Monday, February 28, 2011

Why am I me?

Sometimes I love reading blogs and take the time to try to find new and interesting blogs to read.  I'll find a blog or two and read an entry.  Sometimes I like it and I'll subscribe to it via Google Reader.  (If you don't have it, you should go get it!)  Sometimes I find things that are interesting, but not something I would want to read regularly.  Today was one of those days.  I really just ended up wondering.  

I am a working mom (obviously).   When I read about the importance of having a parent with the kid, I say my husband does that and I thank God we have that opportunity.  When it really comes down to it, I enjoy my career.  I am not the June Cleaver type.  I don't cook.  I don't clean often enough.  I don't sit and plan outings and lessons for Ben.  And I wonder is that bad?  Should I be more of a June Cleaver type?  (And yes, I realize that not all SAHM are the June Cleaver type.  It is rather stereotypical for me to think so, but the image that I see from several SAHM is that of June Cleaver.  I am in no way implying that it is bad or good or anything else.)  I'm sure this is a dilemma that many working moms (part-time or full-time) come across.  Some days I start thinking, yes it is bad and it is something I should work to change.

Then another part of me thinks about the influential teachers I had, Sra. Schmidt, Mrs. Drake, Dra. Culleton, etc.  I think of influential teachers that I have known, Coach Lytton, Mr. Hungerford, etc.  When a crisis happens and I see the outpouring of love people have for teachers like this, it is humbling.  I want to make a community impact like that.  After working for 30 years, I want people to say I made a difference.  Maybe not a life changing difference, but I helped them.  I know that in and of myself I will not have the ability to do that.  I have to look toward God to orchestrate everything and prepare me to make a difference.  It has to be Him working through me for this to happen.  I love standing in front of a group of students explaining something, and then seeing them get excited because they understood it.  I love being around before and after classes/ school just to listen to what is going on in their lives.  I am humbled that they share these things with me.  I care about my students.  All of this can't be for nothing, right?  Surely it's okay for me to love my job right?

These were the two schools of thought running through my mind earlier today when we took Ben to his doctor's appointment.  (He's fine BTW.  Just a nasty cold.)  On the way home from there, we had a scary storm and stopped off at my mother in law's house instead of driving all the way home.  When we got home, we found a window blown in (not broken, praise God.) and a line down in our yard (not our power, again praise God.)  I gave Ben a bath, watched him play, called my mom, and got him ready for bed.  I sat down and Drew gave me a big hug and thanked me for taking care of him the last few days while he was sick.  So what does all this tell me, I'm where I am supposed to be.  I am me because God made me that way.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oil: Week 2

Being anointed with oil

1 Samuel 10:1, "Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the Lord anointed you leader over his inheritance?"

1 Samuel 16:13 "So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah."

Psalm 23:5 "You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."

Oil was used to anoint people with oil. At first it was Aaron and the other priests, later it was used to anoint the kings, like we see with Saul and David. Another interesting use for it was for the honored guest at the banquet. This is what Jesus referred to in Luke 7:46 . He was the honored guest and should have been anointed with oil. So important people are anointed with oil, whether they are important to your home or to your country. Remember anointed means to set apart to the Lord for a particular task and divine equipping for the task. I understand how that can be used with priests and kings. I was surprised that this applied to honored guests as well. I guess it doesn't have the same extremity of set apart, but there is something there. There is something expected of the host and of the guest. I'm not sure what to make of this, but it is still there.

Back to kings and priests, they are anointed because they are so important to the kingdom of God. Leviticus 10:8-11 specifically talk about it. If you look back at 7, it says they can't leave the Tent of Meeting to mourn for their unclean brothers/sons because if they did they would die. They can't even mourn them. This gives you an idea of how much more important their new job is as priest than their previous job as men in the family. Not to say that it was no longer a important, but God should be that much more to them. And whatever he commands of them, they must do because they have been set apart for God. They are to distinguish between the clean and unclean, the holy and the common, and then teach the Israelites what God has to say. They are set apart to be given this knowledge. If they corrupt themselves, how will those under them know these things. They won't! This is why they have more responsibility than others. This obviously applies to priests. However the later addition of kings transferred the responsibility to them as well. This is not a responsibility to take lightly. It is something that is weighing particularly heavy on mind tonight. Drew and I are youth leaders at our church and involved in other things there as well. Drew is also getting ready to start school to get his degree and eventual ordination. We are responsible for the souls of the children that pass through our doors. That is a hefty responsibility.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Teaching

So after reading 2 other blogs about this topic recently, I figured it was time to throw in my 2 cents.  I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath.  Both Jon Acuff and Jaime the Very Worst Missionary discussed this topic and I have to say that I feel a little better about it.

