Beautiful Monsters

Beautiful Monsters
Beautiful Monsters

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Morning is Coming

You put all of your hope, your love, your time, your energy, your faith in. You held nothing back, kept no reserves. You knew, just knew, that this time, THIS TIME, it was going to be okay. Forever you have waited, wanted, this day. You didn't even want to believe, because you were tired, or hurt, or broken, or jaded. You had seen others come and go. Always before, you started to come around, and got smacked back for your efforts. But this one time, there was something .... more. And you stuck around, and tried to be wise. Kept an open spirit, but your guard up. Until you knew, and you began to believe. This was it. No more waiting, no more aching, no more wondering. It is finished!

Except it wasn't. Not yet. You were right, this was the One. This WAS what you had been waiting, longing, hoping for. A bit more. Just hold on. They crucified Him. The tomb is sealed. You think, maybe I was wrong again. Wonder how to best go forward and what to do next. But hold on. Morning is coming.

I know for a lot of folks new beginnings go hand in hand with the New Year. Easter is the time of year I identify most with new beginnings. I identify so strongly with the hope we are told of going into the Passover week. Hosanna! Save us now! It isn't too hard to remember and relate to the crushing disappointment of believing that you gave your faith and trust wrongly. But every time, EVERY TIME, morning comes. Salvation comes. When things are at their darkest, when God seems the most remote, the farthest away, unreachable... the veil is torn. We are invited in. Morning comes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


It is funny how sometimes, themes run through your life.  For me, the same Bible verses will keep popping up, in different venues.  Someone will bring it up during an adults group, and then it will be in the chronological study, and then in the Ladies Bible study book, and again on the radio. 

For me, lately that verse has been the Whatevers - Philippians 4:8 - 

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable--if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise--dwell on these things.(HCSB)

I kind of love the Young's Literal Translation -

As to the rest, brethren, as many things as are true, as many as are grave, as many as are righteous, as many as are pure, as many as are lovely, as many as are of good report, if any worthiness, and if any praise, these things think upon;

I am bombarded daily with thoughts.  Things I want to think on, things other people want me to think about, thoughts my boys, or others, want to share with me.  The news, advertisements, social media, Christian media, work, school, home... there are bajizillions (a whole heck of a lot) of thoughts out there screaming for our attention.  It can make a person have to go see the nut doctor.  Or want to move to a tamped mud house in the middle of nowhere.

But, really, it all boils down to simplicity, and the discipline to train your brain back on that simplicity.  Truth, gravity, righteousness, purity, love, good reports, worthiness, praises.  Think about these things.  Simple. And I can make it so, so, so complicated.

 My first problem is that nature abhors a vacuum. Apparently, so does my son's dog, but that is another story.  While sometimes, I am able to legitimately think about nothing, I can't seem to do it on command.  If I am being hit with a thousand thoughts, I am going to pick one.  And if that one doesn't sit well, and I try to send it on it's way, another one will come sliding right in behind it, bringing it's ugly cousin with it.  Kinda like the laundry pile.  No matter how much you take away, it just keeps growing. 

Secondly, Newton's laws state that objects will tend to stay in motion or at rest, all things being equal; AND that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. (For me this means that I will have to spend just as much energy doing the laundry, as my boys did in getting it dirty.  Doesn't seem fair, does it?) So if my thoughts get invited to a pity party or a tour through the seedier side of town, it is a well greased path and they will just continue sliding on in that direction. 

So whatever direction my brain is moving, all things being equal, it will stay in that direction.  I just have to get it going the way I want it.  And all I have to do to switch gears is expend the same energy on an equal and opposite thought pattern.  I don't have to figure out how to STOP negative thoughts.  Just to START thinking on God's thoughts.  He even gives me a pretty cool cheat sheet of things to start thinking on.

That is pretty awesome.  All of those thoughts that would draw me further from God - I don't have to wage war on them. I don't have to figure out how to turn off my brain, or magic-eraser them away.  Just simply, consciously choose other thoughts.  I suppose, since God is telling me about this over and over, it bears further investigating. 

