Thursday, July 13, 2017

Broken Jars

We are all broken...but if we as Christians, show no difference, no light and hope in the midst of our brokenness...where do people see and desire after Jesus?  We as Christians seem so shocked and confused when bad things happen, but we still find Jesus there.  Because the Jesus that I know at least, is found in the midst of our humanity and brokenness.

Life isn't "easier" as Christians, we aren't exempt from the pains of loss and sorrow, from disappointments and failures.  I think Paul's life shows that being a Christian doesn't keep you 'safe'... in fact, it does the exact opposite...being a Christian for Paul was completely and utterly unsafe.   In fact, I can't think of a person in the Bible who led a "safe" life.  Christians are hurting and looking to the church in confusion because so often the "Christian machine"wants to focus on the joy of the Lord, and praises and His goodness, and heaven.  These are all truths, but we can't just put on blinders and make God fit into a box that He will NOT fit in.   I think what this creates is a community of Christians who just...can't.   They cling to the songs about goodness and joy and don't know how to even process their grief and pain.  We are crippling our own Christians instead of equipping them in power to continue on in our brokenness because in Him WE CAN.  That doesn't mean ignore your hurts or sufferings, we don't cover them up by halfheartedly singing church songs to try to force ourselves to be ok.   I think that the pain is part of God's story.  We endure, we press on, for the hope set before us.   Jesus suffered, he wept, he cried out in desperation.   We have to capture this moment on the cross to truly understand what suffering and sacrifice means.   In the midst of all His pain and agony was love for others.   This should be an important reminder to us... this isn't a call for those with the gift of evangelism... this is THE act of Jesus for us to receive...and to share. 
I have been hurting.  I have been hurt by those I love, I have been disappointed by people I thought were supposed to be different.  Yet none of that changes what Jesus has done for me, and none of that changes that in the midst of pain and betrayal...we can still act in love.  I want to allow Jesus to hold me in my hurts and heal my broken heart, but remember that in His comfort is power.   The power to be used AS a broken vessel not yet a perfected one.                There's a relief in that, at least for me.   I have too many flaws and fleshly reactions that I am still working on to wait to be "good" to be of any use.  
So I for one will not tell you "I'm good because God's good", instead you might hear, "Life currently sucks, but God is good".   If you are struggling with something I probably won't spew the first verse I can think of and tell you to just believe it.  I'll try to listen, truly listen, and love you through it, connect with you, and if the Spirit leads me to encourage you with a verse I certainly will.   Many verses have encouraged me through the years, but where I have most felt the love of Jesus is through connection not conviction.    

“We now have this light shining in our hearts,
but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars
containing this great treasure.
This makes it clear that our great power

is from God, not from ourselves.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:7

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ezekiel turns 4

So here we go, Ezekiel is turning 4.  I'm thankful to be leaving three's... can I just say... those potty training days are not my favorite.   That being said...hooray for four!  Three has been endearing and adventurous.  Ezekiel's vocabulary has grown tremendously this year, and it's only made him more entertaining.  

I love the twinkle in his eye when he is thinking about doing something adventurous....or when he is about to be a rascal.   Those are practically his two favorite things in life.   

He loves pretending...he will play by himself for hours building tracks and having trains go in circles or driving his Paw Patrol cars around on the floor.  His imagination is what I have always encouraged in children throughout the years and I love seeing his bloom and grow.   

He loves going outside by himself or with his sister.  I watch him from the window as he marches around with confidence as he defeats evil villains with his super powers.  He believes he is invincible, which leads him to decisions that cause my anxiety to skyrocket, while at the same time my heart to swell with pride.
Fighting is one of his favorite pastimes, he punches every guy he loves.   

He is still my cuddly child, I know that it won't last forever, and try to make it a point to sit and cuddle with him every day.  He is growing faster than I can handle, I can barely pick him up anymore..and for the sake of my back probably shouldn't.   

He is the joy giver in our family.  No matter what is going on, he will find a way to make us smile.  There is a song in his heart, singing comes from him and most the time I'm not even sure he notices it.  One of his favorites to sing with abandon while doing other things is "Mr. Sun".

He is a child of many expressions, and they're all my favorite.  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Genevieve turns 6

Tyler and I have been really struggling with this one.  Let's be honest, we struggle every year...but  Six?   6?!    (I won't say it again because then it turns this beautiful girl growing up into something else entirely...)

Every year we are amazed at how quickly a year goes and how much a child can change in that time. What is so different about six?  Well six is the end of the "small child" stage...the end of our preschooler.... now she is a KID.  Not sure if that makes sense..but it makes sense to us, and we are having to say goodbye.

This year she started gymnastics, and kindergarten.   She wants to be a robotics engineer when she grows up and she has all her money saved away for a purple convertible.   She has saved every penny she has received from birthdays and Christmas, and has only spent money from her piggy bank once and that was this year.   She counted out 8 dollars from her bank and bought her cousin Joelle a book for Christmas because she knew how much she loved to read.

