Category Archives: christian

Treasure Hunting

Treasure Hunting
Treasure Hunting

church-shoppingI’ve written about this before, but have always trashed it, due to my need to be politically correct… in a public forum anyway, but the time has come, and now I write once again…

Have you ever been “between” churches?  Ya know what I mean? For whatever reason, you are without a church “home” and are in the process of visiting different churches …

We are.  It’s not fun.  It’s depressing.  Last week we visited a church, and the family behind us talked through the entire service, except during a baptism.  They didn’t even whisper.  We just leaned forward a bit and tried to focus…

Maybe you don’t know what I mean, because you are one of those super cool, laid back, secure Christians, that can go just about anywhere and be confident that you will fit right in and all will be well.  Nothing bothers you – you probably wouldn’t have had one bad thought about those people behind us…

I wish I were more like you.  I don’t understand why I can’t just find a church that keeps it simple, keeps it biblical, and keeps it focused.  A church that puts more into discipleship then the sound system, and encourages and equips parents to parent, instead of wooing the youth into a Christian, socially relevant sub culture.  A place where there is community outreach 24-7… not once a quarter, or in the summer, or just those awesome Christmas shoeboxes…  Men’s ministry should be a priority, as well as the widow, orphan and the single mom’s…  Is it too much to ask for?  Have we forgotten that the #1 way people come to Christ and to Church is because someone invited them?

The early church grew because they were loving and caring for one another. They were sharing and eating and just doing real life together.  “Sunday Christians” were not even considered Christians.  Being a Christ follower was a way of life, not a weekly event… Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?  Are we all too busy with our own lives that we can’t see what has been demonstrated for us?  So, instead of re-focusing and setting our priorities within a Christian community, we spend time and money on programs, and impressive music sets and appealing decorations and topical sermons that are more like self help seminars to draw people in…

But guess what? All of that can be found a mile down the road in another church, but authentic community, now that’s a treasure worth finding and keeping.  Really. **

The Fellowship of the Believers Acts 2:42-47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

 

** Obviously, this is a deep topic, that I have given a very short post for… I do understand the complexities of community, and I also don’t expect to find a “perfect” church… but  a girl can dream, can’t she?

 

Life Scales

Life Scales

Thinking about what to post this week was difficult.  There are so many things on my heart, but I never feel lead to share them – I usually write when I feel pressed upon – or pressured, whichever comes first.

I asked my husband what I should write about and he went off on the upcoming election… I just turned around and walked away.  I asked my college kid, and she said, “Broke college kids”… I said, no, so she said I should write about, “The increase of younger people getting married”… I responded, that I didn’t really know anyone that has done that recently.  So, then she told me to write about prostitution.  Really?  I then got a text from her, informing me that I was the blogger and I should figure it out myself.  My youngest son, in his obvious humbleness, told me to write about how wonderful he is….  I’m not going to ask anyone else.  I’m realizing that it probably wasn’t a good idea to ask them in the first place.

So, I figured it out on my own and here it is…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my life “scales”.  One side being worldly, responsibilities, hobbies, entertainment, etc., and the other side, kingdom work.  Now, don’t go jumping on the “covered by grace” train, I know I can’t earn my salvation, (Eph 2:8) but I am called to participate in the work of the kingdom.  Wearing the Jesus Team jersey comes with responsibility.  (Rom 12) The reasoning for the work can’t be driven by the belief that your salvation depends on it.  It’s supposed to driven by the Spirit that you have dwelling within you, and your gratitude for salvation – and the love you have for your Savior.

I used a marriage as an example when I explained it to my kids.  If you marry someone, (enter into a covenant relationship) and you never spend time getting to know them better, (reading the Word) or doing anything they asked you to, (kingdom work), or even talked to them all the time, (praying), how good would that marriage be?  Makes sense, right?

Reading the Word isn’t as hard as it used to be.  I look forward to it.  I can’t describe the peace it has brought into my life…  Praying without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17) has always been easy…If you know me, this shouldn’t be a surprise.  Sometimes I feel like that verse was put in there just for me, “Sure God! I will talk to you ALLL day!” I so got that one.

