Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Please Don't Send Me to Africa

When I was a kid, I participated in several "musicals" (or something) and other singing events at my church. Over the last couple of years, a song of old has surfaced in my mind for some reason. As of recent - it (annoyingly) enters my head almost every day. The song is called "Please Don't Send Me To Africa". Today I kept trying to remember the rest of the song (other than the chorus - which is all I remembered). I've been wondering why as a child, I would have learned such a song in the church. I thought for sure that the verses had to have said something redeeming ..... so I Googled it. Aaahhh, good ol' Google. I found it ! And .... I was wrong. Nothing redeeming whatsoever. I saw a couple of clips on youtube that showed it performed (one involving a bunch of white kids with less rythym than I have - which is bad). I also saw an interview of sorts with the writer of the song - Scott Wesley Brown. His words stated what I hoped to be true.

I've been thinking that surely that song was written and taught with a sarcasm in it. Surely I must have been taught that these are not really the things to pray ("these" being the words of the song). I was right - the song was written to show what so many Americans truly feel. The writer, however, inteded the song to be a mockery (for lack of a better word) of such emotions. Problem is, as a child - I didn't catch that. I vaguely remember thinking (as I sat listening to Mary Block - a missionary from Africa in full African dress) that I meant every word of it .... I was NEVER going to Africa. I'm a little saddened that either 1) the point of the song was never made clear, or 2) I just didn't hear it. Regardless .... my prayer now as an adult ???

"Please send me to Africa !!!!"

I just can't stop thinking about it.

Sadly, I feel like this song may still resonate as closer to truth than closer to spoof for many Amercians. Who knows if I will get to go again, and if so - for how long .... but that is still my prayer for today. Tomorrow ??? Maybe Haiti.

In case you've never heard it ... here's the words to that stellar song :

Please Don't Send Me To Africa, by Scott Wesley Brown

Oh Lord I am your willing servant
You know that I have been for years
I'm here in this pew every Sunday and Wednesday
I've stained it with many a tear
I've given You years of my service
I've always given my best
And I've never asked you for anything much
So, Lord I deserve this request

Please don't send me to Africa
I don't think I've got what it takes
I'm just a man,I'm not a Tarzan
Don't like lions, gorillas or snakes
I'll serve you here in suburbia
In my comfortable middle class life
But please don't send me out into the bush
Where the natives are restless at night

I'll see that the money is gathered
I'll see that the money is sent
I'll wash and stack the communion cups
I'll tithe eleven percent
I'll volunteer for the nursery
I'll go on the youth group retreat
I'll usher, I'll deacon , I'll go door to door
Just let me keep warming this seat


Please don't send me to Africa
I don't think I've got what it takes
I'm just a man I'm not a Tarzan
Don't like lions, gorillas or snakes
I'll serve you here in suburbia
In my comfortable middle class life
But please don't send me to the ends of the earth
Where the natives are restless at night

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ethiopian Coffee anyone ???

Just wanted to pass along a great raffle for a great cause.

There was a dear family whom we had the privilege of traveling with when we went to Ethiopia to bring Malachi home. They were adopting a little boy at the same time .... and to be honest, had they called in sick, I would've snuck him in my luggage in a heartbeat not caring about the consequences of smuggling a child out of country.

Anyway, moving on from my law-breaking tendencies .... they are bringing home another child from Ethiopia soon .... a daughter this time! The husband (Tom) traveled to Ethiopia a little while ago on a mission trip (which you can read more about if you want) and brought home some Ethiopian coffee (tastiest coffee on earth, let me tell you!) and an authentic Ethiopian "coffee pot". They are raffling off 3 bags of coffee and the pot in support of their adoption. Buying 5 or 10 tickets just means you maybe need to not go to Starbucks this week ... but on the bright side, you could win 3 bags of coffee so you don't have to go to Starbucks for a month ! (Or 2 weeks if you drink coffee like I do !)

Anyway ... check it out here !!!! Consider it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

That article ....

Just to reference the article I was talking about in my last post,

here is the actual article ..... take a look ! It's a good read.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm such a bad mom ....

No really. I am a horrible, sinful, depraved mother.
You're feeling the need to stop reading right now and jump right to the comment section with affirming words that I am indeed a wonderful mom, aren't you ? Don't.

The truth is, we all are bad mom's (or dad's). We are sinners. By nature we are bad. The good news ???? The Cross. Jesus's death on the Cross. The Gospel. And I am led to His blood stained feet in my best moments as a mom, and in my worst. His love and sacrifice has covered a multitude of parenting mistakes and mishaps. And when I'm feeling at my worst as a mom and plugging the future counseling fund for my children .... it's in those moments that He takes me as I am and tries to remind me that He has paid it all. It is CRUCIAL that in our failures as parents, we are driven to the Cross.

