More Tragedy

This past Monday our community, school, family walked through yet another tragedy in a year that has been full of them. My daughters’ highschool had an “officer involved shooting” in the school. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations wanted to make it clear that this was not a “school shooting” where someone has brought a gun to the school with the intent of hurting people at the school, but was rather the result of a police officer engaging a student who was suspected of having a gun, and gunfire was exchanged. A police officer was injured, but is recovering, and the student is dead. 

For our family, we had an entire hour, from the moment the highschool was put in lockdown at the end of the school day, until we managed to get everyone home, that we had no idea what was going on. All we knew was that there was danger, a really big situation, and my daughter was in the building where all this danger was happening. 

The school district did not communicate with the parents during the whole thing which made the fear worse. Monday night I wrote the school district, voicing my complaints about the lack of communication with parents, and they personally called me the next day to apologize and say that this was an area they were going to improve in. 

My elementary school kids were also put in lockdown, (the school is relatively close to the high school) moments before they were to be dismissed. The teachers at the elementary school did not know what was happening, just that they were in a hard lockdown. They presumed there was imminent danger, and their fear and stress leaked over to the kids they were watching. My 1st and 2nd grader were crying when they finally were released to come get in my car. They told me later that they thought they were about to be shot by a bad guy. 

After I finally had all my elementary kids in my car, we then had to maneuver through police barricades until we finally found an access point where we could get to my daughter who was waiting at the high school for me. And during all of this there was a police helicopter swooping overhead making us all feel that we were in a war zone. 

When we got home I wouldn’t let the kids play outside because the helicopter was still present, making circles over our house (we live close to the highschool) and I had no idea if the helicopter was actively looking for someone in our neighborhood. So the kids huddled inside, looking out the windows, waiting for the danger to pass. And I sat, scanning all the social media and news sites I could find, trying to get information on what was happening. 

My husband came home early and I walked into his embrace and as he held me, I felt everything going black in my head, and was sure, for a moment, that I was going to faint. Rumors were flying and we heard that our principal, a man I admire, might have been shot. Was the office staff all wounded? How many people were dead? At one point in time I just hid in my kitchen and cried. Trying to avoid the kids, not wanting to increase their stress by having a complete breakdown myself. 

It took quite a while for all the details to come out. And now, On Wednesday, we still have not heard the name of the student who has died. And my daughter is supposedly supposed to return to school tomorrow, but I have a million questions, and none of them have been answered yet. 

Yesterday I gathered up all the kids, emailed all the elementary teachers telling them my kids would not be in school, and we left town and spent the day with my parents. 

Yesterday I would say that my stress level was at ninety-five out of a hundred. This morning I think I’ve got it down to maybe a forty? 

Yesterday morning I was feeling pretty horrible. Angry, agitated. I sat down and found myself rocking back and forth. Good grief. I was also feeling a lot of condemnation. Look at you! Where is your faith and your peace? And I had to stop and speak some truth to myself. You have just gone through a very stressful situation and your body and emotions are responding to that. You have to give yourself permission to recover from this. And, God is still good, and still in control, so we are going to cling to that and give ourselves some time to decompress and recover. 

So, Wednesday morning, I’m doing better than yesterday, but still feeling a bit shell-shocked. 

I haven’t even started processing the situation at our school, but I feel like I at least got the rocking boat of our family back onto calmer waters. 

Kite Flying

Last Sunday, Easter, we took the kids to the park in the afternoon, and for a special treat, we got all the little kids a plastic kite. The kind they sell cheap at Walmart. We spent the afternoon trying to help six kids get a kite going at the same time, and chaos erupted. I suddenly remembered why we hadn’t flown kites in a long time. Group kite flying is not very fun. Only one child successfully got her kite up and kept it up. Everyone else was frustrated. 

This Sunday, a week later, I decided to return to the park and try this kite thing again. I only took a couple kids with me this time and we only tried to get one kite up in the air at a time. It was also very windy, so I was sure that we would have much better luck. 

