What is Your Calling?

Today is cleaning day, and shopping day, and laundry day, and remodel the upstairs bathroom day. It’s busy. I am pacing myself. Or at least that’s what I told my husband when he walked into our room and caught me reading a book. Pacing! Honest! 

I have found in this marathon called life, I have to go slow and steady. So, I had already cooked breakfast for the family, cleared the table, taken two daughters with me and done a week’s worth of grocery shopping, came home, unloaded the car, supervised groceries being put away, checked to make sure that the kids’ bedrooms got cleaned…it was time for a break. And eventually, I put the book down, supervised lunch, got that cleaned up, set everyone to work on cleaning their “zones” (everyone gets a room or area that they have to clean), checked progress on that, and now, it’s time for a break again. 

This kind of leads into what I’ve been thinking about. How should we let the chaos in our country affect our everyday lives? 

I’ve been observing on social media the different ways that people have been responding to the recent chaos. Some people have completely withdrawn. Deleted their accounts, either to set up in a new place or be done with it once and for all. Some people are ignoring the situation completely, posting fun memes and things designed to uplift the soul. (I appreciate these posts!) Some people are sharing intelligent articles or essays that explain their positions in well thought-out prose. And some people are just very angry and it leaks out in everything that they say and post. 

In the last couple years, I have made it a point to tell my kids that it’s ok to be angry. Being angry is normal. Sometimes things happen that deserve our anger. But, you have to be careful what you do with your anger. You need to find a safe way to vent your anger that doesn’t hurt other people. Mockery, derision, name-calling, screaming, hurting…these are not appropriate ways to deal with your anger. Or at least, that’s what I tell my kids. I sometimes kind of want to tell other people that too. 

All of us are different. We all have different callings on our lives. I think this is a really good time to have an understanding of what God has called you to do. Are you a protector, an educator, a prophet, a nurturer, a peacemaker? A politician? We all have our callings. Me? My day job is a homemaker. I am a peacemaker by nature. I seem to have an inclination towards interceding through prayer. I try to encourage people through my blog. I keep an eye on what’s happening on the political scene. I write letters to my representatives about issues that are important to me. 

I have come to the conclusion that the things that are happening in Washington DC are not in my sphere of influence. While I continue to pray for our country, LORD! Your kingdom come! Your will be done! I have not felt led to join a political party or try to convince other people to join my way of thinking. I have not been put in a position to affect the federal government in any way except through prayer and my vote, and an occasional letter to my Senator or Representative. That’s me. Everyone is different. 

My sphere of influence includes my family of eleven children. My husband. My home. The social workers and various therapists and lawyers I have met on our fostering journey. The teachers and staff at my kids’ schools. My church family. My blogging audience. My social media friends. This is the circle God has put me in. This particular circle does not need to hear my views on Trump and Biden. They need to hear that I love them, respect them, care for them. They need to hear that Jesus is always the answer. They need to hear that I am present in their lives and that I hope that I can help them in some way. 

This is my calling. 

So, how do I let the chaos in government affect my life? More time in prayer, and then focus on doing my calling to the best of my ability. It’s all I can do. 

Life Feels Fragile

This afternoon I was at the park with the kids. A beautiful winter afternoon, blue skies. Warm enough that the kids could run around, cold enough that I was still wrapped up in a jacket. My phone started ringing. I looked down and the caller ID said it was one of the kid’s schools. My heart rate immediately went up. Are they calling to say, don’t come to school tomorrow, we’re doing virtual instead? 

Fortunately, it was just routine announcements, except sports are now only allowed to have immediate family members in attendance. 

I have been getting the same elevated heart rate every time I see an email from our Superintendant, or any school official ID pops up on my phone. 

It’s not a fun way to live. 

