So. I thought SURELY by now, I would be thinking/writing/communicating in something more than “cliff note” version. But not yet. While the lessons are in abundance, the time to sit and process is not. I do not want to forget what we are learning. I want to record the Faithfulness that we have seen. We are tired … and we are encouraged. So many folks I talk to have tired hearts too … perhaps another peak into our snowglobe mess will give you a bit of encouragement too. (and perhaps someday, I’ll make these cliff notes a little longer ;).
Let’s Skip Life
Our local movie theater was showing a “Back to the Future” marathon one day. I texted Robert and said, “Let’s skip life and go”. I was pretty serious … except that the rearranging of schedules is a tad overwhelming … so we didn’t. Three weeks later, because of a holiday and school schedules, the stars lined up and the good Lord smiled down on us … we were given an entire skip day smack dab in the middle of the week. We were giddy.
Until 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, when our fourth woke up coughing and (possibly) with a fever. I went back to bed deflated. Our day was going to be stolen. Our dreams were being dashed. We weren’t going to skip life that day. I began to feel an ungodly amount of greed.
(ugly, real thought alert) If we had stuck at three kids … sick wouldn’t matter. They could stay home by themselves if they were sick, these little guys can’t. When Allison graduates from high school the two younger will be in fourth and fifth grade! All of our friends will be empty nesting and going on trips and we won’t. What have we done? How will we even go on trips anymore, we can barely get to the store without bringing a little chaos with us?! I was pulling the covers of greed up over my head.
And then … I fell asleep hoping it was all a dream. Why the Lord allowed me to sleep and not wrestle with my greed is beyond me! I suppose He knows my limitations of rational thought without sleep because I woke with peace.
Peace that these days we have chosen in obedience and joy are worth it. The days of remaining engaged in life, the overtime in parenting, the house that never stays clean and the extra heart aches are worth it.
Our finish line isn’t graduation or even a single “skip day”. Our finish line is heaven. We will finish this whole chaotic, coughing, crazy life when we get to heaven. I am confident that when we stand in front of Jesus, we will not think once about the lost skip days and vacations. There won’t be room for those thoughts in heaven, so why should there be room for those thoughts now? So, bring on the chaos and coughs (but not really … well, not all at once … okay, maybe … apparently I am still working on it). We are ready to finish strong (with ALL the help we can get)
*and yes, we did get our skip day. the cough miraculously got better and the fever was my imagination. (or at least that’s the story we are sticking to). did i mention we needed a skip day?
I am a recovering people pleaser and problem solver. (sometimes can be translated as a control freak … but we won’t go there). It’s not easy. At all. When your basket of “gifts” include hospitality, a heart for knowing people and a love for good, rich gatherings you have lots of opportunity to learn some balance. (deep sigh).
As the holidays approach, I feel all kinds of well intended desires begin to surface.
-Donating a can of potatoes won’t fix their problem, they need a whole meal, they need a job, they need a home. What can we do to help?
-How is our boys’ mom doing? Is she okay? Is she surviving?
-Why can’t they return my email? We need an answer today to move this project along.
-Don’t they know that they are hurting others with their words?
-I want so bad to take some of the burden off of her plate. It is way too much for someone to carry.
This is just a small bit of the thoughts that were swirling in my heart one day and I felt the urge to fix every single one. I had come up with plans and discussions and emails and schemes to just. fix. everything. EVERYTHING!
Until my thoughts came to a screeching halt. Dead in their tracks.
Don’t Solve Problems. Just love and respect the people that have them. (psst. which is everyone).
If all of my problems had been solved for me, I would have missed out on so many great lessons. Sure, it would have seemed easier in the moment, but not in the long run. We all have people in our lives that we literally want to bear their burdens for them. But we can’t. That’s God’s job. He wants to do that. He can do that.
We can love them well. Listen to them. Meet needs (not wants … that gets tricky). Be there for them. Don’t forget them. Speak to them. Show them respect. And in that, we will show them God’s love.
And when we begin to accept and know God’s love, we can 100% trust Him to help us with our problems.
A Mighty Good Gang
We always knew that our five year old loves being known and knowing people. I was shown that at a whole new level when I went to eat lunch with him at school. He called everyone by name. It didn’t matter if they were in Kindergarten or not … he knew people and they knew him. I was in shock.
When he first came into our family, he was surprised that I always knew the grocery store checker’s name. Once I explained that I read their name on their name tag, he realized I wasn’t that great.
But he is. He is great at knowing people. It is in his DNA to know people. He can’t read names yet, but he can remember them. And he does. I love to see that trait in him. We can take no credit for teaching him. It’s what he was created to do … know people and let them feel known. I joke that if left in the life he had, perhaps he could have gathered one of the greatest gangs around. But nah … God has something special planned for the heart that He created that longs to know others well. We are grateful that we will get to see that be used in such a great way.
It is a blast to do what you are created for. So go … do it!
Hi, I am Okay.
… If our kids are at church and dressed, but not matching at. all. … does that count as doing okay?
… I bet it’s okay to go to a meeting with mascara on one eye. Right?
… If you serve breakfast three nights in a row, because you just can’t get to the grocery store … surely that is okay, right?
… What if (hypothetically speaking), you fall asleep before your children and husband one (or two) evenings … come on, let that be okay. Pleeease!
… Surely I am still okay if I balanced our home and life all week, but left my keys in the car while sitting in Chic Fil A for two hours? Oh, what if the keys were in the ignition … and it was on? Eek.
If you need to feel okay … come on over. Okay is running the house over here!