Owl's Head Lighthouse, Owl's Head, ME

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Out of my comfort zone

For the past couple of days I have been itching to get back here and write my thoughts. Each time I would think "I just need a few minutes of quiet to be able to process my thoughts." I have the quiet now, but I think my processor may be down.

It is just one of those weeks. Usually the kids and I spend our time pretty quietly at home. That works well for me. My husband proudly refers to me as antisocial---I think he's just making the point that opposites attract, but he does know me pretty well. While I can hold my own with people, it is sooo much easier to let my gregarious, charming husband take care of the day to day PR. Since he is usually gone Monday through Friday, I have to occassionally step out in the light of day myself. This week is one of those.

Doctor's appointments. I dread them more than, well, just about anything. People who know me are sometimes surprised by that, considering I am a nurse. That is actually a large part of the reason. I have very little patience for inefficiency, rudeness and most of all the tramping all over of parental rights that routinely goes on in the doctors' offices. Since moving to TN we have spent more than our allotted Dr. visits for sickness and injuries. Now I am taking the plunge and starting the well-child visits. Yeah.

Right now I am praying, seriously praying, that the doctor the kids see will be one that respects parents' rights, that has an open mind about home-schooling and that appreciates family values. A doctor like that could possibly change my mind about taking my kids for physicals.

Unfortunately, many times physicians and others make people feel that to be a good parent they must agree and follow all suggestions by those medical personnel. While I respect the knowledge that they have, I have to remember that I know my children and will make decisions based on what is best for them and for our family. As a nurse, I worked to protect and stand up for the rights of my patients. I will do no less for my children.

Knowing the potential for stress, I will definitely need to take a few minutes with a cup of coffee and some prayer. The Lord knows my fears and my weaknesses, but He also knows the love I have for my children. Its hard to believe that He feels that way about me. And He loves my kids more than I can even fathom. With that in mind, I can go do this, and look forward to that cup of coffee that I am going to reward myself with when its over.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Worship and rest

Sunday. The Lord's Day. A day of rest. These titles run through my mind as I sit here and contemplate our day. I fully believe this is a day that should be set aside for worship and rest. Yet, I struggle with confusion about what that means. Is rest, rest? Or is it running around wildly, trying to wrangle your family into a preset schedule? Maybe it is planning which outfits each person in your family will wear as you attempt to appear "proper" in front of the others at church (who you know will take note of what you are wearing). It must mean making sure there is a large spread of hot and delicious, home-made food ready for your family within 30 minutes of arriving home from church. I know, I am being facetious, but how many times is that what I end up doing? Ahh----most of the time. As a mother, Sunday has never seemed at all restful to me.
Please don't misunderstand me. I do realize that there is a certain amount of this that must take place. Schedules are good, to a point. Everyone should be dressed. Overall, it will be a more restful day if bellies are filled at some point. But so much of what I do is to meet a standard I have in my mind of what a Sunday should be. My mother always managed to do all of these things, and do them well. Therefore, I should too. Shouldn't I?
Since moving to a city which is filled with extremely large churches, we have been attending one such church. Neither my husband nor I has been completely at peace in that church. No, it is not a bad church. However, there are some issues we have concerns about. We noticed that the attitude toward family worship really has nothing to do with family. Children are parcelled out to various classes according to grade for both Sunday School and morning and evening worship. On Wednesday evening it is the same situation again. My youngest child would come home talking about what Disney movie she saw that day in church. Now that's a lightbulb moment!
These past three weeks, we have chosen to step back from the situation and worship together in our home (I realize I may have just lost some of you). No, we are not turning away from gathering together with other believers. Scripture seems clear in this regard. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is: but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25) We do realize that there are no perfect churches. There are, however, some things that we do not feel we can sacrifice.
I say all this to express what a restfull and special worship time we have had the last few weeks. We are asking God to give us guidance regarding where we should be worshipping together. We are overwhelmed with the vast number of churches around. Yet we know he has a special church family for us. Longing for that fellowship, we wait on Him. The same God who guides the tornadoes is in control of this situation, as well. For now, I know that "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matt. 18:25) While my natural bent is to feel yet more guilt regarding this, I know that I need to trust Him.
Wherever we end up for church, I hope that I will remember: 1.) Set the schedule, but don't stress about it. 2.) Its alright if someone wore that outfit last week (the Lord looks on the heart), and 3.) Sandwiches work just fine for Sunday lunch, and result in many fewer dishes to wash. By the way, wasn't that what I was going for anyway? Worship and rest? Yeah, that was it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tornadoes---the finger of my God.

