Monday, January 29, 2007

An Audrey-ism

No earthly pursuit has been more challenging and rewarding than being a Momma. Though there are times that I feel at the end of my rope, there are even more times that I am overcome with gratitude to the Lord and amazement that He would entrust such precious hearts to my care and leadership. One of the great privileges in this is observing the waxing of their little personalities and giftings. I often catch a glimpse into Audrey's gift of being a wordsmith. She delights us with words and thoughts beyond her years. And, much to our surprise, she often uses them correctly!

Earlier this morning, she also revealed her leanings towards theology. As we were practicing writing her name (and my name and Matt's), she decided to write a message for me (something I call an Audrey-ism). She presented a piece of cardboard full of A's, O's and H's (see below) and proceeded to translate it. She said, "Mommy, this says: Jesus came to save. The day is done of death (pronounced "deaf")." I loved it! My little theologian in the making :)

"1And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But[b] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:1 - 6

Indeed...Jesus came to save. The day is done of death!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Six-Letter Word

We've all heard of four-letter words. You know, the ones we swear we never use (no pun intended) - aloud, at least; or, only when the occasion calls for it - like when we stub our toe, or when we miss a car wreck by milliseconds, or when we're surprised by our husbands who jump out of a closet at us when we think we're home alone, scaring the kitten we're carrying in our bare arms that then proceeds to claw it's way on top of our heads leaving a trail of scratches and scrapes that rivals the result of a rumble with a barbed-wire fence. Not that anything like that has ever happened to me - I've just heard of it happening to someone, somewhere. I dunno.

So, we've established that most of us are familiar with four-letter words, but I propose that there is a six-letter word that is just as controversial, just as cacophonous. That word is SUBMIT. Or, to the prudish, S*****. What's funny is that I keep running across this word over and over again. It lunges at me from behind booths at restaurants and hunts me down in the midst of a populous coffee house. It knows no appropriate time or place - it lacks tact. It even waltzes nonchalantly into my living room while I am spending much needed time with the Lord. How dare it.

Finally, I got to the point that I simply let it come in and sit down with me for a spell. I dove straight in. No fluffy answers. No "how's the weather." I prodded and poked it. I asked it questions on end, never knowing that I was setting up my own inquisition. It answered my questions with questions of its own. Questions that caused me to search deep into my heart - to look nakedly at my own motivations. We finally came to an agreement. In truth, it won. Not even a compromise. Submit - 1, me - 0. I'm actually starting to like it. It's becoming more of a friend to me. It has changed my marriage. It has changed how I interact with others. It has changed how I relate to the Lord. It has changed me.

Now, I can't stop using that six-letter word. I know, I know, just call me foul-mouthed. But I won't apologize for it anymore. Actually, I find myself using it with others. Here's an email I wrote to a friend. Don't let it scare you too much....

"I had a great time chatting with you tonight. Thanks for being so candid with me. I think you're at a beautiful place - difficult - but beautiful. There's a book called Sacred Marriage...the subtitle of that book has spoken volumes to me...Is marriage for our happiness or our holiness? I have learned that marriage is what the Lord chose for me to know Him more intimately...and as an incredibly wonderful by-product, I get to share life with my best friend...we hurt each other but we love each other...there's no other person I would rather be with...ever! I have found no greater earthly joy.

I pray that the Lord gives you a tender heart...a heart full of grace...a heart ready to trust and obey. I know that only He can do that in you. I highly recommend the book by Carolyn Mahaney called "Feminine Appeal." It has a little bit to do with being a mom..but mostly to do with being a wife and simply a godly woman. Here's a passage of Scripture that the Lord has been laying on my heart heavily lately...

"1(A)In the same way, you wives, (B)be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be (C)won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
2as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
3(D)Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;
4but let it be (E)the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
5For in this way in former times the holy women also, (F)who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;
6just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, (G)calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right (H)without being frightened by any fear. (1 Peter 3:1 - 6)"

I know a lot of those words are frightening and can cause our hairs to bristle a bit, but there is true freedom in them. We can't control our husbands, but we can ask for grace to love Jesus so much that we trust Him in any circumstance...even if we feel our husbands aren't fulfilling their God-ordained duty or if they aren't loving us in the way we want to be loved or if they stumble. There is just something breathtaking about a woman who is clothed in peace and gentleness....a woman who, though her future is uncertain and her present not picture-perfect, can stare fear in the face and be overcome with serenity. Lord, help me to be that woman!

I hope this makes sense. I in no way advocate a door-mat submissiveness but rather a "trust and obey" submissiveness. That we would trust that the Lord has our best in mind and submit to His will and His word. I am praying for you and I loved hearing your heart! I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do!"

Apparently, even email isn't immune to the six-letter word. No place is safe. Be assured, my friend, it is coming for you.

With much love,
Your Foul-Mouthed Friend

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Christmas

I know I'm about a month late on this one but I thought it would be fun to post some pictures from Christmas 2006. Each year becomes more fun and more meaningful. I love seeing Audrey starting to grasp what Christmas is truly about. She still asks for everything she sees on a commercial for Christmas but at least she has a glimpse of something more in the ultimate gift of God's Son. I pray she and Reid see that more clearly each year.




Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Pleasant Surprise

It never fails that when the weatherman says "snow," there will be no snow. But when he says "no snow," you wake up with the pleasant surprise of a blanket of white. So was the story this morning!

This is where I found Audrey when I woke up...


She had taken a chair from our dining room and scooted it right beside the window so she could watch the snow fall while she ate her cereal.

Here's the picture she took from that vantage point...




Enjoy the snow!!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Whispers and the Hard of Hearing

I think I might be hard of hearing. Not completely deaf but I must be close. Maybe a little bit like someone you have to repeat everything you say once or twice because the first time you say it they look at you blankly and say, "huh??"

