Pinterestic Life?











I woke up this morning like most mornings- morose, fighting depressing, fatalistic thoughts. Not hopeful. Not joyful. Not positive.

I don't say this because I'm looking for pity or to be a downer. I say it because I'm a mom who writes a blog in a world full of mom-blogs with pretty pictures and chic designs and humorous and/or wise posts. And I've been there and done that so I'm not judging my fellow mom bloggers either. I like pretty blog templates, and flawless pictures of homemade things and happy children. I enjoy a well-rounded devotional and even poetic meditations. But as much as we all enjoy those things, most of us don't have a life that's really like that.

Most of us wake up fighting discouraging thoughts or stress or anxieties of some kind in a house with piles of laundry unfinished, beds unmade, dried toothpaste and discarded pocket contents on the counter. Most of us walk out of our rooms to wake up kids who manage to argue with each other and create tears and yelling before 5 minutes of their day has passed. Most of us walk away from such scenes seeking refuge in a cup of coffee in a kitchen where the dishes aren't done from yesterday… or the day before that. Most of us see clutter as we turn 360 from any position in our house and fight the lie that if things were just clean and organized and a nice candle was burning and the kids were laughing and… we'd be so much happier.

I'm learning I can either be real about my life and receive with thankfulness the grace that is creating a new, glorious reality for me everyday, looking for every evidence of the gifts of such grace even in this fallen place, or I can sink down into a pit of depression and "give up".  Even worse, I can stick my head in the sand mom-blog world and pretend my life is pretty and organized and godly and smells like a Yankee candle, and spin my wheels trying to convince myself and others that I actually live such a Pinterestic life.

I don't live a Pinterestic life.  But I do live a life alive in Christ's blood-bought grace.  It's a messy life.  It's a life full of weakness and evidences of fallenness.  It's a life of fighting giants and exposing lies.  It's a life in the process of being transformed by a scandalous love.

As the holiday season is upon us, and so are all things picture-perfect and aromatic, let us make the ravishing beauty of Christ our boast and humbly receive with thanks every grace, every hint of his beauty and his order and his goodness we get to see and experience here in the midst of all our mess.  And let us be real with each other, and help each other fight giants and bear burdens and look up and be eternally-minded.



 Quieted,
Sheila

Of life without a down side

One day I'll get to endlessly experience life without the down side.  I was thinking about that on this beautifully cool, gray, drizzling morning.

I was awakened this morning by, "Get up!  The cat peed on the bed!"  Yeah.  That's the definition of waking up on the wrong side of the bed.  In fact, they should just change that saying.  Instead of, "Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed!"  We should say, "Someone woke up with a cat peeing on the bed!"  I'm not a cat person, I tolerate her existence in my house since I have three other members of my household who adore her, but now, she's on my hit list.

You might think this would pretty much ruin my day, but to my surprise, a theme of thankfulness has been running through heart this morning.  The hum of the constant rain, the smell of bacon and hot coffee, the sense that this wet, grey day may have provided for me hot tea, good books and quiet… at least until 11A.M. when the business of basketball games and batting practice starts.

As I lay on the couch this morning, I could hear my husband rehearsing the news out loud from the kitchen table.  Some guy has "tamed" lions by giving them, "love and affection".   "That guy's gonna get eaten!" my husband prophesies.    He's probably right, but it reminded me that someday, life will really be like that with no threat of harm.  We get little glimpses now of what the Bible promises those whose faith is in Christ will experience for eternity.

Some day the lion will lie with the lamb and snakes will be play things.  Some day cats won't pee on beds and bacon won't clog arteries.  Some day rest won't seem like a waste of time or laziness.  Some day what we call work will be joyful, creative expressions of Imago Dei in us.  Some day other centered affections and interests will be my constant character.  Some day there won't even be a hint or undertone of thinking of Jesus in a religious, untouchable or cheesy way.  Some day talking of God and his beauty and glory and Christ and his love and affection will be as natural and as joyous as talking about your hero and the faithful dad who loves you and the chivalrous husband who swept you off your feet and the courageous warrior who saved his platoon in a self-sacrificing act.  Some day there will be life of life abounding without even a whiff of a down side and all that was here that I ever complained about will be a vapor long gone.  Some day life will be so vivid, so unrestrained, so deep and wide and full of awe and beauty and pleasure that all I ever thought might be worth turning away from the way of the cross to satisfy me here will seem like piles of worm filled dung.

