Blessings Amid the Chaos
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I've had a few things go wrong this week.
I had a guy come over the other day for what I thought was going to just be a tune-up on my air conditioner. He came back in after a few minutes and gave me a list of things that were very wrong with the system, from the wrong-sized breaker to the capacitor and condensers being VERY old and on their last legs. In other words, it probably won't make it through the summer. Now, we get to go through the wonderful experience of shopping for a new one. The joys of home-ownership are hitting us early.
Several things have broken or needed replacing this week, including my little laminator that I was using to make my nephew's present for his birthday this weekend.
My three-and-a-half-year-old who has been potty trained since last year has suddenly started having accidents again. And I don't know why. She obviously doesn't want to. And she isn't consistent with it. But it's happening ... and an added stress to our life right now. This on top of her fighting nap and bedtime every day.
My twenty-month-old keeps having coughing fits in the middle of the night due to his allergies. I get up and give him a spoonful of honey, help him lay back down, and he sleeps several more hours. But having to get up and do all of that leaves me awake for an hour or so before I can get back to sleep.
My Grandmother is in the hospital with blood pressure and heart issues.
My husband's uncle is in another hospital with major heart issues.
My father-in-law is trying to tie things up where they are so he can move closer to us, which is a huge hassle because we still need to go through more of my mother-in-law's things to decide to keep/toss, and I worry about him.
I have several friends who have lost a parent lately.
My husband is stressed because it's the end of the school year and everything has to happen NOW.
And it all adds up.
Are you depressed yet?
Something I have learned over the last few years (even if I don't always remember to do it) is that when everything seems to be going wrong, I need to sit down and make myself think about things that are going right. I need to stop and count my blessings.
Obviously, I am not going to list ALL of my blessings on here, because you guys don't want to read this for that long. But I wanted to show you that in the long run, my blessings really do outweigh all the "bad" stuff.
Okay, your turn. Feel free to list all your bads, but then go back and list the goods beside them. See which one is longer!
I'll Do it Myself!
I never knew what a control freak I was until my children started learning to feed themselves. Just look at those sweet, messy, wonderful faces!
Seriously, though. If you've never taught someone to use a spoon, here's a bit of how it goes. He grabs it in his hand, not holding it like you showed, but however he thinks he wants to hold it. Dips it into the yogurt or whatever he's eating, pulls it out helter-skelter so that there's no telling if anything will stay on or not, then clumsily moves it to his mouth, leaving half on his chin and only getting a small bit inside. Every fiber of my being wants to reach out and hold the spoon for him. However, if I do, he won't learn to do it correctly. And besides, he wants to do it himself. He throws a huge tantrum if I try to take the spoon back and help.
I wonder if God looks at us like that sometimes? If He wants to just reach down and take the spoon out of our hands and help us get all the goodness into our mouth instead of on our eyebrows? No. AS adults, most of us know how to get our spoon full of food and into our mouths. But what about other parts of our life? Do you ever catch yourself acting a bit like a toddler and figuratively yelling at God, "I can do it myself!" "God, I'm worried about (insert whatever worries you here), but I can handle it. So, thanks for listening, but I'll just keep this problem for myself." No? I do it all the time. It's so hard to let go of my worries and struggles, even though I pray for them. Do I really believe God is going to help me handle it or do I keep clutching those burdens on my own shoulders? How hard it must be for Him to watch us make the same mistakes over and over again, knowing He would help if we'd only just ask. And how hard it must be for Him to watch us assert our independence, our free will, when He knows that His way is easier and better than whatever road we've chosen to go down. Just like I know in my head that my daughter dipping her peach into her tomato soup probably wasn't going to taste good. But I had to let her make that choice. And God lets us make our choices and mistakes, too. The good news is, just like we're there to pick our children up after they make a mistake or bad choice (Ew, do you really want to mix that together? Okay.), God is always going to be there to help us when we're ready to ask, too.
Matthew 11:28-30. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
So, what do you think? Do you like having yogurt in your eyebrows? Are you going to keep trying to do it all yourself? Or are you going to let God help you?
Cinderella Can Keep 'Em!
Today, I got to be a guest over on Jennifer Slattery's Live Out Loud blog. Click here to see my thoughts on MICE ... and sins.
Every morning. Seriously. Every morning, some of the first words out of my daughter's mouth are, "Mommy, my tummy's hungry. I want breakfast." Even if I make her wait a few more minutes because she got up WAY too early, she knows that I will eventually let her eat. It might not be exactly when she wants, but it will happen.
My children know. They know I will take care of them, that they won't go hungry (not really) or cold or dirty or hurt. Their Mommy and Daddy are always there to make sure they have everything they need ... and quite a bit of what they want, too. Especially when my 19-month-old son looks up at me with those big chocolate brown eyes and says, "Please." They don't even have a doubt that when they want to swing, someone will be there to "push me so high." After all, why wouldn't that happen?
Don't get me wrong. I'm in no way a perfect mom. No way. I lose my temper at least three times a day and usually more lately. I sometimes pay attention to others things more than my children. I give them candy more than I really ought to. But despite my flaws, my children love me and know I will always make sure they have what they need.
When do we stop trusting like that? When did we get to the point that having our hungry tummies fed is a cause for worry? Was it when we moved out of our parents' home? When we lost a job? When we had too many bills and not enough pay? Have we ever REALLY gone hungry? I haven't. There were a few times when I was pregnant that I thought I might pass out from hunger, but I never actually did. I know there are people in the world who struggle with true hunger, but I never have. So, why do I worry at the end of every month, wondering if we'll have enough money to buy that one last gallon of milk, that one last tank of gas, that one last bunch of bananas, etc. before my husband's paycheck hits the bank? Even if I didn't get to go to the store for milk and bananas, we'd still have plenty to eat. The mice that keep finding their way into my pantry (ARGH!) haven't eaten THAT much. We could live on beans and rice and potatoes for a few days. It might not be the most variety, but we'd have enough.
And looking at my house, at all the STUFF I have crammed into it, at the clothes crushed into my small closet, and the boxes yet unpacked because of a lack of room, I honestly can't say that I don't have more than I need. God has blessed us abundantly. I need to go back somehow and find again that childlike faith. God is taking care of us, whether we can always see it or not. He's there. And our hungry tummies are going to be fed.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.