Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Making Much

I spend a great deal of my time doing laundry.  I mean a lot.  A lot, a lot.  If I did five loads a day I might have a prayer of staying on top of it. 


I am a big fan of the clothesline because it shortens the task and saves money.  Ok, truth be told, my husband is a big fan on the money part.  It allows me to be outside.   I can hang three loads at a time and they dry fast.  And smell so good.  Unless they are spreading manure in the field next to us.

The other day I was thinking I should not put so many loads up.  It was nearing the end of the day.  The sun was setting and it was getting cooler.  I’m not that smart and am no scientist but in my little brain I was thinking there wouldn’t be enough sun to go around.

Which is, of course, completely stupid. I’m looking at it from the wrong point of view. The sun is way bigger than my little clothesline. It has all the power it needs to dry.  It will not work better if I hang things out one garment at a time. 

The sun is a giant, self-sustaining ball of fire that heats the whole earth.  It is lots of miles away (again I’m not good with science).  It’s crazy to judge the ability of the sun to dry clothes by the size and scope of my little clothesline.

How much do I do that with God?  I make him small.  I look at things from my limited little point of view.  I wonder how He can take care of problems or where He is when those terrible things happen and reduce Him down to clothes line size.

When in reality He is outside of time.  He is the creator and sustainer of life.  How can I accomplish my desire to make much of God when I am viewing Him from my limited human mind.

I was just reading these verses for Bible study.

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? 

Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? 

Who had understood the Spirit of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor?

Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? 

Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?”

Isaiah 40:12-14

God is self-sustaining.  He is all-knowing, all-powerful.  He does not need me this lowly puny little human to wonder if He’s got it under control.

While Job is suffering the book goes on and on with Job and his friends pontificating on why all these terrible things happened.  God eventually thunders back smashing all their great human wisdom to pieces.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me if you understand.  Who marked off it’s dimensions?  Surely you know!”  Job 38:4-5

“Have you ever entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle?  What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?”  Job 38:22-24

The next four chapters rail on like that.  It’s obvious that we are foolish when we think we know better than God.  But I still try.  I still think it might help to only hang one shirt at a time to help him out.  Or question His ability to be in control of a situation that seems out of control to me.

So I need to make much of God.  How do I do that?  By allowing His glory to produce humility in us.  I want to make much of Him, not myself, not my circumstances.

My desire is to glorify Him in my life.  I can do that by praising Him for who He is.  The master of the universe.  The creator of the world.  The Savior of my soul.

When we make much of ourselves, we try to be our own god.  That is just crazy.  Surely there are things we do not know or understand.

Job seemed to get it after a four chapter smack-down.  He responds by saying:

“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.  You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’  Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” 

Job 42:2-4


See I told you I spend way too much time doing laundry.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No Shame

My legs are sore.  My friend who happens to be a Physical Therapist asked me if I was limping last week.  I groaned and tried to walk less like an 80 year old.

There’s no shame in being sore from training for a race is there? 

I got new shoes because they say that helps your legs not hurt.  There is no shame in a new pair of shoes, that should go without saying.


There is no shame in athletic tape. I got some thanks to a tip from my physical therapist friend. It actually feels kind of cool and athletic.


There is no shame in spending a lot of time doing this.  I could probably invest in classier ice packs though.


I limped around the store looking for this tonight.


There’s no shame in needing Ben Gay when you’re 35.  Or smelling like toilet cleaner in order to walk without wincing.  Is there?

Yeah, you’re right.  There probably is.

Mothering Maren

Four years ago my little Maren came screaming into my life. My baby. The last one. A fourth girl! What a miraculous and special and fabulous day.



Problem being, she didn’t stop screaming for the next two and a half years. I’m telling you I didn’t think we were going to make it some days. So much crying. Many temper tantrums. Lots of stubbornness.

She screamed every single time I strapped her into her car seat for a full year. She gave herself a mullet. And hence, she is my baby. The last one.

