Sunday, July 31, 2011

I don't like....

Things I don't like for the month of August:
Cake. Cookies. Ice cream. Soda. Late nights. Laziness. Chips. Deep fried foods. Things out of a box.

Things I love for the month of August:
Vegetables. Early bedtimes. Early mornings. Workouts. Salads. Water.

I hate the word "diet" but that's what I'm putting myself on. For the month of August. I figure it's a short enough time period I won't be tempted by all the "bad" stuff because of an irrational fear that if I don't eat THIS piece of cake, I will never get another chance to eat cake my ENTIRE LIFE. And hopefully it's a long enough period that I can see some results.

I hate diets. It needs to be a life style. Unfortunately my mostly organic and fairly healthy life style isn't helping me shed the baby weight. I lost 25lbs the first week and nothing since. Granted, it's been 9 months of pretty much exclusively breastfeeding and little sleep and I've pumped and donated almost 900oz (my goal is 1,000 before we wean!). But enough is enough. And maybe, if I can get rid of 10lbs, I'll stop snoring which drives the hubby crazy.

So goodnight to July (in 15 minutes). Hello to the August me:)

Wish me luck! Or feel free to encourage me:)!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

As yourself...

I asked my pastor his take on this whole "me time" and putting yourself first culture...and here's what he had to say:

I think the Bible comes at this from the presumption of "me first" thinking. So when it commands us to serve others, it does so from the assumption that we naturally and usually put ourselves first. Note how the great command is stated: "love your neighbor AS your self". The call to husbands, "love your wives AS your own bodies". And the rationale, from Eph 5:29, "after all, no one ever hated their own body, but feeds and cares for it..." And from Phil 2:4 Paul says, "Each of you should look NOT ONLY to your interests but also the interests of others." Again, the assumption is, we have selfish interests, and these are valid - you love yourself, you feed yourself, you look after your own interests. This not condemned - now, do that for others, the Bible says.

The idea of "me time" or putting yourself first, often comes as a reaction to a dysfunctional application of the Bible's call to serve others. In fact, if you look inside it, a lot of serving others is compulsive and co-dependent, and thus is fundamentally SELFISH in nature. IE, I serve to the point of exhaustion and overwork so that I get ___(fill in the blank). So we're back again to this idea of loving others AS you would yourself. 

You WANT people to nurture and care for themselves. The people who don't, become a drain on the system. They expect you to work for them and provide for them etc. They are adult children. Note some of our homeless crowd - they don't love themselves at all, and thus take on the dependency of children... 'fix me!" It would be more loving of others, if they did what God considers a fundamental obligation of stewardship: care for the first life God gave you to care for - you! Thus it is loving of OTHERS to care for myself, giving myself proper physical, emotional and spiritual care. It is a FIRST responsibility from which i can meet all others.

Of course, in the extreme, care for myself can lead to selfish preoccupation and that's why God says, "not just you, but your neighbor too". So "me time" is in one sense assumed by Scripture, and thus usually the abuse of "me time" is the main problem addressed. There is a goodness in looking after your own interests (which Paul never condemns, Phil 2:4) and if you don't, ironically, there is a sense in which you are imposing on another's interests, thus not really loving them. (Think of the toll a haggard 'over serving' spouse takes on their family) And usually, there's a selfish reason behind self neglect.

So we're back again to this: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Rick Thiessen)

Not bad, eh?

Like I said about complaining, ultimately in my book, it all comes down to your attitude. And mine has been in serious need of adjusting. It's not that "me time" is bad or evil. It's that demanding it and refusing to go without it, isn't biblical either.

It's all about your heart!! Are you loving God? Are you loving yourself? Are you loving others? Without love you are just making a loud and obnoxious noise! Or in my world, you're just a whiny, grumpy wife and mother:)

So what I need to do, is continue to ground myself in God's word so that I know how to love myself and others. Thankfully, God does not hold back wisdom, help and guidance from those that seek Him!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

31

Have you ever noticed how you don't miss something until it's gone? And how you can come to expect something, even something that may not be best for you. Do you ever feel like you hear that still small voice asking you, "Who's wisdom are you listening to?"

