Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Piano Recital

While waiting to get the time (and energy!) to actually write a new post, we've been busy with play rehearsals, piano recitals, a visit from Grandma, and trying to wrap up our school year.  Jim, Rebekah, Noel, and Anna are all in a local production of Annie, but I haven't been able to get any good pics, as my camera can't do well in a dark theater with no flash.  But Anna, Noel, and Elijah had their piano recital (Anna's first one!), and here it is.  :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 30

I'm still here, and I did not quit.  But blog posts will just have to wait until I can get some more sleep.  Which I hope is very soon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day 25 Whispering "Thank you"

(After posting what I wrote below, I realized that I'd already posted a week or so ago about this insomnia thing, but I suppose if God isn't done teaching me through it, it's okay to write about it again.  Besides which, I read recently that insomnia can actually lower a person's IQ.  In that case, I can't really be expected to remember what I've already written, right?)  :)

So the last couple of weeks have been rough.  It's seems rather ironic that I would be suffering with this bout of insomnia in the midst of this "fast."  Over the last few days, though, I've wondered if this might be the best time for some sleepless nights.  I was thinking this morning about the years before Rebekah was born when we struggled with infertility.  Some of my most intimate moments with God were during those times...moments when I had to learn to trust Him with everything.  Trust that whatever He had for me was better than what I was planning out for myself.  Trust that He was enough...more than satisfy.  I remember being so thankful that before we ever had a baby, I had reached the point of accepting that we never would, and finding peace in that because I knew that He was in control.  I also remember coming to believe that the infertility was a gift...something that He used to shape and mold sanctify and bless ways might not be possible without trials and tears.  Accepting that maybe the infertility was His choice for me.  The best choice, not a curse.  I admit, it's easy for me to say those words since our struggle with infertility ended as it did, with not one but four precious babes born from my womb.  But as I said, I did come to those terms before the babies came.

So now I'm wondering if insomnia is what I need to sanctify me in this journey.  To force me to keep my eyes on Him and rely on His I said I would when I started this fast.  Because I promise you that with the amount of sleep I've been getting I would never make it through breakfast, let alone a whole day, without lashing out with my tongue.  Historically I've been reduced to a complete mess when insomnia has settled in for a long visit.  But this time it's been different.  Somehow it has only served to focus me.  To make me more aware of my tendency to snap or criticize, and to be more on guard against it.  I have to be honest, I've had some lapses.  This morning, for instance, when Anna (for reasons I could not imagine), snatched my coffee cup off of the kitchen table and swung it above her head.  Splashing coffee all over the table.  Which was covered with books, school papers, etc. (She said she thought the cup was empty).  I'll leave my response up to your imagination, but it wasn't what I wish it had been.  However, it was a whole lot better than what it might have been, or perhaps would have been a few weeks ago.  The thing that has amazed me is that for most of the many weary days over the last weeks, I haven't felt like snapping.  I have felt a level of patience and tolerance that is unusual for me even at my best.  That's how I know that it's not me.  I've been so aware of God's presence and help that I have found myself thanking Him for the insomnia.  I said at the start of this that my greatest desire was for more of Him...even primary to my desire to conquer my sharp tongue and critical spirit.  I know that drawing closer to Him is really the only way to be transformed.  And whatever He uses to demonstrate His love for me, and my need for Him, is all good.

So I've been saying "thank you" a lot.  Every time I am in the midst of a situation in which I know full well I would normally criticize or snap...and I don't.  Every time sweet, loving, encouraging words come out of my mouth.  Every time I don't feel angry, irritable, or impatient.  It's all Him.  And I'm whispering "Thank you, Jesus" right out loud.  And the kids look at me funny, and I don't even explain it to them, but I'm still glad they hear me saying it.  Thanks to Him for every good or right thing I's all Him.  Thanks for every sharp word or unnecessary criticism that I don't was His spirit holding them back.  And, okay, thanks for insomnia.  I can't promise I'll say it tomorrow, but I'll say it today (though I'd still be more than glad to sleep, and glad for any prayers along those lines).

