Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For such a time as this

One of the most compelling evidences to me that the Bible is truth, is the people themselves that make up the stories. Have you ever really stopped to consider the characters whose lives are lived out on the thin pages of this book we call God's Word? We cannot make it out of Genesis before we have met more people than we can count that make really bad choices. And these are not small characters. I'm talking about major names: Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Moses, and so on and so on the stories go. Failure after failure, and disobedience after disobedience. You would think if the authors of the Bible were being untruthful, if they were attempting to tell a false story, that they would make themselves and the others around them look a little "better". Do you know what I mean? What good is it to make up falsehoods that paint such an unflattering portrait of ourselves?

I have been spending much of my bible study time these past few weeks around two such characters. One is Moses, and the other is Esther...and oh how I have grown to adore these two people. For now, I would like to throw out something that the Lord is pounding into my heart right now. So often when something starts weighing on my heart, I think of you, and how I want to share it here. And here's the point: God can use anybody He wants to fulfill His will on this planet. It doesn't matter their circumstances, their background, their family, their health, their financial situation, their past sin, their nationality, etc. His will, will be done. Period. Moses was born at a time when all male Hebrew babies were being murdered. Then Moses himself became a murder and was living as a fugitive when God called him to lead His people out of Egypt! I think that is kind of a big deal. I think Moses' past is relevant for us today. I think his background is significant to us understanding our purpose here today on this planet. And then there is sweet Esther. She was an orphan, a child with NO parents, was being raised by her male cousin, and then finds herself married to a king who also has hundreds of concubines and has just signed a death warrant for all of God's people...her circumstances were less than ideal. And yet both of these characters were used mightily by God. And I dare say that if we could have asked either one of them 5 minutes before their pivotal calling if they were in a position to be used for God's glory, they would have laughed at the mere suggestion. And yet God allowed Moses to fellowship intimately with Him and to guide His people, and He allowed Esther a role of radical importance in Hebrew history. God can use anybody!

So I will throw the question out, do you struggle with whether or not God can or ever will use you mightily for His kingdom, for His glory? Do you ever struggle with whether or not you blew your chance? That's the thing about sin, it has a way of hissing lies to us while we lie in bed at night. We try and rest in the Truth that we are forgiven, that He already paid the debt, but we sometimes feel as though we cannot escape the suffocating darkness of our past. And so we believe the lie. The lie that we are too damaged to be used, too screwed up to be straightened out, and too unworthy to ever wear white. But then enters Grace, and picks us up with two pierced hands and says "who knows, but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this" Esther 4:14.

What position do you find yourself in? Will you dare to believe that God may have you strategically placed right where He wants you? What lie might you be believing that is keeping you from humbly allowing God to use you? Our father desires to pick you up and walk you right into the light of your destiny, into your promise land, and eventually into His glory. You have been born into "such a time as this" to do great things in His mighty name. Get up on your two feet my friend, and get walking into your promised land that He prepared for you long before you breathed your first breath of life.


Monday, October 25, 2010

A cowboy without a horse

If you are visiting here from Remodelaholics, then your timing is impeccable. You know trouble is brewing when you catch your husband outside with house plans, a tape measure, and red flags. It hasn't been 6 months since I called this house remodel "complete". I suppose deep down I always knew we were not really finished. There were too many things left lingering, a few things not all that ideal, a few things left "with room to maybe add on one day". And now that one day has come, sooner than I thought it would for sure. My cute carpenter husband wants a garage, and I want my linen closets back. It is such a strange thing to tell out of town company that the extra towels are in the closet at the top of the stairs, right next to the air compressor and compound miter saw. We have tools oozing out of every spare space in this house. My man needs a garage, 'cause he's kind of like a cowboy without a horse.

So here we go again. Only this time it's going to look a little different. We will not be living in a remodel, but rather watching an addition happen on the outside of our house...not nearly as stressful. And though remodeling is not the heart of this blog, you know that there will be some great stories along the way that I will simply have to share here. And who knows, there might even be a dreamy screened porch in those plans that that carpenter of mine is holding.


Thanks Cassity for featuring our remodel. Click on My House Tour over on the left hand side to view all the rooms in our remodel.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oh how He loves you

We took our girls to see and worship with the David Crowder Band last night. Though Caroline fell asleep halfway through the concert, it was still a sweet time. And so as I needed reminding last night, I wonder if you too could use reminding today. Do you know that He is jealous for you? He sees all that we too often fill our time with, and waits and longs for you to draw near to Him. Do you know how great His affections are toward you? Greater and more powerful than that of a hurricane. Do you know that you are His portion and He is your prize? He is your great reward! And if His grace is an ocean, then my friend you are sinking in it.

