Another Year is Here

It seems like this just happened…my sweet Isaac completing his Kindergarden year.  In two days he will go to first grade.  For the first time in almost 7 years he will be away from me all day long, 5 days a week. 

He’s thrilled, excited and a bit nervous.  It’s a new school with new people.  His bestie has moved away from our town, which means for the first time in two years he won’t arrive to school on the first day and be greeted by her sweet face. 

Today he told me he is feeling anxious.  Thankfully he is well aquainted with Philippians 4:6.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  Isaac says it this way: “Don’t be anxious about anything but pray about everything.” 

My Isaac is as precious as the day is long.  He is bound to bring joy to his new classroom.  As for me, I’ll be overjoyed at 2:50 every day, when I get to pick up my precious boy and spend the rest of the day looking at his big brown eyes.

Do You Work Here?

I am a plain Jane, one of those people who look like they belong where ever they are.  You know the type.  You stop them in the hardware store to ask them where to find a certain kind of air filter, to which they reply “I don’t work here.”  It happens to me all the time.  I am always mistaken for someone who looks like they know where stuff is.  Truth be told,  I can’t even find my keys in the bottom of my purse half the time.  Here are two of my favorite examples of mistaken identity.

I was flying overseas once on Delta and for some unknown reason I chose to wear khaki pants and a delta blue button down shirt on my journey.  That trip was filled with questions regarding flight information.  In the airports and even on the plane, people asked me questions about arrival and departure times, connecting gate information and the like.  On a funny note, some people had some type of false assurance when the plane ride got bumpy.  I’ve spent alot of time on airplanes and bumpy flights don’t bother me- it’s just par for the course.  On this particular journey many people were assured that we must be okay because the little stewardess up in front of them wasn’t looking concerned during the bumpy ride.   Lesson learned.  Don’t wear blue and khaki when flying Delta. 

Perhaps the funniest occurance of mistaken identity ocurred this morning.  I was loitering around the pharmacy in WalMart waiting on my prescription to be filled when I remembered the kids needed bandaids.  As I stood there contemplating whether they would rather have regular Angry Birds bandaids or Angry Birds in Space bandaids I was approached by a woman who asked me the following question.  “Ma’am, where’s your Ex-lax?”  I was so suprised by the question that I didn’t even tell her I didn’t work there.  I just responded “I don’t know.” I sure hope she found what she was looking for. 

Just for the record, I opted for the regular Angry Birds Bandaids…

This entry was posted on June 11, 2012. 1 Comment

Easter Saturday?

Today is Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. I think this on this day lots of people “forget” for 24 hours that it is Easter weekend.  These are the words that I always sing in my head on this day- “Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior, waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord.” It makes my hair stand on end to think of these words on this day every year.  This was the day that the enemy thought he had won. It was the day that all of Jesus’ earthly haters were rejoicing, because they too thought they had won. On this day the believers (and His mother!) were filled with indescribable sorrow. The emotion of this day is incredible! This level of emotion can only be topped by the emotion of tommorow- the day He arose. 
Today is an important day- not because it is the day after Good Friday or the day before Resurrection Sunday- but because today, my Savior laid in a cold, hard tomb, His body beaten and bruised, His humanity crushed. For an entire day the world though it was without Him.  Because of today, tommorow somehow is even greater.

Ice Cream Cones and Young Theology

It happened in a flash, and we were close enough to have almost touched the participants.  Tonight after dinner  in the cafeteria of Campbellsville University, Isaac, Ethan and I were enjoying a leisurely stroll around campus.  Out of a nearby buiilding came three young men.  One of the men was eating an ice cream cone, another other had a cup of ice cream in his hand.  My sons were playing nearby when “ice cream cup guy” smacked the hand of “ice cream cone guy” just as he was bringing the cone toward his mouth for a bite.  The ice cream cone flew from the freshly smacked hand of “ice cream cone guy.”  As you could imagine, my young boys took notice of this shocking behavior.  In their eyes, this is an unimaginable sin!  What happened next was almost scripted.  “Ice cream cone guy” retaliated by smacking the cup of ice cream out of his friend’s hand.  A battle of language and some shoving ensued. 

In this moment, lots of things were running through my mind.  I was irritated by the imature and rude behavior.  I was angered that this was unfolding right before the eyes of my little sons.  I was appalled by the filthy language that poured from both of the young men.  As I stood there watching I began to wonder what would happen if I asked the young men to move it along, or perhaps to clean up the language (I despise filthy language being used in the presence of children).  And then in another flash, the young men moved on, continuing to curse at one another as they went. 

Isaac immediately looked up at me with his big brown eyes as big as quarters.  “Mommy they did not have self control!” he said.  I used the moment as a teaching opportunity for how young men are never to behave.  We continued our walk and talked a bit longer about self control and poor behavior when there again in that same spot another moment presented itself.  Along came one of my students who saw the ice cream cone lying on the ground (although she had not been there for the altercation).  She stooped over, picked up the mess and put it in the closest trash can.  Isaac had comments, of course.  “Mommy she cleaned up their mess!  She’s taking care of the earth because she loves God and when we love God we act like Jesus.”  As we finished our walk and headed home, I couldn’t help but be thanful for a child who not only recognizes poor behavoir when he see’s it, but  also recognizes Christ like behavior and understands why people behave like Christ. 

