Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Please call me George

Mommy.  Mommy.  Mom.  Momma.  Mother.  Mutter.  Mum.  Mummy.  Ma.  Mommy.  Mommy!

These are the words ringing through my home, my ears, and my heart all day long.  With four kids at home, two of which we home school, the call for my attention never ceases.  Pleas for a referee to break up a squabble over trains, assistance with solving for "x", and inquiries as to what will be served at every meal for the entire day, including snacks, are abundant.

The name "Mommy" is heard so often I sometimes ask my children to call me "George" for the day.  They laugh and think it is funny but I seriously just need relief from hearing the "M" word.  I inform them that I will not answer to any of the M-synonyms (another opportunity to squeeze in a language lesson!) but will be happy to answer their call when addressed as "George".

An amazing thing happens - those children have to stop and think about using the correct name.  Sometimes it takes them a while to remember my "name" so they mosey on and forget what they needed! 

Along the way, the whole name-calling overload certainly made me think of the Name Above All Names

Elohim.  El Elyon.  El Roi.  El Shaddai.  Adonai.  Jehovah.  Father.  God.  Holy One.

It certainly challenges my outlook of The Lord's perception of my calling out to Him.  Is He rolling His eyes thinking, "here she goes again!"? Is He ready with the curt "not right now" that I give my kiddos?  Is He plugging His ears when He hears my whiny, needy voice begin to wail?

Unlike me, He NEVER tires of hearing His children call out to Him.  He longs to be called upon.  He wants to hear our frustrations, anger, sadness, joy, thanksgiving, praise, grief, disappointments.  He desires that our first word, our last word, and every word in between be for Him. Our Lord calls us to seek Him with confidence and boldness.

And maybe I will do well to remember the Lord's example the next time the Mommy word has met its quota for the day.

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:10

*For a thorough study of knowing the names of the Lord, check out: Lord, I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weight . . . no Wait

Weight.  What an UGLY word for those of us who struggle day in and day out to maintain or in my case, achieve, an acceptable BMI. 

Picture this. . . three or four days a week of "30 Day Shred" - killer! Two or three days of recumbent bike - boring!  Counting and tracking Weight Watchers points until my pencil is worn down to a nub - relentless agony!  What's worse?  Committed exercise and diet changes since mid-November has earned me a 4 pound gain.  You heard that right - GAIN!  Now, to be honest I did have a 3 week excessively indulgent period over Christmas.  But you would think days upon days of Jillian Michels would balance that out.

As you can guess, there is more going on here than just exercise and diet changes.  For me, food has always been a coping mechanism, a prop.  I was one of those tween girls that had to shop in the Pretty Plus department where designers somehow forgot to make things cute.  You know, gingham and bows instead of Andy Gibb T-shirts and Dallas Cowboy cheerleader skirts.  Didn't they know this "plus" girl was NOT cut out for pilgrim collars and seer sucker?  I wanted parachute pants!

Years go by and I develop into a svelte teenager mainly due to the hours upon hours on the basketball court and volleyball floor.  Even with the mounds of late-night Taco Bell and Slurpee's I was able to wear the same size as my tiny older sister.  Success!  Can you see the writing on the wall though?  School ends, sports involvement ends, Tiny Me ends.  Food is still my prop and best friend and it starts to show.

By now, using food or my control of it has become a habit.  I no longer NEED it to comfort me or turn to it for celebration or even mourning.  Now it is just plain ol' sin.  I hold onto that control of food.  I cherish it and covet it.  I keep it on a pretty little pedestal inside a secret closet.  It even has a name plate:

"Niki's Unwillingness to Surrender ALL to GOD"

So, I exercise and count my points.  I moan and groan about the lack of physical changes.  I tell all my friends and my husband how pitiful my generous backside really is.

But you know what I DON'T do? 

I don't give to the Lord.  I don't seek repentance for my ugly desire to control that part of my life.  I don't crawl on my face and hand the All-Forgiving God my cherished sin on a golden plate.
I don't.  I don't. I don't.

