Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes

Judah's school had the 100th day celebration today where they released 100 balloons and ate 100 cupcakes. Now, I was laughing at myself, because my hippie side says, "That's not green living! All that sugar and all that litter when those balloons pop!" But Judah was excited about it. [
]Who wasn't excited? ME! Why? Because I'm room mom for Kindergarten and room mom for Kindergarten is in charge of baking all 100 cupcakes! Yikes!

When Judah's teacher emailed me that we would be doing this, I said, "This sounds like hazing! I have to bake 100 cupcakes?" Luckily, God only gives us what we can not handle and then steps in to provide for us. So, naturally, when I felt completely overwhelmed, God sent Celeste! I love Celeste. She's another Kindergarten mom who called and said, "You are NOT allowed to bake 100 cupcakes yourself! I'm helping!"

So, only 50 cupcakes later, I have now developed diabetes from licking the icing off of my fingers, am completely out of flour and if I never see another bag of powdered sugar it will be too soon! But I also am beginning to learn a few things about God and about me.

1) God loves to put me in places where I have to give up and admit total reliance on Him because I am stubborn and still steeped in "Self-Reliant Sanctification" false theology. The Holy Spirit has been gently teaching me true doctrine and true Gospel, but when "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is built into your DNA, living from those truths takes extreme circumstances. Despite being "born in a pew" I only came to the realization that the Gospel alone saved me in college. However, I still believed I was responsible for my sanctification until probably 2 years ago, and it's been a long slow road of surrender and constantly allowing my mind to be transformed and renewed.

2) I have too much on my plate for this season of my life! It's great to realize that God will sustain you when the load seems to large or the road too long. It's another altogether to heap extra burdens on your back during a time of transition. God has been teaching me about seasons since my first child was born. I want to do all things right NOW! Always have. And having children has taught me that some things (like my Masters, my midwife certification, training for a marathon, learning how to ice cupcakes right) may have to wait until a different season. So, right now, we are in the "Moving to Wisconsin in 5 months to plant the Gospel" season. Which means I don't need to be in the "Building New Communities in Temple" season or the "Over-Acheiving Room Mom" season or the "Learning New Hobbies" season. That's difficult for me. I love to fill my time. When I start having regular open spaces of time, I figure I'm getting lazy and need to sign up for something. But I'm realizing that I may need to take a break, pack a box, read a book, take a nap, write a blog and wait on God to show me what that time is for.

3) I must let God order my time, my days. There is a very popular theme going through Christian circles that you have to take "Me time" and I am really uncomfortable with that logic. None of the time is "My Time". It is all God's time. Every second. And when I over-schedule or under-schedule or schedule by myself at all, I am not surrendering to His divine purpose in my life. Now, I do believe that He loves me and that He will create times to bless me with good coffee, good books, good rest, good exercise, good chats and good movies. But when those times are numbing instead of nourishing I am not tuned in to Him. I find myself overwhelmed and undernourished and I start tuning out of life, stressing out, getting frustrated and then I turn to mind numbing pastimes from which I derive no encouragement and from which I return more cranky than I started. I must learn to give my day-timer to God and pursue Him ALL of the time, trusting Him to pursue me through work and rest.

So, there are my "Lessons Learned in the Cupcake Tray" thoughts. I'm ready for this week to be over and for Jonathan to come home. I'm ready for my one-year-old to get his molars already and stop waking up at 3 crying. And I'm ready for this period of in-between to be over!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


So, this is another aspect of a church planter's wife: never seeing my husband! To support our church planting habit, my husband has to work another job. He works 72 on and 72 off. On his 72 on, he's completely off the grid. I can text him and he occasionally receives them, but the signal is so bad he can rarely text back. He doesn't receive emails or phone calls at all. That's bad enough. But then, when he is home, he is preparing to plant a church. He is either doing home repairs to get our house sell-able, looking for jobs in Madison, reading church planter prep material, or communicating with his mentors/supporters/trainers. I feel like I never see him.

Usually, I handle it well, but this last 4 rotations (2 home, 2 away) have been really rough on us. My son broke his nose 2 weeks ago, and I had to handle it all on my own, which I'm totally up to. But I felt like collapsing when Jonathan got home and handing it all over to him and taking a break. But that wasn't really an option: he had work to do. Then this time home, I just missed him. I just wanted to cuddle with him, play with the kids together, talk. But he had so much work to do, that was also not an option. I realize that lots of moms do this ALL THE TIME. Either as single moms or military wives or railroad wives or doctors wives. There's plenty of careers out there perfectly happy to take husbands away from their families for days or weeks or years at a time. What I don't want is to wallow in self-pity. What I do want is coping techniques. The last thing I want to be is another check-mark for my husband, or worse, a burden.

