Friday, August 1, 2014

Personal Inventory: Things that make you go "Ugh"

It feels like my whole system hit reboot.

Since returning from leading our last missions trip 8 days ago, I have slept more in a week than I have since my adolescent years. I have experienced three different forms of sickness, one swollen and painful-ish, one violent and mid-night-runs-to-the-bathroom-ish, and one just plain ugly.

I have had to rely on superbly fabulous friends and family to help care for our girls, since a mom who must tend to herself can't always tend to others. (THANK GOD for each of you! Words cannot express how much I needed you this week!)

But most of all, it's forced me to take inventory. You know...take stock of what's going on physically with my body, what's going on emotionally in my heart, and what kind of thoughts am I having. Since it's all connected, I knew these illnesses weren't random or separate... they were a reflection of the state of being I had placed myself in.

I was exhausted. And I had not been caring for myself. My inside SELF. So, I began to.

The best thing I did this week was to write a Forgiveness List. On this list I put the name of every person I could remember ever having a negative feeling toward. Even the slightest negative interaction or thought that I could still remember having. Even if I still felt justified about that thought or interaction. (Their part in this was was my action, thought, or response that mattered.) God, myself, and my immediate family members were all on there multiple times. Some of the people I had apologized to face-to-face in the past... but for some reason, there was still a memory... still a (nose-scrunch) "ugh" feeling there in my belly.

It was a long list.

Then I took the first name on the list and pretended I, this spirit-person, was sitting face-to-face with this other person's spirit. And I spelled out the moment that I remembered. And I asked for forgiveness. Silence ensued. But deep in me, I finally heard a "yes." Then something occurred to me... I turned to myself and apologized for carrying the shame of that interaction for so many years.  And that's when I began to weep.

I had no idea I had been carrying shame! ...Shame over interactions or thoughts that I thought had "mostly" already been addressed, or had "only" been internal stuttering, or had been justified, or had just been swept under the rug years ago (because who asks forgiveness for EVERYthing??)? As I continued to move down the list, there was more crying, but the asking of forgiveness came easier and easier, and the release of shame from my gut became more and more tangible. Sometimes I didn't hear an answer, but at least I asked. It took me days to get through the list.

I had no idea that little bits of shame could build up in you over the years--until a packed-in pile of it finds a way to send a screaming alarm signal out of your body through illness, vomit, and ugliness.

Thank God He lives and reigns in us. Thank God He made us miraculous and powerful. And THANK GOD He placed within us the creative ability to change, heal, restore, and thrive. We just have to step into it... we just have to OWN IT.

(And P.S., I'm much better. Mending, moving slowly, breathing deeply, and smiling more.) :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Piggy Banks in Your Belly

Selah: "Why doesn't everyone believe in Jesus?"

Me: "Well, some have never heard of Him. And some have been told that He's not real."

Selah, after pausing and thinking for a moment... "And they believe that?"

Me: "Well, deep down inside I think they know, but they've decided to say that He's not."

Selah thinks for a moment, then nods her head... "Yeah, I think so. Sometimes it's stuck in your belly...down in your piggy bank inside. And you just have to pull the know out of your piggy bank where all the memories live."

How is it that our six year old can verbalize something I've never been able to put into words? Maybe because she hasn't been out of that realm for very long... she's only been here on assignment for six years now.

So...I guess I needed to hear that. Maybe it's time for me to stop and remember where I came from... remember Who we originated from... Who now lives and creates miracles in and through us. Maybe we need to listen more to the "knowing" that is immersed in our very DNA. We have more power in our little fingers, more strength in our spirits, and more knowing deep in our "piggy banks" than we're willing to acknowledge. And by that unwillingness, we suppress Him. What if we lived remembering why we were sent here? How about if we all rose up a little taller, a little more confident in how fabulous we are (and He is in us) and how phenomenal our mission here is? Wow... :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Homeschool Mom Graduate

Ok, so I just finished my first year as a home school mom.

Good night...What an education! I went through all the subjects... Ignorance. Naivety. Excitement. Syllabus shock. Overwhelm. Irritation. Determination. Exhaustion. Self-loathing. Neglect. Re-calibration. Acceptance. Self-appreciation. Enjoyment. Gratitude. (Whew....)

Had no idea it would be such a growing space for me. My daughter was a great teacher. Patient, forgiving, loving... but willing to push me in areas I needed growth. She was so well equipped to handle my particular form of self-centeredness. She really stretched me, and then gave me the grace I needed to move higher.

And now I've finally graduated. Wow... I made it. Can hardly believe I made it. And my daughter survived, too! In fact... she wants to do it again. **Deep breath.** Wow. Ok. Cool... I do, too. :)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The 2014 Kung Fu Disaster

Sometimes it takes a little creativity to get the house cleaned. I don't usually have any. The faster, the better. The more efficient, the better. And all those other boring ways of picking up. "Won't it look great when you're done, girls??" Just get it done. Now.

Well, today I used some spur of the moment props and a live action camera... and waddaya know. Instant motivation. Fifteen minutes and they were done. AND it was fun. Sheesh. So need to think like this more often.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Worship Isn't A Song

Worship isn't a song, a tempo, or a sound. And it's not an activity that we participate in every seven days. Those community gatherings (that we often refer to as "worship") are auditory articulation... the verbal and physical expressions of something more. Something intangible and deeply felt in the heart.

