Thursday, October 25, 2012

FASTING FOR BREAKTHROUGH

I've started a couple posts that haven't resolved themselves.
Got me to thinkin'... Since Breakthrough is asking us to fast from something in order to pray for discernment for them regarding the Family Plex initiative - why not use all this wasted thought energy and channel it into something more productive?
So, that's what I'm doing.  They have a page on Facebook entitled  Breakthrough's 40 Days of Discernment:  http://www.facebook.com/Breakthrough40Days?fref=ts
It is here where prayer during this 40 day time period which started on Monday, Oct 22, will replace writing and thinking of writing.
This is the photo of the land that we are praying for - the place I would love to work one day, and the neighborhood that has taken hold of my heart, as I come to know the people who call this place home.
See you in December.
- unchainedkimijane

Monday, October 22, 2012

2022

The question came up at the dinner table this weekend:  "What will you be doing ten years from now?"
One said - "I will be driving!"
Another said - "I think, maybe, I'll be in college, right?"
And the other said - "I don't know, I don't want to think that far, finishing college, I guess..."
As I was thinking about my answer while listening to theirs, my grin turned around because I hadn't thought about this one before, and I was baffled.  "I will be fifty and at home with my young driver."

I wanted a better answer.

Ten years didn't sound like that much at first.  Then I went backwards and realized that it really is a long time:
Ten years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom with an almost three year old, and a two month old.  I was happy with two girls, and would've gotten the surgery to firm that up had the option been there in the delivery room.  I would have said something like, "ten years from now, I will have an almost teenager and a ten year old, and I will be training for triathlons all day long while they are in school."

I never would have dreamed that I would have a face full of dimples greeting me at 6:30 am every day 

Or, that I would have an awesome large dog who would be the man of the house

That I would enjoy a good cup of hot tea over a bottle of Pale Ale 

That I would rather stay home and read a book than go out at night 

That I would no longer be comforted by Chubby Hubby Ice Cream, but by a song called "10,000 Reasons"

Or, that I would rather be hanging out at a homeless shelter than swimming, biking or running.  

I wanted a better vision of what my life would look like when I am fifty.
I sat on that for a couple days, then I realized that I don't.

I don't want to be able to know what I will be doing in ten years because I don't want to limit God.  I want to put my whole life in His hands to do whatever He wants to do because He has shown me that His plans for me are way bigger and cooler than my own.   So now, I'm living expectantly about the next ten years, and as I go into my Monday, I am pretty jacked about that!



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Using the "F" Word As A Christian

I don't swear.  Anymore.
At one point in my life, as a sophomore in high school, when I was dating a bad boy who had a potty mouth, I, of course copied him because he was cute.
Now, it's a turn off.
EXCEPT on Fridays, when I'm cleaning the house while the kids are in school and turn on Pandora radio super loud (so I can hear over the vacuum) to Mumford and Sons, and "Little Lion Man" comes on.
I love that song - and I love singing the whole thing - even the "F" word in it!  (when no one's listening)
And I don't feel any guilt when it releases itself from my lips.
I had to figure out why.
There's actually no parental advisory on it, either.
If you haven't heard it, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLJf9qJHR3E

Then, the other day, when my girls had been beefing and were sent to sit on the stairs together to discuss what they had each done wrong and what they could have done differently, it came to me.  Rather than blaming each other (which is always easier), I would actually like them to sing the chorus of this song to each other.

"But it was not your fault, but mine,
and it was your heart on the line,
I really f-ed it up this time,
didn't I, my dear..."

They say one of the hardest things to do is admit when you are wrong.
When we stop pointing the finger at the other person, we take responsibility, we no longer give them the power to control our happiness.
I think a lot of marriages would experience the power of forgiveness, friendships would be restored, and I also think our kids need to hear us admit when we're wrong, too.  I could sing this to my kids after yelling when I shouldn't have, or forgetting to pick them up from soccer...

Don't worry, I'm not teaching this phrase to my kids, though it would be nice to hear every once in a while - maybe in twenty years.

King David would have totally sang this to God after his Bathsheba and Uriah incidents!  He says it in Psalm 51:4, "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight."

If we did this - it would be revolutionary.

I think this phrase appeals to people because of the vulgarity in it - while it forces us to humble ourselves at the same time.  For some, I think it would be easier to apologize this way because of the word involved, and admit when we've hurt someone's heart.  For others, it would be easier without the word.  At least with the passion they display in singing it - you know it's genuine.  Not just a lame  "sorry, now can I get off the stairs."

But when we confess like this before the One who made us...

"Count yourself lucky - you get a fresh start,  your slate's wiped clean
God holds nothing against you
and you're holding nothing back from Him.
When I kept it (my sin) all inside
my bones turned to powder...
The pressure never let up...
Then I let it all out;  I said
"I'll make a clean breast of my failures to God."
Suddenly the pressure was gone - 
my guilt dissolved,
my sin disappeared."
Psalm 32:1-5 (MSG)

Chains are broken and we are free!  And we can then sing a different song...  "Amazing Grace".



Monday, October 15, 2012

Over-Exposed?

