A new address…again August 25, 2008
Well, it’s been a while since I posted last and several things have happened since then. We have had our family vacation (yipee!!!) and we have decided to uproot and move to Lexington. It hasn’t been an easy decision and there is a long story that goes with it, but for now know that the Leap’s are on the move again and when we get it all straightened out we’ll get back to blogging the way that we would like to!
More on this later. For now it has been an exhausting week and I am going to go watch a movie with my husband.
VBS week is officially over… June 28, 2008
Well Lifeway has done it again! After a week of Vacation Bible School we are just plain bushed! Outrigger Island was a huge success at our church this week. We started out with a Luau kickoff on Sunday setting the pace for the following 5 days. Our high attendance night was 228 (my husband will say 227, but I forgot to add another worker that was coming in late after work every night. I did go to the office and add him retroactive to the week’s numbers.)
This year my place of service was in the baby and 1yo room. That could be because I have a permanent, rapidly growing growth on my arm named Lucas. Past years I have had the K5 class (WHAT A ZOO!) and then last year I taught the 2nd grade class. Since we home school and I am our kids teacher all of the time, I try not to teach their classes in bible school. Because I spent my time in the nursery I didn’t learn all of the songs this year…which also means that I won’t be singing all of the songs for the next year of my life. I am still singing Rickshaw Rally and Kingdom Caper songs from years ago!
Kids always leave bible school with a handful of crafts, lesson cards to help them remember what they have learned, treats and a t shirt. (Our 2yo did leave with a serious case of hives in addition to the other items…personally I would have preferred an extra door hanger instead.) We hope that they leave with so much more than just what they can carry home in a bag. VBS is the biggest outreach into the community that most churches have during the year. You will have a hard time getting this many adults to come to a traditional revival every night for a week, but kids will flock to a week of VBS! Maybe we need to rethink the traditional revival services. Make a theme complete with decorations, songs, recreation and snack time…call it something creative, but don’t call it a revival because then they won’t come! Claim it is a “dessert tasting” with “discussion”, “fun” and “games”! If only adults were so easy to please, so eager to hear the message of Christ and so open to his leading…
Martha or Mary? June 20, 2008
Like many do every year, I started my year off determined to read through my bible by the end of December. This is going to be the year. I am ashamed to say that I have never read my bible cover to cover, though I have read the majority of the books individually. This year I started off with a bang, I even doubled up on my readings and got waaayyyyy ahead. Then something happened…child number 4. Suddenly I look at my bible reading checklist and I am behind…way behind. What happened? I only missed a few days…or was it more than a few? So now I am playing the catch up game because I am determined to read my bible this year. Like I said, THIS IS THE YEAR!
A few weeks ago my husband and I attended the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis, IN together. My mom and dad kept our oldest three so we only had the baby with us. It was a nice get away and we were able to actually talk about things we shamefully had not been able to, or hadn’t taken the time to talk about, lately. Deep conversation becomes a thing of the past when you have kids and ancient history when you have 4 kids! I was able to confide in him and share some of my shortcomings as a mom, wife and as a christian woman. I am working on these things now and it isn’t easy. I find myself in the Mary vs. Martha mode. Last year I started reading Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver at the request of my sister who was also reading it at the time. It so accurately described both of us. Since we are so alike…neither of us ever completely finished the book, but we gained a lot from what we did read. It is a great insight into the lives of women today and is a great resource for women who want to transform from a Mary to a Martha or maybe just a more balanced hybrid of the two. This is a devotion that I wrote and delivered at my home church’s Ladies Banquet over a year ago. This time I find myself looking over it because it is I that needs to hear my own message. First, for the relevant verses…
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Perhaps no story in scripture better describes the conflict we feel as women than this one. The life of a woman today is not that different from this story of Mary and Martha found in the New Testament. Like Mary, you long to sit at the Lord’s feet…but the demands of the world, of your family, and of your other commitments just won’t leave you alone.
I am sure you have heard it said before that someone has a “Mary” or a “Martha” personality. What does that mean exactly? The Martha from scripture is one of those dependable persons we can count on to do what is needed. We see her working in the kitchen and serving. She was a worker, task oriented, sometimes to the extreme. She was a significant person in the family and her contribution to it was vital. Mary on the other hand was a freer spirit. Her first priority was spending time with Jesus-not cooking in the kitchen. Mary was spiritually sensitive displaying an awareness of Jesus’ moods that not even the disciples seemed to have. Mary was also emotionally expressive, weeping freely, and loving generously.
Today’s Christian Woman Magazine sponsored a survey of more than a thousand Christian women. Over 60% indicated that they work full time outside of the home. Add housework and errands to a 40 hour a week career and you have a recipe for weariness. Women who choose to stay at home find their lives just as full. Chasing toddlers, being the family sports taxi, keeping your friends kids and volunteering at school, or in my case home schooling, life seems hectic at every level. Like Martha, you really want to serve him…yet you struggle with weariness, resentment and feelings of inadequacy. We all have the same struggles. Finding time for bible study has been a real struggle of mine for years. Just because I am the pastor’s wife does not mean that I have it all together!
