There are always lists.
I have resigned myself to the fact that there will always be lists of the undone and the unbought and the unplanned for, lists telling me what I should do, what I should make, what I should clean, and what I should buy to make everything easier.
I love lists, but I hate them, too. I love them because things swirl in my head and a list helps me get them out, before they escape to wherever forgotten things go.
Lists can hang over you, though, like those slow flies that seek refuge this time of year. They buzz overhead and bump from drunken flight to lazy crawl. Then, they fall on you. And I hate that.
This time of year the kids want to make lists (or, Pinterest boards – oy) of gifts to make and give and of course, the gifts they hope to receive. It unnerves me more than a little. It bothers the sensibilities in me to think about all the things we could make and buy and give. I chafe to open the mailbox everyday to more catalogs of stuff we should get, and it annoys me to have to pull every blasted staple out of the binding before recycling it.
Stuffed with stuff.
That could sum up this time of year. Stuffed at Thanksgiving and maybe we’re thankful for people but the things – The Things are just around the corner and the day itself can’t even be wholly set aside for giving thanks anymore. Nope. We turn Thursday from stuffing ourselves with turkey, right into the flesh frenzy of stuffing ourselves with stuff.
And so goes another rant about American consumerism and the downfall of our society.
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.
1 Peter 2:11
I’ve been reading s l o w l y through 1 Peter and trying to soak in the Words lately, trying to get every last drop out of them instead of rushing to fill a quota.
These words stuck me in the heart because we’ve spent unnumbered hours shopping for a van to replace our totaled one and we’ve been vacillating between old and new, lease or buy, van or small SUV. Leather and DVD players and Navigation and back-up cameras have waged their war against my discontented soul.
If we just had wads of cash it would be no problem, right?
This verse was dividing my flesh from my spirit the way the Word does, and I realized (again) that:
A.) needing something was different from wanting it
B.) I just need something to drive
C.) I am unable to hear the Spirit of God when I am in such a quandry about which one and how much and I want that color
I just need something to drive, to put groceries and kids in, to take me safely to and fro, and to be an extended purse for all the junk I find I carry in my vehicle.
It’s been a month and we are still searching and scouring for the Vehicle Which to Drive. It’s taken on a life of its own and that’s why it has capital letters. I should say, it’s sucked the life out of us and we go to bed bug-eyed with Craigslist grammar in our heads, like fingernails on a chalk board.
All this searching has waged war with my soul, so I’ve scratched it off my list for now. I don’t need. I only want.
And I suppose that’s the place I want to arrive at with each of the lists in my life. Jesus never prescribed a life by list, and the two bullet points He drove home are seldom wrapped up in any of my enumerations:
Love your neighbor.
Granted, a shorter list does not an easier one make. And loving God and my neighbor doesn’t mean that I will have a van to drive…but several neighbors have offered me their vehicles for necessary trips. That’s love.
That’s a gift.
Sharing this post at #WriteAlm, Chatting at the Sky, #TellHisStory, and The Wellspring
Sometimes as a mom you might feel a little cooped up, stir crazy, cabin-feverish, and maybe unnoticed. There are other people doing other things and bigger always seems better. You might feel like your little life-as-mom is not as world-changing as, say, a missions trip.
You’d be wrong, of course. You are changing the world (and I’m not referring to all those diapers.)
I’m over at One Fun Mom today, sharing about how you change the world right where you are and how our church involves everyone in missions. Click here and join us?
The Bible says that Mary tucked things away and pondered them in her heart. She observed and stored the precious moments inside for another day, one she must have known was coming.
I can picture her. No scrapbooks or journals or pictures to glue down, just memories and things pondered. The prophetess in the temple. The wisdom of the twelve year old Jesus. The miracle at Cana.
That’s the way it must be with mothers.
