I have a new philosophy in life. Applying it has begun to save me a lot of stress. It’s simple in theory. Just Don’t Look This idea came to me in the car. I have four children and one on … Continue reading
While cleaning sewer overflow out of my basement carpet I considered the day ahead.
So many gaps...
Not yet 8am on Saturday morning and the day felt like it’d already been long.
How am I going to fill in the gaps?
My husband lay in bed, recovering from a surgery. He would be at home all day, recovering, resting… regaining his mobility.
Where are the resources to fill all the lack? How do I steward what little I have?
My ears stuffed with earbuds pumping celebration in toward my eardrums, my thoughts… I almost laughed out loud.
There is no way I will make it today!
Searching for answers, to truly be responsible with what little I have to stretch over the yawning gaps in resources for the day… just this day, not even tomorrow yet… searching for some kind of plan; a strategy… something…
“Go, I will cover you,” says the quiet voice in my knowing.
No plan. No detailed direction of how to go. Just, GO. I WILL COVER YOU.
I set my mind to it. One step at a time, I decided. Like walking on water. One foot in front of the other.
I can do this.
Look at the God who’s serving me… SERVING ME! The God who never ceases to provide, to amaze, to extend grace… He is covering me today. My job, according to Him, is to go and receive His provision in each step. To receive!
My job as wife, mommy, every other role I will play today… my job description in all of these is to move into receiving.
To discover what it means to live in grace – to see my gaping areas of lacking filled to overflowing with His grace covering me, providing. Me, my husband, my children… those who will touch our lives today. His overflow will increase in me, will increase me.
I don’t see it. I don’t see how my circumstances are possibly going to work today.
But I see God, who is more than able, at work for me.
And I receive.
There is a conflict I have been consistently refereeing among my children. I call it the battle of fairness and sameness.
As a mom I’ve made it clear with each child from the beginning that it’s not my job to make life fair, nor will I attempt to reach the standard of treating each child the same. Just the thought of attempting those impossible feats exhausts me. My children are far from identical, even if they all bear a resemblance and share their Daddy’s amazingly long eye lashes. Then there is the difference between the boys and my daughter… age differences factor in, and then each incredible personality comes into play. Fairness and treating everyone the same just doesn’t work in my mind.
That doesn’t mean that each child isn’t treated fairly, or that I don’t love them all with the same profoundly deep love that boggles my ability to understand it.
However, fair for one child isn’t fair for another. And showing love to my daughter in the same way my oldest son feels the most loved would (and has!) cause her to feel suffocated and irritable. Each of them loves it when I display that I know them well enough to know these individualities. They love being called out for their unique contributions to our family, and being fussed over for something their sibling can’t do as well. And all four of them have time in the limelight.
Just not all at the same time. Or even on the same day… or in the same ways. And this is where the battle comes in.
At times they get so focused on what they aren’t getting that all they see is what someone else has, or is receiving. They completely forget what they’ve got and what they were just given. Its like they forget who they are and what they like. Not only that, but when it comes to consequences, they completely forget that they were the ones choosing a behavior to begin with. Well… don’t we all at times?
I can’t make life fair for my children because I can’t make their choices for them. Nor can I forget that they are so incredibly unique, requiring different approaches and styles of instruction. What one child earns another child might get gifted, simply because without the gift they’d never reach the prize. It’s not fair. But the child who earned it needed the exercise in growth to reach his greater potential, while the child who got a gift wouldn’t have tried without grasping encouragement in his pudgy little fingers first. One child has privileges the others don’t enjoy. The others don’t have this child’s responsibilities either… it’s not fair. They are not the same people.
Isn’t it that way with adults too? I found myself complaining to God about the unfairness of a situation. His response was profound in my heart. Child, I didn’t create you for fairness. I created you to know Me and because I wanted to get to know you. I will always do what is right for you, and I will always place the opportunities for your greatest joy within each one of your days. And I will always be cheering you on to choose the things that are designed for your perfect life with Me.
