What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Very Simple Map

I was cleaning and organizing the school room the other day, it had reached the overwhelming limit of my brain capacity to deal with the gazillion sheets of papers and scattered crayons and shoved in books and misplaced EVERYTHING that I had been trying to ignore for a few weeks. 

So there I was- books in piles meant for ‘educational’, ‘story’, ‘library’ and ‘GETTHEHECKOUTTAHERE’; pencils, crayons, and markers sorted into piles and me throwing away a ton of papers that I feel so guilty about.  I mean- whole sheets of papers with some scribbles on it.  (The TREES it took to make that paper!)  Whenever I clear out the junk paper I think about how J.R.R.Tolkien, C.S.Lewis and the other Inklings used to share scraps of papers and receipts to write their thoughts on during the war and then I look at how rich we are in the luxuries of ample paper.  That we then waste. But I digress.)  

So there I am (still) tossing papers and sorting papers and feeling guilty when all of a sudden I find this sheet of paper…. The Very Simple Map that Corynn drew last summer.  And all of a sudden, I’m undone.   Again.

At the most random times, my thoughts will turn toward the Twinnies and What Could Have Been- driving in the car, listening to some song that gave me courage last summer and fall, hearing a prayer, dreaming in bed…don’t get me started at talking about girl names for Cricket, should s/he be a girl.  Even just thinking.  And all of a sudden my heart feels that erupting pain again and I start to ugly cry.  It’s like some weird Roman Catholic confession or AA meeting…. “My name is Rebecca and it’s been two weeks since my last meltdown ….”.  Waaaaaaahhhhhh. 

It’s funny.  People say that since I have a Cricket now- the Lord gave me a new baby to look forward to- that that ought to make me happy.  And it does!  Of course it does!  I love Cricket with all my heart and his/her existence is a great and beautiful gift to me.  But the strange fact of the matter is… Cricket doesn’t fill the hole that the twinnies left in my heart.  My heart wasn’t longing for just any baby at all last summer.  It was longing for those particular babies.  The twin girls I had let my heart love. 
  It’s like when you have your first child and find yourself expecting again.  You love that child so much you just can’t fathom loving the second one as much as the first.  How can they possibly be loved as much as #1 when my heart is already so full?  But somehow- miraculously- they come and they ARE.  In famous Grinch fashion, your heart grows two sizes bigger that day.
Cricket is expanding and stretching my heart with love but it is all going outward-not displacing or dissolving any of the love already there…not even the love I have for the twinnies or the empty hole that they left on my heart, without ever even coming into my arms. He or she is his/her own unique and wonderful gift and could never and should never just be a ‘replacement’. 

The plan was so simple and yet so… not to be.   

My heart still grieves for the girls that are lost to me. 

         I share this with you all not because I want to dwell on my circumstances and seek out pity or reassurance.  I share this because we all have, in our own lives, plans that don’t work out for us.  We think we know best what should happen in our lives, how we want things to go for us.  We have a very simple map.  Yours might not be twinnies.  Yours might be living to see grandchildren.  Maybe falling in love.  Having your own child.  Not having a child with severe disabilities.  Not losing your home.  Not having to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.  Never having to struggle with addiction.  Or anxiety.  Or health problems.  Having a steady job or income.  Not having to worry for wayward children.  Never having to live through cancer.  We all want our lives to go a certain way.  Our plans make perfect sense. We all have our very simple maps.   And we all have the Lord throwing chinks in it and screwing things up.  (That’s how we see it anyway.)  

          But here is the thing that I have learned…probably the most important thing that I have taken away from this whole ordeal.

          God doesn’t work in the way we want him to.  He doesn’t work in the ways the make the most sense to us.  And here is the real kicker… we shouldn’t WANT Him to.

          The one thing I have come to remember about God is that He works in a way that really, really MAKES NO SENSE to us and it can’t.  Because we can’t see the whole big huge cosmic jigsaw puzzle from beginning to end.  We aren’t God.  But we can see He works in MYSTERIOUS ways and that is his M.O. 

He creates the world and calls it good and then divides up and breaks apart what He LITERALLY just called good…why?  To make it better.  He makes a man in His image and then He breaks him open and we think- WHY are you breaking apart that perfectly good man?   And then we see His glory as woman is formed.  

He tells Gideon to take on the Midianites but says- "I don't want the 33,000 soldiers you’ve gathered together- I only want these 300" and “oh yeah- give them some pitchers and trumpets” we think WHAT?!?!  WHY would He do that!?!  That makes absolutely NO sense.

But for His Glory.

