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Author Archives: Julie Lee

It’s Olympics season, and I’ve gotten swept into the craze over the gold medal U.S. women’s gymnastics team, especially the story of Gabby Douglas.  This video on CNN shows her mother talking about the sacrifices it took for Gabby to achieve her gold-medal destiny.
Their family had to send Gabby away to Iowa to train with a new couch, and as a single parent she even sold her jewelry to pay for Gabby’s training.  It moves me to think about how she had to release her baby girl, in this case literally sending her away, so that her daughter could achieve her destiny.

I’ve been struggling over this idea of releasing my loved ones lately, not in the case of my child, but with my husband.  About a year ago, God gave him a vision to start a company, and while it’s a really exciting endeavor, it definitely takes a lot of his time, energy, heart and soul.  The recent weeks have been particularly tough, with him leaving home after dinner each night and coming back anywhere from 2 to 4 in the morning. I’ve been feeling a bit like a single person, and although I know it’s temporary, but I can’t say that it hasn’t affected me emotionally.  However, I truly believe that he’s living out his God-given destiny, so the question is, can I release him to do what he’s called to do and willingly make sacrifices along the way? It’s my hope and prayer that I will, and that one day we can celebrate his gold-medal moment together.
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Baby monitors are a funny thing. As parents, we essentially spy on our kids as they sleep, and there isn’t a single move that goes unnoticed. It’s hilarious watching my son, Joshua, in the baby monitor. He has no idea I’m watching him, whether he’s sleeping peacefully or, in the case of this video, doing his toddler version of yoga.

As a parent who often watches my sleeping or not-sleeping child, I catch just a small glimpse of God’s parent heart for us. Especially when I sneak into my son’s room at night and watch him sleep, I have a hard time fathoming how it’s possible that God feels even more love for me than I feel for Joshua. I’m reminded of Psalm 121:

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm —
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

I have a confession: I drive drunk frequently.  

Okay, it’s not alcohol that I’m drunk on, but it’s emails, text messages, and sports scores.  

I just saw in the local news that a mother of four kids in the Ann Arbor area died in a car accident; she was texting while driving.  My first reaction was, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s so dangerous, didn’t she know better?”  But that was quickly squelched by the realization that I am just as guilty of driving distracted: I often check my emails, text messages, and sports scores, usually at stoplights, but I often make phone calls while in motion.

There was actually an article in CNN this week about distracted driving and the dangers that it poses.  Apparently the risk of a crash increases by 4xs when we drive while using a cell phone.  There are other stats in the article that are very compelling and make me think twice about my driving habits.

As I reflected on these two articles and my own habits, I realized that it comes down to living a hurried life and an artificial sense of urgency. Reading that new email is ‘urgent’; sending that text message is ‘urgent’; checking that sports score…okay it isn’t urgent, but my curiosity gets the better of me.  Whenever that little envelope icon appears on my screen, it begs and taunts me to check it, no matter what I was doing at that moment.  

We live in a culture of instant gratification and impatience, both of which I doubt are very Christ-like. (If patience is a ‘fruit of the spirit’ [Galatians 5:22] then I guess that makes impatience an anti-fruit?) Don’t get me wrong: I love technology and I’m not trading in my cell phone for a landline, but I definitely need to grow in patience and delayed gratification. Perhaps driving and red lights can be moments to sit still, quiet my frantic mind and just enjoy the day.

Here are the articles mentioned above:
http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/03/ann_arbor_mother_charmaine_dau.html
http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/28/us/distracted-driving-dangers/index.html?iref=allsearch

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My son’s current favorite toys are kid-sized vehicles: scooters, walkers, cars. He received an array of vehicles for his birthday, so he’s been pushing them around the house, laughing gleefully as he whizzes around.  The problem with this, however, is that he doesn’t want to walk on his own because he is afraid to let go of the vehicles. So, it was a heart-wrenching decision, but my husband and I decided to hide all the toy vehicles so that he can learn to take steps without them. 

 
The funny thing is, I feel really really bad now. I wonder if he’s thinking to himself, ‘Where did all my favorite toys go?” The most sad part to me is that I know how much joy it brings him when he can push the vehicles around, so it breaks my heart that he can’t experience that joy now.  I know it sounds overly dramatic, but I really do feel that bad!
 
As I thought about this, it suddenly hit me – this is how it must feel when God has to take things away from us, for our own good.  Sometimes there are things in our lives that are not inherently bad, but they may be inhibiting our spiritual development, so He needs to strip them from us for a period of time. Once our son starts walking, my husband and I will bring the vehicles back because he’ll have learned to walk without them.  We’ve only taken them away temporarily, but we had to in order to help him grow the courage to walk without them.
 
For the first time, it really hit me how much it must sadden God when He has to take things away from us, even temporarily, because it delights Him when we enjoy His gifts.  I’m learning about God’s father heart for his children, and perhaps next time He has to remove things from my life, I’ll remember the words from Matt Redman song: ‘You give and take away / my heart will choose to say / Lord blessed be Your name.”

