Friday, January 29, 2010

Want Friends?

Last night was my turn to host our monthly girls night out group. Since it was January, I made sure to have some veggies snacks along with homemade chocolate chip cookies. We drank greyhounds (grapefruit juice with vodka) which I got from a mutual friend who had moved away's Facebook page. I felt bad we ran out of vodka. We are not a big drinking group but almost everyone was there last night. We talked, we painted toes, we prayed for one friend's son. We hit the big topics, the silly topics. We got to know one another more deeply yet again. I found out there is a new cupcake place just one town away that I now have to try. It was a wonderful evening with a few of us hanging on until after midnight.

I write this not to make people who don't have a group like this feel bad. I have been the new person in a room at the women's spring tea listening to the speaker tell us about all her amazing friendships and being really annoyed. I don't really need to hear how much people like you. I need to know how to get friends of my own. Having moved as much as I have here is what I have learned about making friends, real friends that you can talk to and laugh with.

1) Be available. Show up. Keep showing up.
Making good friends takes time. I remember when we moved to California and I was all alone and my husband worked all the time. I was desperate for human contact with adults and this was before I discovered Facebook so I had to hang out places where other moms hang out. I joined the mom's group at our church. I hung around the preschool after pick up and started little conversations with the moms. I got discouraged at times. But I kept showing up. It took a long time but sometime in January, I was having play dates with two different families. And by the time we moved away they were two dear friends. Same thing happened in kindergarten. The room mom invited everyone over for a coffee the first week of school. I was nervous. I had Little Man who might tear up her house. I did not want to get sucked into the cult that is the PTA. But I said yes because that is how you make friends. That is how you get to know people. One of the best yeses I have ever said. What an amazing woman she is, a beacon of hope to this mom of three a little farther behind in the journey. And what an amazing group of kinder parents I got to know! Miss them all so much. So say yes. But also know that if you are the person that flakes on a group of friends enough, they may stop calling you. Or if you don't say yes the first time or two, they may think you don't want to be their friend. So say yes. Make it work. Find the time. Friendship takes face time and a length of time to grow.

2) Take the initiative. Be brave.
I was the person that did start the girls night out group that I mentioned at the start. I really wanted a girls night out group, a book club, something to get me out of the house once in a while. I kept waiting but no one invited me to join the book club. I had waited for two years in California to get invited to join a bunco group, or dinner club. Never happened. I sort of missed the boat a bit because my kids were born up north and I found that with preschoolers most of us made our friends when our kids were babies and were now busy, the groups were full. My baby friends were up north and I was alone in California. I was making a few friends through church and preschool, but even there someone has to make the first move to invite people over for coffee or out to dinner. But I think we are all a bit scared and insecure. It feels like middle school all over again. What if they don't like me. Will it be a pity yes? or even worse a no? When I moved back home I decided to make a group. I asked two friends from my church to join me, we had met in a small group years before and I was so glad to be back with my friends. They said yes, and then I asked them to think of more people from our church that might be needing some deeper connections with a small group of girls. (I do think it is funny that I still think of us as girls, though the insecurity in the initial inviting people to join our "club" made me feel like a girl.) We had some yeses, a few too busies. And our group was born. We had a plan. Meet once a month. Rotate the host. Invite new people - though we keep it to people from church who are local. I did this last month with someone I felt like I was supposed to invite but was worried because while we have been in small group for a while I was worried she might not like me. Silly me, silly insecurities. I am loving getting to know her in a different setting, a more relaxed sillier setting. Last night seven women were here while our pregnant friend was at home catching up on rest. We are growing together. We are supporting one another. We are loving each other. Don't get mad at us that we did not ask you to join us. If you know us, ask, we love new people. Or better yet, start a group. Find one friend and go from there. Take the initiative! Don't sit back and wait for the invitation.

