Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Touchy Subject

My children have these little plastic plates that are divided into sections. They sort of resemble a cafeteria try, and they are great for separating their food, keeping the veggies from touching, well, anything else, or the applesauce from running all over the plate. Mainly, my boys who mix their food into crazy concoctions anyhow just think these plates are fun. However, every time I look at these plates I am reminded of how people view my Jesus.

You see, our culture today is so caught up in 'balance'. Everything in moderation. God is good, as long as he is a part of a well-balanced life. We act as though we have the ability to separate our life into one of those plastic divided plates. And most of us aren't even giving God the biggest spot, because if you make God TOO big in your life, 99% of the world won't understand. You won't fit in. So we balance God out with everything else- work here, family here, fun here, God here. That way we are all happy- we feel better about ourselves for having a 'little' bit of God in us, we still fit in with the world, and we have a sensible balance to all things in our life- the key to happy living.

The problem with only giving God a small portion of your life is that you are not allowing God to touch the other parts. God, you stay here and I will see you on Sunday, but please don't come to work with me, my co-workers wouldn't understand. And go ahead and stay out of my money, I don't have enough to tithe. And seriously, PLEASE don't touch my fun, if I let you touch my fun I couldn't watch the same movies, go to the same places and I would certainly lose some friends. Ouch. Sound familiar?

Fanatical? Yes. Holy-roller. Why thank you. I serve a God that is bigger than I can comprehend, too big to be divided into just a single area of my life and He refuses to be anything other than our ENTIRE life. The first and most important commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength". (Duet. 6:5). Have you made God your foundation? Have you invited him to control your parenting, marriage, jobs, money, health, and even your fun? I guarentee that very single one of those areas will better once you do, because he knows what's best for us, and he wants that for us. And yes, most people won't understand. They may think I'm taking this too seriously but I quote the Evangelist preacher Danny Ledbetter in saying: "Do you think when I get to Heaven God is going to say "Son, You took me too seriously down there!". And the worst thing I could ever here on the day I meet my savior is "You didn't take me seriously enough, I had it all written out for you on how to serve me, how to love me, how to live for me and you ignored me." As Beth Moore puts it "If I error, let me error on the side of faith." And in Revelation 3:16 it states "So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I spit you out of my mouth." Wow. God wants us to be hot for him, or as we like to say on fire, and if we can't be hot he would rather us be cold than sitting there riding the fence, unwilling to surrender it all to Him. He either want ALL of me, or NONE of me.

I choose to give you ALL of me. I know that by choosing to make you the foundation of my life, I am called to a life of holiness and will be seperate from the world, but I know you have called me to be in this world, not of this world- this place is not my home. It means not always doing what I want to do, but doing what I know you would want me to do. It means surrendering my pride, my wants, my needs to your plan. I also know that my path will always be blessed because of this. It means I will always have access to your strength and power to do your will. It means getting to watch you do amazing things through me and for me. And it means I will get to spend an eternity with you.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's not about YOU, either!

Don't you love it when the Lord uses your children to speak truth to you? This weekend God did just that to me. I'm ashamed to say but I had been a little grumpy with my kids the past week and had been praying for God to restore my joy. He answered my prayer on Saturday as we were getting ready to leave for a birthday party. The party happened to start during nap time so I tried to let the boys sleep as long as possible, which in turn made us run late. As I was waking the boys up to leave I reminded them to move quickly, get dressed (it was a swim party) and ready to go as quickly as possible. My husband was at work so I was solo in this task, making it even more chaotic. As I was loading all of our things into the van, one or two of the boys were then reminding ME that we were late. "Hurry Mom! Hurry! We are LAAAATE!" I looked up at my child and said, "Excuse me! While you were napping Mommy was getting dinner ready, putting away laundry, vacuuming the living room, wrapping the present, and getting our swim stuff ready for this party. Do not tell me to hurry now. And for another thing, It's just NOT always about YOU!" To which my other son so sweetly replied: "Yeah, it's about Jesus!". I thought this was a sweet reminder, thanked my child for his reply, and on our way to the party we went.

As we were leaving the party my best friend (it was her son's birthday) followed me out to help me get all of that 'stuff' back into the car. I told her that little story simply because it ended so sweetly and I thought it was worth sharing. Her response was not at all what I expected when she said, "You realize God just threw that back in your face, right?"

As I was driving home I thought about her response, and I so gently heard God whisper "It's not about you either, AnnElise." Wow, thank you Lord for that reminder. Thank you for picking me back up every time I stumble. Thank you for being the God of second chances, of seventy chances. Thank you for being more patient with me then I could ever be with my own children. And thank you for that reminder that it's not about me, it's all about You!

The awesome part is god didn't stop with just that gentle reminder. He showered me with blessings over the rest of the weekend. I have had several remarks (mostly from strangers) like "You're a saint!" or "Those boys have a GOOD mama!" (to which I replied, "Their mama prays A LOT!"), and today a lady beside me in the drive-thru bank line said "God only gives very special people all the same gender of children." What sweet reminders to keep on keeping on from my King. He is so faithful when we surrender to him.