Saturday, April 29, 2006

My Little Evangelist

A few nights ago J was outside playing with next-door neighbor buddy, L while I made dinner inside. All of the sudden J is standing in the kitchen with an incredulous look on his face. "Mom!" he said, "L doesn't believe that God is real! But I believe he is; I'm a believer!"

I explained that many people don't believe in God, and that God says we should always be ready to give a reason for the hope that we have, but with gentleness and respect. "Don't be too hard on her, honey," I encouraged, "just explain to her what you believe."

"I'm going to go get my Bible!" he announced as he stormed off in evangelistic zeal (did he hear that last part, I wondered). He came downstairs and marched outside. I could hear him outside with passion/bossiness directing her to look at Bible stories with him. "This is real stuff in here, L," I heard him say.

A few minutes later he reappeared, frustrated. "She just keeps finding cute pictures of animals," he complained.

I thought the matter was finished then, until he returned with yet another Bible, this one without cute little animal cartoons. He resumed his crusade, finally frustrated by her lack of interest.

It was one of those moments you say to yourself, "so this is why I do everything I do." Thank you, Jesus!

Mommy's Glue Gun Obsession?

The other night on one of our frequent walks back from the candy store a tragedy happened... E was riding his little trike up the long hill to our house when his treasured Ring Pop fell to the ground at the exact moment that big brother J rode by on his bike. The result: one glorious piece of fruit-flavored candy dashed to pieces on the sidewalk.

As E began the dreaded cry of death, he suddenly looked up at me and asked,
"Mom...can you glue gun it?"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Two Beautiful Things

Two beautiful things happened today in the midst of a difficult day...

First, Ethan prayed (in a 3-year-old way) to receive Christ. We were cuddling together just before his naptime after reading a book about God's presence all around us and in our hearts. He wanted to know if God was there with us and I said that he was and that God could be with him always if he asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and became a child of God. We had just been reading John 1 the other day and talking about becoming children of God through believing in Christ. That day he said he wasn't ready to be a child of God. In fact, he hasn't seemed to have much interest in spiritual things. I've been trying to remember that he's only 3--he's got some time. But today he said he wanted to be a child of God. I asked him if he had ever sinned, to which he said yes, he had. I told him that people who don't ask Jesus to forgive them would not go to Heaven but to Hell instead. He is clearly beginning to understand and desire Heaven, and he wanted to go there. So we prayed together, him repeating after me a basic prayer asking for repentance and to be made a child of God. It was a sweet moment.

I definitely don't hang everything upon a prayer like this, especially since he pretty much recanted two seconds after saying "amen", saying that he really didn't want to be a child of God. But...God is working in his little heart. Lord, may he be a strong man of God for you someday!

The second beautiful thing was a gift Jay brought home for me from the Awana carnival. Each kid had the opportunity to pick out up to 20 toys and trinkets...the kind of stuff that kids love passionately but that drives parents completely insane when it breaks the first time a sibling even looks at it. So, of course he brought home an armload of great boy stuff--binoculars, a sword pen, a coin trick, a parachute guy, toy handcuffs, army helmet, etc. But then he pulled out something he said was for me...a delightfully cheap goldtone ring with a pretty blue "stone" in it. My heart melted. Even though I know it will turn my finger black in 2.7 femtoseconds. I love it. What a precious gift. What a precious son. I hope I never forget.

My Battle

Did I just say I was doing well? What was that--3 days ago? Well, never mind. I am thankful that God gave me that "anniversary" to reflect on how far I've come in a year, but now it seems I've been thrown back down into the pit.

I saw a friend today at the grocery store who kindly and with great compassion listened to my condition report and pledged to pray for me. As I walked away I felt a sense of relief in having shared my struggle with someone who knows the battlefront well. But I was then suddenly overcome by a sense of despair as the thought rose up in me, "pray for what? I've tried that already. I've tried everything. What prayer is there for a day like this?"

As I explained to my friend, I am doing everything I can to avoid days like this one (and the past two): I eat well, run three times a week, take Omega-3's, injest a nasty whey protein shake every morning (actually, it's not that bad...except for the chunks), get enough sleep, and take a small dose of Zoloft. And, by God's grace, it has helped. As related in my last post, I have been granted relief from my depression and anxiety over this past year. But I am extremely sensitive to any changes going on in my body or hormones, and something tells me there may be a little ball of cells growing in my tummy that is throwing everything out of whack again. This is a wonderful, hoped for thing. But the change is causing a tumult within.

It is such a dark place, depression. There is no joy. No peace. My eyes look downward and my heart inward. I can barely look B in the eyes--it takes too much energy to relate to him. Every simplistic question from a demanding child grates on my nerves. I spew forth a steady stream of angry "don't!"s and "no!"s. No one can please me. I can't pray. God is far off and my heart is shut down.

At least it's not as bad as it has been in times pre-meds. At least I still want to be around people.

What I found myself asking the Lord this morning was, "what do I do when one of these days comes? How do I survive?" I need to figure this out.

I have learned that time with friends helps. And doing things I enjoy, like working on my blog, watching a fun show, sitting out in the sun. Time away is helpful as well, which, praise God! I will be doing this weekend at the homeschool convention. But some of these are not realistic options in the midst of a 12 hour day with the kids. I am desperate to figure out any other battle tactics that I can to survive until things are back in balance again.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Celebrating Easter Again

It's Easter Sunday again... my favorite day of the year. Being reminded of Jesus' victory over death and the subsequent victory he won for us is awesome. I was in awe of my God this morning. Before the kids got up I turned to Luke 24 and read to the end of the book. What struck me was how the disciples had been with Christ all that time, that he had even told them he would die and rise again, and still they were confused by his missing body. And when they saw him, they didn't even recognize him! Not until their eyes were opened did they finally see who he was, as he broke bread with them (v. 31). It's not that I blame them for doubting. I certainly have had my fair share of questions and doubts. It's that they didn't even recognize him when he stood right before them. Their eyes had to be opened for them to understand and see him for who he really is, not who they thought he was.

Lord, there are so many in my life who need their eyes opened. Please will you let them see you for who you truly are...let them see and believe! Especially right now I pray this for GT and LT, for GJ and PJ...Hosanna! Save now!

Theology aside, I am just really grateful today. It was Easter Sunday last year that I felt like I was on the bottom of 10 feet of water. What should have been the most joyful worship service of the year turned out to be the last straw and caused me to finally seek medical help for my depression. It was so hard for me to take medicine for it; I battled feelings of failure and inadequacy as a Christian. But praise God for Zoloft! He has used it to bring me back and to help me to be myself again! This morning I danced in my living room and praised my Savior with all my heart. Thank you, loving God, for lifting me out of despair and restoring my joy!