Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Crisis of Belief

Today is my spiritual birthday. I'm 19. I had Little Bit sing Happy Birthday to me all day. She loved it, but kept wondering why I didn't have any presents. I found the "spiritual" birthday was a little hard to define for the 2.5 year old brain. But I just told her I shared this birthday with Jesus and that seemed to suffice. She's a big fan of His.

Carter's comment, on the other hand, was "Oh, your 19? Hmph. I've been in the Book of Life 2 years longer than you!" Uh...thanks my sweet husb. I wanted to tell him my life expectancy was 2 years longer than his so we would even out, but I kept quiet. Didn't want to be the one-upper. :)

I've been sort of following a story (blog) of a lady I don't know, very near my age and stage of life, who has faced the most tremendous loss I could ever dream of - her child. I have been moved to tears, I've laughed my head off, and I've been given more to think about than anything I've read in a long time. I guess it's because it's her very real, everyday thoughts about her faith, or lack thereof on a lot of occasions, and God's triumph in her life. I have followed her story for a while now, seen the highs, seen the lowest of lows, and seen a faith I couldn't imagine. But what moved me the most was hearing her come to a complete crisis of faith. She quit believing. Quit loving. Almost quit life. But she kept her head in the game, so to speak, even though her heart took a timeout. She prayed to her "glass ceiling", she loved through gritted teeth, and she kept living. Eventually, her heart began to follow what her head hadn't stopped doing. She began believing again, loving again, living again. To see someone come through that, and even stronger, has challenged me (and my faith) tremendously. Is my faith strong enough to take a hit?

Then, within a week of each other, I've learned of 2 good friends in a current crisis of belief. Long ones. The ones that last years...that have lasted years. Completely numb, yet still aching, still wanting to believe, but unable to for various reasons.

Again this topic came up at my small group this week. Is my faith strong enough to take a hit so large it would cause a crisis of belief? Could I come out stronger on the other side?

I hate that this has been on my brain and in my heart so strongly in recent days. Kind of like when you figure out the car you want to buy and then you start seeing it all over the roads. People had been driving them all along, but until you put it on your brain as the one YOU wanted, you didn't notice it much. Or when you pray the forbidden "Lord give me patience" prayer and you're hit with anything and everything in the world to cause you to draw the patience card. That's how I'm feeling. So much in what I read or in who I talk to, this "crisis of belief" theme is all over it. I don't want to pull my crisis of belief card anytime soon. I really don't even want to be in preparation for it. That would require me to think of all those situations that could cause it...and frankly, things are going just fine....I like it that way.

Maybe it's a wake up call. Waking up my faith...not just to take a hit, but to learn to release what's out of my control into God's hands...and be ok with it. I think that's the key. To be ok with it. From the little stuff to the big stuff. And maybe to find strength with each release. To me, that's a truer sense of faith. I guess my 19th spiritual birthday would be a good place to start (or start again) releasing control of the big and the little.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mercy, Grace, and Boogers

Before bedtime, Little Bit and I had a sing-song of our top 10 favorite songs. Ending the night was "Waves of Mercy" - the current fave. When it ended, a very theological conversation ensued...
Me: So do you know who likes it when you sing "Waves of Mercy"?
LK: No, who?
Me: God does. Did you know that song is about God?
LK: It is?
Me: Yep, it's about His mercy [here's where the theology went to pot]. God gives us mercy and grace just like the song says. Do you know what mercy and grace are? [uh, she's 2...what was I thinking????]
LK: Yep. [hmmm]
Me: You do? What is mercy and grace?
LK: I don't like grace.
Me: You don't like grace? Do you even know what grace is? [ok, here's where it really goes south]
LK: I know what boogers are.
Me: Yes, I know.
LK: I want some for lunch.
Me: Oh, you mean 'burgers'?
LK: No, boogers. I want boogers for lunch.
Me: You can't. It's not lunchtime. And besides, they're poisonous.
LK: Oh.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Glass Ceilings

You cannot impart what you do not possess.

I recently talked with a friend of mine who is hurting. She has built up a wall around her heart (past pains, cynicism, lethargy) and very little is getting through. She wants it torn down...but then again she doesn't....because that would hurt. And life is easier when you're not hurting. But not knowing how to break through that, and not feeling like she can pray through the glass ceiling above her, is taking its toll. The fact that it's taking a toll says, to me at least, that one of those heart bricks has fallen off and God has placed His finger there.

I have, at times, felt the same way. I very much know the "glass ceiling" prayers. Thankfully, before months turned into years, I fought against my instincts to move further out and prayed through the glass...where God had been patiently waiting.

One thing that struck me in our conversation was how much we agreed that we want our kids to grow up loving Jesus, to love being a part of a church community, and to own their faith - not ours. HOWEVER, we cannot impart what we do not possess. Sure, we could luck out with awesome kids who go full throttle after Jesus with no help from us. But considering the first 18 or so years of their lives will be spent under the guidance and example of ME...uh, wow. Unless I am going full throttle after Jesus, I shouldn't expect my kids to. And in that, I can only pray that they do.

