Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aunt Biddy vs. Nana

Has anyone ever had someone in their life- well, I'm sure we all have- that we'll call "Aunt Biddy". The member of the family you will never please. Always has something to say about your weight, your clothes, your hair, your life decisions, your parenting decisions, etc. She's very passive aggressive in her comments about said things. No matter how hard you try- or don't try, whatever- she has all the answers. You hate to ask her a favor because she'll let you know, ever so slyly, that it's a burden to her.
I have enough Aunt Biddys in my life to count on a hand.
I often feel like the black sheep of my family... the one who didn't finish college. The one who married a guy she barely dated. The one who had an oops-of-a- "honeymoon" baby & now just keeps "oops" having babies. I let my kids run around barefoot & I let them climb on the furniture. I had "so much going for me" and now I'm "just" a young mom.
Some people in my family think I'm irresponsible. Or crazy. Or both.

Then there's Nana... I have a Nana I adopted as my own a few years ago, Nana Betty. No matter what she loves me. She loves my kids and is overjoyed with each pregnancy. She sees the Lord's hand in my life- whether or not I make decisions she doesn't agree with, I would never know because she doesn't let me know. She accepts who I am for what I am. And accepts that the Lord has plans for me. I know I could ask anything of her. In the same way my mom is Nana to my girls. Just loves them, and while she doesn't let them get away with anything at her house & sometimes they wear her out, she always welcomes them with open arms. My girls are the apple of her eye.
Everyone needs a Nana in their life.

I never realized how the attitudes of members in your family can really shape your perspective of God the Father. We often have a view of God as an "Aunt Biddy"... we dread going to Him to ask things of Him because we feel as if He is frowning on us. Disappointed in us because of (fill in the blank). We feel like we let Him down, so how could we go to Him? We picture Him saying, with a big sigh," Yes, I'll give you grace to deal with your children today.... IF you do better than you did yesterday." I often feel God is disappointed in me because of decisions I've made in my life & parenting. If only I would have...., then maybe..... The truth is, this isn't TRUTH!
God MY Father is not just another member of my family frowning over me because I didn't graduate from college.

In her book Give Them Grace, Elyse Fitzpatrick writes:
The Lord isn't disappointed in you or in your parenting. He's not disappointed in your prayers. He doesn't treat His dear children as "disappointments" whose disobedience and failures take Him by surprise or shock Him. He does not suspend His love until they get their acts back together. He already knows the worst about you (in yourself) and loves and approves of you nonetheless (in Christ). Although your sin does grieve Him (Eph 4:30), he doesn't want you to keep your distance, sitting in a corner wearing a dunce cap until you learn your lessons. He invites you to come boldly in with joy and confidence, knowing that He is eager to embrace you. You, as a sinner who trusts His Son, Jesus, are able to do that because the Son prays and intercedes for you. The Father loves you.

Our prayer times with the Lord need change from visits with Aunt Biddy to family dinners with (Nana).
I love this reminder. I need this reminder.
He is my all loving Father who longs to show me grace. He waits to show me grace (Is 30:18).
Nothing surprises Him.

I do have confidence in my decisions. In where the Lord has brought me, so quickly, from a careless college student to Mommy of three. There is nothing I would change about my life, not even for the approval of all!
I greatly desire so much more for my daughters than the approval of friends, family, or the world. I pray I can show them they only need to gain the approval of One, and that there is only One Way to gain such approval. I pray my life models this conviction... If the Lord is my Father and He leads and guides every decision I make- or Dustin & I make... then what else matters???

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The longings of the heart...

I had a "come to Jesus" moment with Gabbi this afternoon. I praise God for times when He shows me what is in my unregenerate children's hearts, although I don't always act in thankfulness.

