I checked my blog today and saw that my last post was a month ago. Where has the month gone? After the really fun Wheaton Homecoming weekend, there haven’t been any such exciting events on the horizon. So it’s been a normal month of loads of laundry, endless dishes, priceless grins from 14-month-old twins, terrible tantrums from the same precious darlings, enjoying our fall rhythm (soon to be waylaid by the holidays) of Monday music class, Wednesday Women’s Bible Study, and trying to catch up on errands and perhaps throw in a few play dates on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays are usually Seth’s day off, which we always look forward to, and then it’s Saturday, and then our full Sundays … and another week is beginning again. Our regular routine was broken up by a wonderful visit from Grandma & Grandpa Nelson last weekend, during which they brought much delight and spoiling to the girls (and us as well).
My newest project/spiritual challenge: A friend who was reading “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp said that she was starting a gratitude journal (the idea being to count at least 1000 things you’re thankful for), and I decided to start one with her. So I have been purposely starting my quest to find the graces of everyday life. As you would imagine, some days are much easier than others. The fall walk we took last week with the crisp blue sky as the backdrop for brilliant leaves. Or the evenings out with friends savoring the tastes of fine cuisine and drinks and being refreshed by shared laughter. The challenge (as Voskamp talks about herself throughout her book) is to find these graces in the midst of the really frustrating days and moments. Like having to stay home from church on a Sunday because one of the twins has a bad cough and runny nose (and my husband as a pastor obviously can’t “take turns” with me). Or the day the girls woke up from their last nap of the day at 1:45 pm (having slept a total of an hour), and they were as cranky as I was. [sidebar: calling the friend in my community group who had volunteered to come help on days like this AND feeding the girls some Nerds candy were total life-savers that afternoon!] This is where I’m struggling and wrestling.
And it seems like the more I try to be thankful, the more I am aware of the resentment that lurks in my heart. Which should of course lead me back to finding grace in Christ, asking him for the joy I can’t muster up and asking him to remove the pride whose domain in my heart produces bitterness. So many days it doesn’t.
Enter the other project I’ve been working on the past few weeks: writing the lesson I’m giving this Wednesday at Trinity’s women’s Bible study on Psalm 51. A psalm of confession, interestingly enough. And I, in my pride, initially thought I really couldn’t relate much to David the adulterer and murderer who penned this psalm. How wrong I am! I, who daily leave the Love of God my Savior to pursue other loves in the saviors I set up – like the conveniences of technology, a good sleeping schedule for the twins, a well-managed home, a “put-together” appearance. I invest my heart in these, saying to them, “you are my Savior!” And so I become an adulterer in my heart towards God as I run to other idols. And murder? I’m convicted to remember Jesus’ words that hating someone in my heart is like murdering them. Do I hate? No, of course not … but then, what is gossip other than seeking to bring down another’s reputation? And what is jealousy other than wishing I had what that other person did? And isn’t my anger saying that I alone deserve to be right, an attempt to at the very least emotionally cut off those around me? I need Psalm 51. I, the one surrounded by more graces of God than I could count in a lifetime, who finds it hard to scratch down even one on a “difficult day.” God invites me to worship … through confession. After Wednesday’s talk, I’ll share highlights of my study on the blog as before. Do pray for me if you’re a praying person, that my heart would be open to what God wants to share with me and through me.