Watching her grow in empathy this year has been amazing. She has always had a tender heart and sensitive spirit, and seeing that manifest into a heart for others full of care and concern has been beautiful.   As her parents we have seen her sensitive heart as something to be careful with, to nurture yet protect, and seeing the positives start to flourish after the care we have invested has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences we have had as her parents.

She is full of confidence, and my hope and prayer is that her confidence is also something we will continue to nurture and see flourish.  She loves learning, and she is proud of the knowledge she has.  She is proud to be FANCY, yet isn't afraid to get dirty.  She loves animals fiercely, and has thanked us almost every day for allowing her to get a guinea pig from Nana for her birthday.  She loves stories, and has been sad at the end of every chapter book that it had to end.   She is terrible at telling jokes but she thinks she is hilarious.

 We love her a lot, and are so thankful to be her parents.  Happy 6th birthday Genevieve!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Zeke turns 3

Ezekiel Gambit is turning 3, and it's been a tremendously fun year with this boy.  He changed, and grew in so many ways this year...but the most significant change this year... the HAIR. 
Early in this year we took away his binky... by 'we' I really mean Tyler...because I was afraid it would disrupt my perfect sleeper.   It did, my boy who would grab his blanket and binky and run for nap started fighting sleep the second we took it away.  He still fights it, but he's improving. 

 Zeke's long floppy hair seemed to be getting a little bit poofy, and we decided to cut it short for the hot summer months.  I was quite amazed how much I missed his long floppy hair, he looked so big to me, but I knew his hair would probably grow back quickly.    Also, this summer we went to Colorado and letting my "Wild Thing" toddler loose on the mountains was a really amazing thing.

He is a joy and his laughter is contagious.  I can't think of a day that goes by that he doesn't make us laugh out loud.   He enjoys the simple things in life, actually he enjoys almost everything in life.  

He has a love for all living things.  I love seeing his tender heart.  He just cares, and it's adorable.

He is extremely expressive, he has about a hundred thousand facial expressions and voices.  He likes singing loudly to Elmo or the tune of The Nutcracker.  He likes wearing his Superman cape with a Batman mask and...Vi's tutu.   He actually really loves tutus.   While I know Tyler doesn't love it, we love watching him mimic his big sister, because of course, he loves her probably most of all.

I can't really turn my back on him and expect to find him doing anything but being...adventurous.  We really try to encourage his adventurous side, so I guess we shouldn't expect any less...but sometimes it's hard to keep up with.  Most of the time when I'm not looking, I find him being extremely disgusting...usually something to do with his dirty diaper... but let's not go there, trying to focus on all these wonderful things about my son...not the disgusting.
I looked away and he started driving away in the golf cart at my grandparents farm!

I'm sitting here wrapping up this blog while Zeke is sitting on the edge of the couch pretending to punch himself and falling onto the cushions... a few minutes ago he was dancing quietly in a tutu to Beethoven.  That image sums up Zeke pretty well right now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Vi turns 5

It just kind of crept up this year... I can't believe it's already time for Vi's annual blog.

She came up to me this week and said, "Mom, if I could stay 4 I would...I want to, it's just that I'm going to keep growing."  I asked her why she wanted to stay 4 (besides the fact that I want her to stay my little girl) and she replied, "well, being a grown up is a LOT of work, and I like being a kid".  

Maybe she's realizing this is her last year in preschool.  Maybe I'm realizing it and can't believe it.

She continues to grow and amuse us and of course, become more and more independent.

There were new parenting obstacles;  helping a 4 year old process grief was painful.  It was the first time we saw our daughter experience true heartbreak, and it broke our hearts as well.

Then there were the same old parenting obstacles, this kid can still whine and carry on with dramatics in an almost impressive way.   Except we're not impressed.   I guess I gotta give her credit for her fierce stubbornness right?

I have been so fortunate to be able to take her to work with me and watch her grow with others.  The thing I take the most joy in watching is her capability to be friends with ANYONE.  She has one little friend who she has been friends with since they started as 2 year olds together, who she loves dearly, yet she is frequently playing with children in all the other classes as well...if you're willing to play, you've got a friend in Vi.  

She loves Charlotte.  She calls her onto her bed, outside to play, she tries playing hide and seek with her.   Seeing a kid play with their dog is always endearing.

It's amazing to see how she stays true to who she has always been, but grows in it.  She continues to be sensitive and tender hearted, yet adventurous and daring.  She loves people, but also loves time to herself to read and relax.  She laughs, delights and admires easily and still outwits me when I'm not paying attention.

Another year slipping by so quickly, filled with tears, joy, laughter and adventures.  You don't have to remind us to appreciate it because it goes quickly...we are quite aware.