6/10/2013

Pay Attention

We spend such a vast amount of time waiting. Now that I am a mother I realize that it's imperative that I learn to wait well. Just this morning I froze between holding a scooter and rinsing a rag to wait while my five-year-old buttoned her sweater. Frustrations began to creep in but instead of sighing with impatience (the typical me behavior) the sweet thought occurred to me, "Look at her beautiful hair." Her morning-matted golden hair pin-striped with every possible shade of brown was soft enough to touch if I'd had a free hand. Jesus, whispering with His still small voice, would have me take in these moments like a slow inhale that takes in a delicious scent. I not only looked at her hair, I gazed at it. The next thing I knew she was done with her task and ready to get back on her scooter for another ride. I was released to continue my cleaning with that moment tucked away in my heart.

"With the Lord a day is like a thousand years..." 2 Peter 3:8
If I trusted God more maybe I would lose myself in those moments more often. Instead I trust the clock, my cell phone alarm, my to-do list, and my insufficient memory. Sometimes I will even tell people to remind me of things because just the act of delegating my memory helps it work better. How can I possibly breathe my children and my husband in when the hammering second hand beats me over the head with time? Time, the futile battle with sunset that we never win. And yet God has all the time in the world at His disposal. 86,400 seconds that He can turn into a thousand years whenever He chooses. That's 525,600,000 of His minutes that He can pack into our 24 hours. Just think of all we could experience in just one of God's days! He's got all the time in the world, literally.

"The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day." Joshua 10:13
Josh got a whole extra day!? By the way, now we know the science that the Earth stopped, not the sun. God just put on the brakes, baby, cuz that's how He rolls. So what makes me think that He wouldn't supply me with more than enough time to trust Him and get important stuff done? But I fear the ever-dreadful question, "What did you get done today?" At four o'clock when it's crunch time around here, the sun makes it's way to the back of the house and I start to look for evidence of something accomplished. What will I have to show for this day when my husband comes home? Only God knows.

"...and a thousand years are like a day." 2 Peter 3:8b
God is infinitely efficient. He can get a thousand years worth of work done in one day, piece of cake. If I trust Him maybe I can catch up on my Spring cleaning during these last two weeks of Spring. Two weeks could equal a whole season! He can definitely make it happen. But His priorities may be different than mine. I best get in line with His. For example, instead of getting in the shower and starting laundry I had another Jesus moment happen on my couch. I got the brilliant (see: Jesus) idea that I should equip the kids for conflict resolution instead of plugging my ears to their arguing and whining. So I made up a kid-friendly version of healthy confrontation. Want to hear it? Here it goes: It's a sandwich. The first piece of bread is the positive observation. You say something you like about your 3-year-old brother like, "I LIKE that you are super cute, buddy." The inside of the sandwich is the thing that bugs you, "BUT, when you make that annoying sound it really bothers me." Slap the last piece of bread on the sandwich by giving a couple of positive options. "MAYBE you can sing a song or go upstairs and make noise." If you are really ambitious you can tag another positive thing on top like a toothpick that holds it all together. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my kids say (thank you Veggietales!). I LIKE, BUT, MAYBE. The empowerment my kids felt just learning tools to get along has helped them to play sweetly while I write this blog. Win, win! Thank You Jesus for Your excellent use of time.

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. 
( from "Great is Thy Faithfulness" by Thomas Chisolm 1866-1960)
God is worthy of our trust and our lives because every breath belongs to Him. Lord Jesus, take my moments. Fill them with Your richness and a thousand years' worth of Your presence. Show me all the details I missed while I was staring at the second-hand in my head. Please redeem the lost moments by doubling the blessings of these present ones. Hold my hand and engulf me in Your arms when I must pay attention to painful moments. Change my eyes, my ears, and my focus to experience You in everything. By doing this You will help me wait well. I know now that those times of waiting are gifts that I've been reluctant to receive. I can see so much when I'm waiting. I can pay attention to so much more when I slow down.

6/02/2013

Know Thy Mortal Self

Why is it some days I am "on" and other days I am "off"? This is definitely one in a string of "off" days. Because of my overthinking tendencies I often find in these days deeper meaning in my depressing state. It must be spiritual warfare or major marital conflict or... something heavy, right? But the reality is, it's probably just PMS. No! Could it really be hormones and other biological misfirings that are making me crazy? I should have more faith than that. But just last week I was on top of the world with a spring in my step and enjoying the gaieties of life in the most wholesome way possible. Now, for the past two days I have been fighting the doldrums only to find myself irritable, ill-motivated, and for absolutely NO reason I'm throwing temper tantrums! Once I was a capable woman, full of potential and thriving in God's shiny blissful peace. Now I am barely gulping air as the muddy swamps of sadness push against my throat and threaten to pull me deeper. This is not right! Especially since my marriage is getting better all the time.

My husband is a brave soul. He has often referred to PMS as something I suffer from even as I appear to be suffering from it. Wow, brave or... something else. My parents could tell him that the most heinous mistake they could have made when I was an adolescent was to tell me I was going through a "phase". Something so invalidating and dismissible was heart-breaking to my newly budding identity. But it was true. The teenage years are a rotating ball of hormonal changes, as predictable as the stars. So why am I denying the fact that I may be experiencing the PMS phase of the moon? Because I need to grow up and face the facts. Stuff's changing and in the wise words of my dear husband (speaking for God, no doubt), "Someday you'll know your body."

What?! Me, not know my own vessel?! But he's right. The only words I understand from this mortal coil are "Hungry" and "Tired". I jump to it's aid whenever it seems to say those things. The problem is, I speak Body worse than I speak Spanish, comprendo? My own fearfully and wonderfully made temple, this tool for God's glory has been communicating to me what it needs and all I hear is "hungry" or "tired". No habla, tortilla, queso pasa? Two word vocabulary: hungry, tired. This complex machine must be saying so much more than just that.

If I were an infant, being hungry and tired might be the only reasons I feel yucky. But now I am over thirty and entering into the territory of imbalanced hormones and deteriorating metabolism. There is a wonder of change happening in my blood and brain that only the adventurers in modern medicine have uncovered. The internet is a wealth of bad diagnoses but it didn't take long before it helped me come to terms with my denial. One out of three women experience PMS, especially the over-30 kind of women. Thank you. I'm thirty-five in July.

On top of this villainous womanly ailment I also have a poor diet and irregular exercise-ness. Oh, and my upper back and shoulder tension is an issue, especially when I'm carting a writhing, screaming three-year-old out to the car. I won't say that my kids are part of my problem because they aren't. I'm the one who could be mothering them better and perhaps I will when I understand my body more. They are part of my precious, not my problem. Three-year-olds are notoriously challenging. Go ask your mom.

So instead of just eating or sleeping I need to get creative about maintaining my frame. The habit of snacking or napping to solve every bad day has got to give up. I know that more time with Jesus can fix every problem but He keeps talking to me about the same thing: self-control. I set myself up for failure when I'm irresponsible with His temple. He gave this beautiful bod to me to take care of and to use for His glory. Ever since I can remember I've selfishly neglected it or merely pacified it and got by on bare minimum. But just the way I stop and listen to my children, I need to stop and listen to the cry of my mortal self. This self that has served me on so little attention and abuse for so long that it is finally burning out. If I don't take care of my body then I'll croak! How much good can I do for this world as a sick or dead person?

I'm glad I took the time to write this. I also took a B-Complex before I sat down and that's one of the reasons I finished this. Now I have a headache and a backache and it's not because I'm hungry OR tired. It's because I'm done sitting. OK, sweet body, I'm going to love you, too. Let's move.