Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Interruption or Sovereign Delivery?


The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's "own" or "real" life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls "real life" is a phantom of one's own imagination. This is at least what I see at moments of insight: but it's hard to remember it all the time.
------C.S. Lewis, in a letter to Arthur Greeves (as quoted in Shopping for Time, p. 86)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spiritual Fitness

There was a time, in the days before multiple pregnancies and the busy life of motherhood, when I was in pretty good shape. I even enjoyed exercising! But as the babies arrived and my world became more complex, I pushed workouts to the side and began to view my own fitness as a luxury, not a necessity.

Now, however, as the big four-o looms on the horizon and I see my metabolism slow before my eyes, I'm realizing that being healthy actually is a necessity - for when I'm healthy, I'm better equipped to fulfill all that God has given me to do as a wife, mom, and member of the Body.

So in January (no originality in my timing, eh?) we joined our local YMCA and I began working out in earnest and training for my first 5K. It hasn't been easy - the hardest part is not the exercise itself. I'm sure you can guess what the hardest part is... finding the time to go work out. I've had to get creative - sometimes the whole family goes and the older ones walk on the treadmill next to me while the Littles are in the nursery. Sometimes I sneak out at naptime while S (14) babysits. A couple of times I've even gone after supper while The Man of My Dreams tucks everyone in bed.

All my hard work has paid many dividends: I ran the 5K - with a personal best time; I'm now training for a 10K; I've lost a few pounds (hoping for more!); and I feel less stressed and more energetic. But there's a problem...

...what about my spiritual fitness?

My energy level may be better than in years, but I still struggle daily with my sinful heart. My attitude deteriorates, my faith lags - many times I feel spiritually and emotionally drained at the end of the day. I've been convicted recently, however, that my heart is worn out and thirsty because I've not spent time nourishing it with the life-giving stream of prayer and time in God's Word.

I've made every effort to make time for my workouts, but in the process, let my time with the Lord be limited to the scraps of the day - if I "happen to get a moment of quiet." Lord, forgive me for my divided heart!

What's a girl to do? How can we keep house, care for little ones, deal with school - whether at home or "abroad," exercise and faithfully spend time with the Lord? I've just finished reading Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney. It's a quick, easy read, full of biblical wisdom from a lady who takes Titus 2 seriously. The first tip she gives for finding the time we need to "get it all done" (hint 'all' here means 'all the Lord wants you to do') is to rise early and sit at Jesus' feet. She points to multiple passages in Scripture where Jesus rose early and withdrew to pray. Why not follow His example?

I want to interject a word here - no guilt, no legalism! Our salvation does not depend on when we have our quiet time! For some, early morning may not be the best time. When my babies were small and we were up in the night, afternoon naptime was when my mind was most alert for reading and praying. But now that I have older children and homeschool, afternoon naptime is catch-up time. If I save my time for the Lord for the afternoon, it quickly gets overshadowed and forgotten. For this season of life, for me, the early morning seems to be the best. I've not yet joined the "5am Club" as Mahaney suggests, but I'm in the "6:30 club" and that's working for me. (Understand that since we homeschool, most of my kids don't get up until 8, so I have the house to myself at 6:30.)

The point is that we need to make spending time with our Lord - our Friend of sinners; our Wonderful Counselor - a priority. Getting to know Him through reading His Word; praising and thanking Him; and pouring out our burdens in prayer. Mahaney points out that trying to get through a day - or a week - without first seeking the Lord is like a two year old insisting she can make her PB & J "by self!!"

I am so sad that, like Martha, I have allowed the busy-ness of life to weigh me down with many cares. I'm sorry for the sweet fellowship I've missed on the days when I just "couldn't find the time." But, but God's grace, I'm hoping to continue to be an active member of the "6:30 Club" (might even move it to 6) and sit at Jesus' feet. I want to drink deeply from the living streams of the Word of God that I may be firmly planted, spiritually fit, and overflowing Christ's love to my family.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Overheard

(I see A (4) rolling the pizza cutter all over the open dishwasher instead of doing his chore: unloading silverware)
Me: A, you need to quit playing around and finish your chores.
A: Well, I want to, but my brain is just making me silly!
Me: Your brain is going to get your bottom in trouble, so you need to put that away and get finished!
A: Oh, I'm remembering how to do my chores now!

"Hey, Mom! I did 43 jumps in a row using the crutch as a pogo stick!" 14yo S, who along with 12yo C has been inventing new uses for old crutches. pogo stick and stilts top the list. I just close the door to their basement room and pretend I know nothing. :)

Go visit Mary for more Tiny Talk Tuesday

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sweet Dresses & a Giveaway

I get so frustrated sometimes trying to find clothes for my girls. Especially as M (10) gets older. I want fun, feminine, modest clothes that are also comfortable. I sew a little bit, and if I weren't also trying to homeschool, run a home, and all that other stuff, I might just find the time to make some. But the reality is that isn't happening. So I must outsource that department for now.

I've discovered two great sources for lovely skirts and dresses that will make any "twirly" girl's heart sing.

First up is Cupcakes -- "tastefully sweet fashion." Check out their blog for samples of some precious dresses for spring.

Second is Amoretti. I love the sweet dresses and skirts. I also love their signature item, the "skirty." A skirty is a must for any girl (like my two) that prefers to wear skirts and dresses. Simply, the skirty is an undergarment, but a pretty one - covers like bike shorts but so much better looking! Check out their website here.

Now for the Giveaway ... Amoretti is giving away a skirty (and some other fun things) in their "Fortnightly Purse" blog. I'm hoping to win one for my warrior-princess! Click here to enter.