I have a dilemma.
You see, I love my kids. So much.
- I didn’t use to love my crew, not like a mother should. Yes, I loved them, but I didn’t know how to express that. I didn’t know how to parent them well. Not that I don’t still make many mistakes today, I do. Just ask them. 🙂 But since becoming a believer and obtaining a better understanding God’s love for me (though I still have much to learn), I’ve learned to love them better. To delight in them. This has been all God’s doing. He has melted my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh (Ezekial 36:26). Plus, with the removal of a father from the household due to a prison sentence, it has forced us to “circle the wagons.” We have had to learn to rely on each other in ways we never would have had to, if we had remained a “traditional” family. We are a family, we are a team, the 5 of us are tight.
- The last two months of 2012 have been, well, a challenge on many different levels. Two steps forward, three steps back. My job, which I am thoroughly grateful for, has been fast, furious and stress-filled. School, play practices, and sports practices have taken a toll on the kids, leading to various illnesses amongst 3 of the 4. And then, like you, we’ve been faced with unexpected bills, vehicle issues and time constraints leading to an inability to catch our breath. My personal spiritual disciplines have been terribly hit or miss over the last two months, which is never good for my soul. Sleep has been non-existent. Discouragement has been heavy. We were ripe for a break.
And that’s exactly what we’ve had, since Christmas Eve. And it has been beautiful. We have gone absolutely nowhere, except to venture out for necessary food. Perfect for the introvert in me. No, instead we have spent the past 5 days holed up in our house, relating to each other. We have played games. We have ridden bikes. We have put Legos together and painted pictures together. We’ve cleaned house together. We’ve read new books. We’ve eaten a ton of waffles from Tim’s new waffle maker. And at night, we’ve watched movies together–mostly the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which we wanted to see again after the seeing the Hobbit.
So what, you may be asking, is my dilemma?
It’s the end of 2012, and usually at this point of the year, I am excitedly looking forward to the new year. And I’m sure I’ll get there as we get closer and closer to New Year’s Day. But not so right now. Right now I want to hold my children close to me and not let go of the delight and joy we have experienced during this Christmas break.
I’ve had to work this week, and frankly it’s been very difficult to keep focused on the tasks at hand, all because of the longing to spend time with my crew, to not let these precious moments slip by too quickly. Even my oldest daughter took this week off, and it has been beautiful having her around. We have laughed so hard; played so hard. And we have loved each other in that “I can’t believe you are making that move in this game, are you crazy?” kind of way.
But time is slipping by. Once Monday hits, my complete focus must return back to the intensity that is my work right now. And on the second, the kids must return to school, which is their job right now. But no more so in my life have I wanted time to stand still for a bit, to keep the world out for just awhile longer, to redeem years I wasted before becoming a believer. To rest in this realization that I am so incredibly blessed. That out of intense heartache and pain, there grows blessing and joy.
In working through these thoughts in my mind today, I returned to the Christmas story, and actually, right before the birth of Jesus, when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. Now Elizabeth was pregnant with a child whose name would be John—John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for Jesus. And as the two cousins greeted each other, their joy was so immense that they could not help but break out into spontaneous praise.
Mary’s song, in particular, captured my soul today. The first part of it reads like this: