Thursday, April 24, 2014

Remember When

Brian and I and the boys sat around the table for quite a while after dinner Tuesday evening.
It all started with Joshua asking something like, "When we were little kids, did you ever just want to throw us away?" I'm not sure where that question came from, but it led to Brian and I confessing to moments of extreme frustration as parents of very little ones. And the acknowledgement that we've made it through.
Then we turned the tables on the boys and asked, "Is there anything you want to confess?"
In the conversation which followed, we learned that they had turned a hose on our neighbor and soaked her - because they thought she was mean.
Matthew admitted to jumping off his bike and letting it tumble to the side every time he approached a corner - because he didn't know how to stop.
And they really knew they were being too reckless with a particular game they played, but they enjoyed it so much it was worth the risk.

We continued our "Remember When" conversation by talking about how the kids used to fight over who got to sit on Mom and Dad's laps after dinner. Oh, I remember wanting to just get up from the table on those evenings and carry on with dishes, bedtime routines, etc. Now, I'm cherishing the memories.
We laughed as we recalled the kids' fascination with Pokemon cards, and how they "tricked" their teachers by saying they had to use the bathroom - when really they were meeting a friend in the restroom to trade cards. And I remembered thinking those cards were such a waste of money. Didn't realize then what a fond memory they would be years later.
And the ramp outside our old house. We remembered when the kids would ride a little red scooter down that ramp over and over again. I could almost hear the thump, thump, thump, thump, thump of the wheels rolling over the boards. Oh, was it ever noisy. Especially when coupled with the squeals of delight coming from the kids as they raced down that ramp. I remembered how frequently I wondered if the noise bothered our neighbors. I worried about the kids scuffing up their toes and knees. And I thought maybe I should put an end to the ramp-riding game.
Then it occurred to me, none of the neighbors ever complained about the noise. There was one incident of a severely scuffed toe, but it healed. And, honestly, at this moment I can't even remember which kid's toe it was! I'm so glad I didn't make them stop the fun they were having.

Moms of older kids, I know you understand where my heart is right now. Looking back on days gone by, and cherishing the memories.
And moms of still-little-ones, I promise you this: Although the days are long, and I know they're hard, you will make it through. I'm not gonna lie and say, "There'll come a time when you'll miss these days!" Cuz I remember - and there are lots of those days I am not missing.
But there are countless moments to treasure.
Enjoy every one of them!

Karen

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tired of Reverting

My computer seems to be having "issues".

Every time I turn it on it goes through the same cycle:
Configuring Windows updates. Do not turn off your computer.
Followed by...
Failure to configure updates. Reverting changes.

Every.time.

And I'm entirely too cheap to take it somewhere to be "fixed".
Er, and maybe too lazy busy.
Yeah. That's it!
Anyway, my computer keeps reverting changes because it can't seem to understand the updates. And every time I look at that message on my screen I think about Romans 12:2.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
And I wonder, Am I being transformed, or am I reverting changes? With everything in me, I want to be transformed. I want to think like God, and love like God, and live in a way which honors and reflects Him. But some days I feel like I'm having issues. And I'm afraid that if there were a screen attached to me it would say, "Failure to configure updates. Reverting changes."

Am I alone in this battle?

Gracious Father, thank you for Your patience with me. With all of us! Please give us grace today to understand the updates You want to make in our hearts and minds. Please strengthen our resolve to obey Your will for us, so we don't have to keep 'reverting changes'.

Karen

Monday, April 21, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

Sometimes, "little" things aren't.

I have many, many opportunities at Edgewood to do - or see others doing - "little" things:
*opening a door
*sharing a smile
*pulling out a chair
*speaking a kind word
*checking the mail
*rubbing a shoulder
The list goes on and on. Lots of little things which seem rather insignificant.
Until, you see the other side.

This week I was talking to my grandmother and she told me about one of the aides who comes to care for her. Grandma mentioned the things this woman does - which are all part of her job - and said how much she appreciates her help. Then a certain sparkle appeared in her eyes when she said, "AND, she stays a few minutes longer to talk to me."
That's when I realized the sparkle actually came from the tears welling up in Grandma's eyes. And I could see how very deeply it touched her that someone stuck around for a few minutes just to spend time with her. In a world of people rushing around to get this and that done, someone took time to notice my grandma, and it meant so much to her.
Grandma's aide probably thought she was doing a little thing. But that isn't the way my grandmother saw it. To her, that little thing was HUGE.