We can often place more focus on the symptoms of an illness, than on the actual illness. "She has a fever." So we take her temperature often, administer helpful remedies to reduce the fever, and try to make her feel cooler. We are relieved when the fever dissipates. All focus was on the fever... what temp it was, how long it lasted, what it looked like... not what actually caused the fever.

The fever was just a symptom...the body's outward response to an internal state. In the same way, the expression of worship is an outward symptom of our internal state of adoration. The true worship is our inner, innate response to a growing understanding of His deep love for us, and our appreciation for that love.

When that inner adoration is expressed outwardly, it doesn't have to look or sound a certain way. It can come out in thousands of ways. Like appreciating the smell of a flower He made, caring for a loved one He created, deciding to maintain your integrity in a sketchy situation out of your reverence for His presence with you, whispering to Him a "thank you", helping others when it's inconvenient because those people belong to Him, or improving yourself because you know His plans are waiting on you. All are outward demonstrations of an inner love.

But all these outward expressions of inner worship do have a certain feel to them. They feel like adoration. So instead of getting hung up on what our expression of worship looks like, let's focus on the state of our inner heart toward Him. And then the expression of that adoration will flow easily and come out in a multitude of forms.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Statements That I Never Thought Would Come Out Of My Mouth

1. "Get your foot out of your sister's mouth!" (Said to Selah regarding Aliyah.)

I've decided to start a list. I'm sure anyone with children can relate. Here are the first six... all said within the last two years.

2. "For the umpteenth time, stop eating dog food!" (Said to both Moriah and Aliyah.)

Selah is almost 6, Moriah is 4, and Aliyah is 19 months. 

3. "How did you get your hair tangled in the toilet bowl brush?!" (To Aliyah.)

4. "You were sucking on a chunk of broken glass!?" (To Aliyah as I pulled it out of her mouth.)

5. "You found a penny AND a hair tie in her poop?!" (To Kenneth about Aliyah.)

6. "Why did you let your little sister drop rocks in the toilet WHILE you were pooping in it?!?" (To Moriah. Guess who had to fish those out?? Yep.)

I have a suspicion that there will be more to come.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Ok, God. I will."

 I was shocked at the language my three year old had just used. Moriah!? This is the girl who argues with everything. Just because she can.

“Moriah, you are so beautiful.”  “No, I’m not.” (Completely confident in her denial.)
“Moriah, you are very smart.”  “Noooo! I’m not. (Emphatically shaking her head.)
“Moriah, we’re having eggs for lunch.”  “NO! I don’t want dat.” (Brows furrowed and voice raised.)

So, when I told her to get in her seat so she could eat lunch, I was literally shocked by her response.

“Ok, Mom. I will.” (Head tilted, sing song voice, smiling sweetly.) And. She. Climbed. Up. Into. Her. Seat.

I stared at her. Then caught myself, and started uproariously praising her for her good attitude. What in the world had happened?! Had all my hard discipline work and constant verbal correction paid off?? Had I finally broken down the wall of brick wall of opposition!?? I nearly wanted to scream for joy!

As lunch was nearing its messy end, I brought it up again (didn’t want to lose momentum, you know).  

“So, Moriah. Do you remember that thing that you did a while ago? You know… when I asked you to do something and you said, ‘Ok, Mom. I will.’?” I tried my best to duplicate the cutsie voice she had used.

“Yeeeaaaahhhh.” She looked at me out of the corner of her eyes, hovering over her bowl, her mouth covered with food.

“Well, that was AWESOME.” (More uproarious praise. Big smiley face so she can see how much awesomeness it was.) I was so impressed with you! You didn’t argue, you didn’t complain, you didn’t cry, you didn’t pretend that you were incapable of climbing into the seat or that you didn’t know how to feed yourself or that you couldn’t hold a fork or that suddenly your leg hurt or that you had to go to the bathroom… (oh yes, she may be just three but her creativity in how she chooses to disobey is astonishing)… you just obeyed Mommy with a GOOD ATTITUDE!!” (Another ridiculously large smiley face and exaggerated mommy-head-nod.)

She smiled, pleased with herself, and began to repeat the phrase over and over again. “Ok, Mom. I will. (Big smile.) Like dat? Ok, Mom. I will. Mom, are you sooo impessed wif me? Are you so pwoud of me? Ok, Mom. I will.”

I assured her that I was truly impressed. It felt like it was the first time that she had ever voluntarily agreed to happily do something that she always fought me on. And the relief of not having to “wage war” was like instant sweetness to me. It made my day. I was so happy that she had voluntarily and happily obeyed the first time that I also gave her some of what she really wanted to eat.  And I think she even surprised herself when she found out how good her quick obedience made her feel.

I was thinking about it later that day when I heard a soft voice in my spirit say, “That’s how it feels.” And it occurred to me that the Lord must feel such a sweet joy when we obey instantly and happily. How many hidden blessings have we missed because we argued or wrestled with what He wanted us to do… only to be forced to give in finally. There’s a lack of peace until the decision to obey has finally been made. We feel frustrated…maybe a little ashamed that we didn’t do it earlier.  We were “waging war” against Him and didn’t even realize it.

So, how beautiful would it be... if, the instant He asked, we said, “Ok, God. I will.”? (Head tilt and sing song voice are optional.)