crying it out

I’m talking to parents here.

Ever done that thing where you sit in the hall, with the lights out and listen to your child cry?

Most parents are familiar with this as a way to try to get a child to learn to go to sleep on their own.  Learning to put yourself to sleep is a life skill that we all need.  But it doesn’t just happen, you have to learn it.  and learning is, sometimes, a pain-filled process.

I’m facing that with Ginny right now.  We used to have a pretty solid routine and she knew how to go to sleep by herself.  We were very good at the whole “never put her down asleep, always put her in her crib when she is drowsy, but still awake” thing. She learned her lessons very well and we hardly ever had to get up in the night or spend hours begging her to just please go back to sleep.

We thought she had learned that life lesson perfectly.  Chalk one up for the awesome parenting duo of Martin & Deirdre.  Congrats.  Your child has passed this test.  Please move forward.  You won’t ever have to learn this one over again.

WRONG.

Over time we let the routine slip.  Inch by inch we moved so far away from a child that puts herself to bed with no fuss that we are now living in the land of a tyrant who never gets enough sleep herself, and never lets papa get enough sleep. She crawls into bed with us in the middle of the night, she insists on a movie to fall asleep to, and papa must sit down with her to watch it.  Which leaves papa asleep on the sofa and Ginny getting just enough of a nap between 8 and 10 p.m. that when Martin finally wakes up to take her upstairs, she wakes up pretty thoroughly and either makes him read to her half the night or begs for another movie. 

Martin’s poor tired, sleep deprived soul is not strong enough to resist her at that hour, so she pretty much gets whatever she wants.

But the lack of sleep is getting to be a serious problem.  Not just for Martin, but for Ginny’s friends and playmates.  She is a crabby, bossy spoiled, violent little terror these days.

Ginny is unhappy. Martin is unhappy.  I am unhappy.  and Ginny’s friends, school-mates and teachers are definitely unhappy.

Don’t get me wrong, Ginny is also blindingly intelligent, adorable, sweet, loving and kind.  But she can go from one extreme to the other so fast it is really scary and I’m convinced that half of it is a lack of sleep.

So, we are going to try the old, “sorry, I know you don’t want to, but you have to go to bed now” routine again.

Which means her parents are going to find themselves in that hall again…listening to her cry.

Why am I telling you all this?

to make myself look bad? no.
to belittle the parenting skills of myself or my spouse? no. Martin is a hero as far as I’m concerned.
to humiliate my child? no.  she’s just being a kid.

It’s because of a song that got sung in church this week.

Nichole Nordeman’s “Why are they screaming”

We rode into town the other day
Just me and my Daddy
He said I’d finally reached that age
And I could ride next to him on a horse
That of course was not quite as wide

We heard a crowd of people shouting
And so we stopped to find out why
And there was that man
That my dad said he loved
But today there was fear in his eyes

So I said “Daddy, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why is He dressed in that bright purple robe?
I’ll bet that crown hurts Him more than He shows
Daddy, please can’t you do something?
He looks as though He’s gonna cry
you said he was stronger than all of those guys
Daddy, please tell me why
Why does everyone want him to die?”

Later that day the sky grew cloudy
And Daddy said I should go inside
Somehow he knew things would get stormy
Boy was he right
But I could not keep from wondering
If there was something he had to hide

So after he left I had to find out
I was not afraid of getting lost
So I followed the crowds
To a hill where I knew men had been killed
And I heard a voice come from the cross

And it said, “Father, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why are they casting their lots for My robe?
This crown of thorns hurts Me more than it shows
Father, please can’t You do something?
I know that You must hear My cry
I thought I could handle the cross of this size
Father, remind Me why
Why does everyone want Me to die?
When will I understand why?”

“My precious Son, I hear them screaming
I’m watching the face of the enemy beaming
But soon I will clothe You in robes of My own
Jesus, this hurts Me much more than You know
But this dark hour I must do nothing
Though I’ve heard Your unbearable cry
The power in Your blood destroys all of the lies
Soon You’ll see past their unmerciful eyes
Look there below, see the child
Trembling by her father’s side
Now I can tell You why
She is why You must die”

http://youtu.be/sRKV8Jh5IgQ is the link to the song. 

The whole song is breathtaking and was presented by a teenager in our church in a very moving way.  She didn’t sing it perfectly, she sang it with absolute participation and consequently brought the audience to tears.  The verse that really gets me is the one about God the Father listening to His son’s screaming  and having to wait for the time to be right to respond.

I know that my sitting in the hall listening to Ginny crying doesn’t even come close, but it gives me a tiny glimpse into “that dark hour”

And makes the coming of Easter just a tiny bit more real to me this year.