Our schools seem determined to stay open, for which I am thankful, but it is a shaky, fragile thing. We’ll stay open, as long as we have teachers, staff, enough students, we don’t hear otherwise from local or state officials…

We did one week of virtual school before school let out for Christmas break. My two kids, whom I have been homeschooling, got a significantly less amount of school done that week. My high schoolers were fine. My 5th and 4th graders were fine. The second grader was often baffled by technology and time schedules. She took it personally when she wasn’t able to get into a planned meeting. “They won’t let me in!! Nobody likes me! They don’t want me in the class!” 

I, unfortunately, wasn’t able to give the second grader the amount of help she needed because I was busy dragging the first grader out from under tables, or chasing her down, or trying to get hold of her teacher because she had purposefully hit the Send button on unfinished assignments because she simply didn’t want to do them. 

We are diligently working with all the professionals necessary to see if this particular child has some learning differences that make school more difficult for her. But whether these exist or not, I do know, without a doubt, that virtual school is not the right answer for her education. If, for some reason, our schools needed to switch to virtual, I have a feeling that we would all be better off if I simply enrolled her in straight-up homeschooling. And so I feel this sense of limbo, what is this year going to look like? 

I’m feeling that way about a lot of things. Our government has some important stuff happening tomorrow, and right now, I don’t think anyone knows how it’s all going to turn out. 

The spread of the virus is constantly in the news. I have now had several people I know personally affected. A vaccine is being touted as the cure to end the pandemic, but I am not convinced. On many counts. 

We are all so happy to be out of 2020, but nobody knows how this new year is going to turn out either. Life feels fragile. 

And so, I put one foot in front of the other. I do what I know to do. Take care of my family. Take care of our home. Try to keep my focus on God and his power and wisdom, instead of the chaos that surrounds us. Take deep breaths. Let them out slowly. Read my Bible. Turn on the worship music. Try to be kind. Gentle. Keeping in mind that everyone else is operating in this same fragility. 

A Blessing for My Children

We have just finished a tough year. Last night, as I rang in the New Year with my family, I was genuinely glad that we were done with 2020. 

Last January, we had a special speaker come to our church, and he prophesied that this coming year was going to be a year of Lack. A year of Not Enough. And it would be a year where we would see that Jesus was enough. Words that turned out to be very true.

As I look back on this past year, I am still amazed that we made it through all the trials that were thrown in our path. And I start thinking about this year that we have just started. And I want to pray a blessing over my children.  

I pray that this year will be a year where you rely less on your own strength, and more on the strength that comes from God. 

I pray that this year will be a year where thankfulness becomes a habit.

I pray that this year will be a year where the entertainments of this world grow old and stale for you and instead you become captivated by the highly adventurous path of growing closer to God. 

I pray that your patience will become stronger, your kindness will become ingrained. I pray that you will gain an ability to see people through the eyes of love instead of judgement. 

I pray that your faith will grow exponentially. When problems rear their head, you will not be fazed. You will know that Your God is in control. 

I pray that Peace will be a defining part of your character. That you will seek peace with others and that God’s peace will be firmly in the center of who you are. 

I pray for Joy in the midst of hardship. I pray for love in an atmosphere of hate. I pray that God would put a passion for his Word in your hearts, that you would grow strong and firm in your knowledge of him. 

I pray that grace would lace your words and your actions. 

May this be a year, that no matter what happens in this world, on December 31st, 2021, you will look back and say, Wow, it was an amazing year. This is the year that I truly came to know that God is all that I need. 

 “May your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11, NIV)

With much love,

Mom

Merry Christmas!!

It’s Christmas Eve. It is rainy and now, finally, snowy here in East Tennessee. Kind of like wet rain-snow. Looks promising, but the ground is nowhere close to being frozen. But, it’s enough for the kids to proclaim that we’ve had a White Christmas. 

My husband isn’t working today so we had the rare privilege of sleeping in till 9am. Of course, we had kids running in and out of our room starting at 7am, but we had no pressing reason to jump out of bed and it was nice to Loll Around. 

I went and got my Christmas Dinner shopping done and my husband went and picked up my Christmas present which was a  brand new mattress and box springs. Our old ancient mattress and box springs were extremely well-used, broken from children jumping on it and the mattress had permanent dents which automatically rolled everyone into the middle. I am SO HAPPY to have a new mattress!!!!

