Love, Rest, and Sickness…In No Particular Order

IMG_2900Today is my first sick day for me in a few years.

I’ve done sick days for children and sick days for parents, but not for me.

I slept a lot and sat a lot…well, actually I was more lying down a lot.

And all the stillness…it was glorious.

I haven’t been still for….for forever.

Even this past Saturday when this whole illness thing began, I couldn’t seem to sit still except for a few minutes to regain some strength before I began another task.

I knew I should rest…had I rested I probably wouldn’t be lying here right now.  Who knows?

My room is a tad messy…actually my house is tad messy.  And my nightstand is littered with tissues, tea cups, glasses of water, an ibuprofen bottle, cold medicine bottles, and the usual pens, journals, and piles of books.

That’s quite an impressive list considering it isn’t that big a nightstand!

Although it was supposed to be a rainy day, the sun is shining through the clouds and into my bedroom.  I love it.

My classroom has no windows and I miss the sky so much during the day.

This is a beautiful treat.

I just wish I had some energy.

This is a weird sick for me.  Usually I can push through and still accomplish things…not happily or quickly, but nonetheless I’m still checking things off the list.

This thing…ugh.  This one has hit me like a truck…loaded with bricks…and maybe a few cinderblocks.

I guess it isn’t a shock.  I’ve been going at warp speed for so long – fuel is bound to run out at some point.

I keep thinking tomorrow I’ll feel better.  Tomorrow is the day when my head clears and my energy starts returning.

Yeah nope.

So what is God’s plan for me right now?  This day?

I’m always wondering that.

God, what do you want me to do right here?

Other than sleep.

Which I am happy to do by the way.

But I have only a few more minutes before my little minions arrive and all the quiet is gone and the activity begins whether I want it to or not.

I guess…maybe this is the opportunity I’ve wanted… to just be still with my people.

As much as I plan on that, I don’t ever EVER make the time for it.

I’ll sit down for like 5 minutes but then I’m jumping back up again for something…goodness knows what!

Today, I got nothing to jump up for.  In fact, I think I might just request a meal delivery and sit on the sofa with my littles.

Oh…I say that but it is going to be difficult.

Why is it so very difficult to rest?  Why is it so difficult to be still?

I think I have an issue with control.

I want things to be orderly, organized, peaceful, and controlled…by me.

Those are the words that trip me up …. By me

I’m pretty sure those aren’t the words I’m supposed to be relying on.

I just want things to be beautiful for us…you know?

Why can’t I just get things beautiful…for more than a few minutes?

I’m reading a book about idols in our lives…ugh.  I really like it, but ugh.

I mean I like that I feel like it is dealing with some serious stuff that I need to face…but ugh…the serious stuff is idols.

I hate idols.

One of mine is control.  A sweet young lady was sharing with me about how God has revealed her idols of comfort and control and I thought, “This woman is awesome!  I’m like 40-something 😊 and I’m still trying to figure out what makes me tick and tock and fall.”

I prayed fervently before my phone call with this dear one that I’d be an encouragement to her…and God turned it around and had her encourage me.

Not in the way that I imagined.  It’s never awesome to have idols revealed…but actually maybe it is…

It is why I’m reading this book.  To figure out what in the world I’m worshiping in my life other than God.

To figure out why I struggle with what I struggle with…you know?

And God in his infinite kindness has confirmed what he has been revealing slowly to me….I want comfort and I want control.

I want the comfort of others, the comfort of a peaceful, orderly space, and the comfort of knowing I have control of it all.

And unfortunately I can be a mean, grumpy sinner in the process of pursing those idols.

I can also occasionally despair of ever overcoming.

One of my dearest friends wants to discuss the difference between victory and obedience.

I do understand that I’m called to a life of obedience, but I really do want victory…just saying.

I’m tired of the struggles.  I want to move on already.

Then there is a little part of me that wonders if the next thing I struggle with will be worse and I get all freaked out…I’m a mess.

Do I believe God is good or not?  I keep having to ask myself that when I get those crazy thoughts.

I do believe He is good.  And I do believe that He calls me to obedience.

He also calls me to repentance and rest.

