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Tuesday
Jul292014

The Uncertain Days

 

I don't have very many words to say today. I'm sorting through feelings, thoughts, and praying without ceasing (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17) for both of my mothers today. My mother & mother-in-law are both facing some scary health issues at the moments. Our life is in a bit of an upheaval. Days like today, the many miles that separate all of us are tough. Some days I'm busy, focused on my kids, and I don't really think about how far away our families are. And then, days like today, I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with. The day is almost too quiet. The kids, almost too peaceful. Perhaps it's God's way of saying, Just Be. Just be in my presence today. 

Just Be like the Israelites, when they came to the Red Sea. They looked behind them and saw the Egyptians chasing after them. They looked forward and only saw water in front of them. In that moment, Moses said,

 “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still" (Exodus 14:13-14, NIV). 

My how we need the Lord fighting on our side. It's comforting to know that He's right there, already handling the sittuation. We, as humans, are so short sideded. We see what's in front of us, here and now. Or perhaps we look backward, and see our enemy chasing after us, getting closer and closer. We look around in desperation, instead of looking up, at God, our protector. 

He will fight for us. 

Sometimes, it doesn't take any more action than that. 

Sometimes, days come where we're told to just be still, wait for the deliverance of the Lord. Rely on Him to provide in the situation.

On Sunday, my Pastor was talking about the Israelites' Exodus from Egypt. He pointed out something interesting that I'd never seen before. Verses 13-14 tell the Israelites to be still and wait, while verse 15 tells the Israelites to start moving.

It's all in God's timing. For a time, they had to wait and watch, and then, when it was time to part the Red Sea so that they could pass through, God told them to move.

Oh how I want to be that in-tune with God. To hear Him when He says to wait, and to hear Him when He says to move.

Wait or Move, Be Still or Act. Our lives our filled with such moments.

Be open. Pray.  Listen. Just Be.

Today, today is a waiting day. A wondering day. A praying day. A taking care of children, laundry, dishes, and praying kind of day.

Who knows what tomorrow holds, but I do know this:

"God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress....
He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.'
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress" (Psalm 46: 1-7, 10-11, NIV).
Tuesday
Jul222014

Meg-time 

 

He caught me. I asked Him for some "Mommy-time." If I could got to the Farmers Market by myself, and maybe take the long way home via a coffee shop. His reply, "Don't you mean you need 'Meg-time.' 

Why the difference in word choices? Because, as much as I'm mommy, I'm so much more than that. I'm Meg, Meg the mother, Meg the wife, Meg the writer, Meg the lover of life, of nature, of reading, Meg the follower of Christ. 

And sometimes, I just need that time.

Time. Time to think, to breathe, to remember why I'm living this life. 

It's the time I seek in the early morning hours. The time I seek right now, while both children nap.

It's the moments, the seemingly split-second increments where I re-focus, revamp, reconnect with my Creator. Where I sit in peace and quiet, ok with that quiet. 

Ok with just being me.

Those moments of quiet are very conducive to worrying. The other night i sat upright in bed, so concerned about some parenting choices I've been making.

Life, life is such a battle. 

But shouldn't it be so?

We live in a world that's not our own. We are imperfect, I am imperfect surround by imperfect. 

But we're not called to wallow in those imperfections.

No, we're called to perfect peace.

"You will keep the mind that is dependent on You
in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You" (Isaiah 26:3, HCSB).

We're called to lives of joy.

"You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures" (Psalm 16:11, HCSB).

We're called to such a beautiful life, something I sometimes forget when I'm the midst of mommy-mode.

Sometimes, my introvert heart needs a break.

Sometimes, my heart asks for a moment, an hour, a chance to breathe.

I'm so thankful to my husband for giving me that on Saturday morning.

Not much was accomplished. I didn't use the time to clean, or write any blog posts.

I just enjoyed an overcast Saturday Farmers Market.

But it was a good time.

I found fresh produce to fill my family's tummies, a huge watermelon for the Church Potluck on Sunday, and some flowers, just to brighten up our home.

I didn't stop being mommy during that hour or two away. No, I was just as much Mommy in those moments as I am right now, while Ezra eats his lunch in his high chair next to my desk. But I think the significance of it being Meg-time was this.

It gave me a chance to breathe.

To regroup.

To give thanks for a beautiful day.

To look forward to getting back to my family.

To the ones who call me mommy.

To the one who calls me wife.

 

There have been times in my life where "Meg-time" was next to impossible. Where my whole heart had to be devoted to young babies. When my children have been attached to me, when my husband's work, and this country, has asked a lot of him. Seasons have past without the gifts of such Saturdays. I understand what a gift that time was. 

I treasure the moments I am given.

They truly are a gift.

 

 

Friday
Jul182014

Time with Jesus

"After we sighted Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. So we found some disciples and stayed there seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go to Jerusalem. When our days there were over, we left to continue our journey, while all of them, with their wives and children, escorted us out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach to pray, we said good-bye to one another. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned home" (Acts 21:3-6, HCSB).