3) Be yourself. Be truthful. Be real. Be authentic.
It is so much faster to get to know someone when you actually are getting to know who they really are. Now there are times and places for this. I don't need to share my love of reality tv and twitter with my Bible study small group at church. But I have to be myself with the people I really want to come alongside me. I fight this sometimes because I know that my real self can be a bit brash at first. I grow on people like I wrote here and sometimes I want to make a good first impression. Which is funny because it rarely works because sooner or later my foot in mouth, loud, brash but deeply caring personality will come shining through. But I also know that being real with people builds connections. Just this week I saw a friend carrying a set of the Twilight books in a bag because someone had just returned them to her (not because she is a nutcase). This is a friend who I have shared in many numerous theological and parenting conversations but I did not know she was a fellow Twilight addict. And in knowing that I felt a kinship that I did not before. I also had a friend recently hit the "like" button on one of my more spiritual status update. She was someone I had no idea even thought about spiritual things. Now there is an opening for a conversation.

So those are my hints. I have been lucky enough to move around a lot and get to make some amazing new friends. Though I have also been unlucky in that I have moved around a lot and have had to say goodbye to many wonderful friends. Which is why I love Facebook, blogs, email and Christmas cards. I worked hard at times to make my friends. I am not letting them go without a fight!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Whiplash of the Mind

I was recently looking over my Facebook status updates and was amazed at how divergent they can be. Here are a few of my recent missives:

I want an iPad! - Yesterday (Wednesday)

Just read the Huffington Posts rules for the State of the Union drinking game. That looks more dangerous than the Robin Shebowski one. - Tuesday

Was rushing the kids through dinner thinking we were late only to arrive at basketball practice 15 minutes early. - Monday

I am not sure what God is going to do with my obedience to His whispers but I have been really encouraged this week. But that is when it is easy to be obedient, when you are getting lots of good feedback. Praying that I can say yes Lord even when the world's response is silence. - Sunday

That was over four days but could have easily have been written in a few hours. My mind jumps quickly at times between subjects and goes from the mundane, to the eccentric, to the silly, to the deeply spiritual and back again in a matter of minutes. I have friends who are like this and when we talk... well I can only imagine the poor people sitting next to us in Starbucks. Our conversation can cause whiplash.

Thankfully my husband has learned that their are connections between each thought, even if he can't figure out what they are and needs them explained. Though now he usually just trusts that what I am saying makes sense in my mind and goes with the flow of the conversation. I know I am not the only one like this with a mind that moves thoughts around quickly and randomly, letting them collide together and creating new ideas. I have found many kindred spirits.

I love that I can talk about what happened on Grey's Anatomy in one sentence and the theological idea of election in the next. That I read books on prayer written over a hundred years ago, and mommy blogs and silly twitter updates of people that make me smile.

So please don't mind the whiplash that might occasionally occur on this blog. I honestly use this blog to get all the thoughts that are swirling around my head on any given day out of my head and onto "paper" hoping that I can then release that idea for a while.

Oh and let me say that I watched part of the State of the Union speech with the drinking game rules in front of me. So glad I was not playing with actual liquor! President Obama said the word "jobs" a lot. Though because I am who I am, I also listened to the speech because I enjoy government and a reasonable political discussion, not that those happen much anymore. I could start quoting my favorite lines now but will save those for another day.

See, whiplash.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Younger Son

I have all these great books on prayer I want to read, but then I joined a group of girlfriends in reading the whole Bible in 2010. Which is something I have been wanting to do for a while but really does take some discipline because when I get lazy and skip a day or two, the catch up reading can take quite a bit of time. Today we finish Genesis which has been a fascinating read. I am also doing a new Bible study at church on the life of David. I am finding some great nuggets of truth but the reason I love reading the whole Bible is that I get a sense of the WHOLE story. Today as I did both my Bible study reading on David's anointing by Samuel and also the story of Jacob's blessing of Joseph's sons is how God so often chose the younger son over his older brothers. For Seth, Adam's third son, that was necessity after Cain his first born kills his brother Abel. It is Seth's name that is registered in the genealogy from Adam to Noah in Genesis 5:3. Later in Genesis 27 we read the story of Jacob and Rebekah deceiving Isaac to get the father's blessing for Jacob the younger. I am not sure why they felt the need to deceive because in Genesis 25:23 it says,
The Lord said to her,
"Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger."