It’s the kingdom work that I stumble on.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to serve. But it’s more like, depending on my mood, or the need, time, location, energy level, schedule,  is it in my “gifting”?  Do I do it for the glory or for God’s glory?

I do believe that running our company with Christian values makes a difference.  Serving in our local body of believers is very important, (Rom 12) and just being pleasant, does shine a light for the most part. (especially while driving in the Atlanta area) I even try to scatter seeds by mentioning my faith often, and I offer to pray for those that seem to need it.  But do I do what Christ himself as asked me to do?  (Matt 28:18-20) Have I shared the gospel lately or served when it wasn’t so easy?  Ah… No.

It’s the going out and sharing the reason for my hope that trips me up.  It’s stepping out of the boat, when it’s not convenient, or easy, and maybe it’s even a little scary…But that’s when God will get the glory, because you couldn’t have done it without him.

We told our youngest son that he couldn’t have a fantasy sports team this week, because his scales were already too “sports heavy”.  You might think we’re mean, or too strict, but we are trying to teach him to manage his time wisely, and to be aware of the delicate balance of it.  As a young Christian man, he has the same responsibilities that I do in the Kingdom.  

We are never given a redo of time.  We will not wake up on Ground Hog Day, over and over again.  But even though days have passed, God, through His grace, gives us brand new ones.  With each tick of the clock, and breath in our lungs, we can adjust our scales (Pro 16:11) as often as we need to.  I’m putting sharing the gospel back on mine.

Do you know that Christ loves you so much that he died for you?

How do you make sharing the gospel a regular practice in your life?

An Award

An Award

The other day I was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award.  I was very surprised, and blessed… Thank you Thriving Despite Us.  Part of the deal with this award is that I too, need to nominate 5 blogs that have 200 followers or less.  Well, all of the blogs I follow have more than that.    Sooo… I had to head to my blog server’s “freshly pressed” and start reading blogs that looked …little.   What a good time that was!  I am now a follower of a few new blogs and am all the better for it.  My quest is not over, but this one I read caused me to pause and I wanted to mention it…

One of the blogs had a post about the, “er-beauty of peacocks”.  They are beautiful, but their sound is not.  The post was sweet and simple, and connected to faith.  You can read it yourself here.  It got me thinking about my sound.  It’s not that beautiful either… It’s one of the few things I have left to embarrass my kids.  Once, a few years back, they even asked me to stop singing so loud in church!  Which also got me thinking.  Because I did stop singing.  I stopped singing in Church, at least loudly, because I didn’t want to offend anyone, or more to the point, I didn’t want anyone thinking I sounded bad.  Which made me think about how often we conform to the patterns of this world, because we’re worried what people will think?  (Rom 12:2) We never mind showing our beautiful feathers, which are, by all intent and purposes, our appearance.  What we sound like when we sing? Well, that’s personal.  That’s not something we do for everyone.  Especially if we stink.  How does that correlate? I was thinking…again,  I don’t share the most beautiful thing I got going for me very often.  It’s not my feathers, although I do have a decent wardrobe.  It’s not my voice, as I’ve already shared, I’m doing everyone a favor…  It’s my faith.  It’s my knowledge of Grace and the Spirit that changed my life.  It’s the most beautiful thing about me.  That’s the reason I wake each morning and smile.  I praise the Lord who made me at the beginning of everyday He gives me.  Some mornings I even sing… Really.

Reading some of those blogs reminded me of that and I’m glad.  I needed it.

I still have not found 5 little blogs to nominate, but I will still acknowledge this wonderful award, and start with nominating HearingnSeeing… thank you for making me think.

