Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Funk

Boy, was I in a funk today.

It's not like it was the most stressful day ever. I have had much busier days with much more going on. It was just a funky day.

Maybe it was because I've been thinking about how the Coach is going to start back to classes in a couple of weeks and then he'll disappear into his little study cave and I won't see him again until May. Maybe it's because my brother and his family were supposed to visit this weekend but now they can't because he has to make up snow days at work. Maybe it was because Little Bit fell asleep in the car while I was running errands this morning and was totally off her nap schedule. Maybe it was just because I am a girl.

Whatever the case, I just wasn't doing too great. I kind of just wanted to sit on the couch and check my email and facebook over and over and not have to think about anything. But that's really hard to do with a toddler. I could feel myself withdrawing and becoming frustrated, and I finally just decided I was going to have to do something to snap out of it.

So I turned on the tv.

No, it's not what you're thinking. I actually turned on the tv, put on a Brainy Baby dvd, and sat with my little girl in my lap while she watched it. My plan: to cuddle with my baby while spending some time in prayer. I thought, I'll just sit in this recliner and count my blessings while my little sweetie lies peacefully in my arms and becomes smarter and more creative just by virtue of watching the "Right Brain" video.

It really was well-intentioned. And it worked for about four and a half minutes.

But then she got antsy, and a foul smell started to radiate from her diaper, and she jumped down and grabbed the remote from the table and started mashing buttons, and the moment was broken.

So much for quality time with the Lord. And the funk continued.

So now, an hour and a half later, after a really long battle to actually take a nap at all, Little Bit is asleep and I am alone. And pondering. What am I supposed to do when I feel the Funk coming on? And how do I shake it off?

A couple of days ago I was reading in Mark 8:22-26. This is the story of a healing that Jesus performed. I have always loved how each account of the miracles of Jesus is unique; how He never healed two people the exact same way; how each time He worked in their lives, it was personal and especially tailored to their situation and needs. This time it was a blind man. Jesus took him aside, away from the crowds, to work with him one on one. He spit on the man's eyes and put His hands on him, and then He asked a question: "Do you see anything?"

Alright, let's hold it right there. I mean, the Son of God just spit in the man's eyes. That's, well, gross, but it seems like a rhetorical question to ask "Do you see anything?" That was divine saliva! The obvious answer, to me, is, "Yes, of course, Jesus. You just spit on him. Of course he can see now."

But that's not what the man replied. Instead, he said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."

What? It sounds like Jesus messed up. The man can see, but he can't see clearly. Everything is distorted and confused. But Jesus did not really react to this statement as if He was surprised. He didn't even say anything. Instead, He simply laid His hands on the man's eyes, and at once "his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly."

I'm not even going to pretend to understand why Jesus did this. I don't know why He healed the man in two stages instead of one. But the important thing for me to know right now is not why He did, but that He did.

It's not what I would have expected. It's not even what I would have wanted.

But then again, God rarely meets my expectations. He always exceeds them.

I have this verse at the top of my blog: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."

I really had the expectation and the desire to snap out of my mood by spending time in prayer. But even after I entered into that time, however short-lived it was with my crazy toddler squirming everywhere, my vision was still clouded, just like the blind man's was even after Jesus touched him. It wasn't until just now, as I meditate on the Word in front of me, that my sight is being restored and I am starting to see clearly.

It's not about snapping myself out of my Funk. It's about focusing on Jesus and letting Him work His miracle in me, in whatever way He chooses. It is about faith even when Jesus does not act the way I expect or desire at the moment. The blind man didn't freak out when he saw trees walking around, and I shouldn't freak out if praying or reading the Bible doesn't work like a magic wand. The blind man seemed to have a peace about the fact that he was standing next to Jesus and that Jesus had the power to complete what He started. I want that too.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The “More-Than-Rules” Book

It was seriously only going to take two minutes.

The fish was out of the oven and cooling on the plate when I prematurely said, “Do you want to eat?” Claire went into panic mode.

“EAT! EAT!” she signed frantically, adding a desperate cry when I did not immediately put food in front of her.

“Patience, love! Wait patiently for just a minute. I don’t want you to burn your mouth. I promise, the fish will be cool enough to eat in just a minute.”

Her signing grew almost violent and her cries turned into a siren blast. Don’t worry, she did get fed. You would think we starve the child instead of feeding her EVERY hour. I don’t know where all that food goes on her twenty pounds. But goodness, I had to wait until it was cool. My command – “Wait!” – was a law of love, out of concern for her well-being, within the context of knowing that she was not going to starve in the meantime!

The chaos had calmed down when Spencer raised a very good question.

“How are we going to teach her that rules are not just rules? I don’t want to tell her a rule – Don’t complain. Obey mom and dad. Be patient. – and when she asks why, just say, ‘Because the Bible says so.’ How do we teach her that it’s not just about behavior, but about the heart?”

Great question. So we started talking about it, and the “More-Than-Rules” book was born. Or, at least the seed of the idea of the book. And really, that’ s a bit misleading. It’s not a book. We simply decided that as Claire grows in understanding, we need to be prepared to shepherd her in the Word of God, not just the “words” themselves. We want her to see God’s heart behind His commandments. So we are going to try to be preemptive in this and think of how we might explain why God has given us certain commandments to obey. More than just abstract or random rules…but loving, gracious rules that reflect a loving, gracious, holy, and powerful God.

I thought I might do this in blog form. And here is a disclaimer, mostly to myself because I get big ideas and usually fall short on the follow-through. I don’t know how many blogs I will post on this subject, how often they will come, how consistent they will be. Not every future post will be on this subject. But I look forward to meditating on different commandments and thinking ahead to how I will present these to Claire. And I have a feeling that, on this journey, I will be more convicted than anyone.

Our goal as parents is to teach Claire to love the Word of God, and to love the God of the Word. Our goal in the “More-Than-Rules” book is to show her God’s heart of love through His commandments, and ultimately to teach her the beautiful gospel over and over again.

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law…I delight in your laws because I love them.” Psalm 119:18, 47

Oh Lord, may it be so!