Friday, December 23, 2011

What I Need this Christmas.

What do you want for Christmas...?

The question flies around this time of the year and I've spent so much time thinking about what I want and what I need this year.

I see suffering around me. I feel daily the failure I am as the mommy GOD wants me to be. I worry about my kids. I worry about my marriage. I wonder sometimes how I will wake up in the morning and get my kids ready, let alone myself. I feel lost. I feel confused. I feel like my flesh wages such a warfare with my spirit. I want things I don't need. I am scared to death about the capabilities I will have as a mommy to Isabell and Caleb. Will I be what they need?  Will I be able to help their hearts heal?  Will we all learn sign-language enough to communicate to Caleb he is loved?  What if Isabell never walks?  What if we never recover financially?  I worry about our house. Will it be big enough?  Is it too big? I fight feelings of jealously over others homes and stuff and kids and marriages. I don't have the answers to the questions I am asked and feel the failure, the pressure. I don't say the things I need to say. I spend time with the lost, and don't share the gospel. I question my own heart.  I question my motives. I fail. Over and over again I fail. I sin.
What do I need for Christmas?

I need God HERE. With me. Helping me. Caring for me. Loving me. I need unconditional love. I need someone to look past my failures. I need God HERE.
Emmanuel, God with us.

Oh, those words they have medicated my soul. Emmanuel, my God has come to be with us.

Jesus was born a man. He was born in a stable. He was born in filthy conditions. Things like blood, sweat, feces, a placenta, an umbilical cord, pain, tears, they were present when Jesus was born. He was born just like you and I. Born to be a man WITH us. Rarely have I ever realized the humanness of His birth. Those words they just aren't "churchy." They just didn't fit in the manger scene I had. For me, Jesus' birth was almost un-touchable. Un-approachable. Something so Holy, I could not be a part of. Holy indeed, but human. Jesus came here, to live among our mess, our dysfunction, our sin, our failures. He came here.  Even more awe-invoking is the fact that He did this for us. He did this to save us from our rebellion to HIMSELF. While I was a sinner, cursing Him, not trusting Him, failing Him, denying Him, He came to live here with us in this mess, to be Emmanuel, God with us.

He came for the potty-mouth talking kids. He came for the greedy, for the jealous, for the moms who let their children down, for the lonely, for the liars, for the thieves, for those who deny Him, for those that work too much, for the sick, for the widow, for the orphan, for all of us, for me.

Emmanuel, God with us. He is NOT untouchable. He is not far away. He is here, with us.

This Christmas I need God with me. I need Emmanuel. Praise God He came. He is with us. It is my hearts desire this Christmas to share Emmanuel with my children. To show them Jesus is real, with us, approachable.  We can bring our real, filthy, weary, dirty selves to Him.

The real words out of Jesus' mouth:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What I learned from Noah

Hebrews 13:5  Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you.

To my Noah,

You and me, we are a lot a like. We butt heads though. The love I have for you is a tough love, a love that isn't always evident or obvious. Sometimes, I don't do a very good job of showing you my love. Sometimes I fail you as a mommy.  But I want you to know that I love you because Jesus loves me, and loves you. He loved us first. His love for us was not because we loved Him. And so Noah, my love for you is not because of something you do, or because of your love for me.  I love you first, with, or without your love back. I love you.

We are sitting in your room today and I am asking you why you won't eat your now third meal of the day. It's so frustrating. We even had your favorite, dare I say it... chicken nuggets... for dinner, and yet you still refuse to eat. I know you are hungry. I know you are mad about something. I know you need to tell me, to use your words and share with me why it is you are angry. But you won't. You scowl, and throw a fit and have a meltdown, for now the third meal of the day.

Thoughts now run through my mind.  We've given you new clothes to wear. We've given you toys all of your own. You've gotten treats and meals and had a full tummy every day in our home. We tell you we love you, we tuck you in and hug and kiss you every night. We tell you every single day we will never leave you. We tell you and show you that you can trust us. We've met your needs. I expected you would soak up my love like a thirsty sponge.  And yet, you break your toys and could care less about them. You refuse to eat, you sometimes try hiding food in your mouth or not chewing or over stuffing your mouth and choking. You have been insatiably selfish, you always want more, nothing is ever enough for you. At night when you are scared and I hold you and tell you there is nothing to be afraid of, you still are afraid. You stiffen up like a board and do not find comfort in my arms.

Almost three years we've spent together and I find myself angry. I want so desperately for you to find comfort in your mommy. I want you to be happy and trust me. Trust me. And there I am sitting staring at you in your room. I have no idea how to proceed. I am fighting feelings of anger, and frustration. I find myself desperately praying for help. 

But our God, He is so merciful and so gracious.  His love for us, for me, is nothing short of amazing. Grace. I prayed for help. God gave me grace.

Grace. What a gift. There is no better a gift than grace. 

All the garbage in my life started circling in my head. 

I am God's adopted child. He has adopted me as His own. Given me a new life, clothed me in His righteousness. He has made me a co-heir with Jesus. I have an inheritance that is un-destroyable. He has blessed me. And yet, even today, I have asked for more. I have been given a warm and cozy home, and I treat it like it's not enough. I ask for more. I complain that I don't have enough, over and over again. I cry out in fear and God is there all-knowing my future, and I turn away. I do not seek Him for my comfort. I try and do it on my own. I rely on others, on myself, I do not hand it over to Him. God longs to be intimate with me, to show me the fullness of His presence, His freedom, His hope. I turn away. He promises He will never leave or forsake me, and I can be overcome with fear.  Without the Holy Spirit, I would continue to live my live as an orphan. I say I am His child, and daily I turn away from His banquet table and eat scraps. 

Noah, there is only one hope for us. Our God is a faultless father.  He knew us before the foundation of the earth. He was there when we breathed our first breath. He knit us together in our mother's wombs. He knows our thoughts, our fears. He knows exactly how to help us. He does not grow tired, or lose His temper. He loves us so much. He lovingly restores, forgives, and sanctifies us, all with a greater patience than we can imagine.

I am so thankful Noah, that I have you. God has given me a gift.  He has allowed you to show me how much I need Him. Without you Noah, I forget that I am just like you. You have humbled me, crushed some of my pride. I need so much refining and without you, I would have been content without change, and now I see how much my heart needs change, needs to be more and more like Christ. Without you, I would have been stuck. I am so happy that God loves me enough to change me and grow me. I am so thankful that you have given me a real and intimate picture of myself. God gives us what we need. I needed you, and am thankful for that.

I love you,
Love Mommy