Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bedtime Stories

The boys listened intently to a story I had read to them several times before.  The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper.

You know the one.

A train filled with toys and good food for the children at the other end of the mountain breaks down.  A Shiny New Engine comes by and is asked to help pull the train to the other side of the mountain but the Shiny New Engine is a passenger engine and says, "I pull the likes of you?  Indeed not!" and leaves.

A Big Strong Engine comes by and the dolls and toys ask if he can pull them to the other side of the mountain.  The Big Strong Engine is a Freight Engine that pulls trains of big machines over the mountains and is too important to pull the train of toys and food for the children over the mountain.

A third engine approaches; Rusty Old Engine also says he can not pull the train because he is just too tired.

The the Little Blue Engine comes by and is asked to pull the train to the other side of the mountain.  Even though the Little Blue Engine is much smaller than the other engines, agrees to pull the them over the mountain and believes in herself so much that she is able to do just that.

As I read, BuhBuh interrupted about half way through the story.  "Mom.  This story reminds me of that story from the Bible.  The one where people keep on passing by the guy laying on the road."

"The story of the Good Samaritan?"  I asked.

"YEAH!!  That one!!!" 

I paused a moment to soak in what he said then continued reading.  When I closed the book we compared it to the familiar parable.

The first three engines to pass by the broken train were all bigger and much more capable of pulling the load over the mountain but refused.  They felt like they were too good or too important to do such a job.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan the the priest and the Levite that passed by the injured man were the two who should have stopped to help but refused and ignored the man laying on the road.  I wonder if they felt like they were too good or too important to care for the injured many?

The Little Blue Engine was much smaller and not as capable as the other engines but thought about the boys and girls on the other side of the mountain who would be so happy when the train arrived and did the right thing.

The Samaritan was not the likely choice to stop and help the injured man.  The Jewish people and the Samaritans typically despised one another.  Yet this Samaritan knew what the right thing to do was.

BuhBuh struggles a with reading and comprehension at times.  But the fact that he was able to recognize and compare The Little Engine that Could with the parable of the Good Samaritan warmed this mama heart on so many levels.

He pointed something out to me that I hadn't ever thought about before. 

He does understand and comprehend what is being read and I was assured that reading won't always be as much of a struggle.

The word of God is on his heart.

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”   Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”  Luke 10:36-37

Monday, February 21, 2011

Intentionally Growing Part Two: Marriage

16 years ago My Sweetie and I started dating.  Our 15 year anniversary is coming up in June.

What a milestone!!  Our relationship has not been without bumps and hurdles and at times mountains to climb.  But I wouldn't chose anyone else to partner with on this journey.

 Even though I think we have a good marriage, I still want it to grow into something more.  I don't ever want us to be strangers to one another because we didn't intentionally take the time to grow our relationship.  My children, ministry work and care of the home usually take up most of my time.  I have to work every day to give my husband the best of my time because if I don't things just don't work.  There are plenty of days when I don't and I can feel the distance that builds between us when I'm not intentionally making him a priority.

While reading the blog of Jill Savage, CEO and Founder of a wonderful organization called, Hearts at Home, I was once again reminded of the importance of being in a constant state of  intentionally growing in your marriage.  Every Monday she partners with her husband to write about marriage.  The title of the blog was, "What is it like to be married to me?"  (EEK!!!  Do I really want to know??)  There is a book by the same title written by Linda Dillow which they based this blog post on. Jill and her husband Mark write,

Jill: Becoming better requires us to more often look at ourselves than pointing the finger at our spouse.  That’s usually not our default way of handling frustration.  Most of us are quick to blame and pray under our breath, “God, change him…quick!” or “God, change her….now!”

Mark: But maturity responds to frustration with, “God, please change me.”  It’s a much harder prayer to pray…but a much more effective one.  Why?  Because the only person you I can change in my marriage is me.
 Did you see that last part??

"Maturity responds to frustration with 'God, please change me.'

No matter how hard we try.  No matter how long and passionate our prayers are.  The ONLY person we can change in a marriage is us.

Asking God to change us rather than our spouses is a very intentional prayer and a good boost in the right direction of intentionally growing a marriage.

For the first 5 years of our marriage I wasted a lot of time of hoping that My Sweetie was different or treated me differently, or would just accept me for who I was.  And when those changes in him didn't happen I gave up on our marriage.  I called it quits without even really trying to work things out but rather telling him our marriage was over.  