But for now the word "Whatever" is just so perfect for this. Having teens, the word "whatever" is usually used to show disdain towards or the inferiority of the thing someone else (usually a brother) is saying.  So it makes me giggle to read it, and I have to to flip my hand up, roll my eyes, and do the What-----EVER voice in my head.  You know you do it sometimes too.

But it really works here:

The latest gossip?  Whatever - All I really have to do is turn my mind to what is true. 

Filled with anger at my ex-husband?  Whatever -  I can instead focus on the things that are of GOOD 

Kid being a little mouthy today?  WhatEver - There are so many commendables about him that I know he is on the right path, but having a hard day today.

Feeling sad or overwhelmed?  WhatEVER - How much does God love me and promise to be right here with me?  

Pride a bit hurt?  WHATEVER - I don't have anything to be proud of but Jesus!

Worried about the economy, politics, state of the world/future/price of tea in China?  Whatever - the truth is that God is in control and has a plan ... He"gots" this. 

So, if I am walking around muttering "whatever" to myself in my best impression of a 16-year-old-boy-doing-an-impression-of-a-16-year-old-girl, it's okay.  I am telling the negative thoughts the way it is, and building some mental disciple muscle.  Eye rolling optional.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Confessions of a Busy Mom

What started this train of thought:

This is pretty much my response, changed in a few spots where I was directly addressing the blog author: 

I usually agree with Brant Hansen's blog almost completely.  This time I am not so sure.  I think that the underlying point is valid... my job as a parent is absolutely to build men of God, not superstars.  I think a lot of this depends on your child, and your family and how old they are and the way THEY should grow. (I would be wrong to try to make my children grow into mini-mes.. they are so different than I am.  So when I want to be home having hot cocoa and doing puzzles, they want to be out shooting hoops and socializing.  So we compromise. It would be equally as wrong to push an introverted child into being class president.) 

So my concern falls into three areas.  Yes, they don't need MY success plan, but they do need to be trained.  Part of that training is to learn to learn - to be challenged and to put in the work and the effort and do their best.  That is going to look different for each child.  Two of my kids excel academically, so they need to be challenged academically. One struggles, so my expectations for him are not as "rigorous" Smile It is good for them to be trained in different situations and different ways.

Second, so much of this part of life ( I have teens) is them learning to be their own person while in the safety of my care.  To do that, they have to go do, go be, go try.  And be able to come home and relax, process and regroup, and then go again.  They are testing out their identities as learners and athletes and leaders and musicians and friends and group members and Christians in a world that is, increasingly, not. I really believe that they should do that while under the safety of my authority instead of having them jump off to college having never stretched those identity muscles. 

Finally, and maybe mostly, is that what I think I hear you saying is Relax! they are going to be all right!  However, I see a LOT of legalism regarding this cropping up.  Maybe it is just where I live.  But it seems that parents are knee jerking in response to exactly the busy kid culture we live in, and going totally legalistic in the other direction.  If withdrawing from all but a few church-approved and parent directed activities is right for them, then it must be the only answer for everyone.  And, honestly, that just makes me mad. The bondage of legalism gets my fires burning every time, in any manifestation. 

Our family is active.  We go do.  We are out in the community and with the school and our church.  We get to speak into the lives of kids and of families that we would not know if we weren't involved in these things, families that don't "do church". We have seen people come to church because they know someone from sports or speech or whatever, and it isn't so scary if you know someone who will be there.

Sometimes, I wish I could go back to when they were littles and we were home together all of the time.  But I am raising men, and I want them to "go therefore into all the world" boldly and with confidence, because they know who they are and that they can touch down at home.  My kids' character is being challenged and built through our involvement in activities.  They have to be men of God in the world, not just at church and in our home.

If I have misunderstood what he was conveying, I apologize.  I am in no way offended, but felt like there was a valid counter-view that should be expressed.  We are not all called to be elbows, and raising kids, like being a member of God's body, is rarely one size fits all.  I so appreciate the challenge to examine what we do and hold it up to the scrutiny of conviction.  Keep fighting the good fight.