Thursday, October 26, 2006

Communion sacrifce

Just posting a meditation that I wrote for communion last week.

John 15 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. “ I can think of a small handful of people whom I have known and loved enough in this life that I would readily give my life for them… or rather, that I would have readily given my life for them.

Four years ago, my definition of sacrifice and nobility was redefined by the birth of my first child, a son. Several years followed with the birth of two more children, a daughter and another son. Now the thought of :"laying down my life for a friend" doesn’t ring with the same tone… I cannot imagine being separated from my children, the willingness to die for anyone other than my babies, or my husband has grown rigid within me.

Yet another notion crossed my mind the other day - no where in scripture does it command me to show my love for another by sacrificing the life of my child. Lay down my life, yes, but lay down the life of my child? Though there are those I love deeply, I would never, ever secure their freedom or safety by giving up one of my children. My boy who has blonde hair and green eyes, my girl who has fire and sugar all rolled together, my baby who lays in his head on my shoulder - I wouldn’t part with any of them for a friend, let alone an enemy.

God is the only Father in the history of the world who chose to set evil men free by giving up the life of His perfect son. His son was the only child in history that had the ability to satisfy the debt of all of our sin because He, in no way, deserved it. And it was done one time, for all of mankind.

As we take the bread, be thankful that there has only been one case when God needed a parent to sacrifice the life of a child. Thank Him for His sacrifice.

As you take the cup, be mindful of the innocent man who died for all of humanity to offer true freedom

I need.

There are seasons when I'm not totally sure what God's up to. As many of you experience, chasing three little ones keeps the feet flying and the mind comfortably numb. I'm usually preoccupied with what to make for the next meal, who's where and doing what, is the baby gate up, what's that noise... etc. Despite the pace, I feel like the din of life is finally stabilizing, that, or I'm growing used to the chaos.

Many thoughts come and go regarding what I'd like to blog about. I miss sitting down and taking the time to capture it all. This is a little of where my heart is.

One Sunday I was rambling around my kitchen with my sister-friend, Lo. I was talking through some issue, have no recollection of what it was, and I said, "I am sick of having to say what I need. I'm sick of having to spell it out. Why can't they read my mind, or just know what I want?" Rants are less and less a part of my life, there's no time, and usually no appropriate audience. It's not often that I voice the frustration of needs gone unmet. But Laura said something profound, "This seems to be the recurring theme over the last year and half. You have to tell people that you need."

How true, how true. As hard as I've tried, I've been unable to eradicate need. Crazy enough, the choices I keep making in my life (having babies, lots of 'em close together, moving to another state, staying at home) seem to compound my inability to be the self-sufficient, private person that I imagine myself to be. I have to ask for help. I have to tell people how I like things done, what I will and will not do, what I like to eat, where I keep the sugar, that I don't like caffeine, that I prefer no network television until after the kids are all in bed, that I do things this way for this reason. Living in Buffalo for seven years allowed me to settle into a pattern with people who knew and loved me. I felt known by an inner circle of friends who understood enough of my past and personality that they could see why I did what I did, and in those friendships I felt free, without judgment. I believe I've found true friendship here in Chicago as well. God has clearly surrounded me with a loving church body. He has been specific about the friendships He wants me to pursue. But no matter how led I feel to become someone's friend, at some point I feel like I'm standing there, vulnerable, pants around my proverbial ankles having to say, "Let me tell you what I need...". Gosh, sometimes I feel like a part of the cast of "What About Bob."

Actually though, letting myself admit that there are things that I need is making me a better wife because I'm not laying those relational/life/household demands on my husband. It's making me a better mom because I'm able to advocate on the behalf of my kids with a backbone that I never had until I became a mother. It's making me a better friend because I can give people the Cliff's Notes version of where I'm at and why it matters. And ultimately, I think it's making me a better Christ-follower. In having to admit need, I am learning to partake of grace. I'll be the first to admit that until a few years ago I had NO IDEA of what grace meant, other than it's book definition. But now I'm starting to get it... especially since I can admit that there are things I can't do for myself... I need... .

I entitle this piece... "Futility"

Fall 2006 Furrbabies


I know there are friends in Buffalo who are wondering what our new place looks like. I thought I'd post a picture for you. Matt (and Rick) did a great job of picking out our home. I love it.

The Boys' Birthdays

Monday, October 09, 2006

You know you're a SAHM when...

you have one drawer for shirts, one for pants, one for unmentionables, and TWO for pajamas.

Salt, pepper, sugar

Today is family day. We hole up, ignore the phone, and concentrate on one another on Mondays. Since Matt preaches every week, Sunday evenings are generally quiet. The kids are getting more tolerant of watching football all day (Who's lovin' Sunday Night Football?!?! Hello!?!? Me! That's who!) and hanging around the house. So Mondays are a great time to play and run around together. Family Day.

I was in the basement playing with Levi, doing a little dance and making him laugh. He crawled off and busied himself with a big box of toys. Suddenly, I was inspired to go on a long-awaited search for my missing salt and pepper shaker, and sugar bowl and spoon. Since our move to Illinois last January I've been unable to find them. I didn't pack our house up, several friends did. I was on the peripheral, playing with the kids, trying to keep a level head and not get overwhelmed.

I had narrowed the boxes down to a few which contained my second set of dishes. As I rummaged through I was surprised by the feelings that surfaced. Each box was so lovingly packaged, hand-written notes on top about contents. I began to remember the day - snowy, cold, we probably got about 18 inches that day. And the people who loved us enough to come and pack us. Leslie (a lovely Australian woman, newlywed, took a partial day off from running her farm) and Stacia (Matt's administrative assistant) packed up the kitchen. An enormous task. Leslie is tall and Stacia is, well, not tall, so they worked their way around the kitchen, each one packing what was within her reach. How smart, I thought. Mike McGarry and his son Thane tackled the uninsulated attic, this is January in Buffalo remember. The attic was not tall enough to allow you to stand up straight, but they collected, sorted, packed, taped, and labeled boxes for several hours. From time to time you would hear Mike burst out laughing over a box of old pictures he found, or his gentle voice of instruction spelling out a word for Thane as he labeled, "B-u-s-i-n-e-s-s". "C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s." And then sweet Carrie. You have to know Carrie to know what a labor of absolute love it was. Carrie is one of my closest friends. She avoids sadness at all costs, so to spend a Saturday packing up her girlfriend's belongings only days before a long goodbye was a terrific sacrifice.

I opened one box labeled "kitchen dishes" and started to pull out little stacks of carefully wrapped bowls. Then I smelled something - pepper! I dug into the bottom and there they were! Salt and pepper, sugar bowl, lid and spoon.

It might sound crazy, but I cried.