Advertisements

very slightly sick

okay, moms of this world, back me up. 

By a show of hands, who here actually enjoys it when their child is just slightly sick ?

I’m not talking about barfing, or anything disgusting.  I’m referring to those times when your child is just not feeling quite right. They need rest, fluids and quiet.  But mostly they need to snuggle in your arms all day.

Maybe it is wrong of me, but I love that. 

Or when Ginny falls and gets a scraped knee.  Or stubs her toe.  She needs comfort, she needs me.  Does it matter to me that just half a minute before the fall I was telling her “don’t do that honey, you are going to get hurt !”  ???  Nope.  Has no bearing on that moment when I get to hold her close and lavish love on her. 

While I am sorry that she is hurt,
secretly, in my heart of hearts
I am rejoicing that she turns to me and wants to be held. 

Ginny is at an age where she is trying to accomplish tasks that are beyond her.  She grabs some tasks out of my hands that weren’t meant for her to even attempt yet.  Some are things she will learn to do eventually, others are things she shouldn’t even try.  Often she won’t let me help her….until she has achieved a high level of frustration.  I don’t want her to be frustrated, but I do have to watch her till she gets to the point of turning to me and saying “help me please?”

I don’t like seeing her frustration,
but I love it that she knows that she can bring her frustrations to me
…… and that I can still fix them. 

Sometimes she is just exhausted.  Ginny is still young enough that when she is worn out she prefers to be held.  I know when she is older she will just lie down and go to sleep on her own.  But for now, when she is plain ole worn out, she would rather be held.  And it feels fabulous to be the one to get to hold her.

she was so tired she fell asleep while we were drying her off from her bath

My heart rejoices that this beloved child needs me…
is it just possible that God feels about us the same way that I feel about holding Ginny ?   

The Bible certainly says so

“the LORD your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing”
Zephaniah 3:7

Why do I waste energy in self condemnation?  When my mind has been a little bit sickened for a while, and I need to be renewed, why do I fight against God?  Why do I try to raise my own mood?  Or strengthen my will on my own?  Why don’t I accept that He WANTS to comfort me? 

How often do I fall?  Everyday.  And what do I do?  I feel ashamed of falling.  I caused the hurt that is happening to me through my own stubborn actions or impetuous mouth.  So I mentally run away from God.  I say to myself “God must be so disappointed in me.  I messed up again!” 

How often do I run myself ragged trying to do or be too much to too many people?  I refuse to stop and take time to just rest in the LORD. 

Often I try to do things that are beyond my strength.  I fight and fight to accomplish things that God wanted to do in His strength, in His timing.  Why does it take me so long to hand things over to God?  He has been standing right there, waiting to happily take over the tasks that He meant for Himself, knowing that they weren’t intended for me to DO.  He meant all along for me to hand it to Him and give Him the glory.

When will I get it through my thick skull that God feels the same way about me that I feel about a slightly fevered toddler…..

I’m sorry you are hurting honey, but oh how I LOVE holding you.

God said it…..

… I just wish I had listened better…

One of the things we bought for Ginny for Christmas was a full DVD set of the Cedarmont Kids albums.  For any of you who are unfamiliar with this group, give yourself a treat, go get them.  Even if you don’t have kids.  Just suspend your adult-ness for a day or two.

These DVDs are packed with loads of songs that Ginny loves to dance to and “sing” along with.  She is getting active play and being indoctrinated at the same time.  All the videos are subtitled with the lyrics so she will eventually be getting reading skills too.    And it’s not just classic stuff that I remember from my childhood.  You know the ones..

“I am a C.   I am a CH.  I am a CHRISTIAN”  and “This little light of mine” and “Climb, climb up sunshine mountain” and “Do Lord, oh Do Lord, Do remember me”  and “Jesus loves me”

Those are all in there, but included are some songs that I had never heard before.  Songs that might have made a difference in my life if I had ever heard them AND managed to believe them.  Like this one, called “Every promise in the book is mine”

Every promise in the Book is mine!
Every chapter, every verse, every line.
I am standing on His Word divine,
Every promise in the Book is mine!

Pretty straightforward, eh?

I love this song.  I mean I sang about being a “son of Abraham” but I never really grasped that that meant that through Christ’s sacrifice and the fulfillment of that covenant, I personally partake of EVERY promise in the Bible.

And it is such a wonderful tune that I find myself singing it all day long.  Which is very good for me.  The soundtrack that runs in your head all day needs to be an affirming one.

Yes, the soundtrack in your head.

