Monday, January 30, 2012

The Balance

I loved the post below, from my favorite blog Passionate Homemaking. It is from a woman named Ann Dunagan. It comes at a perfect time as I struggle through this very thing... the balancing act of caring for my family while also being involved in ministry and missions. There is no secret formula... just dependence and constant communication with the Lord. I am a new creation and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives through me. His Sprit will give me wisdom and discernment for each new day. Having a healthy world view can also help me to keep my kids from becoming an idol of my heart... millions across the glob suffer while we enjoy every comfort imaginable. Millions do not have the word of God while we enjoy every form of it. This reality can keep me sober minded and helps me keep an eternal perspective while I decide on the plan hour by hour during the day. Lord give me discernment to live a life in which you would be pleased and honored through my carful balancing of priorities.

Below excerpt by Ann Dunagen taken from
"Finding God’s balance for motherhood and ministry is sometimes a difficult (and continually changing) tug-of-war; but I believe the struggle is healthy. As a homeschooling mother of seven, I place a high priority on God’s calling to care for our own children; however, I also feel a call of God’s heart for the needs of world missions. Multitudes across the globe desperately need God’s salvation and millions of orphan children are in need.

God cares about my kids and God cares about the lost. As a mission-minded mom, how can I keep these two “pulls “on my heart in balance — in a way that will truly please the heart of the Lord?

Most of the time, just doing another load of laundry, or drilling the kids on grammar, or reading a bedtime story . . . doesn’t seem very important. But God sees the big picture. He highly esteems motherhood and He values a faithful mom who is willing to lay down her “big dreams” . . . to serve her family.

At the same time, He sees the lost and the reality of heaven and hell. The blood of Jesus is the only way of salvation and the “unreached” must hear the gospel. Over 1.6 Billion people are still waiting to hear of the cross. According to UNICEF, there’s a minimum of 143,000,000 orphans in the world and many of these children are in desperate need. Unsaved people. Unborn babies. And so many real-life needs.

How can we balance this two-sided pull?

“Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.”

―Hudson Taylor, Missionary to China

The “healthy” motherhood & missions tug-of-war
If you’re a mission-minded mother (a Christian mom with a heart for others), I’m sure you’ve felt this tug-of-war between motherhood and ministry. Our children need to know that we love them; but they also need to know that we have a heart for others. Our kids need to know that we care about their needs, but they also need to know that they’re not the center of the universe, and that others have needs too. Finding the balance can be a struggle; but I believe the process of finding God’s daily divine balance is a healthy evaluation process, both for ourselves and for our family.

We all face this struggle . . .

Perhaps the phone rings, and your friend begins pouring our her heart about a desperate situation. Maybe a fragile marriage is falling apart, or someone at church was just rushed to the hospital. These needs are real, and often urgent. How do we find the right “combo” for each day, and each season of our lives? How do we balance these pressing needs with the ongoing “everyday” needs of our own family?

... I have found that the key to finding God’s balance is to stay in communication with God through prayer; however, He sees the full picture of both motherhood and ministry.

God sees the world’s needs, and He also sees the needs of our children. He can help us to see both in His divine daily balance, and God can speak to us . . . as a mom.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our First Fracture

Sara got the prize for the first fracture in the family. Justin was throwing the girls into a pile of leaves and Sara landed on her outstretched left arm. She cried for an extended period of time (15 min) so Justin and I knew right away something was wrong. She was also immediately reluctant to move it. I rushed her into the ER where she continued to cry for about 2 hours as I held her and cradled her arm in mine. The X-rays were the worst part as the required her to straiten it out. However, after about 2 hours of crying, and a large dose of Tylonal, the worst pain seemed to pass and she fell asleep in my arms. When they held her arm bent to put the cast on, she didn't seem to mind much. I was so thankful that it was not worse. It did not require any surgery or re-placement. It was a somewhat strait line fracture across the bottom of the humerus right above the elbow.
This was the worst pain any of my kids have ever experienced. Especially the drive to the hospital, poor little Sara was in agony with every shift of the car's movement. I have wondered how I would feel during something like this, and it was as I thought. My entire body ached along with her. When it first happened and I knew it was broken, I felt lightheaded and sick to my stomach. There is such an amazing bond between this sweet little person and I that I could feel her pain and it was as if my entire being was broken along with her. It gave me a new awareness and empathy with parents with hurting and sick children, and I pray God would allow me to know how to comfort parents going through hard and painful times with their children. It also reminded me that God always has a reason to bring Christians into the hospital. While I was there I saw so many suffering. We need to bring the light of Jesus to the hospital somehow. I am eger to explore the opportunities that our church might have in the future to reach out into the community hospitals in our area. Praise God for sicknesses and injures that force us into this dark place and allow us to love on the other people there. Sara and I pray for the man, Justin, who put her cast on. We gave him a "Why Christianity" tract and pray he would come to a saving faith in Jesus.

