Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Controlled Mind and Believing God in the Day to Day

Romans 8:6 “...but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”

On a recent Sunday at church our small group discussed Romans 7:15-17 in depth.  It’s a bit of a tongue twister discussing the struggle of not doing what we want to do even though we know it is the “right” thing.  I’ve been mulling these thoughts around in my mind ever since.  Then, last week as I read from my Jesus Calling devotional, I was reminded

“When My Spirit is controlling your mind, you are filled with Life and Peace.”

Ah, yes.  Herein lays the Life and Peace we all crave. 
The walking with,
the leaning into,
the carrying through of our positive intentions.

It isn’t in our own strength that we accomplish anything.  
Not on the horrible days where breathing is truly painful and we are full-on collapsed in the arms of our Savior.  
But also, not on the seemingly simple days where we feel more comfortable walking beside Him, simply holding His hand and cherishing His presence.

Recently a friend said to me, “I know what it looks like to believe God in the fire of the trial, but what does it look like in the day to day life?”

I think this is part of that picture. 

Filling ourselves with God each day,
aligning our thoughts and heart with Him,
remaining in communication with Him, even when life is smooth sailing;
it’s all part of our dependence on Him.  

Our belief that He is Who He says He is and that we are who He says we are.  It revolves around our realization that we are sinners.  Our minds are corrupt.  We cannot do what we know is right on our own accord. 

Sometimes I think it is easy for us to discuss others who “need” a Savior because we rank their sin as more severe than our own.  Reality says we are ALL sinners and in need of salvation.  Trust me, if Eve hadn’t eaten the apple and allowed sin to enter the Garden of Eden…I would have.  I am a wretched sinner who has been saved by grace.  And quite honestly, my sins don’t necessarily rank “up there” in the world’s list of bad things.  That’s part of the issue, we like to rank our sins and deem ourselves as more worthy than “those people”.  That is a lie that comes directly from Satan.  We are ALL sinners.  We ALL need the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ to wash over our lives and save us.

Then, in the day to day living out of our belief in God, we find that our reliance must be on Him for all things, big and small.  Even when we think we are comfortable cruising through this life.  Possibly mostly when we are in the comfy phase.  Maybe some people truly will walk through this life without enormous, heart-breaking, life shattering events occurring to them.  Maybe, but I somehow doubt it.  I have yet to meet a Jesus lover who has not had to overcome tragedy or burden through the power of Christ in them. 

I, for one, am so very grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit who longs to control my mind and bless me with life and peace.  I am proof that He can fill us with peace when everything on the outside is screaming the opposite.

Life and Peace…through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.  Oh Lord, remind me to surrender control of my mind.  Amen and Amen.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Just Love Them

I am downstairs preparing dinner.

They are upstairs and I can hear their conversation and laughter. 

It is almost the end of another school year; their first full one with their Daddy in heaven.  In a few short weeks, they will walk out of their school for the last time as a high school freshman and a junior high eighth grader. 

I bought our son his first car this week. {sigh}

We will have two in high school when fall comes later this year. 

I recently texted my sister that it is going too quickly and I can’t accept that in four years they will both be in college.  I told her “I have so much more I want to teach them.  How will I fit it all in?”

Then today, I began realizing that my teaching years are pretty much over.  What more is there to instruct them on? 

They’ve learned
to use proper hygiene,
to take care of their property,
to be kind to others,
to respect those in authority over them,
to protect their hearts until they are ready to share them with someone special.

They’ve been told
to pick up after themselves,
to be polite,
to work hard in their studies,
to be responsibly cautious,
that good sportsmanship is more important than winning.

They’ve seen what it looks like  
to lean hard into Jesus,
to walk with integrity,
to be disciplined with their time in God’s Word,
to show love through acts of service.

They’ve witnessed
the sacrificial love of two devoted parents,
the living out of marriage vows,
the hard and ugly of cancer,
the pain of death.

They’ve experienced
the emptiness of grief,
the braveness of continuing to put one foot in front of the other,
the beauty of God’s grace in His promise to never leave us alone.

They’ve lived more in their short lives than many who are three times their age.

Our reality is…if we haven’t taught them what they need to know by now, we’ve already failed them.  I’ve decided, instead of trying to cram more instruction into them, what I really want to do in these four years is to soak up the essence of who they are.  They’ve been trained well.  They will be wildly successful Jesus lovers.  Will I still need to offer direction?  Sure, that’s what parents do.  But the deep instructing, it’s been done. 

Now I want to enjoy them.  Guiding them when necessary, but allowing them to make their own decisions and mistakes.  I want to cherish their individuality and cheer for them as I observe Jesus creating them into who He desires them to be. 

Tim and I always said that the hard work of parenting is in the primary years.  We were strict; setting clear boundaries and expectations, being structured and dependable in our parenting.  Diligence in the early years has paved the way for an easier and more enjoyable time through the adolescent ones.  And now they are miniature-borderline-adults.  Just, WOW.   

I can sum up my current responsibility in two words:  LOVE THEM. 

I just want to love them well and in that, they will be prepared for their future.