Friday, May 18, 2012


          Boys do stupid things.  Sometimes we like to call it "adventurous" things and I suppose this is true also.  But other times there really is no other word more appropriate to use than stupid.  ALl of you mother's of boys out there can attest. And yes, I will go ahead and say what you are thinking, my oldest is only four and a half so I am just scratching the surface of stupid.  I am at the forefront of what will inevitably a be a long list of a whole lot of crazy that will ensue in my house over the next years.  Just wait, you say, just wait until their little bodies are overtaken with a concoction of hormones that will reek  all sorts of havoc causing them to make even more rash and unpredictable decisions than before.  I know it's coming.  I acknowledge that I am completely unprepared and pray, with quite frequency, for my sanity, which I assume will be tested to the limits, in their teenage years.  
          For now, I have plenty of stupid to go around.  Let's name a few shall we;

   1)  Finding broken shards of glass all over the grass, undoubtedly the result of the "genius" idea dreamed up by Wesley to test the trajectory of my very breakable votives.  

   2)  The periods of "battling" as they call it, aka wrestling, which always ends in a combination of tears and tattling but which carries some sort of magnetic force that pulls them to it despite that it ends poorly EVERY TIME.  Albert Einstein couldn't have said it any better, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." 

  3)  Oliver yelling, "Mom, come quick Wesley's putting toilet paper in the toilet."  This would, under normal circumstances, thrill me considering our month long (probably longer) fight to potty train the kid however when I arrive at the bathroom doorway and I see the mound of toilet paper peeking over the seat I think otherwise.  

  4)   Oliver pretending to be Silver Surfer using Crosby's car seat as a surf board and landing in a puddled mess on the floor after an infraction with our kitchen cabinetry. 

           There's lots more I could share in this section called, "stupid things my boys have done" but there's not enough time for me to write nor for you to read them all.  And usually, as least some of the time, when they run to me with their voices cracking and words disjointed from the hurt, anger, frustration, you fill in the blank with the emotion, I do feel compassion and wrap them in my arms and comfort them as best I can.  But then there's the other times, when I am desperately trying to do get something, anything, accomplished (i.e laundry, cooking, cleaning, reading of emails, paying of bills etc.)  and I am interrupted by their sad, pathetic, and at times faked cries that I feel a competing emotion.  Not one of compassion but acute aggravation and annoyance.  Why? I think in my head.  Why must you jump from that cushion?  Why must you bite your brother?  Why must you use the obviously unstable car seat as a surf board?  Why?  In these moments, I feel very little sympathy and lately I have been bothered by my shortage of compassion.  And I have been asking myself that very question, why?
            There's an image of God portrayed often in the Bible, one of Him as Father, that I just can't shake.  God is referred to as Father over 245 times in the New Testament alone.  That's a lot, and I confess I am no brain surgeon but it must carry some weight in our quest to grow in our knowledge of Him.  This is an image that, although I had heard it said thousands of times growing up, was blurry and didn't come into focus until I myself, became a parent.   Just as you bit by bit turn the kaleidoscope and the shapes lose and then regain focus transforming into newer more colorful and elaborate patterns.  So it has been with each stage of parenting giving way to a greater glimpses of God's Father-like character.   
           At first, when Oliver was a newborn, I was shocked by my love for him in spite of the fact that he did absolutely nothing other than poop, sleep, use me for milk, and pee on me.  Newborns don't give much reciprocal love and yet all of us parents comment on the depth and ferocity of our love for them.  I knew in the instant he emerged from the womb and they laid his slimy little body on my chest, I could never, would never, no matter what he would or wouldn't do, love this child any less or more than I did in that moment.  He was perfect.  And he was mine.  As the early weeks passed I pondered this very thought in my head and then let it work it's way over to my relationship with the Almighty.  If I, weak and frail in my humanity,was capable of such a love how much more God?  If I, flawed as I am, can care so deeply for this tiny little being that does nothing to benefit or profit me, how much more does God care for us?  Us, all of us.  ALL OF US.  This image of God as Father, now brought into focus by my new role as mother, made me question all I had been taught about how we "attain salvation"?  Could it really be that God denies certain of His children access to Him and others not?  Could He really ever turn His back on us if we choose, often because of circumstances far out of our control, not to utter "the prayer?"  If I, in my total depravity, could never turn my back on my kids, could the all loving God turn His back on His?  
             Now as we are well into our toddler and pre-school years I observe, in our older ones, very unique personalities emerging.   I also watch as they begin to assert their own independence which can, at times, result in choices I don't fully condone or support.  Lucky for me the stakes aren't too high yet.   Their choices may result in excess toilet paper in the toilet, or spilt juice, or too much breakfast left on the plate, or broken glass on the grass but it could be a lot worse.  And yet, I still at times find this frustration rising within me and, as I mentioned above, I have been asking why?  The answer is far from impossible to discover: my compassion is limited, my patience runs out, and quite clearly, I am far from perfect.   Then I twist the kaleidoscope and the pattern changes and I see it all more clearly.  My perspective changes and comes into focus and I realize God should be, in fact He has every right to be downright frustrated with me.  With us all.  How many times do we do stupid stuff over and over again expecting the result to be different?  Make choices that I imagine make Him shake His head in exasperation?  The Bible puts it this way, "As a dog returns to it's vomit, so a fools repeat their folly."  And yet His compassion is unlimited, His patience never runs out, and He is perfect.  My frustration is rooted in selfishness; why can't you just stop pushing your brother I have to finish the dishes?  Or why would you try to climb that and expect not to fall off?  Can't you see I am in the middle of something here?   God's frustration or anger is righteous, selfless; why do you continue to make choices that lead to death and not life?  Why can't you see all I want is what is best for you?  If only you knew the depth of my love for you? 

