All is Well

These days.

They are so fleeting and the lump in my throat bears witness to how I feel about that.

Quick, rush, chaos, dirt on my hallway floor.

Laundry piles in moldering mountains and there are fingerprint swirl smudges on every surface.

I break up the arguments and kiss the finger and close my eyes when she does what she always does…

Those two tiny girl-hands wrapping soft and pulling my neck in so her kisses land on my face.

She is all fire and glorious honey curls. Sweet as they come, and just as strong-willed too.  Or maybe more.
Freedom, space, relief when the daddy walks in through the back door, home from a long day and I’m twofold glad to see him.

Glad because he is still my love, more than ever, and glad for the relief of not being the sole parent in the moment.

….

I’m learning the art of savoring the small.  Just a newbie in that, though, but I’m grasping hold of the moments and closing my eyes more often in thanks-giving.

Our days continue the tightrope walk of breathless wondering at what behavior challenge might be next, (and there is so.much. I am not saying when I say that) my thoughts continue to come back to the fact that I wasn’t ever promised a perfect life, or always lovely days.

So as I learn to savor the blessings I’ve taken for granted at times, it helps to remember that I’m held and kept safe through the hard, and the hard things are gifts in their own right.  Hard is a blessing, it amplifies the blessing of what’s seemed insignificant, but most of all, it draws me to Him.

Draws me to look up, not in.

To look away from myself, and to know that my sufficiency and my okay-ness never once has to come from whether things are easy or fun.

 

True joy comes from my Saviour.  From obedience to Him. It comes from knowing, nodding yes to the truth that He never leaves, He always carries, and my worship and heart is all He desires from me.

So I’m thankful for the hard things, thankful for the small things, thankful for the heart-stopping beauty of children playing carefree together.  Each moment where there is sunshine, enough food, savory and sweet treats, hugs and clean water, the kiss and strong hand of my Dear Man, the admittance of wrong and “I’m sorry”, the gas in the car, the shoes on our feet, the Bible.

Most of all, I’m thankful there is a Giver.  And an Enthroned Majestic Ruler of all of life, who isn’t surprised, disturbed or dismayed by any of the things that so easily attempt to do so to me. He is the Giver of all Good, so I’m taking deep breaths and knowing that all things work together for just that.

Thank you Jesus.
All is Well

I’m looking up, You’re reaching out.

With outstretched hand and knowing smile, 

You fill me up, you make my cup

Just overflow and all the while…

I know my pain is felt by you,

The bitter tears, the fear that shakes

My quaking heart, but it is true – 

You’re never shaken, never moved

You’re never caught off guard by what I’m going through.

All is well.



I look to you, and lift my eyes

To One whose heart was broken first

By what breaks mine, and now I find

That when I let it go and let my soul

Take rest and find it’s home in You

I’m not alone, I’m never left —

A blessed refuge, oh, it’s true.

Jesus, You’re not shaken, You’re not moved.

You’re never caught off guard by what I’m going through. 

All is well.



You formed me, You know all my days –

You knew this morning what I’d face

In chaos rush, or quiet hush,

The truth you arrow-spear my heart,

All things, yes all things can be done

Through You, the God of  Earth and Sky

The power that raised you, rolled the stone

It lives and dwells and breathes in me.

You’re here, this Holy Power, it reigns…. 

In heaven above and in my heart and home….

Never shaken. Never moved.  Your Holy Sameness, making all things well.



What You went through, the cross that crucified True Love

And then the grave and death that couldn’t hold You there…

And now the Spirit whole and filling me,

Whatever I walk through has first been walked by You –

That I may know You.

Fuller, wholly, well and true.

And  Resurrection Power and Suffering Fellowship…

If what I’m going through makes me conformed to death,

Then Saviour, send whatever You deem best.

Send rain, send storms, send sunshine, warm and soft

But most of all, keep sending Power that overcomes the dark, 

You’re never shaken, never moved. 

And You do all things well.

Desperate. Dairy Queen. And a Good God.

The last two days culminated in a desperate plea to my dear husband for a break, just an hour run to Walmart –by myself —because I somehow managed to completely run out of deodorant. And with the way these days have gone, it seemed imperative that I head the Walmart direction. Immediately.  He graciously said go – take all the time you need – and I spent the next hour and a half nursing a salted caramel truffle blizzard from DQ, and walking down aisles in Walmart that I rarely spend time in.

Kids say mean things.  They know what buttons to push. Fears swirl.  All the truths I have talked about about, written about and believed leak right out my heart and I’m left with this panicked, ugly desperation that suffocates.

I texted several people to please pray.  It was hard to do that.  Who really wants people know that my family is a whole lot less than perfect? Again?

