Saturday, August 9, 2008

Repair and Rebuild

Ezra and Nehemiah set things right. Ezra, upon learning that Israelite men were marrying foreign women, responded with haste before many children became involved. Israel repented and again remembered that the God of Abraham is like no other. Nehemiah responded with deep emotion and haste to the condition of Judah, the wall that was demolished and burned. He was broken by its condition and immediately sought aid to bring it into full repair.

What walls are in disrepair in my household? What have I married myself to in my life that has encouraged me to create false idols? Do I heed to the conviction of the Holy Spirit despite the consequences? Nehemiah faced death for rebuilding the wall. He and his builders were attacked regularly and carried a weapon in one hand and a trowel in the other as they worked. What am I doing to protect my relationship with God? What weapons am I armed with?

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Ephesians 6:11-18

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Calm before the Storm and Benjamin

Well, let's just start out by saying that my last post was definitely not a reflection of what followed in the week! It was clearly the calm before the storm in many, many ways. Following the sweet, slow, quiet moments were storms of really hard physical and emotional work! The heat has taken its toll on me in so many ways this summer, and it is taking far more than a day to recover from one day of work. This is causing my children and husband and home to suffer because, like I said, I am still working on bringing that last priority into its place. So, although my children, husband and home deserve the energy, it doesn't seem logical to me to call someone on their day off to fill my shift because "I don't feel good." I'm praying about this. I don't know what else to do. I DO know that I will not be hasty to pick up extra shifts when I do get time off. It will be something I begin to protect.

Today Benjamin taught me about how we deal with God when we're in need. This morning, after bath time - yes, baths in the morning. When I work so late at night, they get straight into bed! - Benjamin began whining, and I got him a glass of milk, but not just regular milk, chocolate milk, because I wanted him to really enjoy it today. Benjamin -clearly thirsty- lifted this milk to his mouth and drank it, every last drop. When he finished, he threw the cup to the floor and out of his mouth came a loud, "Ehhhhhhhhhh". Music to a mother's ears. He is still learning to talk, so I've been working with him. "More milk please?" I say to him. "EHHHHHHHH!" He says louder and acts annoyed that I'm not running to his request for "ehh". At this point, I see that my son has had all that he needs. He is still unsatisfied and needs to rest. I put my whiny boy in his crib, and he still whines, a bit, but within mere minutes he lulls off into sleep, satisfied and sweet.

When Ben threw his cup to the floor and whined after finishing his milk, I thought "How often do I forget God's provision when I am in need again?" "How often do I whine when trouble comes my way without looking back to His sweet kindness to me?" I also think about times when He graciously gives us things that we don't really want, like naps, but that we clearly are in need of. Lord help us to remember you in times of plenty and in times of few. Help us to lift you up in praise when we are tired and weary, and when we are strong and energized. Give us a great memory of your lovingkindness. And teach us not to throw our cups to the floor and whine when things get rough!