Thursday, June 4, 2009

A New Book...

If you know me, you know I love to read...
But, reading with three little ones is almost impossible. Lately, the kids and I have gotten into a really good routine AND if everyone takes naps AND I have gotten all the stuff I need to get done, done - I read while they are napping.... well, maybe not the WHOLE three hours but at least for an hour. I alternate between some great parenting books, devotions, or just a great book.
Recently I was introduced through my blog to a book called, "The Shape of Mercy". Now, I don't believe in chance occurrences or things just "falling" in your lap. But I am in no means dissecting the meaning to each and every daily occurrence. I just ask that God would keep me open to the things I am to be learning and help me to stop long enough to catch the message.
So, how does this book and a life lesson mix? Let me tell you.
I don't normally do this - but since I really knew nothing about the author or her style - when the book came in the mail - I read the comments from other authors to see if I had heard of or read any of them... I read the dedication (again - this may seem strange but you can tell a lot from a dedication... is it to the point and meaningful or a long list of toe smashers - what I call name dropping) ... and then I flipped to the Author's Note...
"A story about three women - all fictional - who wrestle with the concept that we tend to judge people based on notions rather than on truth, and without stopping to consider if we even have the right to judge them at all." (bold and italics for emphasis)
OK Lord, you have my attention!
This is something that I have be wrestling with for months! Quite honestly I have been on both sides of the fence - being judged or in a situation where someone I know was being judged to judging others. My own judgement could have been about little daily things OR judging those who are judging.
So, I quickly started this book - and from the first pages I knew I was going to LOVE it... I love anything that is fictional but based on life experiences... I love getting into their minds - or what we think their minds would have been thinking and feel a little of what their hearts were feeling... but most of all I loved what I learned about myself and how I need to ask God to help me cease anything that is NOT of him. I need discernment to know the difference between seeing that something is of Christ or is not of Christ and then need to leave it at that.
And, then I saw it play out in our playroom between the 3 year old and his little brother and sister... Noah saw something that Matt was doing to Addie. He knew it was wrong. That was good. Then he choose to go over and say, "No, no Matt. No hitting." Again - good - we need to hold each other accountable.
BUT, then he passed judgement and decided that HE would be the one to punish Matt. He hit him. And crossed the line. You see it is MY job to judge the behavior of Matt and determine the allowable consequences. (Notice I said allowable consequences - I don't believe that God punishes us - but he does allow the consequences of our sin.) I appreciate that Noah knew the difference between right and wrong and I want him to apply that knowledge to his own life but He is not the Father (or mother) and should not be choosing the allowable consequences that is the job of the parent.
And, that is where I need to be with my Heavenly Father. I need to know between what I think would be His will and what is not. I need to act accordingly in my own life BUT I should not be judging or passing out what I think are allowable consequences. That is the role of the Father - not of me and only He knows what consequences are appropriate - to turn that heart back on His path. This doesn't mean that we become lukewarm to what is wrong - we need to hold each other accountable but we should do so in love and if they choose to continue - we may need to limit our contact but we should still LOVE and show respect to that person. Let the Father do the rest...
I don't want to give away the book... get on Amazon, go to Borders, Barnes & Noble OR better yet - find a local independently owned small mom and pop bookstore and REALLY support the heart of the economy! (Sorry, enough politics) ... but it is AMAZING...
I read it from cover to cover in 3 days... and that NEVER happens anymore. In fact one night Wade climbed in bed while I was reading and when he got up to shower for work the next day - I was reading... now, I didn't read all night - but as soon as I woke - I grabbed the book and read until the kids got up!
I love that God gets my attention and meets me where I am at. He knows I have been struggling with this for some time and I wasn't stopping long enough to listen to His message... so He sent me this book!
Thanks Sooz!

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