Friday, April 27, 2012

Game Face and Grace

I have several close people in my life who are in the midst of some lonely private struggles.  I feel like I have been in my own lonely private struggle for a while and so I find myself particularly sensitive to these souls right now.   Job losses, prodigal children, difficult marriages, difficult pregnancies, difficult transitions, widowhood ... there are things you expect to be lonely, but some of the worst times are when other people either don't know or can't know the struggle.  Satan loves it when we are in those places.  It is a battle of the mind to remind yourself of Truth on a regular basis.  
"Children are a heritage from the Lord"  (Ps 127:3) 
"Seven times a righteous man falls, seven times he gets up"  (Prov 24:16)
"The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry"  (Prov 10:3)
" We know that all things work together for the good to them that love God" (Rom 8:28).

The other day I called one of these friends and said to her amidst my own tears,  "please just tell me that the Lord is going to make something beautiful of this!"   She did tell me, of course, and it was a little better.  It has made me think though, how we all need to be doing that for each other, even before the person asks, because who knows that they are not in their own private hell that we know nothing of.  Maybe the grumpy clerk in the store or the driver who just cut you off is just trying to make it through the day.  Maybe more than our chastisement they need our mercy.

We are studying Ephesians in our small group right now, and two little words have just stood out to me for a month now:  " .... impart grace..."  (Ephes 4:29)

Oh how I would love to be one who imparts grace wherever I am ....

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Forwards ...

I try very hard not to "forward" stuff to people.  Not because there are not things worthy of being passed along but because I have so much trouble managing my inbox that I feel guilty adding to someone else's.
I use to try to "clean it up" every once in a while - prune it down to a few pages, put things in folders, etc.  I have, on more than one occasion, even thought about just starting over and getting a new email address.
A couple of years ago, I had an epiphany.  I will just let it sit there.  It is over loaded and full but until MSN tells me it's servers can no longer handle it, I don't think I will waste any more time trying to make it "work for me".  The 131 pages of messages, the 760 unread emails, the 227 "flagged"'s all there! 

Anyway, the following is a link that someone dear forwarded to me that I am so, so thankful for that I am pasting it here.  I know you don't have time to read it, but I hardly ever write anything, so read this post instead.  At least the first three paragraphs anyway, because we are in that second struggle and it would be good for people to understand that sometimes.  She doesn't write all that she could about it, but for someone yet to adopt she does amazingly well.  Thank you Jen for writing, and thank you Rachelle for sharing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Teenagers

My mother has suggested that I write something about "the teenagers".
When I was pregnant with Julia, and people figured out the age difference that was going to be between the children, there usually followed the comment about teenagers.  When I had her, the assumption was always made that of the two ends of the spectrum, surely I found the teenagers more trying.  I always felt bad for these people, because I love my teenagers.  I don't just love them because they are my kids, but like them as people, delight in being with them, and miss them when they are gone.  I do not know if I will feel the same way about Julia and Ellie when they are that age, but I sure hope so.
I generally avoid the topic of Maggie and James for several reasons.
For one, I am pretty sure that teenagers, as a rule, don't want to show up in their mother's blog very often.
Two, one of my "pet peeves" with myself and sometimes parents in general, is our tendency to talk about our children's "issues" as if they were our story to share long past the age in which that is true.  I have a precious relationship with Maggie and James and would not want to write anything that would jeopardize that.  I don't, however, want to give the impression that everything is perfect or that we don't have trials or that the trials we do have don't have consequences. 
Thirdly is the practical reality that young adulthood is a season in your life when you are trying on different labels - different adjectives for who you are.  What people you love say about you, especially to others, can really stick.  At my age I can still remember many words that people used to describe me, some of them taking years to shed.  Even if they were not hurtful, they often became burdens.
The other day James really convicted me on this very point.  He said, "Well, mom, you have a perpetual ____, a perpetual ____, and a perpetual ____.  I wonder what Ellie will be."  He was not mad at me at the time, we were laughing in fact.  But I realized those blanks?  They were labels I had given each of them.  They were accurate summations of the thing about the three of them that most grates on my nerves.
I am going to be working on that.

So all of those things are considerations when writing about the messes left in the proverbial barn by the teenagers verses the messes left by the toddlers.

I would think, however, that it should be safe to publicly thank Maggie and James for the sacrificial ways they have lived at times the past two and a half years.  I am not saying this has been a bad thing.  God has used all of these changes to bring forth less self-centeredness in both of their hearts, and that is very beautiful.  I do note though, that it has occasionally been hard and they have gone far above the call of duty in many ways.
SO, thank you dear almost adults!  For making my morning coffee and my evening tea.  For taking your sisters to the trampoline so that I can finish some task.  For taking care of the dog and whatever she dragged home, or rolled in, or both. 
Thank you for making Julia and Ellie laugh.  For turning my bed down and fetching me an Advil.  For patiently waiting for an answer to your question.  For forgiving my snappy irritability at the end of the day. 
Thank you for lunch made and dishes done.  For fresh flowers on the table.
Thank you for cleaning the bathroom because some one is coming and "we wouldn't want people to think we live like this!".  For taking little people on adventures that involve ice cream and sprinkles and ducks. 
Thank you for hanging up your wet towels and folding the dry ones.  For chopping vegetables and marinating the steaks. 
Thank you for picking up the milk on milk day and your dad at the end of the day.

You are my very favorite first born child and my very favorite son and I love you both!

Children are a heritage from the Lord.....Psalm127:3