Tag Archives: God

The Beauty of the Balance of Parenting

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.

This weekend, our pastor kicked off a series about the beauty of balance (you can listen to it here if you’d like). He spoke of how Christ is balanced not by being mediocre, or lukewarm, but having strong feelings in both directions. When he loves, he loves fully, fiercely, and sacrificially. When he is angry, he is filled with righteous anger. Jesus was altogether human, and is fully God. He is full of grace, yet spoke only truth. Some might say He is a contradiction, but He simply embodies the beauty of balance.

As I listened to the metaphors of balance, it seemed even more apparent to me than usual that life is more about a balance of extremes than pulling ourselves into the middle, and letting go of what’s on either side – and especially better to have a balance than leaning on one side too heavily.

Even more than that, as it often happens with me nowadays, the pastor’s message spoke to me particularly through the lens of motherhood. It is important to have balance in every aspect of parenting children. You need lots of elements to raise well your tiny humans, and to emotionally and physically survive parenting. You need silliness and discipline. You need exercise (or at least getting out some energy) and rest. You need community and time to be alone. You need a balance of all these things. Parenting consists of small moments of a single feeling or a lesson learned, all of which are built up together to grow up your little people. Yes, there are moments where your children learn security from love and affection that you show them. There are moments where they will learn about integrity, because you went through with a consequence, even when you didn’t want to. There are joyous times for being silly and making faces, and growing imagination through pretending. There are hard conversations about right and wrong, and mistakes made and how to fix them.

But each of these things, on their own, don’t create and nurture a life. It takes all of them together, interspersed through the long days and short years of being a parent and loving a child. The beauty of balance in parenthood is what grows up our helpless babes into Jesus-loving men and women who can impact the world in a positive way. The seasons of sleepless nights (cue any “mombie” jokes you’ve ever heard), potty training (when it’s often easier to leave them in the diaper), driver’s ed (where you might be literally fearing for their lives) and college tuition (where you’re sacrificing your current comforts for their futures) all matter. The beauty is in the balance of your love for them, your willingness to make sacrifices for them, and your desire for them to be independent, well-meaning and compassionate people.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.

  I’ve had an unforseen transformation over the past couple of years. As a girl who never had a green thumb or really cared about gardens of any sort, I’ve learned to really love growing things. I get excited in the early spring about planning out our vegetable and herb garden, readying the soil, building a new bed, perhaps, and buying the seeds and seedlings. It’s hard work, especially the preparation, but I’ve learned to really enjoy it. Last summer, I was one thousand months pregnant with my third baby, and I was shoveling fresh dirt into a new bed. I wanted to be a part of it that much.

I love seeing the first little glimpses of life coming up through the soil. I love smelling the fresh leaves on the herbs, especially after it rains. I love seeing the very first tiny, green tomatoes, and little yellow squashes. I even like trimming, pruning and deadheading to help send the nutrients to the good parts of the plant. I love the way my big kids want to get outside with me, dig in the dirt, and eat tomatoes right off the vine. My eldest can even name most of the herbs, and identify them by smell. Even as recently as five years ago, I’d never be able to tell you that I would love it this much, and incorporate it into my life so fully.

But I started growing something else, about five years ago. It was a big task, something that took the most energy, time, effort, and prayer I’ve ever given anything. I grew a child in my womb. I was the vessel as God literally knit a life together and helped it grow. Now, I am a nurturer to three such blessings, helping them grow. Yes, it still takes the most energy, time, effort and prayer I can muster. Yes, it even takes a little pruning of misconceptions and education after mistakes to help the best parts of my children thrive. Train up a child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6), yes?

It may be a cheesy metaphor, but the love of growing things became so real to me when I was growing something of my very own. The love the God helps us grow, the love of parents help their children grow, and the love of a gardener helps her garden grow. Tending anything that grows requires effort. It requires the giving of nutrients and water. It requires protection from storms, literal or figurative. It requires a certain love for the thing to help it grow. We are not abandoned to grow on our own in the wild; we have a loving God, tending to our needs, and helping us grow into who He’s called us to be.