So I was rolling around in my head whether to write about it here, and I decided that real is good.  Real is important. And it’s on my heart that moms and women everywhere deal with the fear of not being enough and what if my kids don’t turn out well and what if God’s plan includes a whole lot more pain and how in the world could I be ok if it does?

So I’m being real here.  Motherhood is really hard.

But I wouldn’t trade it in a heartbeat.

By the time I got home my heart’s bruised and ragged edges were beginning to heal up with the bandage of truth, prayer and love.. and it was time finish our evening with supper and bedtime.

My husband read from the Chronicles of Narnia aloud. We are on “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”.  All of us are entranced with the beauty of this story.  I made coffee and sat down to spin for a little bit… and even though it took the girls ’til 10:00 pm to fall asleep, somehow the world seemed to slowly right itself again. The hugs from children and the weight of the sweet toddler on my shoulder and the I’m sorry’s and the husband embrace and the texts of grace and love from my own mom felt like beautiful God-breath on my weary soul.

A bad day does not equal failure.

Picture perfect families don’t exist.

God knows. And He is the Wound-Healer – my own and my children’s.

Truth is from him, all that is not true is straight from the father of lies.  There is no middle ground, no other possible authors.  There are only two. And one of them longs for my defeat, plots my downfall.

But the Other? The One who is so other?

“He is not safe.. but He is good.” 

This quote pours healing over my soreness.  Gently touching, filling, and reminding me that God doesn’t promise safe. He doesn’t promise easy.  But – HE IS GOOD.

Good.

So good.

 

what are you thankful for today?

I asked my children what they are thankful for today.

J (who is 8) said “a warm house”.

A  (who is 3) said “yogurt! Cottage cheese! And I’m thankful for oatmeal!” – she is hungry. Can you tell?

And little miss E (who is not quite 2) said “Ma-maw!!”

And just now, miss A came waltzing past with a mouth full of peanuts and said “I’m thankful for NUTS.” – except it was much more garbled than that. Trust me.  I am not sure that the way she said it is even spellable.

 

I am homeschooling differently this week.

For the last several months I have been pushing. Pushing. Pushing.  Do. Do. Do.  Because of something in my head that said we weren’t doing near enough. And it didn’t really seem to matter what I required, I still felt this way. And the attitudes and anger thrived and grew.

Somewhere in the last week or two, I realized it was time to relax. And that a relationship with my children just happens to be much, much more important than whether my 10 year old knows his math facts.

So this week? We haven’t gotten as many math facts memorized.  But J is working on taking apart an old mixer. “I’m almost to the motor Mommy!”  — and speaking of education, he now understands quite well this interesting phenomenon :

lone plug cut off with exposed wires + electrical outlet + hands = OUCH!

Biggest E has recently discovered Trixie Belden books and can be found with his nose in a book at the table, in the chair, or wherever else.

And when we were in the middle of math and we saw Molly the cat walking on the front porch with a much smaller tummy, we abandoned rounding, borrowing and carrying to go on a baby-kitty-finding-expedition.  After searching several different places, we all came in except Mr. E.  And within about 10 minutes we heard a victorious yell -“I FOUND THE KITTENS!!!!!”

Sure enough, Mama Molly had found a very good spot for her babies – in a drawer in T.’s shop amid sandpaper and sawdust.

Mr. E said “I prayed, and asked God where she had them and then I found them!!”

Someone else said “Wow, she sure found a good place to lay them!” – (yes, we have chickens too.)

Immediately the naming and claiming began.  A said hers was Fancy Nancy.  J suggested Danny and Tom. Mr. E thinks Boots or Socks would be a good name for the one with white feet.

It was so much fun.  We were sad about the two kittens that were dead.  We talked about why, and how sometimes they are born sick.  We talked about what a good mama Molly is being.  And somehow math got trumped and it was totally ok.

The other thing we are doing a lot more of is reading out loud and listening to audiobooks.  We love the Your Story Hour audio dramas.. and lately we have heard about Sojourner Truth, Hudson Taylor, and now we are listening to a four part series on John Newton.  And for Miss A. we have been listening to Beatrix Potter.  Squirrel Nutkin, Peter Rabbit, etc.

While relaxing in our homeschool doesn’t mean everything’s perfect – absolutely not – it’s so much more fun. For everyone. And you know what?

We are learning.

About kittens. And godly examples from history.  And how to treat each other. And how to cook. And how to be diligent.  Because when I don’t push my children to their absolute limit, there is space and margin in our day for me to teach them how to be, rather than be upset constantly for how they are not coming up to the standard I desire for them.

Definitely more important than math facts.

Oh and me? I’m thankful today for laughter.  For every good and perfect gift. For redemption and fresh starts and new chances.

And especially for a note written to me after a rough time with one of my big littles that said :

“I’m sre for not being diligent. we love ech othr.”

yes we do, son. Yes, we do.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.