Friday, September 20, 2013

Three Little Words

So all of you who read my blogs know that I have a 7th grader now.  He has gone through a lot of changes over the last several months.  He actually is quite easy to deal with right now.  He talks more maturely and of course his physical appearance has changed.  I have even seen him come out of his shell in the last year and have really enjoyed his playful personality.   Affection is a hit or miss thing with him.  He is not one to give me a hug out of the blue.  I have to initiate it and it is usually a side hug.  But he has always told me he loves me.  Most of the times he is just responding because I said it first, but nonetheless, he still says it.  I love you.  These are three simple words that hold such a huge meaning.  So naturally, hearing these words every day make me happy and content, but I didn't realize how much I take those words for granted until Christian stopped saying them.

We are in the 3rd week of school now, and since schedules have changed, I have been able to take Christian in to school each morning.  It is a short ride but we usually listen to music and talk about school or football.  Sometimes it's a silent ride if one of us is tired.  I began to notice that I would say "I love you" before he got out of the car and he would not respond.  He grabbed his lunch and his backpack and just walked into that Middle School building without looking back.  His body language did not seem disrespectful but he just left.  The first day it happened, I thought maybe he just didn't hear me or it was first day jitters.  But it happened the next day and the next and the next.  I talked to Bryan about it and first thing he asked is if anyone was around.  Bryan thought maybe he doesn't want to be embarrassed in front of  his friends.  But this was in the car before he even got out.  I chose to not confront him about it and to just keep my hurt feelings to myself.  Christian has always been buds with Bryan.  Bryan can sit and talk to him at bed time and Christian will just tell him stuff about his day.  And I get one word answers.  All those emotions began to flood in my spirit.  So I started pouting about it to myself.  I thought to myself, "Does that boy know how much I believe in him, how much I pray for him?"  Does that boy know I still wash his clothes and make his lunch?  Oh poor pitiful me!  I have to admit the pity party is self satisfying but only for a short time.

But even after all of that, I still hid my hurt.  Then it happened.  Today, September 20 at approximately 7:05 he told me he loved me.  And it was before I said it.  I was trying to keep it together as I simply responded "I love you too."  I did my best to play it so cool.  So needless to say I was on cloud nine.  I couldn't stop smiling on the way to work.  I put my praise music on and began to pray.  This is how my prayer sounded, "Lord thank you for Christian telling me he loves me.  Lord I hope he realizes how much I love him and how much he means to me..."  I suddenly stopped and was silent for a moment.  It hit me.  Tears came to my eyes and I asked for forgiveness.
How many times have I forgotten to tell the Lord I love Him?  How many times have I been ungrateful?  Here I was expecting a 12 year old to wrap his brain around all that I do for him and how much I love him.  And yet I am 35 and forget how much the Lord does for me.  He has blessed me with so much even though I fail Him daily.  He tells me He loves me everyday but sometimes I am so busy that I forget to hear His still small voice.  He is proud of me but not based on my performance.  He loves me just because I am His.  He gives me clothes on my back, a roof over my head and a feast to fill my belly with.  And yet I forget to pause and say thank you and I love you.  God must have a pity party every second, right?  But He doesn't because He understands our burdens and His grace follow us, and He forgives our sins as far as the East is from the West.

So even though I want to hear those three little words all the time from my 7th grade boy, I know to cherish the moments he says it even more.  I will hold those moments close to my heart.  Maybe something clicked in Christian's mind today.  Maybe he had a moment of compassion for me.  Whatever the reason, God's timing is perfect.  He knows just how to get to my heart.  Even if it was a brief moment of one rainy morning, my heart is full.  If I am ecstatic about those three words then I can only imagine the Lord smiling when I take the time to tell Him...
"I love you Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you.  Oh my, soul, rejoice.  Take joy my King in what you hear.  May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A little bit of Johnny. A whole lot of Humility.

