Friday, September 26, 2014

Celebrating the Moment

Two days ago, Fidget read her first book.  Actually, she read her first WORD, and then went on to read the rest of the book.  And one more.

When she read that first word, the Cowgirl came running around the corner screaming, "Did she just READ?!  Did Fidget just READ?!"

"Yes, she did!"

Lots of girly screaming ensued as my middle daughter celebrated with my youngest.  We did finish the book, and then posted a picture on Facebook.  The Cowgirl and Fidget then proceeded to celebrate with high excitement, squealing and running around and dancing and so forth.  Then I loaded up the girls into the van and we got ice cream.

These moments are the ones every homeschooling mama lives for.  The celebratory ones, where everyone is present.  The high excitement and encouragement of sisters.  Those "ice cream" moments.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Am NOT Enough

There are several posts/pins floating around Facebook and Pinterest (and maybe other places, but I'm only on those two.)  It goes through various statements about "I am ...."  and ends with "And I am enough."

But that's simply not true.  I am not enough.  I am not enough by design.  I am not enough for my husband, my children, my parents, friends, brother and sister, and so forth.  I am not enough even for me!

I have tried the whole "being enough" thing.  And the weight is too much to bear.  I have tried to do it all, or at least give the appearance of doing it all.  I have tried so very hard not to need anyone else.  And I have failed miserably in the attempt.  And yet, I continued to try.  And worse, I looked to others to "be enough" at times.

Here's the thing -- there is One Who Is Enough.  But only One.

And my "not enough-ness" is designed to point me and others to His enough-ness.  My finite capabilities to meet needs, solve problems, and take care of things is not an accident.  God does not do things by accident.  He wants us to depend on Him,  He wants us to look to Him as our "enough."  And then, He wants us to point others to Him as enough.

So, if I set myself up as "enough," then I hamper others.  I put a stumbling block between them and God.  I set myself up in God's place in their lives.  And that is a very dangerous thing indeed!

When I claim to be enough, even for me, I make the claim to not need God.  But I am finite.  And the need is infinite.  I have limits, but the need is deeper, broader, and far more than my limits can reach.  You see, the true need is salvation, a relationship with the Creator.  And I cannot meet that need.  I cannot save anyone, not even myself.

I am not enough.  And that is the glorious, freeing, scary truth.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Choosing to Praise

God's "no" is always better than my "yes."  No matter how hard I want something.  No matter what glory I think God might gain if I got my way, His "no" (or "wait" -- sometimes it is hard to tell them apart in the middle of waiting) is ALWAYS better.  We have to look no further than the Old Testament book of Genesis to find our example.  In fact, no further than the Garden of Eden.  And then again at the whole Abraham-Sarah-Hagar-Ishmael-Isaac drama to see why waiting on God or accepting His no is so much better than forcing my way.  The whole world is still reeling from both of those decisions.

While in my situation, I cannot really force a "yes," I still have a choice.  I can choose to grumble and complain or I can choose to praise.

And praise I will.  I will praise Him in the "no", and I will praise Him FOR the "no."  It's really the only chance I have to give God the glory in all this.  He knows best.  Even when I do not understand.

And, contrary to what I would love to believe, God is not primarily interested in my happiness, wealth, or health.  He is interested in remaking me -- taking the sinful lump of clay that is me and turning my into a vessel that looks like Christ.  He is primarily interested in my holiness.  I would love it if this life were to be easy, full of wealth, full of happiness, full of health.  But then there would be no change.  I would be left self-centered, unholy, and ultimately, I would become the least lovely version of myself -- full of sin, and unchecked appetites.  I would be a living example of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

So I will praise God, who in His infinite wisdom, made the things of this world finite.  Who tells me "no" (or "wait") when I beg and cry for a "yes."  I will praise Him because He loves me enough to set limits.  I will seek to bring Him glory, and to enjoy Him, not just in the no, but because of it, too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Praising in the Storm

Two and a half weeks ago, the Engineer spent four days and three nights in the hospital.  Starting on Monday, and ending on Thursday.  It took a couple of days to figure out what was wrong with him.

It started off with a fear of meningitis.  Then, tuberculosis.  The first was quickly ruled out (praise God!).  The second took a little longer...

Wonderful friends took the girls Monday evening (and then again all day Tuesday).  Monday night, I picked up my precious three girlies and was driving home.  I found myself singing.  Softly, almost without thought.

The Cowgirl asked me what I was singing.  So I sang louder.  I sang hymns.  The hymns that contain so very much rich theology.  The hymns that have helped inform my faith.  Hymns by men and women that have loved the Lord, clung to Him through adversity, the likes of which I may never face.  Hymns that stuck in my ears and in my heart.

I found myself, not just clinging to God, but praising Him.  Praising Him for who He is, for how He has gone before.  Through these timeless words penned centuries ago.  Words and melodies that link me to believers long dead, believers that have walked this path before me.  Not just to the hymn-writers, but to the centuries of hymn-singers, as well.  Fellow worshipers who have gone to these same hymns countless times, through adversity, and pain, and plenty, and mountaintops.

And this is why I mourn the loss of hymns in the church.  That link to the past, that theology learned through the music of the saints long past.  The idea that "if others can do this, so can I" that comes almost unconsciously.

Modern music is missing that -- that link to the saints.  It's not long-lasting.  No one in a hundred years will be singing the "praise music" we sing today.  I fear the push to make us "relevant" has made us merely worldly.  Instead of being truly different, truly timeless, we have settled for "cool" and "hip," both concepts that are bound, by definition, to time.

When nothing is different from what folks can find in the gym, or the country club, or even the casino, why would they choose the church? 

When my children go through hard times, will they sing the songs they hear now, ones long out of fashion by then?  Will they go to songs that are in vogue at that time?  Or will the long for something more -- something deeper, something that speaks of saints before clinging to God and the cross?  Will they long for a link to men and women with stories of perseverance through the unthinkable, of a God bigger than all of this life?  And more importantly, will they find that link?  Will it still be there?