Crazy Zany Bands

Finally, I have found a use for all of those crazy, zany bands! or Zandy Bands as Jett calls them.

Back in August, the kids and I started memorizing the Sermon on the Mount.  We have had dry seasons along the way and are not as far as we should be; however, we are soaking in the words of Jesus.  We are chewing on the meat of the matter.  We are being changed.  We are finishing up the last few weeks of school memorizing Jesus’ words about murder, anger, and name calling.  It is no secret that anger is a sin that I struggle with.  It is a sin that my kids struggle with.  It is something that God has been working on in me for a number of years now. You can read about it in Anger Management?

Matthew 5:21-22, the words of Jesus

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.  Again, whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin.  But anyone who says ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

Sometimes we just need a physical, visual reminder of our sin.  This is where the Zany Band comes into play.  Each Lotz kid got their own Zany Band, along with myself.  Each time we lose our self-control, call a name, or get angry with each other, we have to switch the band to the opposite wrist.  It doesn’t sound like much, but oddly enough, it really seems to signal to my brain and to my heart that I need to carry on in patience and love toward my children.  Yes, I have had to switch my zany band.  Yes, I have to apologize and ask my kids to forgive me when I lose my temper.  Yes, it is humbling.

Today, Wilson acted unkindly to one of his siblings.  I immediately called him on it and asked him to switch his zany band.  He didn’t want to have to switch it, and I saw his heart grow heavy for sinning against his sister.  Hannah says it is helping her, too.  Even though it annoys the heck out of me, I will not lose my blue Tinker Bell zany band anytime soon…not till my heart is completely changed.

Oh the irony, I think Tinker Bell had anger issues, too...

On this Good Friday, I am thankful for the cross and the sacrifice Jesus made for my sins against Him.  I am thankful for the Holy Spirit and the process of sanctification on this journey Home.

Advertisements

Step by Step

Recently, I started reading Francis Chan’s Forgotten God and completing the bible study workbook.  I thought I bought the dvd videos to go along with it, but turns out I really just bought Francis Chan reading his book aloud for me on cd.  I do know how to read and should have read the case that I purchased!  Oh well.

Galatians 5:16-26 is a passage that I have read many times on my Christian journey, but I love it that something new jumped out at me while reading yesterday. Paul is describing the always present internal battle of living by the Spirit vs the sin nature (or the flesh as it is in Greek).  There is always a struggle as to whom is going to win, sometimes we follow the Spirit and let Him lead us and other times we follow our flesh and do what we want, but it isn’t really what we want to do, because we really want to do what the Spirit wants us to do…yeah, that was my paraphrase.  Then Paul lists a bunch of examples of the sinful nature, of which, I am guilty of a few.  Next comes the fruit of the Spirit.  Now, here in verse 25 is what jumped out at me.

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Galatians 5:25

Sweet Aimee just turned one year old on February 17th.  She started cruising around the coffee table around 9 months and has slowly been working the muscles in her legs to hold her wobbly body. Right before her birthday she started taking a few steps, but she didn’t really like it very much.  What she did love was to hold a hand and have someone walk with her.  When she went off on her own, she ended up on the floor.

Another image that comes to my mind is from back in the college days.  Krystal Jones and I had a couple semesters where we had all of the same classes.  While this wasn’t the best for my GPA, we had a LOT of fun!  Many a day we had to walk (semi) long distances to get to class.  I remember dreading those days when the frigid winter air would blow right through my coat (maybe I wasn’t wearing one?) and chill me down to the bone.  We would walk to class together, heads down in a kind of huddle all the while making weird “It is so freezing cold outside” noises.  While keeping in step with each other, we could face the daunting wind.  Funny how it wasn’t those winter days that made us skip class; it was the gorgeous spring days that always led us astray.

It was during those college years that Rich Mullins died in his Jeep accident.  I love his song Step by Step and would often have that song in my head on my way to class (way back when college students walked to class without an i pod).  …and I will seek you in the morning, and I will learn to walk in your ways, and step by step you lead me…and I will follow you all of my days.

My desire is to walk in step with the Spirit.  I don’t want to let go and try to go on my own.  I know I will end up on the floor.

This is Aimee walking in step with me!  I get to see this cute little face everywhere I go.  Mulling these thoughts over in my mind makes me want to be more patient when my kids are pulling me in different directions.  Well, as you know, one of the fruit of the spirit is patience.

