Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Birth stories are difficult and personal why do we expect His birth story for us to be any different?


(I wrote this blog 5 months ago and He laid it on my heart again, only this time to enhance it.)

It's hard, hard to have a passion for things, a love for something that someone doesn't understand, and have people disregard it and call it "weird" or "not kingdom worthy". 

It's hard to experience a life altering moment such as finding a relationship with the King, and having people decide what your new journey should look like. 

It's hard to have people gawk, mock, poke fun, tear down, question, or even mimick, a personal relationship with a personal Savior. 

It's hard to understand how personal each relationship should be and how people that have experienced the same moment can confine it to a specific box with specific specifications allowing no modifications. 

It's easy as a mother to understand that each woman's birth story is completely different and entirely personal and at most times quite traumatic in it's own personal right, and we should expect the same from each other because we are literally being birthed from a Living God. How can we decide what His birth story looks like for ourselves let alone someone else?

It's hard to want very much to enjoy your birth story, welcome the new life that you are entering; but to have a lot of people around you gawking, eyes on you to see exactly what you are doing, how your new legs are working, how your new arms are stretching, how your new brain is developing. And while they are continuing to look at you, they are very seldom looking at the heart that they are watching with, the heart that is supposed to be within them going through the exact same process. 

It's hard to enjoy the highs and lows because that's what He wants, for us to experience those lows and call out to Him. But when we call out to Him, we have bystanders deciding how we should reach out to Him, what His answer will be, and how that answer will play out. 

It's hard to enjoy the fellowship and communion with a personal mother and father (because God acts as both), a new family, while people are saying how your new family should live, what they should eat, what they should drink, what they should enjoy, what their entire life should pretty much unfold like. 

It's hard to be a part of that family with confidence, and He most assuredly wants us standing in confidence. But it's not Him breaking down our confidence, it's those around us. 

It's hard to love every single moment of this new, difficult, wonderful, hard, amazing, gut-wrenching life when the people who are supposed to be a part of our new extended family, ones who we will be spending eternity with, when those people care much more about how we are living rather than about how their heart is. It's easy to understand when non-believers persecute and judge. But, when those in our new adopted family critique, judge and are unfairly mean, it's a different feeling. Sometimes, we as believers can forget that it is within that heart of ours, that very fragile organ, that bodies are birthed; unique bodies, one of a kind bodies, never to be duplicated bodies, never to look the same  (well of course expect in the instance of twins, I have no revelation from Him on that one, sorry, it's just simply amazing). We forget because we begin living within that phantom box with specific specifications for our life allowing no room for modifications. 

It's hard, really hard when He's given YOU that unique, genuine heart; one that may like things different than other people; may do things in different ways; may WANT to do things differently because that's the unique and genuine heart that He gave you, and to be constantly told that this heart is unworthy, not good enough, wrong, weird

These hard things are things we need to share with each other through our "church" body and embrace within each other. And I don't mean our literal church body either; I mean the ones that accept Chrst, the ones that now claim to walk with Him--they all become the church body, His family. 

He is now each of our mother and father. He is now the One that binds us together as sisters and brothers. Which means every time we critique someone else, look at someone else and judge with human eyes, we are in essence saying to God that his birthing process is unacceptable to us; to me, to you. 

I don't want to say that to my Creator; to the Potter who formed me. I want to embrace all of my quirkiness; which means I want to embrace the unique, quirky personalities He instilled within others. 

Comparing--it's an ugly trait. We decide what people's lives should look like and we compare it to what we are seeing. 

We shouldn't be doing it in our every day lives, judging how everyone is raising their families, and we shouldn't be doing it in our relationship with Him, judging how His birthing process will look like for one another! 

We have got to show more grace to each other. We have to go to start accepting each other as indivudals, and not cookie-cutter images of what we we perceive is "righteous"; as if to say that we as men and women could EVER think to say what is truly righteous. 

We fall short of His righteousness every single moment. We fall short of offering the grace He expects us to offer. 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 

2 Corinthians 12:9

See, that's the magnfiicent part of Him. He doesn't fall short. His grace is sufficient; His grace instills love for others. 

I want to accept my own weird, quirky traits and I long to accept your, sweet friend. What do you wish today?

Friday, February 14, 2014

We didn't celebrate Valentines Day the "typical way"

It's that day again, February 14, the oh so romantic, Valentine's Day...but is it really "romantic"? 

For me this year, the weeks and days leading up to it, I began feeling this little stir to shake things up. I began seeing all of my single friends preparing themselves for this day in which they are reminded by the whole world that they don't have a "significant other" and I began seeing a lot of my female friends in relationships joking about dropping hints to their loved one about what they wanted. 

And it hit me like a baseball to the face at an Orioles game--Valentine's Day kind of sets people up for failure! 

It sets single women and men up to be bitter towards those in realtionships, and it sets those in relationships up to have such unrealistic expectations for what they will "get" from the one they "love". 

I mean, Christmas was a little over a month ago, we all have birthdays each year, and yet there is this day set aside when we are supposed to "love" one another? It seemed crazy to me this year! 

It seemed crazy to me to look at the flower prices, that are seriously DOUBLED on this 1 day, the chocolates, the presents, the cards, etc and so forth. 

It all was too much for me this year. 

