On a Winter’s Day {Why I make them go outside}

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ~ 3 John 1:4

We walk through snow and ice and sometimes we wear rubber boots. Three days a week, I tell them, just three times are you required to get out here and raise your heart rate a little.

There are complaints and pleas, there is sometimes a giving-in, but these minds need air and the cold just makes us walk faster.

forest

 

I am teacher-mom, and that means I have to be the whistle-and-gym-shorts kind, too. Or in our case, the layered-up goof with ear muffs and a camera around her neck.

I even bought umbrellas, because it’s Oregon and we are nearly aquatic. There’ll be no weather-related excuses.

So we walk and there are kids spread out for a quarter-mile in front and behind me, some of them trying to keep up and some of them trying to break free, I think. I annoy them with my camera and my pep-talks, with my smile and my Pollyanna-isms.

“Look at how the buds are coming on the trees!”

“Oh they put fresh gravel down!”

“If you are cold you could always run!”

I annoy them because I stop to take pictures, because I walk too fast, because I run circles around them sometimes in my goofy tights and neon yellow shirt.

I think they love me anyway.

eyes to see

I am freezing and there are at least 30 other things I could be doing at the moment but we walk. Out and back, the same route, and sometimes we talk or hold hands or race home.

Sometimes there are just 5 separate people, walking alone but in the same direction.

I think we’re making memories that will be stored up for one day, for a day when we can’t take walks together and make each other laugh with our cheesy jokes. I want them to see all the joy I see and be satisfied with the simple things like frost on branches and budding twigs.

So when we go for a walk and they complain, I press on because I know it’s the moments that are important and the years are only made up of so many. I press on because I know that seeing takes practice, and nothing is perfect so we take the imperfect and find God there.

I know that the exercise profits a little. I know that it’s cold and torturous and there are other things to do but this moment has to freeze and we have to seize it.

And I know that there is always a truth to see in walking. Not a Pollyanna, look-at-how-the-ice-forms-on-my-eyelashes attempt, but a true Truth that the seasons change, the ground freezes under you, but everywhere in every corner God is at work.

That’s the Truth I want my children to walk in.

rose bush in winter

 

The world will tell them otherwise, that the ground freezes and the leaves fall because there is no God at work. They will have people try to tell them to take the easy road, to stay warm and comfortable. To live in ease and find beauty only in the work of their own hands.

Not so, my children.

I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the whole truth of this created world and the God who made it and them.

See how the tree buds after a long winter.

See how the road is made firm for our walking.

See how far you can run.

 

 

Linking up with Emily at Imperfect Prose #TellHisStory,  and Crystal at Thriving Thursdays

 

How to Run Whole-Heartedly {Five Minute Friday:Race}

racing, running on the road, tortoise and hare

He’s always racing someone.

When he runs like that, I’m afraid of the pavement coming up fast in his face, afraid of the long shoe laces and the flailing arms.  He doesn’t look ahead.  He looks side to side and sometimes even backwards, to make sure no one is going to overtake him.

He races in flip-flops and cries when he loses.  He runs with his whole heart and sometimes his body follows suit.

If he were to ever focus ahead, stop looking around and stop wasting so much energy trying to win, he’d be a force to reckon with.

Whereas I don’t race anybody but myself.  I’ll run a race tomorrow that I’m not prepared for and my goal?  Finish faster than last year. Or just finish.

My son runs wholeheartedly but I lack enthusiasm.  I run passion-less and slow, but consistent.

So what does the tortoise learn from the hare? The moral is always in the hare’s favor – slow and steady wins the race.  But this steady one needs a dose of wild-abandon and eight year old fervor.

And life is that way, too.

 

This post is part of Five Minute Friday, where we write on the prompt given by Lisa-Jo and these are the only rules: set your timer for five minutes and no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.  It’s scary fun!

Today’s random prompt is RACE and I really do have one tomorrow, so I couldn’t help myself. I feel the same way I did here, all unprepared and breathless.


 

When You’re Not Ready to Run

IMG_20120820_192840

We could spend all our time preparing and never go anywhere.

