Thursday, August 13, 2009

Some days are like that, even in Australia

First of all, name that book.

Second of all, let me tell you a little story.

Yesterday started badly when both boys woke up at 6:30, having soaked their beds. I figured it was going to continue on this way when I realized there was no electricity in the house. A storm the night before had knocked down a few trees up the hill which in turn knocked down a few telephone poles. We talked to one of the guys working to get things fixed and he said they would have to replace several of the poles, so we would be without power for most, if not all of the day. A few things had to be decided right away. What should we do about the food in the fridge? The forecast was ninety degrees, and without AC, this did not bode well for the milk and the frozen chicken. We decided to fill the fridge with ice and hope for the best. We also needed to decide what to do about coffee. Emergency Starbucks run or cold instant coffee? Unfortunately, cold instant coffee won the debate. Then there was the matter of urine soaked bedding stinking up my laundry room. I just shut the door on that one.

Needless to say it was a long day, wherein I had to try and describe to James how electricity worked and why he couldn't watch Curious George. He finally figured out that the wind had blown out the power, kind of like a huge candle, and the men in the street were trying to light it again.

I might have rejoiced that this was a great excuse for not having to cook, but I actually really like cooking. After a salad dinner, we headed to church where we had the difficult task of voting to accept our pastor's resignation, and of trying to decide who was going to decide who our new pastor was going to be. The meeting went late, and the kids were really cranky so we loaded them up quickly in the van. Then Steve turned the key and nothing happened. He tried again- dead. So we just looked at each other and smiled. What else? James piped up immediately, "Did the wind blow the car out too?" Something like that.

Steve tried several more times, but to no avail, so he jumped in the car with someone who lives close to us and was going to return with our other car, and then get a tow truck or something to get our van back home.
James was really worried and kept asking what we were going to do. I was trying not to do the same thing, so instead of panicking with him, I said, "Don't worry James, the Lord will take care of us," as I continued hopelessly to turn the key in the ignition.

With that, he went to the car door, opened it up and yelled to the night sky- "HELP US LORD!" He sat there, watching and waiting for a few seconds, then with a pout demanded why God wasn't coming to fix the car. I tried to explain that God doesn't exactly work that way, when the car suddenly came to life with the next key turn. I couldn't believe it, but it seemed very simple to James. He had asked, and been answered, so he said "Thank you Lord," and went back to his seat. Steve pulled up soon and escorted us safely home. When we got there, the lights were back on.

I could go on and on about the lessons I learned (hopefully permanently) yesterday, but I figure they are pretty obvious. Some days are worth having for the lessons they teach. Oh, and the chicken stayed frozen!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I don't usually do this but...

I read something that I want to share.

I have had so many conversations with people lately about how difficult life seems to be right now, either financially, spiritually, physically, or circumstantially- you name it. I have been feeling in the dumps too- anxious,worried, frustrated, impatient. Again- you name it, I got it.
Then I picked up a little essay by Andree Seu from her book 'We Shall Have Spring Again'.
She says this-

"I have been waiting for the day when I can amass just enough spiritual capital to achieve some independence and not have to go begging God for every little thing. I have envisioned what it would look like: I would have read enough great books to be respectable in polite society. I would have attained enough competence in some skill area to amount to something. I would possess surplus purity of heart the way I have stockpiles of paper towels in the pantry, not having to fight for it anew every day in prayer.
I always think it's just around the corner, this time to coast. In the meantime I am constantly desperate for God.
There are precedents to my frustration in the tale of the widow from Zarephath. A stranger blows into town and asks for bread.
'I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour and a little oil in a jug. Now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die." (I Kings 17:12) She is already counting herself dead.
At this point Elijah can, if he wants to, open the storerooms of heaven and make it rain fig cakes. But he does not. He only promises, "The jar of flour shall not be spent and the jug of oil shall not be empty until the Lord sends rain upon the earth."
Every day she comes down to the kitchen (is she biting her nails?) and there is just enough for the day.
We like a little more margin than that, thank you very much. But God is not into comfort zones. He dispatches disciples to preach with no staff, nor bread, nor bag, nor money. His heavenly caterers send manna enough for the day, but try to scrape up Wednesday's dinner on Tuesday and you'll get maggoty manna for your unbelief.
Recently I counted all the essays I have stockpiled over the years. They were a buffer against writer's block, a safety net in case the Lord didn't come through, a comfort zone in which the comfort was not having to rely on God. Maggoty, every one- stale and dated. Each one taking hours to write, each one representing time I didn't spend with my kids.
Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8) is merely the crassest illustration of my desire to own the gifts of God as a commodity. Who needs moment by moment relationship with God? Just sell me the ownership of the power of the Holy Spirit to wield independently of Him. To Me be the Glory!
I am humbled but happy. Begging God daily is the right place to be. Not to possess anything in myself, but to draw the day's grace as the branch draws from the vine. In your right mind, you wouldn't want it any other way.

Don't you love it when you read something that speaks right to you? I hope this helps any of you out there who are struggling with the day to day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summertime Uniform

What do you get when you combine-

Three little dirty, popsicle-covered boys
Hot weather
Jumping in and out of the pool all day
Potty Training
Some really groovy new Pixar emblazoned briefs?

Long days of wearing nothing but underwear, that's what.