I love this verse.

In returning and rest you shall be saved,

in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. 

Isaiah 30:15

Returning

Rest

Quietness

Trust

Returning…have I gone away and need to come back?  Yes.  Daily.

Daily I turn to my own thing, my own issues, my own solutions, and my own stress.

I’m the little girl who packed up her bags and stomped out the door ready to run away from papa and find a better life, only to see the darkness coming and the shadows lengthening.   I’m that same little girl hightailing it home to the welcoming arms of my loving father.

I’ve been the parent in that scenario…I’ve watched one of my sweet little babies pack a backpack and head out into the night – only to make it to the bottom of the driveway before running back home.   And how I longed for that embrace even though it was such a short trip down the driveway.

God longs for us to return to his embrace and rest there.  Rest in the arms of our Father.   It is quiet there.  We can trust His care.

Oh how I need that visual right now.  What a blessed reminder to me of the safety of His care.

Especially as I lie here feeling very weak, tired, and sick.

In each day, God has a plan.  It might be a plan for great productivity.  It might be a plan for rest.  It might be a plan just to be where He has me without complaint or concern or control.

My prayer is that wherever God has me, I’m resting in the knowledge that He loves me.

He loves me.

Me.

Sometimes that just hits me.  I say it a lot, but sometimes….sometimes it rocks my world.

It just did as I typed that.

He loves ME.

Me…with all my flaws, failures, faithlessness, frustrations, and fears.

Me…with all my control, complaints, crisis, and cares.

Me…just me.

No matter what…no matter where I am…no matter what I’m doing or not doing…no matter how I feel…no matter what I accomplish or don’t accomplish…no matter my successes or my failures…no matter how I love him back.

He loves me.

Thank you God…I needed that.

I need that.

I need to understand that deeper than I have in a long while.

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure

that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.”

(Stuart Townend)

Can I Really Control the Weather?

cloudy sky with field

“Mommy, it’s all your fault.”

It was raining and although we had on all our pool attire, we were not heading to the pool.  It wasn’t just raining, it was pouring buckets.  And my five year old was spittin’ mad…spittin’ mad at me!    

Lately I’ve been feeling like I have absolutely no control over ANYTHING!  But apparently I CAN control the weather!  Who knew? All these years I could’ve been making sure the days were perfect when they needed to be, or rainy to fit my mood. 

But seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had a bit more control over things in my life, including me.

You know I just glanced back at that word lately and I want to revise it.  I don’t think this is a recent phenomenon for me.  I believe that even when I think I’m in control of things I’m actually not really.  And what I am realizing is that both my wanting to be in control and feeling out of control are really issues of trust for me.

It seems like most if not all of my struggles come back to trust…or a lack of trust.

I absolutely believe God is trustworthy.  I know that He loves me.  And I know that He sees everything and knows what the very best thing is for me…it’s just that…well, sometimes I don’t like how the path to His best makes me feel.

Feel.  I’ve tried to think rather than just feel.  I want to base things on what I know rather than what I feel.  But sometimes it’s tough. Especially when thinking about everything leaves me feeling dazed and overwhelmed.

I often pray about the fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)  I used to pray that God would fill me to over-flowing with the fruit of the Spirit, but then I realized that I already am filled with the Holy Spirit. I must already be filled with His fruit.  So all those beautiful words describe me already…in theory…well, in reality.  But am I choosing to live in that reality? 

When I’m easily frustrated by things or people, I often pray that God will give me the ability to be gentler, kinder, more loving and patient, to have more control over my tongue and my tone, and to be peaceful in my approach to things.   And when I don’t seem to be moving in that direction, I tend to get frustrated with God because I want Him to do just make me into the godly woman I want to be. I guess I want the proverbial 2×4 to just change me…a 2×4 made of foam not hard wood.

As with most things in my life, I want the quick fix not the “growth and change through process” fix.  Ugh.  Can’t He just make me a better woman, mom, friend, daughter, etc.?

I know that He can, but I believe the process is the best thing for me.  Dang it.

