Thursday, October 01, 2009

Is There Anything Worse?

Today was just not the best day. It involved a lot of laundry, screaming and organizing. I don't handle any of those things well. I kept muttering to myself, "Is there anything worse than____? Fill in the blank: fighting, crying kids, scraping gum off of pillowcases and carpet, cleaning play-dough off the floor, trying to organize old school keepsakes and on and on. I just could not be happy about trying to do my boring little chores today.

Later on we had extra kids over after school. My adventurous daughter and her friend threw their backpacks in the door and took off outside. I finished making popcorn and went looking for them after a few minutes. They weren't outside. I looked inside but they were not in the house. I looked outside again. I got Grant and his friend to help me look. I started getting that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I looked in the garage, the van, the garden. I started getting frantic.

I called my neighbor who started looking. I got in the van and drove around. No sign of them. Panic set in. The pipeline is being put in by us and there is a lot more traffic around here than normal. Mike was gone at an away football game. I started thinking about calling the police. I didn't know what else to do.

As I was driving back in the driveway I saw them running across the newly cut hayfield. My fear and anxiety quickly turned to anger and just as quickly melted into relief. I gave them the crazed-mom routine about how worried I was about them and that they absolutely needed to tell me when they left the yard.

Usually in those situations you figure you will find them and they'll be okay. At the same time the worst case scenarios start racing through your head. But you know what I realized?

Is there anything worse? Yes. There are lots of things worse than doing my chores with cranky children. There are worse things than having a lot of laundry to do. There are worse things than a constantly messy house.

I'm thankful for the pity party perspective.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Blessing of Boredom

I like to live a fast-paced life. I talk way too fast. I've been known to speak before thinking. I used to learn to play something on the piano and then try to play it at supersonic speed. Jenna does the same thing while practicing her piano. I try to get after her but it's kind of hard when I see where she's coming from.

When we started having kids I was rushed. I wanted to have all our kids close in age so we could be done. I wanted them to get out of diapers, give up the pacifier, learn to walk, learn to talk and go to school. But as I get older I'm realizing that fast does not equal fun. When things are too fast-paced you start missing things. Last week while I was thinking about being bored with mothering, God showed me it's the little things that matter. Things you don't see when you are going full speed. Things like:

Reading agonizingly long children's books. Really who writes these? Have they ever read to a child before? They should be 6 pages max!

Playing a game.

Playing a pretend game which involves me crawling around on my hands and knees as a dinosaur or horse.

Playing baby in bed. My favorite games are the ones I can play while laying down.

Playing with the kids at all!

Letting the kids "help" me make cookies.

Taking walks to look at rocks and our neighbors scarecrows.

Having a little four year old crawl into bed with me early in the morning and slowly creeping closer and closer until she was snuggled up on my shoulder.

And trust me, if I wasn't slowed down to the point of boredom I'd miss these moments. It takes an insane amount of time to do the simplest things with kids.

Slowing down my life because of my kids has taught me a lot although it can frustrate me to no end. Sometimes I use my fast paced approach to avoid things like conversation and intimacy. I find comfort in being too hurried to care about others or take time to really find out how they are. That's why I love email and Facebook. It's communication on my time and my terms. A one line response that takes five seconds to type is fine. But sometimes it's good to slow down and pick up the phone or have a cup of coffee and a real in-depth conversation.

I certainly don't want to have time to read the Bible or pray. That just might compel me to make some changes in my selfish little life. I definitely want to be too busy for that.

I was looking for a verse on this topic and I emailed my Dad to see if he could give me the reference. He knew it but it's not in the Bible. It's on a poster in his garage. I just hate it when I get poster quotes and Bible verses mixed up. But it says "The race goes not to the swift, but to those who keep on running." I get this because the one thing I don't do fast is run. I just try to keep shuffling along.

The world around screams to move fast. But what's the hurry? Time marches on. Most of my kids are out of diapers and at this very moment they are all at school except Maren who is napping on the couch. I'm encouraged to keep running. It may not be natural to me but I see God's hand in slowing me down. There truly can be blessing in boredom.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Acts 20:24
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - that task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.