Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Nana, For a Girl..."

I have plenty of gardening chores waiting my attention on Morning Glory Farm. This morning I tackled cutting down the seed pods I'd left all winter in my perennial border. The Dynamo was helping me clean up the clippings plus some branches that blew down from our ancient Box Elder tree. When he found a particularly large branch he rolled the hand truck over and placed the branch on it and rolled it to his wagon where we were stacking our debris. He asked his trademark question, "Can I get a little help here?"

I leaned over and took one end of the 3-foot-long branch. He took the other end. As we carried it, he looked at me in admiration and said, "Nana, for a girl, you're pretty strong." I started laughing at the obvious distinction this preschooler has already made between boys and girls. 

How does a boy come to the realization that females are the fairer sex? I don't remember ever telling him boys are physiologically stronger than girls. At his age, muscle development is about equal between the genders. 

I am not a weak person...just yesterday I helped Mr. Amazing move the A-frame for my swing to a new place around which I plan a garden. It is made of 2"x4"x8' landscaping timbers. It was no light task to lift and move it. I can carry anything I need to as long as it's a good day for my back...even that precocious 5-year-old!

As a mother of two girls who was raised by a very strong always-in-charge male parent, I was careful to not ever let the girls feel that there were any limits on things they want to do as long as they are willing to put forth the effort. I don't want them to loose their femininity, but I also want them to be confident in the gifts God has given them. Because of this I am careful to avoid saying that certain things are girls' or boys' jobs. 'Cept for taking out the trash. The guys get this job-not because I can't but because I would rather not do it.

One thing I have noticed is the tendency of the Dynamo to play games where he is the hero...the best at climbing, or riding his bike, or digging in the garden, or carrying big sticks. Thinking back, it is easy to remember how my son was the same way as the Dynamo when he was a little boy. One of my favorite pictures of the now-Marine is as a 2-year-old helping his dad carry a very heavy box containing our tent to a campsite. The little guy was tough! And strong! See him standing guard over the campsite...>>>

My conclusion to the question of how the Dynamo knows there is a difference between boys and girls other than the obvious is this: the Creator placed within each male the desire to be a protector. There can be no protector without someone who needs protecting. Regardless of what popular secular thought would have us believe, men are built differently than women with greater muscle mass. The difference is not random. It is God's plan that healthy men rely on their physical strength to care for their families.

Today's politically correct attitude that there are no differences has just about destroyed the drive of young men to step into their God-given roles as provider, protector, and spiritual head of their families. My adult daughters can attest to the fact that the selection of men who can be respected as men of integrity is slim. What a shame! 

For more on the topic of society's role in the degradation of male integrity, see this article I wrote for our local newspaper a few years ago: Raising Men of Honor.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage.

No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That's how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become "one flesh." This is a huge mystery, and I don't pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33 MSG)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Living Free...To Worship

I am free to run
I am free to dance
I am free to live for You
I am free

The Newsboys -- I Am Free

A few weeks ago I attended a Sunday morning service in a little country church where the sweet spirit of worship permeated the whole building. The joy of that one hour carried me through the next week, helping me be mindful to worship daily. There is great freedom in joining together to praise God without restraint.

I knew when we decided to go that was how worshiping with this particular congregation would be. While I am sure they are no different from the typical Bible-teaching church in most aspects, they hold close the words of Jesus:
"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Luke 9:26 NIV)
For this group of Christ-bearers, to sit reserved and silent in church is an affront to the One who gave all for their freedom from sin and to be able to gather in His name. So Sunday morning worship is a celebration full of singing, praising, and testifying to the greatness of our God.  

Continue reading at Take Root and Write: Choosing Life Everyday!...>>

Monday, March 8, 2010

Choosing to Rest in the Father Everyday

"Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10a NKJV)."

A child develops a chronic illness...

A spouse decides to pursue another relationship and leaves us alone...

How are we deal with the problems that come into life? Do we rage and stomp at the unfairness of it all? Do we weep and retreat into ourselves to hide?
"God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling (Psalm 46:1-3 NKJV)."

Psalm 46 is a song for us to sing during times of trouble. We can be so caught in the trouble of the day that we see no way of escaping the stress and pain. If we don't quiet ourselves when the trouble comes, if we just focus on the immediate pain, we can't hear or feel the comfort God has for us.
"There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted (Psalm 46:4-6 NKJV).
We do not have to suffer alone. Jesus did that for us when He suffered alone on the cross. That was the only time in all of eternity that He experienced complete separation from His Father. After He rose from the grave and ascended to heaven, He left us a Comforter, the Holy Spirit. He is the still small voice that speaks comfort when our hearts are crushed. He is the still small voice that warns us not to make the wrong choices in response to trouble. He is the groaning too deep for words that cries out to the Father...

Continue reading at Take Root and Write: Choosing Life Everyday!...>>

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

IOW: Grace, Because of Who He Is

I am your hostess today. Please share with us.

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6
Quote from What's So Amazing About Grace?

One who has been touched by grace will no longer look on those who stray as 'those evil people' or 'those poor people who need our help.' Nor must we search for signs of 'loveworthiness.' Grace teaches us that God loves because of who God is, not because of who we are.

~Philip Yancey~
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Do we truly understand what grace is?

Whose death?

Can we wrap our minds around just what it cost for us to claim the name 'Christ-bearer'?

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21

If we completely accept that a holy God loves us enough to give His beloved Son to die for the sins we have committed...will commit... Do we really believe we have the right to judge the worthiness of another?

Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act...
He...said to them, "He who is without sin among you,
let him be the
first to throw a stone at her...
Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord."
And Jesus said,
"I do not condemn you, either Go. From now on sin no more." John 8:4, 7 10-11

Of all the books on my bookshelf, I seem to pick up Philip Yancey's book over and over. I get choked up reading it. There is a chapter called 'Grace-Healed Eyes' that discusses his friendship with a man who after years of knowing each other and being close friends, admitted to being a homosexual. This chapter peels away the layers of controversy over the subject of immorality and reveals the deep pain of rejection that man lives with. At the end of the chapter, Yancey quotes Helmut Thielicke (1908-1986), a German Protestant theologian. In trying to get my mind around the concept of true grace, I am both awed and bewilderingly grateful that the King of Heaven loves me:
When Jesus loved a guilt-laden person and helped him, He saw in him an erring child of God. He saw in him a human being whom His Father loved and grieved over because he was going wrong. He saw him as God originally designed and meant him to be, and therefore He saw through the surface layer of grime and dirt to the real man underneath. Jesus did not identify the person with his sin, but rather saw in this sin something alien, something that did not belong to him, something that chained and mastered him and from with He would free him and bring him back to his real self. Jesus was able to love men because He loved them right through the layer of mud.
This is why...

Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him
endured the cross... Hebrews 12:2

We have been touched by grace...

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything,
faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

Can we also reach out to touch the weary and suffering ones with that very same grace, paying no regard for the differences we encounter?

But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus,
in the same way as they also are.
Acts 15:11
Grace Defined:

a. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.
b. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.

But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more... Romans 5:20

Father of our Lord, Lover of my soul... Help me to see each person with love as the person You intended each one to be. Thank you for the grace that makes my life beautiful in any circumstance. Please make my life a blessing to others and a sweet savor to You. Amen.

For more information on In Other Words, visit Loni at Writing Canvas.