Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Building That Wall

Build the wall that is in front of you.....

I was listening to this podcast through Bethel a few weeks ago and realized that my deep thinking, see it before its coming, passionate dreamer ways tend to get towards the forefront of my mind while I'm dealing with the daily life of our household.

Banning Liebscher, is the youth pastor at Bethel Church, in Redding, California. He was sharing how the Lord told him to build the wall that is in front of him, instead of constantly focusing on what lies ahead. He used the scriptures from Nehemiah to strengthen his message. Nehemiah instructed his troops, while rebuilding Jerusalem, to first build the wall in front of their houses.

Liebscher went on to share how important it was to do the job that was placed in front of us with excellence. He continued, by challenging those of us who struggle with the question of , "What if you are in a cubicle, doing a desk job, when you know your destiny includes missions work or preaching the gospel?"

When we moved to North Carolina, my heart was on fire for the Lord and for missions. I wanted to get out there and start loving on some people, helping them, sharing the gospel with them and participating in changing the world. That is part of my destiny.

When we heard God say now is not the time, but that we were to focus on our family and plant roots, I agreed with Him in theory and in obedience. My children had captured my heart and I want to see them into the kingdom. They are first on my "list" of what I am to do with my life.

However, there are many days that I am wiping noses and butts, teaching long division and how to read, washing dishes and laundry, where I wonder, "what in the world am I doing? And will we ever, ever do what God has put on my heart?"

Those are the days that I have to remind myself to focus and build the wall that is in front of me. Don't worry about the rest of the wall, how it is going to be built, when it is going to be built, what it will look like and if it will ever get completed. For me, I need to embrace right where I am at and find joy in it. For when I embrace my life, each day for what it is, then I tend be more passionate and better at my job.

Oh and by the way, focusing on building the wall in front of you, means not worrying about your neighbors wall and what they are doing with it. Whew.... that always gets me. Especially when many of my friends are all over the world doing missions work in the countries I want to be in.

Today add another brick to your wall in front of you. Whether that means selling another item on craigslist for your adoption fund, homeschooling your kiddos, feeding the poor in Peru, teaching 7 year olds in Holland, or working in a cubicle as an IT guy, do your job with integrity and joy today! Be proud of what you are accomplishing in His kingdom.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Surviving the Toddler Years, the Third Time Around

The Little General in our house brings daily laughter, as well as a heavy dose of "aaahh.... I'm gonna pull my hair out." He is 5 weeks away from turning 2 and I don't think there is enough coffee out there to help sustain me through those "trying two's." I'm always amazed at this stage of the toddler years how we as parents can be pushed to our maxed limits of exhaustion and yet still love our 2 year old more then life itself.

Since this is child number 3 in our house, I am somewhat more relaxed during certain temper tantrum episodes then I was with boy number 1. In fact, I find myself laughing a whole lot more over it all. In the spirit of laughter and joy over having a turbo toddler in my home, here is a list of what the Little General has been doing lately. Enjoy!

1. During a visit with the husbands extended family, whom we see about twice a year, Si felt the need to roll around under the table while we were eating dessert. I shared with the family, "I suppose this is the only time in life when you can get away with something like this and think it may be cute."

2. The Christmas tree.... large, full of childhood ornaments.... versus the almost two year old lacking every ounce of self control (because he IS only 2, right?). My response??? Lower all the unbreakables to the bottom of the tree and gently have at it.

3. It's time to get out of the car and walk to the door of the local Y, Simon has refused and is having his own personal sit in on the curb. "Quick, Elijah see if he will take YOUR hand instead of mine. Oh, looky he did! Great, now move quickly before he changes his mind!" Thank God for older brothers!

4. What? You want me to educate the kids, clean the house, make a homemade meal, and be showered somewhat daily? Ok baby... why not watch a third episode of Thomas the Train!

5. Food shopping with three kiddos, one of whom refuses to sit in the cart, calls for the big guns. "I'll give you a puppy if you sit in the seat? Or how about a granola bar? Never mind, let me open that bag of goldfish that we haven't bought yet."

