Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Newlyweds

Just wanted to share a pic of the newlyweds!

Such an awesome couple (even if I might be a little biased)!

And a testimony to God's view of marriage.

They had his wedding ring tattooed on.

Marriage is a permanent relationship.

Amazing how the husband-wife relationship

can be reframed in our mind

 when we take the "D" word out of our vocabulary.

Or better yet, don't ever let it in in the first place.

It may not always be "Happily Ever After"

but with God's grace, it can be "Ever After".

Purpose in Parenting

Our kids are almost all grown now and often my mind reflects back on my job as a mom. While there is laundry load of things I would do differently if given the opportunity, I am grateful to my Father for His grace in the task. 

A while back an ad on the Yahoo home page for the Chevy Traverse claimed to have the answer to one of the biggest parental headaches. It showed a brother and sister in a car.  He was irritating her and she had this attitude and of course got upset.  Over and over….You’ve probably experienced this scene as many moms have in their own cars.

Then the traverse shows up in shining armor and they can now sit separately.  The caption says “Finally You Can Separate Them.”  The idea is that more space will fix the problem.  Keeping them away from each other will result in sudden family harmony.

And it might. But what would it profit them?  What would they learn?  What character trait would it grow in them?  And more importantly, would this solution bring glory to God?

Separating them teaches that when someone gets on our nerves, we can simply avoid them.  It teaches that when I don’t like a situation, I can simply leave it.  It doesn’t teach loving each other.  It doesn’t teach overlooking an offense.  It doesn’t teach humility.  It doesn’t teach to be at peace with all men as far as it is up to you.

I don’t know when or how parenting became all about the parents.  Yes, as parents we want peace…quiet…harmony…we want to be able to finish a thought process in our minds without being interrupted by “MOM!!!!!!!”.  But this too shall pass. All too soon we will be ordering graduation invitations, sending care packages to college and then helping plan a wedding. And we want them to be able to live a life that pleases God in each of these stages in their lives. That starts with our parenting. Purposeful parenting, not parenting for peace and quiet or whatever is easiest.

Don’t run from the difficult situations; tackle them head on with the principles found in Scripture. That’s how to arm our kids with the heart character they will need to live a life that pleases God. 2 Timothy 4:2-5 speaks to preachers, but I think it holds a wealth of wisdom for parents too. We definitely do not want them to turn away from the truth, so we need to endure the hardships and purposely use opportunities (such as fighting in the car) to teach God’s ways to them.

I think we would all agree that our goal for our kids is more than just getting them to adulthood alive. We want them to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness”(I Timothy 6:11) so that they “may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10).  And we don’t need a Traverse to accomplish the task.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Live to Praise

I have been praying and asking and waiting…and praying and asking and waiting...(with the occasional whining mixed in)…and yet still I sit. The For Sale sign outside my house sits as well.

A friend’s house that is for sale showed yesterday. Today our son and his wife’s house will show at 9:30. And ours sits. Its hard not to be envious. Its hard not to get bitter or desperate.  I am glad for our friends and kids, they need to sell their homes too, but I feel left behind.

As I sit here praying this morning, a verse I have scribbled at the top of my prayer list catches my eye. Psalm 119:164, “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.”

The praise I give too often tends to come from what God does for me. “Thank you for that great parking spot on a rainy day…Thanks for a safe trip…Praise God for that pay raise…”

Not bad things to give thanks for, but the Psalmist doesn’t look for what God does but at Who He is and His righteous laws. This totally takes the “me” out of the picture. The focus is on God. All eyes on Him. There is no other issue clouding the view, just crisp clean praise given to the Lord. 

This kind of boils it all down and leaves me with a “wow” epiphany type of moment. God is God. God is good. God’s ways are perfect.  And even if I sit here for years waiting for my house to sell, God is still good. God is still righteous.

So, the better thing in this life is to focus on God and His character and not worry about my situations.  As they say, its all in your perspective. So which will I allow to be larger in my focus: God or my problems?
I need something else to fill my mind as I wait on God. Verses 166-174 speak of waiting on God, obeying God, crying out to God, asking for understanding, lips overflowing with praise, singing of God’s word, and longing for His salvation. That list hardly leaves time for me to mope and whine.

And verse 165 reminds me of the why. “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”  Peace. Isn’t that what I’m after in the first place? I want my way, I want what I think is best because I think it will bring me peace and comfort.

Summed up in verse 175 is my reason for living very simply put, “Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.” Live to praise. And seven times a day keeps the desperation away.