Tuesday, August 28, 2012

All at Once

I am avoiding my blog tonight. There is too much going on in my mind. That is not acceptable though, so here I go.

We were reading a book in the youth group on Sunday mornings called, The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves. In one of the final chapters a Puritan recounted an experience he had while relieving himself. While he was out a dog came by and began to relieve himself as well and this puritan (I'm sorry, I can't remember who it was) was struck at how much he was like an animal at that moment and committed to think spiritual thoughts in the future while relieving himself as a way of redeeming the act. One of the girls protested at the ridiculousness and severity of his response and yet as I have meditated on it over the last few weeks I find myself in a battle similar to the puritan. How do I make every part of my life about Jesus Christ and His glory?

I say a battle because if I am honest sometimes I do not even want Christ to have anything to do with a certain part of my life. I would like to compete in a triathlon. It is on my bucket list. My husband has said that this summer is not the right time and I should wait. My brother contacted me and asked me to start training with him so we can do one next summer. I started "training" and we have been corresponding about how to accomplish this without taking away from our families. We exchanged some websites and articles and then he said, we can do this and I have been praying about it. That is when I realized I hadn't. In all reality, I didn't want God or Tommy to have anything to do with it. I want it too bad to let God in and allow Him to take it away. Wrong thinking in so many different ways. As if me not praying about something would keep God out of that part of my life. HA! Still working on prying my fingers off this idol.

Or what about the struggle with practical details of raising kids. A son, that I would like to grow into a responsible MAN. I know that the best way to encourage him in that honorable direction is to respect and honor his father but what about when he is fighting me with every part of his being? He sticks out his chin and crosses his arm as I stand there feeling like I am looking in a mirror and wondering how do I train him in this situation?

Then there is the issue of very old issues that have come up. Pains I thought were gone. So long ago that I didn't even see the connections until someone else pointed them out. Now I have to hurt again and chose to forgive again, because Christ forgave me. It's painful but it's clear.

This all seems to hit at the same time. I'm tired. I'm glad that He is stretching me and holding me and bringing me along. Lord, carry me through. Grant me perseverance and faithfulness.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another school year

School has started again. With this time of year comes some of the same old struggles I often have. I schedule, so that I can fit everything in that I prayerfully have come to the conclusion needs to be in our day. Next, I become militant about keeping our schedule so that we can fit in everything that I have ordained will be in our day. Finally, I rebel against my own schedule, feeling guilty the entire time I am rebelling because I know that I am only rebelling against my own standards. I still feel confined, restricted and just plain bored.

At least, this is the usual cycle of the school year.

This year has been a little different. God has been working in me. I know that He always is working in me but I have seen some significant changes and that is exciting. I still scheduled out our days so that we can be effective with our time, good stewards of what God has given us. The difference so far is that I am not militant. It is still a battle. I want to be a drill sergeant and I am tempted to freak out when I forget to turn on my alarm and the day begins 45 minutes behind schedule. The Lord is helping me to resist...there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...and move on from where we are.

I am also seeking help and have been given the perspective needed, to not be frantic and guilty. If I choose to let the kids play with the neighbor instead of make them do school work then I am committed to my decision. It is my decision and there is nothing wrong with it. No reason to fret about getting behind or feel bad because we should be doing something else. If we should be doing that other stuff then I need to make the decision to do it.

Anyway, I think I am babbling now. God is good and He is blessing the beginning of this school year in so many ways. To give this perspective amidst two ER visits, and other less serious injuries, birthdays and ministries. He is blessing and I am humbled.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Peaceful Home

It has been an interesting weekend...in my head. I recently gave up eating gluten. I have suffered greatly from digestive issues since I was a kid and when I did some research I found that taking out gluten would be a good place to start in healing. It was. I am so much better when I am not eating anything with gluten in it. The down side is without wheat or milk products (Betsy has dairy issues) it sucks a lot of joy out of cooking for my family. It is way more difficult and much more limiting and a lot more exhausting.

Food is delightful though and I want to serve my family and enjoy food as well. Off to the library I went for more, fresh ideas and inspiration. Evidently Julia and I would have to see a little less of each others. Sad.

I found some books by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. Her books are beautiful and her recipes are intriguing. I sat down Sunday afternoon and poured over them, reading her little introductions and stories or life and her journey as a wife, a homemaker, a cook...by the end of the evening I was downright depressed.  She talked of large overstuffed chairs and couches in their home with piles of books and good lighting for reading. Mood music playing. Candles. Flowers everywhere. Her goal was to make a home that was comfortable, peaceful and where people wanted to be.

This is not my home. I started re-ordering my life. What can I take out of my schedule to make more time for decorating? Entertaining? Scrubbing? Saving money so that I can furnish my home in ways that make other people comfortable? The list in my mind kept growing, as did the guilt. I felt ashamed that this woman who didn't even know the Lord, did such a better job at making a peaceful home. I should be working harder at this. I should be...but then it hit me:

She doesn't know the Lord.

