Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday Musings

 It was Monday. The day was long already and it was only 2 pm. I was battling an allergy headache and a soul full of crabbiness. I had given on up on the rest of school work for the day after finding one child had purposely taken her sisters "special" coloring page and "finished" it for her. I no longer had the energy. I was attempting to reassemble our house after a weekend of disaster fun. Laundry was piled high. There were remnants of playtime all over the house. Markers and crayons strewn on and under the table.  Building blocks thrown about the living room. 
 I am not sure what was the thing that set me off. Maybe the dirty socks that were found laying under the kitchen table. But my mouth went into full out war. I found myself saying things like, "Do you think I am your maid?" Just hearing the words come from my mouth I knew. I could see how my grasping for peace was turning our home into a war zone. 

Why do I do that? Why do I demand perfection from myself and thus place those expectations on my family? Does it matter that much if my house is perfectly in order? I know it does not. But there are moments I think it's my right to have a clean home. It's my right to have things put back the way I left them. It's my right to not have to clean up markers and crayons for the 77th time today. 

 What about my rights? 

 Mark 10:42-45 (NIV)
Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

The Son of God left His rights and gave Himself up to serve. There are days that this life doesn't feel like service to God. The daily grind of making meals, teaching kids, doing laundry, dishes, and chauffeuring from here to there. This daily living is not exceptional. But I was reminded the other day while reading My Utmost for His Highest that God does not require me to do exceptional things. But instead He wants me to live my daily life in an extraordinary way. 

I admit the daily serving of those closest to me is the hardest for me. It is hard for me to respond patiently when the girls are arguing for the  millionth time today and I don't want to be referee. It is hard to respond with love to the whines of a child.  (Something about that decibal just grates on my nerves.) When I walk into a room, that was just cleaned, to find it now completely destroyed the very last thing I want to think about is serving my family with love. 

My girls only have one mom. My husband only has one wife. Our home can be cleaned by anyone.  The laundry will still be in the same spot when I get back to it. And food can be ordered take-out. But there is only one person who can fulfill the  role of wife and mom to my family. And that is me. 

I really would like to say I got over my funk and am back to being a loving mom and wife. But really, the truth is, I am all too often in that funk. I am all too often demanding my own rights instead of looking for ways to serve my family. 

Lord- Give me eyes to see how to love my family today with the heart of a servant. Forgive me for demanding my own rights. Forgive me for seeking to be served instead of looking to serve those around me. Change me. And teach me how to be the wife my husband needs and the momma my kids deserve. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A heart of Thanksgiving

    It has been several months since my last post. The post about a wall of thanksgiving. And to be honest I titled this post "Heart of Thanksgiving"  but I am not sure I am completely there. The past few months we have been learning more and more about the state of our adoption in Ethiopia. Things do not look positive. It has been over 6 months since our agency has had a referral.

    I have had many super tough days. Many days when I would pray and beg God for direction, clarity,  some kind of sign that we are still supposed to be doing this. I have looked for other options, researched, prayed over, cried over other countries, other plans. And to be honest we are still in the same boat. We do not know when or even if we will ever complete an adoption.

But here is what I do know.

1. God is the one who determines our steps.
"In his heart a man plans His course but the Lord determines His steps." Proverbs 16:9 NIV

2. God can be trusted.
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man." Psalm 118:8 NIV

3. I can know the will of God.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18

   This certainly not an easy time of life for me. So much of my dreams seem to be slipping away. But if I trust in my own ideas of my what my best plans are I will surely lose my life. ( Luke 9:24 "For whoever wants to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses His life for me will save it.") So here I am stumbling, struggling, and many times failing but trying to  surrender my plans and my dreams to be faithful to my God. He is God and I am not. And while this does not always make sense I know He is good.

    Yet in the midst of this struggle I have found a deep joy.  And it came from a heart of Thankfulness. Over these past few months I have been stopping for random moments to write down what I am thankful for on my wall of Thanksgiving.  And more recently I have taken the challenge to journal what I am thankful for and to count to one thousand gifts.

    I have a little journal that I am handwriting and counting what I am thankful for. I have gotten to #148 as of today. #148 A day with daddy home. Stopping to count the moments has taught me to fully enjoy each moment. When I can stop to record something as simple as #70 The smell of tea bags it reminds that each moment is a gift. I can choose to embrace each gift as a blessing from a good God or I can reject His moments and scoff at all the gifts I do not have. I am learning. I am far from there. And I find myself falling into old routines. I find myself looking at how God has blessed others. How he has written their stories and being jealous. But when I choose instead to give thanks. To see that His will, even now, is perfect I find joy. I find peace. I find that I have intimacy with God Himself.
   That is the way to find joy. Not to have everything I want. But to truly enjoy everything I have. I invite you to take the challenge for yourself. What are you thankful for?

#135 A warm shower...
#137 Watching my 4 year old read a BOB book to her daddy...
#139 Restful sleep...
#141 A warm, sunny day...