Nope. 

I have come to the conclusion that our kites are too cheap. We just don’t have the right kind of kites. This theory was brought home when a guy appeared on the scene later with his two kids. They brought out a beautiful, obviously well-made, professional grade kite. And it flew so high. So beautifully! The kids and I admired from a distance. 

Of course, it also takes some skill. The dad flying the kite passed the string to one of his children and after a while it crashed to the ground. Which makes me think that what our family needs is just one, really nice kite. The older kids can take turns using it and the little kids can watch. 

Quick subject change. I’ve been thinking about control. Lack of control. The need for control. And how that runs contrary to being a Christian. Even to just being human. There is so little that we have control over. We can’t control the weather or any natural disasters that might pop up. We can’t control the spread of viruses. We can’t control cancer. We have very limited control of the actions of people around us. 

Me trying to control my life kind of reminds me of standing out in a field with a cheap kite that has serious design issues, a tangled string that won’t come off the reel in a timely manner, wind that gusts and swirls haphazardly, and the end product is my kite wrapped up in a nearby tree branch.

The Christian walk requires trust and faith, the opposite of control. I have to somehow believe that, first, God loves me. His end goal for me is for me to be with him in Paradise. This time here on earth is a time of refining and growth. Second, God knows what he is doing. The things that happen here are not a surprise to him nor do they hinder God’s will from happening. Third, I am not going to understand everything during this lifetime. Bad things are going to happen that knock me down. I’m not going to be happy with everything that comes my way. Maybe, I’ll be able to look back and see how everything worked out for good, and maybe I will never see how any good came out of it. But, the fourth, and last point is God is good and I can trust him. 

And when I trust him, it’s kind of like handing control of the kite string over to a master. Someone who knows what they are doing. Someone who has the ability to transform my broken kite into a beautiful masterpiece. And that’s the life I want. Me in control is not a pretty thing. Me trusting God makes my life a beautiful thing to see.

A Moment of Clarity

Today my six year old son decided to do my workout with me. The workout was lots of variations on a plank, with some jump rope thrown in. He was enthusiastic and could do all the exercises a lot better than me. I didn’t have a jump rope for him, but he grabbed a pair of pants from the clean laundry pile and said that was his jump rope. At one point in time, he gasped out that he was tired. He stopped while I continued. For a moment I felt some pride, Yes! I outlasted the six year old! But, then, while he was standing there “resting” he started running in place. Cause he was bored. I think he was just tired of that one exercise we were doing. When we were done, he looked at me, eyes twinkling, and confided, boy, that was hard work! And then he ran off to play…while I melted on the floor exhausted. 

This morning he was up early. He was sitting on the couch reading a book. When he finished he started chuckling to himself. The book, about a Momma pig chasing down her kids who are hiding because they don’t want to go to school (yes, a weird book we picked up somewhere) ended with Mom Plum victorious. I heard him muttering to himself. Mom Plum! She caught them all! And his earnestness pulls my heartstrings. 

He runs upstairs and comes down with a big pile of books from the bookshelf. He sets them next to me on the couch. We can read these when Noah comes downstairs! You can read all of them, or some of them. Whatever you want Mom! Then he sits next to me, leans on my arm. And today, I just have one of those, “Oh yeah!” moments, where I remember again just how amazing this particular child is. My focus is honed in and I see him in all his curiosity and sweetness and intelligence. And my heart feels full. I squeeze him closer and say I love you sweetie! He looks up at me with a grin, I love you to Mama! 

It’s so easy to get jaded to the people around us. We’re used to them. They become part of the scenery. We live in autopilot, talking without giving much thought to who we are talking to. I consider it a God moment, when I suddenly open my eyes and see this person in front of me. Appreciate how special they are. Take a moment to be thankful for their presence in my life. For a moment my vision goes from dull black and white to full on technicolor and once again, I see the treasure my son is. 

