Sunday, March 27, 2016

Look Up, Not In

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.."  ~ Hebrews 12:1-3
I so understand this strong, imperative suggestion more now.

To fix your eyes on Jesus.

One big reason I felt depressed last year was because I would mess up, feel like such a failure, and hang my head (literally). Misery. Failure as a wife. Failure as a mother. Failure as a friend. Most of all, failure as a Christian. Despair.

Hence, why I was feeling so not victorious!

And, finally, God broke through. Look up, not in.

Ah, yes. A lesson He has had to teach me over and over again. When I screw things up and fail, I would see my utter depravity and horrid sin nature, which would depress me greatly. I would look in and stay down. Look up, not in! Because my life is hidden with Christ in the heavenlies and I am in Him, I have victory, I have forgiveness, I have hope!
"The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. The only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God."  ~ Oswald Chambers
Hopefully, I can tie all this -- anger, respect, depression -- together next week.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Brightening 'round the Clock

  • Last week was normal. Even though Ricky had to work on transcripts all weekend, we did go to church and small group, and took the kids to see Zootopia at the theater as a complete surprise :) 
  • To honor the memory of Jesus' death and Resurrection, we are using Resurrection Eggs this year. The kids are excited to open that day's egg each day! Good quality too; definitely recommend.
  • I was sick for a day or two last week, and I am still trying to shake the congestion from a week ago even though I feel fine! That meant school in the recliner and getting Aolani to help me read her books :)
  • I've been wanting to do this for years... I made a list of all the random and deep cleaning items that should be done around the house at varying frequencies (not including the daily or weekly or bi-weekly tasks). I don't have a great memory and forget when something was done. In case you are inspired to do something similar, here's my list (of course you'd need to adjust all the categories to fit your house and preferences). While many jobs require the help of an able-bodied adult, many tasks (see those italicized) can be accomplished by children. Beginning last month, the kids and I take an hour or less one day each week to do deep cleaning :)
  • I buckled over in laughter when Micaiah told Daddy what his days consist of. "I wake up when the sun comes out. I get ready and do whatever Mommy says. Then, I listen to mommy all day." He was serious ;)
This is what we often find when we get to bed ;)
Cardboard canvas
Decorating a box for her tea set
They enjoy all the boxes we get in the mail!
  • School verse is the same as last week: Psalm 27:14 W -- Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart, and wait for the LORD.
  • Verse to memorize this week: 2 Corinthians 3:13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Jesus Role

The husband and wife dance. Respect and submission. Biblically.

It's hard stuff.

I think that I thought I understood what our biblical roles should be like once we were married. I am sure that I thought it wasn't going to be an issue for us; it'll be easy, right?! We're both Christians and love each other, after all! (If you're married, you're laughing now.)

After the first few years and starting to struggle in this area, I read a few books and blogs about it. They definitely gave me more understanding, but no behavioral change. [Obviously, I had not yet learned my lesson that for change to happen, you must do something with the gift you've been given, whether it's the gift of knowledge or the gift of salvation or any gift! Application. Philippians 2:12-13.]

Time went on. Disrespect grew (what else does sin do when left unchecked?). Plus, I got a special bonus -- I think the unveiling anger in me, that had begun to appear, preyed upon the disrespect for my husband that it could find in me and would blow it out of proportion.

It really bothered me (the Holy Spirit in me) more and more. Finally, I was ready to tackle this issue. So, I read: Debi Pearl's Created to be His Help Meet, April Cassidy's blog and book, The Peaceful Wife, Tim & Kathy Keller's The Meaning of Marriage, and Ken Sande's book, The Peacemaker. Great truth, conviction  and tools!
"In Philippians 2:5-11... I discovered here that my submission in marriage was a gift I offered, not a duty coerced from me.
...If it was not an assault on the dignity and divinity (but rather led to the greater glory) of the Second Person of the Godhead to submit Himself, and assume the role of a servant, then how could it possibly injure me to be asked to play out the 'Jesus role' in my marriage?
...We are differently gendered to reflect this life within the Trinity. Male and female are invited to mirror and reflect the 'dance' of the Trinity, loving, self-sacrificing authority and loving, courageous submission. The Son takes a subordinate role, and in that movement He shows not His weakness but His greatness."~ Kathy Keller
But, now what? Not done yet...

Friday, March 18, 2016

Artists Who Color the Days

  • The past two weekends and weeks have been completely normal with only one exception and that was Ricky had to work out-of-county all last week.
  • Two weeks ago -- I taught Aolani how to take independent showers, which she does three times a week. She lost a front tooth. The kids got the new zipper bedding (we discover them sharing a bed and sleeping together once or twice a week still). We celebrated Aolani's 100th math lesson by having century day; she made biscuits and ate them with jelly and cheese for a snack. With her own money, Aolani purchased a Nerf bow and arrow, which they love.
  • Aolani antics: has begun crawling on my big bed to make it for me :); helps me with some of the reading aloud parts for school; enjoys teaching and advocating for Micaiah; loves fashion, dress-up, beauty, color, flowers, all things feminine and dainty, being big, cooking, drawing princesses...
  • Micaiah's mishaps: now learning the alphabet (just did 'C'); loves to draw people and invent animals and dinosaurs and monsters, and cut with scissors, and use tape, and copy letters; he begs to leave his "work" out every night; prayed for Chiberia (China + Nigeria?); frequently congratulates Aolani on her good memory or doing a good job; enjoys "making school for Daddy"; when we were watching the classic Disney movie intro, he commented, "Wow! Tinkerbell made all these movies!"; when Ricky tells him something, I often overhear him reply, "You don't know that; that's not your school"; he is constantly lining up his toys or papers...
  • One of their most favorite activities every week is going to art class, though! And then going grocery shopping with Daddy :) See the next four pictures:
The Princess and the Paper Robot (Micaiah's the dragon): a short, hilarious film