We’ve made Christmas cookies, which this year were no-bake cookies and then melted chocolate which we dipped pretzels and store-bought cookies into and then covered them with sprinkles. Not fancy. Very easy. A little messy. Pretty much the level of fuss that I was up for this year. 

My older daughters are hanging out together in my living room, giggling and arguing over books and stories and who knows what else. Another group of kids are putting together a Charlie Brown Christmas Puzzle. Other kids are reading or running around. I’ve got the Carpenter’s Christmas Songs Album playing on our tv and there is a fire in the woodstove.  Not sure if it can get better than this. 

Of course, the day has had it’s sour moments. Me freaking out when all my kids descended on the melted chocolate and tried to dip pretzels all at the exact same moment and then someone knocked over a cup of water right into the middle of the chaos. Breaking up some fights between kids. The crazy puppy went and peed on my brand new rug. We’ve loaded the dishwasher twice and there are still dirty dishes. I mailed Christmas boxes to my son in Pennsylvania, paid extra money to get them there in plenty of time, and he still hasn’t received them. He said there’s a possibility someone stole them after they had been delivered. That has me bummed out. Earlier this week I cleaned out my purse and threw away all the extra papers, including the receipts with the tracking info for the boxes. Argh. I got news today that friends of ours have their whole family sick with Covid. We have another friend who is still in the ICU fighting Covid. 

The future still feels very shaky. This past year will probably take me years to fully process and recover from. I have been struggling to let go of the stress. But, in the last days, as I’ve managed to conquer my overwhelming TO DO lists and things have been checked off one by one, I have been able to relax. 

And now, I can take a little time to be thankful. Thankful that Jesus came to earth. That Mary and Joseph were willing to play their parts. Thankful that God decided to first tell the Shepherds about the birth. Those insignificant, lower class Shepherds who had no political power, no social position. Thankful that wise men from the East were adventurous enough and had faith enough to follow the star to Jesus. Thankful that this was only the beginning, that Jesus would grow to a man who loved everyone, who treated women with dignity, who touched the unclean, who healed the lowest in society. Someone who said, You are Seen, You are Valued, You are Loved, and finally, You have been Saved. 

May the God of all Comforts, comfort those who are mourning. May the God of Peace give you rest from worry. May Emmanuel, God with us, surround you with his presence.

Merry Christmas! 

Seeking Emmanuel in the Crazy

We had an amazing Christmas service with our church today. The story of Jesus, starting with creation, told throughout the earth’s history, ending with his resurrection, accompanied by beautiful music. During the service my shoulders lifted from stress that had been weighing them down. My anxious thoughts calmed and focused on this story that never grows old. 

I needed that church service to hit the reset button. 

I wish that I could tell you that I have risen above the stress of 2020 and the Christmas season,, and I am peacefully gliding through the crazy, prioritizing, putting people first over TO DO lists, remembering that Jesus is the Reason for the Season etc etc…But I’m actually not doing a very great job, in my own estimation. I have been snappy, irritable, not handling things well. My family is getting irritated at me. I’m getting irritated at me. The church service this morning was good. It restored some peace. But I am shocked at how quickly I step back into my irritable mode. Once a week doses of God’s presence aren’t enough. Once a day isn’t enough. I am needing a constant turning. A constant reminder that God is good. That Christmas is about celebrating Emmanuel, God with us, not about doing all the fun activities and getting all the best presents. 

I am obviously not writing this from a place of achievement or even a place of rest and peace. I am writing this from the perspective of a mom who is frazzled, worn out, wanting to make Christmas great for her kids, but is instead rushing and stressing. And I need Jesus. I need peace. I need a constant reminder that I am not alone, that loving my family is more important than making Christmas cookies just-so, or having the house clean at all times. I need a heavy dose of patience and perspective. 

