Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kids say the darnedest things

I'm going to miss these days when my children grow up and start talking just like everyone else. They do say the cutest things. 

Georgie to Shane. "Daddy can you blast my hair?" (Talking about using the hair dryer)

In Georgie's vocabulary, Croissants are Bon bons 

When we were getting ready to go to Granny Kay's, Shane Charlie and I got distracted and were cuddling on the bed, Georgie comes stomping in, "well, are we going to Granny Kay's or not? I'm ready and I've been waiting for you!" She is such a bossy boots sometimes.

"I da boss!" Charlie.

Yes, that is a duck face.

Georgie's frustrated word "dude!"

Every morning, as Daddy leaves for work "Daddy you not go to work without me, never ever!" from Charlie. 

Georgie: "we must get dressed now!"

Charlie and his "only one"

And finally, bonus points for one from Shane (said in the most shocked tone, as if he were accusing me of murder) "you gave me chocolate when we have ice cream in the freezer!?"

Friday, August 29, 2014

On knowing God, (or trying to)

I have this trouble, with God. I don't think I really know him very well at all. Not because of anything He does or doesn't do for me. But more because of the things I think about him. I know God loves me. I really do. I completely believe that he sent his son for me because he loves me.

But the thing I have much, much more trouble with, is the concept that He likes me. (And yes, in my mind there is a difference) Say a child, they know they are loved, they see everything their parent does for them, and they appreciate that. Their parent is kind, and good and loves them. And the child knows that. But the love that the parent gives that child, then causes that child to try to do things to please their parent. I watch it in my own children, a couple of days ago for example, Georgie mastered doing her own buttons up on her pajama top, and she was just thrilled when I was so excited and proud of her. I watched her just glow and beam with joy, because she was proud to have pleased me. I know as a child myself, I was so thrilled when I got an award at a school presentation night, and my Dad was there, and I saw him be proud of me. He goes pink in the face, and he grins and looks like Santa Clause when he is particularly chuffed. And I could recognize that my Dad was proud of me, and liked me, you know?

Parents often do have favourite children. They just do. It's a fact. I find my favoritism often chops and changes with my children depending on what stage they are going through. But I never feel like I am God's favorite.

I don't often feel like I do anything that makes God like me. I don't often feel like I have made him proud, or pleased. I know he loves me and his son died for me, and that is because I am his child and I am his blood and I belong to him, and so he cannot help but love me. But often I feel like that frustrating, annoying, difficult child who can't get things right and just makes things more complicated. I get scared that my own parenting mirrors the beliefs I hold about God and it just kills me. I know it's kind of ridiculous, and probably completely wrong, but it feels right.

I have huge trouble with the idea that God could look down on my and delight in me. I feel like he is just looking down, going "What's she done again?" a lot of the time. I feel so much that I have to work to earn God's liking and I never ever manage it, because I am such a selfish creature.

The Bible tells me that he likes me, that he delights in me.

He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. Psalm 18:19 

The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17

 For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; Psalm 149:4

I know it. But it is head knowledge, not heart knowledge. I'm not quite sure how to go about making it heart knowledge. But I know I carry around an awful lot of false guilt. I am a sinner, heaven knows I mess up so much. But my sin is forgiven and gone because of Jesus' sacrifice. So my guilt should be gone as well. That's a much harder beast to conquer. I know my guilty feelings feed directly into my belief that God doesn't like me, and I know it is false and robbing me of so much.

And while you'd think that the guilt would be the explanation, I don't think it (solely) is. I think I also have trouble understanding the heart of God. I still believe that he is capable of withholding himself, that he treats the free gift of grace, and therefore his goodwill like something that must be earned. Even though I know that he all that is good and pure and lovely and kind.

 I know so much of this is directly affecting the way I act now, the way I love others. but it's bloody hard ignoring things you feel to be true. I'm trying to figure out how. I'm working on trying to believe that He is a God who adores me. And when he sees me broken, and tired and sad and dirty, he doesn't get frustrated or angry or fed up with me, but rather he sees my brokenness and his heart breaks for me. I'm trying to believes that he picks me up, and adores me. That there are things about me that he finds endearing, and delightful. That I am his favourite. That there are aspects of me that he would never ever change. It's hard, but I'm trying.