In Charles Hummell’s book The Tyranny of the Urgent, he writes “We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task rarely must be done today or even this week. Extra hours of prayer and bible study can wait. But the urgent tasks call for instant action-endless demands pressure every hour and every day.” This sounds so familiar to me. I hear God’s tender call to come and I respond with a “Yes, Lord I will come”, then I remember the laundry in the washing machine, the phone rings, I remember a project that I was supposed to do yesterday and all of my good intentions disappear, swallowed up in the “Tyranny of the Urgent.”
By this point you are seeing a pattern in your own life. But here comes Jesus in the midst of our busy lives to extend the same invitation that he issued long ago to the two sisters from Bethany. Tenderly, he invites us to choose the “better part”, a joyful life of intimacy with him.
Martha and Mary were similar in many ways. They were…
Both faithful disciples
Both loved Jesus and honored him at a time when few gave him honor
Both were loved by Jesus
Now, take a piece of paper and write down on the left side 5 things that occupy most of your time.
Did you write down bible study or worship?
Let’s take a closer look at Martha.
Martha was distracted that day in Bethany, caught up in her “to-do” list of the day. Obviously she had the gift of hospitality and had opened her house to Jesus before as we are told in scripture. But opening your home is not the same as opening your heart. In her eagerness to serve Jesus and prepare a banquet for him, she almost missed the opportunity to know Jesus and take part in the real “feast” of fellowship with Him.
Charles Spurgeon writes of Martha in his devotional Morning and Evening saying “Her fault was not that she served, the condition of a servant well becomes every Christian. Her fault was that she grew cumbered with much serving so that she forgot him and only remembered the service.”
In our minds nothing but the best will do. We have to go all out for Jesus. We tend to get caught in performance traps feeling that we must prove our love for God by doing great things for him. We implement great ministries and take on wonderful projects all in an effort to “spread the good news”. We do all of our work “in his name”, but in the end will he know us? Will we know Him? When we put work in front of worship, we are putting the cart before the horse. The cart is important, but so is the horse. When the cart is in front of the horse we end up pulling the cart in our own strength and frustrating ourselves with service when it is worship that should lead us.
-The world applauds achievement…but God desires companionship.
-The world cries “Do more! Be all that you can be!”…but our Father whispers to us “Be still and know that I am God”
-God isn’t looking as much for workers as he is for sons and daughters…a people to pour his life into.
We live in a Martha world. A terribly busy, fast paced world filled with fast food and express lanes. We live so busy that we end up cramming a whole weeks worth of bible study into just a few minutes on Saturday night so that we will be prepared for Sunday morning. Is that what our Father intended for us? Just as we would never think of feeding our children “fast food” every meal, our Heavenly Father wants us to feast of the “meat” of the word, not just the “milk”.
The only requirement for a deeper friendship with God is showing up with an open heart ready to receive. In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus said “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.”
As Martha was busy in the kitchen making her preparations, Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to what he had to say. Think of what this meant in Judean culture. Mary was literally crashing a party that was meant only for men. Women who wanted to show their love for God were permitted to do so by good works, just as Martha displayed, but that was pretty much their only option. They were allowed to enter the Women’s court of the Temple to worship, but no further. The thought of joining Jesus never occurred to her because it simply was not allowed. So she showed her devotion by giving her best gift, that of service.
Mary, more that any other person in the New Testament, is associated with sitting at the Lord’s feet.
She was a committed follower of Jesus and would drop everything and listen to Him.
Mary served Jesus and showed her love in extravagant ways.
In John 12:1-8 we read of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with pure Spikenard, an ointment so expensive it would have cost a years worth of wages for a mere 10 and 1/3 ounces! Her willingness to pour this out in worship of the Savior demonstrates that she had a hunger and thirst for spiritual things.
Mary was taking time out of the busyness of the day, and was sitting at the feet of Jesus, truly worshipping, choosing the “better part.”
All of this is not to say that one sister was right and one was wrong. We are all different, just as God made us to be. Each gifting and personality has its own strengths and weaknesses, its glories and its temptations.
When Jesus corrected Martha with his gentle rebuke, he didn’t say “Why can’t you be more like your sister Mary?” He knew Martha would never be Mary and Mary would never be Martha. But when the two were faced with the same choice, to work or to worship, Jesus said “Mary has chosen the better part.” This implies to me that the better part was available to both sisters. And it is available to each of us, regardless of our gifting or our personality. It is a choice we each will make.
Do you relate to Mary or Martha?
Do you find yourself sitting at his feet, hungering and thirsting for spiritual things and a more intimate relationship with him?
Or do you find yourself busy with the duties and urgencies of the day leaving little or no time for a “spiritual feast” let alone a trip through the fast food drive thru?
