GOD’S way…not mine (Part 2)

I am finding that God is always at work, caring for each detail of my life.  Putting into place things I could not have fathomed.  I am learning that God knows all and is putting things in place according to His plan, even years in advance. 

Nineteen years ago, I gave birth to my third son.  He is my fourth child in three and one half years and the pregnancy was very difficult.  After his birth I was on IV antibiotics for over three months trying to kill an infection that would grow a different strain with each new medicine.

This son has an exuberant zeal for life; no ledge was too high to jump from, no puddle too deep to miss jumping in.  My husband, Ray, said he had one speed, “FAST!”

I love that God makes all our children different.  All have different personalities, different desires, different dreams and different journeys.  Like me, my son is very passionate about right and wrong.  In high school, he shared Christ publically and privately to his friends calling them to live for Him and depend on Him when they needed an anchor.

He is good looking, a great musician and an incredible athlete.  I always thought he would break his neck as he did back flip after back flip anywhere there was an open space and death defying tricks on our trampoline.  He has a great personality and knows no strangers.  He is loyal to his family and friends and very respectful.

About three months ago, he moved out for a second time.  It is so hard for me to see him being deceived by the enemy of God. I watched it begin as he entered high school; going from a straight ‘A’ student to thinking school was too difficult for him.  He shared with me some of his failures and believes that they are worst than any of the rest of our family. I wonder if he believes that God has a sin scale.   (If that were the case, I would have tipped the scales, myself, long ago.)

I have spent many sleepless nights praying for him, crying for him, and trusting that God’s will be done in his life.  It is hard, extremely difficult, not to go ahead and take matters in my own hands like Sarah did (Genesis 16:3) trying to make things happen so that you get your desired results. 

It’s hard to wait on God.  But I believe his promise in Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” 

So I began a new journey knowing that God is always at work, caring for each detail of my life.  Putting into place things I could not have fathomed.  I am learning that God knows all and is putting things in place according to His plan, even years in advance.  Because…

(God IS bigger than the boogie man; He’s bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV.  God IS bigger than the boogie man and he’s watching out for you and me.) Jr. Asparasgus/Veggie Tales

GOD’S Way…not mine (Part 1)

Raychel moving to TX

I am finding that God is always at work, caring for each detail of my life.  Putting into place things I could not have fathomed.  I am learning that God knows all and is putting things in place according to His plan, even years in advance. 

We were very comfortable in our all African American Baptist church.  Good preaching, great singing and plenty of AMENS during the sermon.  My husband, Ray, was on staff, full time as youth pastor and minister of music, I played the piano.  We were married at this same church two years prior. We loved the people, serving there and our comfortable life.

In short time, Ray began feeling uncomfortable with being comfortable.  He felt the Lord calling us to seminary in Dallas, TX.  I didn’t have the same feeling.  I was pregnant with our third child in three years and we had just bought our new little comfortable home about a year prior.

In about four months, we had moved and were settling into seminary life. 

We found another great church very comfortable setting for us…but at the request of a friend we visited his church and my husband met with his pastor for lunch later that week.  By the end of that lunch, we were praying about a ministry opportunity at this other church and knew God was asking us to make this ministry move.

This would be a very uncomfortable situation because we would be the only African American members of an all white church.  On our first visit, we were sitting behind this cute young couple.  After the first few songs, she turned and looked at us and then said to her husband, “they sing so loud!”  (She didn’t know I was just warming up.)

Ray soon became the associate pastor and minister of music at this church.  The members soon became our family (sisters and brothers from another mother – same Heavenly Father).  We soon began to understand that though the world may say that “white men can’t jump”, they could sing great gospel music and sway at the same time.

God’s call came again and we left that church with one couple to plant a church 500 miles away.  Sixteen years has passed since our first visit at the church that took us way out of our comfort zones.  Now our daughter has moved to begin her master’s studies in Dallas. 

I stand amazed watching God put His plan into action, providing for our daughter a family to live with in Dallas.  She is living with a quiet member of the alto section of that all white gospel choir that learned to clap, sway and sing. 

Twenty years ago God began working out the details of His plan for my daughter’s life now. Though this plan felt uncomfortable to me, at the time, God is revealing to me His word, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

 

 

Mother to Daughter

When my kids were younger, one of our favorite family movies was the Disney remake of “The Parent Trap.” Lindsay Lohan, at age 11, played two separate roles when a British twin and an American twin meet for the first time at summer camp and exchange lives to meet the parent the other has never met. The plan was to reunite the parents so these sisters could become a family again.

Like the movie, Lohan has had family issues and wrote about one of them in her 2005 song called “Father to Daughter.” The subtitle of this song is “Confessions of a broken heart.” In this song, Lohan writes of all the things she has missed since her father has left her family (for a jail sentence); the chorus is a repetitive cry, “Why’d you have to go?”

Children surely misses their parent when he or she is not in the home. But many parents are home and unavailable. Our children are missing us even though we share the same address. My own inaccessibility even though I am present is mainly because I am home but in my own world. We must invite our children to be a part of what is going on in our lives and get involved in what is going on in theirs; otherwise we miss a lot of precious time and influence with them.

I recently sat down with my 14-year-old daughter, ReNay, to interview her. Here is our attempt not to miss each other. Here are her responses to the things I could have missed had we not had this interlude:

1. What things do I do that annoy you?

ReNay thinks I am high maintenance at restaurants. She hates that I pick at my fingernails and thinks I often find fault with her ideas; I also make something simple very complex.

2. What do I do to make you smile or that is funny?

ReNay thinks my dancing is very funny (she made sure to tell me this is not an insult, just hilarious). My being outgoing makes her smile.

3. What are some of my characteristics that you admire?

ReNay loves it when I find out a special thing someone in the family likes and surprises him or her with it. (She said cooking a meal just because it is someone’s favorite is one thing she really admires.)

4. What qualities of mine would you desire to emulate?

ReNay loves that I share God with everyone.

5. When you are a mom, what things that I do now will you absolutely avoid?

ReNay had no answer for this. I even gave her some ideas based on how hard she rolls her eyes, but she still had no answer. (This really surprises me because once, she called me weird in a very irritated way. I jumped up and down and thanked her because “I am an alien and stranger and I should be weird.” … She rolled her eyes.)

6. If you and I could go away, just the two of us, where would go and why?

ReNay chose to go back to Missouri, to reminisce and visit all our old friends. (I told her this was too easy. We could have been, hypothetically, in Europe.)

7. If I were not your mother, would I be your friend?  What friend qualities would attract me to you?

After much thought (too much for my liking), ReNay said we would be friends if we were the same age. She loves my outgoingness and my sharing Christ.

8. What am I missing about you?  What can I do to help you succeed in high school?

ReNay thinks I don’t really know how big her passions are to her. I can help her succeed by letting her try new things (I have a tendency to make her complete what she’s started).

 

“The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

Proverbs 29:15 (ESV)

 

Postscript by ReNay:

I realized that when I grow up, if I say my relationship with my mom wasn’t the best, then it is my fault. I realized that she honestly loves me. Well, that is something I knew, but I know for sure now. I realized the only reason we might argue is because we are so much alike. And actually, I think I would take that as a compliment. I guess it’s kind of sad that I am just realizing this — well, I’ve always known that she loves me, but to know that she loves me in a way that I obviously don’t understand.

Also, please pray for Lindsay Lohan.