For the record, I wouldn't trade being this little boys mama for anything in the world. I love him sooo stinkin much! But can I get an "amen" for nap time and bedtime??? I mean, thank you Jesus that toddlers need to sleep in the afternoon, I seriously think it was made for mama's to recharge even if it's only for an hour.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dusting Off the Church

(The purpose of these posts are to encourage others to think. When speaking of the "church" or the "corporate body of Christ"  I am NOT referring to my church personally or any churches that i have been a part of.)

Clubs fail people. Programs fail people. They are both led by humans. There was only one perfect man who ever walked the earth, Jesus Christ. Which means we as humans will inevitably make mistakes. How we handle those mistakes determines a lot in who we are and even our expectations of others.

If we believe that the word of God is infallible, then we must conclude that our God will not fail us. So, in keeping with the discussion of club versus church, the previous sentence should lead us then to believe that cultivating a corporate time for the body of Christ to come together must always be Holy Spirit led. Correct?

A club mentality puts us in a position of following a set way of doing things, leaving little room for us to trust our God in leading us as a body of Christ. Man prefers a routine and a program, while the Holy Spirit prefers a genuine heart that is willing to move even when it feels a bit uncomfortable.

God wants to blow the dust off the church!

Not only does He want to breathe beautiful and amazing life into our corporate times but He also wants to blow the cobwebs out of our minds personally!

Every time I visit the ocean, I sit on the beach and inhale deeply. Salty clean ocean air permeates my mind, my heart, my body and cleans me. I feel refreshed, alive, and ready to take on whatever is before me next. Many times during my days as a stay at home mama, I find myself wishing for a breath or two of the sea breeze! This is what God wants to do individually to the body of Christ.

God wants to clean out the cobwebs, refreshing the body of Christ!

This is so exciting to me! There is a true sense of genuine joy and faithfulness from our Father when we trust Him and allow Him to be totally in charge. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, right? As long as we allow that Spirit, you betcha!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Boy Chronicles

I love my boys! All three of them have the most hilarious and interesting personalities. Since we are in the season of thankfulness, here are a few of my most favorite things about my boys!

1. We went to the symphony today at the Forum in Harrisburg. Zman's first thing was to find Orion on the ceiling. EJ's courageous little heart answered two of the conductors question. There were hundreds of kiddos there! My mama's heart was filled with thankfulness for the opportunity to spend an hour listening to a live orchestra with all of my boys!

2. The Little General (aka Si) is very much into Curious George right now. He is captivated by the books and the show itself. I find it kind of fitting, as he is practically a monkey himself.

3. We returned to traditionally homeschooling this year, after our year of cyber school. I LOVE homeschooling my boys, even though I am racing after a turbo toddler. Zman has finally taken off with reading and I have to hold back tears every time he reads a book to me! What an honor it is to be my kiddos teacher!

4. EJ is preparing his heart to fill out his application for his first missions trip for next summer. I've been given the beautiful opportunity to be one of the leaders on this trip. Watching my first born's anticipation as he begins praying and dreaming about his first out of country trip is so overwhelming to my heart!

5. It's been 3 years since the last time we hosted Thanksgiving. This year we get to have all sorts of family over to our home. The two older boys are so full of excitement as they love to host as much as we do. It pleases my heart to see that it isn't just me who desires to have a home full of people sharing a meal together!

6. Zman is my little nature lover. He and EJ were out at the local Doll*r Gener*l, when he found another bow and arrow for a whole $2.00! And so he is currently running around the back yard attempting to target anything he can.

7. Boy #3 in our house has a few nicknames.... The Little General, Turbo Toddler, Patten, and Si Si. He is quite a demanding almost 2 year old. The best part of my day with Sire's is when he asks for me to "wok, mama, wok," also known as "rock me mama, rock me." Nothing compares to rocking away my youngest as he falls asleep in my arms.

I am eternally grateful for the little army God has placed around me. Who knew I'd be a mama of 3 little men!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Club Vs. Church

(*Beware... this post is not a fluff post. It is not meant to offend anyone and is does not reflect any particular church, including the one I attend or the ones I've attended in the past. This purely is something I'm am "working on" in my own thought process! Enjoy!!)