What led to this conclusion was the fact that when God really wants me to hear something He whispers it over and over again. Usually it starts with a conversation with a friend, Scripture, or some obscure phrase in the middle of a sentence in the middle of a chapter in the middle of a good (or even not-so-good) book. The most recent instance goes like this...

Last week I began my second round of a step study written by Celebrate Recovery. It's an intense journey of gut-level honesty that is based on eight principles (and twelve steps) from The Beatitudes. As I answered the questions for the first "step," I realized I had not yet let go of some of my heart's desires. One of the questions asked, "what is worrying you right now?" Off the top of my head, I couldn't think of anything. I remember thinking, "surely there's something I'm worrying about!"

Pondering that question, this small voice inside me said, "You know what you're worrying about...you're worrying that since you're a mother now of two small children who need constant attention and care that you will somehow miss out on the things you want to accomplish."

I immediately protested, "I can't write that down! That's not a noble thing to worry about! I should put that I worry about my children's safety, or my husband's health, or the children of parents dying of AIDS in poverty-stricken Africa! Not that I'm a completely self-absorbed person that is worried about missing out on the things I want to do instead of loving and shepherding my children and their precious hearts! Eck!!"

Alas, the latter is much more true than the former. And thus, whisper #1: I have failed to trust the Lord with the desires of my heart. I have chosen to delight in the temporary, not in the eternal.

Whisper #2 came only hours later. I keep letters and birthday cards in the drawer of my nightstand. Every now and then I enjoy reading them. Some provide encouragement and others serve as reminders of where I've been and where I'm headed. I picked up a friend's email that was so profound that I had to print it out and store it in my sacred nightstand. The email, dated two years ago, spoke more clearly to me where I am today than where I was the moment I first read it. My friend describes herself as a "lady in waiting" - waiting on the Lord to show her the next step in her journey with Him while being faithful with what is in front of her at the moment. She explains how she "reluctantly, with fear and trembling, gave Him back" a dream that He had given her as a child. He, in turn, has given her a dream right back - His dream - a new dream that includes the old.

As I read the email again, my heart soared, "Lord, you know my heart. You have given me these desires. You will fulfill them in the way YOU see fit, not how I think things should go. What is before me is to love and shepherd the hearts of my children - to impart your Word to them. Help me to trust You, to delight in You, to know that You are the very Author of these desires."

That brings me to this morning. As I sat down to read my devotion for today, the words leapt from the page, "Day Nineteen, 'Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (Ps. 37:4)'." Whisper #3.

In the third paragraph, the writer states, "As we make ourselves available to delight in God, He slowly revolutionizes our approach to finding fulfillment. Those who seek to delight in the Lord will utlimately develop a delightful relationship with Him; however, by the time God makes Himself the seeker's delight, the once self-seeking treasure hunter has been transformed."

She goes on, "Anyone who truly delights in the Lord will one day realize that God has become the desire of her heart. When He is our delight, we begin to want what He wants. We come to trust His best for us. When we struggle with self-seeking desires, we hit our knees in prayer. We become wise enough to ask Him to overrule any desire that would ultimately betray us. We no longer want anything that lacks His approval."

Amen! My heart couldn't have expressed it any better than the writer had! Thank you for your whispers, God! I've now decided to be a bit softer on myself. Not on the part of me that is self-seeking and untrusting, but the part that hears the same message from the Lord over and over again. Maybe it's not my hearing. Maybe it's that the Lord is so gracious and loving that He wants to prove how patient He is and how He longs for me to know HIS desire for me - to make Himself my only desire.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ariel's Banity

Everyone knows that King David was considered a man after God's own heart, right? Well, my sweet little Audrey is a girl after her Momma's own heart! For Christmas, her Gigi (my mom's mom), gave her $20 to buy any toy she wanted (any toy that cost less than $20, of course). And she came away with a steal! Four dollars left to boot!

Here's what happened...

After a quick trip to the gym (I say quick because I am grossly out of shape and can only last about 30 minutes until I feel nauseous), we all headed to the neighborhood mecca...Super Target. Searching aisle by aisle, we finally spotted a deal. Sitting quietly on the very top shelf on the very last aisle was a Little Mermaid Talking Vanity. Or, as Audrey calls it, an "Ariel Banity"...the SLP (speech-language pathologist) in me corrects her every time, but the mom in me says, ah, she can't say it forever.

I digress. Anyway...

Precariously perched on my tiptoes, I reach for the deceptively heavy box and gently place it in our cart. Audrey and Reid cry for joy and we head to check out. As we near the counter, I notice that though the vanity is on clearance, it costs $29.98. So I tell Audrey that I will make up the difference. Upon arriving at the checkout counter, Audrey readies her $20 bill. The Target associate and I finally locate the bar code, she scans it and to our surprise reveals that the "banity" had been marked down again. Our total? $16.04. Victory! Audrey, like her momma, has experienced her first episode of the bargain shopper.

I included a few pictures of the spoils...



Momma working hard.



Audrey enjoying her new Ariel Banity!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Them Chandlers enter the blogosphere...

Okay. I finally caved in. Stephanie, your blog is simply too cute and too inspiring (bet you never thought that!) to resist any longer. This is officially the first post of hopefully many from the world of Them Chandlers. I have to explain the name...as I tried, for hours, to come up with a url name that had not been taken, I finally resorted to "themchandlers" which was originally meant to read The M. Chandlers...as in, the Matt Chandlers. But to my surprise, I found that Them Chandlers is much catchier. :)

I will try my best to stay updated with pictures and such. Please have grace on me!


Love,
Lauren



This is the Christmas photo I should have sent....definitely more accurately reflecting our family...



And this is the one we actually sent! Merry Christmas :)