Monday, March 23, 2015

Finding Balance in the Everyday

I am the last person who should be blogging about balance.

But God's been teaching me some important lessons these last weeks and I've got to record them...even if it's just for me...but most times...I know others who are a little off balance (LOL) and maybe these God lessons can help you too.

I realized I was off balance years ago. It's when I fell head first in love with crocheting....and I decided in a 48 hour period of time I would crochet 20 cotton dishrags so I could give one to every lady in our tiny church in Beaumont. Which meant I would spent 20 of the next 48 hours crocheting. And in the remainder hours I would tend to my household responsibilities, make the food for the ladies meeting and decorate for the meeting....and maybe...just maybe sleep a few hours. So I crocheted and crocheted and crocheted...until my arms were about to fall off my body. And then I cooked and decorated and hosted the ladies gathering and then I slept(after it was over)...I was a mess by the time the event started....sleep deprived, sore "no please don't hug me" arms, and giddy with exhaustion. Not the good giddy...the kind where everything is funny....hysterically funny....I knew I had bit off more than I could chew.

But yet, I've done it again....countless times actually. But now it's different. There are other people who are watching me juggle, hear me complain when I am tired and most of all are taking in my attitudes towards serving them and others. Now...the stakes are higher. So I've got to get this in check.

God's been teaching me something about this balance. About being called into service of my family first, then any other ministries He sets before me. As a wife, my first duties are to Bruce. And then the kids....yes....then the kids...after Bruce. Not a popular stand at all to take in our kid-first society but I'm gonna tell you something....If he's not first (after God) then you're doing it wrong. Savannah and Tucker see the way we treat each other, how we speak about each other and how we serve each other. Statistics show they will choose spouses largely on what they see from their own parents....Scary, huh? I'm blessed with a husband who treats me like a queen. I'm a very fortunate wife.

The second thing in the balancing of everyday is that my kids don't need everything right now. They might think they do, but if I can teach them that life isn't an emergency and that patience in living and getting and giving is the way to go then I will have added balance to their lives and mine. The urgency they might feel to acquire something can be great insights into what they value and even to some degree what they idolize. There are great spiritual truths to be talked through and taught through if we take the time.

Lastly, I'm finding balance in my service to others. There are many groups of people in the Bible that we are told to serve. The widows, orphans, hungry, outcast, the grieving, the heartbroken.... to name a few. I have no choice but to find something to do to serve these ...I've been commanded's not a choice...In's a sign that I have in some form true religion....true relationship with the Lord. How I serve them can be done in a variety of ways....but there's one thing for sure....I can't accomplish that if my life is so full of other stuff that I can't do or think or pray or meet with them.

I'm thankful for the lessons God's taught me in the midst of my unbalance....I'm thankful He can see this mixed up heart and know the motives of a woman who takes on too much, juggles more than she should and takes her eyes of the one who walks on water because she sees a cruise ship off in the distance. He rescues me in spite of my spiritual ADDness and give me great hope that He who has begun a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. Thank you Jesus.

What about you....what gets you sidetracked? What leaves you feeling off kilter? How do you stay balanced?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Helping Our Kids Overcome Rejection

I was twelve the first time I remember being rejected or treated unkindly by people I trusted. I had fallen into a group of mean girls without really knowing it. Until I became their prey. I remember how I felt when I finally realized I was the butt of all their jokes. I remember that awful sinking feeling. I remember wondering if everyone else had seen it coming...or better yet, were they all laughing too. It was horrible...and not in the mom can take me to get ice cream and it will be all better then sense. The feelings were long lasting...and eventually influenced the way I made friends in the future.

So here I am 30 ....30 long years later. And I am beginning to face these same issues with my own kids. And it hurts almost as bad worse than it did back in 1984. And it isn't gender specific. In fact Tucker was hurt before Savannah was....which seemed a little weird to me. But it happened.

The thing is, I can't change the fact that the world is full of mean, unkind, careless and thoughtless people who do not filter their words. In fact, sadly, if I am honest, I've even contributed to that audience before. But what I can do is train/discipline my kids to respond correctly and Biblically when treated in a less than desirable way.

Here's a few things I am working on....maybe they will help you with your kids too:

1. Consider immediate forgiveness. If it's something that is trivial could I forgive them quickly and minimize damage to the relationship? Sometimes this can happen if it's a first time offense or if kids were just joking and took it a little too far. Sometimes we don't have to make it a big deal.

2. Consider the source. Is this someone who lacks self-control with their words? Were they showing off, trying to one up someone else? Don't feel like you have to correct a fool. They don't take it well.

3. Is there truth to what's been said? Even if said with hurtful intentions, sometimes we can grow if we can sift the truth from what's been said.

4. Is it habitual? Is the meanness a pattern that is present consistently in the person's life? Is that the type of person you want to be known with?

5. Process the words said to/about you. Is that what God thinks about you? What does His word say about you? His words are the most important the only ones that matter.

6. How can you communicate with the offender that He/She has hurt you? What if they don't care? What if they just continue? Sometimes they might not even know they hurt you. Sometimes they might not have been paying attention.

7. No matter how hurt you are, you can always be kind. Sometimes kindness is quiet and sometimes the kindest thing you can do is confront. But whatever you do, react is such a Christ-like manner that it is obvious you are coming out of great love for them. Sometimes your gentle spirit might be just the thing God uses to soften their hearts.

So many time I hear parents say, "Find new friends", or "We'll show them", or "Sticks and stones...", but the facts are that if we don't teach our kids how to process the world's actions on their lives, we will raise our own generation of "mean" kids....because they do not know who they are in Christ. They will retaliate with the same meanness and hatred and pride that mean kids do will look no different and the cycle will continue.

Let's take the time to invest in our kids the Biblical way God designed for us to handle our differences. His word is full of instruction on that. He has not left us in the dark.

I'd love to hear how you help your kids cope with rejection, mean kids, hurtful words....leave a comment if you've got a tip.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Allergies, Paralysis and Snow

About three weeks ago I came down with a severe case of "allergies".

About 2 weeks ago I became paralyzed by exhaustion from the "allergies" (AKA coughing)

Then it snowed. Like three times in two weeks. In Texas.

So that's where I've been.

But I'm back now.

Because the snow is melting.

And the meds are working.

And I'm gaining energy every day.

I've even considered spring cleaning. Now don't get all excited....I'm not going all Martha Stewart spring cleaning....I'm just talking about maybe taking the cushions off the couch and giving them a good vacuuming or wiping down the walls around the light switches or maybe....maybe cleaning the stove. But don't hold me to any of that because....

What I really want to do is get out and plant some flowers and some veggies in my yard. I'm ready to start getting the pool cleaned up and the concrete bleached and the weeds pulled. It's time....hurry up spring.

I'm motivated at every change of season....and I really love fall and winter...but this year more than others I need to see new life, I need to see God's creation blooming, I need to see how He raises the dead to life and how the wilted and brittle landscaped are revived by His calendar. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that winter doesn't last forever. That new and beautiful life is just around the corner.

So if the winter blues....full of colds and flu and allergies and below freezing temperatures have you down....hold on...remember He makes all things new.....hope is on the way.