If you know me personally, you may know that I have been "chewing on" a topic for a long, long time. Is the American church, just a glorified club? And if so, what is it that God really wants for the church? I heard Kris Vallaton speak one time and he said you could go around to the different churches and cross out the word church and add club instead. He was so right!

A club has members, with perks. It has programs and fundraisers. Some clubs bring in special speakers that challenge its members to do something exciting.

How is that different from church?

I'm about to offend some of you so get ready...

I'm tired of clubs and churches. I am so ready for the authentic body of Christ to stand up, start living in true Acts community and learn to walk a real life of love. When and only when, that really happens we will actually see the spirit of God breakthrough corporately. Not only that, but we as a community of believers will become healthy and will be able to lovingly help others into a secure and loving place of faith in Christ.

An authentic body of Christ, chooses to walk in healing, forgiveness, and vulnerability. Those who desire all that they are to follow Jesus, will put aside their own selfish ways and thoughts and will want to have a teachable heart. And when, we as a body of Christ, live healed, forgiven, vulnerable, and teachable, then we will realize that we need our God and each other. Which means, we become more communal.


I'm sorry, but this is what burns on my heart. We were not meant to walk a Christian faith out by ourselves, in our own little families, attending our club once or twice a week. And because we as a community of believers tend to walk this way, we've placed a hand over the mouth of God and have prevented Him from blowing a fresh spring like wind into our churches.

So instead of just reading this and walking away from your computer, answer me in truth. Do you attend a club or a church? What does a true biblical church look like? How do we, the American Church, transtion into that?

I seriously want to hear your thoughts! As always, be kind!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just an Opinion

You could shake a finger at me for how little I keep up with the news. I scan CNN a couple times a week, barely ever actually sit down and watch a news program, and I confess, I read a newspaper about 3 times in a month.

With all that said, I don't think you could possibly live in the state of Pennsylvania without knowing of the secret horrors that were unveiled regarding Penn State this week. Shock and sorrow are just two words that come to mind right now.

I've been reading an allegorical story to my kids about a kingdom, a hero, a princess, and a King. In the story, the princess makes a very unwise decision and chooses to go against a kingdom rule. Because of her choice, a consequence occurred that affected everyone that lived in that Kingdom, much like what is going on at Penn State. One man has done horrid things and a web of others who have made wrong choices in how to deal with those awful acts have affected an entire school, football team, and community.

Yesterday I was praying over my youngest boy. I love this child, as he is quite a little busy baby and refuses to be contained! I was praying many things, but suddenly the word: integrity gripped me. I began speaking that word over all three of my boys, my husband, and myself. I was praying that we would walk with integrity, that all that we do would be done in truth and with love.

I have no words for the man who did the ultimate crime in the Penn State case right now. But for all the others that had an idea of what might have been going on, I'm appalled. One choice to look the other way, one measly attempt at sharing information did not just hurt precious children, but so many others.

We have more power in our hands then we recognize. When we choose to not walk in truth, we are risking not only ourselves but a whole kingdom of other people.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Well, Now Hand me a Paint Brush, Will Ya?!!!

Writing this week has reopened that right brained, creative thinker, artistic side of me again. Whew.... now, I want to drop all responsibilities, send the kiddos off to grandmas for like 3 days, and whip out paints and canvases and worship music and good coffee...

Or maybe get my sewing machine out and finally sew a skirt that I've had on my mind for, like, forevah.

Of course, after I wrote my Just Peachy post, then I started looking at my walls and imagining a cool gray color  with my white curtains and my white framed pictures. A slight bit of hope rose up inside of me. Perhaps we can approach our landlords with the idea of painting???

This morning, I was out power walking and I saw the mist rising off of the creek. I watched a doe sprint behind someones house and a ground hog take cover as I whisked by. It was so cold out, I was afraid my legs were going to turn into popsicles. No worries though, they are well insulated.

Still, between a few entries on my old blog, a trip to the food store BY MYSELF, and a cold hard walk this morning, my brain and body are feeling alive today. I have a little extra joy and hope.

Not to mention that my house is full of life, with my own family and another sweet young couple and their baby girl. I can't help it, I love lovin on others. It's who I was created to be.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all. And thanks for the many comments, emails, and general encouragement on my return to the blog world. You made this girl feel loved!