Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Who Dat?

My little William is trying to talk. He has a few words he says really well but honestly, most the time I think someone is teaching him Mandarin Chinese while we sleep. One of his many inexplicable phrases sounds like he is saying, "who dat?". Of course, Jeremy and I have picked it up and repeated it back to him a million times so then he really says it a lot. Then we laugh until our face hurts.

That story really has nothing to do with what I wanted to blog about. Just thought I'd share.

Actually, what I wanted to talk to you about is something I talked about on Sunday when I taught in our Bible study class. If you were there and were awake you may remember me mentioning something I had learned in a JKD (Jennifer Kennedy Dean) study: that things have no power over you. Things only have power over us when we give them power. I had used the illustration of chocolate cake. To some people, a rich, thick piece of chocolate cake calls to them and they feel powerless to resist said cake (using myself as an example here). They must eat the cake or suffer the consequences ( i.e., forever regret the lost opportunity of enjoying the cake). At least, that is what your brain is telling you the cake is telling you.

In truth, that cake has no power over you. How do we know? Chocolate cake doesn't call to everyone. That chocolate cake that calls to me doesn't call to my mother. She doesn't like chocolate. She'd just as soon eat a cracker than a piece of chocolate cake. In fact, she'd probably enjoy the cracker more (she's a salty, crunchy snacker).

At this point in the lesson Sunday I missed a HUGE opportunity to point out an extremely important fact: Jesus is all powerful!

Now hang with me and take off your "I've believed in Jesus forever" hat and lets think about this. For most of us, and I'm including myself in this, we say with our mouths we believe in Jesus and believe that He is powerful and yet the reality is that we are pulled and swayed by everyone and everything else. We readily confess we think He is powerful but do we live lives that evidence His power working in us? Do we ever attempt to do anything that seems beyond our own power, our ability, our knowledge, or our skills? 

So, how do we know He has power? How do we really know? Because let me tell you, I WANT TO KNOW. I not only want to know His power is real but I want it realized in my life.

John 12:32 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

In the context, Jesus is not saying "if" but rather "when" He is lifted up. You can read a few verses before and after to get that in the proper context.

Jesus draws all men unto Himself. All men (mankind). Nothing on, in, or above the earth has that power. Nothing, and no one else, is able to call all men unto itself. Think about that. 

Now, if I listen to the cake and eat it, nothing good happens to me or in me. Not only is my body not nourished the sugar does bad things to my body.

But if I listen to Jesus and "eat" of Him, (i.e. answer His call and follow Him, internalize His truths so that what He says and thinks becomes my governing system) I will be saved, not just from eternal death but from the control of powerless things in this world that I allow to rule over me. (Rom 10:13, 8:37)

Who are you listening to? All the powerless things of this world or the One who is all powerful. Jesus is calling. Are you going to answer?

Monday, October 17, 2011

This is my life now

I started thinking about writing this post a few weeks ago when I heard a friend's tweenage daughter say something like, "Well, when I start living my real life, I'm going to..." I quickly responded, "Sweetheart, you're living your real life now. Your life has already begun." I'm not sure where that response came from but that quick interchange brought up passionate emotions in me. I kept thinking about that little conversation, over and over again.

A week or so later I was at my doctor's office getting yet another shot of chemo and the RN said something to the effect of "I hope this works so you can get back to your real life." I looked that nurse straight in the eyes and said, "Darlin', I'm living my real life now. This is real life. My life hasn't stopped because of this."

We watch the movie Tangled pretty often around here (almost every day). William loves it. When he is older he will kill me for telling you this but do you know the part where she is leaving the tower with Flynn and she zips down, hair and skirt flapping in the wind? William sucks in his breath a little when he watches that.  I love to watch him watching that scene.  Anyway, in the beginning of the movie, Repunzel sings a song, "When will my life begin?" I want to reach right into my TV, grab her by the shoulders and say, "Your life has already begun! Live!" Then, of course, I remember, its a cartoon.

I desperately want you to know something. You are living your real life now, today. This is your real life. I wonder, how many of you out there are waiting for something or waiting to get through something to start living. The more I thought about this the more I saw this mentality throughout my whole life, "When I get into high school...when I go to college....when I have a job and am living on my own...when I get married...when we have kids....when William goes to school...when William gets out of school...when I have grandkids....then I'll..... I call this the when and then effect. Our feet are in today but our heart is on tomorrow, next year, the next decade, etc...

This can also work in reverse. As I've gotten older, I can see how looking back with nostalgia can also produce this effect. We say things like, "Those were the days!" and "Boy, we were really living then."

The problem with both these kinds of thinking is that it robs of the joy of our lives today. It, if you will, sucks the very life out of today. We keep thinking we'll really live when or we really lived when...(you fill in the blank) and what we're really thinking of is a time when we think, or thought, life was or will be almost perfect. The truth is, life was never perfect and won't be until Christ returns.

