Monday, May 30, 2011

He loves me with an everlasting love

I sit here with my computer on my lap and my legs soaking up some sun. My kids are playing in front of me, quiet mostly because everyone is spent from a busy Sunday. Actually they are a little more sensitive and a little less patient than I would like them to be right now. I guess that's how it is when we're tired and there's not enough on the list of expectations for the day to keep everyone focused.

It makes me think about what I want the summer to look like. Although it will pass by quickly with the various trips we have planned for the summer months, I want to make sure our home days are constructive. I've noticed that when there is not an objective for the day, when everyone gets to lounge around indefinitely, seeking their own pleasure and happiness, attitudes turn sour and selfishness infects everyone. This is not good, and ultimately the blame for such an atmosphere falls on us, the parents. Mostly it will be my responsibility to make sure that constructive activities along with play and relaxation are carried out with the objectives of developing character, team work, and deepening relationships.

Really, my heart longs for them to know and love Christ, and to be motivated to love others selflessly. Lord, give me the strength to love them selflessly and to point them to you. Cause me to know and love You more.

This past Saturday I spent something like five hours pruning rose bushes and a few other shrubs. It was a pretty day to spend outside, and the pruning had been long overdue. Jon was with the kids at the pool, working and studying while the kids played happily together. I worked steadily, stopping only to fix and deliver lunches and snacks. At first I felt a little antisocial because I really didn't care to join in the fun, but occasional solitude is necessary for my well-being and I haven't been permitting myself much time recently.  I need time to process, to think and pray.

(Continuing on from this afternoon...)

The truth is that I've been feeling spiritually sluggish, dull, distant. Yet I find comfort in the knowledge that this is just a feeling, and that my heavenly Father's love for me is constant and never based on feelings. Feelings are subjective, and for someone like me, they can be quite fickle. My feelings can change based on my circumstances, how someone treated me, the weather, the time of the month, hunger, fatigue, and a multitude of other factors. They are never a good measure of reality and cannot be trusted.

I am to THINK rightly. What is right is objective, and not subject to change. When I am disciplined to think rightly, my feelings can be brought into subjection to what is right. If I am not disciplined to think rightly, then my feelings will control me and eventually lead me down a futile and sinful path. I have seen this lived out, and I don't recommend it! My feelings, or emotions, are under the curse and they should not be trusted as right.

The Bible tells me this: "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell [or think] on these things." (Phil. 4:8)

This will take self-discipline. It requires me to know what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise. This I can find in God's Word, and with the wisdom that comes from fearing Him. Then when my thinking is right, my perspective -- my feelings about this and that -- will be redirected. My feelings are not outside of God's sanctifying power.

So when I feel distant and when God seems to be silent, I can live by faith knowing that He holds me close, that He hears, and that He cares. I can repent of my sluggishness and my lack of worship. He is faithful regardless of how I feel.


Today we celebrated Andrew's half birthday. That's right, we celebrate half birthdays 'round here. It started several years ago when I realized just how important it is to little kids to say their age "and a half". Anything for a little fun; to make my kids look back to their childhood with happy memories. It's a chance for me to make each of my kids feel special. Real birthdays, after all, only come once a year.

We don't do anything elaborate, and the specifics vary. One thing is constant: The half-birthday child chooses a dessert (usually not cake) and we sing "Happy Half-Birthday" and they blow out candles. For Andrew it was six candles plus one half the length of the others. And the special child gets a small gift, eats off the special plate, and gets an extra measure of loving.

Goofy? Maybe, but my kids love it. It's an easy way for me to make happy memories.

Here's a fun picture of my six-and-a-half year old boy taken this weekend at one of our favorite family restaurants:


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