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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why I Want To Be More Like My Needy Kids

I know I'm about to be interrupted when I hear the familiar cadence of small feet pounding down the hallway over the spray of the shower.

Seconds later the garbled voice of a seven-year-old enthusiastically erupts just outside the bathroom door.

"What's that buddy?' I pull the shower curtain back and lean out, creating a puddle on the tile floor outside the tub.

"Mom! Violet just told Benny he should put the milk bottles in the stream!"

"Oh, that's great - you love that part!"

Message delivered, my son retreats to his movie and I get back to my shampoo routine.

Half amused and half annoyed I wonder, 'why on earth would he run all the way down here to tell me that? He knows I'm in the shower. Why did he feel the need to tell me that right now?'

I have only just reached for conditioner when a different child (who has learned the art of plastering his lips to the crack at the bottom of the door and deepening his four year old voice for maximum volume) thunders at me, "MOM! I NEED GUMMY WORMS...NOW!"

I actually burst into laughter at his urgency and match his tone of voice with my own good-natured shout, "YOU CAN HAVE SOME...WHEN I AM FINISHED TAKING A SHOWER!"

At this stage of life, getting interrupted multiple times during a 10 minute shower is par for the course. And my capacity to respond lovingly to these hundreds of requests throughout the day is limited. More often than not I pay half-attention to the tales my kids s l o w l y tell me and I am unnerved by their endless requests for more snacks, another book, a spot in my lap and help cutting their food.

I rinse out my hair and wrap up in a towel still marveling at the way they come to me for everything. At the way their tiny bodies come undone by their emotions and explode onto me with regularity. Their highs and lows, their good and bad. They come and offer their hearts. They ask me to help make sense of their world. To meet their needs. To take joy in what they find delightful and to commiserate with their sorrows. It simply never occurred to my son that I might not care about the movie scene that had just delighted him. That I might be too busy to pay him attention. Or that I might not be in a position to provide gummy worms from the shower.

He instinctively takes his heart to the one he trusts with it. 

Isn't this just the way our heavenly Father wants us to approach him? Hebrews 4:16 says, "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.' 

God actually wants me to be more like my needy kids in prayer.

To come boldly to him and assume he is ready and waiting to hear my heart. To know unquestioningly that he cares about my needs and enjoys when I lay them before him (even when they are as frivolous and fleeting as GUMMY WORMS NOW.) To approach him with confidence no matter the subject or the time.

And unlike me, our God is never too busy for his kids. Our Father is never uninterested, never preoccupied with weightier matters, never bound by such earthly things as time and space. Psalm 116:2 actually says, "because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath." 

Can you even picture that? The God of the universe bending down to listen to you? Like a tender mother who kneels face-to-face to listen to her child, God eagerly attends to our prayers.

I want to carry that picture in my heart forever. I want to always remember Elijah shouting his favorite movie scene through the bathroom door and to memorize the sound of Ben's impertinent demand for gummy worms. In place of my imperfect self, I want to imagine the perfect God of the galaxy, filled with joy as I bring him my heart, bending down closer to hear me completely. In the place of my children I want to imagine myself. Freely and boldly approaching my heavenly Father, confident that in his presence I will find grace to help me when I need it most.

Do you know that God delights in your prayers? That like a perfect parent he takes joy in his kids and  stands at the ready to meet their needs?

How can you be more like your kids as you approach your heavenly Father today?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

34 Things I've Learned in 34 Years

Last week I turned 34.

Being 14 was terrifying and being 24 was super cool (I was pretty sure I was at my peak.) But I'm discovering that being firmly ensconced in my thirties is actually pretty awesome. Every year I feel like I'm a little bit closer to understanding the person God created Katie to be. I sure hope that's always the case.

Without further adieu, I give you 34 things it has taken me 34 years to learn.

1. I'm not the boss of me.
2. Always stretch after leg day.
3. It's okay to pursue things I'm not already awesome at. I might even get good at them.
4. The key to great homemade pizza is a cast iron pan and a really hot oven.
5. I'm not the best at following through on DIY projects. (See #3)
6. Fresh flowers can make the whole house beautiful.
7. Good sex and a good night's sleep can cure many many problems.
8. It's okay to fail.
9. They're probably not laughing at me. And if they are? Oh well.
10. My in-laws are some of the most generous people on the planet, be grateful.
11. Black is a good color on me.
12. I did good on BJ. He may be my best decision yet.
13. Most people don't care about semantics the way I do.
14. Life is too short to drink bad coffee.
15. Always have two books on hand: something funny and something smart.
16. I owe far more of my life to God's grace and my parent's prayers than to my own efforts.
17. I am a window seat person.
18. I need someone older and wiser around pouring into me and also someone younger to pour into.
19. Some plants need a lot of water. Some plants need very little. I'll never learn which is which.
20. Order the dang cheeseburger.
21. It's okay to be wrong once in a while.
22. A kind word is a gift. A kind note is a gift that can be opened again and again.
23. Motherhood is a most daunting and transformative experience.
24. Nobody notices my flaws like I do.
25. I love to dance.
26. A happy heart is the most beautiful make-up.
27. Say sorry. It hurts but it's worth it.
28. Talking about Jesus gives me life, I ought to do it often.
29. I can write. I should use this gift because I feel called to write, not because I want to be read.
30. Going for a walk will beat back the blues 9 times out of 10.
31. Some people are naturally quiet. I don't need to try and make them loud like me.
32. Spring for the good sheets and the good towels.
33. My family is a ridiculous gift.
34. When I open up my hands a little life gets a lot more interesting.

What lessons has life taught you lately?
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