Archive for March, 2011

Avoiding the Pinch

I do not understand St. Patrick’s day. I have never figured out what it is we’re supposed to celebrate. I don’t understand spending three dollars on a tinsel-covered headband at Walmart, just to wear to a parade. I’ve always kind of attributed my hometown’s attachment to it as a reaction to the lack of Mardi Gras in central Mississippi.

I love green, but I intentionally avoid it on St. Patty’s, because I will not jump on a bandwagon to save my life. So we’re staying in, because I know people that pinch hard.

In other news….my last blog posts have been quite soul searching, haven’t they? Good gracious alive, I can’t handle myself sometimes. Let me just say that the Lord is dealing with me in a big way, and there’s all kinds of stuff going on in my heart and mind and I appreciate having a place to learn to articulate what’s going on. I don’t have a lot of readers, and now probably have less, so I don’t feel bad for sharing, or oversharing, as the case may be.

But I do love the funny. I love my life, the daily ins and outs. My kids have been on a hilarious roll lately, and we’ve laughed pretty  much ’round the clock. The problem is, it’s hard to write down what they say. It’s just not as funny unless you hear them say it. Paisley, the youngest, is one of the those kids who knows how to deliver a line and just keeps us rolling. But if I wrote what she said, it would sound so ordinary here.

So I’m trying to find a balance between the random and the reflective. Today would be the random. For example:

I was listening to the radio yesterday. I won’t name the station, but let’s just say it prides itself on being positive and encouraging. The deejays were talking about all the significant days this week. Monday was “Pi Day”, 3/14. Wednesday was “John 3:16” day. Thursday is St. Patrick’s. Then the woman said, “You know, I’ve always heard of something on the 15th, but I have no idea what that is. Why is that familiar?” The man said, “I don’t know! I’ve heard about that too!” I was rolling my eyes and about to gag when someone called in and said, “It’s the Ides of March.” The deejays didn’t have a clue, so he told them that was the day that Julius Caesar was predicted to die in Shakespeare’s play.

The deejays were still clueless. They kept saying, “Really?”, and “You know, I’ve heard the name Brutus thrown around this week, but I assumed they were talking about Popeye!”, and “I think I may have read that once.”

I was pretty disgusted and turned the radio off. How on earth do you know about made-up days like Pi Day and John 3:16 day and not know the Ides of March? Not to get on an educational high horse, but I had never heard of those other days until yesterday, and I’ve known about the Ides since I was a young teenager. I know this is neither here nor there…but seriously, in a day and time when Christians are under a constant microscope and are considered out of touch and not that smart, is it a good idea to declare your ignorance of one of the most famous plays by one of the most important writers in history? I’m thinking it’s not a good idea at all.

Now look at me, I’m getting all worked up. It was ultimately funny, but it did ruffle my feathers a bit. Probably because my sweet Mamaw was the one who helped me understand Julius Caesar when I was fifteen. She knew all about it, and would have been in a snit if she’d heard that on the radio yesterday. Thank goodness she missed out on that little gem.

And I bet she’s not wearing green today, either.

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March 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm Leave a comment

Success

I’ve decided that except for Jesus living in me, I pretty much stink as a person.

I’ve done nothing of real value, if you go by the standards of success our world sets.

I don’t make any money. I am not a public figure (unless you count all the opinions my hair receives when I change it). I don’t know how to make cute things, or save money by couponing or reselling stuff or recycling old furniture from Goodwill. I usually say too much, too often, and it doesn’t mean anything to anybody.

I’ve started and stopped homeschooling. I’ve started and stopped grad school. I’ve started and stopped writing a book (seriously. Don’t make fun. You have dreams too).

I have no idea what to do with my life after this time as a stay at home mom is up…and the clock is ticking. My gifts are weird and pretty much useless unless someone else gives me the chance to use them. I don’t have gifts and talents that are self-starting. I can’t volunteer my gifts. I have to be asked.  It puts me in a weird place, wanting to use my gifts for the sole purpose of glorifying God, but unless someone else asks me to, I’m not using my gifts. Then I feel stunted, and dependent on others, and I can’t stand being dependent on others. Even admitting what my gifts are is strange, because people can be opinionated and mean, so I hesitate putting myself “out there” and hoping nobody thinks I’m arrogant. It’s not arrogance at all. It’s just claiming what God has gifted me to do. Why is that bad? Actually using my gifts doesn’t scare me, but claiming them does.

So here I am: staring my future in the face, wondering what on earth the God of the universe could do with a mess like me.

But on the other hand…

My kids are smart, healthy, kind, funny and loved.