So do you know what the Holy Spirit is revealing to me? 

I'll WAIT.  I'll WAIT.  I'll WAIT.

I feel as if He is telling me through my frustrating lack of physical changes that He will WAIT to change my WEIGHT until I give it all up.  Everything.  He wants me to hand over the golden key to my secret closet where my disgusting control sits upon a nasty, dog-eared sofa. He demands it of me.

And, Praise Him above ALL things, He is so much more than my pitiful attempt at control.  I praise Him for who He is, what He has done, and what He will do.

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.  Matthew 6:24

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friction and Chafed Thighs

My family recently visited a sea life/amusement park.  To prepare for the unavoidable water experience, I donned my swim suit under my sun dress.  Now to set the stage, my figure is Rubenesque in nature which calls for one of those not-so-cute swim short ensembles.  What I didn't realize while shopping for said swim shorts was that those shorts cause serious friction!  There was so much rubbing of skin against shorts that day I could have produced enough electricity to power the whole park!

While doctoring my sore hamhocks with first aid cream, it brought to mind what I am like when I am doing my own thing and not God's.  I have a constant ever-present desire to do things my way first and then "consult" with God later.  You know the "it's better to ask forgiveness later than ask for permission now" theme?  I practically authored the idea! 

You see, for me, going off on my own Commando-style never seems to work out.  The friction of my independence against HIS desire for dependence upon HIM creates major chafing in my life.  And I mean serious need for first aid.  Every time I choose "me" and "my" over "Thee" and "Thy" I am sinning against HIM that loves me more than I can fathom.  How devastating it is to think of my actions that way.  I would never treat my husband or children so terribly so why do I insist on deplorable behavior against HE that loves me the greatest?

However, I can take solace in the healing balm of Jesus Christ.  HE welcomes me with a genuineness that can not be duplicated on earth.  He covers my raw and chafed wounds with a healing that is incomparable. HE cherishes my repentence of independence and seeks to guide me again along HIS path.

Praise the LORD that HIS path does not include swim shorts, friction, and thighs!

Rubens panting: "Venus at a Mirror" c.1615

Monday, June 13, 2011

If I'm Lying I'm Crying

Have you wondered if your public persona is a true representation of your personal truth or self?

For the last two years, my idea of my public  self no longer jived with what was inside my heart and soul.  As you can imagine, drama and trauma ensued.  My plastic smile and pretty earrings clashed with (in my mind) my smeared lipstick-stained grimace and tarnished edges.  You see, I could no longer compartmentalize the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It all collided and BOY, was it U-G-L-Y!

A friend and I had just experienced a weekend conference focusing on our godly roles as mothers and wives.  I remember sitting there surrounded by beautiful (clearly beautiful inside and out) women who loved the Lord.  I couldn't even hear or process what the speakers spoke about, what the songs heralded, or  focus on the people I met.

All I heard and FELT was my Lord shouting in a whisper that He would no longer accept being in a compartment.  He would no longer TOLERATE my living a pretty, predictable, acceptable, lie.  My Patient Jesus was through being patient.  He now demanded that I Get Up or Shut Up.

Guess what?  I totally got up.  It was THE moment.  The moment you hear about:

"When did you hear God?"  "How did you know the Lord was tugging on your heart?"  "How could you tell it was really HIM and not the imaginings of a sleep-deprived mother?"

This moment with the Lord, because of the Lord, was not only a tugging on my heart or bending of my ear, but an actual PHYSICAL feeling of being pressed down.  Isn't that crazy?  I had the sensation of Him leaning on me with a pressure I could not imagine.  It was hard to breathe, friends.

 And to fast forward, Jesus' persistent and consistent pursual of me has caused that "pretty people" persona to slowly fade.  I am learning that the Lord loves my dimpled thighs and graying hair.  He loves my quirkiness and OCD tendencies.  He loves my ability to recall a license plate I saw a week ago.  He loves my tarnished edges.

And most of all, He loves my desire to allow Him to refine and polish those tarnished edges for His use and liking.

To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:29