Friday, June 24, 2011

One of THOSE weeks.

Ever have one of those weeks where nothing goes like you planned it?  That would be this week.

Way back in the winter time, we scheduled and reserved a camping spot in Colorado - Cottonwood Cove - where my parents have spent most every summer for the last several years.  We were so excited.  There is nothing like Colorado in the summertime - especially when you're escaping oppressive Oklahoma heat to be there.

(This is us - there - two years ago.)

Then gas prices shot up to the point that it was completely unreasonable to pull the camper that far for such a short stay.  Bleh.

So we punted - decided we'd camp around here somewhere for the one of the weekends.  But then record setting heat of 100+ degree temperatures sucked all the fun out of that idea.

We also decided we'd let Dylan book a couple of shows (singing gigs) since we couldn't be gone the whole week anyway...  He got two.

We tried to take him to one of them - in Tulsa - it cancelled.

The other show he had, they decided to throw us a curve ball and scheduled him (acoustic, indy sound) with a whole line up of head-banging, very loud, heavy metal bands.  He did great, he was a great sport about it, but WAY big drag for the old parents that took him.

We've had a couple of relationship/misunderstanding-yucky things (not between us, we're good :)) thrown in just for good measure.  So we don't get lazy, I guess.

So here we sit at the end of this week -- the week that was supposed to be our last big family vacation before our daughter gets married -- all kids are scattered and gone to various places, it's a zillion degrees and windy outside, the relationship stuff is still ongoing, and we have done nothing fun or relaxing.

Bleh.  Again.

But, in the midst of this irritating week, I still know that these aren't real problems.  These are inconveniences, irritations, bumps - normal along life's journey.

Perspective helps me find this place.  God is good.  We are blessed.  He has provided for us abundantly and beautifully to the point that we can even bless others at times.  (He's also brought us through times that we were the ones that needed to receive, and He was good then as well.)

So a wrecked vacation is something we can live with, right?

And the irritations that come with a son pursuing his dream?  We can live with it.  It's so worth it to see him living this adventure.

And living in community means we will have bumps and bruises at times - just like we do in families - but we keep going, -- because it's worth it.

God is good.  All the time.  And all the time - God is good.

How has He been good to you lately?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

July – Fast for Freedom

I have so much – and I use it to impact so little.  I live in such abundance; I’m not even fully aware of what I have, and how much I waste.  I think it’s mine, and not God’s – to use for His good, and His glory.  I know God wants us to enjoy our life; that He smiles when we revel in His blessing, but I also know that it breaks His heart when I don’t use much of that abundance to bless others.


-         because 27 million people are in slavery around our world today,
-         because this is wrong, sinful, evil
-         because God calls us to do justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly with Him
-         because we are blessed with abundance beyond explanation
-         because we have a responsibility to use that abundance to make a difference
-         because throughout scripture and all of history, God used man to bring justice for the powerless, hope for the hopeless, love in the darkness
-         because the problem is overwhelmingly BIG
-         because our God is BIGGER

Because of all these things, here's what I'm committing to do:

For the month of July, I’m choosing some of my excess, and I’m fasting from that.  I’m setting the money back that I would have spent on that excess, and giving it to the A21 Campaign in their fight for justice and freedom.  If you don’t know what they do, look here:  (  I said earlier (here), that I didn't know what helping this cause would look like for a primarily stay-at-home mom in middle America, but this is a start for me.  It looks like this - I won't forget, I will pray, I will make others aware, I will change my life in ways that can make a difference for others...

Why am I telling you this now?  Because I’d like you to pray with me – about doing this, about what you can give up, for these people living in slavery, for those that run into the darkness to shine Jesus’ light and rescue these girls.  I realize some of you are already giving heart and soul for something God has called you to, and that's great.  But for some of you, this is that thing.  For some of you, there has never been anything, and this could be the first.

What are our excesses?

-         Do you stop every morning for coffee on the way to work?  Make it at home this month.
-         Do you pick up a soda on your break every day?  Skip it this month; it’s bad for us anyway. J
-         Do you eat out everyday at work, or school?  Take your lunch this month – or at least take your lunch a couple of times a week.
-         Do you smoke?  Now would be a great time to give that up!  (But not just for the month) J
-         Do you regularly get mani/pedis?  DIY this month and give the difference.
-         Are you a clothes horse/shop-a-holic?  Go with nothing new this month – give it away.
-         Do you eat a bowl of ice cream and oreos every night?  Give it up this month and give the grocery money saved.
-         Do you go see a movie every week?  Skip ‘em this month.  Rent a couple – its way cheaper.
-         Do you go on dates every week?  (Great idea, btw).  This month, make them cheap – picnics, bike rides, long walks, etc.  Give what you would have spent.
-         Do you tan?  Skip it this month.  Get outside and enjoy the sunshine!

I have a strong feeling that at the end of my life, I won’t care that I gave up Diet Cokes and eating out too much and in exchange, I helped a little girl find new life after slavery, or helped educate young girls on how to recognize the lies of a trafficker before she’s entrapped, or helped a father be re-united to his daughter, or helped put a brothel owner behind bars. 

Will you join me?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

$3.00 worth of God

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

— Wilbur Rees

How much of God do I want?  I think scripture is very clear that He desires all or nothing.  He is very patient, I believe, with our journey… but when we do come to that moment of decision, “$3.00 worth” is not an option.

When I really stop and think about it… really, really, think about it – what is here that is worth holding back from the God of the universe?  What could I possibly be holding on to that I can’t trust Him with?  There are times when I hold onto lots of different things:

My husband – By trying to manipulate him into being what I want him to be; By being crippled by the fear that I might lose him, or fail him.

My kids – By trying to force their lives to turn out the way I’ve planned; By trying to protect them from every conceivable pain that could befall them.

My friends – By trusting them to be what only God can be (and being surprised when they fail at that!); By failing to both speak and hear the truth that will make our relationships healthier.

My time – I do not want to be inconvenienced, I do not want my plans interrupted or changed, I want to enjoy myself and be comfortable.

My things – This is the saddest one to me – that I would even consider my things as something to hold tightly.  They’re THINGS!  But I do… I can be selfish, stingy.

But if I really stop to think… what good does it do me to hold on to them?  Are they safer in my tight, life-sucking grip, or in His life-giving hands? 

I want to love Him to the degree that it hurts.
I want to love Him in a way that changes me – really changes me.
I want to love others when that love will not be returned.
I want to go where it frightens me to go.
I want to face the questions that I don't know the answers to.
I want to give myself when I will get nothing back.  
I want to trust when I cannot see the end. 
I want to let go when I want more than anything to hold on. 
I want WAY more than $3.00 worth of God.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Can It Be?!

I'm going wedding dress shopping with my daughter today.

                                                                (He doesn't get to go.)

It's all very surreal.  I just seems such a short time ago that I was rocking her, singing Keith Green songs to her, begging her to PLEASE go to sleep.  And now?  Now she's all grown up and we're shopping for a wedding dress!  Wow.

Bless her heart.  She has endured so much being our first born.  So many mistakes - so many times I've wished for a do-over.  So many times I've had to ask her to forgive me.  So many times I've laid in bed at night and begged God to show me the right answer, the right decision.  So many tears.  So many arguments (I'm told we're too much alike).  So many laughs.  So much joy.  So many sleep overs, and vacations, and dance recitals, and singing contests, and camps, and mission trips...  The memories are abundant and beautiful.

I'm looking forward to a day of hanging with my grown daughter.  We've survived - and we're friends!

God is good.