Thursday, April 30, 2015

bewitched by giants

I've been intending to write this post since our trek down to Florida. We went for the conference - a sort of immersion in good teaching and Biblical truth.  After three years overseas, we don't take that kind of thing for granted.

Somewhere around the second or third session, I started to think about my life.  My very, very imperfect life.  I was listening to men I would consider to be sort of "spiritual giants." They are very obviously marked and gifted by the Holy Spirit for leadership and teaching.  The more the Word was proclaimed, the worse I felt. I started dredging things up from the past three years.  Things I wish I'd done differently or not done at all.  I'm just not as good as I wish I were. It wasn't really conviction in need of repentance, it was just a general drooping of my shoulders. A look in the mirror that was actually reflecting what I didn't care to see.

I kept thinking about those men and women around me, spiritual giants in every corner. Their lives must be so much better than mine. If only I could do things a bit better. Less sin, more goodness.

Then we started to sing hymns. Old hymns that have been helping the saints for generations.

We sang about grace. About blood that washes all those sins away.  About righteousness in Christ alone. We sang like free men and women because we are. And we are because of Christ. Only because of Christ. 

Many years ago I came a very desperate girl to Jesus. I had plenty of sin visible enough to recognize my life had been changed.  Forgive the churchy ring, but the truth is: Jesus changed me.

He changed me in big ways and small ways.  Part of the change brought disciplines to my life like prayer and study and verses in my heart and head.  My life naturally looks different now.  It's easy for me to forget sometimes that I need a Savior as much today as I did then. A disciplined life isn't enough to change my heart. This heart is made new. Yet I am living in a process of sanctification - growing into that grace.

I didn't realize I thought I was good. But often I do. I want to come with a cleaned up life to Jesus, not much in need of that grace anymore.  It's not how I started.

I began as a sinner saved by grace alone.

I am that still.

Galatians 3:1-3, 13a    O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?….Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

surgery & shots

Jude had another minor surgery yesterday.  Asher gets his shots this morning.

We might or might not have watched more Jake & The Neverland Pirates episodes than most parenting experts would recommend.

We did make it out to the farm for a visit with Mamaw on Monday.  They're still not really sure, but it appears that she had a stroke. They moved her to a rehab facility and she is improving every day.  We are grateful.

We had our share of open sky on the drive too.  I love fields in the spring time!

Monday, April 27, 2015

five at thirty-five

I am officially thirty-five.  I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but I'm definitely a grown up. Here's a little bit from my world at 35:

1. My sweet mother-in-law hosted a little dinner party for me on Thursday night.  She cooked.  The adults talked.  Grammar, Pop, and NanNan took care of the wild little ones in the kitchen.  I think it might have been a little wilder than she originally bargained for, but we all had a great time! Such a sweet birthday at home.

2. My little sis made a pink "Sister" birthday cake. There's just nothing sweeter than some sister love!

3. The tulips bloomed! You may or may not recall from years past that my mother planted tulip bulbs at our farmhouse 35 years ago.  They have bloomed every year around my birthday - without fail. If you know anything about tulips, you'll understand that that's a pretty spectacular track record. I always feels it's a sort of benediction over my life when I see them spring up.

4. My boys birthdayed me on Friday morning with some delicious pancakes and a "treasure hunt" for my presents.  Are they gonna be great husbands one day or what? They're learning from the best!

5. I had a speaking engagement in Mississippi on Saturday.  So Asher and I loaded up the car Friday afternoon and headed to one of my favorite places on earth.  I love Clinton, Mississippi. I love it's brick streets and big trees and, most of all, the people that I always find there. Old friends get better with time.

Thirty-five couldn't feel better. (Except maybe if I could still run like I did at 25!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

good news

The really good news is that my grandmother seems to be doing better.  They re-evaluated the diagnosis and think this may be related to a severe infection rather than a blood clot. She is supposed to have a spinal tap done tomorrow.  For now, things seem much more hopeful than they have yet.  Her eyes are open and she appears to be responsive. We are grateful.  Please keep up the prayers.

The other, much smaller, good news is that hubs is back from Texas.

He brought home pictures of the big sky.

I admit it made me wish I had gone.  Look at all that wide open land!  But then I remembered my Mamaw in the hospital, the baby who keeps me up a bit at night and those wild boys who would surely have been riding bulls by the end of it all.

