Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Less is more

I had quite the weekend.  It started off Friday when i got the opportunity to meet my wonderful friend in Rochester for a 'hearts at home' conference.  I have never been to a conference and never stayed away from the house alone since i had been married.  So, i was feeling excited. I didn't care if i had to watch paint dry (or a dramatic skit) it was worth it to just get away and find refreshment for my mind and spirit and hopefully learn so many wonderful tools to teach and care for my family.
So, here i went...I had the music turned up loud, and i was finishing a left over blizzard. Could life even get any better?  Heres a little inside look at how my mind was working that particular day. As i drove, i prayed 'Please Lord, speak to me this weekend. Quiet my mind so that i can hear you' .....Oh, i love this song....geez, my head is killing, me......Wait? I missed my turn!! know, i don't really like technology, we have witnessed such a movement, our lives are just changing so fast....Ooops, sorry. Speak to me Lord, i am here....Man, looking at this GPS sure makes my head hut....What road am I on anyways, i feel like i have been driving forever!....Oooops, i am listening God....NO WAY! Did i just pass an elk farm, or were they dinosaurs!.....Man, nature just freaks me out!.....I have GOT to call my cousin, she'll understand....Whoa, this valley made my ears pop...Lord, can you speak up, cause its loud in here?....I hope i don't one will ever love my kids like i do.....i better slow down...."Oh Hey Bec, I just say an elk farm and it freaked me out!..." ...Lord, quiet my mind, but just let me make this ONE little phone call...

I am going to assume you got the point!:)  I was having a heck of a time calming my brain.  Its like i finally got a few free moments and i was doing my darndest to fill them up.    Regardless, i got the the hotel and waited a few (50) minutes for my friends to arrive.  We got checked in, soaked from the rain/snow, but we were together. And i was happy.

After dinner we went to the "women's night out" from 7-9.  I was excited. I could even tolerate uncomfortably serious and dramatic skits...i guess.  Well, the night started out with a bang.  The speaker was a comedian.  Now we were talking. She made light of so many trivial mommy moments and problems.  She was able to laugh about life in her minivan, clogged toilets, and dealing with the "mother superiors" of the world.  This was it. She was my kind of girl. I decided that was what i was going to do. I was going to turn my "just keeping my head about the water" lifestyle into the "hey, its life and its funny. And i am going to laugh about it" motto. Nice.  I felt refreshed already. Sure this mom was the crazy one. She didn't have the best stories of obedient kids who loved God and each other, but funny, she was funny. Witty. Quick.  She was what i though i was. Kind of a crappy struggling Mom, but randomly funny.  Right?  Probably not even funny...just keepin my head above water:)  Anywhoo, the night was a success and i felt ready to take on the world. I was going to make a change and it was going to be about embracing my place and really enjoying it instead of always setting goals and wanting more and feeling like i couldn't quite attain them. Which in turn left me feeling like a failure and frustrated. Hey, i was going to embrace my failures and laugh...Cause haahaa, isn't it just so funny to fail when it comes to our kids?  Nope.