Two Years Later

Today is the two year anniversary of the disastrous earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  The eyes of the whole world shifted to and lingered upon the tiny nation on the island of Hispaniola on January 12, 2010.  Over the course of the past two years, many people have asked us to recount that day.  Sometimes I can tell it without too much emotion, other times I remember too vividly the wild adrenaline pushing though my veins for hours afterwards.  The fear, the instability, the ignorance that I had as I comforted my little Lotzes are all too real.  We were completely unaware of the complete tragedy that had unfolded around us.  With an attitude of humility, knowing that God’s hand was on each of us, we are forever thankful for the mercy that spared our family.  May we continue to live in Haiti to work and serve where our lives were spared tragedy.  May we forever be thankful for the huge blessings that God has supplied in our lives.  

Today is a national holiday in Haiti so the people can grieve, fast and pray.  Let us join in prayer for brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Hope Christian Church

Sunday morning I was blessed to attend church with my parents.  My mom was able to go for the first time since November, for the first time since her stage 4 Ovarian Cancer diagnosis. They are active members at Hope Christian Church in Waterloo, IL.  I followed them in through the front door where they were immediately hugged and loved on by the greeter and a few people in the foyer.  We went for second service with time to spare a visit to their Sunday School Class beforehand.  I stood back by the door and watched my mom and dad get many more hugs, conversations of treatments and concern, and much more love.  It kept bringing tears to my eyes, so I tried to busy myself by looking at the bulletin board and talking to a few people here and there.  Finally, we began to step out from the class and head to the service when the teacher called my mom back and gathered everyone around her for prayer.  After church, there was even more visiting and caring conversations taking place between my mom and dad and fellow Christians who love the Lord, and who love my parents.  There was even a pot of soup and a loaf of sourdough bread waiting in the kitchen for us to enjoy for lunch.

Later my mom said that she has never been prayed for like her Sunday school class prayed for her.  I love how God has placed my parents in a church that is actively seeking to be the church.  My mom is so blessed by so many loving, wonderful people.  I know that God has her right in the palm of His hand.  I am thankful that my parents are being so well cared for as I am going to have to return to Port-au-Prince all too soon.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Facebook Without Ceasing

In the New Testament, Paul tells the Thessalonians we are to “Pray continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)  I used to do this, as least I used to be a lot better at this than I am now…

When I am walking from upstairs to switch the laundry, God might remind me a bit about his everlasting love.  I will give him thanks.  While I am washing up a few dishes in the sink, He will remind me of a friend who needs prayer. I will ask for His love and blessing to be made known.  Folding a few towels, I will sing a little praise song.  While putting my sweet kids to bed, I pray for their protection and their salvation.  This is who I want to be and what I want to do throughout the day.

Unfortunately, since I have facebook/internet on my phone instead of allowing God to draw my thoughts, prayers, and praises to Him, I allow my brain to be muddled with where my fb friends are eating lunch, who they are hanging out with, and what they are watching on tv.  Please don’t get me wrong, I am not fb bashing.  I love keeping up with my friends and family.  I love sharing what we are eating for dinner!  I love the connectedness that it brings to our lives, especially living in Haiti so far away from “home”.  After the 2010 earthquake, I was amazed that it was the only reliable source for communication!

What I am confessing is facebook without ceasing instead of pray without ceasing.  I am wasting precious moments of everyday interacting with a screen instead of the little faces in front of me.  I catch up on everyone’s updates while I wait for my kids to fall asleep instead of praying for them and with them.  I look up after dinner and see that my kids have taken advantage of my Blackberry addiction to escape from the table (and hoping to escape from the dishes!).  Sometimes it happens during the school day. When my kids are hard at work, I think I have time to read a little thing that someone posted.  When I am finished, I notice that my kids were not focused because I lost my focus on them.  My family deserves my best, and so does my God.  I am have failing them.

So with this confession, comes repentance and a stubborn resolve to keep my phone in my pocket.  At times it seems to be an extension of my hand.  And since I am putting this out here for all to read, I want you to ask me about my time with my phone.  You can keep me accountable.  I did tell my kids to keep me accountable as well.  They haven’t failed me yet.

And please, someone tell me that I am not alone!

God’s Blessing, My Children

When I was in college, I was an active participant in Christian Campus House at the then Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.  The name is now Missouri State University and the Christian Campus House is still a strong training ground for young Christians to learn to serve and to become “doers of the Word”.  It was through CCH that I went on my first cross cultural mission trip, and ultimately through Campus House that I found myself in Port-de-Paix, Haiti after I graduated.  I learned a lot about serving and doing as an extension of my love for the Lord, and my relationship with Him.  I am forever grateful for my years at campus house!  I met so many great people and I am so thankful for fb and for the opportunity to keep up with my college crowd.  It is amazing to see how God is using them across the US, and the world.  Truly CCH did (and still does) an excellent job training young people that our Christian service was something that was to go with us, no matter where that might be.

