Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A few things that brought me joy

Ok so one of the first days that we were here in Sherwood Park, AB...we were driving to a friend's house for a visit and Mercedes saw some refinery stacks. She said, "Mommy look at that big ship". I started cracking up because it was so cute. Only a west coast girl could see a ship in the middle of the prairies. Then 2 seconds later Portia pipes up, "Daddy needs man music doesn't he mommy." when I put some Lincoln Brewster on while we were driving. Now on our drive here from B.C. (which is about 12 hours) we listened to some kids music and at some point Shaun got extremely tired of it. He pointed out that he needed some "man music" and he had put Lincoln on. So now that music is "man music". I just cracked up again.

I love having kids. There is always laughter around them. Some days I tend to take life to seriously, at this point. So I think (yet again) that my children are God's little reminder to laugh more. I like those reminders and I sure need them :). I will never regret laughing but I sure will regret being too serious and missing a sweet moment. That I know for sure.


Haven't blogged in awhile. Needed to get some thoughts out. Have no idea what they are. I am in Alberta right now. Shaun is working 6 days a week and gets home in the evening around 6:30 it seems. The girls go to bed at 7. This doesn't leave much family time. We are in my brother-in-laws's house. They are gracious to have us this long. It's cozy for everyone. Keiko is in a kennel here in town. Liam is allergic to dogs so it's just not possible for her to be around. I miss her. I feel badly that she is in a kennel. I worry about her. It's weird to be out of my house and away from life. I feel at odds. I don't know what to do with myself. I never quite relax. My kids have been throwing up and now I don't feel well. So after all that complaining...I had an interesting experience last week. I was in Three Hills (where I went to college). While I was there a lady who was 36 died from cancer. That is young...only 5 years older than me. She had 3 children ages 10, 7, and 5. That really hit me. I just felt deep grief for her husband and children. And then I started thinking about how we are only guaranteed today. How I have heard to "live each day as if it were my last". The Bible talks a bit about this. Psalms 139:16 " Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day."

Monday, January 14, 2008

To the self absorbed male:

Well today I was witness to something really neat. The guys downstairs (2 guys in their 20's and bachelors as of today but not for long) asked me if they could watch the girls for me for a bit so that I could have a break seeing as I was single-parenting it for the week. I thought that was so kind and sweet. But then I really started thinking about it. And I got a little teary it touched my heart :). In our culture how many 20 something bachelors do you know who would take 2 wee girls for a few hours to give their mama a break? I say NOT MANY! It was their only day off in the week. They are well connected and well loved so it's not as if they had nothing better to do. They both have a significant other. They so generously gave of their time. And I just wanted to give a shout out to them and say "Thank you"!.
So to the self absorbed male: Your days are numbered...when there are guys out there like that!

Slow Fade-Casting Crowns

too true...listen really listen to the words.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My arena of incompetence

So you know that verse that I ended my last posting with 2 Corinthians 12:9 that says "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." Here's another instance in my life where this is true.

About a month ago I came to a point were I was feeling very trapped. I was angry. I didn't know how to do better. I was trying my best and failing miserably. The area I am talking about is motherhood. Now that is not easy for me to say. All growing up people would always tell me that I would be an amazing mother. And I had come to believe that would be the case. I thought I would just LOVE being a stay at home mom. I thought I would cherish EVERY moment of my children's lives (stop rolling on the floor laughing all you moms out there...). I also thought it was terrible when other moms (before I was a mom in this particular part of the journey where I've learned my kids CAN do wrong...WHAT?) would say exactly what I'm about to say. I judged them so harshly. So basically myself came back to bite me in the butt. Anyway, it all came to a bit of a little crisis about a month or so ago. It had been coming for awhile but I had finally had enough with me and my ways. I was SO angry with myself for being a miserable failure of a mother...but I also did not know how to change the situation. This was not a job I could quit. There was no way out. But something had to change. Now I wasn't terrible to my children but I was not wonderful either. I was not internally at peace and content. I knew that I had the possibility of being a much better mother. And mediocrity in not acceptable to me. I have worked SO hard to be the best mother I could be and was FAILING miserably...MISERABLY!