While it is a lovely day here today, tomorrow appears to have tornado weather written all over it. To this point in the year, I have been excited that we have had so little of the "bad" weather that we had the past year. To the local Tennessean, a day with "severe weather" is just another day on the calendar, but to transplants from Maine, it is a day to hide out in fear. Locating blankets, uncovering mattresses and hanging out in whatever corner is furthest from the windows.
Even when we were still in Maine, my oldest son would see reports of tornadoes somewhere in the country, and come to me crying, begging me to reassure him that, "No, we don't have tornadoes here." Then------the Lord brought us to the state of Tennnessee. Last year, the kids and I spent much of the spring and summer hiding in our short hallway. Not having a basement to go to, this was the next best place. It became quite an adventure with lots of reading aloud to keep ourselves occupied. All the time, I was explaining to the children that God controls the weather, and that He is protecting us. Calm and reassuring---that was the goal---- while all the time I was about to come out of my skin.
Now, with the first really severe weather on the horizen, I am forced to look at the truths I have attempted to instill in my offspring. God is in control of the weather. God is in control of where we live. God is in control of our health. God has the hairs of our heads and the days of our lives numbered. There is nothing else like a tornado. It appears to be the very finger of God. Destruction lies in its path, but then, Who controls its path? The finger of my God moves. I am in awe when I realize that there truely is no safer place to be than in His hand.
The Psalms are full of wonderfully reassuring verses. One such verse is Ps. 4:8 "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety." Why do I so frequently forget this? Lying awake at night listening for sounds of storm. Ps. 57:1b states, "for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast." We know He doesn't change, so I guess it is just my level of faith and trust. I have no doubt that I will again feel fear, and that we will again spend time in our "safe place", but I am going to pray that God will help me keep it in perspective and that the reassurances I offer my children will come from my heart.
In the meantime, I will have a cup of coffee (surprise), strongly encourage my children to complete their goals for the day, and attempt to tackle the housework that never goes away, regardless of the weather. With a God that knows the end from the beginning, I had best just get going on the things I know He has already laid out for me, and leave Him to control the paths of the tornadoes. I wouldn't be much good at it, anyway.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wife, mother and in need of coffee!

For years now, I have been grieving over every single thing that I perceived as my failure as a wife, a mother and as a Christian woman. Today is the day that I am going to start treating those "failures" as wisdom-gathering experiences, and share my life with you. Self-doubt would be a word I could use frequently, were I to write an autobiography, and it certainly describes my feelings tonight. Yes, I am a homeschooling mother of four children. Yes, I am the wife of a wonderful man, whom I know loves us, even though we are often apart. And, yes, I am a woman that struggles with all the things that a woman today struggles with.

Because I know the Lord can use our weaknesses to help others, I share ours with you. While I love homeschooling, I struggle with guilt over choice of curriculum, working with my children's individual learning styles, providing sufficient extra-curricular activities, etc, etc, etc. If you homeschool then you probably get where I am coming from. If you don't, you probably still face numerous episodes of guilt over your individual circumstances. Somedays are great! I feel like I am successfully doing all those things that make me #1 Mom! Then I wake up, and realize I still need to get out of bed, make breakfast, find clean clothes, uncover the school work, score the tests I forgot about yesterday and make coffee----all before I lose my cool with some unsuspecting child. Oh yes, stop and have a meaningful quiet time with the Lord so that I do keep my cool-----which, of course, I would have done earlier if I had gone to bed on time last night, like I told myself I would.........Really need that coffee!

Now, I am sitting here again thinking I should hurry up and do what I need to so that I can get to bed on time. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" That is my encouragement. He really is still working on me! So that is how I am going to leave you for now. In our family we often dream about what heaven will be like. I'm pretty sure that if there is coffee in Heaven, that there, I will remember to prepare it the night before, and have the coffee pot on timer.