Failure to Identify

Don’t you just LOVE it when God hits you right between the eyes with truth? I’m not being sarcastic…truly. The other night at my Bible study we were talking about finding our identity in Christ. A topic I have explored often and tried to grasp continually. I have spent the last several years pretty consistently… Continue reading Failure to Identify

In the Middle of the Night

It is the middle of the night and I’m awake.  Wide awake. Yesterday I stayed home from work because I’ve been fighting a wicked cold or flu thing and I slept most of the day.  I was actually thinking I might be well-rested for the next day. No such luck. Part of the problem is… Continue reading In the Middle of the Night

Love, Rest, and Sickness…In No Particular Order

Today is my first sick day for me in a few years. I’ve done sick days for children and sick days for parents, but not for me. I slept a lot and sat a lot…well, actually I was more lying down a lot. And all the stillness…it was glorious. I haven’t been still for….for forever.… Continue reading Love, Rest, and Sickness…In No Particular Order

A Deep Breath

There is a place I find myself…sometimes…it is no longer a place of deep grief, but of deep sighing. A place where I find myself needing  the strengthing of a deep breath, the focus of a whispered prayer, and the hope of an all-powerful God. In the past, this place has been about me…about my… Continue reading A Deep Breath

In the Moment

It was one of those loooong work days. Ten and a half hours to be exact.  I was bone weary tired. So when my little ones were dropped off at my school, I decided it sounded like a Chick Fila kinda day. There was no argument from my littles.  It’s the favorite restaurant….they know us… Continue reading In the Moment

My Life…Living It

Thank you so much for all your encouraging words and prayers.  I feel badly that I have used this blog so often to share my struggles, and lately not as much my blessings. I kinda feel like I’m just plugging along waiting for God to “fix” some things.  He definitely doesn’t work on my schedule…at… Continue reading My Life…Living It

ImageTonight we dragged our tree out…well, I should say my oldest son and his friend dragged it out…leaving a trail of needles and water behind. Contributing to the messiness of my floor.

Today my floor has been an issue.

A neighbor stopped by unexpectedly.  As we stood in my kitchen all I could think about was all the stuff out, the general disarray of our home at that moment, and all the crumbs and such all over the floor,

I desperately wanted to ask her to leave and come back in 20 minutes.

I didn’t.

But oh did I want to.

I was trying to pick up things unobtrusively…sneak things off the counter, put things in the sink, push things into drawers, pick up a larger crumb on the floor.  I’m sure she could see my furtive attempts to clear the clutter.

I don’t know this neighbor well so she rarely sees the inside of my house.  But I believe I can safely say that EVERY time she stops by some sort of tornado has struck…well, 6 tornados – me included.

Today was one of those days.  It was back to school for my kids – both homeschooled and public schooled – and educational paraphernalia was strewn all over the counter, table, and foyer.

I began a new program to become certified to teach and earn my Masters in education so I have to admit that I contributed to the school stuff everywhere.

Calendars, bills, and other documents were stacked on a stool near the kitchen table because there was no room on the table.

My son had started a drawing project in the family room and paper had slid off the sofa onto the floor.

My youngest daughter had laid out Candy Land for us to play after dinner.  (She beat me! 3 times!!!)

Oven buzzers were sounding and pots were bubbling on the stovetop.

Sitting between the pantry and laundry room doors were 2 baskets of clean laundry waiting to be taken upstairs.

The only good thing about my house was there were no dishes in the sink – and that, my friends, is a miracle!

This unexpected visit was not one of my finer examples of hospitality…at least in the sense of my home being ready.

I love having people over and enjoy welcoming them into our pandemonium.  But sometimes… sometimes I want a little fair warning!

It’s okay though.  Just my pride being a bit wounded.

Why I think my sticky counters, cluttered tables, or messy floors would shock anyone, especially my neighbors, is beyond me.  Honestly, we are kind of like the Beverly Hillbillies of the neighborhood.  I feel like we should have their theme song blaring when we drive down the street.   (Hey!  I bet my teenagers would love that!)

When I pull into the driveway I have children climbing out of windows and/or falling over each other to get out of the same door.  And the number of odds and ends that tumble out of my car at any given stopping point is staggering.  My car is a giant purse…full of children, paper, shoes and goodness knows what else!

Where am I going with this blog?

Actually when I started this blog I was going to write about sweeping the floor – specifically the tree needles and some grapes that were dropped.

I was thinking how the needles, although everywhere, were quite easy to sweep up…kind of like all the mundane issues of life.  Those things that aren’t surprising or particularly difficult, but they seem to be everywhere.  They take up time and energy, but they are doable.

Then there are the things like grapes.  Grapes…ugh.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to try to sweep up those silly grapes.  They went everywhere but where I wanted them to go.

Those little buggers can roll fast and far!

I could have leaned over and picked them up individually, but I didn’t have the energy to do it.  (long, long day)  I just wanted them to go nicely into the dustpan.

But nope.  They went every which way.  Unfortunately I couldn’t leave them lying about because grapes are magnets for feet.  And squashed grapes are even more work…sticky work.  My house is sticky enough thank you very much!

I don’t know why I thought about the needles and the grapes…or why it struck me that it was so much like my life.  Maybe I’m over thinking things…totally possible.  I’m pretty tired.

But what I realized is that God equips me to handle both things.