As you go through your day today - and tomorrow - and all the rest of the days of your life - may I encourage you to do the "little" things? You just never know what a difference you may be making in the world.

Sometimes, "little" things aren't.

Karen
Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may not necessarily reflect those of Vista Springs Living Centers.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

And That Means...

So, I have an enemy.

AND, I have a Savior.

The battles in my life are between them - the spiritual forces (See Ephesians 6:12).
That understanding has been crucial for me.
Because, for a very long time, I believed my battle was with people.
*read that: my kids, my husband, and even myself*
In fact, I believed I was battling them.
And I was always coming out the loser. Because I was believing all those lies my real enemy was telling me. "You're a failure." "You're a terrible mom." "You aren't worthy of anyone's love."
Have you been believing likes like those, too?

That time in my life - when I saw people as my enemies - had me defeated and hopeless. I knew I couldn't defeat my enemies. I loved them. I would never want to harm them!
So I was stuck in my struggle, hating my circumstance but feeling like there was nothing I could do about it.
Oh, what relief I experienced when my Savior came through for me and helped me see the Truth:
I have one enemy: Satan.
I have one Savior: JESUS.
Jesus defeated my enemy when He died on the cross - conquering sin and death; and He continues to defeat my enemy every day when I let Him fight my battles.
And that means...my children, my husband, my self, and all other flesh-and-blood-beings on the planet are NOT my enemy.
Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, thank You, Jesus!

Have you been believing you are battling against flesh and blood? Have you been viewing people as your enemy? Read Ephesians 6:12 a few times, and ask God to help you understand what is True. Then, put on your battle gear and let your Savior fight for you!

Karen

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Have a SAVIOR

It's true. I have an enemy.

And he wants to ruin me.

BUT there is a Truth which is even bigger. And it makes me a victor.
That is...

I have a SAVIOR.
My enemy does not have the last word, because my Savior has defeated him.
When my enemy tells me I'm a terrible mom, my Savior points to the cross - where He paid the price for every single one of my sins, faults, and failures.
When my enemy plants doubts in my heart about my marriage, my Savior reminds me of the Truth and gives me grace to keep on going.
When my enemy hisses in my ear about my insecurities, my Savior stretches out His arms and speaks to my heart, Remember, Karen, I love you so much I was willing to die for you.

Being honest: Sometimes I fall under the lies and pressure of my enemy. Sometimes I start to think he's telling the truth - and that I really have no hope.
But always, always my Savior reveals the Truth to me. In one way, or another, He helps me recognize my enemy's tactics. My Savior reminds me that I am a victor in Him, and I don't have to be a victim of my enemy. He stirs my heart to fight my battle by the power of His Spirit, and - with a little heavenly feisty-ness - I begin to arm myself. (See Ephesians 6:10-20.)
With Truth, His righteousness, faith, peace, salvation, and a whole lot of prayer I am able to stand in the face of my enemy. By the power of my Savior's Spirit.
And that?
That changes everything!

Karen

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Have an Enemy

Someone hates me.

He is my enemy.

He wants to ruin my life. Wishes to do anything he can to make me miserable. To trip me up and make me fall. So he can watch me squirm, helpless and hopeless.

My enemy wants me to despise motherhood.
He wants me to get frustrated and discouraged, so I throw my hands up in the air and just give up. He sets me up to hear lies, lies, and more lies.
Like, "You're a terrible mother."
"Your kids deserve so much more than you can give. You're a failure."
"You will never be able to control your temper or your tongue. So you might as well quit trying."
And he loves it when I start believing what I hear.

My enemy wants to destroy my marriage.
He wants to drive a wedge between Brian and me. Perhaps he'll plant doubts in my mind so I start to think I can't trust my husband. Sometimes he tries getting me so preoccupied with work and kids and running-the-home that I'm flat out too exhausted to spend quality time with Brian. I know my enemy knows there is great power for the kingdom of God in a healthy marriage, and he doesn't want that threat coming from Brian and me. So he'll do whatever he can to crush us.

My enemy wants to sabotage my Christian witness, too.
He wants me to defame the Name of God. Nothing would please him more than for me to stop trusting God. To get frustrated with the wait, or the struggle, or the uncertainty - and just turn my back on Him. And even to believe the lie that God doesn't really love me. That He could never love a failure like me.

That's what my enemy wants me to think.

Yes. I have an enemy. But that isn't the end of my story.

I also have a Savior.
And, because of Him, I can be victorious.
Because of Him, I have hope. Even in the face of my enemy.

Karen