Saturday, November 07, 2009

Urban Adventure

We went on an adventure in the city while visiting my family yesterday.  Six adults, nine kids, three vehicles and lots of energy. 


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We walked across the Stone Arch Bridge over the Mississippi River.  We could see where the 35W bridge collapsed.

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We walked around the new super modern Guthrie Theater.

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Then walked on back.  But took plenty of time to take in the sights.


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Lots of fun and lots of energy.

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I guess we did get a little played out.

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There was just enough energy left to go to McDonalds for ice cream.  Really, what family outing is complete without that?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

My Messy, Stinky Life

I learned quickly when I became a mom, that life is pretty messy. I just cannot believe that the messiness continues to get worse compounded by stinkiness.

I got twenty large pumpkins for girls scouts. I loaded them in the back of my van. You shouldn’t do that when you are wearing a white coat. Because if it’s been a wet fall, they will be wet and muddy on the bottom. Pumpkins 014

I left them in the van over night and those wet bottoms rotted. Now my whole van smells like rotten pumpkin.

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We painted them with 20 girl scouts. They turned out cute but do you know how messy it is to get this result?

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Then we carved pumpkins at our house. Knives, pumpkin guts, markers and five kids.

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The manure spreader is out. It makes the rotten pumpkins smell really good.

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We’ve cleaned up puke and other body fluids a lot this month.

I can’t keep up on the laundry and kitchen to save my life. Laundry is kind of the crown jewel of stink. I can’t find the picture I took which is probably for the best.

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The kids are working on school projects. They need pictures and information. They inform me at 7:35 a.m. as they are getting ready to head out to the bus. I realize how unorganized my pictures and storage room is. In fact, I can hardly open the door to that dreaded room.

I can’t help but wonder sometimes if it’s worth it. I wonder if I will go crazy. I wonder if I will ever walk across the floor and not be grossed out by the stuff that sticks to my feet or trip over toys.

In the process of motherhood I keep getting bogged down and discouraged in the details: the messes, the laundry, the sickness, the stinkiness. It doesn’t take long to start wondering what the point is. Why am I doing this?

In the book I’m reading on Paul by Charles Swindoll there are lots of hardships in Paul’s life on his first missionary journey: opposition, sickness, a colleague leaves, difficult travelling. I’m guessing that maybe had Paul only been looking at the details and daily pressures he might have decided to throw in the towel too. But He doesn’t quit. Because he has a sense of mission, the big picture. He knows that the trials and sufferings are nothing compared to Christ’s work.

Here is part of what Paul writes to the Philippians.

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

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Swindoll writes, “My challenge to you is to live a carefully examined life in an unexamining age. That will result in your maintaining a carefully examined ministry in a day when virtually anything goes. Whatever happens, keep your eyes on the goal. However difficult, don’t quit. Though the obstacles are extreme, the stakes are eternal.” Paul A Man of Grit and Grace, Charles Swindoll, page 165

Can the same be true for a mom? If I lose sight of the God-given ministry I have to raise, train and nurture my kids for His glory then the details will overwhelm me. I can easily lose sight of living my own life for His glory.

The other morning as I was digging through pictures for projects, I saw the kids in Halloween costumes from years ago, little preschool toy story characters and baby flowers. I saw my now grown nephew as a little boy. I saw my brother-in-law in his navy uniform holding Grant and Jenna 8 years ago when they were two and six months old. And I got all nostalgic.

There’s more to this than dirty clothes and floors. I need to look for His plan and His glory in my situation and mothering. The stakes are eternal. Not only in my kids lives, but in mine.

Acts 20:22-24

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 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 – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Are You Awake?

Wake Me Up

words and music by Marc Heinrich c2008 Further Up & Further In Music

Wake me up
Wake me up from the world to Your Word
Wake me up
From an appetite for the absurd.
Wake me up
From my impotent idols of rust.
Wake me up
From these dreams that drop into dust.