Again and again we will see the younger brother being chosen over the older brother. Joseph and the coat of many colors, his brothers resented so much that they sold him into slavery and told his father Jacob he had been killed. Later when they are reunited in Egypt and Jacob is on his death bed blessed Joseph's two oldest sons Manasseh and Ephraim, in that blessing he intentionally placed the second born Ephraim ahead of the first born. In I Samuel 16 we see the Lord telling Samuel to go down to Jesse's family and to anoint the one the Lord chooses. The seven oldest sons are brought before him but none of them is the chosen one. It is not until David, a younger brother is brought from the fields where he was tending sheep, that Samuel hears the Lord say, "Rise and anoint him, he is the one."

I have heard all these storied separately. All the stories of younger brothers chosen by God or preferred by their father. The jealousy they feel, the resentment that is very real as they are overlooked in a time when being first born was tantamount to all. I don't know why God went against the cultural norms so often. Why he chose the least among them at times. I do know that when God calls the unexpected, the weak, the faltering, to greatness, the fruit of their work can only be attributed to God. 2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he (the Lord) said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" We may not be the most worthy of God's calling, but we don't need to be. Because God's power is so much greater than our weakness.

The other thing I find fascinating about these stories is the forgiveness that the victims have for their brothers. Esau was so angry at Jacob when he found out that Jacob had deceived their father and stolen his blessing. Jacob had to flee from Esau's anger. But later we find them reunited together, with Esau having forgiven Jacob. Joseph weeps when he sees his brothers for the first time in Egypt where Joseph has been put in charge of the grain distribution. And in the end of Genesis when his brothers ask for his forgiveness after the death of their father Jacob, Joseph answers them,
Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." Genesis 50:19 - 21

Reading these stories as a whole, having the two, my one year Bible reading and my separate Bible study, layering together, shows me more of God's story of redemption. It started not on the cross with an unexpected man, experiencing unfair pain, to forgive an undeserving people. It started at the beginning. And over and over again throughout the Bible I see stories pointing to the redeeming work of Jesus.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Problem Solving

You know how women supposedly complain that all men want to do is solve their problems. That their men don't listen to them. That they just want to be heard and validated. That if men just listened to us all would be right in the world. Funny thing is that we women do that too. We problem solve. And often we problem solve using our own experiences that may have nothing to do with the other person's actual problem. And we are adamant and often emotional in our "helpful" advice.

I had been processing the idea of trying to control my situation instead of letting God control my situation a few weeks ago after something stuck out to me in a Bible Study I was doing. Immediately I realized that I keep trying to control my husband's behavior, attitude and priorities. We have been having the same fight for the last thirteen years. I think he works too much and he thinks I don't understand that he really does need to work the long hours. Most likely we are both right at different times. It is not a huge fight. Our marriage is not in trouble. But it is something I want to control. I want my husband to agree with me and get home earlier. I could go on and on about how I think my husband is not stepping up to the plate or prioritizing his family, except I really can't. Because truthfully I only know how God is working in my life. I know how I act out my priorities but my husband may share the exact same priorities and act them out differently, and probably in a way that to me looks like he does not even care about our priorities. But I know that my husband does seek to do God's will in his life. I know that my husband is a man of strong convictions.

