Do You Know How to Count?

photo (5)   I discovered today that a broken foot has one odd benefit.  I can wear socks out of the box under my bed.  It’s a box full of socks with no match, but they are ones I really like so I keep holding out hope the match will miraculously appear.  So far no luck.  (and truly I believe this is misplaced hope – it’s been years)

Today I pulled out my favorite sock and smiled at this whole box of fun socks I haven’t worn in forever. But now I get to!

Simple pleasures.

Other than the socks I’m hard-pressed to think of a benefit to this silly broken foot.

The first night I was trying to fall asleep with my cast on and pity partying with the best of them.  I pouted for a bit, but I realized I needed to pull myself together.  So I started to count my blessings…

I broke my left not my right foot so I can drive – although my oldest daughter just got her learners permit so I don’t really get to drive anymore…ever.

I didn’t break my hand so I can still work and do school.

I don’t have to have surgery.

I have great kids who help when I need it…granted I do need to holler most of the time, but I’m good at that!

And a Mama who shows up when I need her…THAT is sacrificial love to come to this nutty place!

And now, I’ve had the blessing of sweet friends who have been making me dinners for a week!  And friends who have helped with my house.  And friends who have picked up and delivered my children different places.  And friends who call and check on me. I truly am blessed.

Seriously blessed.

When I was young, my Mom and I sang a duet at church – Count Your Blessings.

“Count your blessings name them one by one and you’ll be surprised to see what God has done…”

Recently someone sent me those lyrics too!  I love that song.

I think it’s a beautiful thing – because we absolutely see God’s love, provisions, and protection when we start paying attention.

Today in my Bible study I saw a slightly different use of the word count.  I was reading Philippians 3 and I was so struck by these verses:

But whatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness form God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Philippians 3:7-12

In some ways it is more a count the cost thing… not a count the blessings.  But the cool thing is that in counting the cost Paul recognizes that the cost is nothing compared to Christ – the ultimate Blessing.  Oh I love that!

I wish I lived like that!  I wish I was more like Paul… more like Paul in things like this, not the thorn in the side (got that), not in the doing what I don’t want to do (yup got that) and not doing what I want to do (got that too).  I want the “to live is Christ, to die is gain” thing.  I want to live like a truly know, believe, get, want, have the understanding that everything fades in comparison to Christ.

I’m getting there.  Gosh, I think sometimes I’m 10 steps back 8 steps forward 14 steps back 9 steps forward.  I think the good thing is that I’m still moving forward – I believe that is wholly a God thing.  God pursues me and loves me back again and again and again…and each time I’m even more grateful, even more in awe of Him.

There are things that I can count as blessings and there are things I can count as costs of following Christ.  Some blessings are surprisingly good and some costs are significantly painful, but I know that Christ is worth it all.  He always has been and always will be.

Do You Welcome Inconvenience?….me neither.

cheer photo

Sometimes being a single mom is so inconvenient.

The other night – a school night – when I should have been rocking little ones to sleep, we were just finding our seats at the varsity basketball game where my oldest daughter was cheering.

I love watching my daughter cheer…she rocks at it!  But it’s just no fun having to drag everyone out in order to do it.  It’s exhausting and I can’t help but think about how late the night is going to be and how early and fussy the morning is going to be.

On that particularly day we only had a bit of time after school before I had a piano lesson so I fed everyone a super early dinner.  I knew after the lesson we would have to bust a move to get my daughter to the game an hour early.  Unfortunately for the rest of us that meant we were going to be at the game REALLY early…it’s hard enough to entertain my two little nuts during the game much less for an extra hour. 

Honestly, I’m so busy messing with them I miss most of my daughter’s cheering.  But I really just want her to know that I care and I’m always gonna be there for her…no matter how inconvenient!

I can’t tell you how envious I am sometimes of the other moms.  That night a bunch of moms were discussing the upcoming cheer competition trip they will all be going on as chaperones.  I so want to be able to do that… it’s just so difficult to ask friends to take my kids.  I don’t want to ask too often.   Actually those opportunities are not the things that bother me the most…it’s the little shopping trips that my daughter goes on with friends and their moms, the lunch dates, the dress shopping, the get-togethers I just can’t make because I don’t have a built-in babysitter. 

I feel like I’m missing so much.  I know that I’m not.  I know that we really do have a wonderful life.  I know that God provides so many opportunities for me and my daughter to bond.  I really am blessed that she and I have such a great relationship.  I know that is unique. 

This is yet another one of those situations that isn’t ideal – another situation that makes it pretty in my face that things aren’t the way they should be.  But is anything truly ideal?  We live in a fallen world.  When sin came in, ideal went out. 

I’ve been thinking lately about how God still has a great plan for my family.  It isn’t a future plan, it’s a now plan.  A now plan for today…for dealing with missed opportunities, late nights and difficult days.  A now plan for opportunities to connect with my children.  I have the precious opportunity to connect every night with my littlest daughter while I rock her and we sing songs together.   I have sweet moments with my 6 year old daughter while I brush and braid her hair —between the yowling!  She can get some serious knots!  My 11-year old son still loves our time reading together every day.  I do too.  My teenage daughter and I have wonderful spontaneous talks about everything and anything.   We also like to stay up late together watching taped episodes of our favorite shows. 

It sounds funny to say but there is a camaraderie my children and I share that is beautiful.  I think it’s having walked a difficult path together and finding that we really are doing okay.  I also think there are many things about our relationship that wouldn’t necessarily have been the case were I not a single mom – not all those things are great, but most are very good – the opportunity for late night talks and time with each child just to be and talk and read and rock and sing.  I know that being a single mom also means there isn’t a good buffer between me and my children when I really need a break.  I know that my children don’t have a clear understanding of how a husband and wife team works – I wish they did because that is a lovely thing God designed for blessing and security for them.

I know that God loves us just as much as if we were a two-parent family.  He wasn’t surprised by our situation… He has a plan for us to be blessed in this place.  The blessings might appear a little different; the opportunities to bond might not come in big extravagant ways but rather the exquisite small daily ways.

Looking back at that game, I see that God really did bless me with little moments.  We were able to drop my cheerleader off and run and grab Slurpees – which is always hit.  I’m partial to coca-cola Slurpees.  It was also fun to have one to give my daughter at half-time.  My little girls enjoyed playing with the big kids – watching my children be happy is always a blessing.  My son and I were able to visit a bit and that is very cool.  I also had the opportunity to talk to a teacher and be encouraged about one of my children.  That was worth the price of admission!

I’m thinking maybe if I went into situations – no matter how inconvenient – with an expectation of what God might do to encourage and bless me, I’d find that He really does do it an awful lot!