A Scriptural Stream of Consciousness Based on Psalm 23

19 01 2015

First, I take absolutely no credit for this; it is the work of my husband.  One night when he couldn’t sleep he got up, and in the wee hours of stillness and darkness, he wrote this.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall want for nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

He restores my soul

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entirely, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

He restores my soul

The God of all grace, who called you by Christ Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, establish you, strengthen you, and support you.  (1 Peter 5:10)

He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10)

You are with me

“Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20)

He is with us

God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven.  (Ephesians 2:6)

He is with us

In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.  (Ephesians 2:22)

He is with us

He says “Here I am, with the children God has given me.”  (Hebrews 2:13, Isaiah 8:18)

He is with us

The mystery which has been hidden for ages and generations but has now been manifested to his saints, to whom God was pleased to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (Colossians 1:26-27)

I will fear no evil, for you are with me
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You prepare a table before me

“And I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred a kingdom on me,  so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit down on thrones to govern the twelve tribes of Israel.”  (Luke 22:29-30)

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

You anoint my head with oil

(a sign of sanctification, dedication, coronation)

You anoint my head with oil

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee of what is to come.  (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

You anoint my head with oil

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  (1 Peter 2:9)

You anoint my head with oil

You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  (1 Corinthians 6:11)

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever

There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you?  (John 14:2)

I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever

We know that if the earthly tent we live in is torn down, we have a building in heaven that comes from God, an eternal house not built by human hands.  (2 Corinthians 5:1)

I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever

You, too, as living stones, are building yourselves up into a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, so that you may offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus, the Messiah.  (1 Peter 2:5)

I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever

“For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said: “I will live and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”  (2 Corinthians 6:16)

I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever

I also saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.  I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “See, the tent of God is among humans! He will make his home with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There won’t be death anymore.  There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the old order of things has disappeared.”  The one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!”  Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  (Revelation 21:2-5)

Lord God, restore our souls we pray, for you are with us at this table you have prepared for us.  Anoint us with your Spirit as you join us together, building your temple, your dwelling place, that will last forever.

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Favorite Verses

8 09 2013

I just began my MBA program at Trevecca Nazarene University where my husband teaches. One of my first assignments was to explain my favorite Bible verse. We could only select one. The Christian Bible is comprised of 66 books, 1,189 chapters and 31,102 verses. My favorite verse really depends on the situation or occasion, but more often than not, simply what kind of mood I’m in.

For this assignment, I chose Daniel 2:21, “He gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to the scholars.” I thought that applicable to this academic endeavor.

Here are some of my other favorites.

•Engraved on my wedding band: Hosea 2:19-20, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.

•My claim for Caleb upon his birth: Psalm 22:10, “From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

•My claim for Jason upon his birth: Psalm 103:1, “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

•My mantra while I’m running or in a triathlon: Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

•Best reminder/rebuke when I am being stubborn: Deuteronomy 29:19, “Those who hear the warning of this curse should not congratulate themselves, thinking, ‘I am safe, even though I am following the desires of my own stubborn heart.’ This would lead to utter ruin!

•My prayer for myself when I need to extend compassion, patience, and grace: Ezekiel 26:26, “I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

•Reminder as a teacher: James 3:1, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

•The power of team work and community: Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed” and Ecclesiastes 3:12, “A cord of three stands is not easily broken.

•On being content: Proverbs 30:8, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread,” and Job 1:20, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

For a little humor . . .

Just a few weeks before we got married, Matthew sent me this reference at the end of an email as an encouragement to me: Genesis 29:20, “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” However, I mistakenly read verse 21 (which is also applicable to a soon-to-be-married couple, “Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.’”

I could fill up a dozen more pages on other favorite verses. What are some of your favorites?





Osdalia & Alberto

2 04 2013
Osdalia & Alberto

Osdalia & Alberto

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
-Nehemiah 8:10

I’ve read this scripture and sung it in numerous songs hundreds of, always thinking, well . . . that’s nice. I might have smiled at the sound of it, and then promptly continued reading or singing without giving it much more thought.

