Monday, March 31, 2014

Jesus Be the Center

Judging from my last post, I'd say it's safe to say that I've been feeling overspent, over - extended, and unable to give 100% anywhere in my life.  Everything has felt 'off', like I'm hanging onto a cliff face, gravel under my fingernails, bleeding as I hang on.  I teeter, wondering if it's just worth letting go.

Yet I'm knocked in the face with the realization that life isn't really all that difficult.  Circumstances could be so much worse, and I hear my mom's voice say, "Alicia, put on your big girl panties and get on with it."  And I know she's right.  (And I loathe the word 'panties'.  Just sayin'.)

But that leaves me considering the enduring... the persevering.  Is merely surviving the challenges of this life enough?  At the end, when I cross the finish, whether the finish of the current battle, or at the finish of this life, will I be content to say, "I didn't die getting through it?"  Or do I want something more than that.

And I want something more.

In just eight weeks I've gone from one job outside the home to two.  Our oldest started baseball.  Our youngest started swim lessons.  In just the last ten days we've attended two dental appointments, a physical exam well check, an eye doctor appointment, and tomorrow, on day 11, is the veterinarian. Two planned, two unplanned.  Our church schedules are busy, our house is filthy, and our work days are full.

And it wasn't until yesterday that I realized, I may not be able to 'help' the busy right now, but I can channel the busy-ness much better than I have been.  Rather than focusing on the tiredness and exhaustion, I can choose not only to realize that God has answered a prayer to give us more opportunities to share the Gospel, but I can actively make an effort to do just that.

To reiterate - in eight weeks, God has given me not one area of influence outside of church, but two, AND I get paid for it.  Our son has had the opportunity to be a light on his baseball team, and dad has got to meet new parents.  I have a whole new set of parents to talk to at swim practice, while A gets to enjoy a new, fun adventure that is just for her.  We've talked to doctors, nurses, hygienists, and receptionists in many different medical fields.  And not one of these people have seen my home. (Amen to that.)

My perspective has shifted.  My prayer has changed from "God, help me endure it," to "God, help me finish well, and with a purpose."

Yesterday, Aaron led out in a song new to the church that he and I have enjoyed for awhile - Jesus Be the Center, and my prayer is just that, that Jesus would be the center of it all.  Of all the busy-ness, of all the work schedules, of all the ball practices.  May they not be just other things to do, but may they be Kingdom work centered around Him, and may the perk be a little girl learning to swim, a little boy's excitement on a game well played, and a few more pennies contributed to our savings account.  It's on that account that I thank God that He answers many prayers, all in one, and sometimes, we fail to even notice.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Many Hats - A Personal Vent

"Good Moms Have:
Sticky Floors 
Messy Kitchens
Laundry Piles 
Dirty Ovens
& Happy Kids"

We've all heard it or read it.  Most of us have probably posted it to pinterest or facebook or some other type of social media.  I'm not here to speak for anyone else except myself, so this isn't calling all of the other moms out there liars, but I'm calling myself out:  It's a front.  

Is there some truth in the quote?  Maybe.  It's implied that the kids are happy because mom is spending time with them rather than doing the cleaning of the home.  

But what if mom is working a second job?  Or what if busy-ness has taken over and the family is never home?  Or what if mom can't get off facebook?  Let's call it what it is. 

I'm here to say this, I've posted this quote before to ease the guilt on myself that I've not had time to get the house clean, and I haven't had happy kids. 

Take now for instance.  I'm working two part time jobs, on crazy hours, that have allowed me to see not one of my son's baseball practices or games.  I'm feeling that I've lost vital communication with my spouse.  Two nights a week I'm not here to put my kids to bed, another night my husband is not.  I'm having a hard time keeping up with whether bills have been paid, or what week we have snack for baseball.  My mind flutters between what needs to be fixed today for tomorrow night's dinner, and about when the dog's next shots are.  Speaking of dog... I wonder if he's been fed today.  Most days, I'm not even sure what day it is.  I wake up in the morning panicking that, since I've slept, I could have over-slept.  What day is it again?! 

The to-do list is never ending, ever growing.  I have three baskets of laundry full of clothes that, though miraculously been cleaned, have not been put away... not to mention the three piles on my bed that I had to empty OUT of the baskets to refill.  Six loads of clothes... to put away.  And probably six more to put in.  My floor has MAYBE been vacuumed two times in the last eight weeks, bathrooms cleaned twice, floors mopped once, and let's not even talk about dusting.  

My idea of a perfect day has gone from a family day out taking into a Cardinal's game, to a cleaning crew coming in and completely deep cleaning my home, a nice massage alone and a NAP.  

Do I have a clean house OR happy kids right now?  No on the first.  Doubtful on the second. 

It feels ridiculous complaining.  Life could be SO much more difficult.  But I'm tired.  

Emotionally.  Physically.  Spiritually tired. 

I'm wearing so many different hats, from mom to wife to teacher, to women's ministry coach, to employee, to school mom, etc, that I can't seem to get one off fast enough to put another on.  

And I reiterate... life is not that hard. 

I have to feel like I'm not alone in this!?  Really, there has to be more of us, hidden in the wood work, putting on shiny smiles and switching hats until the point that everything piles up and piles up and our heads explode on our dirty floors and the whole thing caves in.  

And I feel that moment coming.  And I'm seeking the Lord and repenting... as I'm heavy laden and without rest.  I'm praying for a lighter yoke.  I'm praying for rest.  And maybe for a maid to clean the house...