Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Clean, He Kills

I like to think that I'm a fairly determined and persevering person. When I start a job, I like to see it through until completion. We've talked in past posts how I enjoy organizing things. It's personally rewarding to take a mess and organize, transform, and change it from chaos to something of order. That was my goal today -- to go through the three big closets in our bedroom and make them beautiful ... until my husband cautioned me about the spiders that are sure to be hiding there. He proceeded to talk about mixing up some chemicals for me to spray in the closets after they were emptied out, rounding up some rubber gloves for me to use, and then informed me to have a good day. Gulp! Kill spiders? Guard against dangerous chemicals? All to have my shoes nicely organized and my purses beautifully displayed?

So, I did what any normal woman would do. I passed on cleaning out the closets today. I figure I'll wait when Wes is home and HE can wear rubber gloves, pull things out from the corners, and smash the dastardly, murderous spiders for me while I run hysterically screaming from the room if we happen to spot one.

My next thought was to clean out the storage shelves where Wes keeps all his tools, electrical supplies, plumbing things, blah blah blah. None of it is pretty, but it needs to be organized and put in labeled bins for easy access. Sounds like a good plan, right? When I informed Wes that I wouldn't be cleaning the closet, but would be organizing the shelves instead, he casually told me to not be surprised if I see any mice. Are you kidding me? Don't even get me started on my fear of mice. Ever heard of the bubonic plague? I've got news for you -- mice (and their close cousins, rats) were behind all of that! As I sat there wide-eyed, my husband kissed me good-bye and left for work -- leaving me to the mercy of fanged, deranged mice that are hiding around my home. I'm in the process of finding a super-duty antibacterial, anti-mousal (I just invented that word) cleaning agent for the shelves.

My day of organizing has been ravaged by spiders and mice. Granted, these spiders and mice haven't been seen, so technically they're not a threat. Who am I kidding? Of course, they're a threat! Considering that I hadn't even thought of varmints in my closet or storage area, now I'm scared to death to change out my shoes due to deadly spiders (I'll be wearing black flip flops for the rest of my life because those are the only pair not IN my closet at the moment) and do NOT ask me to go get a light bulb because a disease-ridden mouse might contaminate me.

Instead, I'll just plan a day where my wonderful husband can help me organize. He will be so happy to hear that. Since he was kind enough to point out the spiders and mice, surely he'll be kind enough to take care of those critters for me while I clean. Just another example of our working together ... I clean, he kills. And that's why God put us together.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Life Olympics

It is a good thing that I'm not an Olympic gymnast. First of all, my age might be a little stumbling block. It definitely would NOT be good to have my joints and bones creak more than the uneven bars. Secondly, my fear of heights would keep me from even attempting to go any higher than 2 feet over the vault. And going over the vault sideways or upside down or any other way where I'd feel a little out of control and could hurt myself? No, thank you. Thirdly, I'd think it would be fairly important to have some kind of abdominal muscles to do any type of gymnastics, and yeah ... we won't discuss my abs. Not at all. So don't even try. And lastly, if something hurts, I am NOT going to want to do it repeatedly (the only exception to this in my life was having four children, but notice that four is the magic number for me -- I didn't do it daily for years!). No, I was NOT cut out to be an Olympic gymnast.

I love watching them though. I can't help but admire the height they get as they go over the vault (better them than me!). I'm in awe of the way they can move, and bend, and contort. And balancing on that beam (which is just 4 inches wide, by the way!)? Puh-lease! I have a hard time balancing on my high heels!!

It's exciting to see what these gymnasts can do. They're the best of the best. The cream of the crop. Their mommas must be so proud. But the thing that stands out the most to me is their determination and their perseverence. I'm sure that when they were tiny little girls who went to the gym the first day, they didn't do incredible floor routines or death-defying tricks on the balance beam. Pointing their toes when they learned to walk, working up to a sommersault, actually climbing UP on the balance beam and just walking across it -- that was probably more what happened. It took years of practice, of failure, of continuing on when it got difficult, of determination. But these are the very things that led to these Olympic gymnasts' success.

