Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quote I like

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own.
~Adam Lindsay Gordon

I have no idea who this person is, but I really like this quote. So I'm posting it to my blog.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Pretty Good Day....okay a half decent day. lol

Okay, for those of you seeking deep spiritual truths, sorry, today is NOT that day. I just had a good day. Which in light of the recent events in my life, feels monumental but is probably actually NOT. Well maybe a little. I arose at a mostly decent hour, we got caught up on some school. We watched some dvds about Greek myths, which I am really enjoying studying with the kids right now.

I'll pause here for a minute just to say that the coolest thing to me about being a homeschooling mom is all the learning I get to do as a byproduct of educating my children. I am really digging the Greek myths right now and that whole time period. I also recently read the Percy Jackson series with my kids, which I think did a pretty good job of incorporating Greek myths into a modern context.

Anyways, we made caramel apples for dessert tonight, and watched a dvd on the haunted history of halloween, its roots in Druid Celtic culture and such.

Nobody died. The house did not catch fire. I fed the small multitude from a crockpot of beef stew and caramel apples. I delivered Kate to her ballet studio for workstudy on time. The dog only peed in the house once. So it was not a stellar day. But it was a decent day.

There's lots of things I would like to have fit in today that I did not, however. I did not read to the children today, not from any real books. (Textbooks don't count.) They did not play outside any today, which is a minus to the day in my book. I believe kids need lots of outside play time....and Kate works fairly independently studying Sonlight's American history core 100 this year, which is hard because I really want to be more hands on with her but how to do it with the little ones wanting attention is a challenge. Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time, borrow Charlotte Mason for a day, and let her follow me around and SHOW me how the heck she envisioned a mom like me doing this thing called homeschooling and life with five kids in such different ages and stages. I have faith it can be's just all like breaking ground for me. I didn't grow up in a large family and I'm not a naturally chronologically organized person. Otherwise, I would not be blogging right now. I would have my butt in bed, where it probably should be. But now is the time the house is quiet. Now is the time I can think uninterrupted. So I'm awake and blogging.

Over the last few days, I've glanced at other's blogs. And honestly, I wish I hadn't. It's rather intimidating. I'm not even sure how to put pictures on here, for one thing. And then I began to feel that others had so much more valuable things to say than I ever would. I just have to remind myself that it doesn't matter. At least I'm writing again. That is a small victory for me to savor. Even if the only people who read this are me, my mom, and a lady she cleans houses for....(Love you Mrs. Stout, if you're reading this. :)) Actually, I'm not sure my mom reads this. Okay, well, the two of us then. It's still a small victory.

I'm thirty five years old. I'm not one of those ladies who cringes at telling her age, to be honest. I like the wisdom that CAN come with getting older, though not automatically. I get frustrated too,though, because I feel like by 35, I should have something to give someone else. Some wisdom or ministry to offer. But when I look at my life, I don't see that. I looked outside my door today, and believe it or not, there were no young ladies knocking my door down wanting wisdom or sage advice. Not that I think of myself as some sort of oracle. I don't. It's just I see other women my age teaching and ministering, doing their thing, and I'm never quite sure what my "thing" is. Don't get me wrong. I"m not belittling motherhood. I do think it is the highest calling. I'm not opting out or wanting a different plan. I just feel like I have more to give sometimes, and I'm not sure what to do with it or if anyone even wants it. And that leaves me frustrated.

Well, enough wonderings for one night. I'm getting my charlotte mason behind in the bed....Winnie the Pooh is calling my name for tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Blessed Mess

