Thursday, February 24, 2011

An easy slide...

Yesterday I engaged in an all-out, woe-is-me, pity party for myself. Characterized by a lot of deep sighs and extreme martyrdom. Unfortunately, during the time that I was the hostess and guest of honor at the aforementioned event, I was unable to see it for what it was and I indulged much longer than I should have.

It was an easy slide. Running on too little sleep and not quite enough energy, I was vulnerable to begin with. I could make innumerable excuses, but the truth is, I should have seen it coming. 

It all started so subtly too... My hubby reminded me that he was going to be home late from work. Immediately I felt put-upon. And my thoughts went to "poor me." How inconvenient it was to have him gone all day and into the evening when I had barely slept...again. How long has it been since I've had a decent night's sleep anyway? Didn't he realize that one (or more) of the children have been sick the entire month of February. The library books are due...Warning bells should have been going off, but I was too far gone down the self pity slope by that time. When Little One developed a fever around 10:30 that morning, it sent off a whole additional slide downward. Another sick child...?! While I was completely focused on myself and how completely unfair and inconvenient my life was, I lost my joy. I spent the day feeling like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.

I'm usually a count-your-blessings sort of person. I like to see the silver lining (or at least believe it's there). But yesterday, all bets were off. Things that normally would have been no big deal were suddenly a major inconvenience. 

After the kids were in bed, I finally sat down and tried to take stock of the day. Why was it so hard today, Lord?? He gently answered, because you took me off the throne.

Ouch. It was all too true. As soon as I removed him from the throne of my heart and put myself on the throne, I was no longer able to look up above my circumstances to God (who is my refuge and strength and a present help in times of trouble). While I was on the throne, all I was able to do was look down upon the circumstances and ever-present inconveniences of my life and feel helpless and alone.

Today will be a better day. God is properly in his place in my life and in humble reliance on him I will rise above my circumstances today. Now it's time to make things right and apologize to my kids and my husband for my rotten attitude yesterday...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Letting go...

Why is it so easy to say "I trust you God,"...but so difficult to actually do it?

I mean, he created the universe out of nothing - just by speaking. I certainly can't do that. I try to create order out of chaos every day in my me, it isn't working! So, it should be so easy to trust God...right?

I've been convicted lately that I haven't exactly surrendered one big area of my life to God's loving control. And I've been struggling with my inner control freak to let it go ever since.

It's not our finances - I'm a stay at home mom...that takes a lot of faith.
It's not my marriage. Every time I ask God to fix my husband I am gently reminded that I am the problem.
It's not even homeschool. It is only by God's grace that I am able to teach our children each day.

It's the three precious children that God has given to me. I haven't completely surrendered them to God. Some of them have accepted Christ on their own, but I hadn't really let go. I could quote scripture after scripture about God's wonderful, loving plans for the lives of my kids and I really do believe them. It's putting that trust into action that I struggle with.

I pray for them, I pray with them. I love them. I love God. So why is it so hard for me to let go?

Last night as I drove one of my precious kids to the Emergency Room, I took some time to pray and some time just to listen to God.

I heard God say "let it go..." I wanted to argue and make God understand that I was afraid that letting go would mean losing another child and I just couldn't bear that. As I confessed that, I felt this unbelievable peace flood my soul.

There. I had said it and it was like a wall fell down between God and I. I realized that I was putting letting go into a category of loss. The baby that we lost was part of God's plan. The same plan that I know is good. Letting go doesn't mean I automatically will lose my children.  Now that I am on the other side of that grief I can see the beauty in his plan despite the pain. If you don't believe me, just look into the eyes of my youngest daughter.

Giving up my own control of my kids (and am I really in control anyway?) is entrusting them into God's tender care for now into eternity.

God is a loving God who has good plans to prosper my children, who will never leave or forsake them, who has created good works for them to do. And me... I am human and frail and bound to disappoint despite my great love for them.

I know that the decision to "let go" is one that I will have to make consciously over and over again, but for now I am relieved that I no longer have to carry a burden that I wasn't meant to handle.

Monday, February 14, 2011

and the greatest of these is Love...

If you looked at love through the eyes of the writers of Valentine's Day cards you would believe that love is a feeling. While I concede that love is definitely something that can be felt, to give it the status of mere emotion diminishes its value. 

Love is not just the way my husband feels about me or even the way he makes me feel about myself. While those things are good, love is bigger than that. It is knowing that he only wants the best for me, even if it means sacrifice on his part. Love is being safe enough to share my future with him. Love is knowing that my spirit is completely safe with him. Love is knowing that my husband's relationship with God is overflowing into our marriage. Love is seeing myself through God's eyes when Brian looks at me.  

Love is saying "I'm sorry, will you forgive me"...a lot. 
Love is seeing others through the eyes of Jesus.

Love is a gift. 
Love is an action. 
Love is a command. 

When I looked at the sunset last night, love was painted in the oranges and pinks of the sun's last rays. And as I looked in wonder, I felt God's love surround me. For a moment I felt his delight in me reflected in that beautiful sight. 

We can only love because God first loved us. On my own I am selfish and grouchy and too busy to care. But God's perfect love can overcome our selfishness and change the world around us. Why not start today?