Out of the Mouth’s of Babes

We are on day 3 of no school due to the Polar Vortex freezing North America.  I have worked the first two, but because my work is in schools, I have nothing to do today, so I have time to blog.

Life is good right now.  I don’t say that in a bragging way, but just to acknowledge that sometimes, life is easy.  (And because, someday life will be hard again, and I will need to remember those seasons don’t last forever.)  Don’t get me wrong, my kids fight over stupid stuff… hourly.  But my major battles have mostly to do with a 9 year old making stupid jokes about bodily functions (or sometimes a teenager teaching him a stupid joke about bodily functions) or how much time is going to be spent using media today (particularly hard discussions on days when we are locked in the house due to cold but you know media of various types ROT YOUR KID’S BRAIN).  In the scheme of things, this is an easy life…  I do want to note that our internet went down for 24 hours.  When I called to check on it, the woman asked me to be patient because their linemen were out in the cold 125′ in the air & had to climb down for breaks to warm up.  She didn’t know I was hoping she would tell me that it was too risky for them to be out & that my internet would be out for 3 days until the temperatures warm up.  Why?  Because Fortnight required the internet!!  Youtube – internet dependent.  Netflix – yep the interNET!!  And because in 3 of the 24 hours we didn’t have internet, my talented eldest created this.

But it’s back on, so now we are isolated and back to this… but only for a couple of hours.

Grown Up Conversations – We have teenagers.  They are fun, and because of their season of life, conversations have become more unfiltered.  We discussed first kisses and dates and pregnancy, drug addiction, legalization of marijuana, the authority of the Bible, and who God really is, major life decisions, careers, and sex as part of regular conversation.  Sometimes, however, we forget the elementary school kid that lives here.  What I have learned is that his perspective tends to be more true than the rest of us when dealing with moral issues.

(WARNING – I am getting ready to share my opinion on a controversial issue.  I try to avoid this in all aspects of life.  But today, I have a lot of time, and so I am thinking.)

With the ruling in New York, abortion has been a hot topic this week.  I should say, I am moderate about most things, and this issue is no exception.   I’ve lived too much life to take a staunch stand and label people as evil on one side of the line or the other.

Per usual, I think differently than most people on both sides of the “Choice/Life” line.  I tend to be the devils advocate no matter what side of any argument you may be sharing.  I will openly say that I think abortion is crushingly heartbreaking, and we minimalize that there are real woman (and hopefully men with them) dealing with real situations that we know very little about who are making these decision.  I have to stop every few seconds as I type this because I am picturing what it must be like to find out you are pregnant with a child you cannot care for or that will turn your family against you.  Or to be pregnant with a child you have hoped and prayed for, who you have felt move in your womb, who you have imagined as a toddler, a teenager, an adult, with you all your life, and then discovering that they will not live.  Those situations are paralyzing.  They are desperate.

This week, I have been reading 2 Samuel.  Chapter 11 starts a tragic telling of a time in David’s life when he had to deal with a pregnant girlfriend who was married to someone else.  If her husband found out she got pregnant while he was serving in the army (David’s army) he would have her killed.  David had dealt with a lot of suffering in his life, and he relied on God continually to meet his needs.  Granted, he had done some things that are shady in my book, but there isn’t really any commentary on them in the Bible.  This situation, was totally on him.  He spotted her bathing, he pursued her.  He tried to get her husband to sleep with her so they wouldn’t be found out.  But, he couldn’t hide his sin.  So, he confessed his sin and cried out to God for forgiveness and help in fixing what he could – NOT!  Nope, David did what the rest of us do.  He fell into greater deception and did worse things to cover his bad decision.  He had her husband killed.

So here we have Bathsheba.  I wonder things like, how old was she?  Was this her first child?  I wonder if David had someone go to her house and bring her back to the palace.  I don’t think so.  David was a ladies man, and he seemed to especially like intelligent women. (We can see when he is dying that she is intelligent.)  In the movie of this in my head, David sees her and is struck by her beauty.  He bumps into her in the streets one evening when he is out for a stroll, and he sees the smile and intelligence in her eyes.  Innocent at first, they have a playful conversation, this beautiful girl in her early 20s and handsome king in his early 40s.  She wouldn’t have seen the affair coming.  She wouldn’t have planned to hurt her husband.  Yet, she probably hadn’t lived long enough to have learned the importance of having boundaries in place to avoid situations like this… So, she finds herself widowed and pregnant.  I suspect that had abortion been an option, she and David both would have made that move.  But, it wasn’t.  This is a modern issue… isn’t it?

Several months ago, we were discussing abortion (in the car I think).  During the conversation, Deacon yells “Idol Worship!!”  Emma was with me & we both looked at him like he had horns growing out of his nose.  His exclamation wasn’t relevant to the conversation in any way and it didn’t make any sense.  Emma in a teenager voice I cannot adequately explain said, “What?”

