Thursday, January 29, 2015

To Hide, or Not to Hide

I hide because I 'm afraid that if I am known, I won't be loved.
I heard this statement during the sermon at church on Sunday.
And wrote it down because it rang so true.
See, I lived in that hiding place for a very long time. A young mother, bogged down by insecurities and imperfections, wishing she had it all together - like it seemed everyone else did, afraid to let her true self and struggles be known. Oh, that was such a lonely existence!

The crazy thing is, sometimes I still feel that urge to hide.

Even though I have experienced the freedom of being open and honest, even though I am grateful for the grace to be real, sometimes I am still afraid that if I am known I won't be loved.

I'm not the only one who feels this way, am I?

So what's a real girl, living in a real world, with real struggles, and a real need for love to do?

I don't know about you, but I have to run to Jesus first.
I need to remember who I am in Him: Forgiven, Redeemed, Made new, Chosen, and LOVED. I cannot hide from Him. He knows everything about me. (See Psalm 139.) And still, He loves me.
I wonder, what would happen if we had the same confidence that we would be loved by people as we do with Jesus? Better still, what would happen if we loved other people without judgement and as freely as Jesus does? What if we let Him love through us?
Seems to me we'd see fewer people hiding.

What do you think?

Karen

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

God Came to My Pity Party

Sunday afternoon I was making some Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread. (One of the requests from certain men in my household is: Now that I have "more time" because I am not "working", would I please make those yummy breads I used to make?)
So, I was making the bread.
I had two loaves in the oven and was sitting in the adjacent room while they baked. I don't know how long into the baking process is was, but at some point I heard an odd noise and then a buzzing coming from the oven. I walked into the kitchen to see what was going on and discovered the oven had turned off. It still had power - because the light came on when I opened it - but the control panel was completely dark and the oven wasn't generating any more heat.
Sooooo, I closed the door quickly and left the two loaves in the oven for a long time - hoping in vain that they'd finish baking. (Actually, the ends baked enough for one or two good slices and you could carve a slice off each side, but the middle was a gooey mess.)
And then, I sat down at my computer and thought of all the snarky, pity-me-please status updates I could post on Facebook so the whole world would know how inconvenient my life had just become.
I mean, really.

My oven wasn't working.

Never mind that I still had a working stove top and microwave. Never mind that I could go to the store and buy a yummy loaf of bread. Never mind that I could load my family up in the van and go out to dinner if I wanted to. Never mind any of that stuff. My oven was broken. And as a result, my life just got harder. And I thought the world should feel sorry for me. So I was going to come up with a clever status update to garner the sympathy I deserved.
But instead, I logged on and saw this picture which my friend had just posted along with this thought:
I was going to complain about my dishwasher breaking but then I saw this...and I remembered what it is so easy to forget...

And, boy, was I ever convicted of all I'd forgotten.

I don't recall inviting God to my pity party, but I am so glad HE came and reminded me of what's true.

Karen

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Right Before My Eyes

So, I told you a couple months ago about Josh and his new Jeep. And how he wanted to drive it so badly, but had to wait until he was gainfully employed and could start making car payments.
Remember that?

Well, he's been at his job for nearly two months now and I have been simply delighted by what I'm seeing.

At first I was entertained by the stories he would share about "rescuing" children who were going the wrong way down the sledding hill, or who were in the path of someone else coming down the hill. (Josh works at our county park, manning the sledding hill.)
But more recently I have been impressed by the maturing he seems to be doing. He talks about his responsibilities on the job. He plans his schedule and activities so he is on time for work. He pays attention to his income and budgets accordingly. And the other night as I sat and listened to my son sharing stories about work, I realized - He's growing up. Right before my eyes.
I've been in this place before. At all the different stages of childhood. I remember the delight of seeing him learn to walk. How precious it was when his little voice started making real words. I loved watching my baby become a toddler, and then a little boy who turned into a big kid.

It occurred to me the other night: I'm watching my big kid become a man.

And I love it!

