Friday, October 20, 2017

Meet me here...even in this

I read a post on praying recently (it was in an email and I believe it was quoting John Eldridge) and it has not been far from my thoughts since then.

This person was frequently forgetting to pray for others so they decided to just stop whatever they were doing, in that very moment, and pray.  Their prayer started off with 'Jesus, come into this...'  I don't remember much else but that line has lodged in my mind.  How often I forget to simply ask Jesus into whatever is going on at the moment.

Fear of the unknown?  Worried about what tomorrow will bring?  Jesus, come into the middle of this moment.  Dispel this fear, shine the light of Your truth and allow me to see clearly.  Meet me here, even in this.

Hard day?  Chronic health issues - mental, emotional, and/or physical...Jesus meet us right here, in the middle of this mess.  Allow us to sense Your presence.  Flood our spirits with Your Holy Spirit.  Please surround _________________ with Your feathers, tuck ______________ under Your wings.

Conflict with someone you care about?  A conflict between two people you love?  Jesus, come dwell in the midst of this.  Meet me here, even in this moment.

Best day ever?  Butterflies landing on your child's hands, getting to see your husband again after a week or so apart?  Warm cups of hot chocolate and lazy fall afternoons reading?  Jesus, meet us here in the middle of this beautiful day so that I can bask in Your goodness.  Come into these moments of joy so that they may be complete.

Jesus, come. 

Come into this, teach us to live our deepest emotions. 

Joy, grief, sadness, pain, fear, anxiety, anger, elation, excitement...

Meet me here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

I want to say something.
           
Something that succinctly ties in scripture with the onslaught of devastation that has completely covered the news headlines recently.

But I worry that a lot of times that comes across as trite. 

So I don't know what to say.

I talked to my kids today about the Las Vegas tragedy.  I never know how much current events to expose them to.  They need to know what is going on, they need to learn how to pray and that the world is bigger than just our own pains and chronic issues.  But it is hard to explain how someone could take a gun and shoot into a crowd of people.  It is hard to explain that level of evil - that level of hate - that level of carnage. 

It is hard to wrap my mind or heart around that level of hurt.

My kids and I just finished the Door in the Wall and Inside Out and Back Again. 

Both excellent books. 

I am reading a book called Deep Waters by Denise Hughes.  SUCH a great book.

We just got home from a long walk that involved seeing lots of beautiful flowers, huge butterflies, ducks, geese, waterfalls, art statues, people busy moving about their day, and the eating of chocolate chip cookies. 

I love long walks.

I love the chatter of my kids as they take in the world around them.  I love the feeling of stress melting away the more steps that we take.  I love the beauty of the sky, the blue with the tuft of clouds strung out across it. 

It is hard to reconcile one with the other.  The fact that so much pain and so much beauty can coexist in a day.



Friday, September 15, 2017

Today is my birthday!

Before my eyes had barely cracked open my husband was wishing me a happy birthday :)
Then after I crawled out of bed, I stumbled down the hall to take the puppy out only to see that my kids had stayed up later than I did and decorated the hall with birthday signs :), they prayed over me (how sweet is that?!?!), and one had made me a whole box of special stuff - rocks, flower petals, a mud ornament they made - overall an awesome start to the day.

I love birthdays, I love my birthday, other people's birthdays, the pet's birthdays.  I love to choose stuff for them and celebrate the gift that they are.  I love birthday cards and birthday texts and birthday cakes and birthday hot chocolates.  I love birthday packages, signs, and balloons.  I love the sweetness that comes for that one day when others around you stop and wish you a beautiful day, a great year.

I have some goals for this year.  I want to memorize the book of Ephesians, I want to be able to bike for an hour solid, and I want to run a 5K.  I want to grow in holiness and devotion to God, I want to deepen my prayer life, and I want to be a kinder person.  I want to become financially stronger and be a more caring and compassionate wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.

But my goal for just today?  To soak in the joy of my awesome husband and my sweet, sweet kids and our somewhat eclectic, sometimes overwhelming, always over-boisterous collection of pets.  :)  Oh and hopefully (this afternoon perhaps) curl up with a great book and a hot chocolate (of course!).

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Loved THIS post from Anne Graham Lotz.

They closed up our backyard pit yesterday.  It was a looooong weekend trying to get everything ready for the plumbers to bring a backhoe in and dig up & replace our sewage lines.  We had to tear down a fence, cut up fallen tree branches that had somehow managed to grow into a rather large brush pile, mow both yards, dig up two gardens my kids had planted and replant the stuff or throw them away...by bed time on Sunday I had almost 25,000 steps (just for Sunday!)!

These last few months have felt uncomfortable and hard.

But God!

He has shown up in big ways, small ways, sweet ways, hard ways...

