Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:3

Baseball season is upon us. Really.

Coach Jeff, Dugout Mom Natasha, Cubs hind catcher #6 Colin.
Don't forget the coaches in the stands.

That's where I got caught up.

Yes, it is embarrassing and not very "Christian like." No, I didn't cuss or get kicked out of the park. It was worse.

I got convicted of my sin.

Let's start from the beginning.

As you know, we are a busy family. We encourage Colin to participate in different activities. We hope for him to make new friends, learn new skills, and just be an overall well rounded kid. We don't want him stuck in the house watching Sponge Bob Square Pants or playing XBox.

So, now we are into baseball.

Jeff is coaching and I'm in charge of getting the kids ready to bat, aka Dugout Mom. You know, the mean one who makes the kids stop swinging bats in a 4 X 10 enclosed area, no name calling, leave that bad play on the field because its over, and the game is not over yet so don't get so cocky mean ol' lady who doesn't really know where left and right field are (just that they are in the corners).

The kids are great. They are actually pretty good. I think they have even made a double play or two. Lots of in the park home runs. They really know how to get in the game. Coach Jeff (say it "Coach Jayeeff" as #6 calls him), has a pretty good batting line up with the players in good positions.

Like with any sport (kid league or professional) there are the sideline coaches. Last night I got a little caught up in the yelling coming from some parents on telling the kids where to stand on the field and all that. I told the kids that the coach was in the dugout and they should listen to him. Maybe I should have said that, maybe I shouldn't. After all, my job (which pays big bucks in smiles and high fives) is to keep the kids in line and make sure they don't kill each other with aluminum flying objects.

No, I didn't show myself or be ugly. The kids were looking at the dugout like they were trying to figure out what to do, so I told them listen to Coach Jeff (remember, 2 syllables, not 1) and not to the calls from the stands. I told the kids that, but did I? No. It frustrated me. I wanted to be ugly and say ugly things. I didn't, but I wanted to. It just burned inside of me. Sometimes thinking it is just as bad as doing it. My face was hot and red all the way home. How dumb! What good did it do to yell above the yelling from the sideline coaches to tell the kids to listen to Coach Jeff? What good did it do to allow that yelling from the stands to burn inside of me? It didn't do any good at all. How dumb!

After bringing the game home with me, I felt guilty, um, convicted of bringing myself down to a level I shouldn't have. I am there for those 10 kids. Like Coach Jeff said, to make sure they are safe and having a good time. After all, they are 6, 7, 8 , and 9 years old. They are kids. We are there for them. Regardless if we have our coach's application filled out or our spot in the bleachers. It is about the kids.

God has blessed me with a child who reminds me everyday that it doesn't matter if you win or lose, but it is about the experience, the moment. Thank you, Colin, for that reminder. Sometimes Mama needs to be brought down a notch. Colin asked last week when we headed home from a game, "Mama, who won?"

My response, "Colin, I love you!"

He smiled so big and asked again.

"You won, baby." I told him.

"Oh," was his reply.

Then, last night as we prayed at bedtime, Colin thanked God for allowing him to have his ballgame. No, he didn't thank God for his good hit and not getting out. He didn't thank God for the balls he went after. He thanked God for the opportunity to play. HOW HUMBLING.

Lord, thank you for Colin. Thank you for a child who makes a mother humble herself and check her attitude. Thank you for the faith of a child. Father, please instill in me the faith of a child. How precious. How humbling. How close to You that will bring me. Lord, thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the lives of these precious children. Help me to be a role model for them. Allow me to minister to them while they are playing to make them appreciative of the opportunity to play ball. As I think of that opportunity to play, Lord, I have to thank You for allowing us to live in a place where we have the freedom to enjoy our lives and not have to live in constant fear of our lives and safety. What a blessing that is, Father. I ask, Dear Lord, that You will help me to hold my tongue, that nothing would come from my mouth that would bring shame to You. Lord, thank You for the Holy Spirit that convicts me of my sin. As Your child, I want to please You in all that I do. I praise You for all that You ARE and all that You DO. Thank you, Dear Lord, for your Son Jesus that through Him I have everlasting life. In HIS NAME I pray. Amen.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tami

What a blessing it is to say, "Tami is home!" Doctor's have decided to go ahead and remove the troublesome lymph nodes. Her surgery will be next week. As her mom said, "Maybe we won't have to ever see Kosair again!"

Please continue to pray for Tami and all children who have to deal with cancer. Pray for their families, doctors, and caregivers.

We love you so much Tami. See you Thursday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Update on Tami

THURSDAY: NEWS FROM TAMI'S MOM
All indications right now look like abscessed lymph nodes. It will be 2-3 days until the pathology tests will show whether or not there is any cancer.

