Living in Half

Last night he picked “Halfway Herbert” to read. Herbert has a problem. He only does things half way.

I live my life in halves…

The house is always halfway clean. Dinner is almost halfway made. We’re halfway through the Hardy Boys book.

But what else? Am I parenting halfway? Am I loving Jeremy halfway? Am I a halfway friend? What about my time with Him? Am I doing it halfway too?

A life lived in half can’t be fully lived.

And the only way to live fully must be to cut out some of the halves.

Have I become complacent at everything and excellent at nothing?

We are burning ourselves out.

Then this… “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! “(Psalm 119:10)

Not half but whole. Seeking Him with my whole heart. Trusting Him wholly. Saying yes to where He leads, so I can give up the halves.

How much of Himself did He offer for me? His whole self. How could I offer anything else?

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I forgot who the battle was against…

It had been a long morning with her. Now 2. Now preferring her ways over mine.

I slipped into her room at naptime. Watched her peacefully sleeping. Sucking her thumb.

And I fell to my knees. “God, help me.”

I’m not fighting her. Not fighting them.

As I watched her chest rise with each breath I remembered anew. Satan is the enemy. Not our kids.

She has sin. I have sin. And her sin collides with my sin, and sometimes it can feel ugly.

Every day we fight against him for them. And it drains.

This sin nature makes me angry. For them. Satan attacks our kids. He attacks me. He “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8).

“God, help me to remember who I’m fighting. May I approach our kids with love not anger.”

We are all sinners fighting the same battle.

Her little foot with pink toenails wiggled out between the crib slats. And I kissed it. Held it close to my face while she slept.

“And God,  one more thing…make me content to wash feet. May I serve as You have served me.”

“Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:5 ESV)

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God, please don’t let me miss this!

We rock. I hold him close. Kiss his face til I fear he may wake up. And whisper these words, “God, please don’t let me miss this.”

She’s across the room. Sucking her thumb. Holding her blanket. She asks me to dance, so we twirl and giggle to some timeless 90’s hits. And I beg Him again, “Please don’t let me miss this.”

He wields sticks like lightsabers in near death battles. He tells me made up jokes like, “What do you kill a pig with? A pig axe.” He’s got soccer tryouts this week. And I find myself begging once more, “God, please don’t let me miss this.”

This. All this fun. All this innocence. All these moments that will soon be memories. All this grace.

I can slip into fear easily. We almost lost it all. Maybe it’s kind of a curse.

But it’s also been a blessing. It’s caused a reverence of little moments. An acceptance that the holy can be now. That the most important thing could be today.

“Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” (Psalm 144:4)

Today may seem long. Heaven knows I will be done before the clocks says I’m done.

“O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?” (Psalm 144:3)

Why does He keep on blessing? Doesn’t He know I’m just a “passing shadow.”

The picture on the wall reads, There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

He gives enough time for what He really wants me to do. He’s not a taskmaster hoping I end today dreading tomorrow.

Am I expecting more of myself, more of this day, than He is expecting of me?

Have I forgotten that the way He held yesterday is the way He’ll hold today and the way He plans on holding tomorrow?

One moment. One breath. At-a-time. This is grace.

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Yep…they went to the movies like this a few months back!

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting in Freedom not Fear

We have five kids. And here’s what I know…not a thing more than I did with kid one.

Well, maybe I’ve learned a few things…
-They’ll survive off chips and apples if I don’t have time to fix lunch.
-It’s okay if they go to bed without a bath (for weeks).
-Food with a little dirt on it is fine.
-Clothes can double as pajamas if necessary.

The bottom line…I really (please take this humbly) don’t give a rat’s behind what you think of my parenting.

I’m not kidding.

We fretted with Stephen. Always wondering if we were doing this or that right. Always scared of what you might be thinking. Always playing by the rules and re-reading the books.

But somewhere between grace crashing my life and kid number 5, we found freedom.

Freedom to love these kids so big. Freedom to do outlandish things for the sake of fun. Freedom to care more about what He says than what you are thinking.

I can’t control their futures. It scares the mess out of me. We have limited time.

And I don’t want to waste it worrying if I’m doing everything right.

I can’t. I won’t.

He loves them more than me. I see it in the cross.

They’re really His.

I’ll do the best I can. I’ll try to fix healthy meals. I’ll try to make sure their clothes match. Really, I will. I do.

But at the end of the day, you know Who’s approval we’re really looking for? God’s. Just His. Our Father.

And that gives us freedom to parent. Not for you. But for them. For Him.

Breathe deeply. You don’t have this parenting thing under control. Never will.

But He doesn’t make mistakes. And He loves these arrows more than we ever could!

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)

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Am I the only one discontent?

It hit me hard the other day. Holy Spirit like smack you in the face. Discontent. I’m living life discontent.

I was reading Jeremiah 20. He goes from “Sing to the Lord” to “Cursed be the day on which I was born!” I can be moody like that. Joy can quickly move to despair.

A holy Google search of Jeremiah 20 brought me to this from Matthew Henry…

“How foolish and unnatural are the thoughts and wishes of our hearts, when we yield to discontent! Let us consider Him who endured the contradiction of sinners against himself, lest we should be at any time weary and faint in our minds under our lesser trials.”

Yes!

And then Brad recently said this, “What did I once see as an honor that I now see as a burden?”

Yes again!

Y’all,  kids that fuss and a house that gets dirty and food that has to be cooked and beds that have to be made…all blessings, all honor, all privileges.

But discontentment can leave me calling them burdens. It can leave me looking at your Facebook and wishing my life was ” that good.”

I forget Him. Who endured such pain…for me. And who in the world am I to gripe? And who am I to gripe over His blessings?

Life is hard. And the monotony can drain. But God forbid I ever forget how blessed I am. How anything better than Hell is grace. In Him I have all I could ever need and so, so much more!

“For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring’.” (Acts 17:28)

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