Thursday, November 16, 2017

leaning into the pain



it has been an intense season the past couple months. there are trials that everyone goes through - i am not going to pretend like mine are anything harder than anyone else or that i haven't had past seasons just as hard and much harder personally. this has just been a peculiar kind of hard. a hard that hits a specific tender spot in me and is challenging for me to walk through.

i have asked the Lord to take it from me. like pleaded. we have done what we can in the practical to deal with the trial, but it remains at this point. it has been almost 2 months and i feel worn down and struggling to believe anything will change. i mean, quite honestly, i have to deal with the thought that maybe it won't and i will have to decide what i do from here if it doesn't. but, i am still asking the Lord to bring us to the other side of this issue.

and though, as i said, my trial is nothing compared to what so many people are living through or what i have even gone through in my life. yet, i am facing that it really is a trial and i want to get whatever i have to out of it so that it isn't a trial in vain. you know what i mean? maybe it is my particular upbringing, but i think, "oh God, teach me what i need to know so we don't have to go around this mountain agan!" i was listening to a podcast of a gal who had a stroke about 10 years ago and she was talking about how life altering it was and how she has made it this far with a heart free from resentment or anger. she talked about leaning into the pain. in my comparatively light trial, i am asking myself if i have leaned into the pain, or if i have tried to stuff the pain because i feel so silly that this issue has caused my heart pain? how often do we look at others' lives and decided that the things that really do weigh our hearts down aren't worth dealing with because they make us look foolish? i mean, maybe i am foolish for having such a hard time these past couple months, but the fact remains that i am having a hard time. a very hard time. i am questioning why God isn't delivering me from the trial. i am going through all the same questions in my mind of why is this happening to me as i have in trials that others would look at as huge ones.

someone sent me the verse today, "I, even I, am He who comforts you..." from isaiah 51:12. i think i have had in my heart an accusation against God that He hasn't delivered me from this trial yet. the other day, in the heat of the moment, the words slipped from my mouth half in jest, "why do you hate me?" directed at God. i say half in jest because as i think about it, i am ashamed that my heart questions if God is somehow against me in having to deal with this issue. what is it i truly believe about God? do i believe He doesn't care for me, know my peculiar weaknesses, and is patient and kind towards me, or do i believe as this verse above states that He is the one who comforts me in the midst of my trial? could it be that He absolutely could deliver me from this trial this very moment, and i pray He does, but that He is tender and caring and gentle towards me in the middle of it even when He hasn't yet provided a way out?

i have listened to this song by shane and shane over and over again in this trial. the words that john piper speaks in the middle particularly speak to my heart in the middle of being discouraged. not one tiny moment of my suffering and pain is meaningless. God will bring good from it. i believe that He will bring the good both in this age and in the one to come. the passage this song is written from is from the book of job. if job could lean into the pain so fully and trusting, then how can i not? my trial is so much less than what he walked through, but it is no less that i choose to trust God and commit myself to not stuff or run from the pain, but to lean into it.  doesn't even human wonder if his/her suffering and heartache is meaningless? i know i have asked that question so many times in my life. what a comforting statement that our pain has meaning. i feel like i have been hiding from God in my pain and He wants me to draw near Him and let Him comfort me. He is a tender daddy who cares even for a skinned knee or small cut on his little girl.

i am positive that every person who reads this post is going through a trial of your own, or about to go through one. i hope that this song, that this message that your pain is not meaningless will encourage you to not lose heart. lean into the pain with me. He is the One who wants us to come to Him for comfort.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

finally coming to write

well, it has been a long time since i last even opened up my blog. maybe i should just let it go. i don't know. life is so different now. it isn't that i don't want to write anymore. i just haven't had time for writing basically since i started homeschooling. it is such a consuming world with having 7 kids.

oh yeah, and i am pretty sure i never mentioned being pregnant again a year ago. i had a 7th baby this march. the sweetest little surprise baby girl. miss rivkah märi. i love her so very very deeply. she is 5 months old.

so, i opened up my blogger account, who i blog with, and all my embedded images on my blog are broken. i tried for just 5 minutes to figure out how to fix them and i give up. the site i had my half a dozen images i embedded onto here are side bar links now charges $399 a year (photobucket) to be able to link 3rd party. well, for my average of writing one post every 15 months... i don't think that is going to happen. what a sad day. i am not techie enough to know what to do from here... so do i try to start writing again now and again on a blog with a bunch of broken links i don't know how to fix, or do i let it go. i am not sure what to do and don't have the time to research how in the world to get them up or if i just delete them all.

i was going to come on here and process a little of what is in my mind. so much has happened and i have changed and, hopefully, grown so much in the past 4 years that i don't even know where to begin. i have always wanted to be a writer and yet have had to largely let it go. maybe God will bring it back one day. this mess of images on this blog makes me wonder if i am trying to resurrect it on my own too soon.

