Sunday, June 27, 2010

Exceedingly, abundantly

I'm pregnant. I'm adopting and I'm pregnant. We are home study approved, with a baby on the way. I am blessed, exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that I could ask or think. To think that God would give us favor, a positive home study experience, a favorable report, a positive pregnancy test, and a confirmation of a favorable home study report. I just never would have thought it could happen.

"Somehow my weak glance has overwhelmed You, somehow my weak love has stolen away Your heart. And though I'm dark You say, I am lovely. Though I'm poor You say I am beautiful." (Sarah Edwards I think)

Somehow. The sermon today talked about what a screw-up (my term) Abraham was with all his "say you're my sister so they won't hurt me," and the Hagar incident, and in Hebrews it says "Abraham never wavered in his belief that God would fulfill His promise". Somehow God doesn't see what we see. He loves the yes in our hearts. And His grace is enough for so much weakness.

I wouldn't have believed it, and yet, here we are, within reach of our heart's desire. A little baby boy or girl with chocolaty brown skin and dark eyelashes and curly black hair. The thing I desired the most and feared the most, that I would get pregnant and not be able to adopt, has happened and not happened, and my heart is so full of joy at the double blessing of the Lord.

"I know that my Redeemer lives
What joy this blessed sentence gives
He lives, He lives, Who once was dead
He lives, my ever-living Head"

My soul doth magnify the Lord!

Monday, June 21, 2010


well, today i'm not writing about adoption or weight loss or even having a lot of children. this is personal, and maybe more appropriate for an off-line journal, but it's what's on my mind, and, you know, you don't have to read it.

tonight at a meeting i went to, i felt the Lord ask me some questions. two big ones, actually.

the first was this: the speaker told a story i had heard before, about someone who went to heaven or had a vision or dream about heaven in which he was there and heard a song he knew and said so. the angel (or whoever he was talking to) said, yes, that is a song that you got from heaven. he went on to hear songs like nothing he'd ever heard, and asked, "what are those?" the reply was that those are songs no song writer has paid the price for. so my first question from the Lord was: what is it worth to you? what price would you be willing to pay to write the songs of heaven?

the second was: what is holding you back? and so many times, my answer is, my kids. my children hold me back from ministry, i say. we never stay till the end of meetings. we rarely engage during the altar ministry time. not for lack of desire. it's just that so much Kingdom stuff is not good for families. but some of the things the Lord asks of me cost my children nothing.

the idea of a fasted lifestyle is one i heard about for the first time years ago, i think about 8 years ago, when i was pregnant with my 3rd son. the Lord asked me to live a fasted lifestyle, i said how long, knowing full well He didn't mean for a time, and He, knowing full well i had no intention of giving myself fully to Him, said, how about until the end of your pregnancy? that lasted a couple weeks, i think (which is not anywhere near how much longer i was pregnant). and the Lord brings it up from time to time. He brought it up tonight.

a fasted lifestyle does not necessarily mean never having X again. i am not sure it is a full blown Nazarite vow. i think it is more a life of belonging, of sustained decision making with a lovesick motivator - simply put, choosing to lay aside earthly pleasures for the sake of laying up heavenly treasures.

i want to look like my Daddy. i want to look like i belong to my Father. but more than that, i want to belong to Him.

what's it worth to me?
what price am i willing to pay?
what is holding me back?

i have this innate desire to be a radical. some teaching i heard a long time ago - deny yourself, take up your cross, follow me. i love that radical stuff. the crazy-love stuff. sell all you have and give everything to the poor.

i can't do the radical things i'd like to do. but i can live a fasted lifestyle at no additional drain on my children's lives or relationship with me. they don't have to stay up past their bedtimes, go to the nursery, eat dinner in the car or be babysat (or babysit) for hours on end. every time i say no to my flesh and yes to God, i get stronger and the enemy gets weaker. when my flesh gets weaker, my spirit gets stronger. i develop a habit of obedience, of listening, of devoting. and no one has to know a thing.

except the entire world wide web, because i'm pouring my heart out here for anyone to read who wants to. so much for hiddenness.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sometimes I get tired.

The repetitious futility of my existence sometimes wears on me. Loading and unloading, folding and sorting, rinsing, flossing, brushing, scolding, wiping, hugging, wiping, cleaning up, sweeping, spitting in the wind.

We have a home study coming up. We want our house to be clean. So we clean it every morning. And by the time Dad gets home, it looks exactly like it did before we cleaned, except worse, because while we were cleaning, the brute squad got out a game of trivial pursuit ca. 1985 (the brute squad doesn't read yet), played with markers, peed in their pants and left them where they dropped (the brute squad is often unclad), or just went to the family closet and changed their 'clads' multiple times, no doubt in search of that one perfectly mismatched combination that says, 'my mother doesn't dress me and we get our clothes in bags not stores'.

So we clean, the house gets messier, and Dad, aka The Hammer, says, "okay, guys, we really have to clean tomorrow". The older kids, the ones doing the cleaning, say in a very realistic not rebellious way, "why don't we wait to clean until after the littles go to bed Friday night, then it will be clean for the visit Saturday?"