These are the same things that lead to my success as well. No, I don't do elaborate gymnastic floor routines ... but I've played on the floor with my children and grandchildren. No, I don't swing through the air on the uneven bars ... but I've journeyed through an uneven life with my husband. No, I  don't vault my body up in the air ... but I've vaulted in to the unknown and established relationships with people I never knew. No, I don't walk the narrow balance beam ... but I've walked with my Lord. In every single one of my relationships, in every single aspect of my life where God is leading and teaching me, determination and perseverance is required. Just as He doesn't give up, so I'm to hang in there as well. And, at the end of the day, I won't be standing on a podium and receiving a gold medal. Instead, I'll be approaching a throne and will hear a "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

And THAT is worth it all ...

If Jesus Had Facebook ...

If Jesus had a Facebook, what would He update? If I disappointed Him, would He change His status to single? Would He delete my pictures and erase me from His timeline?

If there's one thing about Jesus that I can count on, it's His consistency. Not changing His relationship status. No game playing for Him. He committed years before I was born -- years before man walked the earth, years before the world was formed -- that He would be in a relationship with me. He has instructed me to give my earthly relationships a permanence because all that is here is a mirror of what is in eternity. One word that perfectly describes Him is permanent. Jesus is unchanging. Jesus isn't like the shifting sands or the variable winds. He's solid. He's firm. He can be counted upon. Just as when I argued with my parents, I didn't suddenly become an orphan -- so God doesn't disown me. Just as when I have a spat with my husband, I'm not divorced until we make up -- so God doesn't sever our relationship. Just as when my children make wrong decisions, I'm not suddenly childless because of my disappointment -- so God doesn't turn His back on our relationship. And that's me! Me -- the one who struggles with consistency, the one who is wishy-washy and lacking, the one who is weak. How much more permanent is my Father in Heaven?

When Jesus and I began our relationship, my relationship status was changed to "In a Relationship". Through the years, there have been highs and lows. There has been unfaithfulness. There has been reconciliation. There has been new birth. There has been changes. Changes in the relationship ... not an ending in the relationship and starting a new one. God Himself has never changed. He's waited patiently as I grew, as I learned, as I truly began to value what He had given me when He gave me Himself.

Jesus might not have Facebook where He daily updates His status. But He's got the sky where He writes His love for me daily in the sunset. He's got the sun that rises daily to remind me of His consistency. He's got the laws of gravity that remind me of His strength. He's got the nail-scarred hands to remind me of His sacrifice and love. Those scars? I put them there. Yet, He doesn't hold it against me. Instead, they are there to show me just how far He'll go to demonstrate His love for me. Once ... for all ... forever.

Jesus and me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ssssh! He's Sleeping! Take A Picture!!

When my children were little, I constantly took pictures of them while they were sleeping. I did this for several reasons. First, they really looked so adorable ... and peaceful ... and angelic. I would just watch them and memorize their tiny, perfect features and took pictures so I'd always remember. Secondly, as they grew older, I loved taking pictures of them sleeping due to the fact that they weren't poking a sibling ... or picking their noses ... or scowling because they didn't want a picture taken. It was cooperation (well, kind of ...) and my babies were beautiful. I wanted people to see it!

As they've gotten older, I'm not around to take pictures of them while they're sleeping. That would be really creepy because I'd have to get in my car in the middle of night, drive across town, sneak in through an unlocked window (which they better not have!!), crawl over to the bed, snap a picture of my adult child, and then hurry and leave before getting caught. Not that I've ever thought of doing that. Like I said, that would be very creepy.
I don't tuck my children in anymore. I don't peek in on them while they're sleeping. I don't pull up the blanket that has been kicked off and crumpled at the bottom of the bed and carefully place it over my sleeping child. I don't listen quietly for their peaceful exhaled breath. I don't gently push back the tousled hair from their foreheads. No more of those incredible night-time rituals for me. My children were never aware of these rituals. They never knew that good ole' Mom was hovering over their beds at night ... and not in a creepy way.

I DO continue night-time rituals for my adult children though. They range in age from 23 to 31 and since I'd get arrested for sneaking in to their homes, instead I do something that's even better. I pray for them. I lift each one up to the Lord, praying for specific areas of their lives. I pray for relationships ... new jobs ... new babies and families ... moves ... safety in work ... sensitive hearts ... future godly spouses and godly friends. I pray that they'll move on from the poor choices in the past to the beauty of God's choices for them in the future. I pray for their hearts' desire to be walking with the Lord, to seek His face, to know Him personally and intimately. And, as this middle-aged body often awakes during the night, I continue my prayers when I'm not sleeping.

No, I don't physically cover my sleeping children with blankets anymore. Instead, I cover them with prayer. One of the joys of being a mom ...