Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Outside of the Box

There is something about change that can make you feel a little insecure.  Well, it can down right make you feel like the dumbest girl in the room.   (A quick plug her for one of my favorite blogs to read: Chance Scoggins: Dumbest Guy in the Room. )  I have said before that I am usually pretty comfortable in my skin.  I know more or less what I am willing to do or not do, and I certainly know what I believe in.  However, change makes me uneasy, and worse it makes me question. Change is something that makes me feel afraid, and well, just plain old out of sorts. 

Change means making decisions and making choices.  It has never been more apparent to me than how important choices are since having my daughter.   My choices are so much more serious now that I have a child.  It use to be easy to decide things, but now I find myself contemplating things like, is my daughter going to need therapy because I have accidentally made her into a germ a-phobe?  There is nothing like living with a literal child, to make you think before every decision.  It is the flippant decisions and choices I make that get me in trouble.  It was just last night that I was metaphorically slapped in the face when, my 5 year old said, "Oh crap!"  Yep, my choice for a "better" word is still not a better word for a 5 year old.

My life seems to be in the midst of changes.   I am changing as a Christian.  I am changing as a mother.  I am changing my priorities, and considering things that did not use to matter, actually do matter.  Of course, the Lord is sovereign in the examples He gives through His word.  I think it is no coincidence that we are studying Gideon in Sunday school.  I love the story of Gideon, and find him extremely relate-able. ( Is that even a word? Guess not, but I am using it anyway!)  Gideon is the perfect example of how I react when it is time for me to step out of my box.  As the story goes Gideon was basically found hiding in a corner.  He was minding his own business, when an Angel of the Lord came and said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior."  I love that Gideon's reaction was skeptical and he basically said,"oh yeah, can you prove it?"

Isn't that how so many of us are when we are confronted with change?  The first reaction: I can't do that; that is way to far out of MY comfy box.  If this is what I am suppose to do then, I need a sign.  I just need to be sure.  The questions come and go and the internal decisions begin to form.  As I think about the decisions that need to be made, I want my choices to be specific.  As I said, it is the flippant decisions that often come back to bite me in the metaphorical butt.

Here are a few things that I want to actively choose:

I choose LOVE.
I choose JOY.
I choose HOPE.
I choose FAITH.
I choose KINDNESS.

The Bible is riddled with examples of God taking the least likely person, and making them great!  First, Abraham and Sarah, promised children, that they were too old to have.  However, God didn't think they were too old, he thought they were perfect for His plans.  Then there was Moses, called to set His people free, the very one who was once the son and brother of the oppressors.  Who can forget David?  The small child who killed the giant Goliath and gave the Israelites victory over the Philistines.  Then there was Mary, the quiet but obedient virgin mother of Jesus.  I can't leave out Saul who persecuted Christians, but then became Paul, one of the authors of several new Testament books, and a great preacher of the gospel.  These are just a few examples, there are many, many more.  A theme through out the Bible, God likes to take people out of their boxes.  He likes to show that His imagination is beyond our beyond.  The common theme in each example is that each CHOSE Jesus, and they chose to step out of their comfort zone.  It wasn't easy for any of them but God was Faithful.

It is only with Jesus and the gift of the Holy spirit, that I believe it is possible to confidently step outside of the box.  The author of HOPE, wants us to use our FAITH, to OBEDIENTLY follow his calling.  Change is scary, but maybe by making the right choices change can be the more rewarding, more fulfilling, and more meaningful than staying in the same comfy box.  

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Becoming Miranda

Tonight I cleaned my kitchen in my underwear.  Yep, you read that right!  It was strangely empowering!  I scrubbed the sink, and began to wonder how it had come to this?  I normally clean fully dressed but, I had given my daughter a bath, and she managed to get one of my legs completely wet.  As I passed the sink with the dinner dishes stacked in it, it only made sense to clean up.  There I stood in the kitchen cleaning in my undies asking myself, how did I become THIS MIRANDA?  What am I becoming?

This is what I think I am becoming:

A mother.  The supreme master of the word NO.  The teacher of good decisions.  The encourager and cheer leader to all accomplishments.  The dictator of the house mood.  The chef to healthy and not so healthy meals.  I am the heart of the household.  The funny thing about mommying is that it changes everyday.  Your child may go to sleep as a precious angel, but wake up with the sarcastic and sly humor of her father.  Or all of the sudden she may be exhibiting my very bossy and loud mouth.  While I like myself, I am not sure I like myself as a 5 year old. Each day poses a new adventure, that sometimes I am prepared for, and other times I am left to "punt."  Some days all that is left is a half dressed mom, cleaning a sink full of dirty dishes!

