Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Focus by process of elimination

I'd been distracted.

Not so distracted that anybody had noticed.
Not so distracted that my faith decreased.
Not so distracted that I felt separate from the Lord.

Not hardly.

In fact, in many ways I feel like I had been growing - and in some ways I probably was.

But I was distracted enough to become careless.
I was distracted enough to lose my true zeal.
I was distracted enough to be rendered useless for a time.

It wasn't going to end - I wasn't going to let it. I loved those distractions. They shouldn't have been distractions, but that is what they became. My desire for them started pure but ended up as my idols. Satan used my desire for these good and pure things, to create something wordly and soiled - and I let him do it.

I claim ALL responsibility.

Those distractions are gone now. I wondered why for a time. But now I know and that brings me hope. And this is the only analogy I can use to explain it:

Every evening right around 8-8:30, Bailey has a fussy time. It's not her fault - there is so much going on around her. Aubrey and Gabby are running around finishing up their chores, finishing homework, getting books read to them, brushing their teeth, goofing off, etc. All the lights in the house seems to be on. The phone rings. Dishes are being washed.

And she's tired. I hold her - but the distractions are enticing and she longs to pull away from me. She is keenly aware of the fun sounds coming from her sisters. The lights in the house invite her to learn more from her environment.

But she needs to sleep and I know it.

Are all of these things bad in and of themselves?  Hardly. In fact, they are some of my favorite times in our home. The moments when we are all at home and life is happening. Things are being accomplished and enjoyed.

But they are distractions that pull Bailey away from what she needs at that moment. She needs the distractions to go away. She needs to drift asleep resting in my arms feeling safe and loved.

She chooses to pay more attention to the all that is going on around her. After all, wasn't it a few moments ago that she was laughing and playing with her sisters? Wasn't it just within an hour that we were eating off those dishes with her at our side - enjoying the cheerful sounds around our loud table?

Yes, but now she needs quiet.

As her mommy, I know that she needs to move closer to me and just focus on her time in my arms. She fights it. She pulls away and fights the gentle yet strong tug of my arms drawing her closer to my heart.

It becomes apparent that the distractions are keeping her from focusing on me. So, I remove the distractions one by one. The older girls are put to bed, the phone ringer is turned off, the dishes are put down and the lights in the house are turned low.

It takes her a moment to realize that the distractions are gone. She's so used to them that she still cries - and doesn't understand what to do next. Though she continues to fight, I continue to draw her closer to me. I sing to her softly and speak words of love that I hope somehow make their way into her little heart. I gaze into her eyes hoping that her eyes will lock with mine in a sweet recognition. I rock her gently in my arms pleading silently for her to be at peace in my arms - to realize that at that moment, being close to me is all that she needs.

And slowly, but surely she does. I feel her body relax and there is a moment that she realizes it's time for peace and quiet. It's time to simply enjoy her time in my arms. And there is peace.

Recently, the Lord removed some distractions from my life that apparently I just wasn't ready for yet. He took away the noise. He took away the glittery things that had turned my eyes from gazing into His. He took away things that are wonderful on their own, but for my wandering heart, they were just too much at the time.

I feel myself start to relax and there are moments that I have realized it's time for some peace and quiet. It's time to simply enjoy my time in His arms. Through all this, He is pulling me closer to him, singing to me softly and speaking words of love straight to my heart. He is gazing at me waiting for my eyes to turn towards His in sweet recognition. He has been pleading for me to be at peace in his arms - and to realize that always - at every moment - He is all that I need.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Be Ye Glad!!!

One of my favorite movies from my childhood is Pollyanna. My obsession with this movie started simply because I loved Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap and moved on to Pollyanna.

I love Hayley Mills. As a child I wanted nothing more than to be her. No, I didn't want to be LIKE her. I wanted to BE her.

As I have watched this movie in more recent years with my own children, the theme from this movie hits home everytime for me.  BE GLAD.  The title character moves in with her aunt who is anything but glad.  Aunt Polly is, in fact, so grumpy and so powerful that she has made an entire town miserable.  Pollyanna moves into town and by using scriptures and references to her missionary father who has since passed away, she uses her joy and it becomes infectious to all she sees.  She changes their lives simply by being joyful and letting her actions spring up out of that joy.

