Wednesday, July 20, 2016

He must look at me that way

I must have turned off the light in the bathroom today at least 20 times. It was as if someone was hiding behind the door and turned it back on each and every time I shut it off. It was one of the many thankless jobs of the day.

I watched an entire bowl of popcorn fall to the floor immediately after sweeping. Someone stepped on it too.

I took time to pick out each of the kids clothes, only to find that each of them decided to play with the hose outback and get soaked just seconds before I called them to the car to leave. I took a deep breath and back to the drawing board.

At one point today, 3 of my 4 kids were crying. At least not all 4 of them were. The 4th one waited till the other 3 stopped ;)

I was never thanked for making their peanut butter toast... at least not without reminding them. No one noticed when I spent 20 minutes unloading and loading the dishwasher. Or when I switched out laundry 3 times today, stripped the sheets, made lunch, prepped for dinner, vacuumed the rugs or picked up the legos out of the carpet on my hands and knees for 15 minutes because the kids just miss them when they get lost in there, so it's easier for me to find them all. And I was never thanked for fixing each meal just how they like it or for cutting their fingernails or for finding their lost "paper" or for figuring out why the 5 year olds legs are aching.

No one stood there to reward me for following through on a consequence when a child misbehaved. And no one scolded me when I yelled. No one noticed the beauty of my little girl falling asleep in my arms like she does every day at nap time... after negotiating with me of course. And no one saw the moments where I read to my boys about a saint and I saw their eyes light up as they were inspired by bravery.

But, the Lord reminded me, He was there, thanking me. He was there to give me a gentle push to be firm, but loving. He was there to watch my sweet baby giggle as I sang to her and applaud me when I made progress with a difficult child.

I reflected today on the gift my vocation is. A one of constant serving and always looking out for the other. I also reflected on how hard it is. It's sometimes unbearable. How can I be so blessed to be a mother? And sometimes its, Lord, are you sure I was not suppose to be tucked away as a contemplative sister? He reminds me, no. But, the noise, Lord? Ah, yes, the noise is where you grow. All things uncomfortable bring virtue and virtue brings you to Me.

I look at my children. I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn't stop the hands and knees service. I wouldn't want a quiet house... I would be longing for them. I see them, and I faithfully continue. As many times as they scream, mess up, start a fight, whine, make a bad choice... I still look at them, and nothing changes my love in the least. It gives me great hope. In all my imperfection, I know He is much greater than I. He must look at me that way. Nothing changes His love.

In all the work, heart ache, exhaustion, clean up, He is there. He is there in my loneliness, my frustration, my successes and failures. He just loves me. And I know He looks at me in a more perfect way than I see them and it brings me peace in the midst of the beautiful chaos of my every day.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

reflection on suffering

Well, I'm back in Nashville. It's been awhile since I have written on my blog, but I feel the Lord calling me to start writing again. On life. On motherhood. On marriage. On my love of Jesus. On the adventure I'm about to embark on with homeschooling. On suffering.

Today and this week and really over the past year and a half I have been reflecting on the suffering accompanied with dying. We could get into a huge theological/philosophical conversation about suffering, death and dying... healing... the why's and why nots, but my energy isn't there today. Bottom line, we have original sin and we are all going to die. But, what I'm realizing more and more is that people completely forget Jesus, his cross, redemptive suffering and ETERNITY! How do you suffer alone without these things?

How do you suffer without purpose? At Easter time I came down with something... I'm still not sure what. It may have been part of a terrible detox I was doing, although one doctor said severe inflammation in my intestinal tract and another said 3 different viruses hit me at once. Well, whatever you would call it, I have never suffered that much in a physical nature in my lifetime (only 33 years, but still). I was taken to the emergency room and had every test in the book run on me, but still nothing definitive. It offered me a chance to reflect on people who suffer. Without Jesus, I would've said, please someone give me the drugs that will make this end. I could not sleep, hold still or eat with the pain I suffered. It lasted without any relief for 3 days. After 3 days, it was still minor pain for another week. It was an opportunity to ask, beg, and offer myself as a prayer. What the Lord needed me for that week, can't wait to ask Him! But, I know, without a doubt, He used my suffering... graces fell from my tears, my pain, my sleepless nights, my missing my kids. Redemptive suffering is something I hope I can teach my children well. A hard feat.

I have been reflecting on my uncle in his suffering. He has cancer. It started with his thyroid, then to his lungs, liver, etc. It has been painful to watch. Chemotherapy. Losing hair. No appetite. Fatigue. And the list goes on. A difficult journey for my grandmother, my mom, my aunts and uncle, my uncles closest friends and of course, all of those who love him. But, the immense beauty that has transpired... His suffering has had great purpose. You can see the people around him put on their life glasses and focus in on the important and flush out the nonsense.

If only those who support the terrible act of euthanasia could see the beauty in suffering, death and dying. The way people have opened up. The way people have given of themselves. The way people have learned to love in the hardest way. The way the family has come together and been a team. It has been indescribably beautiful. They have even made t-shirts to support him! The way they have treated my uncle with such dignity during this time and how he has fought to help each person mourn and understand. I'm impressed, I'm learning, I'm praying that more people recognize the great beauty suffering carries with it.