once far off

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“For He Himself is our peace…”
~Ephesians 2:14~

It’s amazing the sense of accomplishment I feel when I’m able to complete a special task for the day.  The first day we cleaned the little boys’ room.  Every time since, when I walk past their room on the way into mine, I feel happy, satisfied, at peace, and accomplished.

Yesterday before school we took the ornaments off the Christmas tree and packed them away.  This task didn’t take quite as long as the first, but even so, throughout the day, I lived with the satisfaction that something had been done.  I even cleaned my own room.

It’s strange to me the way we measure accomplishment.  Three meals throughout the day, an afternoon of school, all the human interactions from morning til bed, those very much accomplish something, but they don’t usually generate “accomplishment” feelings.

I know you can’t base your life on these feelings, nor can you spend your days chasing accomplishment.  Today is our piano/library morning, and we have outside commitments planned for later in the day.  A project will not get “accomplished” today.

But in the spirit of being “mindful”, I wish to stop and pause, before the spirit of all the un-accomplishment gets to me. Today is a beautiful day like no other, whatever non-accomplishment or feelings it may bring. The fact that I get to go live it brings me joy.

 

easing back in

January is the month where my desire for the peaceful and quiet winter rhythm begs collaboration with my need to get back into the swing of everyday life.  There’s a needed transition coming out of Christmas break, and as we start back into school, I’m reminded again that this is the time of year that simultaneously needs work, but cannot be forced.

The kids and I spent the morning cleaning up the little boys’ bedroom.  It needed a good purging and clothes overhaul.  My plan for now is to spend the morning working on a cleaning project, break for lunch, then spend the afternoon hours on school.  When everything’s done, they have free time til supper.  I don’t know yet if this is a long-term plan, or more of a short-term strategy to address the areas of the house that have been more neglected through the business of the holidays.  I’m eager to see how it goes.

I feel the need to follow up on the book Brave New World, since I mentioned I had started reading it a few posts ago.  If it had been a good book, I probably wouldn’t feel the need to say something, but since I found it quite disturbing and non-enjoyable, I thought I would pass the information along.  About half-way through, my gut-instinct was to put the book down and start reading something “good, true, and beautiful” instead.  Then I thought, “Well, maybe I just need to push through and finish.”  I wish I hadn’t.

Sometimes it’s okay NOT to finish something!  I think it’s good for us mothers to be reminded that sometimes the adjustment we need to be making isn’t failure–it’s wisdom!  One of the most mind blowing things that was said to me in 2018 was when we had company over for supper, and I was taste-testing the vegetables I was attempting to roast.  “I think they need more salt or something”, I said.  Tara looked at the vegetables, shrugged her shoulders, and in her cheery, unassuming sort of way said, “Trust your instincts!”

on the road

I made my plans and the Lord already made a hard, fast shift.

“Whoa, where’re you going?”

Frustrated, hurt, and a little despondent, “Well, Lord, I thought I was going with you?

Apparently, I think, my plans were too earthly.

I want, in living life, a world of earthly pleasures.  I do, in fact, have abundant earthly joys, but what I find in the midst of life is sorrow after sorrow after sorrow after sorrow.

Though I have felt it many times, I haven’t wanted to long for Heaven.

There was always a part of me that thought to long for Heaven was just way of telling God you simply weren’t happy with the life that He had given.  There was an honest, desperate, crying out to God in it, and a hopeless, resentful, ungratefulness in it.

If I’m longing for Heaven, Lord, doesn’t that mean I’m unhappy with You?

Could it also just mean that, “Lord, I truly am grateful for the pleasures I have here, but I am also truly thankful for the world without sorrows, that is mine now, by faith.”

What is another year of life, but yet another year to look, to God and then to finally say,

“In You I find my highest Joy.”

 

New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of home.

Love has always been defined inside my head as selfless service.  The early years of being a mother are very physical years of self-giving.  Children grow inside your body, then leave your body in birth, then nurse from your breasts, and are dependent day and night on the physical presence of another human being, who both anticipates the needs of the growing child, as well as learns to translate the cries of the infant as he calls out.

The first decade of motherhood gave me a deep appreciation and awareness of my humanness.  I discovered what my body was able to do, but I also realized the innumerable limitations.  The pain, selflessness, and physicality of mothering gave me a direct connection to Christ.  In the giving of my body in the rearing of children, I learned that love was suffering, that suffering is a way we draw nearer to God, and He to us.

The wonderful things about lessons this deep, is that they never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever leave you.  The blessings, the wounds, are a part of me now, and I carry them with me now into the future.  As motherhood becomes less physical in nature, in that my body has gained back space for itself, I am thinking on what love means for me in this season. My body is still itself an instrument of service, but not in the same lowly, intimate way.

It’s interesting to me, that in the Titus 2 passage where it speaks on women loving husbands and children, the word for love there is not the sacrificial “charity” kind.  It’s the warm, brotherly, affectionate kind.  It’s also interesting to me that the “philos”, brotherly kind of love is the kind most extinguished with the presence of bad feelings. I’m shifting my “love” mindset to match the love needed in this particular season, the effort of teaching children the ways of personal responsibility and service to others.

As I think about the possible resolutions this new year, or even about a New Year’s word, the word “mindful” is the word that comes to mind.  Mindful, that is, the opposite of “mindless”.  There’s the obvious example of the “scrolling” on the phone, but beyond that even, I want to actively engage more the physical world.  The little things add up, and I’m curious to see what it would look like, if in those smaller increments of time, if in the way I daily live my life, if in the way in which I love the others, I sought to be “mindful”.

I find my primary efforts still focused toward the home.  I still feel that futile failing endlessness of a job too big for one fallen limited person.  I could bemoan all the ways it seems the American lifestyle, as it stands, does not even feel set up in a way for homes to actually be viable, but winter is the perfect time when home feels necessary.  As I seek to love my husband and children, I want to be mindful of the endless ways to build the home, to experience home as a place of beauty, production, hospitality, and benevolence.