Tuesday, April 22, 2014

putting our burdens on others

i love a good hard hitting blog post. or, one of the in real life conversations where you hear someone speak so passionately about something, like homeschooling or natural birth control or ways of eating or adoption or gosh, there are so many things to be passionate about. 

but you leave that blog or that conversation and it has you thinking. 

this is where it gets tricky. what is from the spirit and for me and what is from the spirit and for them. i know it gets tricky because i have seen it in my own life. i have seen it on the web too.

what happens often is, someone is truly convicted from the spirit to make a change in their life. they are convicted about small things or large things and they are obedient to the call to change. and it really changes them, it produces incredible fruit. it's amazing to see and even be a part of that transformation. so we read about their conviction, they so passionately lay before us, and we think...yes. that is good. 

and surely it is for me too.

but is it?

i find comfort that this is not just a modern day conundrum, it has been happening for a long time.  bible times, people! and, in God's kindness, he allows it to be addressed. 

romans 14 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master[a] that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

so there are 2 people, both believers, and one does something this way, and the other does something that way.

but it feels so so so black and white to me. this IS the right way. but paul says that we don't get to judge people's convictions, because it's not our job. it's God's. novel idea.

he continues. 

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike.Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. Fornone of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

i find great comfort in this as a body of believers. it frees me to acknowledge what is hard for me to admit, that there are more ways to walk out a profession of faith than, well...my way. it's arrogant, but we're all the most arrogant people we know right?

people can do or not do something, FOR HIS HONOR. to his glory. something i have been called to abstain from, God uses someone's non-abstaining in the same way. to point to him. it is crazy to think about, but he made our body of believers to function this way. and for good reason...it sure is hard to make God look like me when i read that. 

doesn't my God vote like me and listen to the same music as me and fly the same flags i fly? wait. that sounds a lot like another me. 

it also frees me to not be so stinking judgmental to people who do things differently than me, in the name of Jesus. i'm not the judge. that's pretty clear..i mean, he says it a couple times in there so i don't forget. he's got this. 
i don't have to beat other people down with my conviction-- i can certainly talk about it and believe that we should. but to prescribe particular ways of being a believer that aren't specifically outlined in the bible as close handed issues, to other believers because it is my way and it has been awesome for me! is particularly an issue we need to be aware of. careful about. soft towards.

mark me as guilty. i need work in this area, but the more i stare at jesus and what he did for me, the more i am called to submit my hard headed stubbornness of the idea that my way is everyone's way. 

and honestly, i think it's unhelpful to each other as sisters in christ. loading up one another with nuanced opinions and burdens that don't belong to them. pushing our deeply particular convictions on people when perhaps, God is doing a different work in them. if there's something to preach, let it be liberty in Christ. we all have so many expectations placed on us, heavy things. if there is something we can do for each other, let us remove heavy bags and preach to each other to rest in the work He has already done for us. perfectly.

(here's a picture from the internet. you're welcome.)

i pray that we can all have tender hearts with each other in this area. where we can be firm when needed, and soft towards others who are in a different place, with a different calling than us. that we can be unified in Christ, all pointing to Him and not to particular nuances of personal convictions. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

loving lately.

here are a few things i'm loving lately.

these albie design prints are on zulily for the next 2 days for half the price they are on etsy. not to mention, they're absolutely gorgeous. of course i bought the kansas city one, but they have lots of major cities in there. gah. LOVE. and for $15, get outta m'face!

i am loving step by vampire weekend. 

this book. the paris wife. it's a historical fiction based on the life of ernest Hemingway. it discusses life and writing and an affair pretty intensely. and i don't know. i still can't stop thinking about the book. like, i find myself praying for the characters sometimes. ha. but seriously...
“It gave me a sharp kind of sadness to think that no matter how much I loved him and tried to put him back together again, he might stay broken forever.” 
 Paula McLain, The Paris Wife

why do i love this art print of a bear sitting awkwardly in a fancy designer chair? i don't know. but i think i need to stare at it everyday on my wall so it makes me smile. totally weird. well done, minted. 

