Friday, May 17, 2013

When My Kids Are in School All Day...

I remember when I used this saying to precede something I was dreaming about doing when the days belonged completely to me.  Did you?

When my girls were young and home all day, I used to day dream about training for an ironman when the youngest got into first grade (since Kindergarten is even shorter than pre-school).  I dreamed about dropping them off at school on a 70 degree day very much like today, and getting on my bike all day to ride.  I would be bringing lots of gels and bars and special drinks that cost a lot so I would have enough energy to then get home and put on my running shoes and go run for an hour or so, then I would shower or sit in an ice bath until they came home...  ahhh, the life!

What was I thinking?

I have zero interest in that now that my youngest is actually in first grade. (Don't mind the torn ligaments, inflamed fascia, herniated discs... I guess that helped)
Yes, my life circumstances have changed. But, so have I, thankfully.

Lesson #1 - "A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ's service."  - C.T. Studd
To me, that said - get over yourself; who cares how many miles you rode your bike today?  I created you to work for ME; to make a difference for ME - you can't do it sitting in an ice bath. - God

Now, I find myself planting flowers and mulching (I'm done now, it only happens once a year).  I actually stopped working out at the gym on January 1st  (world record?).  I am enjoying hanging out with a toddler who is not even my own during the days!  And, I bought a new sofa out of nowhere just so I could be more comfortable when my kids ask me to hang out, vegetate, and cuddle while watching "Good Luck, Charlie" (yes, I like it - the show, and the sofa).
Oh yeah, and, instead of becoming a body builder, I want to be a social worker, which I realize will barely pay for the degree itself but I don't care.  And, according to Studd's quote - a lost reputation is better, but if you're going into Social Work - you don't really care about your reputation, so there.


It's all explained in Erwin McManus' book, Uprising - A Revolution of the Soul.  I guess my soul is being revolutionized.  Doesn't that sound cool?  I'm only sharing this because it's not just for me - I'm being paid to sell the book (kidding).  Here's a clip:

"You were created to be free.  
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you're also called to be free.  Yet to experience this freedom there must first be an uprising - a revolution of the soul.  This is exactly what Jesus Christ calls you to.  Your liberation will require you to see beyond the illusion of freedom - free acts that lead to bondage. 
Our freedom must never be about us and us alone.  
Freedom is the gift of serving others out of love.  
This is the freedom that only God can give, where we once again become like Him.  
It is here and only here that freedom exists without boundaries.  You are free to love without limit, to forgive, to be merciful, to be generous, to be compassionate, to risk, to sacrifice, to enjoy, and to live."

Do you see the line that sums up the uprising??  I'll write it again:
"Our freedom must never be about us and us alone, freedom is the gift of serving others out of love."

Lesson #2:  God's plan for your life will always involve other people. (Not my words, but it's been quoted so many times, I have no idea who said it first - sorry)

Translation/message to selfish me, from my Creator:  You think you are free because you can go ride your bike as long as you want to, BUT (big BUT), you will not be free until your world is bigger than your tiny self!  You will not realize this until you can actually serve others out of love, OVER yourself.  Because then - and only then - you are free from yourself!  And, when you do this, hold on tight, because the adventure is just beginning - you will wake up pumped up about what the day will bring - you will have "life to the full" (John 10:10), because that is what I created you for!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"The Bomb"

Shhh - don't tell anyone, it'll jinx it, but we are officially having fun with this! 

Our new little twenty month old African American girl is "the bomb" - even the dog thinks so (high-chair hovering...).  While I am able to credit my "circumcised heart" a bit (see last post), I prayed that God would place the perfect fit for us and He really answered (yes - I will do this EVERY time now, and I know He will answer, whether it seems like He forgot or not):

  • Sleeps 12-13 hrs/night - uninterrupted
  • Naps 2.5 hrs/day - even in the laundry room - while doing laundry
  • Eats anything but bread and strawberries
  • Walks sturdily, even into walls, and doesn't care
  • Copies words (this is usually good)
  • Not afraid of the 115 lb dog (this is massively cool)
  • Her hair dries in a minute (this was very educational for us)
  • Lies/sits down nicely for diaper changes and shoe placement
  • Says "please" and "thank you" when reminded
  • Makes us laugh
  • Entertains herself with bubbles - unopened (yep, just the jar)!

I realize most of these are the product of her upbringing, which is drastically different from mine.  But it works for our benefit right now, so we're okay with that.  (Kinda makes me wish I vacuumed in the bedroom during nap time).

Word is, she may be part of our family for a couple of months - and we're actually okay with this.  We're even looking forward to this.  The girls (2/3) come running home from school to play with her.  The money that's being spent on anything for her is definitely being saved (and then some) on no extra entertainment needs!  I think this is called a win-win.  

So, I am also thinking that this is proof that as God changes our hearts - we have fun doing what He asks us to do!  "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:4) doesn't actually mean that if I delight in Him, He gives me a red Hummer - it really means that as I delight in Him, my desires align with His desires for me!  (Which probably means I wouldn't even want the red Hummer - not there, yet)

To quote one of my favorite authors, Jen Hatmaker:

"Maybe it's my tattoo talking, but this (1 Cor. 9:21-22) is my favorite missional mandate.  Because the perception of Christians as self-righteous segregationists is so prevailing, it is such a pleasure to represent a new expression of faith.  For me this is not hard, this is not work, this is not a sacrifice, this is not uncomfortable.  A missional approach to a disoriented world has made discipleship fun again."