Monday, March 14, 2011

in everything ... give thanks

No exceptions.  God didn't tell us to give thanks when we feel thankful.  He wants us to give thanks no matter what we feel ... as a matter of fact ~one that we all know, but bears repeating anyway~ it is more important to give thanks when we don't feel thankful.  But that isn't the case for me today.  Despite the drama in our house, we still had a great weekend.  We enjoyed quite a bit of really good family time, not to mention the time spent some time with great friends. 

And so, my list continues ...

52. a quiet supper with my husband
53. knowing that the kids are well cared for and enjoying their time
54. going to the funeral home and seeing peace on the faces of the family
55. Dads taking the kids on field trips
56. enjoying breakfast and easy conversation with good friends
57. realizing that we could have talked all day and most likely not run out of topics
58. LB spending the afternoon with a friend and coming home with boosted spirits (thank you, my friend!!!)
59. fresh, honest perspective from my SS class
60. Sunday afternoon naps
61. choir practice
62. two sweet ladies from church who treated our family to supper after choir practice (fortunately for them, the kids were free since it was Sunday)
63. a trip to the library
64. my baby getting a library card and being excited about checking out his first books all by  himself!
65. a safe place to ride out today's storm and the kids basically being oblivious to what was happening outside since they were playing with friends
66. Ronnie figuring out how to fix my internet!
67. seeing the beginnings of understanding through a tough situation

Sunday, March 13, 2011

how do I teach a lesson I haven't learned yet?

I needed an instruction manual for this one.  One of those step by step troubleshooting guides that tell you exactly what steps to take and what to do next if the first thing doesn't work.  But, that isn't the way it works and I have fumbled around in the darkness trying to do it on my own.

But this lesson isn't just mine ... it belongs to an 11 year old girl whose heart was broken by circumstances that none of us could control or explain away.  In the midst of my own emotional response to the original problem, I still desperately want for her to come away from her hurt a stronger person.  Isn't that what life is all about anyway ... moving forward with grace and dignity even when all we want to do is curl up in a ball and cry or, worse yet, attack the source of our anger.

The difficulty in our current situation is that she has every right ~ within human understanding ~ to be angry and hurt.  This isn't a case of a child not getting her way and throwing a fit.  I cannot look my child in the eye this time and explain to her that this is all just a misunderstanding.  Oh, how I wish I could.  Even more, I wish I could fix it for her, but that doesn't appear to be possible.

After all the talk at home, and with a few close friends, and several attempts to pray through the situation, I took it to the people who always help me to gain perspective...and who have absolutely no prior knowledge of what was going Sunday school class.  I had no intention of talking to them about this, but our lesson today was from James 3 ... we spent most of the class talking about wisdom.

And that is just what I need ... wisdom to help my child work through this, wisdom to handle my own emotions in such a way that I don't become bitter toward the people involved.  Wisdom that I haven't been able to come up with in the last couple of days. 

But, as one of the class members pointed out, the answer was just one page back from the verses we were reading today ...

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5

There is just one problem.  To do this, I must be willing to give up my own anger and my own hurt and help my daughter to do the same.  No matter how justified it feels right now, it isn't from God and it isn't what He wants for our lives.  And, just to confirm what the class was saying to me, the scripture reading for this morning was from Psalm 84, but the man reading concluded with a few verses from Philippians 4 that just felt like a beacon shining on my spirit in answer to my lack of wisdom.

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

God isn't indifferent to the hurt my child is feeling because she is His child first and foremost.  He knows that though this thing isn't life threatening, it is shaping her spirit and in this His desire should be my desire, that she walk through this situation and the many others that will arise in her life, knowing one thing ... she is never alone and her one goal should be to reflect His love, no matter what.

Maybe, just maybe, I have access to the instruction manual after all ... I just have to be willing to heed its words of wisdom ...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

promises of things to come

I started this post last week when the weather was beautiful and we were all feeling a little bit of spring fever.  Today, the weather is a little more seasonal (rainy and cool) and our moods may not be as bright, but I'm going to forge ahead anyway.

Painted toenails.

Children playing barefoot in the sunshine.

Baseball/t-ball practices.

Plans for a May dance recital.

New Easter music.

Practices for end of the year dramas/musicals.

A Mama struggling almost as much as the kids to stay focused on school work.

There can be no doubt, these are all signs that spring is on the way.  I have been loving this little taste of spring that we have been experiencing over the last couple of weeks.  As always, spring holds more than just warmer temperatures and trees blooming ... it holds a promise of things to come.  Some of the things that we know are coming may not be as welcome as others ... like the 95 degree temps and 100% humidity that our summer is sure to hold ... but this isn't the time to focus on that ;-)

I have been amazed this year (as I almost always am) at the beauty and the suddenness of spring flowers ... especially the flowering trees.  This year, the Bradford Pear trees have been stunning in our area.  So much so, that even my kids have noticed how beautiful they are and how many of them they see.  Our small tree has already dropped most of its blooms and is quickly changing from white to green, but several in our neighborhood are still covered in the lovely white blossoms.  Somehow, it just seems to lift my spirit to see the beauty that God has placed in His creation for us to enjoy.  Yet, so often, I forget to praise Him for that beauty.  I simply take it for granted, as if it were just an accident of nature.

In a continued effort to take nothing for granted, I am continuing to count my blessings . . .

42. trees in bloom everywhere
43. barefoot kids ... even if it is only March
44. dead bushes hauled away and the clean new look to our yard
45. boys enjoying baseball
46. a daughter's desire to dance ... and her choosing a song of worship for her duet
47. friends who pray
48. Sunday School parties
49. Adults willing to laugh at themselves
50. simple conversation
51. the sound of rain falling as I type