Now over the last 2 years I have been learning through several different sources (all leading back to the Bible) that as a a child of He layed out life for me is to not rely on myself and my witts, wisdom, and strength to do life. Because really we all know that our witt, wisdom, and strength is quite lacking. It gets us into so much trouble and pain. Especially compared to the God of the universe who we'll never plumb the depths of even through all eternity. So baby step by baby step I have been learning to walk life in this manner. Two years ago I also asked God to clean out the basement of my soul. And He is graciously doing that. So I think this was one of the darkest corners...I did not want to admit that I needed help. But I also could not go on like this. I found myself resenting my precious girls. I found myself hiding a lot behind busyness and being on the computer just to get away. And in the mean time I was missing my children and losing precious time with them that could not be regained. And I was miserable. And I was angry.

So one day I was keening in my soul AGAIN. I did much praying and soul searching. And finally one day God spoke to me as clear as Shaun standing next to me. He said this, "You are a very competent person in all areas of your life...well you think you are and you appear to be. But in this one area there is no possibility that you can fake it 'til you make it. If you continue you WILL indeed fail miserably." I knew what He was telling me. I had to cry "Abba Father". He knew that in this area I would push so hard because I could not fail my children. But He knew I would and He knew I would eventually come running to Him. This is my arena of incompetence.

Once I really listened it was a turning point for me. Nothing has changed in the physical world. In fact Shaun is out of town this week and I am doing the whole single parent thing. But I am enjoying these precious gifts God gave me for such a short time. We are having a blast. God has given me grace (which means joy). I am thankful. His yoke IS easy and His burden is light. But mine is heavy and overwhelming. Hmmm which will I choose?

Well well...don't want to go around that bush again.

This past year I have been learning about how to deal with fear, anger, and anxiety. I won't go into detail MUCH :). But it has been surprising. I have generally been a pretty happy and calm person. I haven't felt so calm. I have learned what it is to have debilitating fear. It's very strange the paths that life takes us down. I have never been a fearful person...actually I should say that I always had moments of fear but it didn't rule me...until this last year. Now I know the terror of it and the anxiety. It's incredibly stressful and maddening. With emotion I have generally just shoved them under the carpet and kept up a happy face (not always but for the most part). Can't do that with this. The facade has cracked. There's no getting around it other than to walk through it and pray like crazy. I've learned a great deal about how in my weakness my God is strong. How He has not given me a spirit of fear. You know what is interesting? I always thought that this Bible verse "God has not given me a spirit of fear..." ended with "but of power and love and a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."...there is a big difference between fearful and being timid) But Romans 8:15 says, " For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father'." That put a whole new spin on that thought. The first was more along the lines of "If I know that fear is not from God then I can overcome it". But that's not the me I've tried it. It has come down, for me, to a deep soul probably more like a keening or wailing, of "heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp". Like I watch my wee girls run to their daddy and just cuddle in and feel completely safe and know that their daddy will take care of everything. THEY know they can't fix whatever it wrong. But they know who can. How come my wee daughters are smarter than I?
But you know before I could run to God as a child runs to her father. I had to learn that He just adores me. That He WANTS to know about all these things. That He actually cares. I has the impression that I was just a pain in His backside. So I am learning that is not true. It still hasn't really sunk in. But we're getting there.
This particular journey is not over but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope again. But even in my darkest Father God was there with outstretched arms waiting for me to run to Him and cuddle in. I didn't do it many times and I caused myself a fair amount of trauma. But when I did it was amazing. I don't think that I have ever experienced that kind of love from a father figure...pure unadulterated adoring love. The kind that even the best of earthly fathers are not capable of giving. I am so thankful that I have a heavenly Father. I am so thankful that He is so patient with me.
And you know I am thankful for this lesson I am learning. I believe that this life is simple school for what is to come. I believe that God allows these things not to break me but to test me. 1 Peter 1:7 "These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world"

This verse has taken new meaning to me this year. 2 Corinthians 12:9 "Each time He said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me."