 I’m still looking, so, If you know of a blog that’s worthy of an award that gives happy little blogs some recognition, tell me about it, so I can check it out!  And if you happen to see me in Church, don’t sit in front of me…cause I’m over that not singing thing…

Psalm 98

Sing a new song to the LORD,
for he has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory;
his holy arm has shown his saving power!
2 The LORD has announced his victory
and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!
3 He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel.
The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

4 Shout to the LORD, all the earth;
break out in praise and sing for joy!
5 Sing your praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song,
6 with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.
Make a joyful symphony before the LORD, the King!

7 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the earth and all living things join in.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands in glee!
Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
9 before the LORD.
For the LORD is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with fairness.

Africa…Really?

Africa…Really?

My college student, and only daughter, will not be coming home this summer.   She has applied, and has been accepted, into a program through Adventures in Missions.  She will leave the first of June, for a 2-month mission trip in Swaziland, Africa.  Really…

My kids are all service oriented, and have experienced missions on local and national levels, and one of them has served in Mexico for 2 weeks… but none have ever traveled so far and for so long.  It is giving new meaning to “letting go” for me.   I thought sending her to a dorm was hard!  I think my, “Top Ten Ways You Know You Have a Child Going to College

” list applies here for the most part… just substitute “college” for “Africa”, although I would add just a few…You know you have a kid going to Africa when…

  1. You dream of fund raising techniques …
  2. You spend excessive amounts of time googling common illnesses of the region. (not recommended)
  3. You get your own passport…just in case.
  4. Praying for safety has taken on a whole new meaning.
  5. You have mixed emotions of pride, humbleness, fear, and faith churning in your heart.

We have had a few folks ask why?  Why Africa?  There is so much need right here!  Spending lots of money and time to travel to a place that has no hope seems crazy!  The governments are never going to allow for real change, so why bother?  Well, that’s all true, but the people suffering in those places with no hope are still people.  One person can make a difference.  One life can be changed and we believe that one life is worth it.  Our faith tells us that Christ instructed his followers to take His message to the ends of the earth, even to the places that seem hopeless.  So, those that are called, go… My daughter has been called, and wild horses couldn’t stop her.

I share this with you for a few reasons; first, I covet your prayers.  For her, and those she will be ministering to…  Then, for her step-dad, and me, but especially for her father.  He carries enough worry for everyone.  Secondly, I want to share this experience with you, because that’s what good bloggers do… and last, but not least, I want to give you the opportunity to support her financially. (Refer to item 1 of my list)

You can click here

 to donate through Adventures in Missions.  She is going on the “Passport” mission and be sure to put Katie Moberly in the “Participant Full Name” space.

If you would like to know more about her, before you support her, here is her story in her own words…

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are all doing well.

 I am writing you this letter to share what has been going on in my life, and the new adventure that God has laid before me.

 Many of you know, two summers ago I went a mission trip to Charlotte, NC. I had several opportunities that summer to travel abroad, in which I was most excited, but as the time came for me to make my decision, I prayed that God would show me where He wanted me to go that summer and my friend invited me to spend a month in North Carolina. My heart was in Africa, so I wasn’t even worried about going to NC but God works in mysterious ways, and all of the doors leading me abroad shut, right in my face. So Charlotte was where I went. And that summer was the one that changed my life.

 Walking along side the children I helped there made me realize my passion is in showing the unloved, that they are loved, and not only by me, but by the Creator.

Now, I have started my first year in college and have been given the opportunity to, once again, go to Africa, and more specifically Swaziland.  And this time, the Lord as opened the door wider than ever. An organization called Adventures in Missions has welcomed me on a team traveling to South Africa, to help in an orphanage this summer for the months of June and July.

 I applied for the program, had an interview, was accepted, paid my commitment fee, and now I am in need of your help.

 First and foremost, your support in prayers is what I desire the most, but I am also in need of a little financial help. The total cost of my trip is $4,985. If you would like to support me, you can make a tax-deductible donation through the mail at: Adventures In Missions, PO Box 534470, Atlanta, GA  30353-447 and be sure put my name in the memo.               

 Thank you so much for your support, and I’m really excited to bring you along this new journey I’m stepping into!