**In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote the above post earlier today, but just now went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription sleep aid. It was generic.  It cost $50...after insurance.  It's entirely possible that I could lose sleep over spending $50 on a prescription.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day 23

For the past 2 to 3 weeks, I've been dealing with grueling insomnia.  I'm getting bleary...can't even remember if I've already blogged about insomnia at some point during the last couple of weeks.  This is a struggle I've had off and on for the last 10 years or so, but fortunately I'd been sleeping really well for months...until now.  I'm finding it hard to keep up with everything, so blogging just hasn't made the list.  I'm hopeful that I'll be able to write soon about more that I've been learning over the last week or so, but in the meantime, thought I'd post a couple of pictures from our time at the beach.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day 16

I haven't been finding the time to write, and I'm missing it.  Flannery O'Connor said, "I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say."  I honestly think this is somewhat true of me.  I process better when I talk...or write...about what I'm thinking.  And it flat out keeps me accountable, particularly when I'm writing in a public place like this.

But...I'm going to the beach tomorrow.  Taking the children, without Jim (it's a very busy time of year for him at work), just for a few days.  I'm really, really looking forward to spending some concentrated time with them away from school work and housework.

For anyone who reads this, I am just going to come right out and ask you to pray for me.  As soon as you finish reading this paragraph.  Pray the the Lord will bless our trip, and continue His work in my heart and with my tongue.  I need the prayers....I need the help.  And I always need more of Him.


We Interrupt This Message for....

A post on the lighter side!  The floor re-finishing project has left the house a wreck for a couple of weeks.  I really struggle sometimes to conquer the "tyranny of the urgent"...the desire to stop everything and battle the current mess, for instance.  I am so tempted to even stop doing schoolwork in order to put the house in order.  I've been trying to resist the temptation, and to remind myself that I want to "make the days count".  So the house is still a mess.  But on Sunday afternoon I played.  I played with the kids, and I played with my camera.  I played "Set" (a card game), jumped on the trampoline, "ooohed" and "aaahed" over frogs and tadpoles caught in the creek, and captured a lot of it on film.  And I can honestly say that the messy house felt a little less...disturbing.  God really does change hearts, and I am overwhelmed at His capacity to do new things in me.  :)

So here's some photographic evidence of the day.  I know, I know;  I'm not in any of the pictures.  Next time I'll turn the camera over to Rebekah while I'm jumping on the trampoline.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 15...Tired.

I'm still here, and still "fasting" (or trying to).  Today marks the half way point.  I have a half-written post from Day 10 which I'll try to finish tomorrow...but I'm just really tired.  Been battling with insomnia for the past week or so, and it's catching up with me.  I've had trouble with insomnia off and on for years, but I've been blessed with several months of good sleeping...until now.

But here's the surprising thing.  Usually when I'm sleep deprived, my tongue is at it's sharpest.  Lack of sleep seems to feed every bad heightens irritability and depression, lowers self-control, and fogs the mind.  I'll admit I'm feeling quite foggy, but I am honestly just humbled by the fact that I have not felt irritable or edgy with the children (or Jim).  I've had a couple of moments when I had to ask them to cut back on the decibels a bit while they were playing.  But overall I have just felt...patient.  I am willing to say that this is miraculous.  I feel as if the Lord is carrying me, almost...above all of it somehow.  That He is blessing my desire to please him and to bless my family.  I'm feeling deeply thankful and very, very much aware of how much I am dependent on His strength.  Within the first few days of this "fast", I was listening to a recording of Noel Piper, talking about Sarah Edwards.  Sarah was Jonathan Edwards wife, and I love reading/hearing about her.  Noel Piper was recounting a story about a time in Sarah Edward's life when she had a particularly intense encounter with the Lord, which seemed to be life-changing for her.  It was in the midst of a very difficult time in her life, and Noel Piper shared that the story reminded her of the lyrics of a song...which happens to be one of my very favorite songs.  I've pasted the lyrics below, because they have seemed to be the theme of my last two weeks.  I cannot read the words without tears, and they are especially meaningful to me now after the last many nights without sleep.  If the Lord has brought this insomnia on...I'll welcome more.  It has caused me to recognize more deeply than ever that He is with me...He loves me...He desires good for me.  Perhaps I might have convinced myself that I could harness my tongue and change my life on my own strength.  Tonight I am gratefully unable to do that...because I know that it is only the Lord who has kept me from falling over recent days.  I'm going to sleep (or at least to bed!) with these words tonight:

Jesus I am resting, resting
In the Joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power
Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O how great Thy loving kindness.
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvellous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings;
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father's glory,
Sunshine of my Father's face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting;
Fill me with Thy grace.

Sorry if this is less than coherent.  Blessings.  :)