Osdalia and Alberto changed that. Until I met them, I didn’t know what those eight, sacred words really meant . . . “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

On March 3, 2013, their small home in Progreso, Texas was burglarized. The thief stole everything except an Xbox system belonging to Osdalia’s 14-year-old son, Jason. To cover his tracks, the thief burned their home to the ground. People gathered in her small community and stood around and watched, no one offering help or support. Most silently thinking, “Better her home than mine.” One church provided a dumpster for clean up, but no one from the church actually helped to clean up.

reconstructing their house in Progreso, Texas

reconstructing their house in Progreso, Texas

reconstructing their house in Progreso, Texas

reconstructing their house in Progreso, Texas

charred remnants from their house

charred remnants from their house

At the time of the fire, Alberto, Osdalia’s second husband and not yet a legal US citizen, was still living and working in Mexico. Upon hearing the news that the meager 480 sq. ft. home (smaller than the size of my classroom) which took him seven years to build was destroyed, he smuggled himself across the Mexican-American border in a trip that took eight hours of walking and running and dropping to the ground and hiding whenever he heard a car. This “trip” cost a hefty fee of $600 paid to the Mexican drug cartel.

On March 16, I met Osdalia, Alberto, and Jason. I was chaperoning a group of 15 students on a mission trip organized by Mission Discovery to Harlingen, Texas, to help this family rebuild their home. Little did I realize how this family would change my life in our five days together.

Alberto is one the hardest working men I’ve ever encountered. I like to think that I have a strong work ethic. I work hard and I don’t settle for second best. Alberto, put me to shame. Our group of 18 worked tirelessly for about five hours each day with him before heading back to the mission camp that was our temporary home. Alberto and Jason would continue to work until sundown, another five hours, and would accomplish almost as much as we had during the day.

When we first arrived at their home, Alberto had half the external framing and siding completed , a job we thought we were to tackle. By the time we left less than a week later, we helped Alberto expand their home to around 640 sq. ft. and finish 100% of the framing, siding, and roof—including shingles. We also painted their house as well as a neighbor’s home, and with some extra funds we raised, a small group of girls and I went shopping and were able to leave Osdalia and Alberto with some basic home goods like pots and pans, towels, bed sheets, kitchen and dining ware, school supplies, and an air mattress. Osdalia had been sleeping at her neighbor’s, but Alberto and Jason were sleeping in their van behind their house in order to protect the lumber and building materials from being stolen.

Of all the items we purchased for them, the 5×7 group photo we had framed, was Osdalia’s first prized possession. She held it tight to her chest, breaking the embrace periodically to look at it, and then embracing it again. This reminder of the people who came to help her family is what she clung to.

shopping for Osdalia and Alberto

shopping for Osdalia and Alberto

Osdalia

Osdalia

group photo

group photo

FRA Mission Trip group

FRA Mission Trip group

In the short spurts of time I got to spend with Osdalia and Alberto, I came to witness “the joy of the Lord is your strength” in human form as I’ve never witnessed before. I listened in as Osdalia shared with some of us about the fire and how it changed her family. Most people I know, including myself, would be vacillating between anger and grief, bitterness and self-pity. I know I would very easily succumb to the whole “why me?” mentality.

Osdalia radiated Joy. Peace. Strength. Hope.

She explained to me: before the fire, she and Alberto had been struggling in their marriage. This was Osdalia’s second marriage, and her two children were from her first marriage—Jason and a 17-year-old daughter Ashley. Jason and Ashley had also been estranged from one another in recent months and the fire separated the two siblings even more. Osdalia had not seen her daughter in about three weeks.

Despite the drama between her children, Osdalia and Alberto had grown closer since the fire, Osdalia shared. Their marriage was stronger than it had ever been. At the start of the week, Alberto still struggled with anger at the man who did this—turns out it was a neighbor just a few houses down from them on their street—but Osdalia had forgiven this man 100 times over. She said, “If this is what it takes to turn my family around, he can burn my house down next week, and the week after, and the week after that. He can burn my house down 100 times if this will help our relationships to get better.”

Listening to Osdalia share this, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she meant it. Every word. Her conviction in this Truth was unmovable. She. Meant. It.

In another conversation the next day, Osdalia continued, “I have forgiven this man. I have to. I forgive him over and over. I can’t be angry. God is here. He brought you to help us—strangers from Tennessee. We have hope. I tell Alberto, we have hope. God will provide. And He has.”

All of this coming from a woman who was wearing the same clothes she had been wearing for the past three days because everything else she owned was consumed by fire.

