Things are not always what they seem

The words things are not always what they seem keep running through my mind. Those words take me back to a crazy time in my life when my boys were small.

I was a stay at home mom that home schooled my three boys ages four, five and seven and babysat as many as four other children at a time. I was active in our church, going to rehearsals, bible studies, and practicing hospitality by hosting dinners for other families at least twice a week. It was a crazy busy time.

One morning I had no kids to babysit and I had just injured myself so I was laying in bed. I heard my boys up and roaming around but I just lay still as I could,  hoping they would not know I was awake.

As I was beginning to think my quietness was working, I heard in the other room something heavy drop and that noise was followed a few seconds later by a small voice saying, “It was not my fault!”

Let me tell you at that moment I was fuming. My precious quiet morning had been spoiled and they were in there clearly doing something that they should not be doing.

I threw the covers back and injured or not made it quickly to the living room my anger mounting. Grumbling to myself’ ‘ How dare they get into mischief. Is nothing I am teaching them sinking in? Can I not get a moments peace for anything? I am SO tired!”

As I come into the kitchen my anger was quickened by the sight before my eyes. The boys had gotten into the purple grape juice and somehow managed to spill it all over the table, the white  walls, their clothes. Purple grape juice was dripping onto the floor  from the table and even off the top of the dogs head and onto her paws as she lay there under the dripping. She looked at me with her pitiful eyes and an expression saying, “I didn’t do it.”

My top was ready to blow. I was about to yell at the boys about the mess they had made, about how grape juice stains  and how they were not to get into the grape juice without asking! When a voice in my heart that I knew well had spoken to me.

“Stop!”

So I did, I stopped right there in my tracks and  still fuming asked, “why?”

There it was again that voice and this time it said. “Look”

So I looked closer. With the mess in hand they hadn’t noticed me standing there. My five year old was handing my four year old a towel. The three of them were working together to clean the mess. Just as I thought this was the lesson I was to see, I saw it. They had three half pieces of bread sitting on the table and three cups among the puddles of grape juice. It was dawning on me that every lesson I was working so hard to teach them truly was sinking in. Some more slowly than others.

When the boys saw me, they smiled. ” Look mama, we are having communion!” said my five year old with pride.

Let me tell you my heart was bursting and suddenly I was struck by how damaging my fuming could have been to those tender hearts. They were not being malicious, or bad. They were taking a lesson that I had taught them and excited to use it at home. They were sharing with one another and taking care of one another and I almost crushed their spirit.

Years later as I look back, I can’t help but relate this to other areas in my life. How often do I rush in and want the mess cleaned up, without looking at what good is coming from that very mess? How often do I not hear that voice that I once so clearly heard that day?

Things are not only what they seem on the first examination. We do not always have the whole picture, only what is stirring us and making us uncomfortable for the moment.

This is my challenge to my friends this day. Reflect back on some of the most frustrating moments. Were there times when the frustrating moments were all you saw and  glimmers of hope, life, joy, friendship or an outcome you never expected overlooked?

Sometimes we want to barge ahead and name it, claim it, change it or pray it away and we forget to see the work that is really being done.

Things in this life, are definitely not always what they seem.

And thankfully if there truly is nothing there except a big old mess, we have the back up necessary to clean it up!

Dream and dream big!

So in my previous post I had listed the most recent things that have weighed me down. Reflecting back I can rejoice that in hind site those things that have brought pain have left me stronger.

I have found out who is the faithful in my life and have met new people to bless and encourage right where I am at.

I have learned how to stretch what income there is and what I can not afford to do.  I take a deep breath and realize what I had wanted didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things anyway. The banks will get their money eventually, or not.

I can not complain too much when I have a warm bed and food in my ever growing belly. There are so many people struggling with far greater battles then my own.

The danger is when we get wrapped up in our situation and it is all we focus on. We do not take our head above the water to see the things that are going right for us or the people that have come along and blessed us.

We need to take the time and energy to dream. Dreaming of our future of how things will be. Dreaming of what we want to see take shape in our life. This brings about hope. A person with no vision in their life will perish. They will stay exactly where they are at forever or sink even farther in their own personal despair.

As Eleanor Roosevelt has said ”The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

So today I challenge you with this my friends; Dream, and dream big! Share those dreams with me and I will believe in them with you. Or write them down and put check marks next to them as you achieve those dreams. If you need to start with little dreams as I did, that is okay as you reach them you can stretch your horizon.

Their was once a time when my dream could be no bigger than just lifting my head in the  morning and facing another day. Now I look at each day with joy and my dream is to bring that joy to others.

Your time of trudging along in the trenches will come to an end and a new sunrise with hope will be right there shining. You can take a deep breath and say, ” I knew you were coming, for your light was my dream.”

What am I doing here?

So what is it exactly I am doing here? What is my goal and expectation from blogging?

This past two years have been a battle. I could easily sink into despair at the thought of another day of pain. The economy has hit our family just as well as most others. We are no different and honestly have it better than many. However these changes have been hard to swallow.

We have lost medical insurance at the time of costly diagnosis, and an illness has left me unavailable for friends in my life and one by one they have disappeared. We had lost a third of our income and lived on credit cards adding to our medical debts. I have taken on a full time job that I am finding to be much more strenuous than I originally thought, leaving me tired and worn for my own family.

And while it may look like grumbling and groaning at first glance my writing isn’t about the situation we are in or have been in but it is a look at what I see in my future.  I see the smiles and the joys and the hand of God moving in our favor despite what my circumstances say.

I do not pretend to have all the answers and I do not find my opinions or experiences to be any more valuable than any others. I humbly offer myself for what ever it is worth to bring a prospective on situations that may have been overlooked or dare I say even shared.

I am here to offer hope not only to others in a time of frustration or hurt or pain, but as selfish as it may be,  to myself and my family as well. No matter what our circumstance I know that there is room for change. In the midst of sorrow there is a glimmer of hope. If we stop and pay attention and look for it we can find it.

If I can look into the faces of children that have suffered great tragedy far more damaging than anything I have ever come across and still see a smile grazing their lips, then I clearly see that there can be hope. There can be joy despite pain. I can base these facts not only on the word of God which I believe and base my life on but also the cycle of change and growth that  I see with my own eyes in the natural scheme of things.

There will always be a spring after the dark winter days. And while the season we are in may be dismal and your season may be far worse than mine and you see it not possibly getting any worse, we can rest assured that it will end.

As I look at the new buds on the trees, the flowers poking their heads above the hard and still frost covered ground I am reassured; Just as spring will always return, out of the dying broken heart there will come a new joy once again, if we let it.

In the waiting time of your season I pray that I am used to bring a smile to your lips, a hope to your heart. May it be a moment of sunshine on your tired face as you wait for the storm to be over.

For I am believing this very thing my friend; your season of pain will come to an end.