 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Deep thinks

I'm kind of battling a fair bit at the moment. With the concept of church, and the way I do church in particular. I'm struggling to understand why we do everything we do. Why we put so much emphasis and energy into a Sunday morning, and we work so hard, to make things look so good. I don't know if everything we do on a Sunday actually achieves much, you know? There is a world full of broken people with no hope, and we are hidden away in our buildings, worrying about this program and that program, making sure the music is current, and the graphics are cool, and talking about how to reach the unchurched. But sometimes it feels like all we do is talk, and keep ourselves really busy. Somehow, we end up placing too much importance on things that really don't matter, and we ignore the stuff that is really important. We put smiles on our faces, and joy in our voices, and we put so much effort into making sure that we are all just beautiful plastic shells that are broken inside. 

It feels like we are this bunch of people who get together once a week to have meaningless superficial conversations. We have two minutes of small talk, and have these deep spiritual conversations, but we don't really know anything real about each other and we walk away lonely. I know I'm part of the problem. I keep people at a distance sometimes because I don't know how to talk to them. But I simply cannot believe that I am the only one who feels this way?

We talk lots about how good God is. And yes, He is good. I believe it with all my heart. But somehow it feels like we are talking about this superficial bandaid good. A good that makes everything look pretty, but leaves an ugly wound festering deep inside that is eventually going to cause that leg to get gangrene. I believe in the kind of good that sometimes has to rebreak the broken leg, and make you scream and cry out in pain, because baby, there's no anaesthetic. But yet somehow, you manage to walk around (much, much later) without any kind of limp.

I am so desperately tired of bandaids. I want the real fix.

To be honest, I'm a little bit broken hearted. I still love God. But I don't quite know where He is. Or something. Sometimes I wonder if I even know who He is. I get scared that I will be that Christian too busy wandering around with her head up her ass, so that she doesn't even recognize Jesus when she meets Him face to face. 

know that people are people, and just because we are Christians does not make us programable Jesus-bots (although sometimes, I really wish we were). But still, it's hard sometimes when you feel a bit let down by people. I am hurt, mostly on behalf of some people I love, but I think I am also hurt, because I truly believed we were different. And the thing is, when I am hurt, and angry, and frustrated at people, I am also hurt and angry and frustrated at me too. Because I know that I let Him down.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep." ( John 21:15-18 NIV)

I'm not feeding his sheep. I'm not. I'm the person Jesus tells three times, and I still don't get it. So how can I be dissolutioned by others who don't? Believe me, when I am sitting here having these deep thinks and pointing fingers, I am pointing at myself. I'm so bone-weary just making it through some days, that I don't even have the energy to think about feeding any sheep. I just don't know how. And of course, there are times when I am prompted to do some sheep feeding, and I always manage to screw it up somehow.

I am hurt. But I also do the hurting. I am let-down, but I know I've let others down. I am alone, but I leave others on their own too. When i talk about not understanding the church, I freely acknowledge that I am the church. And I want to be the church. But I want to be the church that I believe in, you know? I don't really know what it is I'm asking, or what it is I'm trying to say. But maybe when I figure it out, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

4 and 2 and a half.

My children are growing right before my eyes. And yet, every day is Groundhog Day. The same thing, all the time. Each hour, each day flows seamlessly into the next, and because I am the closest person to these tiny humans, I sometimes forget that they are, in fact not going to be like this forever. I want them to grow up, and live and do, and be. But sometimes I am terrified for them, because sadly, futures are not always rosy. And I wish I could keep back just a tiny little bit of baby-ness of my own, for always. Just to snuggle up with every now and then.

I sometimes think life would be much nicer if you could pick and choose which days to live according to your needs. So, for a few days you could be a grown up and go to work, and then when you were really weary of that, you could be a baby for a little while and sleep lots, and be taken care of. When you are old and lonely and tired, you could go back to being a Mummy of small children when you are being touched all the time. I know it wouldn't work of course. But still, you know.


So, being just-recently-four is really hard, I think. My Georgie-girl, she has very definite ideas about things. Her line of 'traffic' in the morning when she plays with her cars must be just so. And when things fall apart as her brother (inevitably) destroys that oh-so-precious row of cars, they fall apart big time. There are so many big emotions encased in that little body. She feels all the feels. And I must admit, often I am not overly empathetic. It's hard when you have a child who acts like everything is an emergency. It gets a bit like the boy who cried wolf some days. I worry for her, I hope that she will be able to manage her feelings okay, in this big feelings-inducing world.

She is working out her world, and oh, the questions! Whoever said the average four year old asks 437 questions a day, was not lying. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked What is for dinner? What are we doing now? What will we do tomorrow? What will we do this afternoon? I would be a very wealthy woman. My girl is into dressing ups in a big way. She loves Frozen and is happiest when she is dressed in her Princess Elsa costume. She has three pairs of dress-up high heels, and we have had countless negotiations about where we can wear them.