A finisher.  I have to confess, I like to procrastinate.  I do my laundry and fill the basket until it over flows before I will fold.  Then I spend way to much time folding that I don't have enough time to vacuum. I don't iron anything until I absolutely must.  I even procrastinate the start of my day.  I snooze at least twice.  Then I check my email and blood sugar, watch a little news then get up.  While I finish things, I admit particularly when it comes to house chores, it is always last minute.  The thing about finishing is it is something incredibly important to teach your kid.  I don't want to look down the road and ask myself why I didn't make it important to teach my daughter to finish.  I guess sometimes finishing means washing the dishes half dressed.

A Christian.  I am becoming a Christian.  It is more than just saying I believe in Jesus.  It is changing my life, from the inside out.  It is as scripture says, " taking off the old, and putting on the new."  There are days, that I don't want to love others.  Other people sometimes down right hack me off.  There are days I don't want to forgive, and days when I want life to be only about me.  However, as I progress in my walk as a Christian, I find it easier.  There is no greater freedom than that found in forgiveness.  To be forgiven and to give forgiveness may be the only way to find real joy.  I found the Lord whispering in my ear the other day, that life is not about the people who don't love you, but it is about how much I (God) love you.  It was a profound moment.   The days can sometimes be filled with haters, echos of all the things wrong with the world, and reasons why success is impossible.  As a Christian, the real truth is how much God loves us.  It is proven each day by the many miracles that are taken for granted and over looked.  God loves all the time, even the sin marred and broken.  I love that I am becoming closer, more faithful, and more complete in the hands of God.

My life is is not perfect, it is not finished, it is an everyday adventure.  I feel as though I am embarking on changes now.  What is the change?  Well, I don't know.  I just feel as though God is working on me, and His will be done.  I hope I am up for the challenge of becoming Miranda, God style!

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Freedom in TRUTH

I love this country.  I love our soldiers.  I think the United States is the best country in the whole world.  There is no other place where you can have life, like that in the United States.  There is no other country in the world that loves life, and freedom as much as we do.  However, we are in strange times.  We are at a place where all of the sudden our freedoms are being taken from us, and the love of life is slowly slipping away.  I believe we need truth, and in truth we can find freedom, that will in turn set our country back on track.

What is this truth I speak of?  It is God's word.  After all, God is the maker of real freedom.  He is the creator and sustainer of all things good and righteous.  If we embrace God's truth, I think we will better understand freedom and how we should embrace it as a country.

Recently, I have been participating in a Bible Study of sorts.  It is a group designated to help women who have been abused.  Along with my mother-in-law we have been attending the class to determine if this is something that we want to lead in the future.  The class focuses on sharing God's TRUTH, not the lies we tell ourselves, and definitely not the lies that others/the world tell us.  I am learning so much about people and truth.  Our world is full of people who are hurting.  We are a country of lost people.  Many of my blogs have been about love, and how God commands us to love one another.  After being in this class it occurs to me that I don't think I have given enough thought to the role of TRUTH in our lives and in our freedom.

The class is called Beauty For Ashes.  It is based on the scripture Isaiah 61:3, but I am including verses 1&2 because I think it speaks great truth for our hurting world.

Isaiah 61: 1-3
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

This is truth.  I love what it says in these verses, by proclaiming the good news, otherwise known as TRUTH, hearts can be healed, FREEDOM can be found and comfort will be given.  It says a crown of beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair.  What this means is that people need to know about the TRUTH found in Jesus Christ.  If they know and believe, they can walk FREE of guilt and shame with healed hearts, comforted from their sorrows.  Don't you think our country and our world could use more of this FREEDOM in TRUTH?

I love the imagery of FREEDOM that is given here.  I love the description of a crown of beauty.  When we walk in truth, and share it with others real freedom exists. You too can be free, just exchange your ashes for beauty.  All you have to do is accept Jesus as your savior and ask for forgiveness. You are so dearly loved by God the Father.  You no longer have to wear those ashes of worry, guilt, or shame.  You are freed by the truth found only in Jesus.

As a country we seem to be in a grey area when it comes to truth.  We walk covered in ashes, living in despair, brokenhearted, and a prisoner to our debtors.  So many of us claim to be Christian but don't know the first thing about God's character or word.  If we root ourselves in truth, then the many grey areas would not be holding us hostage.  Abortion/murder, homosexuality, lying, cheating, and stealing are just a few areas that we kid ourselves into thinking things like, "Well, maybe it is ok in this case."  Or, we convince ourselves we just need to be more loving.  The reality is we need to take a step back and look at what God has to say about these things.

As we celebrate the 4th of July, I hope that we can celebrate with TRUTH.  The truth is, our constitution was founded by people who were seeking God, and today followed by people who barely know Him.  I hope that each of us will take time to look at God's truth and the beauty that comes from ashes, when we choose to follow him.  I pray this 4th of July you will consider what God's truth is in your life.  I pray you will consider that the Constitution was framed by Christian men seeking God's truth.  Then ask yourself if the men and women who uphold it today are seeking God's truth.  Then I encourage you to pray for our country like never before, and make your voice heard on election day!

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!