This morning was one of those mornings, you know the ones I mean, the ones where you'd like to stop and be able to push a rewind button and find yourself with a nice friendly "do over." Or maybe you don't know what I mean, because unlike me you do not have the personality type equivalent to a pull cord toy. Pull cord toy? You know, if you're old enough, you pulled the little white plastic cord out of the back of the toy, car, top, etc and it went off and spinning spasmodically running into or over everything in it's path. Well, even if you don't remember it, I'm pretty sure the description carries through. Let's just say it wasn't pretty.
And actually having a morning such as this was really disheartening after such a great day yesterday. I was so focused and abiding in God's presence, it was palpable. Yesterday morning was so blessed, it wasn't necessarily running any better, but my attitude was. (If only that was something you could always control... oh, wait.) Yesterday morning I was joking with the little kids speaking to them in Seussical rhymes and laughing with them. We prayed in the car on the way to school (which we did today too as every day, but yesterday was better) I was singing praise songs as I walked into the school with the little kids. I know I was because later someone told me I was. I was actually singing all day long yesterday, it was an overflow of the Holy Spirit and the joy of the Lord, leaking out most of the day. We even got through homework peaceably - that's like a near miracle. I'll confess things were petering out by bedtime, but all in all, yesterday was a good day. The Kingdom math was working, I was abiding in Him, and He was abiding me, and the fruit was good.
Ahh but today was a new day, and not in that "joy in the morning" "new mercy" kind of way, it was just plain old different. My problem could probably actually be traced back to last night. I stayed up til 1 am - huge mistake. So this morning I dragged my sorry self out of bed barely able to open my eyes to get to the sink to wash my face hopes in bringing a little revitalization. Yesterday morning I got out of bed and physically got on my knees to give the Lord my day. I prayed and asked Him for the strength I needed. This morning I sort of mumbled to him in my half conscious state and once my face was washed I hit the ground stumbling (sooo not running) and moved at my awkward pace a good 5 minutes behind.
I got on the computer and tried to throw together our DePriest Days Flashback Friday meme and it wasn't exactly going smoothly. I was also updating our accounts on Quicken, the least pleasant part of my morning routine. I got my daily phone call from the hubby and we prayed together and then I got the little kids out of bed. Correction, I had Jacob get the little kids out of bed. Jake got them breakfast (his least favorite part of his daily routine) and headed out the door. I was still battling with my Flashback Friday post when the phone rang. Jake always calls to let me know he's made it to school, but this wasn't that phone call unless he had new bionic legs installed while I was asleep last night. No, wasn't that call at all. It was a call I've had before however, it was the call to say, "Hey mom, my chain broke again." Did I mention I was still in my pajamas at this point?
So I grabbed some jeans and the closest t-shirt, frantically searched for my keys (yes Neal, I really should find a place to put the, every day... I really should...) and yelled directions at my 7 and 8 year-olds who I would now be leaving home alone to "finish getting dressed, throw some lunches together (my other job I was a little behind on) and don't touch each other!" So I call Jake who is on the wrong corner, I tell him to switch corners, which when he is my sight, he clearly has not done. So I get in the lane for the corner he is in, and he crosses to the other corner before I get there. Sigh. I drive in this beautiful big circle and finally drive past him so we won't get killed on the side of the road (reading my mind would be an excellent talent for my children to have.) I get out of the car and we proceed with the battle of getting his bike in the back of my mini van. I drive two blocks and tell him to walk fast because if I drive into the craziness that is the drop off zone, Ethan and Victoria may be old enough drive themselves to school by the time get back to them - if no one has killed anyone that is. As always, my poor "practice kid" Jake gets the worst of my reactions and I just can say a whole lot more about that than I am so grateful for what a gracious and forgiving kid God gave me in Jacob.
So, I get home, put Jake's bike in the garage and Victoria is doing her best to be a little me (without the pull cord nuances), Ethan had locked himself in the bathroom (timing - at least no one was touching anyone...) and I'm off and running. I had to go add a piece of clothing I had missed before I left for Jake, barked assorted orders at assorted children, repeatedly to the one who couldn't seem to grasp the concept of "find socks and put them on!" So whereas yesterday we left with laughter, smiles and singing, I'm just happy to say no one was in tears this morning.
I was halfway to school when the stark contrast between the last two mornings really hit me. And the words in the title of this post came to me. "Be kind, rewind." It's a shame it's not an option. You cannot un-ring a bell, as they say. The careless words were spoken, the bad attitude exemplified, the fires already lit. The best I could hope for was a start-over, because a do-over doesn't really exist. That's where grace and forgiveness really come in.
So I apologized to the little people in the back seat (yet again) and sent a text apology to my oldest (because it was the best option I have before 3 pm arrives) and I had to throw out some kind of love line to the big kid.
After I dropped the kids I got in the car and stopped. I stopped the running and the spinning and the craziness. I asked the Lord to help me, I asked to start over. I gave Him the rest of my day. I put on worship music and focused on the Lord. I headed over to Coffee Bean, because although my spirit was turning, my flesh was still fighting. As I got out of the car I caught my reflection in the window and saw what looked like a huge gray hair sticking out of the front of my hair. I probably grew it out this very morning in all my running about.