This week I have heard Ben spout of word after word after word.  Cat, Meow, Horse, Duck, Quack, Piano, Guitar, Egg, Yogurt, etc., etc.  He can now count up to 14, but most of the time 10 is not included.  My reaction after listening to all this is twofold.  1.  Wow this kid is really smart.  2. Where did he learn all this?  I know I didn't teach him.  That second thought then makes me wonder why I didn't teach him that.  What kind of a mother am I if I can't teach my 2 year old new words?  What else should I be teaching him that I'm not?

I am pleased to say that Ben and I are now in a routine of praying at night.  We say the modified, not so scary version of Now I lay me down to sleep.  He says Amen and then God.  When he says God, it's time to say our thank yous.  Some nights we pray for other people.  Some nights we read from his baby Bible.  I feel much better about this than my previous spiritual work with him.  That mostly consisted of taking him to church and hoping he learns there.  I definitely think we are moving in the right direction.

But is it enough?  And if took me this long to start a prayer routine, then what am I going to miss out on or start late on later in his life?  Wouldn't a good mother be teaching him more?  Since I'm not teaching him more, does that make me a bad mother?

After reading the above mentioned blogs, I feel better.  I could do better and work with him more, but I'm not too bad either.  And I don't feel this blog would be complete without a bad mother story.

Before church tonight Ben and I were in the kitchen and he wanted to swing around.  So we did and I sat him down.  He came back and I don't really know how it happened, but I didn't set him down gently.  I dropped him on his face on the tile in the kitchen.  Even as I'm writing this, I'm tearing up.  I immediately scooped him up and totally expected to find broken pieces of him.  However, PRAISE GOD he only has a bruise on his chin.  I was/ am upset about the whole thing and I will not be playing like that in the kitchen any more.  But as I said, PRAISE GOD Ben is okay.  It's getting on his bedtime, so we'll get out of the tub and have our prayer time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oil: Week 1

I'm not sure how many weeks this one will be, but a friend suggested this word as my next thing to study. After reading a some passages, I thought it would be interesting to see how it was used and how that can be used in our life. So in my reading the first thing that caught my eye was a passage in Exodus.

Exodus 30:22-33. In this passage, God is telling Moses about the Sacred Anointing Oil. I didn't realize there even was a sacred oil. This oil is used for anointing the priests and the items of the sanctuary/tent of meeting/tabernacle. Before I go into too much detail about the passage, I thought it would be interesting to look at the ingredients used in this sacred oil.






Olive oil was the most prevalent ingredient, followed by myrrh and cassia, and finally cinnamon and calamus. These ingredients were to be combined by a perfumer. Can you imagine being the person who is going to mix all of these things into a SACRED oil that would anoint the most holy items in the world? The pressure for that would be massive.

When those items were consecrated, set apart for a higher purpose, everything else that touched them would be holy. This combination of oils would signify that those things were now 'good enough' to be used to worship God. (I'm not sure I said that the right way.) In many ways this concept is rather foreign to us. In our modern day society, we really don't have the idea that there are a few select items that are good enough to be used for God.

Back then, these things were touching God. They had to be made to certain specifications to be qualified. And a part of us thinks, that's silly. Why does it have to be so special? That is our human side that doesn't want to acknowledge that God is bigger than us and deserves to live by his rules and not ours. It may seem like a small detail, but it's really not. I often think that seems too complicated or unnecessary, but that is me expecting God to do it my way. How presumptuous is that? I'm thinking that a custom He created all those years ago for His people is too complicated or unnecessary!

