Sunday, January 13, 2013

This Weekend.

Another weekend coming to an end. We went ice skating yesterday.  It amazes me to see Ethan doing this sort of thing, on his own. In one sense you feel all this pride at watching him independently step out on his own in something so unknown and give it a whirl. The risk of it. And then my heart breaks to see him struggle, get frustrated, want to quit. Like we all do. But to encourage him to hang in there, and then to see him start to enjoy it a little, that fills me.
Noah still needed all the assistance he could possible get, breaking my, Joey's, and my mom's back as we had to hold him up all the way around the rink, all the while he tried to do "tricks": jumping, swerving, one footed shenanigans.  It's a wonder we all didn't end up on our asses, or worse, on our heads. I don't get why they don't enforce helmets. There were some people out there taking some seriously gnarly falls. It's a death wish, or at least a migraine for a day or two.
We made it though. Came home and watched the 49er's win. I've never been into football, but I know Kapernick or however you spell it and watching him play gets me excited for him and his team. He plays like a little boy, with so much passion and life. He messes up, he's not perfect, but he hangs in there and he doesn't give up. Watching him make some of those amazing plays is so inspiring.
Reminds me to do the same: don't give up, keep going for those big plays. And enjoy the game.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stepping Out of Darkness into Light.

My church is hosting a women's group and my pastors have asked if I'd co-teach it. I'm excited to be able to be a part of a group intentionally coming together to ask God to move in our lives and then to be able to watch, with great expectation, at what He will do.
I am looking forward to watching more walls come down in my own life as I recognize fears I am still functioning in, lies that I am unconsciously living in everyday. I am looking forward to grasping even more of a solid understanding of the confidence and peace I have as a redeemed daughter of God.
What does it mean to walk in the freedom in Christ?
What do we do when we feel lost?
How are our lives affected when we know that our sins do not count against us anymore?
Where is our true identity to be found?
The world says our identity is found in how we look and what we can do.  Even the church gets caught up in this, although the demands are different than what the world demands. The world demands beauty and sexy and successful; the church demands modest and quiet and sweet.
But what does our Father really want?
He wants us to bust open and live in the freedom that comes from knowing His unconditional and steadfast love. He created us all so unique and for very unique specific purposes. Life with Him is dynamic and alive and very much a back and forth responding relationship with open possibilities.
The more I learn to draw from "I AM"; from a God who is everything I need for each moment, the less I walk in fear. His standing is my standing. His forgiveness is my forgiveness, His grace my grace. He moves mountains, and guess what, so can I.
I would not be able to make it in this life without Him, lavishly throwing whatever it is I need right to me. I would run away. I have always ran away. I despise conflict, something that comes with every life.  I've had to learn to take my emotions to God instead of relying on them to lead me. I've had to trust Him and His work, apart from how I may feel in any situation.
Here's the thing I have  found: the more I give over, the more He comes through. It's His faithfulness that has bolstered my faith. God has never let me down; He has proved over and over and over He is good and He loves me and He cares for me.
I was reading in Colossians this morning (1:9-14) and it blew my mind: "...we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will..." Whenever I come across "knowledge" in reference to God in the bible, I think of intimacy. Intimacy is to know and be known, and I believe God desires it with us and we, in the deepest part of ourselves, desire it with Him. The passage goes on: " all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Stop the boat.
This just gives me goosebumps it's so amazing. It's the gospel: knowing (being intimate with) Christ  that produces a life that is lived, "in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him..." It's not the other way around, which is how I've lived so much of my christian life, thinking that how I lived my life would then bring me closer to God, instead of realizing it's being close to God that changes how we live. Knowledge, intimacy must come first. Paul finishes his sentence bringing it back to "increasing in the knowledge of God..." because that is THE most important thing.
He goes on, "May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might..." Once again, LIGHT BULB.
We have no power, no strength, except for his. And his is the ultimate in power and might. So much of my christian life has been lived off of what pathetic strength I think I  have instead of drawing from his endless, true strength.  When I try to use my own strength I fail, I get discouraged,  I lose hope. I want to give up. And I wonder why life is so hard, and why God won't just come through all ready.
When I draw upon his strength, I have exactly what Paul describes, "...for all endurance and patience with joy..." His strength is the only strength that can get us through ambiguous and shitty times with "all patience and joy." I can't get through a car wash let alone my marriage and  raising two boys with "all patience and joy"- unless I turn my eyes to God and draw directly from His strength.
The passage ends: " thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in who we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
I love light and dark imagery. It's beautiful, easy to grasp, and so accurately describes our lives with and without God.
We can give thanks to God for "qualifying" us. We do not need to "qualify" ourselves. We can't. He has, through Jesus, covered us and gave us the inheritance of the saints in light. Our future, from today into all eternity, is set. We have the inheritance of light.   He has delivered us from the "domain of darkness". I believe this is referring to not only being delivered from eternal hell, it's also being delivered from hell on earth, life without God in the here and now.
Covered by Jesus Christ, redeemed (i love that word!) by his death in our place, we can live in light and not in the darkness anymore.
God may I understand this more and more and more. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Quiet Beginning to 2013.

One of those rare nights where I am alone. The quietness is thick around me, and if I didn't know my boys were up at Graeagle, looking at the stars with the new telescope Ethan got for his birthday, it would be eery and wrong.
Instead, it's just quiet.
I get anxious whenever I'm given time like this: at first, I'm overwhelmed and excited about all the possibilities and things I could accomplish with the time (go through the boys' bedroom, organize their itty bitty legos and throw out McDonald crap, deep clean the baseboards, re-organize the pantry, write on the blog, put together the scrapbook that's been neglected for going on three years now...) but as my mind explodes in all different directions, my motivation wanes and I find myself on the couch, unable to decide what would be the MOST efficient use of the precious time.
Which is exactly where I found myself tonight when the thought came to me to take a bubble bath.
I had to clean out all of the boys bath toys in the tub before I could begin to run the water and then I grabbed their superhero bubble bath and poured it in. 
I like a hot bath, so as soon as I got in I turned the knob as hot as it would go. I rarely ever, ever, ever take a bath and tonight, just me and Pandora, it felt so good. So definitely the right choice.
After getting out and getting my jammies on, my head felt less like a ping pong machine. I made myself some Strawberry Rose Champagne tea, compliments of my dear little sister, and grabbed some blackberries. There's a soft cozy blanket over my legs and the heater is warming my toes.
It's the first day of 2013. It makes me smile, the newness of it. The potential, the possibility. Here's to a healthy and happy 2013!