I went inside and ordered a large dose of caffeine and sugar, the caffeine to overcome the lack of sleep and the sugar because I still struggle with self-medicating, and sugar is my drug of choice. I laughed with the girls in the shop, who know me well, although usually for a nice sugar free iced tea; and the girl making my drink spilled it all over the counter. I apologized assuring her it was overflow of my infected morning. At least it made her laugh. I got here to work, and am putting this all down before I lose it.
The stress is dissipating, I'm trying to draw near. I am grateful for the grace of the start over, and as I seek to abide, I am counting on the kingdom math of as I draw near, He will too. I am even hoping beyond hope for a song or two to be flowing out of me by the time I pick the kids up from school. I'll have more apologies and hugs for all my children when I see them today, hoping yet again that I will have taught them well a lesson on being real, confessing your faults (I have had SO many opportunities to teach them such lessons!) and the grace of God.
Is it any wonder I am studying both humility and servanthood this week.... first lesson learned, I've got a lot of room to grow! But I kind of already knew that.
(Interesting side note, as I hit the spell check before posting, "servanthood," it doesn't even register as a word, doesn't that speak volumes? When I googled it, it came up only two ways, "Biblical servanthood" or "Christian servanthood." Things that make you go hmmmm....
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I am consumed with what I see,
And much of what has yet to be.
Today my heart is anxious, Lord,
I’m struggling with what to do,
And uncertainty about hearing You.
Today my heart is anxious, Lord,
My fears overwhelm my mind,
And my faith seems hard to find.
Today my heart is anxious, Lord,
I’m not looking where I should,
And so my anxiety is understood.
I’ll turn my eyes toward You, Lord,
Choose to trust You and obey,
And remember You can always make a way.
I’ll turn my eyes toward You, Lord,
For now quietly I’ll wait,
And remember Your love is great.
I’ll turn my eyes toward You, Lord,
Recall Your goodness toward me is sure,
And in You I know my life’s secure.
I’ll turn my eyes toward You, Lord,
And give you my anxious heart,
Which is what I should have done to start.
From You comes hope for life to live.
Not just exist and muddle through,
But abundant life to live in You.
I look forward to the time and day,
When all my fears are gone to stay.
When in Your love I’m truly free,
Never forgetting You care for me.
So I lay it all at the altar again,
Thankful I can call You friend.
That's why by this world I am not bound,
And at Your feet my peace is found.
By Diana DePriest
© May 13, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
What an incredible week it has been. I've been working on the Seeking Him Bible study since last Monday. It's a bible study about personal revival. Just to tell you how profound an impact it has had on me, I am here at Victoria's gymnastics and I worked on the Bible study before breaking out my laptop because... I wanted to. Just like I got up at 6:00am this morning to work on it despite not getting to bed well after midnight last night because... I wanted to.
Initially I really felt like the daily study was almost too light. It didn't require a lot of time, which made going through all the scriptures manageable, and I was enjoying it, but felt like maybe it was too easy. I kept on going though, and eventually on Friday got to day 5.
Day 5 was very different than the first four days, and immediately I (for lack of a better word) felt the difference. It was sort of similar to walking out into the ocean, as you go you feel secure as your feet are touching the ground and you are standing taller than the waves, but then you come to a place where the water is deeper than you are tall, and you find yourself wading in the water rather than standing in it. As the waves come, there are times when you are carried up over them, times when you are knocked down under them and times when they actually move you from the place you are. It is a place that you find both challenging and exhilarating. It's an exciting place to be.
The Day 5 portion is called "Making It Personal" and that's exactly what it did, took the abstract and turned it directly toward my own heart. As I turned to the page I saw the seven sections/questions, each with a scripture to look up. I chose to write each one out. Within each question were 2 or 3 "sub" questions really breaking down the topic and scripture for personal application. I was captured almost immediately, so much so, in fact, that I decided I did not want to try to sit down and answer all the questions at once, I wanted to meditate on each scripture and question, so I did so throughout the weekend, leaving the last couple questions for my time this morning. I was down to the last two, #6 and #7, I was so impressed with the quality that when I turned the page this morning and found questions 8-16, I was surprised to say the least. It made me work through the rest of the questions at a faster pace in order to complete my homework on time. (I'm a rule follower at heart) but I have already determined to plan better for next week. Since the study is weekly with only 5 lessons to be done over seven days, I will spread out the deeper question of Day 5 over the fifth, sixth and seventh day of each week. I found them really enriching, thought provoking, encouraging and convicting. If you are reading this and you are not a part of the group doing thew study based on a week's experience I would encourage you to jump in, or at least put the study on your short term "to do" list. It really has been that good.
So that's the editorial portion of my post. Now for the discussion portion which is being shared with the other bloggers going on this journey together. This week the discussion is being hosted here. From her page:
Here are the questions we'll be discussing for Week #1.
~Before beginning this study, what did you think "revival" was? Has your view changed? How? I believe I had an accurate perception of revival, but I really liked the quote from the book. "Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin, and a hunger for His word." - Del Fehsenfeld Jr. I think it accurately described what I was beginning to feel just in this first week of the study. What has changed is my understanding of the intensity of the stirring of revival. I had no idea how compelling it could be. It's very exciting.