It was a good news kind of day.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

big & small

There's a lot going on around our little world - both big and small.  Here's a peek:

Hubs is in the depths of Texas.   Boots and hats are everywhere.  He's visiting a friend who works with us in South Asia.  His town has around 4,000.  Our apartment complex is estimated around 9,000. He's enjoying the big sky and open space. We miss that guy when he's gone. But we've been keeping busy.

The boys took a trip to the Barnum & Bailey Circus on Saturday with Pop & Grammar.  They came home with popcorn, souvenirs, and some serious acrobatics.

This afternoon, Jude took Grammar on a date to see Ballet Memphis perform Swan Lake at the Orpheum.  We're working on our gentlemanly manners, so he even made her a corsage.  Sweet Amelia sat in the row behind him and they politely made it all the way to intermission. Culture takes time to build:)

PopPop brought some Commissary BBQ and tamales up this evening to rescue me from cooking.  The cousins came over and we made a fantastic little picnic party of it all.  Have I mentioned that I love being near family.  I am so grateful God gave us this season.

In the midst of picnics, outings and the generally small, my grandmother was airlifted to the hospital. She's in the ICU awaiting surgery in the morning.  There is a blood clot at the base of her neck. It's blocking blood flow to her brain.  The surgery is serious and they aren't sure she'll wake up again.

Big, blaring, life altering events come crashing into our small moments. Life is like that - it's all mixed together.  That's the way it was meant to be lived. The small moments impact the big.

I've been giving thanks all weekend that I canceled those dinner plans in January and drove down to celebrate her 84th birthday.  That last year I started sending her postcards with pictures of the kids. That we actually made it down for Easter this year. My last memory of her is looking up at that old familiar porch as she held her great-grandson, watching the rest of us hunt eggs in her flower beds.

Small moments.

Moments that matter a great deal to me in the big. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


(This pic was definitely my idea…not theirs:)

Asher's attending his first conference and we brought old friends along.  In the past 24 hours, We've listened to the teaching of Tim Keller, John Piper, D.A. Carson and Mark Dever.  Jesus.  Those men love Jesus and they know how to study. I also threw in a very helpful little session with Barnabas Piper.  Let's just say, I'm feeling encouraged this morning.

Since it's a bit hectic around here, I'm going to link over to an article by my friend, Lee, this morning.  If you are a young mom…or really if you're just a person who ever considers comparisons in any context…link up.  I think you'll be helped.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

bringing up boys

The boys went down to the farm a little early to go fishing with PopPop.  They ended up bulldozing a tree, sliding down rock piles,  riding a 4-wheeler, building a fire and playing around with the bait worms. It was like a dream weekend for my boys…hubs included! 

I am right in the middle of Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson. It has been so insightful for me in this season. If you have any little men in your world, you might find it helpful. I think I'll need to re-read it in another few years as the season shifts. 

Lately, I've noticed Jude particularly "pulling away" from the momma-bond in what seems, at least according to Dobson, to be a healthy way.  This weekend, the "men" were staying at my Dad's farmhouse while Asher and I were spending the night with my grandmother to give her a little company. I tagged along on their fishing trip that afternoon so I could enjoy the open beauty of the farm.  But when we loaded up the cars, Jude made sure I wasn't joining in on the man's adventure that evening.  I'm so grateful to have a little insight in this season…or my feelings might be hurt.  I mean, I can rough it at the farmhouse with the rest of them, right? I had to remind myself that it's not personal.  Jude loves some mom-time.  He is totally a sweetheart to me.  But he craves time with his Dad.  I want to embrace and encourage that. 

Previously, when I thought of moving toward manhood, I thought more about a 13 year old.  But research suggests that the foundation is being laid right now-  at 3-5 years.  This pulling away now is essential to healthy development later. Whew.  These little years of fishing trips are shaping long years of manhood.  

Watching these boys with David makes my heart feel so full.  This man that is so loving, servant-hearted, strong and hard working…he is the one from whom they are learning manhood.  These granddads and uncles are becoming the noble heroes of my little boys.  Now is the time for me to encourage that.  So fish on, little men. Fish on. 

What a privilege to be bringing up boys