“It’s idol worship!” he said again.  “What is idol worship?” we asked.  “In the Bible, the people would offer their babies to Baal as a sacrifice.  It was idol worship.  Clearly, this is idol worship.”

Related image

I forgot all about this conversation until this morning when, Cary was watching a video from C-SPAN of a doctor who performed late term abortions.  I was reminded of a research presentation speech I did for a class in college.  Partial birth abortion was a new thing then.  Through the years, I pushed the intricacies of these procedures from my mind, until I heard the process being described this morning, and my reaction is different than it was then.  It is different because I am different.

As a college student, I was angry at the violence of the procedure.  I was angry over killing babies.  I was just angry.  Over the years, I have become less pro life because I believe those babies are in the arms of God.  I knew these decisions weren’t black and white.  They are grey, with different circumstances and people behind them.  But I have become more pro life because I have lived.  I have suffered with people.

I have sat in a doctor’s office trying not to pass out as cold medical equipment used to remove a portion of a tumor from my body pressed against flesh and bone that wasn’t all the way numb.  I know that pain.  Yet I am sure that pain pales in comparison to something so invasive.  I have been on bed rest for months trying to keep a baby girl inside so she can have a healthy life.  I have felt little arms and legs roll across my belly and watched a book bounce because the unborn child beneath is was responding to the touch.  I remember the joy of Ty jumping at the sound of fireworks weeks before he was born.  I know the pain of childbirth, and the amazing beauty of the body bringing life through pain.

I have held friends who have lost pregnancies as they have wept for a child they will never know.  I can see vividly the story my friend has told me of giving birth to her first child.  He looked just like his dad, but he came only a few weeks too early to survive on the outside of her body.  Holding her newborn in her arms, being carried by God, trying to soak in every moment of his few breaths of life, knowing she would experience all of them in that day.  She told me as hard as that was, it was also one of the most beautiful moments of her life.  (I cry now as I remember.)

My friends have brought children into their homes and transformed a couple into a family through adoption.  I have cried tears of pure sorrow when fertility treatments didn’t work, and I have cheered like my husband when UK wins the NCAA tournament in celebration when it did.

My experience doesn’t compare with adoption, but this year we have an exchange student, and I understand what it feels like to bring a child into our home that makes our family feel more complete.  She is a wonderful addition to our home.

I have wept for people I love who have learned the child they were so happy to announce was coming, could not live, and was now a risk to their own life.  I have seen the pain on their tear stained faces as they have had to choose one life over another.  A decision that is desperately unfair.  I see the blessing and the curse of modern medical technology.

12 years ago, a man asked me to come to his house.  His wife was pregnant, and had many miscarriages.   She was having another.  When I got to their home, I walked in the bedroom.  She way lying on the bed, and a teeny tiny perfect baby beside her.  Tiny arms, tiny legs, a beautiful face with thin skin veiling the very small but very defined muscles underneath.  I can still see those perfect tiny fingers, beautifully intricate.  She asked me, “Vive?”  “No” I replied.  “Porque? Porque?”  she responded.  “No Se.” I whispered.  I don’t know.  I called the hospital to find out if I needed to cut the cord before her husband brought her in to be treated.

I remember seeing models of the stages of fetal development in a museum as a child.  Studying human development interesting  to me, but this.  This was LIFE, and this was SO MUCH MORE than those little perfect replicas.  There was something more, something unseen, spirit maybe, that was not translated into the display at the museum.

And then this… Several years ago, I was supposed to attend a meeting. The previous time we met, a man humiliated a friend and I had done nothing about it.  I was so mad at myself, and I was furious at him.  On this particular night, I heard his voice coming from the room I was heading to, and his voice enraged me.  So, I did what anyone would do… I dodged him.  I totally skipped the meeting I was supposed to be in and detoured to another room to hide.  There was someone in that room.  I don’t remember why she was there, but she was hiding too, from something else.  I vented about the person I was offended by, and we ended up in a deep conversation about God, his goodness, grace and his love.  (This is one of those situations where the Holy Spirit was using us in ways we didn’t know to minister to each other.)  I have no recollection of how we started on the topic, but I remember talking about how God takes our shame and guilt away from Satan & stops him from using it to kill us, and turns the very weapon he was using on us to be a sword in our hand against him.  I said, with a gut feeling that it was an inspired thought, “It’s like a woman who has an abortion.  She lives with the guilt and shame of that, but when she understands God loves her and forgives her, she later works with young women who are considering abortion, and her testimony becomes a weapon fighting for the life and future of the woman in the same situation.”  She said, “That woman is me.”  She then began to explain the circumstances she experienced that led her to abortion 20+ years earlier.  She also explained the two decades of guilt and shame.  The unworthiness she felt as a person, and the ramifications in her life as a wife and a mother.  Holy Spirit, was faithful as always, and ministered healing that night.  As we walked out of that room, I remember my friend saying to me, “It feels like I am free for the first time.  I also feel like the darkness is behind me, grasping at my back as I am walking away from what we are leaving here.”

It is one of the most profound experiences of my life.  I still sit in awe of God when I remember that conversation.

So, I am pro life because I love women, because I love family.  We women are uniquely created to love and nurture, and abortion is directly opposed to this part of womanhood.  This choice is so much more than deciding to terminate a life.  It is a decision that lasts a lifetime, the lifetime of the parents.  It’s not something you forget or move past.  It is something that haunts you, wondering what that child would be doing now.  I do not know what it is to be suppressed because of my sex, as past generations.  I appreciate having the opportunities in life to provide for my family that women of past did have not have.  I appreciate being allowed to play sports and do adventures that would not have been an option generations ago.  I am not girly.  I am tomboy through and through, but I am not a man.  I am created to create.  That cannot be ignored.

I am against late term abortion because it is cruel and disgusting.  I really can’t listen to descriptions or teaching graphics about the process.  Cary recently wondered, if we had Sarah McLachlan singing “Arms of an Angel” playing behind graphic images of children, would we feel as strongly about their suffering as we do about the animals they show?

 

This has been a heavy post.  So, here is a fun fact I learned when I started worrying that Deke hadn’t lost enough teeth yet…  Baby teeth start forming when a fetus is 6 weeks old!  That’s nuts!!  And, D is right on target for teeth loss for a 10 year old boy.  Just in case you were worried.

 

 

 

Advertisements

I S*#^$% on Myself

I haven’t been writing much.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, or that God isn’t teaching me new things (or the same lessons He’s been working on for years).  It’s just that life is back to normal:  full days of work, full nights of kids, grocery, homework, formal dances, sleep.  But, the real reason I haven’t been writing is this: When I had cancer, that was my stuff.  I could share it openly, and it didn’t betray someone else’s personal junk.  My stuff right now, involves other people, and the really cool things going on, might not be something they want to share with a thousand people.  Or the things I would share about some of these people may not be so flattering. (One person in particular, if you think it’s you… it’s not you… probably.)

So why write today?  Well, it is 3AM and I’ve been up since 1:30 coughing and thinking and praying, and so… it is time to write.  (CAUTION:  OVER SHARE Ok… why is coughing so much worse when you’re older.  Seriously, yesterday, I had such a coughing fit I had to sit on the toilet so I didn’t pee on myself, and hold a trashcan so I didn’t puke on the floor… sorry, but other midlife ladies will understand.  I can’t believe I am putting this in here.)

Part of what God has been doing in my life recently is giving me opportunity to speak into the lives of several people in their twenties: singles, couples, families.  As I have been reflecting on this, I realize I have learned a lot since that phase in my life, and I am SO thankful to have moved passed it.  Yes, I would love to be able to do a back bend again without injuring myself.  I would love to ski the first day on the slopes without fear of a knee injury as I get my ski-legs back, but that is about all I would take back.  Ok & the flat stomach while eating anything I wanted (like candy orange slices, and Pringles, and Pepsi) without guilt.

Related image

The truth is, I spent a good part of my 20s shoulding on myself.  This is a term I have learned from A.J. Jones.  You should on yourself when you heap unreasonable expectations on yourself.  You should on other people when you do it to them.

I have always been pretty independent, so I never would have acknowledged my should problem.  I would have told you I was fine with myself, and that I really didn’t care what other people thought of me.  Too an extent, that was true, however, I CONSTANTLY compared myself to the perfect woman.  (And this was before social media, bless Millennials’ hearts.  No wonder so many have difficulty leaving the house and interacting with people.  I would have been a basket case.)  I felt like I should be a stay at home mother, yet be a millionaire by 30.  I mean everyone on Friends managed to do it.

My mom was amazing.  She took us on bike rides, and we had dinner as a family every night.  We read Little Visits with God before bed, and then she would come into our rooms individually and sing to us and pray with us.  I was not this mom.  I would put my kids to bed, maybe sing a song (only with the first two), and say a rote prayer, trying to get out of there as soon a possible because I was EXHAUSTED and sick of people.  I SHOULD be that.

My best friend was a stay at home mom, and she was so JOYFUL about it.  She had quit a good paying, high responsibility job when she had her son.  While she struggled with the transition, she also grew an organic garden, cooked delicious food every night, baked her own bread, kept a clean (like really clean) house, with a baby…  I SHOULD be that.  She also had a great marriage.  She cooked, her husband did the dishes.  They did devotions every night together as a family.  She played all these learning games with her son, did preschool at age 2.  I SHOULD be that.