Karen

Friday, January 23, 2015

Getting Ready for Granny

The day is quickly approaching!

My grandmother will be moving in with us in 10 days.

And there is much to do to prepare.

For one, we need to transform this room:
This is currently the boys' bathroom, but it will become Grandma's. *Read that: The boys have been responsible for cleaning and maintaining this bathroom for seven years. My philosophy has always been, If that tub is clean enough for you, fine. But, honestly, I would never get into it. And there is no way on earth I would dream of having my grandmother use it in it's current condition.* So, I'm excited about the changes we're going to make. New floor, tub, tile, vanity, fixtures, and paint. Pretty much the whole thing. We have a guy coming in to do the big stuff - floor, tub, tile, vanity - but I need to get it prepped. That is, clean, prime, and paint the ceiling, remove the border, and clean the walls. (Did all that Wednesday.)

We also need to fix up this room:
Grandma will be using this room as her bedroom. Once upon a time, it was Matthew's room. Then it became the guest room (a.k.a. Nick's room). And now, it is Grandma's room. In here, I just need to clean and paint the walls. Was thinking about painting the ceiling, too, but after I did the bathroom my neck clearly objected to any more time in that uncomfortable cocked position. I agreed.

In the process of prepping the bedroom for paint, I was a bit shocked to find poop on the wall.
I'm guessing poop has been there for a while, as I hope don't think my boys (at 14 and 17) are still fixated with that word. *ahem*
Anyway, I tried to scrub the poop off the wall but it wouldn't budge. So I'm just going to paint over it.
Don't judge.
*wink*

And now you know how I'm spending the next several days.

What are you up to?

Karen

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Have We Really Come This "Far"?

My son (and I am not mentioning a name, to protect the guilty...) wrote thank-you notes this week.
It might have taken some cajoling and a few more days than I wanted, but the job is now done.*ahem*
By "done", I mean the notes are written and the envelopes are addressed. And it was the latter of these two duties which seemed to cause the most brain-strain.

I told my un-named son where to find the addresses of the relatives to whom he was writing thank-you notes, and thought that was all I'd need to do.
Until I found an addressed envelope on the kitchen counter.
The name of the recipient was clearly written in the center of the envelope. But the address was written in the upper left corner(!). So I took the envelope to this un-named teenage child and explained what-I-thought-he-already-knew about addressing envelopes. And after some eye-rolling (His, not mine!) and questions like, "Can't I just draw an arrow?", this son of mine justified his lack of knowledge.
"Mom," he said (in a get-with-the-times tone of voice), "no one writes letters anymore. We text!"

And I thought, Really? Is letter-writing really a lost art?

Somebody, PLEASE, email me your address. I feel a great need to send something in the mail right now!

Karen

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Would Jesus Do?

Do you remember the W.W.J.D. bracelets?

Did you ever own one?

I do.
And I didn't.
But lately I have been asking myself that question again.

See, I have this friend...who has a friend...
And my friend's friend has been coming to church with her recently, and that's a great thing.
My friend's friend is also in a band of sorts, and plays in clubs and bars. And the music and dancing is rather sexual in nature.
Anyway, my friend thinks it would be good to be supportive of her friend and go see a show/concert. But she's torn between supporting her friend, and condoning the sexualized performance and music. And I totally understand!

That's why W.W.J.D. has been on my mind.

I'm picturing Jesus reaching out to a person, meeting them right where they are.
At the well.
Or the bar.
Or in a pit.
I see Him free of condemnation, while clearly standing for all that is good and pure and holy. And I'm imagining the love in His eyes as He speaks truth and invites this person to follow Himself.
Then I think of my friend going to one of these shows, listening to sexual lyrics and watching similar dance moves. I feel the tension within her of wanting to meet her friend in a supportive role, but being broken over the brokenness of the circumstance. I picture my friend's friend coming to her breathless after the show, full of excitement from the rush of just finishing a performance, and asking expectantly, "So, what did you think????"
And I wonder, What would Jesus do?

Karen