Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Mess in the Midst

I am sick with a cold. So is my son. He brought it home to me from school and we shared it. Only I am sicker than he, which I won't say I'm upset about (since it is possible for me to crash and psuedo-nap if I can't go on, but he has to tough it out all day and through football practice).

Nonetheless, I hate being sick. I sort-of slept on the loveseat last night, after I unscrewed the cover on the fan that I use for white noise and took out the thing wrapped around the motor that was making an annoying slapping noise. Actually, it was a few hours after that. Around two this morning.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So, I'm sick, and I still miss my son terribly when he goes away in the mornings (especially knowing he's not well), and my house is a certified mess because everything from my school library is now...






strewn about my home...







See. I wasn't kidding. What a load of stuff...

It's spread out because my husband didn't want the whole load in one room, to make it easier on the floor joists. The library room is at the back of the house and two walls are supported with the foundation block, so no worries there.

Now the room is gutted and the former shelving and counters are in a pile in our garage.


And the room has a new sub-floor and walls painted with Dove Gray.



The boxes on the floor are 3/4" hand-scraped oak hardwood flooring that we are going to put down when my husband has vacation again at the end of the month. The flooring has to sit in its environment for at least a week, but preferably two or more, to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room, before it's installed. It's a pecan stain, which matches our trim almost exactly.



God is definitely teaching me during this season.

Teaching me all sorts of things, like trust -- in Him, and in my husband's love for me and our family.


And patience. Ugh. I like for things to be the way I want them to be. And I hate change. I try to embrace it, but it seems like, lately, God sees me hanging on to something for comfort in the midst of the mess, something other than Him,  and He nudges me just a bit more until I have nothing left to grab hold of.

It hasn't been pretty. But God promises to bring beauty from ashes.

He is teaching me to trust His Word, to know that it is true. And to realize that believing His Word takes more than just a head acknowledgement that I believe it. I have to apply it to my life.

I have to cry out to Him instead of a sympathetic ear. Because all venting to someone does is relieve the pressure that God allowed to build so it would drive me to my knees to seek His face. I rant, I cry, and I go about my business. No wonder I, like the Israelites, go around the same dumb mountain so many times!

It's the reason that I can encourage others with passages from the Bible, but I don't automatically reach for them when I'm hurting. (Or if I do, it's been with a rabbit's-foot mentality.) It's the reason I try, for the umpteenth time, to tackle something from my own perspective, rather than seeking His wisdom to know what to do. And it's why I feel powerless when I pray, because I'm mostly telling God what I'd like to see happen and asking Him to bless my requests.

I feel laid bare. Gutted, like my library. I know that our library will look great when it is finished and all is made new and fresh. And God has a vision for how He wants to fill me up. I just need to let Him have His way with my mess in the midst of His fix.



Thursday, September 8, 2016

Why Is Forgiving So Hard?

Have you ever heard of Laos? The United States heavily bombed them during the Vietnam War.

The news had a story of a young man who was just sixteen when a bomb-- small and round, like a toy ball--went off in his hands. He lost his sight, both of his hands, and parts of his forearms. In spite of this tragic event, he seems full of joy and said that he forgives the United States, and he forgives everyone.

When something painful happens in your life, it can feel like a bomb going off.

I keep thinking about that young man, how he kept smiling and seemed almost giddy with happiness. And he annoys me. Why? Because I am nursing anger about this big change in my life. Everything that was my life is altered by my son no longer being home educated. And my freedom is gone, since my calendar needs to revolve around school and practices for him. I'm angry about that.

The news story keeps sticking with me, because God is telling me to let this thing go. I have to surrender it to Him, if I don't want to stay stuck in this ugly place indefinitely. I have to forgive, and it is hard. Instead, I want to fight and yell and rationalize and plead my case!

I'm sure that young man was tempted to do the same. Or at least he should have been. I know I'd be resentful if something another country did caused me to lose parts of my body. He has a right to be very angry.

But he gave up that right, in favor of good things. He said, "...I forgive everyone, because angry [sic], it doesn't give you any good thing." 