Motherhood Brings out the Worst in Me

It’s been a day.  

I was in the middle of a confrontation with a melting-down child. I was seconds from physically removing said child and taking them to a quiet location where they could get calm without an audience…and then another child decided to come and stand right between us and start playing her recorder as loud as she could. And for a moment I felt frozen in time as I watched sheer ridiculousness unfold before my eyes. Several choice comments jumped in my mind and I may have muttered some of them at a slightly audible level. 

A couple hours later I asked the kids to clean their zones. The child of Recorder Fame pitched a fit and caterwauled the entire time she was cleaning. She sounded like a dying cat…I just might have mentioned that to her. 

Another, younger child, escaped the house without doing their cleaning. I chased them down, and when they responded that their zone WAS clean, I proceeded to point out, in sarcastic detail, the ten things that they had failed to clean. 

Earlier in the day, the kindergartner would not do his reading. So, I made him get in the car with me when I went to pick up kids from public school, and he had to sit there for the thirty minutes wait and read his book out loud so I could hear him. And I might have done a this-is-your-own-fault, when he complained about being bored. 

This morning, I had this random thought…I know God loves me, but does he Like me? 

At the end of days like today, I kind of feel like a not-so-nice person. I’ve yelled, been sarcastic, made a lot of kids unhappy with my expectations of them. I am not currently the hero of the hour. I am about to sit down to supper where I will be the bad guy who makes everyone eat vegetables. And then, I’m going to make kids do homework. And I’m not going to let them watch tv tonight. And then, they will all have to go to bed at bedtime…and brush their teeth. I will, in fact, win no popularity points tonight as I parent my brood. Though they still will all want me to hug and kiss them goodnight.

Being a mom sometimes just feels like it’s me at my worst. 

The mean me. 

The strict me. 

It’s hard to feel like a lovable, nice, person when you’ve just physically carried a screaming seven year old up the stairs to their room because they need to be in a quiet place to calm down. It’s hard to feel like a nice person when you’re dishing out the table chores after the meal and no one wants to be the one who has to sweep the floor, but you assign it anyway, cause you don’t want to sweep either. 

Maybe being a mom is so hard because it really brings out the worst in us. Our kids strip away all our pretensions of being sweet and patient, and instead show the real us. Someone who has some temper problems. Someone whose patience has real limitations. Someone who makes mistakes often. Someone who struggles to put others first. 

As I think about this, maybe God especially likes me in the role of mother. It keeps me honest and humble. No fake Esther pretending to be pure and holy. Instead it’s me: dirty, weary, spending half the day asking for forgiveness as I try again to be patient. Try again to see things from the child’s point of view and not just my own. Try again to not be cutting with my words. Try again to have grace. 

Me at my worst, is actually just me at my most real. And being real is what God wants from us. So, I guess I’m actually in a pretty good place. 

Yay for New Shoes!

Well, today I did a thing. I took eight children out to buy brand new shoes, not at Walmart. (The ninth child was sleeping in and wouldn’t budge.) In the past we have always bought little kids shoes either at a thrift store or Walmart. Teenagers get more expensive shoes because their shoes have a longer chance of fitting them for extended periods of time, and Walmart shoes just don’t last past two months. 

I was looking for something sturdy and all-purpose. Active sandal-type shoes for spring and summer. I am out of practice shopping. We went to four stores before I found what I was looking for. (Yay GB shoes!) We also stopped after the third store and I ran into a Walmart and bought food for lunch that we could eat in the car. And then we had to drop two of the boys off for an outing with friends, and then finally to the fourth store where I had to corral a bunch of hyper kids who all wanted to pick their shoes immediately. 

Now I still have to go pick up the two boys from their outing and take them to the shoe store as well, hopefully dragging the previously-sleeping teen with me. 

I’m happy though. Usually, spring comes and I start skimming the household budget, taking one or two kids at a time to get them shoes/new clothes, and then the next week take another two etc, etc. It’s a long drawn out process. 