We think there’s something more we need, something else or something better.  Really, what we need is more Breath and instead we hold it, prevent it from escaping and the Life stays stopped up inside us.

Breathe.

God exhaled Life into us and we gasp for more, but it’s really all there.  Everything we need for life and godliness, right down to the adrenaline, He breathed it into the dirt and we stand up to demand more.

Adrenaline is a wonder.

I skip days on the prescribed running plan and my preparation for this 10k is laughable.  I worry about not having enough breath and are there hills and can I really go the distance again, all unprepared as I am?

This is where I explain why I pay money to run.

Running is cheap exercise and it’s easy and there’s not much coordination or skill involved.  Buy some decent shoes and go.

But some days the go wants to not and what we all need is motivation.  So I send in my check a month before the race, sign the waiver on my excuses, and I commit.

When race day comes, I run because the adrenaline surges and I paid to be here and sometimes that is all the motivation I need, and there is breath enough.

I question the sanity of it all mid-race, but I put one foot in front of the other and finish.  I’m happy with my time and there are cookies at the end, a second-place ribbon, and a task accomplished.

You don’t need me to draw the parallel between running and our walk with Jesus.  But what you might need to hear, again, is that all-preparation and no-action will never get you anywhere.

Even if your preparation is lacking, there comes a time to act.  Ready, or not.  You can only hold your breath so long and then, just the way He designed it, your body will exhale.

We started school in full force yesterday, my 13th year of homeschooling and learning right along side the ones God has entrusted to me.

IMG_20120809_150145

I was not prepared and gasping a little.

It made my husband nervous, telling him that I wasn’t sure what I was doing and didn’t really know yet how it would all work out.  He’s the one that always says, “We’ll know more when it’s over,” and he’s right. We learn as we go, but we have to GO.

Those dreams you never start, they never fail.  They bring no heartache or disappointment,  but don’t we learn best from the processes we go through, rather than the ones we only daydream about?

The letter you don’t write because you’re not ready, the meal you don’t make because it might flop, the mission trip you reject because you don’t think you have anything to offer, and the friendship you don’t offer because you might be rejected…none of those things ever hurt or disappointed you, did they?

Yes, they did.

You have big dreams and you have everyday things that you want to do, need to do, and have Breath enough to do.

Exhale.  And begin.

We’ll all know more when it’s over.

{And if you want real motivation, tell someone your dream.  Accountability is a powerful thing.}

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Beyond

 It’s Friday and Lisa-Jo has given this writing prompt:

BEYOND

Every Friday we spend five minutes spilling words and we forego editing  and fretting, and just write.  It’s fun, it’s free, and you should click the link above and try it!  Or at least, read what some others write for fun on Fridays.

 

GO

He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all I ask or even could think in my feeble, flitting mind.  And it must be true because I ask so little and receive so much.

I don’t believe the lie that everything I need is just beyond what I have now, but I do believe the truth that He is beyond all my imagination and dreamings, and that He wants me to live beyond where I am now.

I ask for so little because my faith is just.  that. small.

Forget-Me-Not

He shows up Big anyway, and befuddles my thinking and my small prayers.

Sometimes doesn’t He put Himself just out of reach, so that my faith stretches like last year’s jeans and once again, I can grasp just the hem of His garment?

I can barely catch up and never truly arrive, yet He promises arrival someday.  He is my pace-setter and it’s always got to be a little beyond where I’m comfortable.

That must be the ticket to prayer.  Yearning for what’s just out of reach, stretching my tight faith and making room for more, all because I know, I know, there is always room for more of Him.

STOP

When Sin Leads to Thanksgiving

Parenting is tough.

Parenting is day and night, 24/7, clinging-to-grace and praying-in-faith.  It’s discipleship of our children and it’s discipleship for us, because who can teach and not learn?

It’s rewarding and it’s exhausting and it makes you question your sanity, like I imagine a marathon would be.

My crazy husband and I ran a half-marathon.  I paid money to expend every ounce of energy I could muster over 13.1 miles, to get blistered and chaffed, to fight off the urge to quit at mile 10 and the need for a potty at miles 5 through 12.  For about the last 7 miles all I could think was, “I’m paying to do this?”.