Every encounter with Osdalia over the next few days was much the same. She never stopped smiling. She always greeted each member in our group with a hug and a kiss and made sure to say good bye in similar fashion. (Hellos and goodbyes took a while.) She always asked how she could serve us. She even offered the shirt off her back and the shoes off her feet on several occasions, even though she didn’t have another shirt or pair of shoes to change into. She surprised us with Burger King for lunch one day and sodas and ice cream another.

All of this coming from a lady who had NOTHING—no material possessions, anyway.

What Osdalia did have was something quite extraordinary that most people do not have. True peace. True joy. True hope. True forgiveness. Even now as I write this, I find there are no words to do justice to just how exceptional and uncommon is Osdalia’s happiness.

the cross

the cross

Our final gift to Osdalia and Alberto was a wood cross made from scrap pieces of the burned frame of their original home. Nailed together and then painted, the cross displayed the legacy verse chosen by the 2013 senior class, “We love because He first loved us” from 1 John 4:19. The two seniors on the trip presented this to them along with two Bibles and explained the scripture. Osdalia embraced it, too. Only when she turned it over and saw the burned wood on the back—knowing then that it came from their former home—did she break down. The dinner table, with 26 of us, became still and silent. Osdalia buried her head in the cross and wept quietly. Alberto held her tight.

Osdalia and the cross

Osdalia and the cross

Time seemed to stop as the significance of this little cross took hold of all of us. What began as a seed of hatred and bitterness from a neighbor eventually lead to the horrendous crime against Osdalia and her family. What a neighbor meant for destruction, God used to bring forth goodness and life. Relationships were restored. Hope, peace, and joy found a welcome home in the hearts of Osdalia and Alberto.

Back to Alberto for a moment. In the few days we were with him, I witnessed his smile grow wider. I saw him let go of anger and embrace peace. I observed this transformation and was privileged to be there when he shared with our group he had dedicated his life to following Christ.

As for Jason and Ashley, they still have a ways to go in redeeming their relationship, but they actually stood close enough to one another—just Alberto between the two of them—for a family photo while they were praying. After this prayer, Ashley commented that was the first time she had prayed with her eyes closed, meaning she prayed and she meant what she had prayed.

praying together

praying together

This family left a deep imprint on my heart and on my attitude. I witnessed eternity being changed with Alberto’s public declaration to follow Christ, and I saw “the joy of the Lord is your strength” move from the printed pages of scripture to living, breathing entities . . . named Osdalia and Alberto.

The joy of the Lord is OUR strength. This is God’s promise to us. We just need to claim it.





This Is Why You’re Not Getting a Christmas Card From Us This Year (or maybe ever again)

6 12 2012

No More Christmas Cards explains how we came to our decision to NOT send Christmas cards this year.

So, the winner of what would have been our Christmas money was Safe Haven Family Shelter, by almost a 3-1 vote.  I was introduced to Safe Haven almost two years ago, and since then, both Caleb and Jason have joined me on various occasions to help provide dinner for the residents.

Besides the money issue, the other reason you are not getting a Christmas card from us is because this is it!  SURPRISE dear readers!  We’re going all-digital this year.

Many of you keep up with us via Facebook anyway, so you already know our year in review.  For those who don’t, here you go:

The Huddleston 2012 Year in Review

Matthew continues to teach physics and launch high altitude balloons at Trevecca Nazarene University.  He loves his job, and even took on the challenge of hosting a national high altitude balloon conference at TNU in June.

He finished his first (and possibly, probably, hopefully last) full marathon in April.  His goal was an ambitious 4:00, but he made it around 4:25.  This is incredibly impressive considering he only “trained” once each week . . . most of the time.

He has also completed several mud runs, the latest rage in running races around the country.  Now that he’s in a new age bracket, he will probably start placing and winning some nice prizes.

On a heavier note, Matthew’s dad, Mark, was diagnosed with colon cancer in October.  He had surgery just a few days after.  The doctors thought they got all of the cancer, but subsequent tests showed a spot on a lymph node.  He is currently undergoing chemo therapy once every two weeks for six months.  His doctors remain very optimistic, but we’d still appreciate your prayers for complete healing and for strength and endurance for Mark and Martha during this time.