Oh how loves you! Happy Friday sweet friends!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The randomness of it all

I cannot tell you how many times I sit to write at my computer and I think to myself "don't write about that, that just seems random". I generally never really know what my next blog post will be, I'm not organized and "together" like that. But then a new day comes with fresh thoughts and ideas and so I sit and type. Sometimes ideas come in the midst of a project with my husband and sometimes it is while I am doing my bible study. I am an emotional person and I tend to swing from one extreme thought to the other very quickly. This blog has so many times reflected that. I bounce around a lot around here, and in the spirit of keeping it real, I feel as though I should acknowledge that reality. This blog is indeed random. If you have ever cared enough to wonder if I am aware that I tend to be all over the place with my thoughts, the answer is yes. I am very well aware! This space has become a random snapshot of the days that are making up my life. It has evolved into something that I never expected it to, and I wonder if it will eventually become something I never thought it would.

Playing Sublimely has provided a safe place for me to write out my heart. The computer screen between you and I has become somewhat of a security blanket for me, for better or for worse. Any of my girlfriends would tell you, social interaction is not where I thrive...I tend to be guarded and a little awkward in social situations. It is not that I am different in real life than I am on this blog, it's just that here at my computer I have the freedom to express myself in my own way, and on my own time, as I type out my thoughts...a luxury we do not have in daily life, in face to face relationships.

So I guess what I am trying to say is "thank you". Thank you for being you! Thank you for visiting me here, for reading, and for commenting. Thank you for taking your precious time to listen. You have become a great friend.


Monday, October 18, 2010

A Pirate Looks at Two

I wasn't going to wait until my boy was turning forty before I threw him a pirate party. His pirate party came this past weekend to celebrate birthday number two.

He was Captain Thomas, of course.Other pirates were there too. Some Landlubbers. Some Buccaneers. A Scurvy Dog or two showed up. And then there was Thomas' Me Hearty.

Adult pirates: Young pirates:Mommy pirates:

Pirates that were getting into Captain Thomas' rum punch:

Pirate ship cupcakes:

All the pirates left with booty, their very own treasure to take home.
My treasure was hanging from around my neck, and I'm not talking about the gold coin necklace.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stop Doubting and Believe

His story really starts many years before he was born, because his story started with my story. I was wrestling with disbelief and fear and depression. I was wrestling with all things in the world that are horrible like 9/11 and cancer and suffering. I went to church and tried hard to have the blind faith that I was supposed to have. Because believing was supposed to easy, right? Those that really believe, those real Christians, never struggled with blind faith. It was easy. So where did that put me? Because I was struggling.

And then one week the struggle was overwhelming. I remember crying and wondering what if we are all just wrong? What if He really never did raise up from the dead? What if I really am not redeemed after all? What if there still is a record of all my wrong? What if? I walked through my church doors that Sunday with all my "what ifs". And in case no one has ever told you, that is exactly where God loves to have you. God delivers the broken and the disheartened. He meets the needs of his people that cry out to Him.

That Sunday my beloved pastor preached on Doubting Thomas, on that Sunday my God met me right where I was and told me to stop doubting and believe. He is a personal God, who desires a personal walk with you. He doesn't miss or overlook the sufferings of His people.

Fast forward many years later to when we found out I was pregnant with a son. I knew his name would be Thomas. He is my personal reminder of the grace and patience and love and deliverance of my God. It is rare that I say my son's name and do not think of that Sunday when God stood before me with holes in His hands and said "Put your fingers here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." John 20:27

Today my Thomas turns two. What a blessing his life has been to us! One day our God will stand before him with the same proposal he had for me that Sunday, a proposal of rest if only I would believe. He stands before all of us at some point in all of our lives with that proposal. May our responses be that of the no longer doubting Thomas who responded with "My Lord and my God". Won't you stop doubting and believe.


Monday, October 11, 2010

He chose you

The further along I get into the mothering of young children, the more I hear similar stories and struggles from other preschool moms. There is something about raising children in the early years of life that seems to create in a young mom a sense of insecurity. Something takes place in these mothering years that causes us mommas to question who we are and what we are doing on this planet. There seem to be two struggles that surface time and time again for me. The first is, I am not good enough to do that which I have been called to do. The second is, is this all that I have been called to do? Perhaps it is all wrapped up around our culture. We walk out our privileged lives in a country that speaks little of the importance of our job as moms. Oh there are some that hold a politically correct microphone in their hand and speak of the value of mothering a child; but I dare say there are but a few secular communities that wave a banner of support to the stay at home mom.

