But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children's children . . . Psalm 103:17

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Choosing the better thing

Luke 10:38-42
New International Version (NIV)
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

My alternate title for this blog post was "I am a failure." Every single day I fail to keep the house as clean as I want it to be. Every day I fail to clean up after myself in the kitchen because I'm rushing around so fast with impatient babies, then I forget to go back and do it later because I am the world's most distractible person, it seems! I fail to cook or bake or do much at all in the kitchen - that's gonna change in PNG out of sheer necessity! Every day I fail to keep my kids as clean as I would like them to be. I fail to catch every fall, I fail to prevent every bite, I fail to see what happened when in the aftermath someone is left crying. I fail to make my bed. I fail to clean my smelly shower. I fail to keep toddlers out of the toilets, for crying out loud! I fail to organize just about everything. (Real problem area for me, organization. I'd much rather clean my bathroom.) I run out of "me" before I run out of duties and daylight. I get so frustrated that even with a fabulous nap under my belt, I STILL can hardly function after 9 at night when I really need to start the big bag of mending and spend time with my husband and start sorting all my papers and keepsakes from the quints' first two years so we can actually pack up the last items and move back overseas. . . phew!

So my challenge, brought to mind last night by a beautiful devotional based on the life of a darling girl I knew named Bethany Wake, is to "choose the better thing." I can't do it all. It's not humanly possible, at least not for this human. 

What is the better thing? Well, the ultimate better thing is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. That includes carving out moments to be in His Word, to actually PRAY more than a sentence at a time, and to remember to turn to Him when Will is so cranky I feel like I can't take it another moment. [Will, if you are reading this in future years, you were only cranky because you had a fever and weren't feeling well. I was cranky too. I love you!!]

The better thing, though, also includes my time with my kids. Will I ever wish I had kept a cleaner house? That my shower hadn't smelled so weird? No way! I'm not even going to remember the shower - unless I read this, ha, ha! Will I wish I had kept my kids looking perfect and immaculately clean? Doubt it. Besides, as missionary kids, it's NOT going to happen! When we chose to be missionaries we embraced the mud and dust, so to speak. Plus, it's how Gavin and I grew up on the mission field. The dirt of a happy, active childhood is what nighttime baths are for. Or, in Isaac's case as a toddler, nap time and nighttime baths!

Choosing the better thing means I sit on the floor with my kids rather than sweep it around them. It means I laugh when they make a mess because I forgot to put some bag of Cheerios out of reach. It means I choose to go outside with them rather than clean up the inside. It means I sit and hold them at bedtime when they watch their last wind-down baby TV show, or read them books that they bring to me. It means I spend time reading to Isaac and doing devotions with him when all the other babies are in bed. It means I work the lunchroom at his school because that means so much to him. I need to be reminded to "choose the better thing" because these precious moments with our unique and beautiful kids are better things I will NEVER regret.

Choosing the better thing sometimes also includes getting away from the demands and pressure of a house with five one-and-a-half-year-olds so that I can return recharged and refreshed with a good sense of humor! It gives the kids a chance to play with other adults who LOVE them like family - what a blessing!!!! We will miss you all so much!

So never mind that right now my bed isn't made, that I'm still in my pajamas, and that my shower still needs a good scrubbing. Oh, and I haven't touched the drawers of papers and boxes of mementos yet! Each baby is happily asleep for their morning nap. I know I hugged and spent time reading to or playing with each one, and I comforted those who were hurt either physically or emotionally.
Thanks to God's grace in leading me to the above Bible passage and Bethany's devotional, at least this morning I chose the better thing.

Seth: Is football in his future like his Grandpadad? Grow, buddy, grow!

Marcie commandeering the hose nozzle

Gracie is queen of the pool.

Seth's turn to play with the water

Marcie looking on

Brotherly teamwork in managing the hose!
Will is behind David, but he's also got two hands on it.

Everything is a group effort

Where there is water there will be mud.

Doesn't Will look like a caricature of Charlie Chaplin? All he needs is the hat!

This is a funny picture because Seth had brought me the book and was sitting on my lap, but David wanted to get in on the action so he managed to squeeze himself between us.

Happy brothers: David and Will (who is feeling better and very happy this morning, thank God!)


Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

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