Kelly (me) continues to teach technology and journalism/graphic design at Franklin Road Academy.  I also love my job.  I did NOT do a ½ (or full) marathon this year, and I feel great!  Triathlons are my new thing (My First Triathlon).  Having successfully finished three of them, I can no longer qualify for placings in the Beginner category.  However, being really a really weak swimmer, mediocre bicyclist, and slow runner, I wouldn’t qualify for placings in any category anyway.  Maybe when I’m 80 and still doing triathlons will I win something.

Gourmet cupcakes are my newest indulgence so if you are ever looking for a gift . . .  (I also love chocolate and a good extra sharp cheddar cheese.)  However, I really need to be eating more fruit and vegetables, so a membership in some sort of fruit-of-the-month club would be a better gift.

Matthew and Kelly’s (our) international trip this year took us to Nicaragua in July.  We met another one of the kids we sponsor through Compassion International.  Always an eye-opening, life-changing event, you can read about it here:  Open My Eyes.  You can also read about the amazing amount of fun hell we had as we hiked a volcano on Ometepe Island.

Next year’s trip is another once-in-a-lifetime trip:  india!  For three weeks we will traverse a good chunk of the country in June.  The first 10 days or so will be spent in Chennai and traveling up the Indian Ocean coast of south eastern India, mainly to visit two more kids they sponsor through Compassion International (link) as well as spend some time with a friend who pastors a church in a small village there.  During the second half of the trip, we will get to play tourist:  visit the Taj Mahal, ride elephants and camels in the dessert, visit Agra, Jaipur, New Delhi, and take a boat tour along the Ganges River in Varanasi, the heart of the Hindu culture.  Expect great blog posts to come from this adventure.

Other big news for 2012 included placing membership in a new church, Priest Lake Christian Fellowship.  Our former home church group, the Gathering, fizzled out as families found new churches around the Nashville area, so we started looking, too.  Being less than a mile from our home was a great benefit, but the people were the main draw.  We have never been to a more humble church where the Holy Spirit is so alive and thriving among its members.  It’s inspiring and challenging and moving each week.

Caleb is in fourth grade at Franklin Road Academy and continues to love school and excel in his academics.  To brag on this child for a moment, he has yet to receive a B in any term grade since he started PK.  He’s got his Daddy’s brains and aptitude for math and building things.  Caleb continues to love all things Star Wars, but his Pokemon obsession (thank goodness!) has come to an end.  If you know of anyone interested in buying a 700+ card Pokemon collection, please let us know.

Caleb’s newest obsession is legos.  The kid lives and breathes legos, which we are fine with.  He actually builds some really cool things, like a working flashlight—complete with an on/off lever and working bulb.

Caleb is also learning to play the recorder and trumpet, and we (as in Kelly) are trying desperately (and futilely) to get him to sing “This Song is Just Six Words Long” by Weird Al Yankovic in the Fourth Grade Variety Show in January.  Weird Al is another recent obsession of Caleb’s, and being the cool parents we are, for his birthday we bought him tickets to see Weird Al in concert in April when he comes to Nashville.

Caleb is a Webelo scout this year, and is a popcorn selling machine!  He sold over $1500 to win first place again in his cub scout pack.  He won an archery set, 8% of his total sales in cash, a $50 Walmart gift card, an LED head lamp, a patch, Predators’ tickets, and a trophy.  (Don’t get me started on winning trophies for something like selling popcorn.  Let’s just say, I’m not a fan of the practice.)

Caleb’s most exciting adventure this year, though, was his ER trip that led to a hospital stay for a couple of days at the end of August for pneumonia.  Despite this bump in the road, we are still tremendously blessed.  His asthma and allergies have plagued him something fierce this fall, much worse than normal.  We have an appointment with an asthma/allergy specialist next week so we are praying for something to help manage this better.

Jason started preK at FRA this year, and is loving it.  Being the second child, we did not work with him on things like the alphabet, drawing, writing, or reading much (hardly at all) before he started school.  Thankfully, the kid has a mind like a sponge and is taking off in the writing and reading department.  He also loves to draw.

Jason, too, is obsessed with Star Wars and legos.  At three he could recite entire scenes from Star Wars.  I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed by this.  Did I mention he was three at the time?  The kid can build lego creations with the best of them . . . well, maybe not a working flashlight yet, but he can build really cool spaceships, race cars, jails, mouse traps, and monsters.

