Sunday, April 25, 2010

Growing Pains and Growth Spurts

Over the last couple of months my oldest has shot up about 2 inches. (Oh for the love of Pete, please slow down!) She has often been complaining of achy arms and legs and just plain out being uncomfortable. I remember those days all too well. It's in her genes to be very tall.
Also as we are transitioning into warmer weather, she is pulling clothes out of her closet only to find things are way too small, too tight and just don't fit anymore. Some of her favorite outfits have been the most difficult to part with. She has tried to convince me that these outfits still fit her while she is tugging, pulling and constantly adjusting while attempting to wear them "one last time". The simple truth is she's just growing up.


Two weeks ago while we were out of town, I had the opportunity to be quiet. (Ha! That's funny to type.) Mike was interviewing for a job and I had the honor of being involved in some of the process and conversations. It occurred to me more than once while I was listening, just how many thoughts came to mind that were not exactly, um, ... "lovely or admirable".

Let me explain a little better. Mike is so witty and funny! He is always throwing in great and appropriate thoughts to make people laugh. It's one of my favorite things about him. I have tried to learn this craft and realized this week that what I have become good at is snide remarks and a habit of being critical. (Man, did I just really confess that to you?! Wowza!)

At the end our week together we were having lunch and I expressed an honest appreciation about something, and then added in another thought which ended up being a critical judgement at the expense of someone else. It wasn't a huge deal, but it was enough that as the words were leaving my lips I sensed the Lord saying, "Don't do that anymore." I was so uncomfortable. There was no great pause in conversation and it wasn't too awkward, but I sure knew those words were not my best choice.

In the Sunday morning service the pastor encouraged us to expect God to speak to us daily through scripture reading and to then journal what we heard Him say. I decided I could do this and I did with the book of Proverbs. Boy, was God speaking and did He ever have something to say to me! Here is some of what jumped out to me:

13:13 -Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life, he who opens wide his mouth comes to ruin.

14:2 - By the mouth of a fool comes a rod of pride, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.

15:4 - A gentle tongue is a tree of life.

15:7 - The lips of the wise spread knowledge.

15:26 - Gracious words are pure.

15:28 - The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

17:27 - Whoever restrains his words has knowledge.

17:28 - Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise, when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Then, Saturday as I was looking back over what I had journaled for the week, it was super clear to me that the Lord is very concerned with my lips and what comes out of them. It was also equally as clear that He was teaching me and encouraging me and not just correcting me. How just like my God - to rebuke in love!

Finally Sunday morning as we were getting ready for corporate worship, Lucy said to me, "I have nothing to wear!" I quickly reminder her of some of the new clothes she had recently received. She jumped up with joy and was so excited to go show off her new threads. In that moment, I felt the Lord sum it up for me:

The first week was growing pains and the second a growth spurt.

More than I care to admit, the week that we were out of town, I realized my thoughts made me feel really uncomfortable. And to be transparent, had I been with a group of people I felt more comfortable with, they would probably not have been left as thoughts, but made it to my lips. And the once or twice I did give them voice I, like Lucy, was achy all over.

The second week however, I really felt the Lord show me that being judgmental and critical just doesn't fit me anymore. Like Lucy's clothes, being critical is too small and judgmental snide remarks are to tight. (sigh) I only hope that also like Lucy, I don't argue and try to convince Him that they still fit. It is time to grow up a bit. But I am so thankful that He has a new wardrobe ready for me just like I was ready for Lucy. Check this out:

Isaiah 61:10 - I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness. As a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Father, thank you that You are a God who speaks, and that You speak to me! Sometimes growing up is hard and awkward. Thank you Lord that You love me enough to not leave me how I am. Jesus, how ready I am for a new outfit! Thank you that you are also ready. I too want to run with joy to put on what You have given me. You are such a good God who gives such good gifts!

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