Summer Begins

I have about an hour to kill- something that doesn’t happen very often. This summer so far has been no exception to busy-ness, as we are running, running, running to each activity at a rapid pace. But rain and an empty house can bring on some free time.

Luke got to go away and camp last night. He said he needed some time alone to think, to focus, to pray. I hope he returns with a renewed enthusiasm in dealing with the many different issues we have had lately. The most pressing issue is getting his mom moved over to live with us. In order for this to happen, we’ve planned on Luke finishing the basement, with two bedrooms and a bath, for the older six children to move downstairs. So far, Luke has purchased the wood and started measuring. It is interesting when he gets absorbed in a project; I think I may have heard him mumbling about ‘drop ceilings’ in his sleep! I am humbled to have him begin this project. Even though I have not been vocal in my harping, I haven’t completely been silent on where I think we should go next on our house project and plans. Our whole marriage has been one of me learning to back off and not try to change my spouse, and I expect the rest of our marriage will be spent in that same manner. I may never get it right.

Something else I’m getting wrong hit me like a brick the other day- I worry too much about Luke. I already knew I had trouble with anxiety. There’s the seemingly noble kind, like worrying about your kids and wanting them to be safe and make right decisions. Then there’s the irrational kind about my kids that I think I am getting a handle on. I mean, I only have crazy thoughts about their grisly, horrible deaths every so often, and when the thoughts come, I know to combat them with God’s word and prayer. But there are also the fears about Luke that have always been there, under the surface, controlling my actions in such subtle ways that I didn’t see them for what they were.

For at least the first half of our marriage, I think I did a lot of things out of a fear that he would leave me. We have not been without our struggles to get along and make this life together work, and the ups and downs really wore me out. I was so thankful during the down times, especially, to know God was saying to me, “Trust Me.” I didn’t do things that were hasty or impulsive during those tough times because I would think to myself, even though I may not be able to trust Luke, I can trust God. But I didn’t let the truth get further into my heart to make me reach out to Luke in love. If I could fully trust God, I could fully offer myself and my love to Luke without fear of his rejection.

Later on in our life, my worries have morphed into ones where I fear that he will leave God. I try (with the miniscule ability I have) to keep the waters of life as still as possible, to try to protect him from (what I think is) too much pressure. I fear that if he is hit with something he can’t handle, that he’ll snap and turn his back on God. The other night I was getting all bent out of shape about his growing 80’s and 90’s rock collection. I told him I feel like I’m not allowed to listen to music like that, that when I do, it makes me sad. Luke asked me simply, “Why?” and I couldn’t think of a good reason. I like certain movies that have a cuss word in them or some other detractor, yet I still watch them and collect them. If I really believed what I was saying about his choices of music, I should feel the same way about these movies. Then it hit me- I am afraid that if he listens to rock music, it will turn his heart away from God.

Now, this may be true, and we all can think of examples of the world creeping in and people losing it. But the real issue here and now wasn’t my husband’s choices, but my own heart. That same night I had another amazing and hilarious thought- I don’t think Luke has spent a single second worrying about my relationship with God! So who’s the one with the problem? It was such a freeing experience, to realize that my job as his wife is not to keep him with me, or even keep him with God, but to simply love him and trust God, as He so plainly asked me to do years ago. It will be difficult to change my thinking after years of habitual worrying, but I have a Friend in the heavens praying for me, and Who has promised to transform me by the renewing of my mind by changing the way I think. Thank You, LORD, my Redeemer, for not leaving me the way I am.

Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“The LORD be magnified!”
Since I am afflicted and needy,
Let the LORD be mindful of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.

Psalm 40:16-17, emphasis mine

 

Ask Me

There was a challenge made to me a few months ago to pray for people to be reached in North Africa. So, I dutifully put it on my prayer list, wanting to be faithful in believing that God desires these kinds of requests from us. Words from the song “You Said” come to mind:

 

You said, “Ask and I’ll give the nations to you”

Oh, Lord, that’s the cry of my heart

Distant shores and the islands will see

Your light, as it rises on us

 

But, “distant shores” aren’t the only places God desires men to be saved, as I was soon to realize. One morning as I was looking at the request for North Africa, a new thought came to me. It was as if the LORD was saying to me, “Why don’t you ask for those who live on your road like you ask for those in North Africa?”

I was taken aback. And, I have to admit, a little afraid. If I was to be praying about someone in my own backyard, I would then have to get involved. This was like praying for ladies to encourage Maxine. Okay, I prayed, what can I do to reach my road for You?

Our church is doing VBS next week. Here was a great reason to go door to door. The only problem with this, I thought, was that there aren’t many children on our road. But I had Sarah bake up some cookies to share and I set out with her last night to knock on doors.

Boy, was I surprised! I didn’t hit all of the homes on our road, but I did come across six homes with children.

Everyone we shared flyers with was very friendly, and I was thinking this morning to myself, that was great going door to door doing that- though I didn’t really do anything big like share the gospel with anyone -I really felt alive. Then it was like the LORD was saying to me, “Pray for all of the children to come to VBS.” Oh. So You want me to actually expect the children I invited to VBS to come to VBS? Okay. So I did pray for that, and will continue to pray for that until I see how He answers.

Today’s Ramble

Our calendar for the summer is already quite full, with VBS, summer camp, and campouts for the boys. I was asked to bring my older kids to a Mommy and Me fitness class to help watch the children that are too old for strollers, and while it added something else to the calendar, Luke and I both thought it would be good for me to get involved. I have been running on my own, and felt really good about my weight loss and strength…until today’s Mommy and Me class! Ouch! The exercises seemed to target every muscle that I do not currently use. I had to keep silencing the voice in my head that said, “You’re almost forty! Give it up!” with the reminder that the first time, times and half a time doing an exercise really are hard, but if I keep with it, I will see good results. That tribulation pun was intentional, by the way. The fact that all of the ladies are at least ten years younger than me shouldn’t keep me from participating; I need to put myself in situations where I can encourage and mentor other moms. I can think right now of women who spoke things into my life when all mine were little, who helped me so much. One lady was Kathy. She had cancer a few years back, and survived, but when I first received the news of her illness, it was like her life passed before my eyes, the many ways she built me up, big and small, to help me stay afloat. She and the other MOPS moms threw me a baby shower for Sam, even though he was our third baby. He was scheduled for surgery the next week, and it was such a sweet thing to do to share that time with us as we anxiously awaited our eight-week old’s spinal surgery. (He survived, too- another day of the year to celebrate- June 16). Kathy also was the one to invite me out to Bible Study Fellowship, a Bible study that has been an anchor for me through all my ups and downs of marriage and parenting and growing in Christ. I would love to have the opportunity to influence another mom in their relationship with Christ like Kathy did. It will be fun to make new friends at this class, as soon as I can move again.