Monday, September 26, 2011

Control and Motherhood

Over the last few weeks I have been having an ongoing conversation with some friends about
relationships. Especially mother-daughter relationships. They can be so rewarding. But they can also be, in my opinion, some of the hardest to navigate. Esther and Victoria and I have spent years talking about ours. And one very obvious fact has emerged. I have been sharing it with them for years. I think y'all might also find it helpful.

The truth is, I sometimes would rather control them than love them. Now obviously, I love my daughters with my whole heart. And I am so proud of them. They are growing into amazing women who love the Lord and I rejoice in that! But they have had to walk through life with a mom who definitely struggles with control. And my sin of control has influenced their picture of the gospel.

Let me explain. As a mom, I want obedience on their part. It is essential that they learn how to submit to authority if they are going to be happy in life. The problem is that in my desire for them to submit, I convey that if they obey and submit to me, I will love and approve of them. This not only undermines their ability to submit, it undermines their understanding of God and the gospel.

I need to constantly remind them (and myself) of the gospel. And then model my parenting after the gospel. The gospel clearly states that I am loved in Christ - first and foremost. I was loved even as an enemy of God. I am loved before I even am able to love. As a believer I have God's approval based on what Christ has done for me. I am approved of before I ever obey. Then out of the love and approval of God the Father I am affirmed and accepted and want to be accountable to his authority. Look at this diagram (it is taken from the SALT series published by Victorious Christian Living International):


In my parenting and in my friendships I need to convey that I accept people not because of who they are or how they behave, but because I choose to love them. I am loved and accepted by God because of Christ, therefore I am accountable to his authority. I never want to present to someone that I will love and accept them when they respond to my authority and accountability. This is opposite of the Gospel. It is opposite of how God has treated me. It is opposite of how I should treat my children. Sadly, I have not always parented that way. My kiddos know this... but they are gracious! And we are learning every day how to better apply the gospel to our own hearts and our relationships.

So moms... if you haven't done so, sit down with your children and talk about how much you love them. This is an excellent time to let them know that you are seeking to be more like Christ as you parent. Even draw out this diagram and show them how you desire to be a picture of Christ. Give them the Gospel - that they are loved and affirmed because God chooses to love them, not because they are good people. Let them know that you love them because they are yours!! Tell them that you desire for them to respond to your authority because they are loved and affirmed by you. BUT they have your approval not matter what - because it is freely given, not earned. Watch as their faces light up! There is freedom in a child knowing they are loved for who they are, not what they do! I had to confess to my kiddos that I fail over and over again in this. But I pray daily for them and for myself, that I will be an example of the gospel in how I parent.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Trailhead Women's Retreat - or Non-Retreat!!

I am SO very excited to announce that Trailhead Church will be hosting a women's retreat coming up soon. Here's the scoop:
When: Friday, October 7th 7pm-10pm and Saturday, October 8th 9:30am-3pm
Where: Trailhead Church, Edwardsville, IL
Cost: Free (but consider contacting me to bring a food item for Saturday)
Subject: PrayerSpeaker: Sarah Guild from Kansas City, KS (and former Trailhead member)
[Trailhead women- sign up on the City: www.trailheadchurch.onthecity.org!]

Funny enough, when I asked a few friends whether we should provide food for a cost or have women volunteer to bring food, pot-luck style, we had quite the discussion! In the end we overwhelmingly decided to go old-school and bring our own food. We as a church love to do this! Nothing like a home cooked, family meal to bring you closer together. But it was fun to discuss whether we could actually call this a retreat if we are asking women to do a little work in order to participate! So, in the end, it was decided we should probably change the name from retreat to something different. However, I never came up with anything even remotely creative. I am open to suggestions, though!

Please consider joining us. Our speaker, Sarah, is one of my dearest friends. She and her
husband Jamie were instrumental in the founding of Trailhead Church before God moved them to Kansas City, Kansas. The Lord has used her greatly in my life (and my family's). She has taught
me much about prayer and I am excited for us to hear what God has been teaching her lately. We also hope to have some time for personal reflection and group prayer (no worries - quiet participation is perfectly acceptable!). This is always a sweet time of community as we interact and share meals together. I do hope you can join us.

Let me know if you have any questions. And if you have a better word than retreat!!

The Promise of a Sacrifice... YOU!

The last few weeks have found me strangely and repeatedly in 1 Samuel chapter 16 of my Bible. Check out this story. The kingdom of Israel has chosen Saul to be her king. But God had other plans. The Lord says to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons." Samuel argues, but God sends him anyway. And the Lord said, "Take a heifer with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.' And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you." (verses 2 and 3). Samuel does what God asks. He went to the house of Jesse and his sons and "invited them to the sacrifice." He meets seven of Jesse's sons, but God has chosen none of them. Jesse hasn't even called his youngest from the fields. Samuel requests to see David the youngest. Verse 12 says, "And the Lord said, 'Arise, anoint him, for this is he.' Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah." End of story.

But what about the sacrifice? Twice the Lord mentions the sacrifice to Samuel. And twice Samuel mentions the sacrifice to Jesse. Verse 5 "Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice." "...and he invited them to the sacrifice." But this sacrifice never happens. Why? Samuel is ready. Come to the sacrifice. Prepare yourselves. But then David is annointed and Samuel abruptly leaves. Now, the actual offering of a heifer could have been omitted from the narrative. OR the sacrifice was included. David WAS the sacrifice! God was calling Samuel to offer David as the sacrifice. Surely not a new thought, but its significance has struck me greatly these past few weeks. Did David understand that he was the sacrifice? Surely he knew the magnitude of his anointing. And does this have any application to me?

Romans 12:1-2 "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." YOU are the sacrifice. Leviticus 20:7-8 Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God." Dictionary.com defines consecrate: to make or declare sacred; set apart or dedicated to the service of God. A living sacrifice!! We are called to present our bodies back to God. Not because our bodies are an amazing gift to God, but because he bought them with the blood of His Son Jesus. We are His. We are holy and acceptable only because we are made that way through Christ Jesus. And now all we are is His. And what wonderful things will He do with our bodies? Joshua 3:5 "Then Joshua said to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.' [That story goes on to tell how God lead Israel across the Jordan River, but let's steal the verse for us as well.] If you have been convinced that Jesus was your substitute in judgement and you have been redeemed, then you have been set apart, dedicated to the service of God and the Lord will do wonders among you!!! How exciting is that? Be on the lookout for how our great God will work in and through you.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Story of Trailhead and Acts29 Bootcamps - Steve's blog

I have continually referenced the story of Trailhead Church and God's blessings through this church. My husband, Steve, was asked to write a blog about the church planting network Acts29 (www.acts29network.org). Thought some of you might find it interesting. We have seen God lead us in some crazy ways, but it has been such a blessing to follow.

Enjoy!