Then and Now

To all my blog friends and followers, I am in the midst of a new novel and working with a deadline. I asked the Lord to make His will clear and help me meet my writing goal last month in the midst of impossible circumstances. Contrary to all human logic, the goal was met!  But my blog networking/reading/commenting had to be sacrificed… Still love you all, though!

God has been reminding me of much. Below is a post I wrote back in July of 2008. It came to mind yesterday and as I read it, Psalm 126 continued to reverberate through my mind, in particular verse 3.

Have the battles I mention below been won? Not by a long shot. If anything, they have intensified. Yet God is good, and today I can praise Him because through it all, He has done great things for us!

” The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
(Psalms 126:3)

My Father’s Love – July 2008

One summer evening, I was frustrated

An escalating discipline issue with our son left me feeling like a failure as a parent. The homeschool year was looming and I did not feel ready. My once healthy body seemed to be falling apart, treatments for one set of problems did not always work in conjunction with treatments for another set, and bits of me seemed to be aging prematurely in the most depressing ways.

I was (and still am) tired of pain, tired of medicines, and tired of being tired all the time.

There was more, but suffice to say that I was overwhelmed. After putting the children to bed, I trudged downstairs ready to attack chores which piled up during the all-consuming battle with Little Man and his great, big stubborn streak.

As I wearily prepared to wash the dishes, I felt a strong urge to go outside. I started to resist but recognized my Lord’s quiet voice urging me. So I abandoned the dishes and went.

It was beautiful out. The heat of summer had mellowed into a pleasant warmth. I began to pray, laying all my frustrations at God’s feet and trusting Him to know the ones I couldn’t voice.

As I prayed, tears began and I fell silent, gazing at the horizon. The sun was just setting and the sky was streaked with faint color. For a moment, I sat then stirred myself to rise and go back indoors.

Again, that urging, “Just sit. Wait. I have something to show you.”

I sat.

I listened.

The cicadas were beginning their evening song. I realized that I used to enjoy listening to the cicadas on summer evenings but had not had the time since moving into a larger house.

As I listened, I began to hear not only bird song, but individual birds and became aware of their locations around me. Always, the cicadas hummed their rising and falling song in the background. Peace washed over me and suddenly the pale colors in the sky began to seem a little richer… and a little richer… until the sky blazed a red-gold tinged with violet.

Still, all around me birds, cicadas, and frogs in the lake sang their goodnight praise to their Maker. Distant voices, rather than disturbing the symphony, were simply a part of it; the owners an unknowing participant in a harmony of worship.

I also began to worship, enjoying the show, enjoying feeling wrapped in my Father’s care.

When my husband arrived home from his errand, I was still lounging in the grass. I knew in my heart that my problems were not miraculously resolved. I knew that my health trouble was not over, nor was the battle to apply my son’s stubbornness to the correct path.

Instead, I had something better–my Lord had reminded me that He would be with me every step of the way. He had reminded me not to forget to praise Him through it all.

By bringing my attention to the song of His Creation, my Father caused me to remember that He loves me too much to remove the trials.

No matter what comes of it all, He has my best interests at heart. After all, no matter what happens to me here on earth, this is only the prologue. The chapters of my story are yet to be written – though God knows the words already.

I came away that night, not with solutions but with the peace that comes from understanding in a more complete and deeper way that I am in training for eternity.

Yes, the work is hard, but it will be worthwhile. And most importantly, my Father truly does love me. Me personally. That amazes me most of all.

What’s New With Me

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

I know I’ve been something of a random poster these days; sometimes once a week, sometimes less. There are various reasons why, but today I thought I’d share the most complicated one of them with you.

You see, quite a bit has changed in my life lately. After 15 years of full-time motherhood and 10 of homeschooling, my oldest two (tenth grade and eighth grade) are attending a private school. While I still homeschool the youngest, this has been a rather dramatic alteration in our lifestyle and schedule.

Now instead of letting the kids sleep until 7:00, the older two get up at 6:00. The youngest gets up at 5:00 — don’t ask me why. She’s just like that. We do our Bible studies in the predawn hour but in separate rooms. It’s kind of cool, actually.

Instead of a quick trot to the school room, I am now hauling two of them on a thirty-minute drive south. That’s thirty minutes one-way, which means an hour is spent in the morning commute.

The youngest either comes along or stays home and works on her own schooling, depending on my husband’s schedule. Also, depending on his schedule, that hour commute is sometimes doubled.  Either way, there I am standing with one foot in two worlds.

And then, of course, there are activities and extracurricular events. There is church and community group. There is striving to find the time to stay in shape — or rather, in some semblance of shape — despite an odd assortment of injuries I have managed to accumulate, apparently just to keep things interesting.

