Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Becoming the Proverbs 31 Woman

Today we were off to a great start: Showered, Dressed, Devotional time!  Beds made, Dishes done, Both bathrooms cleaned, Laundry washed, folded and put away, Floors vacuumed and swept, Living room dusted!  Sight Words and spelling flashcards done, Play-dough and Coloring time WITH the kids!

Sparkling Clean!!

Wow!  All that accomplished before rest time!  I can’t believe how much we are getting done with this new purpose driven day!

Beyond having a few great days with the kids and getting a TON accomplished in the house, the Lord had more revelation in store for me as he nudged me to re-read Proverbs 31.  

There is much to admire about the Proverbs 31 woman.  She is strong, dedicated, resourceful, tireless, generous, dignified, Godly, respectful, loving, and wise.  This is who I aspire to be as a woman – a mom and a wife.  I realize that I cannot live up to this picture of a woman outside of the Lords strength, but I also realize that God has a desire for me to work diligently toward this goal.  I believe that my being “Proverbs-31-like” is God’s best for my husband and children.  That is a sobering thought, and at the same time – exciting!  I know that with the Sprit of Christ living in me, I can have victory in motherhood/wifehood each and every day!

A while ago I realized that for me the Proverbs 31 woman was much easier to aspire to before children were part of the equation.   It is difficult to be this woman considering what I bring to the table.  I come from a broken home.  My parents divorced the summer after second grade, but their marriage was over before then.  Afterward my siblings and I were raised in poverty.  My father wasn’t there financially or emotionally when I was growing up.  This left my mother to be responsible for being both mother and father – nurturer and protector.  There is so much I never learned because my father was not there to fill his God-given roll in my home and in my life.  I am certain that at this time I don’t even know what many of those lessons are.  There is a flip side to that coin though.  At one point, in the scope of struggling to co-parenting with my husband, I realized that there was so much I did learn as a result of the way things were.  For example, being raised by a strong single mom, I learned that children don’t really need a dad.  I learned that moms are superior parents.  I learned that mothers know best.  I learned that fathers can’t be trusted.  The list of what I learned goes on… Of course no one expressly taught me these lessons, but like it or not we learn from life’s lessons both positive and negative.  As one of my favorite songs puts it; “We are made of love and all the beauty stemming from it.  We are made of love and every fracture caused by the lack of it.”

We are made of love, And all the beauty stemming from it.
We are made of love,  And every fracture caused by the lack of it.
               "Needle and Thread" by; Sleeping at Last

There was a time about a 1.5 years ago that I realized a little bit about how damaged this society of fatherless children really is.  I realized that while many parents are dedicating/giving their children to God – many of us fatherless moms need to give our children to their fathers – and we just don’t know how.  I began hunting for resources on the difficulty for women from divorced families to allow their husbands to parent – essentially to trust them.  I was surprised to have found nothing, but thankfully the Lord was leading me personally through the matter.  Since then Shawn and I have worked hard to correct some of the seriously wrong lessons that we accidentally taught our children.  Without realizing it, and in part thanks to our particular circumstances (having very specific health needs), our children learned that “mommy is the boss; mommy knows best; mommy has the final say…”  Unfortunately the end result was a lack of respect for daddy. 

I can’t say that we are through this valley yet.  The kids are still relearning a lot about a Godly family structure.  Thankfully the Lord began teaching us this lesson while they were still young enough to really reap the benefit of us figuring out how to “order” our family the way God designed it.  It has been far from easy for me to let go of control, allow Shawn to do things “his way,” discipline myself to act and speak respectfully to him – when obviously I know best! Ha!  I am still working on these things – but the Holy Spirit of the Loving God lives and breathes in me!!!

Proof of the progress came in a conversation with my almost four year old daughter today.
Me: "M, what did I say?"
M: "Yes."
Me: "And who is the boss?"
M: "Daddy." (serious voice)
I thank the Lord for his tireless pursuit of us – even when we mess up.  That is one thing I really missed from my earthly father – but my heavenly father - he is perfect.

It is not easy to live up to the Proverbs 31 woman.  Actually it is impossible.  No matter though – because I don’t have to do it on my own.  I am really blessed to say that with reignited desire I am allowing the Lord to order my days, my actions, my thoughts and even my emotions to his plans.  I have this sneaking suspicion that as I succeed in doing that he will succeed in making me look more and more like her each day!


Waking Up From Slumber

I have realized something in the last couple of days that has transformed my home life – overnight!

Fast forward to this fall when the children and I experienced miracle healings…

What a joy it has been to cook for my family!  Overnight my love for cooking returned and with it a vibrancy of life in general that I hadn’t felt for a long time.  But… Over the last few months I have come to realize that there was a “but.”   Nothing really changed on the home front.  I still felt like I barely had my head above water.  It has always been our practice to pick up the living room and kid’s bedroom before ending the night, but the other rooms of the house would always seem to be in different levels of disarray.  Suddenly I was not spending hours researching medical journals, sourcing safe food supplies, or trying to work through layers of pain and neurological symptoms, but I still couldn’t seem get anything done.  Honestly I was in a funk, and my funk extended from household duties into not managing to get anything done with the kids either.  I had asked my husband to pray for me and told him that I was certain my issues were adding to the acting out that we were seeing with the kids.  That was Friday.