As I was praying about it I realized a lot of it is my idolizing my husband. Not thinking he's perfect but making a heart idol out of him. I expect him to meet my needs. All of them. I want him to provide, to protect, to console, to guide, to give companionship, to give rest, to uplift, to Gospel me. I believe that God is teaching me to look to Him for those things and take the burden off of Jonathan to be my all in all. I'm not silly or stupid. I've known in my head that God is those things for a long time. But I think I forget sometimes. Jonathan has been my best friend for so long, I have forgotten what it means.

This is my depressed entry. I'm struggling.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Panic vs. Peace

My son has his first broken...well, anything...but this happens to be a broken nose.
Poor kid. We went to the park on a play date with friends. There's a huge fallen tree there that had been struck by lightening, and the city of Belton decided it was safe and left it laying there. It forms a big arch and is begging to be climbed on. In the past when visiting, Judah has been allowed to climb it with a parent (usually Jonathan)'s supervision. However, yesterday, he did not ask for help. I was carrying Elijah, diaper bag, sippy cups, holding Gideons hand and about 20 yards away when I saw him slip and fall off the highest point, about 5 1/2 feet up. He looked like he was sky diving or belly flopping and I saw him bounce his face. My heart immediately clenched, but I've been a mom for 5 1/2 years, and I know to wait before I bounce!

This was not a bounce. When he popped back up, screaming and clutching his nose, blood was pouring from his fingers. That mom instinct that says, "Drop everything and get to your hurt child" kicked in and I nearly chunked Elijah in an effort to run to Judah. Luckily my friend Leslie was right behind me and a threw Elijah at her and sprinted towards Judah.

I hate that my fear makes me go into lecture mode! I started in on, "Judah Cecil! Why were you climbing that tree! You know not to climb that tree without me or Daddy with you. You didn't even ask me!" I had to tell my fear to shut up and let my Momma love take over with compassion. I ran/marched him to the bathroom where of course there was no lights, no towels, no mirror, no toilet paper and only a push button sink, the kind that slowly comes back up turning the water off. I would shove it down, splash water on his face and wipe blood away. By the time I reached back to rinse my hand off, the water was already off. I couldn't see anything and he was crying and writhing. I just picked him up and headed for the car. I asked Leslie if we could just follow her home and use her bathroom and some ice.

I threw kids in carseats, not even buckling Judah (I didn't know that at the time, I was just in a rush), threw the car in drive and punched #1 on the speed dial: Jonathan. I was shaking and on the verge of freaking out, so I started talking out loud to myself, "Calm down! It's ok. Jesus is here and He's in charge. Jesus, please give me peace and wisdom. Please help me see what to do." About that time Jonathan picked up and as calmly as I could I related the events. I told him I didn't think (in my head) that I should take Judah to the ER. His nose wasn't crooked, the bleeding had already basically stopped and aside from charging me $400 to stuff cotton up his nose, I don't know what they could do. He agreed and told me to keep him on the phone until I got to Leslie's and could assess the damage.

At Leslie's Judah had calmed down immensely. We washed the dried blood off his face and gave him an icepack which his nose was nearly too tender to handle at first. I looked and it seemed to be your basic bridge-of-the-nose crack (that's where the blue bruising line was) with no sideways cant to it. The part that looked the worst was that tip of his nose and right under where it connected to his lip that had gotten really badly scraped. He is quite literally a brown-noser right now! Ha!

What amazed me was that it took all my conscious effort to keep trusting Jesus. I kept having to "preach" myself back down from panic and tell myself to seek Him and His peace. I kept asking Him to show me the way and wisdom. I want to be that carefree scrapes-are-what-make-em-boys mom, but I'm really a quivering, shaking, that's-my-baby-who's-hurting mom.

He was so brave. So stoic. So tough. He kept saying, "I'm ok mom. I'm tough. I'm being tough. Right mom?" It was precious. I just wanted to cuddle him and let him sleep with me (though I probably would have bumped his nose 20 times). I kept him up later watching movies to avoid danger with a concussion and when I put him to bed he slept soundly and woke up fine.

A Doc friend of mine at church told me there was nothing they would have done in the ER, he probably had a mild concussion and he'd be fine with rest. That was nice to hear.

