Contentment

Kids are a delight.

They have the sweetest, most excited generosity.

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They wear cute clothes.

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They know how to delight in everything from cats to fountains to roof tops.

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They have adventures in their heads, and look beautiful no matter what they are doing.

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Kids are a delight- but most days I am miserable.  I can see how awesome my life is, but I can’t convince my heart to stop generating overwhelming waves of frusteration, disastisfaction, and self pity.  I don’t think I’m unusual in this.

God created us women to serve.  Look in Genesis and 1 Peter and you will see that God created us so that our beauty shows up most in serving, gently and quietly.

So if we were created with the ability to be God’s hands and love towards others it makes sense that Satan would much rather we focus on ourselves.  God made us women to serve others, but Satan has robbed us of the joy and peace and beauty that God built into this purpose by convincing us we must also ensure that our needs are met.

I can write a long list of things I should have that I don’t.  I could give that list to any christian woman and I bet they would agree with it and tell me I needed to “fill my emotional tank.”  I even saw an awesome movie recently that told moms they needed to put on their own oxygen masks first, but I have to stop and think- what is there on that list that can fill me?

Can girl time make me stop feeling like no one cares?  Could a run or an adequate wardrobe make me feel beautiful?  Could a romantic date with my husband make me not care when my kids won’t listen?  I think I could get every good thing a girl could have and still be miserable.  I think my list is just an excuse to not fight the battle in my mind.

God calls all humanity to joy.  Philipians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, and again I say rejoice.”  And the gospel- Christ dieing so my stupidity isn’t my definition- is reason enough to rejoice.  Psalm 118:29 says “Give thanks to the Lord, He is good; For his lovingkindness is everlasting.” Psalm 118 says God has opened the gates of righteousness and thanks to God we can go through them.  God has saved us.  Not only has God removed every mistake you’ve ever made- and for me that is the only way I can hold my head up- but He has taken charge of the future and will spin it to your advantage.  Finally, He has crafted this very minute to give you a taste of Himself.  All that means freedom from guilt, from fear, from stress, from all my excuses for misery.

As women, Satan knows He can block us from this joy if he can just get us to focus on ourselves.  Our emotions make his job easy.  The Bible says to take every thought captive, and I think that also means every feeling.  Daily I am overwhelmed by my feelings, but God is calling me to contentment- to spending my energy on the purpose He has given me rather than my feelings.  To trusting that He will meet my needs and I need only to live the life He unfolds before me.  To call on Him in my stress and act on the answers He gives me.  God made me for a beautiful job, and He is waiting to train to me to perfect joy in it, if I will choose to be ruled by the gospel instead of my feelings.   So, I am making a commitment to contentment- to say “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it- no excuses.”

(Psalm 118:24)

 

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Awesome Ideas

I have been told there is a certain amount of predictability to my blog posts- as a friend’s husband said “Oh, I bet she’s going to tell us how awesome her husband is.” Ok, I’ll admit it- my husband is awesome, so much so that it is impossible for me to tell you about my life without his sheer awesomeness bleeding through. Case and point- our Fourth of July celebration:

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Sometime before the holiday Kenny came to me:
“I’ve got an idea,” he said, with the same look he uses when he wants to turn the boys’ bunk bed into a playground, or is considering the possibility of installing a zip line from the balcony of our 6th story apartment.
“Ok…” I replied.
“You know my work site up on Namsaan Mountain, by Seoul Tower? For the Fourth of July we should have a cook out up there and invite some of the soldiers. We could actually look down from above at the fireworks as they are launched from Yong San and afterwards we could camp out.”
“That’s a great idea! I would love that!”
“That’s not all. There’s all this unused space up there that is really over grown. Some of the weeds are chest high. What if I took some lawn equipment up there and mowed out a path- like a maze- and we armed the kids with water balloons and turned them loose on each other?!”
So on the morning of July Fourth my husband, our two daughters and two hapless soldiers who volunteered from Kenny’s platoon, set off up the mountain with mowers and weed eaters. The work was intense. They spent more than three hours in clearing weeds, raking picnic areas, and weed eating through chest high brush to create a water-battle course the size of a soccer field. Oh, and some of them also sat in the air conditioned car with the bucket seats fully reclined and watched “Leroy and Stitch.” I leave the task allocation to you. Eventually they came back down the mountain, we stuffed the car full of sleeping bags, pillows, backpacks and cook out food, and Kenny drove the whole family up a shady park road to… a chain link fence topped with barbed wire… behind which… was hiding…
MY OWN PRIVATE SECRET GARDEN!

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When Kenny told me the weeds were chest high he didn’t tell me that they were also covered with millions of tiny daisies, or that the place he was taking us was a no longer used military compound that had been completely over taken by wild raspberries, pheasant, cuckoo birds, and the most glorious weeds! Ok, I can understand how the glory of this revelation might be lost on those who are not living my life, but let me explain, this was a fenced-in totally safe military compound with no other people on it full of flowers and trees that the kids could pick and climb without causing an international incident. This was- a break, freedom, a very rare chance to let my children run wild! So we…
caught bugs

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picked wild flowers

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read spy thrillers in the shadow of a 14th century wall

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did yoga of roof tops

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grilled

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ate

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played with fire

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caught moths

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watched fireworks, and played with glow sticks on roof tops.

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Then we tried to sleep.

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The next day we passed out water balloons. (These balloons were both biodegradable and shaped like hand grenades, does anyone else find that ironic?)

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Then we commanded the children to battle!

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Kenny stood on a roof and oversaw the fracas until he couldn’t resist any more, then he and I confiscated all the water balloons and forced our children to run through the course while we reigned down a barrage of balloons from above.

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You should have seen them diving under the daisies for cover. It was classic family bonding.
All in all, my husband has awesome ideas, which makes sense because… my husband is awesome.

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