Monday, February 22, 2010

Why I Marvel

Last night I had a terrifying dream. Aidan was missing. It was probably the worst nightmare I've ever had. It was vivid and it wouldn't stop. Finally, a horrific, choking sensation startled me to consciousness. I was perspiring and my throat was parched (although I'm sure that Avery, my sneaky little late night bedfellow with thick jammies, had something to do with the rise in temperature).

I tried to slow my breathing and come to my senses. But I had to make sure. Scooping Avery into my arms, I headed up to Aidan's room. There he was, sleeping as peacefully as could be, oblivious of his mother's panic. I lingered over him and kissed his warm forehead. After Avery was nestled back in her own bed, I drank a glass of water and let my head rest on the pillow once more. I was almost afraid to go back to sleep, lest the visions come again. But then I heard a comforting, peaceful chorus of early morning birds. I knew I could sneak in some more sleep before tackling the day, and the Lord blessed me with a peace-filled hour of sleep.

As the little ones came down to breakfast this morning, I was especially in tune to Aidan's sweet countenance. In fact, all day long I savored his being. I smiled as he sat in giraffe costume doing his math. I marveled at his mind when he showed me that the basketball pump could make bubbles in his sister's cup of water. My heart swelled when I saw him clamber over bars at the playground. I loved the way our elbows bumped at dinner -- he eating with his left hand, I with my right. I soaked in the glow of his missing-tooth smile when he challenged me, "I'm thinking of a blue, squishy animal . . ." just before bed.

Sometimes it takes a jolt for me to focus on what's important. Aidan is important. So are Drew, Bethie and Avery Kate. In fact, as I was reminded this morning in my quiet moment in the sunny nook, my children are not only important, they are also holy (I Cor. 7:14). They are fellow heirs walking side by side with Jamie and me on a pilgrimage. They have eternity in their hearts. They are sanctified. The Holy Spirit dwells within these precious beings. What's not to marvel at? And why do I not marvel daily? Hourly?

I know, it's hard to marvel when tempers flare and laundry piles up and legos are stepped upon. It's hard to marvel when mama is tired and schoolwork is sloppy. And it's hard to marvel when the day is long and gray and dreary. But it's even harder to live without marveling. Imagine the dreariness and hopelessness of a day void of gratitude. A day in which I fail to acknowledge the joy that is hiding in my home, waiting to be discovered. I know it's there. It's there times four. And it's my privilege to open my eyes and find it.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Time to Look

Like many women, I am a multi-tasker. I feel a rush of adrenaline whenever I maximize my steps in a way that is particularly efficient. This faculty is especially handy during our school day. I often find myself listening to one child recite while correcting another child's paper . . . swallowing down a cup of tea . . . eye on the clock so Avery makes it to the bathroom on time . . . hearing a piano scale that's a bit sloppy and shouting for it to be done again . . . all at once.

This ability also comes in handy while preparing dinner. You know the drill -- one eye on the clock, the other glancing at the recipe . . . one hand mixing and measuring, the other steadying a child as she scales the counter yet again . . . voice calling for the helper to set the table . . . ear listening for the timer so the delicates can be pulled out of the dryer.

Yes, very efficient. But is it always necessary to be so efficient? Sometimes I wonder. Like when my little Miss Avery Kate is all too aware of mama's multitasking superpower and takes things into her own hands. Literally. I hear her persistent little babbling in the background, I nod and smile when appropriate, while my hands and eyes busy themselves with other tasks.

But that's not what she wants. Her little pink hand firmly cups my cheek and she turns my face. She wants to look into my eyes, to know that I'm listening. A distracted nod and smile do not communicate attention. She needs to know that what she's saying is important to her mama. And mama needs to know that, too.

Perhaps multitasking is overrated. Perhaps it's time to slow things down a bit and just look. I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna love what I see.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just Like Mama

There are times when I cringe to think of my children being just like me. Naturally it's fun to hear things like, "Oh, she looks just like you!" or "He sounded just like you when he said that!" But who wants to acknowledge the other stuff? Stuff like, "Oh, he is just as easily angered as his mother!" or "Wow. That kid sure is lacking in self control right now. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree . . . ."

Thankfully though, the Lord delights in giving me precious glimpses into my children's hearts that prove to be downright encouraging. A rare quiet moment slipped into my afternoon, and I gathered my Bible, notebook and pen along with a cup of tea. The kitchen nook beckoned me with its sunny warmth, and I nestled myself in a cozy corner, soaking in the moment.

The term "moment" is pretty adequate in describing the amount of time I had to myself. For no sooner had I been swept into a scribbling frenzy than Little Miss Avery Kate suddenly appeared at my side, chattering at a furious rate. I prepared myself for an end to the quiet, but her next sentence caught me off guard.

"Mommy? Can I have a notebook and a pen, too?" She wanted to be just like her mama. So I pulled together her picture Bible, notebook, pen and a cup of tea. She was delighted, and began to quietly scribble alongside her mama. After a few minutes she proudly showed me what she had written. Among the zig-zags and spirals was a sprawling G-O-D. "Mommy, I wrote God!" she announced. "Oh, sweetie! Good job!" I encouraged her.

Yes, it is good. It's good that when she opens the Book she sees God. It's good that even though her mama is often way too errant, her childlike impulse is to write about God. And it's good that God is the One who ultimately beckons her little heart. She wants to be just like her Mama. And that's good, too. Because it's an ever-present, gently nudging reminder that Mama wants to be just like Jesus.
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