second try

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Love Will Remain

Having been unusually sleep deprived the last two days (sickness mixed with two new teeth in my littlest- not a good combination!) I have noticed how much harder it has been to keep my patience with my children over small things, particularly in the morning. Well, and early afternoon when I needed a nap, didn't get one and neither did the baby get much of one. Of course I apologized to my kids, but, seriously, 2 days in a row of grumpy mom? It's definitely not nice and definitely a poor reflection of the heart of my Father God for my kids.

As I was driving after losing it at the bank parking lot (in patience and kindness of tone) with my oldest over a lost shoe and a cascading effect of inconveniences resulting from the lost time, including being late to my next appointment, I somehow, at some point chose to relax. These were things that I could not control. My spirit, words and attitude I can always control. And it had been a struggle I did not win for a while because I did not choose love, which NEVER fails. My poor three year old had told me she put the shoe in the bushes, which I did look in multiple times. I think she had just been trying to suggest places it might be, even though she did not comprehend the fact that it would not have been there if she had not put it there. And so after all of that unkindness and expecting too much from a three year old I began to relax a little. 

Eventually, after the cascading effect of setbacks and their various ramifications, I chose to choose a better attitude: LOVE. 

Appointments can come and go but children do not. They are here to stay- for not long enough- and learn to handle life by how I do. I am shaping how they respond to setbacks and difficulty. I am showing them their worth in how I choose to be patient with them in their little person sized abilities and communication. I can posses everything but if I do not posses love, or become possessed by Love, I am nothing. All I have done is nothing. All I have is nothing.

Choosing love today, finally, gave me the opportunity to be thankful that God was revealing to me an untended area of my heart that is ugly and needs to be given over to Love. I think it was once a better garden, but it's the little things that spoil it, and quickly. Keeping a garden at our home has always caused me to marvel that the unwanted, ugly and pesky plants are usually the only ones that grow quickly. The troublemakers seem to grow with no care given to them. Only constant, steady hand picking will keep the weeds out that will ruin a garden. It is the good plants that grow slowly and require nurturing, patient planning and care. God showed me that the garden of my heart has a problem area. It is his kindness to do so before I joyfully welcome the night shift with a hungry little newborn in a few months. Lack of sleep is no excuse to to abstain from the fruits of Holy Spirit and the foremost thing of love. And by the way, neither is pregnancy an excuse to cease flowing with the character and nature of God! He gave us marriage, friends, family and children as a blessing and a joy, not to rob ours. It is our own shortcomings to respond in a nature other than love.

So my prayer today is, "Lord, remove from me everything that stands in the way of love every day and in every way. I trust in your faithfulness that you will consume and burn up every evil weed that has found a home in the soil of my heart. I trust in you that Love will remain, and you will remember to complete the good work you have begun in me."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Returning to Eden

Click here to listen to one of my favorite songs about Eden. Just choose the song called “The Reward” by Jonathan Helser. And be blessed as you journey back to the place we never should have left.

So I am behind, and it feels like life as usual. BUT I don’t feel as behind as usual, and that is a triumph! About a year ago I decided to quit trying and working so hard. And guess what? I have been much more productive. Some of our best things, creations or routines come out of a place of rest. Our oldest daughter, Eden, was conceived during a season of rest for both my husband and I.

Just writing her name makes perceived images of the original Eden float through my head like airy whispers of a future time to come. These same images also sound an invitation into a present day possibility. Our errant humanity may have defiled the earth with bloodshed, selfish ambitions, greed and conceit, but Christ in us is the hope of glory. At times great masses of people have been guilty of being arrogant, overfed and unconcerned about the poor (the very things which God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for.)  I would daresay that we live in an incredibly corrupt world at present. While the very earth itself is groaning under the weight of guilt and sin, entry into Eden again is offered through Christ alone. And while the physical world and humanity is polluted by dark things, we have the invitation to walk with God in the garden again, possessing His glorious light and taking on the incorruptible mind of Christ.

Any one person can choose to respond to the call to return to Eden. No matter what may come, or what demons we find ourselves facing, I am one of those who has chosen to put on Christ. Being clothed in his nature enables me, with my many quirks, shortcomings and limitations, to enter into Eden, into the garden, once again. It makes me less of me with faults, and more like He made me to be- like Himself, the one who is LOVE. Love doesn’t fail. It is not selfish or conceited. It prefers people other than myself. I thank God for marriage and mothering! What a wonderful gift I have been given to learn to put aside selfishness and put on love.

By choosing love, peace and rest I am returning to Eden. I am returning to intimacy. I was made for intimacy with God. I was made for a garden that is not racked by weeds and drought but has been given everything that nourishes soil and human life. And so was my spirit made for this reality. I can choose to step in now, in the midst of dirty dishes that are staying dirty because I need a nap now and I am feeling a bit under the weather. I can choose to enter in even though my phone is lost, and though I have not been a good steward of all my commitments (it is wonderful learning to say no to prevent this from happening again!) and even though I really have some people to get back to that need things from me I should have gotten them a long time ago. All of this is true.

I may not be superwoman (she’s overrated and unattainable) but I am Christ’s, and in Christ ALL things are possible. In Christ I can lose my stinky nature and take on his perfection- in stages.
J In Christ I can ask forgiveness of the people I have been delinquent with and thank Him a lot that I have been keeping it more simple. I might not be able to run a business right now without having child care but I can love and nurture my family, keep the house as clean as possible, take care of laundry that never ends, teach my pre-schooler, keep our 20 plus small animals and one big dog fed and alive, and sort of barely keep my garden up. Oh yes and make three meals from scratch every day. And of course I have friends I make time for too. And getting ready for our newest baby to be born… well, I have a few things to do in the next few months. I could be overwhelmed but instead I am cherishing reflecting on a key verse which helps me enter into the garden again:

"Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-17

God wants you and I to live in Eden. It is His will. Paradise was His original intent. In ALL circumstances we can function in joy, prayer and thanks. Hand placed in a fallen world to reflect the glory, life and light of Christ, we can choose to make Eden our resting place, one day or one hour at a time.