Momma-Preacher: Meditations on Deuteronomy 6 and 11

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words I command you today shall be on your heart." Deuteronomy 6:5-6

Therefore you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always. Know today that [I do] not [speak] with your children, who have not known and who have not seen the chastening of the LORD your God, His greatness and His mighty hand and His outstretched arm...what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place...but your eyes have seen every great act of the LORD which He did... Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today...Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes...You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. - Deuteronomy 11:1-2,5,7,8,18-19

Every night I tuck them in bed after hurried mornings in a divided house; away all day eye-ball deep in  the damaging effects of sin on and in our children, while they are in someone else's care and under someone else's teaching in this Egypt I live.

And when I read to them from the scriptures, or talk to them about a spiritual truth, or unpack to them some more of the nature of God as revealed in Christ and proclaim the gospel to them like the momma-preacher I sometimes become and they have a glazed over look in their eyes, and they sigh and start fidgeting around, and interrupt, and are obviously not captivated with what I am pouring my heart out to impress upon them, I remember Deuteronomy 6 and 11.  And I am renewed in faith and spurred on to remember its my being in love with God, and his words being on my heart, and because I have "seen"the chastening of the LORD in my own life and have experienced his work in my life, I am the one who's going to be passionate and motivated in love and obedience to the One who has captivated me with His great love... not my children.

Not yet anyway.

That doesn't mean they won't be captivated one day themselves.  I pray they will.  I trust they will.

But for now, for now with a heart on fire and hands that serve them and a life laid down to nurture and teach them, I talk with them about this great God, who I love, and about his ways- which are wonderful and always good- and His amazing story and how he redeems and their only hope.  I talk with them when we're doing our everyday stuff and when I get 5 minutes to tuck them in at night.  And I entrust the seed to the One who gives it life and who promised it will accomplish the purpose for which he sent it out of this momma's mouth.


My to do list has a to do list

I don't know where my friends find those funny sayings and pics they post on Facebook and on their blogs, but if I could find one that says something about every minute of the day being filled with doing things that were planned (or unplanned) or planning things that will need to be done (or undone) I'd post it. That's what it's been like lately in this house. Even still, I'm not hurried or rushed, thanks in part to Ann's reminders to give thanks in all things, and the Word which equips me to have a gentle and quiet spirit in the midst of a fully scheduled day and month.

I'm writing this after a full day's work and picking my kids up from school while one flips through the pages of a book and inhales his albuterol via nebulizer and the other son throws a rubber ball against the wall to get out some excess energy before his baseball game which we will head off to (without the coach who got called out of town on a big case today and won't be home till this evening, and without the official score keeper and ipad usually used to keep score, leaving me, a clip board, paper and pencil to keep stats I don't understand) as soon as the chicken tenders are done- which I threw in the oven (so me and the Music Man could eat lunch tomorrow at work)- right after filling a thermos full of ice and water and a ice chest full of cold drinks (which was going to be the oldest son's job but he was cleaning up the mess he spilled a few minutes prior while trying to pour the ice into the ice chest).

Ok.  Chicken's done.  Breathing treatment, done.  Kid throwing ball now reading book.  Time to throw the chicken in the oven, load up the car, praise God for Chic Fil A (so much for paleo) and the funds to buy dinner, and head to the game.


I'm gonna sleep good tonight.


Rebuilding Ruins

In a job interview recently I was asked what I thought my three strengths were, along with my three weaknesses. I named for her two and then I told her the third: organization. But, I told her I actually only saw that as a strength because it really is a weakness that I fight to be "strong" in. People I work with now often comment about how organized I am and I always chuckle and think, "If they only knew how unorganized I feel!"

One of the ways I strive to be organized is list-writing.  Even that fails to help me if I don't look at it often.  I'm always working to keep structure and order and organization to my day.  I tend to drop off into the pit of procrastination and fall off the cliff of good intentions often.  Spiritually I have to remind myself often, even make lists, or write out in some way truths, lest I stop swimming upstream and relax my run in the race of faith in Christ and begin drifting with tide of the current zeitgeist in which I live.

I don't know what turned me on to reading Piper... I think I read a blog that mentioned a book a couple years ago.  But recently I've been really feeding on the encouragement and scripture coming out of the Desiring God blog.  I found these three lists last week.  I want to print them and frame them and read them every morning!

1.  Ten Resolutions For Mental Health:  My mind is like the ruined, but in process of being rebuilt Jerusalem of Nehemiah's day.  Sin's damage on the mind has manifest itself very obviously in my family genes and it hasn't skipped its warping effects in me.  If you see me and think I'm organized or any mentally healthy thing, say, "It's a wonder!  It's grace!"  Because that's all it is!   And my work isn't in earning that grace for my mental health, my fight is believing the truth that his grace brings to my mental health!  That's why I need to read these truths often and medicate my synapses with the Word of God! 