Photo shoot with Kellers 054

There have been a lot of tough times over the last few years. Life changing stuff. And I realized this week as I was battling some of my older daughters that there are peaks and valleys. There are times that are so wonderful and fabulous to be a mother. Then there are times that are heart wrenching and stressful and scary. I’ve learned that when things are hard, there is going to be an upswing.


The key for me seems to be to enjoy the peaks to the fullest and let them carry me through the valleys. I think they are meant to bring us closer in the end. There may be days when we don’t like each other very much, but I always love you very, very much. That’ll get us through the valleys.

Whether we are having fun or struggling, we bond. That’s my deepest desire as a mom is to grow closer and deeper with my kids. I can see that with the other girls. I can see it with Maren. And I would not trade it for the world.


We are on a peak right now. She and I get to spend our days alone together whooping it up. We go places, play and visit. We do laundry and cuddle up in bed together. She is a total delight.

I know she will turn into a school aged girl and then, Lord help me, a teenager. There are more valleys and peaks to come. Sometimes they come month to month, and sometimes they come minute to minute.

But every day, every joy, every challenge leads to relationship. It leads to sparkle and shine. And love.


So I’ll take it. All of it. Peaks and valleys. Good times and hard times. As long as I’m with my girl. My baby. My last one. My sparkle and shine.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Looking for Some Depth

Easter week in a Pastor’s family can get a little crazy.  Add two birthdays, training for a half marathon, and another round of strep and it’s, well, crazier.

We had a really great Easter.  Church was super, Easter dinner included friends from church, games and an egg hunt. But something was missing for me.

Between cooking dinner, throwing birthday parties, helping at church my weekend got garbled.  I was looking forward to some quiet time.  A little depth.  Time to spend reading and praying and celebrating Easter in my heart.  I didn’t jog on Sunday morning to make sure that would happen.

Instead the kids were up at 6:15 and I was making breakfast and getting the house ready for company.  All things I love to do. I spent quite a bit of time battling with the girls about wearing dresses and shoes and tights.  All things I don’t love to do.

By the time I sat down in church I had nothing.  I felt totally disconnected from rejoicing because of what Jesus had done instead of just the good things going on around me.

The songs were great, the extra instruments were great, the sermon was good, I just wasn’t prepared in my heart.  Corporate worship is not a stand alone event.

It frustrates me to no end.  I feel like I am always five steps behind.  I am constantly dropping what I am doing to attend to the other things.  

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” 

Luke 10:38-41

How do I as a Mom and wife juggle meeting the needs of my family with wanting some quiet time with the Lord?  I don’t want to be Martha stressing over household things when Jesus himself is sitting in my living room. 

But it’s hard!  If I try to wake up early, the kids are up.  If I try to worship late at night, I’m exhausted.

But truth be told I haven’t purposed to find the time this week.  I let easter push Easter out of my heart.  If I don’t every day, consistently take the time to pray and read the Bible and worship, it’s certainly not going to all of a sudden be there because it’s Easter and I have a skirt on.

So today, in the quietness of a day off, I’m having Easter.  It’s 9:30 a.m.  A little later than I’d like.  I’d like to get on with my day. The kids have the day off school, the dogs are here, there are things to be done, but I’m purposing to spend time with Jesus.  With depth.  

I need to control the distractions and not let them control me.  None of the “good” things I do are a replacement for time with him.  That’s what he wants more than anything anyway. Not my busyness, preparations, or my juicy ham.  Just my heart.

Every day with Him, in every day moments are the key to depth.  I have to make that happen.  He’ll supply the supernatural power and sacrifice and intimacy.  I just have to supply myself.  Michelle.  Not Mom, wife, pastor’s wife, dog owner, runner.  Just me. 

And Jesus.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:11-12

Praise the Lord, O my soul.

O Lord my God, you are very great;

you are clothes with splendor and majesty.

He wraps himself in light as with a garment;

he stretches out the heavens like a tent.

Psalm 104:1-2