Then there was what I filled my mind with.  I was deeply involved in Bible Studies.  (Beth Moore’s Breaking Free, LIFE CHANGING!) But, I never felt like I could study or pray enough.  I needed to be more.  I SHOULD be writing Bible Studies.  I SHOULD be speaking publicly, I SHOULD be that connected to God.  I listened to Focus on the Family, a WONDERFUL ministry that I have listened to since childhood, however, with my comparison state of mind, the FOCUS on the family, and marriage, and parenting only displayed my FAILURES as a woman.  Don’t even get my started on Proverbs 31.  I would read that scripture and just deflate… I SHOULD be that.

Coming to the light… I don’t know when this started to change.  I can tell you it has been a 20 year journey.  A couple of  memories come to mind. One is a conversation I had with my afore mentioned friend on one of our many walks.  We were discussing Proverbs 31, and hiring a house keeper.  (So thankful she is a deep thinker. Neither of us are good at small talk.  Actually, most of my friends aren’t good a small talk.)  So, I am complaining about not being able to live up to this standard, working dawn to dusk to provide for my family, being wise and kind… and my friend says, “Yeah, but she had servants.”  WHAT!!  “Yeah, she had servants. ”  It is right there!!

Proverbs 31:15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.

Seriously, Girl had help!!  She was good to her help, but GIRL HAD HELP!!

Another memory that comes to mind, this is in my early twenties, but it was jogged by a conversation I had recently with a newly married woman.  I was relatively unhappy in my marriage the first few years.  Thankfully, we stuck together, and now that boy I married is the MOST supportive and loving person in my life.  I am so very thankful for him.  He is such a gift to my life.  However, thankful is not a place I dwelt very long then.  Although, I loved him very much, at least as much as I could at that time.  Anyway, if you read my journals from those early years, you will see me praying for him.  For him to be the father and husband he was created to be (I was WAY to holy to ask that he be who I wanted him to be).  I do very specifically remember a day when I was listening to Focus on the Family (I think), and my prayer changed.  I quit praying that Cary would change, and I started praying that God would change me into the woman and wife he needed.  Somehow, God took away my pride and my resentment in that time of humbling, and he taught me.  It wasn’t immediate, it took years, but it was definitely a point where the trajectory of my life changed.

So here is the truth.  I am an ambivert.  I get pumped talking one on one with people about deep things.  I also HAVE to have my alone time, preferable everyday for a couple of hours.  These two things did not make for a happy stay at home mom/house wife, with a husband with a very time demanding job.

I am a good public speaker, but I am terrible in a crowd.  I’m good in a crisis, not always good at everyday life.  I can see the big picture, I get really bored with day to day activities – ie cleaning, playing board games with children (putting up or taking down Christmas decor >: -().  I love deep conversations about life, the Bible, business, God.  I’m terrible at gossip, worrying about soccer uniforms, and paying bills.  So, 40ish me is ok with that.  I’m learning (with God) to ask for help, and to play to my strengths.  I’m good at my job.  I’m good at calming people down when they are upset (unless they are my kids).  I’m a great wife to Cary, and he is just the man for me.

One more thing, whether you want to quote the Byrds, or Ecclesiastes, for everything, there is a season. I would have been a more patient mom.  I probably would have stayed home longer… maybe, or I would have had grace with myself forRelated image working when my children were little.  I wouldn’t have put so much pressure on myself to be everything to everyone.  I would have been a mom, and I would have asked for help, without feeling like a failure.  I would have left my children to spend more quality time with their dad, and I would have thrown the TV out the front door.  I wouldn’t have let the illusions society put on the screen in front of me, and the airways around me influence how I felt about myself so much.  I would have learned earlier that being outside in the sun is better for me emotionally than just about anything.  And I would have learned how to BE in the season I’m in, each season in its time.

Ecclesiastes 3 English Standard Version (ESV)

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

 

I was thinking today.  On the farm, no one tries to harvest during planting time. No one tries to feed newborn calves solid food.  No, on the farm, things are allowed to be in the season they are in, not pressure to move to the next until it is time.  This lesson, that took misery, self judgement, job changes and cancer to learn, was worth the journey.

I still struggle to be content where I am.  To not worry that I am failing somehow, but it is getting better, and I hope that has improved not only the quality of my life, but of my family as well.  Someday soon, they will be grown up.  God and I won’t hang out at 4 AM, because we will have time during the day.  My hope, is that I learn to embrace that place, an empty nest, until the next season begins.

 

And to my 20 somethings…  I love you.  Thank you for needing me.