A child’s heart may not be able to understand the depths of spiritual matters, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the heart of a child holds no theology.  Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:14).  Sometimes it is in the simple recognition of right and wrong that the kingdom of heaven is most evident to a child, and to an adult as well.

God’s Parenting Strategy

Don’t you ever wonder how the heck we are supposed to raise our kids?  How do we teach them so they understand right from wrong?  How do we help them become obedient?  How do we deal with them when they have messed up?  By God’s example in Genesis 3, some basic and true parenting points may be deduced. 

Here is a  recap incase your memory needs refreshed.  If you remember the passage, save yourself 20 seconds and skip this part.  

Gen. 3:1- the serpent questions God’s specific instructions to the first couple. 

Gen. 3:2-3 Eve corrects the serpent on what God has instructed. 

Gen. 3:4-5- the serpent twists God’s instructions, and lies to Eve. 

 Gen. 3:6-7 Eve sins.  Adam sins.  Both Adam and Eve begin to live like sinners. 

Gen 3:8-11- God talks with Adam and Eve about what has happened. 

 Gen 3:12-13- Adam blamed Eve.  Eve blamed the serpent.  The serpent didn’t say anything. 

Gen. 3:14-19- God punished the serpent.  God punished Eve.  God punished Adam. 

Gen 3: 20-Adam gave Eve her name. 

Gen.3: 21- God made clothes for Adam and Eve. 

Gen. 3:22-24- God put the couple out of the garden and barred the gate so they could not return. 

What can we learn about parenting from this passage?  First, God gave specific instructions.  Parents, give your kids specific instructions about how to live.  Don’t expect them to “just know” the right things to do.  Teach them.  Take time for them.  Communicate to them in a way that they will understand.  Give your kids instructions. 

Second, God questioned Adam and Eve before he punished them, even though he already knew what they had done. Parents, before you punish your kids- talk to them.  Question them.  Ask them what they have done.  Ask them to tell you what has happened.  By asking questions of their children, parents afford them the opportunity to think through what has happened and to confess it with their mouths.  Don’t skip this step.  Don’t be so eager to punish that you forget to talk with your kids.  Your kids need it.  You need it.  Follow God’s example- talk to your children. 

Third, God disciplined all parties involved in different ways.  Each participant in Genesis 3 comes away from the scenario with a different punishment.  Parents, do you know your children well enough to know how to punish them in the best manner?  The end result of punishment should be greater than remorse.  The end result of punishment should be heart change, not just behavior change.  God gave each participant the punishment that He deemed appropriate for them.  Punish your kids well, parents.  Punish them in a way that will help them to become more of what God intends for them to be.

Fourth, God restored Adam and Eve.  You know what He did?  He made them some clothes.  They tried to make their own clothes earlier out of some leaves but God gave them something better.  The clothes God made were of higher quality.  These clothes were made from animal hide, they were durable.  I’ll just bet that they perfectly fit them, too.  Do you ever wonder where God got the animal hide that He made their clothes from?  A sacrifice would be required for this.  Already in the first chapters of Genesis we have a peek at the story that would unfold in the New Testament.  Mankind would be sinful.  A sacrifice would be required.  God took care of all of it.   I have to tell you that my hair stands on end every time I read this passage.  It is just so good.  HE is just so good.  Parents, restore your children.  Follow the punishment with an act of love. 

To finish the chapter properly I must acknowledge that the once in a lifetime act of Adam and Eve had eternal consequences.  They could not go back to how things were before the sin.  Life would be different now.  Forever.  That’s how life is sometimes.  Parents, sometimes your kids mess up in goofy ways that have no lasting results.  Other times, their actions have long term consequences.  Love them through it.  Walk with them, Mom and Dad.  Pursue them with your love.  Love them with the love of Christ.  And parent them with the example of God the Father.

This entry was posted on January 29, 2012. 1 Comment

Somebody’s Knockin’ At Your Door: The Importance of a Greeter Ministry Done Well

Have you ever gone somewhere and felt like an outsider?  Ever walked into a room filled with strangers and felt completely invisibile?   Or better yet, have you ever been to a new place and really needed to find the bathroom right away? 

Imagine yourself going to church for the very first time and no one speaks to you at the front door.  Imagine going through the entire service completely alone, only to leave having never been spoken to or touched.  Imagine how lonely you could feel in a room full of strangers who all know what happens each week at church, and who all seem to know one another, yet no one makes the effort to greet you  or offer basic information about the service.  

Church folk, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  The greeter ministry is vitally important for making that first impression a positive one.  What is a greeter?  What is the purpose of having a greeter ministry?