I am writing some reminders on my hands. Emmanuel. Jesus is here with us, I am saved, never alone. Peace. Christmas traditions are not as important as loving your family. Everyone would prefer a calm mom rather than a mom who has done all the stuff. 

I am hoping that over the next week I will see the words on my hands often. I will stop yelling. I’ll take a deep breath. Walk away for a minute. Reset. Start again. 

We’ll see how it goes as I seek Emmanuel and his peace.

My Day so far…

5 am My day started when the three year old climbed into my bed. I heard him come in the room and sat up, Watch out for your sister! He was about to come to my side of the bed to climb in, but another child had come in the night and settled with a blanket on the floor by my bed. There was also a child asleep in my armchair. Good grief. The three year old climbed over the sleeping child and cuddled up with me. I dozed a bit, but at the back of my mind was the knowledge that my alarm would be going off soon and I would have to jump out of bed and across the room to turn it off as fast as possible so it didn’t wake up the three sleeping kids. 

7:45am. All the kids (minus two teenagers) are up, have eaten some breakfast and are logging on to their computers for their morning meetings. I sit by the six year old to help her stay focused. The homeschooling 7th grader is doing his own thing and the six year old homeschooler is playing till I have time for him. 

8:30am I leave kids doing school or taking a break, load the cat into a cat carrier and drive her one block to the vet where she will be getting fixed today. I’m supposed to sit in the parking lot and call the phone number of the vet, then they will come out to me when they are ready. Their phone line is busy. It takes me 40 minutes to get hold of the vet. They come get the cat, I have to pick her up this afternoon. 

9:10am I was planning on going home, but now it’s time to swing by the elementary school and pick up free school lunches. I call home and let the now-awake teenagers know what’s going on. 

9:30am Back home. I unload the lunches and then try to help the two six year olds do their school while I am also trying to put the cold food from the lunches into the fridge. I go back and forth. Help one child finish an assignment, send them on a five minute break, turn and help the other child with an assignment, and back and forth we go. Yelling at the three year old every once in a while to go play upstairs where he won’t be bothering people. 

11am, most of the kids are done with their morning assignments. I call the high school to figure out how to get the paperwork we need for my daughters to go take their written driving tests on Friday. The secretary says we need to come in and fill out paperwork. I yell at the teens to go and get in the car so we can get this done. 

11:15 am. I’m sitting in the car waiting for my teenagers inside the highschool. I open up an email from last week where my oldest daughter sent me a form that needed to be filled out for her FAFSA for college. I had forgotten to look at it last week. I find the email, download the link. Take pictures of the form, crop and edit the pictures. Open my adobe app, convert the pictures into pdf and get ready to start filling them out. I read all the questions carefully. Hmmm. I am not needed to fill this out. It doesn’t require my signature. I can just tell my daughter the answers over the phone. Check this off my list. 

11:30 Home again. Everyone is eating lunch. I get a text message. Don’t forget 6 yr old has a meeting at 1:15! Ok. Same child still has 2 assignments to finish, has to do a Spanish class at 12:30 and attend a meeting at 2:15. Got it. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me of all these things. The kids who are finished with their assignments are asking for their 20 minutes reward-computer-time. I set another timer to keep track of their computer play time. 

I still need to fold a week’s worth of laundry, get kids to do their chores, and figure out what I’m making for supper. And pick up the cat. And take kids to youth group tonight. And do advent. And read a book to the poor ignored 3 yr old. And keep the fire going in the fireplace. And let the dogs in and out of the house multiple times. And make sure all the kids actually DID finish all their school work. 

And instead of doing all that, I am decompressing by writing about my day. 

I think my brain is going to explode.

Two more days till Christmas break.

How to Survive Mom Life

It’s been a crazy week. (How many times have I written that?) I told my husband, my actual list of stuff to do has not been that long, but my emotional load has been really heavy. We had a home visit this week from our foster daughter’s caseworker, getting ready for an important upcoming court date next week. Several of my children have had some struggles this week that have weighed on me as I try to help them through. National affairs still have me really tense. 