We do this among ourselves though… We walk into a room and size up the competition. If it happens to be our turn in the limelight, life is so good – it’s fair. If we happen to be repeatedly watching others succeed or gain promotions it can be as if we forget who we are and what we really love in life because we aren’t getting the attention or things we see others possess. Jealousy’s monstrous voice says if it’s not fair to me, then it should all at least be the same for everyone… At times becoming so focused on what is fair or how to keep everything the same for everyone that we forget what truly brings us joy. Each of us have an opportunity for immense joy every day if we choose it; if we will settle down and be content with being different. Letting what is fair be different for each person and enjoying those differences.
Differences designed by Creator God, for His pleasure, for our joy should we choose it, and for purpose and destiny in His perfect plan for unity within His family. Just like in my own family, in His family we are all called out for our unique contributions and skills by His love; we all have moments in the lime light. Some of us work for what others are simply gifted. Some of us enjoy great privileges that others don’t because we don’t carry the same responsibilities. Some of us have to wait longer than others, and some of us receive a prize we’ve been waiting years to claim, while others begin their wait on the same day… none of it is fair.
terror; a state of intense fear, a very strong feeling of fear, one that inspires fear, a frightening aspect, a cause of anxiety.
arrow; a shaft sharpened at one end shot from a bow as a weapon or for sport.
pestilence; fatal epidemic diseases.
destruction; the act of destroying or state of being destroyed, demolition, a cause of ruin.
Savior, You are my Hero. Your presence on this earth, Your death and resurrection, the power in Your name; all that You are has given me such hope! You have not only set me free and delivered me from every danger, you protect me from all elements of every kind of evil. I have no reason to fear. Your love for me is so perfect in power and ability. Whether it is the thief and stalker at night, or the taunting and threats of the enemy during the day, illnesses hiding in wait, or impending natural disasters – all of these things You overcame and are victorious to save me and my family from. Thank you for your provision of protection and the faithfulness with which You keep me in Your perfect peace. Please, Lord, open up eyes and hearts of those who love you everywhere, to speak and believe and walk in the Truth of your word, to bring comfort to those who are hurting, broken and suffering. I love you. Amen.
“You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; or of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.”
“You are brave and strong. You are My pride and Joy. You radiate with My love. Remember, you are not who you think you are. You are who I created. I know you. You are every bit the perfect one … Continue reading
The best gift my husband has ever given me, and our kids for that matter, is time away all by myself. He and I both run into a lot of people who think this is crazy. He has even had to sort out the feelings of rejection that my need for time alone has implied to him. But, every single time I have taken space from daily life I have come back a better, new and a more fun, life-giving person. Every time he has been grateful for the “new me.”
Do you ever find yourself hanging onto an item and after several interruptions, requests, mediations, demands, you look down at your hand and realize you have no idea why you are hanging onto it?
For me, getting away alone gives me the space and silence I need to recognize things I picked up somewhere and forgot to put down. Unforgiveness is one I seem to gravitate toward, and usually over silly things I’d quickly forgotten about. Responsibility that isn’t mine is another. Anxiety and worry. Unmet expectations – expectations that really shouldn’t be held up in the first place. Disappointments, usually related to expectations, but also in myself, my children, my husband, friendships… disappointment is a pretty aggressive weed in my life. There seems to be so much I can be disappointed about! Failure – even imagined failures! Fear and self-consciousness tend to get clumped together in one fist pretty often too.
Getting away, settling into a space of complete silence and empty of people, highlights these things for me. It opens doors for release, where I can let go and get rid of these things I somehow picked up and forgot to set down. Being alone, a few days uninterrupted, gives me the time to remember what I’m holding.
And then, THEN, once these things are gone and my hands are free again I find the capacity to truly worship, to lift up emptiness for being filled with what inspires life. Being emptied of myself, of all the trash I keep gravitating toward, even unintentionally at times, opens up room within me to receive all the good things God intends. In the emptiness I recognize there is no condemnation, no rejection, no refusal. In the emptiness I regain vision of what is truly amazing, and I have the room to ask for and receive it.
Getting away alone means I empty out all the trash and fill up with all the joy, hope, peace, refreshment, life, beauty, wonder, compassion, mercy, hope, empathy, respect, awe, availability and fun I can hold.
Getting away alone means I come back a different person. Clean and free and full of good things to dole out to my husband, children and into friendships. If we can only give from what we have, then getting away alone is absolutely the best possible gift I could receive.