I am also endeavoring to learn Hebrew; a task at which I am progressing at a snail’s pace. A dead snail’s pace. But it’s great fun, probably because I am the quintessential nerd.

Also at this stage of my life, there are the teenage years and puberty happening all around, along with the great emotional needs that accompanies this life stage, much more intense and exhausting than the toddler years as far as I can see. Or maybe I’m just exhausted because of age… or because of chronic migraine and its various treatments… or just because.

And so on, and so forth.

But to me, personally, the biggest, most exciting, and yet most frustrating new thing is that I have finished the first draft of a novel.

No, really. It’s true. It doesn’t seem possible to me, but it is true.

As a matter of fact, I am writing these words now with something of a guilty conscience, mainly because I am taking a break from rewriting a stubborn paragraph that simply will not come together.

All the while I am hiding from my intractable characters that have chosen this night not to behave and docilely speak sensible sentences as they ought, my Hebrew vocabulary cards are staring at me balefully, reminding me that I have not even glanced at them today and here it is eight o’clock at night.

But that’s another matter. The crazy, exhilarating, and intimidating truth is that I have actually typed out an entire novel and am working through the revision.

So what’s next?

Who knows? I consider it highly unlikely the thing will be published, but then that is in God’s hands, as is everything else.

Either way, I look to Him for wisdom in all of it — the rewriting, putting out feelers for publication, raising my teens and tweens, homeschooling, private schooling, being a wife, facilitating a small group, prayer meetings at church– all of it. It is either all for His glory, or it is worthless.

Either way, I am praying almost all the time these days because, frankly, I need God every second of every minute of every day no matter what I am working on.

So that’s basically all that’s new with me! Drop a line sometime and let me know what’s new with you. 🙂

Back-to-School Meditations

But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?
Matthew 16:8

And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
Mark 8:21

 

Back to school. Those words invoke a pretty wide range of emotions, from excitement to dread and everything in between, sometimes all at once.  As a home school mom, I often suffer from a sense of insecurity at the start of each new year. Will I be able to help the children with their subject matter? Will we cover enough information? Will they be well-rounded and well-grounded? Most importantly, are they really getting it when it comes to their Bible studies and their relationships with God?

As usual, I was talking with God about my fears and insecurities before we began our school year and discussing with Him the fact that my teen and pre-teen children seemed to be further than ever from Him. I was bemoaning my failure, asking Him to show me where I had gone wrong. Have I been too legalistic? Too harsh? Too lenient?

As I poured out my heart to Him, God hushed me with the reminder that even the best Teacher the world has ever known did not always get His lesson across to His students.  If Jesus asked questions of His disciples such as, “Do you still not understand?” so frequently, do I honestly believe I can achieve better results?

No, I am not a perfect teacher. I would venture to say fairly boldly that I am not even a good one. Nor am I a perfect role model, especially to these three who have seen the irrational and bizarre moods caused by the prodromal phase of a migraine often enough to recognize and identify it with uncanny accuracy.  However, if God has truly called me to do this — and I am convinced that He has at least for now — then He is faithful and He will surely do it.

Despite my fondest, early imaginings, none of my children are super-geniuses nor are they super-spiritual. While they are all bright and have gifts in different areas, none of them are on track for college graduation before they can drive (which is a blessing since I would be on track for the funny farm if they were!). To my sorrow, not a single one of them shows the glimmerings of an astonishing faith, an especial zeal, nor of deep insight into the things of God.

However, as God  reminded me on that morning walk, the twelve disciples did not exactly show signs of being world-changers during the time of their tutelage, either.  So many times Jesus patiently and lovingly reprimanded them for their little faith or for failing to understand parables or events.  As a matter of fact, there were areas in which the group did not connect the dots until after He had been crucified and rose again:

His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.
John 12:16

It heartened me to begin the new year with a fresh perspective. This understanding does not eliminate the weight of my responsibility one whit, nor do I take my job less seriously. Indeed, it inspires me to prayerfully seek the Spirit’s help to be more patient when I repeat myself again and again and again and again…

It also makes me resolved to work at home schooling heartily,  as to the Lord and not to men. It reminds me to continue diligently to study His Word and show myself approved, to love the Lord my God with all that I am, and to encourage my children to do the same.

And perhaps most importantly, I will not judge the fruit of my little gardens before the seedlings have even produced proper buds. I will continue to plant, to water with both prayers and tears, and to ask God for the wisdom and strength to tend them well during the time I am given. Then, when I have done all that is within my ability to do, I will step back and watch to see what God will make of my little efforts.

I firmly believe that He who calls me is faithful; He will surely do it. And I pray the “it” I wait to see will be that God will bring all three of my children into a close relationship with Him, loving Him with all their hearts, souls, and with minds that are well-trained despite my inadequacies.

 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7