Shake me and wake me and open my eyes.
I'm born again in the image of Christ.
Lord, let the beauty of Jesus shine through,
And wake me up
To You.

Are you awake??

Monday, November 02, 2009


I have a confession to make.  I’m not really loving being a mom right now.  I feel a little trapped.  I feel like I am never going to have the chance to do anything “significant” with my life.  And I feel totally guilty about feeling that way. 

I cannot believe that I am discontent again.  For the gazillionth time.  I am not content with continually being discontent.  I’m antsy and frustrated.  It comes out as bitterness and even downright anger at my husband.  I try to blame him for holding me back.  And even my kids. And even God.  That’s not okay with me.  I love them so much.  Why would I feel that way?

There are some women that are just made to be wives and mothers.  They like to organize and clean and take care of people and details.  That is not me. It doesn’t come naturally to me at all.  God has brought me a long way.  I get that this is part of His plan for me.  He’s molding and shaping me into a more caring, loving, humble person.  Someone more like Him. 

But those molds sure are constricting and painful sometimes.  I don’t like the squeeze.  I don’t like always having to put what I want to do aside.  I don’t like not having a minute to myself.  I don’t like being the supportive person in the background.  It bugs me to have to drop everything when I finally think I’ve got all my obligations taken care of and more appear. 

I had to go to the store today because we needed food.  We always need food.  I didn’t want to go.  I went purely out of duty.  Usually I dislike grocery shopping but realize that it’s part of how I serve my family.  But today?   I hated it.  I hated having to go out.  I hated having to spend my day and money that way.  I hated making the list, getting it all, packing it up, and unpacking it at home.  I wanted to have the day off but that’s not part of the deal.  So began the pity party.  Poor me.

I know it isn’t true.  I have a great life.  A wonderful husband and five healthy beautiful kids.  So what’s a selfish,  undomestic girl to do?

I could chose to trust Oprah.  On the cover of her magazine at the grocery store it promised to help you be the person you were meant to be and offered some easy questions to help you get there.  I could believe the lie that my life stinks and just be miserable.  I could turn to other ways to be fulfilled like reading gossip.  I could eat a whole bag of Halloween candy.  I could find a way of escape like going out or spending money.  I could believe in “the American way” and that if I work hard enough I can do anything.  I have tried all that and it only makes it worse.

These times of discontent seem to be a given.  They are going to happen.  Even though I desire to be a good mom to my kids and wife to my husband, it’s just not that easy!  The problem isn’t so much in the way I’m feeling as it is the places I’m turning to for help.

The last place I turn to is Jesus and His word.  Yet that is the only place I will find the solace, encouragement and contentment I need.  All those other places just keep the vicious cycle going.  Psalms is one of the best places to go when I feel frustrated or discontent.  So much of the Psalms are people pouring their hearts and feelings out to God.  That’s what I need to do.  He is the one that will listen with compassion and redeem my life.


Psalm 103:1-5

Praise the Lord, O my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits -

who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


There are going to be things in life that are tough, things we don’t want to do, parts of our life we don’t want to deal with.  It may be marriage, parenting, jobs, financial issues, family pressures.   All the twelve step plans and chocolate in the world will fall flat.  The only place I am going to get the grace and love to press on another day is Christ.  As I look to Him I find not only am I able to press on, but that I can do it with joy. 


Psalm 139:16

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be.


Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, O my sould.

I will praise the Lord all my life;

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Do not put your trust in princes,

in mortal men, who cannot save.

When their spirit departs, the return to the ground;

on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord his God,

the Maker of heaven and earth,

the sea, and everything in them -

The Lord, who remains faithful forever.

He upholds the cause of the oppressed

and gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets prisoners free,

the Lord gives sight to the blind,

the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,

the Lord loves the righteous.

The lord watches over the alien

and sustains the fatherless and the widow,

but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The Lord reigns forever,

your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.