Sunday, October 5, 2014

September and a Belated Birthday

(A post started last Friday night...)

September was a doozy for me. I'm glad it's over, but I have the feeling the busyness will just carry over into October.

Dinners have been in the eight o'clock hour pretty consistently this week because of practices and games. I've been doing some kid swaps today, too, and most likely will continue into the weekend. It's one mom helping the other and making our schedules possible-- Yay for mom-friends! Right now Michael is at a birthday party sleepover, and I've got Olivia's friend/teammate spending the night here. They had a soccer game tonight and tomorrow's game has us back on the field at 7am, followed by the boys' practices and games later in the morning and afternoon. I pulled into the garage late tonight with groceries and kids, my game plan playing out in my head as I went over all the details that needed to take place... showers, lunches to be packed, laundry for clothes in the morning, team snacks, football cleats... From the driver's seat I popped the trunk for the kids to help bring in empty water bottles and grocery bags. Then CRASH! Paper bags, which were piled on top of lawn chairs, had shifted on the way home and now came tumbling out. Broken eggs, a smashed glass bottle of steak sauce, and yogurt all lay in a puddle of mess.

I've been painting this week, too. I work at my project bit by bit late at night when the kids are in bed, or during time when school ends and practices start. I painted some furniture and a wall in an upstairs room. It's been hot and the sand paper has done a number on my otherwise dry hands. I bought a pretty little dresser off of Craig's List, and I have a few items to sell soon. Hopefully I will make a small profit. The progress I'm making has been a long time in coming, and it feels good.

September was a long month. I just couldn't seem to get in sync with the schedule and the demands. I've wondered if it's just too much, if I need to scale back on a few things, or rethink how we do school.  I even got a good five or so inches cut off my hair in an attempt to simplify. My work is all day, everyday. I move fast from one thing to the next, multitasking to the max. I feel like a drill sergeant. We have to run through Target, divide the list in Trader Joe's, speed on the freeway, arrive at lessons panting for breath. I'm the mom that says, "Eat faster!" and not, "Chew your food." I wake up knowing that there's more to do than is humanly possible; I go to bed completely fried, knowing that the late night of work is only going to make the next morning all the harder.

And my doctor called to say that my recent blood test measured my hemoglobin at 7.0 along with a low blood count.

I'm not complaining about it all, just saying it as it is. This is just a quick and very limited picture of my life this fall. Really, most of the activity are simply evidences of God's abundant provision and of all the privileges and opportunities we get to enjoy. So I am thankful; I wouldn't trade for another life!

But here's the thing: I have not always handled it all very well. No, in fact I have found myself filled with angst. All month I've been edgy, my inner turmoil bubbling out. It's not good. So not good.

The other night as I painted, perched high on my ladder very late at night, I listened to two messages. One was on worship, the other was on worship through prayer. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and I was convicted and filled with hope. My errors were made clear: I had been avoiding God and filling up on the "narcotic" of busyness. A few things I was reminded of:

~I was created to worship God. Nothing else will satisfy. Everything else leaves my soul parched, yearning and weary.

~I need to learn to worship in the middle of the chaos. Busyness may define my days now, but worship is still vital.

~Busyness is what the devil loves because it so easily distracts and crowds out my relationship with God.

~Prayer is our highest form of worship. I must use scripture to inform my mind and heart to pray.

~I must be honest before God. Naked and raw. He knows it all, and I ought not cower before Him. Confess honestly. If I am sad, angry, frustrated, confused, or hurt, I can tell Him every detail. Same goes for desires and petitions. Even complaining to Him is good and right (Ps. 142:2). He wants to have relationship with me. He is already there, I am the one who needs to draw near.

~Worship must be a priority because it is our communion with God. It is essential to our peace and joy. Time devoted to worship will not cause every other need to crumble. When our heart is right with God and when our focus is on Him and His glory, the day just rolls so much smoother. The angst begins to dissipate, and we become tools for His purposes.

Getting my priority back in order has been sweet. If you find yourself in the same place as me, get back in the Word and on your knees. Stay there. Go back again and again. If you find it hard, or if your soul can't even concentrate, tell it to God and ask Him for help. He is our Father and deeply desires to hear us speak honestly, and He delights in hearing our petitions. He delights in His children.

I don't want to live a rat race. I want to run, yes, but not in circles. I want to run for that prize waiting in the Kingdom of God. I want my life to be purposeful, and filled with the joy that comes by the Spirit. I want to know my Savior and to be known by Him, laying up treasures in heaven as I live out my days.

So I am telling it to God and asking Him to show me the way.


September is also for Jacob's birthday. It was a month ago already, but I can't let that keep me from posting a few things. Now He is 8...

Our initial plans for his birthday had to be readjusted because of the lice issue (it's still hard for me to say it! Yuck!). We took off for the wide open, post-Labor Day beach. His request.

I love his face and posture in the pictures below. He is ready for that wave...

...standing firm...

...and determined.

Then the thrill of conquering!

The last couple months have been really special in the life of my boy. He has been really interested in the things of God, in knowing Him, and praying to Him. He frequently talks to me about these things, and consistently asks that I read him the Bible. He says he wants to learn to read well so he can read Scripture himself, and he asked for the Bible on audio. 

On his birthday, he and I took a long walk along this shoreline. We talked about a variety of thing as he ran about the waves and jumped off rocks. At one point he said something like, "I'm so glad God gives us life. He makes us breathe and makes our body alive. He made everything! And even better, He gives us life forever! Well, except if you don't go to heaven it's like death forever." Then he went on to tell me how he prays to God every day. "Just randomly I think about God and about all the verses I know and I just pray. I tell Him stuff and I say thank you."

Last night, as I helped Jacob brush his teeth, he told me he remembers me reading to all the kids one morning, and a verse I read caused him to decide he wanted to know God, that he wanted to be a Christian. He remembers the incident, but not the verse.

Nothing would bring me more joy than if he persevered in His love for the Lord. It's what I desire most for each of my kids. I don't want to jump to premature conclusions, but I praise God for working in my boy. I encourage him along the way, and pray that the Lord would continue to draw Jacob to Himself. 

Just for fun, my beach girl...

And just for more fun, Michael was impersonating models we occasionally see being photographed at our beach spots!

Even though we celebrated on the beach, I still owed Jacob a birthday party. We were unable to find a weekend when we could reschedule his sleepover party, but I was able to have a Sunday afternoon pool party with his three best buddies. It was a simple affair, yet he was so appreciative. 

They played a frozen t-shirt game. It lasted way longer than I expected, and they had to get creative.

The most creative move was this...

And our winner...

Ice cream cake before heading back in for the evening service.

I usually try to get in a picture with my birthday kid. This one was a quick one before heading into church that morning (and before I got my hair chopped). 


"One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, 
To behold the beauty of the LORD
And to meditate in His temple."

"Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You,
"Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.""

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD."

Ps. 27


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