Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Forced Fast

Lent began a week ago today. I have failed more than succeeded in my Lenten resolution. My desire was to get up each morning half an hour before the children and begin my day intentionally and with some time in the Word. This would be in contrast to my usual morning routine which consists of one or more children waking me followed by a moan of "Just a few more minutes, sweetie," and inevitably another half hour in bed. This was to be my fasting from laziness, from lethargy, and from being controlled by circumstances.

To go along with my chosen fast I made up a new daily schedule for our family. No longer would time just slip away from us. We would make the best use of every moment. (Yes, it's a flexible schedule, and I know the possibilities and limitations of a four-children-six-and-under household.) Life went along smoothly for 1 1/2 days. Then began my forced fast.

About 2:00 yesterday afternoon, it began snowing. About fifteen minutes later, my husband slid off the road in our newly-paid-off car, hit a tree and spun around to face the direction he had come. He called to tell me and I will gratefully say that my first thought was truly one of thanksgiving that he was alright.

Immediately thereafter, I discovered my true character and what I should (and now must) really focus on this Lent. The whole situation was out of my control. I could not control the weather. I could not control my husband's driving. I could not control the towing situation. The rental situation. The repair situation. I could not even bring my husband home. And now, as we sit with an empty garage and places to go, I cannot control this current situation. (It's still snowing, too!) My new schedule, my Lenten resolutions, nothing can change the fact that I AM NOT IN CONTROL.

I'm finding, today, that I am having to fast from that need to control almost constantly. Even this post will probably not show up until later because we have no internet when it's snowing. Please, would you pray with me today? Pray that we would let go of the need to control our lives and instead give them over to the one who has promised to provide for all of our needs. Again, I am seeing already his provision in these circumstances. He is Good. And He is in control.

holy experience

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Thanksgivings

I don't have a theme for this week's thanksgivings. It was enough of a challenge to remember to write down anything at all. Life here is good, normal, nothing particularly challenging happening. I guess that can lead to complacency, though, and so my list this week is short though sweet.

I am grateful for:
243. An Anne of Green Gables slumber party with my highschool ladies
244. Beginning new sewing projects with my girls
245. A phone call with my best friend
246. Her good advice
247. A new weekly schedule (please, Lord, let this one work)
248. The ability to homeschool my children
249. A fun family shopping trip
250. A new vacuum cleaner
251. Clean floors!!!
252. Laughter amid total chaos
253. Good, good talks with my highschool ladies about some tough issues
254. The story of Deborah and Jael in Judges 4 and 5
255. The first week of the new homeschooling co-op
256. Ian usually sleeping through the night
257. Ice skating with my family on the pond in town
258. Kids singing in church on Sunday

I'm looking forward to a new week of keeping track of His many graces.

holy experience

Monday, February 15, 2010

In Sickness and in Health

This has been a pretty tough week. Hard to find things to be thankful for when you're throwing up in the middle of the night. But there were. Isn't that amazing? Even in the feverish throes of a stomach virus, there is grace. There is blessing. Today's post will be short because I - we - are still recovering from a very difficult week, physically and emotionally. But I am grateful for:
230. Ian's 1-year checkup and a clean bill of health
231. Our sweet doctor who takes such good care of our family
232. More snow
233. A bittersweet time of anger, apology, healing, and growth with my little girls
234. My darling husband caring for me when I was sick
235. The rest of the family not getting my sickness
236. Valentine's Day
237. Being awakened early Valentine's Day by my girls with multiple handmade Valentines
238. Narnia
239. Good chats with one of my young adult ladies
240. Ian walking
241. New baby teeth
242. A forgiving husband who won't let me sleep "on the couch."

May you, too, find health in your sickness this week.

holy experience

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spiritual Discipline of Apologizing

It's amazing how God prepares us for every situation. Yesterday morning, during a devotion time, I read a story of a mother continually interrupted by her young daughter getting out of bed. Nothing unusual, a drink of water, going to the bathroom. Finally, the girl calls for her mother again, and the frustrated parent rushes into the bedroom, with a "What is it, now?" "We forgot to pray, Mommy," she says, and begins what the family has been memorizing. "Love is patient, love is kind..." Mom, of course, is struck with remorse and joins her daughter in prayer. (I'm not telling the story as well as the author did, but I can't remember where I read it, or I'd just repost it here.)

