We Leave Things Out

Posted by on Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017 in Blog | 1 comment

When my kids were toddlers, Steve and I presented each of them in a what our faith tradition called a baby dedication. Many bible churches enact baby dedication instead of baby baptism. Baptism is saved for when the child is of age to declare Jesus as their Savior. Baby dedications are rooted in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 and in the fact that Mary and Joseph dedicated Jesus at the Temple. On a Baby Dedication Sunday we would take our child on stage alongside other parents and their children. The pastor would lead the parents and congregation through a ceremony of commitment to raise our children in God’s Word and in his ways. The pastor might say something like; “In 1 Samuel 1 Hannah presented her son to the Lord. In Luke 2:22 we read Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to present him before the Lord. In the same way, Jackie and Steve bring Hunter to be presented before the Lord our God and commit to raising Hunter in God’s Word and ways.” It was a lovely time, a moment when as a parent you felt full of hope and anticipation for your child’s future. Then I read Luke 2:22-35, once again surprised that Scripture isn’t as sanitized as we’ve made it. Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord… At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,  “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,     as you have promised. I have seen your salvation,     which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations,     and he is the glory of your people Israel!” Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Simeon then blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very...

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Living In The Circle

Posted by on Monday, Dec 1, 2014 in Blog | 4 comments

Like most working moms, my every minute was accounted for. Over those years I grabbed any advice that might achieve that allusive balance between work and family. It was the advice from a woman – Jill Briscoe – a preacher, wife, mother, grandmother, author, radio host, etc., that ended my chase. In my Christian circle I learned priorities go as such: God, Husband, Kids, Work. A list. But Jill spoke of a circle. “Every morning I wake and ask Jesus ‘Which family today, Lord?’” she says. There are ah-ha moments in life and this was one of them. I got out a napkin and drew a circle—more like a spoke wheel with God in the center and everyone else on a spoke. It made sense. It meant reliance on Jesus every day—all day. And when I thought about it, we really don’t live the list. Who puts their husband first when their kid is upstairs puking all night long? Over the years Jesus would say, “Go. Preach the Word” which meant missing the kids sports games, school plays and or school Christmas parties. That advice – “which family?”- was an anchor in those times. I’ve been living in a circle sense. Now my kids are grown and out of the home but there are still times I ask -“Which family today Lord?” Sunday at 8:50 I found myself asking. I was headed on a three-week trip to East Africa. While there I would research four East African organizations that transformed the view of women and girls in their communities. My question for them was what, if any, were the contributing factors for their success? My suitcase was packed. My backpack ready. Errands completed. Christmas prep done. Doggy care finalized. At 6:25 PM I would load a plane from Dallas to London – London to Uganda. But there was a text that came in the middle of the night. It was from one of my children. There had been a rupture in their life. He’s old enough and mature enough to handle it. (Sometimes we mother’s don’t let our kids grow up.) But I couldn’t settle. Something was nagging me. Maybe it was all those times I had missed and I didn’t want to miss again. Maybe it was just a mother’s ache for her child. A professor once said he believed Genesis 3:16 – I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. – meant a mother’s ache for her kids would be till death do her part. Not sure if his translation is correct but I do know it’s true in real life. Or – maybe the nagging within was from the...

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Mothers Wonder if Any of it Sticks

Posted by on Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

We took them to an unsafe country. It was just after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. Hunter was 15, Hampton 13 and Madison was 11 (picture above). We took them to Yei Sudan (which is now South Sudan). No running water. No electricity. No comfort. No roof on the house. Not easy. But my kids loved it. We took our kids because we wanted them to see a global God – not just a  wealthy, white suburban God – but a God who cares deeply for the whole world, especially the poor and marginalized. Our prayer? That they would “catch” God’s heart and make it their own. Then teenage years came and went- I wasn’t sure any of that exposure matter. You know how that happens? You work so hard to instill certain things in your kids and as they grow older you wonder if any of it stuck? Shortly after our trip in 2005 Steve founded Water is Basic (empowering locals in South Sudan in the fight for clean water.) For the next seven years -while my kids were in junior high, high school and college – their dad traveled to Africa serving the poor and marginalized. I wondered if they noticed. Now Water is Basic is one of the most successful water companies in South Sudan – over 500 wells – thousands and thousands of kids, moms and dads kept alive because of clean water. My kids never saw any of it. It’s 2014 –  all our kids are in their early twenties. Steve and I felt like it was time – time for them to go back – they needed to go back, to be reminded, to be re-exposed. Every parents decides how they will spend their money – private school, college, cars, clothing, vacations – we all make decisions. For us, taking our kids would be a huge financial investment – but that’s just how we saw it – an investment. Not one that would produce monetary dividends but dividends none the less – in their heart, mind and soul. Our hope – the re-exposure would remind them of their responsibility to give their lives to those in need. We took Hunter and his girlfriend last November. (Yes, girlfriend. I’ve often thought geeh, once our kids get married we will have to bring their spouses – after all they will benefit from knowing where and how their partners heart developed for the marginalized.) It wasn’t his first time back since 2005 – he had gone again in 2006  to work on a documentary about women’s empowerment and again when he was 17 to build internet cafes in Rwanda and Uganda but it was time...