But there are moments along the way when God reveals a bit of His plan, and it comforts a weary heart like mine. Caroline prays every night for "poor people". I can't remember when or why this ritual began, but it has become part of her prayers every evening. Last night her prayers for the poor grew in specifics. She asked God to "give all the poor people cell phones so they could call their mommies". If I was smiling, then I am certain beyond certainty that God was roaring with laughter and joy. I will not at all be surprised if one day I hear of a cell phone provider that felt randomly prompted to give away free cell phones and service to the homeless; for God loves to honor the humble requests of His children. Aside from the focus on providing cell phones to the poor, did you notice who Caroline wanted them to be able to call? Their mommies. Do you see the significance? Do you see how one statement can reveal the heart of a five year old little girl? Who does she view as necessary and important? Who would she want to be able to call in her time of need? Do you see the banner of importance that your heavenly Father is waving above your head?

Have you struggled with the feeling of importance in your daily attempt to keep your head above a pile of dirty diapers? Do you ever wonder if there is any significance to spending a quarter of your waking hours in carpool? Do you ever wish you could spend at least one trip to the bathroom alone, not having to also entertain a 1 year old that is sitting at your feet (or in your lap)? Do you ever think to yourself "if I have to have one more imaginary tea party I might be forced to start spiking the pretend tea"? I get that. I understand that struggle. I also understand the guilt that accompanies the struggle. How dare I feel anything but grateful joy at the privilege I have to raise these precious kids! It is the kind of guilt that suffocates a mother and then breeds more guilt.

Friend, hear me for a minute. When God was writing out His story for all of time, He looked among the masses, pointed His finger directly in your direction, and said "I chose you" to raise that child. He chose you to care for and teach and raise your child. He didn't choose your next door neighbor who is all perfect, with her perfect hair and her perfect orderly schedule and her perfect Christian background and her perfect life and her perfectly behaved children (she's fictitious by the way)...He chose you. Not by accident, not by chance, but intentionally so. You were chosen for that child. He didn't do so to prove to you that you are not enough; He did so to prove to you that He is enough. He chose you for a mighty role so that you would know that you have intentional purpose in His kingdom. Your role was not an afterthought. He didn't pass out all the important career cards and then say, "give the rest of them mommy cards, that's all they're good for".

I have so many times felt unimportant and unworthy as a mother. And if that is where you are too, then consider this perspective. God has given you a child to raise and care for. A child that He values enough to send His Son to die for. Flawed, inadequate you, has been called to a role of amazing importance. To care for someone that your heavenly Father thought of while He hung on a cross. He has given you someone that He values enough to die for! And it wasn't just that child He died for, but also the momma holding that baby. His desire is to accomplish in you the work that He has called you to. He comes full circle in this mothering walk, graciously meeting all of our needs. He doesn't choose the capable to accomplish His work, He chooses the broken. He chose you just like He chose the orphan Esther to save His people, just like He chose the fugitive Moses to lead His people, just like He chose 12 vagabond disciples to spread His message. He chooses the weak, and then makes them strong.

Know with great certainty that you have been called to the highest of privileges. No one but you can be a mother to your children, and God knew who you were when He chose you.


Friday, October 8, 2010

The sick and the injured

The little man had just fallen asleep. We were on day three of a fever, and he was taking an unusual morning nap. The phone rang at 11:00 am. It was Caroline's sweet teacher telling me that she had fallen off the monkey bars and landed flat on her back. The general consensus was that she was okay, the fall had likely just knocked the wind out of her and she was sore. So because she is five, and because she was very upset, we picked her up and brought her home.

Then the phone rang at 1:00 pm. Ella had fallen off the monkey bars and landed on her arm. I said "no, you mean Caroline, and I already picked her up". They said "no, we mean Ella". I said "seriously"? They said "yes". So I said "okay my little wounded battalion, back in car, another soldier is down". Later I called the doctor because Ella's arm did indeed seem legitimately hurt. I spoke with the nurse who asked me a series of 8 questions. The last question was "are any of her limbs severed?". As I answered "no", I wondered why that was question 8. Shouldn't that have been question 1? I really should have answered "yes" just for fun, but I wasn't presently in the mood for such games.