And part of the process is me being in His word…being transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2), being content in whatever circumstances I find myself (Philippians 4:11), trusting that He who began a good work in me will indeed carry it through to completion (Philippians 1:6), and knowing without a doubt that He can and will do more than I ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).  Trusting Him is something I live out…I can’t just know it, I gotta believe it, live it, breath it. 

I’m finding that the more I study His word, relinquish control by calming and quieting my heart and mind before Him, rest in His presence, the more I long to be in His care, not my own…to give my life to Him to handle.  I know that His path is not always easy…boy do I know that!…but I also know that He will not leave me to walk it alone.  And just being in His company is worth the journey.

I trust Him that through the process He will indeed make me into the woman I want to be…the beautiful work of art He designed me to be.  (Ephesians 2:10) 

I know that I can’t control the weather because if I could I’d most certainly change the forecast for today…more severe thunderstorms. But I do trust the One, who with one word, can calm the storm and me.

I’ve always said that the adjective that best describes my house is “sticky” – not the most sought after description I know.  But today, I feel like I might actually be living in the bottom of an old cracker box…full of crumbs and cracker dust.  Seriously, everywhere I look is a preponderance of dust.  Not sure what changed but…dang!

Recently I have had SO much to do and SO little time to do it.  It isn’t like that is unusual for me, but this time I have a contractual deadline for a project so I gotta get it done and I can’t just do my usual fly by the seat of my pants thing.  I must do this really well.  Actually I’d prefer to do everything really well.

Last month was crazy busy. I don’t think I’ve ever understood that phrase to the extent that I do now.  Between end of the school year activities, room mom responsibilities, senior graduation and all the accompanying  things, parties, birthdays, 3 trips out of town to help with my parents’ health issues, and…oh yeah…I got the first edits of a big project in the middle of it all.  Nothing like “perfect” timing.  I must believe that God has this all under control because I most definitely do not.

I seem to be back in my sleep-a-little, work-a-lot mode.  And unfortunately, as I’m working so hard on so many things, my house gets dustier and dustier and dustier. The dishes get done, the laundry gets done and meals get made.  Well….meals…hmmmm…I feel like I’m not doing the best job on that front either…thankfully I have children who are good eaters because I’m throwing veggies and fruit at them all the time to make up for the lame meals I’m preparing.  I’m blessed to have understanding children…who are also quite good at flying by the seat of their pants!

See I am helping my children without even realizing it!  I’m helping them be flexible, spontaneous and not easy flustered by unexpected scheduling issues.  I love how God can take one of my many flaws and turn it around to something kinda positive.

So now I’m figuring out how to breath better in the midst of my sticky,dusty chaos…I’m trying to chill a bit.  Do any of you struggle with chillin’?  I’m finding it incredibly difficult not to feel like I’m in a whirlwind mentally, emotionally, and even physically lately.  I believe it all begins with simply too much to think about, consider, deal with and decide.  I’m wanting a mental break not a mental breakdown.  Being mentally overloaded tends to make me feel emotionally spent as well.  I feel frazzled and a bit hopeless in my outlook which tends to make me either sad or fussy depending on the situation or day.  All that mental and emotional baggage makes my bed lumpy so I don’t tend to sleep well.  I have some silly health issues which make sleep imperative so if I don’t get sleep I worry about my health and then I feel worse. Know what I mean?  Mind games…and not fun ones.

Thankfully, I feel like I’m coming out on the other side of my little black rain cloud…or maybe I should say my funnel cloud.  And it isn’t because things have necessarily gotten “better,” but I believe I’ve gotten better at dealing with things – those blasted things that destroy my peace, overwhelm me and make my house dusty.

My faith is strengthening me –  God has not abandoned me.  I’m continually learning to trust Him.  He is working all this for good in my life because I love Him.  My friends are strengthening me with kind and encouraging words…and also a few “put your big girl pants on” words.  My children are strengthening me simply because I love them so dearly and want to give them my best.  They don’t need a whiny, fussy, overwhelmed mommy!  And I am putting on my big girl pants because I want to be the best woman and mom I can be.

I must get my focus off of the chaos and onto the hope God gives me.  And I’ll have to get used to the dust because the to do list isn’t shrinking anytime soon!