    Father, expand my vision.  Focus my perspective.  Make me more like You.   

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dear Momma...

      I've heard it said that you cannot fully understand or be grateful for the labor of your own mother until you, yourself, become one.  I am sure this isn't universally true as there may be women who have chosen or fate has not allowed them to be mothers and still appreciate their own with great fervor.  However, what I can say for sure, now four and a half years into my mothering journey, is just how much more, with each passing day, I appreciate mine.  So this post is dedicated to you mom and to you Nona (my mom's mom) as you both deserve far more credit that I am sure this tribute will deliver for all things seen and unseen you have done and continue to do to serve your family.

  Advice/ Wisdom gleaned from my mother over the years:

 1)   Sleep generally cures all things.

       On any given day in my household you will, with almost certainty, hear me use this phrase,  "You're tired.  You need to sleep and then you'll feel better."  So when Oliver says, "Mom, my head hurts."  I say, "You need to sleep, and then you'll feel better."  When Wesley says, "My tummy hurts." I say, "You need to sleep, and then you'll feel better."   When Crosby cries, "He just needs to sleep, and then he'll feel better."   This assumption that sleep is the ultimate cure all I undoubtedly inherited from my mother.   Probably more important that this truth, and generally it is a truth as almost every ailment is, in fact, improved by sleep, is to face every impending crisis, or lack thereof, with a glass half full mentality.  Those of you who know me well can hopefully attest that I am not easily flustered and from time to time, you may even need to check my pulse.  Thanks Mom, for teaching me that, contrary to popular belief, it is always better to assume the best, to see the positive as best as you can in every circumstance, and to remember that even the most disheartening of situations an extra measure of sleep makes everything much better.
2)       Make-up, who needs make-up?

      A "friend" in junior high once said to me, "You would be so pretty, if you only wore make-up."  I will go ahead and assume she meant it  as a compliment, perhaps this whole assuming the best thing also causes me to live in ignorance.   That is beside the point, though.   I think one of the most treasured gifts you can give your children is to instill in them the belief they are beautiful inside and out.  Of course, due to our culture's unhealthy obsession with external beauty, this is particularly critical for young girls but should not be ignored for boys either.  Thanks Mom, because whether my hair was short or long, baby fat or no baby fat, lip stick or no lip stick, brand name clothes or no brand name clothes I believed I was beautiful because you believed I was beautiful.