and then i became obsessed with their table runners. oh...and a photo shoot back drop. what? yes. gimme. let's throw a party just so i can use this magic.

i saw the movie, the grand budapest hotel last weekend. wes anderson does it again. but this one had a pretty strong plot... and it was pretty delightful. 

 and i'll leave you with this quote that i can't stop thinking about. and feel like it sums up my life in such few words.

have a fantastic weekend,

Monday, April 14, 2014

consider Jesus: object of popular favor

as we move into the week of easter, i have thought about this devotional gem from octavius winslow many times this week. about how fickle i am with my affections towards humans and more importantly towards God.

i love that Jesus can relate to us in so many ways and that he knows us deeply. even our depths that are willing to betray him at any moment. he knew that about all of us, and yet, he humbly and willingly walked to the cross.
Consider Jesus– the Object of Popular Favor 
by Octavius Winslow, 1870 

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?" –Matthew 21:10

(no one was harmed in the waving of these palms. maybe.)

Jesus was now enthroned upon the highest wave of popular favor. It was, perhaps, the only moment in His earthly history in which it might be said that His popularity was in the ascendant. The sun of human glory now shone upon Him in all its splendor. He was for a moment the idol and the delight of the people. They thronged His path, carpeted it with their garments, strewed it with foliage, and rent the air with their loud and joyous hosannas. All this was strange to Jesus. It was a new page in His history, a new lesson in His life, which would fit Him in all future time to sympathize with and support those who should be subjected to a like perilous ordeal in their Christian career.

We learn that, seasons of earthly prosperity in the experience of the Christian may be perfectly compatible with his close walk with God. The sunshine of God and the smile of the creature may be permitted for a while to blend, tinting with their bright hues the varied forms and objects of existence. These are some of the few 'lights' intermingled with the many 'shadows'--with which God pencils the picture of life. Are our callings prospered, are our homes happy, do friends smile, are neighbors kind, and have the lines fallen to us in pleasant places? These are gleams of light upon our path across the desert, and in them, O my soul! see that you trace a Father's hand, and acknowledge a Father's heart. The picture of your life is not all somber. If the clouds shade, the sunshine brightens it; if judgment frowns, mercy smiles; and if the bread and the water of affliction are at times your appointed portion, with it He gives His love to soothe you, His presence to cheer you, His arm to sustain you, His Heaven to receive you, and says, "You shall not be forgotten by Me."

We learn, also, how meekly and lowly a child of God should walk in times of worldly prosperity. Jesus was not inflated with pride, nor lifted up with vainglory by this ebullition of popular favor. Oh, how great the grace required to walk humbly with God in times of worldly prosperity! When "Jeshurun waxed fat, he kicked." When earthly riches increase, or worldly honors are bestowed, or human applause is lavished, then is the time to flee to the mountain of strength, to the armory of truth, to the solitude of the closet, and to wrestle with God for help to resist and overcome the soul-perils to which all these seductions fearfully expose us. O my soul! be doubly on your guard, be whole nights in your watch-tower, when floating with the tide, wafted by the wind, irradiated with the sunshine of creature good, of earthly prosperity. The world's dizziness, the creature's caresses, the heart's self-satisfaction, would prove your downfall and ruin but for the restraining grace of God.

We also learn how empty and evanescent a thing is the bubble of popular favor. When Jesus was come into Jerusalem, "all the city was stirred." But before many days elapsed, the air that rang with His acclaim echoed with His execrations; the voices that then sang "Hosanna!" now shouted "Crucify Him! crucify Him!" and from that very city they led Him out to die. O my soul! bid low for the world's applause; set light by man's favor; be not ensnared by creature smiles. Fill not your censer with the incense, and shape not your sail to catch the breath of, human popularity; still less the favor and adulation of the saints. Their idol today, you may be their object of ridicule tomorrow. 'Hosanna' now, 'Crucify Him' then! Walk humbly with your God. Cling to the faithfulness of the unchanging One, to the friendship of the loving One, to the strength of the Almighty One, and to the compassion and sympathy of the crucified One, and let your Jesus be all in all.
"Earthly friends may fail or leave us, 
One day soothe, the next day grieve us, 
But this Friend will ne'er deceive us 
Oh, how He loves!"

