Spaghetti Girl

supergirl My quiet time is happening rather late in the day, but I’m so very thankful for it whenever it happens.

Last night I was blessed to spend time with all 5 of my children to celebrate Peter’s 14th birthday!  My oldest drove down to spend the evening with us.  It was so nice to have all my chicks under one roof again.

Unfortunately, it also made me realize that I gave that up when we moved here.  Taking this job required us to be here, and his job and classes required him to stay there.  It was one of the most difficult parts of my decision.  Although he is turning 21 this year so I imagine it didn’t impact him nearly as much as it impacted me J.

The time went by so quickly and this morning when we parted to head to our different jobs – mine 15 minutes away and his 1 ½ hours away (I definitely had the better commute this morning) – a little bit of my heart broke.  It is hard being a momma.

I love my children so much.  Sometimes I’m just shocked at how much and how deeply I love them.

And I desperately want to make decisions that bless them, encourage them, build them up, and show how much I love them…

Sometimes I worry my decisions do none of those things.  I wonder if I make good decisions…I just feel like I’m always spinning…

This morning was one of those mornings where all I could think was, “Did I make the best decision for my family?”

I hate when I start second-guessing.  I’m so blasted good at it though.  I can second-third-fourth-fifth-sixth guess with no problem at all…it’s so easy for me.

So this morning I had to pray and remind myself AGAIN that this was a good decision.  I listed the good things AGAIN to myself.  I thanked God for the blessings AGAIN.

And I did start to feel better.

I just wonder if in this world any decision is going to feel like a slam dunk?

It is kinda funny (not ha-ha funny) but one of the times I felt absolutely sure I was following God’s will was when I married my ex-husband.  I’m not sure how to feel about that…

I believe part of the second-guessing I hear so many single parents or divorced people share is because one of our very biggest decisions (if not the biggest) didn’t end well.  There’s nothing like that to destroy any confidence in the ability to make decision.

Decision-making brings out all my “spaghetti-girl” issues.  Everything affects and impacts everything.  When I feel badly about one thing it oozes over into other areas and then it makes me feel badly about everything.  When I feel sad it spills all over everything.  When I’m worried, I’m worried about everything.

It is exhausting being Spaghetti Girl!

I don’t believe God called me to be like this…I am a girl so that part has to stay, and there are certain things about being a girl that lend themselves to feeling a lot like spaghetti.  BUT I don’t want to be all goofy.

I want to trust again…trust myself to make wise decisions because I have God and trust God that He will lead me to make right decisions.

I want to be a woman who loves the Lord not just with all my heart, but with all my mind.  I believe the theme of my week of Bible study continues to be taking my thoughts captive.  God keeps bringing me back to getting my thoughts straight.  It is so easy to get overwhelmed and feel hopeless, but this verse reminds me from where my relief comes:

If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.  When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.  When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul….the LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.

Psalm 94:17-19, 22

I looked up “consolations” – it wasn’t a word I was very familiar with – it means “comforts”.

God’s comforts cheer my soul.  I don’t think I reap the benefits of having my soul cheered if I don’t recognize God’s comforts in my life.

What are the comforts in my life?

Jesus

His Word

My children

Friends – dear, dear friends

Family

Within those are so many other comforts…how can simply stating the name Jesus adequately communicate the multitude of comforts I experience because I know Him.

His Word….I want to write verse after verse after verse…all my favorites.

My children…such sweet blessings

My friends…those who stay with me even in my worst Spaghetti days especially!

My family…who love me and help me in so many ways

Do you remember how often God told the Israelites to be sure to remember what He had done for them?

My favorite is Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Put God’s words on your heart.

Teach them diligently to your children.

Talk about them all the time and everywhere.

Talk about them from the start of the day to the end of it.

Keep them in all that you do, think, see, and say!

Keep them in your home at all times!

A good list.  A plan to keep the comforts and blessings of God ever with us and before us and around us.

Kind of like that thankful list I make…which I haven’t done in a while.

Maybe if I focused more on the blessings (WHEN will I learn this lesson?) the decisions and second-guessing wouldn’t be such an issue.  I could see that things truly are in God’s hands.  I could see that God works everything, even all my decisions, for His good and my good!

I can trust God with my decisions and even my second-guessing.  I can trust Him with everything.  Maybe if I say that (write that) enough it will really stick and I will start acting like I KNOW it because I do know it!

