My Something Looks Like Nothing Compared To That…

She’s collecting for the homeless. She’s starting her Masters. And I’m sitting here, overeating Wheat Thins, and considering it a great success that Kenan finally fell asleep.

At Carowinds the other day, I was top scorer in the Plants vs. Zombies game. Y’all…the spotlight shone on me! In front of the 50 middle schoolers in there. And I couldn’t have been prouder.

It’s small wins over here. Spelling “your” not “yor.” Knowing 9×9=81. Changing your underwear. Putting on underwear.

As a kid, I wanted to be the first woman ever to play baseball professionally. Not kidding.

As an adult, I want to be the first woman ever to…well, I’ve forgotten.

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” (Romans 12:6a)

For a season…our gifts may lie dormant.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

For a season…our rejoicing and weeping may be with little people with dirty faces.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

For a season…our greatest good may be shown in the place we call home.

And it’s OKAY.

To help the homeless. To get your Masters. To not.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

My sacrifice may not look the same as yours.

And it’s OKAY.

As long as His sacrifice is spotlight. As long as His love is my affirmation. As long as every choice I make-every yes or no I say- is an attempt to glorify Him.

Today…whether you’re collecting for the broken, writing a research paper, or pulling out a fresh pair of Paw Patrol underwear…remember the Who more than the What.

We have worth because Jesus laid down His.

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Our Little Boys Need Heroes

Recently he’s been tough. During the day, his brothers and I tip-toe around him. Worried we may get lashed out at. Wondering who his selfishness will attack next.

He gets it honest. I am selfish at my core. I feel entitled to certain things. I want comfort and rest and to eat whatever I want and be skinny.

Welcome to the world of sin, son. Welcome to the battle.

But it hit the fan the other day. And it was time to stand firm. Humbly. To open up the Word and fight this…again.

“Son, do you know what a hero does?” “He fights for something.”

“Yes. Heroes fight for those they love. They sacrifice what they want for others.”

(He was starting to listen.)

“Why was King Tirian a hero?” “He was willing to die for the people in Narnia.”

“Why was Harry Potter a hero?”  “He was willing to die for his friends.”

“Why was Rose (from The Last Jedi) a hero?” “She was willing to die for Finn.”

(Now he was really listening…Conversations that start with kings or the Winter Soldier or Malfoy get a lot of attention around here.)

“Yes. But you know the real hero is. You know who did die for us.”

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)

“You want to follow Him? Then you sacrifice. For your brothers. For your sister. For your friends. For those you don’t know.”

I believe our little boys need heroes. They need to see sacrifice. They need to see bravery.

And yes, we protect their innocence and screen what they see, but we can’t deprive them of what it means to be a man. Of what it means to stand up for what you believe in. Or lay it all down for someone else.

We can choose to see today’s media as an enemy. Or we can choose to see it as a tool.

All the while, praying for wisdom, having hard conversations, and believing that the real “Hero,” the One who gave up everything for our precious children, will patiently and lovingly draw them to Himself.

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The Last Jedi was a hit with the cousins!

 

 

Breaking Down to Stay Alive

I remember hearing Dr. James Dobson say many years ago that Satan’s number one attack on our nation is the breakdown of the family.

Maybe I didn’t believe it then. Maybe I was “in love,” without kids, and thinking the “breakdown of the family” was a far-fetched idea for my perfect ideals.

But a mere 15 years into being a wife, and I believe Dr. Dobson was right.

It’s hard to stay committed in marriage. It’s hard because I’m a sinner. And Jeremy’s a sinner. And Heaven help us, we have birthed little sinners.

And I’d really like things to be calm around here. I’d like to weigh what I did on our wedding day. I’d like to feel loved like I was 18. And blissfully oblivious like I just birthed our first kid.

But so is life. And so is Satan. And his rampage goes on and on.

And we keep fighting.

Not because we want to win, but because we can’t lose. Lives are at stake. Futures hang in the balance.

And the cross tells me grace is the only way to win. Love is worth dying for.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Didn’t we just celebrate Easter?

He is making all things new but only after we’re willing to die. He stretched out His arms so I can open mine. And He embraces me so I can embrace.

Yes…We stay alive in marriage and family and friendship…by breaking down.

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A Fair Trade…

What are we willing to trade?

-Am I willing to trade a clean house for more messy fun?
-Am I willing to trade gourmet meals for flour covered, little hands?
-Am I willing to trade “me time” for extra snuggles at night?
-Am I willing to trade my plans for His?

Some days…yes. But there’s more…

He traded His life for mine. He carried the cross when I should have. He was crucified when my sin was the one that required payment.

What was He willing to trade for me? Everything.

And I call what I do sacrificing. Pat myself on the back. Judge you for your indulgences.

Yes, we make sacrifices on a daily basis. Yes, trades are a part of parenting. But dare I pity myself. Dare I look more at myself than at Him.

No parent is the benchmark for another. No parent is the measuring stick for their kids.

Only He is.

He made the ultimate sacrifice. He gave up the most. And only He can guide us and strengthen us through the trades we make each day.

“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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A Selfish Marriage

He was out of town last week for 3 nights.  We survived.  I was thrilled when he returned home.  But something made me feel  guilty.

I honestly enjoyed being in control.

It was nice not having to worry about another adult.  I liked running the show without additional input.

Am I being too honest?

We miss him when he’s away.  Everyone is happier when he’s here.  We thrive as a family.

But the sinful me still likes to call the shots.  I like it my way or no way.  And his leaving reminded me how desperately I need a Savior.

I need someone to look to Who has really laid it all down.  Someone Who’s said, “Not my will, but yours, be done.”

Marriage is for His glory.  It teaches me how to love like Him.  It teaches me how to sacrifice.

When the seasons are long, and marriage is hard, we can look to the cross.  To Him.  And we can lay it all down…all over again.  And love because we have been loved.

“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done’.” (Luke 22:41,42)

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