Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Watermelon and saying hard things.

I don't like cutting up a watermelon. Or a pineapple. Or even uncooked potatoes.

Twelve-year-old me, standing next to my mama chopping in the kitchen, she teaches me, "Sara, you have to have a special balance of confidence and caution when using sharp knives. Without one or the other you will cut yourself. Be strong but always know where your fingers are."

I try to remember this but my knees still get weak as I try to push a big knife through a cantaloupe. It takes practice.

Confrontation also makes me physically sick. I get queasy and tongue-tied and would rather do anything but tell someone something uncomfortable. But we are not to sacrifice our loved ones on the altar of comfort. It, too, takes practice.

I have to be confident and cautious. Confident that it is always right to tell the truth and cautious with my words. They have to be compassionate and edifying and helpful - not browbeating or condemning.

And with that, Ephesians 4 is a good read. May we learn to speak the truth in love and kindness to one another.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

As a mama, how do I approach scripture?

I must admit, when I hear Christians use scripture in debate with atheists or agnostics, I cringe. I feel like I can see the other person stop listening.

Clearly the authority of scripture is a cornerstone of the Christian faith, but engaging with our world means understanding that not everyone recognizes that authority and may see it as silly-from-the-Dark-Ages circular reasoning.

Anyway, this post is not about that. This post recognizes all of those differences, but lands on the fact that I do hold scripture in an extremely high place in my heart and home. So reader, if you do not, this post is not for you.

But as a Christian mama, why should I make it a priority to study scripture and teach it to my children? Shouldn't it just be a private thing between God and me? Shouldn't I let them decide what they will believe on their own as they grow and mature?

After all, we wouldn't want to be these frightening parents...

As with everything, we must seek the balance. If I staunchly require James to read his Bible before he's allowed to eat breakfast, there's a problem. However, if he witnesses Jim and me reading and singing scripture because we find joy and comfort and truth in it, that is better - - and much closer to scripture, I believe. I want to teach him that we don't read scripture to know a book (and certainly not to model behaviors of a number of Old Testament characters) but to better know a Person. 

But how then will he call on him if he has not believed? And how will he believe if he doesn't hear? And how will he hear if his Mama doesn't tell him???*

So I will tell him. 

Broadly at first, with great resources like the Jesus Storybook Bible, wherein "every story whispers His name." Showing him the whole arch of the redemptive story, how it all fits together and points to Jesus. And with our wonderful Fellowship Kids ministry who so beautifully partners with us in simple monthly memory verses and activities. And as he grows, we can dive in more deeply, learning together what this great and mysterious book means to us. 

All that said, even if I were to choose to force scripture down his throat OR be more passive in hopes that he'll "catch" it, it doesn't matter. It's not up to me. I can do the best job within my knowledge and capacity as his mama and he could still grow up and curse God. And if that's the case, I will still utterly love him because I was loved. For while I was cursing and lying and giving myself away, God loved me. 

But perhaps one day - and I pray that it's so - James and Anna will meet the God of this book. Perhaps they will be given eyes to see and ears to hear how this God was Jesus and came to us and died and killed death and was alive again.  

And while it will be my greatest joy, the glory will not be mine.

(*Rom. 10:14, my words)  

Friday, January 18, 2013

The rain is gone...

After a straight week of frigid, gloomy, soggy, grey outside, our backyard is now drenched in almost white sunlight. Not a single cloud. An utter downpour of yellow.

I love being at home; a homebody. My body likes being at home.

But why, after only a few days that held a scant number of short errands or meetings that required us to venture out into the wet, are we itching to go? Cooped up. Cabin fever. Get me outta here.

Living room floor exercising or running the laps in pursuit of the squealing, delight-shrieking 3-year-old  is not enough. We need to go somewhere and do something.

A trip to the grocery store sounds like Disneyland.

We were not made to be sedentary. We need room and purpose and light and connection. Dark, cold, and closed makes us turn in on ourselves and sink deeper. That's why we sleep when it's like that. It's really one of the only profitable things to do then. Bears got it right.

Now, I love a good rain for repose. An opportunity to slow and snuggle. But the light brings uncoiling. Stretching and reaching. Let's go do something. Accomplish and breath faster.

And it makes me remember that we are to be "giving thanks to the Father...who has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of this beloved Son..."

And to look forward to the kingdom of light that is coming where there will be no need for a massive burning star because all the light will come from him.

Just from him. There, we will need no sun.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The age of fears.

Tucking in my boy...

James: Mommy, who's in heaven?

Me (carefully): Well, there are angels and God is there and --

James interrupts: No, like Ulku's daddy. (My friend whose father has passed away)

Me: Yes, people that have died are in heaven, too.

James: ... I don't want to go to heaven ...

Me: That's ok, buddy. It's going to wonderful and happy and fun there, but you don't have to think about that for a long, long time.

James: But I want to be here with you. In our house!  For a long, long time.

Me: I'll always be with you, buddy. Always, always.

James (grins): Always!

Jim and I have been trying to be aware of the age of fears (usually from 3-5 years old). Not allowing scary stuff on TV, even seemingly benign "tickle monsters" and the like. But a lot of the fearfulness, I'm finding, is simply James learning about the world around him. And the world is scary.

The lack of light at night is scary.

The reason we have to wear seat belts is scary. (Another one that was hard to explain.)

The other reasons that we have policemen, apart from the simple "they're here to help!"

The thought of dying is scary.

So as his questions are going deeper, my answers have to be truthful. And I can't pretend for him any longer that there are people who don't follow the laws. Or that car accidents happen every day.

This is hard, you guys! Of course I don't go all unabridged into every subject; it must still be age appropriate, but he's not satisfied with the comfy answers that I could provide even just a few months ago.

Older moms have told me that as your children get older, it's less physically demanding and much more emotionally and mentally taxing. Uh, yea! And he's not even four.

Praying for grace and wisdom as I try to impart the same to my babes...