dreaming…

Lately I have been sensing a call, a change in direction for my life. So I have been asking God a lot of questions, doing a lot of pondering, and attempting to listen best I can. Here are some of my ramblings, and then God’s answer to me, inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt, “protect.”

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I try to sit in contentment, which is hard, because my heart is a dreamer, made for a longer journey – eyes on the final prize and never completely comfortable in a world that is not my home.

I love the Church. It is beautiful. God’s people are beautiful. And yet we are so broken. God’s kingdom is so much greater, his vision so much beyond what the church looks like in America in 2016. My dreams for it are so much bigger. So great that trying to make a chip in that iceberg seems like an effort in futility. Foolish. Not worth my time, money, energy. I am just one person, and the cynicism (wisdom?) of my 32 years has left some naivety (optimism?) of youth behind.

Can I dream again? Can my heart stay whole, knowing now that “chasing a dream” of obedience to God is right and good, though it may be hard, difficult, confusing, and still leaving me feeling incomplete in this world? Knowing I will still be broken, still dealing with anger, depression, jealousy, pride & selfishness, because I’m human and those things in me won’t completely die until I’m resurrected?

Can I rest in Christ and run his race at the same time?

He says to me,

I will protect you my child. I am your strong tower. You may run to me and be saved. I give you the shield of faith, to extinguish the flaming arrows of the enemy. I give you my Word, to be your weapon and sword. I give you the gospel of peace, which lets you rest in the middle of war. I have fitted you with what you need – my Spirit, a helper. I am your shepherd, so you have everything you need. You can run your race. The path will include some still waters. You can climb mountains, because I will make them low for you. I will straighten your path, not let your foot stumble. You will fly on eagle’s wings, just as I shelter you with mine. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart – I have overcome the world.

Amen.

I pray you may know God’s protection as you let him fashion your dreams.

losing my life

Joining Five Minute Friday, where we write freely for 5 minutes without second guesses and encourage one another. This week’s prompt: “lose.”

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“I don’t want to gain the whole world, and lose my soul,” sings Toby Mac, the old song reverberating through my head.

But I do want SOME of the world. Can I keep some of the world without losing my soul?

I want to take hold of all God wants for my life. All he wants for me. But that is scary, because it means surrendering everything. All my will. All my desires. Emptying myself of the things that I think will fill me up – and trusting that he will instead.

As I grow older, I discover there are layers to my surrender. I use to think that as I grew older as a Christian, I would become stronger, “better,” more faithful, perhaps finally reaching the next “level” of maturity in my faith. Because of course I want to be the best, excellent in all things, especially my faith!

But as God calls me, as he leads me forward, as he gives me hints as to what surrendering to him might really mean for my life, I am terrified.

What if I lose it?

What if I lose what I want? What if I am not happy? What if it’s hard? What if it’s painful? What if it means financial insecurity? What if it means personal insecurity? What if it means sacrifice? Brokenness? Exposure?

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. ~Matthew 10:39

It’s such an upside down kingdom. God leads me by the hand, beckoning forward, asking him to trust him yet again for just the next step ahead. I trust him. He’s led me this far. His dreams for me thus far have been greater than I have imagined. Rather than being a “giant” I am now just more aware of my self-righteous pride and deep need for my Savior. Feeling so inadequate, he calls me forward, to lose my life.

So I might find it. In Him.

STOP

surrendering the pacifiers

Anxiety! I am having anxiety. Why this anxiety?  You’re going to laugh.

We had Levi throw away his pacifiers today.

Bwahahahaha, right? Celebrate the milestone, right?!

Then why this anxiety?!

Levi’s “paci’s” have been his life line. His source of comfort. He lived one whole week before Grandma gave him a “Nuk” to suck on and he’s been hooked ever since. It’s been fabulous. For a while we didn’t know what to call it – “Nuk,” “Binky,” “pacifier.”  We landed on “paci.” Sometime after he turned two we finally got him weaned down to only using it to fall asleep, or when he was really sick. It was my sure fire method of offering him a way to calm himself down. And if you know Levi, you understand he is a very emotional boy, to all wonderful extremes. Most people say, “Oh, what a happy, enthusiastic, charming boy!” Which he is! All of those. But in a bad mood, when he’s in a safe space at home with mom and dad, not getting what he wants, frustrated, tired, or angry…. Look out. He is all of those extremes, too. So pacifier…. Bless it! For quite a while now – maybe a year or more – he’s had three pacifiers. One red, two blue. The red one goes in his mouth. The two blue ones in each hand. Losing one in the middle of the night sometimes necessitates a trip to mom and dad’s bedroom to find the poor lost paci. In the morning, once it’s time to eat breakfast, the paci’s go on the fridge until the appointed time before nap time, when he gets them back and sucking during our bedtime routine slowly calms and soothes him. So, as I mentioned….

We had Levi throw away his pacifiers today.

The garbage “monster” was hungry, so he fed his paci’s to the kitchen trash. What fun! And then he burst into tears. For maybe 30 seconds. And then we were off playing cars and the pacifiers were forgotten. But my heart still constricted. My shoulders were tense. My mind was bracing for a possible tantrum at nap time, when the reality of not having paci’s sets in. But still…. We’ve hit milestones before. A tantrum at nap time has happened for many reasons, and I have handled them all. What is going on in me?

And then my mind identified the issue. I was losing control. An apron string cut, if you will. I controlled his paci’s, and in my hand they were a very effective tool for soothing my child. Not only that, but yesterday Esther cut her own (GIANT) apron string…. On the day her brother turned three and she turned 13 months, she quit nursing.  The night before she had nipped me at her bedtime feed, so I ended the session. Then yesterday she wanted nothing to do with nursing.  I was an emotional mess last night after I laid her down for bed, because she had gone all day refusing my breast. She chose her thumb and lovie instead of me (she gave up a pacifier LOOOOONG ago).

Am I really that much of a control freak, that I’m having anxiety over losing control of what my kids suck on?  Or do I just need to accept the incredible emotional bond that exists between me and them? From the get-go, a baby’s cries cause mom anxiety, and her instinct is to soothe, however she can. Breastfeeding has been a huge part of that, especially for Esther. It was for Levi, too, but after weaning he had his paci’s. And I could provide that comfort.

I can no longer offer those to my children. I guess I feel powerless.

I must find a way to surrender some of my power. I am raising children to be independent adults, not grown-up people who still need mommy. Yes, they are a long, long way from adults. They still depend on me for almost all of their needs, and I have a lot of comfort to still offer them. And I would argue that as adults, we all still need our mom in some way. But they are not my children. They belong to the Lord. And this is just one small step of letting go and letting God. All I have to do is glance at my News Feed to know what is ahead…. Kindergarten graduation. Summer camp. High school graduation. Moving to college. Getting married. Letting go, all of it.

But Jesus gives me such calm and peace… because they are his children, for him to call to himself, for him to watch over. They are in my care for just a short time. So now my heart is humming the melody of a soothing hymn…

All to Jesus, I surrender, all to him I freely give.

I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.

I surrender all, I surrender all.

All to thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

We surrendered the paci’s. And my boobs hurt. But it’s alright. My kids are His.  🙂