 

K

A Year Later

A year ago,  I weighed 115 pounds.  I am 5’9″, so that’s a little light.  I mostly got my calories from Vanilla Ensure, and I slept A LOT!  Today,  I walked 3 miles.  I am back to my pre-cancer weight + 10 pounds : -|  I told myself I would not go back to worrying about my aging body while I was sick.  I was going to appreciate each day.  Turns out I lied.

Here’s a secret, I am so very thankful to be healthy with very few side effects from cancer or the treatment, but there are some things I miss.  It sounds ridiculous, and I feel shameful about it, but I promised myself I would try to be transparent when I write, so… there you go.  There are some things I miss about being sick.

1. I miss taking a nap without guilt that I should be doing something else.

2. I miss someone else figuring out supper for the family.

3. I miss the permission I gave myself to not think about the future, what I need to be preparing for, just existing.

4. I miss my kids being nice to each other so they didn’t stress me out.

5. I miss the quiet time alone.

 

I wrote this a year and a half ago.  I still feel the same way.  I have given myself permission to rest/sleep when needed, and that has produces a more sane me. (Cary might argue this point, but I feel more sane.)

Fear of the Lord – what the heck?

Sometimes I have these vague ideas that roll around in my head.  I can’t quite grasp them, and to try to lay words down to express them turns the thoughts into vapor.  I’ve learned that a lot of these thoughts are God thoughts, or more specifically, things He is me up to learn.  They are things I have to wrestle with, walk through, admit I cannot understand, ask Holy Spirit for help and wait.  Of course, thisprocess can take years, months, and moments.  Do you wrestle with concepts about God?  He’s so big and vast and good, and I’m so not.  I feel like understanding new things about Him is kind of like playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego– the computer version, not the TV series. You know you are on a mission to capture Carmen, but she slips away when you get close.  You capture someone, but not her… until the end. Each little mission/experience along the way sets you up for the answer at the end, but you don’t know how it all fits together until it just does.  (If you weren’t alive in 1985, click theImage result for i think i hate fortnitelink to understand the reference.  This was back when games built on themselves and the bad guys go arrested. We were not desensitized to running around virtually slaughtering other people yet.  Sorry, my judgement is coming from watching Fortnite today – how is this game ok?)

So, I’ve wrestled with the idea about the phrase “The Fear of the Lord”.  Mostly skipping over the whole idea because I could not get the concepts of the Fear of God and the Love of God to coexist in my head. JoHanna Reardon expresses the difficulty of it all well. “often hear people explain the fear of the Lord as a mere respect or reverence. But the Bible uses the word fear at least 300 times in reference to God, so we make a mistake when we downplay it. The subject becomes even more mysterious when we read something like 1 John 4:18 that says that “perfect love expels all fear.” So how do we marry this dichotomy? How can we fear God while he expels all fear?”

Related image
How can Joy and Fear Co-Exist?

I’m still using ReadScripture as my read through the Bible guide.  I have been on Judges 3-4 for weeks, not because I am bored, but because I just can’t get past it.  I get distracted by the little nuances of the scripture (or fall asleep) that I don’t make it past Gideon’s conversation with the Angel of the Lord (another concept I still don’t fully understand – was it Jesus, was it not…).  I had to drive a couple of hours away for work earlier in the week, as I pondered what podcast I wanted to start with first for my journey, “You haven’t been exposed to much scripture lately,” ran through my mind. I grabbed my CD’s from under my seat, feeling drawn to Isaiah.  I thought I chose the first CD of Isaiah, but mistakenly grabbed the CD that started with Chapter 11.  I barely made it past the 2nd verse before I had to back up and listen again.Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 9.12.47 PM.png

Obviously this scripture is prophesy about the very nature of Christ.  As I listened, I couldn’t stuff the confusion any more.  DELIGHT IN THE FEAR OF THE LORD seared across my brain.  I backed up to the beginning of the chapter and again couldn’t get much past the 2nd verse.  What in the heck does that look like?

I detest fear.  It is the enemy of my destiny.  I have trained to not only face my fear through confession, repentance, and pure grit, but to help other people do the same.  I cast out the spirit of fear pretty often, so what do I do?  Call my friend Kris, of course.  (I realize praying is the right answer, but I would be lying.) As is here usual comment when I call with random scriptures, she wondered aloud, “I wonder what the original Hebrew word translate to.  You know those can sometimes be translated into a different word or root. Fear could mean something different.”  So, I did.  (The Blue Letter Bible app is my tool of choice for these type of things.) It turns out FEAR in this scripture means fear, terror, or awesome or terrifying thing, respect, reverence, piety.  The word DELIGHT is translated several times as smell, scent, perceive odor, or accept.  The picture that came to me is the sense that when you were in his presence his walking in the Fear of the Lord was so great, you could almost smell it.  I’m sure you’ve had this experience with people before, not necessarily about the fear of the Lord, but you will recognize someone who is a creep, or a liar, or trustworthy.

