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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


How to be the cool mom:
Let them stay up late, eat whatever they want, don't ask questions, allow them to talk back, give them whatever they want, hold beer parties for all their friends, make excuses for their behavior (i.e. it is just a phase), and let church be optional.

How to be a mean mom:
Give them boundaries, teach good meal planning, have conversations that ask questions, allow them to have input but never be disrespectful, teach them the value of money, take a stand against underage drinking and love on their friends, be consistent,hold them accountable, and model that worshiping God is a priority.

How to be the Meanest Mom FOREVER:
Let them stay up late, eat whatever they want, don't ask questions, allow them to talk back, give them whatever they want, hold beer parties for all their friends, make excuses for their behavior (i.e. he is tired), and let church be optional.

How to be the Coolest Mom FOREVER:
Give them boundaries, teach good meal planning, have conversations that ask questions, allow them to have input but never be disrespectful, teach them the value of money, take a stand against underage drinking and love on their friends, be consistent, hold them accountable, and model that worshiping God is a priority.

Motherhood is like being the president of the United States; it ages you! But along the way you get a lot of hugs with those eye rolls. I get so tired at times. However, I am in it for the long haul. I want to be the best mom FOREVER so that means that sometimes I have to be the "mean mom" now.

What's your mom advice?

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Which Way to the Exit?

Pardon me. Do you know the way to the exit? I would like to exit out of this crazy life for a day or two. I have four kids, one husband, two cats, and a labrador retriever. Clearly I am out numbered. I sent up a white flag a few days ago, but it got dirty and it was up to me to wash it. I love my family, but I really do need a break. I think if a grown woman can lose her car keys (both sets) within a two week period, and still not find either pair after hours of searching today, it is past time to cry uncle.

I have had this one fantasy for a while. Yes, yes it is a deep ... dark... yearning. Some say it is impossible because I am married. Some say it can't be done... because I should think of the children! Even others say that I should not neglect the poor animals. But I say, "BRING - IT - ON!"

You want to know my secret desires don't you? If I tell you, you too may want to escape and go crazy in this radical move I am determined to fulfill. Nevertheless, it must be said! Hold on to your hats for the crazy/ wild fantasy that lurks within me! My secret desire is to, BE STILL! Doesn't it just seem like the most insane party time around? All the moms just went, "Oh ya baby!"

Oh I've tried this at home, but it didn't work. You see I want to get away! A few weeks ago my husband was out of town on a trip. I decided that if I couldn't get away I would just be still in my bed. I would have no agenda. I would just be still and let God speak, or not speak. I would just be still and see what there was to this time of not doing anything. So, I spread out face down, praised the Lord and set out to just being still. My goal was to have no agenda just to listen. It was really going well for the 10 minutes of non-interruption in my life. All of the sudden there was a wiggle and I knew my four year old had climbed aboard my bed. I thought, "That's okay... I can still do this... wiggle-wiggle... ignore the wiggles even though you have A.D.D. ... be still... be quiet... hey, is that a foot in my side?! Oh forget it." And that my dear readers has been the extent of my stillness low these many weeks.

I can't escape the need. It is like nothingness is calling to me and I have to get over hurdles to get there. I know Jesus said we would always have the poor with us, but I think he should, or at least could have said we would also have the laundry, the dishes, the sports games, the meet the teacher night and the list goes on ... ALWAYS! Don't tell me it is a season! This season has lasted 15 years and while my high school student is 3 and a half years from graduation, my preschooler has one and a half years before he even goes to kindergarten! Don't get me wrong I love this season. Let's just say that I have no plans to rival the family that has 19 kids and counting. I don't watch the Dugger family, but that Bobby Joe Billy Bob is one great dad and I am pretty sure he would watch all 21 kids (including his daughter-in law and granddaughter) so his wife could go be still!

Still... I'm sorry, I know I have said it way too much, but I am obsessed with the notion. So, before you call my husband to either offer a free nights stay somewhere or a call to a psychiatrist; lets explore why it is so amazing.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God : I will be exalted among the nations, exalted among the earth." This verse reminds us that while there are times we need to taken action, there are also times we need to sit back and reflect on God's goodness. And what about Jesus?! He was always making the time to be still and pray. He had this still thing down! Even when the disciples feared for their lives during a storm, Jesus was asleep chillaxin in the back of the boat just as clam as can be. He just stood up and told the waters to be as still as he was!

Yes, I am on a mission to BE STILL! Won't you join me? If I could I would start a movement! We would all go to the Embassy "Sweets" Hotel in my home town because it is the largest one that could hold us all. We would all go promptly to our individual rooms and be still. We would emerge two days later with what only comes from such stillness!

Look, truth is Christ didn't go to the Embassy Suites (although I am not going to tell my husband that when I pitch this idea to him) :). He just made the point to get still in front of His Father God. It is clear that I just have to make the time. Sometimes you need more than an anemic quiet time. Sometimes you need full on 24 hours or whatever it takes. You will know what you need, and even if you don't just get still. It was that stillness that led me to this need. You might just need a verse, or a whisper (done that/ been there/ hope to have that today). I'm just glad to be in God's hands. I'm thankful to have my husband just walk in and hand me my car keys that he found on top of my car! Being still comes in many forms. Even in the form of others meeting your needs. I WILL HAVE THAT STILLNESS, but for tonight I'm going to go kiss that key finder of mine. And I am going to thank God that, for at least in one tiny corner of my world, I can exhale and have the peace of GOING in my car, and GOING back home to be still when all are in school sometime this week. I'll let you know how it goes.

What about you? What has God taught you in the Stillness?