 Swaziland Bound,

Katie Moberly

Acts 1:8

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)

Have you had a child go off to Africa?  How did you do?

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays?

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays?

This seems to be an on going debate this time of year.   I’m a Merry Christmas person, because I am a Christian. This is the time of year designated for the celebration of the birth of Christ… for Christians.  But it wasn’t always that way…

Christmas, in it’s earliest days, was many different things.  It was a celebration of longer days for the Europeans, most commonly called the winter solstice.  It was a perfect time to celebrate  in Scandinavia because most cattle were slaughtered, so they would not have to be fed through the winter.  Folks had plenty of meat and, in addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally ready for drinking.   The Germans were busy honoring their pagan god, Oden, during this time of year, huddling inside their homes in fear.  In Rome, a holiday called Saturnalla, in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture was underway.  They kept busy for a month with eating, drinking and turning the Roman social order upside down.  During this time they also celebrated Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome, as well as the birth of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun.

As far as Christianity had been concerned, the main holiday was Easter. Period.  It wasn’t until the 4th century that the church decided to celebrate the birth of Christ.  Even though it is most likely that Christ was born in the spring, Pope Julius I chose December 25th and it was first called the Feast of the Nativity.

By the middle ages, Christmas celebrations were primarily drunken, carnival-like parties, much like Mardi Gras.  Finally, by the 17th century, religious reform moved in and changed the celebration drastically… temporarily.  It was even cancelled for a time.

With the beginning of America, in 1620, Christmas was boycotted once again.  It had gotten so bad, that the holiday was actually outlawed in Boston from 1659-1681.  Then in 1828, NYC police responded to the first Christmas riot, which many think was the catalyst to reform of the celebration.  It wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.  Over the next hundred years, Americans constructed their own Christmas traditions.  It was built with bits and pieces of many other customs from many different cultures and time periods.

The bottom line is this; Christmas is an invented holiday, that means many different things to many different people.  For the Christian, it is the chosen day to celebrate the birth of our Savior, as the story is told in the Holy Scriptures.  For the Hebrew, it is Hanukkah. For the pagan, it’s the winter solstice.  Greek and Russian cultures are celebrating the Epiphany or Three Kings Day, which is the day they believe the wise men found the manger.  There are many other types of celebrations all around the globe… and around your neighborhood.

If Christians really want to keep Christ in Christmas, I think we should stop worrying about the well wishes of others and look at ourselves.  Instead of rushing the stores at 3AM with ill intent to the person snatching the last Elmo, lets visibly practice patience, kindness, self control and gentleness.  Instead of stressing through long to-do lists, let’s count every minute as a gift from God, and visibly demonstrate peace and joy.  Giving should be 365 days a year, not just though the holidays.  We should be donating clothes, food, and gifts frequently.  Let’s invite friends, family, and neighbors, to dinner regularly.  Send cookies to people just for fun a few times a year.  Tip your service people well – all the time, whether they are good or not.  Seriously.

The Word says,  “All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47

The Lord added to their numbers because of how they lived, which was different than everyone else.  Being mad and offended is not being different.  Being stressed and rushed and consumed with shopping and decorations, is not different.  Christian’s can keep Christ in Christmas by being different – Galatians 5:22-23… Against such things there is no law…

Whatever your traditions are, stop worrying about what others are doing and saying and be at peace this holiday season… that is something I think we can all agree on.  Really.

So, how do you celebrate on December 25th?

Merry Christmas.

 

TV…What’s on Yours?

TV…What’s on Yours?

So. We are sitting here, again, watching a little television as a family.  This is an activity that is not as easy as it used to be.

We have a security block on our televisions.  If a show is rated “M”, we have to enter a code to see it.  We never had to enter it before 10PM, but now, at 8PM most shows are blocked.  What do you do with a 13 year old in the house – or younger?  You end up watching PBS, History or Disney Channel.

Tonight, we are watching a show called, So Random on Disney.  It seems to be a kid version of SNL.  It used to be a really funny show, called, Sonny with a Chance, until the star of that show went to rehab for some destructive behavior.  She is doing better now, and is pursuing a musical career. I miss her. Really.