Dear Heavenly Father,
You are the Great Physician and we are pleading for Tami's healing. Please cover her with Your love, strength, and grace. I thank you for Tami and what she means to me and so many others. It is a blessing to know her and be with her daily. Lord, we ask that you give the doctor's and nurses wisdom to treat Tami. For her parents, Father, give them comfort and strength in these days to come. Help them to support one another and their precious daughter. Lord, thank you for all that you do and all that you are going to do for this family. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.

We have heard from Tami's dad. It seems that she has a severe infection that has gotten into her blood stream. We praise God that all signs are pointing away from cancer. However, because of the severity of the infection, doctors are unsure of how long Tami will need to stay at Kosairs. Please continue to pray for Tami's overall healing. Also, pray for her doctors, nurses, and her parents.

We love you Tami and hope to see you very soon.

Monday, April 20, 2009

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST

PLEASE PRAY FOR TAMI.
She is one of my students, soccer kids, sweethearts. Tami has been placed back in the hospital at Kosair's Children's Hospital due to illness. Something is fishy about her lymph nodes. It could just be an infection or her cancer could be back. Tami is a 1 year cancer survivor. She was interviewed by WBKO recently when our guidance counselor dyed her hair pink during one of our Relay for Life fundraisers. I will keep you updated as I find out more info.

The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness;
You will sustain him on his sickbed.
Psalm 41:3

Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak:
O Lord, heal me.
Psalm 6:2

*****
Thank you for continuing to pray for Melissa, Patrick, and Baby. Melissa is doing well and still on bed rest.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Shack

Several weeks ago after one of our Esther meetings, Hilarie and I sat planning the kids' birthday party when the phone rang. It was our pastor, Dr. Copass. Before getting to the purpose of his call, he asked if I had ever read The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. I answered that I hadn't and he said he had a copy floating around and thought I should read it. The next Monday, my friend Lesley asked me during our planning if I had ever read it. I laughed, "No, but I guess I'm going to!" She was a little shocked at my reaction, so I had to explain to her about my phone call the week before. Lesley brought me her copy and I started reading it while on spring break. I've been working on it for 2 weeks and finally finished it after getting home from church today.


Dr. Copass and Lesley had both reminded me to keep an open mind and to remember the book was fiction. So, I did, and I embarked on an incredible journey.


After reading this book and allowing God to speak to me through it, I've come to better understand that I need to open my eyes and heart to Him in everything I do. Whether I am sitting here blogging, playing with my children, teaching my students, or cleaning my house, God is right there with me. If I listen and watch and have a receptive heart, I will hear Him and I will see Him, I will feel Him and I will know Him. God will reveal Himself to me through my children, Creation, my everyday surroundings. He will reveal Himself to me in a way that He sees fit, in a way that I need. I just have to be open to that. I feel like so many times, I want to feel God close to me or to be able to hear Him, but I don't stop to take it all in, to see if maybe He is and its me that isn't doing my part.


From reading the book, I was reminded that I am not to pass judgement. That whatever has caused me to be bitter or angry, I must hand it over to my Father. I have to remind myself to LET GO AND LET GOD. Sometimes that is so hard to do. Even harder is to forgive. Mack, the guy in the book, had to forgive himself, his father, and the evil man who murdered his daughter. Papa (God in the book) told him that when he was able to forgive, he was handing it all over to Him, allowing Him to be in judgment over what was controlling him. If we really stop to think about it, becoming bitter and allowing that bitterness and unforgiving spirit to control our thoughts and moves is so unhealthy. We are allowing whatever caused that pain to control us. But if we hand it over to God, we can release that pain to him and regain control of our lives.

We all have our own shack. Sometime in our lives, no matter how painful, we must revisit that shack. We have to pour ourselves out and give it to God.

Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding." Deuteronomy 29:29 reminds us “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us." We are not always going to understand our circumstances or why things happen. We do have to know that God will work all things for good for those that love and fear Him.

So, if you get the chance, read The Shack, then come back and leave me a comment. Let me know what you think. Let me know how God spoke to you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Want to Go With You

Kids are funny. If they don't have to ride the school bus, they want to. If they do have to ride the bus, they don't want to. Jeffrey takes Colin to school almost every morning. Sometimes, though, Colin wants to ride with me so he can ride the bus from LES to his school. To do this takes some planning. We discuss the night before the importance of going to bed at a reasonable time and getting up when told to the next morning. Needless to say, this little talk rarely gets us anywhere. I think we have made it twice. This morning, Colin would not get up. I started trying to get him up 25 minutes before I had to leave. Nothing. He finally decided to get up when I was getting Carson out of bed. Here's what happened:

ME hugging Colin: Bye, Colin. Have a good day. I love you.

COLIN: Bye, Mama. I love you too.