For example, right before the plumbing disaster my kids and I baked pumpkin bread and took it to all of our neighbors.  A few years ago one fall we found this really neat bread loaf pan at WalMart.  It lets you bake four mini loaves at the same time, perfect for gift giving! Well, on Saturday I was feeling completely stressed and sad and overwhelmed.  We went out our front door and one of the neighbors had bought us a HUGE bouquet of beautiful fall flowers.  It was just the thing we needed to lift our spirits.  Wasn't that awesome?  The plumbers we used are good at what they do, but they are also responsive and timely and compassionate.  I have had texts and emails from family and friends letting us know they are praying for us.  My husband has bought me a hot chocolate every day (I did gain three pounds, but the comfort of the warm chocolatey goodness was such a sweet, sweet thing for him to do!), a friend met me for coffee last Friday night, listened and commiserated with me.  Isn't it such a gift to have a sweet friend?

In writing this blog post I just spilled an entire bottle of water on my lap and my lesson plan book.  *sigh*  life is such a mix of mess and beauty isn't it?

I am praying for all of those affected by the messy part of life recently - whether it came in the form of rains or winds or fire or loss or constant financial stress or constant irritations/problems...look to God for your strength.  I believe He allows us to be spent beyond our capacity so that we can experience Him in a deeper, more real way.  The messiness of life strips away my facade of control and humbles me.  That is more precious than the comfort of days going how I planned for them to be, even if it takes being on this side of hard for me to admit that.  Mystie Winckler recently said something along the lines of showing up each day in faithfulness is the goal, not controlling the outcome.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

John Piper's Prayer

Have you heard or read this amazing prayer from John Piper regarding the hurricane?

My family and I are praying for all of those who are directly in the path, or that have loved ones there.  We are lifting up the first responders and the leaders of the islands, states, and cities in the path of this hurricane and the one following on its heels.

Friday, September 8, 2017

seriously?!?!

Last month was awful.

Like really awful.

Our van stopped working.  That lasted all month.  We borrowed my father in law's car.  Wasn't that really nice that he let us borrow his car for a whole month?  My husband had a way to get to work, go to the store for us, go to the pharmacy etc; - we couldn't have done it without his car.

One of my kids is intermittently wheel chair bound and the chair would not fit in the car, so we were homebound if our destination was not within walking distance for a month.  So we walked.  A lot.  One day we walked to the store to get some odds and ends,  only to get through check out and realize I had left my wallet at home.

On the dining room table.

So I had to walk home and all the way back to pay for the groceries, which the check-out guy was so nice to keep in a cart for me until I could do that.  That was a looooong day.

Then the lawnmower stopped working.  So I had to use a weedeater to weed eat our yards.  We have a kinda large front and backyard.  This was hard work to keep the grass from looking like a jungle. It took foooooorever and was hard on my back.

Then the air conditioning unit in our window started pouring water into our house one night before bed.  Why do most things happen at the end of a long, hard day when all you wanted to do was fall face first into bed, plug in your headphones, and listen to an audio book?!?!

Then the water heater went out, even though this was an easy fix, it felt like the proverbial straw that broke the camels back, because from the car not working to the water heater, only four days passed.  As if that wasn't enough, I am looking through trying to figure out how afford all of this only to realize that I had messed up our accounts.  It took weeks to get them straightened out.  

Meanwhile all of the medical issues that my kids have flared up during this, making August a terrible, no good, very bad month.

That is until September hit.

Yesterday we are doing school and my youngest comes out to tell me there is a problem with one of the toilets.  I tell her I will come in a bit to look, that I was in the middle of a math lesson with my middle child, and I couldn't stop where I was to look.

I should have stopped said math lesson, I should've looked.

After lunch, right after my husband had left, and right after he detailed his very busy, very crazy day all three toilets start pouring water out of them.  Like water was going EVERYWHERE.  Sewage starts to back up in the bathtubs.  It was a HUMONGOUSLY gross mess.

The plumber came and there is currently a rather large hole in our yard until Monday.  This weekend we have to tear down our fence, dig up my kids' garden areas and get ready for the backhoe to come and dig up our backyard.  It is going to cost a small fortune.

Then today I was trying to wash the huge pile of soggy, gross, wet towels from yesterday only to have the drainage hose on the back of our wash machine break off and flood our laundry room, entry way, and a closet.  All covered in carpet.

I know in the grand scheme of life - like Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, the huge earthquake in Mexico - these are small issues.

But it doesn't feel small.

 It feels hard.

And overwhelming.

And it is stress on top of stress.

My kids (due to their special needs) do not do well with change.

I am done.  Like stick a fork in me done.  I want to stick my head in a bucket of chocolate.  I want to binge watch movies and lay on the couch and read a book.

Due to my kids' special needs I rarely sleep through the night.  I am tired all.of.the.time.  I want to sleep in a big fluffy bed and pretend that we are wealthy and have no problems and that I will wake up tomorrow to find out this was all a bad dream.

Oh and guess what?  This week's memory verse is Phililppians 2:14.  I guess I am not doing such a great job because my youngest just asked me if I wanted to tuck this one away, skip to next week's, and come back to it later?  :(