A few months ago, a friend convinced me to try the Harry Potter series. Being the story-loving person that I am, I cannot stop in the middle of a good story. Thus I spent a month reading nothing but Harry Potter to finish the series. While I wouldn’t read them to my kids at this point – and they’ve still got nothing on Narnia! – I quite enjoyed them and have decided the entire series was worth the read for this quote:
"We’re in a time when we must choose between what is right and what is easy."
This really describes what I’ve been pondering and working through lately. Here’s one more quote for context (this one is from a great book a fellow blogger thankfully pointed me toward – Passionate Housewives, Desperate For God):
"Instead of learning to die to self and follow Christ wherever He may lead, many times we demand our own way. We feed the flesh until it has an uncontrollable appetite with a mind of its own – pulling us in the direction of whatever feels good for the moment – led by our own carnal desires. Ironically, it’s an illusion, because the closer we get to what is supposed to "feel good" the worse we actually feel, the more we want, and the more our character suffers."
I have been there so much lately! Somehow I’ve gotten so selfish with my time and focus, and it’s made me miserable! I think it probably all started with the exhaustion and post-partum hormones playing havoc with my emotions, which is certainly valid enough. But it became too easy for me to be lazy in that, and perhaps use it as an excuse. Then I wake up one day and realize I haven’t had *time* to read God’s Word and pray, but I’ve had time to watch a dvd, shop online, or some other easier and "more fun" thing. I haven’t had the energy to excercise (which ironically, would probably give me the energy!), but I don’t discipline myself to get to bed earlier. I tell my girls to be joyful, yet I have been selfish and grouchy! I want them to love singing to God and hearing His Word, yet I’ve been doing it by rote. Whatever little free time I have, I find myself wishing for more, so I can do something for me. Truly I have become so selfish, and my poor husband and girls have had to live with a grumpy wife and mommy! And what seems most ironic of all is that when I am trying to make life more enjoyable for me, it always becomes less enjoyable! Thankfully I have a Good and Loving Father Who doesn’t let me wallow in my selfishness for long. And He often works through my kind and loving husband who won’t let me either! Said husband wisely hid the dvd player for the time being, giving me a *gentle* push to spend that one free hour of the day in a much more profitable way. I realized you really need to know yourself. One thing I know about myself is that I am horrible at focusing in prayer, so it’s easy for me to not quite get around to it. About the only way that works well for me to stay focused is to write my prayers down, which is inevitably more time consuming, but such a refreshment to me. So I had a wonderful time of prayer this morning (which God made sure I would do by waking my daughter up nice and early!) and God was gracious to me. I begged Him to give me desire to repent, because in my laziness I didn’t want to repent of being lazy! He is truly good, and I’ll tell you why: because His Word is true and lovely and right and doesn’t make a bit of sense to my silly human mind!
"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39
My sinful mind thinks that the more I do to please myself, the happier I will be – but it’s a LIE! Nothing was outwardly different about today. I still had one baby who wanted to nurse and one baby with a poopy diaper blowout just when we sat down to school; the fireplace still decided to spit smoke into the living room; I still had five little girls with sins to correct; and so on . . . but somehow, unexplainably except in the wisdom of God (which seems often like foolishness to mankind) I was filled with joy. I sang with my girls with a happy heart. I had little or no time for only "me", but I loved the time I had with them. I found joy and satisfaction in this good work God has given me, because He helped me to stop trying to get out of my work for a few minutes of "me-time". Don’t get me wrong – I have a wonderful husband who does bless me with times to simply rest and do something on my own. But my job, the sweet calling God has placed before me is more blessed. So, back to the quote at the beginning of this blog: it’s always "easy" to look to please myself. And the choice isn’t always between what is inherently wrong and what is right. But what is needed is to choose againt mere ease; the more difficult task of taking up a cross; that task which somehow becomes the lighter one, the more joyful one, the only one to bring the true joy of living. God, by Your grace keep me in that path!
Some baby Alyssa pictures:
Cutest baby ever (one of five, anyway!)Cutest hat ever! Thanks, Noel!Ever gone for a brisk bike-ride-in-the-snow-while-packing-a-baby? Quite lovely, I must say!Closer-up shot of cutest baby in the world!