Thursday, January 24, 2013

Joyful Change

So, I was thinking this week (here we go again...)

Something hit me.  Something I didn't see coming and didn't even know was on the horizon.  My self-righteous-all-about-me-sinful-self didn't see it.

She wasn't looking.

The ancient Spartans were do-ers.  They DID horrible things like leave weak babies to die and they esteemed brute force as the only force to be reckoned with.  Their neighbors, the Athenians...they esteemed culture.  Pictures, books, and intellect.  It was said of the Athenians that they "knew" all the right things but did not "do" them.  They were hearers and not do-ers.  Spartans?  They were just plain mean.  But no one ever accused them of not doing anything.

I do not wish to be like the barbaric Spartan.  But the hedonistic, hypocritical Athenian?  I don't want to be her either.  It's time I took myself seriously.

I began to ask myself this question: Do I believe that my attitudes and actions will impact the long-term health, growth, and spiritual well-being of my children?

Well?  Do I or don't I?

I saw a video this week about a woman who threw herself in front of an SUV.  Her children were inside and heading towards a cliff.  The car ran over her and she is now paralyzed from the waist down.  But her body slowed them down just enough that the grandfather was able to jump inside and pull the emergency brake.  Her sacrifice saved the lives of her children.

Do I believe that the sacrifices I make will save the lives of my children?

If I do...if I believe that being here, every day...washing feet and teaching grammar...if I believe these sacrifices to be life-changing, life-giving, life-saving...

Then I must stand tall and refuse the lies the enemy throws at me.  I had better stop complaining and wallowing. I must learn to take the good with the bad and gives thanks for both.

Mothers make different kinds of sacrifices every day.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Somewhere, a mother spends her days in a wheelchair because of the sacrifice she chose.  Me?  I just get to spend ample time with precious souls.  Hardly seems like sacrifice.

Why does it feel so sacrificial at times?

It has to be that I am selfish and self-absorbed.  That I care more about my day and what I need than about  those around me.  God placed me here in a state of always-giving because He knows that giving must come harder for some of us than for others.  For me?  The ever-giving is what is maturing me (slowly.)  I want to be her.  The person Jesus is trying so desperately hard to make of me.   A woman who gives.  Gives freely and abundantly.  Without reservation.  Without self-seeking desires creeping up at every turn.  I want to get out of the way and just be clay.

It's hard to be clay when you are a rock.  Albeit, a  teary, Athenian, book-loving rock.  But a rock non-the-less.

I wrote to a friend today that I want to shove my selfish endeavors under a rock and sit and bask in the sun.  Or the Son.

As another day winds down and my heart feels lightened by the words that burdened it all week, I pray for the strength and resolve to lay down my life joyfully.  That I might live abundantly.  And that I may walk in the knowledge that the sacrifices I make today will change the tomorrow of the souls with whom I've been entrusted.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I woke up, sleep deprived, to two sick kids, school to be taught, and a mess of a headache.

Maybe I should have just stayed in bed.

Malfunctioning toilets, smoothies-all-over-the-floor, math-crying (you know, the crying that accompanies math on days when everything else is already falling apart), fevers, Kleenex, a mommy-run-down, and only one lap to house it all.

I poured myself out today...completely and totally.  So much emptied that, by bedtime, I wasn't even surprised when the dog peed in her kennel.  My voice barely held inflection as I assured my six year old that the smoothie would clean out of her shirt.

I sent my nine year old upstairs to do her nighttime chores while I prepared her younger, under the weather, sisters for bed.  As I finished teeth brushing, nose blowing, and medicine giving, I climbed into bed with them, one on each side, and fell flat onto my back.


The word floated through my aching body.

When days run into nights and sleep comes in patches, squeezed between two fever-ridden bodies...this is when the mother breaks.  When she is emptied.  And just as He filled the jars of the widow, and healed the ear of the soldier, so will he mend us. Bring us back to full.  And it's  only here...when there's nothing left...that His healing seems most miraculous.

As their breathing becomes slow and they drift off to a deep slumber that I pray will soothe what ails them, I close my eyes and breathe deep.  One more day.

I help the big sister get to sleep, then head to do the only thing I know to do when I have nothing left.

I grab my pen and my Bible and start copying.  I am writing through books of the Bible right now...mostly because it's the most effective way I know to meditate on the Word of God, even when I'm too tired to do so.

My breathing slows as I write methodically, eternal truths burning into my soul as they are etched onto paper...and the filling begins.

It takes a whole lot of faith for me to admit that I can handle no more.  It's  hard for me to come to the place where I throw my hands in the air and admit that I am void of any more giving.  But this truth...that I am a broken vessel empty of anything worthy to true even on my best day.

Today is really no different...but it's always the mess, the crying, and the tired mama, that sends me running straight for the cross.

I thank God for days like today...the ones that put me in my place.  Humbled, brought low, muddling through with the sinking realization that I cannot keep going.  I love it when He shows up, picks me up and keeps right on walking.  Straight towards holiness.