Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
"Every so often it seems we get ourselves in over our heads, and this is when my husband and I call it time to hunker down. It is funny how comforting it can be knowing that this is just a phase, a season of time that won’t last forever. If we just keep plowing ahead, we’re bound to come out on the other side eventually. Sometimes it is just a pile on the desk that must be dealt with. But that is usually in conjunction with other unforeseen events that require attention and time. Right now I think our children are all in hunker down mode, with more to do than should be humanly possible, or with a normal load but abnormal circumstances that makes the normal seem above and beyond. In due time, all will be back on track. But in the meantime, hunkering down means trudging right on through."
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Lately I've been reading Nancy Wilson's blog Femina -- She has three grown children with families of their own. Two of them have inspired me this week. The first, Bekah Merkle, has five children, homeschools, is currently an expatriate in Oxford, England while her husband works on his PhD, and has a clothing line she designs and sews herself that has been featured in Cookie Magazine (which impresses me, and might you, if you have ever read this high-end/-class/-design parenting magazine). I am always encouraged when a Christian, especially a Christian, does something creative and does it well. But, that she also has five young children, makes me even more happy. (Bekah's website: http://amoretti-designs.com)
And then there is Mrs. Wilson's son Nathan who has written some fun kid's adventure stories and has an active and interesting blog and website (http://ndwilson.com/blog and http://www.ndwilson.com). He has written a creative non-fiction piece which is a collection of essays. This is the "book trailer":
Monday, September 14, 2009
This past Sunday Atticus woke up with a stomach bug -- severe enough that Brad stayed home with him. I took Dietrich and Lincoln with me to the service. Dietrich went to the nursery. And Bekah, who had driven up separately, sat beside me and took Lincoln, quickly putting him to sleep (a nice and surprising respite -- both him sleeping during the service and Bekah sitting there by me really wanting to hold him). I was able to listen to the entire sermon and take notes and have myself a "parallel Bible study" -- my favorite way to hear a sermon. I was able to think and pray and see that I had some very specific repenting to do:
1. A lack of joy (Serve the Lord with gladness, Psalm 100:2 and Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!, Philippians 4:4)
2. A completely agitated spirit (NOT a "gentle and quiet spirit" 1 Peter 3:4, "Be anxious about nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving present your request to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus" Phil. 4
I have been rereading Nancy Wilson's book on mothering, Praise Her in the Gates, which has been very encouraging and re-focusing on what God wants to do in and through me as I mother my children. I can cooperate with the sanctification, the self-emptying (kenosis) inherent in motherhood or I can kick against it and be broken anyway. I choose to give myself to God's good work in this. I choose to throw myself into the intensity of caring for small children. I choose to see the joy and good and the over-arching MEANING in this work, instead of letting the tedium or the monotony be all I see. That would be so completely stupid. I love my husband. I love my children. I love caring for them in this city, in this house. And I will remember just how very miraculous it is to have been given a good and wonderful man to love and let me love him...and never let the wonder ebb of laying next to this man at the end of the day or waking up in the middle of the night (many times (-:) to nurse the baby or help one of the other boys) and find him there warm and mine. To have someone to share this life with...it is the penultimate gift (right after Christ, my Heart of Hearts, King-Creator, Redeemer). And that is before I even look one second on even one of my miraculous sons. This life I have right now is the hardest work I have ever ever done -- It is relentless and bottomless -- but do you know what? Relentless and bottomless also means that it is intensely present (it can't be ignored, it fills every crack of my human resources, and exceeds those resources pressing me into the wildly sufficient God who gave, who gives me this work in the first place) and deeper than anything I have ever found to pour my life into.
And so I will say "Thank You" by fighting the bad mood that wakes me in the early morning after little sleep; By happily switching laundry around (because it means I have people with bodies who need clothes, people who let me love them and who love me); By not reading as many of my books as I would like and instead re-reading "Dinosaur Roar" and "Harold and the Purple Crayon" for the 507th time for excited and wiggly little urchins; By cheerfully wrestling kids in and out of car-seats in heat and in snow and ice; By letting other creative projects slowly crawl out of my hands over months and years instead of days and weeks because the truth is that a good and full life is always a balance of the many things God gives us to be present in, to work for -- This is true whether you are one person, alone on your own. Or a child (young or adult) in a family with parents and siblings. Or you are a wife with children (young or grown).
I remembered this weekend that I asked God -- no, I pleaded with God to not let my life by isolated, inert, useless, disconnected from true relationship, true community -- to not give me over to my desire for quiet and order that so quickly turns into sterility if it is a quiet and order that is obtained and maintained by removing oneself from other people. Please, I cried, don't let me do this to this life, it is so very wrong, so NOT what You want from me. And then one day, soon after that Brad opened the door of his ugly black Buick and sauntered out with his wild wavy hair, Van Arkel nose, and faded flannel shirt. And now... I have no escape from relationship, no way to worm my way out of this community we have made for ourselves, for our children. Thank God. Thank You so much. So don't worry, you dear, concerned family and friends, I may kick and flail and let it show (I've never been good at hiding anything) that I am having a hard time with the goodness God is working in me, giving to me but God is much stronger and more creative and efficacious than my weakness and sin. He will complete what He has begun in and through me (Philippians 1:6). And by His graciousness, I WANT what He is doing, what He has and is giving me. Yes and Amen.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
When I picked him up at 11:30am he was reluctant to leave but was unable to tell me anything he had done while there. "Nothing." was his reply after various questioning suggestions from me. My mom said "Welcome to the world of boys." Ah well. Tonight he was happy to find out he gets to go back tomorrow morning -- so that's good.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
"My son points out quite nicely in Tilt-a-Whirl that God wastes all kinds of glory and beauty on us all the time. We miss the stunning artistry He displays in each and every little snowflake. We glance at the rainbow and move on. We pass by the flowers and clouds and icicles nonchalantly when we ought to be thunderstruck in amazement all the time. And many of the outrageous views He has made are not even seen or appreciated by anyone at all. Take all the sunsets that only the birds and insects see. Why does God waste so much of His artwork on us? He must love us very much, and He must enjoy bestowing His good gifts even on a deaf and blind and bored audience.
"And yet we imitate Him in this in very small ways. Think of parents moving the new baby into his room. Does the newborn appreciate the new crib with the matching quilt and bumper pads? Or the freshly painted walls in the nursery? Is the baby impressed with the handmade blanket from Aunt Susie or the quilt that has been lovingly passed down for generations? Of course not. But the giver is blessed. This is one of the ways Mom expresses her love for her new baby, though baby knows nothing of it. This is a concrete way of giving, loving, bestowing, welcoming. We obviously get this impulse from our wise Creator who made heaven and earth and then lavished loving kindness into every nook and cranny, ladling it out and sloshing it all over the place.
"We ought to rouse ourselves from our stupor from time to time and take in some of the glories we find ourselves knee-deep in. Then with thankfulness, we can turn to our own homes and bestow some of this reflected glory in expected and unexpected places. Tiny ladles to be sure, but sloshing over nonetheless."
Friday, September 04, 2009
I like concise overviews of heated current topics so I can get a handle on a topic before I talk to other people about it and so I can begin to think through all the aspects before coming up with an opinion. Brad often helps me find summaries like this -- Thank you, Babe.