Monthly Archives: August 2011

Birthdays and Such…

Today my family is having a birthday party for me and Brody.  Derick is hosting it.  I am cooking for it.  And I am skipping church so that I can clean my house for it.  I guess I don’t really have time for this blog, but sometimes writing about what I have to do helps me clear my head so that I can be more productive.  I guess this is a good way to get a jump start on my house.  I am constantly lamenting to Derick about the state of… everything.  Well, not everything.  Sometimes when my house is a mess it feels like everything else is bad too.

I think I’ll start in the bathroom and go from there.  The bathroom is quick and it’ll make me feel like I’m actually getting something done.  Then the hall and follow it to the kitchen and down the basement stairs.  Not really sure what I’m gonna do once I get down the stairs and actually in the basement (since I usually want to run and hide rather than face the mess that is my basement).  I guess I’ll just start at the bottom of the stairs and work my way out from there.  We’ll see how it goes.  I guess Derick’s family already knows that I have a bad case of the messies.

I really believe this is a spiritual battle for me.  I want help from God to have strength, energy, etc… But when it comes to cleaning my house, sometimes I think that praying for help is too trivial.  Why would God care to help me with that?!  Maybe because He knows that I want to honor Him with my house and everything in it.  *sigh*  Well, I guess I better get to it!

I Corinthians 10:31~

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Colossians 3:23~

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”

WHATEVER I DO!  Anything!  No thing is too small for me to work at it  for the Lord.  So, work hard.  Work hard until my family returns from church.  Work hard until my family returns, not for them or me, but for God and to His glory and with His strength.

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Happiness vs Holiness

Focus on the Family, this morning, was a repeat from yesterday.  I was a little irritated at first.  I listen every day that I deliver the papers.  Of course, I can never listen to the whole thing.  I’m constantly getting in and out of the car.  Most days I listen to WCIC, the Christian contemporary radio station here in Peoria.  The songs get old sometimes but I like the overnight DJ.  He talks like no one is listening.  Its pretty entertaining.  Then at 5:00 they air Focus on the Family.

Today, was a repeat of yesterday, though.  I can only imagine that it was an honest mistake by the radio station.  It was the second half of an interview with Gary Thomas, the author of the book Sacred Marriage.  Like I said, I was a little irritated at first.  I’m always interested in what that day’s broadcast is going to be.  Today was supposed to be about dispelling common myths of parenting.  Great!  I can always use some parenting advice!  Can’t we all?!  Anyway, I decided to go ahead and listen instead of changing the station in search of something new.  I can always use marriage advice just as much as parenting advice.  (Sometimes I think I’m doing just fine, and Derick needs to improve our marriage.)  The theme of the broadcast was marriage being design to make us Holy like Christ, not happy.  What a novel concept!  I really believe this to be true, I just don’t think about it very often.  Nor do most people.  Most of us are out to find what makes us happy in everything, including relationships.

I am divorced, so I understand the feelings that go along with being happy and in love to being so anxious to be done you can hardly stand it!  But, for Derick and I, divorce isn’t even in our vocabulary.  We decided before we got married that it simply is not an option.  I was talking to my brother-in-law the other night.  He was expressing some frustrations that he is having with a group that he works closely with.  Basically, he has leadership responsibilities but no authority to carry out those responsibilities.  He said its very frustrating!  I thought about it this morning, and my relationship with Derick as my leader.  If that is how I treat Derick, I’m sure it would not only lead to frustration, but also to anger and resentment.  This doesn’t make our marriage Holy.  Not even close!

Gary Thomas talked about Mary Todd Lincoln for a bit.  Apparently, she was a very difficult woman to get along with.  But, God used that to build the strength in Abraham Lincoln that he would need to lead our country during the Civil War!  Many people say, “behind every great man, there is a great woman”.  Or even the opposite may be true.  But, maybe God wants to use that not-so-great man or woman to make us better husbands and wives.  God has a purpose and a design for everything!  I mentioned yesterday that God will use whatever means necessary to get our attention and draw us to Him.  Even if that means being married to a controlling husband or a contentious wife.

In the past, and even occasionally now, I have a hard time reconciling myself to the fact that I am divorced and remarried.  I was raised to believe that you get married once and its til death do you part.  I never imagined that I would be faced with infidelity and divorce!  But, God has brought healing to my life.  I would not appreciate Derick the way that I do, if it had not been for the first marriage that I went through.

So, God designed marriage to make us Holy.  I Peter 1:16 says, “Be Holy, for I am Holy.”  This is God speaking.  I Corinthians 2:16b says, “But we have the mind of Christ.”  Christ was holy like the Father and we have the mind of Christ.  We can be Holy like God.  So what does that look like in a marriage?  Probably like unfailing commitment, til death do us part.  Probably not how we think of love.  Most people think of loving someone as very similar to infatuation.  God designed marriage to be a picture of Christ’s love for the church.  We, the church, do not deserve to be loved.  We deserve to be left to fend for ourselves.  But, not only did God love us, but when we were at our absolute worst, that’s when he sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to die for us.  If we really want to be Holy in marriage, this is the model that we need to follow.  Derick and I have not been at our best over the last couple of weeks.  But, in order to be Holy in my marriage, instead of making myself happy, I need to figure out how to change me, not him.  I need to be mindful of his needs and his desires above my own.  There’s no promise that this change in attitude will produce a perfect marriage.  But, in my own experience, when I focus on Christ alone, He works out situations that I never could, He fills me with more love and grace than I could ever expect to give to Derick on my own strength.  And that is more fulfilling than anything that I could get out of marriage without Christ.