i don't even know if anyone will read this post. if so, and you have great easy advice for what to do with the photobucket change and somewhere else that would let me have my dozen images there that i could embed and hyperlinks on here, well... let me know. i imagine blogger has their own system, but i don't know what that is.

blessings to you and yours.

charis

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

musing of my heart on time and change and eternity



life is such an interesting tension. in some ways, it feels as if i am always changing, and yet at the same time like i have always been the same. i look back at me 15-20 years ago, and it is looking back at a dreamlike me that exists in only my memories. many people who know me now and have met me since i have had kids do not know the parts of me that largely defined who i was before marriage and kids. (or would it better be stated, who i thought i was? i am just as much me now as i was then, and yet so much has changed and shifted) dear friends from the past would probably not recognize the me i have become - the me that i have grown into and become comfortable with and who has survived and been molded by the ups and downs of life. i know that i myself at 18-20 would have never guess i would be a mom of 6 kids who home-schooled. just not what i saw for my life down the road.

and yet, i feel so much the same. i understand what people mean as they get older that it is really just our shell that ages. part of me feels exactly the same. i was jumping on the trampoline with my kids the other night and i felt just the same inside as when i was 12 jumping on the trampoline. i wasn't sure if i dared try the flips i used to do, but i felt that same thrill inside... i feel the same impulses to sing out in a crowd or dance for no reason just to be silly... i still love so much that i have always loved and feel like so little has changed inside.

where i am in life, i almost forget the parts of me that largely defined who i was before. when someone brings them up in a conversation, maybe just finding out something i used to do in the past, i feel this little spark light up in my heart and it is then that i start to miss so much that i used to do and love. and yet, i would never trade the life i have for the life i had. that is the thing of it all... what i have right now is so much better than i could have planned or picked for myself, even with all the hardship it carries in itself. really, the trials have matured me. i am the same, but a wiser me... a less impulsive me... a more compassionate me... a me that has to lean on the Lord more because i am more acquainted with my own weakness, with sorrow, with the fragility of life.

in all this rambling, i wonder what my life in 15-20 years from now will look like... i wonder if the people who meet me then in that season will be surprised at this current season i am in. i wonder if anything in my past will be reawakened and woven back into my life in the future. i wonder if this present reality will also seem like a far away dream.

life is funny like that. i feel so much the same and so much different. maybe turning another year old recently made me super reflective. i know it has made me even more thankful for the reality of eternity. i can't help but wonder how all the pieces of a person will be worked together to make who they are really called to be in eternity - when we don't feel bound by time constraints and feeling as if we have to choose what we will focus on and give our attention to. i wonder what it will look like to be able to explore all the desires and dreams the Lord has placed in our hearts and not feel somewhere inside that hour glass that is ticking and the finite nature of life. i wonder what it will be like to love more freely without feeling constraints of the brokenness of human nature inside and without misunderstandings or the weight of sin. will i finally be patient with my own brokenness or will that brokenness finally be whole? probably a little of both i expect. what will it be like to not be in a hurry or not wishing time would just slow down?

i look at my kids and i see how my oldest is 12. six more summers, in theory, until he is an adult... and who knows what lays in store for him. i straddle the tension of feeling the speed at which my older kids are growing up and still changing diapers and waking in the night to nurse my youngest... and i know that we aren't promised a certain number of years. i want to keep my heart present and fully thankful in each moment - not grieving or missing the past, or dreading or longing for the future, but being here. right. now. and allowing the Lord to do with the past, present, and future me whatever He wills to do.

charis

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ramblings on education and my sweet baby girl

i have been so quiet around these parts that i am sure you can hear the crickets chirp.

life hasn't been quite so quiet in my off screen life however.

we just wrapped up our 2nd year homeschooling. there are so many wonderful things we have experienced in our homeschooling adventures. there are also many things that make me know that no one schooling approach is without its hardships and flaws. no one approach is for everyone or for every season.

our family prays about what school is going to look like every year. we don't have a mandate or direction from the Lord that we feel convinced is the one way we will go the whole way through school. it is interesting because it makes me feel a little awkward as a mom because i don't fit into either of the schooling (or any, as there seems to be even more than the main 2) camps. i totally see the benefits and shortfalls of the classroom education. i also totally see the benefits and the shortfalls of the home education. neither are perfect, and so often i find people, women in general, want me to take a hard fast line saying i am a 'believer' in one of the other. we seem to feel validated in our choices when we form a club around the way we do things.

i just am not a part of a club.

i have taught in the public education system, and i actually had a wonderful experience. i think there are really good teachers out there, really good schools, and a really good education and experience to be found. i still serve on the school board of a private christian school in town, and my kids attended there for 5 years. i have had a wonderful experience there and miss many of the benefits that school had to offer. i have homeschooled 3 kids one year, 4 the next, with little ones in tow and pregnant... i have had great experiences and some that still leave me unsatisfied. we have been a part of a co-op and i have been the lead teacher of many of those classes - again, benefit and difficulties.

