Monday, November 18, 2013

Claim Your Peace,Mama!

  When my daughter was not yet a year old, she had her first seizure. Inside, I was terrified. I had never seen a seizure nor had to deal with something like this with 2 young children right beside me. They were scared, they had no idea what was happening to their sister. But, I was able to remain calm throughout the calling of 911 and the shaking and drooling and crying children, in control through the entire 13 minutes that she seized. When the paramedics finally arrived, they stated back to me that they had never seen a mother so completely together and able to function.
It's a challenging word. The very nature of it contradicts our mind, our life and our world. Personally, I love a challenge, so I chase after peace. I have for years in many various ways & places. But, this is to be a short story, not a novel. So as not to bore you, let's just get to the point, shall we??
   Is it entirely possible for a woman to have more peace in her life than conflict? Or should I say distress or fighting or frustration? Worry. Agitation. War. All these can fit the antonym for peace. And I say YES. It is possible to have peace every day, in the calamity or the ordinary.

What's that you say? It's an absurd statement? 'We're only human!' you say. You sound like one who allows the world to toss you back and forth-high on the non-eventful moments and down deep on anything but! But that's reasonable-with all the trouble the world brings, there's no way you can maintain peace all the time! Ahh.....truth be told, only Lord Jesus had peace 24/7. And that was because He was completely yielded to the Father. Completely. And Yielded. I am not completely yielded to God, nor do I expect in this lifetime to be so.                                                                            
But throughout Scripture we are told, and commanded, to be at peace, to accept Peace, to live in peace, to go out in peace, etc. What are we then doing when we receive peace as the world does? Being faithless, that's what. In that very moment we are choosing to blot out the very face of God and turn our own way. Have you ever heard someone say that no, we can break down and then afterwards seek His Peace? That it is ok to freak out first and then be obedient? Like if we are informed of a cancer or accident or death, then it's perfectly acceptable to fall apart and afterwards pray for peace?

                                                        This logic frightens me.
First, I believe, it tells God He is a liar. That even through His many, many words we are to be natural first. (Luke 19:42) It is natural to react but we must choose to react to either the Prince of Peace, or the destroyer, to whom we were slaves to before Christ came.
Second, I also believe this faithless belief pollutes our church and other weak believers. Putting forth as truth that we are to react first, then seek, is dangerous. (John 17:17)
   Over and over we are instructed to accept His gift of Peace. And like exercise, it's hard! But the more we practice and do it, the easier it becomes and the fitter we are. Changing from glory to glory. God tells us frankly in His Word that His peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I trust that. I have to choose to do so! Oswald Chambers wrote 'Reflecting His peace is proof that you are right with God, because you are exhibiting the freedom to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind to anywhere but on yourself.' We are to be constantly looking to Him to be receiving His peace. This takes time every day to do and heaven knows, God gives us enough opportunities to practice His promises! Ha! In sports, you play like you practice. So if you ain't giving it your all off the court, when the bird hits the fan, you will flail. And we've all seen people in our lives-even in the church- fall utterly down deep. And it's shocking, but telling. We are to have our feet ready! (Ephesians 6:15).
   Now, I know some of you may see me as unemotional or unrealistic. That's fine. It's been a tough road for me personally, and I have much to work on, but this peace thing I've got. Perhaps it's because I believe I am truly nothing good without Him. That unless I rely on Jesus as often as possible, I will fail and fail miserably. I don't always succeed and I make a lot of mistakes.But you would see that I am not an emotional rollercoaster, which can be the result of the absence of Christ. And it's challenging to keep our eyes on Him. Sometimes I wish I had Jesus Glasses which would enable me to see Him right away!
   Let me finish that story of my daughter and my ability to maintain control. I did cry and allow myself to fully feel my fright, but only til later did God allow that. Because of His wonderful promises of Peace and Grace, my boys were able to not be so scared that morning and every other time she seized. They were then more able to help her and others and, eventually, effectively handle worse emergency situations in our lives and the lives of others. Moms-you've got to hold it together!! Keep praying, keep seeking, keep getting back up.
   I have the feeling, because I'm winning at this myself, that you can do this! You have to do this! For yourself, your family, our church and our great commission! We don't have to be vulnerable to what the darkness brings! What would happen if we truly took the authority Jesus gives us and acted on it? Peace in our minds when our thoughts run to the dark....peace in our family in the midst of chaos...peace in our finances while the checkbook tells us different.... We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus- let's truly believe that and change our world.We can boast of what God is doing through us! God bless you!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Worth the Wait!

