Extended Stay

wheatI started this post when my husband was in the hospital. I didn’t get it finished while we were there… too many nurses walking in and out of the room? Amazing people, those nurses! I didn’t get to finish it the first month we were home. Still, I think about these things.

Lately, there has been so much on my mind. So many words written. So many things not really said. So many things changed. This seems to have become my life.

These last six days have been scary. These last six days have been frustrating. These last six days have been long. These last six days have been heartbreaking. These last six have been hard on our kids. These last six days have been a blessing.

Now, I’m not a biblical scholar, but let me tell you what that means to me.

The Bible talks about a sifting that will happen. In Luke 22:31 Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”wheatsifter

See, Jesus was hanging with his tribe, these men he called his disciples. They were celebrating the Passover. Jesus had told two of them how to find the place where they would eat together, and the men followed his directions, found it exactly as He had said, and made the preparations. Once all the men are all sitting around the table, Jesus gives us the words most churches now quote when they gather for communion.

communioncup2Most churches, however, stop before that chapter does. Jesus, taking the cup, talks about his blood being poured out for them, and moves right into talking about his betrayer! This comment starts an argument between the rest of the men. Seriously, they started fighting about which one of them was the greatest. Jesus tells them he would be betrayed by one of them and they start telling him why each one is better than the other. Talk about missing the point!

Once they begin to argue over which one is the greatest, Jesus talks to them about the difference between secular government and heavenly government. The people of the world want to rule over the people. When you run into a worldly person in charge, how do they treat you? Typically, they hold power, and they let you know it. Unless you can do something for them, they have little use for you.wheathands

But kingdom-minded leaders should be different. For Jesus’ challenge to be met, a leader must serve. They must honor those who are under them. Why? Because that is the way Jesus lead.

Sifting can and does happen in life. What that looks like is different for each of us. What needs to look the same for each of us is this, when we have been tested, have come through the sifter and learned from it, we are to help those who have not learned the same lessons yet.

What would the world be like if everyone who took a step up, turned and helped the next guy make the same level up? What if everyone who grew, helped the person behind them learn the same lesson without as much pain?

Maybe that’s what love really looks like.

 

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I Love Bethie?

I started this life (well, the part of it I can remember, anyway) the athletic type: strong, confident, probably even cocky. Somewhere along the way to having 6 kids, I turned into Lucy Ricardo! I find myself in situations where I just shake my head and wonder “how did I end up here?”

How did I end up with banana, avocado, and marker on my walls? How did I end up with fingernail polish on my bedroom floor? How did I end up changing diapers for 15 years? How did I end up running to three different schools while trying to keep a baby on a schedule? How did I end up with 6 people calling me Momma (or Mommy-o, as seems to be the current favorite)?

I have written about some of these moments, like the cat tree, the Gatorade, the baby powder… sometimes my life feels like one big mess. And not usually one I actually create… though I do that pretty well, too. In my head I, all too often, see Lucy stuffing chocolates in her mouth and think, yep… I’m fighting a losing game, too!

I am sure some of this is to smooth away that cocky side of me that thought I could do it all. Some of it is just to keep me humble. Some of it is just to make sure I can laugh at myself, something I did not do well when I was younger. Mostly, I think it’s so I can truly appreciate these words from a 9 yr old boy, “Mommy-o, I love you!”

Confessions of a Junkie

It’s true. I can not deny it. It started when I was but a child. I am a junkie. And it shows when you shuffle my iPod. Duran Duran. Third Day. Journey. Francesca Battistelli. Elvis Presley. Gary Chapman. Hall & Oates. Cece Winans. Rosemary Clooney. Rich Mullins. Whitesnake. Tenth Avenue North. I could go on. I love the beat of a fun drum. The pulse of a driving guitar. The tickling of the ivories, even if they are electric.

Once, I would have told you it didn’t matter what I listened to. And when I was younger, that may have been true. However, two things happened. Maybe three. 1) For the most part, I don’t like country. Yes, I grew up in Wyoming. Yes, I live in Nashville. Go figure. 2) I became a Christian. 3) I got married.

The first two are pretty self-evident. You will find very little country on my iPod. Or in my CDs. Or in my cassettes. Or even in my LPs. (Yes, I still have LPs. For that matter, I still have a couple 8tracks, but that’s another blog.) There are the occasional hits or artists, but mostly, I’m a no country zone. Number 2 we will come back to.

Number 3 is where I learned much about me. My loving hubby also has a wide taste in music, only his taste is very different than mine. He will listen to anything that is hip, just to see what other people like about this or that. And that drives me a little bit crazy. He also will listen to instrumentals, which I can do for a little while, but I get bored. He also likes foreign music. Namely Japanese anime music. And this is where I realized something deep within the heart of me:

I am not a music junkie. I am a word junkie. I should have known this to be the case… I was the child that sat by the tape player and stopped and wrote down every word and then played again and wrote down more before the lyrics were included. Once that became the norm, I read EVERY WORD to EVERY SONG.

When I became a Christian, what was being said began to really matter to me. Not just lyrically, but what the overall message was. Was it hopeful? Was it glorifying man or Christ? Give me a good story with a draw to who Christ is, and I was hooked! Give me a song I can’t understand, and I’m OUT. And if it translates to talking about princesses and pudding… I’m gone.

I find myself now introducing music to my kids… yes, I still play the stuff I grew up with, but when there is no life in the words, I’m finding less and less life in the music. I find myself starting songs for them and then saying… ugh… next… I find I go back to the ones with really great lyrics more than the ones I once found to be a “fun” song.

I guess even a junkie can change.