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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Have A Confession.

Easter week…Holy week…I ask myself…how do I prepare my heart?
When I click around the blog world, 
I see so many meaningful ways to bring Christ into the center of the Lenten season. 
Wonderful practices of Lent…
Easter devotionals and a myriad of heart-drawing activities fill the blog community.

I have a confession…I have done nothing special during lent. 
My family has not spent any special devotional time during this Easter season. 
Please don’t get me wrong…I love Easter…
I think this “Christian Holiday” should be celebrated the most…
but creating special celebrations is not my strong suit.  
Oh, I would love to be that woman…but to be honest…
I am not…as of right now…God did not wire me that way.

While clicking around, I realized age does not inoculate one from the comparison game…
I know, because I became a player in that game.  
“…when they measure themselves and compare themselves with themselves, 
they are not wise.” 2 Cor. 10:12
I opened the door to let the enemy tell me lies…
and I found myself left wanting. 
Not the kind of wanting that comes from God’s love drawing us deeper…
but the kind that says… failure.
I am so thankful God comes to rescue us from the enemy…and from ourselves…

After picking up my daughter from the movie theater, she asked me a question? 
"Even though I did not sneak candy into the movie,
was it ok to eat the candy others snuck in?"
She said after eating a couple pieces, she felt maybe she shouldn’t have.  
I told her, "I believe you already know the answer,
because the Holy Spirit pricked your heart."

This led to a conversation about self-denial. 
I shared my heart with her…It is not about keeping the rules for the rules sake…
I see these small, seemly insignificant moments as opportunities to deny ourselves in small ways.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23

I challenge her... and myself...
How many times in a day do we have choices to deny our fleshly desires?
And how many times do we miss these chances because we are not aware? 

I have come to appreciate these times (like going to movies theaters, gyms and others places) 
as opportunities to practice some self-denial…
a chance not to “demand my rights”…
a chance to submit myself to another.

So when the little sign says, “No outside food,”
how many times do we just plow right by?…
 choosing to justify ourselves... 
”it already cost me so much to get in”…."their food prices are criminal”…
 "Oh, they won’t mind”…and of course…”everyone else does it.”
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little with also be dishonest with much.”
Luke 16:10

I continue to share my heart with her....
 I now thank God for this place to practice…
giving me a simple, small ways to put myself aside…
submit my will to another…yield to the limits around me.
 Many may cry…”legalism”… “it’s too narrow”… “oh, just lighten up”…
but this is not about legalistically following a set of rules (which can bring us into prison)
but it’s about joyfully yielding oneself to something  beside ourselves.
Seeing these moments as very practical opportunities,
 opportunities to practice letting go of our self-will.
Yielding here doesn't put us in rule-following prison… 
yielding here ultimately brings us greater freedom.
Freedom from ourselves.

During the ride home, this conversation led into a deeper discussion of living 
a sacrificial life as Christians…especially here in America.

After our talk…God spoke to my heart…this is Easter preparation...
this daily preparation… pick up your cross daily and follow me.   
The way of the Cross is the way of life…whether it is Holy week…or any week.
He reminds me of other daily conversations I have with my children…
and I realize creative moments have many expressions.
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut. 11:19

So I am restored back into my skin…
skin that may not be able to manufacture creative moments…
but skin where God meets me where I am…
just in the everyday moments He comes to intersect.

Some of us are blessed with an outward expressions of creativity…
some are blessed with a less creative expression…
Either way, we all desire to create ambience in our homes...
 a space where Love can grow....
For Christ...for one another.
So let  us all cultivate hearts where God can come…
 and daily teach us how to walk the road to Calvary…
and let us lead the way for our children.


  1. It is in the small things, the gray areas, that we let down our guard and become less than what Christ desires. I recently wrote a post on 'Fast Passes to Disney' that dealt with the same issue.
    What a wonderful opportunity for you to share deep matters with your daughter.
    The walk to Calvary is a narrow way, and one we "must lead the way for our children'. Beautifully written.

  2. Thanks Shanda...I am so thankful for those gift...I want to live alert so i don't just trample over them...blessings to you~

  3. You have done a good job, for you have appealed to your daughter's heart. Wonderful! I have so enjoyed getting to know you better through Painting Prose. Thanks for being so faithful. See you over at Imperfect Prose!