We have harnessed the army. We have taught it to work. We have trained it to help itself function. We have not, however, taught it to be responsible. We have trained it to match socks, but it doesn't care if they are matched correctly. We have trained it to clean a room, but not to keep it clean. We have taught it to check things off the list, but not to bear the burden.

And sometimes the volume overwhelms me. May I have a string cheese? Yes. Whammo, the entire pack is gone. May I have an apple? Yes? In the attic? Sure. There are 15 apple cores in the attic. No, 14, the baby just ate one. Umm, 15, I guess, she spit it all over the floor. May we play in the hose? Yes. That'll be one load of laundry that has to be washed immediately or it'll turn into mildew in 12.6 seconds.

But it is the emotional things that really bring me down. My incredibly handsome talented charming fun delightful pre-adolescent son had a crisis today. He's just at that age. He's sleeping in (always a morning person before), he doesn't get jokes (normally has the best sense of humor), he takes everything personally and is convinced he's the ugly one (I said, you're kidding, right?!). He's just at that age. So I spent 45 minutes laying on the couch with him, putting him back together like a lego kit, while every body sipped frozen dyed sugar water out of plastic sleeves on the back porch (should serve as a homing beacon for every ant in a 7 mile radius)(I hate ants)(we have three{3} different kinds of ants)(grrr).

Am I moving forward? Am I just spinning my wheels? Is this thing on? Didn't I say all these things yesterday?

The distance between who I am and what I did today and who I want to be is vast. It's not that I want to be anywhere else doing anything else. I just want to do it better. I want to eat less, yell less, growl less, weigh less, smile more, sing more, and eat the vegetables I buy and grow before they grow mold.

I am better than I used to be. Barely. My husband is allowing us to host some visitors for a church thing for 3 weeks. That is huge. We have earned a pittance of respect. He thinks we can keep it together to the point of not being disgusting for a whole three weeks. We "usta-couldn't" keep it clean long enough to have someone over for dinner.

But sometimes I get tired. I don't feel strong. I don't feel loved. I feel like a slug. How long does it take to be not fat? Longer.

Jesus, I need You to pull me into Your current. My own will is either not strong or goes the wrong way. I need to see Your beauty in the moment by moment, because I can't hold on to it for a whole day or even an hour. Draw me after You and I will run. I will run.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Cruise

I went on a cruise. I've always wanted to, because, well, I grew up in the 70's and 80's - I watched The Love Boat, so I've always wanted to do it. My husband gets sea sick, so that kept us from doing it alone, but for my parents' 40th anniversary, they helped each of my siblings and their spouses to do it.

I'd have written about it along the way, but I watched The Net, so I'm still a little unsure about informing the entire world wide web when I'm going to be gone, and the cost of staying connected with any form of reality is prohibitive. So we really left and didn't talk to our children or their caretakers for a little over 4 days.

I'm pretty sure the cruise line lost money on us. We didn't gamble, didn't drink what wasn't free, didn't buy any art or jewelry, and we ate what would have been in real world dollars way more than the cost of our tickets. I had so much fun eating different kinds of things. For example, my last supper on the cruise I had: a wild mushroom pastry, asparagus soup, prime rib, lobster, curried chickpeas (which was, believe it or not, probably better than the prime rib or the lobster), and cherries jubilee. It was all amazing and delicious.

For me, just sitting down and having someone bring me food is a delight. But this wasn't just food. It was excellent food, with excellent service, in beautiful surroundings, with 9 of the people I like best in the world. And I didn't have to do the dishes!

I had a goal of working out as much as possible. So the first full day, I did 40 minutes on the elliptical, and then went up on the top deck where there was a track, and walked/ran a little over 5K. That was huge for me.

Each day I did either one or the other of those things. I also swam in the ocean, in the pool (which unfortunately tasted just like the ocean) and almost never took the elevator. (our room was on the 9th floor, we ate on either the 3rd or 11th, the pool and fitness center were in the 11th and 12th) I ice skated and roller bladed - neither of which burned many calories because I was clinging to the wall and trying hard not to get a concussion. And the last full day, I did a total of 5 miles on the elliptical and a 5K. The 5K was on deck, like the other days, but it was during peak tanning hours. All the lawn chairs were full, and there I was, fat chick, running (jog/walk/shuffling) around and around. People were counting laps (strange, usually people count children when they see me) as I went around. Some started cheering and high-fiving me. It got really fun.

I am like two reality shows in one: The Duggars meet The Biggest Loser.

The other really outstanding thing for me about the trip that I'll mention now is that I was amazed at how many colors the ocean is. I just couldn't believe it. In Bermuda, in the bright sunshine, it was the definition of "aquamarine". Later it was royal blue to my left, and silvery gray to my right, below the clouds. Then the sky was also blue and gray, and I just have to say, I enjoyed my Father's palette very much.

We also got to see a couple Portuguese Man-Of-War, and I ate Escargot. It was amazing. A couple nights later they were selling Royal Caribbean Cookbooks and it had their recipe for Escargot. It has a stick of butter in it. No wonder it tasted good.