She doesn't sleep very well at night. And while, that used to bother me so much, (Because she was such a good sleeper for the first couple of years of her life) I am slowly learning to roll with it. She often creeps into our bed in the middle of the night, and I sometimes end up moving into her bed for some space. Other times I end up squished into her bed with her like a sardine in a can, inhaling her childish loveliness. Mostly I long to have an uninterrupted night's sleep with nobody touching me. But I know, this too shall pass, and one day I will miss it.

She and her brother are either best friends, or fighting like wild cats. Some days they are at each others throats constantly, and it drives me insane, because they are both as bad as each other, constantly teasing, and shouting and goading one another. Someone is always running to me complaining about something their sibling has done. There is a constant battle over who gets to open a door first, or turn off the TV. But the next minute, they are playing happily, giggling to one another, or cuddling up in bed. I really want my kids to take care of each other, and be kind to each other. I think it is so important for siblings to be friends, and I hope my kids always like their family.

Two and a half

Goodness, I like two and a half. Master Charles is busy. I'm pretty sure I said this about Georgie too, but truly, he is one of the busiest little people I have ever known. If he is awake, he is doing. I often say Charlie only has two modes. On or Off. He is a brilliant sleeper, mostly it takes an earthquake to shift him, and generally he only wakes at night for a good reason. But when he is awake, it is all systems go!

Sometimes it is slightly terrifying, finding out what Charlie has been up to. A couple of weeks ago he had an obsession with finding out what was inside of eggs, and I think he managed to crack over a dozen eggs in the space of a week whenever anyone's back was turned. He also scares me sometimes because he thinks he is so very capable. We had to re-secure the drawer where the sharp knives are kept. "I do it!" is a constant catch-cry.

He is always doing. One of his favourite pastimes is digging in the backyard. Poor Shane often gets frustrated when he comes home and sees what Charlie has been up to. Our once pristine lawn now has tiny little piles of dirt and gravel through it, which makes it really fun to mow. But Charlie loves it. He loves to go to 'work' with Daddy. Shane often takes him out with him, when he does boy things, and the little man heart adores it. He has a little high vis shirt that he wears for 'work' and it is so cute.

I love his tiny little deep voice. He is getting so big! But he is good at reminding us that he is "Only little!" He can be quite rough and physical, but he is nice. He is a very kind, considerate little soul for all his rambunctious ways, and I hope that will always be so. He is still a bit of a Mummy's boy, and often when we are out at playgroup or something, he will get upset if he loses track of me. But when Shane is around every inch of him belongs to his Daddy. He just adores his Father, and if Shane is home there is always a Charlie shaped shadow following him.

Four and Two and a half makes for a very full life. And while, sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me, mostly I am very grateful, and I do like it very much.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Begin again tomorrow

Oh, today! Today mostly kicked my butt. My little girl may have just recently turned four, but at times she is still such a threenager. I tried today, I really really did. But you know how it is, when sometimes you go to bed stuffed with good intentions, dreaming of the wonderful things you will do when you wake up.... and that is the morning when tiny little imps have siphoned out all your good intentions and left you with with a Very Bad Mood?

Well today me and my Very Bad Mood went off to Zumba class, and we tried really hard to ignore it and suck it up when a little person made me stop every flipping two minutes. Today I tried to soothe the Very Bad Mood with coffee from the drive through window after Zumba and a play in the park. But alas, by the time we got home, the Very Bad Mood collided with Impossible To Please Daughter, and together that spawned and mutated into An Epic Loss Of Temper with bonus Blinding Rage. It wasn't good.

I haven't lost my temper like that in a really long time. And I hate, hate, hate the fact that my poor small girl always seems to bear the brunt of my outbursts. We both had a good howl and I apologized, but 'sorry' doesn't magically erase all the hurt. Sometimes I get so very frightened of the emotional bruises and scars my babies will be left with. I want so badly to be the mother they deserve, but it is so, so hard. I swear, you never realise how incredibly selfish you are until you become a parent. It's not a very nice thing to find out about yourself.

Anyway, as a result, today has been a bit suckful. I have been feeling guilty and ashamed and hating on myself a fair bit. It's hardest to forgive yourself, I think. My children, they are lovely and forgive me straight away. There are lots of lessons I need to learn from them.

But husbands who come home and help pick up the pieces make things a bit better, as do mothers who provide a shoulder to cry on. Music helps too.

Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?

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