Oct 212016

My daughter was dealing in what I like to call “extremes” this week.  Grade school pictures.  Happened.  And even though I tried to reassure her of the positives, her phrase to sum it all up to her Dad when first walking through the door was, “I got my school picture and it is %100 bad.”  And the bad does not stop here people.  This week just keeps comin’ at ya.

Emotions.  Oh to know and understand them.  This is the real chore.  With 3 girls under 7 in tow and home.  The 2nd “extreme”  came out while consecutively keeping a hula hooping session underway (she has watched her mother multitask and fail miserably, so I am sure her subconscious competitive spirit was in full swing).  “I came with my best friend to play the game with everyone, but when the circle came to my turn, they skipped me.  And my best friend didn’t even stand up for me.  And so I said, ‘Well, I guess you just don’t like me and don’t want to ever play with me.  You are not my friend anymore.’ ”  (Of course this is the reader’s digest version for you all.  I would be happy to expand the what was a 30 minute conversation of wading through tears and story plot if you email me.  And don’t have a life.)

The words of making up possible reasons or excuses for the others wasn’t a good idea.  The mama “Jesus teaches us…” only made the hula hooping the main event.  And the mama empathy seemed to move the slow faucet drips to a constant waterfall of tears.  So I was at a loss.  Once again.  In mothering.

But I couldn’t help but think to myself- “Man, she is definitely making a ‘mountain out of a molehill’ (don’t you love the intense analogy I used here).  If only she could see herself through the eyes of Jesus and me, to stand on truth here instead of focusing on the wounds of other’s.  Then her “NOT’s” mindest and heart could be propelled into the present and future as an opportunity to empathize with other’s in their times of woundedness and exclusion and find strength and unfailing love in the arms of Jesus.  He is the ONLY one.  ONLY Savior.  ONLY friend.  Who will never let her and us down.

As I looked on my daughter with self pity, the pride came before a fall as I found myself living in dual mindsets as her this week.  “A little birdie told me” of a conversation which happened among some of my dearest friend’s.  In which I wasn’t there.  But even though I had recently layed my heart and soul before them, without knowing it they crushed it.  Because when looking for someone to fulfill a specific role in ministry, my name wasn’t considered.  It was NOT a factor.  I was NOT considered.  Picked.  And at this point, I also, like my daughter, when to the “extremes” or the I’m “%100 bad” mindset.  I won’t deny it.  I was wounded.  And this is where Satan earns his paycheck.  I went to the dark place.  I didn’t believe God would ever use me, because He must think like everyone else and consider everyone else but me.  Because I am NOT.

Memories of 7th grade NOT being picked for the basketball team came to mind.  Of being the 8th bride in the “7 brides for 7 brother’s” Musicale (if you didn’t catch the gist there, I was NOT in the show due to their only being 7 brides and not 8.  Sorry if I just insulted your intelligence by explaining this joke, my husband tells me I am real good at doing this.)  And so.  the NOTs kept.  On.  Coming.  But I remembered what to do when “100% bad” hits.

Go.  To.  my heavenly Father.  And be.  In His lifegiving company.  And Sit.  Asking His Word to speak to me.  (Getting His download of me instead of others’.  And at this point I KNEW Satan was real upset.  So good!)  And let me tell you-I came out fully loved.  fully valued.  fully gifted.  fully rebuilt.  fully strengthed.  fully geared up to be sent out to serve.

I wonder if you are in a “%100 bad” mindset/circumstance today.  Well guess what?  When in the dark pit, there is one best thing to do.  Look up.  To Jesus.  And allow His light to shine on in.  Or maybe, like my daughter’s hula hoop, you are in a round and round and round cycle of negative/untrue/”hula hoop lies” thinking towards yourself and/or someone else and don’t know how to stop?  Will you ask God to enter into this place and guide you into all Truth?

And so I pray for you today, my sister, the same prayer I prayed for myself.  “Lord come and speak and help and renew.”  The outcome being the 100% bad mindset of “NOTs” (that other’s, ourselves and the enemy infiltrates our minds with) strangely amounting to NOTHING.  And we find ourselves humming the true song of the love, hope and purpose in the mighty name of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (The Message)  Strength from Weakness

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.



© 2012 Standing on Peace



Oct 252012

For years I have felt compelled to pray the strange prayer that my sons would be prodigals instead of elder brothers.

Rather than knowing only their own pride, performance and striving after perfection, I want them to know deeply their need for God, and the thrill of mercy flooding all their inadequate places.

But seeing those inadequate places is hard to bear.

One of my life mentors has a strong, extroverted personality and isn’t afraid to be blunt and sometimes confrontational. This can be an incredibly valuable quality, yet his wife and I joke that when Mark sins, he sins boldly!

The same is true for my oldest son Michael, who I’m beginning to understand in some new ways this year. When Michael sins, he sins boldly. When he’s struggling, his inadequacies are out there for everyone to see. He can’t hide his fire, and when it comes out in an unrefined way, it makes me cringe. It’s hot and uncomfortable.

Yet these are the moments when my prayer is being answered. Because until inadequacies are truly exposed, there can be no deep experience of God’s mercy.

I think of myself as a pretty authentic person, but it’s easier to let my weaknesses be seen after I’ve processed and cleaned them up. Then when I share about them, I come off as self-aware and mature.

I don’t want my deepest inadequacies to be seen live, the ones that would really make you cringe. Like the day after Michael got home from a week of overnight camp when I yelled at him, “Why are you so hard to live with?”

“Then the Lord said to her, ‘You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish but inside you are filthy.’” (Luke 11:39)

As hard as it is for me to see (and know others are seeing) Michael’s emotional outbursts and 10-year-old bravado, it’s dawning on me that he is a model for me of transparency. His fire burns away any false, superficial exterior so that what is on the inside

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can be seen on the outside.

With Michael what you see is what you get. It’s real, it’s live, it’s in the moment—not shared later with wise overtones.

As we keep refining, I keep reminding myself that my kids’ reckless prodigal moments (and mine!) are an opportunity for an experience of mercy—every time. And I would much prefer this to

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a life of seeming maturity on our outsides while judgment, resentment, and pride are building on our insides.

For it is not prideful striving or covering up that will get us a clean cup in the end. It is being seen at our worst by a Father who hikes up his robes and comes running in response. It is mercy flooding our filthy places.

How do you help your kids experience mercy when they are at their worst?



© 2012 Standing on Peace