Written on 4-10-2012
As a Mom, witnessing progress in our growing children is exhilarating. Today I begin in gratitude for the shift in attitude. I am thankful for cheerfulness, for willingness, and for obedience.
“To thine own self be true.” Today two of our kids chose to wake early so that they could pursue what mattered most – for our 8-year-old son, it was watching Scooby Do. So he happily got up with me at 6:30AM, played piano, did his chores, dressed, and did 10 minutes of homework. For our 10-year-old daughter, this meant pleasantly getting up (vs. angrily), getting herself dressed in a timely manner and having a whole hour to focus on completing her school homework and her piano practice. Ah, what peace there is in self-perpetuated cooperation! Our 7-year-old daughter was the last to get up, but when she did, it was with a joyful heart and a focused spirit of readiness (no tantrums of resistance or toy playing at the last minute). She too managed to fit one chore in as well.
As for myself, I was able to have a meaningful devotion, tea time with God and my journal, sweet kisses with my children, practice piano (I, too am participating in the upcoming recital), walk a mile on my treadmill all-the-while conducting some Mommy-business on the phone, and sending the kids to school with fresh, hot and balanced breakfasts and lunches. Of course the very best part of the morning was the spirit of joy that embraced us all – and stayed with us until we kissed goodbye!
What a relief it is to have had a happy morning – one void of arguments, disagreements or bad attitudes. Whew – the progress today is energizing and encouraging. Today the answer to prayer was seeing my oldest in particular, joyfully take responsibility for herself – complete her homework, piano and be on time – with no stress! All things are possible with you, God!
Our God is a God of details as our beloved Jan Decker reminded me the other day. His Word instructs us so clearly. This week Jesus’s word in Luke has been powerfully guiding me as we prepare to travel on new waters.
Thank you God, for progress – and for the hope it brings.
The truth is I cannot add more engagements to my calendar. The dare is to try. The truth is I am exhausted. The dare is just one more thing. The truth is my energy is so tied up, that there is very little to share. The dare is to think I can do more. The truth is I cannot. The dare is to eat ice cream before dinner (at my third event for the day). The truth is it wacked my blood sugar levels and immune system.
Ironically it’s in the dare that I feel the fun often lies. It’s in the “why not…”. But the truth is, freedom only comes in my own honesty. Those around us temp us to play truth or dare. While the dare is often entertaining, it’s the truth that we must own.
Today I pray that our children will see that their father and I aspire to live a truth-lead life and that they will naturally be discerning – and set free by their truth. I pray that I will have more trust in being truthful with what I am capable of doing during this countdown timeline for moving.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:32
There is nothing like making long “to-do” lists, backwards calendar planning and on-line house hunting, just before bedtime, to make one feel very tired upon waking, if not overwhelmed. The reality of how much there is to do in the next seven weeks has nearly taken my breath away.
Today I begin feeling sluggish and older than I’d like in my 44-year-old body. Having gotten off track with my fitness plan in February, I am now feeling the repercussions… Things were only made worse by discovering beautiful photos of our family – in Italy, 10-years-ago, and our now, 10 ½ year-old daughter saying, “You sure looked better then.” Whew – talk about a reality check. Have I changed that much? Am I actually that mature person I used to look at as such a “seasoned” person? Has that blissful look on my face been diminished from life’s experiences? Finally, have all these moves gotten the best of me?
Throwing my anchor in for the day with my tea time with God (which our oldest supported by making me a cup of tea), I am encouraged by a book I “randomly” found (for free) at a local book store. It’s called “After the Boxes are Unpacked” by Susan Miller. As it turns out, this book is exactly what I need. More importantly, Miller has provided very poignant scripture to encourage the process.
“And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” – Isaiah 58:11
Like a person traveling in a desert, my thirst is quenched by these words today. I am encouraged to believe that God is guiding us – even on this move away from Alaska, which has been Heaven on earth for us. I am reminded that it is He, not our geography, who ultimately gives me strength. Today I surrender to where we are, and lean upon His understanding, not my own. God doesn’t make mistakes and we are “tagged for the right destination.”
As we move forward towards our departure from Alaska date, I am becoming clear that what is hardest about this transition is not all the work that is involved, but rather the enormous amount of letting go which is required. Each day I am faced with more activities, trips and opportunities to connect with others that I must say “our time is up – we cannot” to – and that’s really hard.
Leaving a land, people, and a lifestyle we have come to truly love and be at home with just isn’t a happy thing – it’s hard. There is grief, lots of it. There are emotions that equate to loosing someone you love. Each day, as we focus on what we must do, I am faced also with the anguish of our life ending here.
Yes, we are blessed with the fact that on the other side of this ending, there is a new beginning waiting for us. But before I go there, I have a lot of emotions to reconcile. Unmet expectations with family members is at the top during this emotionally vulnerable stage.
Like with grief of a lost loved one, the pain of moving cross-country is deeply personal and touches many unseen places. It’s here in this devotion, that I am strongly pulled into love. I share this today because it helps redirect my focus today – on God’s love and on His abundant provision for us. I choose to be in love and to surrender the rest.
“We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” -1 John 4:16
“Dwell on that thought – God is love. Dwell on My actions on earth. See in them love in operation. You, too, must put love (God) into action in your lives.
God is love – no judging.
God is love – no resentment.
God is love – all patience.
God is love – all power.
God is love – all supply.”
-“ 365 One-minute Mediations from God Calling”, 2008, John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
While quickly making breakfast and lunch for the kids – after a late night to bed because we entertained guests last night, I stopped to pray for breakfast – and to share God’s word with our children. Delighted my heart was when I heard our 8 and 10-year-old enthusiastically respond to my call out of “Ask” – “and it will be given to you”, they cheers, “Seek” – “and you will find” they said, and finally, “Knock” – “and the door will be opened,” they naturally shouted out.
What a great way to start the day – with cheerful and affirming fellowship around the breakfast table together. The kids chanted the Luke scripture before I even read it. Where had they heard it before? Well, I was delighted they knew this much. Our 7-year-old said, “I don’t know that.” I said that I didn’t know it at seven, either.
With the few pressing minutes we had before the school bus arrived, I stressed that God calls us to participate in asking for help and that He can only help us when we do ask. Then I reminded them of a recent, specific answered prayer that our oldest had around her science project – which won 1st place! His words encourages us to keep showing up – and to keep focusing on what it is that we most want. Our God is a God of details. He continues to impress this upon our lives with answered prayers.
As we moved toward the pressing deadline of moving across the continent in 7 weeks, I surrender the details to God and ask Him to help me prioritize them at this time. I also let go of more external events so that I can simply enjoy the spectacular beauty of these shining white-capped mountains that are literally in our back yard. Oh how I love Alaska! And, I very specifically ask, if not beg, for clarity on how to find balance between the stress of uprooting and transplanting our life and connecting with extended family members.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who ask receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Luke 11:9
p.s. I did take a photo of our stunning backyard mountain view to share for inspiration but was unable to upload it. So, I take this request, too, that I will learn how to be more electronically effective. Where can I take a class to learn this?
Gone From My Sight
by Henry Van Dyke
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying…
Death comes in its own time, in its own way.
Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.