one of “those days”…

Last week I had a couple of really tough days.  The kids were extra difficult and my attitude was extra sour.   I just felt so frustrated.

As I loaded the laundry one morning with tears In My eyes…and picked up my house harboring anger and frustration… All I could think was, “Didn’t I just do this?? Isn’t this all I do? I just need a break!!”

When talking with my husband, he reminded me of how Paul talked about “those days”  in Ephesians 5… when he tells us to make the most of every opportunity ‘because the days are evil.”

Some days it feels impossible to “make the most of every opportunity” when we really feel like we just need a break though… A break that we aren’t going to get.  Some days we  have to persevere…. And on those  days I’m reminded of my very real need for Jesus. Those days I think and pray to Him through my teary frustration..  “Make me like you!”

When the yelling between kids won’t stop…Make me like you!

When the messes pile up more and more…Make me like you!

When it is taking every ounce of energy to calm a fussy baby…Make me like you!

So maybe that is why “those days” exist. Right now “those days”  with my children are my mission field.  The days are not always easy as our children are sinners in need of a Savior just like us… But This is what God is calling us to.  In Matthew 25:35 Jesus tells us:  

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

If clothing the naked and feeding the hungry isn’t parenthood, I don’t know what is!

Parents, in our every day let us remember that our service to our children is service to our King! And in this sacrificial service we are the ones being changed, molded and refined to look more like Jesus.So today when we make yet one more pb and j.. Fold one more load of laundry and read the same story again and again.. Let’s do it with the love of Christ.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but where are those who think of changing themselves? People may genuinely want to be good, but seldom are they prepared to do what it takes to produce the inward life of goodness that can form the soul. Personal formation into the likeness of Christ is arduous and lifelong”

— Richard Foster

“Perhaps one of the sure signs that we have worshiped God is that we walk away saying, ‘I didn’t understand everything that happened there. It must be bigger than my comprehension.’ Too much of our worship has boxed God in as if we were going to see a play on Broadway. But in worship we become a part of the play. Though we can’t understand it all, we can come onstage and participate in the divine drama”

— Common Prayer

“Consumer society originates in the belief that the good lie is defined by what we produce and what we consume. It rests on the belief that it is our production and consumption that create life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is why, when we were attacked by terrorists on 9/11, the answer was to go shopping”-McKnight & Block

— The Abundant Community

“The world is going mad in mutual extermination, and murder, considered as a crime when committed individually, becomes a virtue when it is committed by large numbers. It is the multiplication of the frenzy that assures impunity to the assassins.”-Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 A.D.)

— Common Prayer 1/22/2013

Schematic of loss

We met at the pavilion; an obtusely tall, angular building resembling something more at home in the mountainous panorama of my native Wyoming then here in brown Kansas. It’s December, though not happy December, plangent with snow or Christmas cheer. It was appointment day. As we met, there was talk of me taking the kids and returning home, leaving her to navigate Camry colored silver when the end had come. “I’ll wait”

Looking back at two faces buckled in…I pause and think, they always look like tiny astronauts ready for lift off, buckled tight surrounded by foam and resin. The girl, cheery eyed and lucid, the boy sleeping, all be it in fits and starts. “I’ll wait” She climbs from Mazda midnight blue and I take her place, the door shuts and the cabin is quiet. She returns a glance over the shoulder as she crosses the lot, and I press my lips together and give her a hopeful and concerning half grin and wave.

Sliding the gear shift into reverse, then drive, we go. First round the parking lot and medical complex, “Gracie that’s where you and brother were born, right inside that building….” Girl still awake replies, “Where’s mommy?”

“She’s inside” I reply, “We’ll see her again real soon.” We drive, first through adjacent business lots, then across bridges and to other access roads, circling, always returning to that pavilion, that ugly pavilion. I hate that pavilion.

We find a park, built around a man made lake, there are geese, dirty frozen puddles and a few beaten down vehicles parked, conducting business I need not know nor want to know about. “Do you see the geese?!” I exclaim. “Yes Daddy! They’re silly!”

We drive, around and around, we drive. Finally my travel companion follows her fair haired brother into slumber, succumbing to the warmth of her jumpseat and the rhythm of the road…I return.

The pavilion, that disgusting pavilion gleams mockingly out of place…she returns, biting lip, pink faced, fears realized.

“The baby is gone, it’s just gone, dead! No heartbeat, only measuring 6 weeks again….please take me home!” We embrace, as best you can in the front seat of a Mazda, her tears hot on my cheek, her pain, palpable, her body carrying the hope of life and the grim reality of death.

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