Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Rocky Month but a Steady Mind

This month was interesting in particular. I attempted all kinds of things like over-scheduling, scheduling (which if you know me is quite progress), nagging, bragging, baking, eating on-the-fly, and cleaning (even more progress). The last which is really out of my comfort zone. Well, I like to be quite comfortable and not get up and clean and generally spend more time thinking about how I'm going to schedule my cleaning, read blogs about cleaning, or dream up a way I'm going to clean which completely tires me out and keeps me from cleaning even more so. These ideas mind me of back in January, when I couldn't get up and clean, and I watched my friend efficiently and thoroughly clean my house. I had never been forced to sit and watch something like this, but I learned a great deal. When I saw the large amount of dirt, dust, and grime that was behind furniture and under beds, I was sure if I ever got better, I had no clue how to run a household and had to learn fast. It is funny how we don't realize these things until we're knocked down on the couch for some physical limitation and forced to stare the issue deep in the face.

 I have had some difficulty swallowing, almost daily. What a way to teach me to pray and jolt me back to reality. Shoving chips in my mouth mindlessly while walking around the kitchen is not really helpful, and if we sit down to eat, I need to take my time, enjoy my family's company, and thank God for each bite I can swallow.

 I really never thought there could be 'joy in trials,' such as in James 1:2-3 "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." Yeah right. I used to skim through this verse so quickly I could ignore what the Bible was saying, because I had no clue how a trial could be helpful, good, and especially able to bring joy. Well, the first time I couldn't swallow this month, Naomi, David and I were still eating breakfast after Mike left for work. I took a bite, couldn't swallow, and froze in shock. I had flashbacks of December, January, etc. Immediately wanted to plan a week of fish and chinese dumplings (which are all very easy to swallow) and run out to the store to buy ensure shakes. I looked around at both kids, said, "Naomi, we need to pray. Mommy can't swallow." She immediately put her fork down, closed her eyes, and said something to the effect of "Dear Lord, please help for our food. Please help Mamma, her food go down the right pipe. Amen."

What a JOY.

 Now I was really in shock. Is this what it takes for me to schedule time in to give Naomi a chance to pray out loud? Am I now that much 'back' to my old self of neglecting-Godly-things and super-self-sufficient? Am I really rushing through meals with the kids - put down your fork, get on your chair, hair out of your face - focused that I am not being intentional with them, to teach them concepts like "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thess 5:16-18. Yup. Trouble swallowing is what it took to get my attention.

 And now the nagging. As you may know, Mike is on a job search. After 26th grade of school, in his fellowship, he will be graduating in June. It may not sound like nagging to you, but I would say things like, "I can't wait to see who you call this week! I wonder where we'll live! Hey, do you know what health system so and so is affiliated with? I read some great reviews today. Did you think about calling any hospitals this week or was work much too busy? Are you getting too involved in the dynamics at your work that you don't have time for the research of you and our future?" There's my version of nagging. As sugar coated and indirect as it looks, deep down, I want a phone picked up, emails sent, resumes mailed and more thumb tacks in my maps of New Jersey on the wall. I want to see it happen now, yesterday, and last week. And I want to 'laugh at the time to come' because I know what's going to happen, not because I have faith for it.

In talking with a good friend, she brought me back to this prayer idea. Prayer instead of nagging and doing? I replied - "No no no, you don't understand, we're prone to laziness. We always err on the side of laziness and are finally about to turn a corner, and . . ." - - What a kind, good counseling friend to say the next part. "Well, work diligently, but you need to have enough faith that if Mike doesn't call a specific doctor who he is supposed to work for, the doctor will call him and offer him the job." Oh. THAT kind of faith. That's a lot and that's a huge call on my part to pray and not nag.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
 and she laughs at the time to come.
 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
 and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
 Proverbs 31:25-26

 The above proverb is one of many answers to the question "An excellent wife who can one find?" found in Proverbs 31. I wouldn't call my nagging-style opening my mouth with wisdom, and was not wearing clothes of strength and dignity to laugh at the time to come. I was clearly wearing manipulative controlling clothes and worrying about our future. How could I possibly open my mouth with wisdom if I was so me-minded and task oriented? I'm so grateful for this kind of insight. How kind of God to grab my attention and draw me to these truths, through the vehicles of not-swallowing, getting impatient and frustrated, and the counsel of a good friend. If only it didn't need life to come to that, but I'm glad it did.

I know that God will surely pour out His wisdom to you in your specific circumstance within His perfect and good will for you and your life. If you're not sure where to even start, you can continue reading in James 1, where I started, and it says how.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,
who gives generously to all without reproach,
and it will be given him.
James 1:5

You may be having a rocky month, but He will surely give you a steady mind.

You (Lord) keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.  
        Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
                Isaiah 26:3-4