A day or two before this, I was listening to a podcast featuring Alyn Jones.  He mentioned that he was driving up to a retreat with the leadership from his church.  He told them, “A fear of the Lord was on him.”  The idea is that he didn’t ever want to stand before the Lord and be asked why he didn’t fulfill the purposed of the Lord for his life by believing the words spoken to him/the church.  I guess this is what peaked my mind to prepare me for the verse in Isaiah.

After driving a few more miles pondering what it means to delight/smell like the fear of the Lord, I turned on another Podcast.  I have stared listening to Shawn Boltz podcast.  This day, I landed on my favorite of his Podcasts to date.  He interviewed a panel of people, an actress, a director, an author, a missionary, and a painter (paint your wall kind of painter, not paint a picture).  He asks the panel to each tell of a time that they would have been screwed if God hadn’t shown up.  Bob Hasson is the last to answer, I think.  He was in a litigation situation with his painting business.  The next day, he was set to meet for the final negotiations before the case went to trial.  He canceled his meeting with his team to go sing and worship God (after reading scripture where this was a solution to someone’s problem.) . After he spent time worshiping he felt like God told him to be silent during the meeting with his opposition’s lead negotiator.  So, he did! For 2 1/2 hours… then the man asks to meet alone with Bob in this office.  Bob stands up, walks into the office.  The man says he is going to make an offer, Bob didn’t respond, so the man upped the offer, Bob didn’t speak again, the man made his “final offer”.  Bob reached across the desk and shook his hand.  They walked out of the office, and he still hadn’t said a word, and my spirit said THAT is the fear of the Lord.

Related image
D learned this scripture several years ago & started this pesky thought process.

You may have seen or heard me say that the more I read scripture, the more I believe that God’s love language is trust and obedience.  It give HIM the opportunity to be seen by the people in our lives as he provides for us.  So here I am, back pondering Gideon, who questioned and then tested, and then trusted, and finally was obedient as the Lord led to keep reducing his army so Israel knew HE was their deliver, not themselves.  I suspect that it is what he wants me to know as well.  He is my provider, protector, strength.  He wants me to live in Fear of him, fear of not living with him as my King, Fear of not experiencing all that he has for me to do with him on this earth, because there is no better life.  I am okay with that kind of fear, fear that doesn’t paralyze or send me running anywhere but straight for Him.

I praise you Lord for your faithfulness to teach your ways.  You are so worthy of all my praise

Better Is A Little With The Fear Of The Lord

Blessings,

Kate

It… is… finished… (maybe I’m being dramatic)

Hi All.  I thought I would give you an update on the media fast at my house.  On Tuesday it ended. I feel like the last week was the most frustrating for me.  The reason, I think, is two fold: 1.) We gave him access to media when we traveled to and from the Smokies for Emma’s soccer tournament.  2.) I let him watch 1/2 hour of TV so he would quit talking and I could get work done one time.  He kept hijacking my phone, and I would forget to steal it back, and he kept trying to negotiate for “just 1/2 hour of normal TV, PLEASE!”  I know better, you can’t EVER give an inch!

On Sunday and Monday I spent a good portion of the day wondering how we reenter the media world.  I enjoyed our time without it, 85% of the time.  The other 15% I wanted to give him to media back so I could get something done.  I knew that we couldn’t go back to the media noise level we had before (I’m pretty sure the background noise was part of the reason I would hide in the silence of my car some afternoons.  I hated being in the house with all the NOISE), and we couldn’t go back to the smart mouth that accompanied it (mostly because he felt that watching TV and playing video games is a right, not a privilege).  I never really came to something I was comfortable with, but I ended up telling him on Monday that he could have 1 hour of media a day, and he could earn up to one more hour each day.

He asked how, and I had to think on my toes!!  Thankfully, I think the Holy Spirit took over my mouth with a good plan, because I don’t think I could have come up with it on my own, because I found a currency that he wants to bargain in!!

I told him he could earn a minute of media for each minute spent reading or practicing multiplication or cleaning.  I spent the summer trying to pay him to learn his multiplication tables better and to read.  He would be motivated for a little while, but then would lose interest within an hour or so.

Image result for reenteringTUESDAY MORNING, MY KITCHEN WAS CLEAN, THE LIVING ROOM WAS TIDY BY 10:00 AM, multiplication facts were reviewed & and my kid was happy to have done it.  He asked if he could save time, if he didn’t use it all one day.  I said yes.  So, Tuesday at 4:00, he still hadn’t watched any media.  When I asked why, he said he didn’t want to use it yet and not have it later.

