Here's another "7 Quick Takes Friday" on Saturday. Oh well. :) I apologize in advance that it's going to be whiny. It's been a rough couple of weeks.
- Mold. Still. And it's already ruined book cases, and I've had to pitch books covered in mold. So we're likely going to need to move, again. It's been a rough go of it the last 2 weeks, looking for apartments. We've probably seen several dozen at this point, and of the three that have suited our 3 main goals (location close to a park, enough room for all 7 of us while still being in our price range, and no apparent mold issues now or in the past), one won't be ready for 2 months, and the other 2 have refused us on the basis of the number children we have. *sigh* I'm tired.
- Moses is into everything, eating so well (pumpkins, mixed veggies, brown rice, oatmeal, and bananas-- I still make it at home- so easy if you're in that stage of life and want tips!) and figuring everything out... he is just a delightful little person. At least, in the midst of hard times, I have these sweet little people around me. Though it is true that they technically add to the responsibilities I have, they so much more bless me with their precious smiles, and the way that their very presence (both the responsibility of caring for them, and the responsibility for wisely teaching & loving them) drives me to the awareness of my own sinfulness, pride, and self-centeredness.
- On that score, I don't want to glorify sin, but I do want to be real here. I don't want this to be a place where I share all the pretty, easy things and never tell you that I struggle with anger all too often (this is no new struggle), that my kids have heard rude responses to innocent questions this week, or that in all 5 years of living overseas, Texas has never looked so appealing.
In the midst of all the clicking of car seats, and in and out looking at apartments, and no time to cook proper meals so everyone is exhausted and cranky cause we're eating junk and sitting in a dad-blasted car all the time (and I'm thankful we have a car!), I wish I could say I'd done well keeping my focus on God's perfect sovereignty. I wish I could say that the verse of one of my favorite hymns had been on my lips and in my heart all week, as it should have been:
Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wondrously reignethInstead of seeing how God has given us friends and growth and precisely what we needed in every single apartment we've had overseas (of which there have been 5 in 5 years), I have been riding the rollercoaster of "ooh that apartment would be great, let me mentally arrange all our furniture in that apartment, oh yes, it will work out great, I'm so excited!" Only to be hit with "no", "no", and "no". And my attitude has been the worse for it. Christlikeness seems so far away.
Shelters thee under His wings, yea so gently sustaineth
Hast thou not seen how thy desires e'er have been
Granted by what He ordaineth?
- I've been re-reading "Stepping Heavenward", and it is oh so appropriate for this season of my life. I've received both grace and truth through the words written by Prentiss. I can so identify with the main character's passion for life and desire for godliness in the face of her own humanity. Consider these passages:
"Today I feel discouraged and disappointed. I certainly thought that if God really loved me and I really loved Him, I should find myself growing better day by day. But I am not improved in the least. Most of the time I spend on my knees, I am either stupid, feeling nothing at all, or else my head is full of what I was doing before I began to pray or what I am going to do as soon as I get through. I do not believe anyone else in the world is like me in this respect." (Ha!, to that last line!)
..."When I read the lives of good men and women who have died and gone to heaven, I find that they all like to sit and think about God and about Christ. Now I don't. I often try, but my mind flies off in a tangent."
- In "Stepping Heavenward", Prentiss drafted this advice, given to Kate by an old friend:
"You will imagine that it is best that He should at once enable you to see clearly. If it is, you may be sure He will do it. He never makes mistakes. But He often deals far differently with His disciples. He lets them grope their way in the dark until they fully learn how blind they are, how helpless, how absolutely in need of Him. What His methods will be with you I cannot foretell. But You may be sure that He never works in an arbitrary way. He has a reason for everything He does."Isn't it so very obvious that I needed to read this book at this particular moment? (See #1 & #3 on this list!!!) I think God has had a lot of self-confidence to work out of my heart and life, and I'm sorry to say that it's not all gone. I still revert to the natural tendency of my heart all too often, to rely on myself first and foremost and only turn to God when I've reached the very end of my own human strength. How backward, and yet, it's what I do again and again.
- I'm still trying to simplify and de-clutter. Anyone have words of wisdom about how to do this while still being frugal and keeping what is necessary and helpful with a family of this size? I don't want to have to later re-purchase what we own now, if I can help it.
- Four of my friends in various parts of the world have had babies in the last few weeks (congrats, Emily, Sandra, Shannon, and Allison!), and this week, two people I've known since high school announced their decisions to adopt... one a sweet little Korean infant boy, and the other a precious Chinese preschooler. There is so much joy in this world! If God brings me to your mind, please pray that I'll focus on the joyful things of life, and let the annoying things roll right off my back. Or even better, that somehow He'll show me how to embrace the difficult things too.
Best wishes to you for a good week...