Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lean First on the Word of God

We've lived in the inner city since Stew and I were married.  It is all we know together..... all our children know.  

There are many things we learn from our neighbors and from all that we are engaged with in St. John.  But one thing that has been very powerfully challenging to our parenting is the idea of "safety".   It has been the question asked of us since I was pregnant with WesleyGrant and we were in Memphis, TN downtown inner city.  The questions were understandable, but it lead me to ask the more important question, "What does God say?"  "Does God call me responsible for keeping my children safe?"  Because if He does, i don't think i can, ultimately.  

I have searched and am still searching the scriptures for far, I have found that the responsibility and power for safety with me and my children falls on God, not me.  God never tells me as a parent to protect or keep safe my children.  Do I have an instinct desire to protect my children at any cost? YES!  and will I?  YES!  But I bear no anxiety of safety for my children in St. John or any neighborhood for that matter.  I can trust God with my children in every place He sends us.

The thing I want to point out is not that you shouldn't seek your children's protection...or that you should live in the inner city...more importantly I want to state that we as parents must be careful where we get our guidance for parenting our children. 

We can't produce parenting habits out of "religious huntches".... thinking something is "following God" just b/c every christian we know is doing it or it seems "right", or from others who have "religious huntches".     

I found that when people (wonderful people) talked to us about the safety of our children and said that "God calls us to protect our children", i followed that for a while and it led me to make lots of "religious huntches" about raising my children in or out of an inner city....but then I asked..."what does God's word really say?"  and found quite the opposite.  I found peace and freedom and powerful guidance that I can be sure of.

  Be careful not to function as a parent from "religious advice or huntches" when it comes to raising your children. always has good intentions...but can often be sourced from ones own opinion, personality or life experience.   God teaches us through all of those things, but always refer to the Word accurately with any advice given or thought that comes to never just might politely disagree with what God actually says.   More later...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Gospel Changes Lives

Check out this video of people in our church....many our friends....they represent of us! Hope you are encouraged to see that Jesus changes lives...YOUR life and keeps you....He is all that makes us right! May the Gospel continue to help you discover true life!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Passover Seder Meal

As we continue to try with "family traditions"...this Easter has been a reminder that some traditions, unlike the Christmas tree hunting, will stick,"accidentally", and bring a blessing to us that we never expected! 

Last year we tried to make Easter more about Jesus' story....Salvation....the Good news!  We invited friends and neighbors over for Easter lunch...and decided we would do Mediterranean food...with Lamb...and celebrate our "Lamb of God".  We will do it again tomorrow.  But remembering the great experience that was, we added this year and "accidentally" so much "sight" has come to the true meaning of Easter.  Some of our friends weren't able to join us for Sunday, so we decided to do a passover meal with them to prepare all of our hearts together for Easter.

So Thursday we held the "Passover Seder Meal" with those we call "family" here in Austin.  It was an experience that I can't describe in words.  To celebrate the Passover as believers is an amazing experience!   The passover is a meal order the Jewish people celebrate. It tells the story of the great exodus and God's hope for salvation.   For a Jew, the 3rd glass of wine is left well as the last piece of Matzo (flatbread) hopes that Elijah will come and tell of the coming Messiah....They wait still for the Messiah....

But get this!  The night before Jesus was crucified, he had passover meal with the disciples and he took the bread and cup that was normally left and broke it and made it a "remembrance of Him". (our now communion)  What must those disciples have thought?!  WOW!  For them to dip the cup and take from Jesus that night was to say "I will follow you....I believe you are the Messiah"....or they were committing a horrible act as a Jewish man.

The passover was a sweet time to come to realization of our story of salvation....or "exodus from Egypt"  and prepare our hearts for celebrating Easter!  We look forward to having a passover Seder each year! Sometimes, things just "accidentally" come our way with family traditions. =)


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Redeeming All Failures

I have to confess, I hate poop.  I've grown to hate it more as I've had children.  And especially with potty training and post potty wiping training.   tonight, the kids were going down for bed and WG had to use the bathroom...
"okay, son. Use the potty and back in bed."   
He is in there for a while.  I am cleaning up last of the dishes and think i better go check up on him.  Sure as I thought.  He pooped.  But this time, his creative brain decided to touch his poop and then when he didn't like it he wiped it all over his shirt.  He let me know that it was not a pleasant experience and asked if i would wipe him.  I almost lose my cool...JESUS! and I begin to clean him up.  Then when he gets off the toilet I observe poop all over the seat.  I abandoned any plea for help from Jesus and went straight to my flesh! 
 I began scolding him (wrong) and explaining how gross it was and what he did was gross (wrong).  I begin to clean it all up and realize how it is on his shirt.  Out of control rage sent me into a "controlling lecture" and "abuse of my authority" (all wrong).   I commanded him like i was an army Sargent. (wrong again)  and pointed out how if he would just not touch his poop, and wash his hands a little better, i wouldn't be lecturing him. (dead wrong again!)  I put him to bed and went to the kitchen saying every cuss word that described poop I could think of.  I'm also thinking that I am quite sure this was just a boy thing...but "not my boy!" (wrong)

 I hate poop!  But then the Spirit interrupted me.  Was that really why I was angry?
I got him in the bed without hugs, kisses, or loving words.  He was left to lie there feeling gross, unloved and a failure.  But in reality, I was feeling that way about myself and I placed that upon him.  Another moment where I realized that I was unfit as a parent.....and then Jesus entered back on the scene in my mind.

As I lean more into the Gospel, the good news draws me into Jesus when I totally screw takes me a few minutes most of the time to believe the gospel when i fail, but then I can't deny the redeeming power of God and trust that he takes all my failures and makes them for His redeeming purposes.

So, at first I told Stew, who was pointing at my heart after he overheard me with WG...
"Sorry, I just hate poop!"  
But then as I scrubbed more dishes and swept the floor with great perfection, I realized that I had let something out of my control, control me.  That is the thing about idols of the heart....when they are threatened or seem lost, we get angry...we get self-loathing...we get crazy!  And when my work idol (needing to have mastery over all the cleanliness of my home) is threatened b/c of poop....there is no pardon give to me with that idol...only a feeling of "out of control" and I go Army Sargent on anyone who caused that....even if it is my son.

But the good news about the gospel is that it leads me to my savior who for freedom set me free (Galatians 5:1)  I am no longer bound to work for my approval....but I am fully approved in Jesus!  My idol will always condemn can offer no I continue to look back over the same thing with the idols of my heart, it seems so crazy that I would ever turn to them...My savior gives not only forgiveness, but grants me righteousness guaranteed to be a right standing with God.  I am free!

So, as the Spirit disclosed the things of the Father....I knew I  was wrong and needed to make it right with WG.  That is what is so hard about being a parent....seeing your failures effect your own children.  Stew always tells me, 
"Don't will scar them....but Jesus will redeem all their scars!"  
And so with that hope, I went back into WG's room.   I told him why I got angry and that the bible instructs me differently and I did not obey God.  I told him that it was not his fault that mommy got angry.  I told him I was wrong and sorry for my actions.  I told him that Jesus is our only hope.  He may not fully comprehend...but more we are starting habits....i guess that is part of the redemption happening in my failures....we are passing on "i was wrong" and leaving behind "silence and lack of confession".   So then I can hope in Jesus...that as he is making me more like Him, he will point my son to Himself as know that you will scar your children....but our savior has a great redeeming plan both for our lives and theirs...Hope in Jesus, the redeemer of all our failures.

More later...

Friday, April 3, 2009

That's My King! Do You Know Him?

This moves me everytime I see this! Thank's Ashleigh for reminding me of this!!