Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The end of myself

Well, April has come and gone without a peep from me. Well, I have made a lot of peeps, but none on this blog. Life is busy as usual, but the Lord has really been teaching me a lot. I'll get to that in a minute.

We wrapped up pre-school the beginning of April. I have ordered all of our Kindergarten books and C and I are very excited to get going. I am planning to work out a "formal" schedule next week. B asks to do school almost daily. He wants to learn new things too. O just wants to be involved. With all of the interest from the middle two, I have moved all of our school stuff into our dining room china cabinet. It is the perfect storage space. Hopefully I'll put some pretty fabric in the doors where the glass is soon. I think that would look prettier than all of the clutter.

B has learned how to ride the running bike and asks for a walk every morning. He has done 2+ miles several times and loves the special time with Daddy.

We went strawberry picking with some friends one day and brought home over 64 pounds. The picking was a little easier than we thought and we were a little zealous. Now we have a freezer shelf full of strawberries for smoothies and a dozen or more jars of homemade strawberry jam. I even learned to can! It's so easy!!
We defrosted our deep freezer and moved it inside. It is so orderly right now. Hopefully I will type up my list and print it off before we use a bunch of stuff and it's wrong!

We celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus with our church family and my family. Albert led the Children's message at church by going through most of the resurrection eggs. Everyone really enjoyed it. We had dinner and an egg hunt at my sister's house and it was so fun! I love celebrating the various parts of Jesus' life with our children. It's so fun when they start to know the story and are able to tell us!

Yesterday was our last day of M.OPS. God provided an opportunity for me to share exactly what He has been teaching me with another mom. I feel a little uncomfortable sharing something as encouragement for someone while I am still learning it. I don't want to sound like I've arrived, but I do want to share what the Lord is teaching me with others.

Also at M.OPS I won the on-time basket! We receive a ticket if we have our children dropped off and ourselves signed in by 9:30. Yesterday we were just moving a little slow and about halfway to M.OPS I realized that I would probably be late. Instead of feeling anxious and like I need to speed or heard my children around, I took a deep breath and decided it was ok. It wasn't like I was going to win anyway. Skip to the best part. I signed in 45 seconds before the cut off and I won the second basket! It was full of yummy smelling body wash and foot scrub, some pretty nail polish that I think I'll enjoy this winter. It felt like a real mother's day gift. How exciting!

Today we went to a Blue Angels practice show. It was really cool. They were flying over the sea wall, so we were able to set up our blanket on the grass and watch comfortably. I think it was about 60 degrees with a steady breeze. We brought our breakfast and were actually early for an 8:30 show! Afterwards we played at a great park on base and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

During rest time, when no one was resting, I sewed up three pairs of these pants. B received some for his birthday, so he didn't need any. We are going on a short trip this weekend and I thought they would be the perfect travel pants. I'll toss them in the was tomorrow and they'll be ready to go. If you need some quick, comfy pants for your littles, these are great. To make them shorter for O and CJ, I just measured the length with another pair of their pants that I like the length of, added about another inch and a half or so and cut it off. These are play and travel pants, so they don't really need to be measured.

And now for what I've been learning.

For the last 8 months I have felt stretched. CJ has been an excellent baby, but I just haven't felt like I've been rolling through life smoothly. I guess I've felt like I was riding a bicycle and making it go, but very awkward and uncomfortably. Something has been very hard. It hasn't been my children. It hasn't been my marriage. There haven't been any obvious factors, I just have felt off. For eight months. I have searched book after book and friend after friend for what I need to do differently, how to organize my life so that it runs more smoothly, anything to help. Life will smooth out for a week or so and I may even muster up enough courage and energy to leave the house for several hours, then I feel overwhelmed and stretched again.

My pastor's wife has been coming over once a week or so for the last few months. A couple of weeks ago she said "Motherhood is a high calling." I thought about this and questioned it until the next time I saw her. Then I asked, "Does it say in the Bible that motherhood is a high calling? Are you sure it is? I just haven't been feeling it." The Lord and T have given me several things to chew on in response, maybe one or more of these will help you.
  • Start everyday thanking the Lord. Before you even get out of bed, thank the Lord.
  • In all things give thanks. When your (my) children are hanging on my legs and crying over their hunger, thank the Lord for their strong lungs and ability to communicate. Thank Him for providing for us. The pretty and the ugly, in all things thank Jesus.
  • My joy has to come from Jesus, not from my children's obedience or my husband.
  • The reason that I am so overwhelmed is because I am at the end of myself. The request being made of me daily are more than I can handle. I can't keep everything going in my own strength. My own strength has run out. This is exactly where God wants me to be. Being at the end of myself has reminded me that my only hope is in the Lord. I am having to figure that out daily.
So what do I do when I'm at the end of myself, I'm hoping in the Lord and there is still a list of things to do and four demanding little people? Go to the Lord in prayer. My Sunday school teacher in OK called them "arrow prayers". I've prayed in the morning, "Lord, go before me and fight the battle of disobedience. I know the battle is already won against my children's sinfulness. Thank You for going before me into this day."

Another thing that offers hope:
I've been reading through "Voices of the True Woman Movement". It is excellent. The chapter I read this week is talking about Hannah and Samuel. The author mentions that one of Hannah's prayers may have been, "Lord, I don't know the future, but I know that You hold the future." This has brought me so much peace. I can't really explain it, but it has calmed my soul as I know it is true.

So, I am praising the Lord that I have had more joy and peace in the last week than I have in the last few months and I hope you will too! Praise the Lord!