November 1, 2014

Good bye, Training Wheels

Will is our witty seven year old. He loves people, and he is sensitive to the feelings of others. He is a practical prayer warrior and a stereotypical third child. This guy has had a significant growth spurt since his seventh birthday. He has grown physically, mentally, and spiritually in this last few months. 

I could easily create a William Quote of the Day Twitter account. Some of the best ones this month include:
- "No one has prayed for me in a few days. Could you pray for me so that I can have a great start to my week?" (on a Monday morning before school)
- "I am getting a high quality education at this school." (in the car after school one day)
- "I am thinking about getting baptized. I think I will have more courage and less bad dreams." (He asked Jesus into his heart two years ago but hasn't felt ready for water baptism until now.)
- "I am not really a bike riding guy. It's all about balance, and I don't have enough." 

That was yesterday.

Yesterday. . .
Will's tiny Buzz Lightyear bicycle still had training wheels on it. His encouraging dad removed them last spring, but Will refused to risk his life for something that was supposed to be fun. So Dad put them back on the bike for him, but he rarely took it for a ride. He was enjoying his Razor Scooter but held intense angst toward that bike.

Yesterday. . .
I took the reluctant rider to Target to look at the bigger bikes. My thought was to create a drive toward something new instead of removing something as familiar as the beloved training wheels. In Will's mind, those training wheels provided the balance. He was feeling a deficiency in that much needed element. "It's all about balance, and I don't have enough."

Today. . .
As I returned home from an errand,  I spotted Will and big sister Charlotte riding bikes on our street. Will was riding his tiny bike. His daddy had removed those training wheels, and Will was free to ride! I could see his smile down the block. 

I cherish the verse, John 8:36, "When the Son has set you free, you are free indeed." No matter what the voices of doubt say to you, you are free if the Father is your emancipator. Galatians 5 is packed full of similar ideas that I need to ponder. Not just read and run. I can't just nod at these verses. They are as rich as dark chocolate for me. I need to take small bites, but I will slowly and eventually eat it all.

This is my take on Galatians 5: 1-3: Gaining access to Jesus through the law, by somehow proving our righteousness, will not work. It actually causes the opposite effect. We actually become alienated from Christ and lose access to the grace we so desperately need. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we even have a hope of any righteousness. 

If we wait until we have enough balance, we will never ride the bike. If we wait until we can abide by the law, we will never know righteousness. We must remove the training wheels and not reattach them. Once we are free (saved by faith), we must not go back to the burden of the law. For me, the law involves trying to please people instead of pleasing God. The law includes staying so busy with good things that I cannot focus on God things. Too busy to pray. Too busy to listen. Too busy keeping people happy with me. Too busy to obey. Too busy.  

The law sets an impossible standard and then laughs when we cannot reach it. 
The grace of God will draw us closer to the one who sets us free. 

Wind blowing on my face. Helmet hair notwithstanding. 

Good bye, Training Wheels. I am free.

Galatians 5: 1-6:  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

August 5, 2014

Transition Lenses

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:12

Do you remember the commercials for the newest groundbreaking advancement in optometry? Do you remember the lady that would approach a sliding glass door without fear, open that door, and boldly walk outside because her glasses were secretly tinted. Her Transitions Lenses were eyeglasses would automatically convert to sunglasses when she stepped into bright light. Those glasses were amazing and brand, spanking new.

I need some transition lenses right about now. Literally right now. I can't find my prescription reading glasses at the moment and am tempted to turn on some lamps and type this entry in my prescription sunglasses. Our family life is always shifting and progressing. My current transitions include:

Transition #1- Independent Firstborn 
Our oldest daughter is a new driver. She is a great driver. She is responsible, communicative, and respectful. This season is still hard. I wanted to write a book about driving and dating daughters, a simple handbook about high school through my maternal eyes. The Lord cautioned me to wait until after this season to write the book on this season. Fair enough. Message received. I am living this. I am taking notes. I have another daughter following behind in 4.5 years.

Speaking of the other daughter. . .

Transition #2-  Living in the Middle
Our middle child is starting middle school. She is in the middle of our love, in the middle of her education, and in the middle of our business. We need to be ready to answer when she asks a question. Good news: she is also in the middle of a growing personal relationship with Her Savior. Whatever emotion, acclimation or rejection that she faces, God is willing and able to guide her through it. 
My prayer requests for our middle schooler:
1. That she will have one focus: pleasing God.
2. That she will have two feet planted on the solid foundation of the One who created her. 
3. For her to know that we will be there for her before she can count to three

Transition #3- Life in my 40s
I am looking back and looking ahead more than ever now. I struggle to stay here in the moment. I take pictures, so that I won't forget these moments. But days and weeks are flying by so fast. I can't slow it down. I can and do slow down and relax better than I used to, but the kids are not slowing down. Their struggles and accomplishments are all milestones. Milestones happen everyday around here. Everything is a big deal to someone. Late night relationship analysis with the girls and early morning introspection with the boy keep me alert and exhausted. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this summer. I am thankful everyday for the prayerful choice of a mate that I made as a bright eyed 20 year old. I do give some credit to the Psych class that I took called "Mate Selection." That was money well spent. I am also thankful for the choices that my husband of 20 years makes on a daily basis to pursue God's best for this clan. 

Speaking of the son. . .

Transition #4- Bringing Up Boy 
Our youngest is our only son, so everything he does is a first time experience for us. He has been influenced by his sisters. He can articulate his feelings very well. He tags along to other people's activities more than he would like. He is a great kid, but he is not a daughter. I know the Word of God is filled with wisdom for us as his parents, but we often pray for immediate, in the trenches, help when he faces hurts or disappointment in such a unique way from his sisters. This is probably the best time to confess that I never finished James Dobson's book, Bringing Up Boys. I started the book when I was pregnant with the little guy, started weeping, and never finished reading it. Could someone tell me how it ends?

Look at the time. Time to transition to a new school year. . . Good bye for now.

April 5, 2014

Twitter: my writing nemesis

I will blog more this year. I will stop thinking of one line quips. This is all Twitter's fault.

More details to follow. . .