Category Archives: Love

Squooshing the Roaches

Roaches make me paranoid.

A few years ago, we lived in a rental house that turned out to be infested  by roaches.  After a year of spraying for those disgusting little creatures, we surrendered most of our belongings and started from scratch in a new, uninfested, house.  When we moved into the house, we had a bug guy spray and search our new house for any stragglers.  And, of course, there was a few strays that managed to hitchhike into our new house. Unfortunately, once a female roach becomes impregnated – she is forever pregnant.  Making it more difficult to slow down their mass reproduction.

However, we hired a bug terminator who more aggressively treated for roaches.  And we also were living a new home that didn’t have water leakage like our previous residence.

After a month, we were free of the little creatures.

After such a disaster, there are certain freedoms that I no longer take for granted, such as:

  • Going to sleep without being afraid of waking up with a roach crawling across your covers or into your mouth
  • Eating without prewashing dishes because roaches have been crawling on them
  • Sitting on real furniture (we had to throw out our furniture and sit on lawn chairs for a month)
  • Turning on the lights before entering a room (light scares roaches away)

I am blessed to be past that stage in our life.  But my husband and I still squirm at bugs.  Anything that remotely resembles a roach gets vigorously smooshed and flushed down the toilet.

Our roaches remind me alot of struggling with a false perception of God’s love.  At first, I believed the lie that I wasn’t personally loved.  Not cherished.  Not really treasured.

Soon that lie became a serious infestation.  I could no longer ignore it.  That lie eventually multiplied into doubt, turmoil – and eventually – emotional and physical struggles with anxiety and depression.

But I would never take that back.  In that process, I had to surrender to God’s love.

But sometimes, I see a remnant of my old self.  And I squoosh it.

But it’s not really me squooshing it.

It’s God.

 His love.

His truth.

 

 

Jeans….. In Bed?

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When Mike and I first were married, he wore jeans to bed.  I didn’t understand why a person would do that.  It seems uncomfortable.

I think, perhaps, it was his practical side.  Why waist energy and laundry detergent on pajamas?  Of course, I wasn’t smart enough at the time to check if he ALSO wore those same pants the next day.  I have to hope he was smart enough.  And hygienic enough.

Eleven years later, he changes into his pajamas as soon as he gets home from work.

But we have both changed a lot since those first days.

He now eats sour cream.  I don’t eat raw onion.   He watches less T.V.  I play wii games with him.  He stays on a kid schedule.  And I have learned that there doesn’t always have to be a plan.

Our lives, our marriage, our parenting…. it’s in constant motion.  We are always changing.  Learning.  And compensating.

I think our biggest change since our honeymoon stage of marriage would be our faith in Christ.   For much of our marriage, we went to separate churches, abided by the rules, and left Jesus standing outside of our marriage.

But a time came when we had to let Him penetrate our lives.  My husbands faith grew tremendously during a special time we spent living in Texas.  And years later,  during my struggle with anxiety,  I fell deeply in love with God.  And with that priceless gift, God shook my life.  And in marriage, it shook our lives.

Nothing has been the same.

With a deeper understanding of God’s abounding love, I appreciate my husband more.  I desire to love him with God’s love.  I treasure him.

Our lives change.   We grow.  We struggle.  We learn to love more.

But one thing will never change.

Our God.

He will always love us, bless us, and strengthen us.

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HONEY : )

Love, Protection, and Deliverance

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When Abby, who is now eight, was a toddler – she choked on a stringy green bean.  It scared her enough that she would not eat green beans for several months.  But even now, she carefully inspects her green beans for signs of those chokeable strings.

When I have an unpleasant experience, I too am much more cautious of any sign of potential threat.

I have had episodes involving severe pain, large fluid loss, passing out, and an ambulance.  But now, I take medication at the first sign of the oncoming doom.  I have learned that if I wait too long, I cannot prevent the trip to the emergency room to rehydrate and kill the pain.   And now I am very cautious to stay far away from my pain threshold.

But it is not just the physical stuff.  I react to an unpleasant emotional experience, too.

I have learned over the last couple years that I do NOT like being depressed or anxious.   And it tends to come together in some degreee.

During my first experience with depression – and uncontrollable anxiety – it was all new to me.  I felt out of control and hopeless.   But once some counseling and medication helped lift the cloud around me, I knew that I needed to prevent myself from falling so far again.

And so, I built a solid foundation around me.  I put my relationship with Christ in a new, and more appropriate  place in my life.  And I positioned my family and friends around me to keep me accountable and encouraged.

But God doesn’t promise elimination from my problems.  And so, yes, I did walk down a path of anxiety and depression again.  But this time, I knew to seek medical intervention, and most importantly, to fall straight into the arms of my Savior.  He didn’t immediately deliver me.  But He did carry me through it.

And so, I sit here tonight.  And yes, I am a little worried that my mind has been racing.  That my hands are a little shaky.  Worried that the anxiety will come back to attack me again.

But I am not where God wants me.

Yes, it was a an unpleasant experience.  I felt helpless.  Out of control.  And yet, God never abandoned me.  He didn’t just take my hand.  He carried me the whole way.

So, at those first signs of increased stress, I don’t have to fear that anxiety.

Because I have a powerful and loving God waiting for me.  Waiting for me to simply fall into His arms.

Into His love.

His protection.

His deliverance.

 How precious is Your loving kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.  Psalm 36:7

Dearly Loved

dearly loved

Leesy refuses to sit in her highchair.  We held her food hostage until she sat in the chair. We bribed her with candy and bottles.  But after days of battling, and a super cranky baby, we moved her to a booster seat.  She was happy to sit with the big kids and we were happy that her mess was confined to something – even if it includes a sticky table.