My marriage is strong. Our friendship is amazing. Our love for one another is deep.

My family is terrific. I love and am loved by my parents and brother. I have a heritage of faith and love that is rare.

My health is good. My mind is sharp. My personality is okay. My sense of humor is weird. My friends are wonderful.

My LORD is GOD. It is HE that made me this way, and I belong to Him. He has given me these blessings, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the rest of them.

He sees past the starting and stopping (which I called failures until I backspaced over that word). He sees past the insecurity of having gifts that nobody seems to want me to use. He sees past the lack of direction. He compares me to NO ONE.

Let me say that again: He compares me to NO ONE. Not ONE person. He made me unique, special, unlike anybody else on this earth. My only standard is Christ Jesus himself. That’s a high standard. It is pure perfection and holiness.

I’ll never reach it. God knows that. That’s why there’s grace.

I’m about to cry, so I need to wrap this up. I have so much stored up right now in my soul. I have so much wanting to bust out of my heart and I want to spend the rest of my days on my face or with my hands raised high and singing praise to the one who made me just like this. Not because he made me just like this. I told you. I’m a mess.

But because He is capable of doing anything with the mess that I am.

Because He’s God. There is no other. There never has been, and never will be.

He’s walked with me for almost thirty years, and for every one of those years, I have a testimony of his love, grace, mercy and presence. I reach out and He is always there. Unfailing. Unwavering. Unchanging.

I’m so needy. My heart hurts so bad when I fail. When I feel like I’m not good enough. Only by the richness of who He is do I not feel like I have to be good enough for Him anymore. I know He loves me just like this. But even though He compares me to no one, I still compare myself, and feel like I will never measure up.

Oh, Lord Jesus. Father. Daddy…I only want to see you when I want affirmation on my worth. I know that the only reason I’m here is to glorify your name to the world and in the church. I want that to be the reason I breathe. Help me. Forgive me for not believing that I am who you say I am. Thank you, Praise you, for your neverending, never failing love and grace. I need it to cover me so completely that I can’t be seen anymore. Use me, Father. However you want. Make me who you want me to be.

 

 

March 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm 1 comment

A Stinky Story

There are many character traits that I’m trying to instill in my kids. Humility is one of the main ones. I’ve told them many times that no person is better than any other person. We all have gifts and abilities, and we all sin. We all are born with a need for Jesus. That puts every person on a level playing field.

I’ve wondered often if my kids understand that. They aren’t cocky at all, and I’m encouraged by that. They treat everybody the same, that I’ve seen so far, and I appreciate that they might be grasping the concept of all people being created equal.

That brings me to today, when Molly proved that my teaching has soaked into her little head.

We were in Michael’s, looking for supplies to make a sock puppet of Abraham Lincoln. Paisley, naturally, had to go to the bathroom. I think she has set a personal goal to try out every public restroom from County Line Road to Canton. We walked in the bathroom, and were taken aback by the smell.

It was a fairly clean restroom, but just like all public restrooms, it just had a funk. My girls can be really vocal about bad smells, so they immediately started being dramatic. Paisley would not take her hand off of her nose to save her life. Molly was trying to help, and kept telling Paisley, “Just breathe through your mouth, Paisley. Then you won’t have to smell it!” They both declared it the stinkiest place ever and would not be quiet about it at all.

The problem was, there was someone in the other stall.

I was embarrassed at the ruckus my girls were making, so I shushed them several times. They didn’t understand this at all. “Why, Mama? Why can’t we say it’s stinky? It IS stinky!”

After the other person left (the girls and I were in the other stall together by this point), I explained that bad smells are something that can’t be helped. I said that every person in the world makes a bad smell when using the restroom, and that there’s nothing we can do about it. I told them that if they are loud about it, someone in the bathroom might feel bad or get their feelings hurt, because there’s nothing they can do about it.

Molly instantly was remorseful, because she is my tenderhearted child. She wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings on purpose. She said, “I’m sorry Mama. I didn’t know I was being mean.” I told her she wasn’t mean, but that I just had to explain to her that it’s just kind of rude to talk about stinky bathrooms. Then I asked her how she’d feel if she was using the bathroom and someone walked in and said, “Man! This place stinks! This is the smelliest bathroom ever!”

She immediately responded adamantly, “If someone did that, I wouldn’t be upset! I’d AGREE with them! I KNOW it’s stinky!”

See? Humility. My child knows her bathroom business smells, therefore making her no better than anyone else. All those years of me being grossed out during diapers and potty training taught her that she stinks, too.

A lesson we could all benefit from, I think.

March 1, 2011 at 1:26 am 1 comment


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