On Friday, he had a friend to spend the night.  He had saved 3 hours during the week to binge on for the weekend, but they wanted to earn more.  They read on my couch, in silence for an hour straight (I’m totally serious :-O).  Then, they cleaned his room, dusted, vacuumed, and straightened.  It was a mom win!!

Here’s what else I noticed, during our time off.  Pre-media fast, D would choose time on the couch watching Youtube over people about 90% of the time, but that has changed.  He went everywhere with me for three weeks.  He taught Rachel (our exchange student) how to drive a 4-wheeler.  She plays catch with him in the living room (she is a handball player, so she’s really good at this).  The other thing I noticed, it’s not just the 9 year old who has a media addiction, it’s all of us.  I felt guilt every time I picked up my phone to play a word game, or got lost in Facebook when he couldn’t touch anything.  I tried to put it down, and I just kept getting sucked in.  We trash “kid’s these days” for constantly staring at a screen, but really it’s the teenagers, their mom and their dad, equally guilty of getting lost in cyberspace at the cost of relationships with each other.  Turns out, I don’t know how to be bored either…  in fact, I go crazy if I don’t have something to do.  Sometimes, when I am making myself take a media break, I think about the stuff I would look up if I had my phone, and I realize I get a little rush from it.  This week, I researched and purchased my calendar for next year.  It was a rush, thinking through the purchase, what I want, what system am I going to use?  Where can I get what I want for the best deal.  People, I LOVE & LIVE by my calendar, but this is ridiculous.  My brain doesn’t remember how to settle down and just be anymore.

I asked the family what they noticed about the media free time.  Emma, “He wasn’t as mean!”  (You really have to hear the sarcastic teenage flair to fully appreciate the statement.)    Ty, “He seems to be a nicer person & he knows how to be bored.”  Cary, “It’s been good.  I spend more time with him, which is good, because he wants to watch what I’m watching… and he will watch sports with me.”  (I know, I know, he’s a deep thinker… be jealous ladies.  It’s a good thing he’s cute.) (Babe, you’re wonderful, smart, funny, and able to make me laugh, but you are not descriptive via text message. XOXOXO.)

Deacon, “I learned absolutely nothing.  It was horrible!”  (I expected nothing different.)

I’m excited that I have talked with several people who have taken this idea and applied it at home.  One friend is only allowing her son on media a couple of days a week.  Another woman told me she took it away from her 12 year old daughter & “she’s a different person!  The girl drama is gone!”  Another friend made her kids do a week with no media and reported that she could tell a difference in just a couple of days.  For those of you who are trying this too, thank you for letting me know.  Your words helped me get through the time without guilt, and helped me set (what I hope) are healthy boundaries moving forward.  I also want to thank my parents for telling me several times that this was a wonderful thing to do for my child.  I needed the reminder sometimes.  It has been very encouraging!

Image result for flip phoneSo, I’m really thinking of getting a flip phone next time I have to “upgrade” my phone.  Because of my job, and the world we live in, I think I would have to have an iPad to access things as I need them, but I could put it in a drawer, and not “have to have it with me all the time” because I could get texts and calls on a flip phone, and I wouldn’t run the risk of getting sucked into the empty time vacuum of the phone.  Maybe I can make it a movement:  “Upgrade your life, Downgrade your phone”  What do you think?

No Media for My Kid!

You’ve seen this video, right?  Well, I identify with this video.  At the beginning of summer, I swore I was only going to let my 9 year old on media for an hour or two a day.  By the end of summer, it was on ALL DAY LONG!! YouTube and video games going at the same time.  It was like an atomic assault on my ears and nerves. Not to mention my kids was turning into a jerk.

Excuses: I work at home pretty often, and I’m traveling when I don’t, so I  don’t have the time or energy to entertain him.  But the excuse doesn’t matter when you see your child’s brain shrinking from day to day, not to mention the lack of certain social skills.  But the straw that broke my back – he was yelling at his teammates on Fortnite.  Image result for brain shrinkingHe was just being rude and calling people idiots, and I realized, I don’t like who my child is becoming.  So I took away the internet, and TV, and all screens in general… for 21 days.

He’s not grounded, he’s a good kid (except when yelling at strangers online – yes, I realize how creepy this sounds, but I am determined to be transparent).  He’s nine.  He has never existed without an Iphone in our home.  I remember when he was a baby, he could run apps making animal noises and educational videos.  My older kids weren’t exposed to constant screens until elementary school, and I was able to monitor those much more closely.

So, on August 3rd I told Deke that he was fasting from Media for 21 days starting on August 8th, the first day of school.  To say he had a melt down would be an understatement.  He was not happy, but I let him binge on YouTube and the Switch for a few days before he went cold turkey.  I also received the news that due to unforeseen disasters having to do with reconstruction on the building, school wouldn’t be starting for him until September 5th… suddenly, we are hanging out together for the 21 days.

