Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's a . . .

B-O-Y!!! Another Compton baby boy! We are all thrilled. Yes, even Eliza. She has begun to realize some of the perks to being the only girl in our family. Now let the waiting game begin ... less than 20 weeks to go! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Book and a Recipe

Oh what a rainy, windy, dark morning. And . . . shhhhh . . . don't tell anyone . . . I LOVE it. There is just something about the wind and the rain and the cold that I LOVE. My friend, Samm, and I really don't mind trading in our 5:15am walk for coffee at Starbucks. (Yes, we are fairweather walkers). And, the weather gives me an excuse to stay in with the my kids - to curl up with them in our pajamas with good books. And to bake yummy warm pumpkin treats.

Not that I got to stay in today.  After two beautiful days of sunshine, today - the windy and rainy day - was our Classical Conversations pumpkin patch field trip. Despite the cold and wet clothes, our kids still had a fun, muddy time!

Photo Credit: Angelina Buswell

Photo Credit: Angelina Buswell

But, if we had stayed in, we would have read books.  And, one of our favorite Fall books is Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving. It was almost impossible to check-out from the library last year. I think there were enough requests for this book that I would have had to wait almost a year to be able to check it out. I went ahead and bought it, and I'm so glad I did. Such a beautiful true story that demonstrates God's breathtaking sovereignty over the course of our lives. I cannot say enough good things about it.

Finally, one of our favorite Fall recipes, passed on to me a couple of years ago by my BFF, Bethany. I'm giving you fair warning that these muffins are delicious and addictive.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

You need:
1 2/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips

To Do:
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. In another bowl beat eggs, pumpkin, and butter. Stir in chocolate chips and add to the dry mixture. Scoop into greased muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. I almost always take them out at 20 minutes, even if they are slightly gooey inside. Let them sit in the muffin tins for a little while on the stovetop and they will continue to bake.

Happy eating!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cain and Me

So, in the past few years I have developed a crazy love of the Old Testament. You all know about my slight obsession with the book of Isaiah. At the rate this year is going, I think Genesis is going to come in at a close second. Maybe even nudging Paul's letter to the Romans into third place (haha - am I such a dork or what, for ranking my fave Bible books).

Last week, I wrote about Genesis 3 and seeing my own reflection in Eve.  Well, the Lord decided to take things just one step further this week. He's saying that He's not done with me yet, or this portion of my heart. He has more to show me, more to peel back, more to dig up and unroot, and better fruit to replace it with.

Here's what God showed me through Genesis 4 this week:  that somewhere along the way, my heart has taken a wrong turn. A detour. Ugh. Not only am I a lot like Eve, sometimes I'm a lot like Cain. Yes, Cain, that guy who murdered his brother. 

Cain and Abel both brought their individual sacrifices before the Lord in Genesis 4. God looked with favor on Abel and his offering. But, God did not look with favor on Cain and his offering. God was not pleased with Cain. 

Now, we know from Hebrews 11:6 that what pleases God is faith. Further, "the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). And Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel offered his sacrifice by faith. 

So, it must be that Cain's offering wasn't made in faith. Cain made his offering as part of some sort of religious duty. There was something wrong with Cain's heart. As Cain's life plays out, we see his continuing resentment and anger toward God, his hardness of heart and his discontentedness with the circumstances the Lord had laid before him. He was so angry and hard hearted that he killed his brother. Based on Cain's attitude and other actions, it seems safe to say that he wouldn't have brought a sacrifice out of his love for God or his faith in God's goodness.

And this is where God struck me over the head this week.

Like I mentioned last week, I struggle with things like this:

I read every Christian book I could on biblical womanhood and being a "good wife." I followed all the rules. So, I didn't deserve to have difficulties in my marriage.

I tried so hard in that friendship or family relationship. I strived to love and show Jesus. To be kind and inclusive. But, I ended up misunderstood and slandered.

Here's another one:  I'm doing my best at this motherhood thing. I'm reading the books, praying for my kiddos, following the best Christian parenting advice. Why don't they obey 100% of the time - first time, all the way, with happy hearts?? (haha).

This week, God showed me where I have Cain's heart in all of this. I often serve others, do things "God's way," or try to follow all of the rules to gain something for myself. I don't do it consciously. And, I often truly do start off serving others or trying to do things "God's way" because I love Jesus and I desire to follow Him. He has given up everything for me, and there is a longing in my heart to give everything back to Him. 

And, then my sinful nature comes into play. My sinful nature that is so much a part of me that I don't even notice it taking over. It can start with one wrong thought or one wrong motive that I don't keep in check. Then it takes over. As God said to Cain, "But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7b). 

Think about Cain. He had spent his entire life living after "the Fall." I'm sure that his parents told him about life in Eden. That God had provided everything they needed, and more. That they had sinned. And about God's judgment upon them, sending them outside of the garden, to a life of toil and struggle. Maybe Cain had made many sacrifices over the years. Maybe Cain thought that after all the offerings their family had brought before the Lord, the Lord would have relented and let them back in Eden. Maybe Cain wasn't bringing his offerings to the Lord out of love, but rather in the hopes that he would gain something from God in reward for the offerings. And, maybe those thoughts became resentment or anger, when God didn't relent and didn't let them back into Eden, and life continued to be difficult. Cain didn't master his sin, sin devoured him, and he spent the majority of his life outside of God's presence (see Genesis 4). 

Often, just as it might have been for Cain, the wrong motive that creeps into my thought life is to gain something for myself:

I try to parent the "right way" so that my children will be obedient, and thus my life will be easier. I mean, how much easier would it be if my kids were obedient 100% of the time, and I didn't have to listen to fighting, arguing, backtalk, or give out consequences? 

I try to be a "good wife" to gain my husband's approval. So that he will like me. So that he won't change his mind or forget the reasons he married me. So that we won't have any struggle or strife in our marriage.

I strive in friendships and family relationships to gain and keep people's approval. 

And when things go wrong, I get resentful or angry with God because X + Y didn't equal Z. 

Ugh. Ugh. Bleh.

God is showing me that I need to confess my sin to Him. To confess that I don't always live my life in faith. And then seek His Holy Spirit help to live my life according to His Word, as a living sacrifice for Him. Just because I love Him. And asking Him to give me a sincere love for others. Not with some ulterior motive. Trusting Him, even when things don't go exactly the way I hoped. Trusting His Word, that it will produce eternal fruit, even when following Him doesn't produce the exact results I was expecting or hoping for. Trust Him when no one else notices the sacrifices I've made. Trust Him even if my kids are naughty and no one else approves of me.  

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, "All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever. (1 Peter 1:22-25).

God's Word is the only thing that will stand forever. Maybe I will suffer now for following Him, for offering myself as a living sacrifice. But, this world will pass away. The people I love and serve will wither away like the grass and the flowers of the field.  Lord, would you show me the eternal value of serving you in faith? Would you keep my motives pure and keep my eyes on eternity? Would you cause me to serve you wholly with Abel's heart?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Eve and Me

Oh, Moses . . . Did you know, thousands of years ago, that your record of creation and the fall in Genesis was going to blow the socks off of a 2012 girl?  I am certain that Jocelyn Compton never crossed your mind as you memorialized such a beautiful and tragic account of history. That you never imagined that the words God spoke through you would turn my heart upside down. But God knew. God knew, when He breathed Genesis chapter 3 into existence, that I would exist someday. And that He would use those words to do a transforming work in me.

I can't say that I approached my study of Genesis 3 with any great expectation. Eric and I were headed over to Sunriver on Sunday morning. I had to have my entire week's BSF lesson done for Monday night. I just needed answers written on the page.

Then I got started. And God showed up. He met me in the passenger seat of our Jeep, driving over the mountains, listening to Mumford.

He showed me how much I'm like Eve. How much pride has a hold on me, just like it did on her. That I think I know better than God does. How whispers from the serpent can plant a seed of discontent with my circumstances. How Satan appeals to my self-determined "rights" --those circumstances and the life that I think I'm entitled to. As if I deserve anything at all.

Those little things I'm discontent with. There are moments where (gasp!) I find myself thinking that working outside the home sounds a lot better than being home. I mean, I have an advanced degree. I deserve a career and adult conversation, right?

I read every Christian book I could on biblical womanhood and being a "good wife." I followed all the rules. So, I didn't deserve to have difficulties in my marriage.

