Sleep Baby Sleep

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31

I haven’t slept in over a year. Some days I am tempted to tape my eyelids open. It’s my son Justice. He’s just not a sleeper. If you’re a mom you know just how many sleep “experts” there are out there and varying opinions of how to help your baby sleep through the live long night. Have you read author Ava Neyer’s take on sleep training? It’s hilarious because it’s true – no matter what the so-called experts say, some babies just don’t sleep. End of story.

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It's in the Simple Things; Or is it?

How clearly the sky reveals God's glory!
    How plainly it shows what he has done!–Psalm 19:1

It’s not uncommon for my son Justice, to wake up from his nightly slumber, clapping his hands and grinning at the start of a new day. From his crib, his baby browns scan his room, his whole face smiles as he glances from his toys to his pictures and room décor.

Throughout each day, he’s likely to dance with gusto to his favorite Motown hits playing in our home. While running around outside, he waves to helicopters flying overhead and behaves as a mocking bird when the crows perch themselves in the tree above, caw-cawing along with them. He flails his arms with excitement at the sight of food he so enjoys to eat. And he gets the giggles when it rains.

Recently I said to a friend, “It’s in the simple, everyday things Justice finds his greatest joy.”

And then it struck me like an Easter bonnet on a church lady.

Simple.

Are the birds, rain, the sun and moon, all creation, not to mention huge, heavy, metal objects that defy gravity and fly through the sky, simple? Or could it be I have lost the awe in such wonderful things?

I’ve come to realize it’s officially a sad day the moment I consider it simple the moon perfectly hanging in space or water falling from the sky in all shapes and forms.

Job also lost awe in the day-to-day acts of God. Granted, Job was in a much different situation than in my life, however, Gods response to Job is a response to us all. 

Read what God once upon a time told Job:

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.

Tags | Family | About God

Forget Community: I Want a Family

In the Christian churches I visit and the conversations I have with Christian people, I hear one word more than any other. Community. 

It’s in sermons and prayers, on church signs and Instagram posts, and it is frequently appended to other words like “authentic,” “healthy,” “diverse,” and “gospel-centered.” And nine out of ten young adults that I talk to say it’s the number one thing look for in a church. 

Community, community, community. 

We talk about it, long for it, imagine it, and expect it, yet it remains hopelessly illusive. But, it’s our own fault. For every person that claims, “What I really want is Christian community,” I hear a list of reasons why the church they just visited isn’t the kind of community they want:

  • It's too conservative (or liberal)
  • It’s too charismatic (or reserved)
  • It’s too old (or young)
  • It’s too big (or small)
  • Its preacher (or music) is bad
  • It’s not interesting (or diverse, or reformed, or non-denominational, or close-to-home) enough. 
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Learning to Delight in the One who Delights in Me

"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37: 3-6

I used to read this passage and only have eyes for, "the Lord will give you the desires of your heart."  How wonderful I thought. God wants to give me the desires of my heart! I seemed to subconsciously ignore the part about delighting in the Lord and trusting him. Details...details.

Before I had my son, I delighted in things like

  • a good sandwich
  • a well brewed cup of coffee
  • a leisurely walk on the beach
  • a pistachio chocolate bar
  • a mason jar full of freshly made juice
  • the feel of the southern California sun on my face
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Tags | Family | Delights | God | love

Resting in His Arms

Of all of the things that come with being with a mom – the mommy brain, sleepless nights, cuddles and snuggles, drool, poop and oh so much more – one of my absolute favorites is when my 13 month old Justice, crawls up into my lap, tucks his arms in against his one-pack-Buddha-belly and falls asleep resting on me.

Justice has a sleepy song he sings to himself just before he fads into slumber. Well, calling it a song is a bit of stretch; he sounds more like a creaking door, in need of a serious douse of WD-40. He creaks and creaks until at last he relaxes and settles in for a good nap on his momma.

And I love it! I often wonder what he’s thinking as he sings his creaky song and zero’s in on sleep.

If you’ve been in Christian circles long enough, you may be familiar with those who admit guilt over falling asleep while praying, especially at night. Maybe you’ve experienced this. This is bad theology.

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Talk Like TED or Move Like Martin?

I have been doing research on what makes a good speech, mainly because I have been asked to speak at a Biola University Chapel. I enjoy speaking, but usually I’m in front of a class or a Bible study or a group of little kids, where excessive hand motions and a few jokes sprinkled throughout are enough to hold interest.

Speaking in front of a group of several hundred college students, whose attention span is usually limited to 140 characters, will require more than those limited skills. I will need to develop a different strategy. So I’ve been studying how to give a talk like they do at those TED conferences.

If you don’t know TED, you should. TED is an organization that showcases experts in various fields (Technology, Entertainment, Design—TED) talking on fascinating topics successful people find interesting. TED hosts live conferences throughout the country, but most people access the talks for free through TED.com. More than a million people a day watch TED Talks online.

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Cambridge, England

When I was a student, living in the United Kingdom, I was asked by a family friend to track down the gravesite of one of their relatives. The site was located in the World War II cemetery, right outside Cambridge, England.

After an hour or so, I found the site. I then knelt down and took a photograph, so that I could send the photo to the family friend (for which they were grateful). But, as I was kneeling in front of this site, I paused to look and up and suddenly noticed that I was kneeling amidst a sea of white crosses, all with someone's name on them, and all a reminder that sometimes loved ones sacrifice their life for kin and for country.

You may not think of visiting a cemetery, if you happen to be in England, but every single name is connected to another name that is not known and not written on the gravesite. In other words, someone lost and someone loved and often it's a both/and. When we love, we will get hurt. Why? Because real love gets dirty and messy and under one's skin. And that visit to the cemetery remains a vivid memory because part of it got to me.

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Conversations About God (Part 1)

Nobody likes confrontation and nobody likes to be rejected, which is why I think so few people talk about God except when they’re in church, or when they post comments under a fake name in response to a blog they disagree with on some religious topic.

Truth is, face-to-face conversations with people are much more effective than communicating with others through social media or email or even over the phone. Yet this is precisely where most Christians have the hardest time when it comes to talking about their faith. What if you have a conversation with someone about God and they take offense or reject you outright? Neither option is a very pleasant prospect, so we end up talking with our neighbors and co-workers and relatives about the weather or sports or whatever political topic is in the news, and we reserve our God conversations for other Christians.

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Your Children Don't Belong to You

There used to be a time when kids couldn’t wait to leave home. And we’re not talking about getting out of the house on Friday night for a date. In the not-too-distant past, when a son or daughter reached 18, it was goodbye mom and dad and hello world.

Plenty of kids do leave home for college, but increasingly they return once they graduate because they know mom will do the laundry and dad will pay the rent. Okay, so it’s not as simple as that. There are economic factors and a tight job market and all of that. We understand that sometimes a kid doesn’t have a choice but to once again come under mom and dad’s umbrella. But we often wonder if this tendency for children to return to the nest isn’t aided and abetted in some way by one or both parents.

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Are Women the Inferior Sex?

God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him”…While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made the woman from the rib and he brought her to the man. “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone of my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from man” (Genesis 2:18, 21-23).

 

Difficulty: Since God created a woman out of a man to be his “helper,” does this indicate that women are not on equal par with men?

 

Explanation: God said, “ ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like ourselves’…male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27). The woman was made in the same image and likeness of God as the man. Men were not given a more superior image of God, with God somehow creating women in a lesser image. Men and women equally share his image.
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