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Posts Tagged ‘Purpose’

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I have something to admit …

please don’t read this wrong,

please don’t read into this,

just be patient,

and I’ll explain it fully …

So, here is my admission …

I do not wish for my kids to get married.

(did I just hear music from the movie Psycho?)

Now, here is the explanation …

I am happily married,

I am glad that I married,

I am committed to my marriage,

but I do not believe that one has to be married to be

happy,

joyful,

fulfilled,

or live a life with purpose.

Purpose comes from the one who gave us breath,

gave us life.

And anything that comes after Him

is simply EXTRA icing on the cake of life.

I hope for the ‘princesses’ (and prince) in our home to hold on to the encouragement of the letter below :

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Now, all that said, I do dream that if they marry, one day, it might be to someone who is already dreaming of them.

(music from Psycho yet again)

This guest post is a video (below), and it is directed towards females, though, I hope the same of my son, and for my son. I hope that if my three marry, they would marry someone who has been loving them, anticipating their entry into his or her life from before they met. To love from the position of knowing that God is the Lord of perfect timings, and IF marriage is something in their future lives, that the primary qualifier is a mutual trust in God.

And, if marriage is not in their future, that their future can still be perfect, because every moment, of every day, is still in the hands of God.

 

 

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Why-We-Do-What-We-Do

Why do we do what we do?

for others to notice?

for God to be glorified?

for our own self interests?

When Jesus came, and walked on this rotating globe, he came with a purpose”

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17

The Law … you know the Torah, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). This Law, containing 613 commandments, was the Israelite’s guide for how to live and remain in favor with God. And The Prophets … so many of them in the Old Testament. “The English word prophet comes from a Greek word meaning advocate” (Wikipedia). These Biblical prophets were given messages to share, and tasks to do, on behalf of (advocating for) the One true God.

His purpose was to not simply obey the Law, but to be our living example of the perfection that obeying the Law was aimed at working towards (an impossible task for we mere mortals).

So, according to Jesus, what is our purpose?

Just before He states His purpose, He declares of his disciples (of whom we who follow Christ are):

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

We are to be a light on a hill …

so our purpose is to …

reflect?

And what are we reflecting?

Our Father in heaven.

Really, those verses in Matthew can be summed up later in Matthew (7:12):

“so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Ah, the Golden Rule … those are words to live by.

Why do we do what we do?

To reflect …

our Father in heaven,

and in doing so we live out the Law, the Prophets, and the love of Jesus Christ.

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graphic-1-150x215I have said in the past that I so respect the job of at home mom (The Most Important Job In The World).

The guest post I am offering today comes from a writer who I have just started to follow. Her ‘about’ page says of herself:

Australian. In America. Sister. Friend. Daughter. Wife. Mother. Writer. Teacher. Pastor. Artist. Traveler. Coffee-lover. GF DF SF Foodie. Inept but happy homemaker.”

Today, in her post Oikouros: Keeper Of The Home, the author touched my heart, and brought back the memories of being that tired mom of preschoolers..

If you are reading today, and you are feeling that fatigue, that sense of being under appreciated in today’s society, please accept this as my verbal encouragement and support.

“It’s not that I’m ungrateful. It’s not that I want anything to change. It’s just that this is a different life than I expected.

It’s noon and so far I have sorted two loads of clean laundry, tidied rooms, done dishes, changed a pee diaper, changed a poop diaper, vacuumed, made breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, put in more laundry, tended to a crying pox-covered child, disciplined the non-poxed one, hovered over the poxed one to get her to pick up her toys, processed medical paperwork, worked on our August budget, angrily picked up my husband’s socks and assorted other abandoned clothes of his, turned a blind eye to the bathrooms that have needed cleaning for far too long, worked out a meal plan for the week using only what we have on hand because this month’s budget is $500 short, researched MRSA because the doctor’s office called with positive culture results from the pox (“We are running additional tests”), and felt frustrated at every turn.  Mad, even.  Except I’m too tired to maintain being mad.

