Friday, July 29, 2011

Life is Not Fair

For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:14 ESV
I was reading Desiring God by John Piper the other night. (a highly recommended read) This verse kicked off a chapter. I couldn't get past it.

It seems I have always known that the gate to Heaven is narrow. I can't recall the first time I heard it. Yet, I was struck by it. By the unfairness of it.

So often I readily identify when life is unfair against me. But this time I was bewildered how unfair it is for me. I have done nothing to deserve this privileged path. God has made the hard way possible (and delightful!) I didn't find the path, it was shown me. Had Jesus not sought me out, I would not be one of the few.

Life isn't fair. Usually it takes from us. But for those of us who belong to Christ, the unfairness is reversed. We are given extraordinary treasure. Unfairly, we find ourselves walking the path of life with Jesus.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Love the Library

My child really doesn't have a chance. Both nature and nurture are against him. A bookworm he is. A bookworm he will remain.

My husband loves books. I love books. We live next door to the library.

So N and I find ourselves at the library quite a bit. Through the school year we go at least once, if not twice a week. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays they offer story time with a correlating craft. On Thursdays the local senior citizens come to read stories to the kids. There are also crafts and snacks (!) on Thursdays.

The children's librarian, Miss Carol, knows and loves my son. The feeling is heartily returned by him.

Through the summer months story time continues on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but they add in family day on Thursdays. Family day rocks. A special guest comes in and shares either information or stories, then some sort of treat. So far we've seen birds (owls are SO COOL!), fire fighters, a chef, and made some crafts from around the world. Today we got to read all about pancakes, then ate some. My three year old had four pancakes. Next week magicians are coming.

I feel like the Fonz, but seriously, go check out your library. Even if you don't have small kids, it's fun to watch other people's. When the firefighters were presenting their safety information they had to pause for a moment to help a little girl tie the bow on her dress. It was absolutely the sweetest thing. Apparently she fully believed that they really are there to help her. To aid and assist during accidents, fires, and clothing emergencies.

Since our small town library offers so much, I figure everyone else's does, too. They have guest speakers, giveaways, and free movies to rent. While you're there, you might even find a good book.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 15, 2011

He Understands II

Today I will finally tell you the way God knocked my socks off a few months ago. I haven't delayed in an attempt to be sly. I've just been a bit of a slacker, choosing to nap rather than blog. Crazy pregnant girl.

My husband and I attended the New Members Class at our church during the spring semester. Instead of focusing on church policy, though, the course was mainly dedicated to doctrine. I know it sounds awful, and like a "bait and switch," but it was quite refreshing.

As we were studying Christ we began looking at the truth that He emptied Himself, became nothing, when He took on flesh. We read the well known passage from Philippians:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, 
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant
being made in human likeness. Philippians 2:5-7 NIV

Our pastor pointed out the irony of Jesus becoming nothing by taking on something. He didn't just empty himself into nothingness. Rather, He exchanged something majestic for something low. I suddenly realized that He really does understand what it is like to be a mom.

Yes, being a mom is wonderful, rewarding, & important. Blah, blah, blah. But, boy, do we give up a lot when we starting raising our babies. There is so much of me that has been laid aside so that I may nurture my son. Just as Jesus chose to humble himself to the low position, so have I. Only His lowering was much worse than mine. He understands.

This is not limited to mommies, though. Some men take jobs that harm their careers, or even derail their life goals in order to care for ailing parents or a young family. There are other people that God calls to walk away from worldly success and significance so that they may serve others. The situations are endless. So is our God. Jesus understands. He truly is our great high priest.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Parenting Technique Revisited

Before my son was a year old we discovered that redirection worked well for him. In addition to telling him not to touch the DVD player, we would pick him up and plop him down in front of another toy. After awhile he finally quit heading for the DVD player. In the two years following, he has pretty consistently found interests, words, or objects that we discourage him from through redirection.

Apparently he feels it is a worthy technique.

Recently if I have started singing a song he doesn't care for he'll say, "Mommy, I don't love that song." Then he'll start singing a different song that he knows we both like. He did it a couple of times before I realized I was being redirected into his preferred behavior. He also uses it for leading our book reading and play time.

I tend to heap affirmation on him when he does something well and when he follows instructions. I don't tell him he rocks when he doesn't, because I want those words to mean something. Fortunately he's awesome a lot, so he gets to hear it a lot. In the past few months when I have done something well, my sweet boy is quick to affirm me. It really is the sweetest thing.

I'm so glad we don't hit him or yell at him.

Who knew your parenting could come back at you so fast? My little man is but three years old, yet I am already being subjected to my own teachings.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 8, 2011

When Life is Easy

When life is easy, you have no reason to grow deep. I've often heard the analogy between our lives and trees. But I had a chance to see it recently.

A pile of my father's kin was gathered at my uncle's house on a lake. Well, not a lake: The Lake. He is privileged to be the keeper of several of God's acres of land at that beautiful spot.  It boasts massive fish, turtles, frogs, snakes, trees, egrets, flowers, ticks, deer, ducks, bushes, tiny fish and a host of other lovely creatures.  

A storm blew in on our last day there. And blow it did. It howled with fierce determination. When the sound of hail pounding on the window woke me up, I rolled over to cover my son's body so that if the glass broke it wouldn't fall on him. This wasn't a sissy storm. When it cleared we peered through the unbroken window to survey the damage.

Leaves and branches were scattered all about, of course. The neighbor's dock broke, a cable snapped and pulled it toward shore. And a tree that is more than four stories tall was lying on its side.

I had my sister stand beside the base of the tree to provide some perspective on how big it was. Though she has stubby little legs, she is still considered "normal" height for a woman.

Here's a perspective from the trunk side. There was no way to get a picture of its former height, it was too tall. But guessing it at 40 feet is conservative.

It was such a reminder that the hard times help us grow our roots down deep. This tree was so close to the lake that it just sent its roots out sideways. It never had reason to go down, the ground was always so moist around it. Its life was too easy.

Jesus, help me remember not to whine when life is hard. Help me not to despair, but to stretch my roots down deep into You. I don't want to be killed and cut for fire wood after a mighty, though short, storm. May I be a strong tree that sings your glory while providing shade and nourishment for my family. Amen.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.