Less than 1 minute later, I hear sobbing and turn to see Colin red faced and crying.

ME, afraid he was sick: What's wrong, honey?

COLIN, still in pj's and arms stretched out: I want to go with you.

Sternly, ME: Now, Colin. You knew you had to get up a long time ago. I have to leave and I still have to finish getting your brother ready.

COLIN, still crying: But I want to go with you.

ME: Colin, its too late. I have to be at work in 15 minutes. The bus is already gone.

Colin: BUT I WANT TO GO WITH YOU! DON'T LEAVE ME HERE!

Me, feeling bad for him: Honey, I want you to go too, but it is too late. I can't do anything about it now.

This continued on even to the point he followed me to the door, still crying. After placing Carson, who is still sleeping through all of this, in the car, I hugged Colin bye, told him I love him, and shut the door between us.

This may seem totally insignificant to you at this point, but as I drove across town, I thought, "How many times does this happen?" Really. "How many times has someone cried out to their Father, 'God, I want to go with You. Don't leave me here?'"

How sad.

I felt bad for Colin. I knew how he liked to walk in to Carson's daycare and get loved on by his old teachers. I knew how he enjoyed catching the bus and riding back across town. I felt bad for him. I wanted to take him. I didn't want to leave him behind. But it was too late.

What about God?

Unfortunately, He has to say, "I"m sorry. It is too late. I can't take you. I must leave you here," and then shut the door.

Matthew 7:21-23 says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"

There will be a time that it is too late. There will be a time when God must shut the door and someone will say, "Wait! I want to come with you!" There will be a time when God, will have to say, "I never knew you; depart from Me," to someone.

How sad.

We don't know how much time we have to prepare, to live out God's will. If we don't listen to that first wake up call, it may be the last one. We need to live each moment of our lives for Him. Preparing to be called.

If you are not prepared for that call, then right now, do something about it. Pray to Your Heavenly Father. Cry out to Him. Don't wait until it is too late. Don't wait for Him to say He never knew you, having Him close the door between you forever.

For those of us that are ready for His call, it is our responsibility as children of God, to help others know Him. We can't make them know Him, but we can show them who He is and what He can do. We can be a light shining on the path to God.

Monday, April 06, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARSON!

It seems like only yesterday.......


You were finally brought to us after a brief stay in NICU. We are so thankful to God that you are healthy and growing. God answers prayers and you are one of them. You'd never know by those cries of, "NO! NOT THAT ONE!" that your lungs were struggling those first few hours.
May you and Colin always share a close brotherly love. Take care of each other. Stand up for one another. Lean on each other. How blessed you are to be brothers.


My how you've grown......












Jeffrey delivered this birthday surprise at lunch. I've had the pleasure of hearing it ALL afternoon. Thanks, Honey.


video



"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted my petition which I asked of Him."


1 Samuel 1:27


Happy 3rd Birthday, Carson. We love you!!


Sunday, April 05, 2009

What a Weekend!

It has been quite a weekend around here. Friday evening, I spent time making Carson's birthday cake. He was so proud of his pirate cake.


Waiting patiently.....

Putting on the finishing touches.....


Scurvy Pirate....Aarrg!


Scurvy Pirate at 2 1/2 months old

Saturday was the trio's (Carson, Anna Laura, and Kylie) birthday party at Imagination Stations. What a great time! I can't believe our babies are 3 years old!!!!

Carson and Kylie....6 months old


Carson and Anna Laura....6 months old

Carson, Anna Laura, and Kylie

Happy Birthday!!!

Finally...Cake, aarrg!

Carson on his new "motormichael" bicycle

Saturday afternoon, Jeffrey's cousin Brian who is HOME from Iraq came by with his family for a bonfire. He gave Colin one of his shirts. Colin has spent lots of time in prayer for Brian's safe return. May we all have the faith of a child!!

Brian and Colin

We were supposed to have family over today for Carson's birthday (which is tomorrow...I know, we can't do anything small). However, Carson got sick Saturday night, so we had to cancel. We hope to do something Monday afternoon if the weather holds out.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Special Prayer Request

I am asking you to pray for Melissa, Patrick, and their unborn baby. Melissa is 4 months pregnant and having complications. Her doctor has put her on bed rest. It is truly a miracle that she has carried this baby this long because she was told that she would probably miscarry before now due to some issues. Melissa and Patrick love this baby so much and are wanting so badly for everything to be OK. Please, go to Our Father in prayer asking him to be with this precious family. Ask Him, the Great Physician, for healing if it be His will and for comfort and guidance for Melissa and Patrick, for them to receive this cup that He his placing before them. Ask the Lord, our God, to give my Aunt Rita strength so she can be there for her son, daughter-in-law, and unborn grandchild.

Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” Matthew 15:28