Next to the last list that you made, list 5 ways that you want to be more devoted in your worship of Jesus. More “Mary” like in your life. These can be ministry or service related and personal or spiritual growth related.
The left is your “Martha” side and the right is your “Mary” side.
If you are having trouble feeling closer to God- or even wanting to draw close- you might want to consider what activities you are using to fill the empty places of your life. What is taking the edge off of your hunger for him?
Author Cynthia Heald puts it this way, “We are as intimate with God as we choose to be.” The only limitations of God’s presence in our lives are the limits we ourselves set- the excuses we set up to avoid being filled to the measure with God. Perhaps your excuse is your children or your work, but whatever is keeping you from God- it is sin. The very definition of sin is separation from God. So no matter how important the task, no matter how good it seems, if I use it as an excuse to hold God at arm’s length, it is sin. I need to confess and repent of it so that I can draw close to the Lord once more. The longer we go without being filled with God’s presence, the drier and emptier and more frustrated we become. You see, spiritual hunger and thirst do not work the same way as physical hunger and thirst. With physical hunger and thirst you eat and drink and are satisfied. With spiritual hunger and thirst, it isn’t until you “eat” that you realize just how starved you are. And as we sit at the Lord’s Table We get hungrier and thirstier. We want more, we have to have more.
Will you be the one anointing the feet of Jesus, or the one screaming from the kitchen “Not the Crisco! Use the Great Value!”
Now, I think I’ll call my sister and challenge her to finish reading that book!
Cast off! June 18, 2008
Five weeks ago my husband was in Louisville at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for his 2 week “stint” working on his Ph.D. I never like staying at home by myself so I took the four kids and headed to my mom and dad’s for the duration. The second night we were there our 7 year old son fell out of a tree and broke his arm. Now I know that sounds dramatic…falling out of a tree and all, but as it turned out the real drama was in how it happened. You see our son, who is presently on an Indiana Jones kick, was snapping the whip that my dad had just given him the day before. If you have seen the movies you know that Indiana Jones uses his whip to wrap around branches, and various other items, to swing on it…now you’re getting the picture. The whip wouldn’t come unwrapped from the tree limb so someone had to climb up the tree to untangle it…unfortunately he was the chosen one, it being his whip and all. Needless to say he got about 2 feet off of the ground before his foot slipped and he crashed to the ground. It was all in the landing the Dr. said. We narrowly escaped surgery and pins.
I called my husband to tell him we were on our way to the ER and all he could say was “Sweet!” All Ethan was worried about was how he was going to build things with legos with only one good arm. So the poor kid had a cast on for 5 weeks, one week longer than required because of our trip to the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis. We went today to have it taken off and I have never seen such a look of relief as he had on his little face. We have to go back for another x-ray in 4 weeks, and have to have an x-ray every year for the next 4-5 years to check on it and make sure there are no growth deformities because of the break being by the growth plates.
He chose to keep the smelly thing, though I am not sure why. On the way home he and his older sister took turns seeing who could stand smelling it the longest and complaining that his arm looked like it had dandruff. Somehow I feel certain that their dad had something to do with that! He’s always good for coming up with gross things to do for fun, and they are always eager to try them out!
New School Year Already? June 17, 2008
Now I know that it is only June, but I have almost all of our new homeschool material ordered for next year. I am so excited!! We have been following the Well Trained Mind/classical model with slight modification for the last 4 years. This year with the addition of a new baby and the fact that there is also a two year old, I went with Sonlight Core 3. We aren’t using Sonlight for every subject, we still like our Apologia science, Saxon Math and Rod and Staff Language materials. In fact, the Rod and Staff materials are all I have left to buy, but I like to go to their on site bookstore and look through their seconds shelves. We only live an hour from their publishing house in Crockett, KY and it is such a beautiful drive. Hopefully, we will get to do that this week sometime.
We are really excited about Sonlight for a few reasons. Reason #1: Our kids LOVE to read, so the readers and read alouds will be a great fit. Each of the older 2 have read 100 books since the end of last August, and these were not small wimpy books either! Our soon to be fourth grade daughter is currently reading Nancy Drew #1 and our soon to be second grade boy is reading A Series of Unfortunate Events #3. Reason #2: We have been using The Story of the World for our history spine and wanted a change of pace from that program. It is a wonderful curriculum and we have enjoyed it, but when any choice turns a loved subject into a dreaded subject, it is time to change. Besides, we wanted some American History this year. Reason #3: I find myself with less and less time to plan out every move we make and with Sonlight the work is done for me. I will still have to schedule the few subjects that we are doing apart from Sonlight, but the load will be lighter for me. Reason #4: I am looking to streamline our day and make room for the things that we want to do but rarely get to do…like art, music and latin. I am hopeful that we will be able to accomplish this in the upcoming year.
Ahhh…now I have to go clean off book shelves to fit all of these books on when they arrive next week!