Friday, June 28, 2013

Lot's Wife

Lately I have been consumed with "What ifs". Surely I am not the only one who does this. I think, "What if I did this differently? Or, What if I had made this choice instead of that?" I admire those who seem to make choices and never look back. Those who are so convinced of their decisions that they never seem to think twice about them. I have NEVER been this way. I always think of the 1 million different options and it is maddening. In my wondering and searching lately, I read two things. Almost like they came from God or something :)

The first thing came from "Radical" by David Platt. He spoke of how we, in our comfortable Christian culture, seem to always ask "What is your will for me God? If God would just show me and tell me then I would do it."  Wow!!! That is me!! I can't even count how many times I have said this.  I have made God's will to be so confusing and never feeling like I know what it is. He tells us in the Bible that His will for us is to go and tell about him. Period. Nothing else. It isn't that complicated. There are approximately 1.5 BILLION un-reached people who have NEVER heard of Jesus. That sounds like a good place to start!

The second thing that hit me between the eyes came from Genesis 19. God sends messengers/angels to Lot and tells him to get his family and leave Sodom. They are reluctant. I think "Man, if God sent angels to me I wouldn't be reluctant." But would I? I am sure I would analyze and think about what they said and rationalize that these people could in no way be angels. The main part of this chapter that struck me was when Lot's wife looks back at the city when she is specifically told not to. She looks back. Why was she looking back? Was she curious about what was happening? Was she longing for something she was giving up even though God specifically told her to? What could be so important that she would disobey God like that? Then BAM!!!! She turned into a pillar of salt!! Whoa! Looking back was a BIG MISTAKE! 

If you read on, you find that Lot later has crazy dysfunctional issues with his daughters which most likely might not have happened had their mother been there...who knows. But the point is Lot's wife wasn't obedient. She drug her heels. She looked back. She wasn't fully seeking and trusting God. I DO NOT want to be Lot's wife. I don't want to harm my family by looking back or not being obedient.

 As wives we have the ability to harm our husbands and paralyze them or we can be supportive and see them become the men that God intended for them to be. We can pray for them continually. We can speak life into them and not bring up all of our frustrations with them (my main area that needs work). By lifting them up, never ceasing to give up on praying for them, and believing in them we can see God miraculously change their lives. Guess what else happens? We change too!! Our hearts will soften. We will become focused on God's will for our family and the role that we hold as wives and mothers.

 We have to let our men lead (I know that might step on some women's lib ideas :). If we are lifting our husbands up in prayer and verbally and with our actions then their hearts will be more likely to be open to God. God desires husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Who wouldn't want to be loved that way? As much as Christ loves His church!!! That is an awesome love!!!  If we are both seeking to put our spouses before ourselves, and of course God before everything else, then our marriages will flourish.

 Our selfish desires and "rights" are deception seeking to rob us of our families. I know. I lived there for a long time and our marriage almost dissolved many times because of it. We still struggle with our selfishness. The devil knows exactly how to get to us. He whispers all the time, "What about you? Don't you deserve this or that?" Actually, we all deserve death and hell but thankfully God provided a way out of that. Just because He is awesome. He didn't have to do anything for us. 

So my prayer is to not be Lot's wife. I want to help guide my family, with my husband at the lead, to wherever God would desire us to be. I feel that I have made an effort in that direction by coming to Oregon. I haven't done everything perfectly and I am still trying to figure out how to balance being a wife, mother, and investing in others, but I am learning.

Monday, June 10, 2013

God and Christopher Robin

God and Christopher Robin

Anyone that knows me knows that I love to read Jen Hatmaker's books, blogs, devotionals, etc.  I just finished reading her devotional for moms called "Out of the Spin Cycle". It was filled with encouragement for moms but one particular point stood out to me. She talks about how our idea of who God is can be formed from our relationship with our parents. The idea of that scared me to death! She acknowledges that as we grow older and mature that we are able to realize that God is nothing like any human that we might try to equate Him to. However, while we are children we might form the idea that God isn't forgiving, holds grudges, with holds love, is easy to anger (Yikes! Not that I am easily angered or anything :),etc.

I thought of the many  times that I have lost my temper, spoken words that were deflating instead of encouraging, and the times that I have been unforgiving. I in no way want my children to think that God is ANYTHING like me. I fail so often and He never does.

 I decided to talk to my children about this at our morning devotional time. I told them about how I had read that children will sometimes think of God as behaving or acting like their parents. I told them that of course their father and I don't always react perfectly or handle things exactly the way that we should. I explained how God was forgiving and when they come to Him and confess their sin that He forgives them instantly and He NEVER thinks of their sin again. He doesn't shame them or hold it against them. They can ALWAYS start clean. They can NEVER stray too far for God to accept them back instantly and love them unconditionally. He never withholds His love for them.

 The responses I got were interesting to say the least. Isaac immediately responded with his father's personality and wit saying, "Oh, don't worry, I know God is nothing like you or Dad."  Hmmm....very glad he understands the concept but not so sure how to feel about mine and Erik's examples. Apparently, we make the distinction very clear for him. At least he gets the concept.

Then came the most perplexing response of all....Mallory. She never ceases to surprise me. Her response was that she imagines God as a giant Christopher Robin.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...... I really have no words. Christopher Robin does seem kind and caring. I get that. However, what is really perplexing is that I could probably count on one hand how many times she has watched Winnie the Pooh or read any Winnie the Pooh books. We just aren't Winnie the Pooh people. I never watched it much so I just don't think about having my kids watch it or read the books.

So, in my attempt to teach a great lesson I came out of the lesson feeling a little confused, defeated, and laughing at my daughter's ability to keep me thinking. However, I feel like maybe the thought was planted  in their minds and I am going to try to remind my children daily that God is better than anything that we can imagine!! He will ALWAYS love us, in spite of our sin and bad decisions. He holds no record of wrongs. He isn't sarcastic and demeaning. If we make a bad decision we can bring the effects of that decision to Him and He can help us make something beautiful from it. We can't imagine or fathom His grace and love. That is the greatest concept that I hope they learn and carry with them forever.