Greeters are church members that station themselves near the entrance and exit points of the building to greet people going in and out.  They are not there to impress.  Their main purpose is to warmly receive each person into God’s house.  Whether those people are regular attenders or first time visitors, the greeters are to make certain that they are welcomed and their needs are met. 

Is it neccesary for a church to develop an entire greeter ministry?  Will it not suffice to station a couple of people near the door and call it quits?  The needs of each church and the gifting of the church family will determine whether or not a fully developed greeter ministry is needed. For some churches, placing some friendly folks near the door is enough.  For other congregations, more will be needed.  Here is a simple suggestion:  go the extra mile.  Would you ever open the door to let someone in your home and never speak a word of welcome to them?  Would you have a guest come  into your livingroom and never offer them some type of refreshment, or direct them to the whereabouts of the restroom?  For most of us, any guest that graces our door would be welcomed with kind words and a hug or handshake.  They would be served food and drink and offered whatever they may need to make them comfortable.  This is typical protocal for what we would do for a guest in our house.  What, then, should we do for a guest in God’s house?

A well oiled greeter ministry might offer some of the following basic services:

  • Greeters stationed outside the building to hold the door open for those coming and going.
  • An order of service or church bulletin.
  • A small gift for first time visitors.
  • Directions to the nearest restroom.
  • A tour of the facility if requested.
  • Information regarding childcare and Bible study classes.
  • Printed information regarding the weekly activities for the church.
  • Ushers to accomodate late comers with adequate seating.

Who is knocking at your front door, Church?  How will they be received?  This is the importance of a greeter ministry done well: it has the potential to open the door of a human heart, not only the door of a building.

Breastfeeding Debaucle: The Milkmaker’s Point of View

Several recent articles released by media outlets such as ABC and CNN have once again brought the breastfeeding debaucle to the forefront of the public eye.  A nursing mother was surrounded like a criminal while feeding her baby in a Target store.  This unfortunate situation led to a rally cry from other nursing mothers, who then staged a nurse in to prove the point that nursing in public is an acceptable activity.  This was followed by comments from racecar driver Kasey Kahne that were insensitive and laden with ignorance.  Kahn later apologized for his comments, but words that are spoken cannot be taken back.

The debate over breastfeeding in public flares up every year or so, and the public always responds with rage towards the naysayers and support for the breastfeeding mothers in the world.  Typically when the issue becomes inflamed my temper follows suit.  This recent series of events, however, has catapulted me straight over the edge of mere irritation into the land of the angry.  Here is my two cents on the issue: an opinion from the milk-maker’s point of view.

I was priviledged to spend 27 months of my life nursing my children.  I have been stared at and pointed at.  I have nursed my children in public restrooms and other “private” areas, and I have also nursed my children sitting in the open at a restaurant or while shopping in a store.  Now, while I wind the jerking mechanism up in my neck, let me tell it to you straight. 

Nursing a child is hard work.  Nursing mothers are up all hours of the day and night.  They rarely get a full night’s sleep for the duration of the time they breastfeed their child. 

Nobody likes to stay in any public restroom for more than just a couple of minutes- including nursing mothers and their babies.  Nobody likes to eat their dinner in a stinky, nasty, germ filled bathroom, while someone empties their bladder in the other stall.   

Nursing an infant is backbreaking work.  It is difficult to hold a baby for the duration of a feeding without leaning back on something, especially when the mother is attempting to be discreet.  Can a mother go into a public restroom and feed her child standing up while leaning back against the wall?  Yes.  But do you know how cold those tile walls are?  It is an unnecessarily uncomfortable situation.

Breastfeeding mothers don’t feed their babies in public just for the heck of it.  When a baby is hungry, the baby should be fed.  This is common sense.  It is impossible to schedule every errand around a feeding time, especially when those feeding times are coming only hours apart.  Sometimes there is no other option but to go out and do your errands and feed the baby while you are out.  But, truth be told, mothers get tired of scheduling everything around a feeding time.  They want to just live.  When they get the notion to go to the store, they want to get up and go right then- and they should be able to do that without constant scheduling around feedings simply for the benefit of other people who are strangers and grown adults.

Breastfeeding my baby is not for your benefit.  If you see a woman nursing her child in public, it is not for your benefit.  It is for the benefit of her child.  Just go on about your business and let her take care of her child. 

America is a nation of pure ignorance about some issues, and I say that in all sincerity.  We claim to be progressive and ahead of everyone else.  Yet, one trip to almost any other country in the world will reveal that we are just about the only people still crying like a baby (pun intended) over this issue. 

I have just about said my piece, but let me reduce it down to what I really mean.  I have chosen to breastfeed for the benefit of my child.  It has nothing to do with you, what you like, what you want, and what you might or might not like to see in public.  I am going to feed my child when the child is hungry.  Period.  If you don’t like it, look away.  I will not approach you and smack the chicken nugget out of your hand when you are handing it to your 6 year old son.  Please do nursing mothers the same favor.  Just let them feed their kid.  That’s all they want to do.