It's not as odd as it sounds...

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Reflections of a 50 year old (part Two)

It's 4:22am.  Not untypical to be sitting in the kitchen at this hour having not slept at all. One can lay in bed staring at the ceiling trying to solve the world's problems only so long before one must move on. For this "one" it's popping in the headphones and putting on a podcast hoping to be lulled to sleep hearing scripture or some phenomenal preaching from the Word of God.

I don't lay in bed thinking that much anymore. At my age there's too much to mull over. Too many losses and not enough victories for me these days. When the kids were younger victories consisted of one child getting more food in his mouth than on the floor. Another child successfully reading a page in her assigned textbook. A third merely toddle-ling through the day without breaking an older child's Lego creation. Back then, I could lay in bed for, well, minutes thinking of victory after victory after victory while drifting off to sleep and sleep well.

These days I'm not remotely as physically exhausted as I was then. I have even been known to tell younger mothers who are not looking forward to the teen and above years how much better it is when you are not so tired all the time, when you can communicate with your kids at a much more mature level, when you can have expectations of them and hold them to those expectations because you are no longer worried about their level of understanding. I've been known to mention how much I adore moving away bit by bit from parent to friend. I am pretty sure I still believe almost all of it.

I have been known to say those things 2 years ago. Two years before my oldest son moved out and far away with the US Air Force. Two years before my second son moved out, not far, but out none-the-less, taking college classes and working almost full time. Two years before my third son's musical talent and desire to serve God professionally became too obvious to deny, and our responsibility regarding that became too large to ignore. Two years before my youngest child, our only living daughter, spoke to the Lord about adopting a little sister. Two years before I flew with part of my family to China to bring home the daughter I didn't know, two years ago, I had and was desperately missing. A daughter that has sent me back to sections of our church building that I'd long ago said good bye to.

Now, I lay awake at night wondering about the decisions my two oldest are making. Wondering if they fully understand that each decision they make will have some sort of impact on their future and maybe even the future of our entire family. Knowing that I've spoken those exact words to them many times and hoping desperately that they hear those words like a clanging gong in their ears with each step they take.

I lay awake knowing that they know the Word of God. That they know life as a believer, the implications, the peace, the refuge... the struggle. I lay awake knowing that at any point in their morning, noon, or night that struggle might become too hard. I pray that God will put His hedges around them, that He will speak powerful words into their heads, that the Holy Spirit will remind them of the power they have in Him. I pray they aren't too exhausted from the struggle to hear.

I lay awake and plan my strategy in case.

Finally, tonight, I reached for my earphones wisely attached hours ago to my phone. I shoved the phone deep under the covers and looked at my podcast options. Al Mohler... I have come to adore listening to him. I listened for over an hour to "The Briefing". His daily 20 minute podcast that sums up the events of the day with a Christian worldview.

Upon realizing that I'd gotten up to date on all of those and I was still wide awake I figured I'd take a stab at listening to his other podcast called "Thinking in Public". These are usually interviews with well-known (to him anyway) authors from various venues speaking about issues that should be on the radar of anyone with a serious Christian worldview.

Tonight's choice? "Economics as a Moral Enterprise" the author? Arthur Brooks.

I had no idea that right there, in my bed, at 3ish am, questions, concerns, conundrums, oh so many things, would all come together for me during the hour that I listened to their discussion. Suddenly I heard this man articulate exactly why I have not been able, in 20 years, to understand "the left" and why they do and say and think as they do.

You cannot understand how desperate I've been to realize this. I have carried a weight of incredulity on my shoulders, more correctly, in my gut, for what has seemed like forever. I have carried these feelings because I have refused to believe that "they" could really believe what they believe. No matter what I read, who I listened to, what I watched, I found no answers. To be honest, I have felt more despair this week - in 4 days - than I've felt ever, regarding the future of our country.