Of course, our little sunshine picked yellow when she got the option of a color for her cast. Her favorite color has been yellow ever since she could say the word. AND... of course no cast at Christmas is complete without a signature from Santa!

3 and 1/2!

Sara Grace is now 3 and 1/2!! She is growing taller although she is still short for her age, and Katelyn is catching up quick. Sara is so happy and smily. She loves to sing and is a really good singer. She is always more on key than Kalena or I!! Her recent favorite song is O Holy Night, which she loved to watch various singers on YouTube sing it over and over again. Her all time favorite song is You are My Sunshine, which she and Daddy sing to each other on a daily basis. Sara loves bumble bees and has a favorite stuffed animal bumble bee named Zipps. Sara is our little Sunshine and we love her so much. She brings us so much joy!

Sara talkes a lot about God these days, and I love that she is getting older and able to understand more concepts in depth. Her little brian is always on and eger to learn and discuss everything. She loves her AWANA cubbies class and is very good at memorizing her verses. She loves it when I turn music on she dances like a ballerina. She is starting to read now and is always asking me how to spell words. The other day she asked me if Andrew has two Os at the end of his name :) She still doesn't say her "r"s when she speaks, and it is so funny... people always comment that she sounds like she is from Brooklyn :) We love her little accent and will be sad when it goes away!

6 Months Old!!

Our sweet Andrew Buddy is 6 months old! He is the sweetest, happiest baby. He is such a joy and we all adore him. There is hardly a moment during the day when he is not getting hugged and kissed on. His sweet squishy cheeks just beg to be kissed! The girls just really can't stay away from him... sometimes I even have to give him some alone time to play and not allow anyone to touch him. He has started to eat, and his favorites are squash, meat and potatoes. He is 19 lbs and 2' 3" (76% and 83%). His eyes are turing from the deep blue they were at birth to something different, but it isn't quite clear what they are yet. They are steal grey with some green mixed in. His eyes are beautiful, just like his daddy! We love our little buddy and are so thankful to God for him.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mess Monster

We have been calling Katlyn a "monster" lately. She is my adventurous, independent, tornado of a child who I can't leave alone for more than 3.2 min before something disadvantageous to the house or others begins to happen. Yesterday I put her up at the bathroom sink, filled it half way and plugged it for some water play. She was happily playing with her dolphins in the sink. YES... there is nothing that could go wrong here, (toothbrushes and candle way in the back of the counter.. if they went swimming... then so be it, it wouldn't damage anything and worth drying them off for the 1/2 hr of mess free entertainment they might provide) the only thing she could do would be to spill water on the floor that needed desperately to be mopped anyway. I was finally able to have some worry free moments to tity up my messy bedroom. (taking a writing break to clean my glass of water she just dumped over on the kitchen table) I heard the water running so went back into the bathroom. (A sweet smell caught my nose and for a split second thought yumm, smells good!! UH OH!!, sented toddlers usually means trouble!)... the cinnamon apple pie candle was in the sink. The sink was unplugged and she had turned the water on warmish/hot. The warm water had melted the wax of the candle and she was digging for gold through the bright red sweet smelling wax. The wax had melted all over the dolphin toys and other bath toys I had given her to play with and was on her face and clothes. (clumps were streaming down the drain, oh my.. how do you unclog a wax plug from your drain?! never thought of that one... it will eventually harden somewhere down the pipe! Wenslawski's, plug your ears as I am sure apple pie wax is not good for "the system" :) Worse... the toothbrushes on the counter were swimming in a mix of warm water and apple pie wax, with the wax gooping within the bristles of the brushes.(the lyon fam should have some nice smelling breath for a while!) So... there you have it. My mess monster story for the day, and as I type she is currently unraveling all my dental floss. What is it with dental floss? They all love it!

Regardless of the messes and ruined household items, I couldn't love my free spirited girl more. She is such a joy and makes every moment of the day more exciting. I love Katelyn Anna and can't imagine how much fun and joy she will continue to bring us if God will allow. I pray He will allow me to keep her safe!

Picture courtesy of the hot pink sharpie she recently got ahold of.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Every Body Matters

As I look ahead to 2012, one of the major things I need to resolve to do is to take better care of myself. I need to be more physically active, and eat better. Wow. I don't think I have ever made this most popular resolution in my life and I feel slightly disappointed that it has come to this. Give up all the good stuff? What a bummer! I have become that person who eats to comfort and to make the chaos in my life seem bearable.