To put it nicely, my life is a blessed mess right now. I feel blessed to have such a caring circle of church family and other friends who have given us such love and support. So many of you have taken the time to share your own personal experiences with miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. And hearing your stories does help me to not feel so very alone. Also, I am thankful for the meals friends have brought to allow our family time to recuperate from the surgery and the grief. On the other hand, I have a lot of anger right now I'm dealing with regarding God's hand in several situations in my life. Being around me right now is alot like riding a roller coaster, probably because I feel like my life IS one, emotionally speaking. One minute I feel guilty that God is so good to me and I am so selfish. The next minute, I resent that He's so good to me in some ways but refuses to move on my behalf in others. And still the next minute, I'm crying over the baby and feel overwhelmed with all the unresolved issues in my life and hopeless. I was feeling lonely before all of this happened, and now that feels compounded. I realize many people care about me, but there seems to be no one I'm especially close to that I feel "safe" enough to share the level of pain I'm feeling right now. And while both Joe and I both are Christians, we had been working through issues in our marriage prior to all this but not totally resolved anything. Now it feels twice as painful as it was before, because our situation has changed and the stress level is so high right now. Further increasing my stress load is the realization that so much of this trauma has happened in what feels like the "public eye". People I barely know have walked up to me when I'm out and told me how sorry they are for my loss, which is so kind and compassionate. The problem is that I am aware that people who already questioned my faith are now watching to see how genuine my faith really is, and I feel so incompetent right now and weak. It's terrifying for me to think that I could be a cause for someone to stumble. But admittedly, I'm stumbling right now. I'm mad and selfish and angry and bitter--not just about the baby but also there were other things that had been weighing heavily upon me before all of this happened. Now they seem unendurable. It says in the word "A crushed reed he will not break...." Right now I feel dangerously close to being crushed and not being able to rise from the ashes. I was so desperate to feel in control of something--anything-- in my life right now that I started trying to delete every post on my Facebook wall just to make the wall "Feel "clean ---to have somewhere in life that I saw order and didn't feel like it was falling apart. Alas, I never got more than past deleting posts from sometime in June, due to the sheer # of posts I've shared. Well, about to head to bed....hopefully will feel better in the morning.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Jonah's anger and the Lord's Compassion

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly,a and he was angry. 2And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 3Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”

5Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. 6Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort.c So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

-Jonah 4 (ESV)

As a teen and young adult, I must admit, I always thought Jonah was quite a doofus. I mean, really, run from God? Where does one run that God will not find you? The idea seems quite ludicrous. Then Jonah doesn't want to obey God and preach to Nineveh, but he whines and wants to die over a shade tree. What a pathetic loser. Definitely not the guy you would imagine being in God's faith hall of I'm wondering, is he listed in Hebrews in the faith hall of fame? I'm going to go check right now because I'm honestly not sure. Be right back. (cue elevator music.)

Okay I'm back. Nope, as far as I can tell, there's no mention of Jonah in Hebrews 11. Still, there had to be something about Jonah that God found noteworthy to make him a prophet and mouthpiece, right? To be honest, I'm still thinking on that one. My pride would very much like to believe that there is something special and worthy in me of the callings God has on my life and that Jonah would be evidence of that as a truth. But as far as I can tell, that just isn't the case. I'm not sure why God chooses some people to be his mouth piece and passes over others. Sometimes, like with Isaiah in Isaiah 6, we can see someone being chosen simply because they made themselves available. Not so with Jonah. Jonah is a prophet on the run from God. He recognizes who God is, as he says in Jonah 4:2, "for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster." From this statement, we can see Jonah has more than a passing knowledge of who God is. There is some sort of intimacy there between God and Jonah. And yet still, Jonah is running from a merciful, slow to anger, gracious God. Why is that? I can not say for sure, but I have some ideas from my own experience.

The fact of the matter is that ANY man or woman God chooses to use, apart from the Lord Jesus, is a sinner. And I don't mean that philosophically speaking, but as a material fact of my existence. I am a sinner, saved by grace. It is indeed amazing. I think someone wrote a hymn about how amazing it is...seriously, people can look at me on the outside and sometimes I can put on a good show. Sometimes I can't. The desire of my renewed spirit man is to be like Christ, but the truth is I have to engage in a daily, minute by minute battle of crucifixion of my flesh to make that a reality. The Holy Spirit can supernaturally empower me to nail my flesh to a proverbial cross, but often I try to go off on my own and fight the battle all by myself. And everytime I do that, I fail. again. Unfortunately, I forget this truth. Alot. I'm ashamed to say that my flesh wins the battle alot more than I like to admit.

Knowing this, I know that Jonah was a sinner too. And that is how a sinner who KNOWS God can sin and run and hide from an omniscient, omnipresent, benevolent, MERCIFUL creator. Heck, sometimes, when we meditate on that part of his nature, maybe sometimes it's even easier to run from Him cause we know he'll forgive us....we just forget that's not all there is to Him. I doubt Jonah was pondering the scriptures about the God who " judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day." (Psalm 7:11) Obviously, God's anger is righteous and he is not out of control, but still the idea is presented that He will discipline his children, and deal with sin firmly and directly. He hates the sin, not the sinner. It's a little easier to obey sometimes after meditating on a scripture like that, just because you realize God is still God. He may want to be your best friend, but you are most definitely NOT on equal footing in a relationship with the creator of the entire Universe.

