Friday, April 27, 2007

If You're Barbadian, Please Stand Up

I just checked the Stat Counter and saw that someone from Barbados has been to my site. Wow. How a Barbadian ever stumbled upon my site is beyond me. Guess I better start writing in, um, well, English.

Patty Griffin- Up To The Mountain

You may recognize this song from Wednesday night's American Idol. It was performed by Kelly Clarkson and Jeff Beck, but originally written by Patty Griffin. I prefer her version so that's the one I'm sharing. I wish I could find a better video of it, but this is all You Tube has to offer. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do. These are some great, great lyrics.

I went up to the mountain
Because you asked me to
Up over the clouds
To where the sky was blue
I could see all around me
I could see all around me

Sometimes I feel like
I've never been nothing but tired
And I'll be working
Till the day I expire
Sometimes I lay down
No more can I do
But then I go on again
Because you ask me to

Some days I look down
Afraid I will fall
And though the sun shines
I see nothing at all
Then I hear your sweet voice, oh
Oh, come and then go, come and then go
Telling me softly
You love me so

The peaceful valley
Just over the mountain
The peaceful valley
Few come to know
I may never get there
Ever in this lifetime
But sooner or later
It's there I will go
Sooner or later
It's there I will go

God Vs. Sleep

"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."--Ephes. 5:14 (NIV)

Sleep. That's really where my greatest battle lies. I love to sleep. I'm not a morning person by nature. Before kids, I could, and often would, sleep til noon and love every second of that pure, blissful laziness. Ever since I had kids, however, it seems that I can never get enough of it. Like I am constantly chasing after some unattainable dream of, well, sweet dreams. I'm lucky if I can manage to steal 4 hours of unbroken, uninterrupted sleep these days.

The world will tell you that a good night's sleep needs to be a top priority. But at what expense? Studies tell us that the reason we're so stressed, so tired, so anxious, because Americans just aren't getting enough sleep. But the Bible has some pretty interesting things to say about sleep. Like this one:

So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent houseguest!--Proverbs 6:9-11 (Msg)

Sound harsh? It's kind of offensive at first glance, isn't it? Trust me, no one hates this verse more than I do! But does God hate sleep? Does He hate me because I love to sleep? No!!! Look at this:

Don't you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?--Psalm 127:2 (Msg)

God is so good, and He wants us to get our proper rest. I think it's more a question of what am I putting first, God or sleep? What has a higher priority in my life? I tend to think that if only I could get enough sleep, then I could wake up early, then I could make some time in the morning for prayer and Bible study, then my whole day will be perfect, etc., etc. See where my emphasis lies? The sleep part of the equation. I have to have these perfect conditions in order to make God a priority in my life. And sleep typically comes first for me. I lay my little head down on my little pillow and bow down to my little sleep god. I forget about that whole "seek ye first" thing where Jesus said that all our other needs, absolutely everything else--food, clothing, shelter, and yes, even sleep--would be added to our lives if we are seeking Him first.

I'm afraid this isn't a very popular idea, especially considering how incredibly busy we are these days. But no matter how much I think I need sleep, or even deserve it--how much more do I need God?

My baby boy woke me up the other morning at 4 am. So we sat up together and watched a little Joyce Meyer. And lo and behold, her whole segment was about making time with God a priority in your life. So after it was over and I got my son back to sleep, I was literally faced with the dilemma of either going back to sleep or staying up to spend some much needed prayer time. I took a hard look at what I really wanted to do. My tired mind, body, and eyes were telling me, "Go back to bed!!" While my beat-up heart and my broken spirit were hungry and thirsty for the love, the joy, the peace, the patience, the kindness, the goodness, the gentleness, and the self-control that my day requires, and that, without His help, I frankly just don't have.

Let the words of King David ring true in your heart, as they have been in mine lately, and be challenged to renew your commitment to making God your number one priority. It is a sacrifice, but one that you can be sure He will bless in more ways than you can even begin to imagine.

