Friday, May 21, 2010

Writing on the tablet of their hearts.

Monday through Wednesday of this week I had the privilege of attending a Parent Practicum for Classical Conversations in Irmo, SC. I don't think I could begin to record what I walked away with, other than knowing that what we are doing is absolutely best for our family. I was taking notes and when I had filled up one page (it didn't take long)and turned to the next I saw Julia's sweet handwriting. She LOVES to write. I haven't taught her to write much, however. She can correctly spell Mommy, Daddy, Anson, Julia, Ella, May, and Wessner. She had written in my notebook and while she was just down the stairs and around some corners, it felt like she was right there. She's so sweet. Isn't that we are supposed to do? Write on the tablet of their hearts? Isn't that what God asked us to do? Have His word inscribed on our hearts?

Just today a dear friend who is on this journey with me, shared a story of how some KINDERGARTENERS wrote on their bathroom wall. Leaving their mark, I suppose. It's what we all long to do. Leave our mark. I think of the tradition of signing yearbooks, t-shirts, and if we're lucky our favorite artists will sign a CD for us. We are enamored with the written word. Why? How about John 1? In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. I believe that because God gave us His Word, both in text and in flesh, we are drawn to it out of a supernatural desire to know our Maker. You may think something else, that's just me. Back to Julia.

Seeing her sweet little words brought joy to my heart. What if they hadn't been sweet little words that she wrote on my paper? Would that have brought joy to my heart? I thought, "What words am I writing on her tablet?" When she is away from me, what words does she have? Are they my words or are they The Words?

What I know about the stage that my children are in, the grammar stage for those Classical Schoolers out there, is that they remember more than I can imagine! Am I writing anything worthwhile? Am I giving them anything wonderful to engrave on their hearts? I have to say that where I do, I don't ever want to feel comfortable or feel like they have "enough." I want them so full, so satiated, that one day they'll choose those words to write on those pages that are still blank. I pray that one day, when they go to Glory, The Father, The Word would see that on every page of the tablet of their heart, His Word is written. Not one single space for anything else. That excites me. May it be so.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Little Big Things

I don't really feel as though I am sacrificing a ton by not having a job. Everything in my life is a bit "smaller" our house, budget, I can't think of much else. You see, God has continually impressed me with His willingness to grant those things to my family that I would have never asked for. There are things that we just don't "do." Although even as I type this I'm trying to think of HUGE examples of how we don't spend our money. Honestly, we do everything that we want to do. Several years ago we used Dave Ramsey's plan to crawl out of debt, and when we stopped eating crumbs off the floor, we sat up to the table and eat what satisfying foods that only Christ can offer. We don't go without. We choose to not do certain things, but we do not go without. Ever. Why do I say all this?

A few weeks ago my friend called with the exciting news that they had won tickets to see Mary Poppins at the Fox. This was exciting for both of us, although the show that we really want to see is the Little House Musical. We were, however, excited by the Lord's favor and I was excited for her. I love friendships where you are genuinely excited when the other receives wonderful gifts. So, she was set to go on Friday of that week. A few days later on a Thursday they discover that the tickets have "mistakenly" been made for Thursday, a night that was logistically impossible for their family. So, she was kind to the woman working with her, and finally asked if she could simply give the tickets away so that they would not be wasted. My friend did not kick and scream and complain about the inability for this woman to produce the correct tickets, and she called me. She said, "Hey, we've got these tickets and there is simply no way we can go. Do you guys want them? They are for tonight." YOU BET!!! I didn't even think about how we would pull it off. All I knew is that I LOVE the theatre and would make it happen. I called Mike and told him to come straight home from work because we had plans! It's was about 3:00. The show started at 8:00 and we live about 2-2 1/2 hours away.

I was babysitting and it worked out that the Mom could get the baby before we needed to leave, so after showers and bows and a whirlwind of excitement, off we went! The kids and I have never been to the Fox, so we had no idea of what to expect. I grew up (very fortunate) enjoying Broadway in New York City, I knew it would be awesome, but wasn't sure what the kids would think. I ended up watching two shows! I was watching the show and I was watching my kids watch the show. It was incredible! I couldn't even describe it to Kelli the next day. All I could say was that I'd need to see it several more times to really see all of the incredible things that were packed into the performance. It was a gift for the greatest Gift-Giver. Here is the best part...

The person that Kelli was working with was so sorry for the mix-up that she managed to get Kelli tickets for Friday night!!! They got to enjoy it as well!!! What a wonderful treat to know that they would enjoy the fabulous show as well. It was such fun for both of us.

