Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Am Not My Own

For many years of my adult life I have been pregnant and/or fact more months than I care to count right now. During that time, I realize that what I intake to my body affects more than me. It affects my baby too. If I drink too much caffeine, if I don´t get enough calcium, if I eat too much junk and not enough good stuff it affects the development of my baby. If I take medicines they can enter the baby´s system and affect him/her as well as me. Also the things I do affect my baby. If I am deprived of oxygen, then my baby is too. If I get too hot, my baby does too. I realize during those times very poignantly that my body is not just my own, it is also the dwelling place of another.

In reality since I gave my life to God, my body, my life, is not my own even more than when I am pregnant or nursing since it it is continually the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Don´t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." As Christians, not only are we the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, but also we have been bought by God with a high price. He paid for us with the precious blood of Jesus who died so that we could have a restored relationship with God. These verses tell us that we must honor God with our bodies.

What does that mean? It means that I must not just honor God with my mouth, but with my entire life with my whole body. Whatever I say, whatever I do, where ever I go is to show honor to God. I now belong to Him. I can´t just spend my money on what I want. I can´t just go where I want to go. I can´t just do what I want to do. Not if those things are not what God wants for me. I owe Him my life. He bought it. I´m not my own.

Have you ever seen pictures of tribes in Africa that have their ear lobes stretched with big holes? Nowadays this is even somewhat popular in the States. I have often thought about doing that in just one ear. I´d have the lobe of one of my ears stretched with a hole about a half of a centimeter in diameter. Now before you judge me harshly let me tell you the reasons I would do this. (Really and truly I am staying on point here and there is a correlation coming so hang in there with me.) There is a passage in Exodus that talks about servants and setting them free after 6 years of service. Then it goes on to say "But if the servant plainly says, "I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free," then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever." (Exodus 21:6)

So what did being a bondservant mean? It was someone who had willfully given their life to their master to be his slave and serve him forever. It meant that the person had voluntarily given up their freedom to walk away from their Master. A bondservant was marked by their Owner. They had a big hole in their ear lobe showing everyone (and as a reminder to themselves) that they had chosen their life of servitude. They said, "I love you, Lord, and I don't want to leave You." I will do your bidding. It also meant that the Master had marked them as His servants for life. There was no going back. You couldn´t walk away or get your freedom back and the Owner could not send you away. You were bonded to Him. A bondservant is one who devoted to his Master with disregard of his own interests. A bondservant does not expect to be served, but instead has voluntarily chosen to serve. I have given over my life to the control of another. As the old song says, "Where ever He leads, I´ll go." Paul, Peter, Jude, John, James, Simeon and Jesus among others called themselves bondservants. They weren´t MADE to be servants, they CHOSE to become servants. They chose a life of servanthood. They gave over the ownership and decision making of their lives to Another.

That is what I have committed to do and to be. I am a bondservant of my Lord Jesus Christ. The reason I would choose to have my ear lobe stretched is as a sign, a remembrance, both to remind me and to show others that I have chosen to stay with my Master forever and serve Him and do His will, not to have my own free life.

My body is not my own. My life is not my own. I have Someone whom I have voluntarily chosen to serve. There is no going back on that commitment. So forward I go.

Monday, June 22, 2009

YES!! Hot Water on Demand

Here´s a pic of our new calafone (gas hot water heater). Note the tank it is connected to. We have discovered that our family will use more than one of these tanks a week between showers, baths, and washing dishes. I am so grateful to have hot water for washing dishes though. Maybe now we will stay a little healthier for a while.
The tanks are easy to have refilled. Either we can walk a block to the tienda down the street and trade it for a full one (along with about $3 for the gas) or we can listen for the truck coming by that sells them. We can hear them coming because they use a wrench to bang on an empty tank to let us know they are on the way. Kind like an old fashioned ice cream truck. Our garbage pick up does the same thing, except it is at 6:00 a.m. Who wants to take out the trash then? But you can´t set it out any sooner because the packs of dogs on our street would have a feast.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Almost Hot Water

Well our calafone is in, but the regulator on it is not quite working right. Translation: We have a hot water heater now (not just solar heated...see Joe´s blog for details), but it isn´t making the water hot yet. I am reminded of our early days in Coch. The faucets here have the letters C and F on them standing for Caliente (hot) and Frio (cold). One day the littles came to me and said "We know what the C and the F on the faucets stand for. C is for Cold and F is for Freezing!" They aren´t too far off there. ;^) And so the saga and the quest for hot water continues.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An Age of Opportunity

That´s the title of a great book by Paul Tripp about navigating the teen years with your child. However the book is not what I want to talk about. I just want to talk about the title. It´s a great title...The Age of Opportunity. I wholeheartedly believe that parenting is an age of opportunity...not for the kiddos, but for us parents. Nothing works to reveal my weaknesses, my flaws and my sin like my family.
I think that God puts us in relationships in order to reveal to ourselves that we can not live the Christian life on our own. We can clearly see that we can´t muster up love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness on our own. We see that we need Him. We need to abide in Him and He will produce that kind of fruit in us. He gives us spouses and children (and brothers and sisters and parents) to show us our rough edges so that we will give Him an opportunity to chisel them away to reveal a clearer image of Himself. I have an opportunity to run to Him and confess my weakness and learn even more dependence on Him. I didn´t know I was the kind of person that would get upset by dear little children asking thousands of questions every waking hour out of sheer curiosity, but God did. So He gave me some dear little ones to show me that I am selfish and lack love. I didn´t know that I was the kind of person that would get upset if my plans were interrupted or did not get accomplished, but God did. So He sent me some little interrupters to thwart my plans. Now I see that I placed more importance on my own agenda and my plans than I did on people. I have been given countless opportunities like these.
God reveals so much weakness in me through my primary relationships with my husband and my children. He has given me an opportunity to see what He already knows...that I have many flaws and areas where I try and do things in my own strength when I really just need to go to Him, rest in Him and let His Spirit work through me. When I get upset over dirty dishes in the sink that my children were supposed to wash, when I am angry that I have to repeat myself 3 or 4 times and even then my children only seem to hear half of what I said, I have been given an opportunity. An opportunity to see my sinful heart for what it really is. I am not saying this flippantly. I actually believe that I am living in an Age of Opportunity. God has given me a daily window where I can view my own soul and it is called my family. God cares that I think I am self-sufficient so He arranges circumstances to show me how much I need Him in my life. He shows me that I can´t handle my life on my own.
I look at people whose children are grown or who are not married or have no children and I feel for their lack of opportunity to see themselves for who they really are. It´s easy to pretend like we are patient when we have nothing or no one to try that patience. It´s easy to think that I can love unconditionally, until someone I love does something that betrays that love. I know that everyone goes through trials and that everyone has opportunities to be bumped and see what comes out, but I believe that for most of us, our families are our biggest bumpers. And so in spite of all the pain, I must say that I am grateful for my little (and big) bumpers that God uses to show me an accurate picture of who I am so I can then run to my Father and ask for the forgiveness granted through His Son and the power of His Spirit to go on.