For now, I will pray for my friend. I will pray that her glass ceiling shatters and that she can know, again, the love of Jesus. Not to know for her kids' sake - they'll get the spillover. To know for herself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

After being told it was bedtime so go brush your teeth, Little One responded: "But I don't want to brush my teeth. Shrek toothpaste is too spicy!"

Upon seeing Little Brother attempt to eat the cable outlet on the wall, protective Big Sister scolds, "No ma'am, Buster Boy. NO MA'AM!"

Wanting Little Brother to come and play in her room, Big Sister beckons, "Buster Boy, come here! Here kitty kitty!"

Feeling excitment over the new babbles of Baby Brother, Mommy asks ever so sweetly:

Mommy: "Can you say MaMa?"
Baby Brother: "DaDa"
Mommy: "Where's the love? Come on, say MaMa."
Baby Brother: "DaDa"
Daddy (from across the room): "Who's your favorite?"
Baby Brother: "DaDa"
I don't like this game anymore.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Zippity Monkeys

I've got to give you a little background before pressing onward with the story of the day. I've got a tender-hearted little girl. She may not look it or act like it outwardly, but deep within that soul is straight tenderness....which leads to some heart wrenching tears on what some would believe to be random occasions. For instance, slow songs get her. One day watching Sesame Street, Norah Jones made a guest appearance and sang a song about the letter "Y" to the tune of "Don't Know Why" - a slow song. Well that just ripped her to shreds. The biggest alligator tears I've ever seen and all she wanted was for me to hold her. Dang...Norah's letter Y song almost got me too! Then there was the time I sang The Carpenters "Close to You" (which used to be the only song that would calm her down when she was a baby) on a long car ride to pass the time, and dang if I didn't look into the rearview mirror and see those same alligator tears. Big ones. Huge. No loud weeping. Just that frowny face we all get when trying to hold back a breakdown...and the alligators.

Well it happened again today. But this time I was unloading the dishwasher while the babes sat at the table finishing lunch, and I was feeling mighty chipper. I burst into song (as is typical when I'm unloading the dishwasher), and today's song-of-the-day happened to be "Zippity Do Da". I thought, in honor of the recent passing of Pavarotti, I would give it an opera theme. As I pranced around the kitchen toting utensils and dishes to their proper places while singing my heart out, I spun around to see it once again. The alligators. Dang. I've done it again. Apparently it had been going on for a verse or two because the alligators were everywhere and the frowny face was in full bloom. Who knew Zippity would make me cry too?! The best part was little brother's expression while watching his mommy & sister melt down to one of his favorite songs. Huh?

After picking up the pieces of her soul off the kitchen floor, I let the babes have some play time in the family room. While completing my dishwashing task I hear Little Miss Tenderheart say to her brother: "share the monkeys......Share The Monkeys........I TOLD YOU TO SHARE THE MONKEYS!!!!!" I couldn't help but laugh when I came in to see a 2 yr old losing her cool and her 8 month old brother laughing hysterically while winning the tug of war with a barrell of monkeys.

Advice to live on: When in doubt, share the monkeys.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Day at the Farm

Move over HGTV

So I’ve got a new hobby. Everything about my new hobby is completely and utterly against my personality. If I were to pick hobbies in line with my personality (of which I’ve already picked…the hobbies, that is…not my personality…that was innate), I would go the sporty athletic route and play softball (oh yeah, I do….with men…hmmmm) and I would play some musical instruments to be cool (oh yeah, I do…the guitar and djembe…whoops, must’ve missed the flute and clarinet day in 6th grade band), and then I’d throw in a little graphic design (not the really cool techie stuff…just an occasional brochure or t-shirt) to round out my crafty side. But I’m expanding now (well, yeah, I have gained a few pounds but people come on, I’ve had 2 kids!). I’m venturing into the hobby of decorating. Or maybe the hobby of people giving me ideas on how to decorate and then I get real excited and do what they say and then freak out because I don’t know what else to do and then must have them over to give me their second idea.

The reason decorating is completely and utterly against my personality is because it requires creativity (which I have, just pent up in some different arenas of my being)…but decorating creativity is different. #1…it’s girly. Of this, I am not. #2…there’s a tweed bit of perfectionism involved. Of this, I am not AT ALL. I am a dreamer. I am not a thinker. Thankfully I married one to balance me out. I love big picture. But don’t ask me to get you to that big picture because that would require details. And details get on my nerves.

That’s why I’m a spray painter. That’s why the thought of making a “picture arrangement” on my wall scares me to death. That’s why I haven’t taken up sewing…yet…lots of little tiny needlework when I would rather use glue or tape. I must quell this fear.

And that, good people, is why I’m venturing into this new world. With a little coaching, I may just place an “accent piece” in it’s proper place (notice: my vocabulary is already being strengthened by this new hobby…see below for further details).

Decorating Lesson #1: In the world of decorating, you must use the words “piece” and “space” a lot while waving your hands around in a flapping motion to interpret what your mouth can’t articulate.