Pollyanna's life wasn't always sunshine and daisies.  She mentions often never having new clothes, never having a doll of her own, and never having adequate food - yet she was and continued to be glad.

In a conversation with the reverend in town, Pollyanna tells him that there are over 800 scriptures dealing with the subject of gladness.  He moves on to announce the following Sunday that he will preach weekly on each of these texts until he has hit them all.  Now I know that not every lesson should really be about gladness, but I sometimes wonder if we as American Christians should hear it more often.  Many times, it seems, that joyfulness is shown only during the good times - the times in our lives when things are easy.  That's not joy - that's being pacified.

True joy in Christ is not affected by our circumstances - our response to our circumstances is affected by our joy- if it's true joy - in Christ.  If we find our true joy in Christ alone, we will have that joy no matter what surrounds us - possibly even more in times of trial. As James says in James 1:2-3, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  "In the movie, Pollyanna plays "The Glad Game".  She finds something good in every situation.  Clearly, this annoys the downhearted - at first.  But joy is infectious!  If joy is seen in everything you do - just like Pollyanna - it will rub off on those around you.  

I don't know if it was the winter blues, selfishness or allowing my circumstances to control my joy meter, I have been much more of an Aunt Polly than a Pollyanna. And I intend to change this!

So, for the next week, I'm choosing to play the glad game...

I will be editing this post with a list of as many little things to be glad or joyful goes...

Bailey made it all the way to school and back this morning in her carseat without crying!
Though my house may be messy, I have a sturdy roof over my head.
Aubrey poured the milk straight into her bowl of cereal this morning instead of pouring it in a glass only to then be poured into said bowl of cereal moments later.
Gabby loved her outfit she wore today.
Diet Coke tastes really good.
The sun is shining.
I'm not pregnant.  I love my children more than words can say, but I'm glad pregnancy is over for my lifetime!  :-)
I have a great husband who works so hard inside and outside the home.  He is an incredible family man.
The snow has completely melted in front of our house.
I hear a bird chirping.
Time spent alone is simply more time to spend with God.
We will get new bodies in heaven.
The huge coffee stain came out of the carpet this morning - and will hopefully also come out of Bailey's pajamas, my tank top, my pants and the diaper rag.
My Jesus loves me.  And I know it.
Crockpots were invented
No matter what happens in life, my parents will always stay by my side with wisdom and love.
I enjoyed the popcorn that provided the piece that is stuck in between my teeth.
Music makes me feel good.
We use disposable diapers now instead cloth ones like in the “old” days…
Diet Coke tastes good.
TobyMac…’nuff said
Bailey likes her bouncy seat
Tutu fabric came in the mail on time
The innocence of children
Aubrey had a great day at school
The girls play together so well
Clouds and rain make for good reading weather
Small Group with the high schoolers on Wednesdays
Waking up earlier means coffee earlier
Having three girls means that I am NEVER bored….ever
Having to sort through clothes for spring means that we are blessed to have enough clothing to use some for only certain seasons of the year – something many in the world could never fathom
Dirty dishes in the sink means that not only do we have enough food to eat, but more than enough dishes upon which to eat
Open windows make spring cleaning much more enjoyable!
Grace from My God is not based on my performance- but solely on my belief in and surrender to Jesus as my Lord and Savior
Bailey is getting bigger - and interacting with the older girls more everyday and it's so fun to watch
Friday Night Jive is tonight!
Getting up early means quiet in the morning.
Rain brings flowers
It's only 3 weeks until we leave for vacation...
Things of this world that are no so great will simply make heaven seem all the more wonderful
The shape of my nose reminds me of my grandmother
The shape of my butt reminds me of my grandmother
We will have new bodies in heaven!!!
Feeling all alone teaches me to fully rely on God as my sufficiency.
Playing cards with the family is fun!
Vacation is less than three weeks away,
Spring brings new life...and new energy.