So if you've followed my ramblings so far, congratulations. I guess there are two reasons why I'm blogging about Jonah. First, our pastors at church have been preaching from Jonah. So he's been on my mind. But unlike other times when I've heard preachers preach from Jonah, I see myself in Jonah alot lately. And I'm not really digging it. As far as Bible Prophets I Most Admire and Wish To Identify With....well, Jonah is not on that list. I always liked Peter. Sure he denied Christ, but then he had that great comeback and led 3,ooo to Christ on Pentecost. Awesome. And Paul. Sure he stoned Stephen and all, but then he had that whole road to Damascus experience and ministered to all the Gentiles and wrote a whole bunch of the New Testament. Then there's Isaiah. God is on the lookout for a point man, and Isaiah cries out, "SEND ME LORD." How noble is that? But Jonah? yuck. Whiny, fish puked-on Jonah. Not making my top ten. And lately, he's who I identify with the most. And I'm hating every minute of it. But let me present Jonah's case to you.

First off, Nineveh was Israel's enemy. And these guys were Hitler, Nazi kind of bad guys. Probably Jonah spent most of his life wanting God to deliver His own people, Israel and destroy the bad guy Assyrians. And the Israelites were God's chosen people too. So it wasn't exactly a stupid request to make of the Lord. But who does God choose to deliver? Nineveh. That had to hurt. No wonder the poor dude ran. All of this I got from Ken and Adam's teaching at church. So these aren't my revelations. I'm just sharing them.

So we get to Jonah chapter 4, and Jonah gets all worked up about a shade plant. And this is where I really can identify with Jonah. Because that's how I've felt lately. I let myself get tied in knots over our house situation, over all kinds of material things, to the point that I'm like Jonah in ignoring the bigger, more important picture. The truth is, my whole life feels like that shade tree. And I'm tied in knots over it. And God is seeing the big picture and all these people around me who don't know Jesus who will die and go to hell without him and all I can worry about are shade trees. It's not my most glorious spiritual moment, folks, I admit.

Even this pregnancy has felt a little like that. I had ONE WEEK of knowing this baby was growing inside me, that GOD put there and GOD caused to grow, and GOD took away. I had so little to do with any of it, and yet I am so mad and hurt that he took it away from me. I'm not saying a baby is insignificant like a tree in the yard...that's not my point. My point is all of my children, my spouse, every loved one in my life is a GIFT from Him. They're not mine. They're on loan very temporarily. And they all belong to Him. For some unknown reason, He chose to save my life from death of an ectopic pregnancy. Supernaturally, he gave me a dream days before I KNEW I was pregnant that I was dying in my bathroom bleeding to death from an ectopic pregnancy. It was very disturbing, and so when I felt pain, I went to the doctor the next night, not because the pain was so bad, but because I could not shake the concern that dream provoked in me. When they removed the pregnancy, the doctor said I was probably within days of rupturing. I don't believe I would have seen a doctor in time if I had not had that dream. So I believe the Lord saved my life by warning me. I am thankful for this miracle.

At the same time, my heart aches because I wanted a different miracle. I wanted God to save the life growing inside me. I wanted to get to know this precious little one and hold it in my arms and watch him/her grow. It has been a strange thing that God has used me as an instrument to bless others praying with them for pregnancies, but in this for myself my prayers were of no avail. And for reasons I cannot fathom. And what really irks me is it was His right not to. He is Sovereign. I am not. And that is why I find myself feeling more like a Jonah than a Peter or a Paul or even an Isaiah. I know God. I know His nature. Though he slays me, I will hope in him. He is my friend. But he's not a friend like my other friends with whom I'm on equal footing. Friendship with God is about submission. It helps when you know he's loving and gracious and slow to anger, but that doesn't make it easy when He chooses to do things in your life you'd have rather He handled a different way.

I know others around me have suffered through much more painful circumstances than this. But right now, it doesn't seem to help. I'm like Jonah, under the wilting sun, crying out to God to please bring back my shade tree and make it all better, wondering if he would crush my spirit beyond the point of death, as it feels like in this moment.

The one redeeming thing in the whole Jonah story? Well, for all the time, that I've considered Jonah a major loser, God loves him and sticks by Him. So even when he's whining, God is right there listening and teaching and loving. And God calls hims a prophet, and still has a good plan for his life.

I don't get you, God. Even when I want to push you away like Jonah, you keep coming back for more. I don't understand, but I am thankful that you love me that much. I don't understand this pain I'm feeling right now, but I know there seems to be peace nowhere outside your arms, the same one who allowed the pain. It's a strange paradox.