But what really got me was imagining what could have happened. It could have been his arm, his leg, a rib, his cheekbone, an ankle. He could have knocked himself out. Gotten a major concussion. Broken his neck! What I keep seeing, in my minds eye, is Jesus holding him in the palms of His hands and setting him down on the ground virtually unscathed for falling 6 feet. Bless His holy Name!

I told Judah that. I told Him that Jesus had protected him. I knew his nose hurt (to which he said, "Not much anymore Mom! You gave me ice cream and it feels better! Jesus healed my broken nose with ice cream!"), but it could have been so much worse. Jesus had held him in his hands when he fell and protected him.

When he prayed tonight, Judah said, "Thank you Jesus for holding me in Your hands and protecting me. You are good. I love you. Please heal my nose. And help me do my work fast at school so I can have recess." Makes me tear up just typing it. I love that boy. And I long for him to fall more and more in love with Jesus every day. He's been struggling with liking Jesus lately. Jesus makes him go to school. Jesus makes me obey. Jesus makes me discipline him when he's naughty. Jesus can be a real drag sometimes to a 5 year old. It was breaking my heart to watch him struggle, because he had been so passionate about Jesus a few months ago. I had prayed for Jesus to be real, show Judah tangible ways He loved him. This is not necessarily what I meant, but it sure was tangible to Judah.

Thank You for Your Love and Mercy, new every morning!

Friday, January 7, 2011


This is an interesting time of year for me. Not only is it the new year, but it's also my birthday. I turned 30 yesterday (yes, happy birthday to me) and it is such an odd feeling. On the one hand, I'm delighted to be older, to be maturing, to be growing out of some of my baggage and selfishness and silliness (my closest friends might beg to differ, but this is my blog and I can make whatever outrageous claims I want to). On the other hand, it's completely unbelievable to me that I'm 30. I really still feel 24. Not that I don't notice the energy slump, the extra time it requires to recover from my New Year's Eve party, the extra ache in my knees after a run. But when someone says, "Oh, her daughter's about 24," I think, "Oh, my age!" I have to stop and correct myself that 24 is NOT my age. It's over half a decade younger than me. And that's an odd feeling.

But this morning in the quiet before my boys started stirring and the day exploded around me, as I sat with my Bible and my holy cup of coffee, I thought back over this last year (which has been crazy) and over as much of the last 30 as I could remember, focusing on the last 10. What do I see? I see God's faithfulness. He has been so faithful. I have been through a lot of ups and downs and challenges. I have struggled; I have wept; I have fought and kicked against the goads. I have doubted and questioned and thrown fits. But God has not. God has kept steady and solid and sure. God has tirelessly pressed on, pressed upward, pressed into me. I distinctly remember times when I was sure He was on vacation or at the very least on the other line! But when I look back I see the refinement, the prodding, the gentle, or at times not-so-gentle pressure. I see times when I felt like I was going through hell only to look back now and see His mercy. His tender, terrible mercy.

And I'm reminded of Israel. They have no king, just judges. Lines and lines of judges, some of whom have done well; some not so well. And here they are, under Samuel. Not only a judge but a godly prophet. They have finally gotten the ark back. They made a muddle of things there, bringing the ark to a fight that God had not picked, but they have rectified the situation, gotten the ark back and want a new beginning. They ask Samuel what to do and in the midst of the altar call, here come the Philistines again. They obviously hadn't learned their lesson from all the tumors and rats that God inflicted them with and they think they'll have the same result as last time when they captured the ark. But this time, Samuel is there. Samuel cries out to the Lord and asks for His mercy, His might, His will. And God answers with a whopper of a thunder storm, knocks the Philistines silly and Israel has the victory. So this time, they did it right. For now, they are following the God of All Creation.

In a humble spirit and totally surrendered, Samuel sets up a stone of remembrance and calls it Ebenezer: Thus far as the Lord been faithful. Up til now, things have been crazy. We've been running things our way some and God's way some. Sometimes we're surrendered; sometimes we're stubborn. But so far, no matter what we do, God is faithful. So far, we cannot look back and pinpoint one time that God has not done exactly what God said He would do. Right now, and there is no evidence to the contrary, He is a faithful and good God.

That's where I am this January. This 30th birthday. Thus far has the Lord been faithful to me. Thus far He has accomplished His will and purpose through me and for me. Thus far, His Name has been glorified and my good has happened, even in spite of me sometimes. Thus far, He has been the author and perfecter of my faith. Thus far I have not gone without food or shelter or friends or family or love. Thus far...