27 September 2015

jealous of grace

I have often been tempted to envy other women's possessions, appearance, or travel opportunities. But not till now have I found myself envying their time.

I can literally spend the whole day attempting to transfer a load of laundry into the dryer, and by evening it's still in the washer. Our flowerbeds are tangled with overgrown marigolds and lavender, because I haven't had a moment to trim them back all summer. I can't find the time to make one simple phone call. It's ridiculous . . . or at least it seems that way to me. I love having two children but am floored by how busy they've made my life! (Should I have been this surprised? No. Yet here I am.)

Meanwhile, I hear of friends accomplishing so much that I would love to do. I see pictures and read stories of all the time they have for crafting and studying, for making music and blogging.

Sure, what we see on the internet does not always correspond to reality, but many times it does, and these women really do have time for their photogenic pursuits. They really are able to get all these lovely things done. I can feel inadequate in contrast, and a bit guilty. They have children too. They're taking care of a house too. They are faithful in their small things just as I am trying to be faithful in mine. So on top of all that how can they possibly run Etsy shops, repaint furniture, and get to Crossfit three times a week, while I twist my dirty hair into a flyaway braid and congratulate myself if I get a single carpet vacuumed?

It's because God is allowing them that grace. How could I be jealous of that? God has looked at each of us and said, here little daughter, this is what I have for you. And here is the grace to get it done.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.
-Ephesians 3:20-21
More abundantly than we could ask or think? Well, I can ask and think quite a lot, so it must be that God intends to accomplish truly amazing things. Someday perhaps I will see them fully. I know, certainly, that He is dishing out grace for me every day. It looks different from my friends' portions. (And often I don't even see my own portion as grace: I take what I do for granted. Of course I'm canning applesauce this fall! Of course I visit the library with my kids! Maybe for other women those things, my everyday things, are their impossible dreams.)

"A bawoon for me!" Simple fun at the fair.

I don't want to be greedy for grace. No God. I don't want this one; give me what she has. I want to trust Him for strength, rather than plotting something different, then trying to force it through in my own power. Come to think of it, I'm tuckered out at the end of every day and don't have much energy for plotting. So I want to cheerfully acknowledge the fact that my life is already filled to the utmost, believing that it's filled with what He has chosen, and that it is very good.

16 September 2015

and then she said

"I got it! I got the sun!"
-jumping into an early morning sunbeam on the floor

"Mommy, are you sick?! Are you taking a nap?"
-because I was still asleep when she got up and clearly that is only attributable to illness

"Bye! See ya! I going to the work! Have fun! I love you! Have a good day!"
-riding away on her tricycle

"I need to put wotion on my crash."
-requesting lotion for a nonexistent rash

"Are you making an order?"
"Are you checking your wist?"
-whenever I look at my phone (which, yes, I do use to place Amazon orders and make grocery lists)

"Mommy!!! You awake???"
-while we were stopped at a red light

"Goodbye water! Sleep tight!"
-bidding farewell to her bedtime bath

"No Zoe, dat is NOT a good idea."
-whenever Zoe does something of which she disapproves

"Mommy, are you pretty?"
-I don't know where that question came from

Me: We're going to the chiropractor later today.
Ellie: Ooh! The pyro-tractor?

Ellie: Where's Kenzie?
Me: At her house.
Ellie: Where's Kyle?
Me: At his house. You'll actually get to see them tomorrow.
Ellie: THEY get to see ME!

08 September 2015

clueless but pretty much okay

"Then I replied to them, 'The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build . . .'"
-Nehemiah 2:20
I have no clue what I'm doing with my kids.

Well, fine, I do know a few things about babies. I also have some broad ideas about what my girls should learn as they grow, and about how our home life should look, and I think they're good ideas. Other than that I'm flyin' by the seat of my skinny jeans every single day.

kitchen got turned into parking lot
In fact, each time I think I found a solid handle on motherhood and start patting myself on the back, we shift into the next gear and I'm back to the blackboard. Not to mix metaphors or anything. It has been hard for me to admit that to myself: I don't have parenting figured out, not even mostly. I never will. The fact seems quite obvious, but then, I do like to pretend I've got things under control.

The thing is, when my mommy abilities-- to be patient, to speak wise words, to keep these two blessed munchkins a little bit clean-- sputter to a stop, and that's usually by 9AM, the Holy Spirit keeps plowing ahead. He tirelessly accomplishes the work He has in mind for us. I see the fruit of His tending all the time. It is good to rest in Him. (Or "just rewax!" as Ellie likes to say.) When I confess my insufficiency, I am only recognizing what has been true all along. Our family's wellbeing has never hinged on my having things under control. That's why I can see my lack of understanding, my imperfectly wise plans, and not freak out.  I am not the anchor of our souls, after all.

And you know, from moment to moment, even my bumbling efforts work out. I may not have a comprehensive theory of motherhood, but in each miniature crisis of the day I find that I know what to do. With God's help-- and often I don't recognize that He is helping, not until later-- my flawed instincts and incomplete knowledge suffice for our children's needs.

The God of heaven will make us prosper.