~What things do you tend to hold on to for security, even though they could easily be taken away? I think at times I forget my security is solely in the Lord and I get focused on things like our bank balance, our jobs, the family business, even my husband. It is not a constant struggle, but when I am struggling it's because I am so focused on the state of those things, and I forget that God is bigger and better than them all, and the only reason I have any of them is because of His grace and goodness.
~What does the idea that God initiates revival in His people tell you about Him? What does it tell you about yourself? The first thing I think of when I read this question is the verse in James 1 that says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (v.17) It makes absolute sense that God initiates revival, it is true to His character, which is loving and gracious, the God of the universe drawing us to Himself, or in revival drawing us unto Himself in a deeper or greater way. It reminds me, yet again, that His love for me is not based on me or whether or not I deserve it, but on His loving nature. It reminds me that He cherishes me, and it makes me want Him more and want more of Him. It makes me grateful to know Him and grateful that there is always more of Him to know.
So anyway, the "rule follower" in me hopes I haven't broken any rules by discussing more than the three questions (with my commentary above) and that it's not a problem that I am posting a day earlier than scheduled, if I wait until tomorrow it will be really late in the day. I am so looking forward to starting the next chapter of study!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
It's Mother's Day. I'm sitting here alone watching The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. I am a huge fan of both this movie and the first Chronicles of Narnia. The experience of watching the first one was quite profound. We took the family to see it at the drive-in because I thought it would make the intensity less frightening for the little ones. When we went and saw it I found myself sitting in my lawn chair, cuddled in my blanket and weeping as they were sacrificing Aslan. Even as I write it now, it stirs something in my spirit.
This movie, Prince Caspian is even more intense than the first. So much so in fact that I have decided not to let my little ones watch it all for now. The scene where the White Witch is in the ice trying to entice the Prince, to give her just "one drop" of Adam's blood. It caught my breath, and I love when Prince Edward comes from behind and stabs his sword through the ice to force her imagery, and her enticement to be broken. Prince Edward has learned his lesson, he won't even "play" with the enemy, he knows it must be destroyed. It's a powerful imagery.
But the scene that moves me the most is with little Lucy, who throughout the film has stopped and looked when she heard Aslan's voice calling out to her. She kept thinking she heard him, saw him, but the other's would grab hold of her and tell her she was mistaken, so she would "shake off" the thought and move along. Then now, the scene I've just watched, she is rushing through the forest seeking to find him at all costs, and when she finds herself in grave danger, suddenly Aslan appears. With a mighty roar he stops her, leaps over her and destroys her pursuer.
The next bit of dialogue moves me almost beyond words.
In joy and relief Lucy runs to Aslan and embraces him. She tells him, "I knew it was you, the whole time I knew it, but the other's didn't believe me."
Aslan responds to her and asks her, "And why would that stop you from coming to me?"
I remember hearing that line the first time I saw the movie, and how it stopped me, took hold of my heart. It made me think, how many times had I allowed other people and things stop me from coming to Jesus. Lucy's answer was simple, she was afraid to come alone. She wanted to know why Aslan hadn't done things the way he had before, come roaring in and saving them as he had before. Aslan assured her that things never happen the same way twice.
Lucy asks Aslan how things might have been different had she responded to his call rather than to her fear, and I think out of grace Aslan simply tells her that they can never know "what could have been," but can only move forward from that point to what will be.
It gives me so many things to think about in just that one simple scene.
Have you ever found yourself in that place? The place where fear and emotion stopped you from walking in obedience? You hear the call of the Lord, but you do not heed it because you cannot understand the reasoning, it doesn't fit your interpretation or thought process of the way you think things ought to be?
What was your response? Were you able to walk in the victory of obedience? Or did you have to look back at a wake of consequence and ask, like Lucy, what could have been. It's a terrible question to have to ask.
My pastor has been teaching a series about "Living in an Upside Down World." It's been all about how the world we live in, and the world we belong to, the Kingdom of God, have very opposing ways. Last week he spoke about our position in Christ, and what it is to be... the position of a slave.
We studied about the freedom that comes from being as a slave, obedience without question, to a Master who loves and cares for those belong to Him. If any of you reading this are doing so without a Christian world view, I apologize with the certainty that I have offended you, but what you must understand is that there is a security and strength that comes from knowing to Whom you belong. Having the heart of the slave, and the obedience that goes along with it means never having to look back and wonder, "what might have been."
The fact of the matter is, we are all slaves to something. Even if it be to our own will and desires, something drives us all. However there is hope in choosing Whom you will serve, and knowing His heart towards you and His plan for your life is good.
I am a servant of Christ. I long to move and to grow ino the place of truly being a slave to Christ. I long for the time where I will allow nothing and no one to keep me from following Him when He bids me come. I long for the day when my obedience is absolute, and my desire to serve and obey Him is overwhelmed by every other thought, emotion and fear. I am free, for the Son has set me free, but I long for the day that I walk in the fullness of that freedom.