So, all that to say that God is concerned about those little BIG things. Those things that aren't "spiritual" (but isn't it all?) that we simply enjoy. Those things that bring us delight. He is a good Father and enjoys watching us enjoy the show. That is exactly what we did, we enjoyed the show. I'm annoyed...I can't upload any pics right I'll have to wait until Mike wakes from his Sunday slumber...sorry about that...but if I don't post this now....I might never!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I do love Mother's Day. I love how intentional everyone is to tell me what a great job I am doing. I love the handmade cards and sweet surprises that Mike comes up with (although with a cruise just around the corner, there may be just surprise). I love feeling like I can sit back and have Mike do everything because it is, after all, Mother's Day. Then I don't feel lazy or guilty like I do on the other days (or like right now because he is folding the clothes that I just didn't...all week!). It feels good to be honored, doesn't it?
I wish I felt like half the mother they think I am. Amen?

I have been listening to the conversations that go on around me. I am in some of them, so I'm not really eaves-dropping, but I have found a theme. We are in a competition with an imaginary woman. I have noticed that when one person says that they saved doing whatever, another woman will share how she saved even more. Or, one person says that they did something organic and another woman did something even MORE organic. I do it too! When others see the sugary cereal on our shelves we say things like, "I don't normally buy that but..." I say, "I don't normally buy that, but I use it for a story snack." You know what else I use it for? EATING!!! It's got preservatives, additives, sugar, fake stuff that I cannot pronounce...but IT WAS ON SALE AND I HAD A COUPON...SO THERE! What else? Someone walks in and your house vomited while you were out and you say, "I am so sorry my house is a mess I ...." I usually say something like, "Please don't judge me, I just can't pull it together." That you might get if you are a close friend. I may come up with another better excuse if we are new friends. We have begun creating work for ourselves all in the name of saving or providing better options for our family. I think that we have good intentions. But may I be honest? Sometimes I just want to be better. Sometimes I make work for myself so that someone somewhere might think I'm a good Mom. I'm hoping that as the lady rings up all of my fruits and veggies she'll think I'm a good Mom, even if they aren't organic. I'm hoping that when my children sing The Ten Commandments in Marshall's, someone will hear and be amazed at what "I must be doing at home." I'm just being honest. It's foul, I know, but it's what happens when I am trying to earn the approval of man, rather than the approval of God.

God does not tell me in so many words that I should do x,y, and z and I'll be a good Mom. He gives me Biblical answers on how to train them to know and fear Him. He gives me wisdom to know how to direct their hearts and discipline them so that they may live long in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee. (That's part of our song. :) ) He gives me principles that I can apply on how to keep my home and make it a place of Grace. The Grace being His end of the deal. The comparison robs me. Comparison makes me believe that doing what He has called me to do is not good enough. OR it causes me to cast judgement on those who aren't doing it my way, believing they must, somehow be wrong, even misled. Heaven help me!

The comparison monster is something I pray that God will deal with. It makes me make crazy decisions or paralyzes me with fear that I might not be good enough, or worse yet, they (meaning my children) won't either. We need to support one another. We need to pray for one another. This Motherhood thing is no joke. We need to be on the same team. Am I the only one who notices this? Let's do a little "lab session." I'll ask a few questions and you tell me how you feel about them. These are a few of the "biggies."

Do your children eat organic fruits and vegetables?
Do you bake your own bread?
Do you make your own laundry soap?
Is your child reading on grade level?
Is your game closet organized?
Is your laundry caught up?
Do you make every meal from scratch?
Do you save for college?
Is there a ring in your toilet?
Are your floors mopped?
Do you iron?
Do you use coupons?
Please do not misunderstand, these are GREAT things. However, they are NOT the main thing. Do you see how when you answer positively you feel awesome, but then if you answer negatively you feel condemned? Pretty sneaky trick of Satan, isn't it? Then we don't want to hang out with the Mom's that are "better" than us because they make us feel inadequate. We are looking at the wrong list. How about this.

Do you tell your children that you love them?
Do you ask for forgiveness when you sin against them?
Do you read the Bible with and to them?
Do you marvel with them when the sky turns pink like cotton candy?
Do you buy them their favorite things because you know that even though they have plenty, they will LOVE "just one more."
Do you lose sleep when they are sick?
Do you lose sleep when they are well?
Do you think they are the best thing going?
Do you thank Jesus for them?

We shouldn't compare at all, but if we are, let's align our lists and study the one that is eternal. Actually, let's study the One that is eternal. Let's do the good things, those that matter the most to us, but I've got to tell you, I'm not that organic, I rarely use coupons, I spend a good bit of money on store-bought bread and my laundry is more clean that it is folded. I cannot keep up. I give up. I'm crying uncle. I'm out. I cannot compare myself anymore. I just can't. There will always be someone that is better, neater, smarter, thinner, more clever, more crafty, more thrifty, more compassionate, more intentional...just plain MORE! Than I can ever be. So, here's what I am asking God to do for me. When those 3 blessings blast into my bedroom tomorrow morning with more joy on their faces than I will know what to do with, and when they look me dead in the face and tell me that I am the best in the world, I'm going to believe them. I'm going to overlook this house, the extra weight, all the falling short and believe that to them, and for them, because of Christ, I am the best Mom in the Anson, Julia and Ella. You know what else I'm going to believe? I'm going to believe the same about you.

Happy Mother's Day.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith."