Category Archives: faith

A Priest and a Prince

I haven’t been able to finish hearing this song lately with dry eyes. Such encouragement for a weary soul:

 

It’s so easy to cash in these chips on my shoulder

So easy to loose this old tongue like a tiger

It’s easy to let all this bitterness smolder

Just to hide it away like a cigarette lighter

It’s easy to curse and to hurt and to hinder

It’s easy to not have the heart to remember

That I am a priest and a prince in the kingdom of God

 

I’ve got voices that scream in my head like a siren

Fears that I feel in the night when I sleep

Stupid choices I made when I played in the mire

Like a kid in the mud on some dirty, blind street

I’ve got sorrow to spare, I’ve got loneliness too

I’ve got blood on these hands that hold on to the Truth

That I am a priest and a prince in the kingdom of God

 

I swore on the Bible to not tell a lie, but I’ve lied and lied

And I crossed my heart and I hoped to die, and I died and died

 

But if it’s true that you gathered my sin in your hands

And you cast it as far as the East from the West

If it’s true that you put on the flesh of a man

And you walked in my shoes through the shadow of death

If it’s true that you dwell in the halls of my heart

And I’m not just a fool with a fancy guitar

No, I am a priest and a prince in the kingdom of God

 

*Fool with a Fancy Guitar from Andrew Peterson’s album Counting Stars

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under faith

When Things Don’t Go As Planned (aka Parenthood)

Let me tell you about a trip that didn’t go as planned. I believe this is what they call life.

Last week, our family packed up and headed to Memphis for a few days.

The hubs had a work training there, which meant all of his travel-related expenses work were compensated. And when we realized that my days off coincided with his training days, we thought we could take advantage of an opportunity for a cheap, mini-vacay.

I’d never been to Memphis, so I had fun looking into the free or cheap kid-friendly attractions. I was a little nervous about exploring a city with just myself and my two little ones, but I was getting excited about it. About a week before we were supposed to leave, we learned that his company paired him with a roommate–someone from a branch in Florida. Big bummer. The hotel was our largest expense. So, we debated it and decided we’d still go. I found a good deal on Hotwire.

We got there around 10pm on Monday night. The kids were in pretty good spirits, but a bit over tired seeing as it was hours after bed time. To make a long story short, the crib they promised us (twice) wasn’t available and the girl wouldn’t sleep. So, we packed up and moved hotels after midnight. It was about as much fun as it sounds.

Ellis slept pretty horribly for the majority of the trip. She was cutting a tooth. Our neighbors next door asked if we were the ones with the baby crying all night.

To make matters worse, I developed mastitis on Tuesday (uncommon at this point in the game, I know) and felt like I had the flu. I was definitely questioning if we made the “right” decision in coming.

I share all of this for two reasons. One, this is life with young kids (as every other parent can attest). I knew the trip wouldn’t be easy, but I underestimated how challenging it would be with two little wild cards. Everything is just a little trickier where kids are involved. After talking about it, we realize we need to adjust to the phase we’re in and see this trip as a way to pick up a few tricks for the next time around.

More importantly, though, this trip served as a microcosm of what parenthood is for me: learning to let go and trust Jesus. I’m not in control of my life the way I think I am. I like to stick to the plan and know the path ahead. But, there are so many extenuating circumstances over which I have no control. And in the midst of my stress and fear there is an invitation to be perfectly cared for and walk minute by minute, trusting. I am making progress. I’m not there yet.

Memphis wasn’t all bad. I think Liam had fun. The new hotel was a better location and fit for our time there. The kids slept beautifully the last night we were there. We had some great local food even though we didn’t manage to get to most of the places on my list. It was all provision for what we really needed.

IMG_0310

IMG_0316

IMG_0311

IMG_0319

IMG_0327

IMG_0329

IMG_0333

IMG_0331

IMG_0350

IMG_0355

IMG_0347

IMG_0336

IMG_0343

 

Pictures include our time at The Memphis Firehouse Museum, Shelby Farms Park, The Memphis Zoo, and some sweet sibling love 😉

 

Leave a comment

Filed under being a parent, faith, personal thoughts, travel

Finding Relief from Myself

As I am *mostly* on the other side of a really tough season, I thought I’d share a lesson learned from the challenge of the last year-ish.