Our adorably cute nephew, Isaac, who is about to turn one
Aolani is the top, and Micaiah really is the bottom

A bride with a dried flower bouquet
Sticky murals (random craft supplies on contact paper)

  • School verse is the same as last week: Romans 12:19-21 V -- “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing so, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
  • Verses to memorize this week: 2 Corinthians 3:11-12 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bust My Bubble!

The next several posts are going to be linked, not really a series but related.

One of my biggest struggles right now is anger. I did not use to struggle with it. I didn't even know it was there! It must be one of those onion layers that was covered up by others; so, I didn't know about it until it was revealed years ago (after marriage; but really came out after becoming a parent).

Anyway, I really battled with it last year and usually felt defeated. About six months ago, the Lord gave me a little vision about it. Looking back, I really feel like this was a starting point for me in learning to overcome these battles with anger.

Here's the short --
There's a little me surrounded by a tough bubble (of anger). I never know when it's going to blow up and envelop me, but nothing can penetrate it and get through to me once it's blown up to cover me -- no reason, no words, no logic, no insight, no truth. [If you want to talk with me about the upsetting issue, you must do so before I'm surrounded by it.] 
Things keep assaulting the bubble but bounce back off unable to break through.
And then... something inside of me started glowing. It was His Spirit. And He showed me that nothing on the outside is going to do damage to the anger bubble. Only something on the inside. While I am too weak on my own to do any damage to it, Christ in me is strong enough! He can pop it from the inside out :) 
But just having His Spirit in me doesn't bust it. I have to depend on Him and activate God in me...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Skip and Double

I'm just now getting around to the blog. Too tired and too many unexpecteds this week; guess I'll just double up next week :)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

God's Gentle Graces

You know, something I've realized and pondered increasingly over the years is how gentle God has been to us throughout our marriage. His tenderness makes me smile :)

God has slowly increased Ricky's load of responsibility over the years instead of just throwing him into the deep end and shouting swim! And this patient way of dealing with Ricky really works for him. Ricky has transformed from the boy I married into a much more responsible, diligent, and mature man (while keeping all of his other good traits) ;)

Here's an overview, without the details, of what I'm talking about --
Married, lived with in-laws: learned to take care of wife in wheelchair, and to cook. 10 months later got a job: add on learning to work full-time. 13 months later, got pregnant and started schooling at night: learned court reporting (this was when I learned how to stay home and take care of myself).  9 months later: yep, learned to take care of baby. 14 months later, moved out of in-laws home into own condo: learned to take care of home (but nearby family if need help). 5 months later, moved to another city: learned how to be, well, on our own (which, for us, means relying on our Christian brethren; but, we think that interdependence on the Church Body is good and how it ought to be.) 4 months later, baby #2: learned to be stretched thin!
A little bit more... a little more... more... voila!

Of course this is not what God always does for everyone! He does what He knows is best for each person. I have had several cold turkey experiences that were just what I needed.

Now, let me take this one more step but a different direction.

I've also noticed over the years how God will slowly bring out different struggles of mine a little at a time. So, I don't get too overwhelmed all at once but can work out that struggle with God's help, His Spirit. And then, another one will be brought to light. The funny thing is that they are often problems I didn't even know I had! It really is like layers of an onion. God is dealing with one at a time and then peels it away to reveal the next one (that I didn't know about until the revealing). God's tenderness with me has really exemplified his loving-kindness towards me. Soft and sweet.

Thank You,

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Imitating the Real Conductor

  • Last week: A lot of the normal happened, except Ricky took a sick day from work to take me to the chiropractor. We also went to a surprise birthday party for a friend at an indoor soccer place -- fun for us all! Then, a friend came over to play a board game with us ;) And, we had a nice weekend, just chilling at home!
  • My parents had sold their house (which they built in '95). They closed on it and moved last week! It's official. They are renting a condo while they are having a garage apartment built on their farmland in South Carolina.
  • I finally updated the kids' responsibilities chart with some new, age-appropriate chores. We started this week, and the kids are still giddy about them :) Additionally, we are taking a little time each week to do some deep cleaning or organizing task around the home; last week was awesome!
They are Lego Duplo nuts ;)
 Ariel, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty
Our "train"; Ricky is conductor
 Aolani as conductor
Micaiah's turn to conduct
  • School verse is the same as last week: Isaiah 9:6 U -- Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
  • Verse to memorize this week: 2 Corinthians 3:10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.