3)         A New Normal

        As my Junior Prop was approaching I went to my mom and said, "I don't want to wear a "normal" prom dress."  "Oh" she said, "What do you want to wear?"   "Well" I responded, "I was thinking of a, well a skirt, with tight pants under it, and some kind of funky top.  What do you think?"  Now, let's pause for a brief moment.  She could have easily told me I was off my rocker.  She could have said, "I'm not sure that's the best idea, what will people think? Why don't you wear something more normal."  And many moms would have said this, caring more about how a "different" out fit might reflect on them versus fostering and encouraging their daughters individuality.  Not my Mom.  She just went straight to work sewing me the coolest skirt pant combination you've ever seen.  And I rocked that out fit and the Mariah Carey "esque" wig I wore (my hair was pretty short at the time).   And together we created a "new normal."   Thanks mom, for always being on my side, for always supporting me, for teaching me to re-define "normal."

4)            Thinking Outside the Box

          We moved from Canada the summer I turned ten.  There are a few words that encompass that summer.  The first is, "hot."   I've never been so hot in my life.  I took a cold shower at least once a day and still felt remarkably overheated.  The other "tea."  We stayed in the guesthouse as the men worked to re-tile the main house.   As we were preparing to move in, once they were done, my mom remarked to me, "Don't you think the grout is too white.  It doesn't look right does it?"  I shrugged my shoulders, knowing little about proper grout colors.  "Let's die it," she said, "using tea."  "Okay," I said.  These types of projects were a fairly normal occurence in my childhood.    So we spent the next  few days on our hands and knees, shuffling big pales filled with tea around the house, and applying it to the overly white grout giving it the "aged" look my Mom was going for.   Thanks Mom, for teaching me to think outside the box, for showing me that problems can often be solved as long as you have a little patience and creativity to approach it with, and, on a more practical note, that a little tea goes a long way when trying to age grout or any other item for that matter.

5)             Being the best Cheerleader

            My Nona has shared with me a little about her mother, my Granny, who I, very unfortunately, do not remember.  I catch glimpses of her when my Mom and Nona remind me to have "perseverance" a word which they deliver with extraordinarily thick Scottish accents.   They have shared more with me about her, much of which I cannot recall at this particular moment, but anyone who speaks with a Scottish accent is inherently awesome, can I get an amen here?   In her last days some of her many children were able to be with her including my Nona.  She was in her late nineties when she passed.  My Nona and her were very close and she has told me that one of greatest sadnesses in losing her mother was losing her greatest cheerleader.     I can imagine that this is true as my mother is that for me.   When I decided to quit tennis after years of lessons, tournaments, and summer camps and try out for volleyball she said, "Great!  volleyball is a good choice."  When I decided to chop all of my hair off she said, "Great!  You're beautiful and you can wear your hair however you like."  When I decided to try out for my very first play she said, "Great, your Nona is a speech teacher you'll do wonderfully."  When I decided to try out pole vaulting for a few fleeting moments she said, "Interesting, but great."  In college, when I decided to take up crew she said, "Great!  You can do that too."   It really doesn't matter what I choose to do, how wacky or weird, fun or fleeting, strange or sensational, and everything in between.  She is on my side.   Thanks Mom, for being my greatest cheerleader and for instilling in me the knowledge that I really can do anything as long as I put my mind to it.

          No words can truly convey my gratitude to you for all you have done and continue to do in my life.   Perhaps imitation is the greatest form of flattery.  If I can impart just a few of the wisdoms mentioned above in my boys I will consider my mothering a great success.  I love you Mom.  Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