He swore an oath to the Lord
and made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
"I will not enter my house
or go to my bed--
I will allow no sleep to my eyes,
no slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob."--Psalm 132:2-5 (NIV)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cool Quote

Found this amazing quote by C.S. Lewis, my favorite writer ever, and it seemed to echo what I was trying to say in my last post. He, of course, says it much more eloquently than I.

"But if you are a poor creature—poisoned by a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels—saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion—nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends—do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom he blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day (perhaps in another world, but perhaps far sooner than that) he will fling it on the scrapheap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all—not least yourself: for you have learned your driving in a hard school. (Some of the last will be first and some of the first will be last.)"--C.S. Lewis

I'm reminded me of the time I met Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis' stepson. I was a complete basket case. A nervous wreck. I was at some Narnia promo thing, in line to talk to him and get his autograph. I tried desperately to calm myself down whilst I waited. I took deep breaths. Prayed. But nothing helped. By the time I got to him, my voice started quivering, my knees shaking. I mumbled a few things, and something about, "I can't wait to meet C.S. in heaven." He just kind of stared blankly at me, his mouth slightly open, and nodded. I'm sure I came across to him as nothing less than a psychopath. As soon as I got his autograph, I turned and left...and started crying. I kid you not.

Oh well, I hope you enjoy the quote as much as I did.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Object Lesson

Apparently, one of my weaknesses is not knowing how to use the same font throughout an entire text. I copied and pasted this post from another source of mine, and I obviously had some trouble with the font. I tried fixing the blasted thing several times, and I just could not get it to cooperate. So instead of wasting my time trying to fix it, I'm boasting in my ineptitude. I'M BOASTING!!!!!!

His Grace is Enough

Our culture, and dare I say it, particularly the Christian culture, is obsessed with perfection. Strength. Victory. Winning. A plusses and Botox. So much so that we are afraid to admit our faults to one another, keeping us from showing each other who we really are. Everything becomes a competition. We compete for the best mom, the best student, the best wife, the best Christian. I was never really good at being the best at anything. I got so tired of trying that, when I was in high school, I just sort of dropped out of the best game. I knew I wasn't good enough, could never be good enough, so I just stopped trying. Instead, I went the other way. I was much better at being "bad". It certainly came a lot more naturally to me than being good.

Remember Edmund, from _The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe_? He's the supposed "bad" kid in the book. Well, truth be told, he's the one I relate to the most. It's sad but true. I'm sure I'd sell out my siblings for sweeties if given the chance. Especially coming face to face with evil as he did. What's interesting to me is that none of the others had the interactions with the White Witch that he had. She happened upon him as soon as he entered Narnia. Cold, alone, bewildered. She's the first person he met. He was bewitched. Deceived. He gave in to her tricks. He believed her despicable lies. He's very much like Eve. And like Eve, his actions cost Aslan His life.

All of us have a little Edmund in us. Some more than others, I suppose. So why does it still surprise us when we fall? Being a Christian is not, and has never been, all about acting right. If it were, we would have no more need of Christ. It is, and always will be, about our utter and dire need of a Savior. That I need saving to the very depths of my being. It's about His goodness, when I am bad. His strength when I'm weak. But what does that really mean?

It means that you are going to blow it! At some point, face it, we're all going to make a bad choice. And when you do, who's got your back? Who will be there to catch you when you fall? The point of walking with God isn't about not blowing it. It's about what to do when you blow it. Do you lie, hide, or blame? Or do you fess up? We would rather focus on what we should or should not be doing. If I'm doing that, then my focus is not on God, but on myself. My own "righteousness." And we all know what that is like.

We are all infected and impure with sin. When we put on our prized robes of righteousness, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves we fade, wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6, Living)

Frankly, I think we give so much attention to our own filthy rags, that don't know what to do when we blow it. Like children having temper tantrums, who don't have the tools to properly deal with anger. We're told, "Stop that!" "Shape up!" "Fly right!" "Believe!" The focus is on eliminating the behavior rather than healing the person.