i am personally the product of secular schooling through graduation from high school, both private and public education, and had wonderful and hard experiences. for me the good greatly outweighed the bad, and i wouldn't trade my experience for all the world. i went to a christian university (actually 2!). amazing and difficulty intermingled.

all this rambling is to say, i am probably always going to be a bit of a loner in my hesitation to jump on the bandwagon of homeschool or bust or the club of classroom or bust. i will always be someone who can see both sides. i will probably always feel a bit like i don't belong because i am not as sold out on most ideas or ways of doing things, especially education, as many of my friends and acquaintances. it really is a lonely place to be in.

but maybe just writing this and putting it out there will make one of you dear readers feel like you aren't alone if you feel like you also don't fit into either camp. i love the way God leads our family, even though sometimes it is stressful to not be sure what we are doing the next fall when everyone is asking for a commitment to plan like 6 months in advance. but He is always faithful and has always led us. i know He will continue to. i know that the way we do school may change from one year to the next, even from one kid to the next. i am okay with that.

one beautiful part of homeschooling this year has been having all the boys home with their little sister for her 1st year. this little one has been our absolute delight and icing on the top of our 5 layer chocolate cake. i love that they have had this special time with her... that she has had that special time with them. for me, i feel like i haven't had as much special time with her and my littler ones as i did with the older ones simply because i have to teach the olders so much. i know that God fills in those gaps for them, but i think it makes it feel like it goes by that much quicker if i can be perfectly honest. i am not ready for my littles to grow all the way up.


the beads are from her brothers for her 1st birthday gift. you better believe she knew exactly what to do with them. our teeny tiny sugar, not even 19 lbs yet at a year old. such a little love. my 3 year old was just telling our neighbor who came to the door to chat this morning, "see our baby girl? see our girl? do you see her? our baby girl?" it is as if all our hearts have had parts unlocked by her that we didn't realize were even there.


life is full. life is sweet. and, as everyone knows of their own life, the sweet is laced with painful. life is just that way. but, i do believe that the more acquainted we are with the depths of pain, the more the sweetness of life is just that... sweet and full of joy. i have to remind myself in the midst of the busy busy life of 6 kiddos to stop and look at these ordinary moments and soak in the delight... to take those mental photographs that will be etched onto my memories forever.


i guess this is just a rambling of my thoughts. what are your thoughts on education and life decisions? do you have a clear word from the Lord that is steering your direction consistently over a long stretch of time? do you come fresh to Him each year to find the directives for that year? do you see life from as many complicated angles as i do? i think it helps me relate to people... but it makes it hard to feel like i ever fully belong because i always see the other side. i would love to hear from anyone who has still hung around this long while i haven't been writing much. love you to all!

charis

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

even the one


i know of a man who recently went to be with the Lord. about a year before his death, his wife had a dream that when he entered heaven he was greeted by the many many people that he shared the gospel with and led to the Lord. what a beautiful welcome into glory! can you even imagine seeing people in the presence of the Lord who you spent time praying for, sharing with, and discipling? a reward like that makes a life seem so worth all the hardship and sacrifice that surely came with it.

i lay in bed one night after hearing this story so moved by the life of this man who lived his life for the gospel, and reflected on the simple unimpressive life that i lead. my heart envied the life this man lived - a good righteous life that influenced others to walk with Jesus. i thought about my days - so routine, so monotonous, and without much reach or influence. laying there in bed i asked the Lord, "when i get to the end of my life, who will i have i even led to You?"

a sadness filled my heart - not the kind of sadness that is akin to self-pity, but the sadness of a child who wants to be pleasing to her Father and yet feels as if she has so little to show for her efforts. i am reminded of the apostle paul who said that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. i just felt small and weak. my desire to live a life like this man was definitely there - but i wondered where was the opportunity to be faithful as he had been.

then i heard it as clear as if you were speaking to me, and yet it was that still small Voice that one can only hear with her inside ears:

"you are leading your kids to Me."

the anxious thoughts left. the burden of shame at the smallness of my days lifted. it was enough. the Holy Spirit reminded me that if i am faithful with the assignment that lays before me, it would be counted as righteous and the joy of His reward would be sweet.

i have thought back to that moment several times the past couple weeks. so often we envy others whose ministry and reach look big to us. these men and women are being faithful to what the Lord has laid before them, and He will reward their faithfulness. but the size of the ministry He has given us does not determine the eternal significance of His calling on our lives to lead those in our influence to Him. mother teresa said,  
"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."
i am not sure what the assignment is that the Lord has put before you. it may be so large that you feel small and unable to do what He has asked. it may look so small in the eyes of man that you wonder if it will have meaning in the end.

all i can tell you is this - He will give you opportunity to share the gospel with the one who is before you and encourage that one to live a life faithful in following our Savior, and leading even the one to following Him will have great reward for all eternity. we all have people in our lives whose eternity may be affected by our faithful witness of Jesus. He sees what men do not see. this you can count on.

charis

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