Woken up 12 times during the night? Starbucks venti frap WITH whip :)
Poop smeared all over the toilet? Forget for a moment that i saw it and grab a fruit roll up.
Dinner and clean up took 3 hours and there is still goo smeared all over the table and what did i just step in?-BIG bowl of ice-cream WITH chocolate sauce (and sometimes heath crunch... yumm)
Hubby gone again tonight and a laundry pile that could easily stack to be as tall as me? Several handfuls of the kids haloween candy and a coke-a-cola

I have finally made the diagnosis of myself that I am trying to comfort my at-times-very-uncomfortable life right now with food. It needs to stop, and stop it will...BECAUSE... sin is no longer my master. My life in Christ that allows me to identify sin, and get rid of it. I have power over sin and gluttony is the sin I must master. YAYYYY God! Here we go!! No desserts for a month, then only once every other week. Seems reasonable to me.

Romans 6:6-7 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

I was encouraged by my friend Matt Mikalatos with this section of: Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas:

"The 300 Pound Pastor

When Mark Bejsovec, a youth pastor, saw the scale creep over 300 pounds, he gulped. During his high school football playing days, he carried just 186 pounds on his six-foot-two frame. In his early thirties, however, Mark started gaining weight steadily. At first, he rationalized it and even began using it like a tool. It made him seem funnier. He could push out his stomach until he looked like he was pregnant, and the kids in his ministry would laugh: “You look like you got twins!”
When he hit 300 pounds, though, Mark began to sense God speaking to him about his physical condition.
“I looked into Scripture, specifically at the men in the Bible who assumed leadership roles, and wondered how they must have looked. I couldn’t find anyone in leadership who was overweight.”
This wasn’t about vanity, but rather about being a better steward of his body and his calling: “If I was addressing only spiritual issues but not the physical ones, I considered I would be less useful to the Lord in my ministry. If I was going to remain in ministry, I needed to honor God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and also all my body.”
By definition, we can’t be a leader in secret. Somebody is following us. And the bodies we are leading with aren’t hidden.
A friend of mine, who works as a senior director for a major Christian development organization, recently shared with me the battle he faces with eating and exercise. On a recent business trip, he ate twenty-four restaurant meals in a row. He’s concerned about his health habits, and like many, he lives with a constant sense of failure that he could be doing more about his weight. What he doesn’t see are spiritual leaders taking this struggle as seriously as he does. “We’ve been taught in the evangelical tradition about adultery and lying and stealing and coveting,” he says, “and about lust and alcoholism and smoking and drug abuse. But many evangelical pastors who preach against these things are visibly overweight or obese. I don’t say this to judge them—I struggle with the same thing. But sometimes I wonder. Sure, they may have conquered the online porn, but it seems like they’re ‘medicating’ with food; I get that, because I do the same thing.”
For his part, Mark decided to quit his former eating habits cold turkey. When his weight started coming off, Mark experienced a rush of positive energy. “I started feeling more affirmed, my self-esteem went up, and my relationship with God grew. It’s not that my previous life didn’t honor God, but now it felt like I was living like God designed me to live.”
When I asked Mark what changed most about his life since he lost seventy pounds, he responded, “Let’s be honest: there were times I was discredited because of the way I looked. When I talked to kids about self-control in other areas, they could look at me and understandably ask why I wasn’t addressing my issues with food. But now, when I share my story, there’s an added inspirational element. If I can do it, anyone can do it, and my weight loss has become an effective tool in my ministry.”
As a writer whose most prominent books relate to marriage, I take it as a personal challenge to maintain the integrity of my own marriage. I can’t write and teach on marriage if my own is falling apart. As a pastor, however, when I talk to the church about self-control; when I preach on the necessity of personal discipline, good stewardship in all areas of life, and, above all, when I teach out of 1 Corinthians 6:20: “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” I am going to completely undercut my message if I’m preaching out of a body that denies this.
It would be convenient if being a leader didn’t require also being an example, but that’s not the case. Paul writes, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)
Leaders, let’s ask ourselves, “Is my body serving or thwarting my message?” If you’re a pastor, you may well have accepted financial sacrifice for the privilege of being in the ministry; if you’re a leader of any type, you have readily accepted the sacrifice of your time, tranquility, and even reputation, as leadership assaults all of these. But will you also accept bodily sacrifice—watching what you eat, and putting in the effort to get appropriate exercise? Will you recognize that the body out of which you lead can either support or undercut the message that you carry?
I am not suggesting that we pick leaders by how thin they are, or that we make a direct connection between a person’s BMI and his holiness. That would be ridiculous, ignorant, and unfair—some bodies aren’t designed to be thin, other bodies seem to naturally stay thin regardless of how they are cared for or fed, but leaders, we know our own journey, we know whether this area of stewardship is feeding or hindering our maturity and ministry. Don’t all of us feel better, stronger, more energetic, when we’re being faithful in this area? And don’t we all know that there are negative consequences when we get careless?
So, in a spirit of encouragement and grace, let’s admit that this is something we need to start talking about. Just as we seemed eager to denounce the opulent affluence and money-raising scandals of the 1980s televangelists, let’s not be blind to our own contemporary challenges at the dawn of the 21st century."