Even Disney is not always family friendly anymore.  Now there’s even a show called My Babysitter is a Vampire.  It’s ridiculous.  Just about every show on Disney highlights stupid parents, really smart and good-looking kids, who are all dating, or consumed with the opposite sex.  Our family favorite is Good Luck Charlie.  The kids are usually lying about something, and the parents usually let them get away with it.  The mom always makes me laugh though and Charlie is adorable.  I do think about the kids that watch television  without any parental filters.  My prayer is that most parents are pro-active with their kids viewing habits.

Television is a hard call for Christian families these days.  We know that culture is wrong on so many levels.  We know that television is a huge influence on culture – and on people in general.  So what do you do?  Do you watch shows or movies that promote everything you know is wrong – biblically?  Man, it’s hard.

So, we just do our best.  We stay in God’s Word, and actually go days without even turning on the television. We have the “block” and we have a Clearplay DVD player. (www.clearplay.com) We discuss stuff that we do watch, and will compare culture with scripture when we need to. We do miss most of the popular shows and movies, which is sometimes frustrating.

There is a story I heard once, a long time ago, that goes like this:

Some kids came to their parents and asked if they could watch a movie that many of their friends had seen.  The kids said that it was not all bad, with only a little bit of profanity.  The parents said they would think about it and discuss it again the next day.  The next day came, and the parents set the kids down at the table in front of a big plate of brownies.  The kids were thrilled, and went to grab one.  The parents said, “wait, let us tell you what is in the brownies first”.  The parents then told the kids that the brownies were made with the best ingredients, and they even went and gathered some dog poop from the back yard and put in just a little bit for extra flavor.  They told the kids if they were OK with that, and could eat the brownies, then they could go to the movie.

Isn’t that the way it is?  The sad part about that story is that we have all been eating the brownies for so long, we don’t notice the poop and we don’t even care.

We are not a perfect family.  We have a hard time with the “Be in the world, not of the world” teaching from scripture.  So much so, we have an ongoing debate in our house.  I like to think that too much sports viewing is worse then TLC’s Sister Wives or Toddler’s & Tiaras.  My husband and son’s disagree. Either way, it’s all brain candy – and too much candy is not good for us, but it’s hard to resist.

So, what do you watch, with or without guilt?  How do you live out being “in” and not “of”?  I’ll let you think about that, while I go watch Sister Wives.  Really. Pray for me.

Yep… still a home school mom… Part 2

Yep… still a home school mom… Part 2

I started home schooling out of desperation, but I have continued out of conviction.

Right before I took my 7th grader out of public school all those years ago,  I had been substituting at a couple of middle schools.  My experiences in those schools were not pleasant. Things had changed drastically since my days of puberty, and it was not for the better.

I home-school because I want my son to learn without distraction.  I want his ears to be  sensitive to profanity and his heart to be soft to injustice.  I want to teach him that it’s God’s Word that matters most, not the most popular kids word…I want my son to know that God is in every single thing in his life, and it’s his very ability to learn that comes from Him.

I home school because I believe that all children deserve to learn in the way they were created and at the pace that their brains can keep up with.  I don’t teach to a test, and we don’t move on until there’s complete understanding.  The time will come soon enough when meeting the status quo will matter, but it’s not in adolescence.

I have learned that when you teach to a child’s heart, knowledge and understanding will follow.  Grades are just a way to see what we still need to learn.  They are not the defining mark of any child.  Their character is.

I have totally selfish reasons for home-schooling as well.  I love the schedule of it.  I love planning activities with my son, and going on field trips.  I love implementing life responsibilities in our education, and I just love being a part of the whole process… We rarely run out of time for the things that matter, because it all matters.

I believe that the public school systems do have the children’s best interest at heart.  I also believe, unfortunately, that their interest can only be diluted when you have the increased population in the classroom, and the varying, ever changing, opinions of those in control.  It is a government entity that has taken too big of an influence in our lives, in places where it has no business.

