Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Deep Breath

Sunday evening always sneaks up on me... The weekend lures me into a state of calm, which is GOOD, but every week, on Sunday night it comes to an abrupt end! Because, this is truly when the week begins, at least for moms.  Here is the scene at my house on Sunday night:  I open the fridge and see that it is nearly empty (of anything other than the 2 week old leftovers growing fuzz) so I scribble out a grocery list and head to Kroger, where I bump into other moms I know with loaded buggies and we joke about how this whole cart full of food, that is supposed to last for a week, will be gone in 3 days. And then I rush home, unload and put away the week's provision and take a deep breath.  That's when it hits me.  I haven't done a single load of laundry since (gasp) THURSDAY.  Which means most of my husband's work clothes are in the hamper, along with the twins' play clothes.  Oh yeah, and all the towels.  So, I sort the clothes and cram as many as I can into the washer and press start.  Another deep breath.  I glance at the calendar and realize this is the last week in September, which means October lesson plans should be turned in this week, so I head to the computer to work on that.

Things are moving right along, until the twins notice I am sitting down, and that will never do, so they do their very best to distract, (and they are really quite good at this, I tell ya) and I give up on that endeavor for the moment to make some mac and cheese.  That's when dear husband asks the dreaded, "What are you and I going to eat?" and I'm thinking to myself, "WE ate lunch at the Mexican buffet, and I am still full, so you should be too..." But realizing that men do not operate that way, I give my best cute-apologetic-smile and he makes himself a sandwich without complaint.   Another deep breath and a BIG sigh of relief. Love a man that doesn't mind making his own sandwich.  That is just a gift from God.

Next on the agenda is bedtime for little ones (after I clean the mac and cheese out of Gracie's hair), but they are not cooperating and this takes the better part of an hour to accomplish.  Deep breaths, counting to ten... Love is patient, love is patient, love is patient... Now back to the lesson plans.  Which leads me back to the computer, which is where I sit at present, typing this blog post. I ask myself, "Why do I do this?" You know, put off the things that are required in favor of the not-so-necessary... And I don't know the answer. But it helps to laugh at myself a little, and I am a little less tense than when I sat down.  So maybe it is still productive? It is a deep breath of sorts, collecting my thoughts like this.

Ready now for the rest of the "have-to-do's", I am heading to the kitchen to clean up a little, then to transfer wet clothes to the dryer, and then straight up to bed.  I am usually singing something in my head, and no, it isn't always inspirational. Tonight's soundtrack is Bryan Adams... "Ain't no use in complaining, when you got a job to do...." (I don't know where this stuff comes from.)  Am I the only one who thinks that Monday really starts on Sunday evening?  I think there should be a calendar that reflects this phenomenon. So that I am not surprised and blind-sided by it every single week. So with one more deep breath, it is back to work for me.  Praying we all have a blessed and joy-filled Monday.  Starting now!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good in the Mess

I write when I have something to write, which is usually in response to something I have read.  With almost no time to read at all, I have had a "writer's block" of sorts, and since anything I come up with on my own is bound to be utter nonsense, I have not really attempted a blog post in a while.  At least none that I am willing to share!  So tonight, I am soaking up some verses on doing good, because as I wash the dishes and fold more laundry and wipe some unknown stickiness off of bathroom walls the words pounding in my head are these: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)  And it isn't the dishes, or the dirty clothes or the sticky messes that make me weary, but the messes that I can't clean... The messes running through my mind that soapy water won't wash away.  The ones I want to fix but have no control over.  You know.  "Those" messes.

So I close my eyes and silently ask, "What is the good? What am I not supposed to grow weary of? What am I supposed to do when my hands are tied and I feel helpless?" And the answer falls gently and swiftly on my heart, "He has shown you, oh mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  So simple. And so hard.  It is an answer, the answer, but I go to bed still feeling undone about it all.  I pull a book off the shelf and read just a little to help me fall asleep, and am startled when I read these words:

"If I am to rid myself of anything that may contaminate body or spirit, then I can give no place in my life to jealousy, bitterness, resentment, or selfishness.  I am always called to practice gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  Someone else's sin never gives me the license to respond with sin...  Every decision I make, every word I utter, every thought I think, every movement I perform, is to flow out of one holy motivation: reverence for God." (Gary Thomas, Devotions for a Sacred Marriage)

I suppose God in His infinite mercy knew I needed a little clarification.... A little further explanation of the "too simple" answer He whispered at first.  Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly.  No jealousy, bitterness, resentment, selfishness...  Always kind, good, faithful, self-controlled.  This is the filter through which to view my own thoughts, words, and actions. Are they contaminating and polluting the relationships in my life? Or are they a reflection of His goodness?  It is HIS goodness.  That is what I am not to grow weary of... Reflecting HIS goodness.  Not trying to manufacture some of my own. Wouldn't that really be just a pile of dirty rags in comparison, anyway?  And I feel the pressure lift... because I know this Goodness firsthand.  How it weaves its way through the mess and brings dark to light and dead to life.  And I can rest in this:  it isn't up to me. I need only be a willing and broken vessel for it to shine through.

"Whoever wants to embrace life
      and see the day fill up with good,
   Here's what you do:
      Say nothing evil or hurtful;
   Snub evil and cultivate good;
      run after peace for all you're worth.
   God looks on all this with approval,
      listening and responding well to what he's asked;
   But he turns his back
      on those who do evil things."

                                                 ~1Peter 3:10-12