Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grace for Everyday

I need it.

Like mercy every morning and daily bread, I need grace. I need it from the Lord and I need it from you.  I'm telling it like it is. I can't make it without it. I am terribly fallible and extremely prone to disappointing God and man and without a lot of grace I will become the recipient of your judgement, your disappointment, your frustration, your anger and your scorn. I am the chiefest of sinners, said Paul....and I echo his confession.

It probably doesn't help that God has placed me in ministry....there's a whole 'nother group of people that I can manage to disappoint or possible turn away from being closely knit together with a group of believers. It's like God was playing a giant joke on humanity when He called me. Seriously Lord?

But He did and for years I tried to live this perfect little pastor's wife life, until I realized, I don't really do perfect very well. And so began the quest for something that was more real than perfect. And I found grace again. Someone in real clothes and shoes gave me a giant helping of grace one time and I will never forget what grace looks like this side of heaven. Relief. Freedom. Peace.

Grace is not my cop's my complete confession that I can't make you happy all the time....I can't even make myself happy all the time! I can't always be there for you. I don't have all the answers. I will fail you. I will disappoint you. I can't do much of anything perfect. It's my humble pie paired with a strong cup of "I'm sorry" when I fail you and it's the beautiful embrace of grace that comforts my heart when I mess up.

Thankfully God just heaps it on. Day after wonderful day. As a Christian, I am learning daily what it means to walk in that receive it, to give it, to share it, to talk about it, to embrace it. Receiving it reminds me how much I need to give it. When I'm frustrated with someone...give them grace. When I grow impatient of the same old, same old....give them grace. When I'm tired physically and the demands keep coming...give grace. It's the remedy for the hardened soul to be soften and it's the only things that can bind two hearts as one. Grace. Room to make a mistake and still be loved. Grace. Forgiveness without a guilt trip. Grace. Forgetting what is behind and forging ahead to a glorious future.

Grace. I need it. Do you?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Change Me

Change my heart oh God...
Make it ever new
Change my heart oh God
May I be like you.

The congregation number 200 or so. The sermon was finished and God was working. People at the alter sniffled...the baptistry waters were stirring and the soft sound of a collective body of believers sang softly those words...Change my heart Oh God. 

And that's what's happening. One by one the cry is going up...change me....change my heart...change everything about habits, my motives, my affections, my sin...change it all. That's white flag surrender. 

As I stood with the church that evening, I am excited about what the future holds. Could we be on the hem of a revival? What does it look like? What will it change? How will we know? I have no answers. Most weeks I sit there just thankful and humbled that God is allowing my family to be a part of something so uniquely beautiful in the world today. A perfect church...certainly not. That's laughable purely from the point that I am in it...and I understand my wretchedness as a sinner. But I am thankfully indebted to the One who redeemed me....paid the price for my ignorant sin and who is making me beautiful and new every day. 

So I join with those who sang those words Sunday night...

Change my heart oh God...
Make it ever new
Change my heart oh God
May I be like you.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Recipe For a Day Off

I'm not good at resting. I don't know many moms that are. Seems like there's always something pressing to be done. Laundry, homework, dinner and housework are constantly calling our name. But, it just so happens that I have a Friday off school and the house is halfway decent and I'm sick with a cold, so I'm ordering myself a day off.

Here's the recipe:

1. Sleep in...or at least stay in the bed past 6am.

2. Pajamas...all day

3. No running appliances....dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, hair dryer. Exception: Keurig

4. Pinterest...I've seen it very little in the last month. There's bound to be something new I need to discover.

5. At least one sappy movie.

6. Some snuggle time with the kids

7. Reading

8. A Nap

9. Comfort food....possibly chili and rice since a mild cold front has moved in

10. Pillow and blanket and me on the couch

The way I see it...I better take advantage of the day while I have it! Gotta go....I have things to do...sorta!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What Are We Remembering?

It's 9-11.

And folks are remembering. Facebook status' this morning were filled with "We will never forget" "We Remember", "Where were you???...". And frankly, I'm wondering what are people really trying to remember. I mean, I get it, you want to talk about where you were and what you were doing. But then what...What do you remember?

- I remember a country who came to their knees in one moment.
- I remember race and religion and social status mattered little in that same moment.
- I remember fear in the eyes of every person.... wondering who would be next.
- I remember parents holding children tight...really tight
- I remember a sense of urgency to get back to God
- I remember schools believing all the sudden it was ok to pray in their buildings again
- I remember the pledge of allegiance meaning something
- I remember people singing the national anthem with pride
- I remember communities bearing the burden of NYC in their hearts
- I remember ordinary people giving up their lives in hopes of saving others
- I remember God and Country....united we stand.

....and I remember being hopeful that maybe this would get our attention and bring American back to her roots. And yet, now after 11 years, we're barely different than the day before 9-11 happened. We've drifted back into our pride and self indulgence. We're noticeably different at ground zero...but how about the ground zero of our hearts? Are they more passionately devoted to the urgency of the gospel? Are we closer to that nation that lived and breathed the beautiful message of freedom...both spiritual and physical?

I wonder...and in my heart I know. We are slow to learn the lessons of tragedy. We forget the beauty of fear...and that it draws us closer to the Lord. We become anxious to feel secure and independent and in that search for both, we abandon the only one that can truly bind our hearts securely. What really have we remembered at all?

Monday, September 10, 2012

White Flag

I'm sitting here...the eldest just tossed her cookies and the youngest is singing at the top of his lungs in the shower, Chris Tomlin's, White Flag....and Bruce is out of town and I'm knee deep in grading phonics papers for my class of 18 first graders. And giving up is looking pretty good right now. Only it's not the right kind of giving up. It's the poor pitiful me...look how bad I have it...My life is so busy...poor me kind of giving up. (And I hear you saying "Spare me, join the club, you're not the only one"...and I am already sick of hearing my own complaining.

Our church's theme for the next year is "Take Over...Surrender...White Flag". And as I sit and contemplate all the things that surrender means....none of them includes vanishing from the face of the earth...which if I were completely honest, temporarily, sounds good. Instead, it means giving it all up to the Lord and letting Him take care of it. Trusting that He will take care of it. Loving that He will do His part to juggle the kids, the house, the school stuff, the Bible study...Knowing He can take way better care of things than I could ever. And that's really where I want to be.

I want to be that woman who is not easily flustered by life. The one who is calm and cool and well yes, even collected (although I'm not sure what that looks like). I want to be the one that is selfless and uninhibited when God asks me to do something. I want to think of others more and, instead of, myself....and that's hard when your hands are full of pins you're juggling.

So, I'm surrendering. Not because the church is having a theme, but because God says He can do more...more with my time, my talents, my treasures, my kids, my class, with me....than I could ever do in my own power. His exchange rate is prime. My overwhelmed, pitiful life for His Abundance. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I'm raising my white flag.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Days

It's the first day of the first grade for Tucker! 
And yes...
I'm his teacher and as you might can see, 
he's terribly excited about that!

Savannah (Fifth grade!) will be with us this year at school. 
She'll be working on her own work in another classroom. 
We're glad she's going to be close by!

I'm praying both my kids have a great year academically...but even more so that they learn the life lessons that God has for them as they are at school each day. I'm thankful for the freedom they have to learn about Christ and His ways each day at school. 

Now....if school just didn't start so early this would all be a whole lot more fun!