I know I am a little late on this topic but I have been thinking a lot lately about this Johnny Manziel issue. First let me say that I don't know all of the facts, so die hard Aggies please don't bite my head off. I can tell you that this topic has made me think a lot lately about humility.  I feel this world could use a little more of it right now.   Humility is defined as the "quality of being modest or respectful."  Humility is hard enough for adults to get much less a college kid who is at the top of his game. Let's be real, we have all gotten caught up in our own abilities. In the same respect, we have all been knocked off of our high horse at some point or another. Getting knocked down doesn't mean we are out of the race. It just gives us a moment to dust ourselves off, take a deep breath, get back on the saddle and hopefully readjust our attitude and strategy.  Sure Manziel obviously has some things going on in his life.  In my eyes, I see a young man who is in the spotlight and may be caught up in the moment.  But he is also a young man with loads of talent who is still in the game and hopefully will come out a changed person through all of this.  In all honesty, who doesn't like a little spotlight from time to time?  Who doesn't enjoy being complimented?  What college kid hasn't acted irresponsibly at times?

I think success is great!  We all want to achieve certain goals whether it be a promotion on a job or holding a high position in a certain club or sport.  We all have our own definition of success.  I believe striving for those things is great.  It can be personally rewarding when your drive and passion get you to the next level.  The problem comes in when you step on people to get where you want to be, or you get caught up in your own glory.  You find yourself developing the "I" attitude.  You start becoming bigger than your own shoes.  I always ask the Lord for promotion but I also ask him to give it to me when the time is right and when I am ready to handle it.  I have had those moments when I have gotten caught up in positions and titles and started to look at all "I" had done.  Instead I should have been relying on God to place me where He wants me to be. That is tough to admit and maybe that is a pride issue, but it is the absolute truth.  I have found that when I think I know it all, I leave no room for the plans God has for me.  But in the times I have been patient and asked the Lord to bless the gifts and talents he equipped me with, I have been way more successful. 

I have said before that one of my regular prayers has always been that my kids would be successful by the Lord's standards and not by the world's standards.  Sometimes that it hard to understand.  You sometimes might find yourself in a place that everyone else may think is second best when indeed you are right where you need to be for God to do some amazing things in your life.  The world doesn't see the big picture but God does.  Hold on to His promises.  Jeremiah 29:11 reads " For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Prosperity may look different for all of us but the good thing is that God doesn't have favorites.  He plans to prosper all of His children.

I do believe that success is easier to handle if you exemplify humility.  You realize that your success came from more people than just you.  God equipped you.  And just maybe someone opened a door for you, someone took a chance on you, someone fought for you, or someone believed in you.  Manziel didn't get where he is at today without dedicated parents, committed teachers, devoted coaches and self-discipline.  Is he caught up in the moment?  That is a matter of opinion.  Some will say yes that he is a over-indulged, cocky kid whose head has swollen up twice the size of his body.  Others will say he is a normal college athlete playing his game to the best of his ability and a little trash talking on the field is nothing to be crucified over.  However you look at it, a little dose of humility can go a long way.

If he were my son I would probably knock him upside the head and bring him back down to reality.  I would tell him to practice a little modesty while his life is being lived out in front of millions.  I would tell him to humble himself before the Lord and let the Lord bring justice to the situation.  But I would defend my son to the world.  I would protect him from anyone who would cause him harm.  I would tell him that I am on his side.  If he was wrong I would tell him and ask him to make it right.  But I would be in his corner because that is what a mom and father is suppose to do.  I would tell Him that God isn't finished with him yet and that He has a purpose.  I would tell my son to get back on that field with a whole lot of humility and a heck of a lot of God's grace.

We will see more of Johnny's life unfold, I am sure.  I hope there is more good than bad to come out of this.  I am so thankful that when we mess up that God doesn't let it end there.  I am thankful for the valleys I have seen because they make the mountains all that more breathtaking.  I give God all the credit for my promotions and thank Him for helping me understand the times I was "overlooked." I am thankful that I can rejoice when I get the trophy.  But I can also smile when I get second place because I know I left it all out on the field.   My paths haven't always been straight but it is refreshing to know that I can get back on the path with fresh eyes and an open heart to learn from my mistakes.  And never do I walk my path alone.  God sends people along the way to walk with me and He sends those who will be in my corner no matter what I face.  God is also on my path leading and guiding my footsteps.  I hope that myself and my boys will go through life with humble spirits so that we can take on the challenges life can bring and have faith that God has a perfect time for every advancement.

1 Peter 5:5-6
You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,