We Might Lose a Battle, But HE Will Win the War

             An Exercise in Reflection:   Exodus 14
               Life has gotten pretty strange lately.   This is an understatement.   I woke up this morning with heavy eyes and a great deal of soreness in my limbs.  We've been walking all day and frequently long hours into the night.   With the level of exhaustion my body has endured you might assume that sleep would come easily but instead its been rather elusive.  I repeatedly, without warning, wake to the sound of my own horrified screams.  All I can see is blood.   It's pouring from every surface, every crevice, every square inch is covered and I try to run.  I try to escape but my legs are so heavy, I pump my arms and strain my core forward but my effort is in vain.  I cannot move.  And just as they are closing in I awake to the sight of my son's horrified face.  Although, of late, his face is filled with less terror and more fatigue.   Muddled in with these emotions is a touch of irritation one which he attempts to conceal but I see right through.  This is how I know the night terrors have been coming with even greater regularity.  This morning, he touched my back, as if to comfort me, then rolled over only to quickly return to sleep.  
               I often, more so that I would like to confess, slip into self pity mode.   But when I grab my son's hand and the skin is smooth, no longer callused and blistered.   I rejoice.  We are free.  We do not operate any longer by their rules or regulations.  The kind of rules that govern a child, an eight year old boy, to work alongside men three times his size and stature and be expected to keep up.  We do not operate any longer under a regime of fear but instead one of freedom.   We are not alone.  There is pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  And it never leaves.  It is an ever constant reminder that our God, Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who promised to rescue us and redeem us has done so.  
                I know this to be true.  And yet as we settled in for the night and watched as the sun danced closer to the horizon line we glimpsed, every so subtly, movement off in the distance.   Speechless, no one said a word.  Silence, as if speaking with our mouths what we knew to be true with our eyes would make it more real, more eerily tangible.  We stood still.  Motionless for what seemed to be hours.  "Mom" my son pleaded, "We have to go. We have to run." And there I was. My worst nightmare coming true.  Sure that my attempt to propel my legs into motion would fail.  That those nights filled with terror weren't just memories of the past but premonitions of the future.   
             These next hours are scarred with a gamut of emotions; terror, adrenaline, doubt, horror, fear, wonderment, and relief.   So jumbled are they that I don't know where one trails off and the other picks up.   I hear voices echo in my head from whom they come, this I cannot remember; 
  "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us here?"
  "We're going to die here, you know."
  "Why didn't you just leave us alone?  Let us serve the Egyptians?" 
  "Better to serve the Egyptians than to die here." 
I see the Sea stretched for miles before us and then in a moment, unparalleled to any other I have experienced, the waters begin to separate.  You would fail to believe even if you had witnessed it with your own eyes as I did.   A wind came and drove the sea back creating a wall of water stretching towards the heavens on to my right and my left.   And dry, not a single drop of water, dry land emerged forming a pathway for us.   We all exchanged looks of awe and wonder, there were not words to say.   Could this really be happening?  Were we already dead and dreaming this?  But it wasn't a dream.  It was, in fact, a reality... 

A Devotional Thought: 
           I mentioned this passage of Scripture (Exodus 13-14) briefly in a previous blog post but I was so stirred by some of it's words that I felt forced to return to it.   Specifically, something Moses said when addressing the Israelites,

 "Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance that the Lord will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today, you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."  (Exodus 14:13-14)

In the verses following this compelling statement we see God do just as Moses said He would.   He fights for His people here's a few ways how:

  The angel of God moves from the front of the traveling Israelites to stand behind them along with the pillar of cloud, "coming between the armies of Israel and the armies of Egypt." (vs. 19,20).  It goes onto say, "Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near each other all night long."  (vs. 20)  

God proceeds to separate.  Yep, you read it right, separate, the Red Sea as described in my writing exercise above.  Enough said.

The Egyptians, not the brightest tools in the shed, decide it is still a good idea to pursue the Israelites, despite the face that there is an angel of God and a pillar of cloud standing in their way.  And, get this, in verse 24 the Bible actually says, "In the last watch of the night God looked down from the pillar of cloud."  I mean, was He just sitting on top of it?  Just chillin' (yep I just used that word to describe God) perched precariously, a front row seat for the show He is about to put on?   I don't know that this is the case but it sure is amusing to ponder.  And so, despite, like I said, regardless of these fairly insurmountable obstacles, the Egyptians continue to follow the Israelites until God does two things; one, throws them into confusion and two, causes the wheels on their chariots to fall off making driving an impossibility.  Then and only then do they  finally conclude that God,  who may have turned out to be a teensy bit more powerful than them, holds the reigns here and they remark to  one another, "Let's get away from these Israelites."  You think?   "The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt."  

