Tuesday, September 20, 2005

And Babies Don't Keep....

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

This seems to be a recurring theme as of late as I talk to friends and read blogs. The idea being that we are in some certain season of our life and that we should take joy and cherish that season. Spunky at Spunkyhomeschool Blog posted on the subject of season in her childrens life today. It was a fantastic reminder to go through the season which we are in with joy and gusto, embracing the new season to come while cherishing every moment of the one we are currently in.

And that is where I have trouble.

My baby girl is growing up. She didn't get my permission.

I know that I am going to sound like the stereotypical sappy mom when I say it seems like just yesterday we brought her home from the hospital and she was so tinny and so sleepy and just wanted to cuddle all day. And then one day I woke up and she was eating solid foods, getting teeth, walking, starting to talk....you get the idea. I don't want her to be big yet. It's not that I don't want her to grow up ever, I just didn't want it to happen so fast. The really depressing thing about this though is how much of this first year I spent not truly cherishing these moments. Overall I think I did a good job of enjoying those early days and stopping to laugh with her and to just enjoying her emerging personality. But now that this first season is almost over I realize all the times I could have slowed down more; all the times a TV show didn't need to be watched, a book didn't need to be read, a blog post didn't need to be written.

This is the way it is with most seasons of our life though I think. When we're single, we can't wait to get married and then those last days of singleness are upon us and we realize all the stuff we didn't do but could've. Then we are married but have no children, and we can't wait for the kids to be here, but those last fews months we soak up every moment of one on one time we can get. The same goes with high school and then college, college and then a job...you get the idea. We are always in one season of our life that is only going to last for what will seem like a blink of an eye and the next season will always be there before. And we must live in the tension of that. Enjoying the season we are in, loving it, soaking it up, not wishing it away but at the same time when it passes accept that passing and embrace the next season with joy and thanksgiving.

So, my baby girl is napping and the baby days are almost over. The napping ones probably are too for that matter. So I am going to go and cherish my hour of time to get things done with no one else up and about- not wishing for her to wake up to play, not dreading that she'll wake up before I get the laundry folded- but just knowing that to everything there is season. My mother in law gave me a beautiful cross stitch for the nursery when I was pregnant that had been given to her when she was pregnant with my husband. I'll end with it's words of wisdom:

Cleaning and dusting can wait till tomorrow
For babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Adorned With Divine Approval

A great quote on why I do what I do. Found it on Amy's Humble Musings Many Thanks. Go check out her site, great stuff.

"Our natural reason looks at marriage and turns up its nose and says, “Alas! Must I rock the baby? Wash its diapers? Make its bed? Smell its stench? Stay at nights with it? Take care of it when it cries? Heal its rashes and sores? And on top of that care for my spouse, provide labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that? Do this and do that? And endure this and endure that? Why should I make such a prisoner of myself?”

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful and despised duties in the spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels.

It says, “O God, I confess I am not worthy to rock that little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of a child and its mother. How is it that I without any merit have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? Oh, how gladly will I do so. Though the duty should be even more insignificant and despised, neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor will distress me for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight." ~Martin Luther from "Concerning Married Life" (1522)

Oh God, keep this always in the forefront of my mind and heart. Thank you for using me in your plans and giving me gifts of which I am so unworthy. My God, How Great Thou Art.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Oh...so it wasn't the music

