Friday, August 21, 2015

When Interruptions are God - Navigating Through the Extraordinary Unknown

I've home schooled for 17 years and these days it really takes God to motivate me. Don't get me wrong. I really do love teaching my kids. However, work is work for all of us no matter what our chosen vocation is. My 16 year old is a junior and will take 4 co-op classes this year. I'll teach him Music, Bible, and British Literature. I'm really looking forward to the spontaneous conversations that will spring up while he learns about the global prayer movement of the past 20 years, Classical composers, chord structures, and Ivanhoe. My new 1st grader and preschooler are getting used to our new Fall routine, which at this age, balances spontaneity with structure. Sometimes you just have to put the workbook aside and play an alternative form of the card game war: each player puts two cards down instead of one and the student has to use a math operation to determine which player has the bigger answer.
Today's morning routine has been weaved into the complex quilt called: my life. This week will go down in my personal history as the most thrilling yet most difficult week ever in my 46 years. I've sought to trust God will all my heart and lean not to my own understanding. I feel like the solder who is told to arm themselves then stand down, over and over again. We all go through these divine moments of stretching that hurt so much, yet are so necessary for our own personal growth. I'm so thankful to have a God....a heavenly Daddy, that I know is so present, so pleased, so comforting and so steady.
It's His steadiness that keeps us, as we balance the daily routine with Spirit-initiated interruptions.

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior" (Oceans by Hillsongs United)
This lyric gives God permission to interrupt and to invade our mundane lives with the extraordinary unknown. Whether we are a stay-at-home mother, a business owner or a company employee, as Christians, God has so much more for us to do and to pursue that is outside of our usual routine.
A friend of mine was driving home from her 12 hours nursing shift when an accident happened a few cars beyond hers. It was no accident that she drove that route home. She comforted and waited with the accident victim and prayed quietly as the Spirit of God led. Last winter, my husband and older kids left the new movie theater when they saw a man laying on the icy sidewalk. After turning around and getting out of our Suburban, they invited the man to get into the car so that he would not have to walk to his destination on the icy sidewalk. One day last summer, I left a Walmart and noticed a woman putting grocery bags into her car which was parked in a handicapped space. Compelled beyond my usual comfort zone, I walked over to her and asked her if she was okay. Mind you, I'm the mother of six who is always going 70 mph to get 27 hours worth of goals accomplishes in 1 day! I ended up praying with her and to my surprised she prayed for me in turn. It was an unusual blessing as I allowed my feet to wander down God's path according to God's goal in that moment for me.

Those three items pale in comparison to the deeply divine waters that I found myself in this past week. I'm sure I'll share the details some day. This very emotionally and spiritually stretching situation, so surreal despite its Biblical basis made this unofficial first day of school startlingly calm.
I wrote a guest post last year for Grace & Faith 4 U. I ended the article with this:
In order for life to be on earth as it is in heaven, our lives must be invaded by the unexplainable, the wondrous, the unimaginable, the jaw-dropping display of God’s love that comes through His power and might....John 5:20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Do Our Kids See Our Past or Our Present?

Chapter excerpt from my work in progress: Ages and Stages: The Book

My original chapter title was "Do Our Kids See Our Past or Our Present?" but just this morning I thought of two alternatives: "When We Live in Our Past" or ""Overcoming the Past, Wading through the Present". Neither of these may become the actual titles, but such is the process of writing!

Here is an excerpt from this chapter. It's been one of the most difficult chapters to write.

In the mid-1990s our marriage hit rough waters. Doug called it individual hurricanes colliding to form one massive storm. It wasn’t fun.
But it was a needed season of learning. Although as young Christians we had read a lot about spiritual warfare and recognized a few areas in our personal lives that needed healing, we had no idea that our souls were really icebergs.
So in order to work on our marriage, we needed to address many of the unseen areas of lives. This included doing individual inventories of rooms in our soul which is the realm of the emotions, the memories and the will. Faithful ministers in our local church and a wonderful ministry called Freedom in Christ, founded by Neil Anderson helped us through this stage.
I learned that we always need healing from something. Whether it’s the dog that chased me down the street when I was five or whether I perceived that I was being rejected by a loved one just yesterday,a regular inventory of my heart needs to occur. If I don’t, my family is bound to be affected by my wounded soul.
All of us remember the environments and cultures in which we grew up and the relationships that made impressions on us. As children, we are blank mounds of clay shaped by other people. Every human being is like a chisel, intentionally or unintentionally
making impressions into the souls of those around us. The Bible calls God the Potter, and as a Father, His desire is for all of us to be initially shaped by parents who reflect His character. But there is no person on earth that perfectly reflects God’s character. That leaves even those with the most fortunate upbringings indented with impressions left by people or situations from their past.

(later in this chapter)
We inherit good habits and talents as well as predispositions to specific thought patterns and behaviors. Besides the goodnight kiss, I didn’t grow up in an affectionate home, and as a child I always admired families that that were affectionate. As a result, I made a conscious decision to be affectionate with my children as long as they would let me, which usually ended up being until the age of seven. The downside of this was that because physical affection wasn’t my natural inclination, except for the nightly kiss goodnight, my kids went without much human touch from age seven until eighteen or older. I found out later that as teenagers, they wondered why we weren’t an affectionate family. They missed it but were unable to ask for it!

Now affection is easier for me to initiate towards my older kids and even towards my husband. To put my arm around my daughter’s shoulders is as deliberate an act as being mindful of a child’s particular love language.  Was this generational lack of parental affection a muted ache in my family line? Heaven knows. However I’ve realized that as a parent I need to learn more about how human beings are made by God to function. I need to read books written from a biblical worldview about child development as well as adolescence. I need to remember the yearnings that I had as a teenager and realize that those yearnings were not individual to me, but normal for all people. Everybody wants a super duper bear hug at some point, even the teenage male who thinks he has it all together!

A few books that were instrumental not only in helping me model God as a parent but also in giving me tools to overcome the obstacles that were robbing my children of a emotionally healed mother were: Seven Longings of the Human Heart by Mike Bickle, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson and The Root of Rejection by Joyce Meyer.