              What happens next is fairly gruesome.  So I won't go into details.  Moral of the story if you're going to wage war against God, you will lose.  Every time.   No exceptions.   Now, aside from the above statement, I can ascertain several other truths about God from this passage that carry a great deal of weight in my every day goings on.   One, I do have enemies.  No, they do not look like a group of hairy chariot driving Egyptians.  They do however, come in the form of complacency, selfishness, misplaced anger, lapses of patience, entanglement in the small stuff, and the list goes on.  And two, God's words to me are the same as the words He gave Moses to speak, "I WILL FIGHT FOR YOU, YOU NEED ONLY BE STILL."  God, the master strategist, is more than able to take down these enemies.  The great news, no, the remarkable and  life-changing news is that He's got my back.  And they are many a time when I feel incapable to wage this war on my own.  Sure, he told Moses to stretch out his staff, He asked the Israelites to step out onto the dry land created by the schism in the separated waters and they had to trust He literally was going to hold these waters in his hands.  But the rest, the hard part, was up to Him.   There isn't one day I am not reminded of a lost battle, of my shortcomings as a wife, a mother, a friend.  But then I call to my mind that though I may lose a battle here or there, God always wins the war.   Sometimes I need only BE STILL.  His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness.  
    I don't know where this will find you today.  Or what kind of enemies you are battling.  But believe in the good news, the remarkable and life changing news, that God will fight for you, you need only be still.  He's got your back.  Trust that the God, who's never lost a battle, is on your side.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Food for Thought