Don’t even try to tell me that you don’t have one.  It is there.  You may only consciously hear it when all else is quiet, but you do have one.  Mine tends to be very repetitive.  I get stuck in a groove all day.  Sort of like how you feel after coming out the “small world” ride at Disney.  That stupid song stays stuck in your head for HOURS.  If conversation around you lags or you have a moment of quiet…it floats back up to the forefront of your brain and you find yourself humming along…..it’s a small world after all….its a small world after all…AARRRGGH !   That’s what I mean when I say the soundtrack in your head.  So it behooves me to fill my mind and heart with good songs.  Songs that point me to God.  Otherwise I can spend all day (inadvertently) contemplating utter drivel. And who wants that?

Or this one …

Wide, wide as the ocean, high as the Heaven above;
Deep, deep as the deepest sea is my Savior’s love.
I, though so unworthy, still am a child of His care;
For His Word teaches me that His love reaches me everywhere.

I sang “Deep and Wide” enthusiastically as a child, but here again this song (which has a haunting melody by the way) addresses some of my deepest concerns.  My feelings of insecurity and shakey self worth are directly addressed by these lyrics.

And then there is this one.  This is priceless.  And what it is doing in my heart as an adult is absolutely staggering.

God said it, I believe it
That’s all that faith demands
Though heav’n and earth shall pass away
His word will stand.

I have to wonder, did it take hearing these lyrics as an adult for them to sink in?  Would I have never really understood the lyrics if had known them as a child?  It occurs to me that one of my favorite Sunday school songs as a kid has some pretty good depth to it…….

Like a tree
Like a tree
I’m like a green olive tree
in the house
in the house
of the LORD, hallelujah
I will trust
in the mercy of God
forever I will trust
in the mercy of God

This song is engraved in my mind.  And yet, I didn’t trust in God’s mercy. It never reached my heart, my blood stream.  It never became part of me.

I’ve sung this song around many a campfire and yet I’ve spent decades of my life either trying to personally make up for my sins (which isn’t possible) or feeling completely unforgivable and therefore licensed to sink into depravity.   Also a bad choice, by the way.

It is only in the last few years that I am starting to come to grips with the truth that God really does love me.  Personally.  And that I really am forgiven.  Really.  Yes, even for that.  and yup, that one too.  And oh yes, THAT one. (no, I’m not going to enumerate my sins for the world to view.  They are between me and Christ.  He washed them away and no longer remembers them)

Maybe that’s why these songs are having deep meanings for me now.

Now, they are real.

I, though so unworthy, still I’m a child of his care, for His word teaches me that His love reaches me EVERYWHERE.

Blessed reality.

jesus saves, over and over again

I can’t really tell you the scripture this comes from, but I am convinced that Jesus doesn’t just save sinners.

He saves me, every day, every moment.  Each time I turn to Him when I feel small, or petty, or discouraged, or angry.  He saves me from that and sends me in another direction.

Right now I’m in one of those places in my life where I can fall into sin a lot.

the sin of pride – stiff necked and too prideful to accept help.  I keep telling everyone we are fine.

the sin of greed – I know we can’t afford things right now.  but I still want stuff.  mostly plane tickets.  And the occasional meal out.  But there is plenty in the pantry.  I just have to learn to be more creative.

The sin of unbelief – as I try to take over planning how to get Martin a new job and how to make our finances stretch and how to cope….There is nothing wrong with putting in effort, but the fact is that I’m not doing anything to help the situation…I’m just worrying at it inside my brain all day.  and worry is a sin.  It indicates that I think I can somehow fix something better than God can.  Hello? God or Deirdre, who do you think is the better, more experienced problem solver?  Which one of us has the greater set of resources to draw from? Which one of us knows the whole plan and what will be for the greater good?

um…that would be NOT me, but God.

There’s a great little mini sermon found on Travis Cottrell’s most recent CD.  The Live album that was recorded in Woodstock, GA back in January.  Beth Moore talks about Praising God in difficult times.

I listen to that piece every time I get in the car nowdays.  Just to jerk my brain back into the proper track.

God. Is. In. Charge.

God. Is. Good.

and I WILL praise His name.  Whether I feel it right this instant or not.

Oh, incidentally, I’m not being morbid here, but when I die, please make note, I want everything from tracks 10 through 14 of that CD played at my funeral.  The sermon by Beth, and then the songs that follow it.  Go ahead and have the eulogies first and let Phillip Shoultz sing my favorite hymn “And Can it Be” but then, after that, just put in the CD and let it run.  My funeral may start off as being about me, but it will end being all about GOD.  There will (hopefully) be people at my service who may never have darkend a church door before, and I want them to walk away knowing beyond any doubt that my hope is in Christ Alone.