Jason and Caleb took their first official swimming lessons this summer.  Lesson 1 involved Jason crying and screaming for the full 45 minute session.  He had snot running out of both nostrils to his belly button when I picked him up.  He only cried for about 15 minutes of lesson 2, and by lesson 3 he was actually excited to go.  Now, of course, the kid is terrified to put his head in the water, which reminds Kelly of herself as a child forced to take swimming lessons.

Packer, our dog, continues to love to eat anything that falls on the floor including baby spit-up (true story) as well as grass to later make herself throw-up said baby spit-up.  She loves to sleep during the day and wake us up around 4:00 a.m. to pee and play.

Finley Bubbles the VIII, our beta fish, didn’t last the year.  At this time, we are uncertain if we will buy Finley Bubbles the IX.

Hopes and prayers for 2013:

  • Good health for everyone
  • A safe and amazing trip to India
  • Jobs we love
  • Caleb and Jason would continue to grow and mature in their faith, following Christ
  • Matthew and Kelly possibly beginning a new Marriage Builders home church group
  • Kelly hopes to begin working on her MBA at Trevecca in the fall

As we reflect back and look forward, may we always remember WHY we celebrate.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
-John 1:14

Love and prayers to all,
the Huddleston Family

PS.  If any of you find yourselves in Nashville and need a place to stay, we’ve got plenty of room and love house guests.





My Dear Son

28 11 2012

My dear son,

Eldest.  Blessing.  Miracle.  Joy.  Delight.  Honor.

I can’t believe you are 10 today.  I’ve been pondering this day a while now, wondering what to write.  Let me start with this scripture I read a few days ago.  I immediately thought of you and some of the things you are going through.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.

In my distress I prayed to the Lord,
and the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?
Yes, the Lord is for me, he will help me.
I look in triumph at those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.
-Psalm 118:1, 5-8

I think of some of the conversations we’ve had lately, and I am blown away, excited, joyful, and yet my heart aches for you.  I can see the Spirit of God moving in you in a mighty and powerful way for one so young.  I see God pulling on your heart, desiring goodness for you.  I see you wanting to obey with everything that is in you.  I see you coming into a faith of your own—not your father’s or my faith, though I pray we have provided you with a firm foundation on which to stand on your own.  Not having grown up myself with the faith you have as a young child—you have no idea what this experience means to me.

I see your struggles, and my mommy-heart aches for you.  I wish I had the answers you seek:  Why am I here?  What does God want me to do?  Why doesn’t He answer me?  Does anyone think I’m special and important?

Take heart, precious son!  You are here for a grand purpose, though we may not know for years what that purpose is.  God did not bring you into this world without having a great and glorious master plan already prepared for your life.

Be strong and courageous, my child!  God wants you to love him first and foremost.  He wants you to love others just as much.  He wants you to pray for those who tease you or make fun of Blanky Bear.  He wants you to love, no matter what, no matter how difficult.  My heart rejoices as I see you try to live out God’s greatest commands.

Be at peace, young one!  God always listens to your prayers.  He always hears your cries of sadness.  He always knows your deepest longings and greatest struggles.  He always loves no matter what.  He always forgives with a doubt.  Even when you don’t hear him, and it seems like he’s on another planet, He is still there for you.  Always!

Smile and sing and rejoice, Caleb!  You are more special than you will ever know—not just to daddy and me and your family and friends.  You have no idea the lives you have touched and will touch.  You have no idea the plans God has in store for your future—a future brimming with hope, goodness, and greatness in Him.  I believe this with every fiber of my being.

Caleb - 10 years old

Caleb – 10 years old

To my lego-lover, deep-sleeper, joke-teller, recorder-player, popcorn-seller, avid-reader, craigslist-poster, Weird Al-lover, straight-A receiver, laundry-doer, special-helper, hospital-visitor, Cheerio treat-maker, cous cous-eater, and most precious delight of God . . .

My prayer for you is that you will always feel the presence of the Holy One dwell deep within you.  May your faith continue to mature.  May God’s will always be on your heart and in your mind.  May you always overcome your struggles with goodness, mercy, and grace.  May righteousness always be your guide.  May you always love God and always know beyond a shadow of a doubt how much He loves you.

 

Love,
Mommy





Rebuked by a 4-Year-Old

10 10 2012

Jason, my 4-year-old, recently learned a new song.  Its lyrics are simple:

“When something’s bad,
Turn it around,
And find something good.”

