Tag Archives: Christ

Leaving my Home

We’re selling our home. In our next (major) step on this adventure faith walk, we are embracing the one income challenge and downsizing. Not just downsizing, but renting even. 100% debt free. Woohoo!

That may sound all fab and fancy and all that, but in reality, it’s been a bear… excusing myself from using the other b word that would have more adequately described my disposition…

This process of letting go of my home has been something akin to wrenching and twisting and scraping the skin off my arms and face and body, if I had to describe the emotional by the physical.

Porch roller skates

What has been so hard about it?

I put everything into that home. My heart and soul when I painted my son’s room in earthy browns and greens and blues to reflect his homeland of Ethiopia, and my daughter’s room in vibrant swirls of primary red, blue, and teal to splash her artist’s heart on the wall, and my other daughter’s room in lime and periwinkle with a bold strip of black cutting them through the center to show both her soft and daring sides. I put my time and energy into that home, preparing it for the teen years with the goal of our house being the hang-out place, by investing in a pool table, an air hockey table, and an entertainment area in the basement all leading out to a swimming pool out back. I put my love of labor and quality into that home by hand-staining the deck and fashioning hand-made curtains and planting an indescribable number of shrubs and flowering plants of all variations of color and size so that something beautiful was blooming all year round.

2015-04-13 15.00.45 2015-04-16 11.58.212015-04-13 15.00.59 2015-04-16 11.58.29

*De-personalizing my daughter’s room for sale was very difficult

But what did I really put into that home that has made it so hard to leave?

Faith.

I put my faith in that home; faith that if I made a good home, my kids would be ok. Faith that if I made a stable home by hunkering down and staying for the long haul, my kids would be ok. Faith that if the home was good, the kids were good.

The good news is, I made a good home. I made a stable home. It’s just not tied up in the house we live in.

I’m reminded of the time a very good friend of mine told me that Christianity is a crutch. What I’ve discovered is that in reality, my house is a crutch. And Christ has been wrenching and twisting and scraping it out from under my arm for a year and a half now. He has gently but persistently showed me that He is my home, my stability, my rock. Since He goes everywhere I go, that means I’m always home. And since I go everywhere He leads, that means leaving my house behind.

And that means my kids are going to be fine, good even. Because home is where we are, where He is, wherever that is.

And behind all the rubble and tears and the wake of what felt like a disaster in leaving my house, I see the Lord working in His most amazing and mysterious ways. I feel the pinpoint of light of renewal coming upon me – I feel the first beats of my drifter-vagabond’s heart starting to awaken again. He knows who I am. And I can’t wait to see where He takes us and in what house we will settle our home.

Worlds Apart Post 1: I am the Only One to Blame for This

Jars of Clay self-titled debut album, Jars of Clay, is a deeply beautiful music composition that is both theologically sound and intensely personal. Its music speaks to every Christian at every stage of walking with Christ and grows with the listener as s/he matures in relationship with Him. I had known this compilation for nearly 14 years when during one of the darkest times of my life, a 9 month separation in my marriage, the track Worlds Apart recreated itself for me. Its lyrics came to life in a way I had never known before; they washed through me and over me as I listened to the song over and over and over for months on my way to and from work every day. It broke me apart and tore down the ugliness of the life I had created as the truth of God’s word convicted me through its words.

I recently heard this song again after many months and was moved to tears once more with awareness and humility of how great our God is and remembering how He recreated me closer to His image during that time. I was inspired to write a series of posts that are my personal exposition of the individual lyrics of the song and how they transformed my life.

“I am the only one to blame for this”

That’s the first lyric. It stands alone, a statement almost beyond verbalization. I challenge you to think of any problem you are facing right now and with it in mind, declare that statement above. If you are like me, the words just don’t want to come out. It’s too hard to believe. It’s too hard to accept. It’s too hard not to jump to all the things the other person is doing to you. This is the first thing God convicted me of regarding my separation… on my way to work… with tears ballooning over my eyelids… and running down my face… while heading toward a man’s world of developing power transistors for military devices… Good thing they didn’t care what my makeup looked like.

I am the only one to blame for this. I am the only one to blame for my separation. I am the only one to blame for the wreck the marriage ended up in.

But I tried so hard! How could that be?

I read marriage books and counseling books and personal growth books and went to counseling and *lovingly* encouraged my husband to grow past his flaws and…

I am the only one to blame for this. I did not live up to my marriage commitment, until death do us part. I did not live up to my vow, for better or for worse. I was always one foot out the door, waiting for it to fall apart. Always threatening, directly or indirectly, that “unless you…” that I was leaving.

What marriage can stand the perpetual threat of impending failure?