Once upon a time I went to a little Lutheran Church (ELCA)in a small farm town. It was a safe, sleepy little town and the church was much the same. There were many families who went whose great-grandparents were some of the first families in the area and had helped to build the church. There was much tradition and great loyalty. I really liked going to church there for the most part. It was within walking distance from my house, which was good considering my parents didn't go to church. The choir director was my piano teachers, about 80% of the teachers from my school went there, I was good friends with the pastor and his family-it short it felt homey. What I didn't like was the music. Organ and piano with hymns sung out of the Luthran Book of Worship. Songs that I came to fondly refer to as BLH's-boring lutheran hymns. They all felt so dead and lifeless and most of the time it felt like we were singing funeral durges instead of praises to our God. Then the non-denominational church and the praise band came into my life. Wow, it was like night and day between the two music styles. It finally felt like the music was really praising God, like the congregation was alive and wanted to worship joyfully. For many years I went to non-denominational churches and was generally a part of the worship team (or whatever it was called in that particular church). I really loved the modern worship music. I thought that the style of the music was what made it feel alive and like the congregation was truly worshiping. I really believed that back in my old lutheran church the hymns were the problem and if they just had better music it would be fixed.One sunday we visited a new church. Although this church wasn't as heavily liturgical as the lutheran one, it was still much more traditional than any I had been to recently. And, they sang hymns. Going in I thought that it would be great to visit this one Sunday and then the next week I would be back to singing "Shout to the Lord" in the band. Boy was I wrong. It was all different than before-the hymns were joyful praises to God sung by a congregation who truly loved Him. It was all the same songs from my first church, but they all sounded so different. That's when it hit me....so it wasn't the music afterall. Praising God joyfully in song has nothing to do with the style of the music used, but the hearts of the worshipers. Worshipping in spirit and in truth doesn't require a set of drums or an organ for that matter. It requires a heart that is right with God.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Search for the Titus 2 Woman

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled" Titus 2:3-5There is much talk in the church these days of the "Titus 2 Woman". It seems that it all used to be about the Prov. 31 woman, but apparently we've moved on. Now quite obviously Titus 2 is a passage that should be studied carefully and lived out. And it seems to me that all the talk about Titus 2 stems from a true need that is in the church. Unfortunately there aren't many woman who are living this model out and the church truly feels their absence.The response seems to be to write books instructing woman on how to become a titus 2 woman, generally written by someone who claims to be such a woman. Or there are blogs dedicated to this pursuit, and in fact a whole parachurch ministry by the same name. All the woman writing and working in these ministries have a great desire to see the next generation of Christian women to rise up to love their husbands, love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, keepers of their homes, and submissive to their husbands so that the church would be blessed and the Word would go forward. It is a noble and good thing to desire. These books, websites, and organizations have a lot of good information and solid Biblical study to offer and most any woman would benefit from reading them.However, I don't think any of that is actually obeying Titus 2.Titus is an address to a church body, it is instructions on the relations within that body. Paul is addressing older women to teach the younger women in their church to be these things. And it seems implied in the verse a certain responsibility on the part of the younger women as well to learn from these older women. There is an actual relationship involved. You are teaching someone or learning from someone because you are in fellowship with them, because you are doing life with them. A younger woman sees what it looks like to submit to her husband and so learns to do that. It isn't simply book knowledge, it is the joyful truth being lived out right in front of her.Let me reiterate that I think there is great value in books teaching these values and that they should be read. But they shouldn't be a substitute for finding the real Titus 2 woman in your church and learning from them. This is part of what Christian fellowship is about- face to face, daily interaction and sharing of life. That is true fellowship-not commenting regularly on a Titus 2 blog. Now, the natural response I hear a lot on blogs especially is a lamenting of "there just aren't any Titus 2 women in my church. I'm hurting from the lack of teaching from an older woman, I went through a hard time in my marriage because there weren't any older women to instruct me." While all of that may be true, it misses the aspect of personal responsibility that is a part of our Christian life. If there aren't any Titus 2 women in your church that very well may be your fault. It may be you who is suppose to be the older woman. Odds are, you are older and further along in life than someone in your church and could be a benefit to them. And even if you are one of the youngest women in your church, think of the encouragement it would be to the women who are older than you to model these things if they see someone they think of as young doing it. Young women put the older ones on the spot. Ask them how they do these things. I think it is uncomfortable for most of us to either admonish someone in an area they are lacking or to accept teaching. And most often we are in a position where we are asked to do both, which makes it even more uncomfortable. It is hard to go to someone and say, "your speech isn't honoring to your husband and that isn't ok, we should talk". It is hard to go to someone and say, "I don't know how to show love to my children in the way that I ought, can you show me?". But all of this isn't suppose to be comfortable or easy. This is Christianity. So go be a Titus 2 woman and go find a Titus 2 woman so that the word of God may not be reviled.