Today I feel like a tattered remnant of myself.  This is the weirdest job I’ve ever had. And it’s not a job. It’s what I am: mother of small children.

Mothers of small children are a people group unto themselves.  This season of motherhood shapes a female human in very specific ways.  And regardless of occupational circumstances, whether she be full-time at-home or full-time work-and-home, mothers of small children are stretched thin.

Oh so thin.

A few years ago my friend, who at the time was pregnant with their first-born, said she was worried that she’d feel stuck at home after baby was born.  My response, as a mother of one toddler, had been so confident: “The answer is easy. If you feel that way, let’s get in the car and go somewhere fun!”

Nothing wrong with positive thinking. Right?  But today I’m feeling so deeply what my friend had feared.  It’s as she described: stuck. Stuck at home. Stuck in my heart. Stuck in a rut. Stuck in the hamster wheel of day after day sameness.  Like I’m living in my own version of the movie “Groundhog Day.” I’m desperate to find a way out of this loop.  Today the thinly stretched me is asking:  Am I living in the fullness of God’s creation of me?

Today I felt led to Titus 2.  And by “led” I mean… it came to mind and it made me angry.  And I see His familiar presence in the stirring of my heart.  The Holy Spirit is taking me to a passage to mentor me.  He whispered, “keeper of the home” to my heart to get my attention.  And, as He knew I would, my reaction was to rise up and revolt.  Those words, “keeper of the home,” feel like a cage.  Like a punishment.  Like I’ve been benched from real life.  And put in a place of bland resignation.  Yes, Holy Spirit, you have my attention.

Ok friends, please… hear me.  Of course I know the call of our Faith is to sacrifice.  Yes, there is a beautiful blessing in laying down our gifts, skills, education, passions, and dreams before the cross of Jesus.  There is a much-needed dying to self in our walk with Yahweh.  Yes. And amen.

But I have a hiccup in my heart.  And, thank God, it’s not my job to sanctify myself.  It’s the work of the Holy Spirit to transform me.  And today He’s exposing a fear and a feeling of rebellion in my heart:  I feel pressed into a cookie-cutter that demands I become a laundry-loving, seasonal-décor-using, smiling-always, sweet as sugar, house-cleaning aficionado.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I have a friend who fits that description.  She’s great.  But what brings her joy, brings me depression.  Sure, I hear you.  It could be that she simply has a better attitude and heart than I do.  And that I just need to fix my attitude.  Yes, I agree.  But I can’t do that on my own.  Or rather, I refuse to do that on my own.  Because a few weeks ago I taught about the temptation to be the source of our own solutions (Luke 4:1-4.)  And I do not want to make my own bread.  And so, I’m glad the Holy Spirit is drawing me to Titus today.  As we work through this together, He will change me and I will be changed.

Older women likewise are to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord, not malicious gossips nor drunkards (enslaved to much wine) but models of goodness. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble. By looking at them, the younger women will know to be sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined), to love their husbands, to love their children, to be virtuous (sensible, self-controlled), pure, keepers of the home, good-natured (kindhearted), being subject (adapting and subordinating themselves) to their own husbands, so that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed, discredited, dishonored). Likewise urge the young men to… (Titus 2:3-6a NAS, AMP, NLT, ESV, MSG)

There is a LOT of amazing stuff in this passage.  So many good and wise words.  We could sit in this passage for weeks… or possibly our whole lives.  This is a good path: walking out these things with the power of the Holy Spirit.

But today I’m solely captivated by the words that are irritating my heart: “Keepers of the home.”  These words seem so different from the others in the list.  A seemingly highly practical item in a list of quests of ministry and heart.  Or is it?

