13 September 2007

But in the meantime... (part 1)

I'm home and having slept approx. 3/4 7/8 of the last 72 hours am doing well. Thank you for prayers, good wishes, etc. Someday I'll be able to type again, but in the meantime, I'm posting some wise, provocative and fun stuff I've found out and about on the web. Here is some particularly good and challenging stuff from Tonya's blog that resonates with this momma, at least.

I was talking with Catrina on the phone today about life and why some people find it easier to roll with the punches and come up smiling than other people do. We decided it has a lot to do with temperament and a lot to do with your understanding of God and a lot to do with your world view. And in Catrina's case, it has a lot to do with finding humor in everything:):):).

Generally speaking, I find it easy to deal with the boring, mundane and frustrating -I'm one of those people with an easy temperament type and I was raised well- so people who read my blog may look at me and think that my life is hunky-dory pretty much all the time. Well. It probably isn't. I just think it is.

I was telling Catrina that I look at my day sort of like this.

I see the children coloring nicely at the table for 5 seconds and I think "Ah. My life is perfect. Look at those beautiful children. They are so kind and good. I am the most blessed woman in the world. God is so good to me." That thought gets stuck in my mind so that the next minute, when Lyra writes on Solomon's page and he whacks her and she starts screaming, I just think "oops! we need to deal with this little problem so that these beautiful children can get back to their delightful day." Then I deal with the problem and go back to living the perfect life for the next 5 seconds until something else comes up that I need to deal with. LOL!

I guess you would call that optimism or ostrich-ism. Whatever you like.

My life isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. It's not exciting. It's just a day to day walk of doing pretty much the same thing. I enjoy it because I have vision for what I am doing. I believe from the bottom of my heart that God put me in the place where He put me because He knew that I could not only get the job done, but that I could do it beautifully. I believe that it is my personal job to see that my home is a thriving, delightful, happy place for my family to live. I believe that it is my job to teach and train my children in love, love, love so that they have every opportunity to live without regret if they continue to follow God. When I set them down and let them go, I want to set them down at the highest point I can reach. I want them to have the very best of starts! I want my husband to find delight in his home. I want him to enjoy his children. I want to make his life easier and more beautiful in every way. I want him to be richer because I am in his life. I want to honor God by dying to my own selfish desires and living in obedience to Him. I want to become more and more Christlike every day.

This focus gives me unbelievable joy. It helps me to look past the circumstances of the moment, to see the goal and to go for it. I really believe that I have been given everything I need to do what I am doing really, really well!!! I want my home to be a reflection of the love of God, so that is what I aim for - when I'm in my right mind.

When I'm in my *wrong* mind, I start focusing on circumstances and I get ROBBED!!!! I mean really robbed of all joy. I can barely make it through 5 minutes without feeling like I am going to loose it at least once. Everything drives me nuts, even ridiculous things. My expectations rise and I start finding fault with the children instead of enjoying them (they leave their things everywhere, they are noisy, they are lazy, they are whiney, they are arguing...) oh, and their behavior is SOOO much worse when I'm off balance. (I can't even tell you how much further a smiling, playing, singing mother can get with her children than an annoyed, distracted, naggy one.) I get annoyed with Landon (why does he work so much, why does he not come to dinner when I call him...blah, blah, blah). I get annoyed with myself and I feel like I am ruining my entire family (I'm not consistent, I'm too busy, I'm not busy enough, I need to clean out the fridge and I hate cleaning out the fridge...). Do you see my point? When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. I am absolutely the mood setter in my home.

Now, fortunately for me, I like being happy. I like feeling like I am getting ready to bubble over. I like having a song constantly on my lips. It's addicting. So I avoid focusing on my circumstances as huge obstacles and only think of them as opportunities to honor God. That makes them exciting. I start smiling and singing and taking every thought captive. I start doing my own job and leaving everyone else to do theirs (without putting high expectations on them), and in a very short time, I am out of my funk and back to my "perfect life".

When my focus is on God, my creator, my Lord, the one who died for me, the reason I am alive today both physically and spiritually, the one who has given me everything good thing that I have, I stop thinking about me and my own irritations or problems and I think of Him and how good He is. I think of how He has always come through for me with a change of heart when I am obedient and I think of how merciful He is to put up with all the times I forget to live in an attitude of thankfulness, even though I know better. Then I *want* to live to honor and obey Him so everything I do when I'm in my "right mind" is out of a heart of love for God, not out of obligation or even out of a heart of love for my family (although I certainly do love them!) It makes the biggest difference for me! I feel calm, I feel peaceful, I feel content and I feel effervescent. I laugh with my children instead of getting annoyed. I train calmly with a clear mind and with understanding, not in the heat of the moment. I am happy to see Landon at the end of the day and not just so he can take the kids off of my hands.

How did I learn this? I don't know. By the grace of God, for sure, but I don't know how or when I actually got ahold of this concept for real. It started growing in my quite a while back - at least 4 or 5 years ago, and it keeps growing. My problem is that since I know it - experientially - I am responsible for it. The days I go downhill by not keeping my focus right, I am responsible for that too. I can't bury this or try to play down my joy in order to keep stressed out moms who haven't found this truth to be self-evident yet:) from feeling bad about their daily troubles when my life "looks" so good. I have to try to share the wealth!!! I want everyone to be so joyful!!! It's available for every Christian. My temperament makes it easy for me. Other people will struggle more. You could name a plethora of reasons for this but I won't go into those here.

Okay, well I like to throw out the ole' "don't judge a person's life by the tiny slice of it you see on their blog" post every now and again. It's easy to read people and feel like everything runs perfectly at their house. Not the case in mine. Just so you know. I deal in the imperfect all day, but I'm happy anyway:):):).

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