What do you do when you go to the bathroom?

Last week, I got to spend several days in a Jewish day school.  As you can imagine, the experience was fascinating, enlightening, and rewarding both personally and professionally.  Being surrounded by others’ outer expressions and declarations of faith really had me reflecting on my own.

One observation in particular has continued to lead to more reflection since leaving…

The first day I spent at the school, I started in the kindergarten class.  They start their day with davening, which are specific prayers that reminded me very much of hymns, but with a more specific purpose.  So, these little kids are learning the special prayers that they will use to worship for the rest of their lives.

paperOne that they learned was a prayer that they were learning to say after each time they went to the bathroom, a prayer of thankfulness that their bodies were working.

Every time they go to the bathroom, they take time to thank God for keeping their bodies working. I don’t know about you, but God doesn’t typically come into my mind when going to the bathroom.

But why not? Isn’t He my Creator?  My Keeper?  My ultimate “maintenance guy?”

Every single thing I do should not just be done in, but preceded and followed by gratitude and praise!

What a difference it would make to our attitudes and lives if we looked at ALL of our experiences as a gift from God – if we recognized his majesty and power in everything – give thanks for everything always.

I learned so much and am still processing my visit to this school.  But I do know that those four and five year old Jewish boys and girls humbled my heart. They pushed me to contemplate all the ways that God’s hands reach into my life and be grateful for His many blessings He shows me everyday –  not just subliminally thankful, but intentionally and explicitly grateful.

– S

Fierce Love

fierce-love-prophetic-art-by-marilyn-simandleI’m reading this book called “Choose Joy,” it’s excellent and uplifting and holds me accountable for my own joy. Regardless of the circumstances of my life.

Which is a good thing. But today I don’t feel like choosing joy.

My husband is gone, bug had a horrible night, Nici is…well Nici, always intense (one way or another), and I’m supposed to be compassionate. I’m tired.

 

I’m supposed to choose joy and radiate Christ. I do feel like flipping some tables, Christ did that…so does that count?

 

As Christians we are held to high standards, which is a good thing, a biblical thing. However we are often judged, for having those standards, “you call yourself a Christian, yet judge others.”

 

Yes, I judge how people show love. I’m working on it, my empathy, compassion, grace (whatever you want to call it) is growing. But my standards for how we should love one another is high. And that is Biblical.

 

That doesn’t mean loving everyone is easy. It does mean we are called to try. It also means holding myself and those I love to high standards. I’m passionate and overly emotional…so is my God.

 

You don’t let your son die for others, for sinners, for those completely unworthy, unless you’re overcome with fierce irrational love.

 

You don’t hang suffering and tortured unless overcome with fierce irrational love.

 

So I’m reading this “Choose Joy” book, not feeling joyful, not feeling overcome with love. But feeling fierce.

 

And maybe that isn’t something to push aside as I search for sunshine. Maybe God purposefully placed this fierce beast within me so I could accomplish great irrational things.

 

Regardless of who is uncomfortable with it (myself included).

 

And yes, fierceness requires high expectations and unbounding love.

  • J

Impossible Love

motheres-impossible-love-louise-bourgeois-and-tracey-eminA mothers love is impossible. You learn an entirely new dimension to love when you become one.

Each time a baby is born so is love. So is a mom.

Each child has a different mom, because each child is unique and requires it.

So all those articles for “first time” moms are kind of crap….unless you read them with reverence for each consecutive child (or my personal preference, not at all.)

The good moms spend our entire lives, our very existence and all the moments in between simply being mom, and trying to figure out how to be the best mom our child needs.

We err on the side of love, but no matter what they get to grow up.

And some babes yell loud, and early, and late and always. And some prefer silent rebellion. And some mess up early and walk gentle and stubborn, moving mountains in supposed solitude.

And yet, some feel deeply and let anger penetrate and some crave love to the point of idiocy.

And some babes are still little and outright defiant and give literal smacking kisses.

Being a mom is an impossible blessing, they grow up, they mess up, they wear you down.

But if you’ve done it right they have learned…err on the side of love.

So sleep peaceful, weary mommas, knowing you’ve done your all and it was the best and it was good enough.

And if all they learn is love, that’s good enough. It will guide them back. Because a heart ready for love is a heart ready for Christ.