I would love to find a book entitled, "The Crappy Mother" or "The Weak Wife." I am more interested in someone's struggles and how they deal with them, their battles and how they fight them, then I am in two-bit versions of righteousness. I am more interested in God Himself. Not someone else's bad impression of Him. If that's what walking with God is all about then this verse makes no sense:

Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. (2 Cor. 12:9, NLT)

Glad to boast about weakness, huh? Try doing that at your next small group meeting and see how well that goes over. Believe me, I've tried.

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Bright Spot

So, before anyone offs themselves after reading my previous post, I thought I would post something much more positive. My church has been going through Willow Creek's Contagious Christian material over the past couple of months. It's been really great and challenging. Well, the Lord laid some people on my heart to pray for during the course. One of them was a friend of my little sister. I prayed that God would give me the opportunity to share with her how much He loved her. So Saturday night, we ended up all over at my brother's house, and my two sisters, my sister-in-law Kim, and I all spent the evening sharing with her around the dinner table the Good News of what Christ had done for us in our lives. It was definitely the highlight of this Easter weekend. I mean, what better way to spend Easter? However, when we got to the part about being born-again, and what all that means, the compounded effects of sleep deprivation started to manifest themselves! Try explaining that one when you're really tired! But thankfully, Gina's friend ended up at church with us, where Tony basically preached about our need for God and salvation. It was the perfect culmination to our discussion the night before.

The coolest part was knowing that we were all being used for something important. God has an amazing plan for this special girl's life, and He allowed us to all play a part in it. That was pretty cool.

I don't know if she gave her life to God yesterday or not. But I do know that seeds were planted, and that God's not finished with her yet. I will keep praying and believing.

Thank You, God, that someone was willing to sit down and share the story of Jesus with me. Where would I be if they had not?

No Rest For the Weary

My, it's been a while. And I have really nothing new to report, other than that the whole Buckland clan is sick. Isabel was sick two weeks ago. Jo was sick this past week. Now, every one of us is sick all at the same time. Even baby Oliver. It's been rough. My sweet husband stayed home with us today, not only to give me a hand, but because he hasn't been feeling well himself. I don't know what I would do without him.

On the bright side, now that we're all sick, maybe this will get everyone taken care of all at once!

We haven't been getting the best sleep either. Do all children sleep as poorly as the Buckland kids? Even my 3 & 1/2 month old is getting into the annoying habit of not napping at all during the day. How is that even possible?!? Josephine did the same thing at his age. They take like two 30 minute naps during the day, and then don't go to bed till after midnight. My four-year old is the best out of all of 'em, and she just (by "just" I mean this year) started sleeping through the night on a regular basis, that is when she's not sick.

I made the realization yesterday that every year at this time is probably the worst for us, health wise. I think the past 3 Easters I've been faced with whether or not we could all make it to church. So far we have. But just barely.

So, am I sounding like a big wuss? I guess I am. I'm a tired wuss. I hate being sick. I hate when my kids are sick. And I would just like some sleep. Some long, peaceful, restful sleep.

A year ago, Ren and I spent our anniversary at Chateau Elan. Here we were thinking that we were going to get a great night's sleep, away from the kids. They were with my mom, giving her a rough night. Anyways, we spent all night waking up every hour, because we were so conditioned to my then 3-year old waking up at least 4 times a night! And for those of you who are all smug and have babies that sleep through the night, it don't mean nuthin'. Isabel was the best sleeper from the time she was an infant. Then when she hit 18 months old, her sleep patterns just went haywire. We'd get some sleep here and there, but not enough. It's amazing that neither of us have gone postal. I sure hope the other two don't follow in her footsteps.

I know I'm having a pity party. But guess what? It's my blog, and I'll cry if I want to.

So, all this complaining and whining is my way of asking for prayer. Anyone that would feel so inclined, it would be much appreciated. Honestly, I am so tired (literally and figuratively) of asking God for sweet sleep, that my faith level in this area is just really low. We need some folks lifting us up right now.