2.  Ten Big, Daily Reminders:  Reading this and the one above encouraged me:  I am not the only one who's mind is threatened every morning with forgetfulness.  If I don't stop and remember, in this convenient life I live, like God told Moses, I'll forget, and drift, and meander, letting life's current take me wherever it will.  I don't want to grow unbelieving and numb to the truth.

3. Seven Things to Pray For Your Children:  At my kids' school they don't give A, B, C, D and F's.  They give Exceeds, Meets, Approaches and Falls Far Below.  These "grades" show where they test compared to the state standard.  In prayer, I fall far below.  At times I am moved and have "fervent and effectual" prayers.  But most times my prayers are groans, and moans for help and cries.  Real tears and no words and hands in surrender and knees bent weak.  My hands fall down and my feeble knees are about to give way and then I read something like this article and I feel my Arron has come to lift my hands and my feeble knees have been strengthened. 

Sometimes I hear, in my own mind, what others might ask or say about the decisions I've made regarding my marriage.  I think some might wonder why.  Some might write me off as weak-minded or "codependent".  Some might think I'm doing my "religious duty".  Some might just scratch their heads and think I'm crazy.  Some might think I've made the wrong decision.  Some might think I've made the right one.  Others might think either way would have been right.  I stand facing the accusation that either way I would have been and will be wrong.  I'm sure these "some" and "others" are mostly the fiery darts of the enemy of my soul making their way into my ruined and burned down mental walls, trying to keep me from building up my faith by the grace He supplies for His glory.  And so I stand as I write this not aimed an any person but rather a taking up of my sword in one hand and my building tool in the other, pressing on to work with the power supplied me in Christ to bring him glory. 

Sword:  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.- Genesis 50:20

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. - Romans 8:28-29

"Haven't you read the Scriptures?" Jesus replied. "They record that from the beginning 'God made them male and female.And he said, 'This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together." - Matthew 19:4-6

My heart rejoices in the LORD! The LORD has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the LORD! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. "Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don't speak with such arrogance! For the LORD is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions.  The bow of the mighty is now broken, and those who stumbled are now strong.- 1 Samuel 2:1-4

Building tool: 

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.- Proverbs 14:1

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.  - Psalm 119:72

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.- 1 Peter 3:1-6

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  -Philippians 3:13-14


Oh for Stick-to-itiveness and Courage

There's a paragraph in A Long Obedience In The Same Direction by Eugene Peterson (which I have been away from for awhile, and came back to yesterday) where he talks about the not-so-fancy word: stick-to-it-iveness. He says his mom used to scold him for not possessing stick-to-itevness. He would leave various unfinished endeavors laying around and this drew his mother's reproof.

He and I share the same flaw.  I lack stick-to-itveness.  I would rather do sprints any day than run long distances.  And I have lots of what I think are great ideas; some that get started with gusto but soon stumble to a snail's pace or get abandoned altogether.  My blogs, artisan mayo, paleo meals, crocheting projects, jewelry making projects, exercise plans and many others are some such evidences of my lack of endurance and focus.  Spiritually, I fight with the power Christ supplies to stay on task and continue in my long obedience in the same direction by faith.  So when I press on in my marriage, in teaching my kids the gospel, in stretching to reach others, in saturating myself in the Word, in praying, in keeping my focus on Christ, in trusting in the unfailing promises of God, it's purely by the grace of God!

I purchased some books I'm very excited about.  God's Names by Sally Michael is one of them.  I started into it yesterday with the boys.  Tonight we did Elohim.  It brought a freshness to the discussion of God.  It provoked thought in them about the nature of God as our Creator.  I LOVE it!  Can't wait to get into it more.

Another is the Proverbs Journible from the Journible 17:18 Series.  I think it will be what I'll use to bring to fruition the idea I had for my other blog.  I'm really excited about it too... both for me and my boys.

I am not a risk taker.  I like safe.  I like stable.  I like security and comfort.  This is a problem for a Christian, and yet, even as I say that, it is the "not" that God calls "is".

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.- 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Being a Christian, I mean a real, Christ-lives-in-me woman, is not safe, and then again it's the most secure and safe of all.  It really depends on which eyes I look at my life with.  With my self-preserving, fallen eyes, being a Christian is dangerous and too risky.  With my fixed-on-Jesus-born-anew eyes, being a Christian is the most sure, guaranteed security and safety there is!

Oh that I would fix my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, and look straight past the opposition that will come, the suffering that is going to occur, the rejection that hurts, the questions I can't answer, the name-calling that stabs, to the joy set before me!

Oh to stand in the same room with evil, and the missed-the-marked-ness that holds up its protesting sign and brazen face, and lies, and stand.  Calmly.  Confidently.  Humbly.  Lovingly.  Willing to suffer.  Shining light.  Bringing truth.  Looking up.  Giving grace.  Showing mercy.  I'm ashamed that I would rather hide from it all.  Oh let me stand in the room with the hard things that don't like the answer the Savior gives and speak the truth in love with humility!  Give me grace to be courageous and bold and humble with happiness!


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