Yesterday I was feeling a bit shell-shocked. Then a friend posted an old blog post online from DESIRINGGOD.org written by Jen Wilkin. Here’s the link to the original post Women, Trade Self-Worth for Awe and Wonder . The basic premise is that instead of focusing on building up our self-esteem we should be focusing on the greatness of God. As we focus on Him instead of ourselves, we develop a healthy “fear of the Lord”. And a “fear of the Lord”, according to scripture, leads to all the good things we want in life. 

I was thinking about this all day yesterday. And I tried to put it into practice. As I felt myself getting overwhelmed with a situation, and I sent out a silent plea, “What do I do?” I remembered, focus on God, not yourself, and I started thinking about his Majesty, sitting on his throne, his Holiness, his Worthiness. And it helped. My problems shrunk back to a reasonable size when I compared them to the Awesomeness of God. And the heaviness lifted some as I lifted up praises instead of complaints. 

Guys, I’m just going to go on record and tell you that being a mom is tough. And it’s not that my kids are unusual. They are regular people with the regular issues that all people have. It’s just that being human is difficult. And raising humans to adulthood is difficult. 

Last night my husband and I snuck away for a very short date night. We went out to eat, but during the meal we were fielding calls from our teenager who was babysitting and was overwhelmed by two small children fighting over a device that neither of them were supposed to have in the first place. We also were texting with another child, and watching the time because we had to go pick up another child when her work shift ended. 

My husband said, this is just for a season, or something like that. And I said, No, we will be doing this for our entire lives. Our youngest is only three after all. By the time he finally has himself all sorted out we will have grandchildren heading into their teen years. Andy said that would be different. But, I hope that we will be involved enough in our grandchildren’s lives, that we will be able to share in their ups and downs. Anyway, the point being, the stress of being a parent isn’t going anywhere. It’s here to stay. And that is hard to accept sometimes. 

The other day, I found my mind just cycling through a woe-is-me kind of cycle. It was so Me-Focused. And it was tiresome. And I had this revelation that when my thoughts automatically turn to thinking about God instead of automatically obsessing about myself and my problems, when I can get to that place, my peace will exponentially greater. And I think that’s why Jen Wilkin’s article hit me so deep. Yes. Cultivate a healthy fear of the Lord. Yes. Focus on God’s might instead of my weakness. Yes. Spend my energy praising, instead of complaining. These are the things that will enable me to not only endure, but thrive in this crazy job of being a mom. 

Panic Attack

I found myself having a panic attack and decided to write my way through it. Here’s a snapshot of what is going on in my brain during a panic attack..

I’m having a rough day. I had to take my nine year old to the hospital for surgery early this morning to get rods put into her broken arm. My other daughter is sick and I will be heading off to another doctor’s appointment this afternoon to help her. I’ve been fighting a cold for ten days and in this era where Covid fear rages, having a cold is not a small thing. 

Today my mind is stewing on silly things. An online conversation with a blogger that turned into a veiled interrogation of me and my life choices. A scary notion that I am failing in this game called life. An overwhelming feeling of impending doom. 

And suddenly, I stop and realize that I’ve got things flipped upside down in my mind. In my mind, all these crazy things are happening, and as a result, I am responding with anxiety. 

I think the actual truth is I am struggling with anxiety and so everything that happens is being filtered through that anxiety and blown way out of proportion. My life isn’t causing me anxiety and stress. My anxiety is causing my life to feel anxious, stressful. 

Next question, why am I feeling so much anxiety? 

Typical culprits: lack of sleep, social media and the news, having to forego church due to sickness in our house, being physically sick myself.

When you can sit back and analyze things, it helps take off that big load of self-condemnation. Cause when I’m feeling anxiety, I feel like a personal failure. I have failed. I am not at peace. I must be feeling anxious because I’ve done something wrong. Not just that I’ve done something wrong, but that there is something inherently wrong with me. 

So, it’s time to hit the Refresh button. Speak some truth. 