One of the biggest indicators for me that I'm listening to the world or my culture, instead of God, is my attitude. When I get selfish, nasty, grumpy, whiny, needy...it's usually because I'm wrong. I think this is one of those times.

Lately I've been feeling overworked and underpaid. Griffin isn't exactly thanking me yet for feeding him all night long, changing his nasty bum, and in general being at his constant beck and call. And my hubby is a teacher on summer break. So at times it feels like I'm the only one still working. (Sidenote, nothing could be farther from the truth. Ryan is AWESOME. He cooks, cleans, works hard, takes care of his body, soul, and spirit. He is an incredible friend, son, brother, father and teacher too. He is slow to anger, thinks of others, calm and cool, musical, intelligent, faithful and loyal. I could go on and on but we're talking about feelings right now, not facts.) I'm sure everyone has felt this way at some point. I think it's normal for us to feel like we're the only one pulling our weight. Overworked and underpaid.

But what I think I hear God whispering to my heart is, "Where in MY Word do you ever see it prescribed to be selfish, put yourself first, take what you need, act entitled to anything, let alone fairness, and in general have a nasty attitude because you're not getting what you 'deserve'." God is reminding me that HE has shown me MERCY and GRACE. And I am therefore to go and do the same thing. As a follower of Christ, I am called to sacrifice and service. With a good attitude. With a grateful attitude.

Jesus modeled for me a servant's heart and attitude. He who should have been served, came to serve and save. THAT is the wisdom I need to be listening to. Not what my culture tells me. That I deserve "me time" everyday. And if I don't get it, I'm allowed to be grumpy, irrational, and rude. His example doesn't look like me getting angry because another day has passed without me getting a workout in. Or annoyed because I didn't get a shower until 9pm. Or short-tempered because the baby is grumpy...again! Or me expecting "fairness" in the house work.

I specifically feel like God is telling me that the cultural wisdom of "taking care of yourself first so that you can take care of others" is false. I simply do not see this anywhere in His word. I don't see it modeled by Jesus or any of the disciples. What I see modeled by Jesus and his closest followers, is prioritizing "God time". And wisdom. Jesus said no sometimes. He delayed his visit to Lazarus, and instead of healing him, resurrected him.  What I think God is saying to me is, "Prioritize ME. Then I will worry about you. I will ensure you get everything you need. Food, clothing, quiet time, game time, friend time, etc. Follow my son's example and when you're up for the early morning feeding, have your quiet time with me. Start your day with me. And I will give you what you need. You may not need a workout, time on facebook, or to get the house cleaned. Trust me and I really will give you everything you really need."

Ugh. So simple, yet so hard. So in my 31st year (today just happens to be my birthday) I want to become more like the Proverbs 31 woman. THIS is what God says a noble (NIV), virtuous (KJV), good (MSG), worthy (ASV), capable (GNT), excellent (ESV) and strong (WYC) woman/wife looks like. THIS is the wisdom I need to listen to. (For other translations, www.biblegateway.com)

Proverbs 31 (NIV)
The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
 2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
   Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
3 Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
   your vigor on those who ruin kings.

 4 It is not for kings, Lemuel—
   it is not for kings to drink wine,
   not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
   and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Let beer be for those who are perishing,
   wine for those who are in anguish!
7 Let them drink and forget their poverty
   and remember their misery no more.

 8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
   for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
   defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
 10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Can a leopard change it's...stripes?

This week I've been trying an experiment. I've been trying to force my 8 month old into a schedule. I can hear your laughter now. I know, I know...Mission Impossible 4?! We've never had a schedule, although I would have loved one and planned on having one. But 44 hours of labor and sheer exhaustion reduced my abilities to keep track of time, feedings, and poopy diapers to that of a, well, a sleep deprived new mommy. I'm surprised they let you drive. And here it is, 8 months later and I'm not functioning much better. Hence, the above mentioned experiment.