Today we went to Chik-fil-a with Mom. It was great getting out of the house, even if on a rainy day. The rain and clouds held off the close-to-100 degree weather we were supposed to have, so that was nice. After lunch we went to walk around Target & buy some shoes for Catie-bug who has outgrown every pair of her shoes. No joke, we literally took her into Target bare-footed. Her sandals fit her on Sunday. And Monday I noticed her toes hanging off the ends. Growing girl!
Taking a group full of girls to the shoe section in any store is a sure fire way to reveal a covetousness heart- including my own. So there we are, can you picture it, trying on shoes for Catie as she pulls shoes off the shelf. Every size she grabbed was bigger, so she'd shove it in my face saying "sissy shoe. sissy shoe." All the while, Gabbi dances up and down the shoe isles making sure I'm well aware that she just LOVES this pair... no this pair... no she REALLY loves this pair... aren't they so pretty, Mommy??? ((sigh))
Well, they only had one pair and shoes in Catie's size so that made things slightly easier, and we moved onto the clothing section. We had no need to be in the clothing section really, I only wanted to show Mom the small rack of Minnie Mouse clothes I saw there on a previous trip- Catie loves Minnie :)
All the while Gabbi is asking for everything she sees. Everything. "I want this dress... Can we get this shirt?? Ooo no this one." The thing about it was, it didn't frustrate me. It didn't exasperate me. It only made me sad as I realized... am I any different?? Just because I don't verbalize my wants doesn't mean that the Lord doesn't see the depths of my heart as I walk through the store. I want everything I see. "Lord, I wish we could afford this... and this... Why can't I buy every pair of shoes down the isle? Ah, if only... Then I'd be happy." And what I lie that is!
"Gabbi, honey, we did not come to buy dresses. Catie needs shoes, that's the only reason we came," I explained.
"But I waaaaaaant iiiiiiiiit!!!!!!!" Breaking point. In my flesh, any other day, I would turn my head with the well known, "whose child is this?!?!" expression. But the Lord gave me such grace. He HAS shown me such grace, so I passed it on to Gabbi. I hugged her, and I admit, shed some tears as well. What could I say to her?? I was the exact same way. I prayed for God to show me how to address her.
Gabbi, do you know why you want everything you see? She nodded, "Because of my heart." Yes, honey, your heart is selfish and it's not satisfied. I know because I'm the same way. My heart is selfish and I want everything I see in the store too. But you know what? Jesus can satisfy our hearts and all our desires, and he is the only one who can. You know, honey, if Mommy bought you every pair of shoes you liked and all the pretty dresses in the store. If we took them home and filled your room with everything, you still wouldn't be satisfied because you haven't trusted Jesus to satisfy your heart. I'm the same way honey, but I trust Jesus to satisfy me, and He does. Will this dress make you happy? She nodded. No, honey, no it won't. This dress will not make you happy. You think it will right now because your heart is sinful, but it won't. What is the only thing that can truly make you happy? "Jesus." Yes, Baby, Jesus is the ONLY thing that will truly make you happy. Not this dress. Not all the pretty shoes. Nothing. Nothing will make you truly happy. Only Jesus. So let's ask Him to show you how dissatisfied you are without Him. Let's ask Him to satisfy both of our selfish hearts....

What a moment He gave me. I am so thankful for opportunities to see their sinfulness & point out clear examples of how Jesus can change them. After we prayed and we started to walk away, she did continue to cry.
I am not discouraged. It's only evidence that He has not changed her heart yet. I explained that her, that she was showing me she hadn't trusted Jesus yet. And I asked her over and over, "Will that dress make you happy?... No, only Jesus can make you happy."
I am well aware that my words cannot change her. I know I did not say all the right things, and maybe said some wrong things as far as anyone else is concerned... but it is not about what I say or do that will cause Jesus to change her heart.
In the same way nothing I said or did caused Him to change mine. He chose to out of the depths of His grace & mercy. It is that same grace & mercy I look to, and ask for on behalf of my children... and I wait....

Friday, July 08, 2011

I'm No Chef...

...no matter how hard I try.
This fact was proven yesterday at dinner.

I've never been able to cook beans. Our whole marriage I've tried a handful (or two) of times to cook dried beans. Pinto beans. Lentils. Black beans. Over & over. What happens is it takes at least twice as long as it's supposed to for them to cook for me. Every time I've tried to cook beans, we either eat dinner way late or we just throw something else together & eat what we were supposed to have for dinner, the next day.

Last night was no exception to the rule.
We are striving to eat all whole foods now, so I was determined to make beans work, as they are going to be a major part of our diet.
On the menu for last night was black bean tostadas. I even started dinner 45 minutes before I normally do in an effort to have it done around 6:00 when Dustin would get home. A few minutes before he was supposed to be walking in the door, I checked the black beans... not done. What in the world is going on???
Dustin came in while I was in the kitchen, picked the lid up to look at the beans & asked me about them.
"So what did you do?"
"Well, just as it said. Bring them to a boil & let them simmer for 50minutes.... It's been more like, 90 minutes."
"But you've turned them down, or has it been like this the whole time?"
"Just like that, you know, simmering."
He stuck his finger in the pot, "Babe, this isn't simmering. This is luke warm."
"Simmering is a low boil."
"Ooohhh... really? I thought it was just--"

Well, uh, yeah... We both got a good laugh at that. Explains the bean problems I've had for the passed 5 years. Wow. Embarrassing.
He told me he wouldn't be sharing that story with anyone... but I'm able to laugh at myself.
Especially since the end result- although an hour late- was absolutely delicious.

Black bean tostadas

Black beans & Mexican brown rice with
Lime cabbage slaw::: raw cabbage & red onions, tossed in olive oil & fresh lime juice, sprinkled with salt & pepper,
on a baked corn tortilla,
Topped with avacado, salsa & sour cream