          I started running a few years ago.  My husbabnd (an exhuberently vocal non-runner) asks me all the time.  Why run?  What's the point?  If someone's not chasing you why do it?  In high school, college, even in our first years of marriage I wouldn't have been able to answer him.  Now.  Well, now I have three kids.  Now, as clearly communicated in a previous post, I don't poop alone.  Now, the thought of waking up early, of being the first one up, of feeling the brisk morning air wash over me, of feeling my laces tightend firmly across the tops of my feet is so very alluring.  I confess, I never love the first minutes of a run.   Nothing feels quite right.  Certain joints and muscles like to rear thier ugly head and throw down a silent protest at thier use.   The water bottle I find too distracting to hold in my hand is tucked firmly in the back of my sports bra and it's cold, too cold for comfort.   No sweat has been broken, and I ain't no girly girl I like to  break a sweat.   I don't wake up early for those first minutes.  I wake up early for that feeling.  The feeling you get in the middle of the run, the heart of the run.  When your limbs are warmed up, you got, as my Dad likes to say, "a good sweat going" and you've settled into your pace.   It's like connecting with the  ball right on the sweet spot of the bat, it's like capping of the night with the rich and savorty taste of chocolate when you've been craaving it all day, it's like running your tongue across your teeth after you just got your braces off (I'm reminiscing here about 8th grade) and marvelling at thier smoothness.  It just feels good and right.   My fellow runners, you know what I'm talking about.  Everyone else, well, you're just plain missing out.
             So this year for Lent ( I will take time now to define Lent for any of my readers, which assumes I actually have readers other than my family who feel forced to read this, who are not familiar with the term) Lent is a six week or so period of time leading up to Easter in the Christian Calandar meant for the believer to prepare, repent, pray, and fast etc. in prepration for Holy Week.   This year for Lent, I gave up processed foods.  I too, among many others in my community, chose to read "Seven" by Jen Hatmaker and I too, like many others had my life ruined.  Included in the destruction of my life as I know it, but not limited too, was the knowledge that I might have been eating more disodium phosphate and maltodextrin (what are those you ask?  Not sure you want to know) than cleary is a good idea.  Feeling guilt for not only feeding myself these chemicals but also my children I decided I would swear off any food item which contained ingredients that I could not read and could not define.  
             Lets be honest here, I was worried.  I love wheat thins and because I don't drink wine I like a good package of fruit snacks to wind down at the end of the day.    Since both of those have either enriched flour or high fructose corn syrup in them (clearly these are not items grown on a tree or in the groud somewhere) they were out.  I was going to have to cook more from scratch.  Before I continue, you should know I just started cooking, like legit doing meal plans on Sunday and cooking all week, about three years ago.  My mom does not cook.  The lady is Martha Stewart, without the incarceration part, of course.  She owns more power tools than Ty from "Home Makeover," she can sew underwear and curtains and pretty much anything inbetween (she made Michael the most amazing Tumnus costume five years ago, like I said anything), and she can feng shui a room up like nobody's business.  She is, however, quite terrible in the kitchen.  Needless to say, I am a self taught cook.  So I was little worried about these six weeks of Lent not just for me but for my poor sweet little family forced on this journey with me.
             Easter is over now.   I can say with confidence that we all survived.  In fact, we more than survived.  I feel ridiculously good.  Like I can scale walls and swim underwater for hours on end.  Okay, I can't do these things.  But this is how good I feel.  I am at my lowest weight ever.  In my whole life, lowest ever.  I can make homemade refried beans, tomato bisque soup, whole wheat pizza dough, homemade pasta sauce, crepes, and I am just getting started here folks.  I think the success of the processed food fast can be summed up by the follwoing occurance:  (this is last night as Bible Study is starting)
 Me: "You bought "white" (yes this is what I called it) pasta?  You know I like whole weat."  Meanwhile I stare, horrified, at what I believe to be pasta filled with dun dun dun....enriched flour.  Michael responds quickly trying to appease the beast before I get real worked up.  "It's organic I swear.  I eye him curiously and skeptically.  He senses my un-belief. "Really, it's all real food ingredients.  You can check."   Jen Hatmaker, you have created a monster.
             Here's what's really suprised me.  I like to cook things from scratch.  I actually like mixing the flour with yeast, water, and salt to create the most perfect ball of dough you've ever seen.   There is something so satisfying about chopping the onions,  the peppers, the zuchini into even and equal pieces.  Something soothing about the motion of the knife as it slides over the vegetables.  Something about the sound it makes as it slices through and then touches down on the cutting board.  I guess it's like the motion of my legs as they rotate up and down, up and down, falling into the most calming and comfortable routine.  It's like the sound my feet make on the pavement.  The repetition brings with it a sense of securuity.  It's like the heart of the run.  It's just feels good and right.
             All of a sudden I feel myself changing.   Welsey offers me a taste of his lollipop (I have to say yes to that cute little face) and, to my dismay, it tastes contrived and discusting.   And I am a sweets girl.  I, quite suprisingly, choose to take extra time, which I do not have, in the kaos of a feeding frenzied lunch to make myself an egg white omlette with green peppers, onion, and cheese.  Yum.   What is happening to me?  I am turning into an obnoxious foodie.   The kind I have often snubbed and thought, "Its just food.  Get over yourself."  And here I am having a food orgasim over my perfectly constructed precious omlette.
           Then, I realize, what started as a simple fast.   I mean, really, I just gave up processed food, it's not like I saved a starving village or cured a life threatening disease or anything.  Turns into something deeper.  "My coucil is this; Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spririt.  Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness." (Gal. 5:16 Mes.)   That word there is interesting.  Feed.  Maybe it's not just about the food I choose to put in my body but more so about the food I choose to put into my soul.   "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."  Maybe the routine that my physical body desires, the continous motion of my legs and the sound my feet make as they hit the concrete and the motion of my hand sliding the knife throught the vegetables.  Maybe my Spirit longs for the same.   My Spirit needs to keep in step with His Spirit.   Jesus said is this way, "Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace."  
            All of a sudden I feel myself changing.  Learning to keep in step, learning a new rhythm, a new routine, an unforced rhythm.   Just like my taste in food is changing so are my spirit's desires.    I'm craving new things.  I had to set my phone alarm to sound every three or so hours just to remember to pray.  But someday I won't need the alarm.  I need an army of supportive and God-fearing women to keep me accountable in my Scripture memorization but maybe someday it will just be second nature.   I need this blog and the knowledge that someone wants to read what I wrote to force me to open my Bible, to focus my mind on His words.   Someday these will all be an unforced rhythm.  But for now, I'm changing.  I choose an apple over fruit snacks and my Youversion app over my facebook app.  And, people, that's progress.