But, tis the season for stimulus checks. 

As we’ve discussed what we are going to do with our stimulus money, it came home to me that we have a very long wish list of things we could spend money on. Very long. Longer than our stimulus money in fact. We finally decided to be responsible and set the wish list aside and finish paying off the last of our debt. But, there was enough left over to do a handful of things, including buying brand new shoes for kids. Woohoo. 

And just an aside. Taking a bunch of kids shoe shopping, all at the same time, is not for the faint-hearted. By the time we hit the fourth store, I was girding my loins, preparing for battle, adjusting my armor, etc… My main strategy is move fast. No dilly-dallying. Everyone sit here, on this bench. Ok, you want this shoe or that one? (Never give many choices.) Ok, which color do you want? Alright, stand on this mat, let’s see what size you are. Here, try this on, walk around…Fit? Ok. Perfect. Next child. We might have set a record for fastest in and out shoppers ever. 

Kids are happy. 

I’m happy. 

Yay for new shoes!

Resting in the Favor of God

Lately I feel like my life has been reading like a soap opera. What happened this week? Oh, you know, death, violence, tragedy, mental health emergencies, major appliances broken…

Yesterday my 2nd grader was playing on the playground at school. Two cars drove past the school, shooting guns at each other. The kids heard the gunshots and ran inside, school went on a soft lockdown, lots of police were present as the kids were dismissed from school. You know. Just another day. 

On the same day, we had a child with a mental health crisis, and it came home to me again, that our health system is letting the kids down. Our school has a program where a therapist comes to the school from one of the big providers in our area, and meets with the kids at school and does home visits during the summer. Awesome program. Except the therapist quit her job in November, and they still haven’t replaced her. And my child is falling through the cracks. Our own doctor’s office only does mental health visits over the phone or zoom, which doesn’t work well for small children. After a flurry of phone calls, we have found a new place we are going to try that does in person visits. Thank goodness. 

And this just seems to be our everyday life now. 

This year I have felt an urgency and conviction to actively work at keeping myself in a good place mentally. I am prone to depression and anxiety and have learned that these are things I have to constantly be working on to keep them at bay. With a lot of pushing and shoving from the Holy Spirit, I started a new exercise and diet program in January that is giving me good results. I started taking high school Algebra 1 online, just for the challenge, and I have enjoyed the sense of accomplishment, every time I pass another exercise or another quiz. God has been convicting me of my choices in entertainment, and I have been working on a big shift in what I read, which is a whole story in itself, but I have been working on filling my mind with more wholesome things. (Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8)

This is my testimony, despite all the craziness, I have not been shaken. I know when I was younger, things would happen, and I would wonder if I was being punished for some wrongdoing. I would wonder if all these troubles were a sign that I was not walking in the right direction. I believed that if I was a Christian, then my life should be mostly blessed, simple. And if it wasn’t, then I must be doing something wrong. 

I don’t believe that anymore. God is good but his goodness doesn’t always look like the Perfect American Dream. The bible is pretty clear that we are going to have trials and hardship and persecution. 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Right now I feel like I am in a place of faith building. Each day I feel almost bewildered at how normal I feel. Things happen, and I step back and shake my head, when is all the crazy going to stop? But, then I keep moving and keep tackling whatever is in front of me. And I marvel that God is still keeping me in a place of peace. Yes, I am worried about what is happening in our nieghborhood with gun violence. Yes, I am concerned over many things, but my head is still above water and I’m still swimming.  And that is all God. 

My daughter has been playing a song recently and the refrain is stuck in my head. It’s from the Psalm 30:5, the first half of the verse:

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime;

Funny as it sounds, I feel very much like I am resting in the favor of God. Despite the soap opera thing going on. 

