Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Love Dare

I just finished reading the book Fireproof and watching the associated movie (the latest production from Kendrick brothers of Facing the Giants). If you have not seen it then i would highly recommend them both more so the book (books are always better than the movie).

The gist of the story is about a marriage that is heading for divorce and in an attempt to help his son and daughter-in-law reconcile the husbands father gives him a book called the Love Dare. (There is an actual book published called the Love Dare from the movie producers). Anywho the book is a 40 day challenge to show your spouse love. Day 1 begins with the challenge to not saying anything unkind (if you don't have something nice to say, say nothing at all) and each day continues with another task to show love. I wont spoil the ending for you just in case you have not seen it.

The really neat part is that it got me thinking about how much love do i show my husband. It just seems that those we love the most and are privy to our real self are also those we mistreat the most. I so easily take for granted the awesome man of God that my heavenly Father created me for. We are selfish my nature and often begin just focusing on what our spouse is not doing instead of focusing on serving them. Often times our desire to serve one another is based on how we feel and whether or not they deserve it. The reality is that none of us deserve love, none of us are worthy enough or righteousness enough... love is a gift given by an act of the will by our heavenly father as shown through the cross.

One of my favorite lines of the movie is that we can not let our hearts lead us but we need to lead our hearts. I have decided to take up my own love dare. I am not privy to run out to Barnes and Nobles and purchase the real book or hop online and have it sent to my house (which kinda bummed me out)... but then God spoke to my heart and said "clea, you don't need some book to figure out how to show love to those you claim to love, just sit down with me." So that is my plan to have a brain storm session with the one who IS love and come up with ways to show both isaac and my mom love.

I know for some of you more romantic types it may seem too structured but the thing that i have found in my very few years of marriage is that love really is more a thing of the will then the heart so having a plan is not a bad thing. it takes some work to actually put your love into action at least for this overly logically, highly selfish, engineer and mother of 4.

My prayer is that today you also would take a moment to show those you care for the most your love for them by your works... and i double dog dare you to make your own love dare...

James 2:22 "You see that his faith (love) and his actions were working together, and his faith (love) was made complete by what he did." (refocus my me)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


So Isaac is out on a 10 day outreach with the School of Ministry and since the computer is free and the kids are asleep i figured would blog (i know it has been too long -- you must forgive).

Anywho i had to just sit down and right about what happened with Nemo tonight. This afternoon we went over to some friends for a birthday party and one of the child's gifts was the new movie (not sure if new but i had never even heard of it -- i know that does not mean much) called Bolt. I thought the two older boys would be way blessed to see a new cartoon movie so even though it was getting late i arranged for the boys to be dropped off at the house later once the movie was over and i walked home with the two young ones to start dinner.

All seemed to be well, i got dinner ready and did some of the prep for the bed time routine. The boys were dropped off and we sat down for dinner when i noticed that Nemo seemed kinda aloof. I asked him if he was tired figuring that must be the explanation of the attitude. Much to my surprise he almost started crying and began saying how he should not have watched that movie and it was scary and he was going to have bad dreams.

Ok so granted i probably should have screened the movie but it was Walt Disney and we were at another missionaries house so i figured it could not be all that bad. Hindsight is 20/20 and i should have known better epically given Nemo's very sensitive nature and his struggles of late with scary dreams.

So that is all the back ground but the really cool part is how God arranges these "discipleship moments" in our lives. Isaac may have his SOM disciples but God has entrusted me with four precious souls that He desires to be trained and equipped and it is my job (by this grace of course) to do it.

So over dinner we talked about what was it that scared him and what was going on in the movie. We talked about how in those scary moments God provides an escape or how sometimes what appears to be a bad situation God uses for good and how it is often in those moments of trouble that you seek God. I could tell he was listening but still emotionally upset. I explained to him about how God does not remove all the scary times or the times of trouble but helps us to trust in him through them to which Nemo responds "Yeah like how Paul was thrown in prison. God could have kept him out of prison and didn't but God was with him."

We continued with our bedtime routine and Nemo asked me to pray that he would not have scary dreams so we did. When we finished Lulu's and Yahoo's bible story on David Nemo asked "Mom if David had all these guys and Saul had all these guys why did David not just fight Saul and become king?" Once again i was able to pour such truth into his heart about how God is the one who raises up kings and David knew that God alone should take them down and about how during Davids running from King Saul God was teaching him lessons that would make David to be a king that God wanted. The idea again of God using our trials to refine us for His purposes.

By the time we had finished the bible stories and praying i could sense Nemo was still upset so i decided to put the other three kids in bed and spend a little bit of one on one time with my first born. I really felt that God was giving him another opportunity to grow in the area of his emotions and i told him that. I explained how in our physical lives we don't always get to choose what happens to us but we do get to choose what we think about (hold every thought captive, think on whatever is lovely). I got out a cup and filled it half full with water and asked him the age old question "Is it half empty or half full?" to which he responded, "both". "Your right, it depends on the way you look at it." And how true. Are we focused on the blessings in our lives or are we looking and longing for more? Are we recognizing the God moments, the answered prayers, the angels around us or just the disappointments, frustrations, and discouragements?

By the end of our conversation, the light countenance and smile returned to his face and we held hands as we walked down the hall to the bedroom. I tucked my not so little boy in bed, kissed his forehead and told him that i loved him. As i turned and quietly closed the door i could not help but be overcome with thanksgiving to my God for those four blessings in my life.

Moms out there, let me encourage you, don't let those discipleship moments pass you by. Take the time. Be filled that you may have the words, the examples to pour into them. There is truly no greater joy or calling.

1 Timothy 4:8 "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."