Friday, December 4, 2009

Rest

She can't sleep. Her tired eyes and fussiness tell me that her body is craving it, but for some reason, she just won't give in. She looks up at me and gives me a gummy grin, oblivious to the green running from her nose into her mouth. I grab a tissue and she yells at me, reminding me of her hatred for getting cleaned up. I shush her, and tell her I love her.

I sit down on the couch, frustrated. She needs rest, and I need her to rest. Laundry is piling up, leaves need bagging , floors need sweeping, toys need organizing. Tonight we will decorate for Christmas, and I need to get the house in order before getting out the decorations. I can't do that with a fussy baby in my lap.

I e-mail my sister. "This baby won't go to sleep. Nothing is getting done. I'm feeling frustrated." And she replies from work with, "I'm so sorry. I wish I could come over and rock her to sleep. I really wish I could go home and rock my own baby to sleep, honestly." Her little one has been sick as well, so she knows how I'm feeling. The difference is that she is stuck at work, unable to comfort her little one; while I'm stuck at home, frustrated with my little one.

When was the last time I rocked my baby to sleep? Ever? I usually nurse at the computer while checking my e-mail or while helping the boys with schoolwork. Rarely do I take the time to sit down, give full attention to the baby, and rock her to sleep.

I close the computer. I pick up the sleepy, fussy baby. I grab her favorite, soft blanket from the crib, and I head to the rocking chair. Before sitting down, I must remove the clutter. Clothes, books, bags of who-knows-what....all cluttering the space that should be reserved for rest.

Finally cleared off, I lower myself into the soft chair. The chair where in days past, I have spent the wee hours of the morning with my Savior. Begging Him to change me, asking for His grace. How long has it been since I spent time with Him? How often do I fight the rest that He knows I so desperately need? How often do I rub my eyes and fuss and complain, when all I really need is some true Rest?

Tired baby continues to fight me. Her little legs kick, and her wide eyes look up at me while she nurses at my breast. I hum a sweet lullaby, and look around the room thinking about everything that needs to be done. The bed is unmade, the bookshelf is cluttered, the floor needs vacuuming, the dirty dishes cramp Ray's desk. And I realize I'm doing the same thing the tired baby is doing. I'm fighting rest.

So I bow my head, and close my eyes, and start talking to the One who provides sweet rest and comfort. I've missed the fellowship and communion that I have forsaken in the name of sleep each morning. I tell Him what is weighing me down. I ask for the rest that only He can provide.

Tired baby has stopped fighting. Her eyes are closed, and her body is limp. The soft blanket that her daddy bought for her is hugging her face, and she is finally at peace. I rock her for a few more minutes, enjoying the warmth of her body against mine.

I realize how much I have missed by letting "stuff" clutter my time with her. And I realize how much I have missed by letting "stuff" clutter my time with Him.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two Years

December 2, 2007. Not only was that my wonderful sister's 29th birthday, but it was also the day that our family was kicked out of our church. Almost two years ago now. Feels like forever ago, and feels like just yesterday.

You'd think that after two years, I'd be over it. You'd think that after two years, I wouldn't think about it on a regular basis. You'd think that after two years the ache in my soul would have diminished. But it's still there. Everytime I think about it, and especially now as the anniversary of that day looms, I feel like being sick.

The kids were so little then. AJ was about to turn 5, Drew was 3 1/2 , Megan was just 1 1/2, and of course little Kay wasn't even born yet. They were so small, so innocent. And thankfully, they still are. AJ is the only one who really remembers anything, but mercifully, his memories are vague.

Unfortunately, my memories are still fresh. I can remember that day and the emotions of those moments like it just happened yesterday. It's easy to dwell on it all, and get depressed and sad.

I have about two weeks until that dreaded anniversary. I'm going to spend the next two weeks focusing on everything I am thankful for this year. Focusing on the good that has come from the evil that happened that day. Focusing on my God and the faithfulness He has shown to me even in my darkest hours. I'm going to forget what lies behind, and reach forward to what lies ahead.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yearning

The wind is howling and the sky is dark which is quite a change from our usual bright blue skies. The weather is mimicking my body and soul today.

I knew that getting sick was inevitable. When four kids are coughing and hacking and sneezing and rubbing their noses with their grubby hands, there is pretty much no way to contain the spread of germs. And when those four kids still want (and need) hugs and kisses and cuddles and comforting, no good Mama is going to turn them away.

So yes. It was inevitable. And it's okay.

My soul, however, is feeling dark and cloudy today too. I can feel my heart howling, begging for attention. Crying for some reprieve from the muck that is overwhelming it lately.

And somehow, I continue to resist the One thing I know will calm the storm of my soul. Because teaching AJ about punctuation and capitalization is important. And making paper dolls for Megan is a priority. And practicing the books of the Bible with Drew is imperative. And playing patty-cake with Kay is just so much fun.

I glance at my Bible, knowing it holds the answers. Knowing that if I pick it up and open it's worn pages and eat it's bread, my soul will find rest.

And as my heart yearns for some rest from the tumult and wind, I walk to the kitchen and spread peanut butter and cut up bananas and open packages of goldfish crackers. I fold a load of laundry and call the kids to put their clothes away. I sweep the floor and pick up trash and my soul continues to howl.

When will I learn?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Peace

It's 11am on a Sunday morning and I'm not at church. Feels weird to be sitting in a quiet house. Usually our home is filled with the sounds of family. Three children playing hide and seek, or squabbling over toys, or singing songs, or dumping out legos. And of course there are the sounds of a little baby banging her toys on the floor, or blowing raspberries, or begging to be picked up. The quiet feels strange. Kind of nice, but kind of lonely.

I've been using my time this morning to relax. K is sick, and has been sleeping all morning. I should probably be doing housework, as there is plenty to be done. But technically it *is* the day of rest, so I decided to honor that (mostly...I did have to start the laundry and unload the dishwasher and pick up a little).

For the last hour or so, I've been working on a sewing project. This project has several small pieces to be sewn together, and then I have to use a little tool to turn a bunch of stuff right side out. And so I've been sitting on the couch, listening to the great talent of David Nevue, turning fabric, and thinking. Thinking is dangerous for a mom who rarely gets a moment alone in her home.

My mom and I were talking on the phone yesterday about how lately our spirits just don't seem settled. I am so much like my mom in so many ways, and we are both thinking about and planning for and stressing over the upcoming holidays. She shared with me how busy her days have been lately, and how busy they will continue to be for the next few months, and BOY could I relate! I feel like every day we are going going going. Our gas tank is perpetually empty (as is my envelope that is supposed to contain gas money). Even in those brief moments that I sit down to relax, my heart feels unsettled. Not peaceful like I want it to feel. Always reeling with the next thing, or concern over a friend, or worry over the children, or just not feeling settled because of the business of life.

And as I sat here today, turning fabric and thinking about my unsettled heart, I began to try to figure out how I could fix it. What would it take for my heart to feel at peace? Maybe working just a little longer and a little harder to get things done? Maybe getting up a little earlier or staying up a little later? Probably not. Probably those things would just make me even more exhausted and burnt out.

So I think and ponder and wonder, and eventually, the answer comes to me. The simplicity of it almost embarrasses me. Such an easy answer, why didn't I think of it before? Because I was too busy. I was too busy trying to figure it out on my own. I was too busy trying to fix it myself.

So I hit my knees. I talk to the One who brings peace that passes all understanding. The only One who can calm my spirit. The One who gives peace because He IS peace.

When I get up, and brush the crumbs off of my knees, I feel refreshed. I feel a river of peace washing over my heart.