Its seems paradoxical but there is only one way to really live. One way to enjoy and thrive in even the worst times of life. We must die.

Colossians 3:3,4  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is ur life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

This verse has come to mean so much to me. My life is hidden in Christ. I am hidden in Christ. I don't really live anymore but He lives in me and gives the life He has to me. He has full authority over my life and I trust Him completely. I'm living for His glory and He therefore, can use anything He wants to glorify Himself.

You may not believe this but I can honestly say that this recent experience with GTD and chemo has been pleasant, invigorating even, because I've spent it with Him. It made me seek Him more, chase after Him harder, and as a result, I feel more alive now than I did before this weird disease. You know what else is weird, I'm less possessive of my life. I'm happy to give it to Him. I'm happy for Him to have His way in my life. I'm still dreaming and hoping but I'm letting Him author my dreams and hopes.  I'm enjoying my today and trusting my tomorrow to Him.

I still think about what tomorrow may bring and what I would like it to bring but I trust whichever way life goes, I'm going to be okay because I'm with Him. I'm being held by the One who holds all things together.  (Col 1:17)

Monday, October 10, 2011

William turns two!

Saturday we celebrated William's second birthday.

He woke up that morning to a room filled with balloons. I gotta be honest. This was my favorite part of the day. William is in love with balloons. He was so excited to see all these in his room. He ran through them, kicked them, threw them in the air. It was a really great memory. In the background you can see the new big boy bed we got him for his birthday. There are little doors on the bottom that open up. Its a great place for William to play and to store toys. He seems to love it and I'm really pleased with it too.

We carried the balloon theme downstairs and decorated the ceiling with them.

I got one of those little helium tanks from Walmart and made balloon bouquet, which he carried around everywhere.

At the party he did a little bouncing and sliding.

Jeremy enjoyed some sliding too. Though there is no photo evidence, I went down the slide a couple times myself. It was pretty fun.

We knocked the stuffing out of a piƱata...

And then William had to make sure we had gotten all the candy out...

Here he is getting his birthday spankings from Papa Robert.

Inspecting his cake. Another favorite right now is M&M's.

 Opening presents

Enjoying his favorite present, a shopping cart. Wally, however, is not so sure about this new gift.

Happy birthday, William! Mommy and Daddy love you and cannot imagine life without you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dewberry Deux

Ahhh, fall is finally here and, as of right now, it feels like fall. I love this weather. It showed up just in time too. Saturday we took William out to Dewberry Farms with our Bible study class. We went last year and it was HOT! The weather was perfect this year. I thought it would be fun to do a little side by side comparison of William from last year to this. I am woefully inept at getting pictures to do what I want them to so it is a bit discombobulated.

First stop, the pond. This kid loves water. 
2010 2011

Of course we had to check out the tractors...

And the goats. 

We did lots of other fun things too that he was too small to do last year.

The slides...

Playing in the sand...

Crawling through tunnels...

Running on bridges....

And climbing on rocks...

The thing about blogs like these is that you get to pick the pictures you post. You see, if you judged our day by these photos, one would think we have the happiest baby in the world. The truth is, these are the shots we took in between meltdowns. I don't know what was going on with William on this day but he had no less than 10 meltdowns. Seriously. Melt-downs.  Falling to the ground, rolling in the grass, feet-kicking, top-his-lung-crying, meltdowns. Can't ride out to the pumpkin patch right now? Meltdown. Leaving one activity to go to another? Meltdown. Have to wait in line for the slide? Meltdown. Can't ride a ride right this second. Meltdown.

 I'm pretty sure the folks at Dewberry were very happy to see us leave. To be honest, I was pretty happy to leave. 

This post doesn't really have a point. I guess I'm just venting some frustration. I know this is a phase and I know it will pass. Once again, God has reminded me how little control I have over my life. I mean, if I can't get a two-ish year old to behave in public, do I really believe I can control grown-ups? The unexpected? Finances? The economy? My health? The list is endless. 

For just a second, while we were at Dewberry Farms, I wanted to believe the lie that I was a bad mom because my kid was behaving badly. I wanted to judge and condemn myself. I wanted to put thoughts and words in other peoples minds and mouths, just imagining what they must be thinking about me and my kid. But do you know what? I didn't.  I did not feel one ounce of condemnation. Romans 8:1 kept coming to my mind, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus."

I'm not a bad mom because my kid is having a bad day. I'd be a bad mom if I didn't let my kid have a bad day.  Maybe you need to hear that too. You are not a bad mom because your kid is behaving badly. Your kid is human. They will have bad days and you will too.  There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for those who are seeking Him, serving Him, loving Him. Be free, my friend. Be free. 

So...either because I'm a very gracious mom or because I love abuse, we already have another trip to Dewberry Farms scheduled in November. Prayers are greatly appreciated. I'll let you know how it goes...