What is the current condition of my heart? Am I in a disciplined place where I can hear the direction of the Holy Spirit? Am I spending time with Jesus daily, pausing for His voice, His presence?
The life of a mommy is a noisy one. WIth a chatty 3 year old and needy baby, I really don't get too many moments to myself. Writing is my chance to breathe. It's my chance to digest. It's my chance to contemplate scripture, God's plan, the ins and outs of life that are going differently than I thought.
I try to carve out a few minutes each more for devotion. Sometimes, like today, the house is actually quiet. Other days, I'm reading my scripture verses while Emma talks in the background. Often, she's asking for my attention. I've honestly had to set up some boundaries, telling her that Mama needs these few minutes each morning. It's not a perfect set-up, I'm often still a little distracted, but I'm trying to set a new precedent in practice. I'm trying to say that Mama's devotions, and, let's be honest, Mama's first cup of coffee, need to be accomplished first each day.
And I don't think that's a bad thing to do.
My children are sponges. They see and hear everything that happens in a day, and absorb it for later contemplation. They are learning and changing, as the days go by. I want them to soak up some Good News as well. I love the mornings when Emma asks me to read the verses out loud. They don't make much sense to her now, but she's soaking it in. She's learning. She's, hopefully, seeing that this time is important to me.
This short time to read and pray are sometimes the only moments I have to myself in a day. There's other snippets, maybe an hour when they're resting in the afternoon, but that time is irregular. My morning cup of coffee, and my morning internet browse are regular, every day occurrences. And so, I try to make my devo time first. I use a Bible app, and open it up first thing in the morning, before my coffee is even downed.
All because I want to be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in my life. I need His direction as I deal with children everyday. I need His direction as I write and encourage and interact both online in social media and at the grocery store, playground, church. But in order to be led, I have to be fed, I have to make time with Jesus and integral part of my day.

Lord Jesus, work through me as I interact with those around me today. Help me to see the greater picture, how I can best encourage my children to become more like you. Direct my thoughts, footsteps, and actions through each moment of this day.

Monday
Jul142014

Monday

I life my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
The Lord protects you;
the Lord is a shelter right by your side.
The sun will not strike you by day
or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going
both now and forever.
Psalm 121 (HCSB)

 

Today has been one of those days. You know, a day that just seems a little off kilter, a little out of wack. Time-outs before Mama finishes her coffee never bode well for the day. When it comes to my 3 year old, I'm trying so hard to take a few breaths, give things a little space, and give myself time for a little prayer. The answers still aren't immediate, but I did find myself cooling down a little bit, ready to greet the next challenge.
The rest of the morning had it's trials, but we (thankfully) made it to nap time without a full-blown tantrum. Parenthood is hard. It just is. Lunchtime found us with one of those "mommy of the year moments." I looked into the bonus room, where Ezra was supposedly playing, and found him chowing down on a cluster of grapes, purple stain everywhere around. I took the grapes away, and turned around to talk to Emma, who had just come in from the back yard. While I was talking my daughter, the baby quickly crawled out the backdoor into the yard, trying to make a get-away to who knows where. Sigh. Such a crazy boy.
Mommy hood has definitely been a season of testing. A season of challenges. Oh how I longed for the privilege of raising little ones. And oh how unexpectedly hard it has been. Have you been there? Have you ever been faced with daunting challenges? The challenges never seem to quite go away, they just change with the seasons. Develop, flower. Learn. Grow. 
I've grown and changed so much as a mommy. Almost four years ago I was granted the amazing gift of raising this girl, this girl who challenges me, this girl who causes me to look even more toward my Lord up above. To cry out for help each and every day. This girl who is helping me grow and be the woman God has called me to be. 
Psalm 121 is such a great reminder of God's provision. He sees all things, protects all things, is always there right beside us through it all. He's there, during early morning disciplining, during afternoon tiredness, during middle of the night feedings. He's there, when the parenting answers are unclear, when we feel exasperated or unsure of where to come next. He's there. He's our protector, our strength. Be encouraged today friends. He's ready and willing to take on your burdens. 
Friday
Jul112014

The Lake

 

Have you ever been to Lake Michigan? If not, you're surely missing out. The Great Lakes are truly one of my favorite places to be. We just returned from a week at my parent's cottage. Located in a little town, it truly makes me happy. Driving up toward it, my shoulders relax and I let out a sigh. It's time for rest. It's time for family. It's time to enjoy some days where the sun doesn't set until 9:30PM, where the beach, coffee shops, ice cream, and bookshops are all within walking distance. It's time for crafts, marshmallows, and lazy morning cups of coffee. These summer days are for memory making, sand castle building, remembering why we love our family so. 

I think we all need such breaks. Moments away. Moments away from the everyday pressures that can feel like way too much. Moments to remember where our priorities lie, what truly matters. Times when we can actually squeeze in a night away with our spouse, while the grandparents watch the kiddos. Times to treasure relationship, laughter, and just, just sitting and soaking in the sunshine.

Thank you Jesus for such a vacation. You do truly know that my heart needed it.