Whew, it's Friday! This has felt like a marathon week for me. I just adore Fridays. I love going to bed on Thursday nights with the thought "ooo, tomorrow is Friday!". I love getting up in the morning...a sweet kiss on my shoulder and the words "happy Friday" whispered by the love of my life. It's family pizza and movie night tonight - a tradition we've remained faithful to since the birth of our "baby", now 2 1/2 years old.
I'm feeling overwhelmed in a good way today - a welcome change to the normal overwhelmed I feel, which involves too much housework, not enough time with my Luke or by myself, and unsettled kids who seem to bicker day and night. Hmmm, could it be that the kids are unsettled because their mama is both overwhelmed and underwhelmed in her ability to cope with grace? Their days are so much more peaceful and fun when we start with a quiet snuggle, a handful of kisses, and a chat about how great the day is going to be.
I KNOW these things...why don't I just DO it more often?
Today I'm surrounded by more laundry and dirty dishes than I've had in a very very long time. I can hardly stay away from the computer...I got wrapped up in a fun project, and just try to get me to stop! And yet, with all this mess...joy.
Are you tired of hearing me go on and on about God yet? I feel like it's all I post about lately. It's just that these past few months have been some of my most horrifying and painful. And now, I'm coming out the other side. The view past those few months of pain? It's amazing.
It could be amazing because I'm simply not squirming under immediate and intense pain like I've been doing. Sort of like when you have the flu...you know how you feel BEYOND healthy and strong and energetic those first few days once it's passed?
But no. It's more that just the relief from suffering. I know this because underneath this joy, there's still missing Grandma. There's still sadness. There's still grieving for my friend and her family. There's still...the crud.
Through all of this, God has been incredible. I say that with a new and less superficial voice. I'm ashamed to say that I've feared. I've doubted. I've wondered if God was good or even real at all. I can't say that I regret those terrifying feelings though. It was those feelings that brought me to my knees before God...brought me to the very end of myself and my faith.
I ran out of faith.
I ran out of understanding.
I ran out of trust for my Jesus.
But faith, understanding, and trust that can be depleted? That's stuff straight from ME. I needed the stuff that God has to offer. It turns out that he delivers the goods only after I'm all done with doing things my way and on my terms and with what I can provide.
I rely on Him now more than I ever did. And do you know what? This faith and trust and understanding that is whispered into my soul fresh each morning? It's like sitting down to a grand and rich feast after eating nothing but saltine crackers my entire life. It's like I'm actually nourished for the first time.
Pain is no fun, but I can say with all my heart...God brings good from it. God works in the furnace of our pain - he refined me just a bit (I say just a bit because I'm more aware now than ever of how far I have left to grow).
So here I am, on this beautiful and very messy Friday...full of joy and peace and an overwhelming excitement for what's to come. I'm cleaning my home, dancing in the kitchen with my little ones, and setting puzzles while smelling their head and brushing my fingers along their soft warm cheeks.
Oh, and I'm also joyful today because of the BEST letter from a friend yesterday. She's been searching for God, and I've been praying for her. I learned quickly that my speaking did more harm than good, so I decided to just zip it and pray instead. This friend...so struggling with "christianity" that can be so ugly with it's politics and hate and judgement..."christianity" that hurt her deeply. Well, her search was in earnest. I know this because God revealed himself to her in an irresistible way (you know what God says about what happens when you truly search for him...).
And now...NOW...she got beyond that "christianity" and she got Christ.
She's being baptized on Valentine's Day - she says the timing is a perfect picture of the love she's been consumed with.
Oh, friends. This Jesus. He is...he is...oh, he just IS. There are no WORDS right now to express it!
Okay, I have to stop. The peace of this morning doesn't seem to have stuck with the kids, and they're hollering again ;-) Have a great weekend, everyone!