Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Loosen My Grip, Lord

A few things swirling around in my head today. Just things that have happened to people we know recently and what I've been reading and watching, it's all got me thinking. I just finished reading The Shack, (took me forEVER), I saw a quirky little movie called Then She Found Me, and have been studying the Psalms of Ascent--15 songs the Israelites would sing on their pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Psalms 120-134--in Beth Moore's Stepping Up. The recurring theme? Betrayal and Forgiveness. Sometimes I go deep.

Betrayal happens. In our imperfect human-ness, we hurt others. Sometimes it happens when we don't mean for it to, and sometimes we know exactly the impact our actions or words will make on another, and out of anger or our own pain, we let them have it. Zing. We have all done it, and we have all had it done to us. But what to do with it when it happens?

I think there have been studies to make this point, and the Bible makes it clear that holding onto your anger wrecks you. Sometimes you take others down with you. Forgiveness is the only way to find relief. In the movie I saw, the main character has to "make peace" in order to move on with her life. I think we all believe in the concept of forgiveness, and making peace, but the practice of forgiving someone else is slippery. Your head may buy the idea, but hearts can be slow to follow.

I love a conversation towards the end of The Shack, where Mack, who has been done wrong by someone else, is talking to God about what it means to forgive them. God gently explains to Mack what forgiveness isn't. It isn't embracing that other person, or deepening the relationship. It isn't saying the actions were ok, or even forgotten. These things might all happen over time, but the initial act of forgiving someone is much smaller, more simple, a tiny step. It is described in The Shack as removing your hand from that other person's throat. Taking your hand off, and trusting that God knows what has happened; who was wrong. And, we may have to peel our hands off one finger at a time, we may struggle, but as we let go of that person's throat, we let go of the weight of the anger.

Over and over we can read in the Psalms about how David and his people have been mistreated, and how God sees and protects them. And we also see how God forgives the Israelites when they fall short of the mark. We learn from the Psalms that it's ok to complain and cry out to God when we're hurt. I think this is an important step in the peeling away of those fingers. Because when you know God knows, it's easier to trust Him to handle it.

The idea of "making peace" is a funny one to me. Peace is one of the fruit of the Spirit. It's something that grows or flows from the Spirit within us. We cannot manufacture peace on our own. We, alone, with our own head and heart and nothing else, can't make peace. We can unwrap our fingers, though.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom?

So when the advertising people came to our house a couple of weeks ago, they were looking for funny stories of morning craziness, and pearls of maternal wisdom. I don't know if they found what they were looking for here. By the time I had talked for an hour, saying what felt like the same things over and over--therefore boring myself (hopefully not others) to tears with my own voice and ideas--I just can't say whether or not there was any wisdom, funniness, or craziness. I have since thought of all the things I should have said...

Something that surprised me years ago as a new mom, was that once we established and slid into a nice routine, like with naps or eating, that "schedule" would only last for 3 months or so. Our growing baby would grow right out of his groove, and we needed to adjust to the next groove. I think this has been true for twelve and a half years. Maybe we go longer than 3 months now, but with 5 personalities filling this house, there's always shifting and flexing, while you juggle all the balls and try to maintain stability at the same time. That's what it means to be part of a family. Or part of any organization made up of many individuals-- a church, a school, a small group Bible study, a business, you get the idea.

I heard or read during those hazy new mom days that a child will ask a thousand times a day in a thousand different ways, "Do you love me?" and "Who's in charge?" So my job is to answer those questions a thousand times, and perhaps in a thousand different ways, "Yes, I love you," and, "I'm the mom, you're the child; I'm in charge." My time at home this year, and every year is a gift. Opportunities to repeat a thousand times...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What Do You Think?

We had a family adventure yesterday. Through a college friend, we got an opportunity to be part of an on-line video ad. What that really means is, 3 people from advertising came to our house yesterday, and recorded an hour-long interview of me and a 15-minute conversation with the kids. Maybe we'll have provided some sound bytes that are useful to them, and maybe you'll get to see some of them someday on-line, if you click on an ad for Capri Sun's new breakfast drink called Sunrise!

It was great to sit down and answer someone's questions about our morning routine. I had permission to talk all about me and my kids, and how we do things, and why we do what we do, the way we do it...and it was appealing...but now I'm exhausted. I'm so sick of me and how I do things. And sick of thinking about what others will think of me, my home, my routines, my hair, my clothes, my fingernails, my children, blah, blah, blah. As I spent the morning cleaning the house (definitely not a typical part of my morning routine, wink, wink, nudge, nudge) I kept wondering what the advertising people would think, and then what the people who watch the videos would think. I would catch myself, and scold myself, and before you know it, I would be doing it again.

They ended up coming early !!!! and I realized right before recording was to start that I didn't have any make-up on. Did I insist on taking the time to put on my face? No, 'cuz I'm a dork. So I probably look like my morning routine could use some improvement...

We did get a free box of Sunrise! juice pouches, and Lily gives it two thumbs up, plus two big toes up. So there you go.