I am what you might call introspective.

In my normal state of mind, it’s easy for me to over think things and analyze. I mean it. I think…a lot…about lots of different things. And I believe that is part of what makes me, me. It can have some good to it.

But when I was in the thick of my post-partum depression, it was bad. I would do and do and do all day without time for my precious thoughts. Then, at night, I couldn’t fall asleep- even though I was sleep deprived and physically exhausted- because my mind was making up for lost time. As I’ve shared before, I am also a fixer. I want to find every little thing wrong with me and weed it out (preferably as quickly as possible), which encouraged me to get lost deep in thought. I even started to understand the appeal of drug use as an escape.

It can easily turn into a pretty nasty cycle of dissect, analyze, judge, and criticize some more.

Sometimes I would get in these grooves and just want to shake my head until I could start again with a clean slate. But, I felt it was okay to participate in this cycle because I wanted to be wise. I wanted to be thoughtful about my actions. I wanted to be Christlike. That’s good, right?

Well, I let it get out of control. I was spending way too much time looking at myself.

Psalm 61:2 says, Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I”

I’m realizing that I can pray for God to lift me out of that cycle of me, myself, and I. I can be freed up to look at something else.

It was also around that time that someone in my bible study spoke about Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s “For every look at self, take ten looks at Christ.” I’m challenged by that. I know my life is nothing near those proportions, and I want to experience it.

So, I guess I’ve learned that it’s not up to me to find and fix everything that needs fixing. If I ask Him to search me, He is faithful to do it.

1 Comment

Filed under faith, personal thoughts

Christmas Musings

Merry Christmas, everyone! Even though the official day was earlier this week, it’s still on my mind. We were so blessed with multiple celebrations of the season, including time with each of our families. This year, we also got an entire day to ourselves with the kids. It was fun to explore what traditions might actually work in practice. 😉

Some pictures of this year’s holiday cheer:

photo 3

Some holly and pine cones at the kitchen sink window

photo 2

Our first Advent Calendar

photo 1The glorious tree (real, again, but smaller this year)

This was the boy’s first year to sing along to some Christmas carols. His favorites included: Jingle Bells, Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, Frosty the Snowman, and Little Drummer Boy. I must say, I think he’s helped to strip away some of my cynicism. I’ve never really cared for songs like Little Drummer Boy but there were times this Christmas where the lyrics would make me tear up.

I can’t seem to shake the line,

I am a poor boy, too. I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give a king (Pa-rum-pa-pa-pum’s excluded from the text 🙂 )

It’s just been such a beautiful picture to me of how Jesus emptied himself of his glory and became one of us. He made himself so relatable, even to the very lowest and most humble of people. The fact that a little poor boy could feel he shared circumstances with the King of everything breaks my heart in a wonderful way. I’m so grateful for the lowliness with which he came so that we could know him.

And as I was reading in 2 Corinthians 8, I was reminded that his becoming poor was not just so that we could relate to him (and him to us) but so that we could become co-heirs with him. Christ is made our brother by his great suffering. What a mystery! It’s not right. It’s certainly not fair. And I am reduced to tears to consider it.

Hallelujah! Happy Christmas, guys.

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

Leave a comment

Filed under faith, holidays

As Iron Sharpens Iron

Today marks the sixth wedding anniversary for the hubs and me!

As I reflect on this fact, it draws me to consider change. More specifically, change in myself. I tend to want to believe that I don’t change with time. Of course, that is ridiculous. Time changes you. Experience changes you. The hope is that, for me, these will be changes for the better. And not to make me a better person for me, but to turn me into a more accurate reflection of Christ. That is called refinement.

In my experience, marriage is extremely refining. 

We have had some painful moments in these six years. Moments that challenged the commitment we had to our marriage. But, as God is gracious, we worked hard through those situations, received some wonderful counseling, and are easily more in love today than the day we proclaimed our vows.

