Monday, July 26, 2010

Perfect Pantyhose

I had a discussion with a friend last week that left me pondering this question in the midst of life just not feeling right. Something has been unsettling, almost weird. I asked my friend, is my discontent with life based on a) rose-tinted view of the past, or b) the realization that what I am experiencing is simply the way life normally is and I have just been fortunate not to have experienced it in this way, or c) am I just chemically unbalanced.

I liken what I have been feeling to wearing a pair of pantyhose that is just one size too small with the elastic worn out at the top. Yeah, it is that uncomfortable. You know what I am talking get it up to your waist, or above your waist for those that are so blessed to be short-waisted. Drag the legs up so that the crotch finally fits into place and continue to get dressed. At the beginning of your day, the pantyhose feels pretty good. It keeps your legs a little warm, evens out the color in your legs, maybe even hides a varicose vein or so. But then, as you walk about your day, the hose begins to sag. First, the waist rolls down, then inches toward your hips, dragging your panties with it (exempt only if you wear a thong). The crotch is the next to go sliding down your thighs until it is nearly at your knees,greatly limiting your stride. It gives me shudders just remembering that feeling. You head to the bathroom to try to repair it and while grabbing at it to pull it up, your fingers thrust through the woven elastic, ripping a finger-sizes hole and causing them to run. Thus, you ruined something you were already really struggling with anyway.

It took this Sunday at church to give me my answer. I realized that issue of my daily grind being a bit irritating was not a, b, or c, but because I have been trying to fit into something that really isn't me at all. I have been wearing a pair of hose the size and fit of which initially gave me a "warm fuzzy." But as time progressed, that hose became my enemy, dragging me down, leaving me frustrated. It left me constantly trying to make it stay in place, perfectly stretched to my frame. Sunday, I realized I had been conned. It was and will never, ever going to work. Instead, I have been missing the truth - what was perfectly designed for me.

I have been living in the world. This worldliness is lived out daily in my life because as Jerry Bridges defines it, I am just accepting and going along with the values and practices of our culture without discerning if they are pleasing to God. I have always believed that the world thrusts it influence upon us. Revelation time here...the changed occurred inside me first. That pride began inside me.

As a result, I kept trying to use my own strength to get me through some tough emotions. Guess what? I ruined it. Like wearing that dreadful pantyhose, life hasn't been comfortable. Trying even harder to make it work has ultimately destroyed quite a few things, ripping destructive holes into relationships and circumstances and most painfully my relationship with God.

We can't resist the pull of the world if it is left up to us. It hurt to hear the reality of what I had been doing. I chose to don that pantyhose believing that it would make me appear better in the world. Essentially, I was living like what He did was not enough. His actions, His presentation to the world was not good enough. I have been valuing my position in the world more than what Christ did for me.

Little lies to present myself as more together than the reality. Little tales to present myself as "cool" or acceptable to others. Little choices of what I was doing or reading or wearing to present a certain image. Little tales of my children to put off the fact that I am a sinful mother that fails miserably every day when I am mothering on my own strength. Little words that just slip out of my mouth without a thought or care. All those "littles" similar to those little tugs and pulls to wear a pair of stinking worldly pantyhose, pantyhose woven with all the pride of the flesh, the eyes, and the possessions of my soul. You know, God didn't mean for me to try to make something fit that shouldn't have been in my drawers to begin with. In fact, I think when Christ was nailed to the cross and he eliminated the need for pantyhose altogether!  Can I get an AMEN!?!

"When someone sets his affections upon the cross and the love of Christ, he crucifies the world as a dead and undesirable thing. The baits of sin lose their attraction and disappear. Fill your affections with the cross of Chris and you will find no room for sin." John Owen

There is no better life than the tap, tap, tap on your shoulder from the Holy Spirit alerting you to self-promoting behavior and stopping it in its tracks.  Praise the Lord!

Monday, July 19, 2010

She bends to her knees,
The moist dirt quickly staining her skin.
Her weight shifts forward, her hands working the ground.
Delicately and tenderly she pulls her pride to the side.
She grabs at the longs strands of grasses,
growing where they are forbidden.

Her shoulders, bare, begin to feel sweat dampen her skin,
Salty, warm, and tacky to the touch.
She inches her way down the rows,
clearing the path for her plants to flourish.
Dirt pulled from deep lands on her leg, her arm, her hair.
Darkened earth fills the unkempt nails on her fingers.

