I have been very sick and very tired for about eight days now. Jesse and Owen were sick two weeks ago and my body just seems to have over reacted to those kiddie germs. Last night was the first time I’ve slept through the night in a full week. My mom arrived last night for the boys’ soccer game. It was such a blessing to have her here. She brought me a strong cough syrup that she was convinced would give me a restful night’s sleep and it did. I woke up at 8:45am to the sound of my washing machine humming, the broom sweeping across the dining room floor, and Starbucks on the kitchen table. The sad part was that my severe congestion made my iced coffee taste like nothing more than milk. I literally could not taste the coffee. I actually sat there with the straw in my mouth, trying to will my taste buds to override my nose! It didn’t work, but I enjoyed it just the same.
Sometimes God knocks us off our feet to force us into things we refuse to choose for ourselves. Rest. I can only compare my recent health-related exhaustion to that of a newly pregnant mother chasing after two or three little ones. I woke up tired, I was tired all day, and I went to bed tired. One morning last week I slept until about 8:00am. I fed the boys and we sat at the table to start our school work around 10:30am. They all stared at me as I tried to muster up some energy but the well was dry. I sent them off to read and play LEGOs and I got back in bed at 11:00am and didn’t wake up again until 1:30pm. I was then rested enough to finish our school work and get supper on the table. I wouldn’t ask to repeat these last eight days, but it certainly has been restful. Rest, I otherwise wouldn’t have chosen.
I’ve been praying about our family’s priorities lately and asking God to lead my husband in the direction in which He wants our family to go. The funny thing is, God always knows how to reinforce things in me. Two of my favorite blogs had posts on perfectionism, to-do lists, simplicity, and priorities today. I’m thankful for the sweet reminders.
My mom and I took the boys to Sam’s Club today and we were looking at their children’s clothing when Owen decided to pitch a fit about wanting new jeans. I tried explaining to him that it is still ninety degrees outside and we won’t buy new winter clothes until we figure out what we already have. I then told him that he already has plenty of jeans at home. His response shook me:
“But I want more!”
We always want more. We’re never content with what we already have.
I want more.
I want a new one.
I want a better one.
I want a bigger one.
My mom and I were just talking about America’s sense of entitlement last night. She was recalling the days when I was a baby and they were dirt poor. She remembered vividly the nights of eating white rice and butter for dinner. I smiled and tried to imagine.
The sad thing is, most people in America don’t know what that’s like any more. If one doesn’t have enough money to buy groceries and pay the bills, one opts for the extravagant grocery trip and leaves the car loan unpaid because they believe they deserve to eat how they want.
Honestly, sometimes I’m at a loss for how to teach my children not to end up with that attitude. How do we instill gratitude, thankfulness, having a servant’s heart, and a good work ethic when we ourselves often come down with bouts of complaining and discontentment.
I’d like to try a little experiment over the next week. My only form of discipline will be thanksgiving. If one brother offends the other, he will be forced to give thanks and bless the offended. If a certain child is whiney about the food on his plate, he will give thanks for the abundance of food in our home… and on his plate. If I wake up tomorrow and don’t feel like tackling the back-log of laundry, I will give thanks for my sweet-smelling detergent, running water, and three sweet little boys to help me fold it and put it away in our big closets and chests of drawers.
Lord, help me to give thanks in all things. Help me to live a life of thanksgiving.