I say all this because recently I was with a group of women a question came up about areas of our lives where we need God. I said my marriage. I did not go in to a lot of detail at all because the question was not how does your marriage suck. Which mine doesn't. But apparently to some of these women my simply saying I need God in my marriage because I am learning that I cannot control my husband which makes me realize I have to rely on God, means that my marriage must be on the rocks. Because the next few comments were directed at me with some really basic marriage advice along the lines of making sure you are listening, repeat what the person is saying, really basic communication techniques. And I got really frustrated. Because they were giving me advice that had absolutely nothing to do with what I was saying. They were trying to solve a problem. A problem that does not exist. Because they took what I said, put it through their filter, came to a conclusion and offered advice that worked for them. They were well intentioned. Their advice would be good advice for the right situation. But I walked away annoyed. Because I was not heard.

And the really painful part of this whole lesson is that I am sure I am the biggest offender. As my pastor always says, "I am the problem". I love to dispense advice. I often think that I can solve my friends' problems and it is not until they have gone on their way that I realize that I did not even really listen to them. I often want to call my friends up about five minutes after they leave and apologize for giving them solutions instead of listening to their hearts. I don't of course. Because I am not the bigger person.

So while I sat there all annoyed at women who were probably earnestly trying to help I really should have been listening. Not necessarily to what they said but to what I needed to hear from my friend. So that next time I can do that for another friend when they share their heartfelt need for God.

On a totally God note, I ended up reading Matthew 23 tonight with my boys because that is where we our in our journey to read the New Testament this year. I actually paused from writing this to read it to the boys since my husband is on a trip this week. Funny enough it was all about the evils of hypocrisy. "Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees. You hypocrites!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Do Over

Today I really wanted a do over. Nothing tragic or traumatic happened but I am tired. Because I stayed up way too late. Because my husband is traveling. Which means I am a single mom this week. Which means I can't afford to be tired. But do I make the mature decision and go to bed at a decent time? Nope. Because like I said, my husband is traveling. And I have a hard time going to sleep when he is gone. No matter how tired I am. Vicious cycle it seems. Which all results in me being less patient in meetings when people want to replan what we have already planned. It results in me not being able to effectively do my part and others having to come in and help me. It makes me emotional and sad and feeling alone. Which really is sad considering what a great life I really do have. What fun and amazing friends I get to spend time with each week. My kids are at great ages and really fun, when they are not screaming or totally ignoring me. But overall I have a great life. But today I just wanted a do over. I felt bad about letting my frustration get the better of me. I felt bad about not doing a good job, not caring for my charges better. I felt bad for no reason at times. And I hate that. I hate it when I let myself get all emotional about nothing. And that is what happens when I get tired. So I would like a do over. Not of the day, but of the night before the day. When I should have turned off the computer, stopped watching the tv show, not started trying to figure out circular knitting, and definitely not started a book at 10:45pm. I should know better. I do know better. And yet, tonight will I do better. I doubt it. I hate it when my husband travels because left to my own devices I act like a teenager but in the morning I have to be a mom.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pajama Day

So today in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. my kids had the day off of school. I do have to say that our school did discuss MLK Jr.'s important role in American history which was nice. So interesting to hear what a first grader takes away from the lesson. Hockey Boy when asked said that MLK Jr. made the world fair. I am not ready to burst that bubble. Though maybe if that is what they are teaching the first graders it might become true for their generation?

My original plan was to have a pajama day and just relax. We had a busy weekend and my Beloved took off early for a week long business trip. Seemed like the perfect day to be lazy, especially since we did not have to clean up the evidence before he got home. He is the neat freak, always doing something productive, part of our family and we don't want to destroy his vision of his family but when he is away, it is all about pajamas and eating sugar cereal for dinner just because. So my original plan, which I had not told the boys about, was pajama day. But then I remembered that my playgroup mommy friends are coming over tonight for a girls night and we don't have enough seating in our living room for everyone. We have avoided this problem by just not having anyone over but this will be the third time this week I hosted people, including some people I did not know from the PTA, and someone (me) had to sit on the floor. We keep meaning to pick up yet another Ikea chair, you know the one with the wood frame and the huge selection of cushion colors. But we keep forgetting to do it. Ideally we would love to actually decorate our living room and come up with a grown up seating solution, but since we have had our one couch for 6 years now and have not gotten any other chairs or a loveseat, I am thinking it may never happen. I just don't care enough about decorating to actually figure it all out. That is why I love Ikea. You can buy a chair for less than $100 as a temporary solution. Though I am thinking that in 10 years if you come to visit you will still be sitting in those Ikea chairs. Well one of you will, because we keep forgetting to pick up another one.

