When You Take a Stand

Everyone tells you to be a "yes" mom. Say yes more and no less. Let them make messes and try new things, let your children have some fun and don't be such a worrier.

It all sounds great until they're teenagers, and then the things they ask you take on more weight and require more discernment and your hair just. turns. grey. and your brain might explode from all the decision making.

Maybe that's just me. 

I've never been big on making decisions and that part of motherhood has always been exhausting.

When they are little the questions seem easier, lighter, and less this-could-affect-you-for-the-rest-of-your-life like. But when voices change and baby faces become chiseled and acne-prone, it seems that all the easy questions are gone.

They truly are too big to swaddle in safety and comfort, and there is a pushing and pulling that always happens before a birth.

It is like giving birth again. But this time your labor is to bring an adult into the world, and obviously that hurts.

Raising kids tests your resolve.

And your endurance.

And everything you're sure about.

This post isn't just about young adults, though. Life in general will test you.

walking on the beach

The world pushes on your barriers and it feels like everything is squeezing your resolve, and just when you determine to hold your ground on something, anything, opposition comes.

It comes because you've put your foot down, and it threatens to be shifting sand beneath you.

When you take a stand the world will offer you a seat. 

It will come up with all kinds of alternatives to your hard line, all kinds of reasons why the line should be broader or gentler or easier.

Determine to be unswayed by emotions and feelings when they are mutinous, anarchist, or just too pleading to allow you to think clearly.

Whether it's the doughnuts on the counter the day after you determine to quit sugar, or the great opportunity that comes when you've committed to pruning your schedule, or the bed that grows suction cups and holds you hostage through 10 snooze alarms; taking a stand comes with opposition.

Take courage.

Choose your battles.

 

Linking up with The WellspringImperfect Prose, and  #TellHisStory

 

Inspiration for My Feeble Heart {Chasing Dreams and Doubts}

He had a dream 2 years ago, a real in-the-night dream and not something he thought up during church. Sometimes you wake in the morning after having lived a whole life in your dreams, and you are just dog-tired. The night passed too quickly and the dream too slowly, and your morning feels like the first day of forever. Like everything in your reality might be a let down after waking.

And was the dream from the Lord?

Was it real and inspired or just the consequences of too much imagination? Too much wishing, and  maybe too much pizza?

He acted on it with faith and obedience, took steps and moved forward, all the while listening for Reality to wake him up if he was wrong.

Because who wants to pour themselves into a dream of your own crazy-making?

feather in the sand

 "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;

Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

Your old men shall dream dreams,

Your young men shall see visions." ~ Joel 2:28 NKJV

We read of Bible-dreams that seemed obvious and neon and we doubt our own. We doubt what we might have heard on our feather pillows, and the further we get from slumber the more we question ourselves, or God, or whoever.

We want to run to our Eli for answers.

There are dreams that we star in and centerstage is all about us, and we can be pretty sure our own minds inspired those.

There are dreams full of just plain weirdness and nothing makes sense and how'd you even get into Walmart without your pants on in the first place? And you wake up hating Walmart.

But there are other dreams that don't leave you.

glowing farm

hay bales in the morning

He says he's giving it 5 years. To me and my quick-fix, short-term, instant-gratification-loving self, five years is a long time. An endless night living out this dream that still has him doubting now and then.

But he hasn't heard God say no and he hasn't found any reason not to pursue this dream, so he just goes on.  The obstacles make him question and the mistakes are frustrating, but he just goes.

Maybe we get off course and maybe we make up things, but God sees our holy intentions. He sees hearts that are loyal and He says He will strengthen those.

A feeble heart might just need a dream to chase.

I have this friend. She's 67 years old and a widow, and she just had surgery on her broken back. She'll come home from the hospital today to rest and recover, and when she is healed up she'll head back to Africa. She'll probably buy a one-way ticket, probably find a new home for her cat and her furniture, and probably live out a dream that many would shrink back from.

And I wonder what dreams I've given up too easily and too early in the morning? 

 

Linking up with Grace Laced Mondays, MercyInkThe Wellspring, and  #TellHisStory

 

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How I Feel About Hypocrisy

dark sky, light sky On Tuesday I loved spring but then on Wednesday it actually came, and we almost broke up.

My morning run was pushed back in hopes of a break in the rain or even a tiny turning-down of the faucet.  By 8:45 I realized it was not happening, that this rain was the Oregon kind and I just needed to put on my flippers and new "water repellent" jacket and go.

I plugged my nose and jumped off the front porch, just for dramatic effect.

On Wednesday all the things I'd said Tuesday came back with teeth, as if to bite:

Do you really love this time of year?

You talk a lot of flowery nonsense but how do you feel about all this now?

And how's that fancy new jacket working for you?

This is my normal modus operandi, to always question myself and accuse and check for hypocrisy, the ugliest of all character traits.

On Tuesday I waxed poetic about all I love about spring and how even the rain is a blessing. Tuesday it was beautiful and sunny and everything was right with the world and Wednesday, it was Oregon.

Big Time.

And I am realizing that not everything that looks and sounds like hypocrisy really is.

Sometimes, don't we just say the things we want to be true, the things that we know are good and right but hard to work into real life?

Is it hypocrisy to say whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger?

Because in the middle of those things that feel like they're killing me, what do I say?

In the middle of the torrential rain (which didn't kill me, by the way) am I thankful for spring?

And who really cares about rain but in the middle of the argument when I quote scripture and encourage love and talk all motherly and authoritative...am I being a hypocrite?

Are all those platitudes bearing plastic fruit in my life?

When I lecture and pontificate about godly communication and then run to my bedroom for solitude, am I taking the chicken's way out?

I think fruit comes through digging and toil and sun and rain, and the constant checking of myself can be just that. Cultivating.

It can also be condemnation, and to that I say enough. Enough introspection, enough preoccupation with self, enough heavy-burdened law keeping.

I conclude that saying what I know is true and then doing what I know is wrong is not always hypocrisy. 

And that's kind of scary to say but those are the only words I have for it right now.

Sometimes I just do what I know I shouldn't. I still know what is right to do, and I still can tell you and mostly my children what the right thing to do is, but I just don't always do the right thing.

That's not very profound.

It's called struggle. Paul had it. I have it. You probably have it, too.

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. 

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. {Rom 7:24 -8:1 NKJV} 

So yes, I still love spring. My fancy new jacket is not-so-water-repellent but rather more sponge-like and that's ok, because it's blue and it was on sale and I like it. And I like the irony of a jacket labeled "water-repellent" when it really isn't, right after I said that I'm good with rain when I'm really not.

And yes, I will probably tell my kids to do things or not do things that I myself have not yet mastered, and I might spout some great advice here that is hard for me to take sometimes. That makes me human, not hypocritical. 

It also lends itself to grace, and that's something I try to excel at.

 

Linking up with Imperfect Prose and #TellHisStory