I've been reading a book called One Month To Live, by Kerry and Chris Shook.  My kids saw the title and said "how sad", but it's not - it's exciting.  The subtitle is "thirty days to a no-regrets life".

The idea is that if you only had one month left to live, how would you make every day that you had really, really matter?  The authors are encouraging us to live lives of passion, living out our dreams, forgiveness, thankfulness, integrity, risk, and authenticity.

After my last post, I was feeling a bit exposed.  It's amazing how people can put signs in their yards or bumper stickers on their cars, but when I lay out my thoughts,(and re-worded a few afterwards to clarify a little), it felt as if I were showing too much.  Then I read a chapter from this book today that made me feel a little better entitled: "Last Call".  The first quote is by Tim Keller:

"Say what you want to say 
when you have the feeling and the chance.
My deepest regrets are the things I did not do,
the opportunities missed and the things unsaid."
(Guess I won't have that problem.)

Here are some more lines from the book that helped ease the pain of possible over-exposure:

We have to risk vulnerability to the point of possible rejection. 
Been there, done that.  Yes, I often wear my heart on my sleeve, but at least you know what you're getting in to.  I think it's easier than hiding.  The more honest you are, the less you have to remember, right?

We have to know how to take off our armor so we can connect with others...  and to be willing to risk our hearts and reveal who we really are.
When we drop our shield, our true selves are displayed.  One of my very first posts was titled "Naked", and it was about the freedom that exists when armor is dropped - so, I guess, this is where I was headed all along.

So, out of the thirty chapters, I've got one covered.  And, I'm starting to think that it's good.  Discussion on deep stuff is avoided.  Most people are afraid of it because when someone disagrees with us, our pride gets in the way and we want to argue rather than discuss.

I think it's a pretty cool idea to live like we're dying.  Maybe with the exception of getting rid of all your belongings and making sure someone will take over your parental responsibilities.  I don't think I'd go climb any more mountains in these thirty days (but I'm glad I did).  I think I'd pour into my kids like crazy, making sure they know everything I could possibly teach them, but especially LOVE.  I don't think I'd read any more books.  I'd write a lot - while my kids are sleeping, instead of while they're trying to play with me.  I think the stratosphere sky-diving that the Austrian dude is gearing up for would be pretty cool, but with thirty days, I don't want to waste so much of it floating in the sky by myself.  I would pray like crazy for my friends and loved ones.

The Script wrote a song called "Live Like We're Dying".  I just heard it while walking around in a store this weekend, and never realized that it means the same thing as this book.  Kris Allen, from American Idol sang it, so it's escalated a bit.  In it they say "Sometimes we hide behind skin that's too tough".  Sloughing off tough skin and dropping armor are synonymous.  They both lead to freedom and a new re-juvinated spirit to live like we're dying!




Friday, October 12, 2012

The Dilemma...

Since I was eighteen and able to vote, I've been heavily influenced by an extremely right-winged male for my choices at the pole.  Now I am older, no longer influenced in the same way, and have grown a heart for the poor.  This has left me to make some big-girl decisions within the next month, one of which, I want to make wisely.  I don't like ambiguity, so I'll spill it:  I'm passionate about marriage, life of the unborn, and helping the poor.  I've read Shane Claiborne's and Jim Wallis' blogs, and I really enjoy them; but since Jesus isn't running for President, we don't have that choice.  Since some things will be made law, and some things are up to our own choosing, we need to figure out which ones should be which, right?

The Ten Commandments: 

No other gods, only ME
No carved gods/idols
Do not misuse the name of the LORD
Observe the Sabbath
Honor your father and mother
No murder
No adultery
No stealing
No gossipping
No coveting
(Exodus 20)

"All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need."  (Acts 2:44-45)

The way I see it - or, the way God seems to be showing me, is that whatever goes against the Ten Commandments should be a law (marriage & life of the unborn).  But whatever does not, should come from the heart of a believer, or, "the church" (taking care of the poor).
God gives us free will.  He does it so that He will be glorified.  
He is glorified when we choose to let Him live through us by living a life of worship - and taking care of "the least of these".  The believers that are talked about in Acts 2 chose to do this out of their own hearts.  They gave their hearts to the Lord, and He tuned them to what makes beautiful music.  Yes, He wants us to take care of the poor, and if all of the church tithed, we could!  But, more importantly, He wants transformed hearts that are willing to spend themselves, because this is where true life is found.
So, it looks like I will be leaning right once again...
Feel free to comment.  Politics has never been my strong point, but I'm trying, and my ears are open...


Monday, October 8, 2012

Not A Fan

So, one of my new favorite authors/bloggers/Christian woman, Jen Hatmaker, recently wrote a blog post entitled "Not a Fan" - she was needing some comedic relief from her more serious posts on world hunger and stuff like that, so she went this route, and encouraged others to do the same - for a lighter read - I like that idea.
The first thing she was not a fan of was party favors, and since I completely agree, I have tried to come up with my own list of five more.  By the way, the directions were for stuff like ketchup that comes out too fast or something like that, nothing deep allowed.

