Friday, May 26, 2006

Daily Routines

This morning I am taking an hour's rest from what has become a morning ritual. I have become more diligent than ever before in taking care of housework early in the day. I throw open our bedroom curtains and tie them back to let in the daylight. I make up our bed and get all the lumps out. Then I pick up whatever might be on the floor and toss it into the laundry hamper. Next I move into the bathroom and wipe out our sinks, swish out the toilet and pick up the floor. In the kitchen I put any dishes left over from breakfast into the dishwasher and sweep the floor (today I will mop). Lastly I vacuum the carpeted areas and straighten out cushions and throw blankets.

Spiritually my routine isn't much different, which doesn't surprise me. I open my morning devotional to let God's light shine into my sleepy thoughts. In prayer I get out all the lumps of resistance to His direction and surrender my tasks to Him. With His help I see what things need to be cleared from my path so I can do what He asks without hindrance. I clean up and scrub out any attitudes that would render my efforts to serve my family as fruitless. Finally I serve my family with a ready heart and create an atmosphere where they might also come to a closer relationship to Jesus.

Unlike housecleaning, however, the order of my day in spending time in prayer and devotion is important if I am to be open and available to what God wants me to do. It's like the teacup that looks clean and pretty on the outside but has been left dirty and unwashed on the inside. There are things that need to be taken care of if I'm to be of use to anyone.

You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy...First wash the inside of the cup, and then the outside will become clean, too. Matthew 23:25-26 (NLT)


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3,...

Being a homeschooler I have the opportunity to observe how Elizabeth prepares for and takes tests. Most of the time she's ready and able to do her absolute best. Other days, well, she's not. So, after the tears are dried (she's a girl, after all), more reviewing, and better preparation, she retakes the test and always does me proud.

On Friday my daily devotional from Proverbs 31 spoke to me about preparing for the tests that come our way. Whenever God teaches us His truths and brings us into further understanding of His will, the tests follow closely after. We've been given the lesson and now we must put our learning to practice. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don't. But we know that the lessons will surely come as will the tests.

Bill spent a wonderful day with another friend at a men's retreat where he was challenged and motivated in his walk with God. Today our pastor spoke directly from Job and shared how it applies to us. On the drive home Bill appeared tense and as we talked it became very apparent that he was bracing himself for the test that was sure to come. He was considering how well he prepared for it and what the result of his test would be. I love this man who is so teachable and honest before God. We pray that we truly learn what God teaches so that we are ready when the tests come.

"How can I prepare?"

1. Report to class regularly.
- Read your Bible.
- Learn what the Scripture means and how it applies to your life.
- Memorize.

2. Use Study Hall wisely.
- Waiting for the answer to come is not down time - it is the study hall of life.
- While in the 'wait' room or 'study hall' prepare and practice for the next tests. What we do while we wait determines the outcome of our test.

3. Get tutoring in areas of weakness.
- Pray, developing a deep relationship with Jesus, the Teacher.
- Listen until you hear the answers to your questions.

4. Practice whenever possible.
- Review regularly what you learn.
- Study groups are necessary for accountability and success.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006


"Ulie's crying, " Bill remarked sleepily at 6:55 a.m.

It was already well past sunrise and we could hear the sound of plastic trash bin bottoms scraping against the driveways. Bill got out of bed and trekked beyond the other side of our room, past the front room, across the dining room, and through part of the living room to Ulie's room.

Ulie's room. Burgundy curtains block out most of the sunlight. His crib is tucked into a corner. His little table with metal basket style drawers sits closeby. Quackums, Love Monkey, and other fuzzy friends are there with him. A small twin bed is available for a parent/child sleepover if necessary. Mom made sure of it.

Both Elizabeth and Murron made the transition to their own rooms at approximately the same age. A few nights of adjustment was all they needed and they settled in to their own quarters like good little troops. All my questions of, "What if I don't hear him crying?" or "Is he going to be warm enough?" have already been answered by his older sisters. Ulie will be fine.

Will I be fine? Knowing this is just the beginning of letting him go, yes, I will be fine. I will be fine when he stays with a babysitter for the first time. When he has his first sleepover I will remain intact. When he leaves for a weekend or more doing whatever God calls him to do I will live. And when he is gone from here although part of me will go with him, God will gather me close to Himself, cradle my heart, and soothe me to peaceful unworried rest.