Anyway.

um….back to my regluarly scheduled blog….

actually, you know what?  I think that was a good place to stop.

In Christ Alone, my hope is found.

’nuff said.

i am not worthy

not long ago I was at a concert and raised my hand

“yes, I will sponsor a compassion child

I clutched the packet with a child’s photograph in it and briefly regretted that I was letting God pick the child for me instead of searching the Compassion website and picking one for myself.  But I reminded myself that this randomness was a way to keep ME out of the decision and let God direct which child I get to connect with.

So I wrote my bank info in the appropriate places, turned in the form.  Shook (shaked?) hands with Shaun Groves and thanked him for the opportunity.  Then I went to go get in line to meet Travis Cottrell.

I didn’t forget “my child” I knew his name was Esteban.

I got on-line the next day and looked for more info on him and in a short time I wrote him a letter via email.  I was content to let it stop there for now.

Then a short while ago the news started flying around in blog-land about the Compassion Trip to India.  and a couple of my favorite people (Angie and Melissa) were going to be on the trip.  I’ve always loved India.  Not the place (since I’ve never been) but the idea of India.  The culture, the food, the clothes.  India is just way more appealing to me than the home country of my little Esteban.  I had thoughts of adding another Compassion child to my refrigerator.

then I thought, No.  Don’t do that to Esteban.

Sure it would be cool to participate more closely with Melissa and Angie and Shaun, but I would be short changing Esteban.  and I haven’t even really managed to feel connected to him yet.

then the letter arrived.

From Esteban.

in his own handwriting.

somehow I hadn’t quite expected that.

The drawing, the typed translation by some random adult, those I was prepared for…….but then I turned the page over and saw, in pencil, with eraser marks…..

Esteban’s own handwriting.

And for some insane reason I feel as if it was a letter from Christ himself. (Matthew 25:40)

please sponsor a child through compassion or some other agency if you wish.  but please do it.  and if I haven’t managed to convince you, go read melissa’s post about the subject of God’s mandate to us to give to the poor and needy.

drifting

perhaps it has someting to do with the severe lack of sleep recently in my life.

perhaps it has to do with some highly charged situations I’m currently involved in

perhaps it is the fact that the style of the writer of the bible study I’ve been doing this summer is just not quite “getting to me”

but for whatever reason, I’ve been drifting a bit.

I am so looking forward to September when my small group starts a new Bible study.  We will be doing a study of the book of Daniel and I already know I love the author.

Until then, I’m going to go with an old stand-by: songs.

For some reason “Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy praise” is running through my head at this moment.

somehow even when I am in a spiritually dry place I can always count on songs, hymns of the faith, to move me.  To soften me and remind me who I belong to and how much I owe Him.

a lullabye from the Most High

But now this is what the LORD says, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:1 & 2

Recently our church choir has sung a song based on this scripture. The feel of the melody is very much like a lullabye.

Perhaps this is purely because of my current situation, but I am more and more seeing God as being tender towards us, His wayward children.

Oh how often we react in this life out of fear.

Fear of rejection

Fear of loneliness

Fear of humiliation

Because of these fears and the grip they have on our lives we frequently choose to do some colossally stupid things, but God will still gather us into His arms and (if we read His word) sing this song into our hearts.

Do not fear for I am with you,
do not fear,
I have redeemed you.
Do not fear for I have called you by name
and you are mine.

Sometimes we think, God can’t possibly forgive ME, I have rejected His counsel, I have turned my back, I’ve done unforgivable things.

but look WHO he was saying this to:

Jacob. the deceiver, the trickster, the con-man, polygamist, failure, complainer

and

Israel. the chosen, beloved, anointed, tower of faith, father of the 12 tribes, blessed and blessor of nations.

Absolute opposites, right?

Folks, remember: Those two names belong to the SAME human being.

I really believe that God, by deliberately including the two names of Jacob/Israel in this verse was speaking directly to people like you and me. People who feel like they are in a cycle of faith/unbelief or obedience/disobedience. (and don’t even try to pretend that you haven’t been there too, cause we ALL have)

God doesn’t say that he will only help us when we have been good. He is reminding us that we ARE redeemed. WE ARE HIS. All we need do is turn to Him. No matter how many times we have needed His saving grace before. He’s already proven His stamina: just look at how the children of Israel treated God through out the Old Testament. They constantly turned their backs on him. How much would we do for an earthly person who would love us like that: perfectly, and without EVER withdrawing that love No Matter What.

Just let it sink in. The God of Creation. the Most High, the Mighty Deliverer has CLAIMED YOU. Personally.

Read it again.

Do not fear for I have called you by name,
and you are mine.

YOU ARE MINE

what would you do in the grip of such love?