So anyway I was thinking about taking the kids to Ikea this morning after I finally made it out of bed and into clean clothes. I thought they would be so excited because they love the Ikea ball pit and game room. Seemed like a win-win. Except when I suggested it, my boys all looked at me in total confusion. Middle Man than kindly pointed out that we are supposed to stay home today because, "It is a holiday". I explained that they would not be able to use any screens (tv, Wii, Ds games) until after Little One's nap so we might as well go out. They again looked up from their books and word puzzles with a look that made it clear I was interrupting them and said that was fine. They continued to read for a bit while I wandered around a little confused about what to do but sure I did not want to fold the four loads of laundry my husband kindly washed and dried but did not fold before he left. I eventually sat down to read for a bit and heard the sounds of my sweet boys playing all together. Not sure what the game was but it involved legos and their own personal secret hiding places all in the comfort of their pajamas.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Greater Peace

So yesterday I posted the notes from a little talk I did at our church moms group. And while I think that having a plan and vision is key to finding peace in the day to day of life as a mom, I did not say what really brings me peace. What provides me a peace that really does surpass all understanding, that as one of my Facebook friends said really freaks her out about my relaxed nature. Because the moms group at our church is an outreach. We intentionally do not bring up God a lot, because we really want people to feel comfortable just being in the building. We know that motherhood, especially those early years is so overwhelming and those moms just need someone to come alongside them on their journey. Do we hope that these moms keep coming? Yes. Do we hope that they will see something different in our lives that they want in theirs? Yes. Do we really want to plug each of these women into a small group at Women's Bible Study each week? Absolutely. But mostly do we want to love one another, care for one another and build a community where people can address the bigger questions that inevitably come up when we are in the trenches of parenting? Yes. So we don't put God at the top of the agenda. But here is what I would have said about peace if I was talking to a group of believers.

Peace comes from God.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:6-7

That is it, the reason I am for the most part pretty relaxed, willing to roll with the punches. I trust God is God. I trust that He has a plan, a plan that is good. I trust that His will, His plan, will prevail. There are no mistakes in God's plans. Uncomfortable moments, wretched heartbreak, deep pain are all a part of God's plan. My life, my kids' lives, are all in God's care. I don't have to worry because He is on duty 24/7.

I was working on my Bible Study homework today and today's lesson was on this exact topic. The author quoted George Muller who wrote, "The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith. The beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety." So it seems to me that peace should be the norm. And when we are not at peace, we have to start asking ourselves do we trust God? Do we believe He is in control?

I think that there is a part of us that will always been a little on edge as long as we are walking this earth. Too many of us have been hurt by loved ones or damaged by tragedy. We live in a world that is not our true home for our home is with our Father in heaven. That is where we will ultimately be at peace. But in this life, I think we can have a peace that surpasses all understanding, a peace that sustains us, calms us, and points to God.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Peace Starts with a Plan

