Friday, May 30, 2014

This Thing Called Faith . . .

So, my whole week has seemingly revolved around one word: F A I T H. Everything I've read, studied, listened to, even sung about—there it is: Faith. Not just "faith" in general, mind you; but MY faith. Or better stated . . . my lack of. So often, I link my faith with just how much I am trusting God to do this for me, or take care of that for me. Hard to admit, but I've even found that I've trusted Him so much more with something that I've asked of Him for someone else. I know it might sound crazy, but I'm just keeping it real tonight.

This morning, I began putting ink to some things about my faith that the Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart. I've pondered this stuff all day. In the midst of working, my heart was stirring. As I faced a big fear head on this afternoon, the whole subject of my [lack of faith] was heavy on my heart. Can I just tell you that I want faith with substance? Not just faith of a mustard seed—but say to this mountain, "move" and it will be done kind of faith?

I want faith . . .
that doesn't waiver in the waiting
that doesn't plummet under pressure
that stands when it would be easier to sit
that doesn't doubt in the midst of disappointment

Did I mention that I long for faith that doesn't doubt in the midst of disappointment?

I want faith . . .
that turns away in the midst of temptation
that stays calm in a season of chaotic
that refuses to ignore conviction
that speaks the truth when it would be more popular to be quiet

I want faith . . .
that leads me to give when everything within me screams get

I want faith . . .
that is unmoved by the unknown
that willingly denies self in exchange for our Savior
that trusts in the promise of God's perfect timing
that is solid when God's voice is silent

I want faith . . .
that truly forgives when my flesh can't seem to forget

I share a father's expression that is found in Mark 9:24: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief." I love the Living Bible translation:  “I do have faith; oh, help me to have more!”

Saturday, May 17, 2014

It's a quiet Saturday morning . . .

Surrounding me on my counter are graduation announcements, baby shower invitations, dentist appointment reminders and wedding invitations. There's a bill or two, a sink full of dishes and a to-do list of what needs to happen today. After a long, busy, semi-stressful week, part of me just wants to crawl back into the bed that I didn't even get out of until 9:30 AM. Now don't judge me for sleeping the morning away OR be jealous that you didn't or couldn't. Empty-nesters have earned a lazy Saturday every now and then.

I'm sitting here and as I glance around my eyes spot them on the other side of the counter—behind my iPad and can of Orbit gum that I meant to put in my car days ago: my Mother's Day cards from last weekend. I probably read through them quickly on Sunday, but today, I take them in and read them each . . . word for word, real slow and on purpose. If my Bible study on making a difference and leaving a legacy wasn't enough, these precious cards have just about done me in.

Over the past week, these cards have taken my heart and mind all the way back to my own childhood. So many of you know that part of my story includes being a child of divorce. Please hear me: I love my parents dearly. I will serve them faithfully and invest in their lives until they take their last breath. Long after they are gone, their lives will have left huge marks on me—some of those marks may include some scars, but either way, I will never be the same and I thank God for how He has used my Mom and Dad to mold me into the woman I am today.

Was your own heart crowded and confused as a child? Maybe you're in the thick of raising your own little ones and you see that your own heart needs to be sorted through, cleaned up . . . cleaned off? Could it be, that like me, you survived your own childhood only to stumble and fumble through raising your own kids? Now, you so long to live by example and leave some kind of legacy for them and their children.

Parents and grandparents . . . be real with your children. They know you aren't perfect and the honest truth is: they aren't looking for perfect. They are looking for the real deal. Share with them your own journey. Let them see and know about your life as a child. It will help them to understand who you are today. Allow the deep places of your heart, your victories/struggles and your faith journey to be open and laid bare before them. Hard for sure, but necessary in bringing the real factor in your home.

Never live in secret anything before them. If you want to lose credibility with your kids faster than a mouse scatters when the light turns on, live something in secret. Our kids are smart and one day, the secret will have the potential to build a big wall between you. Be who you are, live an open/honest life before them. Anything you must do "in secret" will not end up being something that you're proud of or something that you want them to model after. Right or wrong, I raised my girls with a standard of this: If I must do this in secret, I must not do it at all. There were some who criticized me for this mindset; however, I have no regrets today from living anything in the dark.

Spend more time with them than the money you spend on them. Stuff may make them happy as a child, but as they grow up, it will really be YOU that they want to be a part of their world. As we get older we know that no amount of money can replace the gift of time.

To all my Mom-friends . . . let's aim for becoming healthy in our minds and hearts. Let's focus on living before our kids, no matter how young or how grown they may be, a life that will leave a legacy of truth, honesty and investment long after we are gone. Let's not cave to the crave of what this crazy world offers us as women. Regardless of our childhood, regardless of where we've failed as parents, regardless of where our kitchen counters may be crowded, messy and in desperate need of being cleaned off. Even us empty-nesters, listen up: Keep climbing. Keep looking back at those precious lives who are climbing behind you, watching how you climb. Rest along the way together and share life . . . REAL life along the way. One day, they will remember how you climbed. They will have seen with their own eyes the path that you walked and lived before them. Real. Honest. Intentional about investment. A legacy, left with love.