As far as the experiment, things seem to be going okay. Or not really going at all. I just don't really care enough to force it to happen. I like my baby sleeping with me. I don't mind that he's so busy during the day, he eats all night long. I've figured out how to sleep through most night feedings. It's really only the nights he wakes up every 20-30 minutes that kill me. Teething sucks....and is such a slow process!

What I've really learned this last week is that what I need to do is change my spots. I don't like it but the reality is, this night owl needs to become an early bird.

Somehow, I have to figure out a way to go to bed earlier. It's not that I don't have the chance. Griffin is usually asleep by 7pm or 8pm, sometimes 9 but that's when I want to play. Get online, goof off, write, read, etc.

I'm sure you've read, heard, or seen the example of someone filling a jar first with big rocks (life's important things), then smaller pebbles (the slightly less important things), then sand (the even more less important things), then finally water (the things you can do without but because you put the big rocks in first, you still have time to do....like alphabetize your dvds...or something like that).

Currently my only big rock needs to be sleep. If I can just get more/enough of that, I will be able to figure out what my other big rocks are. I just tried to type a list and can't even narrow it down/decide. So here's to being even more boring than I already am. Since God gave me a baby that thinks it's time to party every morning at 6am. Yippee. Skippy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dizzy

I recently read a book that has my head spinning. Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. All you need to do is google it to see how controversial it is. When I started the book, I was so excited because it's very counter-cultural and takes a hard look at submission for the wife from a biblical perspective. I even mentioned to a leader in our church about starting a women's study using the book. After finishing the book my review is short and sweet. "Don't waste your time." There's a little bit of really great truth in there, but a whole lot (and I mean a ton) of red flags. This book MUST be read with a prayerful and discerning heart, and preferably with additional guidance and advice from other mature women of faith.

Now, with that disclaimer, I am inspired to explore submission and God's design for marriage more thoroughly. Just yesterday I cracked open The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. So far, so good.

I just feel like, God created me with my fiesty and strong personality, and there just HAS to be a way for me to be respectful, submissive, loving, and honoring and still stay true to myself.

But I'm also willing to change...if need be, and I think the need is be:) I love my hubby dearly and I think our marriage is in a pretty good place but I have this haunting feeling that it could be even better if I would get over myself, figure out what God wants from me, and then become that woman.

Such a daunting challenge.

I'm wondering what books on submission, respect, strong women, biblical marriage, etc you've read? And why should I read them? And if you go to AC3 or live in the Marysville/Arlington area, are you interested in working through some of these with me? This would be a serious group, with time commitments, reading homework, and some serious heart-work going on.

Leave a comment or message me your recommendations and if you're interested in meeting with me, your contact info.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What a girl wants...

A recent decision by a boy just broke a dear friend's heart and I made a sudden realization.

What every girl dreams of, from the time she is 2 or 3, is not her wedding day. Although many of us do or did that too. It's being picked.

We want one person to pick us over all others.

We want to be loved SO MUCH by one person, that they are willing to give up everything for us.

That's it. Boys, we really are that simple.

We don't need you to actually give it all up for us. That's totally unhealthy and frankly co-dependent. But we want you to be WILLING to give it all up. We want you to be willing (and ready) to defend our honor, stop a bullet, shove us out of the way, pick us over your xbox, your old girlfriends, and even in some cases- your own family.

I promise you, you make a girl feel like you would do all that for her and she will be the best thing that's ever happened to you. And whatever it is that boys need, she'll make sure you get it. Respect, all yours. A life long loyalty, all yours. Sex, you bet.

The sad part is that all boys inherently know this. Some maybe only subconsciously but they all know it and some use their power for evil, not good. Instead of healthy marriages and beautiful relationships, these boys leave in their wake heartache after heartache. These are the boys who tell a girl on the first date that they are going to marry them. These are the boys that tell girls if they have sex with them it will be their own private marriage ceremony.

And the sadder part still. There are girls who fall for these lines. There are girls out there who don't yet know that they are their heavenly father's most precious love and that he ALREADY sacrificed his only son to save them from death, pain, and heartache. They are ALREADY so thoroughly and deeply loved by the King of Kings, they can laugh at those evil boys and their game.