I was the only one to blame for everything I contributed to the decay of the marriage. I was the only one to blame for not living up to the vow I made to our God. I was the only one to blame for not taking the time to understand the institution of marriage as designed by its Creator and follow His plan for its success.

If you’ve never felt like you’ve literally been broken in half and crumbled to pieces, this could be the one that does it. Accepting this truth. And through this breaking, the freedom of shedding a life lived for yourself to a life lived for God and His Word instead, is beyond words. It is a freedom that enables you to let go of the bind that knots you up to someone else’s shortcomings and allows God to recreate you for what He intended you to be. Only then can the other person, opposite you in your problem, be free to accept their own blame and allow God into their hearts to recreate them from the inside out.

I am the only one to blame for this. Try to accept it for just a moment. Allow it to transform your life.

http://www.vagalume.com.br/jars-of-clay/worlds-apart.html

A Son Comes Home

Walking in faith with my children has been one of the most challenging areas for me to walk freely in.  Calling myself a mother hen or mother goose just doesn’t feel aggressive enough about how protective I am over my children.  So I actually looked it up and found out the vulture is an impeccable mother, rising above all else.  So, there it is.  I am a mother vulture.

Parenting my two oldest children, my biological daughters, has been largely, well, a cake walk.  Although it was still a challenge to release them into God’s hands, it was not preceded by strife and dissension.  The story of my son Tadi (pronounced Teddy) however is an entirely different one.  A little of his background to set the stage:  he is adopted from Ethiopia and came home when he was 3 years old after having been *released* at 2 ½ years old (ie, abandoned) from his remaining biological family (which of course implies he went through the deaths of some of his biological family) and sent to an orphanage to be picked up by a white woman telling him “I’m your mom”.  Lovely.  Nothing like a little trauma to start life off on the right foot.  As a result, Tadi’s problems and behaviors have summarily been classified as “oppositional defiant” which basically means he doesn’t acknowledge authority figures and lives in perpetual state of defiance toward those who attempt to put boundaries around him.  He is a street kid, already having developed significant survival skills by the time we brought him home.  His behaviors have went well beyond childhood lying to orchestrated manipulation, beyond serving common selfish elementary desires to outright stealing, beyond childish “I hate you” retorts to literally running away from home.  Did I mention he is only 8 now?

I don’t tell you these things to rail on Tadi for his behaviors.  This is a story of the glory of God.  After 5 years of battling with Tadi trying to correct him, maneuver him, get him on the right track, get him to care about family, school, homework, work ethic, morals, etc., it became very apparent that the foundation of the problem is the scars from the blows he already received in his young life and I had no ability to heal them, or manipulate them.  Behavior management with rewards and punishments has had nominal impact on his daily function.  Even walking in love and compassion with him was divisive as he had a very distorted understanding of what love is.  It was becoming more and more clear that God was the only one who was going to carry Tadi through this trial and restore him to wholeness.  How was that going to happen?  I had to get out of the way.

Get out of the way.  Mother vulture, get out of the way.  Mother vulture, who watches everyday as her son’s trajectory points criminal, get out of the way.  Mother vulture, stop trying to correct him, steer him, drive him, maneuver him, heal him, protect him.  Mother vulture, put him in God’s hands, get out of the way.

Now, I had prayed for Tadi faithfully for 5 years.  But I would get off my knees, turn around, and begin again trying to drive him into being “good”.  I was protecting him afterall; it was my job to make him good and righteous and, well, hopefully just not a thief if nothing else.  But all I was really doing was standing between him and God.  The day finally came when God convicted me.  It was only through shear defeat and exhaustion and no other way to “fix” him.  I was dangerously close to disrupting the adoption.  But I got on my knees one last time and released him to God.  Verbally, out loud.  It was like extracting a pick ax from my throat.  I was trusting the protection of my son to God; I was giving up control.  Mother vulture, I release my son.  Then I changed everything.  I stopped fighting with him about homework.  I stopped fighting with him about lying and stealing and cheating and poor work ethic and avoiding the family.  I made one requirement of him, that he read his bible every day for his nightly school reading.  And he did it.  Faithfully, every day.  And I went on a prayer war path for him (see Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian).  And the glory of God swooped in like a dove and stole Tadi’s heart.  This past Sunday, Nov 3 2013, Tadi responded to the altar call at our church and made a public commitment to give his life to Christ.  And then he cried.  He cried that big fat snotty gushing cry.  His chest heaved like he was expelling a death sentence from it.  And then he soared.  He soared free and happy like I’ve never seen him before.  He smiled and beamed and radiated love and happiness the whole afternoon.  Praise be to God.

I know we still have a bumpy road ahead and that all things are not perfect.  But now we have God in the house, in the heart.  His transforming power has begun and once a work in His name is begun, it will be finished.