Thursday, 23 October 2014

Today I lived in an Alternate Universe

This is going to sound like I'm bragging. I assure you that I am not. I do have a point, promise. Just keep reading or don't and go make a smoothie (yum!) for yourself and paroose something more interesting.Otherwise here goes...and stay with me ok?

This morning I woke up at 5:30. This. NEVER. Happens. Ask my husband. He's usually up by at least 6:30. But this morning his phone alarm that rings every morning at (God help us all) 5 am, woke me up as well as my college aged neighbors (I'm certain of it) because the tone was shrieking at me loud and hard. Did I say 5 am? Ok I'm moving on...

 Now usually, I don't even hear that dreaded melody, and if I do I lovingly (ok maybe not so lovingly all the time) wonder if he is going to get up and turn it off. 9 times out of 10 he does b/c well, I'm not sure that most of me is actually alive. Today it was my turn. Plus I can't figure out how to set my heater so it doesn't feel like Hawaii inside my room at 2:30 am, so I had to go down anyway...but my lack of temp. control is another post altogether.

Moving on...

So I found out this morning that I am indeed actually alive at 5:30 and least enough to walk downstairs and make some breakfast for my husband who has to be, shortly, out the door. Oh, and I make him lunch. Not one, but two sandwiches...and a protein bar of which I did not make but did throw in a paper sack to make him feel like he was back in elementary school. I think he liked that. Sorry to all you environmentalists out there.

So lets just review here...woke 5:30--check, breakfast--check, lunch made--check, dishes unloaded--check, dishes--loaded (yes, I left them in the sink last night), laundry folded--check

And then this...

I was able to read out of the Book of John with my Love...AND the still, quiet house of ours before the two early risers tumble down the stairs wiping the sleep out of their eyes.

It all felt good. Really, really good.

I even showered these stinky boys off, made banana bread for breakfast while a third joined them to play a game of Life whilst the bread baked in the oven and I said (over and over again)..."Thousand, not million boys."

And thhhheeeennnnn,

This Pope crew gets all their school done (well, most of it) before lunch. Yes, before. And I'm starting to believe that we are in another universe where in which I get up early and get every single thing done on my list and yay, yay, YAY for me.

Or not..because...

...wait a minute. I do remember yesterday. Which just might have been filled with tears from a certain child. And another who is struggling with the idea that, nope, the wold does not revolve around you and what you want to do and yes, you do have to do ALL of your school work. Oh, and the three year old that cannot seem to find his Lego guy and lets every one know pitching it. And on goes the list....

And I'm convinced that is one reason why the Lord gives us a memory. So that we can look back and see how unrealistic our expectations of ourselves can be. I have one good day out of 7 and I EXPECT them to ALL be that way. I am frustrated when they aren't going the way I want, instead of asking for grace to peservere through what most days are: hard.

Most days are hard.
It's that simple.
And I don't like hard.
I try to do everything I can to make my life easier.
And to a certain extent that is ok, I think.
But the reality is that no matter how many children you matter where you are in your life...there are parts of it that are challenging at best.

Challenging does not feel good. Not good at all. And those pesky little feelings can steal the joy right out of those hard days. Poof! It's gone. They tell us that if we were really doing things right that things would be easier...that if we could just change this or that things would not be hard...and shouldn't be.

And are there things to implement, like actually looking at the calendar that you write things down on or bringing your list with you to the grocery store, that are helpful and sometimes necessary. Certainly. But there is no formula for getting out of every hard situation and there will be (I promise) at least a few during your day.

Things are going to get loud.
People will hurt you for no good reason.
The kids will have to be use kind words.
They will fight, argue, scream even.
Friends will fail.
Family won't understand you.
Your feelings will scream at you to just get out.

Be wise, dear friends and perhaps get out the Popsicles out in the morning (a little trick I learned from my sweet sister-in-law).

Thank you very much.

And so, I praise the Lord for today. I mean, I even have time in the middle of the day to blog...this is unheard of! I praise Him for who he is, even when most of the days are hard. For it is in those hard days that I must lean into him ever so more. I learn patience, perseverance, how to truly love, and so on.

Like right now, I better go...I think I see paper being strewn across the living room floor...perseverance, baby...perseverance ;)

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Looking Back

We walk to school back in June to grab the kids from school. She walking next to me, lanky, not even a foot shorter any more. Thick hair down her back and I see it then: who she is becoming. I see who the Lord is molding her into and what a hard, wild ride the last year has been. Really, how many years have been for us. A struggle. And how I praise the Lord for what He has done in her.

I asked her if she remembered the day that she told me that she was going to run away and I asked if I could help her pack her bags. I asked her to look back and remember who she was and what a year with Jesus can do for the soul. She smiles big. There is sadness there for what used to be in us both as well as a love that was worth growing in both of our hearts that we would never want to be taken away.

A mother's heart will always be for what is hers, for what came from her, for what has been given and I feared and worried that we were some how stealing something from our biological children by bringing in other children into our home. All of the "what-ifs"...realistic or not...weighed heaving-heavy on my heart. I begged God not to ask us to do this. I told him that we couldn't...that we had enough on our plate. And what about all those horror foster stories?  The ones that everyone seems to want to tell you when you are even considering bringing in foster kids. And what if I messed the whole lot of them up? What if it was all my fault? What if God, You are not big enough to take care of it all.

Still, after all the angst, the Lord made our hearts willing. We wrestled. God Won. Thankfully, he always does. We thought it would be hardest on our first born son (second in the family). Many warned that he would be shut out because he was already the middle and quiet. We were wrong.

Spending ten years in a family. The only girl. And the only girl granddaughter on one side. To say it was hard for our oldest would be the understatement of the century. It caught us all off guard. She begged for foster kids.  She was the most excited. She wanted to share Jesus' love with kids that didn't know his love. And as with most of our "working out our own salvation"'s the working out part that is so much harder than the talking about it (or the idea of it.) Learning to share your family is a hard lesson. Learning to truly love, like Christ, is harder.

For a year we struggled together. It seemed, at times, that untruth would win outright. Asking Jesus "into your heart" is easy. Living that out is entirely different especially at 11. All of it seemed too much at times. Other times I could see glimpses of what the Lord was doing in her heart, and still my heart doubted that she was getting there. It was a dance of sorts. And my hope did falter.

But here we were a year later and she's smiling brave at me. I smile back. It is sweet relief to know that the battle will still rage some moments but Christ has conquered her heart. Difficult times are sure to come, but I pray her hope... her joy will always be found in Him no matter the circumstances.