Aug
27

Is God Boring?

“How little people know who think that holiness is dull…When one meets the real thing, it’s irresistible!”   – C.S. Lewis

I once thought God was dull. Growing up in a Christian home, I always had a belief in God. However, I didn’t want to give Him too much control in my life, fearing that following Him did not equal an exciting life.

Does Following God = Boring?

Does Following God = Boring?

To me at that time, God was boring.

I wanted a life of meeting new people, traveling to new places and truly enjoying the moment. I wanted triumphant challenges and stories that created laughter.

I wanted to control my life.

Following God would mean denying self, sitting in a pew and focusing on things that I shouldn’t do. Or so I thought.

Years of self-indulgent behavior eventually knocked some sense into me. Hitting rock bottom is humbling (and painful in many ways).  My need to “create the next exciting moment” was exhausting. I wasn’t building a life for myself – I was self-destructing.

It wasn’t until I returned to God that I found the exhilarating life I sought after.

Although, it didn’t erase my fear that God would call me to be a missionary. That was the last thing I wanted.

I didn’t want to go without make-up (I seriously have no natural beauty), wear drab colored clothing, in the jungle (I don’t do snakes!) and teach people about the rules and regulations of following God (I’ve never done well with senseless rules).

But I found that He’s is not a boring God who loves rules and regulations. Jesus didn’t come to free us from the bondage of our sins only to burden us with the bondage of “you outta”,  “you cannot” and “you should”.

Nope – He’s the God of  “Follow me and hold on tight because it’s about to get crazy!” – in a good way of course.

I eventually became that missionary. My irresistible God allowed me to travel the world. I toasted with WW II veterans, I cried with Babushkas, I played dodgeball with orphans and hiked with town leaders.

I delivered my babies overseas. I skied in the Andes and camped in Patagonia. We vacationed on a beach in Croatia. We got lost in castles and saw the world’s largest single lens telescope (guess which country). We danced… a lot!

Strangers would invite us over for dinner. My Chilean friends threw me an “American” baby shower (that was a hoot – never knew you could do that   with guacamole!)

Women cried when I entered their hospital room carrying the Bible they had prayed many years for. WW II vets begged me to teach their children about God.

It wasn’t easy. I missed my family and friends. Raising children in a foreign country can be painful since they don’t fit in either culture, home or abroad.

But it was exciting because I saw God on a daily basis as He met our needs. He gave us the desires of our hearts. He even threw in some extra adventures – pure joy.

What’s awesome is, this is not a missionary thing. This is a God thing.

When we surrender control of our lives to Him – daily pray, “This is your day God. What would you have me do?” – opportunities arise and we find joy in the small and strength to handle the large.

God’s not dull. He’s fully alive and longs to for us to be also.

 

 

Aug
18

I Prayed the Wrong Prayer for My Kids’ First Day of School

It’s the first day of school for our kids, and to be honest, it brings around a mixture of emotions. Part of me is rejoicing in the return to routine, work and adult conversations. The other half of me is already mourning their absence.

Before we went to bed last night, we prayed for a year of peace and without all the drama that the middle school years bring. “Lord, give us a year of laughter, learning and love.”

Back-to-School-8.31.11I thought I was a good prayer until this morning at breakfast.

We were going through Sarah Young’s daily devotional Jesus Calling for Kids and read these words:

“Expect troubles – they are just a part of living in this world. Stop trying to figure out a way to avoid every problem…An easy life tricks you into forgetting about Me. When you come to Me for help – when you depend on me – I give you the power to live above your problems.”

A year without problems sounds wonderful to me. I’m tired and middle school drama makes me weary. However, if I teach my kids to pray for a carefree life, what am I teaching them?

Yes, I want them to have peaceful lives full of joy. But at the same time, I want them to be able to find true peace in the midst of chaos. The type of peace and joy that only comes through love and trust found in Jesus.

Life is crazy and at the moment the world seems to be spinning out of control. Unfortunately, this is not going to change.

But…if I can give my kids tools to rise above the worry, fear and anxiety that problems bring, then they can be a source of God’s life in their daily lives.

Maybe they can be a friend to the lonely girl in the lunchroom.

Maybe they can be the peacemaker in the midst of bickering friends.

Maybe they can be the source of encouragement to the friend dealing with an issue at home.

Maybe they can be the one to help a friend struggling with depression.

And when my child is the one struggling with any of these issues and there is no one at school to help them, my prayer is they will know where to turn, knowing that Jesus is there with them in the midst of their problem.

I will continue to pray for peace for my kids. But I will also pray they don’t waste a good problem by avoiding it – for it is here they will develop an intimate relationship with our true source of Peace.

Lord grant our children peace in the chaos, wisdom to always seek you, strength to never give up and love and compassion to share it freely to their friends. Amen!

 

 

Aug
09

Lessons Learned From Summer Break

Summer is winding down, kids are returning to school and if you listen carefully (and/or are honest), one can hear an angelic chorus quietly singing “Hallelujah” in the background.  Peace and order are replacing the ruckus and chaos that often accompanies school breaks.

I took a sabbatical this summer from work and blogging for a couple of reasons. One, I wanted to concentrate on researching for two books I plan to be working on this year. And two, I wanted to have focused time with my kids. It’s hard for me to multi-task. I get frazzled and before long I’m standing in the front yard, wearing my bathrobe yelling at the house as all nearby animals (and children) take cover.

frazzled womanIt’s not pretty.

So, what did I do or accomplish with all this free time you may be wondering?

Not near as much as I thought that I would but I did come away with some new insights.

1.    Social media sucks. Okay – my mom hates it when I use that word so I automatically feel the need to apologize – but she’s not online anyway so I feel safe using it. However it’s true. Social media is a time sucker and if you’re not careful it steals your attention away from the people in the room with you.

Hello, my name is Laurie and I am a social media junky.

Daily I caught myself picking up my phone to do a quick read through of Facebook or Instagram as my daughter or son watched. Before long we were a room of zombies, glued to nearest gadget.

I had to consciously make myself put the phone down and break out of the social media force that surrounded us. Laurie! Step away from the phone!

This wasn’t always easy but I realized I was modeling a behavior that they were very eager to mimic. However, when I did, there was a change in their countenance when I was fully present with them.

2.    Life is not about me (dang it).  When I decided do the sabbatical I imagined lazy mornings and large breakfasts with the whole family on the porch each day. Instead, I got up early, (really early), ate peanut butter toast while driving my daughter across town for swim team practice.

It wasn’t what I had planned, but it was wonderful. Each morning I had Anastasia to myself – just the two of us in the car. She knew the sacrifice that was being made and she thanked me daily. I was helping her meet a swimming goal and we were able to celebrate her victories together.

It wasn’t restful, but it was beautiful.

3.    Embrace the uncomfortable. I have to be honest. I don’t truly enjoy jumping off the diving board, at a public pool, in a bathing suit…as a middle-aged woman. To quote myself from above, “Its not pretty.”

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah!

But my kids love it – at least for now. That may change in a couple of years when I do a belly flop in front of their peers.

After dinner, I’d rather sit on the porch with Mark and a glass of wine and watch them play soccer on the trampoline. But, they love it when we join them.

Sometimes the thing I loath, let’s see…uh, video games, is what my child loves. Although, the times that I put aside my preferences and played  video games with Noah, he would smile like I just bought him a brand new car. He’s teenager, who’s beginning to pull away, but when I spend time doing what he loves, he takes a huge step back to me.

Biking in Ketchum

Biking in Ketchum

It wasn’t a summer of bliss. There were fights – a lot of them. The finances got tight – a little too tight. We got bored – too easily.

I still spent too much time on social media. I didn’t always get in the pool. I didn’t always agree to play video games. I didn’t get as much research done for work, as I wanted.

But, there was a lot of togetherness.

It may not have made me richer, but it made me wiser.