I tried researching how the day started, and that brought about as much confusion as I was already experiencing. Some says it's a Christian day, representing some saint who saved people. Some say it's a pagan day representing a bloody massacre. 

But what did I feel? 

What did God feel? 

I immediately began feeling that this one day is absurd! I should be truly, genuinely loving people, my husband and children, EVERY DAY, not only on Valentine's Day. I didn't want Brian to go out on this one day and spend an absurd amount of money buying me something. I didn't want to "want" something only to be upset with Him because he didn't do as good of a job as I had hoped. I didn't want to compare him to other husbands, saying why can't you be more romantic like so and so (I honestly don't feel these things, but I COULD have and I know some who DO).

I wanted to release him from ALL of MY expectations. 

So, this year, we both agreed to get each other NOTHING, (he did MAKE me a card, because well he rocks), and instead we decided that he would have a romantic dinner with our girls and I would have a romantic dinner with our boys. 

And we did it UP

We bought candles, laid the nice tablecloths out, used the fine china, we got dressed up in nice clothes and we just enjoyed about 40 minutes with the ones who we are teaching to love. 

We focused on them. 

He talked with the girls about what they should expect from men when they are older, and I talked with the boys about what they should expect from ladies when they are older. 

Jaxson would like to take his future girlfriend to the zoo, and Jordon hopes his future girlfriend can stand up for herself and not expect him to because he's not good at that sort of thing (according to him of course). Hayley would like to have 2 kids and live in a house like ours. 

We ate pizza that we designed ourselves, and drank out of wine glasses. And at the end, Jordon asked if we could do this every year, "you know, start a tradition". 

And oh my momma heart jumped for joy

You got it buddy! You got it! 

So, we transformed a day that is supposed to be about flowers and candies for the one you love, and truly focused on the ones we loved! Really, we didn't do a lot differently except took ourselves out of the equation and focused on others! 

It. Was. Amazing. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Are you stranded in the middle of a frozen lake and not sure what to do?

Imagine you're walking on a frozen lake. 

You need to get to the other side, but the ice begins to crack beneath the weight of your steps. You begin backing up, as quickly, yet delicately, as you can as to not fall through the ice and into a cold, deep, unknown abyss. 

I think this proverbial lake is a lot like our faith in Christ. 

Do you continue walking, possibly falling to places you don't know or understand, or do you head back, to safer ground that your comfortable standing on? 

Brian and I are currently living in the middle of that frozen lake. God gave him this analogy the other day, while he was deep in prayer, and I was simply in awe of the imagery. 

This lake terrifies us. 

We're standing in the middle, cracks and crevices threaten to pull us into a cold, unpleasant, truly scary body of water. On one side is stands our Savior, promising to never let us fall into this water and not be resurrected; on the other side is our comfy, pleasant little existence in this world.

Oh how many times we just want to run back to dry ground, to a place that we understand and can firmly plant our feet. 

But, oh the joy, the peace, the life He promises on the other side of that lake, it's so amazing that we just want to get over there. Sometimes, we want to simply run across that lake, as fast as we humanly can. 

But that's not good either. That act of disobedience is just as bad as giving up and heading back. We could fall in very easily once we begin racing to the other side. 

No, sometimes simply walking, hand in hand with Him across a frozen lake is the way to go. 

Remember when Jesus walked on water? It was very easy for Him. He never questioned whether He'd have the ability, ability from His Father. He simply stepped out, in complete confidence, and walked LITERALLY on top of water. 

Now, do you remember the part right after Jesus walked? 

"At once, Jesus made his disciples get into a boat and start back across the lake. But he stayed until he had sent the crowds away. Then he went up on a mountain where he could be alone and pray. Later in the evening, he was still there. By this time the boat was a long way from the shore. It was going against the wind and was being tossed around by the waves. A little while before morning, Jesus came walking on the water toward his disciples. When they saw him, they thought he was a ghost. They were terrified and started screaming. At once, Jesus said to them, “Don't worry! I am Jesus. Don't be afraid.” Peter replied, “Lord, if it really is you, tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come on!” Jesus said. Peter then got out of the boat and started walking on the water toward him. But when Peter saw how strong the wind was, he was afraid and started sinking. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. At once, Jesus reached out his hand. He helped Peter up and said, “You surely don't have much faith. Why do you doubt?” The men in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “You really are the Son of God!” Jesus and his disciples crossed the lake and came to shore near the town of Gennesaret. (Matthew 14:22-31, 33, 34) 

Peter had no faith that he could continue walking and then he began sinking. I think we all do this every day, oh so many times! We want Him, we request Him, yet we try and do things on our own, as Peter did, and we end up sinking. 

Now, let's take a close look at that last line, "Jesus and his disciples crossed the lake and came to shore near the town of Gennesaret"

Because of Jesus, they crossed the lake without any problems. The wind was calmed BY HIS HANDS, and He and the disciples safely made it where they intended on going. 

We can all stand in this truth. 

Whether you are walking on the frozen lake that Brian and I currently find ourselves in, or in a raging sea with turbulent waves and winds that seem so fierce they take your breath away, have faith that with Him, and only Him, you will make it to your destination! 

Continue, slowly, and reach out for him! He will stop the cracks from creating such a hole that you fall in and are never be seen again! 

I promise! 

But it's not my promise you can take hope from, it's His! 

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38, 39)