So you just found out your pregnant and the due date seems,like, forever away.
You discovered the sex of your baby and picturing the little one makes you want more time to do the baby room right.
Sleeping is becoming uncomfortable but you like the way your body looks truly feminine now. Staying this way would be nice for a while. 
                             You're the center of attention-in a good way-for once. Life is wonderful.

You're HUGE. Those feet of yours are swollen and achy. That once-cute-butt behind you now resembles 
2 overgrown sacks of potatoes.It's hard to tell your ankles from your thighs. You just know that people can't tell for sure if you're with baby or maybe you've been to Sweet Frog once too many.

 Heartburn, acne, sore boobs-when will this end????

It's funny how pregnancy can mimic labor in an odd sort of way. It's exciting, unknowable and strange.
You're thrilled because "Finally! I'm pregnant!" & "Finally! The baby's coming!"

Both processes share similar progression of emotions: impatience... pain...agony...'I'm going to die!' you've never known.

(Of course, this is not an exact replica of all pregnancies and/or births. Blah, blah blah. I hear you keeping it to yourself right about now, and I thank you.)

For me, being a Labor Assistant is so wonderful because I am blessed to witness the growth-the becoming-of each mother as she travels through the land of gestation and its challenges and rewards. If it's her first then I know she's totally unaware of how much she will be changed from this process, and I am more than thrilled for her and her family. Nothing has the ability to transform you like carrying another human being inside of you and being responsible for that life. And, if you believe in God, then the whole deal is even sweeter because you know that this child, this gift from Heaven, is just that- a heavenly gift. 

For God to entrust that little soul to us to love and hug and clean and kiss and disciple is a responsibility that, I'm sure, no one in their right mind would willingly sign up for. At least not until they've already done it once, because we're fools after that first time. And we're fools in love. And only when we allow ourselves to trust in God and understand that we here on Earth know nothing..........then we get just a glimpse of Him and His Purpose for us. 

                                                  Ok. Off track a little I think. I keep doing that....

All that waiting and pain and lack of rest and exuberant love spills out furiously once that new child makes it's first cry. Definitely worth it. I would go through all of it again just to hold one more baby from my own womb. I don't care if it was natural, dulled with pain killers or a cesarean- your beloved little you is here and finally it's complete. How precious are you, dear mother. Hold on. Wait patiently.

                                               You still have puberty to go through, after all.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My ADHD Ode to Autumn

Where I come from, it's pronounced winner. Apparently, winner is not accepted everywhere, like American Express. The local folks 'round these here parts enunciate each letter. It just seems to roll right off their tongues. Or, as we say in Philadelphia, tungs. That time of the year when wooder turns to ice.

         So, anyways, winTer is coming and, if today is any indication, coming quickly! It's dang cold here in Central Pa.! I know it is November, but for some reason, (self medical diagnosis: Seasonal Apprehensional Laziness), every year I FORGET how cold 'cold' is. Relatively speaking, that is. Please- no need to school me about the ratio of cold to bone from those of you who live in actual freezing regions of this here United States. And stop the stories of how tough you are because you can still manage a normal life in sub-arctic weather. Grocery shopping in 6ft high drifts with 3 toddlers strapped to your back only because you're carrying the dog & kitty in front with a hot pizza, again. You stink.

I love Fall. Not The Fall, mind you. You know, the one where Satan decided he could do better without the Lord and all that horribleness. I hate that one. No fun in that. I'm talking about Autumn!! That Fall. And not just because it's beautiful, or just perfect for that jacket you bought last year for super cheap off-season, or because Thanksgiving is beckoning. 

But because everything is appearing to die off. That's where the beautiful comes from- you see it in the leaves and on the forest floor.Even stepping on them and hearing the crunchy sound of their leaf-bones delights children of all ages. It's beautiful the way the magical woodland creatures gather their berries & hide their nuts because if they don't, then they will starve to death.  I know, I know. 'What's so beautiful about things dying?' How can Death be beautiful when it's terribly sad? Soon those crimson leaves will be soggy and mashed up under our tires or choking our gutters, and the trees, who will be naked in the frigid air, are going to be begging for even a light sweater of snow. Bare, frozen, painfully chilly-quite morose actually.

                 So, I'll bet now you are expecting a Faith-Tie-In of sorts.A sermon to remind us of the cycle of life. 'Ok, everything dying off is beautiful because God makes all things new.' Or 'When we die to blah-blah-blah...blabbity blah blah.'  No! I find Autumn beautiful with the world seemingly dying off because.................................

                                   Then I can stay in the house & wear fat pants all day long.
                                                                           (seems legit.)