 Indeed. (See James 1:20)

How's it working for me, this holding on to my anger, my indignation over the events that have unfolded since my son started going to Fairmont Catholic?

It isn't. I am miserable, and I end up snapping at everyone, even my precious son whom I don't get to see much now.

It feels powerful to be angry, doesn't it? Like you are controlling an uncontrollable situation. But that's a lie the devil uses to keep us stuck, because he knows that Jesus said if we are going to hold onto offenses and not forgive, then we can't partake in the forgiveness that He offers (Matthew 6:14-15).

I don't want to stand on my rights on earth and lose my rights in heaven. I want to be with Jesus for eternity, to fellowship with Almighty God and to know what it is like to lose this weariness of earth. So I won't let anger take good things from me. I won't throw away tomorrow by being angry over yesterday.

I will do the hard thing. I will forgive.


Linking with others at I Choose Joy!
The Deliberate Mom
Joyful Homemaking

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Five Minute Friday :: Path {link up}


I didn't choose this path.

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but the path I chose was very different. And my heart is broken.

God allows us to plan things, but He ultimately directs our path. This is truth and we read it in the Word and say, "Amen!"

But when He applies it to our lives and our path diverts from the goal we had, it hurts.

Even though pain can be good -- and God is good, this I know! -- it is not easy. I am tempted to look down the path I've been forced to leave; longing for things to be as they were, angry that they are not.

But that will destroy the new goal that I have, to be utterly surrendered to whatever my God calls me to do, and to go forward in faith, fearless of what lies ahead because I know I can trust the path that He calls me down.

He will never lead me astray.

All that is left to do is to keep my eyes fixed on Him and continue down the path. Forward motion, with my surrendered action willing my feelings to follow suit.



Writing with others for Five Minute Friday


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Definitions


 It is so easy to get caught up in life.

Jesus knew it would be a struggle for us, one that could blot out the Son in our lives. That is why He gave us the parable of the sower and told us to watch getting caught up in the cares of this world.

Sometimes we are driven by cares and the things of this world because we've allowed them to define us--such as being a homeschooling mama. And letting go of that definition of who we are is a paradigm shift -- "an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way."

God likes to shift our paradigms.

Especially when they start being set in stone and we define ourselves with them. And when change occurs, it is easy to panic. Especially when it is not a change you want or expect. But the amazing thing about our God is how He uses these changes to mold us into the image of His Son.

When something defines us, and that something can be taken away from us, we are left feeling like we're hanging off a cliff with no rescue in sight. And that's what satan would have us think--that we're hopeless.

But that's a lie.

Jeremiah 29:11 says:


" For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope," (NASB).

Remember, faith build on the solid rock of Jesus is the only thing that will stand firm no matter what. If your life feels shaky, thank God for that! He is not in the business of ruining our lives, so He has a good plan for allowing the shaking to happen. You don't have to know what that plan is, or the final outcome, to trust Him (Isaiah 55:8).

You just have to know Him.







Monday, August 29, 2016

Be Thankful for the Privilege of Homeschooling

I know that parents have done this for decades and it is not only doable but many do it and work outside their homes.

But I honestly don't understand how they do it. Maybe I'm just feeling my fifty years...

We are into our fourth day of private school for our son.

He is playing football with the local middle school because he is allowed to do so if he attends a private Catholic school, but not if he is home educated. I do not understand this, but rules are rules.

His schedule is get up at 6:00 to get ready to leave by 7:15 to get to the school by 7:30. After school, he leaves around 2:45 by bus, which takes him to the middle school for 2-hour football practices. Usually, he is done either at 5:00 or 5:30. By the time he gets home, showers, and eats dinner, it is close to 6:30. Every (?) Wednesday he has a football game.

Right now, it is after 11:00 p.m. and I still need to shower before I go to bed. I have been helping our son with homework for hours. He had assignments in four classes. He still needs to get up early to finish his Spanish homework.