The next day we went to the workshops of our choice.  Our first speaker was Susie Larson and she was the kind of speaker that i like to hear.  I am a little skeptical about speakers, because i happen to know of someone who is considered a "speaker" and i don't think very highly of her. Every one can tell their life story, but it takes a leader, wisdom and knowledge to keep my attention.  I was here to learn. I didn't just want to be entertained. So, i was happy to hear how intelligent and godly that she was.  She spoke so beautifully about "growing grateful children" that i was inspired through out it all. She was amazing and she gave me so many tools to take and put into practice at my own house.  She spoke about when disciplining her boys that she never made her child feel like he was bad. He was a child of God who could do amazing things if he would humbly come before God, BUT he was making a poor choice.  Ya see. He was good, but the choice was bad.  I liked that.  I don't know you (the 4 people who will read this, and the one who will secretly read this, but not tell me) but i want so desperately to raise my children to love God and always seek him first. I want them to make choices based on obedience and to be blessed all of their days.  But, in a life that i feel  is passing me by, the days turn into weeks and months and i never get around to doing exactly what i long for.  Leading my example. I can say and teach so much, but its by example that i can really lead.  I push the manners and the apologies at this house.  I am the mom and i am going to teach. You bet its not about just being my kids friend. I am the Mom first and if you don't like it?  That just too bad. I am coming down hard to make you better.  But am i telling them how much God loves them daily?  We certainly pray each day, and we are thankful, but am i teaching them to rely solely on God. Not to worry about money because we are so richly blessed?  Not to be too concerned with appearances because God sees our inner beauty?  This woman gave me encouragement and i was ready to go home and integrate these new teaching to my home. It didn't matter what else I learned from any other teachers. This first class filled me with hope and that is all that i needed. 
Well, the day went on and the snow kept falling.  I had to leave the concert and meet Jeromy and our friends and my stepdaughters at the Target Center for the Toby Mac concert.  I arrived there with no problems and enjoyed the concert. There was a few setbacks and intrusions, but nothing that we couldn't handle.
When i got home that night at midnight, our house had no power! No power since 4 that afternoon. When i walked into our flashlight lit house Laney came running out to me and said "Hi Momma!"  And that's when i realized that i had brought the devil home with me. I turned to her and said "What are you doing up? Go back to your room!"  Poor little Laney turned around and whimpered back to her room. Let me tell you, it was a long, interrupted and uncomfortably quiet night with no power and a head full of yelling.  And so began the slow meltdown of an overtired annoyed mom.  I don't know why. I had a great time. But its like The devil just came home with me and made sure that i didn't put any of my tools to good use.  For the next two days i was swirling and filled with anger to anyone and everyone and for NO real reasons.  I felt it. But i could not shake it.  I looked at Jeromy and said "sorry, but i think the devil is just sitting right here on my shoulder today!"  I am pretty sure that he just silently agreed.  He knew what was good for him:)
Finally after a breaking point mentally,  I hit the bottom. I was annoyed with myself and my own feelings. There were so many elements affecting me that i could not control. I knew that. I had step kids, kids, husbands and even an ex wife wearing on me.  But only I can control myself.  I felt out of control about so many situations.  I was too annoyed at myself to even talk to anyone about the amazing things that i learned at the conference.  Like, as if I could use any of them now. I felt mentally damaged!  But whats new, right?  So, very slowly i hit the ground and looked up.  Figuratively and literally. I KNOW that there is nothing that i can't do with God on my side. I know he loves me.  And even if some situations felt like they would never get better, i knew God was walking right there beside me.   If i could just lay all my troubles on Him, i KNEW that i would be free. Free from the pressures of "measuring up", free from unattainable goals, free from competition in life, free from the heavy burden of sin. It always takes a little bottom hitting for me to really remember what is true, what is righteous, what is noble.  I can attain it.  It just takes the effort of putting one foot in front of the other. And on Monday afternoon i did it. I went back to relying solely on Gods strength, not my own.  Its embarrassing that i can forget that life is so much easier when we give up the reigns.  As I focus each day on spending quite time alone in the word. Writing prayer requests and thanksgiving, i feel renewed.  I know i am delicate. Not physically. But spiritually and mentally.  I have realized that i need to take things one step at at time as a Mom.  I have to consciously make myself aware of becoming overburdened. I have to guard my family and that means by taking care of their needs and gaining the knowledge to do it.  A wonderfully perfect friend told me this. "Less is more"  As if i didn't know that and didn't believe that too. I think we all do, right.  But she is right (she always is)  i am a firm believer in enjoying as much time at home as you do away. Moms today are so busy trying to keep up with the Joneses and insisting their kids do traveling sports and dance and gymnastics and music...just because a child is 3, people think they have to "grow up" and get into the rat race that we live in.  Hey, i could play ball with the best of them, and i didn't have to be in traveling to do it.  My parents never put an emphasis on "play"  we did what we wanted to do and when the season was over...we did the next sport.  We didn't need to "keep up"  Cause, come on, if our kids have it, I believe they have it for good. They aren't going to miss any opportunities in life if they don't make "this"team or practice here.  Bologna.  (Oooops,did i reveal my soapbox?)
Less is more.  That means just because we have free time or a night available doesn't mean we have to fill it with "stuff"   I believe the biggest advantage that we can give our kids is just spending time together as a family. Playing memory for the 995th time, or reading a book, or just being "present"in their life. Not shipping them off to classes and practices or even another church event.  Life is just flying by.  I feel it every day. I actually worry about it.  I don't want it to pass me by. I fear that i will look back and think, "why didn't i just play with them more, or teach them to love better, how come i was so impatient? What made that darn laundry so important?" 

Bottom line, i struggle. I am not going to pretend that i don't. I hate when people do that.  But i also have gained so much through my struggling.  My brain is always whirling, i mean ALWAYS, but in that process, i think of others, outcomes and truth.  I don't want to be stuck in the middle.  I know the truth but i have human emotions too.  I am taking a new step in committing myself and my family solely on Christ. Its not like i didn't do it before, the difference now is that i am doing it very consciously.