Friday, July 31, 2015

This Week with Grandma

I think I learned something new about serving this week.
You know Jesus' parable about the sheep and the goats, in which He teaches that when we do something for "any one of the least of these [His] brothers," we've done it for Him? That has long been a motivating passage of Scripture for me. The lesson in those words makes me eager to serve others, because I want to serve Jesus. And I have tried to help my grandmother understand that principle when she becomes self-conscious about how much I need to do for her.
I am happy to do it.
Because I would gladly do it for JESUS!

Well, lately her need has increased. Quite a bit.
She hasn't been getting out of bed much, and when she does get up to move around she needs escorting.
I hold her steady when she brushes her teeth, and sometimes I simply hold the pan and a cup of water so she can brush her teeth in bed.
She needs assistance pulling down her pants to use the bathroom - and most of the time she doesn't even go TO the the bathroom, but uses the commode beside her bed. It just makes more sense to use the commode by her bed - rather than expending precious energy walking across the hall.
And so I do these things for her.
It was one afternoon - in the midst of helping Grandma with these needs and listening to her apologize because I had to empty and clean the commode - that I discovered this new view of serving. I was thinking about doing it for Jesus, knowing I would do it with joy, and wanted to tell Grandma once again about this perspective. But then I realized, I could actually be doing it FOR Jesus. That is, I know Jesus loves my grandmother and He wants her needs to be met. He wants her to be well cared-for. However, Jesus isn't here in bodily form. He can't physically do the things she needs to have done. Instead, I get to be His hands and feet. That is, I get to serve on His behalf.
And that perspective just made my heart overflow with delight. Jesus loves my grandma and wants her needs to be met with love. And He has chosen me to do it. I get to do all this for HIM!
Yes, LORD. Whatever You say.

Have you ever considered this perspective on serving? How does it effect your heart and attitude?

Karen

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reneging

Soooooo, Mindy got her bath.

But it didn't happen Tuesday, as we had said it should.

And Josh didn't participate in the chore, as I said he would.

Yep. That's pretty much the way it played out. Brain said the boys should give Mindy a bath Tuesday and - in spite of his argument/other plans - I said Josh would be helping. Period.
But neither event occurred.
So what happened???
Let me 'xplain.

When I got up Tuesday morning, Josh's Jeep was gone. Which meant he was gone.
Gone fishing, that is.
As it turns out, the kid got up at 4:45 to meet his friend for an early morning catch. Yes, he is that committed to his obsession hobby. And when he got home in the early afternoon Josh was full of excitement about an opportunity he had to go fishing with another friend - in "20 minutes." I reminded him about the dog bath, but honestly - I was so wrapped up in the things I was juggling that I just didn't want to make an issue of it at the moment. So I settled for a verbal nod that the job would get done.
And when Brian and I got home Tuesday night from some work we were doing and Josh said, "Doesn't Mindy look nice after her bath?" I was totally ready to apologize for doubting him. Until I looked at the dog and saw she didn't look like she'd been bathed - and then I looked at Josh and saw that silly grin on his face. Yeah. He got me!
By then it was dark outside, and too late to send the boys and the dog out for a bath. So I figured the bath would have to happen Wednesday. (The thing I neglected to account for was that Matthew would be at driver's training all morning, and Josh was scheduled to cover the afternoon/evening shift at work.)
So Wednesday afternoon I made an executive decision and told Matthew to come outside with me to give Mindy a bath. Which we did. Because she needed it. And I wasn't going to make Matthew do it alone. However, in the back of my mind I was looking for something I could assign Josh to do - since he had managed to "get out" of washing the dog.

But as I began to ponder odd jobs around the house which need to be done, I got a picture in my mind of Josh outside Sunday night. He was digging up dirt, placing it around the driveway, and planting grass seed. And he was working hard at it. I asked Brian if he'd assigned the job to Josh and he said he hadn't. Josh was just taking it upon himself to do.
Then I recalled seeing Josh out Monday night with the hose - watering the grass seed. Without being asked. He even watered some flowers I recently planted.
As these images played around in my mind, I began to wonder if it was really necessary to assign him another job. Oh, we have some progress to make with regard to the way he responds to me when I ask him to do things, but I realized I need to see Josh for the good kid he really is. Sometimes (too many times) I get uptight about certain teenage behaviors, and I feel like I need to come down hard on my son. You know - make sure he knows who really has the authority in this house. *ahem*
But other times, God gives me pause to take my eyes off myself and my ridiculous desire for control - long enough to recognize that I really have good kids. And so, in light of the things Josh does around here (many without even being asked) I am officially reneging my claim that he has to help bathe the dog.
And I am not going to add a replacement duty.
Done.

Karen

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Living on My Knees

My daughter sent me a text yesterday asking me to pray for her - and the girls in her cabin at camp this week. So I am praying! I am praying God will be glorified and that He will overwhelm Madi, Natalie, Alyson, Halie, Riley, and Elise with His love as He pours it out through my girl.
Then I got on Facebook, and I became aware of so many circumstances in which people need prayer.
So I prayed for Kimberly - that God would grant her wisdom, and eyes of faith to see where He's leading.
I prayed for healing for Weston and courage for his parents.
I asked God to fill Stephanie with the grace and strength she needs to get through her situation. Because I know she can't do it alone. She needs HIM!
I prayed for those 14-year-old boys who've gone missing in Florida while they were fishing. And for their mommas. 'Cuz I know their hearts are hurting.
I saw an update from a friend and understood why God had prompted me to pray for her in the morning. And I prayed for her some more.
Throughout the day, I saw yellow cars and red trucks - which reminded me to pray for Emma and Mike. My husband texted me to pass on a prayer request - so I prayed for Amber. I glanced at the clock at 11:11, and prayed for my husband. I checked the daily request for War Room, and prayed for the Kendrick brothers. And in my multiple interactions with Grandma, I asked God to carry her.