are you fickle like me? a betrayer like me? have you been betrayed like me? Jesus can sympathize greatly.
our pastor preached on the redemption of even our greatest regrets, our greatest betrayals. it is truly incredible. hearing how Jesus bound up peter's betrayals by asking him three times later, after his resurection,  do you love me?
God knows us intamately. and still pursues us.
that sermon is here

Friday, April 11, 2014

giveaway winner!


random.org says you're the winner of the barn owl primatives credit! please email me and give me your address.


also, everyone. thanks for being so encouraging with walking through this special needs stuff with me. the appointment sort of went just as expected. 

no new labels for now. just severely delayed in speech and language. and he says we're on the right path as far as what we're pursuing now. so we just keep pushing on. 

thank you all for your prayers and sweet words. you don't even know how encouraging they are and continue to be to me!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

today in the unknown

today we have a doctor's appointment today for lila.
with her special developmental specialist. we will sit in the office for 2 hours while he plays with her and asks her questions. he is so incredible with her.
but i've done this before. i've watched him take down his notes and think, what is he writing? i know she did that skill set all wrong. he asked her to draw mommy and she drew a spider. with a unibrow. i mean, that's more creative than just drawing a human.

it's not a question of if she's a normal kid, i know she's not a normal almost 6 year old. her brain works completely different. her speech is at a 2 year old's level and she's almost 6. i know that. i really know that in so many ways.

but when you hear a label, something different happens. that is to be carried around. it can be carried around as a burden or as a tool set, my brain knows that. but what will we choose to do? likely, we will swim in and out of both ways of thinking.

this morning, with wet hair and the kitchen house undone with mess, i wanted to process before i go into that office this afternoon and face the unknown. order in my thoughts, perhaps.

i could come out of there still walking in the unknown or i could walk out having a label. the label is bittersweet to me: it could be helpful as she moves into kindergarten for her teachers and for her therapists to better care for her. it could be hurtful if people see the label and not the lila.

oh, that they would see beyond the disability.

i am struck by one thought this morning: that even though all this feels so heavy and earth shattering in this moment, it's just a breath. this life. i can do all of this because my focus isn't on caring for lila but that God is caring for me during this very short life we have walking with sweet lila. i don't have to fear the diagnosis because God has already known all of this before he made the stars. he will show us the way like he always has.

and he is near. his nearness is better than a good diagnosis or avoiding hard things. both of which stare at me today asking me what i really believe. this is not a sad moment, it is a moment in which God's great goodness shines light into our mundane and proclaims that Jesus is better.

that is what i will speak today in the doctor's office when i ask my questions and when i thank the doctor for his time. when i gather up lila's drawings and when i tell lila that i just love her spiders. more spiders, i'll say. there aren't enough spiders on that paper. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

barn owl primitives giveaway!

today, the kind people at barn owl primitives that make these adorable wooden plaques are giving you a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to their fun store! they have a million different signs and sayings, but i loved this one. 

everyday, whether you're going through something big or small, earth shattering or mundane, we are all doing hard things.

i was reminded of seeing a friend riding his bike the other day. we both stopped at the same stoplight. lynnie!, i shouted.
oh hey.
he wheeled over and looking into his eyes, i could see terrible sadness. i knew why. his wife had lost a battle to congenital heart disease the very night before.

i'm glad that you're riding. 

will you guys be at the funeral tonight?, he asked.

of course.

and then the light changed from red to green. life kept moving and so did we.

to other drivers, he's just a guy riding his bike. but everyone has a story, a hard thing that they're living out right then. we never know what people are living through when we see them and interact with them. it's easy to forget hat we all walk the road of suffering. if not now, then sometime.