The richness of the earth is nearly intoxicating.
Its grit smoothes away the rough edges.
Her anxieties lessen.
The burdens of life leave her shoulders.
Resting on her heels, she sees victory.
Her accomplishment simple, but it is hers to claim.
Hers alone.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You have been extra difficult the past two weeks.  My confidence in being your mother is wavering.  I have fallen into the old trap of measuring my successes on how the world sees me. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Girl and Her Bandages

A few years or so ago, my Sadie discovered what fun it is to play with ace bandages.  Being one to make a fuss over letting her do something out of the norm, I put it away so that we would have it when the time came that we really needed to use it.

About six months ago, Sadie had a discussion with her great-grandmother.  I have no idea how the topic came about.  Oh wait.  Yes, I do.  My great-grandmother had an ace bandage on her leg covering a wound.  Ever-curious Sadie asked her multiple questions including where she got her bandage.  Imagine Sadie's glee when she learned that my great-grandmother was a collector of such bandages and was happy to pass a small tub of various sized bandages to Sadie.

Never to forget this momentous occasion, Sadie asked repeatedly when we could go see Gram to get her new toys.  We had a swim meet in my great-grandmother's neighborhood and of course, stopped by her house after the meet.  Sadie reminded me about the bandages and I dug through my grandmother's hall closet and collected more than 12 packed and rolled lightly tan-pink colored elastic bandages.

On the way home, I knew that I would need to set some ground rules on where and when to play with the bandages.  1) No wearing them in public 2) Do not put them anywhere but on arms and legs (certainly not necks) 3) Do not put them on your siblings unless requested and 4) Do not put them on the dog.

After much pleading, I relented and let Sadie wear one bandage out in public.  She concocted some ridiculous story about tripping on a toy.  Or, was it at the pool?  I can't remember as the story changed faster than the number of our national debt, but each time it was met with a sympathetic nod by a stranger, and my eye rolling and sigh.  She was thrilled.
I don't know where to begin with all that has happened this summer. I feel like I have missed it with all that whirled by us in June. 

After our trip overseas, the swim team season was in full swing and I learned a multitude of valuable lessons that I list here to prompt myself next summer.

1) Our year round swim program is really the only practice I should make mandatory.  I noticed some deterioration to the kids' strokes as the season progressed and although the kids had a lot of fun at their summer team practices, they need the consistency of their year round coach more.

2) The fact that some children do not like ice cream, pizza, spaghetti, waffles or chicken fingers (versus nuggets which they do like) is incomprehensible to me.

3) Three swim teams is entirely too many.

4) Even your sweetest child has the propensity to cut her own hair, into a long mullet, trying to look like her sister.

5) Childhood friends just end up being the best friends you ever had.

6) Drama is still quite active in the world.  I thank God that for the past several years I have been removed from it.  It's absence in my life made that reality sting a little more than I would have liked.  I need to perk up at the clues when it is coming and...RUN.

7) Speaking of running, I should practice that more often. If my heart is uneasy and my brain says something is not right, I should remove myself from the situation.  Well, I think it is probably better to sum it up in the term, "slink quickly and quietly away."  Do you see a theme forming here?

8) Getting a child's opinion is never necessary.

9)  Sports bring out the best in people...and the worst.

10)  My husband wants us around a lot more than I thought he did.

11) I am not sure that I buy that labeling someone gives them the right not to mature.

12) You are never too old for a night in a tree house.

13) It is imperative for me to not be swayed by people's opinion of my own children.

14) Hanging at home is surprisingly enjoyable, highly productive and extraordinarily stress-free.

15) Sometimes I am not as strong as I thought I was in who I am.  High school insecurities have not been in my line of vision since well, high school.  Why now?  I should quietly slink away from those make me feel this way.

16) "Hair" is one of the last fights I will have with my children.  Arrow-shaped mohawks are actually quite cool.

17) Growing a garden has brought me much joy and delight.  Passing along produce to others is the cherry on the top.

18) My tendency to yell, has in turn, created yellers. It needs to stop.

19) Sunflowers are precious to my soul.  Having one growing facing into my window instead of the sun is priceless.

20) Like 99% of all mothers, my children are the most valued things in my life.  I will fight for them and protect them with everything I have. It is tough to walk away when you feel that is being questioned.