Monday, September 15, 2014

the burning bush

This weekend we switched up Cooper's room and the guest room. This used to be the guest bed and it is now in Cooper's room. 
This is now the playroom. All the toys are upstairs! Hooray! 

I know this picture is upside down, but I love it. Cooper was so excited that we could all fit on his bed. He kept putting his arms around us and pulling us in close to him. You can see his hand around Andrew's head. 
Last night I was brought to tears putting Cooper to bed. The past couple of weeks have reminded me that our time with him is going so quickly. And sometimes I wonder if we are on the right path, doing enough, etc. This special moment with Cooper confirmed to me that maybe we are on the right path, but also that the work isn't yet done. We've still got a long road of parenting/disciplining/leading ahead of us.

I've been trying to teach Cooper to pray by praising God, thanking God, confessing to God, and asking God for help. So, before our prayer time started, I hopped in bed with him and began this conversation.

"Cooper, do you want to know what one of my favorite parts of today way?"
"When you told me about your bible story. When you told me about how the bush was on fire but didn't burn up because God was in it. Isn't God so awesome?! God has done so many powerful and cool things that we get to read about and learn about in the bible."
   -Yeah. What else?
"Well, Moses, the same guy who saw the burning bush, was running away from some bad guys. And they came to a big sea. There was no bridge and no ship so they couldn't get away. And God told Moses to put his stick in the sea. And when Moses did, the sea parted. And the good guys got to walk across the sea to the other side. Then guess what happened to the bad guys? They started walking across the sea, too. But before they were all the way across, God closed the water back."
   -*Excitement from Cooper* Yeah, and God got the bad guys down. *sound effects*
"Yep. He did. Isn't God so awesome to protect us?"

I've been trying to teach Cooper to pray by praising God, thanking God, confessing to God, and asking God for help. So after making a list of why he thought God was awesome, what he was thankful for, what he needed to confess, and what he needed help with, our prayer started. I take a turn praising God, then he does, and we go through all four of those areas.

"God, thank you so much for the stories in the bible, like the parting of the red sea. God, you are powerful and strong, and are awesome. I love reading about those things in your word."
   -Mom, can we read the bible again?
"Absolutely, Cooper."
    -God, it's great how you could have that bush on fire, but it wasn't burnt up.

I'm not going to share the rest of the prayer. It was that line that tugged at my heart. We have been doing a devotional book with him in the mornings, but my 4 year old reminded me how devotionals can't quench my desires or my thirst like God's word can.

After our prayer, I told Cooper that the most important thing to me, that the thing I wanted most for him was for him to love God. More important than what he does I want him to love God. And looking into his eyes when I said that the tears welled up inside my eyes.  I walked away wondering what changes I need to make to help him see what it means to love God.

This morning I dropped Cooper off at school (going great, by the way) and headed to the gym. I've been listening to Elevation's sermons while I work out. The one I listened to today was called Marry or Burn. It's a sermon about marriage and he talked about our sexual passions. He tied it into Moses and the burning bush - go figure!

While on the treadmill I jotted down these notes on my phone:

"The wrong expression of the right passion could end in great pain. The things which we are made for are often the things that will bring us the most pain."

"When God is the center of my life, my passions will burn, but not burn up. Like Moses and the burning bush."

"First marriage, then passion. If you light the passion before the marriage, the flames will be out of control. Contain the passion in the marriage and you'll heat the whole house, not burn the house down."

And now for some notes from yesterday's sermon at NewPointe:

"Their number was added to daily because of the way they (the disciples) loved one another."

"Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether or not our message is truthful - Christian community is the final apologetic" - Francis Schaefer - - - WOW

Cooper is basing whether or not God is real on how Andrew and I love one another. Whoa! I so want Cooper to be passionate about what God made him to do. I don't want his passions to get out of control and burn him up. To show him that, Andrew and I are setting the example to him. We are setting the example of how to love God and others. We are the example to him of healthy choices. We are the example to him of financial sacrifice and giving. That, my friends, makes me want to do better. While I think we're on the right track, there's still a long road ahead.

Pray with me, will you? Pray that you and I can become better wives, husbands, parents, and friends for the sake of God's kingdom. May we love others deeply. May our love of others be the final apologetic.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Adventures in Preschool

A few weeks ago a package arrived for Cooper. Inside we discovered a new backpack - Mario of course. As I took it out of the box, I got a whiff of it's scent. I was instantly taken back to school days. I made Cooper smell it, too. I told him it was the smell of new things. The smell of school. The smell of excitement. With the arrival of the backpack, anticipation of preschool was in the air. With that anticipation came hesitation on Cooper's part. When I asked if he wanted to try it on, he answered "No, thanks." Conversations were had over the next several days about preschool and he was sure to tell me "I'm not very excited. I'm only a little bit happy about preschool." My momma heart became nervous for him.

Then came another mail delivery. This time, and envelope from his school; in it a note from his teacher, and a brief description of preschool. I read it all aloud because Cooper wanted to hear it all. After reading through he said, "Mom, I can wear my Mario backpack and my Mario shirt!" My first thought: Oh great, he's already picking out outfits! But really I was relieved to finally hear excitement in his voice about preschool. 

There have been a couple of times in this process where it feels like there's a huge lump in my throat, at the same time feeling really old, and feeling like I just want to hold my baby boy again. Those feelings came the day we registered, filling out paperwork, getting a physical for school, the arrival of a backpack, questions about school supplies, and orientation. Our Cooper really is growing up. It causes my heart to ache a little and my mind to ponder. 

As I was giving Cooper a bath last night, he talked a lot. But I don't remember much of what he said. My mind was consumed with thoughts about the next day, and in turn, the past 4 1/2 years. Have we done enough? Will he make good choices? Of course he'll make poor choices. How will we respond when he does? Will his teacher have patience with him? Will he make friends? Will he be a good friend? Will he still love home?

Today was a little rainy as we walked into school. We found where he puts his backpack, emptied the papers, and put away his snack. Then with some kisses, hugs, and a "You are kind, you are God's, make good choices" reminder, we were walking away. He smiled, waved, and went off to play.

I made it to the car before the tears came. Even while writing this the tears are still very present. I've realized parenting is a long drawn-out process of letting go. And today we got our first taste of it. A peek into what's to come over the next 14 years. Guys, it's like leaving your heart in a classroom for a couple of hours and saying to this teacher you've only known a few minutes "make sure it keeps beating, love that heart, help it thrive." And I get the teacher's side of it. I walked that road for 5 years. But being on this side gives it a completely different perspective. 

These hopes that I have for Cooper are starting to grow wings today. One day I'll watch my hopes soar high in the sky. But with the new-found knowledge of what this letting go feels like, I'm going to relish in the baby wings while they are still little.