1)  Not a fan of carpool pick up.  I do a lot of carpooling.  Usually to and from soccer practices.  And I always take the "to" shift.  I can get away with this because I have younger children, and there is that bedtime thing, but it is so much quicker to just dump the kids out of your car instead of fearing being the last one at pick-up, so you show up 10 minutes early, just in case they get out early (which they never do) - and end up waiting for 20 minutes because they're running late.

2)  I am not a fan of meetings.  I don't know if it's a pride thing or what, but I really feel like these are a waste of time.  Any time I head a committee (one) I do the email thing now.  Meeting at Starbucks is nice if you really enjoy the people, but it ends up being more like a social than a meeting in that case (and those I don't mind).  But stuff like coaches meetings, and board meetings, I would rather read a book.

3)  Not a fan of water slides.  I am amused at the parents that really enjoy going down these with their kids.  I actually think it's great that their wired that way, but I am not.  I actually got a nasty bump on my back from being a wonderful mom and going down one of these with my kids this summer.  Really served as a great excuse to get me out of further runs - "remember what happened to my back last time, sorry, can't".

4)  Papayas - they are gross.

5)  Aerobics classes.  I guess they are not called that anymore.  They have more trendy names like Zumba, cardio-fit, or something like that.  I can't keep up.  I tried it once - never again.  By the time I figured out the move they were doing, they switched onto something else and my brain worked harder than my body.  I sweat much better when I don't have to think about the next move.  Put me on a bike, no brains required.

Okay, there's five.  I'm sure I could come up with several more, like watering plants, but that would require reading longer, and I am not a fan of long blog posts.  It was actually pretty fun to write a post with no point, maybe I'll throw some more in every once in a while to keep you on your toes.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My 2 Minute Rant

I was at the grocery store earlier this week and an acquaintance who I had not seen in almost a year practically ran up to me like a cheerleader and her bouncy little voice said "Guess what?  I got divorced!"
What??
Is this what the world is coming to?
I hesitantly said "I'm so sorry", because that is what I say, and what I feel, when I hear this sort of news; but she said "No, it's okay, it's better!".
She has several kids.
It is not better.
I've heard that when you get fired up about something - whatever makes you mad - gets your goat - is what you might be wired/made to do something about.  I did not know this about myself.  I just can't get it out of my mind.

Maybe my life seems better to people because God has proven Romans 8:28 to be true - I was faithful, I did not initiate leaving, I did all I could to preserve our family, and God has taken that and worked it out for good.  But He still says "I hate divorce." (Mal. 2:16)  And, so do I.

So, since the Leave It To Beaver blog for my married friends was such a hit; maybe this is a good angle for me.
It's not the better way -
It's not the way it's supposed to be -
Fight for your marriage; it will be worth it!
And the next time someone comes up to me and gleefully says "I'm getting a divorce", I just might have to slap her around a bit, because, according to Ezekial 33, that's my responsibility.  And I can inform her that according to statistics, ten years after a divorce, 80% of individuals regret it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sunbathing

Baby oil, Sun-in, Coppertone #4, Lemon juice, flipping over every thirty minutes.  Yes, my mom taught me well; but this is not the sunbathing I am referring to.

More like the warmth you feel on these cool autumn days in Chicago when you're outside freezing and the sun pokes out on you, and you just sit there soaking in as much warmth as you can.  Or, the lit-up grassy patch that you go sit in because it's ten degrees warmer than the shady spots.

"God is a gentleman, He does not force Himself upon us"
Like the sun.  It warms us if we let it.

The other day, I had the pleasure (not), of dealing with a temper tantrum.  Hang with me - it ties in.  After my own time-out, I attempted an embrace and got the Heisman push away.  You know how it is; they just want to have their own fit, so you pretty much just leave them alone until they're done, waiting for them, listening from afar, the entire time.

"God's love never commands a change, instead, it produces one." 

"The only way self images and attitudes can be changed is by letting God love you." 

- Carl H. Stevens Jr

Did you know that the command to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is not seen after Jesus died on the cross?  Weird, but cool, huh?  He just wants us now, to abide in Him.  We are not commanded to love Him, but instead to receive His love, because the more of His love we sit down for and receive, the more we will fall in love with Him!  (Joseph Prince)

The temper tantrum for a child, is us standing in the shade when the sun is right over there - Or us just doing our own thing, running around without rest, while the chair to sit in and let God love us and fill us with love for Him is empty.

The song by David Crowder Band, Let Me Feel You Shine; is one of my favorites right now.  They sing a bunch of songs about how much God loves us, that, when I just sit and listen to, tend to take me to a happy place.
Breakthrough has a way cool huge picture on their wall similar to the one here, of the sun piercing through the trees.  I think that says it all.  When we can feel God's love breaking through the forest to us - we encounter a breakthrough of our own.  He changes our hearts.  He doesn't force it, He stands on the other side of the door with arms wide open waiting for us to be done with our temper tantrum.  And when we let Him love us; we are Sonbathing.  Stay in the warmth; enjoy the song below.  If it doesn't work, Utube it - it's worth your time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzz-BdlItA4