Having already written something on Monday, I was not planning to offer a Wednesday Writing, but I think I need to fess up to my personal hauntings of late, oddly for me, the all-night-long kind.
Seems we’re living on the very edge of our faith in a house made for ministry and not (in our minds) a single-family dwelling (remember, we left the 3100 square ft. Atlanta house (moderate-sized for ATL sub-divisions but seeming quite large once gone). For FOUR YEARS we were in hotel rooms, a 5th-wheel camper, and various other small spaces, the largest and final home being the beautiful and cozy, beloved “Mr. Condo” that boasted one bed/bath for us, a shared bed/bath for the kids, and all of life’s other activity in one open living room/kitchen combo area.
We LOVED BIG while living small, and this week I have been living in a weird personal dichotomy, enjoying the vastness of our current surroundings while endearing the quaintness to which we’ve grown accustomed.
1) Sleeping in a large ministry home means adjusting to unfamiliar
nighttime sounds of wildlife, pipes, air units and random echo-y bumps
in the night, causing weird dreams e.v.e.r.y… s.i.n.g.l.e…
n.i.g.h.t. First I dreamed of water gushing through the house, next of
spiders crawling into our ears while sleeping, then of the foundation
breaking and the whole house caving in, and finally of snakes making
their way through the house vents to the children. I have begun to
dread my falling-asleep-time, wondering if I will sleep well OR be up
tossing and thinking about things that are in no way even real, shining
my iPhone into the corners of the wall only to hear Mike’s, “There is nothing there, Ami. Nothing.”
2) Cleaning Mr. Condo to prepare for its successful sale for our loving
friend and her beautiful daughter has been nostalgic and emotional. Our
kids have grown SO MUCH!
Here is a video of the kids when we were moving into Mr. Condo, November 2008.
And just to compare, here they are TODAY.
We have packed clothes and shoes that will never fit them again,
toys that they will never again play with, and books that they will
never again read… realizing that four years went by. FOUR
YEARS. The calendar did not suddenly change, nor did our children.
Life kept happening amidst the feeling of waiting. Weird. And very
emotional. The feeling hit my heart like a prison-yard spotlight on my
LACK as a mom, and not otherwise. Have I been present enough with
them? Have I taught them well? Are they falling behind in ways that
could have been prevented? What about sports? What about… what about…?
This brings me to last night. I was restless all night long, with my head spinning over my personal failures in raising my son! I could not stop questioning every decision, from the “school games” we played together when he was two through our math struggles at the table just last week. I kept telling myself, “This has got to stop! Stop thinking! Go to SLEEP!!!” And then I just prayed and prayed, crafting a morning conversation with my little man.
This morning I told him, “J. Michael. I am SO SORRY for all of the things I have done wrong as your mom… I am beginning to freak out that you are NINE—HALF-WAY to being an adult!… I want to make the next nine years our absolute BEST ones! Please forgive me for putting so much pressure on you, for ignoring you to the needs of your sister, for giving emotional energy to people on the other side of the computer when YOU need it, and for (hard one to swallow here)… treating both you and your daddy like I just expect you to always do what *I* want.” (Yes, JM is patient like his dad. He is already such a little servant leader… like his dad. And I have far too many expectations on the two of them that I do not press on my own behavior… or Sadie’s!)
SO, there you go! My Wednesday Writing is full of personal confession this evening. Should I feel better now? Oh, I sure hope so.
Mike and I are living on the edge of our faith. Just the other day, we said with waves of tears in the kitchen… “The NEED is SO much greater than the provision.” Certainly, money is not merely what we were referencing. It feels like you stand empty-handed before people who come in with home-life utter devastation, in need of building tools and the replenishing of broken spirits. When we serve a God Who holds the whole world in His Hands, though… surely He is the Great Provider to all that He ordains. Living ministry that cares for the hungry, the hurting, the homeless, and families that have lost all hope… these things are very important to God. So in that tearful, prayerful kitchen conversation, Mike said, “God, I keep hearing you say ‘Hold on’ and “Stay the course’ so that is what we will do. We will keep going until this fails… or it doesn’t. We know nothing else to do but to keep going, and so we will…”
Well… the pipes are fixed. (YAY!)
And the A/C will be. (Although, I gotta say, “THANK YOU LORD for the cool weather while we wait on the A/C!”)
The basement guys were back today to estimate the “re-clean-up of the original pre-sewer back-up clean-up.” The amount was astonishingly low. (YAY!)
So with some new costs in mind… and to our surprise… God sent a silent partner knocking on our door with a donation in hand… and if THAT weren’t enough, He sealed it with one of these right after she drove away.
We won’t quit.
We won’t drown!
And guess what??? I think I will sleep well tonight. (If God can handle unexpected repairs, He can surely take care of imaginary spiders… and in my surrender, He will help me with the next nine years…)
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. ~ Psalm 4:8 (ESV)
Yes BOTH… I will lie down restfully AND I will sleep… calmly. God holds the home and everyone living, breathing, waking… and sleeping in it.
Good night. (Origin, “God give you a good night.”) Amen.