Mom and Boys

Figuring it out one day at a time.


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God Ripped Me Off

Today when I went for my daily walk with Sir Lincoln I listened to the most recent podcast by Andy Stanley from North Point Ministries (awesome pastor and excellent podcast).

The message totally hit me.  It was one of those profound moments when a concept so simple becomes so clear and you see it in a way that you never saw before.

The crux of the message was this: When we are jealous we are ultimately upset because we feel like God ripped us off.  The feeling of “that person is prettier” or “so-and-so has a great car and big house” is often blamed on the person we are jealous of, we rarely get upset at God for not giving us what others have- but really, if we are jealous, we should.  God is the ultimate giver, if someone else has something you want, it is not their fault- God blessed them with that.

It really made me think of who I am jealous of and why.

I am jealous of Denise because she was Isaac’s first love.  I am jealous of Denise because she is the mother of two of his children.  I am jealous of Denise because Isaac will always love her in some way.  I am jealous of Isaac because he has three kids and I only have one.  I am jealous of Isaac because he has been a parent longer than me.  And I am jealous of his kids because they were his first and not Lincoln.

The last one was hardest to admit.  But in reality, nobody in the above paragraph has wronged me- they just have something I want.

And I need to take it up with God because he is the giver.

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Worry

Today I am battling worry.  Me and worry are like good friends that spend a lot of time together but really, secretly, don’t like each other.

I spend many days worrying about everything from “will my alarm clock wake me up tomorrow morning” to “will I have a job next year.”  I keep thinking:

Worry is like a rocking chair, it may occupy your mind for a while but it really doesn’t get you anywhere.

Ok, I think I butchered that saying, but you get the general idea.  Worrying is pointless, it does not help anything and I cannot change the outcome of any event by worrying.  Worry is especially pointless as a Christian.  Doesn’t God call us not to worry and pray about everything?  Is this even possible?  Sure I pray, but that does not make my worry go away.  At times I feel as though I am suffocating in all this fear- because isn’t that what worry really is, fear of the future?  I am drowning in it.  For two years now, since moving to Kansas and getting a teaching job, I have been worried about losing it (the job).  Significant budget cuts are being made and schools are being forced to cut more and more teachers and I am the low man on the totem pole.  I have been so worried, so fearful, and so stressed.  And then, like an answer to prayer I received notice that I was going to be moved to a teaching position that is even better than the one I currently have (I was a traveling teacher and now I will be at one school).  It is like an answer to prayer.  For a while I wondered why I was so worried to begin with.  God is in control right?  Of course he is, everything went my way didn’t it?  It is really is to believe that God is in control when everything is going your way.  It is really easy to trust that God has a plan for your life when that plan is playing out just like YOU planned it.  But just as easily as the relief and joy rushed in, the worry and fear came back.  Kansas has changed their laws and the state is now able to terminate teachers all the way into June (in the past the law stated that you had to tell contracted employees by April 15th if they would not be contracted again).  To make matters worse the law changed because of all the additional budget cuts districts may face that may cause them to have to get rid of more teachers.

So it’s back.  The fear, the worry.  I feel like I am drowning.

It is probably stupid.  I more than likely have nothing to worry about.  Every reasonable thought in me says that I have nothing to worry about.  But worry isn’t always reasonable.  In addition, would losing my job really be the end of the world?  Of course not!  I would be devastated because I love my job, but my life would not be over.  My husband would still love me.  We would still be able to get by financially, it would be a struggle but we could do it.  Life would go on.  I think more than anything it would hurt my pride.  In fact, that is probably the biggest issue out of all of this.  My pride.  What an interesting, selfish revelation.

Anyways while dwelling on my worry this weekend I couldn’t help but ask myself how I would feel if I really truly believed God had a plan for me.  Not the plan that I have set up; to be employed for a few years, save money, pop out a few kids, then work part-time , and on and on and on.  How would my worrying be affected if I truly believed that God had a better plan for me.  What if that plan did not include a teaching job next year?  In theory I believe that God has a plan for me but in reality I obviously do not trust Him.  If I truly trusted God and his plan than I would have absolutely no worry, no fear about what the future holds.  It would be like freedom, it would mean true inner peace.

All this makes me think of Joseph (the Joseph and the technicolored dream coat Joseph).  Once I stop thinking about Donny Osmond singing on stage I can actually focus on the story of Joseph.  His life sucked, but God had a plan.  Joseph started as a favorite son to a wealthy father, but his whole world soon crashed down around him.  His brothers beat him out of jealousy, sold him to slavery, he was falsely accused of raping his masters wife, he was thrown into prison, and then…he became second in command to the most powerful man of that time.

God had a plan.

All throughout the story of Joseph it mentions that he did not worry because God was with him.  When he was sold into slavery, he did not worry.  When he was falsely accused of rape, he did not worry.  When he went to prison, he did not worry.  What would it be like to be so close to God that no matter what your circumstances, you never worry.  How do you get to that place.  How do you trust so much?

I believe, but I do not believe like that.  I wish I did, it would be so comforting to know that God was with me and has a plan for me.  And again, in theory, yes I believe this.  But to truly believe would mean my worry would be gone, and that is by no means where I am at.  That rocking chair is still rocking.

Dear Lord, please help me to trust in you and trust in the plans you have for me.  I know that you

Genesis 37-41

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


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The prodigal son returns…to this blog.

Luke 15

I am feeling a little bit torn on my topic of discussion today.  I feel like it is only appropriate that a blog concerning Christianity and a relationship with Christ should talk about the resurrection on Easter sunday…but that is just not where my mind is taking me today.  And it must not be were my pastor’s mind was taking him either because he decided to teach about the prodigal son this morning.  Go figure.

In fact I was actually a little irritated when I realized the message in church today was going to be about the Prodigal Son.  First of all, I just “studied” this parable earlier this week and second of all, as I described in this blog, I just don’t like this story because I really cannot relate to the prodigal son.  In fact the whole title of the blog was “what about the brother?”  What is the point of the story when you do not relate to the prodigal son but you really can only relate to the older brother.  Well God must read blogs because the first thing my pastor said this morning was that Jesus was not telling this story for the benefit of people who relate to the prodigal son, but instead for people who relate to the older brother.  I was shocked.  I have never once heard this and I have heard this story a thousand times.

There are three characters in this story; the father who represents God, the prodigal son who represents a sinner, and (here is the kicker) the older brother who represents a pharisee or in modern day, a holier-than-thou religious member.  Great…I sympathize with the one character in the story that in real life I cannot stand.  Do you think God is trying to tell me something?  The older brother was actually described as someone who is proud and looks down on others who do not choose to live a lifestyle like their own.  It was harsh realization.  Just a few days ago I was telling the world how I relate to the older brother in this story, and then the following Sunday I find out the older brother represents an arrogant ass.  It was like looking into the mirror I never wanted.  It was actually kind of funny, because the whole time I was listening to this sermon I was thinking that it must just be the way the parable is told because in real life I am not jealous or bitter and I am certainly not proud or think I am better than others.  I kept thinking that the older brother was still completely justified in being angry, and that anyone who was listening couldn’t possibly argue with that.  The older brother seriously got screwed.  It wasn’t until the service was almost over that I figured it out.  I don’t know what exactly my pastor said but it was one of those what-would-jesus-do type of comments.  If the older brother in this parable had an attitude of Christ, how would he feel in this situation?  Would he be angry, bitter, jealous, proud, or would he care ONLY about his brothers well-being and welcome him back as his father had?  I think the answer is obvious… so obvious that it took an entire Sunday morning service for me to figure out.