I am Esther, daughter of the King. I have been saved. God no longer looks at my sin, but instead looks at me and sees Jesus’ goodness. My future lies with spending eternity with God. I am loved. God has blessed me with parents and parents-inlaw and a brother and brothers and sisters in law who love me. I have been blessed with a husband who loves me and children who are amazing. I belong to a church body that is there for me, that regularly supports me in all ways. Our world is crazy right now with political upheaval and covid, but God is still on his throne, none of this is a surprise to him. I am not perfect, but when I make mistakes, it’s not the end of the world. I can apologize. I can make restitution. I can go back and try again. 

My life is in God’s hands. 

So, I say Thank you Lord for this beautiful day. Thank you that my daughter made it safely through surgery. Thank you that my other daughter has a doctor she can visit and that medicine is available. Thank you for freedom of speech in that, so far, we are still able to hold opposing opinions with others and live in a diverse world. Thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that you thought creating me, in all my quirkiness, was a good idea. 

These verses come to mind..

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Puppy Emergencies

Yesterday I was in my room with my four youngest children. The puppy walked into the room and he was breathing funny, sounded wheezy. And then he started coughing and acting like he was trying to cough up something in his throat. This puppy was choking. I told the kids to go get the fourteen year old and official owner of the puppy since I was probably going to need some help. Then I pried the puppy’s mouth open and did a finger sweep, trying to see if I could feel anything. I couldn’t. The puppy continued to wheeze. I grabbed my phone and called our vet who is literally half a block from my house. They didn’t answer the phone, even though the webpage said they were open. I hung up and tried again. Still no response. I remembered that there was another animal clinic a couple miles away, I had no idea if they handled emergencies, so I tried to call them. Again, no answer, just lots of pre-recorded messages. 

Suddenly Ruth started yelling for me, her voice panicked. I ran back to her and the puppy, and the puppy had gone completely limp. And this is when it completely sucked to be the adult. 

Mom, do something!

Uhhhhh…Ok, grab the puppy and get in the car, we’re going to the vet place down the road. 

All the little kids are crying and freaking out, I’m running for the car, yelling at the little kids to go get their other big sister and tell her what’s happening. 

I don’t even get my seatbelt on, the car beeping at me in protest. Ruth is crying, “Live Puppy! Live Puppy!” and I’m praying Loudly, Lord, let this puppy live, PLEASE!! 

I tell Ruth to squeeze his chest. 

HOW?

I don’t know! Just squeeze it somehow!

She starts gently squeezing his chest and I’m praying and trying to drive safely.

I look over and there is foam coming out of the puppy’s mouth. I am crying and driving and praying.

Suddenly, the puppy starts breathing and sits up. Like nothing had happened. He is still wheezing, but alive!

We are almost at the vet. Traffic seems to be moving way too slowly. 

I finally pull into the driveway, no idea what I should do first. 

I pull into a slot and there are signs everywhere telling you to stay in your car and call this number, and then press #3. I don’t have time to deal with phone menus. 

I jump out of the car…a mask, shoot, wait…(this place is obviously taking covid very seriously by evidence of how many signs they have up). I grab my purse and yank on my mask. There is a woman in the car next to me, looking at me wide-eyed. Her window is down so I ask her if this place handles emergencies. She says, I don’t know, but you have to stay in your car. 

Well, this is an emergency. I can’t. 

I start running for the door and suddenly a man in uniform walks out, I run up to him and ask if they handle emergencies, my puppy is dying! He looks at me, nods yes, and comes up to the car, takes the puppy from us as I quickly explain what’s been happening, and he disappears into the building. 

I climb back into my seat and kind of collapse for a second.

Except I can’t. I left my teenager at home watching small children, but that teenager is supposed to be getting a ride to work very soon. She can’t leave the little kids alone. 

I grab my phone and call her. Give her an update on the puppy. Tell her to call her ride and cancel it, let her work know what’s going on, and I will give her a ride to work as soon as I get home. 

