Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gifts of Joy Week 7

Here is something about myself that I don't share. As a matter of fact, I have spent most of my life refusing to admit this. I am extremely sensitive. As I shared yesterday, this week it has been hard for me to feel joyful.

Seeing other people struggle always impacts me. Ask my mom, when she or my brother were treated poorly while I was growing up, it bothered me way more than it bothered them. I worry about the sick and the poor. It makes my heart heavy when I see pain impacting those around me. 

Also, I am extremely sensitive to what other people say to and about me. I don't deal with rejection or criticism well. Although, I always act like I can take anything and that stuff just rolls off my back. It doesn't. It goes straight to my heart. And there it sits often for years. 

The point is, I am not as tough as many people seem to think I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Whether I am mourning someone else's loss or dwelling in my own, I struggle to not be emotionally overwhelmed. I think this is why I write. It is a release. 

I tell you all of that to say. I love my life. I am more fortunate than I ever imagined possible. When I say I am struggling, it is just my sensitive nature that I am still too proud to own, taking over. 

Here are the joys I experienced last week. 

66. Gracie walking around with her purse and baby because she wants to be like her mommy.

67. These kiddos having fun inside on a rainy day.

68. This retention area near our neighborhood holding all the water that didn't go in our basement.

69. Sun peeking through the clouds after days of rain.

70. Jack's little spirit. He can have fun anywhere. Even in his pajamas in the rain.

71. The love I see between these two. They are thick as thieves.

72. Grace joining in on the rainy day fun.
73. A rainbow after days of flooding. His reminder that we are never alone.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I See the Gifts but I Can't Find the Joy

I haven't been able to share my joys this week. Floods, shootings, suffering, sickness. I just can't see the joy. My cup is overflowing with gratitude. Others are shoveling water out of their homes, some are mourning the dead, people everywhere are sick, children are starving in this world on our watch. My heart is heavy. But, I haven't lost my grateful heart. My home is dry, my children are healthy, my pantry is full, water runs freely from my tap, a hardworking man loves me dearly. I see all of these things and so many more.

I see my abundance. I have no real problems. And yet, I can't equate the enormous privilege permeating my life with joy. I can't reconcile why I am so lucky.

And yet, my selfish heart also feels tired and overwhelmed with mothering small children. This morning, I got on my knees on our staircase landing and prayed, face to the floor, while my four year old threw a tantrum because he didn't get to pick which half of our last Pop-Tart he would eat. And yes, my sweet Boulder friends, I fed my children Pop-Tarts for breakfast instead of free-range organic eggs.

As my child screamed in the background I said to God, "I am too weak for this job. Show me what to do. My heart is rotten this morning. I am too tired. I need a full night's sleep. I need a minute to recharge. I am grumpy and mad. I know a break is nowhere in sight God, but would you please change my heart and my perspective. I need to be a better wife and mother than I am being in this moment. It is all too much for me today. I need your grace to take over."

Prayer is good y'all. It isn't a magic potion but it does offer peace. A few hours after I got off my knees, I happened upon this blog. Wisdom about suffering from a Christian point of view; exactly what I needed.

My heart is still feeling heavy. I still desperately want to break. But I can see how joy and gratitude are related again. It isn't in an easy life that we find joy. It is in the simple things. Like air to breath. It is in redemption, in the perseverance to keep walking when we just want to lay down, and it is in the humility and grace to hit our knees when all other options fail.

We are not in this alone. God is always there.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Gifts of Joy Weeks 5 & 6

The past few weeks have been busy. I am continuing to count my joyful moments. Here are my joys from the last few weeks.

50. A much needed date night with this goofy guy.

51. Watching Jack excitedly show Christian his school work for the day.

52. A margarita on the front porch on a tired Friday afternoon.

53. A sweet girl who loves books and will rope anyone she can find into reading one with her. 

54. Early morning wake-up snuggles at the mountain cabin.

55. Gracie playing doll house on our front porch.

56. A brother willing to fly out for a week to spend time with our family.

57. Exploring nature with my Grace.

58. A neighborhood with an abundance of parks (can't you tell Jack loved that I put him in the baby swing?).

59. Play time with Uncle Jim.

60. An evening hanging out minus kiddos with Jim and Sara. 

61. Living in beautiful Colorado.

62. The smiles and joy these two bring everyday.

63. Relaxed moments throwing stones.

64. The excitement of doing new things. 

65. Embracing my children as they are even if it goes against the current anti-princess movement. Be what you are sweet babies. (And yes, sometimes Jack wears Snow White and Grace wears Captain America.)