the universe knows our names. ¬†Cares about us! ¬†Pretty cool, but why if Job was such a shining star on God’s team, did God see fit to point out to Satan how well Job was doing? ¬†I mean God has NO reason to do a “mine is better than yours” argument with one of His created beings. ¬†Alright, here is what I know about God. ¬†He is good, faithful, honest, upright, powerful, continually drawing all to Him so that none may perish, the list is endless… ¬†So why would God point out someone who is doing well to Satan? ¬†Maybe, remember this is not Biblical, but my own musing, maybe God wanted Satan to see that a person fully devoted to God would stay strong regardless of his or her circumstances. ¬†In fact many people whose love of God is sincere draw even closer to God through illness, loss, hard economic times. ¬†So maybe this is God’s way of showing Satan that His kids are tougher than they appear. ¬†Maybe it is God’s way of showing Job the strength of his faith. ¬†Untested faith is pretty easy to swallow, but tested faith takes an iron gut.

Secondly Job is difficult because not even Job is actually in the right. ¬†God Himself gets onto Job about his planned response to God. ¬†The arguments he is presenting to his friends about how God has misused Job. ¬†However not all of Job’s musings are inaccurate. ¬†He talks of knowing his Redeemer lives and in the end He (Job’s Redeemer) will stand on the earth. ¬†He says “though He (God) slay me, yet I will hope in Him (God).” ¬†So Job in the midst of losing all his children, losing all his wealth, and losing his health makes these awesome professions of faith. ¬†However he also laments the day of his birth. ¬†No, he never curses God, but Job does accuse God of injustice. ¬†Job tells his wife essentially how can we accept good from God and not bad. ¬†Then he promptly turns around and says I am innocent and essentially claims to be without sin. ¬†This makes it difficult to see when Job is appropriately representing God and His dealings with man and when Job is not. ¬†I most likely struggle with reading Job because I find myself much like Job. ¬†I make huge professions of faith knowing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ¬†Then two seconds later I am begging God for mercy and to spare me from the difficult parts of life. ¬†That is part of my humanity with which I have never come to grips.

Thirdly, Job’s friends are the “I think I have God figured out” sort of people. ¬†They speak half truths or truths that match their understanding of God. ¬†It is like God fits in their perfect little box and when hard times come, it all ¬†makes sense to them. ¬†It has to be Job’s sin…Oh, that I may never presume to know God’s plan for hard times people are going through. ¬†That I may remember that God isn’t a vending machine that you put in a “good” life and out pops prosperity, health, and smooth sailing for the rest of my life. ¬†No, remember from my last post that it is God who makes me holy. ¬†It is God who as Job says gives and takes away. ¬†God knows those perfect plans to give us a future and a hope. ¬†May I seek to honor Him in the good and the bad…May I seek to know Him more by reading even the difficult parts of scripture because God has something for me in those things as well as the easy things to swallow.

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