Still Learning to Be Still

Special needs momming is a full time job, and the business model is super complicated.  I spent Tuesday at the psychologist with Ruckus, working on a round of updated evaluations. Wednesday I was in Atlanta again, from dawn to dusk for Mozart’s day with his health team. It was planned and well prepared for. The other four children had their needs well met in my absence.

Yet my little Cricket, whose sensitive heart struggles with anxiety and trust after losing his first family, woke today with a deep need for constant connection with me. And by that, I mean I spent my morning as a piece of furniture.

We spent much time snuggling, and watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on Amazon Prime.

I set aside my mental to-do list to let him have his time, and be present.  That’s a hard thing to do when tasks snowball and the weekend is coming with no free time to squeeze the laundry into.
I help him. We colored, snuggled, watched Mr. Rogers and Highway to Heaven, both in one day!! His joy was immense, and I loved it!

Still, that  epic battle of “to Martha or to Mary” battled in the back of my head.
Because I still can’t get the knack of  how to be still and know.

 

We have the opportunity for love and therapy with many animals. Cricket and I took advantage of a few minutes with a horse today.

Now it’s after his bedtime. I have that mile long to-do list and a decision to make. 

Be.
Still.
Know.

How much I know depends on the day and a thousand variables reliant on the actions and choices of several other people, both in and outside of my home and family.

What I KNOW is that this is complicated.

There are the days that my inner Martha spits the words back. Be STILL? When? How? Have you not seen? Even my to-do list has it’s OWN to-do lists.  Have you not heard? There are people calling Mama in rapid succession from 5 different directions. How then, do I fit in being still?

Yet there are the times that a Mary spirit wells up within me. I kick off my shoes to ground myself on the earth He’s given and I throw agenda to the side, to watch children fly away with their imaginations and meld into the wonder of the life around me. We breath in fresh air and run in fields. We know how to BE.

I can never decide if this verse is meant to be a deep call to intimacy with my Maker, or a chastising of my flesh for being so easily consumed by what I have to do, seeing that I really do HAVE to do a huge amount of doing!

If asked, I could never decide who it’s for, my Martha or Mary, and I have finally decided it comes down to the day I’m having, every day.

And this is why.

We, the lovers of Christ, have a habit of remembering verses in small tidbits.  We like small bites because then we can say that we ate today.
I’m learning to take the time to look them up and enjoy the pages of my Bible in fuller context.
Decision made. Those words have run through my head all day. Be. Still. Know.
I’m looking up the chapter.

Ladies…. this “be still and know” one is nestled smack in the middle of Psalm 46, and the rest of it is FULL of context that we all need.

Just look for yourself (below)! That little verse that has vexed me is so much better when I stand back and see it as part of this full work God inspired.

He is ever-present.
God is within her, she will not fall.
He makes wars cease.

He writes of refuge and fortresses, I think of hiding in the laundry room, folding, but also of blanket forts and reading nooks.  The word mountain always conjures up laundry to me, however the streams and rivers call to mind his great wisdom in creating the coffee and the constant flow here in my kitchen.  And also, chocolate.  He lifts is voice? Did someone turn on The Fish radio station again?

The last two years I’ve been mostly gone from the internet publicly. My family needed safety and seclusion (for details on that, read THIS PREFACE and sign up for the list. So while, I can joke about the mom thoughts and snark this chapter brings up, my heart hears the promises it holds. Promise of protection and God’s faithfulness. We have been cocooned in tightly. Now it’s time to spread wings again.

After all this time, I know. It’s for all the days. Every one of them whether I feel the depth of stillness welling within my soul, or I’m grappling with stilling my struggle with self.

It’s there, every day.
He has us.
He is with us, we will not fall.
The least I can do is listen.
I can BE.
I can STILL.
I can KNOW.

It’s more than the verse.
He gives us whole chapters, my friends.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

 

 

LABOR DAY: Bringing The Fruits Of Labor Back Home

As published in Macon Community News.
 

Since the first Labor Day in the 1880s, times have changed.  Manual labor is not as much a part of our culture anymore.  Even the word labor is not looked at the same as it used to be. I mean, when was the last time you heard someone use the word labor in a sentence when referring to any work other than childbirth?
With the word ‘labor’ being so far removed from our everyday common vocabulary, I often wonder if there is a correlation to the decline of our nation’s pride in what good labor is.  Throughout history and literature, there are numerous quotes about the labor or your hands, the fruits of hard labor, etc. For me, they conjure up a feeling of pride and confidence in a job well done. It is possible that many of these quotes are no longer relevant or meaningful to families today who do not have a frame of reference for the use of the word labor.  This seems like a great loss to me, in a time when  a home life at warp speed.  It makes it almost impossible to instill the joy of a job well done and pride in a completed chore  in the days of our families.
We are a family of six and no one, not even the youngest at  4, is exempt from participating in how our home runs.  In fact, Little Bit started helping out with her own responsibilities a long time ago, just as her three older siblings did.  I am not talking about the typical “make them take care of their own things” that I believe most parents do.  I tend to be a little more into their work than that.  I believe that our children are capable of much more, and can learn to be proud of their labor if given the chance… much younger than we expect!

In our home the word  “chores” does not really come up often.  I have nothing against it, we just do not tend to use it.  To me it does not convey the ownership that I want my children to feel for their part in keeping our home running. We are a team. Together.  Instead we use the word “responsibilities”, because that is what they are and I am trusting my children to see them as that. Their responsibilities are important to all of us.  Little Bit feeds the dog.  She brings laundry down from her room to the laundry room.  She loads and unloads the dryer.  She has been doing this for a year since her big brother, Ruckus, graduated from the job and moved on to helping with other things.
Work is an important part of our day as adults and a job well done feels amazing, doesn’t it?   Also, knowing that others are depending on us in a train of tasks that may span across several people helps us be aware that we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves in the workplace.  Our children can learn this, too.

For example, dishes are an all hands on deck job for us.  We make it very clear that there is a progression that needs to happen for things in the kitchen to keep rolling and if someone is not on top of their step, things come to a halt.   Yep, that means Mama can’t cook if there aren’t any dishes for me to cook with. So I don’t.  Little Bit unloads silverware, Ruckus and The Brainiac unload the other dishes, Big Sister loads, Papi does the hand-washing and Mama does the cooking.  Sometimes the kids see my husband and I switching our jobs, because it may fit our day better.  So, they will come together and talk about switching things up amongst them. We let them be responsible for that and make it clear that they have to get the work done, because if one step stops everything up that last step cannot happen properly. And that step of Mama cooking? They like the results of that one. They prefer that I keep cooking deliciousness.



As parents, each of us has daily opportunities to teach our children.  We don’t have to make them happen. We can work them into life together.  Laboring together.  It does not always require hours of time on Pinterest or walking the aisles of a craft store.  Make it simple!  Give them the gift of work, and active participation in living out your days together in a job well done!