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Beauty is in the "I" of the beholder

What would we do without John Tesh? His 30 seconds of wisdom in between Michael Buble and Stephen Curtis Chapman must simply be heard! Take last night for example. He said, "Did you know that the average woman takes 73 minutes to get ready on Monday, but by Friday she takes only 19 minutes to get ready." I would like to call that "average woman" up and ask her how she finds an hour and thirteen minutes for herself on the craziest day of the week?!! Honestly, I think John might be onto something. By the end of the week I am "thanking God it's Friday" and I am ready to be done with the weekly grind.

The Dove company has actually launched a campaign on how we see beauty. I got an email about it just last week. Their target audience are young girls from all over the world. The Dove campaign says "Imagine a world where every girl grows up with the self-esteem she needs to reach her full potential." They are basically spreading the news that your outer beauty doesn't define you, it is what is inside that makes you truly beautiful. While I agree with the idea of what they are saying, and I love the marketing behind the campaign, I think as Christians we are given the gift of taking that idea to a deeper level. A level that is more than skin deep, or personality deep. We can take that message straight to our spiritual heart.

Let me start by asking the question, "How do you feel about your beauty?" Now that my friend is a loaded question! If you are more mature like me (doesn't that sound so much better than wrinkly) you may be feeling that your get up and go has got up and went on certain days. You might be thinking of that question in more of an overall sense of beauty; the sense of spiritual and emotional. Honestly, I think they all apply. Take your outer beauty for example. One of the neatest and hardest things about being in a town for years is seeing everyone age. It is great because you have a reference of what makes them who they are now. The heart ache is when you see what folks have become and it is not for the better.

We have lived and have done ministry in the same town for 10 years! No, I will not say we have seen it all because every now and then something happens, good or bad, and I find myself picking my jaw off the ground. A great example of that would be Erica (I bet by now you have figured out that is not her real name). I have known Erica for years. Her son and one of my sons are in school together. When we came to this town Erica was a real knock out! To say every head turned when she used to walk into a room would have been an understatement. She could have literally been on the cover of any magazine. She was in a word... sexy. Every step, every smile announced her beauty on the outside. I have had the great gift of knowing her, and having some great conversations with her. The sad thing is that she had all of that beauty and she didn't know how to guard it and use it for God's glory (yes I do think you can use your image for God's glory... we are his temple). Fast forward to 2010. Years of different men, drinking, drugs and struggles and this once incredibly beautiful woman is a mere shell of what she once was. She smiles and I see that sweet girl who still desperately needs the Lord and all He can give her. A few heads still turn but it is to use up what she has left. I wish I would have never seen that or several "Ericas" throughout my life time. I pray they find the love of God so the beauty of God's love in their life will shine through.

The love of God is the most powerful thing in your beauty arsenal. We have spanx to hold in what we don't want out, we have lotions to penetrate and lessen the signs of aging, and we have pills to give us more energy on the inside. None of that will ever make us as beautiful as the knowledge and daily presence of God in our life.

My grandmother was a beautiful woman. Though she was quite old when she died, folks of every age came to her funeral. Years of service and caring and living a life for Christ made folks come from miles around. The pastor had known my grandma for years and I will never forget what he said. He said that in all the years of knowing my grandma, she was, to him, the ultimate example of a Proverbs 31 woman. You know, he was right. To me she was very beautiful, but her beauty was stronger than head turning. It was heart turning. Every heart turned when she walked in the room because they knew who had just walked in... a woman of God. I would do well to be one eighth the woman she was when I get to be that age.

So what is important? Outer beauty or inner beauty? Honestly, the answer is YES! Both are important, but for different reasons. We need to love who God has made us outwardly and do our best to care for it. Outward beauty says 'HELLO' to all who come by. My friend Pam (okay that is her real name) and I have a joke. We laugh because when we were young and in school we would say, "Ugh! Let's never be those moms who wear ugly clothes, no make-up, and put their hair in a ponytail at the supermarket!" We laugh because we have eaten those words sooooooo many times! But really, on the whole... BRUSH YOUR TEETH... COMB YOUR HAIR! :) Do your best. Your best may not be super model best, it isn't even that way for most super models. Try your best for you! Your husband will appreciate it, your friends and family will appreciate it, but most importantly you will! You are a child of the King. So, why are you acting like Cinderella pre-Godmother? I'm too____________ and I don't have enough ___________, my _________ are __________. Listen, when we get our new body in heaven, I am getting second helpings on ______________. Till then, I am using what God gave me for His glory... even the stuff I have messed up and am working on.

Inward beauty is even more tricky. Because we can not go to the laser center and zap away the imperfections. Truly the Lord is the only one who can do that. If you are dealing with a lot of anger, let me suggest a book called "Good and Angry" written by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. It is a great read that helps you deal with the anger in your life. If you struggle with self-esteem perhaps you can ask an older lady to mentor you. You could also visit sites like Andra Stephens Ministries to find inspiration. Mainly, spend time with the Lord. When you open God's word it is a love letter just for you! You are loved and that is the best esteem builder I know.

Mainly we need to realize that beauty is in the "I" of the beholder. How we see ourselves effects how others see who we are. Sometimes I am at the top of my game outwardly and inwardly in the area of beauty. Recently it has been more like Beauty and the Beast from both perspectives of beauty.:) However, I don't want to stay there and I won't stay there. I'll press on. I'll find what works both for my outer and inner beauty and use it glorify my Father in heaven. Today is a new day, and I can only change what I do for this moment in time, and when I do I want every eye that should turn (my husbands) and every heart to turn and say there goes a woman of God.

What do you think about beauty?

Proverbs 31:30 "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."