Those needles are like the plethora of monotonous things that occur in any given day…like dirty dishes, cluttered counters, messy floors, loads and loads of laundry, and neighbors that stop by unexpectedly on a particularly messy day.  But they are all things that God gives me the grace to handle if I will rest in Him each day.

Part of that resting is finding my identity in Him rather than the state of me, my home, my children, my finances, my education, my work, my relationships, my marriage/divorce, my health…all of that is not defining.

I am defined by Christ!

And then there are the grapes…the things that roll around your life and cause trouble.

They roll in with things like dealing with our ex-spouses or struggles with our children’s behaviors, financial worries or household issues, health crises or work concerns…you can probably add your own grapes to that list.

And there are bigger grapes that spin everywhere, are impossible to catch, and often just end up squashed on the floor.  These things are bigger things…heart issues, agonies that bring us to our knees, struggles and sorrows that linger, hurts that seem to take forever to heal…I’m sure you know what I mean.

Those are some whopping big grapes.  But thankfully our God is bigger than any grape…large or small.

Needles or grapes all need to end up in the same place…and so do all our troubles and struggles and annoyances.

It’s a little hard at this point to continue my analogy perfectly because I’m going to have to equate a dustpan to the Lord, so maybe I’ll mix it up a bit and say this:

All our stuff needs to end up in the dustpan of faith and handed over to our Heavenly Father.

There is no amount of life messiness that God can’t handle.  And He’s willing to handle it all.

I’m more than happy to hand the broom and dustpan to Him…I’m tired of cleaning anyway.

If I trust Him to take care of all those things, I can be peaceful no matter the state of my home.  And that means that when people stop by I can rest assured that even if my house seems a bit muddled, I will not.  I will be calm and able to focus not on my house, but my guest.

If I trust Him, when the pains and sorrows of this life seem too much to bear I can find solace in His Word, peace in His presence, and comfort with His people.

So sweep those needles and grapes toward Jesus and let Him deal with them all!  His dustpan is big enough.

I don’t know if that string of thoughts exactly works, but I hope that it blesses you in some way – even if it’s just a smile at my attempt to spiritualize a messy floor.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7

Recently I took my 5 sweeties out to dinner.  It was an unexpectedly delightful evening.  I even had a lady come up to the table and comment that my children were very well behaved!  Wow! Did the earth stop rotating for a second?

Usually when all of us go anywhere there is a fair amount of noise, confusion and general bedlam.  I have one child in particular that knows how to bring the “party” – and by that I mean the chaos. Her parties completely stress me out.  How can someone so small cause such mayhem?

She is challenging and sometimes a bit rotten.  And I love her fiercely.  God has put a very special affection for her in my heart.  I know that He made me specifically to be her Mommy.  I’m comforted and blessed by that because sometimes I feel inadequate to the task.

Tonight I had an epiphany.  I was praying for my youngest daughters at bedtime.  Just moments earlier she was having a fit – being openly defiant and talking back.  I was remaining calm (praise God!) and praying that I was responding appropriately.  I finally convinced her to be still and I got on my knees between my little girls’ beds and began to pray.  I was praying for God’s peace which passes all understanding to guard her heart and her mind in Christ Jesus and then I remembered that the first part of that passage of scripture applied just as much to the current situation.  Philippians 4:6-7 ‘”Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The last couple of days have been very difficult ones especially with this beautiful little person.  She has challenged all that I thought I knew about parenting.  And I’m pretty sure she enjoys every minute of it!  Sometimes I can become very anxious about our future – hers and mine.  I worry what the teenage years are going to be like if I don’t figure out how to deal with some of her stuff…and my stuff.  Tonight when I was praying for peace those words about not being anxious came back to me.  It struck me that I was allowing fear to get a foothold. I was holding tightly to my anxious thoughts instead of praying about them.

He says to not be anxious about ANYTHING and to pray to Him about EVERYTHING.  The cool thing about God is that He doesn’t exaggerate ever. He tells it like it is…always.  He can use words like anything, everything, always and never with abandon because He means it.  I can’t say “always” or “never” because I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 30 seconds much less beyond that!  God doesn’t want me to worry about anything in my life. He wants me to let Him handle everything and that includes my littlest girl, my two teenagers, my middle schooler, my kindergartener…and me.

Then God makes it interesting – He doesn’t just say to pray about everything – He says to be thankful about it all too.  I’ve shared before that God has shown me the beauty of being grateful.  It’s amazing how I can find things to thank Him for when I actually look.  So tonight instead of complaining about how difficult it is to parent my children, I thanked Him for each one.  I thanked Him for my children individually and for how they had changed my life for the better.  It was such a refreshing time of rediscovery.  Sometimes I get so mired down in the day to day living and dealing with things, that I forget to really look at my children for the blessings that they are to me.

The final part is the best — “and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” — it isn’t just going to cover you or fill you, it’s going to guard your heart and your mind.  Wow!   I never thought about that before.  Those two parts of me – my heart and my mind – need some serious peace.  One is broken and one is questionable in is functionability.  I think I’m going to take some time to check out exactly what all that implies for my life, but this post is already way too long.  So tomorrow (or someday soon when I have a minute or two) I’ll share what God shows me about His peace and what guarding my heart and mind really means for me – and you!

I pray that tonight God’s peace will pour over you completely, fill you to overflowing and guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus!