Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mom vs. Xbox

There it was!

Staring back at me as if to ask "What are ya gonna do about it, huh?" A big fat zero on my son's math homework assignment... again. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs but instead I immediately started rubbing the back of my neck, which is exactly what I do when I feel stressed. Let me tell ya, stressed? Oh yes!

Honestly, I really was feeling hopeful as I logged onto my son's school web site that day to check his grades for the week.

Yes, his grades had been slipping the last couple of weeks.

Yes, Keith & I had taken appropriate steps and removed some of our son's privileges as a consequence.

Yes, we told my son that we are so proud of him and he could do so much better.

Yes, he was sorry and apologized.

So what's up with the big zero? It wasn't as if he did the assignment and got a low grade. He didn't even turn the assignment in! I thought he had learned his lesson this time. What about that long talk we had regarding poor choices and consequences to actions. I thought he understood.

As I continued to rub my neck, I began thinking about that dang Xbox which has been occupying way too much of my son's time and attention. All if his friends play too and it's become a (slightly addictive - in my opinion) social networking activity. What ever happened to "come on over and let's play football in the yard"?

It was time this "stealth" mom to take action.

I called a close friend who's son plays Xbox with my son and confided in her about our little problem. She confessed that she was having the exact same struggles with her son. Together, we came up with a plan to limit the amount of time our boys could play Xbox and agreed to pray for one another. When my husband came home from work, I shared with him too all that had transpired. We prayed together and decided to talk with our son later on that day.

When our son came home from school, we all sat down and talked about his grades, our concerns about Xbox and the new rules of play moving forward. We allowed him to ask questions and explain his side of the story. Most importantly we told him that our decisions made after much prayer, discussion and the fact that we loved him and wanted the very best for him. We told he that he may not agree with our decision but that he would have to trust our love for him.

Amazingly, he understood and agreed with us about everything! God was definitely at work and we were so thankful that this situation brought us closer together as a family and didn't cause division or anger.

I'm so glad that God allows the little inconveniences like Xbox and incomplete assignments to help mold and shape us into the loving and obedient family He longs us to be.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I woke up this morning in a cold sweat.

It wasn't because my husband turned up the thermostat too high or that I'm having premenopausal hot flashes. It was because I had a bad dream.

Actually, many people would consider it to be a really good dream - but not me. I dreamed that we sold our home.

About a month ago, my husband and I made the difficult decision to put our house up for sale. When we purchased it two years ago the our grand idea was that it would be a great investment opportunity. Our big plan was to fix it up, stay in it for two years and then sell. Sounds really good, right? I totally was on board with the idea from the get go.

There's just one problem though.

As much as I tried not to. As much as I told myself "Leah, don't get attached. " As much as I worked at staying focused on our big plan, something unexpected happened. When we began to spruce up our new investment, it no longer was just a house that we were living in. It became our home...Home Sweet Home.

Fun family activities began to take place.

Special conversations and wonderful life moments occurred.

Great memories were created.

God's presence filled each room, nook and cranny.

Home Sweet Home.

In the back of my mind, I whispered to myself and to God. Maybe our family business will continue to grow and we can actually stay in our home. Maybe God, you'll do something amazing and we can live here until our boys go off to college. Then I'll be ready to move,I promise! But, not just yet, God. Not just yet.

While I secretly dreamed and planned of staying, uncontrollable events began to happen. We were greatly affected by the economical down slope like so many of you. Instead of our family business thriving it became stagnant. Instead of our bank accounts and investments increasing, they started to decrease.

The decision time came.

The moment I dreaded.

Our home would be put on the market for sale.

Home Sweet Home.

Have tears been shed? Absolutely! Have I become more emotional? No doubt! Have I pleaded with God? You know it!

Something I've noticed through this process is how differently Keith and I are reacting to our current situation. He is excited and ready for the next house, the next move, the next experience. Yet, I'm sad, discouraged and desperately holding on to the past memories and our home. I'm not interested in moving or make any changes. I'm totally frustrated, thank you very much!

I've asked God to show me the reason why I'm reacting so differently than Keith is to the sale of our home. He's revealing to me through His word that the difference is found in our attitudes and thoughts. Although that has been really hard for me to accept, it's the absolute truth.

Keith is always ready for a new adventure with God. He always believes that if God chooses to take away something, He does so only to give us something better. Keith has the right attitude and thoughts.

I, on the other hand, struggle with doubt. Although I know that God's plan is good and daily read promises about his faithfulness to those he loves, I still struggle. I secretly think that God is some how holding out on us. Even though I know better, the thoughts still come and find residence in my mind. I have the wrong attitude and thoughts.

