~ for Josh’s new teeth! He has had half-done dental work that has left him with 2 missing front teeth for almost 6 months. Since having his affected teeth removed, he’s had numerous reschedulings, cancellations, and setbacks. This has been irritating, painful, inconvenient, and humbling. And with the events of late, we weren’t sure how much longer he was going to have to wait. THANKFULLY, the dentist agreed completing Josh’s procedure could be classified as an emergency. And now my handsome husband has his beautiful smile back! SO THANKFUL!
~ for National Doctor’s Day. We LOVE our doctors, and are so thankful for the impact they have had on our lives. I love that this season is causing us to spend more time THANKING these and other Community Helpers, real heroes that are serving us every day.
~ for more positives with home schooling than negatives. I am so proud of the kids’ attitudes. They have obediently and MOSTLY eagerly stayed on track with their work, and it has really not been a battle to keep them engaged.
~ for second chances. And third. And 87th. I am not a good teacher. Oh, sometimes I am. I CAN be fun and creative and patient. But I’m usually not. Especially when I’m not teaching material that I’m familiar with. And especially when my student isn’t grasping the concept. After the 3rd time. Or the 87th time. So in the middle of a particularly trying lesson…a math lesson, (and believe me when I say that I have NO BUSINESS TEACHING ANYONE MATH), I just laid down with my face on the floor and asked Jesus for help. We wrestled our way through it, and who knows if any of it actually penetrated the child’s understanding, but at least we got the answer on the assignment solved finally. And I hugged that sweet one tight and we both cried. And I made a promise, I said, “We’re gonna get through this. You’re gonna keep trying and Mama’s gonna keep trying, ok?” BUT GOD. Grace upon grace.
~ for steady wifi service.
~ for groceries in the pantry. We are stretched and learning to be creative, but we don’t lack for anything we actually NEED.
~ for our morning devotions. I’m so thankful to start each day with the kids in the Word. It’s not magic, it doesn’t make everything go great. But at least I know we are starting in the right place and keeping the first things FIRST.
~ for coffee. I will forever thank coffee as my official sponsor of 2020. And I also thank dry shampoo, deodorant, and stretchy pants.
~ for calls from our wonderful GCS family. They are checking in on us, perhaps a little “mental health triage” and it is so heart-warming to hear those familiar voices of the friends we miss so much. It’s awesome to KNOW that they are praying for us, as we are praying for them.
~ for the tiny carrot seedlings that have poked their heads from the earth, reminding me that new life is always pushing forth. Lord, let my heart be fertile ground for the things you want to birth in me.
~ for the jumbo economy bucket of ice cream that we originally bought just because it was cheap, and now we think is the very best-tasting ice cream ever.
~ for family movie and pizza night. For living room forts and inside picnics. For cuddling with my husband, and with the children that still want to. Everything means more now than ever before.
~ for my brave husband. He has the courage to step out in faith and do what is RIGHT even if it goes against popular opinion or social standards. I’m so proud of the way he leads our family.
~ for re-starting our online “Thankful Game.” It’s definitely a good time to spur one another on to giving thanks. We’ve shared some much-needed laughs too.
~ for multiple online platforms of encouraging sermons this morning, even Children’s Church. I get excited thinking about how many people who are tiptoeing into churches for the first time in a long time, now that it is accessible right in their homes.
~ for my hammock. I do love a hammock.
~ that our quarantine could never be classified as LONELY or BORING. Again, this is something I don’t always count as a blessing, but boy I should!
~ for reminders when I need reminding. I had a strange encounter earlier this week, on the one occasion that I actually left the house to run an errand. The grocery courtesy clerk counted the stick people across the back of my van. “Wow, is this everybody?” “Yep,” I said, “we’ve got a houseful.” I couldn’t believe my ears when he said candidly, “Man, I would HATE to be you.” I shook off my shock and quickly refuted, “No way! It’s awesome! It’s more fun than you can even imagine!” Moments like that are so eye-opening. Because I DON’T always love having a huge family. My heart isn’t always thankful for having huge messes and huge grocery bill and driving a huge vehicle. Especially when we are all on top of each other for who knows how long. But when I’m reminded of how blessed I am… Man, I’m thankful. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I’m sure most of us are having lots of ups and downs. Days when we are brave and optimistic and ready to learn what God has for us during this time of being “set apart.” Days when we feel scared and uncertain and small and trapped. And days when we just feel unmotivated and schlumpy. (That’s the technical term.) I was on the trampoline with the kids this afternoon, trying to be “Fun Mom.” Everyone was having a good time, weather was perfect, lots of laughs. And I even took a turn to jump. One of the kids started jumping at the same time, and we collided in the air, landing in a heap of sharp little knees and elbows. Hard. The child, unscathed bounced back up giggling. I did not. My wrist and my shin were throbbing from the collision. And out of nowhere, tears started to well in my eyes. Before I knew it, they were pouring. The pain from the fall unlocked a deep well that had been filling and filling somewhere inside me, and once I started, there was no stopping the flood. I just felt CLOBBERED. Clobbered by an accident on the trampoline when I was trying to be fun. Clobbered by the relentless workload of homeschooling 6 kids when I don’t know what I’m doing. Clobbered by teens who (like all the rest of the world) are irritated by their lack of freedoms and feeling sorry for themselves, without the benefit of perspective, empathy, or maturity. Clobbered by the sight of all my kids glued to screens for hours every day, which is contrary to everything I have ever taught them. Clobbered by the fear- and control-shaped holes in my faith that keep creeping in. Clobbered by a new, worse headline in the news every day. Clobbered by weeks upon weeks of little sleep. Clobbered by the guilt that I don’t have the right to complain because so many others have it so much worse. Clobbered by the weight of looking brave.
Maybe you feel like that. Clobbered. I just submit to you that that’s ok. God can handle it, if you’ll just turn to Him. Even though I feel clobbered, I still know the Truth. I know that even if it all gets a whole lot worse before it gets better, I know God wins in the end. And we are all in this together. Don’t believe the lie that you have to do it in your own strength, or that no one else feels like you, or that all the other Christians are keeping it together except you. I’m gonna be strong some days, and encourage one of you on your hard day. And when I can’t get my feet under me, someone is going to leave some sunshine on my doorstep, just because. It’s ok if you don’t teach your kid like the teacher does, or if you don’t know how to check their math. It’s ok if you take a break or don’t get it all done. It’s ok if you don’t go on nature walks with your kids every night after dinner and read them a book before you tuck them in to bed. It’s ok if you don’t alphabetize your closets and learn a new language and do a Pinterest craft every Thursday. (And it’s ok if you do!) It’s ok if you only shower once a week and don’t change out of your Sunday clothes until Wednesday (purely hypothetical, of course). This may be a glorious season of growth for most of us, and I genuinely believe God has that in His plan… but in the midst of all that growth, there’s gonna be pain, and wrestling, and some of it we may not understand for a long time to come.
Be kind to yourself. When you have a great day, or a great moment – reach out to somebody and share some joy. And when you blow it: take a deep breath, and give yourself a do-over. Let’s look for opportunities to love one another well this week, if even from a distance. It’s Easter Week, the time of year most celebrated by Believers. We will celebrate that Christ is Risen! He bravely, willingly, and perfectly endured unbearable suffering and separation from His Father. And He did it for us. We DO have so much to be thankful for! Prepare your heart for the JOY THAT IS COMING!
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:4-5)