Friday, April 6, 2012

I lost. Part 2 of 2

3:00 AM

I think since Audrey was born I have woke up every single day at three am.  I don't know why.  But strangely I have come to enjoy the time. (Obviously by making the previous statement I have confessed my insanity, and possibly might need to turn in my "normal" card.)

I pour a glass of water and usually stand at the back kitchen window and look outside.  It is always quiet. Everyone is sleeping. I find myself having conversations out loud.  I imagine that Jesus is standing next to me, or sitting in my favorite rocker, or sitting on the ledge of the island counter, dangling his feet and talking with me. (I know, I turned in my "normal" card a long time ago!)

The tune of a Frank Sinatra song is in my head.  "The Way You Look Tonight"  It was our wedding song.  I find myself smiling.

Some day, when I'm awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight.

I remember picking the song and thinking that is exactly what I want.  I want to one day be able to look back and smile when I remember our wedding.

I am looking out my kitchen window smiling.  I start thinking about how much I love Kenney.  Which reminds me of my first love, Jesus. Which brings me back to my crappy day that I lost.

I think about things that one day, I will want to remember, and I will want to remember accurately.  As my dad says, "When we look back on things we tend to have revisionist history." (and that would be another dadism) We paint things a bit differently than they really were.  The only way to prevent that from happening is to write it down.  So, I write this story down to accurately remember.

Why remember?  I feel like one day someone, maybe my kids, my grandkids, someone, somewhere, will have a day like mine, and I will have the unique ability to share empathy.  I don't want to forget. So I write it down.

It was also important for me to write down yesterday exactly like yesterday was.  The day didn't get better, it didn't end good.  Why is that important?  Some days we loose.  Some days, my flesh takes over. Some days that little devil sitting on my shoulder, well, I befriend him.  I listen to his lies. 

I am still looking out the window and it's still dark, and I find myself going through the events of yesterday...with Jesus this time.

I realized no event in and of itself was bad or sinful. Not the person sharing about their life, not the kids spilling drinks, not the dishes in the sink, not the poop on the floor, the tick in the house, the kid running towards the street, even the little girl that says she hates me- NONE of those things were sin or sinful.

Why did those events bother me so much? Why did the day end in such a disaster? Why did I feel defeated? And if I am honest here, I will admit, days like yesterday, events like yesterday happen all the time in our house. I suck at laundry, since we were married and without any kids, I was always a couple days behind. I leave dishes in the sink all. the. time.  My kids spill something every day.  I live in the country in the woods and grass, we have ticks all the time. The annoying people are in my life, and always have been, and I talk to them all the time. The poop thing- for crying out loud, I have a kid that used to play with and eat his poop!

Then the thoughts come into my mind. It's crazy, like a giant hailstorm, thoughts, truth, God's truth hits me.

James 1:2-3 Consider it joy when you encounter trials, or fall into temptation. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and patience.
Did I consider it joy?

John 10:4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  Did I hear His voice? Did I follow Him?

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  Did I take HIS way out, or did I listen to the whispers on my shoulder? God's word says he provided a way out for me... did I take it?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Did I give thanks?

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vine, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Did I rejoice? Was I joyful? Regardless of my situation...

Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. Was I slow to anger? When I didn't hear the words I wanted to hear, did I overlook it?

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, Love is kind... Was I patient? Was I kind to my kids, my husband?

Psalm 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. I hate you... have I used those words before?

And I could keep going.  I could keep finding scripture after scripture that I disobeyed.

That is the point.  I needed a day like yesterday.  I needed to be reminded of my sin.  In just three short weeks, my mind started slipping.  I started thinking how "I" was able to handle things.  How "I" was doing so good with my five kids. "I" was pretty good at getting into a routine.  "I" was getting good at managing a schedule.  "I" had it all figured out.  Heck, "I" even got a couple of projects accomplished.

Can you imagine God in heaven? I imagine He would have said "Really Laura?" "YOU think you've got it together???" "YOU think these last couple of weeks that haven't been so bad are because of YOU???" "YOU think you've got it together???"   HA!!!