Doing homework at night is hard enough, but add exhaustion of the school day plus long and grueling practices in the heat and humidity and it is like slogging through mud for a child.

I am so grateful for the years I had my son at home.

 I love him dearly and I miss him terribly during the day. Each time I get out school things and see a book with his name on it, I struggle not to cry. I also work not to cry when I think of all the times I got frustrated and yelled and had a bad attitude. I wish I could go back and do so many things over, and that desire also makes me want to cry. It also makes me cry when I think of the disruption of our nightly routines, since I can't read to my daughter now that I am homework helper.

If you are a homeschooling parent, please know that you have something priceless and the stressful days of having your child there constantly, being responsible for teaching and training them in academics, as well as in righteousness and character, are joyous compared to dealing with the stress of night time homework, fatigue, lost sleep, and lost fellowship with your child when they go away for school.

My heart is broken. God has called me to be fearless, and I am trying to be brave for my son. He is such a strong, brave boy. So big for just turning thirteen, but still so little in this mama's eyes.

Please, before you get upset about the mess in your home, or the schedule or curriculum that isn't working for you, or the discipline issues you are facing--STOP! Close your mouth, take your thoughts captive, and list all the rich and wonderful blessings that come from homeschooling. You ARE taking some for granted, and you never know when your life may radically change. Embrace this time, embrace your kids and all the messiness that comes from being with them all the time.

God has given you a gift in homeschooling. Don't forget to be thankful.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Day of (not home) School

Up at 6:00 a.m. this morning. (And yes, homeschoolers can and do get up early.) Threading his belt into his football pants. Annoying how those things come out in the washer. Hurray for safety pins.


Packing his football bag.

More packing.

His uniform for Catholic school.  Getting ready to leave.


At the school.


Walking inside. Cue Mom's tears...


My handsome, strong, intelligent, kind, tenderhearted son. I know he will be fine. But I miss him.

This is not my idea. I am being a submissive wife. And this will be the first time in his 13 years on this earth that he will spend more waking hours away from me than with me. He will ride a bus to the middle school to eat with his football team before their scrimmage tonight, so I won't see him until around 8:00 tonight. Then he will go to bed and get up in the morning and do it again. And again...

Yes, he will eventually go off on his own regardless of where he does his schooling. But it is still hard, and it seems so early.

 ...sigh...

Psalm 38:9
 "Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You."
 God hears my prayers and He has good things for our son. I know He has gone before Him and will hem him in. I must be brave and trust Him.

God help me.


Monday, August 22, 2016

The Big Ta-Da :: Kitchen Cabinets Makeover!

If you saw my previous post, then you probably laughed loudly at my assertion that I'd paint my kitchen cabinets over the weekend.

Yep, that was definitely a novice painter's comment. But, they are done, and they look great (if I say so myself).

BEFORE





AFTER


My husband and my kids were behind me, even though they didn't do the actual painting. They helped to clean up before and after, and they helped to put some cove trim along the top of the cabinets to conceal some cracks that happened because composite material moves around when you heat and air condition your spaces. (And my a/c has been working hard lately, let me tell you!)

As with other laminate things I've painted, these cabinets have one coat of Miss Lillian's Swamp Mud (a laminate bonding product), one coat of Irish Cream, and a final coat of Satin Luster. 

My takeaway from all this work (and I do mean work...) is beautiful cabinets that now look more like wood than laminated composite. And, I wouldn't get to enjoy them if I had even an inkling of how much work (and pain...) was involved in the process of painting them, because I truly don't think I'd have been willing to hurt like that.

I think that is why God doesn't tell us in advance what the journey to the end is like, how much pain and hurt and work it will take to get there. He just promises it will ultimately be good. The glorious thing is that when we finally end up at home with Him, it will be good beyond anything we can imagine, which makes the good ending of painted cabinets ridiculous in comparison.

But, I'll be thankful and enjoy these in the meantime, while I'm longing for home. (Where I'll hopefully not be tempted to paint anything anymore...or at least it hopefully won't be painful! ha!)


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