I came across this resource recently that I found very helpful in trying to pray faithfully and specifically for my husband.  Hope it’s helpful for other wives and for future-wives.  🙂 

Daily Prayers for My Husband
Adapted from The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian

Monday
Help me to be patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled
Make me a tool of reconciliation, peace, healing and forgiveness
Make me my husband’s helpmate, companion, champion, friend, and support
Help me create a peaceful, restful, safe home for him
Help me to accept him the way he is and not try to change him
I leave any changing that needs to be done in Your hands
Lord, I lay all my expectations at Your cross

Tuesday
Show me what unconditional love really is
Bring unity between us so we can be in agreement about everything
Make us a team
Help me to overlook his faults
Where love has died, create new love between us
Help me to support and respect him
Give me new appreciation, compassion, acceptance and love for him
Reveal to me his wants and needs

Wednesday
Bless my husband at work with favor, success and prosperity
Help him to balance time at work and time with family
Let him work for You and not man’s approval
Show him anything he should be doing differently
Open doors of opportunity for him and develop his skills
Help my husband to handle money wisely and honor You with it
Keep him sexually pure in mind and body
Take away anyone or anything that would inspire temptation to infidelity

Thursday
Deliver him from adultery, pornography, drugs, alcohol, gambling, and perversion
May he thirst for Your Word and Your truth
Keep him from impure, evil, negative, or sinful thoughts
Help him know Your love, wisdom and wise counsel
Make him a godly leader who makes wise choices
Keep him healthy and strong

Friday
Protect him from all danger
Give him wisdom and discretion
Remind him to always turn to You and trust in You for all things
Give him endurance to run the race and not give up
Teach him to cast his burdens on You and wait for  You
Make him a man of integrity
Give him a teachable spirit that is quick to confess his mistakes

Saturday
Let there never be any reason for bad things to be said of him
Deliver him from his enemies
Let him bear good fruit
May his priorities be in perfect order
Be Lord and Ruler over his heart
Give him godly male friends to openly share his heart with
Make him forgiving, loving his enemies
Give him the joy of the Lord in his life

Sunday
Teach him the skills to be a good father
Fill him with love, peace, joy, gratitude, and serenity
Strengthen our marriage and help our love to grow
Redeem him from negative emotions: depression, anger, fear, etc.
Fill him with Your Spirit and the fruits of Your Spirit
Guard his tongue and fill him with Your love
Convict him of sin, bring him to repentance and humility
Give him a heart that follows You in all he does

We recently celebrated my son’s first birthday. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since God plopped this incredible little human into my life.  As I reflect on my first year of parenthood, there are so many lessons that I could dedicate a whole blog to them. I’ll just share a few here:

Raising a baby is a crash course in partnership:  My husband and I have partnered together in the past: we led a LIFE group together before we even liked each other, we went on a couple missions trips together, we planned a wedding together. But there was no greater test of our partnership and communication skills than raising a baby. I’ve never been so thankful to have a husband who is always asking, ‘How can I serve you more,’ and is willing to sacrifice until it hurts.

Wow, my parents really are pretty great: Having a child of my own has deepened my understanding and appreciation of my parents. I think back to some of the heartaches and headaches that I caused my parents, and I imagine how I would respond if Joshua did those things to me. It leads me to give them much more grace for the few times that they failed, and appreciate them so much more for all the times that they gave their best.

I can’t control outcomes:  I often wonder what kind of person Joshua will become. I hope he’ll be smart, athletic, musical, popular (but he won’t know that he’s popular so he’ll also be humble) … that’s not asking for too much, right? But in the end, Joshua will become whoever God has destined for him to be, and God will use whatever it takes to mold him into that person. The question is: can I relinquish all control and give God full permission to have His way with my son?

God truly does love me unconditionally: As cliched as this one sounds, as I think about how much I love my son, who can’t even reciprocate the love, sacrifice, sleepless nights, and labor pains that our relationship has cost me, it gives me just a tiny glimpse of how much God must love me.

And to leave you with a few practical lessons I’ve learned:
-Oxiclean is miraculous: it gets out even the worst poop stains.
-I can save money on gym memberships by using a baby to do arm curls and lunges.
-I can throw out my alarm clock because I have a little human alarm clock that is stuck on 6:30am and a snooze interval of ‘every 3 seconds.’
-Always have a camera within arms reach, because these little people do something new and exciting every day.

As an update to my last post, I did decide to take a trial break from Facebook to see how it would affect my daily life. (It’s funny how Facebook only entered my life a couple years ago, but I already couldn’t remember what my world was like without it.) It’s been less than a week, and so far it has actually been less painful than I’d imagined, and more liberating than I’d expected!

Day 1 was the worst. I felt it the minute I woke up. I rolled over in bed, reached for my phone, checked my email, and then felt the absence of the Facebook app from my phone. I suffered from withdrawal throughout the day, but at the same time, each twinge of loss was mixed with the satisfaction of victory over ‘the force.’

Each day the withdrawal subsided, and I found myself enjoying my Facebook-free life.  I felt more focused, spent less time playing around on my phone, and thought of alternate ways to build my friendships. I’m even considering sending handwritten letters via mail (not E-mail, but good old snail mail), something I used to do pretty often with old friends.

So for now, I’ll continue with this experiment, even if it means having to spend 44 cents to ‘poke’ a friend.

*On a side note, I came across this interesting video the other day. Just to be clear, I don’t want to condemn Facebook after a 3-day break – there are definitely some benefits to social networking. But I will say that it made me think about how my daily behavior, whether online or offline, affects my relationships with friends and even my spouse. I pray that I’ll be cultivating healthy habits in my daily life that will honor my husband, family and friends.

http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_mid#/video/bestoftv/2012/01/02/erin-facebook-divorce.cnn