I ponder moments as my children are oblivious to me standing there, watching, recording. With no camera I can be sneaky – the snap of a shutter ruins some moments, so I snap with my mind’s eye and tuck these things away in my heart:
snowflake making on the floor
girls counting pennies
boys up before the sun to see the snow falling
laughter among siblings
thank yous at a friend’s house
Reflecting can be good for the soul of the weary and life-worn. It can bring the perspective that we miss in the daily scramble and the monotony of circulating days. Reflecting can be the grace that gets us through.
Mary pondered all the marvels of her Child.
I do, too.
This post is part of Five Minute Friday (on a Saturday morning) with Lisa Jo and hundreds of others. This week the writing prompt is REFLECT.
You should click over and read Lisa-Jo’s reflection on the life of Nelson Mandela.
Life isn’t fair.
We all have a justice-meter built into us and we are gifted by God with an acute sense of when we have been slighted or when an injustice has been committed against us.
As a parent, being fair is important. It’s important that my children each know they are loved and cherished and worth fighting for. It’s valuable to teach my children about justice and the way God sees right and wrong
But as a parent, I get just plain tired of settling disputes and meting out appropriate discipline.
Somedays, I want to be that old lady in the shoe, if you know what I mean.
Spotting injustice in the world at large is fairly easy. It’s harder to see the injustice that we, ourselves, commit, but I know I’m guilty from time to time.
I get upset over inconveniences, for example.
I know to choose my battles but sometimes, at the end of the day, I realize that I’ve died on a thousand hills over issues that were really just petty. Like spilt milk and bread crumbs and socks on the floor – just minor infractions. But when you line them up one after another and you add in all the reminders given, all the instructions repeated, and all the grace you can muster, there’s a domino effect that occurs.
First, I sigh pathetically loud and heavy. Because that’s really effective.
Then, I start naming names. I have a list of four and I start with the most likely culprit, according to the crime committed. Everyone is guilty until proven innocent in the Court of the Tired Mom and no one gets time off for good behavior.
Next, if naming the assumed offender doesn’t produce confessions of guilt, I might choose to make new laws: You will all (fill in the blank); No one is allowed to (insert privilege) until (name appropriate consequence); Everyone needs to stop (blank) and start (blank).
That’s effective, too.
The result is usually a cleaner house, exasperated children, and a longer list of laws to enforce.
Sometimes I’m embattled over embarrassments because someone made it past my less-than-observant eye and into town with their hillbilly clothes on.
Or someone gets too rowdy for my liking.
Or someone says something that is a Deep Family Secret and the color of my face betrays my attempts to be calm.
These are the times I use subliminal messages to convey my deep disappointment to my children. I give The Look, which involves one eyebrow, a lowered chin, and a clenched jaw.
Sometimes it works. And by “works”, I mean that it produces a change in behavior.
The problem is that many of my feeble attempts at correction are more like manipulation, and they don’t really affect a heart change. They also don’t induce maturity in my children, which is often what is lacking when they spill their milk or wear their rubber boots to the grocery store.
Maturity takes time and discipline.
Embarrassment is never a just cause for discipline. Neither is inconvenience, but I’ve been guilty of handing out consequences for both.
Thankfully, being aware of injustice in my parenting means there is hope for me to make adjustments.
I know that messes get cleaned up – I can relax about a few crumbs because it’s not like they’re going to be there forever. And spilt milk is really just an opportunity to teach my child to mop the floor, right?
I know I’m more prone to over-reacting when I’m tired – that’s not the time to tackle issues with my children, and if it’s been an issue for awhile, it’s not going to hurt anything to wait until I’m more rested and in a better frame of mind to deal with it.
I also know that being proactive goes a long way in keeping peace, sanity, and order in the home – I know I need to plan ahead for town trips and church by making sure my kids know what to wear and what time to be ready.
Life isn’t fair and I don’t want my children to be consumed with fighting for their own rights. I’d rather them see natural consequences in their own lives, and seek God for ways to solve injustice in the world around them.
I’m hoping that it starts with forgiveness for injustices within the family, and a love of mercy on all accounts.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8 NKJV
Linking up with The Wellspring, Imperfect Prose, and #TellHisStory