Talking about Christ

I was in high school the last time I blatantly tried to reach out to a hurting loved one with Scripture.  In the middle of my new-found zeal for Christ, I would leave decorated Post-It notes, or cards with relevant verses for my loved one to find.  I figured, “Hey, this is what would comfort me.  So I’ll do it for you.”
What I received back was nothing short of confusing anger, coupled with the demand to just knock it off already.
Bewilderment was the word, indeed.
A little more than ten years later, and it’s only recently that I’ve come to see why my loved one may have been so very upset with me.
She thought I was preaching at her.  To her, this was me saying that she was miserable because she was possibly doing something wrong, and that the Bible may be able to fix her.  While there may have been other accusations or assumptions made about my intentions, this is the conclusion that seems most plausible to the situation.
In my previous post, I wrote about not knowing how it is I should be approaching loved ones struggling without Christ in their lives.  How am I suppose to tell them, “Good news, guys!  He’s right here!  And He just wants to love you, and be loved in return!!!”
Just…  How?!

Thankfully, God is pretty good with His timing, and getting us in the right place.  Wednesday morning found me sitting down at my computer, perusing my blogroll; these thoughts still strongly pressed in my head.
Eventually, I happened upon Jennifer’s post, Gracious Evangelism.  In it, Jennifer writes about her struggle with witnessing to people, and even hooked her readers up with a video, featuring Jonalyn and Dale Fincher–a hip, married couple who thrive off of Christ and spreading His Love for everyone to hear.
The Finchers shared their stories of meeting people where they are in life, loving them for the human beings they are, and the importance of stepping into their shoes.
Some of my favorites things they shared…
Allow others to remain unconvinced.
I want them to choose Jesus.We want them to bring everyhing they’ve got: Their minds, their emotions, their wills, their bodies.  I don’t want anybody to be convinced by some flimsy argument that I have, and I don’t wan them to just pray a prayer because I’m asking them to.  I want them to choose Jesus because that’s what they really want.
We don’t need to inform people.  We need to do better loving them.
Perhaps my favorite part involved Jonalyn sharing about her time abroad, two girlfriends she made there, and where those two friendships are today.
Regardless of how comfortable you are with sharing your faith with others, I would definitely recommend watching their video.  The message goes far beyond witnessing.  Breaking it up into pieces suited my schedule just fine, and it was interesting enough that I kept finding pockets of time to return to it throughout the day.

Family separated by Faith…

Today I acknowledged the existence of something I was never even looking for.
I saw God reflected through the unabashed love of my children.  His pure, perfect love, emulating via their hugs and smiles.  His enthusiasm for life evident in their tiny, clapping hands.
Then, alongside this beautiful truth came the ugly realization.  If God can thrive inside of us, then, if we let him, Satan can too.
Sadder yet, is that I can also see the loathsome devil working inside people I love.
An abusive childhood–decades gone–haunting, hurting, and embittering the strong woman who left it behind.
An unfaithful husband being served divorce papers in front of the co-workers who he informed that the divorce happened last year.
A young man teeming with amazing talent, potential, lack of self-esteem, and cynicism.
And there’s me.  The one who can see all of this, but does not know what she will do about it.
How do I tell them that God loves them?  How do I blurt out the hopeful phrase, that ironically, seems to cause more tension than comfort?  More doubt than reassurance?  More anger than calm.
How do I help them to get the devil off their back (and mine)?
Showing your faithfully-distanced loved ones God sure can be tricky.  At the moment I can see no other way to handle it, other than to keep holding Christ’s hand while attempting to walk the straight-and-narrow.  To keep the prayers coming.  To keep the potential for dialogue going.

Being the mother they need and deserve

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
Kids are messy, try your patience, and some of them even excel in the art of the meltdown.  Sometimes it’s accidental.  Other times, not so much…  I know that if I don’t ask God for help with how I compose myself throughout the day (and ask Him several times…), then I am rarely the mother I want to be for them.

Even at two years old, it’s amazing to see how differently my boy responds to me when the day has had its tough moments, but I choose to respond with kindness and understanding in place of anger or annoyance.  Usually, at the end of those days, I get the biggest hug he has in him.

His appreciation is clear, and it’s one of those precious things that help remind me of the kind of mother I’m meant to be.

What helps to remind you to be the person God means for you to be?

Can you feel the love tonight?

Edward’s latest project has been building his Megablok car into a thing of grandeur.  Kyra’s latest project has been thinking of creative ways to smack the thing down.
I was able to Instagram this particular transaction, and have since named it Thrust of Heel.
See how she casually points out what she has done?  Bless her little soul, sometimes this little girl just wants to see her big brother cry.
Honestly, we’re working on sharing, and when to keep our hands to ourselves.  But that takes time.
Suffer the little children in the interim, right?

Bringing Home Movies Back

Tonight I finally unloaded all of the videos off my Flip.  It was heartwarming, to say least.  Movies of my son, barely a year old and scrambling after the cats.  Toward the end I noticed only two recent videos, both featuring our two kids playing with their daddy in a sea of toys.

It’s a bit disappointing that the past eight or so months have been devoid of any new home movies.  Realizing that my daughter’s crucial first year has gone by with barely any video footage is a sad thing.  I’m resolved from now on to keep the camera at hand, lest we one day simply be left with, “Remember when they were little…”

Especially with Hubs set to deploy some time in the upcoming months, I’d like nothing more than to send him off with a hard drive or DVD full of our recent memories as a family.

Our first deployment was by no means fun, but it was at least bearable for our son, who was a little over a year old at the time.  Between Skype and keeping Daddy in the conversation while he was gone, E never really skipped a beat.

Ah, but now E is two-and-a-half, and Daddy is his world.  At nine months old, our daughter is also extremely aware of the comfort she finds with her dad.

In no way am I looking forward to putting those children to bed that first night with Hubs away.

Yes, the camera will stay on.  Not only for him, but for us back at home.

While it will be nice for us to see our previous romps and interactions on the TV, and we’ll be mostly dependent on Skype to keep in touch, I feel like there is more to be done for our children.  I’m paranoid that as the months go by, they’ll figure out that Daddy in the TV is not someone to be interacted with.

Now, really.  What am I suppose to do for these children who seemingly believe that the sun shines out of their dad’s posterior?

Keeping with the theme of video, the USO program United Through Reading seems like a good place to start. The program invites deployed parents to have themselves recorded while reading a book to their child.  The USO will then have the video mailed to the child, who can then share story time with their deployed loved one.

While United Through Reading is isn’t available at every deployment site, it is available at quite a few.  It’s worth giving your base or post library a call to see if they partake in the program, or if they provide similar services before your spouse deploys.  My husband tends to err on the shy side, so we’ll be recording our interactive reading experience here at home.

What a fortunate thing it is to live in an era where technology can assist families in feeling close to one another when they’re oceans apart.  It’s the thought of that upcoming distance that will help keep my memory-keeping habits in check.