Thursday, February 23, 2012

Heavier things

We are all our own unique bundle of imperfections. Our hearts rebel, our minds wander of their own volition, our actions speak words we wouldn’t dare utter. Yes, we strive toward righteousness. Oh, to be like David and be seen with a like-minded heart of God. But inherently, we are vagabonds, flitting from one preoccupation to the next, and yet still, we are loved.

In a hectic world of countless distractions, I often wonder what it would have been like to live in simpler times. No cell phones, or overstimulating television. No 24-hour convenience stores or road-side service. Heck, what if I had no electricity, or running water? What might my day look like if instead of waking in a toasty warm house, I had to split logs and build a fire? Cook over an open flame? Haul water from a stream to bathe my children?

Now being a mother in the 21st century is a tough job. Don’t discount it! As it is, at the end of the day my sources are often so liquidated I can scarcely muster up enough energy to fall into bed. And that’s with all the modern conveniences my life affords. You can’t imagine the pitying, or often shocked looks I get when I have to carry my toddler in one arm, my baby in his pumpkin seat in the other, and a massive diaper bag strapped across the whole mess just to run into a store. Imagine how tough our ancestors had to have been to manage without a stroller, washing machines, disposable diapers! (I know you mean well, but you cloth diaper mother’s are a bit loony if you ask me!)

After the chaos of the emergency room visits from last week, I was looking forward to finding solace in some nice, quiet, normalcy. Ha! It’s funny that I am still na├»ve enough to think there can be normal, or quiet days. Already this week we’ve had a nasty fall, two sleepless nights, and a big ole batch of baby vomit in the crib at 5 a.m.

And then, as if to remind me of my dependence issues, my new cell phone died. May he rest in peace. Spoiled as I am, it was a huge inconvenience to stand around the Sprint store for over an hour—with two restless babes—only to have the technicians confirm the untimely death of my beloved smart phone. And be mocked by the fact that we don’t have a home phone, and thus I would be unreachable until the new phone arrived by mail.

How crazy that it was difficult to survive a little over a day without a phone! Pathetic even! Times have changed, and every little convenience becomes something we can’t live without. The things we form attachments to may help us, but might they also weigh us down? Steal our time, our focus? My phone has become my safety net, my crutch. What if my car broke down on the side of the road? What if there was an emergency—Lord knows we’ve had a lot of them lately, so I am not simply paranoid—and I couldn’t call for help?

What distracts you the most? Facebook? Latest episode of your favorite show? And what is the one modern convenience you couldn’t live without?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fearless


How often are we ruled by fear?

Let me preface this by saying that the two’s are hitting us hard at the Simpson house. My sweet and loving toddler has these Bruce Banner moments where he is withdrawn one minute and belligerent the next. Lord only knows what switch was thrown to turn my baby into the Hulk but, Jesus, we need your help!

So I was at my son’s Mommy and Me soccer class yesterday. Week two. Lord, please let it go better than week one where I was the recipient of every pitying stare in the soccer dome. My almost two and a half year old, Kael, executed the most blood-curdling meltdown for the duration of the 45-minute class. Impressive, yes. Enjoyable, let’s go with ‘heck no!’ And yesterday, we were forced to drop the class after ten minutes.

After the miserable experience, and the unquestionable torture you would have sworn my son was experiencing, doubts and fear started to worm their way into my mind. My heart. You see, I stay at home with my kids. That means most days it’s just me and the boys. We have play dates and we go to parks and museums so it’s not like we are quarantined, but I got to worrying about my son’s social development. All the other kids loved the soccer class. And Kael, though he was the youngest by several months, was easily the fastest and most athletic kid out there. The kid loves sports! He could throw a strike and hit a ball off a tee before he could walk. (Thanks to my hubby who played ball in the minors) And he can actually run and weave while kicking the soccer ball. I was sure this class would be a home run for us. He could deplete those seemingly endless stores of energy before naptime and do what he loves in the process. So what is the problem? Could it be something more than the terrible two’s?

It’s hard not to let fear squeak through the cracks. What if something is wrong? What if I have ruined him? Now, I know that sounds like an overreaction, but it’s crazy where your mind goes when fear is involved.

My mom, the wise warrior that she is, witnessed my distress and took a moment to convince me I am not the worst mother to ever walk the earth. Thanks mama! But she said something that was so simple, yet so profound. And it really resonated and gave me peace.

She said, “The opposite of fear isn’t faith, it’s love.”

Now, we have all heard the verse, ‘Perfect love casts out fear’, but somehow, it always feels like fear is a faith issue. If we could just have enough faith and trust God that everything will work out, we can win against fear. The truth of the matter is there are lots of reasons to fear. The world is a scary place. Terrible things happen. But the anecdote for living in fear isn’t something that can be overcome or exorcised by your great faith.

It is the realization of Christ’s love. It’s so basic it’s almost confusing. Isaiah 41:10 says So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Like everything else it has nothing to do with who we are or what we do, but rather who Jesus is, and what He did.

What do you fear the most? And how has God helped you to overcome fear?