Some day breath and rest and smiles and belly laughter and affections and flavors and sounds and vistas and powers and relationships and intimacy with the King of Glory will be my constant, uninhibited, depravity-free experience.  Oh that I would lift my head and let the things of earth grow strangely dim!


"Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy."- Isaiah 65:17-18

 Quieted,
Sheila

Of barely burning embers, a bruised heart and a Beautiful Savior


I came to the end of another journal today. I've kept a journal since I was 9, and I still have all my journals from age 13 on.

Looking back is hard. And some of the reason it's hard is pride. It's flat out embarrassing looking back at some of the things I thought, wrote and did. I look back and know for sure, my God is so merciful and patient and faithful to me, though I have been a liar, a thief, a gossip, sexually immoral, quick to trade Jesus in for a man who would make me feel good, and much more.  I've been a coward and a complainer, but Christ has been to me the God-Man, drawing a line in the sand, lifting my head, withholding his right to condemn me, and making me want to go and sin no more!

I'm tired of fighting sin!  I long for the day when my thoughts aren't a battle from the moment I open my eyes and depression doesn't suck me in like a black hole.  But, by the grace of God, I'll keep fighting the good fight of faith in Christ.

There are so many hurts from the past.  Oh, that I would see with eyes of faith; that I would see God's promises kept and Christ's beauty forged in the fires of my life and the aroma of His goodness emanating from my brokenness.  Yet, I find at 39, at the end of another journal (one that started as a determination to keep the promise of my youth in marriage and to pray for my husband), that I am a smoldering flame where I thought there was fire.  I am a bruised reed when I thought I was a pillar.

And I lift my trembling hands and bend my weak knees and cry out tired prayers and rest all my hope on the One who doesn't put out irritating smoky embers like me or crush cowardly broken reeds like the one I find I am after life's trials thus far.

I wanted to be a "woman of valor", but peering past the obviousness of the condition I find myself in, I see my Lord stirring a flame and splinting what's broken, and a long way off, I catch a glimpse of what I long for:  to see Him face to face, and to be made like him, finally fully redeemed.

So I press on.  Looking back so I can recall His faithfulness despite my folly, but then forgetting what's behind, because He's given me today.  And it's a long obedience in the same direction with the promise that He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it compelling me to put one foot in front of the other.

A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. -Isaiah 42:3

Quieted,
Sheila

God is not Dr. Crabby Pants

(Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son Ryland)

It started at 1:30 AM, Thursday.  I can't do math in my sleep-deprived brain at this point, but in however many hours it's been since 1:30 AM Thursday, I've had a couple hours of sleep.  My husband has had less.  Not good.

My husband was called out to investigate a messy crime at 1:30 Thursday, that began the blur that has occurred since.  My dear friend took my boys last night when I had to go to work and there was no husband home to pass the baton of parenting to.  She took them trick or treating, fed them dinner, made them comfortable beds and got them to school this morning on top of her own three.  There's a friend!  Very thankful.

I ended a 12-hours-on-my-feet shift with a doctor yelling at me over the phone for calling him to get an order.  This is an aspect of nursing I've never embraced until this morning when it hit me, "Everything you endure by faith in the good sovereignty of God is only being used for your good."  It actually made me smile and shake off the desire to tell Dr. Crabby Pants unkind things.  Being a nurse highlights the importance of authority and the difficulty of submitting to it, and as a Christian it illumines an opportunity to suffer for doing good and thereby grow in Christ-likeness.

I still scratch my head though.  You're mad at me for calling you for an order only you can give regarding an issue that is for the patient's safety and good?!  One runs into this not infrequently as a nurse.

What if the Great Physician was so unapproachable and easily irritated?  What a terrible thought!  I'm so glad my God, who possesses all authority, invites me to call on him and his authority day or night, time after time after time.  He is not bothered by my need for His "orders".  He wants me to "wake him up" in the middle of the night.  Not that God sleeps or grows tired, but I love it that in the Psalms, and in the parables Jesus told, God seems to be saying, "I understand, that you may feel like I'm sleeping.  That's ok.  WAKE ME UP!  APPROACH ME!  INTERRUPT ME!  BE RELENTLESS!"


Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever! - Psalm 44:23

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Give me justice against my adversary.' For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" - Luke 18:1-8

I'm glad my God is happy.  He's not frustrated and irritated.  He's totally confident and kind and has all power and yet does not "lord it over" us, but bends down to lift us up. He actually listens with desire for us to know we are heard and known by Him and He is not bothered by us.

Thank you Father!
Quieted,
Sheila

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