Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Counting Blessings

Yesterday as I was driving around town, to this appointment and that, while thinking about the to do list waiting on me at home, I began to feel stressed. The last few weeks have been rather crazy, with a mix of both positive and negative things. As my stress level rose, I remembered something I had seen before...Too Blessed to be Stressed. Hmmmm. Then I had this thought---what if I took every item on my stress list and turned it into a blessing? Challenge accepted.
1) Stressed about all the places I have to go...appointments, kids' activities, etc--I am blessed to have a vehicle that runs and takes my children and me where we need to go when we need to be there.
2) Stressed about all those activities--I am blessed that God provides the means necessary for my children to participate in the activities they love.
3) Stressed about the condition of my house--I am blessed to have a home, a home in a nice neighborhood that I love. Sometimes, it is messier than I want it to be. But when I get the time to pick it up, it is the same house. The piles of books and shoes and dishes I haven't gotten to can't change that.
4)Stressed about those piles of shoes, etc--I am thankful for the children I have and the stuff they have to leave all over the house. Don't get me wrong. I do make them pick up after themselves, and sometimes when I realize they've all walked in and dropped everything at the front door, I am annoyed. But it really isn't something that needs to cause me stress.
5)Stressed about the books and papers--I am blessed for the privilege of homeschooling my children. Nope, you will not be seeing my home in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens anytime soon. That is okay with me. I am blessed to have what I need to teach.
6)Stressed about all the grading I have to do--Well, again, I am blessed to be able to homeschool my children. On top of that, I am blessed to be part of a co-op where I get to teach other homeschooled kids literature and grammar, which I love.
7)Stressed about my husband's car breaking down--Lots of blessings here--I am thankful that the car got him to a safe place before quitting. I am thankful my mom was available to help out with picking up the kids. I am thankful that he was able to get the car home without calling a tow truck. I am thankful that my God parents have a vehicle my husband was able to drive. I am thankful that my husband is a good "fixer" and was able to fix the car without taking it to a shop.
8)Stressed about sibling rivalry--I am blessed to have three amazing children who dearly love each other. Even though they sometimes drive me crazy with the nit picking and fussing, I know the good far outweighs the bad. I know they get along more often than not. I just have to remind myself of this fact...often,
9)Stressed about getting it all done for everyone who needs me to do anything--Whew. Tough one. The fact is I can't. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who will help me. And most importantly, I am thankful for grace. Grace from those around me when I mess up, and grace from my Heavenly father. I am thankful that I don't have to get it all done and I don't have to be all things to all people. And when I start to forget that and that stress creeps back in, I can give it all to God.
10) Stressed because I didn't have a number 10--just kidding.
My life is full of things I can be stressed about, as I am sure yours is as well. But every one of those things that stress me out comes from a blessing of one kind or another...and often lead to even more blessings. So I am trying to live with this as my motto...Too Blessed to be Stressed (feel free to remind of this when you see me about to pull my hair out).

Saturday, February 7, 2015

What have you learned today?

I dropped one son off at Tae Kwon Do, as usual, on a Friday morning. My daughter and I then headed to Chic-Fil-A for a quick visit with my other son, who works there. Driving slowly down the road, I realized the cause of the hold-up was apparently a broken down vehicle in the lane. The driver, a woman, was waving people around in an exasperated fashion.

My daughter asked what was wrong, and I explained that her car was apparently not working. Very soon after passing the car, I felt that nudging, heard that voice. You know the one. "No one has stopped to help." "You could pull over to help." "In the grand scheme of things, where you're going and what you're doing, isn't that important." I, of course, argued. "What can I do?" "It's not like I can push her car out of the way." "I am sure she has a phone and already has help on the way." Then my daughter interrupted my internal struggle with these words, "Okay, Mommy, I prayed for her."

Ouch. I pulled onto a side street and turned around. I said to my daughter, "We are going to head back and see if there is anything we can do to help. I just feel like God is telling me to go back. We might not have enough time to go see Bubby, but this is important."
From the backseat, a cheery, "Okay."

As I approached the location, I saw that she was gone. I didn't see the car anywhere. It had only been a few short minutes. Hmmm...I tried to find an explanation for my daughter, a way to explain why I would feel that nudging when the situation had obviously been resolved.

"Even though the car is gone, it is still important that we turned around because..." (I was getting ready to say that we obeyed that calling, even if that was all we did) when my daughter interjected, "Because I got to see that God answered my prayer right away."

Wow. Yep. I was schooled by my 8-year-old. That really isn't anything new, if I am totally honest. I have definitely decided that God uses children to teach us stuff all the time, stuff about him, stuff about ourselves, stuff about trust and faith, and so much more. The important thing is to listen. I know for me when the days are crazy and hectic, and I am stressed, I am more inclined to turn a deaf ear, to ask for quiet, to focus That is exactly what I was doing that morning. I wasn't even stressed, but I had a plan and I was going full throttle ahead. I was not going to be interrupted. Until I was.

I am so thankful for a God who doesn't turn a deaf ear, a God who doesn't give up on me. I am so thankful for my children, these amazing instruments of joy, love, grace and...instruction.