Monday, July 12, 2010

Exceeding and Abundant

We made it home last night from a fantastic week and a half in New Mexico. The eleven hour drive was fairly  uneventful until somewhere around Quannah a gurgling sound came from the back of the car, accompanied by, "Mommy! I'm going to throw up!"
And fortunately, the cup made it to the child in time.
But it felt like the sickness that bubbled out of her little body tumbled inside of mine, as I felt such disappointment on so many levels.
Here we go again.
Esther spent five days of our precious time in Eagle Nest and Santa Fe fighting fever and unable to eat a bite. I envisioned the same week ahead of us now with Basden, sick and feverish on the sofa, all the while her cousin Nettie in our home for a week.
Thoughts swarmed through my mind about how this might change our week to have Basden sick. We brought Basden's same-age cousin, Nettie May, home with us to spend the week in Fort Worth. The kids started music camp this morning. Aside from Basden missing out, what if the boys catch this crazy virus, and Branson has a role in the musical Friday night - is this sickness going to just keep on circulating through kids like it did in New Mexico?
And then I got to what's really important - me. What about me? This is the only week this summer that I have all four kids somewhere at the same time. Esther isn't part of music camp, but she has a morning ballet camp, giving me an hour or so each day all by myself, and then the remainder of the day with just one child.
I was not happy.
I stuffed my frustration as we unpacked the car, started laundry, bathed the kids and tucked them into bed, and threw out piled up newspapers and junk mail. Finally, while washing dishes, I erupted. I looked at Corbin and said, "Ok, I just have to say this one time. I am so mad about this. I have one week all summer with the kids in an activity, one week! And the Lord is taking even that away!"
Corbin just looked at me, a little dumbfounded, a little sad.
His simple expression was more painful than a verbal scolding for my selfishness, but I still couldn't let it go.
It made me question, do I really believe that my time is not my own? I read that, I claim it, I try to be spiritual about it and offer God my time, my agenda. But when nights like tonight happen, I realize that what I really believe is that I should be entitled to time to myself.
Just yesterday driving home, before the throw up, I was moved to tears from reading of the sacrifice of Francis and Lisa Chan sharing their home with so many people and families. I was inspired and moved by their selflessness, and even had the gall to sort of, kind of, relate - at least relate in terms of seeing it as a fantastic, incredible way to live their lives. Generous and open and pouring out to others.
And then a short few hours later I was shaking my fist at the Lord because he had the nerve to interrupt my week?!
I wish I had a solution, wish I was more spiritual, more selfless.
Wish this wasn't a pattern with me, one I've been aware of since even high school.
But I think God wants to drill into me this lesson of being interrupted, of being available to his divine appointments. He's been interrupting me for more than two decades now, and he always, always showers me with exceeding and abundant blessings as I open my calendar and stopwatch to him.
The end of the story, several days later, is that God has again overwhelmed me with his goodness, his mercy, and his forgiveness in the face of my self-centered frustration. He provided a friend who took Esther for two full days this week. He provided health for Basden almost immediately after we returned home, and no one else caught the virus. He provided the pleasure of having my niece Nettie May in our home all week, and she was a total joy - and God even provided health and safety as she entertained us with her magic tricks!
Thank you, Lord, for not giving up on me, even though I struggle with similar sin day after day, year after year.  Thank you that your Holy Spirit gives me every reason to believe that he can do a work in me, that I can learn from this and be an easily-interrupted wife, mom, and friend.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8