Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Place Called Normal & Discount Plastic Surgery

I just celebrated my thirty-fourth birthday with a girl’s trip. Four women of God all involved in ministry, shopping till we dropped, lots of laughter, and just ourselves to clean up after made for the most wonderful mini getaway. I was so impressed with this group of ladies and friends. We are all serving God in different capacities.

I guess I’m feeling a little nostalgic as I reflect back on my life, counting my blessings, remembering a few heartaches, and looking ahead in life. I am amazed at the change in me as I look back at my twenties, I seriously wouldn’t go back if you paid me to. I spent a majority of my young life trying to be normal, whatever that is. But, over the years I have embraced this quiet place of contentment and acceptance of who I am in Christ. Such joy comes from having the mold that shapes me being the hands of the Potter and not the hands of man, society, or even the church world. If I did the things expected of me as a pastor’s wife, I would love me a potluck meal, wear panty hose in the summer time, and probably need to take up piano lessons or heaven forbid, the organ.

Months ago I was having a conversation with my mother about life, I really can’t remember all that was said or what we were talking about, but I remember saying to my mom, “When I have ever been normal?”

Complete silence.

She didn’t disagree or lie to me to make me feel better. She just looked at me as I continued to tell her that I never felt called to have a normal life. And frankly, I’m sure I would be bored to tears if ever I landed in a place called “normal.”

I’m thirty-four now and “Root Touch Up” is my new best friend. I ache when I work out and I’m sure I have the beginnings of arthritis or perhaps it’s just the display of my overactive imagination at work. I am aging and the world is using their best tricks to capitalize in the beauty industry. I’m not a hater, I love a good wrinkle cream just like the next gal…but, eventually the cream will just be a ritual to make me feel as if I’m taking care of myself whether it works or not. Just last week I got a “coupon” in the mail for an offer of 40% of tummy tucks and 20% off of breast augmentation. I waved it at my husband and said, “Who sent this to me?!” I was ticked.

I have given birth to two large babies (8 lbs 4 oz & 9 lbs 14 oz) and nursed them. Sure, I could use some work, but maybe I should just try doing a few sit-ups and buy a better bra before I cash in this absurd coupon preying on the insecurities of women. (Now I’m worked up, so forgive for going off for a second about this.) I think that it is completely ridiculous that the Heidi Montag’s of this world can’t look in the mirror and feel beautiful. These are women in their twenties having multiple plastic surgeries. It’s crazy. Something happened to her as she was sucked into the world of Hollywood. A beautiful girl became broken and wanted to fix something on the outside of her gorgeous body that needed to be fixed inwardly. My heart breaks for her, my heart breaks for all of the girls in this world that feel like they are not good enough. My heart breaks that they feel the need to sell their bodies to make it in this world. They need hope in Christ and to know their worth and value as women. And that is something they should NEVER throw away or sell. We could bash Hollywood, but someone needs to reach Hollywood.

We are the temple of Christ, we do not need plastic surgery or to show all kinds of flesh to make ourselves attractive. This world is selling sex and the world is buying it. Our teenagers are buying it and Vogue is their new Bible.

Oh, Lord, help me to raise secure, healthy daughters who look in the mirror and smile because they are whole on the inside. Help me to age gracefully, to use my wrinkle cream with pride and look at this body and give thanks because it gave life to my little girls. I would not trade them for anything, so I won’t be mad about the stretch marks! I’m grateful for the gift of womanhood. Help me to be a display of Your splendor, make me beautiful on the inside so I’m not tempted to be caught up my outward appearance. Help me to reach those in need and searching after you.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big People Helmets & Bronchitis

Here’s a recap of my previous two weeks. It started with a trip to urgent care on Saturday. Sweet Elise had started coughing and things were starting to get scary. I spent most of Friday night praying over her as she struggled wheezing and coughing. The doctor’s confirmed it was bronchitis and we started treatment for my baby. On the way home I found out that Jonathan had been knocked out while trying to teach Whitley how to ride a bike. Who knew that we needed to get my big, strong man a helmet for this? He actually fell over Whitley and landed on his face. Whitley’s knee was bloody and bruised, but she was fine. It’s a Mom thing, but I needed to see her with my own eyes and Jonathan wasn’t making much sense over the phone. I was just sick to my stomach on our drive home trying to get to them. My world is wrapped up in Jesus and those three people, who are my highest calling.

When I walked through the door, I couldn’t believe it. Jonathan had really been hurt and I was scared. I sent out a few text messages asking for prayer. I stayed by his side for hours waiting to see if we should take him to the hospital. He was fine, but in shock about the whole thing.

Sunday morning he walked onto the platform and was greeted by gasps. I actually heard one man say, “Look at his face!” He truly wished that he had a better story to tell, like ‘I was mauled by a bear’ or ‘I was climbing the tree to rescue the neighbor’s overweight cat.’ Some of the men in the congregation teased me saying that I did it. (I’m little, but I’m powerful. ;) Jonathan is one of my favorite preachers and despite his throbbing head, he preached a great message and this week you can barely tell anything happened to the poor guy.

By Monday it was time for Whitley and me to go to the doctor. My blood pressure was extremely low and I was wheezing. I had my first steroid shot, which was painful, but extremely effective. Did I tell you that my five-year-old and seven-year-old have also been on steroids? Next time, I’m asking for a shot of Prozac too. It’s one thing to have children on steroids, but it’s another thing to feel like Cruella de Vil while caring for them. Today Whitley actually used the steroids as an excuse for her behavior.

“I really don’t want to be cranky, Mom. It’s not me really. It’s the steroids.” She said and then flashed me a toothless smile that melted my heart so much that I had to remind myself that I was supposed to be annoyed.

