Friday, September 27, 2013

The Good Things

When I was a kid, I would lie awake at night for what seemed like hours. It's not really a problem anymore (big surprise). However, it is funny how the strange kid struggles affect our decisions as parents. I cannot go to sleep knowing that my children are awake.

This little boy is wide awake, therefore, so am I. I am too tired to do something productive, so I watch him. He makes things with his plastic tools and makes mouth sounds with every move. Mouth sounds are very important. When he gives me a present to open, if I do not do the mouth sounds, he corrects me and just opens the darn thing for me.

Max: Now I am going to make a cake. (mouth sounds) Now I am going to put glue on it.
Me: On your cake?
Max: No. It's your cake. (mouth sounds) now I use a saw.

I'm tired, but amused. He loves to cook. He also loves his tools. Such a dude.

Four is a great age, in my opinion. He is mature enough to observe so much, and still a cutie pie.

He is also a stinker.

 (He just built me a table so I can eat my cake)

If there is a point to this, I'd like to tell you about some good things in my life, smack dab in the poorest days I've had.

1. My kids barely feel it. Whether it be hand-me-down clothes, (we home school- yeah, they think hand-me-downs are awesome), a fun outing with friends, Grandma and Grandpa's (a list of its own), or excitement out of doing things we have to in order to survive- like baking our own bread. Lots of bread. They are not at a loss for good times. This is due to people that are intentionally or unintentionally used by God, I have no doubt.

2. We get to be more creative. It's funny what we complained about when we had what we wish we had now. Thank God he put it on my heart before this struck to learn to be content. Now, we just roll up our sleeves and get creative. That is kinda fun. I hope it is not forgotten soon.

3. We are better at prioritizing. All of our resources have purpose when used correctly. Like time, money, and the things I bought when I had money. For example, in the past I might have made two trips away from home on a day like today: one to run errands and one to go to the birthday party. Instead, we did them all in one trip and saved a little gas.

4. I am more understanding to others that are hurting. That is self explanatory, I believe. Maybe God will use this when I am filled again.

5. I get to see God at work. He speaks, then he works. Sometimes he is quiet. I wonder if he is waiting to see if I will give up or gear up. Then, he speaks, he works. My redeemer speaks, than works. Job 19:25. Yes, God's word is alive and active in me. Is there anything more exciting?

I don't write these things to put a spotlight on my trials. I write because I know there is victory.

I think my boy is sleeping, and so must I. Here are some beautiful moments from September:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Few times in my life have been reserved for this feeling. I believe anguish is a symptom of hopelessness. Hopelessness is a result of unfulfilled expectations.

During those times, though, I would flip furiously through my Bible and search for treasures that would get me through the next few moments. I found bunches of them, underlining scriptures, writing thoughts, and wearing out the covers in the process.

That is where I fell in love with Him. In anguish.

This is what He told me, over and over:
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither my ways your ways", says the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:8-9

I did not understand how appropriate these verses were at the time.

In the middle of it all, nothing makes sense and I would give anything for something to stand on.

Then, after so long a time, something changes. Sometimes it is circumstances. Sometimes it is perspective. Sometimes, expectations.

We have lost the ability to look at things with a long term conclusion. After all, the best stories are the ones where we cannot figure out the ending, where we think there is no hope and suddenly there is. Can we trust that the ending is good?

In our recent hardship, we have had unbelievable peace. Most of the time. However, anguish has appeared to me in small doses. I don't want to talk about those times. But this is what God told me:

You prayed for this. You did not want a life of selfish, barely getting by. You wanted to learn to live fully, to not be dependent on material things. Trust me: you will get through this, and you will come out better than when you started.

In no way am I saying God is responsible for the bad things in our lives, but he does have a way of letting us see how bad things can be without trusting Him, which will eventually deepen our love for Him. I also think He delights in giving us a challenge to strengthen our own faith. We are still in this horrible world. The beauty of it all, though, is that He says that He will work all things for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). And yes, I love Him. And yes, when I come out of my anguish, I see things differently. I see the bigger picture. I see the joy that is greater than the pain of anguish.

I wonder, while it breaks His heart to see us in pain, how does God feel when we have a triumphant victory? We cannot have that victory if there is no pain.

From what we know, this time is not completely over for us. But we also know that this is a small speck on the timeline of our lives and eternity. This is part of our story, our adventure, our quest to understand what is the fullest life possible. What is it like to not fear? How far can we go thinking like that? How many great stories will we be able to tell when it is all said and done? If this is accomplished, my anguish is worth it. My scars are precious.