Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Big Cover Up!

A few days ago my husband came home with a dozen yellow roses and a bright red pair of new 2010 Winter Olympic mittens for me. No reason. Just Because. That's just the kind of guy he is. He also changes more diapers then me. He lets me sleep in most mornings while he feeds and dresses the kids - all before he goes to work. He asks me how my day went and then actually listens while I tell him how many loads of laundry I did, what I found under the fridge or how many toilet paper rolls the kids destroyed. He encourages me to "get out" and takes interest in my hobbies. He laughs at my corny jokes and still makes me feel pretty. He is an answer to prayer and more than I could have dreamed up. But, today he annoyed me.

Here's the story...we were getting ready to go out. The kids were hanging off our legs as we crowded into our little bathroom - me finishing my fluffy hair while he tried to shave. I asked him a question and he answered me in a tone that I did not appreciate. I made some little comment and then put on my "I'm offended" face, expecting an apology. No apology. I left the bathroom in a little huff grumbling in my head about how he needs to say he's sorry. I walk past the door of the bathroom with a little pause - giving him time to notice my displeasure. No apology. I continued my traipsing and grumbling to myself while I formulated the perfect comeback. Then, like the first raindrops of a shower, scriptures began to fall into my thoughts one after the other...

"love covers all wrongs" (Proverbs 10:12)

"keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13: )

"be slow to speak" (James ).

Great. I could satisfy my need for justice or listen to Jesus. I grudgingly listened to Jesus. I can't say my actions and thoughts were quite in sync yet because I was still debating with God as we drove to our destination - "But he should say he's sorry...that's not fair!" and "Why should I let him get away with it?" Before I barely finished the thought - I had another. More a thought picture - a picture of Jesus struggling through the street with a cross beam on his bloodied and bruised back as the crowds spat on him, cursed him and humiliated him.

He didn't say a word.

He didn't call ten thousand angels to his defense.

He didn't show off his glory.

He just carried his cross and suffered through it all. And then in one final act of love he gave up his last breath to cover up the sins of his accusers.

The Ultimate Cover Up.

"Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs." Proverbs 10:12

"He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8

Covering my husband's little moment of imperfection was nothing in comparison to how many sins Jesus has covered for me. I hope next time I'll be quicker to let it go as I think about the Ultimate Cover Up.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Flowers and Truth

I love the earth. But before you get your "Hug a Tree" badges out, though a worthwhile cause, this is not about being "green". I love how God lavished us with His creativity in nature. Yes, I'm that kind, the kind that ogles sunsets and breaks my neck to look at stars. One of my favorite things to look at is a meadow. I love to see the soft wind rippling the grasses and flowers nodding their heads. I love the sweet smell of a meadow and how the mix of colors is just right - arranged by the Ultimate Florist. Meadows can delight us from spring to fall with different flowers springing up with the seasons. And then, as the breezes get cooler and the sun a little less warmer, they slowly drop and fade into the grasses leaving us with memories of their splendor.

I met a lady a who reminded me of a sweet flower. She was a delight to watch because she was so full of peace and contentment. She radiated a quiet joy and seemed to long for others to share it. Her conversation was full of grace and her words were full of wisdom. Anyone who spent more then a few minutes in her presence would realize that her character came from a long life of leaning on God and using His words as a guide for her life.

This precious lady asked to hold my youngest son when he was just a few months old and I felt privileged as I laid him in her arms and she quietly cooed and fawned over him. It was not long after that when I heard the news that she had faded from this world and into the presence of her Lord. She is no longer here physically to comfort her loved ones - but her words are. The legacy of her life - lived so fully for God - will endure for generations to come.

A bible passage I read today reminded me that the most enduring and lasting thing we can give our children is God's Word. Our tidy house won't last forever (or even 5 minutes some days...). Our gourmet meals definitely won't stay around for eternity. The oodles of toys and gadgets will end up in a yard sale or thrift store some day and allowances will slip away like sand through your fingers. But we can give them God's Word to live their lives by. We can teach them the wisdom of Proverbs and be confident that we have given them a guide to make good choices with. We can teach them the grace of the Gospels and know that we have given them the knowledge that Christ accepts them just as they are and longs for them to return to Him always. We can teach them the hope of Revelations so that they will look for Christ's return and to their future with Him in eternity.

Isaiah 40:6-8 says

A voice said, "Shout!"

I asked "What should I shout?"

"Shout that people are like grass,

their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field.

The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord.

And so it is with people.