More and more, I am learning to live life "from my knees." Sometimes I really get down on my knees, face to the ground, seeking God's intervention. But usually I am up and moving, living life. Under the constant awareness of my/our need for God, and delighted that He wants to hear from us.
So today I want to invite you to join me in this move.
*Let us humble ourselves before Almighty God and acknowledge our desperate need for Him.
*Let us turn from our own ways and seek His, that we may walk in them.
*Let us call out to Him in each moment, trusting that He's listening and able to come to our aid. Even more, that He wants to come to our aid!
*And let us give thanks and praise to the One who is worthy.
I love the LORD, for her heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2
War Room is coming to theaters August 28. Trust me. You don't want to miss this movie - or the movement of prayer which I believe will follow.

Karen

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Overheard on the Roadtrip

Josh and Matthew: Can you open the windows back here? Mindy stinks.
Brian: Yeah. She needs a bath. (pause) Hey! That would be a great job for you two tomorrow!
Josh: Correction. That would be a good job for Matthew. Josh will be fishing.
Brian and Me: (in unison) (practically) Uh, no. Work comes before play.
Josh: Not for Josh. He'll be fishing.
Me: Tell Josh if he blatantly disregards our instruction, he'll be sorry.
Josh: Josh doesn't care. He'll run away.
Me: Oh! Well then tell Josh he'll have to provide his own housing and clothing and food and... I don't think he'll like that option.
(Parental chuckling from the front seats.)
(Additional parental banter and warnings for "Josh.")
Josh: (over the sound of highway noise and parents) Josh can't hear what you're saying. He isn't even listening.

And so it is with our teenager. *ahem*

But, rest assured, he will be helping with that dog bath! *wink*

Karen

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Because I Can't Do "All Things"

It is almost time to start preparing dinner as I type these words.
So far today I have prepared dinner for Friday and Saturday, made muffins for tonight, changed beds and washed/folded sheets (OK. There is one load finishing in the dryer right now. Er, it might be done. I need to check on that. *ahem*), taken my son to and from driver's training, stopped at the grocery store, and taken care of various other little tasks in preparation for a short trip I'm taking Thursday-Saturday. None of which have included preparing blog posts.
Soooooo,for the sake of my sanity (and to increase the likelihood of getting everything else done) I am officially putting this blog on hold until Tuesday, July 28.
LORD willing, I'll be home from my trip (I'm going to a suburb of Chicago to receive training in teaching Precept Bible studies. Can't wait!) and back into the swing of things by then.

And so, I leave you with this:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 46:1-3

Karen

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Let Us Pray

If you've been around here lately, you probably know I am over-the-moon excited about the upcoming movie War Room. Because it is all about prayer.

And if you know me at all, you know I am deeply passionate about prayer.

So, a few days ago when I watched this video and prayed this prayer - with one of the creators of War Room - I was moved all over again. Renewed in my desire for our nation to come before the LORD in prayer. More eager than ever to see how HE might use this movie to spark a movement of prayer like we've never seen before.
Would you pray with me now?

Karen

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mom to the Rescue!

Saturday night I was in the middle of an intense situation when my phone rang.
OK. I was playing Words with Friends on Facebook when my son called me Saturday night. But I'm kinda competitive. And I was working on a really good move. Probably against "Meatpiesi." And I'm tired of losing to him - so it was an intense situation. *ahem*
Anyway, I saw that it was Josh calling and figured I ought to answer the phone. When I did, I heard a somewhat stressed-out voice on the other end asking me to come to the fishing dock. Seems he'd accidentally hooked a snapping turtle while fishing and he needed help setting it free. And, yes, he wanted me to come right away. Never mind the very important business to which I was already attending. There was a turtle's freedom at stake here. And if you know my son, you know turtles rank above - well - above everything. It is also true Josh could've just cut the line and let the turtle go, but then he would never know if the hook came out. Besides, he would've lost his fishing lure. And fishing equipment ranks right up there with turtles, you know.
So, I did the only rational thing I could do. I jumped up from the table, told Grandma and Matthew I was going out to help Josh rescue a turtle, applied bug spray - and I was off!
I arrived at the dock to find Josh assessing the situation. And he quickly shared with me the game plan. I would hold the fishing pole while Josh climbed through an opening in the railing so he could stand on a board which ran under the dock. Then I would put the pole down and pull up the line to raise the turtle to within Josh's reach. Josh would grab the turtle as I let go of the line and put my arms around his waist, so he could grasp the hook and free the turtle without falling into the lake. Then Josh would release the turtle, grab hold of the railing, and I would release him.
To my delighted surprise, the idea played out just like Josh had prescribed it. Well, except for that one moment when I seriously thought I was going to lose my grip on him and send him swimming with the fish and turtles.
Oh, and before he released the snapper Josh asked me to take a picture. And what kind of blogger mother would refuse that request? *wink*

As I walked back to my van to go home I pondered, I just drove all the way out here to spend all of two minutes unhooking a turtle. Why??? And that smile right there gave me the answer. Even though I couldn't really care less about snapping turtles and fishing lures, to my son they're incredibly important. And if it matters that much to him, I'll always do what I can to help.
Because he's my son.
And I love him.

Karen