Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Commission

She wakes early in the morning, catching those few, small moments before the chaos of the day begins.

Her Bible open on her lap, she tries to slow her mind, already racing with the tasks of the day. There is laundry to be done, meals to be made, the endless cleaning of mess after mess. There are broken toys to be fixed, torn clothes to be mended, phone calls to be made, Christmas decorations that still haven't been put away. She hopes she can find time to get outside, to practice her music, to do some writing.

Her mind wanders to her many friends that are struggling. The ones with depression. The ones with anxiety. The ones who have experienced things that no one should have to go through. She thinks about her husband who is feeling unwell and weighed down by stress. She thinks about her children who will soon be waking, filling the house with their endless exuberance, requiring so much love and attention.

She lifts her eyes, whispering to one unseen, "There is so much. I can't do everything I want to do and be everything they need me to be. I need your help. Show me what you would have me do today."

The reply presses deep into her heart:

"Love them."

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Mommy Moments: Never a Dull Moment

The most recent development that I have walked in on:

The three-year-old taking mouthfuls of water from his water bottle and spitting them out on the floor for the one-year-old who then sucks the water up off the floor.

...

I feel like there are better ways to give your brother a drink.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The Fire

I thought myself so selfless:
I cared about everyone. I was always willing to listen,
And never held myself back from those that I could help.
But now there is no break, no words of thanks.
Selflessness is both expected and demanded by the little ones I ceaselessly care for.
I realize now just how much I kept for myself,
How much of my giving was really to benefit myself.
I did not know how selfish I was.

I thought myself so patient:
I was imperturbable. No matter what happened,
I responded with grace and fortitude.
But now completing the simplest tasks takes ten times longer than it should.
Little feet stop to smell the roses, even when there are no roses.
I realize now that I was only patient when it was convenient for me,
That hurry is branded on my heart.
I did not know how impatient I was.

I thought myself so humble:
I was content to do my best, even in unseen ways.
I did not need the praise my actions and accomplishments so often received.
But now most of what I do goes unnoticed. My days are filled with the unremarkable,
And the reward of success is merely doing it again the next day.
I realize now how much I find my value in what I do,
That I desperately need approval.
I did not know how proud I was.

Tell me, what purpose has this furnace?
Some twisted penance a thousand times over for every time I considered myself such a good person?
Can I return to my old, comfortable ignorance of my own condition?

Or, perhaps, by God's grace, could this lump of coal one day become a diamond?

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Mommy Moments: Johnny Appleseed

Trying to do stretches when young children are present is always an interesting experience. In my occasional attempts, I have been climbed on, sat on, tickled, poked, and generally forced to stop within a very short amount of time.

Here is a new one:

Last time I tried doing my stretches, my one-year-old assumed I was about to sing Johnny Appleseed, and then insisted that I do so.

Mommy Moments: Heart Attack

After being busy with Kenneth for a few minutes, I re-enter the room where Steven is quietly playing.

He is cutting up one of his drawings with a pair of scissors.

Me: Steven, where did you get those scissors?

Steven: By the sharp knives.

I hurry to check that all the kitchen knives are present and accounted for...

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

A New Year

The turning of the year gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new one. This New Year's Eve, I didn't feel particularly inclined to reflect or look ahead. I was actually feeling pretty gloomy—sitting alone in bed, with nothing but my journal for company. Now, my journal is generally pretty good company, but the muffled sound of fireworks outside, and the social media that I couldn't help but check kept reminding me that it was a night for celebrating, for being with family and friends, for happy memories and new starts.

The contents of my journal from that evening are not particularly cheerful.

But I did take some time to reflect on something that has been on my mind a lot recently—the power of words, specifically the inner words that I say to myself and dwell on and repeat again and again. Lately, my internal dialogue has been pretty discouraging. There's a lot that I'm struggling with, and it's easy to feel like that's just "the reality of life". But while I do believe it is important to be honest about the hard stuff, I also think that I've been focusing on it too much lately, at the expense of being thankful or remembering that God is with me in the mess.

So as I move forward into this new year, I want to be more disciplined about what I let my mind dwell on, and what kinds of things I repeat again and again in my internal dialogue. I know that's a super vague goal that isn't "SMART" (or whatever the acronym is... specific, measurable, whatever), but that is the best that I can do at the moment.

One tangible thing I am doing this year, though, is being a part of a group of people that will be reading through the Psalms over the course of the year, reflecting on them, and sharing our reflections with each other online. I'm really excited for it, and it will one way that I can be filling my mind with God's word, rather than my own worries. You're welcome to check it out too, if that is something that would interest you: A Year in the Psalms

I wish each of you a Happy New Year. Thanks for being a part of my life through this blog.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

2017 in Review

As we come to the end of 2017, I thought I'd share a few highlights from my blog this past year:

Disruptive Children
This was by far the most viewed post on my blog, not only this year, but of all time! It was a little overwhelming to have such a emotional post receive so much attention, especially since after a couple of days I was able to process everything that happened and I wasn't feeling hurt anymore. But I found that this is a subject that many people could identify with, and I really appreciated hearing from so many people who shared encouragement and similar experiences that they have gone though.

Baby Kraken
One of my favourite crafts of the year.

The Power of Words
Sometimes I read through some of my old writing and find it very applicable to my current situation. This is one of those posts, so I thought I'd share it again so you can be encouraged by it too!

I Wish
This is one of my favourite poems from this past year. One of the struggles of being a very sensitive person is that I see when others are struggling, and I want to help somehow, but I also want to respect their space and don't want to say the wrong thing. Far too often I second guess myself for too long and lose the opportunity.

Fear, Your Day is Over
Something that many people don't know about me is how fear used to control so much of my life. I used to lie awake for hours, paralyzed with sheer terror, certain that I was going to die at any moment. Through God's grace that kind of fear is no longer a part of my life, but there are still days when it tries to creep back and gain a hold again. On one such day, this is what I had to say to it.

What are some of your favourite posts from 2017? I'd love to hear from you!