Having fallen for a line like one of those above, had my heart broken, and then healed by the love of my Father in heaven, I know my friend will be okay. In fact, I know she'll be better than ever. But it doesn't make me any less angry at the boys of this world who play with the tender and fragile hearts of girls.

And it makes me determined to raise a son who respects women as precious children made in the image of God. Not as some plaything made for his pleasure that he can toss aside when he grows bored or tired. I will teach my son to refrain from using the words, "I love you", until he is ready and able to follow them up with a proposal. I want him to be such an amazing boy and man, that the girls he interacts with in middle school, high school, and college leave his presence feeling like they deserve the best and are willing to wait for it.

Because, girls, you are. You are a treasured daughter of the King. A princess. Who has a Father who is jealous for you. Who WILL defend your honor and ensures justice for your heart. So don't settle for Satan's lies that this is as good as it will get. That you don't deserve, can't find, or aren't good enough for God's best. He (God) has his best and he's saving it for you. Trust Him. Wait on Him.

Trust me, Satan's second best is not better than staying single. God's best, will constantly amaze you, even 7+ years later.

Friday, July 1, 2011

My 2 cents

It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life. -Elisabeth Elliot

More on the topic of complaining...I had a great "conversation" via email with a good friend about complaining and she really got me thinking and I simply have to share my epiphany.

I think the reason I can be so cheerful, to the point of annoyance, is that I know what I have to be grateful for. My child hasn't slept more than 5 or 6 hours straight in 8 months. And he's only done that twice. Most nights I'm still up 4-5 times. BUT my child is healthy. And I have a child. These far outweigh the temporary inconvenience of frequent nighttime feedings.

Meet Alicia, a friend (I feel I can call her that thanks to facebook and her blog even though I've only met her once), who was told she couldn't have children. Now she has two. A daughter and a son. She was told her son, Carson, would most likely not survive his first few days due to brain damage. He's now 9 months old and thriving. Yes he still has a host of "problems" but she has him and he's alive. (http://carsonmylove.blogspot.com/)

How dare I complain about not getting 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Or meet Kelsey, who was told her son, Mason, may not survive the pregnancy due to a heart defect. Who has gone through multiple open heart surgeries and will never be "normal". But he's here and alive. (http://masongarka.blogspot.com/)

It's getting harder to complain, isn't it.

Or meet Amy, Ryan's teaching partner, who at her 20 week ultrasound heard the news that more testing was needed but something was definitely not right. Her daughter, Jana Joy, has spinal bifida and may never walk without the aid of crutches or a walker. But she's here, so precious, and impressing all the doctors with her mobility.

What, you still think you have something to complain about?

Meet Elisabeth. She lost both of her twin sons at 21 weeks. Or Tara who lost Tia, her sweet baby girl, at 36 weeks. Those mommies would love a sleepless night or two.

Need more? Meet Jackie, who's son Trevor is about to turn 6 and also is a heart baby. Meet Emily, who's son Owen spent 143 days in the NICU before finally coming home to give her sleepless nights.

So yeah, I think I have a lot to be grateful for. And I'm treasuring my sleepless memories with my beautiful son whom I asked God for. And I think this same approach can be used with any struggle you're going through in life. Have complaints about your husband? At least you've got one and if you would simply stop and appreciate the good things about him, you'd realize he's pretty darn amazing. Hate your job? At least you've got one. It's paying for a roof over your head and food on the table. Stop complaining about it and see if God doesn't turn it into something beautiful and amazing. Gratefulness is a CHOICE. You have to make it everyday, in every situation. But it's your choice. And that good life you're waiting for...you're living it right now, but you're missing out on it by complaining.

Can you imagine if God gave me this amazing gift and then I whined and complained about it? How would you react if you gave your child something mind-blowingly amazing and they reacted that way. It's a good thing God is God and not me...there would be a whole lot more smiting going on, let me tell you:)

So there it is. My 2 cents. Like Elisabeth Eliot says, It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life.