Thursday, October 17, 2013

The not so good side of me!

My goal in these blogs is to be inspiring.  I had to write this to get through some thoughts in my head.  I pray that in reading it you will see my heart through my transparency.

Have you ever had these thoughts? Where are all the good people? Where are all the loyal people? Where all the people who stand up for injustice? Where are all the people who look for me and wonder where I am at? Where are all the people who are praying for me?  Maybe it is just me but these things have been wandering through my head lately. I often wonder who are the people who genuinely care. Sometimes I feel like there are some who hug me in the front but when I walk away they secretly hope I trip and fall. They compliment my kids or my family and then secretly wish we would fail. They smile silently when I go through struggles in life. Very raw emotions, wouldn't you agree?  Sometimes I think it is just me being distrusting because I have been burned.  Or maybe I am being a little on the paranoid side.  I have found myself to be more guarded over the years because I want to protect my inner circle.
 So, lately I have been doing some soul searching. I have asked the Lord more and more each day to empty me of me and fill me with more of Him. The "me" that is inside can tend to be protective, defensive, and downright ugly. But everything in my spirit longs to be more positive and encouraging, more giving, more compassionate. I desire to be to be more like Christ. You see it is easy for me to encourage those who are easy to love. I can always be happy for someone that I know is genuinely happy for me. I can always entrust what is special to me, my children, to those I know truly love them.  But it is hard for me to be nice to the one I know talked about me last week.  It is hard for me to shout for joy when someone I think is selfish and uses people rises to the top.  It is absolutely gut wrenching to entrust my kids to people who I believe don't have honest agendas.  I know some of you may feel astonished by these words but I want to be real.  If we are honest with ourselves, we all have felt this way before.  But when I think about the Lord, I am reminded of His goodness to all.  His love has no boundaries. He doesn't have favorites.  The Lord set such a great example for us. He told us to pray for our enemies and love one another as ourselves.   He was gentle to even those he knew wanted to crucify Him.   He let a man walk, sleep and eat with Him whom he knew was going to betray Him.  I can't even imagine.  I would want to call that man out and justice to be served. 
But again, I am humbled when I think about the Lord and all of His ways.  For His ways are not our ways.  I just look at my ways sometimes and hang my head down and ask for forgiveness.  There are those times when I just want to call everyone out and make them admit their wrong ways.  But then I am convicted and have to turn the mirror on myself.  I can change me.  I haven't been the best person.  I have let many people down in my life.  There are friends I keep trying to meet up with and just can't seem to find the time to do it.   There are needs I have forgotten to pray for because I got too busy.  I have forgotten birthdays.  I have gotten caught up in drama and have opened my mouth when I shouldn't have.  I have lost people in my life who I miss and think about often.  Saying I am sorry hasn't always been easy for me.   My thoughts are not always pure. What I am trying to say is that I am a work in progress.  God is constantly having to work in me so that I can put out the good stuff.   I have prayed so many prayers for God to make me more like Him.  I have even asked that He just erase what is inside of me and just start all over.   But I am reminded that He created me in His image. He doesn't create ugly.   He refines me.  He purifies me.   He gives me enough love to fill my soul till it overflows and pours out onto others.
I still believe in people.   My passion is people.   I desire relationship.   I love to see people smile and encouraged!  I have a hard time letting someone go once they have come into my life.   I love going through the different stages of life with people.   Nothing is better than experiencing babies being born, vows being said, degrees being earned, championships being won with the ones you hold close to you.  I feel people's burdens.  I do pray for them.  If you could be a fly on the wall during my prayer time you would probably laugh.  I put it all out there.  I throw tantrums and act like a 2 year old sometimes during that prayer time.  But when I am done, I am comforted to know there is still a Father who loves me like a daughter.  He disciplines me when I act like a baby.  He talks to me like a friend.
This is not the best side of me and a side that I share with caution.  I am an average, everyday woman who seeks to be made whole by the only One who truly understands me from the inside out.  When I want to give up on people I remember that God didn't give up on me.  He blesses me with the relationships I have that are built on honesty, graciousness and love.  Thank you God for mercy because I sure need it.  Have mercy on the part of me that isn't so good.  Thank you sweet Lord that in You all things are made new.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