Revelation at the Park

There is a park about two miles from our house. I know that it is two miles because we have all ridden our bikes there before, the small ones being pulled in a bike trailer, and after such a feat, the kids wanted to know just how far they had gone. 

We’ve been visiting this park for fifteen years. My kids call it Dragon Park. That is not it’s name. But, there is a large plastic dragon head that kids can climb on, and from the very beginning that is how it has been remembered. 

We just spent two hours there this afternoon. It’s one of my daughters’ birthdays and that is what she wanted to do for her special day. Some of the kids took their skates and skated on the walking track while I walked two miles as well. Afterwards the kids played on the playground, while I sat on a bench watching the action. 

One of my girls found a classmate playing and they had a great time together. The four year old found other kids his size and they all ran around squealing together, playing who-knows-what. A dad with a little tiny girl, maybe 8 months old, walked past, he was holding her hands to help her walk,  and the little one stopped and stared at me. Dad, embarrassed, nodded hi and apologetically said, “She likes to stare.” I grinned back, said hi to the sweet little thing, happy that she happened to walk past me. She was adorable. 

More families showed up while I was sitting and watching. Dads with toddlers. Grandmas with grandsons. Hovering moms. All colors. All sizes and shapes. 

As far as parks go, it’s really not a big park. There is a walking track, about a quarter of a mile round that circles the park and a green field. There is a small pavilion with four picnic tables and bathrooms in the back. It usually has a nice water fountain with a place to fill water bottles, but Covid seems to have shut that feature down.  There is lots of fun playground equipment, and on one end, a rock garden with some young trees and a tall metal post that, in the summer, lets off a cooling spray when you press the big silver button. 

It is wide open, not many trees, and I always feel the presence of the sky when I am sitting there, face turned to the sun’s rays. 

Today, while I was walking the track, I turned on my Bible app and listened to the book of Revelation being read out loud. And I’ll tell you what my impression was, as I walked in our quiet little park, the sound of children’s laughter everywhere. The main thought that ran through my head was, This is All Too Big For Me. Throne rooms with mystic creatures, judgements, a march of events that cannot be stopped. The awesomeness of being in the presence of God. I felt very small and frankly, quite content in my smallness. I like my life here. I like my family. I like the routine I have carved out for myself. I like life to continue in the patterns that I’m used to. I love Jesus, but today, the thought of being in front of his throne, in front of his Holiness and his Majesty…that felt overwhelming. 

And then there are all the judgements. Do I have to figure out when and where and how? Cause honestly, it all sounds baffling. 

As I was sitting on the bench in my little park, the last chapter of Revelation came through my headphones. And one section stood out to me.

“10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Revelation 22: 10-12

I know for certain that Jesus is going to return and when he returns, there will be judgement. And I can rest in knowing that everything that happens here on this earth, now and in the future, is in God’s hands. But, in the meantime, let the righteous continue to be righteous, the holy continue to be holy. And our righteousness and holiness come from being in Christ. And while there is a sense of urgency to fulfill The Great Commission, to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all the world, after all, judgement is coming for everyone either at death or when Jesus returns…despite that urgency, I also felt peace. I don’t know when all these things are going to happen that Revelation speaks about. I don’t know what it is really going to look like. But I do know that today, I will enjoy being at the park. I will love my children, love my neighbor, do the work that is put in front of me. Live the life that is given me today. And that is enough for now. 

My Newest Challenge

This past week I started something new. Something that has my whole family scratching their heads in bewilderment. My husband commented, “that is a really weird way to relax.” My kids keep coming up to me and wanting to know, WHY? I will tell you, and probably all my friends that knew me in high school will start laughing. I am taking high school Alegebra 1 via Khan Academy, online. 

I zipped through Unit 1, and I am on the last quiz and Unit test for Unit 2. There are 15 units. I have no idea how long this is going to take. I hope that I will stick with it though. 

