Wednesday, June 27, 2012


At certain times in the year I go into reflection mode. 

I'm finally caught up in the scrapbooking enough where I can start doing Gracie's birth.  It was hard to be content where we are now when I was scrapbooking all the great things and people that we left behind.  Grace is over a year old now and looking back at her newborn pictures seems like such a long time ago.  I've heard people describe how the days feel long and the years feel short when you have little kids, but it's been the opposite for us this year.  The days feel very short and I never seem to get everything done that I'd like to do.  I never feel like I'm fully rested or get enough of a break to parent my kids in the best ways.  This past year might as well have taken 5 times as long as it really did.

So often I wish that the girls Grandparents were closer or we were closer to them.  While we do have a few friends we can call on for special occasions I always feel like it's such an imposition to ask people to watch them even if we legitimately  need a break.  I wouldn't feel that way with Grandparents though because I know how much they WANT to play with the girls! 

I feel like God has to keep teaching me the same lessons over and over again, but during these times of remembering (while I go back and read old blog posts and look at pictures and so on) the lessons start coming back and I get to see how I need to apply them to where I am now.  What do I need?  What do my friends need who are also struggling?  There seems to be many people around me who are struggling with this thing or that thing.  Generally it's quite legitimate, a hardship that might be solved if the circumstances were just different in some single way.  How many circumstances need to alter though?  It's impossible to get all those things lined up in this life isn't it?  We aren't at the happily ever after yet.  Being an adult or getting married or having kids aren't our happily ever after.  It's all for our sanctification and the happily ever after comes in heaven with Jesus.

So when I'm in this spot of getting so overwhelmed at the kids doing the things I've told them again and again NOT to do and the lack of sleep overtakes my mood and reactions and I end up yelling too often and throw a dish (not at anyone and it didn't break or anything.. but throwing something isn't being a good example) what should I do?  I naturally start thinking about what in our circumstances could be different or what change we could make to improve our days.  Organize something better, keep wishing we had a yard or some place where I could send them to play (a room for them that actually has a full wall), wish again that we lived closer to the grandparents or to friends that weren't busy during the day, for the weather to actually be cooler so I could take them outside without us all melting into the concrete, I might wish that my husband could come home sooner after work so dinner isn't so late, or that he had some break too so that he could give me a break or better yet so that we could get a break together.  I've wished that our debt was paid off so that we'd have more money to do fun stuff to ease this time of loneliness or to have extra money to save up for a bigger house or for traveling to see my Mom.  There's always something isn't there?  I have friends that have similar issues.  Some single moms that wish their husband wasn't absent and many many people that could easily say "if only _____" something was different.  Health, money, situation, relationships.  We might start playing the comparison game of who's situation is worse or more legitimately difficult.  How can THEY complain when they have the house I want?  How can she complain when she has the marriage I want?  How can they complain when they live where I want to be?

Take everything away and what do we have?  What do I have?  Is Jesus enough?  I don't live in my "every day struggles of normal life way" that he is enough for me.  I freak out and throw a dish across the room and think that if something in our circumstances were different then I'd some how be a better parent.  You know what though?  Perhaps that is true.  Perhaps if I had more of a break or had a yard or whatever *I* would be able to handle where I am better.  But, isn't that what God doesn't want us to do?  Doing any good things in our own strength isn't the point of the Christian life.  We are given a new nature through Jesus and through Him we are able to love other people and he does good works through us.  Good works mean nothing if they don't start and end with Jesus.  All those good things that I'd like changed in my life can become idols and more important than Jesus, stealing my joy in all the good things He's already blessed us with.

I'm not quite sure how to live in Christ alone.  Every time I come back to understanding this and that I've drifted away from focusing only on Jesus I have to re-learn what to do.  As Christian's we have access to God that was impossible in old testament times.  We have the Holy Spirit - the third member of the trinity - God Himself always with us.  He is always available to talk to and get strength from.  If any of you reading this are enough on your own - the "super moms" that have babies who have always slept well at night that are actually good at cleaning your house and organizing your schedules and training your kids - if you are enough then I feel sorry for you.  You might need something catastrophic to happen to teach you to trust in Jesus alone.  When something big happens in my life I know I'm not enough, but for some reason I keep falling back into the place where I think I *should* be able to handle the every day issues in life.  As if I only truly need God's grace in my life when my husband is out of work and we are running out of food.  When I actually need Jesus as much or more in the every-day bits of living that require me to be patient with my 4 year old when she disobeys AGAIN and causes crying and much drama in our house.

Maybe the "key" is just constantly remembering that I'm not enough.  My hands are then open to accept God's strength and grace and love working through me. I am nothing.  He is everything.  When I stop looking at what is wrong in my life I can start looking at what I am thankful for.

A baby that loves to sit on the floor and look at her books
A super helpful 6 year old that can take direction very well
A husband that actually likes to do dishes!
Facebook and phone calls so I can be at least a little involved in the lives of my family even at a distance
Texting to Youssef and to my Mom whenever I feel like it
Ice bottles
A printer to print pictures
A wardrobe that houses all my crafty stuff so I can close it up easily to keep out of reach of the little ones
Gracie's amber teething necklace and binky
Two bathrooms (first place we've lived that has two bathrooms and it's super nice!)
Money for food
Enough clothes
Relatively good health
A Sunday school that my older girls always look forward to

 Walking and strollers and getting to go to the zoo. 
 Crafting girls...

 Flowers flowers everywhere!
 Tea parties in the rain and baby gates

 Library story time and video games and just the library in general is great!
 Hanging out with my geeky husband
 Holding my snuggly baby
  Snuggling my one year old to sleep
  Sisters that love each other and adore their little sister.