He promises a King and a Savior of the world.  He sends a tiny baby.  And then,  that baby grows up and that son is beaten, tortured, hung on a cross.  DIES.  It doesn’t make SENSE.  We can think of SO many better ways to do it.

But for His Glory.

 The Lord moves from good to better- that is His way.  That has always BEEN His way- from the foundations of the world.  He breaks open and divides and destroys the good in order to make something more good and more glorious.  And through it, He reveals Himself to us.

It doesn't need to make sense to us...we just need to remember His nature is to make MORE glorious. 
Lean on that knowledge and Trust in Him, even through the tears.

While we are at it, we ought to put ourselves in our proper place.  We are not controllers of our destiny (like the world loves to tell us.)  We are DUST.  We are a creation of God.  We don’t know what is best for us now or in the future.  Our 2.8 pounds of brain mass cannot hold All Things.  We have no clue how necessary these trials are for our lives to be forever changed (and made more glorious).  Read Job 38 and 39 and I guarantee you’ll be set a’right in this.

Regardless of the trials that we are facing today- whatever they may be and however incomprehensible they may seem to us- we need to remember that His ways are not ours and thank God for that. 

I may melt into tears at random times because of the twinnies, but through their lives I was able to learn this invaluable lesson and I am so grateful to them for that.

If you are struggling with a deep valley right now, this sermon by Toby Sumpter is a nugget of gold.  I can’t tell you how many times I listened to it last fall.  (And if you know Toby Sumpter- you know it isn’t STUFFY either. He’s a real pleasure to listen to.  It is the best sermon I’ve ever heard, hand’s down.)

I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 
– Romans 8:18

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Field Trip: Corning Museum of Glass

Once upon a time, we took a trip to the Corning Museum of Glass.

It was actually one of our 12 Days of Christmas treats, hence the Christmas tree in the entryway.  

The great thing about this museum is that it has free admission for anyone 18 years or younger.  

When a museum has that sorta perk, and you happen to have five children, you kinda wanna jump on it.  

Too bad I can no longer pass for 18.  

 Here is my sister and I and our passel of children.  

Passels of children make me happy.

Coolest chess set ever...

After seeing such incredible beautiful glass works, we continued following the hallway to check out the next room when Ineke exclaimed, in a clear and exuberant tone... "Oh my GOODNESS!  This is beautiful! So, so beautiful!"

What was she referring to?


Ummm....... kay.

My favorite spot will always be the stained glass area. 

From far away, the pieces are so magnificent!  

But if you step up close, I discovered just how 3 dimensional the art can be, which I guess I never really knew.

We discovered Grandma has a glass museum in her kitchen!

The children thought a highlight of the trip was the unlimited access to any number of computer tablets explaining the different exhibits.  They don't usually have free access to the computer.  

All I could think about was the germs that they were undoubtedly laden with having millions of grubby hands swiping 'em all over every day.

But the puke bug had recently visiting our entire household, so these things were on my mind.

Then we entered into this brilliant, bright, white, ginormous wing of the museum.

And I discovered it was absolutely PERFECT lighting for portraiture!

And then I found all the people close to me so I could snap pictures of them...

Aw, Mama.  You are so WEIRD.

Some were more willing than others.  A-hem, Christiana!

The kids sometimes had a hard time trying to figure out what the art was 'saying'.  

(Me too.)  
I guess I am just not that sophisticated.

And then, right before we left, we watched a live demonstration about making glass eyes.   (They even make little red glass wisps for the blood vessels...)

You never know when this information may come in handy.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

The Audacity

Three days before Christmas, this girl had the audacity to turn three years old.

 And I had the audacity not to post these photos for almost three months.

She wanted RAINBOW colors on her cake.  

It's tough having your birthday just a few days before Christmas.  It is a slapdash affair.

I bought her a doll when Toys R Us was going out of business (I am particular about dolls- they need to have pretty faces which happens less and less often these days.  Have you noticed this?) and she got a book (because.... well, books!)  

But knowing more Christmas gifts are going to be inundating us in just a few days really makes me wanna hold waaaay back on the *stuff*.

So the poor girl got mostly practical HANDMADE stuff (which may be considered not cool some day but until then- totally cool.)

Flannel PJ's

(she had totally stolen Adele's mermaid...)

A little tunic and matching dress for her birthday doll... which have matching hair accessories if you want to bother with hair accessories.  

Which we often don't.  Clearly.

And a reversible flannel cape for those milder days when a coat seems a bit overdone but still, a little something is needed.  

Those days are coming... right?