Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Spirit?

This  Sunday evening, our church, Harvester Christian in St. Charles, MO, was hosting a concert all about worship this Holiday Season. As the messages have focused on Christmas, - preparing for the arrival, giving gifts, and today, WORSHIP, the church offered a Christmas worship and praise session with the hope of just glorifying God and offering praise this Holiday Season to get us in the TRUE Christmas Spirit.

I informed the boyz we were going. They weren't exactly thrilled, but they weren't exactly resistant either.

On our way there, as they were commenting about being at church for the second time that weekend and the 4th time in 8 days, I said, the reason we are going is because we tend to get so caught up at Christmas with getting gifts and giving gifts and shopping and everything else that we forget about why we have Christmas at all.

We passed a house just up the street that has my all time favorite yard decoration. It is cut out of Santa with his hat off kneeling in front of a baby in a manger. I said, THAT is why we are going to church tonight. THAT is the Christmas spirit we need to have.

I explained that how humbling Easter is - when we remember how Christ was brutally killed to pay the penalty for our sins - yet Christmas is a time when we should be so much more humble. That God came to Earth as Jesus as a baby. That he was GOD and was capable of doing ANYTHING HE WANTED and ANYTHING HE COULD, but he came as a baby to understand us and to help us understand Him. THat he messed his diaper and cried and was a toddler but was going to some day save the world! I said how I wished the Bible talked more about how Jesus was as a child. That one day he was the same age as them and had the same issues they have with friends and stuff but was GOD and in the middle of that could have done ANYTHING, but he loved us so SOOOO much he became one of us anyway. That he let himself fall down and skin his knees and stub his toes and do all the things babies and then kids do. WOW. Isn't that amazing? Let's go to church tonight and worship Him because of this amazing gift.

Grant said, "I know one thing. If you died and Jesus was our parent, he would probably let us open one of those presents under the tree early or allow us to go to Dairy Queen (next door to church) after we worshipped Him tonight."

Feeling rather defeated from trying to get a point across, but also admiring his wit and determination, I asked which he would choose if Jesus was his parent. He said, "Well, since I don't really want to waste your money on ice cream we could get at home and since this is a privlege to do early. I think He would allow me and Gavin to open one of the presents to both of us. I would choose that. Wouldn't you, Gavin?" Gavin agreed.

They praised Jesus in their own beautiful ways at church. Gavin - through the awkward, puberty-inflicted "Im-not-sure-who-I-want-you-to-see-who-I-am" phase - tight lipped, occassional head on my shoulder, barely audible singing. Grant - through the - "mom-needs-to-hear-me-and-believe-I-am-sincere-because-I-really-want-to-open-that-gift", yet, "I-am-still-a-kid-and-I-am-not-ashamed-to-sing-as-loud-as-I-can" worship voice explaining to me all the songs they had recently sung in kids church and all the kids in the audience tonight that he recognized. I loved every minute of it. I know Jesus is pleased by worship and that He knows the motives of a heart and who is worshipping Him with a pure heart. I know Gavin and Grant's motives were pure beneath it all.

As we left, Grant inquired- "How did I do? I sang every song. And you know what? That was actually kind of fun. I enjoyed it."

They are now home playing NHL12 (won't buy NHL13 due to strike season) for the XBox - a new addition to their collection after opening it from under the tree tonight.

Judge me. I don't care. It was a great night.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Loving me

 Dear Brian,

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Today, I was at our old house. The house that is now rented out to a wonderfully gracious family from Japan that has absolutely no clue whatsoever about taking care of a yard. I pulled weeds. And then I pulled some more weeds. After that, I pulled some more weeds. Then I began to hack at some weeds. Then I tugged at some deeply rooted thorny weeds. Later, I told my father in law to whack those puppies with the trimmer and douse em with chemicals!

While I was in the midst of weed pulling bliss, my old neighbor came out. Connie and I began to share in some pleasantries and then get to the meat of what is going on in my life. The injustice of divorcing a man that is incapable of compromise, yet totally capable of manipulation and outright lies. The horrific process of moving my children for the third time in a year due to my own inability to see him for who he really was. The bitterness my children are feeling towards me and towards Bill for having to move from their friends and their neighborhood since he refused despite the fact that we had lived there for their whole lives and Bill had lived for less than a year. The sadness Connie feels as a neighbor who simply misses me and my boys' smiling faces. The regret she feels for us as all anyone wanted for us who had been through such hell in the last several years was to have us HAPPY. And how we were... for a while.

Then she shared a story with me -

A few years ago at a school function of the children - you were sitting in the front row on the bleachers where you were capable of sitting when you could no longer maneuver stairs. I was on the floor taking pictures or videoing or something along those lines. She said, she looked at you and you were smiling and just gazing at me as I unknowingly went about my business. She saw what you were looking at and said, "She's quite a gal there, isn't she?"

You didn't stop your gaze and said, "Yup, she sure is."

Connie tapped your leg and said, "She's gonna be just fine, Brian. She's a strong woman."

You looked at her and said, "Yes, she is. I know she is."

And I remembered. YOU LOVED ME. You loved me for ME. I didn't have to be someone I am not. I didn't walk on eggshells. You didn't try to control me. You loved me for all I am. You accepted me as I am.

So as I want to thank you for loving me for the way you loved me. I want to thank you for showing me what true love is. I want to thank you for accepting me as I am. I want to thank you for making me a better person because of your love for me. Thank you.

I needed today, more than ever to know that I am lovable. To know that unconditional love exists.

Because if what I experienced over the last year is all I knew of love. And all my children and I are experiencing now at the hands of someone who claimed to love us was all I knew of marriage.

I would give up.

Thank you, Connie, for the reminder that there is real love. That there is truthful love. That i am worthy of it.

Thank you, Brian, for personifying it.

And I am gonna be just fine. We all will be.