rapper drake says it best: we're all walking the same road, we just got different shoes on. 

remembering that lends greater compassion towards others. and yet we need something more. the only way we can do the hard things and remain soft hearted or to look at other people through a compassionate lens, is with Christ's strength. eventually our own strength will wain. we get tired.
run to the one who never gets tired. never sleeps. never stops working on your behalf.

paul, who would have been an incredible rapper in our day, says
philipians 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

i pray that i can remember that "secret" today.

if you would like to enter the giveaway, barn owl primitives asks that you do one or more of the following:

1) like Barn Owl Primitives on FB (https://www.facebook.com/barnowlprimitives?ref=hl)
3) follow on IG (@BarnOwlPrimitives)

then leave a comment that you did so. winner will be picked next week! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

on ignoring special needs people

when people talk about causes or issues that don't relate to me, i find it particularly easy to ignore what they're saying.

yes, that was my compassionate opening line, just now.  but if we're all honest, i think we can relate to that statement. you love adoption? meh. you love fitness? ok. you're into oils? fine, moving on.

you know what i mean?

perhaps it's because we're all so inundated with causes constantly on the internet or at church or at school or our kid's school. i think some of the shut out is ok and even needed. no one can champion every cause nor should they. we would all be exhausted humans getting small amounts of 1million things done and i'm not sure how much good that does.

what i do know is that everyone can champion life. because, we're all humans and we're all living and no one is a robot. i think my logic there is impeccable.

the other day before i started "working out", i downloaded a pod cast, thinking it was something else. it didn't download in time and i forgot about it...until i was on the plane coming home from the conference. i was bored and exhausted but couldn't sleep, so i looked in my podcasts and there it was. one lone ranger to listen to. so, why not.

and i sat in my seat and just cried and cried while i listened to a man talk about the value of life. and how the value of our life is simply found in being made in the image of God, not in the contribution we can give society. now, i am particularly sensitive to this as our sweet lila is on that special needs spectrum somewhere. and perhaps i would have ignored this before her. but i don't think it's right as a body of believers to do so...ignoring the value of all life.

at hopespoken there were a few meet-up/share groups on the last night like; new moms, seasoned moms, an adoption group, singles, handmade shop owners, and i lead the special needs moms group.

we sat outside and laughed together about our children licking everything. saying strange things. taking their pants off in the store, because why not. not being able to verbalize when someone asks, what's your name? pushing someone because they can't say they'd like a turn with that toy.
a group where we didn't feel so abnormal saying, we don't fit in at playdates. 
my child doesn't get invited to birthday parties. 
this is hard and i feel alone.
where do we fit into this life?

it was one of my favorite times at the conference. i don't have many friends with special needs kids--where i live or on the internet even. so being connected like this was so refreshing. just to nod our heads at each other and say, i know.

we talked about how God knitted these children in the womb, just like this. knowing the missing chromosomes. knowing the intricacies of their different needs, their special diets, their unique brains, their unusual bodies. he knit them just so and they reflect the image of God in some way. i was just blown back by that thought. that somehow, special needs children reflect the image of God.

their limitless boundaries.
their crazy joy.
how they find no reason to hide emotions.
how they feel so intensely some things.

i see Him in lila so much. and i feel like i have to champion and defend her most of the time. and sometimes i do defend her...but she can do this! see her value!

so when i heard this sermon, i finally really heard someone saying, all of life is important. the ones that contribute, and the ones that aren't born yet, the ones that are born with special needs, the ones that are considered normal. life is valuable simply because every single person reflects the image of christ. you never have to defend your child's value for anything other than simply, because God said So.

i feel a burden to help people understand that my special needs child and others all around the world, are valuable because God made it so. whether you have no experience with a special needs kid or you have plenty, we all need to listen to this truth over and over.

will you take time to listen to it? i promise it will knock your socks off.
(it is addressed to pastors, but pretend like he said i want to address my fellow CHRISTIANS)

SERMON from Paul Martin 

Image of God - Creation - Fall - Redemption - Consummation