  4. I love the line, "cultivate hearts where God can come." That's my desire and I see very clearly that it is yours, Ro. Thanks for being so open and vulnerable. Oh, and I totally get that whole "comparison game" habit. Why do we do it? We know it only frustrates and depresses when God created us uniquely on purpose. BTW, I like you just the way you are! Thanks for this thought-provoking post. :)

  5. Thankyou Denise...blessings to you.

    Dk..thanks for being a wonderful hostess...look forward to continuing with Emily,Blessings~

    Beth..your words are so kind..and may God continue to set us free...to live in the skin He created for us...blessing to you.

  6. You handled your daughter's question beautifully!
    You may not have preperations as in decortations or creative moments, but I can tell you are very prepared this week. It's not about the preperations of our home but of the heart. You are definetaly there!
    Happy Easter to you :)

  7. "The way of the cross is the way of life." May Holy Week extend to every week. Thank you for sharing this story of self-denial in the small things. As always, you are an encouragment to me!

  8. i just love how honest and real you are! this is a beautiful write about the quiet, nurturing moments with your children. what you have done with them--the way you raise them strong--the way you are a bold example for them--that is what i hope to do for my daughters. we all have different ways of being creative. i am not quite as creative as Ann, but i enjoy putting her ideas to use...they bring much love, life, and nurturing to our home...i am a little wayward and frantic on my own...

  9. When I see all the things Ann does with her kids, I do get that twinge of guilt about not doing more too. But you are right, we have to be true to who we are in all areas of life knowing He creates us the way we are not to be like someone else.

  10. What you shared about your daughter was a wonderful opportunity to teach her about sacrifice and self-denial. I don't think God measures our actions by how creative we are but by the love we put into it. I've always believed that there are occasions when less is more. A blessed and joyful Easter to you!

  11. Kristin...yes..I want to live daily prepared...blessings and Happy Easter to you.

    Thank you Christina...sometimes we can have the tendency to ramp up for the big moments but lose so much in the small moments..blessings to you.

    Nacole...you are nurturing well...and with all your creative juices I can see how creating creative moments would be like oxygen to you. What brings life to one might deprive oxygen from another. keep breathing all you are...blessing dear friend.

    Shelly...oh,this was not pointed at ann..there are other very creative woman out in the blog world. What I love about ann and others...creating these moments for their families comes from the depth of who they are...it all flows from a genuine place deep within...my struggle is I want to be able to do that too...but what flows out of me...or someone else presents itself differently. Just continuing to learn to live within my own skin...not someone else. blessings to you and Happy Easter!

    Anne...thanks...yes by the Love we put in...great reminder. Have a blessed Easter:)

  12. The way of the crodd is the way of life...amen to that. In the end, it's the everyday that matters. Conversations like this one that you had with with your girl will be more transformative than anything else you can do, I think.

  13. Laura...I think so too...to thankful to God for His Mercy.Happy Easter.

  14. What a sweet interaction between you and your daughter -- or, in reality, between you and the Lord. Love how this seemingly simple, every-day time of instruction really instructed YOU.

    Just keep painting with the color of you . . . not in competition, like you said, but all for the Glory of One.

    Great thoughts here.

    1. Keli...love...just paint with the color of you...yes...all for the glory of one.

  15. Wow. Such wisdom here.

    "The way of the Cross is the way of life…whether it is Holy week…or any week."

    Amen. I've felt guilty that I didn't get out any of my Easter decorations (2nd year in a row); my house is physically devoid of outward recognition of Holy Week.

    But you're so right that we shouldn't compare. Christ's work starts inside us, and manifests it outward ways in different manners for each of us. Who can compare that?

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  16. Lisa...blessings as we find our way to the cross...this week and every week. thanks for stopping by~

  17. I didn't "do" Lent very well either. I was on vacation, then off to Haiti on mission work, and while both of those were wonderful things, I feel like I let my Lenten practices slide. Thanks be to God ... He takes me anyway. Humbling, humbling truth about the love of our Father and our Savior.

    God bless you this Easter.

  18. It took me a little while to get here, but I came by, just like you offered. You were right! This post did offer me so much encouragement.

    I love this... "He reminds me of other daily conversations I have with my children…
    and I realize creative moments have many expressions." There is so much grace to just be who God made us to be.

    Our Easter was simple, but filled with heart and love and joy. I believe God blessed our efforts to lead our children.

    Thank you for your love and counsel... you are truly a gift.