Sunday, July 14, 2013

A New Home

You may have noticed it being quiet here for a while - again. Life has been busy, but we are about to open a new chapter, and it is time to get back to blogging. God is at work! Come join my adventures in my new faith and family blog: Praying Awake.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

When Life Hands You Mess, Say Thank You

It's been a messy week.

On Sunday, the dog (not our dog...we are dog-sitting) found a dirty diaper in the trash and shredded it. I was thankful for my vacuum cleaner.

On Monday, our one and only household toilet experienced a major clog in the middle of the work day. (Translation: the husband I usually call upon for plumbing issues was not available.) After much fruitless time spent with the plunger and a murky bowl, I was thankful for wikihow, where I found advice on how to get things moving again. And I was oh so thankful for a successful flush.

On Tuesday, I did what I'm always afraid the children will do: I dropped the quart container of yogurt, breaking the lid and smearing yogurt all over the floor, the fridge, and myself. I was thankful for my washing machine.

On Wednesday, my sweet Hayden randomly said his head and stomach hurt, didn't eat his dinner, and then threw up. I was thankful that he's old enough to aim into a bowl; the couch was spared.

On Thursday, Abby found Lydia's unattended bowl of yogurt on the counter and used it as fingerpaint - a fact I discovered when she sclimbed on top of me with sticky hands. I was thankful that the mess didn't spread too far. And I wondered if having yogurt in the house was really such a good idea.

I started to think that I was having a particularly messy week, but then I remembered the lightbulb incident of last Wednesday. A helpful hint for life: when changing a lightbulb, don't drop it. The only good thing to come from a shattered vanity bulb is a spotlessly clean bathroom, which comes as a result of wiping, vacuuming, and scouring every inch of the room for specks of glass. I'm just thankful we don't use mercury-loaded florescent bulbs!

Truly, life is messy. Life with children is even messier. Life with a toddler and her siblings, a borrowed dog, and busy butterfingers is the messiest of all.

The amazing thing is that God loves me - mess and all. He knows every mistake I've made, the next slip I will make with hands or tongue, and the unseen stench of selfish, sinful thoughts. Yet he willingly reached into the murky mire to pull up people like me and make us clean. He loves righteousness more than I love spotless floors and freshly washed sheets, but He has mercy on sinners...even sinful moms who react to life's disasters with less-than-perfect attitudes. Life gets messy, but His kindness and love and mercy don't change. He alone is clean and pure and undefiled by the accidents, incidents, and outright sinfulness of our human existence.

Clearly, I can't keep my home as tidy as I would like. Like autumn leaves on the ground, my floors are strewn with stray socks, Cheerios, puzzle pieces...and now dog hair. There is always a diaper or lightbulb that needs to be changed. And I can't keep my heart any cleaner than my house. On my own, I'm incapable of holiness. Only by God's saving grace can I dare to stand before Him, knowing that I am forgiven.

When life gets messy - and it WILL get messy, even if you're not as clumsy as I am - don't wallow in the rubble. Take a deep breath, pick up the pieces, and thank the One who makes all things clean and new and beautiful.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:3-7

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year's Prayer

Dear Jesus, you came to love the world. And you did.

You loved the sweetly sleeping baby.
You loved the charming, verbal toddler.
You loved the quiet dreamer.
You loved the helpful parent-pleaser.
You loved the convicted truth-speaker.
You loved the loyal friend.
You loved the calm, gentle parent.
You loved the cheerful giver.
You loved the disciplined commandment-follower.
You loved the eager learner.
You loved the joyful praise-singer.
You loved the humble servant.
You loved the good and godly, the clean and beautiful, the obedient, and the lovable.

But you didn’t stop there.

You loved the screaming, colicky baby.
You loved the selfish toddler.
You loved the shy, awkward child.
You loved the disobeyer.
You loved the haughty mirror-gazer.
You loved the moody, rebellious teenager.
You loved the oversleeper and the glutton.
You loved the gossiper and the liar.
You loved the immoral commandment-breaker.
You loved the stubborn arguer.
You loved the promise breaker.
You loved the betrayer.
You loved the emotional mess.
You loved the angry, demanding parent.
You loved the too-busy and the self-absorbed.
You loved the stingy and the inhospitable.
You loved the proud boaster.
You loved the weak and the broken, the unclean and ungodly, the ugly, and the unlovable.

And you still do.

This year, may that love flow through me: love that doesn’t stop at easy, but reaches into the dark corners of difficult to bring light. May I live a life of love, because you did.

And because You first loved me.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:7-12