You might think coming from a Christian, that is impossible. I know Who the REAL leader is. Yes, of course I do. I also believe that this country I live in, that I love, was a gift from God. I also believe we have squandered this gift, we have taken it for granted, we have forgotten what it took to embrace this gift, and we have refused to acknowledge Who gave the gift. However, we still assume the gift will be ours to enjoy regardless. It is because of these latter things that I believe God's hand is no longer on our once great nation. The second half of Romans 1 has me convinced of that. And yes, sometimes I'd lay awake at night and wonder what the future will hold for my kids.

As I listened to this interview I was stunned at the kinds of things Mr. Brooks had to say. It began to make sense to me, why I always thought economics was so important, why I was always intrigued by it's implications, why I never thought it was about money and numbers but about a philosophy and way of life. Then he, Mr. Brooks, quoted Bach... he said he plays music "for the good of man and the glory of God". Can we "do economics" for the good of man and the glory of God? Absolutely!

 Specifically, the Free Market Economic System, is the ONLY economic system that would allow for this. The very system that we have embraced... until now.

The whole while Mr. Brooks demonstrated how morality is the foundation of all of economics and without it nothing can flourish.


That ideal we conservatives throw out into the crowd every chance we get and the one thing that hangs us every time because so many of us really don't want to live our lives that way. It doesn't hang the liberals because they rarely, if ever, have discussed morality as a foundation for anything.

Yet, Mr. Brooks makes it very clear that the only way our country or any country can flourish at all - and the only flourishing is economic in nature - is when it's Free Market and when it's all based on morality.

Some of you are reading this, pulling your hair out, thinking that I need to give it a rest, let it go, move on. But I can't. Some of you don't remember the Reagan years, or you are letting others tell you what it was like. Some of you didn't retain or weren't taught in the first place all that was sacrificed for the creation of this country. Some of you haven't lived long enough to realize how much things have changed.

I'm 50 now. Half a century old. I hate to admit it but I'm old enough to have seen the changes. I'm old enough to wonder of myself what I, as a little girl, wondered about my Nan... "what must she think about how the world has changed in her lifetime." Foolish me, I only ever wondered and never remember asking.


In some ways, that is exactly what makes the Christian life so uncomplicated. The decisions we are freed from making because right is right and wrong is wrong and other people matter more than we ourselves.

I think again about Sons 1 and 2 and I wonder what the basis for their morality is? I'd like to believe it's what we, the Gman and I, raised them to understand it to be. Based on the Word of God, to make their burden light, to enable them to grow old with few mistakes and disappointments.

To be honest, today, that word is offensive just like every other word that people want to avoid because it's too difficult to face.

They'd say it's easier for me. I'd say it's not, I've just had more practice.

I received few answers tonight for all that staring at the ceiling, thankfully though, I gained a realization. I learned something really important about me. I learned something more important about "them". I've unloaded a lot in the last three hours or so. It doesn't change the reality of things. I don't feel any better about our country or it's future. I do know, however, that I'll be changing how I speak of things to my children, how I will encourage them to progress toward their future.

I realize now, more than ever, that I, their parent, am the only one (along with their father) that can illuminate truth to our children.

I realize, now more than ever, that truth has to be more than just verses of scripture or stories of great men and women of the Bible. That truth has to encompass their entire perspective of the world, how it works, where it's headed. They need to know how to live "for the good of man and the glory of God".

I foresee more long nights, staring at the ceiling, praying for the right words at the right times to impart more fully what it means to live our lives for Christ. To live in this world to bring Him glory. Then, how to break the news to them that for most of their lives it's gonna feel like an uphill battle, that they are going to want to give up, that they will be lucky if they are even encouraged by the church in their endeavor. How do I let them know that one day they too will be 50 years old. Who knows what they will be writing their blogs on at that point in the technological future?

 How do I tell them that I want their blogs to say so much more than mine? 

How do I convince them that when they are 50 they won't care what the world thinks of them, what the country thinks of them, what the city thinks of them but when they sit down at the dinner table and hold the hands of their wives and children, when they bow their heads to pray, they will care only what He and those who belong to the hands they hold think of them.

If they can understand that, if they can embrace that sooner rather than later...

THAT is what will make their blogs so much more victorious than mine.