Oikouros is the Greek word translated to the phrase “keeper of the home.”  The definition given by the NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon are:
1. caring for the house, working at home

2. the (watch or) keeper of the house
3. keeping at home and taking care of household affairs
4. a domestic

Yes, as I expected.  “At home.”  “A domestic.” “Household affairs.” But there is something else in that list.  “The (watch or) keeper of the house.”  The watch?  What?

The root words that form Oikouros are “Oikos” and “Ouros.”  And in these root words my heart has felt the whisper reminder of God’s vision for my season as a mother of little ones.

Ouros: A guard, Be “ware”
– Guard: to protect, to shield, to watch over, to maintain control over, to determine and supervise entry and exit to.

– Be “ware”: to watch, be wary, be aware, be wise.

Oikos: a house, home, a palace, the house of God, the tabernacle, a dwelling place, a human body, one’s settled abode, a household, all the persons forming one family, the family of God, the Christian Church.

As I read these words today, I felt my vision adjust.  Like a chiropractor for my heart.  And things clicked back to a good and right place.  Stepping back from my tree, and now able to see the forest again.

My call as keeper of our home as very little to do with laundry and housework and all the required mundane details.  Yet, I have allowed them to become a tyrant in my life.  I have let them consume my energy.  I have let them become a god.  Because there is always so much of that stuff to do!  But “keeping my home” is NOT keeping my home clean, or keeping my home tidy, or keeping my home orderly, or keeping my kids orderly, or keeping my family clean and “appropriate.”  Or whatever oppressive ideal I inflict on myself.  Or the enemy tricks me with.

My call as keeper of our home is about being a watcher.  A guard.  A defender of these people of this household.  A defender of the entryway to our family.  A shield.  A wise overseer.  For all of these things I would be utterly dependent on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  I would have to empty myself and be full of His Truth.  Sacrifice my fears and weaknesses and self-sufficiency. And throw myself on Him for direction, strength, and wisdom.

Regardless of a mother of small children’s unique circumstances, God has invited her to be the spiritual, emotional, and relational Keeper of the home.  This role isn’t affected by her passions or abilities for housework.  Or her occupation.  Or culinary skills.  Or time for Pinterest.  This role isn’t defined by culture, or generation, or clever marketing.  This role is given to us from Yahweh.  It’s an invitation from Him to be part of something so much bigger than ourselves.  To become more like Him, our King and Guard.

Keeper of the home is an invitation to rise above the concerns of our days and to step into a role that transcends all the culturally defined gender-roles of a woman.  Getting to be a Keeper of the home is a position of high honor and deep service.  It’s a place of prayer, of wisdom, of life with Him.

How could we ever have made it about clean carpets, meal planning, and having our households in order?  Oh God.  What a ditch we have fallen in.  Restore to me Your beautiful design for womanhood.  Lift my eyes up from the temporal and keep me fixed on the eternal.

Today I am a Keeper of the home for my man and our two small children.  But I am sensing a much wider concept that stretches into my lifelong womanhood.  The word Oikos also means the family of God, the Christian Church.  I feel the Holy Spirit rekindling my heart for my role as a woman in His Kingdom: a Keeper of His household.  A watcher, a guard, a shield, a defender, a minister to, a servant of His household: the Church.  For His family: the Body of Christ.  To stand for her.  To cover her.  To shield her.

As a mother of young children, I’ve been struggling to find my place to serve and invest in our church.  I’ve felt frustrated about my lack of time, and lack of energy.  I’ve felt torn between my passions for ministry and my passions for my family.  Today I feel like my heart has been stitched back together.  Of course I have some more praying and meditating on the Word to do, but I can see a beautiful hope growing in my heart.  Just as a mother’s role as Keeper is unaltered by her unique circumstances, a woman’s role as Keeper in God’s family is unaltered by her unique circumstances… like time and energy constraints when you’re a mother of small children. ;-)

Keeper of the home is a role that happens amidst life.  It’s a role that unfolds in each moment of life.  It is like the others in that list in Titus 2.  A quest of ministry and heart.”

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images-1I HATE waiting!

