Monday, April 30, 2012

6 - The lessons we need.

I just posted a 'professional' lesson I had learned (I hope to turn my horse training hobby into a profitable venture) on my horse training blog.  And, it got me to thinking.  When life gets hard, we really need to step back, and evaluate, what is God wanting us to learn?

I've always been confident at training horses.  It is the one thing I'm good at.  Ok, maybe I'm good at other things, but, horses are my thing.  Then, something happened, and my confidence was shaken.  It took me a couple weeks to figure out that the bad thing was actually an opportunity for me to learn. And, in essence, a good thing.

Once I figured THAT out, other troubles popped into my head.  The neighbor whose selfishness and neglect has made my own home less enjoyable?  What am I suppose to learn from this?

Matthew 18:15-17
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may e established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.  And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

I'm not sure what all of that means for me and my problems, but, I know I felt guilty about talking about the problem to someone else, and not going to the person alone.  I'm far from perfect, and, I thank God for the guilt that drives us to be better people.  And I am thankful for the problems I am faced with, so that I have the opportunity to grow.  Sure, it would be nice to enjoy the peace and joy that comes with a day that runs smoothly, without confrontation.  But, there is something to be said about the peace and joy that is earned from doing the right thing, when, in a sinful, selfish world, it is much easier not to.

I guess this is what bible study is all about.  You knew that?  Well, I'm catching on, slowly.  Trying to learn how to live our everyday life, in a manner acceptable to God.  If we didn't have troubles, it certainly would be more difficult to remember to give thanks when things are going right.  And, without our troubles, there would be little incentive to grow as individuals.  So, aren't we lucky to have so many opportunities to learn?

Monday, February 13, 2012

5 - Keep them safe.

I had some time to myself, in the barn, this weekend.  I was looking around, and began thinking of all the dangers that lurked.  Poisonous mushrooms, weed killers, fertilizers, the rat poison and knife that I keep high on a shelf.  Horses.  The road.  You get the idea.

Never get on a horse without a helmet!
I've invested, probably more than the average family, on various door handle covers, cabinet locks, and medicine lock boxes.  And, despite my efforts, I've called poison control, on more than one occasion.

I can't do enough, to keep my children safe, it seems.  There are dangers everywhere.  At the end of the day, and sometimes in between, I thank God for my children's health and safety.  I pray that he keep my children safe, and that he give me the wisdom to do everything that I can do, to protect and teach them.  That is all I can do.  It is the prayer I have prayed more than any other, beginning with the day I became a mom.

Monday, January 30, 2012

4 - Breathe

It is amazing how important God is, for a healthy psyche.  In the past week, things have gotten... Chaotic.  And, here I sit, thinking, do I have time to write?  Or should I put in a load of laundry, or just go to sleep, because I'm tired.

I got the flu...or at least a REALLY bad cold...which means laundry piled up, toys didn't get put away, the pantry and fridge ran out of essentials, and the kids became spoiled by watching too much TV and playing too many video games.  All in all, much to undo, and a weakened immune system means a lack of energy to get it all done.  Plus, computer problems, sick kids (extra whining), elderly dog and her medications, lame horse, flat tire, torn ACL, doctor's appointments, hunting season (missing spouse), parent helper, school fundraisers, preschool meeting, and extra homework.  It is easy to lose sight of what matters.

Thinking about all these things can be debilitating.  But, just now, for the first time this week, I stopped to think about what is important to God.  I wish I had done THAT sooner!  Now, it's not so bad.  In fact, if I stop and think about what is important to God, it's easy.  Everything else can get in line after God and my family.  Problem solved.  Now I can breathe, get a good night's sleep, and conquer the day tomorrow... with God's help.  Right after a load of laundry.  Thank you God for the energy to do just one more load of laundry!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

3 - The Adventures of Kids in Church

Guilt isn't as much a motivator as one might think.  I have been guilty most Sundays for the past 2 years, and only occasionally do I get to church.  I love going to church, really!  There are nice people and an engaging pastor, so what's the problem?

Well, I am fortunate to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom.  I worked up until my 2nd born, so, I know how difficult it is to be away from your kid 5 days a week.  And, I adore my kids.  They are also very energetic, and the baby is what you might call 'strong willed'.  So, taking my 3 kids to church is much like trying to get 3 puppies to hold still for a picture.  Even when they try their best, someone ends up falling off a chair, swinging their feet and causing an annoying bump, bump, bump on the chair, or asking a question too loudly during a prayer.  Most people are tolerable of this.

