Monday, September 26, 2011

A taste of infinite Love

I pull my bible from the bedside table and flip open to the verses I had read just before sleep invaded, the verses that rolled through my mind as I dreamed, as I groggy-nursed my baby, as the first beams of sunlight spilled across the sheets.  With a whole heart. I will praise Thee. I will sing praise to Thy Name, most High. Be glad. Rejoice. In Thee.

I look to the previous page.

There it is again. Praise. Sing praise. His Name. Most High. How excellent is Thy Name!
The children are memorizing Psalm 24:1.   The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.  I put it to my own tune. Yes, me and you... and the ocean blue, all sea and land is in the LORD's hand, it is His. The verses appear on my lips as I sing. The children cuddle on the couch and read Thank You Prayer. "Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you Lord for everything," my oldest reads.

It is His. It is all His.  Formed by His Word, brought to life by His breath. In everything I can give thanks to the Creator, sing praise to the Most High, be glad and rejoice in Him.

Why do we wait for big events to give thanks, sing praise, rejoice? Why not now? Why not in the little, every day events that I so often overlook?  Are they not worthy of praise as well?

He has on his serious face, and he colors with a mission.  It's the first time I've seen him really consider what hue to use instead of scribbling the whole page with one crayon. Brown for the monkey. Blue for the curtains. Yellow for the man. Green for the chair.

He's growing, and it's happening each millisecond.  Some days I miss it because I'm caught up in dishes and laundry, but today I let the dishes sit in the sink. I watch them, all four of them. His chubby cheeks still draw my kisses, but I can see they are starting to thin. He's four, brand-new-four, this-month-four, and my mind rewinds to the day when he was born into my husband's hands in our bedroom.  Husband baptized by amniotic fluid. Baby, born unassisted, child of faith. Total dependence on the Lord.  Just me and my husband and our baby. Alone. The rest of the world drifting away in the moment of joyful tears and gratefulness and praise to God. And now he's four. He calls cereal "city-all" and likes to "take a bathtub".  He calls his brother Nolyn, "Woah-nen." He snuggles his baby Evangeline a little too tight but only because he fiercely loves her. Now he wants big boy haircuts and shoes that tie and desperately wants to be like his older brother.

He is my blessing. Our olive shoot 1. Does that mean I'm a fruitful vine?  I hear the back door slam, and I unfold myself from the couch. I find Nolyn on the small cement slab with a tiny piece of chalk. Itty bitty ants scurry back and forth, and I show him how to confuse them by drawing circles around them with chalk.

"They must be pretty stupid," he states.
I shrug, "Well, they are really small. Imagine how big a speck of chalk dust looks to them."
"Yeah..." he considers. "It's probably like a big rock!"

It's all about perspective, I realize.

The kids panic over a line of ants marching through a hole in the front door seal. "They're in the carpet!" they squeal. I find myself sighing. Ants. Bah. Arg. Bleh. I suck them into the vacuum, sprinkle "ant-be-gone" dust around the outside of the house, and hope they go away. In the carpet. Bleh.
And then I laugh because I have ants in the carpet because I have carpet. I have walls. I have a roof over my head. I have a house for ants to get into. A house with a foundation and carpet and walls. Not dirt floors. Clay walls. Leaf-thatch roof.  I tell the kids. We're so ridiculously privileged and blessed.

It's all about perspective.
Finding a mass in your daughter's brain- blessing because it is the answer to the prayer and questions of her random and odd behavior. Dirty dishes and loads of laundry- blessing because I have loved ones to cook and clean for. Blessings- olive branches around our table, husband who works hard, sweats hard. We have dishes and food and clothes a'plenty.

Husband and I talk about how those of us loaded with stuff find so much to grumble about. We grumble about our stuff and it's never enough. The children have toys and more toys and it's never enough. And we complain about clothes not being stylish or fitting just right and that's so American.


Stuff gets in the way most of the time. It gets in the way because we're so busy taking care of our stuff, we don't stop to count the blessings, don't see the faces, don't cherish the moments.

We see the negative. The chalk on clothes. The peanut butter jelly mess on the table. The van needing repairs. The A/C struggling to keep up with the summer heat. The smart phone acting stupid.

We sigh and stomp and say we need better and new and more and we're unhappy.  We're unhappy because we're looking through darkened glasses.

It's the perspective. Children managing on their own, making sandwiches so Mommy can relax. Having a van, having an A/C, having a phone. Having a house, even if it has ants. A bed to sleep in, a place to come home to. Coming home, period.

Children see the world differently. Breakfast is exciting. Lunch is a thrill. Park visits make it "the best day ever". Getting the mail is an awesome adventure. Reading beside Mom and Dad, climbing in our bed early in the morning, sweet moments that stay pressed to their hearts even when they are grown with children of their own.

He looks at the jug of tea. It's almost empty, nearly gone. "For me? Just enough for alluvus!" Just a sip, just a taste is enough to make his thankfulness bring a smile to his face, eyes light up.

I thank the Lord that I left the dishes in the sink and chose to watch my children. Reminders of His blessing. A taste His infinite love.  He is worthy of praise. Worthy of praise when there are loads of laundry to be washed, dishes to be scrubbed, meals to be made, children to be taught. These are my acts of worship. I can praise His name as I rejoice through the day, sing my worship as I serve my family and reach out to those around me. Even when I'm exhausted, worn. What a difference that would make in my children's lives to see their mother singing and dancing joyfully while cleaning toilets and changing diapers.   What is it that causes her to be glad and rejoice? What an impact that would make on their lives, impressing the beauty and might of an awe-inspiring God upon their hearts through their mother. Yes, Lord. Let it be!

Sometimes the things looming before me look overwhelming. I forget my praise. I see this white wall before me and don't know it's just chalk dust before the Lord. From here it looks daunting, scary.  Fear grips me, and I stop living. I'm merely surviving. Surviving through the dishes, the laundry, the dusting, the errands, the cooking, the bedtimes, the serving. I press my praise into a bag and start thinking about "when". When this happens, when that happens, when life gets better. I'll pull out my praise then.

I forget the here and now. I forget this is the day the Lord made, I should rejoice and be glad in it. I'm weary, and instead of resting in the Lord, I look around me for something else that will satisfy.

Stop. Look. Praise. Worship.
With a whole heart.
My God- my God of marvelous works, righteous, most High.
I am His.  This is all His. The fulness thereof.

1. Psalm 128:3- Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.

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