Let’s Set It On Fire!

He was in a mood.

 

In his defense when I drive the lawn mower sometimes I act as if I’m driving an ATV. I don’t know why. It doesn’t even have a big motor but it’s like I’m in my own little world and the straight lines of freshly mowed grass empower me. So while imagining that I was in an army tank, I took the muddy slope to tight and managed to break the bead on the back tire. Now he was stuck trying everything under the sun to get the tire off and/or re-inflated. And it wasn’t going well.

 

God Bless YouTube.

 

I have long said that YouTube is the grandfather of our generation. When you need to know how to do something?- you ask YouTube. This had left him with two new techniques to try.

1. Tie a rope tightly around the limp tire to create enough of a seal that the air pressure will actually build up inside and completely seal the tire or…

2. Spray the outside of the tire/rim with something flammable and light it on fire. The combustion causing the air to rapidly expand creating a seal and inflating your tire in one fell swoop.

Captain Safety Pants wanted to try the rope first. He needed my help. I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about this approach. Fortunately the rope he was using broke. Yeah! Time to do it my way.

 

He was not enjoying this but after I made fun of him and sang the most ridiculous little ditty known to man he couldn’t help but start laughing. With a pathetic excuse for a shimmy and a facial expression that was impossible to take seriously, I coaxed him “Let’s light it on FIRE!!!!!!!” And so the Fix-a-Flat lived up to its name (though not exactly as the makers intended). I sprayed it on the outside while he spun the wheel and then LIT IT UP!!!!

 

POOF! SWOOSH! Tire fixed. He was dumbfounded that it actually worked but I was doing happy dances around the yard still singing “Let’s set it on FIRE!!!!!!” To which my daughter eagerly joined in. Moral of the story; When your husband is ticked make fun of him and sing dumb songs. No. That’s not it. I don’t recommend that actually.

 

Real Moral of the story: Sometimes our soul gets deflated. Maybe we took a turn too sharp. Maybe we ran over something and punctured it. We sit there and pump and pump and pump but the air leaks out as fast as it goes in. The worship, good teaching, even fellowship… it’s all good but we’re still flat at the end of it all. Not really empowered to move forward.  For all our toil we’re still jacked-up (yes that was a pun). Sometimes we need God to come saturate us and LIGHT US ON FIRE! We need the power that can both seal our souls and fill them in one foul swoop. Once we’re sealed that good teaching, that fellowship, that worship it will actually fill us up and create the pressure to push us forward. But only if we’re sealed in Christ! 

 

Right now I am leaking air. I’ve got conviction on eating habits, fresh revelation of grace, ideas for managing my home better. It’s all coursing through my brain but it’s not actually empowering me to change. I can’t fill myself up. I can’t re-seal myself. I’m still stuck up on this stupid jack totally deflated. So… I’m asking for FIRE! I’m asking for the power of the Holy Spirit to pour out oil like the old priest would and for my heavenly Father to draw near and set me on fire.

 

If you’re in the same spot today well here you go… you can pray right along with me.

 

Father, I cannot now, nor have I ever been able to fix myself. Somewhere my soul got deflated. My spirit was crushed. But I’m asking and I’m trusting you to touch me. You have always been the repairer of the breach. The restorer of the soul. I need you in a new way today. I need anointing oil. I need encounter with you. For anyone else who is in this place, God I pray you would also do this healing work. That you would seal and fill in one consuming motion. That you would get us off our high horse and back on the path. Please come and do what I cannot do for myself. I trust that in all things you are sufficient, willing and wise and I just turn my eyes to you right now. Forgive me when I toil and try to fill myself back up. Forgive me when I’m proud and do not ask of you what you are so willing to give. Thank you that You love me anyway and that You are patient with me. With all of us. Even in your Holy Fire reveal you lavish mercy to these deflated hearts. Thank you that you are both the author and the finisher of our faith and that you know what we need even before we need it. Be near to each person who reads this and let your presence rest on them where ever they are. Thank you for everything. You really are good. Amen.

 

 

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Little Lessons

Sixty dollar dressers from Wal-mart are just a bad idea. Especially where small boys are concerned. I guess that was Lesson #1. The pathetic excuse for press board bottoms of each drawer had busted out of the frame and thus all the boys’ clothes has accumulated in an indistinguishable mass on their floor. It had been haunting me for weeks and when I realized that the shelving unit I wanted for their closet wasn’t in the budget well…

Lesson #2- Years of repressed creative energy, a recent run of good sleep, a horrendously messy bedroom and you tube video highlighting the genius of Annie Sloan chalk paint is enough to send your hormonal wife into a frenzied sprint of project-doing. 

Fine! I can’t purchase those drawers- I will find a way! And thus began Operation Boys’ Room. I already had paint so I was no longer content to just get their laundry organized. No… it was time for an overhaul. Which included wall paint, taking all the trim to white, refinishing the gigantic pine bunk bed and, of course, covering the inside of their door with pages from a Spanish bible and Mod Podge. With the husband in reluctantly enthusiastic camaraderie I dove in. Putting the boys to sleep in the extra loft bed in their sister’s room I envisioned them waking up to a fresh new room, complete with their names in white chalk on the wall and seeing the excited look on their faces.

Lessons #3- Where families are concerned, projects move like trains more than sports cars. Last year when my husband and I decided to lay our own patio we were encouraged by watching the you-tube video that described it as a “nice one day project”. Since then we have decided that you have to add a day for each child you have. Thus our patio was a four day project. But… I forgot. And so at 11:00 when I was exhausted (still nursing a baby) and the parts of the project remaining outnumbered the parts completed I was a little disappointed. 

That’s okay! I’ll finish tomorrow. But… that blasted trim! Ugh. Despite multiple tools and high quality paint, that trim was going to take two coats. I finished one and then came back around but it was too soon. I was just smearing around the first coat. Despite my greatest care and varied technique I was only making it worse. I just had to wait for it to dry.

Lesson #4- Some things take more then one pass and need time to set up. Lately, I’ve had to receive some hard truths and speak some hard truths. And you know what? Most of it didn’t take the first time. As it turns out, God has been speaking the same truths for all of human history and wouldn’t you know?… it doesn’t usually stick the first time. So, He patiently layers it on. Giving it time to set. He’s patient with the process and to be like Him means we need to learn to be patient too.

As it turned out the trim wasn’t the worst of it. That stupid, awesome looking, chalkboard paint has to cure for a week. WHAT!? A week! But I wanted to have this room finished before my husband’s four day weekend was over. I wanted to post pictures of it on Facebook and revel in my ingenuity and vision. A WEEK! Fine!- That’s just fine. It going to take me that long to transform their bunk bed into the focal point of this bedroom anyway. I’ll just make the best of it.

So… the morning finds me back downstairs with more white cabinet paint and miniature rollers ready to have at it. The family was fed, the audio lecture from the homeschool conference that I didn’t go to was prepped and I was ready to work… alone… without distraction. My husband looked at me over the red plastic paint pan…

“How’s your heart?”

What a dumb question! How’s my heart! For crying out loud. I just want to get to work!

Lesson #5- “I justs” are dangerous. After four kids and twelve years of marriage my husband and I have found when things feel stressful, when we feel annoyed and when our blessings start to seem like burdens lurking behind the scenes is usually an “I just”. Its the place of entitlement. The place where the what becomes more important than the why, the who or the how. There’s few things as effective of robbing us and others of joy than an “I just”.

He was right. (Don’t tell him. Hopefully he won’t read this blog). I was quick to send the kids out of the room. Not really open to other ideas or options and choosing to go about life in a way that isolated me from the rest of the family. So, I shut off the cd, turned on the worship music and invited my six year old to grab a roller and help me paint his bed.

Lesson #6- What we do with our children is usually of far greater value than what we do for them. Yes, it’s a pain in the butt to slow down, to risk the mess and to contradict our own compulsion to be efficient; but it’s worth it. We just painted, and worshiped, and yes… I got a little edgy a couple times but we found our groove and now I have a good looking bed… and a great memory. Hopefully he will too. 

So… I’m actually still working out the last details of our little “weekend project”. I think it’s been about ten days now since we’ve started. Maybe more. But, as with most things, God is proving himself and excellent Father. Patiently, training, correcting and affirming me in each moment. Revealing both His majesty and His nearness in the most basic of things. And for this I am continually grateful.

For all you teens of facebook:

 

Stop taking selfies!

In fact, put down your phone, walk away from your computer and go change the world! Yeah, that’s right! You! Did someone forget to tell you that you are powerful? Oh, I’m sorry… You are powerful! You can make a difference in this world right here, right now. Some of you are really busy but if you have an hour to pm your bff about that outfit, well dear child- you have an hour to do something else! Here’s the fact of the matter, in four years (or less) everyone you think is old right now is going to magically expect you to be an adult. We’re going to expect you to know how to get along with your coworkers, pick the leader of a nation, pay your bills, not drive and text, and in general, be a good part of the human race. This happens simply because you graduate high-school.

Here’s the other thing… you know how Facebook makes YOU the center of your world… well… That’s a big fat lie. You are a really, really, really, small part of a big world and it doesn’t spin around you. With your 164th selfie this year, it’s probably hard to believe that. So… go find a single mom and babysit for her- regularly! Organize an after-school football league for boys without dads (even if you don’t have a dad). Start a teenage only food-bank and start challenging adults to raise more food/money than you for needy families. Do you realize that you can do that? You don’t have to be stupid, vain, small, bored, disrespectful and useless. It’s a choice.

Today, you can choose to be powerful. But… not if you’re spending all your time putting up a fake face, in a fake world to try to connect with a bunch of other people who are only showing you what they think you want to see. Go be real. Go be awesome and lead others by your example. Then you can post selfies of you changing the world.

 

But no more than one a week please… it’s still not all about you.