Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Miscellany of Journals

(Winter sunsets are on their way back.)

Thursday night, Oct. 16~

I'm pretty sure a cup of coffee at 8pm is going to be a bad idea for me later on, but right now it feels so nice! Then again, it's probably going to be another late night so I may as well enjoy it and be thankful for the little kick of wakefulness it will give me in just a little while. Olivia's team has a late practice tonight, so the activity around our house will also run later than usual. Then it will be time for all the stuff I do after the kids are in bed and the house is still.

It was another late night yesterday. Jon and I took off for a late walk after the kids were in bed. We had a wonderful time. We drove up the coast for a bit, parked, and continued to walk north. after turning around and heading back south, we continued till we were close to home. I'm sure I could have continued on most of the night. I LOVE walking; I especially love to walk while having a lively conversation. And we've had lots to discuss, Jon and I, with lots of potential misunderstandings we both preferred to avoid. In previous days the words weren't coming, the freedom to talk and to just be was stifled. Good marriages don't just happen, and there are road blocks and threats everywhere. I think the devil is particularly interested in destroying or otherwise soiling Christian marriages because they are to reflect Christ's love for His bride, the church. He loves to ruin that image in the eyes of the world. So we fight for closeness and pray for unity, we strive hard to love and serve each other selflessly. We want to actually know each other - our particular gifts and abilities, struggles and weakness - as we are and not as we wish the other to be. We want to compliment each other. We are different, yes, but we go together. We have to keep reminding us of that fact because we could more easily see the differences.

I joke with Jon that he's the oil, I'm the vinegar; he's the salt, I'm the pepper. In a number of ways, this analogy fits so well!

Ah, but communication! It makes all the difference. Open and honest. I am certain I am not as mature and loving as Jon is, but I felt loved and understood by him last night as we walked and talked. I hope to reciprocate this and support him the way he does for me.


Friday afternoon, Oct.17~

School was a real bear today. The city is doing some work on our lot-- taking out sidewalk and part of our lane because of root damage-- and the activity has been too much for my boys to ignore. The bob cat with pneumatic jack hammer, trucks, guys in hardhats... it was noisy and so very interesting to the boys. A couple times I had to go out and talk with the workers, and well, I kind of like being around construction, too. And I would never say this to my kids, but I even liked the smell of their cigarettes! My grandma smoked when I was little, and the smell of sweet tobacco is associated with good memories and a very elegant lady.

But it's Friday afternoon now and time for school to be behind us for a few days. Enough was accomplished in the end. The city workers should be done by dinner time, and we get to enjoy several thousand dollars worth of work free of charge to us. That's nothing to grumble about!


Late Monday night, Oct. 20~

It's no secret this has been a harder season for me. My energy level is low and I have been tired beyond the normal variety of tired. I get a little unsettled, too, just thinking about the amount of energy output needed over the next several months. I am reminded that the timing of this drop is not accidental by God, and that there are things for me to learn in this season. I've had Zechariah 4:6 in my head for several weeks now, and since Jon also mentioned it in church yesterday, I went ahead a wrote it out on my chalkboard today as further reminder.

It's what I need to learn and to remember in the busyness and in the mundane. It's what I need to practice over and over again. It is my prayer...

I know by experience that I don't have what it takes to live life victorious on my own. So I pray for God to fill me and lead me, to keep me steady (especially to be responsive and not reactive in my emotions), to give me wisdom, and to enable me to glorify Him in my work of loving others. I pray for relationship with Him, and for a moment by moment knowledge of His presence within me.

My strength and my power fail, but His is unfailing and mighty beyond the powers of this world.


Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 21~

Sibling rivalry. I think I could write a whole lot on this topic, but I'm afraid I'm still not qualified to do so. Truth be known, I deal with it every single day here in our home. I wish it were not so; I wish we had a better handle on it by now. But here's the thing: Though it is completely normal (and because of the sin nature, rivalry is completely expected), it is still not acceptable. If you understand the sin nature, you will understand the fact that our children are born under the bondage of sin. Though it is still shocking and rather unsettling when your baby starts to defy you, you shouldn't be completely surprised at the sin. We know our kids will sin in many ways, just as we have done the same ourselves. Sibling rivalry is an outpouring of that sinful nature, but too often parents feel that it is beyond their jurisdiction. Let me compare sibling rivalry to lying: When a child lies, it is obvious that it must be dealt with. In the same manner, when children fight, it must be dealt with as a serious matter. Sin must be addressed and exposed: This has to be the work of the parent. Parents must expose the root of this sin (primarily pride and selfishness- James 4:1-2) to their children, and they must not give up on training their children to love and serve one another.

It seems that the prevailing opinion on sibling rivalry is that it is part of growing up, and that children will outgrow it eventually. The same is often said of disrespect toward parents. This is not biblical, or even sensible. Children need to understand the controlling forces of sin, and they need learn to master themselves. They need to learn selflessness and obedience, that the world doesn't revolve around their preferences and comfort. Ultimately, they need to know that repentance, forgiveness, and life in Christ is FREEDOM from the indwelling power of sin, and that victory over sin comes by the power of the Spirit residing within the believer.

If a home-life is ruined by children's fighting and contention, it is largely because the parents have allowed it to be so. I have had to seek forgiveness on this matter many times before. It seems that a little laziness on my part quickly allows the problem to snowball; sinful patterns on my part lead to sinful patterns on my children's part.

Here's another thought: If children learn the discipline of living in unity with one another, under the submission of their parents, how much easier will it be for them later in life? Think about their relationship with their spouse, or with co-workers, or within the church. There is potential for conflict everywhere, and the tools against fighting, contention, and disunity are essential for building and maintaining God-honoring relationships.

Finally, we ought to consider our own example. Do we fight with our family members and friends? Do we fight with our spouse? Do we yell, or give the silent treatment? Do we constantly find ourselves in sticky relationships with people at church? How do we respond to an unreasonable customer service rep? We can't underestimate the power of example.

Ultimately, the question is really this:  Am I living a life worthy of the gospel and walking in relationship with my Savior? I can't expect anything from my kids without first living it out.

The fight against sin feels relentless, no?! Praise God that the battle has already been won and our hope in Him is not in vain!

(Michael's latest.)


Tuesday evening, Oct. 21~

This has been a concept worth understanding:

Just because I have a dream or believe with all my heart that I've been called to something, doesn't mean I'll get what I hope and pray for.

I may earnestly desire and pray for something, even something God says is beautiful in His sight and fully believe He is leading me and preparing the way, only to discover it is not His desire for my life.

The Bible says God fulfills our desires (Ps. 37:4). Sometimes He gives us the actual desire, placing something in our heart that clearly wasn't of our own; other times He simply grants the wishes of His children as a gracious act from a loving Father.

I am learning that my desires, even the godly ones that are for Him, must be held in my hand wide open. If my life is His, then so are my hopes and dreams. I cannot clutch onto anything or anyone with a sense of entitlement.

Maybe the journey in preparing my heart for a desire He gave me was the very purpose God intended. Maybe the outcome was a transformed heart, and a new willingness to obey. Maybe sanctification was the goal, and not the fruition of a dream or desire.

This would still be precious in His sight.


Late Tuesday evening, Oct. 21~

Chocolate cookies are good now and then. I haven't cut out sugar entirely, nor do I intend to do so. I made a bunch of Ina Garten's chocolate chunk cookies tonight, just for the fun of it. It was a terribly good bedtime snack for the kids.



  1. Beautiful… Especially the chocolate! ��

  2. Praying for you. Your meditations encourage me to ask the Lord for my own greater and more joyful submission to His good and perfect will. Thank you, friend.

  3. Thank you for sharing... You are such an encouragement to me. It helps me so much to read your thoughts and rethink some of the things I have been thinking! Praying for you...


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