I was reading yet another article in Christianity Today. (I know, that magazine is prompting a lot of my blog posts lately, huh ? We had one of those door-to-door salespeople come by selling magazine subscriptions. Said if she sold enough, it would make a better life for her and her child. Whatever. I bought her story, and I felt sorry for her ... and that was the only magazine I figured would get read around here.) It was an article on the myth of the perfect parent. (I'd link to it, but for some reason, I can't find it. It's a good read if you do happen to find it.) In the article, it was stated that more recent studies are showing that how children turn out as adults is an issue of DNA, not of parenting. I got kinda excited when I read that. Because if that's true, I've got a 50/50 chance of having stellar kids. Aaron was a great kid, turned out great. I was a not great kid, turned out okay. So that means, by this study, that half my kids will be like Aaron, and half like me. But then, one of my four doesn't hold our DNA. Shoot.

Of course, CT was (thankfully) refuting that study. The article talked about how Christian parents try to raise their children with an end result being a well-rounded, Christ-following, gifted, talented, useful adult. Well, yeah, who wouldn't want that ? It then went on to talk about the problems we face in parenting with such results as our goal. It sent my mind spinning !!!

Parenting is one of those areas that it is so easy to attach a result to our current behavior. I felt very convicted on this reality as I read that article. Of course I want my kids to turn out well. I want them to avoid many of life's challenges that I had to face to draw me to Jesus. I want them to not have to "return to it" (I hope you know what I mean by that) when they are old, because I want them to never depart from it. I want all those attributes listed above, just like every other parent. But what a burden we place on ourselves thinking it is up to us, as parents, to make that happen. Yet we do. I do. The truth is, my kids are sinners just like I am.

I've been working through one of the best parenting books I've ever read. It's called Parenting By The Book, by John Rosemond. In it he speaks toward how God, in his perfection as a Father, does not have perfect children (us) ... so why should we expect any different ? That's an incredibly freeing thought to me. It's so easy to get wrapped up in guilt, thinking we are ruining our children's lives. But that is just not true.

Where am I going with this ? Here it is. It's no wonder that so many people in my generation feel this guilt that they are ruining their kids lives. They blame their parents for their own lives. I see it all over the place - adult children blaming their parents mistakes for how there lives have turned out. (I'll even admit that I've tried to pull that off myself many a time.) It's no wonder that now as parents, we feel we are going to screw up our kids. We believe our parents screwed us up, and gosh darn-it ... we're gonna do better. A dear friend of mine once said to me that every generation says they are going to do it better than their parents. If that were true, we'd be perfect by now. So true. However, the truth is, I will not stand before the Throne and be judged on how my kids turned out. My children will stand for that on their own. They will all come to an age of accountability where I will not be held responsible for their sins .... they will. And their sins, while they may try to say were my fault - are still their sins.

I know, I have some explaining to do. There are a myriad of parenting issues that will be included in my accountability checklist on that judgment day. Did I provoke my child to anger? (Eph. 6:4) Did I train my child in the way they were to go ? (Prov. 22:6) Did I impress the commandments of the Lord upon my children? (Deut. 6:5-9) Did I serve my children (as in following Jesus example)? Did I love my children? Did I show them the love of Jesus? When I am a "stumbling block" in my child's life (which I KNOW I have been and will often be), was I humble enough to recognize and repent to both them and Christ? (Of this I pray to be true.) There are many other things that I will be held responsible for.


Aaron and I have already been prideful enough in our parenting to evaluate what other parents (mostly of grown children) have done. (Not in a sense of trying to learn, but more of a mockery of .... why didn't they get it right, mwhahahaha ???) What worked, what didn't. Why did this super-spiritual parent end up with such a rotten child? How wrong of us. Of course there are lessons to be learned from other parents. Of course wisdom says we should do some things and not others to guide our children toward what we desire to be their life. Of course I will continue to read books to tell me how to do it all better. But I believe it is yet another tactic of the Enemy for me to get so wrapped up in what I want my children to become, that I take my eyes off of what I am to be. What I am is what I will be responsible for.

I will continue to pray for the desired outcome I think is best for my children. Yet in my prayers, it is crucial that I remember God's providence (hehe) in their lives. I pray that in their adult versions of themselves, they can stand before the Throne as a Child of God not because I was a great Mom, but because the cross was enough for them too.