Anyway, last night, we had an instant replay of almost the same scenario at our house. Mom trying to get oldest son to bed. Sisters provoking and screaming at each other. Mom comes in screaming. Leaves, promising to return to deal with the situation when baby is asleep. Can't figure out where daughters have learned to shriek like that at each other. While changing baby, hears daughters coming downstairs. Mom yells again. Baby is finally down and Mom has a moment to think before heading back to girls' room.

The story changes slightly here. The devotion that I read in the morning comes back to me and I gather up a Bible and fresh water bottles for the girls. I'm still so angry with them that I'm shaking, but Grace comes and I apologize for my part in the whole terrible scene. Forgiveness is instantly granted. Amazing. Then slowly, together, we go through 1 Corinthians 13 and talk about what love is and isn't. It's enlightening for us all. There are as many examples of Mama's bad behaviour as children's. More Grace, and I kiss them goodnight, tell them I love them and apologize for loving them so imperfectly. We decide that this would be a good passage to work on memorizing next and I leave them repeating, "Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not jealous, it does not brag and is not...Eric can't?....Mama!! What's that word?"

They are so sweet. I am so grateful for their example. For their forgiveness. For the opportunity to grow closer to my Saviour by being their mother. For these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is Love.

holy experience

Monday, February 8, 2010

Render Unto Caesar

The kids and Rob and I just listened to this story from the Gospel of Matthew the other day. Jesus answers with cleverness and honesty the question about what obedience we owe our civil governments. He also reminds us not to forget to give to God what is His.

I am one of those strange people that enjoys filing my tax return. Don't get me wrong, I can be incredibly frustrated with the brokenness of our tax system, but I enjoy getting it done and with four children on a pastor's salary, we're usually getting something back. So yesterday (this wouldn't post on Monday) I finished our taxes. Two jobs, two states (our mistake), self-employment and other sundry issues make our tax return fairly complicated. But they're done, and I am grateful.

In finishing, however, I wonder if I'm as meticulous in my remembering to give to God what is His. My time, talents, and treasure to begin with, but also my obedience, my patience, my best. It's a good time to remember to pay what is owed, to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

I'm so thankful for:
216. My taxes being done
217. 9 sugar-free days
218. A couple of good workouts even though I didn't want to
219. The soreness that follows
220. Katie's 100% spelling test
221. The courage to say no
222. Skype
223. Homeschooling
224. Home School Legal Defense Association and all the work they do
225. A date with my husband
226. A clean desk
227. Early morning showers with my husband
228. Good conversations with women from church
229. Pastor-husband's bold sermon, spoken with love

holy experience

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Sweet Goodbye

Hello, my name is Sarah and I'm addicted to sugar. It may sound silly to some. Surely with so many more "serious" addictions out there, sugar isn't such a big deal. In truth, the human body becomes addicted to sugar in the same way as alcohol and heroin. The effects are less in most people, but the pathways are the same. In some, like myself, the body reacts in a much stronger way and the addiction can be tough to kick. There are some physical ramifications to this as well, but today I wanted to talk about the main reason that our family is kicking the sugar habit.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that while everything is permissable (to eat), not everything is beneficial. And while everything is allowed, "I will be mastered by no thing." I serve only one master in this life - or try to - and will no longer be mastered by sugar. Like those in AA, I recognize that I am powerless over this addiction and that only God's work in my life will be sufficient to overcome it. I am so grateful for what He is about to do!

Today is Day 4 in this new walk. It is tough for me, perhaps tougher for my children whom I confess I have trained badly in this area, but it is exciting to have been free for four whole days! I look forward to what God will do in the future. Please pray with (and for) our family as we step out in faith to do, as my aunt says, "the next right thing."


holy experience

Monday, February 1, 2010

Attitude Adjustments

It's been a difficult week here in the Rose Garden. Nothing too dramatic, just "regular" issues. The biggest has been some frustrating attitudes, particularly in the kids, though Rob and I are not immune. We're taking some steps, more of which I'll write about on Wednesday, but in the meantime I am remembering today that the best help to my attitude is gratitude. (I'm sure there's a catchy phrase in there somewhere...) This week, in spite of it all, I am grateful for:

204. A new homeschooling co-op forming
205. Rob reading Narnia to the kids (and me!)
206. Reepicheep
207. My daughter's unforced remorse
208. Not wanting to take down Christmas
209. Getting Christmas decorations taken down
210. Mindy Buller

211. Roaring and wrestling
212. Sword fights
213. My husband adding to my thanksgivings list
214. A healthy body
215. 2 days sugar-free (more on that on Wednesday)

I am so grateful for all of these things. My cup overfloweth. I will continue to speak that truth into my life and to cultivate that "attitude of gratitude."

holy experience


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