Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pity Party, Party of One...

I think we have all been there, drug down by the disappointments of life and discouraged with the way things have turned out.  That is how I was feeling all of last week.  Overwhelmed with responsibilities, discouraged by many failures (namely potty training), and frustrated with the ever slow wheels of justice as we battle for these precious kids that have been placed with us.

I moped around most of Monday, barely accomplishing the minimum that was required.  Tuesday was not much better and by Wednesday it was a full out Pity Party.  If life would have let me, I would have stayed in bed.  But woe is me, these kids demanded my time and attention!  By Wednesday night, when the rest of my family was heading out to church, and I was staying home with tired little ones, I was well on my way to becoming Eeyore.  You know from Winnie the Pooh?  The sad little donkey who is always so glum.  "Oh bother!"

I have always loved Eeyore, my heart just melts at his sad little outlook on life. But, you know what I noticed about Eeyore?  No one lives with him, he lives all alone in his damp house in the Hundred Acre Woods.  Ok, ok...all of the characters in the story except Kanga and Roo live alone, but when you read the books or watch the cartoon, they are always at each others houses, except at Eeyore's.  It seems that everyone loves Eeyore, but no one is in a grand hurry to spend time with him.  Hmmmm....

I suppose that was much like me last week, who wants to hang out with a glummy gus, a girl sitting around feeling sorry for herself.  As I was thinking through things and muddling about my week, this phrase came into my head, "Pity party, party of one."  Over and over I heard that and it made me giggle.  You know when you go out to eat at a busy restaurant and they take your name and ask how many people are in your party, then when your table is ready they call out, "Graham, party of 9?"  Well that is what I was envisioning, and you know what?  No one wanted to join my pity party.

Why would they?  There were no balloons and streamers, geesh there were no decorations at all.  Cake and ice cream?  I don't think so....there was nothing to celebrate here.  Reminds me of Eeyore's words to Pooh, "Good morning, Pooh Bear...if it is a good morning.  Which I doubt!"

Now something is wrong with this picture, parties are for celebrations, for embracing life and praising God for whatever blessing is being celebrated.  Sometimes as believers we live under this false idea that everything is going to be easy, that once we accept Christ as our Savior we will have smooth sailing.  I have read my Bible from cover to cover, and you know what?  Nowhere in those pages does it say that this life is going to be easy.  In fact 1 Peter 4:12-13 says just the opposite, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed."  So why on earth are we wasting time feeling sorry for ourselves?  Time for a little perspective adjustment I guess...think I will go sit down and make a list of all my blessings instead of all my problems, then I can have a blessings of many, want to join me?  I hope you will!

Here's where I am starting:
1. I am redeemed by a Savior who gave his life for me.
2. I am blessed with 7, soon to be 8, beautiful, healthy babies.
3. I have a husband who loves me.
4.  I have a warm place to sleep and warm food to eat.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

No More Perfect Family

As you all know, I have been reading through Jill Savages, No More Perfect Moms, and as bold as it may seem, I want to add my own chapter entitled, No More Perfect Family.

As a child I loved to watch shows like The Brady Bunch and The Cosby Show, and as I watched I longed to have a family like those.  Sure they had their share of troubles but by the end of the show they had figured it all out and managed to still love each other.  Still love each other, that is the part that strikes me.  I have shared before about the struggles in my family, especially in the last few years, but the problems go so much deeper.

I can honestly remember the first time an adult in my life said a kind word to me.  I was in 5th grade and my teacher, Mr. Bubnick, complimented me for being, "The most polite student he has ever had."  That was thirty years ago but I can still hear his words in my head.  Up to that point I was a struggling student, barely passing from year to year.  I was a known "cry baby" by my peers and school and church were the safest environments I had.  I ended 5th grade with A's and B's and ended up graduating high school in the top 10% of my class.  All because Mr. Bubnick took the time to say something nice to me.  The power of positive words can be life changing, but I guess that is a topic for a different day!  Today's blog is about perfect families!

If I had to chose one word that describes my childhood, I think it would be, "Unlovable."  It is a struggle I have carried into my adult life.  It has shaped me into a recovering people pleaser who struggles to say no to anyone for fear of rejection.  Every time someone is disappointed in me, it comes to the forefront and screams, "No one will ever be able to love you."

I have to admit that when I see families out and about, Grandpas loving on their grand babies, adult daughter and mother sharing a coffee, aunts and uncles at the local school program, jealous rears its ugly head.  Thoughts like,  "I wish I had a mom like that," or "I wish my kids could have that kind of relationship with my dad," fill my head and heart.  But you know what happens when I allow my brain to go that direction?  I miss out on the blessings right in front of me.

My family has been so blessed with friends who love on us, love my kids, and share life with us.  It is the family God has given me for the here and now.  I need to learn to embrace that!  Another thing I need to remember is that those television shows were just that....a show, not reality!  Also, those families I see out in public have their own set of troubles.  I am comparing my insides, a broken messy family, to their outsides.  In reality, I have no idea what trials they are facing or have faced.  I do not know the journey they have been on that has brought them to this place.  I only know what I can see.

One last thought, I am so glad that God will never disappoint us, aren't you?  Though our earthly families may not be all that we would like, God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He also promises that ALL things, good and bad, work together for the good of those who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  That means that He takes all the broken pieces of our everyday life's and makes them glorious!  Even better than that, He loves us just as we are.  I love the JJ Heller song entitled, "What Love Really Means," because it echos my heart cry, "Who will love me for me, not for what I have done or what I will become" and God's answers these questions loud and clear by saying, "I will love you for you, not for what you have done or what you will become...I will give you the love that you never knew."  In fact He loved us so much that he sent His son to pay the debt for our sins, a payment we could never have made (John 3:16).  

Not sure if anyone out there can relate, but just in case, I hope you were encouraged!   As always, I would love to hear your thoughts!