God Still Parts Red Seas

Each year, the pastor at my church chooses a scripture that will be preached on and spoken to each member of the church individually, as a blessing for the year. It’s a really wonderful thing that they do: speaking positivity and truth into each and every person’s life through the course of one morning. Speaking blessing and encouragement into people who may not get it from anywhere else. It’s awesome.

Last night, I went with the other members of leadership to be blessed for 2015. The Blessing Sunday is a really busy time for worship leaders, pastors, deacons, and others who are leaders in the church, so we all get blessed with our families the previous Wednesday at a service together. As I went with Hubby to take communion and pick up the kids for the blessing, I was overcome with excitement. This is gonna be good! I thought. And it was. Our venue pastor Brandon was one of our “blessers”, along with a lady that I hadn’t met before. The scripture for the blessing was this:

Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJV)
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

Stand still. How often are we told that? Maybe if we’re having our picture taken, and that’s about it. Otherwise, it’s “come here” and “do this” and “go there” and “finish that”. It’s never “stand still, and let the Lord fight your battle for you”. How much better is that? How much more successful will He be at fighting my battle?

See the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. He WILL accomplish it. No question. He HAS accomplished it; His salvation is already ours! Amen, y’all!

You shall hold your peace. Hold… your… peace. Hold it. YOUR peace. That peace is yours for the taking, for the holding. That peace is in the security of knowing the Lord is fighting for you. FOR. YOU.

Our “blessers” spoke wisdom, peace, encouragement and security into our lives for 2015. They spoke to us as husband and wife, as parents, as workers and doers and believers. They spoke in love, and in the Holy Spirit. I’ve been thinking about it all night and all morning, how encouraged and positive I feel! A little encouragement and a word from the Lord spoken straight to me can go a long way.

If you need this encouragement, this love, this word, and you’re in central NC, then be at Reynolda Church, EPC on Sunday morning at 9:30 or 11. It’s gonna be good, y’all.

His Best For Us

CS LEWIS 1

How often do you pray for what you want? A friendship to mend. A job opportunity to work out. A boyfriend to pop the question.

I bet those things don’t work out like we plan as often as we wish. We lose touch with the friend. We don’t get the job. The boyfriend says things “aren’t working out”. And we are left hurting.

It sucks down there in the pit… the pit in which we feel we’re stuck after every situation that ends a different way than we plan. How will you ever forgive that friend? What will you do since you couldn’t get your dream job? Will you find a love as good as the one you had?

Friends, these are valid questions. I won’t tell you they’ve never crossed my mind, or that they shouldn’t cross yours. It’s the human experience, wondering these things. But listen to this: That isn’t what God has for you.

There are incredible plans for you. He knows what you need. Isn’t that comforting? What a relief! Even when you’ve had the wrong idea all this time, He’s had the right one. God has fashioned a perfect journey, and you’re already on it. It might not be easy. It might not be safe in our personal bubble. But it is GOOD. His highest for you is so much more wishing and wondering. He has a perfect place for you to be. He has the perfect way and time for you to get there. He will lead you to the perfect brothers and sisters in His name.

There are so many clichés that non-empathetic people love to use… mostly ones that we don’t want to hear. God’s timing is perfect. Hindsight is 20/20. When God closes a door, He opens a window. Blah blah blah. Of course they’re true. They wouldn’t be clichés if they weren’t true. But who wants to hear that?! I want someone to say, “Yeah, that’s an awful feeling. I’ve been there.” and then pray for me. I know that God has a plan. But that doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t hurt. I know an amazing future is ahead – but that doesn’t mean I’m not totally impatient waiting on it!

Take heart, right now. His best is on its way. I promise. He promises. Pick your head up, trudge up from the pit, and shout to Him, “I’m ready! I want to trust You and move on!” He will pick you up and help you onward. And if you need a sister to pray with you and for you and hold your hand, I’m your gal. Or connect with a church. Or find a fellowship. Reach out. I can’t do it for you (believe me I would if I could). If you can’t muster up the faith that He has your best, call on someone to believe it for you. He has it. His best. For you. Always.