Monday, July 2, 2012

When Mothering Becomes More than Cute Clothes and Good Food

Matthew 6:25 NKJV "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?"

Six weeks ago, I had my own personal major event at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta. I waddled out of the van with my family to celebrate the commencement exercises of a young lady in our family being graduated from high school. It must have been 35-40 people there to let her know how proud we were of her accomplishments and outstanding grades. My oldest daughter Journee and I had been out all day, running errands prior. We were dressed coordinated in gray, yellow and white. I was happy all day. She and I shopped, ate real good, and enjoyed each other. Although, we were both tired by the graduation, we were still ready for family time. Almost seven and a half months pregnant, with one step into the parking lot, I knew something was wrong. There was no certain urge to use the restroom, yet as it was, I was going. For the next twenty minutes, as we joined the great delegation of graduation attendees, I went... to the restroom. The only thing about it, I was not going to the restroom at all. My water had broken. That night I was admitted to the hospital, and after a week on hospital bed rest, my husband and I became the proud parents of a second daughter named Angelina.

Six weeks later, I have watched a 2lbs. 11oz. fighter grow away from my home, my arms, my care. I had to view her through an isolated box, unable to provide all the things I pride myself on providing Journee daily. Bathing, clothing, feeding, nurturing, and loving the way I believed best a mother can. A few weeks ago, after another battle with infection, I watched her go without food for more than ten days. I must have appeared entranced with the incubator, eyeballing her every movement, not missing one inflection of heart rate or drop in blood oxygen. I didn't realize my head was almost at a 45 degree angle, body was limp and tears were streaming until a nurse stopped to ask me was I okay. At that moment, I heard the voice of God ask me "Is not her life more than meat and her body more than raiment?" This King James version of the verse rang loud in my head. Yet I couldn't stop myself from audibly responding "But that's all I got." I couldn't think of one thing I could give her. I have to pump because she is unable to nurse, but even so, food was not an option at that point. I had to embrace her with my eyes. Hungry and naked. That's when I heard God say, "But it's not all I got!" Then I began to pull myself together. I thought about the next few verses in the passage that speaks of God's care for birds of the air and lilies of the field. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. The birds and lilies have total dependence upon God. I recalled further the verse that says worry will not add one cubit to Angelina's stature. Verses 33 and 34 says "But seeks first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." NKJV

I implore you to learn the great lesson I learned. There are some things only God can do. We fall apart often times when we think only we can do it. And the reason why we can't has nothing to do with our ability. It has everything to to do with our life being more than food and clothes. More than even a mother's love. When I am unable to love my babies the best way I know, I have to trust that God can love them better than me. And because of that, He deserves all the honor in their lives. The sickness, health, failures and successes, may they always glorify Him, not mommy. Jesus came for their life to be abundant, and together, we must praise His name. The blind man was determined blind for such a purpose. "And His disciples asked Him, saying, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.'" John 9:2-3 NKJV

Angelina means little messenger of God. She is now 4lbs. 1 oz. A tiny messenger, yet delivering a big message. God's got it! He has your children, your marriage, your career, your life! He has it. Try God at His word today. Just try Him! I promise you, the power you lack, He has! I'm a better mother because now I know.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Did You Get Lost in Translation (Or Lack Thereof)?

Did You Get Lost in Translation (Or Lack Thereof)?

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Proverbs 18:1

An introvert is a person typically characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings. One may also refer to this person as shy. Although this is true, at any particular moment in life an individual can turn inwardly, regarding only themselves, their feelings and their ambitions. There has never been an official poll, yet I can almost guarantee hands down that anyone who knows me personally would identify me as an extrovert, a person concerned primarily with physical or social environment. I would prefer to not be characterized by either. I pray I am not solely concerned with myself nor external things.

In college, I studied many languages. German was my chief language for meeting university requirements. I was however required as a vocal performance student to study diction and pronunciation additionally in French, Italian, and of course English. One of the key principles I learned early in my training was that other languages had a more distinct way of describing things with multiple words, whereas English may have had only one word. Thus, people are often confused about meaning and intent in the English language. Love may be expressed several ways in Italian depending on the context or purpose. However, when expressed in English, you are left to interpret whether it is love toward God or man. Does it mean erotic love or agape love? The interpretation of introvert as a personality trait rather than a choice brought on by circumstance or decision is often a point of contention in marriages, families, business relations and Christian maturity and fellowship.

Proverbs 18:1 English Standard Version declares “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” English Standard Version. The King James Bible (Cambridge Edition) expresses it this way: “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.”

Therefore, a quiet spirit is not necessarily an introvert, but wise person, whereas an introvert can often be the very opposite. This is an important principle to highlight, for we must be certain of how we identify ourselves and what we allow others to define us by. If we consider ourselves to be introverts, we must count the cost of a life without sound judgment. However, if we consider ourselves to be more reserved and prudent, we take on wisdom and are known by many as considerate and wise.

Often, we are the afore mentioned, trapped by isolating circumstances, lacking genuine fellowship with God and others that can propel our life in the direction Christ designed for us to live. Let’s no longer mistake a quiet spirit for an introverted one!

Ecclesiastes 10:4 states “If your boss is angry at you, don't quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes.” 1 Peter 3:4 “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Yes, a quiet spirit is as a precious adornment and of great price to God. Jesus paid a great price by dieing for our sins so a quiet spirit is ours to embody.

Remember, just because there is not seemingly an adequate word that describes you in the English language does not mean you deserve to be termed incorrectly. You may have to find another language more suitable for your personality. (Just so you know, the words I use to describe myself just sound better when I say them in French anyway!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Look At What the Storm Blew In

Often in times of trouble, we look at all that was demolished by the circumstance rather than what was create as a result of it. We meditate on the rebuilding process and all the time and cost involved. Even if there is nothing left of the former, there is surely a latter to consider that leaves inspiration enough to build again.

The picture above is of a bush in front of a residential property in Beaumont, Texas. Prior to Hurricane Katrina and the other smaller storms that followed, it did not exist. According to local residents, no one planted it and anticipated there would be not one stitch of green in sight growing from it, only a poignant pink flower that arrives surely now in every early spring.

After ministering and providing nourishment to the multitudes, we find Jesus in Matthew 14 departing to a mountain by Himself to pray. He made His disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. The scripture reads, “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.” Matthew 14:23-25

During the storm, Peter experiences an extraordinary faith encounter with Christ; walking on the water, fearing the storm, and being saved by Jesus. The miraculous happened after Jesus got into the boat, the storm ceased and they came to the land of Gennesaret. The scripture reads, “And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.” Matthew 14:35-36

If you survive a storm, and get to witness many alive be made “perfectly well”, the storm has actually created more than it demolished. It increased troubled faith, and then confirmed the impossible is true. Jesus is a Saviour and Healer! Even though these people may have only experienced the storm on dry land, they were recipients of the great aftermath.

Hurricane Katrina left much visual broken aftermath, but we did not consider cross pollination when we thought of what it created, planted and grew. We are all recipients of a great cross pollination, by all those who were recreated, replanted and grown anew as a result of this mighty storm.
Every storm we experience in life is like Hurricane Katrina. What we see in the aftermath is nothing compared to what is growing in crevices of our lives we don’t quite see or notice yet. When you see a beautiful bush, don’t assume someone planted it there. It might be a cross pollination of a great storm that left a remarkable memorial. When you look at yourself and others, don’t assume you designed what you see. You are a great cross pollination, specifically and intricately made by God. You cannot be duplicated, because a storm cannot be duplicated; for you were created by God and fashioned by the storm.