We spent the next day in the orthopedic office, only to find out her arm wasn't broke. For the most part I was relieved it wasn't broke; but I will not deny that there was a small part of me that was sort of hoping there was a legitimate reason for all the time, money, and arm strength I was exerting while wrestling Thomas in a doctor's office much of the day. The good news was that she would be fine to return to school tomorrow, and after a long week of sickness and injuries, the next day would calm down. I really should know by now that the next day never calms down...Ella woke in the night with a fever. And so the saga continues, and I am in the process of learning to be grateful. For each day is a day that the Lord has made, even the sick and injured ones.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Outdoor Living

Are you visiting from Remodelaholic? If so, it is so very great to have you here! Welcome to Playing Sublimely. Drop me a note and say hello, I would love to make your acquaintance. And Cassity, thanks for the shout out my friend. I am honored you liked my chandelier!

Paris. This is the very moment that my love affair with outdoor living began. My husband and I, along with my sister and brother-in-law, spent a picturesque week in Paris last fall. The weather was beyond beautiful, and the outdoor spaces at the chateau where we stayed were as beautiful as the weather. There is just something so lovely about a beautiful space created outdoors. Oh cute carpenter of mine, I feel a project comin' on.

The courtyard at Chateau De Villiers-Le-Mahieu:

And in case you are saying to yourself, "yeah, but that was Paris, everything is beautiful in Paris"....ummm, think again. Check out my girlfriend Karen's backyard. Her outdoor space is as heavenly as she is, and she doesn't live in Paris. Every girl should have a friend like Karen. She is indeed a girl after my own heart, always seeking a thrifty buy, but at the same time never sacrificing style. Don't you just love what she has created outdoors:

Did you notice this red chair in the last picture? She has four of them, and they came from Lucketts. Do you know about Lucketts? If not, stop whatever you are doing (feeding children, changing a diaper, working to earn a living, whatever it is it can wait) and go check out their website. Lucketts' next design house opens the first weekend in November. How 'bout a road trip?


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Wedding

I have had a sick baby boy monopolizing all of my time over the past several days. Though I hate it when my little ones are sick, I cannot help but love that their sicknesses usually force them to finally stop! And when they stop, I take the opportunity to hold, because they do not like my holding and rocking them very often. So in the meantime, how 'bout you buzz on over here and here. Remember my college roommate that went and fell in love and then got married last summer? Her wedding has become quite the story in "wedding world". Style Me Pretty (you know, the "Ultimate Wedding Blog") featured her wedding and now the wedding magazine "Unveiled" has as well. She is on stands right now...can you deal with that?!? I bought my copy yesterday and made the lady at the check out in Target look at the picture. She thought I was weird. But it is kind of like knowing a celebrity...kind of.

photo: Millie Holloman Photography

Jessica's photographer was Millie Holloman Photography, and I have since fallen in love with their style. If you love photography, you will love their website.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Child's Play

I have found that the older I get, the younger my sense of humor is becoming. I sometimes turn on the television to Noggin, just because I can't find anything better to watch. I would also usually prefer to watch Toy Story to just about any other movie out there. I think the immaturity in my sense of humor, is because I spend most of my days surrounded by immature people...and I do not just mean my children. My husband is more immature than my 7 year old. And though I usually roll my eyes at his jokes, deep down I really love it, and he knows I love it. And then there are my sisters' kids, all of which provide enough comedic relief to last anyone a lifetime. My 3 year old niece told my sister last week to turn down the water temperature in her bath because it was "holy crap hot". I haven't stopped laughing since I heard that. Another equally precious 4 year old niece of mine asked my other sister "you know that thing in your head, I think it is called a brain, well mine is all messed up". I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to. I love it.

Laughter in a home is good, and if the children are not providing the comedy, then the animals will. Though honestly, our golden retriever's latest antics are not really funny at all, in and of themselves. They are only funny when I am watching them as a bystander, when it is not really me watching him through the window on my children's play gym. Let's just say I found out why the dog was often ending up in the swing outside. Let's just say his goal wasn't to swing...let's just say I have to buy my children a new swing...let's just say we have a male golden retriever for sale. Okay I'm not quite there yet, but he better shape up fast.

So now since you have wasted 2 minutes of your life visiting here today, and since I have brought you against your will down the path of a nonsense blog post with information you really did not need, why don't we go ahead and finish it off with one more clip of ridiculousness. How could I not love this Etrade clip? It is blatantly Thomas and Ty. And though it may seem like I am making an endorsement for Etrade, I can assure I am not. I don't even really know what Etrade is because unfortunately, I can too closely identify with my 4 year old niece "that thing in my head, I think it's called my brain, it's kind of all messed up".

Happy weekend my friends, I promise to be more normal next week.