Ina Garten is a great cook and a talented author. She has time and finances to spend on making her home beautiful to the eyes and ears, nose and mouth but since she doesn't know the Lord there is a peace that she can never achieve, no matter how hard she tries. She is to be prayed for and pitied...not envied.

God turned my thoughts upside down, or rather right side up again, renewed my mind and I remembered what peace is in His eyes. Peace is a right relationship with God, no longer under wrath and condemnation. My home has that! Her home is relaxing...very relaxing, but not peaceful.

It is true that there are other things that I could be better at doing like moping the floor but sometimes by the time I get everything picked up and then swept it is time to do the next thing and the moping will just have to wait. There are other things that are not relaxing in a home with five kids. Sometimes music is just one more thing making a racket in the house... definitely not relaxing. I look forward to continuing to make our house more relaxing as the kids grow.

I am grateful that we are already a peaceful home though and that everything we (Tommy and I) do is motivated by that peace and the desire for our children, and others who come into our house, to know that peace too.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Anna update

Just need to give some praise to God as Creator and Healer. We went to the orthopedic surgeon today for Anna's check up and she is doing amazingly well. He says that you will not even be able to tell in a couple of months when the fingernail has regrown. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it but her finger is taking back its shape already. It is simply amazing. God is simply amazing. Monday her fingertip was gone...smashed, cut off! Today is Friday, barely five days later and it is filled back in and healing so well.

We still have a few weeks until scabby starts and then a few weeks until her nail is visible but I know God has been answering so many of our prayers because He is blessing her with quick healing. Thank you for your prayers. Thank the Lord for His goodness and praise Him for His power to heal and His creation of our bodies!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


To be honest Anna has been doing great, but I haven't. I have used this huge interruption to my weekly schedule as an excuse to be "off" all week. I don't like that I am that way but there it.

I am constantly struggling with the battle between doing too much and being lazy. Constantly fighting to get things done or just being with my children. When you add in prepping for school to begin again, a trip to the ER, and throw in some potty training and a few hormonal roller coasters the fight is even more difficult.

Tonight was our weekly youth group meeting and Tommy asked the students what they wanted to improve at in their spiritual life. My answer is simple. WHATEVER...I want to improve at " So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." If I read a book: TO THE GLORY OF GOD. If I clean the bathroom: TO THE GLORY OF GOD. If I color a picture with a child, make dinner, sweep the floor, give a reading lesson WHATEVER: TO THE GLORY OF GOD.

However, I know that to do so requires enthralled love with my Savior and King and that is not something that I can devise on my own. This comes from the Lord. I can feed it though...it is certainly easier to think of the Lord when I have been reading about Him, talking to or about Him, listening to others talk or sing about Him. 

So here is to feeding myself and pleading with God to grow that love. Here is to knowing that I cannot do it (fill in the blank) right and resting in the FACT: JESUS ALREADY DID!

Monday, August 6, 2012

ER Visit

Today was normal and abnormal in many ways.

It started the same as any other Monday...it is Monday right? Although a little slow out of the gate. We did our little routine and then through normal distractions I was hollering (because I am loud) at the kids to get there shoes on and head out the door to the grocery store.


I then I heard crying but went on finishing getting ready because, that is also very normal in our house. But that is where normal ended...the crying get worse. Then Christian started panicking and saying, "she's bleeding." Tommy brought Anna into the kitchen and there was a lot of blood. We stuck her hand under the sink to rinse it and immediately noticed that the tip of her finger was just gone.

I threw a towel around her hand and grabbed my purse, took Anna from Tommy while he got his shoes on and herded everyone to the door. Somehow Betsy and Daniel made it out to the car and were waiting abnormally patiently for us. Christian was crying, sobbing. Praise God for the presence of mind to look him in the eyes and calmly tell him that though we had to go to the hospital, Anna was going to be fine. This was not life threatening AT ALL.

A couple more "on the verge of freaking out" moments when Tommy had to take the fingernail off the door jam and put it in a plastic bag to bring with us and when I noticed there were no car seats in the car but we made it to the hospital.

God blessed abundantly. This too is normal. An interruption to my day that is filled with God's faithfulness and blessing.

  • Someone took the kids for us while we were at the hospital.
  • Christian was able to be freed from his guilt and great Gospel conversation was had.
  • No surgery or stitches for Anna, only band-aids and acetaminophen
  • Calm for Mommy and Papa (there really were times when panic and fear, worry and concern could have taken over, like when one doctor said reconstructive surgery and loss of the fingernail but God blessed with peace)
He is good. Anna still has a lot of healing to do but it could have been much, much worse. Amazing how God brings glory to Himself through suffering.