Monday, May 19, 2014

Off the Shelf, Out of the Cabinet

In a few months, Kev and I will have been married 19 years.

We've moved 13+ times.  It may have been more, I've truly lost count.

After 3 kids, 2 of which are boys and one of which inherited his mom's klutz genes and bless his heart, broke nearly anything not bolted down (oh wait, he got some of those as well!)...

Very few things from our wedding showers and newlywed days remain unbroken, still working, or not completely worn out.

However, this is one big exception.

I cherish it.

My wedding china.

All except for one plate that specially hangs on the wall with a piece from my grandmother and my stepmother, they are protected.

They are treasured and valued.  They are gently tucked away carefully wrapped, sealed, and cushioned. They are in safe place. 

They only come out for special occasions.  Though I have been purposely redefining what a special occasion is and finding excuses to use them more in the every day, for the most part they stay tucked away.

Only brought out when needed.

Only brought out to impress or set a specific mood.

Only brought out when really thought about.

Only brought out when I want them out.

In many of our homes, in many of our daily lives, we have something else that is quickly becoming treated the same way.

Our Bibles.  Scripture. His Word.

We can tend to pull it out only when needed. We treat it like the special occasion china instead of our everyday Corelle dinner plates. (I finally got a new set for Mother's Day----and oh did that make me smile! That was another last of the original wedding gifts that had been used well beyond its prime!).

If we aren't careful we can pull it out as a means to "impress", but not actually apply.  Being honest and transparent, don't we all have verses that we may can quote or recognize, but seldom faithfully apply to our lives. Ouch.

We may even read it in passing, but we don't cherish it.  We don't protect it. We don't value it like we should.

We don't huger for it.

We don't meditate on it.

We'd rather let someone else read it to us on a Sunday morning or on a favorite blog, but we don't dig in it for ourselves.

When we do, it sometimes is just out of desperation because we feel like we've exhausted every other resource first.  We've sought counsel, we've read books, looked online for answers, talked to countless friends....


We've gone to the SOURCE, last.

We're not even trying to protect it like fine china.  That's not even our excuse.

We're just ignoring it.
Letting life get in the way of our priorities.
Letting the lies of satan speak too us too often and too loud.

We think we don't need it.
We think we can handle things on our own.

Yet, we often wonder why we can't hear from God/why He seems so out of reach?

"O beloved, I plead with you not to treat God's promises as something to be displayed in a museum but to use them as everyday sources of comfort. And whenever you have a time of need, trust in the Lord."  Charles H Spurgeon

We've got to get back to the basics.  We've got to get back to our true source of life. 

Life is hard.  It's messy.  Dreams can fall apart.  Marriages and families are breaking apart.  Right is being professed as wrong, and wrong is being taught as normal.  Life doesn't seem to be black and white, the lines of gray have overtaken.  We get in over our heads.  We have more questions than we even know how to ask.

The only way to navigate life and to grow and THRIVE (not merely survive)...

Is to dig.


Every day in His word.

Not putting it up on a shelf.
Not pulling it out just for Sunday morning (if even then).
Not just grasping on with both hands and all we are worth when storms hit.

We've got to get in it and learn from it EVERY day.  In the calm.  To survive the storm.

Because the storms come.  More often than ever it seems.

We can't give to others what we don't have in our own hearts.  Our own wells are too empty and depleted.

We can't understand our purpose, our calling, our value if we don't know what God has for us.

We can't understand the impact of His mercy and grace if we don't know its value.

We need to get back to finding a thirst that can only be satisfied when we drink deeply from His word.

Even if we don't know where to start, we have to pick it up and start somewhere.

Every time I look at my china hanging on the kitchen wall, I'm reminded that life is too short to keep the rest boxed up, overly protected for "just" the right occasion. 

Every day might just be the best occasion.


Friday, May 9, 2014

A Challenge...

We see the news headlines.

 It's in our face 24/7 through social media.

We see it with our eyes and hear it with our ears just walking out the door.

Our world is a scary place to live in and raise children.

We are quick to talk about how the youth of this generation is spiritually/morally bankrupt.

I'm not going to deny that it IS a huge issue.  I'm not going to debate the causes (for now!).

However, I am going to issue a challenge.  I'm accepting the challenge and hope others will as well.


Find the one. 

Find the teen/young adult that is making smart choices. The one that is making small or big decisions that are putting them on a path that the world doesn't celebrate as normal. The one that is feeling invisible and alone.  The one that is working hard, showing respect, or learning valuable lessons about being a productive adult in an all "about me" society. 

As an adult, it is HARD to live differently than the world at times.  It is exponentially harder to do so as a youth.  We used to call it "peer pressure".  In this day in age, it goes FAR beyond just pressure from peers.  They feel pressure of the entire world.  Literally.

Over the last several weeks, I've listened to my daughter just talk about what she sees in her world.  So many truly broken hearts.  The battles that our sons and daughters face in this world are NOT insignificant and trivial.  Almost daily she shares of someone heavy on her heart that is navigating brokenness.  She often shares of how hard it is for this generation to feel confident to do the right thing, unfortunately even amongst those of faith. 

Listening to her (and even recently to our older son as he every so slowly begins to share things in his world) convicted my own heart.

They NEED our support.
They NEED us.
They NEED someone to simply just say, "I saw that.  Thank you."
They NEED someone to just tell them, "Don't give up."
They NEED someone to just let them know that there is hope through the brokenness.
They NEED to know they are not alone and that we ALL struggle with something.
They NEED a smile, a laugh, a hug.
They NEED to know we are approachable.
They NEED to know WE FAIL.

Today, find the one....the one in your daily life.  The one in the market place that holds the door.  The one that shows up on time and ready to work.  The one that you know made a hard decision, but did the right thing.  The one that chose to dress in a way that shows their inner beauty through modesty (which can still be VERY fashionable), instead of revealing. The one that is studying hard or putting in the extra effort in their extracurricular activity. The one that......

Maybe it's even the one that you don't know well.  The one that you just "sense" needs a bit of encouragement.  We don't necessarily have to know every detail of what is happening to know that they are hurting.

As moms, we often talk about how we might struggle with feeling invisible.  How no one seems to notice or doesn't care about the effort we put in, the sacrifices we make, or how exhausted we are some days.  We can definitely have those days and feelings.  We can often feel deflated and truly just struggle through those emotions.

I think we have a generation of youth feeling the same way.

They need to know we notice and care.

It's easy to overlook them with the headlines around us.  It's easy to overlook them when what we see outside our door draws our attention in a negative way.

Let's challenge ourselves to search for the positives and support it. They need our support. They need the encouragement to keep making the hard decisions. 

They need to know that their light is shining in a dark world.