Image result for shocked faceNow, I am not a newcomer to taking away media from children.  I did this same thing with my oldest two kids SEVERAL years ago after praying about how to help them stop fighting.  It worked brilliantly.  Thanks to that experience, I knew the first 24 hours would be the most trying for me, and that I would be tempted to give it back so I could follow my routine.  I spent the 5 days strengthening my resolve and telling my self that my goal was for him to be bored, to know what it feels like, to know what it is to find a way to entertain himself, and to figure out if there is anything creative in him.  So, new perspective – “I’m bored Mom!” = “You’re Awesome Mom!”.  “You’re TORTURING ME for 21 DAYS!” = “Mom, thanks for loving me enough to find myself in this tech-world I live in.”

I did place a couple of exceptions to this entertainment-less desert called his last month of summer: 1.) We drove across the state on KY and back in less than 36 hours – I let him play the Switch. 2.) If someone else is watching TV & it’s appropriate, he can watch. (Home Improvement with Dad is his new favorite thing)  3.) Traveling to a soccer tournament in Gatlinburg TN – he will be allowed to play the Switch in the car as he rides with two teenage girls who SHUSH him for sport (one in English and one in German – which sounds more like DEECON – Psssshhh!)

The first week was tougher on him than me.  He thought he was going to die.  He claims he cried himself to sleep every night.  He drove the 4 wheeler, built complicated Lego kits, and listened to HOURS of Adventures in Odyssey on a CD player, sat in my office as I worked on spreadsheets,  and asked 1,276,890,113 questions!

When he said, “I’m bored!” I responded, “Oh good!  That means your brain is working.  It’s not my job to entertain you, figure it out.”  – I WAS EMPOWERED & IT FELT GOOD! And I began to see who my child is.  He still acted goofy to get attention, but it wasn’t SO desperate and SO silly.  He learned to sit in his room and play, alone.  Our home seem calmer.  Our conversations seem deeper.  The teenagers don’t hide in their rooms to keep away from the noise in the living room.

The second week… well the second week may have been harder on me.  I WORK AT HOME!!  He talks all the time!  I almost had a mental breakdown.  I just needed to get my work done.  I just need some time alone, some God time, but it didn’t come.  Yet, I saw a really fun kid replacing this video addicted minion who controls the noise level of the house with the TV remote and attitude.  I like the difference, that calm.

Thankfully my brother and his son, Oliver, have visited the last few days.  With the lack of entertainment at my home, Deke was all too happy to go to my parents’ home and spend the whole day (this is a rare occurrence because he normally would rather watch TV).  He got to ride his new (to him) bike, go swimming with his cousin, and go boating.  I think he also got to binge watch movies for a 4 year old one day, which he was thrilled with.  That little bit of media has him jumping all over the place again and begging for “just a few minutes of TV” tonight before bed.  But, the “NO” is easy because I have seen the kid who lived under the addict. Image result for no media

We have 11 more days of this.  I’ll try to update you next week.  My next challenge… how do we let the media back in without letting it take over our home our kid and our lives again…

Blessings! K

#YET

I just found this on my computer.  I don’t remember when I wrote it, but I like the reminder of what it says, so I thought I would share.

Blessings! Kate

 

#Yet

I’m not one of those people who sets intention words for the year.  I have friends who do, and I’ve never thought it was for me, because there is NO way I’m going to remember the word, much less be intentional about meditating on it, or changing my life with it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a planning meeting with my church.  A woman was talking, and she ended her sentence with “God hasn’t done that yet.”  And it struck me that the most powerful word in all she said was YET.  YET changes the whole game, the whole viewpoint, the whole truth. Image result for yet

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

See, faith is the yet at the end of the impossible.  I recently finished the book of Genesis.  I can’t get Jacob’s conversation with God out of my head.  Jacob had just stolen his brother’s birthright, and was running away before his brother killed him.  He hid at his uncle’s, who he had never met, on the way he slept in Bethel.  He had a dream where God promised to give him the land where he was lying, and promised to watch over him wherever he went.  Jacob made a vow the next morning, that if He would be with him, feed him, clothe him, allow him to see his family again, he would be his God, and he would give a tenth of all that God gives him… in the future.  I guess it’s the first time I noticed someone making a deal with God. 

Fast forward, and you see Jacob got deceived several times over the next 20 years.  Things did not go perfectly, but God kept showing up, and Jacob had food, and clothes, and eventually, he made it home to his family, but his faith in the middle years had to have #YET moments.  Moments when he didn’t see God, but her knew he was in the act of delivering him.

So my word for the year is YET.  So, I’ll end this devotion with this…

I’m not one of those people who set intention words for the year, because there is NO way I’m going to remember the word, much less be intentional about meditating on it, or changing my life with it… yet.