Monday, May 25, 2009

Two Cookouts and a Baseball Game

We have just wrapped up Memorial Day weekend. We crammed in two cookouts and a Brewers game on top of packing down the entire house! Some times I really think my head is screwed on backwards. It is simply amazing what I THINK I can do in one weekend - ha!

But, I think I find myself in a running theme...learning over and over again that I am only strong when I am weak. I think God wants me to be hanging on by a thread these days in order to constantly remember who is holding on to the other end of that string. For years, I have been struggling with pride that comes hand in hand with being so self-reliant. I know I have talked before about all those "self" words - how to the world they are words that are admired and held up, but in God's world, they are one thing: sin. So many times I have asked God to show me how to reconcile who He made me to be with being called to surrender and being weak. I just didn't get it.

Until He put so many crazy circumstances into my life that I had no other choice but to cry out to God on an hourly basis asking Him to get me through that next hour. For a while there, I was seriously looking at my watch and praying, "Lord, please get me through until 4:00", or "Lord, it is almost time for Joe to get home. Please just see me through until he walks through the door." While God DID see me through - each and every time - I am so afraid of forgetting those lessons! And, surprisingly, being helpless and afraid was actually a very good place to be. I knew without a doubt that I was being held and led by God. As things are getting better around here, I find myself not being so helpless and afraid and slipping back into the "I can do anything" mode. Will I ever learn???

We had a great weekend. Our neighbors threw us a farewell cookout that was a blast! Joe and I were amazed that so many of our dear neighbors would show up on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend! We laughed and reminisced about the past seven years. We joked how I moved in with 2 kids and am moving out with 7! But, what meant the most to Joe and I was seeing neighbors who hadn't been talking to each other for years sitting at a table laughing together. And seeing newly married couples meeting the other newly married couples who live down the street.

I clearly remember the day, about 5 years ago when Joe and I first felt the pull to devote our lives to missions. I went for a walk and God spoke so clearly, "You are not even doing anything in my name in the neighborhood I put you in! How can you go around the world?" It was like the brick upside the head kind of moment. I didn't do enough...I didn't do everything that I know God wanted me to do, and for that I am sorry. But, I did start loving my neighbors - truly wanting to know who they were and what they liked. It was such a wonderful last few years and I will really miss all the great neighbors we had here.

But...God clearly is leading us away from Tosa. And so, Watertown, here we come!

The Sunday of Memorial Day was totally different. This time we were with our Christian brothers and sisters. There is always something so wonderful about being with this group of friends. I realized how much I love them when I was flying home from Africa and I longed to just be in their presence. I knew they would remind me of God's truths and they would love me and they would also encourage me to keep going. These friends called - some of them every day just to check in! They stopped by, just to give me a friendly fact to look at. They sent cards and emails - always giving me just what I needed to get through the day. I truly believe the Holy Spirit was leading each one of them to contact me at pivotal times. Through these women, God was still caring for me!

So, anytime I can be with this group of friends, I will take advantage of it! And for those reading - I love you all!

On a side note, my family and Joe's family has been amazing as well. I have recieved such encouragement from all the women in my life - and I am so grateful for their care and their love, too!

We learned something important about George this weekend. Saturday night we stayed late, until the sun was going down, and then rushed home (across the street) and frantically shouted, "OK - baths, showers and then pajamas. Then, reading in bed. Go, go, go!!!" That didn't go over so well with George. So, we were faced with an hour of a screaming child tearing off his sheets and then his clothes. Not a pretty sight when everyone is tired! Joe finally looked at me and said, "We can't do this anymore to George! We have to establish our bedtime routine every night."

I am a little sad that my mommy instinct did not pick up on this before Joe's daddy instinct. But, I am understanding that at this point, Joe is more in tune with George than I am.

Sunday night saw a much different routine. Even though none of us wanted to leave our friends and the cookout - and we understand a pretty competitive game of kick ball started right after we left - we committed to getting George home. Our bio kids were angry at us - scowls, grunts and even some shouts of life not being fair. But, when we pulled into our drieway and George cracked a joke that made us ALL bust out laughing, we knew we had made the right decision.

We stuck to our bedtime routine and by bedtime we had 5 children snug in their beds falling asleep with smiles on their faces. Before bed, Eleanor said, "Mom...I see that hope we have been talking about. I am really starting to like George." I answered, "Me too, sweetie."

For those who are still hanging in there on this very long blog entry (sorry), George experienced his first major league baseball game today! He wore a Prince Fielder shirt and had a great time. Joe said he started getting into the game after he felt safe and comfortable - clapping with the organ and cheering for another Yovani strikeout. At the end of the night, we were all eating subs around the TV (watching Night at the Museum - a family favorite), I looked at George and actually thought to myself, "I missed you today, kiddo."

Thank the Lord for working on my heart! Thank the Lord for being faithful! Thank the Lord for loving on me through friends and family! Thank the Lord!


Margaret said...

So very beautiful!! So glad to hear that George is continuing to grow, trust and LOVE you all!!!!!

MzzLily said...

Oh, I can so relate to the first part. I am one of those 'I can do it myself' people. It has been my hardest struggle. Yes, God does put us where we need to turn to Him. It is still a constant work for me.

Your blog was very inspirational today. I need to go visit some neighbors I haven't talked to in quite a while.

Your honesty in sharing your feelings about George is very moving. I continue to pray for your whole family.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouragement! Praying for your move as well!!


MzzLily said...

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I've rewarded your blog with the 'One Lovely Blog Award'. I so enjoy reading it and wanted to share it with others.

When you get the time, stop by my essays & utter nonsense blog at (sorry, I can't get a link in here the right way) and pick up your award!