I choose to home school.  I take it seriously.  I don’t judge you if you choose not to, but I do admonish you to talk to your child about their day at school.  I implore you to be pro-active with your child’s studies. Get to know your child’s teacher.  They would probably appreciate your support!  Know what they are learning and be involved.   It’s your right as a parent.  You are your child’s best advocate, and their character development is up to you.

When all is said and done, and the diploma is hanging on the wall, the adult that your child becomes is really up to them.  We can only do what we can.  As I have said before…faith, hope, love and prayer will always be yours long after control and influence have expired.  Take comfort in those and know that God loves your kids more than you do. Really.

Serious Saturday…Have you ever visited a jail?

Serious Saturday…Have you ever visited a jail?

Have you ever visited a loved one in jail?  I have.

Here is my experience from this side of the glass…

 Jail is a place for all types of “criminals” no matter what the severity of their crime.  They are separated into different areas, but it’s all the same building… So, all of the visitors are in one area, waiting.  Some are going to see a drug dealer.  Other’s are waiting to see someone who can’t control their anger, while others are waiting to see someone who tried something, once, and got caught… The list of crimes is long and diverse.

The waiting area is a somber place to be.  There is always a mom or two, holding a little one, or two.  You can find people of all ages, races, and economic levels.  They all look different, except for their expressions.  Sorrow is the common ground.  No one looks happy to be there, and some can’t even suppress their tears.  No one chit chats, (which is hard for me, even when I am sad) Most folks don’t even make eye contact.  There is an overwhelming, oppressive cloud of hopelessness.

When the visiting time approaches, everyone must go through a metal detector, and then walk down a really, really long hall… The hall that I have walked seems like a mile long. Everyone walks fast, and silently.  The only sound besides the echos of the shoes hitting the floor, is the occasional sniffle.  Then you reach the window, sit in the hard plastic chair, and pick up the phone to speak to your loved one, from the other side of the glass.

I can tell you that it is not pleasant.  It’s a desperate feeling of total helplessness.

The few times that I have visited someone in jail, I wept, not only for the person I love, but for the realization that this is the place Jesus would go first if he were here in the flesh.  He wouldn’t stop by my church, he would be at the jail.  He would put his hand up to every window, and offer hope.  He would walk through the walls, and take each inmate in his arms, and offer them comfort and peace.  He would forgive them, and carry them though restoration, if they would let him.  Because He loves them.  Just as much as He loves me and you.

As hard as it is for us, on this side of the glass, it’s a million times harder for most of those that are now trapped by their own mistakes.  The consequences of breaking the law are long , difficult, and expensive.

Let’s not deceive ourselves that we are too good to be in jail either… How many on this side of the glass, are living out the consequences of a sin or lie, that keeps them in bondage?  Many people are trapped in a belief that keeps them in a mental prison, where there are no visitors…

The good news is that there is always hope.  Praise the God who allows all things, and always offers grace.  He is always there, with his arms open wide, waiting for us to come to Him.  Whether you are in a jail cell, or mental bondage, or just loving someone who is, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28)

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

When you have the love of Christ, there is no more bondage, no matter what side of the glass you are on. Really.

If you need prayer for a loved one, or for yourself, I would be honored to do so…

“tough”

“tough”

Have you ever made your kids do something that they really didn’t want to do, even though it killed you to do it?

The first thought that pops in my mind, is that dreaded, “all night cry.”  The night where you have finally reached your limit of jumping up to find a cute baby that just wants to play or be held… You went in the room, told the baby that you loved them, then, left them there… to cry it out, while you sat on the other side of the door, crying it out with them.

According to the internet, the term “tough love” made it’s debut in 1977.  Any phrase with the word “tough” in it, just doesn’t sound good… tough crowd? tough luck? tough meat?…You get the point.  It takes a word that otherwise would be wonderful all by itself, and makes it…tough.  In the world of parenting, it can mean almost unbearable.