Convinced that at some point in my life I must have prayed for patience, and God is now cursing blessing me with regular experiences that will test my patience, I now avoid praying for patience, like the plague!

Within our family there are members who are natural tools in God’s hands to do this in my life. ‘Someone’ regularly makes me wait to leave for school/work in the mornings. ‘Someone’ else makes me wait to return borrowed money. ‘Someone’ else makes me wait to return text messages. And ‘someone’ else makes me wait … for everything!

UGH!

Just recently I thought I would explode if I had to wait much longer for something deeply desired, something I felt I deserved, and yet all indicators were that my only guarantee was that I would need to continue waiting, and that there was a good chance that what I was waiting for might not ever be mine in this life.

Anger and bitterness started to really pervade my thoughts.

“But, I deserve this”

“But, I have followed the rules”

“But, but, but …”

As I was having my pity party I kept hearing in my heart, “what is your purpose in life, Carole? To please Me, or to be pleased by others?”

UGH!

How do I respond with “well to be pleased, of course” to one who sacrificed His Son … for me?

And so I was brought back to my purpose, to not just please, but to live for Christ. To love Him, and to love His creatures … even the ones who make me wait!

So, while I wait, through the seasons that might never end in this life,

“I will serve You
I will worship
I will not fade
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait
… though it’s not easy …”

“Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”
Psalm 27:14

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As we continue with all of the last minute preparations for the ‘big day’ obligation, guilt and fatigue can begin to take over our existence and moment by moment lives. Our duties, our jobs can come to feel as weights upon our lives.

The guest post today is by Ann Volskamp, who was also my guest post two week ago. It is short, and sweet and will put breath back beneath your sails as you look for purpose in your tasks.

After reading The Best Way to do Christmas Cleaning I think you might just have a new understanding of what it is to do holy work.

Oh, and you might want to purchase Ann Voskamp’s book, for someone you love (or for yourself), “One Thousand Gifts

one-thousand-gifts

 

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A conversation a long while back still haunts me.

My daughter had the look of one who wanted to spill information that she knew, so we did some errands where we would be driving (nothing like the wheels of a vehicle moving to get a teenager to talk) a significant amount.

It took no time for the story to enfold.

She told me about her friend. Her friend, at the time, was a girl of just fourteen. She had a boyfriend. According to what my daughter said (because she is a question ‘asker’ and she had asked her friend what the two of them talk about together), her friend and the boyfriend didn’t spend much time talking, because there was not much for them to talk about to each other. The two had discussed the details (I guess they found a topic that they wanted to talk about), of when and where they would have sex for the first time. And so, when mom was out, and the house empty, they did IT.

The story does not end there. The next day the daughter asked her mother for oral birth control (I am not sure if she fessed up to mom about her recent sexual explorations). Her mother grounded her for two weeks.

So, now we have a young girl, who is dating a guy who she has nothing to talk about with, who is having sex, who is wise enough to know that birth control is a good idea, whose mother chooses to not only say no to, but, rather than sit down and have an exploratory conversation, grounds her. Yikes! It is the perfect storm of situations!

How is it that, in this day and age, a mother could be so uncommunicative with her daughter? How is it that, in this day and age, a girl could think that having sex with someone who she has nothing to talk about with (other than sex) is a good idea? I keep hearing the voice of the Virginia Slims cigarette ads saying “you’ve come a long way baby” and thinking … really? I keep thinking of the book by Laura Schlessinger “10 Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives” and thinking … will it ever end?

There is a line that I frequently quote to my daughters, that comes from the classic Louisa May Alcott book, Little Women, “I will not have my daughters being silly about boys.” Although they are fully human young women, I greatly desire that they grow up knowing that their value is not in temporary pursuits (and especially when it comes to young men), but in who God has created them to be, and the purpose and intent He has for their lives, apart from romantic or sexual relationships. They are, indeed, sexual beings, but oh, they are so much more! I truly believe that they must seek God’s best for them, as individuals, before they begin down the path of life with another person, and their life’s direction.