At the end we got oranges and bananas, some gatorade, and a t-shirt.  Actually, we didn’t even get the shirt because that was more money.

So parenting is tough like running, but the rewards are greater.  Boxes full of drawings, paintings, macaroni necklaces, precious notes and baby teeth in sandwich bags.  Morning-breath kisses, sticky faces, Dr. Seuss by heart, billions of questions, thousands of I love you’s.  

The rewards of parenting aren’t always warm and fuzzy.  A house full of sinners brings tension, lots of correction and training, and really the greatest reward is seeing the gospel work itself out in your children.

Sometimes I stop nagging long enough to allow grace to lead to repentance.

Oh happy day, when my children confess sin without being guilted into confession.  When the Holy Spirit is unhindered and quietness brings conviction.

I have just an ounce of understanding of the joy of this verse:

“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” - {Luke 15:7 NKJV}

Yes, we want to raise godly children.  We want them to love Jesus and love their neighbor and overcome evil by doing good.  But if we teach them the truths of scripture, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, that Jesus came as a friend of sinners to seek and save the lost,

then every sin-moment is the perfect time and place for grace to pour in and for sinners to bring joy to their Savior.

And I give thanks for the repentance, not the sin.  But without the realization of the one, the other is never needed.

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Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

{Psa 103:1-5 NKJV}

Blessing the Lord for all this:

305. siblings that miss each other

306. my hard-working, sensitive and giving children

307. making my tired husband smile

308. The wonderful burning ball of warmth in the sky!

309. Shelby’s Super Nanny impression (crack. me. up!)

310. dancing wild in the living room to Sharri’s piano playing

311. inside jokes ;)

312. forgiveness

313. talented friends making beautiful music on our piano

314. long-lost friends

315. big words with Shyla!

316. standing in the rain with the boys, watching the lightning

317. barbecuing again

318. guitar music from the bedroom

319. swim lessons

320. repentant hearts

Linking up with

A Holy Experience

The Better Mom

Titus 2sdays

Scribing the Journey

The Value of You, Right Where You Are

Already, there is this desire to choose.
Are we born with that?  Do we come from the womb defiant at the choices made for us?
Why did God put me here?  Why am I different?  Maybe I am not supposed to be in this family, in this place.
He’s seven and where did he get these questions?
The not-belonging and the longing for something else, something we know nothing about, all those thoughts started in the garden.
Adoption is not all warm-fuzzy and we never thought it would be.  Sometimes, it is such a clear picture of our life in Christ, of God choosing us and giving us family.
But truly, we have to choose that adoption for ourselves.  It’s the one case where we do choose our Parent, but do we ever really get to choose our place?
He’s seven and he is upset about some discipline handed out, and isn’t that when we all question our place?
So he thinks he belongs somewhere else but he doesn’t see the big picture.
Like the children of Israel longing for Egypt.
I tell Ethan that we couldn’t hold him and love him and laugh with him while he was in India. That we’re all different, with different gifts and personalities and talents, different colored skin and eyes and hair, but God has put us together and our family is perfect this way.
I give him a hug and tell him I love him, because that’s what he really wants.
Do you ever question your place?
Do you possibly mistrust the God Who holds your breath, the One Who preappointed your times and the boundaries of your dwelling? (Acts 17:26)
Do you long to be somewhere bigger, better, more important or more satisfying?
Wherever you are, God is sovereign.  Whatever your struggle, rest in His handling of it.  He sees the biggest picture.
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Counting all the gifts this week, some of them numbered here:
291.  Jacob enjoying the outdoors, and waking up thankful for his bedroom – the deer, the turkeys, the yellow birds at the feeder outside his window
292. our first 7-miler in 7 months
293. hot water and epsom salts, the morning after 7 miles
294. Ethan, the first child up this morning, monopolizing the one-on-one time
295. this verse:
And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
~ Acts 13:39
296. children with eyes to see His goodness and to delight in His creation (Jacob calling me upstairs this morning to see the bird in the window, because he knows I love birds!)
297. Sisters making a picnic
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