Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Days like these...

If I'm honest, I rarely pray in the midst of the dysfunction of our lives- it comes later in tears as I throw myself onto my bed in desperation before the throne of God or before my children in repentance. 

Mostly in my children's midst,  I am the mean mom they have so accurately named me.  I know it's sometimes just a convenient name because they don't want to obey.

I'm a little jealous they love their Daddy so much and cry for him when I'm in a tantrum, but that's another issue.

I desperately don't want my children looking to me.  I will never love them perfectly.  I want them to look to Christ.


Run to Him when I'm crazy.  

Run to Him when I'm joyful.  

Run to Him always.

A few months ago, I woke up to a taste of Heaven.  Little Bitty singing this song over the baby monitor.  A Sunday morning before church. 
 I wept. 

Literally a few minutes after this beautiful moment, I stepped into the kitchen for breakfast to hear one of my children spouting out a new curse word.  What!?

Welcome to life after the Fall.   
Tastes of Heaven mixed with crazy messy.
And so about today...

A migraine sent me to bed early last night, which meant I rose early this morning -- incidentally with two little people sleeping in my room because Daddy's not here.  

They miss him.  We all do.

Usually my quiet time is during nap time-- in the middle of  the day.  

Today it was early silence with the Lord, since I rose before sunrise.  

My journal consisted of 5 words:

 refuge, rest, be still, fortress.  
(Psalm 46)

Then I entered the chaos of a mama's life.  Slipping in conversations about Proverbs 9, Amos, and Jeremiah.  

Praying in the midst of cinnamon toast crumbs, jelly biscuits, and orange juice.  

Cleaning breakfast dishes and juggling math word problems is hard work for me.  

I think I have ADD.   

And probably anger management issues of some sort.

One child is always inevitably removed from the breakfast (lunch and dinner) table to eat in another area. 

Mornings are for quiet and coffee.  Right?

Our house is a tidal wave of noise, rambunctious behavior, and ear-piercing volumes.  

None of which I handle well.  

And the Spirit whispers...

 Be still and know that I am God.

As a homeschooling mama, I often have to step away to assist other children.  

Most days I feel like I'm trying to juggle wild tigers.  

When I leave the room, I typically do not return to a room of  perfectly-behaved children working on their assignments.  

Today I stepped away for 5 minutes and I returned to a daughter who later told me she was suddenly transformed into an adventurer who had to take a phone call.   

I give her credit-- it was a very animated pretend conversation.

she also has her all-important purse for her adventure

As I fully enter the room, her brother has tied his foot to his school chair, his body flailed over the couch.  What!?

Both are in their own imaginary domains.  

Neither of them doing what I asked.

Sometimes I yell.  

Sometimes I shame.  

Sometimes I laugh.  

Today I laughed.  (And took pictures).

Later in the day, curiosity got the better of me and I asked my son what he was doing with the rope thing.  

He was a dog tied up.  

Of course.  

Because that's where my mind first goes in the middle of a math lesson.  

Tie myself to a chair. 
So, as the girls roll their backpacks up and down my spine (the hardwood floors) on a trip to Washington, DC, I am interrupted again.  Divine interventions.

I encourage them to quietly take their trip to their bedroom.  

and. close. the. door. 

Another intrusion occurs as a child enters to battle me to my bloody death about a writing assignment. 

Sin suffocating the space between us.

He huffs from the room in anger.  And I speak the words out loud:

Be still and know that I am God

I'm not sure if I've ever spoken scripture during an argument, except maybe to rebuke a child. 

Today I blurted out loud the words of scripture and something happened within my soul.  

In an instant, I felt peace in the midst of chaos and arguing.

A taste of Heaven.

If I'm being truthful, I do a pretty good job of living an orphan life-- living absent from Christ and training my children to live that way as well.

suck it up.  get your work done.  dry up those tears. 
clean your room....

It is only by His Spirit that we are all alive at day's end.  

Seriously.  Every breath a grace.

Anything my children reap that is good, is by His grace.  His spirit. 

Today as my little girl cried over a splinter in her foot.  I told her to go soak it in warm water.

A few minutes later I turned the corner to see 3 little people soaking in the tub.  
And I lost it.  

Warming up lunch and dictating a passage to my 5th grader, and the last thing I needed was wet children.  3 of them.
Windows were open and I'm sure neighbors heard my freak-out.  

The faces of my children certainly registered the state of my heart towards them-- my voice resonated through the walls of our home and neighborhood.  

One child left the house in his hurt.  

Slamming the door.

Screamed at me that he didn't care.

I peered out the kitchen window to see him in the front yard violently stomping dandelions with both feet.  We will be paying for counseling at some point of their lives.   

Wait, we're already doing that now.  Oh yeah.  

I chase him through the yard trying to get him to listen.  He jumps the fence.

Finally, I yell out the front door that I'm going to call 911 because I have a runaway child.   

It worked.  (Again, back to the whole counseling issue).

Thankfully, that boy came back.  And we had a sweet moment together.  

And I had tender moments with the other children.  

Grace.  Forgiveness.  Redemption.

Because He enters into our chaos.  He is bigger.

And then I'm back to warming up lunch and a little voice shyly asks me to come outside in the sunshine on a patchwork quilt to have lunch alone with him.   

And I say yes.

And I am reminded that I don't have to do it right.  I already have someone that's done that for me.  

That is the resurrection.  empty tomb. new life.  new hearts. 

So I laid on that patchwork quilt with my boy while he ate his lunch.  

Sunlight spilling on our upturned faces.  

Yard thick with clover, wild onion, and crushed dandelions.  

Under twisted limbs of oak tree with hints of spring-- bright green leaves unraveling overhead, pink azaleas in full bloom behind us, and yellow dust covering everything, he smiled a sly smile to have me all to himself.  

Because our days are about the resurrected life.  


Tastes of Heaven in the mess.  

Hope in the storm.  

Grace in the moment.

Joy in the crazy.

Laughter through the the tears.

Because He has risen.

One of many dandelions crushed

Snuggles of grace at the semi-end of my day 


Meredith Bernard said...

Oh my soul, we are living parallel lives! I couldn’t help but laugh at much of this, smile at much of this and nod at all of it. Yes, life is crazy with kids. And I’m about to be an even “meaner mom” as I begin my homeschool journey in a couple of months. Glad to know I’m not the “only one.” I also have anger issues and my kids may need counseling one day…but God is still good and graceful. ;) Bless you mama…you are important and strong and needed for this kingdom work you do day in and day out. With God’s grace we do the best we can and He covers the rest. xoxo, Meredith

Kirsten said...

Oh how I feel for you. I know the stress of doing it all when Daddy's away and I know that my quick temper is a time bomb during those times. But I've written recently that children so perfectly reflect God's grace - it's amazing. Almost makes it worth messing up. Almost :-)