Friday, September 9, 2011

American Idol

 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.  Jonah  2:8

So, last week was tough.  I made it through each day by the skin of my teeth.  Being responsible for the education of my children weighed heavily on me and I felt overwhelmed and underqualified.  My fuse was short and I was not the graceful, patient mother I want to be.  Howard was frustrated with me I could tell.  He never said a word, just, encouraged me to seek the Lord and do my best.  He left my Bible open on the counter each morning and left me a sweet note.

Sleep seems to allude me when there are lessons to be planned, floors to be swept, laundry to be folded, toys to be picked up, sinks to shine, toilets to scrub, children to bathe, you get the picture.  Then I found when I did lie in bed, my mind raced thinking of all the things left undone.  I shared my insomnia with Howard who assured me I needed to take it to God.  He asked if I had prayed about it. Prayed about it?  Huh. Gee, I guess I forgot to start there.  And then it dawned on me.  I hadn't REALLY prayed in days...I mean we gave thanks at meals and I prayed with the kids at bedtime but it had been days since I bowed my head, drowned the rest of it out and asked the Lord for the grace that only he can extend.  

This week has gone considerably better.  We are learning our curriculum and how to best use it for our family.  We have gotten out and spent some much needed time with friends, but the real difference I believe is prayer.  We are beginning each day with prayer and I find myself needing (after reading the little reminders I leave for myself all over the house) to bow my head and commune with the One who can make it all so much better.  The One who knew we would be right here in this place and he orchestrated it all.

You see, I hate to admit it, but when I get busy, the first thing that tends to go is my time with God.  In a world where becoming an "idol" is a great accomplishment, I want so much different for my family.  He commands us to have no other God before Him and I have been so guilty of practicing idolatry on a daily basis.  When I decide I MUST scrub the floor or shine the sink or do just that one last chore before I hit my knees, I am basically saying that these chores are more important. When I sit down and check Facebook instead of meeting Him, I am making Facebook an idol.

I grew up in a home where "cleanliness is next to godliness" was the theme.  My grandma is an AMAZING lady and kept an immaculate house.  We never had the nicest "things" or anything fancy, but what we had, we took care of and cleanliness was of the utmost importance, but at what point have I chosen to put it ABOVE the One who gave me all I have?  I don't know.  I still firmly believe that God calls us to be a good steward of all He gives, whether that is money, possessions, children, or spiritual gifts, and we are called to take great care of such things, but if we are missing out on our one on one time with Him, aren't we missing the point?  Idolatry is sin.  While I still want my husband to come home to a clean house, it is more important that he comes home to a wife who is right with the Lord and children who are learning what it looks like to live this life for Him.

My goal for the next week is to rise just a few minutes earlier, to hit my knees before I hit my feet in the morning and begin each school day with prayer and to weave it throughout the day, we are called to "pray without ceasing" and for some reason I struggle with this.  I tend to compartmentalize my life and often forget that commune with Him should be a theme throughout.  I knew money could be an idol, other people can become idols, and graven images can become idols, but housework?  YEP!  I am constantly telling my children "When we disobey, things don't go well"...humbling for sure.  When we disobey, things DON'T go well.  God calls us to turn from idolatry an to consecrate ourselves to Him alone.  I am hoping that the shift in focus will make a difference in our school day.

The housework will still need to be done, but AFTER prayer, after a heart check with God.  I am not sure what this is going to look like, but I am certain it won't look as it does, what with the frustrated slamming of cabinet doors and overwhelmed sighs of despair.  Schoolwork will still need to be done, after meeting with our Lord for the morning and constantly throughout each day.  Perhaps if we commune with Him and invite Him into every single thing we do, there will be more joy and less frustration.

I have been in need of an attitude adjustment.  We started this school year and I was overwhelmed from day one.  I felt like adding the role of academic teacher to the bajillion roles I was already juggling was ridiculous and if I am being honest, I was a little resentful that I felt like this was what God wanted me to do.  I mean when would I have ME time?  At what point would I get a moment to do what I wanted to do?  What about me getting to go back to work one day?  (Oh wait, my going back to work would me getting hired in a school, to educate other people' children.  Should that desire be greater than my desire to shepherd and teach my own children?)  He is refining, and it is uncomfortable and a little scary.  He is moving me out of my place of selfishness and each day more into a place of servanthood and self-denial. If my children don't see me open my bible consistently and pray without ceasing, how will they know how crucial this is.  Is that not more important than learning about subjects and predicates?  :)  I believe education is very important, but knowledge without God is futile.  What am I putting first?  OY!  Reality check.  This girl has some serious work to do.


jeeper said...

Quit you're whinning. Send your kids to public school & get your house in order.

pdiddymama said...

I think she IS getting her house in order. That's the point.

Penny said...

pddiddymama~ :)
jeeper~ don't read.
Kristy~ We all need to be reminded of this. :)

Anonymous said...

WOW...that was really uncalled for. Sorry you have to deal with such things.
As someone who has personally seen your amazing kids and prestine "order" it is very clear that you go above and beyond in everything you do. Thank you again for your great writing that has touched so many people all over. You are not afraid to admit to your struggles, struggles we all have. It helps others more than you'll ever know. (and I'll continue repeating in my mind- "if you have nothing nice to say..")

Jennifer said...

@jeeper - not even correct grammar. some people need to get a life.

~ Teresa ~ said...

I believe that you can do this! Just remember, God does not need you to have a clean house to follow him. He is not looking at your physical house, he is looking at your spiritual house. It is a hard lesson to learn, and one that most of us struggle with every day. Take care,
~ Teresa ~

Lori said...

Seriously? Who has the nerve to write that stuff on other people's blogs??? Like Penny said, DON'T READ!

Without going into the long and short of it, this post reminded me of our Sunday School lesson this am...about time. And feeling like we don't have enough of it. Even defending Martha (um, because I AM her!) with saying, "But seriously...she invited CHRIST to her house. Give the gal a break for wanting it perfect!" I know the gist, but I think we get caught up in not having enough time even though we really are doing GOOD Martha.
So, the moral of the story, and one that I took to heart and am DESPERATELY going to cling to and try to remember? God gives you enough time to get the things He wants you to get done done. What you do with that time is your choice. You are doing what He wants--raising your children in a Godly way. That's the most important thing you can possibly do, and He'll give you all the time you need for it!

Again, sorry somebody felt the need to be so mean-spirited. Geesh.

Lori said...

Oh, wait...when I asked who had the nerve to write such stuff, I should have checked first...cowards who don't leave any trace of themselves and just randomly attack others. With poor spelling, to boot.