P.S. Michael came up with the title of this post.  It's pretty good.  So I had to give him credit.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Breath In. Breath Out.

          Talking serpents, a giant Ark, a burning bush, a parted sea, a wrestling match with an angel of God these are a few of my favorite things... Sorry.  I love musicals, I couldn't help myself.   In all seriousness though, these are true events recorded in the Old Testament.   They are Sunday school stories that we have heard, read, even seen portrayed by Hollywood.  They are all too familiar for so many of us.   But every once and a while a moment will fall upon me when my mind will come rest on these transpired events and I am struck with awe and wonderment.  What was it like build a giant ark?  To have your closest neighbors and friends watch with jaws dropped in astonishment as you collect wood, and more wood and more wood and then, yes, wait for it, start to build an enormous ark.  "Why?", they might have asked. "Because God said to," you respond.  "Oh, right. " they might have ridiculed, "Because God said so.  Sure He did."   What was it like to be told to lead a group of people out of slavery and into the desert and just as you feel you are widening the gap between you and a whole lot of mean and angry Egyptians you come to the Red Sea.   "Umm...God?  You up there?  This might be a nice time to intervene" you say as your life flashes before your eyes.   And then you feel a slight small voice say, "Raise your staff and stretch out your hand."  So you do and the sea, the whole sea, parts so you can make your escape.  God has intervened.  He has saved you.
     These are examples of what we call miracles.  They are named such for one; because this kind of stuff (i.e. a sea parting) doesn't happen every day.   But for two; because the God of the universe who, as outlined in Job, "laid the earth's foundations, marked off it's dimensions, gives orders to the morning and sends the lightning bolts on their way," this God actually chooses to intervene in our yes, our, tiny little insignificant and entirely un-worth it lives.  And the kicker, yeah the real kicker, is that He doesn't see it this way at all.   We broke His heart, in the garden.  They broke His heart, they believed that there would be  something better about creation without the One who created it.  We still believe, almost daily, that there is something better about creation without the One who created it.  He could have turned His back but they were naked and He gave them clothes.  He cared.  He intervened.  It was a miracle.  And the good news is that He still cares.  He still intervenes.   There are still miracles.
         So, I stay at home with my kids.  I chose this line of work three or so years ago when I found out, surprise, we were pregnant with number two.   I love what I do.  I'm so thankful I get to do what I do.  The thought of dropping my boys off in the morning and knowing that inevitably, I would miss something be it big or small, insignificant or significant, makes me stomach churn.  (NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH GOING TO WORK OR DAY CARE!  It just happens, that for us, right now, me being at home is the best thing for our family).  Moral of the story, this choice I made, sometime ago, to be at home, most of the time is pure bliss but sometimes...let's just say, I have my days.  And I struggle.  I suppose like may of you do too, with finding time for God when I am reminded, quite frequently, that my time is not my own.    I sold my soul to motherhood, for lack of a better term, and I pay for it everyday.  I am reminded of this while trying to poop with a baby crawling up my leg and a toddler yelling, "You pooping Mama?"  I reminded of it when I reminisce about the days I called showering once a day- a necessity and not a luxury.        
             How do you do this?  How do you balance the 24 hour job of being a mother and still find time to connect with God?   There is no manual.  But thankfully God is still in the business of performing miracles.
          He cares.  He intervenes.  He inserts himself in my house cleaning, toy tidying, grocery shopping, butt wiping, super hero playing life.  He is there.  All the time.  He never leaves.  He watches all I do with loving attention.  It really is a miracle.   And no, I ain't building no arks, or parting no seas, but I am raising three boys.  Is it really any smaller of a task or less of a calling?  He is there.  All I have to do is breath in.  Breath out.  And He reminds me.  I am with you.  Breath in.  Breath out.  I care about your life.   Breath in.  Breath out.  I see all you do.
        I know this.  I know He is with me.  I know this because, with my head jammed closer than I would like to my hall bathroom toilet covered in I am still too short for my privates to quite reach pee with my Lysol cleaner in one hand and toilet brush in the other I found  joy.  Yep, you read it right, joy.  Breath in.  Breath out.  I see you.  Breathe in.  Breath out.   You are serving your family and no one knows about this (until now) and I see you.
     I know this because yesterday, was one of the  "those days" I mentioned.   A few highlights:
my middle son who still has a long way to go in learning to poop in the potty, "Mom, I pooped in my underwear outside."
My oldest son, "Mom, Norma (our dog) is eating the poop."
Me, "Crosby don't pull up on the toilet. "
Me, "Michael, Crosby just threw up all over his high chair."
  I know He is with me when a day like that can still end in a moment of God intervened perfection.  Me, rocking littlest man watching him drift off to sleep. Breath in.  Breath out.  I am watching you.  Watch him.  He won't be this age forever.  Me, singing  "He's Got the Whole World in His hands..." with my big boys each one taking turns calling out the next verses' substitution, " He's got Nana and Papa in His hands..."  Oliver yells out, "all our family."   We sing, "He's got all our family in His hands."  Breath in.  Breath out.  I really do have the whole world in my hands.  Including you.  Breath in.  Breath out.  I love you.  I see you.  I intervene.  I am still in the business of doing miracles

