This is the Stuff

Last night I was flipping through radio stations on the way home from a work night at church with two crying babies in the back of the van. The lyrics of this song resonated with me. Yes, I lose my keys, and even worse, I lose my temper, but in the midst of all of this, God uses me.

God has the amazing power to work seemingly bad situations into good. If you have read much here the past year and a half, you have certainly seen the roller coasters that our family and our church family have been on. To say things have been rocky is too much of an understatement.

I have to admit I have spent far too much time in the past few years saying “why me?” “why us?” and even just a plaintive, “Why, God?”

And yet I’m reminded, every day, when I look into the eyes of my children that God’s plans are ALWAYS better than my plans!

I’ve had a lot of great plans in my life, and very few of them have come to fruition. I could look at that as a downfall, or I can look at my “failures” as blessings that God has granted me. He gave me the chance to let go of my own plans and let his plans blossom and grow.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 8:28:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,  for those who are called according to his purpose.

And yes, that verse alone is great news. However, if we look at the verses that surround it, it becomes even better news for us!

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because  the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,  for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 8:26-30

How true it is that we don’t know what to pray for. In some ways we are no better than our children who follow us around the grocery store asking for Fruit Loops and gummy worms and “blue juice”. We ask got for riches and fame and an end to all struggle, when what we really need is patience, faith, and a quiet spirit.

So, chime in! Has something been driving you crazy? Can you see God’s work in your life, even if it is always through the rear view mirror? I’d love to hear from you!

This post is part of the Blogelina Blogging Buddy Bloghop!

My Cherished Readers:

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Last week I asked you to chime in on your thoughts on holidays and dates and family time. Chime in you did.

I am humbled. You all gave me so much to think about! I’m going to really cherish my time having all of my kids under one roof for the holidays and learn to be really flexible in the future.

While, ideally, the Rev. and I would go TO the grandchildrens’ homes for Christmas, The Rev.’s vocation just may impede this, unless they live close to us (we’ve not set a great example int his regard.) I have, however, come to learn that it is very difficult on young families to pack up and visit far flung relatives, especially when children are very young and used to certain routine and space. Money is also an issue as even driving vacations can be cost prohibitive. So, as grandparents, I hope we can do most of the traveling.

I  know that with two small babies in the house it seems silly to be planning to be a grandmother. However, our oldest is 14. We were blessed with him at age 24. 10 years is not that far away!

I also know that having the girls later in our parenting career will complicate things. Will they be forced to spend a few Christmases away from their home? Perhaps. I do know that they will spend more holidays without their siblings than their brothers will.

So, thank you for your frankness, your willingness to put it all out there, for joining in the conversation! It has been an eye opening conversation to say the least, and I appreciate learning from all of you!

And now, another chance to chime in! As you look back at 2010, what is the most eye opening experience you had? Let me know!

Procrastination, it is not just a word. . .

Mama's Losin' It

I took eighth grade Honors Social Studies. I did not particularly care for Social Studies, but I earned good grades, so I was expected to take the more advanced class.

Our teacher was Mrs. Williams. It is quite possible that Mrs. Williams was the kindest woman I have ever met. She always had a warm smile, and a lilting voice.

Mrs. Williams made us work. Mrs. Williams was determined that her little group of honors students would not be tied to books day and night. She really tried to make US History come alive. She taught us the Charleston, we memorized the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, we ate President Reagan’s favorite snack food, Jelly Bellies.

But Mrs. Williams had other things to teach us as well. She wanted to teach us life skills. We could not earn an A in her class just for performing well in class. We would have to do extra credit. AND we would have to perform in the school talent show. For the record, I did earn my A. I sang a solo: “Tomorrow” from Annie. It was almost more than I could handle as a shy, awkward 12 year old, but I did it. I did not die. But to this day I prefer to sing in a group rather than alone. Even narcissism has its limits!

One of the things I remember most was that Mrs. Williams made us memorize a different helpful saying for each exam. The one that sticks out in my mind is :”Do today what others won’t, so you can do tomorrow what others can’t.”

This was a great and worthy saying.

Sadly, I am cut from cloth that likes to procrastinate. All of the time.

Taxes: mailed on April 15. Every year. Except when April 15 is a Saturday, then they go out April 16.

Babies: all a week late, except the twins, who, were it not for a 38 week induction, would have been late as well.

Driver’s License: Finally earned at age 26.

Dinner: always a half hour later than the Rev. would like.

Bed making: five minutes before bedtime

Tying shoes: the little kids wear a lot of velcro

I just can’t seem to get the hang of doing things today and freeing up tomorrow. You see, I’m pretty sure that tomorrow will then have a whole other set of jobs to do. Getting stuff out of the way today really does not free up my tomorrow much.

I do work fairly well under pressure. I’m pretty sure that if I could buy a little self discipline I would work just fine under calm circumstances as well.
I’m glad that my salvation does not depend on me or my sense of timing.

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7 (emphasis mine)

I’m an heir of God.

That is pretty huge.

Does that mean I should just give up, and say that since my Father is “the big guy in charge” I don’t need to even try and improve my nasty procrastination habit?

By no means.

Does this mean that since my Father is “the big guy in charge” I can get away with my bad habit that negatively affects my entire family?

By no means.
Just like I TRY to help my kids find tools and systems to try and flush the procrastination gene from their systems, I too need to work on being a more organized, forward thinking person.

Oddly enough, adding more kids to our family did help. I don’t have time to space out on things. Babies (especially two at a time) won’t let me forget a meal!

I still let the family down. A lot.

I live with a very forgiving bunch.

Are you a procrastinator? Are you a great time manager? Chime in! I’d love to hear your time management tips, hints and techniques!

This post was written as part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. Get your own weekly writing prompts and link up here!

How to be a better mother.

It's Good to be Queen
even the Queen makes mistakes...right?

I bet that you wish becoming better at motherhood was as easy as reading a blog post.

I do too.

Sadly, our sinful nature does not allow us to to be the moms we envision. You know what I’m talking about. I envision myself as a sort of June Cleaver in 2010. (If June Cleaver would wear Birkenstocks, and ditch the pearls.)

I an ideal world my house would be clean and I would not yell. Not only would I serve well balanced, nutritious meals; they would taste good and the kids would like them. My children would not fight. My dog would put himself in the kennel every night. My babies would sleep through the night.

Instead, I yell. My house is never 100% clean. I serve healthy food but it does not always go over well. My children fight like it is their job. Not even my dog listens to me. And lastly, those babies do not and will not sleep through the night.

Does this make me a bad mom?

Well, to see it in black and white, the answer is a  resounding yes. I am unable to achieve even a portion of what the “good wife” in Proverbs 31 seems to get done in a day. When I examine myself I am lazy and flawed.

Do you want to know the good news?

I don’t have to be a perfect mother. (yep…that’s right…)

In spite of (all of my many) imperfections, I have a Heavenly Father who loves me (and you!) so much that he gave up His (very perfect) Son so that all of our imperfections (we call them sin around here) can be forgiven!

Each day is new.

Each morning I can wake up and try (and fail) again.

I had a dear friend (and much better mother than me) post a simple prayer on my Facebook page this morning. She said “Lord, please help me to be a better mom today.” I know that God answers prayer. I see answers to my prayers all around me every day.

So, thanks Lisa, for reminding me of the very best way to become a better mother…start with prayer and ask for help!