Today I did a little speaking at our church's moms group. I love hanging out with Moms when we can relax away from our kids for a few minutes and have the real conversations. The theme this month was peace and I am posting what I wrote to share with the group. When I first thought about what brings me peace I immediately thought of the need to have a plan, a purpose to what I am doing. I ended up going off script quite a bit and not sure what I actually shared but here is what I wrote.
I want to start by letting you in on one of my dark Mommy secrets. My kids rarely eat their fruits and vegetables. They come by it naturally as their Dad and I are not big fans of fruits, vegetables or most healthy foods. We are really trying to teach our kids good eating habits and have switched to whole wheat, drink milk in front of them – though mine is usually in a Starbucks cup with some chocolate and espresso, and try to keep the treats to sometimes foods like Elmo teaches. But honestly eating our veggies is not a high priority in our house. My kids will see me spending much more time each day reading a book then they will eating a vegetable. And so my kids may not like broccoli but they all love books. My oldest is the pickiest eater in the whole wide word. A title he has truly won among my friends who dared to complain about their picky eater who only likes plain pasta. To which I quickly reply, “Wait your mean your kid eats pasta?” Amateur. But this same kid is also an amazing reader. And I often catch him in his room or on the couch reading a book because he wants to find out what happens next. That he got from me. I am the reader in the family. I have read to them their whole lives. We read books at lunch time and if Daddy was not home for dinner. We read books before bedtime. We sit on the couch some days with everyone, me included, reading their own book.

My point? That we all have different priorities and values in life. When we have kids there are all these shoulds and musts in our lives. You have to breastfeed or your baby will be an obese diabetic allergic to dogs. – Not true in my house. You must vaccinate your baby. You should never vaccinate your baby. The list goes on and on. Homeschool, public school, private school, unschooled? Sports, music, activities. One, none, anything they want to try. You must have family dinners at least 3 times a week or kids will do drugs. This is a really hard one for me because my husband does not get home at a reasonable time to have dinner with us most nights. There are so many parenting books it can be overwhelming. And the truth is that you cannot do them all correctly every single time. The advice contradicts. Or doesn’t fit the needs of your family.

So how do we walk the minefield of parenting recommendations and demands? I think we have to have a plan, a set of priorities, a vision. Start with the big picture, the end game. What do you really want for your kids? What values, characteristics, life styles do you want your kids to take with them when they leave your nest. When you ask a group of moms what they want for their kids their first answers are usually happy and healthy kids. But what does that mean? What does that look like in real life? This is where we as moms have to address the big picture issues of life. We have to think through what we believe about life, about family, about meaning and purpose. We need to know what we believe, what we value, what we really want for our family. Because when we know that we won’t be swayed by every new parenting fad. We won’t have to sign our kids up for the it sport or spend money on the “right” shoes. We can make our decisions and our plans based on what we want for our family. Not what the guy on the Today Show, the Mom in our parenting group or our own mother says we should be doing. Once you know what you believe, what you want for your family you can start to plan your life accordingly.

When my oldest was born I met an amazing group of women at the hospital new mom’s group. We sat around with our babies in carriers and eventually on blankets on the floor and talked about motherhood and all the ins and outs of our lives. We came from very different backgrounds but had the brand new mommy experience in common. It brought us close. We discussed all the parenting books and advice, we shared product reviews and our new favorite baby gadget. As our kids got older we talked about choosing preschools and what classes they were taking. One of the things I love about these women is how different we are. We all have different goals and priorities for our families and we are okay with that. We don’t have to be the same. At first though it was hard as a new mommy to not want to do what everyone else was doing. For our family we really wanted to create financial security and since we were not where we wanted to be yet, we were having to make the tough choices. I was not able to sign up for swim lessons at the kiddy pool or Gymboree classes with my kids. I took my kids instead to music time at the toy store and story time at the library. Both of which are free. One small example of how our family plan helped us make the best decisions for us.

