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Saturday, November 23, 2013

The difference between hearing and processing

(Nathaniel "processing" Hickory Dickory Dock)

I was reading in Revelation this morning, finished a chapter, and got maybe one thought out of it.
Sure, Revelation isn't an easy read, but aren't I just wasting my time and making it less appealing to read my Bible every day if I can't remember a thing from it?
My Dad use to ask me weekly "have you read your Bible lately?" followed up by "what did you learn?" in which I learned quickly that the two are supposed to go together.  Now being married, David and I try to do the same thing, but there's something to be said about the loving authority my Dad provided that put a little more kick in the pants to get on it!

All this got me thinking about when I listen to speakers, or even friends sharing a story, do I always process what they're saying?  Or do I zone out sometimes and pick up the gist of it? (friends, it's usually not intentional, I promise! You can't say you haven't done the same :P)

Ex 1- "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb" Rev 7:10.  It belongs to Him?  This is one of the verses I originally skimmed over.  However, having highlighted at some point in the past, I revisited it realizing I wasn't fully sure what it was saying.
Salvation is defined by the Bible as being saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Soooo it belongs to Him because it was made possible by Him.  Of course, believing and walking by faith is a choice we make and we can be thankful that a loving God who has power over everything, also has the power to forgive us of our sins.

Ex 2- Making bread.  You can't skim the recipe and expect to know exactly how to make it.  I have a friend who gave me an amazing bread recipe(you're welcome!), and unless you pay attention to the details of how long you let it rise, how much of each ingredient, will have a complete fail.
Now I have the recipe memorized, and I am even able to branch out with adding new ingredients to make it more flavorful!  But just like our relationship with God, we can't expect to know how to live like Christ by half listening.  We have to be willing to learn.  Focus.  Desire to know Him, even if that means we have to change to see Christ "more flavorfully" (new word?). 
(a slice of the amazing bread is part of a balanced diet ;))

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

12 Things I am glad they did or wish someone had told me before having Nathaniel

1.* Nap when he naps, and let others do the cooking and cleaning.
2.  Have a song/lullaby/hum to sing to your baby to sleep.  Ideally singing it while they're in you so they recognize it, but it's more to add to their routine and keep you sane.  I sing "In Christ Alone" for naps and "Dream Train"(family song) for bed.
3. Buy a bunch of reusable breast pads-they're so small, they can go in any wash of clothes, and they save money!
4.  Do NOT be afraid/ashamed to ask for help!  It truly takes a village...that's gotta be in the Bible somewhere...hah!  And this includes asking the husband.  He may have no clue what to do, but if you make him part of a routine (he changes the diaper, passes the baby to you, you feed, he rocks to sleep) it will make him feel useful in this crazy change of pace.
5. Practice writing and signing their name at least a couple times.  It is really awkward trying to sign a name at the doctor's office when the only other time you write in cursive is your own name.
6.* Make an effort to take a bath (and then a shower if you feel nasty) every day.
7. Put something over their "spicket" while changing diapers, and for boys point it down as you go to put the diaper on to be sure he doesn't pee out the side.
8. Breastfeeding can be boring.  I learned to use my phone with one hand, and have plenty of TV shows to watch while stuck in a chair feeding.  It's also good to have distraction from the soreness/pain.
9.*  Start having a date night with your spouse as soon as you're up for leaving them a couple hours.  I can't stress the importance of getting out, even when it doesn't seem worth the hassle.  A babysitter is worth it, so add that to your budget or take turns watching someone else's kid.
10.  As much as you want all the cute stuff, being prepared for them is much more simple than what  BabysRUs wants you to register for.  A car seat, place for them to sleep, some diapers, and a couple outfits are the basics if you're breastfeeding.  And hopefully you have friends you can borrow stuff from since you never know if your child will love/hate that $100 swing.  But more than likely you won't take my word for it and you'll be returning things just like I did :P.
11. Babies cry for a reason.  It's their ONLY way of communicating with you, so consider it healthy and try to solve the puzzle.  Sometimes it's as simple as needing to pass gas, or it could be they're over-tired making it that much harder to get them to sleep and stop crying.  The key is to not stress yourself out from it, and know you're NOT spoiling them by holding them and keeping them from crying.  Who can blame them for loving being in your arms where they can hear the heartbeat they've heard for 40+/- weeks, and the temperature is just right?
12. It's ok to spit up!  It's usually a sign that either they drank too much, something wasn't sitting well with them, or they're not feeling well...usually. Don't worry about making up for food lost- it's the baby's body's "I don't want that part" reaction.  Note, throw up is totally different.
*=I was graced with this knowledge beforehand


Friday, November 8, 2013

Holding to hopelessness

(photo taken by Leigh and Becca -
Observation: Complaining creates a deep hole of self pity that makes seeing Christ's love incredibly difficult.  We lose sight of Christ and our mission to love one another, and create a cycle where we only focus on ourselves and our discomfort/displeasure/discontentment. 
14 "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.' Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain." Philippians 2

Growing up, my Dad would always sing the verse-inspired song "a joyful heart makes a cheerful face (3x), do you HAVE a cheerful face?!" in which he'd get real close to our faces and usually tickle us until we did have a cheerful face. However, if we were set on being grumpy, he also would conversationally quote Phil 2:14 because the song only worked if we were partially grumpy. So I guess you could say it's a pet peeve of mine to hear someone complain- it's not shining like a star for Christ, it's holding to perceived hopelessness! 

Take Job for example:
“I loathe my very life;
    therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
    and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.
 I say to God: Do not declare me guilty,
    but tell me what charges you have against me.
3Does it please you to oppress me,
    to spurn the work of your hands,
    while you smile on the plans of the wicked."

I admire his honesty with God.  But it's with God.  Our complaining to each other or ourselves is not beneficial (there is a difference between complaining and sharing your pains with someone for help or prayer).  Job obviously was crying out to God because He is the only one that can do something about it.  Our daily situations generally have something to do with our actions (or complacency), and we have to choose whether we are going to listen to and live for Christ or stay in "woe is me" land.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other."1 Thessalonians 5:10-13

Building up and loving on those that are working hard; for you this could be your career, tending the yard, changing a diaper, spiritually encouraging one another, etc.. Building also requires a strong foundation.  If we want to grow, we have to be willing to take healthy criticism and challenge ourselves while living in Christ's hope for our lives.  A joyful heart in all we do isn't easy, but man oh man will it allow for Christ's light to shine!

"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13