In my rock bottom moment of that situation, I realized that I was the one who needed to make a change.  I am such a different person now that I barely recognize the wife I was early on in our marriage.  Thank God for grace, right?!?!

There have still been moments of peeks and valley's in our marriage since then and I am still having to pray for God to change me, but we've come a long way. 

It is a daily, intentional, choice for me to put aside anything that didn't get finished at the end of the day and spend time with My Sweetie.  Kids are to be in bed or in their rooms before 8:30.  The rest of the evening is set aside for just the two of us.

The other night My Sweetie called and asked if I would meet him around 5 p.m. to meet up with one of his clients.

It was a Thursday night.  I needed to do spelling with the kids.  Little Dude needed a bath.  They needed dinner.  I had spent the morning scrubbing floors and the afternoon grocery shopping.  I was tired and not looking the role of "corporate wife" at all.  This just wasn't work.

No was really the easy answer.

I could tell that he really wanted me to join him. I knew that this would really make him happy and I knew I was really just making excuses for not wanting to make an intentional effort to make My Sweetie happy.

So I made it work.  Homework was completed, dinner was healthy, yet simple and our 14-year old would be fine for a few hours watching a movie with his brothers while we were gone.

I met My Sweetie in one of the nearby downtown areas that sits along the Mississippi River and we walked together to meet his client.  We visited for a while then left, strolling hand in hand on a beautiful, warm February evening with the sounds of the city surrounding us.  We checked in at home and decided to stay out a little longer and had a fantastic dinner together before heading home just in time to put our three-little monkey's to bed.

We both curled up on the couch after they were all tucked in talking of what a great night it was.  It was somewhat a spontaneous date night, yet it did require me to get a little uncomfortable about leaving on a school night.  But the extra effort it took so that we could spend some time together was well worth it. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Intentionally Growing Part One

The weekend had come and gone.  Again.  It was Monday.  I usually like Mondays.  They are my recover-from-the-weekend-get-ready-for-the-week day.  I was swapping laundry around while mentally scrolling through my to-do list and became very overwhelmed.  

Aren't the months of January-March suppose to be my "hibernation" months, I wondered. 

Wasn't I going to do some much needed scrapbooking and unpack the last few boxes?? 

Is it REALLY February???

Why does time go so fast???

Why am I so tired?!?!?!!???

I knew I needed a mental break even though it wasn't even 10 a.m. yet.

I logged onto My One Word to see if there were any new blog posts.  And there it was.  Starting at me.  My feelings in the written word.  

Rather than living life intentionally, most people end up responding to whatever comes their way just hoping to survive. Our lives are filled with what amounts to be distractions simply because everything else is allowed priority in our lives. We raise our kids, run our businesses and go through our lives holding our breath, crossing our fingers and hoping that somehow in the busyness of it all we will grow into reflecting Christ’s heart. This simply will not happen by chance.
My One Word is Grow.  I realized that I can't GROW unless I'm intentional about it.  So that's what I'm trying to do.   I spend so much of my time "responding to whatever comes my way" always hoping "to survive."  That's why life goes too fast.  I was out of balance and I don't function well when I live in survival mode.

The next morning I intentionally woke up early and tip toed quietly down to the kitchen before waking up the kids and opened my Bible.  

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.  Zephaniah 3:17
Quiet you with his love.

Quiet me with his love.

Much like I swoop up Little Dude when he gets hurt and hug him and kiss him and apply the "orange bumpy" ice to his boo-boo to quiet him, my Heavenly Father is here to swoop in and quiet me, comfort me with his love too. 

Not only that but I need to remember that my Heavenly Father is with me; delighting in me; loving me; rejoicing in what I do.  Always.  But especially in those moments when I am feeling overwhelmed and tired. 

I don't always want to be intentional about opening my Bible.  But the day is always better when I do. 

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Conversations in his Heart & Allergies

Little Dude:  Do you want another baby?

Me:  Well, if God wants us to have another baby, I would love it!

Little Dude:  God does want you to!

Me:  He does?!  Have you been in conversation with God?

Little Dude:  Yeah.  God in our hearts.

Me:  So you'd like to be a big brother, huh?

Little Dude: Yeah.  I want another brother.

Me:  Well sometimes God gives us little girls though.  What would you think of a sister?

Little Dude:  No.  I don't want a gurl.

Me:  Why not?

Little Dude:  Girls make me sneeze.