Friday, February 21, 2014

eyes

I am long overdue for a new cover photo.


There are now 3 little sets of eyes regularly teaching me about life and love and the ultimate simplicity of God's message.


Eyes that are grey, green, and blue.


 Eyes watching me too.




"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen; what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:18


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

a dance in her heart

When I was a child, church consisted of two parts. The first was an hour where everyone broke into age group classes, like Sunday School. The second part was the church service in the sanctuary where everyone convened together for worship and the sermon. Families with kids sat in the back, but we were all of us sitting together in "big church". I admit that most of my memories of that time include things I was drawing on the empty spaces in the bulletin. But it is also the period in my life where I learned the words to many of the hymns still retained in my memory.

Most church experiences are designed differently now. While the adults meet in the sanctuary, the children are divided into their respective classes. I am not going to criticize this model because we all know it is hard to concentrate in a room full of bored and wiggly children. I think that Sunday School classes are wonderful and designed to teach the Bible at each appropriate age level, but I also think there are some valuable lessons for kids to learn during big church.

It is good that I think this, because whether I have wanted it or not, I have had one or more of my children in big church with me for the past 5 and a half years since we first became parents. This is due to all sorts of things like separation anxiety, grumpy children, and my germ-a-phobic husband who does whatever he can to prevent any incoming viruses. Sunday School is unfortunately a big contributor to our household colds.

This past Sunday (now a few Sundays ago as I can't seem to get my posts up in a timely manner!), Sommer made it through a good two thirds of big church before we had to retreat into the Overflow Room set up with video feed of the service. I actually think that two thirds of the service is pretty good for a 2 year old. She might not have paid much attention to the sermon, but when the worship music began she was riveted. Her response confirms that no harm has been done by keeping her out of Sunday School for a few more months while we have a baby in the house we are trying to keep healthy. This little gal was worshiping the Lord with her whole body, dancing, arms waving, head nodding in rhythm, heart captured.

It is hard to fully appreciate from this video, as it only caught the end of her worship experience. I was too wrapped up watching her in the beginning to consider whipping out my camera. By this time she had been joined by a friend. And she was holding a lot of favorite items originally intended to keep her quiet during the church service.  Still...


It was a blessing to my soul to see this small child respond to the call to worship. It might look like any old 2 year old to you, but I know it came from a heart that was caught up by the Spirit all around her.

I am not really sure at what age a child can technically accept Christ. I am absolutely positive that I would have argued differently in a debate about this prior to having kids. What I do know, is that to the best of her understanding and ability, this small child has embraced Jesus in her life. And He has put a song and a dance in her heart.

In the bedtime voice of Sommy: "Jesus loves me? Jesus loves you, Momma? Jesus loves Papa? Jesus loves Anka (Annike)? Jesus loves Baby Karton (Karsten)?..." this list goes on...

Yes, Little One. He loves us all.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

investment

As I promised at the start of the New Year, we have been purging around here. Unfortunately, dropping giant boxes full of clothes and toys and bedding off at the donation center isn't the only form of de-cluttering that needs to happen in this house. There is a purging of the heart that is taking place too. Some bad attitudes have been cluttering up this home. They start small at first, with a mere thought of annoyance at something, or someone. Before I know it the entire attitude closet needs to be cleaned out. And I really know we are in trouble when I can no longer close the door to that closet as the junk comes pouring forth. Time to purge.

All three kids had RSV over the last few weeks, also known as a horrid respiratory virus that left the kids coughing all night and cranky all day. I was sneezed on and coughed on and used as a tissue. It is rather miraculous that I didn't get start getting sick until twelve days into it. Twelve long days of caring for fussy sick children, then I succumbed myself.

The head cold was the final item in that closet that prevented me from closing the door. There is nothing like a head cold to bring forth a deluge of self-pity. Poor me. Sometimes I just want to know that my life is about more than wiping noses and bottoms and faces. Is that too much to ask?!

Apparently, it is a lot to ask. Apparently I think pretty highly of myself to believe I should be doing "more important" things with my days.

The most important characters in the Bible were the ones who spent years investing in the insignificant. They were shepherds and fishermen and characters of humble beginnings. They spent the majority of their lives not being recognized or thanked or noticed particularly. They didn't visit exciting places and they lived a rather mundane daily routine. In the end, they were chosen for the condition of their hearts. Because investing in the insignificant is the best way to transform the condition of the heart.

Mothering young children feels a lot like investment in the insignificant. No one puts a stay-at-home mom on a list of the most accomplished or successful or wealthy people. No one is watching when she has a stellar moment to offer praise for her supreme patience with the obnoxious habits of her children. No one is around to notice if she doesn't do her job right either.

Motherhood is a training ground for the kind of humility that would make God want to choose someone like me for something in His kingdom. A nasty virus that sweeps the household is like the wolf that comes lurking through the shepherd's pasture. No one sees how the wolf is handled. But the outcome is crucial to the fate of the flock and the shepherd.

So now we are working on purging the attitudes that have begun to clutter our halls... attitudes of self-pity, and self-importance, and down right selfishness. Some of those attitudes belong to little people in my house. And some of them belong to me. But all of them need to go, no matter how insignificant it feels to invest in this way. In this case, an investment in the insignificant is an investment in eternity, an investment truly worth making.

God was shouting at me from the pages of Romans this week. I love it when He does that - as if He made sure it was written down 2000 years ago just so I could read it and be encouraged today.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, 
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true 
and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, 
in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you." 
Romans 12:1-3



And... some pictures of all the sickies. What else do you do when all 3 kids are home all day long for over a week? Dress up like animals and get a lot of snuggling in...




There was an error in this gadget