It’s a catchy little ditty, and there are motions, too!

Jason has been singing this a lot.  A.  LOT.  And for this, I am grateful.

The other day, I was driving around Belmont University, trying to find a place to park so that I could drop Caleb off for his choir rehearsal.  I had been sharking one particular spot; I saw the lady get in her car, and I thought she was going to leave.  However, she got on her phone and chatted away.  I realized I could pull up behind her without hindering traffic—it was a street spot—and just wait for her to leave.

On my third go around the circle, I was just feet from her when a huge monster truck (not quite) made an illegal U-turn in front of me and claimed MY space.

What came out of my mouth next would have made a sailor blush.

I have to back up and offer a little bit of history.  My dad and much of my extended family can cuss with the best of them.  Traffic and technology tend to be our main triggers.  We often joke of the “Knutson gene,” but our short tempers and rough language are no laughing matter.  I grew up in a family where the F- and S- and many other inappropriate words were used as verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.  These words were a part of my daily vocabulary.

Having a short fuse and responding to that fuse with cussing was only natural.  That’s what was modeled to me from as young as I can remember.  Didn’t everyone respond that way?

Only after becoming a follower of Christ in my early 20s did I really begin to understand how ungodly this was.  I have been battling this generational curse for close to 20 years now.  I have definitely made progress in controlling my temper and language, but I honestly think this curse will plague me till the day I meet my maker.

Despite my deep conviction that I do not want to pass this curse on to my children, I get so caught up in it at times, it makes my head spin.  Thankfully, I have done one thing right in this; I have trained my children to rebuke me on this when it happens.  And thankfully^2 God has given me two sons who are not afraid to do that.  And thankfully^3, so far neither one seems to be carrying this cursed “Knutson gene.”  In fact, Caleb used to get so upset at my getting upset that he would cry.

Need to be convicted?  Have your child cry over your sin.

So there I was, cussing up a storm when Jason piped in from the back seat, “Mommy, you shouldn’t say that.  When something’s bad, you need to look for something good.”

Boy, did that stop me in my tracks.

Was I just rebuked by my 4-year-old?  Yup.
Did he just me tell me my behavior was ungodly  (in so many words)?  Yup.
Did he just offer me a better way to respond?  Yup.

I could hear angels in heaven rejoicing over this precious young heart.  I could also picture God shaking his head at me wondering, “Kelly, Kelly, Kelly.  Of all the things in this universe you can get upset about . . . a parking space?  Really?!?!?”

I immediately asked forgiveness from my sons and from God and thanked Jason for telling me that what I did was wrong.  I want to do better.  I need help to do better.  I’m so thankful my little ones can help me do better.

“A little child shall lead them.”
Isaiah 11:6





40

26 09 2012

I turned 40 last week, and I have been reflecting on that number a lot lately.  First, I came up with a list of 40 Things  I want to accomplish in my next 40 years.  Today, I am reminded of the biblical significance of the number 40.

  • The rains poured down for 40 days in the days of Noah.
  • Moses lived in Egypt his first 40 years, in Midian his second 40 years, and wandered with the Israelites in the desert for 40 more years.
  • Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai receiving the first set of laws as well as 40 more days receiving the second set after the sin of the Golden Calf.
  • The Israelite spies were sent out for 40 days.
  • Jonah spent 40 days prophesying in Nineveh.
  • Ezekiel laid on his right side for 40 days to symbolize the 40 years of Judah’s transgression.
  • King David and King Solomon, among others, ruled Israel for 40 years.
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness as he was tempted by the Deceiver.
  • For 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to his followers.

40 most often symbolizes a period of trials and testing followed by a period of refreshment, deliverance, prosperity, or rest.   Taking each of those items listed above,

  • Noah saw God’s promise to mankind in the form of a rainbow.
  • Moses saw the Promised Land before he died.
  • Israel settled in the land flowing with milk and honey.
  • Nineveh repented and was saved.
  • Israel grew and prospered under the rule of King David and King Solomon.
  • Jesus was refreshed by angles attending him after confronting Satan.
  • The Holy Spirit was given to followers of Christ.

I have certainly had some trials and experienced periods of great testing in my first 40 years of life.  But I really like the idea that my next 40 could be . . . should be . . . filled with goodness.  I am truly excited to experience what God has in store for the next half of my life.