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Deep Down Itch

There is nothing more intimidating then the sight of a blinking curser. Except for maybe the sound of a blinking curser. It's a deafening silence. Especially when most of my days are filled with so much noise. I have three boys, four and under. Need I say more about the topic of noise? But now they are all "napping." This word is in quotes not only because putting words in quotes became a fad in fairly recent history. I think we owe that trend to one of T.V.'s most lovable characters Joey Tribianni. Was it Joey or Chandler? I don't know. I digress.
You're probably wondering why I am even staring at the blinking curser in the first place. Well, I am starting a blog. I am calling it Christy's Useless or Useful Thoughts. Actually I don't know what I am calling it but this seemed appropriate in the moments between now and whenever I give it a trendy (code word for chessy) Christian name like "Submerge" or "Imerge" or "Merge." You notice they use the word "merge" a lot in church or other church like organizations. Don't stop reading. I promise I will not call it that. It's obvious I need help. Please write me with your suggestions.
So here I am. I've been feeling this deep down itch lately. An itch to do something. Write something. Create something. It's the kind of itch that's in a difficult spot. The kind you can't reach without someone else to reach it for you. The kind that doesn't go away unless you find the nearest tree to rub up against. And so, I suppose this blog will serve as the tree to help satisfy the itch. I did try and ignore it at first though. I thought, I don't have time. Did I mention I have three kids four and under? Everyone that knows me has heard this excuse more than once. And look, I've already used it twice in this blog. I might have a problem.
So I was succeeding in living quite comfortably in my sweet ignorance until this morning. Until my girlfriend, who I happen to really like and respect, said to me, "I think you should write a blog." Of course, my husband has been bothering me for months to start writing but for some strange reason husbands are easier to ignore. Sorry babe, don't take it personal. Her words were the straw that broke the camel's back. The final gust of wind that pushes over the boulder perched a top a cliff. The final internal or external shove that propels someone to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Okay, the analogies aren't good. Don't judge me. But you get the point.
I am really doing it. Will anyone care? I don't know. Will anyone read it? I don't know. Will anyone start follow it? I don't know. Or do you say will anyone start following me? I don't know that either. No, it can't be follow me. That's sounds a little cultish and scary. You follow Jesus. Not Christy Fay.
This is my commitment. I will write. Once a week. More if I feel led. I will make a more conscience effort to listen. To really listen. And if, no when, God speaks to me. I WILL WRITE IT DOWN. And if anyone cares, great. If no one does, oh well. All I know is I have an itch. A deep down itch. And I better figure out how to scratch it because ain't going away on it's own.