So, a little background. Yes, I have taken high school algebra before. In high school. Actually, freshman year I was doing correspondence high school courses and finished Algebra 1 with an A, and no teachers on hand for daily help. I went to a little mission school and there were 5 highschoolers that year, and each of us worked independently on our own courses. There was a volunteer in the class to kind of keep us on task and answer questions if they were able. I think Aunt Bernice, the principal of the school, might have sat down a couple times with me to get me over a hump, and I think they once tried to get one of the doctors who worked at the mission hospital to give me a tutoring session, but they were unable to explain things on a beginners’ level. But, however I did it, I did pass the class and got an A. But, that was in 1992-93. I really don’t remember a whole lot of what I learned. Especially since, I HAVEN’T USED ALEGEBRA for my ENTIRE GROWN UP LIFE. (Something all my teenagers have constantly pointed out when bemoaning their math classes.) 

I later took Geometry and Algebra 2 at Bethel Regional High School, up in Bush Alaska. I had an awesome teacher whose teaching style consisted of showing us how to do something at the beginning of class, giving us an assignment with lots of practice problems, then sitting down at his desk and allowing us to all work in groups and do all the problems. If our group couldn’t figure out how to do a problem, we would go ask another group. If none of the groups could figure out how to do the problem, an emissary would be sent back to the teacher’s desk. The teacher would explain how to do the problem to that One student, then that one student would come back and start showing all the other groups how to do it. It really taught us how to figure things out on our own, brainstorm, and work together. I grumbled a lot about those classes, but I think I secretly really enjoyed them. But again, I can’t remember a thing that I learned. 

Anyway, back to why I am taking Algebra 1, again. I enjoy math puzzles. I love sudoku, even though I’m not a genius at it. (My mother-in-law is genius level.) But, I was starting to get bored with sudoku and I really wanted something numberish to do. When I do math puzzles the worrying, fretting, stressed part of my brain turns off for a while. The problem solving part of my brain gets turned on, and it actually becomes quite relaxing. 

My kids have used khan academy some over the years and it occurred to me that this would be something free and interesting to do. I would not recommend the algebra course as a stand-alone course for someone who has never taken Algebra before. Mostly because they don’t give a lot of practice exercises. But, for someone who needs extra review, or who, like me, just needs a refresher, it’s a great format. 

My long time, high school math partner, Sara, will be amused to learn that I am still making stupid mistakes, like forgetting the negative signs, or copying the problem down wrong. I am also struggling with writing the letters down neatly enough that I don’t mistake them for numbers. And I am currently stuck on the last quiz in Unit 2 because the silly thing only has 5 problems, but you have to get ALL 5 correct to move on with high marks (and I’m being a stickler, not letting myself get anything but 100%). And I keep missing ONE problem because of some silly mistake, then I have to start all over again. My kids think this is pretty funny. 

I think what probably really got this whole ball rolling, was my mom making a comment a while back that she was trying new things that were challenging in order to keep her brain stimulated. And I liked that image of keeping my brain stimulated, not letting it get stagnant. And since I am such a book and history and writing kind of person, math is actually really challenging. And it feels good to challenge myself. Wish me luck on my quiz!

We All Need a Rock

This morning I had to take my four youngest children to the dentist. The appointment was at 8:30am which meant that two of the girls wouldn’t be going to school as normal, but would be dropped off after their appointment. It also meant that the two little boys had to get up at the same time as the school kids instead of sleeping in. To make things a little more confusing, another daughter had a doctor appointment later in the morning, so the plan was to return the dentist appointment kids to the school and pick up the doctor appointment kid at the same time to take them to their appointment. Also different, I told my highschooler to be ready a little early and I would drop her off at her school this morning on the way to the dentist. 

Let me say there is no deeper confusion than that of a small child whose daily routine has been changed. 

Why are David and Noah getting up right now? Why do we have to eat breakfast right now? (school kids usually eat breakfast at school.) Is Ruth (the highschooler) going to the dentist with us? Why are you taking those other kids to school? Why do we need a mask? Are you taking us? Why are we taking our backpacks with us? Why are we driving in this direction? Do you know the way? Are we going to school? Why do we have to go to the dentist??