The grass withers and the flowers fade,

but the word of our God stands forever (NLT)."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I love the Amish...and their cakes! (List #2)

I love the idea of the Amish way of life. Working barefoot in warm dirt. One room schoolhouses. Barn raising's. Horse and carriage. Beautiful and simple. I also like their cakes...well, maybe I should say - recipes for cakes. Maybe you've also been the recipient of a Ziploc bag of smooshy flour and milk and sugar. You get the little starter bag of "Amish Friendship Cake" mix and then add a cup of sugar on day 2 and smoosh the bag on day 4 and add more milk on day 5 and do a dance on day 7, etc....until on day 10 you add some more stuff and divide the massive concoction - keeping one for yourself to bake and passing the others on to friends. I have to admit - I've had the little starter batch given to me a couple of times and usually get to day...4...or was it day 6? Yeah...I usually lose track and as much as I love the Amish...

Anyway, a couple of my friends (Jillian/Trisha :) have been good enough to drop off a warm, sweet loaf of the finished product for me to enjoy. All the adding of ingredients culminate into quite a tasty treat topped off with sparkling sugar.

I read another list in the Bible that reminded me of adding all those ingredients. It almost reads like a recipe...

"Make every effort to add to your faith

GOODNESS; and to goodness,

KNOWLEDGE; and to knowledge,

SELF CONTROL; and to self control,

PERSEVERANCE; and to perseverance,

GODLINESS; and to godliness,

BROTHERLY KINDNESS; and to brotherly kindness,


For, if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (NIV)." 2 Peter 1:5-8

...and that's even better than Amish Friendship Cake!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Paris, Rihanna, Jessica and The Simple Life

I have to admit that I have a little secret obsession. Well...not completely secret (my husband is quite aware of my odd indulgence) and not quite an obsession...more like an interest that is mostly piqued at the grocery store.

Nope, not chocolate (as good as that is...).

It's the tabloids.

Yes, the magazines about all the stars and the exaggerated details of their every move - because we have to know that Brad and Angelina took the kids to New York for family time...fascinating.

For some reason, every time we're waiting at the checkout, loaded up with cereal, bananas, pork chops and the like, I am inexplicably drawn to the stories. I quickly flip through the pages trying to take in as much as possible before my husband catches me with his "what a waste of time" stare accompanied by the "eye roll". He doesn't find the ballgowns, award ceremonies, galas, and gossip quite as interesting. ;)

By the sheer number of magazines sold, we must be intrigued by the glamor and glitz. By the wonder of what it might be like to hobnob with the rich and famous at exquisite banquets, have Vera Wang design our wedding dress, travel to our private island for the weekend, or have a personal chef at our beck and call.

As much as I enjoy perusing the opulence of their lives, I wouldn't trade my life with them for a second.

My heart aches for the young girl who is starving herself to be the accepted size 0 or for the couple who have fallen prey to the short life-span of Hollywood marriages. Behind the parties and money and paparazzi, I see a yearning for real love, commitment and peace.

My Christmas wasn't spent skiing in the Alps or at a resort in Maui - We packed our kids and dog into our minivan and headed to the in-law's for evenings around the fireplace, doting grandparents, walks in the snow, a nice light display in the park and a Christmas Eve service.

We didn't have a personal chef cook our New Year's Dinner or go to an upscale banquet. We spent New Year's Eve entertaining a gym full of teenagers and New Year's dinner was merrily eaten around a frozen pizza - complete with salad.

We don't have memberships to an exclusive gym but right now my husband is getting some serious cardio by "wrestling" with our two young sons.

Our house is not a $5 million mansion in the Hampton's. We have a small home that fits all of us with a yard for Chance the Dog and neighbors that are precious.

My husband hasn't starred in a hundred movies or been a quarter-back for the Dallas Cowboys (though...he might like that...). He is committed to God, his sons and his wife and I most definitely wouldn't trade him in. ;)

Proverbs 17:1 says; "A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels." When I do take a look at the lives of the "rich and famous", I am continuously reminded that money and power and social standing is not what brings peace. When the angels announced the birth of Jesus they proclaimed; "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests." I feel so blessed today to have found the peace that God offers through His Son. I feel so blessed that though I may not live in a mansion or have a million dollars, I have a home of love, contentment and peace (at least during nap time...:). The amazing thing is that I did nothing for this peace except believe that God sent His Son to bring me peace and accept that gift from Him. This peace and contentment is available to me, to you, to Paris, to Rihanna, to Jessica all. I pray you - and they, find it.