They Are Watching

For those of you who know me, you know that I always question myself as a mom.  I always wonder if I am making the right decisions.  I am constantly seeking wisdom on decisions regarding my kids.  Sometimes when I choose to show tough love, I realize I should have reacted with gentleness.  Other times, I have been soft and figure out that I should have used the belt.  For these reasons, I usually try to not be so judging of other parents.  We all make mistakes and we all share guilt at times.  Some of us get "mother of the year" awards at times.  Others get "I barely made it through another day" awards.  None of us are perfect but in the end God chose each one of us to be the parent of our kids. 

Sometimes my kids will do things that make me fear that they will pick up some of my worst qualities.  And other times like today I think maybe Bryan and I aren't doing so bad.
I am sure you have all experienced those awkward times with your kids when they have imitated you at just the right second.  I remember Christian being impatient and vocal at a restaurant because our food didn't come fast enough.  I just had to look at Bryan because he has acted that way before.  As a parent all you can do is correct them all while giving your own self a punch in the gut.  I always have the habit of telling my kids to hold on in a very loud and frustrated tone.  And it embarrassed me to hear my oldest tell his brother those same words in a very loud voice.  I just kept thinking "Oh my! Is that how I sound?"  The truth is that they watch our every move and they hear our every spoken word.  They watch our actions and how we treat others.  So I have to ask myself just what am I instilling in my kids?

I sometimes wonder if they will end up with my stubbornness or my lack of patience.  Will they end up with my insecurities?  Will they see my faults as a mother and grow up thinking I failed them?  Will they ever know how much I love them and how much I will fight for them?  Will they ever know how many tears I have cried in prayer as I pressed in for them and for their futures?  Am I teaching them how to be strong men with gentle spirits?  I have so many questions.  But I am reminded in little God moments that I am never alone.  I keep serving my boys while keeping my convictions.  I still do many things for them.  My reasoning for this is that I want them to see how a woman should take care of the special men in her life.  But they also get to see how their Dad loves me and always puts me and them first.  I hope that they see our home as a place filled with love where each person matters and selflessly gives of themselves.  It is daily work in progress. 

We aren't the perfect family.  Our home is never spotless.  Balls are always bouncing in the house.  The corners of our walls have fingerprints on them.  Boy noises are made all day and all night long.  Toilet seat lids still get left up every once in a while.  We hardly ever eat at the kitchen table but we always eat together.  We play music and I mean all kinds of music.  We dance and we sing.  We pray every night together and everyone is comfortable in bringing the needs of others into our family prayer time.  We have many friends going through many things and I am confident in saying that the Rhodes family is praying for you.  We don't just say it lightly.  We are truly praying.  Today at church Bo had his hand on my back for almost the whole service.  As I would lift my hands in worship I would look down and see him staring at me.  He is watching me, watching every move I make.  We got up to take communion and I leaned over to my boys to tell them to not forget a few friends of ours in their prayers.  They both said they had already turned in prayer cards for them.  My heart was smiling.  As we took communion and prayed, I was brought to tears.  Actually, I think I cry every time I take communion.  I am such a baby!  In the midst of my tears, I heard someone sniffling beside me this time.  It was Bo.  He was crying too.  His eyes were filled with tears and he was rubbing my back.  I don't know what moved my precious boy but it was such a wonderful sight.  If you have read my previous blogs, you know that I love "moments."  At that moment my heart was filled with such peace.  I just know that my boys are going to be alright. 

They will have trials and they are going to walk through some valleys.  But I know that they know the One who has the answers and who holds the world in the palm of His hands.  I know they believe in the power of prayer and I know they have compassion for others.  Aren't those the two greatest commandments?  "Love the Lord with all you heart, soul and mind and love others as yourself."  There will be times when the world comes against them and people will say unkind things about them.  There will be times when the enemy comes to steal their joy.  There will be times that they question their faith and question who they are and what their purpose is.  But I hope they will always remember watching their momma with a hand raised high and another hand on their back praising the Lord for who He called them to be.

Jeremiah 1:5

New International Version (NIV)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.