La Rambla, Pocitos

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Housework: Mundane or Meaningful?

Palm Sunday's so exciting. Thousands of people paving the way - adrenaline pumping, branches waving, anticipation rising.

Then it came time for the Passover meal. Think Thanksgiving Day when it comes to the scale of preparation required, only add specific and vigorous cleaning requirements along with the food and spices that took days to prepare.

Jesus had no house. His disciples apparently had no landing place either. I would have been stressing about where to eat Passover dinner at least six months ahead of this moment, but the disciples were clearly so caught up in each thrilling moment with Jesus that they it has only just occurred to them that they had no place to go for this major holiday - just now as Jesus says to Peter and John "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it" (Luke 22:8).

The disciples had lived moment to moment with Jesus for three years, seeing food appear from nowhere and miracles surge out of messes. Now it's on them to pop out a Passover??

Hence the obvious question "where will you have us prepare it?" (along with the certain thought...where do we get the million and one things required to make this meal?!?)

Someone had prepared "a large upper room, furnished" (Luke 22:12). Someone, in the midst of all the hype of Passover week, had prepared the environment where Jesus would establish the covenant of the new Kingdom, including the establishment of communion. This person had worked for days but somehow had no guests lined up to eat there?

We have no way to know the details as to how and why, but we do know that Jesus was very aware of the preparations going on around Him. Judas was in the midst of his own devastating preparations as the unnamed person paved the way in the Upper Room for the Passover meal. Jesus was aware of it all, and it was all part of the plan.

Application: I now have a new "why" for doing housework and food prep.

As I processed these concepts, taught by my friend Paige Kolb with SureFire Prayer, something happened for which I'm pretty sure my husband will be thankful for the rest of our life together. God transformed housework (and other "trivial" things) from mundane to meaningful.

My house belongs to God. I've always believed this. I've always known that my job, together with my husband, is to take care of it, just as it is my job to take care of my body, etc etc. But housework (and also me getting exercise - how many other things could we name???) so often turned into a tension-producer. How do I juggle the busyness of it with the desire to spend time with the kids, with my husband, with God, etc?

Here's the new "why":

Cleaning my house, making food, working out and ______ (insert pretty much any seemingly trivial but necessary job here) all pave the way for God's best plans for me and my family and whoever else He brings in my door. Just as the preparer of the Upper Room had no idea what would play out after his hours of preparation, I have no idea what God will bring about in my house, in my body, etc. I want EVERYTHING He has for me. I want to be aware of what He is doing and constantly on the look-out for His gifts in each moment.

This new "why" has helped me even in the messes. For example, one day I spent all day cleaning the house, making food, inspiring children to clean (um, maybe),  and then what played out that night wasn't exactly what I had expected. But BECAUSE I had prepared all day with the right "why," disappointment gave way to the awareness to ask God what He had for me and for us in that moment and receive it instead of being frustrated with how things played out.

Peter and John were led to the Upper Room by a man carrying a pitcher of water. A man. Carrying water in that culture was women's work. How many times have I felt like what I was doing was maybe not as significant as what I knew I "could" have been doing in that moment? This guy served in the way that was required for that day, and became part of perhaps the most famous meal in history.

Sometimes all I want to do is be the front-runner in a Palm Sunday level worship fest, but instead I find myself carrying water - or maybe the other way around! Either way, in each of these moments I have the opportunity to participate in what God is doing.

Thanks, Paige, for teaching me that "preparation" comes before "manifestation." My house says thanks as well:)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Messes make way for Miracles: Learning how to fight well in the struggles of parenting

Conflict Resolution - do you know your style? Do you know your child's?

Under stress (and we've had a bit of it lately), my tendency is to become a teddy bear. "[Teddy bears] will accept blame just to bring peace to angry situations. The struggle of this style is that a teddy bear may be taken advantage of, becoming a doormat. They can enable others by not allowing them to face and wrestle with conflict" ( 

So now you know my greatest struggle in parenting - knowing how to enter into conflict with my children in a spirit of love, fighting in the right way, holding the gates of peace and righteousness open around them. 

One of the statements I wrote down at SureFire Prayer's Activate Training was this:
"The struggle - it's about how you view it.
Messes make way for miracles; family life is messy."

Our journey in emotional healing has taught us that trauma plows up the soil of our hearts to receive the seeds of deeply-rooted beliefs. Will the belief be truth from the heart of God? Truth expressed in His Word? Or will the belief be deception from the enemy, carefully disguised as truth that can be subconsciously absorbed by our hearts in moments of pain. These seeds of deception grow into strongholds - lies that, left intact, will impact us for the rest of our lives.

For most people, conflict is traumatic. Conflict stirs up emotions. Conflict is messy. Situations of conflict and stress will be the situations where my children learn from me the most - not necessarily by hearing the words coming out of my mouth, but by observing the state of my heart. My kids are especially good at seeing straight to my heart. 

All of us parents, teachers, and anyone who pours themselves into children like to visualize beautiful moments of peacefully imparting wisdom and truth into rapt and receptive minds. These moments, when they happen, are cherished memories. But perhaps not the ones that will stick with my kids the most. 

I've been struck lately by two biblical characters who didn't always jump at conflict, but knew when to dig in and hang on: Jacob and David

Jacob didn't often fight fair. He ran from his angry brother Esau and from his frustrated father-in-law. But when he found himself in an all-out physical battle with what he recognized as a messenger from God, he refused to let go until that messenger blessed him (Genesis 32). 

David was not a hothead. He waited for God time after time to lead him into conflict. But when he heard Goliath defy his God, he refused to retreat in dismay like everyone else. Instead he demonstrated God's righteous anger and went after the giant (1 Samuel 17).

When I brush conflict under the rug, or snatch control in the conflict, taking charge of cleaning up the mess myself, I do myself and my family a great disservice. God wants to use each emotionally charged moment to plant His truth deep into my heart and my children's hearts, often revealing and uprooting a formerly planted lie. 

Fighting well means receiving God's anger. Fighting well means choosing to worship, receiving battle orders in worship and prayer. With his leadership comes insight and deliverance. Fighting well means fighting together with my children against the giants - not fighting against my children. 

"Then David said to the Philistine, 'You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.'" 
1 Samuel 17:45-47