So, today, I’m going to start cleaning my bedroom.  I don’t want to, but I know that’s what Derick wants.  I’m not solely responsible for the mess, but I know that today, this is the best way to put Derick’s interests ahead of my own and allow God to make my marriage Holy.

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The Voice of Reason at 3am

I think the Lord speaks to me when I deliver papers.  He speaks in a still small voice, in the quiet of the night under a blanket of stars.  Sometimes I think I have the radio too loud for me to hear.  The God that I serve is not pushy.  He is not rude.  He is not forceful.  But, at the same time, he will do what he needs to in order to get my attention.  I have been delivering newspapers since the end of January.  I didn’t want to.  In fact, Derick and I had a route about 4+ years ago, and we said when we quit that we would never do that again! We would have to be destitute to do that again!  Well, here we are, delivering papers again, just to make ends meet.  I should be thankful.  I am thankful!  I am thankful that I have the physical ability to deliver papers.  I am thankful that Derick and I are both driven to provide for our family.  I am thankful that I have a reliable car with which to deliver the newspapers.  I am thankful for the exercise.  And today, the Lord asked me to be thankful for the solitude.

I have trouble, sometimes, finding the time to do the things that I need to do, especially the things that really need to be done everyday.  Sometimes I lack that sense of urgency.  That could be anything from reading my Bible, to cleaning the bathroom, to just picking up after myself.  This is a struggle for me.  I also struggle with teaching my kids to have this sense of urgency about getting things done, even homework at night.  Its hard to teach something that you really know nothing about.  So, how do I learn to have this sense of urgency, this need to keep things neat and in order.  I realized today how the Lord wants me to learn to spend time with Him everyday.  It is through delivering papers.  I am past the point of keeping my eyes glued to my route list everyday.  I basically have it memorized.  Well, enough that I can put my mind on other things… like listening when the Lord is speaking.

Like I said in the beginning, the Lord speaks to me when I deliver papers.  Last night, I had a melt down over the state of my house.  It is a disaster and I would be embarrassed for anyone to see it right now!  I feel so overwhelmed that I just cannot move forward.  I feel like no one in my house cares, even though I know that isn’t true.  I remember my mother having that same complaint as I grew up.  She wanted a clean house.  She wanted to know what to do to keep it clean and she wanted to know what to do to teach us to do these things.  I know that I have complained about my messy house before.  I seem to make worthless promises to myself that I’m gonna keep it clean this time.  This time will be different.  But, it never is.

This morning I realized, its not just that I want it to be clean.  I want to be a good steward with what the Lord has given me.  Maybe that’s the key.  I need to view this house and everything in it as belonging to the Lord.  Essentially it all does, but do I really believe that?  Do my actions suggest that I believe that?  I want to believe, but my actions definitely don’t show it!

So, what do I do about it?  I need a plan.  A realistic plan.  A short term plan that I can slowly expand as the Lord teaches me good stewardship.  Two verses came to my mind this morning when I thought about how overwhelmed I get.  The first is Psalm 30:5b which says, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”  The second verse is Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  God will bring me new mercy and joy every morning!  Whatever happened to my plan the day before, today is new!  His mercies are new!  His joy is new!  And they are mine for the taking!

The first thing I need to do, is make sure that my kitchen is always clean.  That is the first thing people see when they walk into my house.  If the first impression is a messy kitchen, then who cares about the rest of the house.  The next thing I need to do is use my time wisely, starting with the hours of 3:00am to 7:00am.  I usually leave my house at about 2:50am to go pick up my newspapers.  If the papers are on time, I am delivering between 4:00 and 5:30am.  A few months ago, I wrote out Romans 8 on note cards, fully intending to memorize it.  Well, I got sidetracked and it didn’t happen.  I can’t really sit down and read a few chapters in my Bible at that time, but I could easily spend time meditating on small passages and memorizing scripture while I’m walking the streets of Peoria.  I think I’ll dig out those note cards again.

The next thing I want to do, is help my kids to learn scripture too.  Verses like, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”  Colossians 3:23 or “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31.  I want them to know that every gift is from God alone, and it is our responsibility to take care of it and appreciate it.

And last, I’m going to try to blog about the things that the Lord speaks to me about while I am delivering papers.  Most days, I go back to bed after I’m done delivering.  I love to blog though, even if I am the only one that reads it.  It helps to clear my head.  Oh, yeah, I’m also going to limit my time on the computer.  There are always more important things to do that get on Facebook!

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