Remember that dream I was telling you about and the cold sweats this morning? My first reaction was to quietly climb out of bed, grab my bible and head for my cozy prayer chair in our family living room. It was there that I cried, questioned God's plan once again and ask Him to give me a verse that I could hold onto.

I flipped through my bible and ended up in Isaiah 43 where the following words jumped off the page.

Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert & streams in the wastelands.
Isaiah 43: 18-19

God is doing a new thing in my life. The key is that I need to stop dwelling in the past and perceive what He is doing today. I need to change my attitude and thoughts.

God is doing a new thing in your life too. Are you dwelling on the past like me? Do you want to hold onto things as they are right now? Are you afraid of change and doubtful that God will make something new for you? He is making a way in your desert and streams in your wasteland. Now it springs up, do you not see it?

Let's commit to trust Him together. Let's decide that today we will keep our thoughts focused on His goodness and promises. That our attitudes would be pleasing to him. Let's keep our eyes open to the new things that he is doing for us. I don't want to miss it, do you?

I want God to not only be a part of my life but to be my life. That he would fill every room of my body, soul and spirit. Every nook and cranny.

That He would be my home.

Home Sweet Home.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Farewell to Clark Rogers

Today Clark Rogers received the ultimate healing and went to meet with the Lord face to face this morning.

I was stunned when we got the news and although we had never met Clark, I grieved as is he was a good friend of the family. Honesty, he was a good friend of the family - the family of Christ.

I spent this morning trying really hard to busy myself with other things but as I folded clothes in my laundry room, still shocked from the news, I began to ask God why.

I started to reminisce about Friday's service and how awesome it was, Over 800 people showed up and the atmosphere was one of celebration not sadness. Over $25,000 was raised within 3 hours, which would go towards paying Clark's medical bills. The praise and worship was awesome.

I thought about the video clip we saw of Clark & Lisa which was taped just that morning. Although Clark looked very pale and thin, he was smiling from ear to ear and had an obvious sparkle in his eyes.

I told God " ya know, I thought we were attending a healing service" and he responded by saying "Leah, you attended a farewell party".

A smile came to my face as I thought about Clark's bigger than life personality. He wouldn't have wanted to say good bye any other way. I have no doubt that his celestial celebration in heaven is beyond our wildest imaginations.

Will Clark Rogers be missed?


Did Clark receive his ultimate healing?


Is Jesus Bigger than cancer?


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jesus is Bigger than Cancer

Last night our family went to a benefit for Clark and Lisa Rogers. No one in my family actually knows Clark and Lisa. In fact, up until last night, we had no idea what they even looked like. Yet, we felt drawn to go to this event anyway.

Clark Rogers was involved in youth ministry at our church long before we joined The Cove. He is described as a very gifted man who is passionate about Jesus Christ. Last year, Clark was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer and has been in a battle for his life ever since. Clark refuses to give up the fight and when asked what he thinks, his response is "Jesus is bigger than cancer". What a powerful and truth filled proclamation!

Five churches in the Charlotte area hosted the benefit. The evening consisted of a silent auction and concert that lasted 3 hours. All to help raise money for Clark's medical bills. Almost 1000 people showed up. At one point, a video of Clark & Lisa was shown which was taped earlier in the day from his hospital room. While we all enjoyed the concert, Clark was in surgery.

One by one, people got up and shared how Clark's love for Christ had made a profound impact in their lives. How their lives had been radically changed and how God used Clark to lead each one of them to Christ.

At one point, a pastor asked for people to raise their hands if they knew someone that had been diagnosed or died of cancer. Hundreds of hands went up, including mine and Keith's.

Keith's dad died of lung cancer in his early forties. He worked in an asbestos factory for many years and his life was cut short by this dreaded disease. He left behind a loving wife and two teenage boys.

My dad is currently fighting lymphatic cancer, Just this week he had to undergo a pet-scan, cat-scan, and bone scan. He has been told that the cancer is back and has spread to other parts of his body.

Do you know someone who is battling cancer or maybe who has actually died from cancer? I bet you do.

Guess what? God knows the cure for cancer. He knows what causes cancer and who will be diagnosed with cancer. Over a half a million people in the United States alone will die of cancer this year. He knows each one of them by name

God is bigger than cancer!

I understand now why Clark Rogers has impacted so many peoples lives. As we watched the video of him, I was blown away by the indescribable joy that radiated from his weak pale face. It reminded me of a scripture verse in Proverbs 18: 14 which says "A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? "

Although Clark's body is being crushed, his spirit is not.

Although Clark's body is weak and frail, the power of the Almighty God dwells within him.

I have no doubt that if you'd ask Clark Rogers what he would rather have:

A Jesus-filled life with cancer (or)

A cancer-free life without Jesus, he would definitely say,

A Jesus-filled life with cancer!


Because Jesus is bigger than cancer!