3:30 AM

I am sitting on the floor. I feel sick. I am so full of sin. I was so quick to forget all of HIS blessings.  I was so quick to give in to Satan. I failed without HIM.  I am a sinner.  As the apostle Paul writes.. Oh wretched man that I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? (Romans 7:24)

Isn't it appropriate it's Good Friday? How fitting... I am a sinner. Christ is a great Savior.  Every sin I have committed, every sin I will commit, with Christ, there is no condemnation.  I claim Jesus as my savior, and the gates of hell will not prevail. Today is a day to be reminded of my great sin. To be reminded I deserve hell.  I deserve a fiery punishment.  I deserve death.  But, my Jesus loves me, even in my sin! The cross proves that.  His grace flows freely.

My awareness of my constant need for Him, is my greatest strength. My inadequacy presents me with a continual choice - deep dependence on HIM, or despair.  The emptiness I felt can be filled with either problems, or HIS presence.

While a day like yesterday presents many problems.  Some practical advice can be rendered- like getting more sleep, finding someone to help with the dishes or laundry, eating healthier, exercise, etc etc, it just isn't the point, and it isn't what I needed most.  I needed my first love. I needed to be brought to my knees.  I needed to be reminded of my sin. 

Praise God, He knows what I need!!  I needed to loose.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I lost. Part 1 of 2


When I woke up this morning that's what I felt. Maybe it was a particularly rough night.  Maybe it was my headache, or maybe bad dreams.

Most days, I wake up crabby. I read my devotions, read some scripture, sometimes if the day is particularly irritating I listen to my favorite hymn CD. I drink my coffee and pray. I make an honest attempt to align my thoughts with HIS thoughts. I pray for guidance, for help, for strength. I pray that the day would belong to God. I remind myself that my life does not belong to me, to my flesh, but it is Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:20.) I set my goal to worship HIM, make all my steps of the day with Christ. I remind myself all my goals and thoughts and itinerary mean nothing if I haven't spent the day with Christ.

Today, I did what I do every day, but yet, before the day had even begun, I felt defeated. It took me 21 days, but today was the day I felt lost and lonely.

Someone shared with me about their day. How "busy" they were, scheduling kids for practices and schools. Work was busy. They were running around all over, with all sorts of things to do. They shared how much planning and keeping on top of everything was so important. That's what they had to worry about. Me- the words pricked me a bit. My worries were so different. I find myself thinking about the kids we "left behind."  I think about my friend who is a single daddy and doesn't know Christ. I "worry" about the struggling relationships of friends. I ache for the girl who lives for this world because I was there, and it got me no where. I wish I could make my daughter walk.  I wish my son didn't have such behavior problems. My problems, were nothing like theirs, and the words pricked me. Like the cartoons, a little devil sat on my shoulder and whispered "doesn't that irritate you?"

Bella (my dog) for the millionth time rolled in goose poop. I had to stop what I was doing, and give her a bath. Another prick.

I knew I was falling fast, so I called Kenney, to only remember he would be in meetings all day. The little devil on my shoulder again whispered "doesn't it bother you he isn't there when you need him?" Pricked.

Breakfast came as it always does.  Caleb won't chew any fruit. Audrey spills something on Isabell. Someone needs help eating, someone needs a reminder to chew, someone won't stay seated. I heard the whispers again..."it just isn't fair my kids require so much from me."

My headache won't go away, and is close to migraine status.

Someone stops by. I watch Isabell sing and laugh and use full sentences (still in Mandarin of course) that she wants to be picked up. That little devil on my shoulder whispers again "don't you wish she said those words to you and smiled like that ?"

We are all outside. I am holding Isabell and trying to allow her to do something other than just sit and watch all the kids run around and ride their bikes. I am not focused.  My mind is wandering. Tommy starts screaming something about Caleb. I notice he is running towards the street. I yell and he stops to look at me, and laughs.  I have to full blown out sprint to get him out of the street. The whispers "how dare he not listen!" "why doesn't he know better!"

Maybe things will be better after lunch and naps. We come inside and the dishes are still in the sink from last nights dinner, and this mornings breakfast. I feel weary and unaccomplished.

Noah starts screaming about a bug. I realize the bug is a tick. I forget it's tick season and everyone needs to be checked. I go to pull the tick off of Noah and he decides its funny to squirm and kick and act like a baby. The tick is gone, and now I know we have a tick "loose"in the house. I yelled at Noah. I yelled at all the kids.

Audrey spills her apple juice all over herself. We go to find a new pair of pants, and upon opening her drawer I realize there are no clean pants. I realize there are at least 6 loads of laundry waiting for me, and that doesn't count the sheets that desperately need to be changed, and in our book, desperate means full of dog and cat hair, and they stink!  Somehow this is Audrey and Isabell's fault that there is no clean laundry. I made it quite obvious to all the kids I was not happy. I am feeling angry. I am feeling pricked by a million needles at this point.

I remember I have a doctors appointment in the morning and I need to bring both urine and stool samples from Isabell and Caleb with. I get Caleb to poop in some silly contraption that didn't fit right on the toilet to begin with. I notice his pee is now running down the side of the toilet, is all over his legs, and on the floor, all because the contraption didn't fit right. I need to now clean and disinfect the bathroom. Why can't he poop and pee without making a mess?

While sitting on the floor trying to scoop the poop into tiny containers and trying to keep from throwing up, Tommy comes in, which brings every other member of the family too.  A container spills. Anger doesn't describe my reaction in the least. Kids are crying, I am yelling, dogs are barking, the situation is out of control.

We put a movie in and all sit down. I desperately wish Kenney were home to take over.

I sit down next to Isabell and she closes her eyes and does her usual grunting sound to let me know she is unhappy with me sitting next to her. She is grunting that she wants something, and I tell her to use her words, in Chinese, in English, I don't care, just use words. I am frustrated. She talks to everyone except me. It's quiet for awhile as she stares at me in a silent war, letting me know she is not going to talk.

"Wo hen ni."

Those are the words she chose to use.

"I hate you."

I ask her what she said, because I must be mistaken.

"Wo hen ni."

I wasn't mistaken. She's said the words before. Today they cut. They cut deep, they were salt in wounds. They were worse than salt in wounds. The words created a new, fresh, open, bleeding wound. I told her not to use potty words.  I went into the bathroom and cried. 

Kenney came home. Dinner time was a mess. Noah didn't want to eat. The house was still un-done. I still didn't have samples from Isabell. The clock displayed the time.  8:00. The kids were not in pajamas. No teeth brushed. No vitamins. No beds ready. My head was pounding. My eyes were burning from tears. Kenney didn't say the words I wanted him to say. Nothing was good. Nothing was right. The whispers from the day won. The entire day's events came crashing down on me. I was crushed. Defeated. Burnt out. I lost.

I went to bed. The kids were still up. Nothing was done.

I cried. I sobbed. I cried so hard I couldn't breath. I didn't have any words. I clutched my pillow and cursed the day.

Tommy came in the room. He was crying too. I cried even more, knowing it was my crying that brought him in here. He brought me his spare blankie. He laid down next to me and said the words I needed to hear.

"Mommy, I know what will calm you down...I prayed for you."

I held him and told him I was sorry for sinning. I was sorry I didn't act like the mommy God wanted me to be. I was sorry I let my bad day ruin his day. 

"Mommy, it's okay, I don't always listen to God either. But, I forgive you."

Psalm 30:5
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Those were the words that came to mind. I remember Kenney kissing me goodnight.  I fell asleep. Tomorrow is a new day.

this post was written in real time, but posted a couple days later... there is a second part to this story, the important don't worry.  I felt it important to write down what I felt, and what one particular day was like for me.  This is just one side to the whole story though, and it's the other side that makes all the difference.