Thursday, February 3, 2011

Because I want to remember

It's sunny out and cooler for a change. The last couple weeks felt like summer and I was beginning to think our "winter" was already over. Maybe Olivia and I will finish knitting the last few rows on the scarves we began in December, and actually have a chance to wear them before it gets hot for good. We don't like to knit as much unless we feel like bundling up.

We've had some fun times recently. Jon and our kids built a huge tent with our big orange tarp in the back yard. We've had that tarp since we packed up our little pick up truck almost twelve years ago and drove across the continent to California. Our few possessions were covered up nicely, and I can still feel all the emotions as we pulled out of Jon's parents drive way. But that's for another day...

Yes, fun times. The other day Olivia was wearing a tule skirt, she had bows in her hair, and she looked as cute as can be. I looked out the window to see her riding her bike wearing a huge motorcycle helmet and her rubber boots. She mixes well with the boys.

Jacob walked into my room today holding two plastic baby spoons and said, "I remember these! They were mine when I was a kid!" So I guess he thinks he's a grown-up now.

Last week was one of those weeks where it was difficult to appreciate my role as a mom and homemaker. It was one of those weeks where I wanted to hide and be alone. Why do I write such a thing? Because some day, Lord willing, Olivia and my daughters-in-law will be mothers. I want to remember how hard it can be emotionally, spiritually, physically. I want to be compassionate to them, not coming off as proud and always put together. The truth is, there are some days when I feel empty and totally incapable of giving any more. Failure seems to be my constant companion.

One morning last week, at 7:30 am, I lay in bed wishing the day away. I had planned on getting up two hours earlier, but I could't even remember getting out of bed to turn off the alarm in the bathroom. It was the second or third day in a row that I had failed to get up, and I felt like the day was already off to a bad start. I could hear the kids playing and doing their morning jobs. I saw Jon working on his neck tie. He was getting ready to attend and officiate a funeral. He was in a rush and distracted, and I felt too sad to say anything to him. I shut my eyes and begged God to go before us, to rule in our lives, and to bring glory to Himself through us. I cried out to Him to love my children through me that day, and to walk with me as I fought selfish temptation.

Pretty soon I was joined by two little boys, cuddling up with me and asking when we were going to have breakfast, and if it was a school day, and could we please play outside.

The day had begun.

I'm beginning to change my approach on such days. I have little expectations of myself (as far as jobs to accomplish) and my main goal is to look for the good and to be kind. That may seem simple enough, but it can be a constant battle for me to keep things in the right perspective. I reduce my work load so that anything I accomplish is a bonus, and I can be thankful for it instead of disappointed by what I was unable to do.

So instead of rushing through breakfast to make up for the late start, I made some fresh squeezed orange juice and we talked about Jon and discussed how we could pray for him. Then the day continued in its regular way, only slightly tweaked for my sake.

It was a battle to be kind, but I forced myself to be affectionate even if I didn't feel like it. I smiled and worked hard to listen. I tried to help the kids work through issues rather than shut down whatever game they were arguing about. And I had to ask for forgiveness numerous times.

They are so forgiving.

I do want them to know that I recognize my failures,  I need forgiveness, and I need Jesus just as much as they do. In this we are very much equals.

I do think they are beginning to sense that mommy needs to be cared for sometimes, too. What a blessing they are to me!

This Christian life is not always easy, no matter what your job description. But how encouraging it is when, by God's grace and transforming power, we are able to walk in His ways. Even if it's just a little bit better, because it's a process. A step-by-step walk. Sometimes a moment-by-moment choice to walk in His way, and to say "no" to our natural desires.

"...we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light." Col. 1: 9-12

This is my prayer.


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