Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Confession 281: For the Love of Summer

My boys and I have fallen in love with summer all over again.  Maybe it's because the winter was so long and cold.  Maybe it's because last summer was so hot.  Maybe it's their ages, now 5 and 7, but this summer has been a thing of beauty for us.

Warm skin, freckle faces, flip flops smacking along the pavement.  The smell of sunscreen mixes with the smell of sweat and freshly mowed grass as we dance through our activities.

Bike rides to the playground, to the grocery store, to the church, to the library--the boys racing each other down the road, calling out to each other with shouts of glee.

Hot afternoons fishing at the city park, casting long lines into the cool breeze rippling off the dark water.  Eagerly anticipating the tell-tale tug that something has taken the sweet-corn bait.  Excitement moving like electricity as the line is wound in.  We hover along the edge of the bank in the long, dry, itchy grass shouting encouragement to the one who is bringing in this greatest of all catches.  Laughter explodes as a clump of lime green water grass is revealed to the merry call of, "I caught a weed!"  But then, that beautiful moment is there when a flash of silver comes bursting out of the water and we share a moment of triumphant joy before releasing our prize back into the cool depths of the lake.

Tired, but satisfied, we emerge from the bright white heat of day into the dimmer coolness of air-conditioned home.  Arms and legs tangle together on the couch as we rest, letting the cool air and popsicles melt the sticky humidity away, laughing together as we watch family shows on t.v.

There are days with friends, picnicking in the park, cramming down Lunchables in order to run and play.  Wiffle ball home run derbys, a trip to the driving range, and determined attempts at completing a tennis volley.

Zoo trips with family, marveling at the sea lions as they swim above and around us, so close to a penguin you could reach out and touch it.  Wondering at the gracefulness of the polar bear's swim and standing in silent appreciation before the King of Beasts.  Peals of laughter ring out as the 5 year old does his gorilla impression, beating his chest and calling to the distant apes, "Gorillas, come to me!  I am your master!"  Exclamations as one lone gorilla slowly ambles toward us.  Camel rides, train rides and the majestic view of a setting sun while we ride the skytram over the zoo and watch the giraffes below us--so close you could almost reach down and touch them.

Barbecues with hot dogs and hamburgers hot off the grill.  Corn on the cob that bursts with sweetness and richness into your mouth.  Tomatoes warm from the garden, full, round and meaty.  Berries galore, sweet and tart, a perfect end of day symphony.  Frozen custard melting in the heat, filling your mouth with a sweet delicious coolness you can only get this time of year.  Fireworks lighting up the night sky.  Cardinals baseball games coming through the television each night; the now familiar voices of Dan, Al, and Rick old friends coming back for an extended visit.

Vacation Bible School week-organized chaos as children sing, dance, laugh and play to the glory of the Lord.  The excitement of learning how you, at ages 5 and 7, have the power to save a life.  Imagining No More Malaria.  The ornery one suddenly exclaiming over lunch, "I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger..."  Church families gathering together to share with one another, to create and seal beautiful memories for these children we have all covenanted to raise.

There is no time for blogging, for delving into the world beyond our IRL. Time is too fleeting.  This glorious summer shall soon pass, and I want to surround myself in it.  My cup runneth over.

Blessings and Peace,

Monday, July 8, 2013

Confession 280: Because God Doesn't Need You To Do His Job For Him

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,  so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:9-12

I tend to me rather impulsive.  I like spur of the moment road trips across several states.  If something catches my eye in a store, I like being able to buy it then and there.  I like surprising my kids and my husband with gifts they sometimes don't want and often don't need.  When I get an idea for a ministry project, I tend to just dive right in before swimming through the details.  Impulsivity is something I am comfortable with.

God, however, is not impulsive.  As it took almost 800 years from the promise made to Abraham about inheriting the land of Canaan and the actual inheritance of said land, I would say that God is the direct opposite of impulsive!!  God is a methodical planner.  I see this trait come alive in my loving husband.  Chris never builds/starts/buys anything without thorough research and planning.  If I'm perfectly honest, it drives me absolutely crazy, especially when it involves multiple trips to three different home improvement stores.  By the time I'm ready to scream, "Just pick something already!", we're moving onto store number two.

But, if I'm still being perfectly honest (which I am) it is a quality that I love and cherish about him.  His methodical planning of everything allows me to rest assured in all of the decisions he makes.  I trust him and I value his opinion because I know it's carefully formulated with lots of consumer research.  While I'm diving into the deep water, he's standing above holding a life preserver!

And yet, even though I know that God is not impulsive, even though I know that He has a plan and has painstakingly attended (and is attending to) every detail, I still find myself screaming, "Just do something already!  I'm tired of waiting!!"

Sometimes, I even try and push God to force His hand.  Instead of waiting and trusting in God's omnipotence and sovereignty over my life, I jump in and try to get the ball rolling myself.  I pull the, "Well if you're not going to do anything about it then I guess I'll have to" card.  Needless to say, it never works.  In fact, quite the opposite really.  My refusal to let go of situations and trust in God most often moves me farther back than I was to begin with.  I create situations in which God has to act, but it's not to move my life forward, rather, it's to clean up the new mess I've made.

The truth is, God doesn't need us to do His job for Him.  As the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, He's got it pretty well under control.  Moreover, He has a plan which He has been in the process of implementing since the dawn of time.  And God has graciously and perfectly placed us within that plan.  And while my impulsivity doesn't take me out of God's perfect plan, for nothing in heaven or earth or below can keep us from the great love of God, it can make the road a bit more difficult.

And so, I wait, begrudgingly at times, but with the knowledge that He who knit me together in my mother's womb is putting it all together.

Blessings and Peace,

My Family

My Family

My Family 2

My Family 2