During our eight years in Joplin, five of those years were spent at the Wesley Foundation for Missouri Southern State University.  Eric and I were able to reverse our roles and be the campus ministers for some great college students.  Our oldest daughter, Christa was just a year old when we took that job and just after the beginning of the second semester, Hannah was born.  Wilson came along a couple of years after that and then Jett after a couple more.  It was a crazy time of babies, toddlers, much cooking, small group meetings, one-on-one meetings, late nights and early mornings!  Eric was also a student at Ozark Christian College.  Our lives were full and there was always something going on.  I remember having to cut short a discipleship meeting with one of our female students to attend to a crying infant. I remember praying, “God, I could do so much more for you if I didn’t have all these kids!”

Talk about a sudden and instant conviction from the Holy Spirit!  As if God really needed me to help Him accomplish anything, and what or who could be more important in my life than my husband and my children.  That was a humbling time of repentance and submission before the Lord.  God didn’t want me to do a lot FOR Him, He wanted me to become a lot LIKE Him.  I am so thankful and blessed that He chose six beautiful children to help transform my image into the image of His Son.  Oh, there is much left to transform and I am thankful for the willingness of my children to help teach me all about patience, love, self-control, kindness, and thankfulness, and self-sacrifice. 😉

Since that time, the Lord has continually drawn me closer to my home and to my family.  We are now in Haiti, homeschooling and living almost every second together.  Some days and weeks are difficult, but that is when we step back, re-evaluate our blessings, and re-establish our priorities.  Now I am thankful to be a “doer of the Word” in my own home with my own kids. I am grateful for the privilege I have to share the Lord with my little Lotz family.  Ok, maybe it isn’t so little anymore…

Callie (3), Jett (5), Wilson (7), Hannah (9), Christa (11) and our newest baby girl Aimee (8 months).

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.”  James 1:22-25

A little "jumpoline" fun!

Thanks again to Melinda Wilson for taking some pictures of my kiddos.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Year of 40th Anniversaries

“What if you woke up tomorrow with only who or what you thanked God for today?”

This Gratituesday, I am thanking God for my parents and Eric’s parents.  This year, both sets of our parents celebrated 4o years of marriage.  My parents celebrated just this week on October 23rd.

Jerry and Susan Salamun

I am thankful for their example of a strong, godly marriage that they have shown to me and my sisters and our families.  They have taught me many things over the years about perseverance, generosity, thinking of others over myself, and hard work.  They faithfully have shown the love of Christ and the grace to love, forgive, and serve.  I am blessed to be their daughter and proud to call them my parents.

Christine and John Lotz

I (Eric speaking) am thankful for my parents and their example of a house that stays together.  Through the years there have been ups and downs, but my parents have remained faithful to each other and to my sister Jenny and me.  I am thankful for my dad who taught me so many different talents, but most of all for teaching me that if I put my mind to anything, I can do it.  I am thankful for my mom and her example of doing what it takes to provide for her family.  I can remember as a kid my mom working all night as a nurse in the ER, and then coming home to take me to swim practice in the morning.  Thank you to my parents for loving each other and sticking together for 40 years!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Thanking God

My friend Debbie Hamilton read something to me a couple of weeks ago that went something like this, “What if you woke up tomorrow with the only things that you thanked God for today?”

I have to say that this thought has lingered long and hard in my mind for the last couple of weeks.  I have not failed to remember it each day since I first heard these words.  It has turned many thoughts of thankfulness into prayers of thankfulness.  It has made me look for people and things in my life for which I need to be thankful.  Each day, I find more people to be thankful for and certain things that would ordinarily be taken for granted, I have been turning the praise back to God.  We people have a tendency to turn toughts like this one into little superstitions.  I want to genuinely be thankful for the amazing gifts that the LORD has given to me!

First and most important, I am thankful for the spiritual blessings that God has given to me.  Ephesians 1 outlines these cleary.

1.He chose us.  v.4

2.He predestined us to be adopted. v.5

3.He has freely given us grace through Jesus. v.6

4.Redemption through his blood. v.7

5.Forgiveness of sins. v.7

6.He made known to us the mystery of his will.  v.9

7.He marked us with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.  v.13

Next, I am thankful for my amazing husband.  He has blessed my life in so many ways through his love for the LORD, his love for me and the kids, and his love for other people.  God has gifted him in so many ways and I love that he is able to use his gifts and talents to serve the people of Haiti.  God placed him with Operation Blessing just before the 2010 earthquake to minister to the needs in Port-au-Prince.  I am proud to be his wife and proud of all God does through him.

Eric and me at Club Indigo

Wow!  There is so, so much more, but it will have to wait for another time.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.