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

Another Thursday

At the right time, I the Lord, will make it happen. Isaiah 60:22

 

For all my rushing, I change very little. For all my speeding around, the same cars surround me. And my running up the stairs and out of the house and the cyclone of dust forming…it brings no glory to God.

 

He has a plan, a will, everyday is from him. The ones with too much laundry and dishes and irrational meltdowns (both mother and child) – these days are from Him.

 

How would the world, my world, change if I could keep this perspective past sunrise?!

 

Longer than one meltdown. If I could remember every moment is a choice, to choose God’s way or Satan’s.
It’s based on my reaction, and if I keep perspective that these hard moments are opportunities to praise Him, our home could get a whole lot brighter.

 

thursdayI often get stuck in a rut of Thursdays, waiting for Friday, for the climax, for God to reveal His big plan, big ministry. When will I get it’s the season of littles?

 

Thursday is as good a day as any to spread a little love, react a little less aggressively, have a little more fun…

 

Talitha Kuom- little girl wake up!

 

This is it. This, today, Thursday of nothing filled with tiny everythings.

 

This is your calling.

 

Maybe one day there will be more, but it doesn’t get holier than loving children. It doesn’t get holier than pouring your soul out for your family, than being your husband’s biggest supporter. That is holy work.

 

This mundane difficult Thursday is my Holy life, and His holy timing, and my rushing about wont change any of it.

  • J

Here and Now of Life

It’s time to start again, a life intentionally based on thanksgiving, thanks-living.

 

2 ½ years ago I started keeping track, physically numbering my thanks, listing His graces numerically and forgetting oh so many.

 

2015 felt long. I’m excited for this new year. I’m done looking ahead though. This right here, this now, this is life, and it’s where I live.

 

And it’s hard and messy and I’m trying desperately to obey my God. To be willing and open to anything. And I’ve never been here before. This open, this devoted, this yearning.

 

tongue tamingBut it starts with the heart, it starts with relationships, I’m finding most things God directed start with relationships. And so it starts with my tone.

 

So I’m re-reading 1000 Gifts (Ann Voskamp). I’m reorienting my heart alongside my head.

 

Redirecting my focus and repeating my prayer, “Let my tone reflect my heart, not my circumstances”

 

Keeping my mantra of perspective in mind.

 

I need all the help I can get. The tongue is not my master and yet all too often I let it rule.

  • J

They Come First

“ Really good mothers make the tough choices…and they don’t look back. Being a strong mother means having a backbone of steal and resolving to always do what is best for your kids. And there is never anything easy about that, because many folks around you, including family and friends, will tell you you’re crazy”

 

They’ll tell you you’ll burn out, you’ll lose yourself, you must take care of YOU first.

 

But they are wrong.

 

they come firstI chose to create two little, very dependent lives. I MUST take care of them first. I want to take care of them first. If the whole world comes crashing down they will laugh under the blanket of my body.

 

Knowing they’re safe and loved and mom is with them and for them. And they will watch the world rain down unafraid.

 

That is my job; that is my blessing.

 

I get to love them so hard, in a world so hard. I get to teach them sacrifice and beauty in the ashes and in the glory.

 

And I get to do it first. Not after my “me time” not after my workout, not after my coffee. They come first. And they run me ragged. And they are my new perspective. And they fill me up, my blessings I’m trying to raise up.

 

They are growing me up, they are lifting me up, and they come first, always.

 

I’ll come second, I’ll come third. And some days that’s hard, but I still choose it, I won’t change it.

 

In a thousand worlds, in a thousand ways, I pray they know my love and take for granted my sacrifices. And learn to seek the beauty in the ashes and rain and find the glory hidden and bold.

  • S

Bear Cub Perspective

I opened my eyes to minion talk and bear breathe two inches from my face. At 2 am. And no I wasn’t sleeping so this didn’t startle me; we’d been awake since 11 pm and this was just one of his many silly antics that night.

 

By God’s grace I find him endearing, and can smile and keep perspective (most days and nights) through the exhaustion.

 

Perspective that these all nighters surely will end. And I will desperately miss his little bear body beckoning me to hide and feed him at all hours of the night.

3 hours of sleep is the norm this month. I realize that makes me some sort of a vampire.

 

Some days I’m just angry, I was told sleep would come by now. The training and theories and well intended advice, that’s for other, less stubborn, less strong willed children. I have nothing less than a bear cub. And he will not be tamed or bribed.

 

And that energy, freedom, dare I say defiance, is what I love the most. He beats to his own drum and requires minimal sleep and oozes passion.

 

It’s not my job to break him down into this convenient (sleep oriented) box.

 

His is a wild spirit; my bear cub, too soon to be man cub.

 

It is my job to teach him to harness this spirit for good and truth and adventure. To rest and recharge in his ways, not mine.

 

What is most frustrating in him, is also most exciting.

 

I love this bear child and thank God for perspective and grace (for us both) on these long nights.

  • J

New Year, New Word

perspectiveEvery holiday season we whip out a little game called Settler of Catan.

 

I’m not sure why I participate. I rarely win and frequently get cranky and am too distracted to device a solid game plan or read the cards I get….I digress.

 

You win the game by having 10 victory points, which you earn a number of very different ways.

 

This new year, 2016, I’m trying really hard to keep perspective. 2015 was rough, continuing the game lingo, my oxen drowned and my family died of influenza.

perspetoves

I felt exhausted and empty, a lot. Satan achieved some many victory points in my daily life simply by me losing perspective and freaking out. In those moments, I showed no trace of God in me, and didn’t be a foundation in Christ for my family.

 

I want a new year, a new beginning, but am smart enough to know it wont be all rainbows and unicorns, especially with a move on our horizon.

 

So my goal, my new word this year, is perspective. This life is a cosmic battlefield, my home is a battlefield.

 

My life, parenting, marriage has come a long way in 5 months (in many ways thanks to counseling).

 

But some days I lose all perspective. I feel angry, and ugly, and fat, and miserable in a difficult marriage, I feel not understood, and under appreciated, and I lash out. And I yell and cry and want my point proven and eyes opened, and I want to move forward and not be here again…

 

Every day Satan uses the ordinary daily mundane to overwhelm me and I inevitably react in his favor, when I lose perspective, taking victory points away from God and handing them over to the enemy.

 

“Do I really…believe that anger achieves more than love? That Satan’s way is more powerful more practical more fulfilling in my daily life than Jesus’ way? Why else get (so) angry…because I think complaining, exasperation, resentment will pound me up into the full life I really want? When I choose – and it is a choice- to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to the ways of the Prince of Darkness?”

 

Perspective!

  • J