Then I call my husband, update him. Then I open my banking app and start figuring out where to pull the money to pay for this unexpected medical emergency. 

A nurse from inside comes out to my car. Asks if I’m a current patient. Gives me paperwork to fill out, assures me that the puppy is stable and they are taking care of him. 

Long story, a little bit shorter…They don’t find anything in his mouth or throat. They do an xray and see there is a sharp metal pointy object in his abdomen that he must have swallowed. They are worried about it causing damage when it comes out. They send him home with some special dog food to help push everything out of his system. Tell me to come back the next day for more xrays. 

Then, they call later and tell me to take the puppy to a different clinic in another part of town that can remove the object with a special tool that goes down his throat. My daughter has already given the puppy his special food before they called and the food is doing it’s work. 

That evening as we try to figure out all the moving pieces of our family and figure out who is going to take whom where, the puppy starts wheezing and coughing again. 

My husband takes off with puppy and Ruth to the new vet office, while I load up the little kids so we can go pick up some of their siblings who were on a playdate. Rushing, because I have to be home in time for another child who will be dropped off later in the evening. 

The new vet does xrays, the metal object is gone. They determine that the puppy aspirated some fluid when he was choking before and now we have to get medicine to help his lungs heal. 

Puppy is going to be ok. 

Thank you Lord. 

I, on the other hand, am going to need a bit to recover from all of that. 

My Sin was Great, Your Love was Greater

I want to start by letting you know that my mammogram went fine, no problems. All is well. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. 

This past week has been pretty crazy. My days were a lot more busy than I like. This month seems to be the month of Doctor Appointments. I just looked at my calendar, we have sixteen appointments scheduled for this month. Which is horrible. They are all check ups, dentist appointments, eye appointments etc. Which means that after this month, I shouldn’t have to take anyone anywhere for a long time. Getting it all done in one fell swoop. 

Except that it makes this month a lot more stressful. 

I had the whole having-to-get-a-mammogram thing which was also stressful, though it ended well. We’ve had some changes in our home life with our foster daughter slowly transitioning back to her birth parent. Which is great, but our schedule has gotten a lot more complicated. Even when she goes home completely, I will still be her full-time babysitter, which is a part-time job all by itself. Also a bit stressful.

So, here’s the crazy thing. All this stuff has been going on, and I have been stressed, but it’s not really these things that has been stressing me out. 

I have been mostly stressed about my inability to conquer and be victorious over my weight problems. Sins. Gluttony. Emotional Eating. Using food as the source of my peace and comfort. 

I have been feeling weighed down with condemnation. Surely God is sick and tired of me still struggling in this area. I am a disappointment. A failure. Weak. Not worthy. I’m pretty sure God really doesn’t want to have anything to do with me until I stop being this way. 

Yesterday I kind of hit rock bottom. I wrote a letter to God. 

It was helpful. Helpful for me to be very, very honest. Helpful for me to lay it all down. And then stand back and get some perspective. 

The perspective I got (I believe with the help of the Holy Spirit) was this. Perhaps my bigger sin is thinking that my own works is what saves me. Perhaps my bigger problem is not overcoming in this area, but truly trusting God at his word, that he has truly saved me and given me His Righteousness, and His Righteousness is enough. Maybe Pride is more the issue. Having to realize that Esther, in her own strength, has no power to overcome. She is completely dependent on God and his power to free her from her strongholds. And trying to remember that I am loved. As I am. I don’t have to get perfect first before God decides that he can love me. 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

I think I have reached the place where I fully see my helplessness to free myself from sin. And I then also fully see my dependence on God to do the work necessary in my life. And so I cling to his goodness. His mercy. And once again I put my trust in Him. 

I have set aside today to be a day of rest. A day of staying home, not having to run a bunch of errands. A day of minimal housework. 

And I pray that it also is a day of spiritual rest. Sinking into the truth that I am forgiven. That he who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6).

And this line runs through my head:

My Sin Was Great, Your Love was Greater. (from the song, “What a Beautiful Name”)