Pulling Weeds

I’ve been pulling weeds a lot lately…so much so that I have dreams about pulling large weeds out of my lawn.  I kid you not.  I see their long tentacles grasping the life out of my sweet little grass and I must pull!  Apparently it is a cathartic exercise for me because I can really get carried away with my war against weeds.  It’s a war I’m loosing by the way.  My poor, poor sweet grass has been choked out of existence by those nasty things.

I was thinking about how much I like pulling up those weeds when I realized that there really is some serious spiritual application to the removal of weeds.  Jesus spoke about it in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.  Jesus refers to thorns which choke the grain and it yields no fruit.  I, thankfully, am not pulling up thorns because that would make my impromptu weed yanking forays very painful!  But I believe that the idea of the thorns choking the grain is worth a second look.

It is easy in this single parent life to let the cares of this world creep in and steal our joy, our peace, and our hope.  There are more than enough cares to go around.  There are more than enough joy stealers and peace thieves in a day. And hope is hard to come by when each day begins and ends with challenges.

That grain being choked by thorns, sounds a lot like me being overwhelmed by life.  I can almost feel myself gasping for breath in a mad struggle to free myself from things I can’t seem to overcome.  They hurt and chaff and scrape and stab and all the while I’m straining, pulling, pushing, and crying out for help.  It truly is a devastating picture of a life lived without the hope and peace of Christ.

All the while I”m struggling, my Master Gardener is there waiting patiently for me to rest for a bit and allow Him to do His work.  I can do nothing but strain and occasionally yank off a leaf or tangled stem, while He can pull the weeds up by the roots – eliminating their strangle hold on me.  I even hold tightly to some in hopes that I might master them, but God says, “Let me have them all – even the ones that might hurt you to remove.”  Pruning is never easy.

As I have looked at my lawn – with dismay I might add – I see so many different kinds of weeds.  There are giant ones which multiply by the minute and tangle their stems in amongst my grass, killing it and anything else in its wake.  Those are the worst.  I think those are things like fear and bitterness and anger which can penetrate every area of our lives and destroy.  They are like poison to our souls.  Those need to be yanked up by the root – the big root and all the little ones that have taken place as a result of the tentacles that reach out from the weed.  Isn’t it the truth that once you have allowed anger to take root, it shows itself in every aspect of your life?  Setting up camp in areas you never thought you would struggle?  It makes sense for the betrayal you have suffered to affect some relationships, but does it have to impact all issues of trust in your life?  No, but if it isn’t dealt with at the root, it most likely will.

Then there are those blasted prickly weeds. Those need some protection like a nice pretty pair of gardening gloves to be yanked.  I believe that might be things we struggle with in which the protection of a good friend would be helpful.  My prayer/accountability partner has been invaluable in helping me face those thorny weeds in my life.  With God’s help, she has willingly donned her protective gear and helped me extricate myself from some thorny life circumstances and situations.

There are some weeds that are beautiful to look at but their end result is just the same as all the ugly invasive ones. Pretty and invasive kills the grass just as effective as ugly and invasive.  I have heard often that saying, “good is the enemy of best.”  Might that not be these weeds?  Although you know I have debated the clover – it’s green, it covers the ground nicely, and it has pretty flowers a couple of times a year.  I think in my life clover might be those things that take time away from the really important things – those weeds of activity and work which keep me distracted from the most imperative calling of my life – motherhood.  I’ve been struck like a weed whacker with how abysmal my efforts to talk about the Lord with my children have been.  I mean, they know what I believe and my desire to live a godly life…but I don’t really share all the wonderful things God reveals to me, or bring them to scripture as often as I should.  I’m so busy being busy, I forget.  Actually it’s worse than forgetting, I just don’t do it.  God says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)  I am not discouraged by that command…it looks to me like God just wants us to live out our faith in word and action before our kids.  I can do that.  I might have to think a bit more about it, get in the habit of it, but I can do that!  I just need to do it. Maybe I could consider not stressing so much about the house in favor of some time with my children?  Definitely need some assistance from God on that good idea!

I began this post sitting in my yard – just me and the weeds – and the temptation to put this computer down and begin my tugging mission again was strong.  Then I looked at my finger nails, or what’s left of them, and I think that there might be a better way.  Although I do love to yank those things!

When it comes to the weeds in my life, I know that God is going to have to deal with them in order for me to overcome them.  It is going to be a bit painful I’m sure — I’ll be stretched and pulled and maybe I’ll lose a leaf or stalk along the way, but in the hands of the Master Gardener I am not afraid.  He is good at what He does.

There are some pretty little dandelions which want me to dig them up so I must be going.