Looking at the last bit of that passage, I guess I'm not the only one who ever thought that because the Israelites are warned not to make any other perfume like it or anoint anyone extra with it. The punishment is for them to be cut off from their people. So basically if you think this is unnecessary or not the right way to do things, go and do them your way over there and leave us alone. And when you think about it, that's kind of a scary thing to be cut off from all the people and customs you know. So doing it my way, doesn't always get the best results. That seems so easy to say, but to actually put it into practice is a very different story.

I am left wondering, do I treat the things of God as sacred? Do I set them apart for a higher purpose all the time? Do I know anything about holy or sacred? I'm a Christian, so doesn't that mean I'm supposed to get this idea at least a little bit. I'm not sure I do. I'm not sure I really get it at all.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Memories

When I was jr. high/ high school age, my family and I did lots of camping, summer vacations, weekends away, etc.  One year my dad decided to buy a new pop up camper with the extra outdoor room thingy.  He/We couldn't wait to use it, so we went to one of the campgrounds in Indiana that we liked (I think).  The setting is a little fuzzy, but the story is worth it.  I promise.

I'm pretty sure it was late March.  One of those times when the weekends could be beautiful warm sunny weather or it could be nasty yucky weather.  This one was nasty and yucky.  It was cold with snow flurries.  Not perfect camping weather, or was it?  I don't really remember what I did, but knowing me I sat around, read some books, and did some homework.  Yeah I was that kid.  A few things I do remember.  The soup I had for lunch that day was AMAZING.  It was Campbell's Creamy Chicken.  It was hard to find, so I totally loved the fact that I got to have it.  That night the raccoon that got in our trash loved it too because we heard him rolling that can and the others around on the pavement for a good portion of the night.  That raccoon would become a rather legendary animal in our family and not just for his feats with of soup can rolling ability.

The most impressive thing he did was that night as well.  He must have crawled under the camper to get into the 'outdoor' room we had.  We heard him out there and it freaked us all out a little bit.  My brother's first thought was for the steaks we had in the cooler outside.  He informed my dad that the raccoon would surely go after those.  My dad then informed my brother that he couldn't get to them, so we had nothing to worry about.  The raccoon was still out there, so dad opened the door to scare him off.  I'm not sure who was more freaked out when he opened the door because the raccoon was right there on the step.  We were convinced he was going to be coming in.  He didn't though.

He did run away and shortly there after I had to use the restroom.  As a part of our package deal, we got a little port-a-potty thing.  So I didn't have to walk all the way across the campground.  Of course there was no way I was going out there by myself, so Mom came with me.  While I was there, we were on guard in case he decided to come back.  Thankfully he didn't.  When we were out there we noticed that there was something sticking out of the cooler.  What was it you ask?  The steak packages!  The raccoon took the steak and left the packages.  I was stunned.  I'm pretty sure Dad, Mom, and Jon were too.  Well maybe not Jon.  He might have said I told you so.  I had no clue raccoons could open a cooler, get the meat out of the package, and then leave the package.  He even followed his steak dinner with a little leftover soup.  We weren't happy with that raccoon that night.  I'm pretty sure he was happy with us though.

To this day, that is one of my fondest memories about our camping trips.  There are a few others, but that definitely makes my top 5.  Looking back on it, I wonder if my parents at the time realized what a great trip that was.  Who would have thought it was with snow flurries and a raccoon eating our steaks?  But it really was one of the most memorable trips I have taken with my family.  I wonder if I would have the ability to laugh about a trip like that.  I wonder if I would think that was a gloriously imperfect trip that would create conversations and memories years later OR if I would think it was a failure because it didn't go my way?  I guess maybe my way isn't always the best way sometimes.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Light: Part 6

1 John 1:7 - "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

This verse seems to touch on all the points that have been made before. God is light and wears light. The things that come from him are light. So when it says, "he is in the light," we know there are many different parts of that light to consider. For us to be in the light, we need to be saved and using it to guide us forward in our Christian walk. So what do we get if we know and do all of the above, purification from sin and fellowship with one another. Does that excite you? It should. Because of Jesus we can be made whole and clean. We can have fellowship with him and with our fellow man. Life does not become perfect, but it becomes easier. Walking in the light won't make all our sins and bad parts go away. On the contrary, it makes them more obvious. However, walking in the light gives us the ability to deal with them. It gives us the strength to face our bad parts and make them better.




BTW If you enjoy the video with the blogging, check out this blog from a friend of mine. She always finds great songs.

Judgement

I learned something last week, I am judgemental.  I like to feel like I'm doing good, helping out the world, and living like I should.  I'm growing in my faith and things are great.  Some days this is all true, but lots more days, I think I overlook the yucko parts of me to help me feel all that happy stuff above.  Even as I am writing this, I am finding ways to distract myself.  I guess I really don't want to admit this, but I am a harsh critic of my fellow man. I there were several times last week when I heard someone say something and I immediately thought something mean and very not compassionate.  I won't go into specifics because I think that would be unfair to those whom I was judging.  Suffice it to say that, there was more than 1 occasion someone was asking for prayer and my first thought wasn't how I was going to pray for them.  It was a judgement about their situation or the way they were handling it.  Sunday God showed me that wasn't the right attitude.  Who am I to say if they are doing the right thing or not?  Am I living their lives?  Am I walking in their shoes?  Most certainly not.  I don't know their inner being.  God does, so he gets to decide if it is right or wrong.  Not me.  I've been working hard this week on not doing that and making my first response gentler and kinder.  I'd love to say that I have it all under control now, but I"m sure I don't.  I can't remember any massive failings this week as far as judgement goes, but I also have not been confronted with any situations to really react to this week.  One step at a time I guess.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Light: Part 5

Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

Psalm 119:130 "The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple"

These verses do remind us that God is light. If he is light, then we can expect what comes from him to be light as well. In this case, his words/Word gives light. In order to give light, his Word must have light shining from within it. This light is inherently a part of his Word. If we are truly studying his Word and in his Word, we have no other option than to be affected by that light. How might we be affected? We see in these verses, understanding and guidance. I don't think these will always be immediately obvious to us either. Vs. 130 says, the unfolding of your word. To me, that says there are parts that we will not immediately understand or see. We have to delve into it and consistently be in it in order to see that unfolding. Another thought about consistency, if this is to be a 'light for our path', then we need to be carrying it with us. It can not be something that we only pick up from time to time. Then our path won't always be lit. I'm not saying you should be memorizing a verse a week or anything like that. If you want to, great. I'm not saying that you need to try to read the Bible cover to cover in a year, 90 days, or whatever. Just be in the word everyday, maybe that's 5 minutes, maybe that's 35 minutes. Maybe it is memorizing, maybe it isn't. If you are consistently reading with intent to learn, I think the memorizing will come. Maybe it is journaling, maybe it isn't. However, you feel it best to carry it with you, do so. Just remember a light is only good when you have it with you. It does no good sitting at home on a shelf.

Back from the edge

As a parent, I could tell you lots of things that amaze me everyday.  However, I am going to pick one thing to tell you about this week.  I find it amazing how such a little person can make you feel like crap.  (I say this as he's dancing up a storm in the living room and I'm laughing at him.)  Ben's biggest 'problem' has consistently been going to sleep.  This week has been no exception.  We brush our teeth, read our stories, say our prayers, and then it's bed time.  I generally sit with him for a little bit or rock him for a little bit and then leave the room.  Most nights he fusses a little, but goes to sleep.  Not the last couple days.  The other night he fussed for probably 45 minutes or longer.  So then I start feeling like a bad mother because if I walk him, rock him, or sit with him, then I'm contributing to his inability to fall asleep himself.  However, I don't think screaming for 45 minutes or longer is a healthy and loving response either.  What happened you ask.  Drew walked him to sleep.  What is the moral of this story?  Drew reminding me that it was just a bad night.  It didn't make a bad mother that he had to be walked that one night and it didn't make me a bad mother that he cried either.  So thanks for pulling back from the edge of the cavern of guilt over bad parenting.  I don't know what I would do without him.