If we live through the 20 minutes of church before the kids are dismissed to Sunday School, we enter the next mommy adventure.  "Mommy, please stay with me!  Are you going to stay?  Stay the whole time?  Are you going to leave me?"  Oddly enough, my children would be the first to run off in a crowd, without a worry as to where I am.  But, if I try to walk out of a room, they are clinging to my leg.  When my oldest was not quite 3, I was at the zoo, and he started to wander.  I stood back and followed him, so that he could realize he was lost, become scared, and hopefully learn his lesson.  He wandered around until he found the playground, which was, thankfully, closed.  Wouldn't that lesson have ended badly?  He pulled on the gates in frustration, then turned around and walked back the way he came.  All in all, he was walking for about 45 minutes.  Finally, a worker noticed him wandering, plopped him up on a golf cart and picked up his radio.  I of course popped out and claimed my child.  Not a single tear.  But, leave them so I can get my haircut?  The floodgates open.  My children are amazingly independent and attached to me all at the same time.

But, today, we made it to church.  Wesley, my youngest, just turned two, and is now consolable, usually.  He still cries when I leave (or realizes I'm gone), but, he can be distracted.  It wasn't always this way.  The other two coerced me into going down into Sunday School with them.  Which, ended up working out because the class was full with 8 kids, so I was able to help.  The best part of the morning was that my husband went!  His duck hunting buddy was unavailable, so he had no one with whom to brave the icy rivers.  Even though I missed the sermon, he got to hear it.  And, I'm in no position to be pointing fingers, but I'm pretty sure I squeeze a little more 'God' time into my week than he does ;-)  Besides, I actually learned something in the kid's Sunday School lesson!  It was a good start to the day, followed by a nap for Wes, and then snowmen, snowballs, a snow fort for everyone, and it ended with my husband cooking dinner!  I am feeling very thankful for a wonderful day.  I need to figure out how to have more days like this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2 - Pushy Christians

I wonder what is the worse offense, being a pushy Christian, or not sharing God's word?  I have always fallen in the latter category, out of fear of being in the first.  It seems to me, that being quiet is missing an opportunity to create some good, but being pushy actually creates greater distance between the individual and God.

I've known more than one person to shun church and even God because they have been exposed to people who are pushy and full of judgement.  Isn't judging God's job?  Some might argue that Jesus modeled judgement, and therefore we are asked to as well, as long as we are sharing the truth of the bible.  I would like to know what good that does, if we are offending people, and therefore, preventing someone from actually finding God?

I'll never forget, driving with my Sales Manager at my first job out of college, and him telling me that I was going to hell because I interpreted something in the bible differently than he did.  Never mind the fact that it is wrong for a person's boss to take his new hire to his church and discuss the bible.  That is a whole different issue.  It was the pompous, disrespectful, pushy, attitude that was full of judgement, that left a bad taste in my mouth.  Thankfully, I had been raised going to church, and already believed.  But, I can imagine that this isn't the first time he had had this conversation.  And I can only imagine what a non-believer would think and feel after this encounter.

So, thank you to all the gentle, kind hearted Christians that are considerate of where someone is, in their spiritual growth.  Thank you for your patience and dedication to spreading the word of God without being offensive, pushy, and inconsiderate.  You are my role models, and I hope to one day, make a difference in someone's life, like you have mine!

Oh, and if you've already been offended by someone like I was, and haven't given God a chance, please reconsider.  You are here, reading this, for a reason :-)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

1 - Daily dose

It was one of those "aha!" moments, when I read my first "God blog" online.  I can use the wonders of the Internet to fulfill my life where it is lacking.  The thing that should be most important in my life was most often an afterthought, and I wanted this to change.

I read, and it felt good.  Ryan was able to write about God in a personal, relatable way, and I felt Wowed.  I could enjoy learning about God and Jesus, without guilt, fire, and brimstone.  Some may enjoy that angle; not me.  I enjoy being happy, positive, and hopeful.

I found one way to connect with God more often, with Ryan's blog, and I hope to find more... especially since I don't go to church as often as I should!  And, I've committed to seeking out those connections regularly.  Although I will blog just weekly on the topic, having this commitment will hopefully serve as a reminder for me to find those connections more often, and would love to hear about how you do it too!