I know a few no nonsense mothers who would shudder at the thought of giving into a stubborn child.  But really, it just wasn’t a battle worth fighting.

But I do know a battle worth fighting. The battle we cannot see.

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Ephesians 6:10-13

Sometimes, it overwhelms me.  I see the absence of absolute truth and the sin that darkens a corrupt world.  I look at the battle within my own self.  And I see the steep barriers that my children will face.

This world is dark.  Sad.  Fallen.  Evil.

But, isn’t that the beauty?

God sees the worst.

I have spent many seasons in life consumed in myself –  in my own failures, hurts, and problems.  Caught in my own anguish, I have denyed compassion to the very people God purposely set before me. God sees my selfishness. My thoughts.  My corrupt heart.

And still, He loves me.

 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.   Ephesians 2:4

Even when my heart was boldly centered on myself, God dearly loved me.  And that is so much sweeter, so much fullfilling, and so much more amazing than loving me at my best.

He loves me at my worst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perspective

Perspective

This morning, the kids had on neatly pressed cloths.   I painted all the girls nails – sparkly glitter included.  The boys gelled their hair and cut their dirty fingernails back.

Then we went to church.

And the message included clips from a movie about a family who survived a Tsunami.  Even though the family was ultimately united, it was heart wrenching to watch the desperation as they searched through the devastation for one another.

It certainly put fingernail polish and hair gel into perspective.  And it really made me question my sense of urgency – the urgency that God has called in us to search for the lost.  To share His love.

Quite convicting.  My life is so self centered.  I live mostly within the bounds of my family.  Largely oblivious to the desperation in this fallen world.

But now, the question remains, how can I move my conviction to action?

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.         Luke 19:10

 

The Future is in His Hands

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As she was getting out of the car before school, Abby told me that she really needed to go to the bathroom.  I told her that she should go when she went into school.

She was adamant that she could not wait long enough to make it to her classroom.   And as a child who is dominated by silence in public, asking a teacher for permission use the  bathroom before school was simply not an option.

But she had a plan.

She told her little brother, Eli, exactly who to ask and what to say so that he could ask a teacher if she could use the bathroom.

Typical Abby…. Sweet.  Quiet.

Yet fearful.

As a mother, I feel responsible for my contribution to her unhealthy, and false, perception of her cherished and valuable identity in Christ. At my best, I know my nervousness and avoidance have impacted her and encouraged the very qualities I prayed would elude my children.

But it didn’t.

And so now my prayer is that she could learn the depth of God’s love for her.  And break free from her fearful disposition.

And so, when Abby retreats into her silence, I  hug her and tell her how much God loves her.  But I also know that it doesn’t really matter what I say to her.   She believes that God loves her.  But at eight years old, she cannot comprehend and has not yet become entangled in the POWER that God’s all-consuming love can give her. But God is working in her heart, and in His timing  -  she can experience the incredible freeing power of God’s love.

 But God’s love also abounds in mercy.

That same love that freed me from anxieties grip also empowers me as her mother.  And in His mercy, He has given me many more years to communicate His abounding love and glory to my daughter.

But my heart is blessed to know that I don’t hold my daughters future in my hands.

God does.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God…..

    Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3: 14-20 ESV

 

 

Amazing Love

Amazing Love

When Abby was in first grade, her teacher taught the class how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  And I realized that I had not given her enough independence in the kitchen.  With her new freedom, she made chocolate milk.

With the entire bottle of syrup.

And she learned that you can have too much of a good thing.  Even chocolate.

However, I just can’t get too much of God’s love.

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.                                             Psalm 63:3 NIV

  And because God is who HE is, He will always love me.  Despite me.  I can’t ever mess this up.  His love is faithful always.

His love is Amazing.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”    Zephaniah 3:17 

Crazy Love

Typically, Abby and Eli have some sort of pretend scenario while Zaiah is screeching at them to surrender a stolen toy.  And Leesy, smiling, tottles behind with no agenda other than being in the middle of the action.

But eventually, it all settles down.

The chaos ceases.

And I can treasure the precious moments as I read Leesy a book, complete a puzzle with Zaiah, eat a cookie with Eli, or paint nails with Abby.

I cherish those precious moments with each of my children.

But those moments are so very far from the reality of my daily life.  With four young children, it is very honestly, crazy.

Very crazy.

But crazy is what God gave me.  He gave me these children to love.  And not just in the calm, precious moments.  But also in the crazy moments.

Like cleaning the refrigerator with a one year old.  Or trying to convince a skiddish eight year old to take a shower.  Or endlessly wiping tiny fingerprints and doggy nose prints from the glass doors.

Those crazy moments.

The crazy, precious moments.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.                                 James 1:17 NIV

 

God Doesn’t Forget Me

As a series of tornado filled storms passed overhead, all six of us scrunched beneath a couple of mattresses. Our one year old, Leesy, was overtired and not very happy about the whole idea of being confined to a small space.  Abby, however, kept whispering and was very concerned about Leesy’s angry cries.  I finally discovered Abby’s reason for concern.

In school, they have to be quiet during tornado drills.

And, in eight year old logic, she assumed that if anyone made noise, the tornado would hear.

But I am thankful to report that Leesy’s desperate cries to escape did NOT attract the attention of a tornado.

And yet, Leesy would do most anything to attract attention.  She runs across the loft bed, climbs on top of the bar stool, and dumps anything that will create a mess.

All while squealing with delight.

But she doesn’t have to do any of those to get my attention.  Just as I don’t have to do anything to gain the attention of my Heavenly Father.

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me.            Isaiah 49:15-16

Even when I feel minuscule and insignificant,  God doesn’t forget me.

He loves me and cherishes me.

Always.

 

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.      Jeremiah 31:3