Thursday, November 17, 2011

Making Time

"I can't mom, I'm too busy."  This is the current favorite phrase of my 3 year old, Logan.  Now, I would love to pass the buck on this one as I have when he says things like, "stupid", idiot" or "whatever", but I can't. He has most definitely heard it from me...probably 100 times today already. 

Being the micro-manager, perfectionist, organizer that I am, I live off of my to-do lists and calendar just to survive the day-to-day.  I have a need to stay on top of things.  I wouldn't say it's a healthy need, as a matter of fact a lot of times it is just plain sin.  I confess that I often treat my husband and children like just another item on my list. "Here's your milk, breakfast, newspaper, fill-in-the-blank" and move on. Missing the opportunity for fellowship, potential memories and essential bonding moments.  I am with them, but not present for them.  I treat loved ones as distractions rather than blessings. Ouch.

You see, my life seems to be running at warp speed these days. Max will be 9 soon, Logan is a busy 3 year old and Maggie is already 7.5 months. Her first birthday is right around the corner and most of the last year has been a blur. I don't feel like I can stop or slow down. I just know that as soon as I do the wheels are going to fall off the wagon.  I have got to stay on top of what I can control.  The problem with this theory is that it assumes I am in control. I am not. God is the author and creator of my life and I am just along for the ride, so why don't I just sit back & enjoy it already!?!  I know, I know. Asking you isn't really going to help, but it was rhetorical anyway.

I have, however, been asking the One who has all the answers. Praying for guidance and wisdom to see when I fail in this area and to help me get better everyday. He has been faithful. He shows me how to slow down and live for each moment in things my children say, songs on the radio, books, blogs, chats with friends...the list is endless. He is so good to me and I am learning. It may be slow, but I am growing and my family is thriving. I am learning to be present and intentional. To count my blessings and savor each one. 

So today as I make beds, make excuses, make plans, make mistakes and make dinner I also resolve to make time. To slow down and be intentional about the things that fill my time and demand my attention.  I hope you will, too!

Please check out the blog A Holy Experience  by Ann Voskamp. She is an amazing writer and I am blessed beyond words by the honesty I find there.  She has also written a book titled, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are that touches on this issue.  How to really slow down and enjoy the gifts in everyday.  To seek out the beautiful in the mundane, You will not be sorry.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Apples & Oranges

It has been a long day and a long few nights. I have been meaning to log in here and post about our first Veteran's Day Parade experience, but time just seems to elude me.  It is almost 10:00pm and I am finally sitting down to the computer for some 'me' time and to catch up on some computer work.  As often happens when I turn on my computer, I mindlessly open Facebook first to see what has happened with my friends and family over the past 24 hours and post my Thankful Thought for the day. (Starting the first of November through Thanksgiving, I am posting what I am thankful for each day as a way to prepare my heart for the coming season and keep in mind what the Reason really is.)

As I scrolled through the status updates from tonight I see that not one, but two of my friends has started a blog.  Now, this shouldn't affect me. I know a lot of people who currently blog and I enjoy them immensely.  I am no writer and certainly in no competition. As a matter of fact, at this point only about two people even know I have a blog! I started this project as a way to get my thoughts out and sorted and as an outlet for all the things swirling around in my head. If it gets read, great! If not, no problem. So why do I instantly feel insecure?

Why do I feel the need to pour over their effortlessly beautiful writings and endlessly critique my own? The need to compare and find that I come up short of my own expectations?  I only end up feeling 'less than' and not enough. Not spiritual enough, smart enough, eloquent enough...take your pick.  Why do I waste time trying to determine how I measure up to their skills as a mother, communicator, wife or scholar. The whole process is completely maddening! It is a mindset that I fall into almost unwillingly. It is a mindset that I am working hard to overcome.  

The truth is, we all compare at times and it only causes frustration, depression and despair. But the most beautiful truth is, there is no comparison for you! God made you (and me) perfectly imperfect in our own skin. He made us all messy and all beautiful...all together.  He made us flawed and wonderful, different and the same, strong and weak and with a plan for each of us. I may not have the same skills or talents as you, but that doesn't mean that I have nothing to offer.  So I will keep writing, maybe someday someone will read and hopefully we'll both grow.  You & me together...the apple and the orange.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Sinner Like Me

" Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5 NKJV

My oldest son, Max, had to memorize this verse for Good News Club this week.  What a great verse for the month of November! A reminder to be thankful, to not covet, that God will supply all our needs and never leave us.  Not only did it bless me beyond belief to see and hear my son work so hard to memorize this verse, but we were able to have a great conversation about what it actually meant.  I am so thankful that, at least this time, I chose to put aside my to-do list and join in fellowship with my child.  I so often get caught up in what I "need" to do, that I often overlook what I actually should be doing.   I talked with Max about what covetousness meant and he immediately grew sheepish at the realization. "You mean like me?" he said. "Like how I want everything I see on TV for Christmas?"  "Like all of us", I said. I was able to re-assure him that we all sin, we all struggle, we all times.  And that Jesus died for us anyway. He knew we would sin and struggle. He knew it would be messy. He knew we needed Him, even when we didn't. 

As I tucked Him in that night, I thanked God for Max's love for others, his passion for The Word, his longing to understand it and the ability that I have as his mom to help him.  I prayed that this Truth would be hidden in his heart for all time and that he could share it with others. 

I was able to approach the subject again the next night after we packed shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. I was able to remind him that there are people in this world that are less fortunate than we are. Children whose only Christmas gifts were what we packed in that little box. I am thankful we have been able to participate in this ministry and I would encourage you to do the same. It has been a blessing to our entire family and an amazing opportunity to share the love of Christ with children around the world.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Who's failing who?

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness Oh Lord, Great is Thy faithfulness."

I went to bed mad. I hoped I would wake up mad. I was in a bad mood and I didn't care. I had been let down, wronged & hurt by a loved one....again. I felt I was justified in my anger and I was going to hold onto it and wallow in it as long as I could. "Hurt me, and you'll pay. You'll see. You won't get close anymore, I won't let you." That doesn't sound very much like Christ does it? I didn't think so, either. But those were the thoughts swirling in my mind as I fell asleep, refusing to pray, refusing to be humbled and not exactly sure what today would bring.

Well, wouldn't you know it, I did wake up mad. Not mad at the other person or the situation or the wound left behind. I was mad at me. This song was on my heart and in my mouth as soon as I woke up this morning. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases..." and I was convicted. I knew I had been so hurt by the situation I was in because I had put my hope in another, and they failed me. Not because I am not loved, not because they are a failure, but because I failed to put my trust in the One who will never let me down. I have looked to my husband, children, parents, friends, siblings and others in my life to fulfill this need from time to time and I always end up hurt, vowing never to let them in, never to be set up for such a disappointment again. And I am wrong every time. I am in fact the one who is failing. Failing to give grace and mercy, failing to have appropriate expectations of others and ultimately failing to go to my Father first and failing to ask Him to fill me up.

And so, I will ask for forgiveness from my Father, receive His love & grace and then pour it out onto others. I will work to keep my expectations in line with reality and I will walk through today knowing that I am a daughter of the King. I am cherished, loved & precious in His sight....and so are you!