Honey child…that is exactly what I have been trying to tell your Daddy! (Wink)

Life is getting back to normal and we are doing so much better. Please keep the girls in your prayers; they are still doing breathing treatments. This allergy season hit all of us pretty hard, but God is so faithful. His love overwhelms me. It’s been a difficult week, but He knows when I sit and when I rise. He perceives my thoughts from afar. He knows me, He formed those precious little miniatures of myself and He is the God that heals.

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thought from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (Psalm 139: 1-6)

If you are feeling overwhelmed today or just need to know that God knows where you are at…read Psalm 139. You are hemmed in, handcrafted, enclosed by His amazing love, and surrounded on all sides. Oh, how He loves us. How cool is that?

Love ya’ll!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tug of War

My previous post was my latest attempt at comedy, which I have to admit that I find myself terribly funny and sometimes just plain terrible. But, the moment I wrote the phrase, “…I began to walk faster thinking how ironic it was, and completely like myself, to try to be disciplined in one area of my life and not the other.” Something inside of me wanted to elaborate on our tendency to have noble expectations and desires and yet fall short.

It’s a universal dilemma that we all face. If discipline was a four letter word it would be this: work. It’s not just work, its hard work. We can have good intentions to live a life of godliness, desire to live by the word of God, and miserably fail at times with a heart full of good intentions. But, we are not alone in this. Paul wrote:

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.” (Rom 7:15-16 NIV)

“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me, for in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (vs. 21-23)

Here is the part that gives me great hope:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

Even the apostle Paul wrestled within longing for the tug of war inside of him to be removed. He realized that apart from Christ, there was no good thing inside of him. So many times we try to do things in our own strength before leaning on Christ. Jesus Christ came to set us free! Freedom can only come through Him.

So as I long to be more disciplined in my life, to exercise more and lay off the Twinkies, to feed my spirit with the word and lean on Christ alone before trying to fix things in my own strength, I’m completely aware that I am going to have days that make Jillian Michaels cringe. Days where I do the complete opposite of what I desire to do and yet I know at the end of the day I will be welcomed by a loving Savior.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What would Jillian say?

Today I actually started my walk with a chocolate chip cookie in my hand. Try to picture it, me with a cookie in one hand and my cell phone and ipod in the other. I smirked as I began to walk faster thinking how ironic it was, and completely like myself, to try to be disciplined in one area of my life and not the other.

I thought to myself, “What would Jillian Michaels say?”

I shudder at the thought.

I ate half of the cookie and in total disgust tossed the other half into the woods by my house. And then I ran after it crying, searching desperately to find it. I can’t believe you guys fell for that. The part about eating half of the cookie and tossing the other half totally happened.

Later on I ate two, fluffy yellow Peeps and some other Easter candy that made me think about kicking the Easter Bunny in his two front teeth. Who needs to run crying after half-eaten cookies when I have a stash of Easter candy that will last me a year? I won’t even tell you what I had for lunch at 3 pm from Sonic; all I can say is that Jillian, with her toned abs and hunger pangs, would have me in a choke-hold if she knew.

So, is walking and eating a cookie the equivalent of jogging with a cigarette in my hand? No, but it wasn’t healthy. Tomorrow I plan to do better and eat a more balanced diet… and get rid of some of that dang candy.

Come back for tomorrows post…

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter blessings

We had a wonderful Easter; I’m still blown away by our family events and God’s favor on all of us. We were blessed beyond measure by our church family who provided a meal for all of us, which took a huge load off of me. Every time I tried to pick something up, clean up, or try to help I was rushed out of the kitchen and practically threatened with spankings!

Saturday morning we had an Easter egg hunt with the church, later we hunted again and had a cookout over at a friend’s house. Oh, how we love the Dunfee family, even if their huge TV is a sin according to Jonathan’s grandmother who is 84. Of course, we think she was joking but that hasn’t stopped the male owner from praying over it before he watches the game tonight. I can’t tell you how much we have laughed over this one.

I’m sure I will write more about our family time around the table, but right now I just want to tuck our conversation away in my heart and thank God for the blessings He has given us: time together and for a Savior who is risen.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Humanity and the Cross

Tonight I feel the weight of my humanity. Wednesday night I wept during a majority of the sermon about “Jesus on the Cross.” My husband told the brutal account in a way that made His sacrifice come alive with such force. I couldn’t hold back the tears. I imagined every stripe that lined His flesh-torn back and I knew it was so that you and I may be healed and whole. My heart was heavy with belief in this amazing Son of God and torn at the thought of just how much Jesus loves us.

Today as my children hunted eggs in the sunshine among friends I thought about the eggs they may have missed, the ones cleverly disguised and hidden. Within their reach and yet they were passed by. I loved the little expressions of the purest joy as they found each colorful egg. What joy finding the smallest treasure brings!

How many people are in this world waiting to be found, waiting to be told about the glorious redemption of Christ that I’ve found? How many people don’t even realize how very lost they are? He stands at the door knocking to a knob-less door waiting for His invitation to enter in.

We are the treasure of Christ, we are His delight. We are the apple of His eye. (Zech 2:8) Oh, how I long to chase after Him in such a way that brings Him glory. The days are filled up with so many other colorful distractions that catch our eye taking our minds off of our glorious Savior. Tomorrow we will celebrate the resurrection of Christ and my heart is so caught up in gratitude that the ultimate price was paid for my sins.

So tonight as I’m reminded of my humanity and all the things that come with being hopelessly flawed, I’m SO aware that I’m the furthest thing from perfect, that I get mad sometimes and act like a girl, yet I have great hope that I’m not alone. He is risen from the grave. And if He can do that, He can do anything. Nothing is too difficult for our God!

Happy Easter, sweet friends!

Can’t wait to see some of you tomorrow, I’ll be the girl with brand new highlights and the only one NOT wearing pastel.