Thursday, October 5, 2017

I quit

Every now and then, sometimes once a week, I'm ready to quit. Throw in the towel, enroll the kids in a traditional school and get a full time job.

Sounds like bliss - Crazy hour in the morning getting everyone out, then 8 straight hours of no sibling arguments, no six year olds screaming, no teenage snarky comments, no tears, no impenetrable learning concepts, nothing. Of course, followed by a couple crazy hours in the evening of homework and sports and dinner and bedtime.

And yet, I press on. For 20 years now I've been pressing on as a stay at home mom. The rewards are there, but not always easy to spot. But, God has clearly called me (us) to this and I know I need to persevere.

Today I really struggle. Kids in tears, me biting my tongue, school seeming impossible.

Fortunately, God gave me some nuggets earlier this week that I'm clinging to.

First, a precious but brief conversation with another homeschool mom recognizing the tantalizing appeal of work outside the home. It's a temptation that pulls our hearts where they don't belong. Maybe not for all, but for me I know I've seen that sense of satisfaction in some outside source as one that just drags me into greater discontent at home. Instead of freeing me to sink back into motherhood after a little reprieve it stirs up greater and greater craving for life "outside."

Second, a sweet snippet in the sermon this weekend about over-spiritualizing eternal rewards. He warned of a trap that Christians fall into and I noted especially in my own life. Throughout the Bible God promises rewards - heaven, peace, crowns, "Well Done," and more for a life well lived. Yet, I often choose to focus on "eternal" rewards in a very broad sense and feel like focusing too much on anything I receive personally is selfish and lacking humility, hense diminishing the reward.

Landon pointed out in his sermon that God would not have put them there if he didn't want us to reach for them.

When it's rough, think about the crown.
When discouragement sets in, think about God's affirmation.
When I want to quit remember that mansion in the works.

There is a tangible reward in the next life for persevering in this life. I cannot tell you what a difference that has made in my mental motivation this week and on this day in particular.

Still not easy. But, pressing on because God has clearly shown me His plans and has given the words of affirmation that I need to get through today and try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Sorting out

Writing helps me wrestle through when life makes no sense.

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

A deep ache. Jumbled thoughts.  Not greatly shaken, but definitely shaken.

A dear, dear friend lost her husband suddenly yesterday. From the human angle it makes no sense. 

A godly man, accomplishing much for Christ. Testimonies flood facebook of the lives he's touched. He always had a smile, worked to know everyone by name, must've known thousands in this way.

A committed father, with children that still need this direction and wisdom.

A rock for his amazing wife. A life, a marriage, a family used by God in countless ways for many years.

Cut short, from our vantage point. 

Prayers constantly tumble through my thoughts for my friend, for her children, for their future, for continual emotional and material provision. Her faith carries her as only God can. 

Praying for steadfastness for each one. Praying for God's glory to rise undeniably through these coming days and weeks.

Praying for God to be enough in each moment.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday, through a child's eyes

Kids of various ages and stages have a way of opening our older, dimmed eyes to the world around us.

I remember fondly the second year of our first born's life. His constant discoveries of the world around him drove me to relook at everything from worms to rainbows, from paint to boogers, from toes to eyelashes.

At the same time, I taught kindergarten. Every day the five and six year olds grew mentally and emotionally in ways only kindergarteners can. They discovered sounds and friends and adding and confidence and themselves.

Yesterday and today we remembered Good Friday, and again I had the privilege of seeing through a child's eyes.

Today as I helped with three and four year olds the story teller came in and shared the dusty story of the cross. The regular attenders' hands shot up with the right answers, but the visitors are the ones to learn from.

Have you ever done something wrong?
No, not me.
Have you ever disobeyed your mom?
No, not me. (a little more hesitantly)
Have you ever lied?
No, not me. There was one time that I had to, but it was not today. 

How short our memories are concerning our own glaring faults. Our own need of the Savior is glossed over by rationalizations and present circumstance.

The story goes on . . .

Jesus was taken to a cross and he had to die for those sins. He had done no wrong, but he loves you so much!
{Gasp} He died!?!?!

But that's not the end.
He's almost giddy as he hears the end of the story. 

I don't remember the first time I heard it, but serving there in that 3-4 year old room I heard it again for the first time. 

Another service, this time in the "adult" worship service. More introspective. Who do I say that He is? Me and Jesus. That's all that matters in that moment.

What do I think? Does my life bear that out? Time to contemplate, to stir up, to remember.

On the way out, our eleven year old who had just experienced his first adult version of Good Friday comments, "That was really good."

Later in the quietness I ask more - what exactly?

He says simply, it was so real

He's long believed, long understood the story, but seeing it there, like that, so focused and dramatized, and real.

Yes, real.

It really happened. Long ago, but just as relevant today. I build my hope on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Fresh month, fresh goals

Funny how God seems to tug me back here about once a year.

a place to just write.

to think

to process

He's so good, and even in the midst of busy days that blur by, He shows Himself faithful continually. His mercies renew each day. More than I deserve.

This year I've set two goals each month, and I'm now contemplating the ones for the month ahead.

January was daily devotions and drinking all my water. This has stuck with me pretty consistently through February as well (which was the plan).

February was no desserts and no facebook. I've failed pretty miserably at both. However, I have seen cutbacks and residual benefits in both areas.

March. Should I retackle February? Maybe. I'm thinking not. Maybe in July.

But, what . . .

I need to workout more regularly, but I'm afraid that would be a fail with a busy month ahead. Maybe in May. Goal setting needs to be realistic or it is really just wasting my time and emotions.

So, for March I will not eat 2 hours before bedtime and I will pray for my husband each night. I started this unofficially again in January, but somehow it already slipped away in February. Time to make it a goal.

God has been beautifully working on our marriage. Through prayer, quiet talks, some hard circumstances, decisions, parenting, Friday night dates (why have we not always done this?), the book Cherish, and a gradual softening of our hearts. Marriage needs constant attention or it gets stale. We don't want that.

We decided to let God make it a beautiful thing again. Maybe He'll draw me back here in a few days to share the nuggets I've gleaned from Cherish by Gary Thomas, and the buds of fresh love we enjoy as a result. Such a convicting work that is crafting a new wife for my husband.

God is good, giving to His beloved even in their sleep. So many good stories of God doing just that.