It is with fear and trepidation that I co-parent these two precious ladies … fear and trepidation that brings me to my knees! And that is a good place to be.

While on my knees I pray for openness of communication, and for wisdom to help them grow to be wise.

“I want my daughters to be beautiful, accomplished, and good.
To be admired, loved, and respected.
To have a happy youth, to be well and wisely married,
and to lead useful, pleasant lives,
with as little care and sorrow to try them as God sees fit to send.”
Little Women

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There is a life mystery that I expect I will never fully understand. It is twofold: First is the amazing love, and dedication, and awe, and commitment that a parent feels when their newborn is placed in their arms. Second is how that beautiful, innocent, miraculous bundle of joy turns into a surly, snarly, stubborn teenager.

As a parent, who has experienced both the beautiful babe and the surly teen, I am baffled at how one morphs into the other. I am also confounded at how I have morphed as well. From the moment that I would have confirmation of being pregnant I was in love, I was willing to die for that child …

  • and then they become a defiant two year old,
  • and then they won’t eat their veggies
  • and then they get into a fist fight on the playground
  • and then they talk back
  • and then they argue over anything (as in anything you say)
  • and then they won’t talk
  • and then you understand why some creatures eat their young …

I also work in a school, and so I get to see teens, daily, with their chosen packs (you know, like wolf packs … so many similarities 😉 ), and it does a number on my ‘parent perspective’ of those surly teens.

Here is what I see:

  • ‘friends’ who embarrass and humiliate them in front of other ‘friends’
  • faces of failure, because they didn’t get the mark they thought or hoped they would on an assignment or test
  • not wanting to ask for help in class, because they truly feel they are the only ones who do not get it
  • exhaustion caused by working late, so that they can have the money to buy the ‘things’ that keep them ‘in’ with the pack
  • exhaustion caused by the reality that a teens body has a different clock from an adults (and from our school schedule), their bodies are programmed to ‘awaken’ in the evening, making sleep hard to come by until late into the night
  • inattention in class, causing reprimands from teachers who have not been alerted, by parents, of the illness of a family member, the pending separation/divorce of parents, deaths, etc., etc., etc.
  • students who look like a scared creatures when they walk down the hallways, because they feel they have no ‘pack’ to belong to
  • students who are self-injuring (cutting, eating disorders, drugs, alcohol, illicit sex), who have so much going on in their minds and bodies, that they hurt themselves to distract from the big hurts in their lives

This is what I see, it is not all I see (I do see good stuff too, and lots of it, but the good stuff doesn’t contribute to surly so much), but this is what I see that makes me look at my surly teens differently. I now know that when they hop in the van at the end of the, our van might be the only place they have felt ‘safe’ all day, and they might be surly to me because I might be the first person in their day who they know will love them, despite their behaviors, or their looks, or their hearts.

Moms and Dads, we need to continue to be the same ‘in love’, willing to die for you parents that we were when we first laid our eyes on our babies. We need to stop responding to our kids surly behaviors, and start seeking the reasons why they are surly. We need to stop being offended by their attitudes, their music choices, their clothing and hair styles and start looking through all of that to the child/adolescent/teen/young adult at the core of who they are. We need to love them through the eyes of a Father God, who looks at us, not as we are (thank goodness), but as who He knows we can become.

Every week, I know of a daughter who willfully breaks the rules of her Father. She lies, she snubs others, she can be really mean to those younger than her, she has hissy fits, she leaves the house without telling anyone where she is going, and she might spend days without saying a single word to her father. Then, one day every week she goes out in public to say how much she loves her Daddy. And you know what, because her father is God, He welcomes me back … every time. Because my Father God knows I am going to be surly (it’s a given, just like our kids), but He sees in my the enormity of what I can become, and He isn’t going to give up on my until I see it too.

Don’t stop seeing the enormity of what our surly teens can become.

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