Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roadblock or Bridge?

"Do not claim honor" (Proverbs 25:6a)

I've done it again. I've "claimed honor" from my kiddos. Instead of having a gentle, humble spirit when a couple of my children did wrong this morning, I blustered (albeit quietly). While I didn't directly say, "You must honor me!", my very demeanor cried out, "I deserve better. Don't make my life hard by sinning. I don't want to have to invest time and energy into setting you back on the path of right behavior. I don't want to walk this road again."

What a wrong, wrong, wrong--even ridiculous--attitude toward parenting! One of the most significant facets of my role as a mom is to meekly and lovingly help my children see their wrong choices. When I stay in the right place myself, there is some chance that they may recognize their need for a Saviour. When I become a dark storm cloud of haughty frustration, I become a roadblock to Christ, rather than a bridge. When I resent their need for correction, I'm resenting the God who made me their mother. Yikes!

A major portion of my time will, by the very nature of fallen humanity, be spent guiding my kiddos back towards God and His ways. As each new opportunity presents itself, I need to preach to myself that I'm not alone in this role. God is with me. He is Emmanuel. He is also a promise-keeping God who has said that He will give me the patience, wisdom and endurance I need, if I'll just cry out to Him. When my kids go astray--and they will--I must beseech Him for help rather than blustering! My job is not to claim honor from my children. My job is to parent them in a way that honors God.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just a Favorite Photo

This picture was taken in fall 2009 when Joe and Lissie qualified as finalists for the National Bible Bee, which was held in Washington D.C. Lissie and her dad have had a sweet relationship since she she was just bigger than a Beanie Baby. This photo sings of that closeness to me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sounding Forth

Note: I hope to start using this blog as more of a journal than I have been. I rarely have the time to fully develop my thoughts into well-ordered compositions, and yet, I don't want nudges from the Lord or specials moments from my days to slip away. If you are one of my blog's followers and find that this new format doesn't fit your needs, please feel free to change your status. I promise I won't be hurt if you withdraw as a follower!

Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota

This morning as I was reading 1 Thessalonians, I was struck by Paul's praise of the church in the ancient city of Thessalonica: "For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you" (1 Thes. 1:8).

I want those words to be able to be proclaimed about my life. I want my life to resound with the "word of the Lord."

As I teach my children to write, I'm urging them to use strong, descriptive words. Paul's phrase, "has sounded forth" certainly fits this category. The phrase implies acting with purpose, living with purpose, speaking with purpose. Somehow the phrase reminds me of a waterfall. As the water charges over the cliff, no one nearby can miss the roar or the resulting mist that rises from the foam at the base. The Thessalonians had encountered Christ. They knew the unutterably good news of his death on their behalf. Their sins had been swept away by His sacrifice, and now they can't help but sound forth the news of their changed lives to those they encounter.

Paul goes on to say in the same verse, "in every place your faith toward God has gone forth".  Again, I want those very words to describe my life. I want a robust "faith toward God" that sets me apart in an age of cynicism in which people look to self-help manuals for life's answers.

O Lord,
Please move in my heart that Your word might sound forth from my lips. You are worthy of proclamation. Please increase my faith until it flows forth from me like a roaring waterfall, to Your praise and glory.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Autumn's Gifts

Many in the Upper Midwest claim fall as their favorite season. It's no wonder! Here autumn means humidity-free days that still carry a hint of summer warmth, bathed in color.

Some scenes have delighted the photographer in me recently and left me in awe of our Creator: a bridge at a local park spread with golden leaves that crunch and crackle underfoot...

...autumn's auburn in full glory set against a backdrop of green and yellow...

 ...the same tree acting as a fiery umbrella when seen from underneath...

...and, even closer in, too many shades of crimson to count...

...the last of late summer's Golden Rod...

...and, finally, perfectly ripe berries, untouched as yet by frost.