Thursday, April 30, 2015

Help, and Thank You.

 "Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 I have been working on my prayer life lately.
   In the mornings when I get up, I have my Bible study/quiet time before waking the kids. I was thinking the other day how strange it is that I expect the Lord to speak to me through scripture, but I rarely seek His voice in prayer. If we teach our children that prayer is a conversation between us and God, shouldn't He and I talk more? And, really, shouldn't I listen? Often times my Bible study becomes an inductive book study rather than my heart yearning to hear from my Savior. So, on the days where my mind won't focus on the words I'm trying to read, I gently shut my Bible, get on my knees, and talk to Jesus. And sometimes, I actually don't talk, but I listen.

 To all you non-parents, this paragraph may be a bit TMI. Ransom has been having accidents in the night. We went a solid week in boxer-briefs and whitey-tighties with no problem, and then Monday happened. It's now Thursday, and I have my bed-stripping routine down to 12 minutes total time. That's from the moment he comes and gets me to the moment my head hits the pillow and everything in-between. Last night as I was groggily walking back down the stairs, I remembered my thought on prayer when my kids were tiny babies. Sometimes the only prayers we can utter go something like, "Help, and thank You." Help, because we don't know what we need, but we need something, or we know what we want but we don't know how to get there. We need the baby to stop crying and let us sleep, we need (or want) our big boy to sleep through the night without wetting the bed, we want our daughter to be brave when facing another day at school. But sometimes all we can think is, "Help."

  For whatever reason, my "Help" prayers are almost always followed by "Thank You." I'm not sure if it's because I'm well-enough acquainted with the Lord to know how He operates, and that He will come through in His perfect time, or that the Spirit has given me a heart that longs to trust my Heavenly Father, but I know it will work out, so I thank Him. I know deep in the recesses of my soul that He is good, He is all-knowing, and He is trustworthy, even if the baby keeps crying and I get 2 hours of sleep. My God never changed. He was there the whole time, and He will somehow get me through the next day. In hindsight, knowing how quickly the most physically draining years fly by, maybe it was the Spirit interceding for me with the thank you- thank You, that for a short time, I can hold and rock and comfort these tiny treasures. Thank You that You have the unknown mapped out and that you will help me get there.  Thank You for the things I am yet to be thankful.


Romans 8:26-28

 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My aim and my charge

"The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1 Timothy 1:5

Just so we can be completely upfront and honest, Clark is working late, so I put the kids to bed at 7:10, and this is about to happen.
I might fold some laundry while watching last night's Voice episode. Between bites. Nom nom nom.
When the Dallas sky is blue and the kids are playing nicely, I like to bring my current reading material to my happy lounge chair and soak it all up. I just began Lysa Terkeurst's The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. It's really a bit of an ironic choice for my current season in life. I should have picked it up... oh, I don't know... a year ago... when I was rushing from meeting to meeting, Bible studying and teaching, hosting and organizing, unable to say no, but silently crying when I just wanted my baby to get the nap he needed. Yeah. Somebody should have handed me the book then.
I frequently refer to the present time in my life as a strange prolonged vacation. We are in the process of plugging in, making friends and finding our niche. Both Clark and I are serving in our church body, but not in ways that require the time or energy that we previously exerted. At first I felt completely lost. I didn't know how to not be leading and doing. My heart missed teaching. I missed baby-sitting my friend's kids while they went to dental appointments.  If I'm honest, I missed feeling like people needed me.
I then began learning how to rest. Despite the initial difficulty in "be[ing] still (cease striving)" (Psalm 46:10), this resting business was starting to feel alright. Our schedule was flexible and undemanding. I had complete freedom to choose how and where the kids and I spent our time with kindergarten being the only "interference" to our whims.  With very few expectations or commitments we were free to be spontaneous about hikes at the nearby state park or just enjoy lazy days at home. Ransom and I could venture to Target with complete anonymity.
In The Best Yes, Lysa says "A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul." (p.21) "The decisions we make dictate the schedules we keep. The schedules we keep determine the lives we live. The lives we live determine how we spend our souls." (p.23)
I feel like the Lord has let me taste both sides- overwhelmed and overscheduled as well as relaxed and free. And now I feel like He's calling me to blend rest and purpose and serve Him well.
Hugs <3 p="">

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sewing Perfection

   For the past few months I have begun thinking about blogging again (especially around 3:00 AM when it seems a good outlet for a busy brain), and since my sweet man is out at a Ranger's game, and I'm already a week behind with The Voice, tonight seems as good a night as any to restart.

   About 5 years ago, I received my grandmother's sewing box and some quilting squares which my grandmother had hand-stitched. They were brightly colored flowers, with happy yellow centers. I don't know anything about quilting, but I thought surely I could figure out something to do with these. They have sat untouched for 5 years in the metal tin in which they came. I've often opened the tin, looked at the squares, thought about piecing them together, and then closed the tin.
   I think I was afraid of messing up her work. She had already measured and cut every square (my absolute least favorite part of any sewing craft), cut, and stitched every petal, and lovingly stored them until she was ready to begin her quilt. I think I feared taking her quality work and turning it into an unacceptable attempt at being crafty.

   My grandmother went to be with Jesus this past Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why I decided today was the day to brave the task of working with her quilting squares, but I did. I placed the squares all neatly on the floor, and I began assembling a quilt for Emma Jane. As I set them out, I quickly realized something incredibly liberating: my grandmother's squares were not perfect squares. In fact, some of them were hardly squares at all... more like curvy rectangles. Okay, they weren't that bad, but when it came to pinning them together, there were obvious differences in the lengths of the sides, and for some reason, this helped me feel like I could start a quilt. Through the slight imperfections I found in my grandmother's work, I felt like perhaps I had something to bring to the table. Her imperfect work was beautiful; perhaps my attempts could be as well.

   I find relief remembering my grandmother was not perfect, but she now is. I don't know why I let perfection intimidate me when I have clearly seen how the Lord has worked through my weaknesses. "But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
Here's to embracing my weaknesses one stitch at a time!

Hugs and Blessings!