Thursday, October 20, 2011

Control Issues

I really, really suck at this part of parenting...

The youngest got his license today.  You would think after having gone through it twice before, experience would allow me to handle it a little better.  But, no.  It does not.

As I type, he is out on his first ever, all alone, drive.

Hate. It.  

I loved having young ones - babies, toddlers.  I like to pretend that's it is because I was such an amazing, fun, love-the-babies mom.  I don't think that's it though.  I think it's because I could control them - their environments - what they ate- when they slept - their friends - where they went - who they were with.  In theory, I can save them from pain, suffering, (whatever I don't like, really.)  It let me live in the illusion that I was in control.

I liked it there.

But then they grow into teenagers and young adults and any illusion of control is thrown quickly and unceremoniously out the window.  No mercy, no period of adjustment - just gone.

They get in a car and careen down the road at 30, 40, 60 miles per hour, without you there... they move to college and don't call you every time they need to make a decision... they get married, blah, blah, blah.

I'm so bad at this.  This blog  post is in lieu of a panic attack, actually.  I probably won't stop writing until he calls and lets me know he arrived safely at his destination.

The truth is - we are never in control.  Everything can change within the blink of an eye.  That would be a crippling thought to me without Jesus.  I'm so glad it rests securely in His able hands... even my near panic attack is resting securely in His able hands.

He is with my grown children as they live their lives in other cities, with friends I do not know, eating what they want, when they want, going to bed when they want.  He is with my youngest as he careens down the highway even as this is being written.  He is with them when the inevitable pain and suffering come their way.  I love that.  I cling to that.

Thank you, Jesus, for Your strong, capable hands.

Got the call.  He made it. Thank you, Jesus.  Good bye.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Half Marathon - Check.

Yesterday was the big day.  I've been working for several months to be ready for yesterday.  My first Half Marathon.  13.1 miles.  When I began running (and I use that term very loosely) about five years ago, I never dreamed I would be able to go that far.  I'm still a little amazed that I did.

If you look closely, in the background, you'll notice that I was not last!  I stand in solidarity with every single person that did it - even the one that was last, but you have to set some kind of a personal goal, and that was mine. --  To not be last in either the overall, or in my age group.  (So much for being a high achiever...)  That, and to finish in under 2 1/2 hours.  I still don't know where I fell overall, because they didn't have the results up when we left, but I just know there were people behind me.  And I came in fifth out of eight women in my age group with a time of 2:24:18.  Yay!

I know there are other endurance events that require much more than I accomplished yesterday - I know there are other things done in life that are way more important than this, but it was important for me to figure out if I could do it, and I'm thankful God got me there.  Living life successfully takes determination, planning, perseverance, vision, drive - and God showed me that, with Him, I had more of that than I thought I did.  Now I'm praying it will transfer to lots of other areas of my life.

And finally, thank you to Heather for doing training runs with me, Lanny and Kerrie for taking care of my calf and getting me back out on the road, to my many friends that continued to cheer me on - we truly do need a community and I LOVE the community God has placed me in! 

And to my best friend, my husband.  I absolutely would not have done this without him.  He never stops believing that I can do more than I believe I can.  He always encourages and always supports.  When I injured my calf four weeks from the date, he encouraged.  When I strongly doubted I could finish, he encouraged.  When I was 2 miles from the finish, and everything in me wanted to stop - I pictured him at the finish with a camera and a warm welcome - it kept me putting one tired leg in front of the other.  I couldn't ask for a better friend or husband.  So - Thank you, Brian!  We did it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In or Out? Yes.

"I want to stop it, but its the only life I know how to live..."

Dylan had another show this last weekend, in Tulsa.  He plays in interesting venues.  This particular one was the least scary, the least smoke-filled of any so far.  He does not like the term "Christian artist".  He is an artist that follows Christ.  His songs come out of what he is feeling, or has felt at moments in his life.  They are certainly not anti-Christian, but they won't play on Christian radio stations, so this gets him into some interesting venues - and I like that.  At least apart from the fact that my clothes have to be fumigated afterwards from all the cigarette smoke. :)

I love to watch him interact with the world, and still continue to reflect the Christ that lives in him.  He is very comfortable in that - and, again, I am glad.  It is a little scary, as a mom, to think about the things he will ultimately have to stand against if he continues to pursue this life.  But I believe this is what God has called all of us to.

How will they know if we don't go to them?  How will they ever even care if they don't see us?  If we spend all of our time cloistered with people just like us, how will they know?  How will they know if the only times we are around them, we appear so self-righteous that we just reinforce their beliefs that they want nothing to do with us?  It is scary - but it is necessary.

The quote at the top of this post is from a song that the headline artist sang last Friday night.  It was, basically, (if my 48-year-old brain got it) about living the same life that we've lived forever, never truly changing, or growing - not because we're not sick of it, but because we just don't know anything else.  I don't know the guy, other than meeting him that night (and he was one of the nicest guys we've met at Dylan's shows - very encouraging to Dylan - just plain nice), but I'm guessing he is on a search for truth.  I hope he saw that Truth in us last Friday - at least for the few hours we were with him.  I hope we gave him a glimpse of a different way to live...

What does Jesus think?

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,  keeping a clear conscience..."

What the world sees, is often not gentleness and respect - and we should feel shame, not a clear conscience when we claim to reflect Christ and speak in such hateful, callous ways...

"Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world."

Even if they never agree - will they respect us for our honorable behavior?

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."

A candle in the middle of a room full of candles has little effect.  But a few candles, or even a single candle, carried into a dark room, makes a huge impact...

"The Pharisees asked his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'   On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."

"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world."

It's what He's called us to...

How are we showing our kids that we have to get out there?  Am I modeling it?  I'm afraid I've spent a lot of time content to be cloistered away.  I'm thankful that He is changing me, and that God is giving us the courage to get out there and shine our lights.

A couple of disclaimers:  

1.  I don't think we should throw our kids to the wolves.  One of the many reasons we've homeschooled is because we believe they need to develop the character and fortitude to stand against temptation before they go out - but go out, they must - that is the ultimate goal, even in our years of "sheltering", that is still the goal.  In our years of going out with him, the goal is, that one day, he will go out without us, and stand.  So, our prayer is, that we will raise them to know what they believe, why they believe it, and then take it out - out to people that need to know.

2.  This in no way takes away from how important I believe it is to be among those we are like-minded with - with other Christ-followers.  We need that - even more so when we are going out.  We need the encouragement, the teaching, the friendship, the love, that comes in that place.  So circle the wagons, love each other, encourage one another, teach one another, and then - then let's get out there and live what He's called us to live!

It's scary to go out - they might not like us (many won't), we might fail (probably will at times), we might look stupid or crazy (we will) - but if we don't, how else will they know there's another way?