Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When quiet time comes sitting in the PICU

Some stupid show is on the television, maybe Kathy and Roma? I don't know because I don't have television at home, and I never watch this stuff. The TV is annoying me. A man is asleep in a rocker and snoring. The man is annoying me. The selection of magazines to read suck. The coffee is not strong enough. I forgot one of the books I wanted to read. I am irritated and annoyed, I don't want to talk to the lady next to me. I don't want to be bothered by anyone. All I want is to just be left alone. Go home. Crawl into my bed and sleep a dreamless night, or maybe a couple of dreamless days and nights.

There have been so many thoughts I have wanted to write about, but every time I even thought about putting any of those thoughts on paper, this looming thought jumped out in front. The thought that someone somewhere will see it, think less of me, someone somewhere will confront me with something I wrote down somewhere someplace and I'll be stuck defending myself. This thought that my thoughts on paper might make me un-loveable. I think I have quoted, re-quoted, and probably said this to every living soul I have ever met;

" We can disagree so long as we are not disagreeable."

(I can thank my dad for that quote!)(Love you dad!)

But the truth is, I just assume not say anything, that way no one can disagree with me. Kinda hard to disagree with nothing...and so I just don't feel like writing anything down much anymore. Sometimes I don't feel like being open or vulnerable.

I still don't.

But lack of sleep, no good coffee and four hours into an 8 hour waiting room stay, none of my kids around, no garden to work in, no house to clean, no baseball games, no therapy appointments, well, nothing really to do, and I guess I'll write stuff down.

It just feels like my life, my heart, is so messed up. What a funny thing to say really. Say my heart is messed up. I mean Christians say it all the time... say we are all messed up. I know that is the truth... I know God's word says no one is worthy, and that man's heart is deceitful and beyond cure...but....


That's the crazy thing. I just seem so much more messed up than everyone else. Everything I do, it seems to always have a but. All my "good intentions" all my thoughts, all my ideas, all the things- seemingly "good" things seem to have this "but" attached to them. At the end of the day I find myself thinking about what I have done.  I start running through lists.  Lists about the house, lists about the kids, lists about therapy.  All kinds of lists with all kinds of tasks.  I scan through emails and texts and look at which friends I called or didn't call.  What emails I wrote or didn't write. Lots of days I find myself with not quite enough things crossed off my lists.  I forgot to make the call, I forgot the new exercise, I didn't pack Kenney's lunch, I forgot to take vitamins, the dishwasher didn't get loaded, I didn't read, I didn't get it all done. 

But, here is the crazy thing- on the days where I get everything checked off the list- I still fall short.  When I look at the list and see it all crossed off I still don't feel awesome.  The thought pops in....some friend that I didn't call, some kid I didn't do enough for, maybe I didn't tell my husband I loved him enough... Maybe I did morning devotions, but didn't pray with my husband, I'll even take it further-  I may have crossed off "pack Kenney's lunch" on the list, but truth be told, I did a piss poor job of it.  The man is 210 pounds and I packed carrots, a muffin, an apple and some poor excuse for a salad, AND the entire time I mocked him in my mind "thought why can't he just do this himself, why is he so lazy, why does he get to go to bed, and I have to stay up and sacrifice my time so he can have a lunch, I'll show him, I'll make him want to pack his own lunch after he sees what is in here" the fact remains, that no matter what is on the list, I never ever perfectly complete or satisfy the list.  Not in actions, and surely not in my heart.

A theologian of old said (JC Ryle)  “Even the best things we do have something in them to be pardoned.”

I hung out peeling apples and canning applesauce with a friend.  So we aren't bible study/hangout every weekend/call each other every day kind of friends, but we are non-deodorant wearing/ eating healthy/talking about how awesome Jesus is kind of friends.  We have some common ground that creates some tight bonds.  We talk lots about eating good and canning, and so she asks about canning a lot.  She asks what types of things I can.  I start rattling off some lists.  She asks if I got all my apples done yet, and my response to her is this;

"Still working on it...We pretended we were on HGTV this weekend ha!  Took the fireplace out and the wall down."

Then I proceeded to show pictures of the work we did.

My friends response

"Oh my goodness!! You guys are amazing!!"

I am sitting here days later and slapping myself in the face.  Why do I feel the need to rattle off lists of my accomplishments to her? Why did I segue into a totally irrelevant conversation?  We were talking about apples and I felt the need to talk about remodeling!!! And the sick answer is somewhere in my heart in the places I'd prefer no one to see I want her to like me.  I want her to be my friend.  And even worse, when the words roll off my tongue, I realize what I have done, and I don't know what to do to fix it.  The words "you guys are amazing" - its such a lie.  Its so far from the truth.  I know it.  I know it all to well.

Ask my sister and her hubby, who got caught in the middle of our "HGTV" weekend.  Ask them how "amazing" we were!  I told Kenney while we were debating what wall a fireplace should go on "I don't care about anything you have to say." To which he told me "I should have married a different Nelson." 

For. Real.

Messed up.  I told the man I love I didn't care about any words that came out of his mouth, and he told me he should have married my sister!!!!??????

Messed. Up.

