Tuesday, February 14, 2017

It's Good to be an Outcast!

The study day that I just finished was all about shepherds.  We are looking at the two "I AM" statements "I am the good shepherd" and "I am the gate."  In this we read all the way back to Genesis where the first shepherd was mentioned (Genesis 4).  We read about how Abel watched over flocks while Cain was a farmer.  Abel brought forth fat portions of some of his firstborns while Cain brought random sacrifices.  God showed favor on Abel's sacrifice, which made Cain jealous, and that jealousy in turn caused Cain to kill Abel.

We then read about David, who was "just a shepherd," being annointed as the next king, and then read in Ezekiel about "shepherds" (kings and priests) not taking care of their "flocks," and God stating that He will send one true shepherd to watch over all of His flock.

And then we read about how shepherds were the first ones to hear about Jesus' birth.  Lowly, outcast shepherds!  And finally, we conclude with Jesus' discussion with Peter about how he needs to give up fishing and to "Feed His Lambs," "Take Care of His Sheep," and "Feed His Sheep."  Jesus wanted Peter to be changed from a quick-judging fisherman to a caring shepherd.

Shepherds were the outcasts...the ones least likely to be asked to do anything important, and yet God used them over and over again in the Bible.  The resonated so much with me because in my town (often referred to as "the bubble), I often feel like such an outcast.  We don't have the money that many have, we don't take the trips that people take, we don't have the house that people have.  I also feel like an outcast at times because I really love being a part of my kids' activities...going to every sporting event.  But so many moms here just appear to think about themselves...they attend if it doesn't conflict with their social calendar.

Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change my situation or my priorities one bit, but that doesn't mean I don't feel left out at times.  Reading this made me feel so much more confident that God has, is and will continue to use me to do His work!  It probably won't be easy, but nothing good comes easily!


Thursday, February 02, 2017

A Little Behind but Pushing Through :)

So I'm a few days behind in my Bible study, but that doesn't mean it's not on my mind or that I'm not trying to live love anyway :)

The day that I caught up on (I think it was supposed to be Monday?) was pretty powerful to me, but I'm not sure what to really do with it.  There is a quote in it that I absolutely love: "A little gift placed in the hands of a big God can change the world."  I want to take that quote and put it on a wall somewhere in my house!  It can apply to so much!  Right now I'm sitting in my office which has a wall behind it filled with four large canvases of my kids.  This quote seems extremely appropriate when I think of them...small little people, but if I turn them over to God (including all of my worries about whether I'm raising them correctly or doing anything right), then He will use them to change the world!

The part of this day of study that was and continues to be hard for me to process deals with making time a priority.  When you say that to a mom of four kids in sports (some in multiple at once), it can hit a nerve; especially if that mom craves time with her family...a night with nothing going on.  This happens to be a constant battle in our house :(  I just want family time, but John's thoughts are "what did you expect with four kids?"  Honestly?  I didn't expect this much time-sucking until middles school...like when we were kids :(  But he is right...if we want our kids to have the best chances to place the sports they love as long as they possibly can, then they need to be playing them very seriously right now.  And by seriously, I mean that in January Josh was playing baseball three times per week.

The biggest problem we run into is that John coaches Josh's team, and then helps out with Ryan's baseball and basketball teams as much as he can, so he is gone almost every night of the week.  And if by some chance we do have an unscheduled (or even sometimes scheduled) night off, he will end up staying at the office until 8:00 or 9:00 PM.

So what's the right answer?  I feel like the church side says we need to slow down and not be so scheduled, but the prepare-the-kids-for-high-school side says that the more they practice now, the better chances they will have of making the high school team.

I don't know if there is a right answer, but I know that I have to keep praying about it.  I have to ask God to show me times He wants me to slow down.  And that might not even involve anyone else in the house, just me.  And then there might be times that I need to slow the whole family down, or at least be more deliberate in making the family take time together during the time that we are all together.