31764_460017374907_2431335_n

I love this man. He is my better half. He is giving, kind, and incredibly smart. When he comes home from a long day at work, he jumps in to help with dinner and kids immediately…every time. He loves to laugh and helps me to lighten up. He challenges me in my thinking. He makes me happy. He is a phenomenal father to our children.

DSCN0484

I heard Jeff Bridges say once in an interview (when asked about the key to a long and happy marriage) that every marriage goes through hard times, but when you persevere and see those things through, the marriage becomes such a treasured and valuable thing that you never want to lose it.

No one else can feel the pain and joys that we’ve had so far on this journey. They belong to us. And I pray we have many, many more in years to come.

Happy Anniversary (and Father’s Day), Honey. I love you.

Leave a comment

Filed under faith, personal thoughts

Journaling Hope

So, I have several posts I’ve been meaning to write with neither the time nor the energy these days. Another day, then.

I took a few minutes to journal today, though, (something I’ve been in the habit of for years) when both kids were asleep (a miracle, I might add). It seems I rarely make time to journal these days, but every time I do, I remember how it blesses me to pour out my heart to God on paper. It’s a healing balm for my weary soul every time. I ended up perusing through some old posts, which I also have a habit of doing, and was so encouraged by some verses from the Psalms I wrote out last year. So, I thought I’d share them with you…in case anyone else needs a little encouragement and perspective on life like I do.

My soul finds rest in God ALONE; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.  -PSALM 62

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul.  -PSALM 23

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  -PSALM 90

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire but you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  -PSALM 73

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy.  -PSALM 28

I WAIT for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.  -PSALM 130

Oh Lord, that you would make these things true of my heart. I want to follow you.

2 Comments

Filed under faith, personal thoughts

Parenting

Jonathan and I are first time parents.

I can say without hesitation that last year and a half of our lives has started us on the most challenging and wonderful adventure of our lives. It really is such a joy and a privilege to be Liam’s mom. He’s an amazing kid.

We take our job very seriously, and it’s sobering to think about the impact you can have on a little life. Since we dreamt of having children, but particularly in recent months (as Liam is gaining independence and understanding), we’ve been discussing what sort of parents we want to be (a parenting model, of sorts) and have come across some fantastic resources (Including our own amazing parents!).

One blog that I have encountered is When You Rise. Even though I’m not a very arts-n-crafts kind of personality, she has a lot of great activity ideas to help your children comprehend what you’re saying. What I really love about her, though, is her Gospel-Centered Parenting concept. I knew I really liked this girl’s blog, but I decided I loved it, when I saw her response to this question.

She brings up some thought-provoking questions, like What is the difference between moral parenting and Christian parenting? And that has gotten us thinking, Is having obedient, well-mannered children our end goal?

For us, the answer is a resounding NO.

Do I want my child to be respectful and obedient? Absolutely. But I think if I’m not careful, I can teach my son that the outward appearance is more important than the heart motive. I don’t want him to learn to “pull himself up by his bootstraps”, look within himself, and do better next time. I want him to rely on the God who loves us, died for us, and creates real and lasting change from the inside. It’s subtle (especially in childhood situations), but there’s a difference. God is the One who does it. Not me. Not Daddy. Not Liam.

I’ve also been privileged to be a part of a Moms’ group that meets on a weekly basis. We’re studying a curriculum called Spiritual Parenting. We’re still early in the study, but I’m so encouraged to see a lot of similar themes to what Jonathan and I have been discussing at home.

One of the author’s points is that we should be praying that our children would learn  to 1) discern God’s voice among the many, 2) desire to obey that voice, and 3) do it in God’s power. The more I’ve thought about it, I really agree. God’s goals for Liam are consistent with (and better than!) my own. If my son learns to love God and wants to obey him, he will learn to obey his parents and respect others.

The amazing thing is, if I really let these things sink in, the pressure to be the perfect parent is off me! I just need to direct Liam to God (though that’s not always as simple as it sounds) so that he can experience Him for himself.

I also know that we have a lot more learning to do.

Let it be so.

5 Comments

Filed under being a parent, faith, Liam Knox, personal thoughts