And that brings me full circle back to my original point. I am a mess. I know it, my kids know it, my husband knows it and God knows it, but does everyone else really get it?  My "friends".... how many would still be my friend after being stuck in-between myself and Kenney's argument?  How many would stand by my side if they saw me.  The messed up sinner than I am?

As usual, me writing things down always bring me full circle back to the cross. 

John 19:30
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

That statement- "it is finished" if ever there were a tattoo I were going to get I think that would be it. (second to "I am redeemed")(don't worry honey, not getting one... yet....)

The implications of that statement, oh, they bring me to tears.  On a Wednesday evening while I'm eating a butterscotch popsicle and drinking a beer and watching the dogs wrestle and three of the kids playin and pots on the stove cooking- while all of this is going on, I can be moved, brought to tears to know everything I am trying to do for myself-the friends I am trying to make or keep, the kids, the image, the husband, all of it- everything I could say I have lived for, am living for and will live for or try to live for is nothing, compared to knowing Christ.  He FINISHED it all.

I WILL NOT live up to the perfect righteousness that God DEMANDS.  I know my heart.  I know the thoughts I think. I know the horrible pathetic attempts at finding value and worth in this life.  I know how sick my heart is. And yet, He who knew no sin, became sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I am perfect, spotless, righteous before God.

Because of God's Grace.  Because He died for me.

I get Jesus' record.  NOT MINE.

And he said


I can stop.  I don't have to tell my friend about all my HGTV projects for her to like me, so I can feel loved.  I don't have to pack a lunch for my husband, or be "parent of the year."

I am loved.

He finished it all.

That's it.  There's nothing more to say.

He finished it all.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Now What?

January comes to a cold frozen end, and in enters another cold, snowy frozen month.

2014 is well underway and as usual, life continues to change and progress forward at a frightening speed.

The last three years we've spent doing paperwork, preparing, planning, thinking, traveling, and adding three new kiddos to our family.  I am slowly exhaling, as this year there will be no new kiddos.

It's amazing what running frantically, living life so very close to the edge can do for a person.  It's funny how that level of crazy, becomes normal.  So we have found ourselves this year with a strange "un-normal" feeling.  Now what?

We've spent a month this year, changing diapers, teaching our 6 year old daughter to move her tongue back and forth.  We've made almost 30 dinners and 30 lunches and 30 breakfasts.  I estimate that with three dogs and at least 6 bathroom breaks a day, and not all at the same time, we've taken our dogs out well over 300 times.  Opening and closing the back door 300 times.  We've put on boots and gloves and hats and coats over 300 times.  I've told our cat- who hates being cooped up inside - to get off of our counters surely a million times these last 30 days.  I've cut the food of six children into bit-size pieces- for three meals a day for the last 30 days.  That is 540 plates of food cut into bite size pieces.  We've drilled addition and subtraction flash cards over and over and over.  We've sung the "New Testament Books of the Bible" song so many times the tune is probably permanently ingrained in my head. Played in the snow- which means boots, gloves, snow pants, coats, hats, and scarves times six. Helped brush the kiddos teeth.  Every. Single. Day.  Vacuumed up dog hair.  Every. Single. Day. Therapy, and stretches, and more therapy and more stretches. Every. Single Day. Church on Sunday's, and usually dinner with family.  Packing my hubby's lunch. Paying Bills. And then there is the "other stuff", like weekend trips, baby showers, birthday parties, and friends over for dinner.  Stuff.  Life. Every. Single. Day.

The best way to really describe our lives is utterly mundane.  That really is the best description ever. I re-read the above paragraph.  Nothing jumped out at me.  Nothing screamed exciting.  Nothing made me say "wow" or filled my mind with "ooh's and aah's." 

So when sometime in the middle of January my dad sent me a text with a link to this article by Paul Tripp, all I could do was say Amen!

My life isn't going to end up in history books.  The big important decisions in my life, well they are far and few between. I live in the little moments.  Again, I re-read the paragraph a couple lines up.  It's blatantly obvious. My life is made up of thousands and thousands of mundane, boring, little moments.

So now what?  The question is "Does God rule my little moments?"

Did I joyfully make every meal for this family?  Did I sing "The New Testament Books of the Bible" song  with excitement each time?  What about vacuuming up the dog hair? Getting ready for church on Sunday? What about letting the dogs out?  Brushing my kids teeth?  All the moments that have made up this last month?

Has God used me?  Has he refined me?  Has all the sin that gets trapped in the "normal" places, like an elephant in the room no one talks about, has that sin been exposed? Have I seen God's grace at work in my life?  In my families life?

I can say that "yes" there have been a couple of moments I've smiled, I've laughed, I've made the "right" choice, I've marveled at God's awesome grace.  But, the reality is, there have been many many more than just a couple moments in the last month.  Reality- thousands upon thousands of moments. I need His grace for ALL of these little, mundane moments. 

Transforming Grace.

We read about Emmanuel, God with us, each advent season. Do I realize that He has made me the place where He dwells?  Do I realize that this means He is present and active in all these mundane little moments?

To quote from the article:

"By sovereign grace He places you in daily little moments that are designed to take you beyond your character, wisdom and grace so that you'll seek the help and hope that can only be found in him. In a lifelong process of change, He is undoing you and rebuilding you again- exactly what each one of us needs!"

May I continue to be open to the change that Jesus wants to take place in me, in all the little moments of my daily life.