I don't know about you, but I HATE tests. Now, I am not talking about math or science here....I am talking about tests from God. I would rather help someone else through theirs (like encouraging or praying for them) than go through my own. They are just no fun!!
I know that God is working on me----constantly. And I am okay with that. But it is not always comfortable and it can down right hurt sometimes. I find that He will be working on an issue with me and then BAM! He wants to see if I REALLY have given over the situation to Him. Sometimes I do GREAT with the test, sometimes not so hot.
I will even open myself up here and give you 2 examples:
I have been reading a good book called "Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God". It is put out by Vision Forum. A friend of mine, Connie, gave it to me for Christmas. When I was in the second chapter, I almost gave up on it. Stacy McDonald is one of the authors and she talks about "me time" and how it is selfish to think we need it. She goes on to talk about how she has never had a massage, visited a spa or had a pedicure and she hasn't had a breakdown. You see, I like "me time". I don't find anything wrong with it. I have gone for a massage (not in quite some time) and a pedicure or two. I like to go to the market by myself to think or go up to my room for a time and let hubby have the kids to himself. I don't find anything selfish about this. This has kept me sain (even if at times my sanity was in question). I put the book down for a couple of days to think this over. Was I really being selfish? I decided at this point that I WOULD keep reading the book. There must be a reason why it was given to me. WELL I AM GLAD I KEPT READING!! Some of the things I have read have straight up challenged me while other things were so freeing. As I mentioned before, I just recently became a S.A.H.M. again and I definitely had some challenges with being home full-time.
So now to test #1. I was feeling real good about reading this book. I can see what she means by saying "me time" and how we need to die to self with serving our family. Tuesday (New Year's day) I had spent a good amount of time in the school room cleaning and organizing. It wasn't done yet, but close to it. I couldn't work on it anymore because Emily was up. A while later I had to talk (very loudly) to the boys to chill out playing Nerf gun. They came up stairs and I went down to my schoolroom and low and behold....that is where they were playing Nerf. I called the 3 boys down and....oh lets just say I did not have the reaction I should have. I not only blew it---I BLEW IT BIG TIME!! I was awful. I was walking in the flesh so much at the point and the "I am not appreciate" that I couldn't see beyond myself. I spent the rest of the night in "time out" in my room. By the morning I felt like such a fool. I knew that I had been given this test in front of me to see if I truly believed what I had been reading about and I failed. I started on a pity-party of "what an awful mother I am" and "the kids don't deserve to be stuck with me for a mother". The devil was having a field day with my mind. Then in a quite moment I thought of Terry Maxwell. I don't know if you know who she is but she has written many books. I was able to actually see her speak (along with her whole family minus one son)in September. While I didn't agree with 100% of what they had to say, I gleaned so much from her (you can check her out at http://titus2.com/ ). She went through a time of depression. From the sounds of it, it sounded much worse then the seasonal depression I use to get. At the conference she spoke about how she felt like she messed up bad with the kids at times. But then one day she asked her older children what they remember about there childhood (expecting to hear about all the times she messed up). To her surprise not one of them mentioned her times of failing. This thought on Wednesday brought me comfort. I also remembered something else....we are ALL sinners. It's true!! We all mess up now and then (some of us more than others) and the only thing that saves us is God's mercy and grace. Jesus died on the cross for moments like this. To be able to wipe clean my slate...and boy did I need it then. So I cried out to Him and asked for forgiveness. Too bad I didn't cry out to him BEFORE I reacted to the room (which by the way, the room was just the last straw that day. Many other things had happened. I don't want you think I am a crazy lady).
Test #2. This test came today. Today we were going to start back to school after having all of December off. I had very high expectations of how I wanted the day to go. I had planned to get up at 6 a.m. (even though the last month I have been getting up closer to 8), do my devotions, computer time and some straighten up before anyone got up. I was going to get CJ up at 6:30 and the other 3 at 7 (Emily is the only one who I would let sleep in). Next would be chores, breakfast, hygiene and ready to start school promptly at 8 a.m.. Healthy snack break is scheduled for 10 and Lunch for 1 pm. We were going to get so much done. I would read to the kids, play outside and maybe even do a craft. Oh it was a nice fantasy. Now for how the real day. Emily decided at 4:30 or so this morning to start crying. She would cry for about 30 seconds and then quiet for a couple of minutes and then start all over again. I went into her room multiple times, hold her, reassure her, put her back to bed, give her blankey and put her music on. One time I even put some teething lotion on just in case her teeth were bothering her. What I really felt was the problem was she wanted to come and sleep with Mommy. Ever since she was sick at Christmas time (I did alot of holding throughout the night) she has woken up a few times doing this. Finally at 5:30 I couldn't take it anymore and put her in bed with me. Not a peep out of her. She feel back to sleep about 10-15 minutes later IN MY BED. Now I couldn't get up like planned because I couldn't leave her alone. I figured that if I was awake during all the crying the kids had probably been awake too. I figured a little extra sleep for everyone would be fine. 8 a.m. rolled around and Emily and I were both just waking back up. At first I wanted to freak, but instead I put her in her crib (had Zachary entertain her while she was there) and I headed off to my office---I mean bathroom (it is one of the only places I can go and they won't follow me in). I prayed right then and there. I gave the day over to God and told Him that my plan was gone. For Him to use the day how He seemed fit. I chilled out and went with the flow. School didn't officially start until around 10:30 (and I was okay with that). No healthy snack at 10. No reading to the kids, no playing outside...it just didn't happen. And I was okay with all of it. It was a day of getting the kids back on track. Then Chris called me on his way home (like he always does). His day was busy but good. Hung up with him and a short time later he called back. He had broken down on the highway. He was able to get the car safely to the side of the road (thank you Jesus) but now he needed me to come and pick him up--another "not planned" moment in my day. So off I went. I was just so thankful that he was alright that it didn't bother me to go and get him...in fact, I felt like the Calvary coming to save him (except instead of a horse I rode a blue minivan). On the way there the thoughts started coming into my mind "how on earth are we going to pay for a tow and car repairs now!" I knew this was a test. Just this morning while I was laying in bed trying to get Emily asleep I was thinking about how I haven't worked in 4 months---so far, so good. My mind was now racing ahead of me with all the "what ifs". This is one of my problems...stress and anxiety about $$. But on that ride to save my hubby I decided right then and there to give it over to God. He will make a way...He ALWAYS does. By the time I had gotten to Chris I had a smile on my face. When we got home I felt like I was being pulled in many directions at once. Trying to figure out how we were going to do to get the car off the highway, Emily was up, lunch needed to be made and CJ's shirt needed to be ironed so he could get ready to go his game. Chris (who is a tremendous help) was outside washing the van. When he worries--he cleans. I knew he had alot on his mind so I didn't want to bother him. At first I wanted to scream inside. I felt overwhelmed. Instead, I took one job at a time and did what I could when I could. Everything got done---kids feed, baby changed, CJ to his game and the car towed to our house. All of it AND I went and did some more school with Jessie and Zachary while Chris was talking with one of our neighbors who is a mechanic. This day was full of tests I would have to say I PASSED!!! I passed with flying colors!
Both of these days were used by God to work on me. I will have to admit...today was easier and hurt less than last week. If only I could run to God every moment instead of thinking that "I can handle it".
Test #1 F
Test #2 A-----who doesn't like to get an "A"