Now that we have three boys, the first in sports, we are realizing that we have to limit the number of activities each boy can do. Not just because of cost, but also time. Life can be a whirlwind. Flyers come home advertising a new after school activity. We hear about a great experience our friends are doing with their kids. The newest parenting book has come out and is being touted on Oprah. Kids make demands. If we don’t have a plan, how can we find our way in all the noise. Everyone talks about being intentional as if that means slowing down and smelling the roses. Well that would really only be intentional if that was your intent. We have to know what we want, what we “intend” in order to be intentional. So take some time to think through what you want for your family, talk with your partner, make a long term plan. Then let your plan guide your decisions.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blog Changes

So I was recently reading twitter posts which lead to me clicking on a link to an article written by Michael Hyatt. Had never heard of him but let me just say that this blog post was really good. So then I started clicking through his blog and he had an article somewhere about how to start a blog. I, of course, started my blog after reading some friends' blogs and really enjoying them. I know I am no Dooce, heck I am not even McMommy, but I live far away from a lot of my friends because we move so much and it is nice to be able to keep in touch with each others' weird, deep, sweet moments of life even if we are doing it in the blog world instead of over a cup of coffee. When I started I just started writing whatever I was thinking that day. Michael Hyatt suggests that we find our 2 or 3 passions and focus our writing on those. I liked that because over the last year I have noticed I spent quite a bit of time at first writing about my interactions with my kids and what I was learning about motherhood. But over the summer, when I was preparing to teach and was spending a lot of time in studying the book of Acts, I was writing more about the Bible and what I was learning about God. Both of those are real passions of mine. I love to write about the cute or challenging moments I have with my kids, what I am learning as a mom. I also love to write about what I am learning about God, how a Bible passage has encouraged me or where I have been challenged in my thinking about God and who we are in Him. And then there are those times when I really must share my Twilight obsession or favorite funny blogs. Now some of my audience, all five of you, might be interested in all of these topics. But some people may only want to read my stories of forgotten shoes and the battles of Motherhood. Or may just want to hear what God is teaching me this week but not care how cute my Little One really is. And if you are one of those people, I have now created a three categories of writing that you can just skip to by clicking on the topic of your choice on the right sidebar. If you really want to avoid the other stuff you can bookmark just the list you like. I am not really very creative so my labels are Motherhood, God and The extra stuff. So click to where you want to go. I guess what I am saying is here we serve it your way. Enjoy!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Lord's Prayer

So I was all excited to get started reading all the books I bought about prayer. I had a lot of enthusiasm and energy for the project. And then the holidays happened. Not in a bad way like the holidays sucked all my energy out of the marrow of my bones but in a really good way. We had an incredibly restful, peaceful, downright lazy Christmas break full of magic for the boys and joy for us parents as we watched Christmas through their eyes. And then a group of girls from my church and I decided to read the Bible in one year. This required setting up a blog for everyone to share what they were learning and also to keep track of the slackers. I did not want to be one of the slackers and so far have stayed on track with our reading plan. So let's just say I have gotten off track with my prayer study plans. And I was not really all the concerned about it. Apathy seemed to have set in a bit which I guess is usually what happens after the excitement of the preparation and planning fades. Could explain why I won't have to wait for a treadmill in a month or two at the gym but right now it is crazy there. And then I was doing last night's daily reading in Matthew 6.
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
"This, then, is how you should pray:
'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:5-15

We went to a church in California that said the Lord's Prayer every Sunday and I found it very comforting. I like the prayer. It is clear, straight forward, to the point. "This, then, is how you should pray." I was also really struck by the teaching before the Lord's Prayer. Go into a room alone. Do not keep on babbling. The problem is I am a woman and not just any woman who has lots of words to use but a babbling woman. But when I think about my babbling moments in life, it is usually because I am trying to prove my point or am feeling unheard or disconnected in the conversation. I don't have to babble to God, repeating my words to convince him to do what I want or to care about my ideas. First, I don't want to convince God to do what I want because let's be honest. His plan is far better than mine. Second, He does care! I don't have to go on and on trying to make him listen to me because He is listening. He knows my heart, my mind, my soul. I can tell him once and have confidence that He has really heard me. Doesn't me I won't go to Him again and again with my cares and concerns because I need Him. But I can relax in knowing that He did hear me the first time.

So while I might lose enthusiasm for my projects. God heard my heart, my request for Him to teach me to pray and He did not let me go. He pulled me back in!