Sunday at church the sermon really left me thinking about all of it.  When our Pastor invited people to come forward for prayer or as a gesture to the Lord of our desire for more of Him I went forward.  I sat there in prayer about this “funk.”  As a sat there the Lord gave me a very clear vision of myself sitting on my new sea blue sofa wide awake, but in a trance – staring at the computer screen.  The vision was perfectly timed as our worship pastor sang the perfect words; “wake us up from slumber.”  As is often the case with a vision from the Lord, I also had a clear understanding – an impression – of what the “message” was.  In an instant I realized that my problem was that I was walking through each day in a slumber.  I was awake, but I was not purposeful in my actions.  

I would stay up too late watching meaningless television shows all with no purpose.  I mean to say I didn’t necessarily care about the show I was watching, but actually felt I needed to watch TV in order to relax.  When the kids woke up in the morning I would stay in bed and snooze while listening with half an ear to them playing in their room.  They would come and ask me when I was going to get up.  After the 3rd or 4th time they would ask, I would pull myself out of bed.  They were fine – safe – but was this good for them?  I told myself that I NEEDED that rest so it was ok.  All the while I KNEW that what I NEEDED was to ensure I was going to bed on time to get enough sleep so that I could be the best mom that I am called to be.  (The Lord had been speaking this message to me over the course of a couple of months – I just wasn’t being obedient!)  Then after climbing out of bed between 8 and 9 I would put on a movie for the kids so that I could wake up.  In order to wake up I would then troll the internet – email, facebook, news… whatever.  Before I knew it an hour or more had gone by.  Eventually I would put the computer away, but the tone for the day was set, and I didn’t even know it.  The next thing I knew it was lunch time and NOTHING had gotten done – not for the house, the kids, me, NOTHING!  I felt terrible!  What I didn’t realize was that there was nothing purposeful about my days.   What I did realize was that this was the reason I was in a funk!

After church on Sunday, knowing that I had to do something differently, I set my alarm for bedtime.  That’s right, in addition to setting my alarm to wake up at 7am I also set my alarm to signal my time to get ready for bed.  This was a tip I had learned from a friend just last month.  This friend shared with me how she starts getting ready for the next day by going to bed on time.  What an ingenious concept!  Knowing that my body needs 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep to operate at its best I can actually set myself up for a good tomorrow today!  Hearing that alarm go off at 9:45 isn’t just about the signal that bedtime is coming up – for me it is more of a spiritual alarm – reminding me that this is about an act of obedience.  

Monday morning I woke up on time, took a shower, got dressed, and had 20 minutes of quiet time with the Lord before R woke up.  I am afraid to say that on occasion this is more than I have accomplished in an entire day!   


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Thing Ended

It is hard to believe that M and R have been healed for 3 months now.  In some ways it actually feels a lot longer than that.  To be honest, it feels like an entire lifetime separates our life sick from our life healed.  It is difficult to experience these realities on a continuum and somehow makes more sense to me to see them as entirely separate - as though one thing has ended and another thing has begun.  It is funny because this is how my husband and I used to describe our life together.  

The dating days! (September, 2007)

The Wedding Day! (February 16, 2008)
Twins...13 days before our 1st anniversary!! (February 3, 2009)
Five and a half years later! (November 24, 2012)

Sometimes people come to us (when they are in the midst of marital problems) looking for us to tell them that “the grass is greener” so to speak.  I think people see all that God has done in our lives and think; “If they can be happy (happier than they were in their past marriages) then perhaps I can find someone else to be happier with.”  People looking in don’t see the difficulty though.  It is because of these moments that Shawn and I have developed the idea that some things don’t exist on a continuum.  We firmly believe that our happiness together has nothing to do with our failed marriages.  It is all about redemption.  It is difficult for me to express, but as I sit here now I am beginning to realize that it is actually a picture of resurrection.  God didn’t take our past marriages, direct us to divorce, lead us to one another, make us happily ever after, etc.  No.  We failed.  The marriages that we were both in were one-flesh unions.  The moment we said “I do,” we were married to the person God had for us.  But we as humans failed.  When our first marriages failed something died.  It was AFTER this that our God stepped in with his Resurrection Power and breathed life into something NEW.  One thing ended and another thing began.  Now as I write this I realize that this is just the way of our God - in many circumstances.

As I sit here now and realize that I feel the same way toward the children’s healing – I have to wonder what does this say about us.  What does it say about the resurrection power of the cross as we live out our daily lives?  Are we truly embracing the POWER that comes from the cross?  I know that this is much, much deeper than I am expressing here.  Though some of this has been in my heart for a long time, some of it is developing right now. 

One thing I know for sure – right now – this gives me great confidence in terms of M and R’s healing.  If I believe that their healing is a work of the cross I can extrapolate that it is truly and completely finished.   After all, we don’t live in fear of the curtain being sewn up and the separation from God being reinstated do we?  No.  We have complete confidence that the curse has been broken – that when Jesus said, “it is finished,” it was indeed finished.  Done.  When He rose again we didn’t continue on some continuum of living under the law.  No, there was a NEW covenant that completely replaced the old.  We don’t have to wonder if the old system of sacrifice will be reinstated – we KNOW that we live under Grace.  One thing ended and another began.  Thank you Jesus!

The first Christmas with a Christmas Cookie! (December, 2012)

Today I have full confidence that one thing ended.  My family was sick – for a long time.  I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for the fullness of his promise that he is the Resurrection and the Life – that this doesn’t begin and end with salvation, but that my God is in the business of redemption - resurrecting: relationships, dreams, hopes, futures, pasts, broken hearts, lives, _________ (insert need here)!