By the time we got to the dentist I was ready to start banging my head against a wall. 

Usually, if I’m going to change things on my kids, I sit them down and try to give them a simple explanation as to what is about to change and why. I try to make sure that they understand completely what is going on, just so I can avoid the million questions. But, our schedule was so wonky this morning, that I knew that no amount of explaining was going to get it all clear in their heads. The schedule was confusing to me. The adult. Comprehension was not going to be achieved. 

That, of course, has kind of been the past year. Why are we home? Why is there covid? Why are we wearing masks?  Why is everything different? 

Then yesterday, one of my older kids decided to blurt out the recent news of highschoolers dying from gun violence in our neighborhood. This is something that I have been trying to keep from my little kids. They didn’t need to know. And suddenly all the questions.. Why are kids being shot? Who’s shooting kids? Did they die? Why? And there was no way to break through their confusion so that it all made sense. Cause it doesn’t make sense. And while I can step back and say, Yes, there is evil in the world, and until Jesus comes back, there will be bad things happening all the time, it doesn’t answer the question of, why now? Why those kids? Why did someone make the choice to pull the trigger? I don’t know. 

I am not too different from my kids. I like routine. I like to know what is happening every day. And while an occasional surprise or change of schedule can be fun to break up the monotony, when weird things are happening, EVERY SINGLE DAY, it is not fun. And that has been life in our country since past March.  And I also start asking the questions. Why God? Why? Can’t you just fix this? Don’t you see I’m going insane? When is this going to stop? 

When things are unsettled and crazy, my kids get clingy. Needy. And I am the one they cling to. The one they need. They depend on me to be their security. Their unchanging rock. Life is crazy, but mom is still here.  And that is how God is for me. As life gets crazy I find myself clinging more. Leaning more. Lord, you are my rock. 

2 Samuel 22: 2-3a

He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,

    my shield and the horn of my salvation.

He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—”

Considering that these words were written thousands of years ago, I have given up hope that there will ever be a time when we don’t desperately need God to carry us through the days appointed to us. There will always be times when life does not make sense, when our daily routines are upset, when all we have left is a bunch of unanswerable questions. The good news is that, unlike me with my children, God does not get irritated with our questions or exhausted when we cling to him. 

Psalm 103: 13-17a 

As a father shows compassion to his children,

    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. 

For he knows our frame;

    he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;

    he flourishes like a flower of the field; 

for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

    and its place knows it no more. 

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him…

The Power of Worship

I started off this morning feeling off-balance. Unresolved conflicts. In the middle of a battle with myself as I try to adopt healthier habits. Children not as happy as I’d like to see them. The overwhelming amount of projects I need to do in my house. A dull February morning, the sunrise trying to push away the gray, but not quite managing to do so. The feeling of not having it all together. 

Then my fifteen year old came downstairs, dressed in cheerful pink, and turned on some worship music on her phone. I found myself singing along. And almost right away, I felt Hope returning. Jesus is good. He is on his throne. My life is in his hands. 

There is something about worship that recenters your perspective. As I write, the sunshine suddenly gets brighter, I can see more blue peeking around the clouds. My little boys are playing cheerfully. I feel a bit more confident that I can handle whatever this day hands me. 

The kids are memorizing Psalm 100. Every morning on the way to school, we practice our verses. It’s a good way to start the day. Though sometimes, I’m not paying enough attention to the words we are saying. 

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

    Worship the Lord with gladness;

    come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];

    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

    and his courts with praise;

    give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Worship does not change your circumstances, but it shrinks them back into perspective. Instead of me standing alone in a pit, it’s me holding the hand of my Father God as we navigate a bumpy road together. 

Come, Let Us Worship our God, Let us kneel Before the God our Maker, For He is Good and his Love Endures Forever.