Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Memories

We spent the evening at my Moms celebrating her birthday.  It was a wonderful evening.  We had spaghetti of course... We are the Henley women after all... And after dinner the kids retreated to their room and the boys to the living room.  My Mom, sister and I stayed on the couch in her den and looked at old family photos on the computer for hours.
   Those photos brought back so many memories.  Of times gone by... Of people who were no longer here, and of the lives we once inhabited.  I would not trade now for then in a million years.. Life without my husband and babies is no life at all... But I was a little sad while looking for a lot of different reasons.  
   The people in these pictures were so close.  We spent time together... Real time where we sat and just talked. We spent hours at the park or cookouts.  We would spend days just sitting on the porch talking.  There weren't any distractions, we were just being us.  
  I realized that those people and those times had past us, and that this generation, the generation of my mother and my sisters and our families... Were the upcoming generations expected to carry on traditions and make some memories of our own. Why is it so different now? 
   I know a lot is because my perception has changed.  When I was a little girl my Papaw used to take me to a service station that sold ice cream by the scoop. I thought that was the greatest place in the world.  Now my infrequent visits prove to be far less impressive.. But I can remember the excitement that I once felt just by the smell of a garage.  We lose so much when we step out of that glorious world of childhood.  
   But I think it's more than that.  
   My sister said that it was probably because people are just too busy.  Maybe that's it.  More than likely not... Those people on those photos worked 40 or more hours per week and still found time just to spend together.  But then... Time was so much slower somehow. People were less rushed.  
  My husband checked his email as we were pulling out of a service station the other day. I asked him if anything could possibly be too important to wait for.  I think that we are conditioned to rush things.  To hurry things.  Instant gratification makes waiting seem like such a waste of time.  We want things now and that's what we are used too whether we realize it or not.  
   I look in the faces of those people in my photos... And although I'm not sure that The Lord will tarry his coming long enough for my photos to be the old family photos... But of they are I pray that one day my kids will look on those photos with fondness and hope for a better world.  Not one where people stare at screens when they visit or live their lives from one Facebook like to the next.  I pray my kids will remember what it really felt like... And that it would draw their hearts to a familiar place called home as it does mine to see them.  
  I have prayed for this.. And possibly this is why I struggle so much with Facebook.  It's hard for me to live a life that's so artificial.  It seems like in denying my children those warm feelings.  
   I have to fight the feelings of desire for instant gratification everyday. I'm just as used to it as anyone else... I've grown up in the era of get it now..I just have to turn my heart to reality... Something that is harder to grasp everyday... I can't focus on the life that I can create for myself... I need to focus on the life right in front of me.  Sometimes God had plans we can't see because we see the moment and he is dealing with eternity.  So I pray to learn the value of a moment... The power of a memory, and the importance of slowing down and seeing what you can see if you talk a slower walk.  Not all who wander are lost... After all.





Friday, April 25, 2014

A Purpose

 How much do we know about King Soloman? Well in 1 Kings 10:27 it says "The King made silver to be as stones.." So we know he was incredibly wealthy.  We also know he was a man of great wisdom because of all the things he could ask he asked God for wisdom.  He also wrote the book of Proverbs which is a guiding light to Christians all through history... Filled with great wisdom.  
   So knowing this man had incredible wealth would lead you to believe he kept some of that heavily guarded.  However... Listen to King Solomans advice in Proverbs 4:23... "Keep the heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life."  All the wealth to guard and Soloman saw the most important thing to guard was our own hearts.  This has been the biggest struggle to most Christians all throughout history.  It is especially a difficult task to undertake today..
   I have struggled a lot with that recently. When God created us he had a distinct purpose for our life... A specific calling in our life that he designed us for.  Here's the thing that most people don't get.  That purpose was intended to make us more Holy.  Does that make sense? Not to make us wealthy or immensely happy all of the time although there is nothing more fulfilling than living out our intended purpose... God created us with our talents and our calling to shape is into the person that he wanted us to become.  My favorite verse of Away in a Manger ends with... "To fit us for Heaven to love with thee there."  God is using our talents in this world to direct people toward him, to disciple and shepheard, but he's also fitting us for Heaven.  
  Are you following me?
  This knowledge had became the most life changing thing I have ever came to realize.  It changed the way I looked at life.  I believed that to find Gods purpose for my life would be to stumble on something that came natural to me.  Something that I just did and was great at all the time.  Then I read Romans 12: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  2: and be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  
  My husband gave me that advice weeks ago.  He said that true service to God is sacrificial. I had been too egocentric before to see it in that light. True service cannot come without sacrificing a part of yourself.  Be it your time, your money, your own will or even your comfort.  True service is sacrificial.  
   That meant so much to me because I know in my heart that God has called me to be Mommy to these four amazing children.  The reason that it meant so much to me to know this however was because being Mommy is not easy.  It does Not come naturally.  I'm not just good at it.  It's absolutely without a shadow of a doubt the hardest thing I've ever done, and the most sacrificial thing I have ever done... But I know that it's Gods will.  I know this.  
   There are six people living in this house... And three of them are under the age of 8.  There's lots of messes... Lots of mouths to feed.. Lots of talents to encourage and tempers to control.  Lots of lessons to teach and boo boos to kiss, teeth to brush and lunch boxes to pack.  No.. This isn't easy.  But it has changed me.  Each time I sacrifice even an ounce of myself for the others in my life... I grow closer to Gods heart.  Each time I take time not only to teach my kids but to disciple them... I feel the fullness of God restored in my life.  This is the hardest thing I've ever done, and lots could argue that honestly I'm just not very good at it.  But this has changed me.  This grows me.  This brings me closer to God and shapes my heart to look more like his.  This.. Is Gods calling on my life, because through this I see him working.. Through this I find myself begging for him just to carry me.  Through this I find myself leaning on him the most and struggling to tame my heart into sacrificial service over serving myself.  Through this I become more Christlike.  Through this... I become me.
  I struggle the most to turn my heart toward home, because Satan knows that is the calling that God placed on my life and he's not about to give up.  Five lives hang in the balance of my obedience... And five lives poses a real threat to his work in this world... So he's not about to give up without a fight.  He knows the things he can place in my life to distract me and turn my heart away.  It's my choice whether or not I allow that.  Whether it's something that he's going to put in my life to hurt my marriage or just distract me from my purpose, he knows. He's far more intelligent than we ever want to give him credit for. Temptation will always be there.  It my choice whether or not I give in.  
   So find your calling and don't for one second assume that it will be easy.  Know that it's going to be difficult.. And follow God anyway.  Allow him to transform your heart, and above all else, protect it and keep your treasures for His purposes.