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They Are Together

Posted by on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

I cried at their text. This picture is a far cry from all the times Steve and I were called home from work to referee their sibling brawls. Like the time Steve was called out of an elder meeting and I had to leave my teaching at a woman’s bible study. Hunter pulled a gun (okay it was a bebe gun but a gun none-the-less) on Hampton. Madison was so upset she waved a knife screaming for them to stop fighting. In their disbelief the boys looked at her and said, “Are you stupid? You don’t bring a knife into a fight to stop a fight!” Perhaps now you understand why I cried when the kids sent me this text pic. A picture of my three college-age kids who have chosen to live near one another this summer. Chosen to live near each other. More than once I had wondered if anything we valued or thought or taught was sinking in. Can you relate? But here they are choosing to live near one another. Somewhere along the way it sunk in… community … family, whether that be kin or honorable kin, is important. Important enough to impact life decisions. The prestigious journal American Psychologist tells us community is crucial for our well-being. One researcher pointed out that “virtually every study on human happiness reveals that satisfying close relationships constitute the very best thing in life. There is nothing people consider more meaningful and essential to their mental and physical well-being than their close relationships with other people.” I love it. That’s just science proving what God said long ago. Remember in the book of Ecclesiastes He said, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to the one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.” My kids are getting it! In all those years of parenting something stuck. Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to portray a “happily ever after story.”That’s not honest or real. In fact, at the end of that evening one kid left mad at the other. That’s part of being family isn’t it? And my kids get that too. They have continued to chose to live near each other. At times family dukes it out other times we break bread but regardless we stick. My kids are getting it. And everyone once in a while God sends us parents a text reminding us to keep at it. To continue instilling values because sooner or later something sticks. That’s why the text made me...

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Made to Control Mankind

Posted by on Monday, Nov 12, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

This past week I had work in Austin. I decided to stay on a few days to hang with my boys Hunter and Hampton. One evening I found myself sitting in Hampton’s living room with several other college guys. They were watching football, drinking a few beers and babbling “boy talk.” Quietly, I sat on the little blue rocker. It’s awkward to join your college age son’s and their friends in their homes. It’s a new adjustment. Mother’s of kids at college be encouraged. Among all the figuring out who they are they are still talking about faith (even though they don’t want us to know it). Mother’s of kids at college be encouraged. Among all the figuring out who they are they are still talking about faith (even though they don’t want us to know it).     What I found fascinating was how quickly the conversation went from “boy babble” to serious life issues and questions. It started when one guy asked me why girls don’t engage in serious discussions about subjects like philosophy, science and religion. I responded that perhaps it’s because they rarely heard their mother’s dialogue about such things. And then there’s the case that girls tend to “dumby down” when around boys, particularly a boy they like. Somehow it moved from there to science and religion. One guy stated he thought religion was a manmade concept created to keep humans from destroying each other. He cited the Ten Commandments as being one of those manmade societal controls. That’s when I piped in. Really? Then what do you do about the fact that the Commandments came after the Exodus? Meaning prior to the Exodus Jacob’s family went down into Egypt as a small community (approximately 70 people) that grew into a society of over a million. They lived as a large society prior to the Ten Commandments. Without the “controls” they flourished into a million. Then I proceeded to ask what if the Commandment’s weren’t about control so much as showing God? What if they communicate who God is and how he longs for his people to live well? For example, when God said, “do not commit adultery”… what if he was saying something like, “Hey it would do your relationship well if you didn’t have sex with his wife…or steal his chicken etc.” God showed who he was and how we are to live well through the Commandments. That’s different than simply keeping us from destroying one another. But what stole my breath…again…was their response when I brought up the name of Jesus. It was obvious these guys weren’t pro organized religion but they weren’t anti Jesus either. I know because they got...

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