-J

The World Isn’t Like Her

the-world-isnt-like-her-frida-kahlo-photoI’m highly emotional. I often wonder if I’m the one wired crooked. Even a realtor, who has known me less than 30 minutes said, “99% of the world isn’t like her…”

I think it was a compliment. But it can also be a burden.

And my neck hurts from straining, from the weight of all the emotions and order and chaos I try to get a grip with every day.
I cant seem to figure out how things will play out; I am a roller coaster. But faith in what we see isn’t faith, its knowledge.

Faith is what you don’t see. Trust is believing God will weave it beautiful, if not eventually.

I’m highly emotional and highly controlling, and I want to be held and loved loudly.

If I could just slow down I would realize I already am, in a thousand different ways…every single day.

  • J

Gravity and Star Shine

I talk to Jesus when my babies sleep. When they’re awake too, but those prayers sound different…more like mama strength. I talk to them about Jesus when they’re waking up.

I rub sleepy heads and tell them how handsome and beautiful and awesome and passionate they are.

I tell them they were specifically designed, the entire universe shifted because Jesus loves them. Their little powerhouse spirits. I tell them they can change the world again by loving and choosing Jesus.

What a team they will make. My babes and God. My mind spins just thinking about it, the possibilities God has written out.

And I breathe a little easier, grateful to be on this journey. Grateful I’m honored with strong willed cubs.

i-talk-to-jesusAnd I run my fingers through their crazy and different hair and will continue to whisper all things good.

Difficult to raise, but oh so good.

Love once changed the world, and now it has changed mine, thrice over.

And I’m anxious and impatient to whisper sweet nothings to number three. And grateful, yet in pain, over his already distinctly stubborn self.

And I’m convinced, despite it all, love will continue to better the world, and my cubs will be part of the gravity and part of the star shine.

  • J

 

In the Boring Stuff

“Motherhood is the hardest assignment I’ve ever been given and the most extraordinary life that exists.” Brooke McGothlin

 

extraordinary: very unusable or remarkable

 

exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, stunning, incredible, unbelievable…

 

This journey I am on.

 

I find it highly interesting that the word best used to describe my life (motherhood) is extraordinary.

 

Extra + ordinary.

 

And so many of my days are so incredibly extra (super) ordinary, and mundane and repetitive.

 

So ordinary that if you blink you miss the magic, and another same day with the same shows has repeated itself.

 

It’s a work, a discipline in training the mind to see the magic. To see Christ in the dishes. To see the holy work in the laundry, and the kisses, and the spilled messes.

 

If you blink too long, you miss the EXTRAordinary parts –

 

The extra cuddles after long naps or crankies,

 

The extra help cleaning up,

 

The extra minutes of water play,

 

The extra I love yous, followed with extra puppy kisses.,

 

The extra warmth in your bed, only noticed by its absence,

 

The extra nudge to slow down and look down and notice the ordinary in a new lens,

 

The extra nudge to notice the flutterby (butterfly) on the flowers,

 

And the extra cake and snacks,

boring-stuff

And syrup forever being associated with chubby baby Nici hands.

 

These are the moments of an extraordinary life. They aren’t flashy and well groomed and held in high esteem by society. They are what make a life worth living though.

 

And they are what make memories, the big things come and go; we are left with the day to day. The days make a life.

  • J

 

A Little More Reverence for the Temple

I take a lot of care in a lot of areas of my life. I have high standards and push to meet them.  This is an impossible standard to keep up on everything.  And, so, I always let the same thing slide to the back burner – my physical health.

Everything else seems so much more important, but what I too often forget is that this is an essential component to me being able to do ANYTHING else. My service and honor of God cannot happen without my body.  The healthier I am, the more I can serve God.

I’ve been reading Exodus and Leviticus.  I’m so struck with how much care they had to take with their tabernacle, their temple.  And do I take that much care with my temple?

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.- 1 Corinthians 6:19

22675fde848e04d411bb7edfa3615f77What does this mean – I don’t know.  I don’t know where I carve the time for this.  However, it does mean I can make wiser choices with the time I do have.  Wiser choices with fueling my body.

I need to look at my body differently.  I need to look at my health differently.  I need to respect the temple that God has given me and treat it with the reverence it deserves.

-S