Finding freedom

“You’re Worth Fighting For”

He had yelled at me. Literally raised his voice in anger. I was shocked. What is happening?

We went inside to talk.

Maybe I went too far.

“Do you realize how much I’ve given up for you? Do you realize that I’m here-at home-every day for you? Do you realize that I’ve given up EVERY ONE of my childhood dreams to stay home? I wash your clothes…clothes I don’t wear. I cook your food…food I don’t eat. My whole life is spent serving you. How dare you yell at me?”

And maybe I was starting to yell myself.

Then it hit me like a tidal wave…in the middle of my rant.

“But you are worth it. You are worth giving up everything for. Why? Because Christ gave it all up for you.”

Did those words actually come from my angry lips? Maybe there is such a thing as grace.

“I will keep fighting for your heart, because Jesus says you’re worth it. I’ll keep fighting sin, because Jesus says I’m worth it.”

There is discipline. I’ve punished him for yelling. But I’ve also realized something…

Our kids are worth fighting for because Jesus fought for us.

We fight as people who were fought for. We love as the beloved.

Press on fellow heart-fighters. He is gracious.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4,5)

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Just “Be” This Summer…

The emotions welled up like a dam that had been waiting to explode.

We’d spent the morning with some friends at the park. Our kids had chased a frog, sat by the creek, and had lunch.

And for some reason as I was reading Esther her naptime book, the thought came quickly.

“You will never have that moment again.”

I blinked hard against the tears.

I know my kids are growing. (We’re the ones dishing out money for new clothes and shoes.) But sometimes I forget.

What if they never catch frogs again? What if fighting with bamboo sticks feels immature?

Raudel said it at church this weekend-“We’re human beings not human doers.

I’ve forgotten how to be, because I keep on doing.

Ann Voskamp wrote, “The way to experience unlimited elation may be to imagine unexpected limitation.”

Y’all…I need to just be for awhile. To slow. To see them as kids. To play. And laugh.

He needs to be enough, so I can say no more quickly.

Because of the grace of the cross, I have nothing left to earn. His love frees me to be.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)

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I.CAN’T.DO.THIS.

Because sometimes He speaks so clearly I stop in my tracks…

If following God means the joy I’m showing, would our kids want to be in His will?

I tell them:
-The best place to be is in God’s will.
-God loves you and has a plan for your life.
-Serving God is the greatest thing you could ever do.

Then I mope around the house. I’m short with them. I rush through bedtime to get a break.

Sometimes I probably look downright miserable doing what I tell them He’s called me to do.

Why would they ever want to follow Him with me making it look so terrible?

I’m the first to say that the life of a Christian is not one of ease. Christ suffered. Why would we expect any less? But I also believe a life without joy is not living the life Christ died to give us.

I’m also the first to admit that having kids is hard. And we don’t own it enough. And everyone looks perfect, so we keep smiling while we’re dying inside and just so, so tired.

But has He called me here? In this little spot we call home? Has He called me to be His ambassador? To partner with Him in shaping these little arrows to be sent out?

YES!

The disconnect…Working in my own strength. Carrying the burden He intends to bear. Talking God to our kids while not talking to God myself.

I.CAN’T.DO.THIS.

That’s where I find freedom. I can’t, but He can. He never asked me to do the things I’m trying to do. That’s why I get burned out.

So I give them to Him all over again. And I can smile and laugh and run and tickle. And yes, I’m still so tired, but it’s a joyful tired.

Because being in His will…where else is there to be?

  “Have you not known? Have you not heardThe LORD is the everlasting Godthe Creator of the ends of the earthHe does not faint or grow wearyhis understanding is unsearchableHe gives power to the faintand to him who has no might he increases strengthEven youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhaustedbut they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eaglesthey shall run and not be wearythey shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

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And currently we have two two year olds!

 

Completely Not Perfect But Perfectly Loved

I scrolled through Facebook the other night before bed. Jeremy was gone. The house was quiet. And I literally found myself saying out loud, “So and so is so perfect. And so is she. And she. Why am I so not perfect?”

Y’all, I named names. Outloud. In our house. The jealousy and frustration were literally boiling over.

I’ve spent the last couple days cleaning vomit and giving medicine and wiping noses. All while feeling like death myself.

And far, far from those “perfect” pictures I let seep into my mind and harden my heart.

The root…I haven’t spent much time with Him lately. I haven’t heard Him remind me of His love. I haven’t cried out to Him and let Him comfort me.

Lately Jesus’ perfect life hasn’t seemed like enough for my imperfect one.

“When Jesus is gracious to us, why would we be cruel to ourselves.” (Ann Voskamp)

Admitting I’m not perfect is one thing. But condemning myself when I’ve been justified is another.

He was perfect so I don’t have to be. He sees me and loves me…grace upon grace.

“He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.” (Psalm 78:39)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

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Flexing or Fighting?

I’ll often ask myself when disciplining our kids, “Am I flexing my muscles or fighting for their heart?”

When things seem crazy, and I feel like I’ve lost any semblance of control in this house, I’m more tempted to flex.

Because I can make them obey with my threats. And I can feel in control again.

Or when time is short because of the demands of other kids, I’m tempted to flex. Fighting for the heart takes time. And well, sometimes it seems like I don’t have it.

“The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children.” (Shepherding a Child’s Heart)

Could the most important thing I do today not be great meals or read books or neatly written spelling words? Could the most important thing today be tending to their souls? Could it be listening?  Could it be unscheduled?

Christ came to fight for my heart. He could have “flexed.” He could have stopped Calvary in a second. But He didn’t. He stayed the course.

And even now He’s faithful. He’s patient. He shepherds me.

We fight because we’ve been fought for.

Maybe today fighting for their hearts will feel a little more like grace.

” You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)

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January has become treehouse building weather!