I had to make my kids do a couple of things this past week that they had no intentions of doing on their own.  All of my children are grown, or almost grown, so I can’t implement the handy dandy, “because I said so” closing argument.  They are old enough to reason, understand, and have the opportunity to submit peacefully with full disclosure.  Don’t get me wrong, we certainly allow for discussion, but disrespect is punishable by law.  Anyway, it is always a tough situation when these times come around.

Why do we do it?  I don’t mean to sound like a cliché’ but it really does hurt us more than it hurts them.  It breaks my heart to see one of my kids forced into doing anything, especially when I know it is for their own growth and good.  I’ve come to the conclusion though, it’s just not the pain of seeing them upset, but it’s the “forcing” that is the heart breaker…it’s the desire to want them to trust us and seeing the lack thereof.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous, if every good thing we wanted our kids to do, they agreed, and went forth with a smile and a grateful heart?  I’d have had a lot more kids…

I don’t mean to write another post about discipline, but “tough love” falls under that category.  When you follow through in those times that seem the hardest, it is discipline, but discipline more for the parent then the child.

Scripture has much to say about it too; in one of many places we see a great section in Hebrews 12:5-11

5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

   “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

I can only imagine how much it grieves our Father in Heaven to “tough love” us.  He loves us so much, he provided a way for all of our sins to be forgiven, but He did not take away the consequences of those messes.  We must always keep that in mind, not only for our children, but for us as parents.

I have hope in the possibility that my offspring will be grateful someday.  If not, I’ve at least given them plenty of subject matter for their therapy sessions.  Really.

Serious Saturday…I Cried Today.

Serious Saturday…I Cried Today.

I cried today.

It all started while visiting a church this morning, and seeing that the first 3 rows on the left, were reserved for the deaf.  We sat behind those seats, and I watched with grateful eyes, as the interpreter signed the songs, and the pastors message to the inhabitants of those rows.  It was angelic, and touched the deepest parts of my heart to see people worshiping the Lord through sign language.

This might have touched you as well, as signing is a beautiful language, but I think it touched me because my youngest child has progressive hearing loss.

My son has spent 10 of his 13 years on the planet visiting the Children’s ENT of Atlanta.  He has had a couple sets of tubes, beginning at age one.  He has had his adenoids and tonsils out, not at the same time I might add.  He has had a “strep” abscess removed and another that dissipated through IV medication and a week in the Children’s Hospital.  He actually has a myriad of other health issues, but none as visible as his hearing aids.

The doctors have tentatively diagnosed him with “progressive hearing loss”.  What that really means is that they know he has lost many levels of hearing, progressively, and they assume he will continue to follow that pattern.  We have endured many tests, and are about to see a Genetics Doctor, to undergo more testing.  The cause for this hearing loss is still a mystery.  So, we go to the audiologist every 3 months for hearing tests and adjustments, and we see the doctor every 6 months, wherein we ask the same things and he gives us the same answers. There is nothing they can do about the ringing in his ears.  They don’t know why this is happening, and he could loose all hearing ability at anytime.  Or not…. Really.

We have gotten very used to this routine.  Almost numbly used to it.

When we were told that the time had come for hearing aids, I cried a lot.  Then I prayed, and gave it all to God.  Peace came over me like a wave, and I have been strong ever since.  That was a year and a half ago.  Today, out of the blue, I saw those radiant people, who could not hear the music, but were praising God with their bodies and hands, and I cried again.

A good friend of mine asked me once, why I wasn’t mad at my God for my sons health issues.  I cannot be mad because I know there is more to this life.  My hope is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit and the Spirit is eternal.  Being mad at anything you have no control over is also a waste of energy, and will steal your joy and hope.  I felt sad today, but not sad in a mad kinda way, but in a realization that my son might have to connect with God on a different level than me.  A level that I don’t understand.  Apparently, as a mom, that can make you cry… Do I ever wish that this cup shall pass?  Yes.  My prayer is for hearing restored, but if it’s not, I know I will be OK and so will my son. Really.