I tried so hard in that friendship or family relationship. I strived to love and show Jesus. To be kind and inclusive. But, I ended up misunderstood and slandered.

And I find myself listening to the whispers that say: "it's not fair. God is holding out on you. you played by His "rules." you did it His way. and look what it got you."

Like Eve, I focus on what I see as God holding out on me. I focus on the thing I think I deserve. Why life isn't "fair" from my perspective. The things that I want. That things that I think I need.

I forget Who He is. His Goodness. His Love. His Kindness. His Provision. His Atoning Sacrifice. The Eternal Life He gave, that I NEVER deserved. A million blessings that I somehow forget, as I focus on my "rights," just like Eve focused on that one forbidden tree. There she was in the Garden of Eden. With breathtaking beauty, a perfect marriage, abundant food and water, meaningful work, not to mention a perfect, unbroken relationship with her Creator. In the midst of all of that, all Eve could focus on was that darn tree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The ONLY tree about which God had said "don't eat from it." (Genesis 2:16-17).

It's frustrating. I want to reach into her story and shake her. Don't you see, Eve??  Don't you see all that God has given you?  Quit looking at the stupid tree!  Change your thoughts. Focus on God. Think about ALL that He has done for you!  Think about all that He has given you!  God is right there. Run to Him, tell Him your struggle, and ask Him to help you to stay away from the tree!

And then, totally appalled, I see ME. I see ME in Eve. And God used Genesis 3 to shake ME up. To say: Don't you see, Jocelyn?  Don't you see all that I have given you?  Quit looking at the things that you don't have and the circumstances that haven't been perfect. Turn your eyes upon Me. Focus on Me. Think about ALL I have done for you!

And even better, God says: "I am right here!" We may not live in the Garden of Eden. Sin entered the world and separated us from God. But, He is still right here because of Jesus. Because Jesus paid the penalty for my sin, I can approach the throne of grace with confidence just like Eve could when she was in the Garden. (Hebrews 4:16)

Because of Jesus, I get to hear God saying: "Run to Me, tell Me your struggle, and ask Me to help you keep your thoughts off of your "rights" and your "discontent! I want to help you keep your focus on Me."

Without Jesus, the temptation to give in to discontent, grumbling, complaining and doubting God's love seems overwhelming to me. It's so easy to believe the lies about what I deserve, what I am entitled to. Satan is good at disguising the lies, since he is a schemer (Ephesians 6:11), and he "disguises himself as 'an angel of light.'"(2 Corinthians 11:14). He takes Truth and twists it. Just enough that it is hard to see the lie. I mean, how am I supposed to stand up against that?

But I am not defenseless. We are not defenseless. Satan is powerless against Jesus and against God's Word. Ephesians 6:11 says "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." God has given us prayer (1 Thess. 5:17). He has given us His Word. He has given us Himself. A Mighty Fortress and a Refuge from the lies.

And He is moving me (again) to choose Him. To run to Him. To respond to His truth instead of the lies. To keep my eyes turned upon Jesus.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Word & Music by Martin Luther, 1529

Monday, October 1, 2012

What is there that a little Call Me Maybe can't fix . . .

Rough morning. Every person in this house woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe it was the chocolate cake a little too late last night. Or maybe it was the slight cold that some of us have. Or maybe it is just a case of the Mondays. But, whatever it was, it brought tears and cranky heads.

So, I did what any good homeschool mom would do.

Piled all the kids in the car and drove to the Bux. Got a nonfat Caramel Macchiato. Thankful to be feeling better enough that I can (occasionally) see the face of my favorite drive-thru barista again. (Love you, Carmel!)

Closed the books. Put away the pencils. And put on a little Carly Rae. And Jessica Simpson. And Katy Perry. Threw in a little old school Madonna for good measure. And we danced.

Turned on the oven. And mixed up some of Grammy Sue's pumpkin bars. With Gram-Gram Robyn's buttercream frosting.

Problem solved. Caffeinated mama. House smells like fall. Kids have smiles. This is the Monday the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

If you're looking for a yummy fall recipe, to fill your house with pumpkin smell, here you go. I know there is a cream cheese frosting recipe at the bottom of the pumpkin bar recipe card. We don't use it at our house. Not too many cream cheese frosting fans. So, we substitute in the buttercream recipe.