Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Glory in the Mess

Two phrases that meant the world to me in college (and still do today) are. . .

#1 "Bloom where your planted."  It wasn't a particularly spiritual phrase, but it worked for me.  I was a homebody far from home.  And, I wanted more than anything to live out the life God called me to live, but I just could not figure out how to do it.  What exactly did it mean?  That was my searching journey of those four years of my life.  (And, honestly, it continues as I journey on. . . ) Wherever God placed me, I wanted to live fully there.  To, as Jim Elliot put it, "Wherever you are, be all there."  Don't look to the left or the right.  Look straight into the eyes of Love.  Blooming has everything to do with focus.

#2 "It's not about me."  I learned during my second year of college, for the first time in my life, that life was not all about me.  Somehow I misunderstood this all the years prior. It was all about me.  But, God began to break it to me, gently, sweetly, bit by bit, piece by piece, that life was about HIM, not me.  And, so that simple little phrase, "It's not about me," got me through one of the most tumultuous, lonely years of my life.  Example:  I'd say to myself. . ."All I've ever wanted is to be a wife, mother, and homemaker.  But, what if I don't meet Mr. Right?  What if God calls me to be single?"  Then, I'd answer myself, "Remember, Erin, it's not about you.  It is about Him, about Him being glorified through your life. Die, die, die.... even to this, you must die."

Most days I am completely enamored with the life God has given me.  He has chosen to give me the desires of my heart ~ to be a wife, a mother, and a homemaker.  But.....

sometimes I am such an ingrate. 

There are moments when little boys are sooo loud and sooo busy.  They are so everywhere, and all over and around me, on top of me, and, did I mention, LOUD, so LOUD!!!  And for a girl who thrives on peace and quiet, this can be a challenge to die daily!  Loud, busy, full court basketball games in my living room, a quarrel here, a mess there, counters cluttered, laundry stacked high, a bottom needing wiped, a baby with a blowout diaper, spilled milk, a broken toy, 5 boys with 5 needs ~ all thinking theirs to be the most urgent.  And, my head spins, and the dog tears through the house barking and running full speed because he sees Mr. Cole walking Belle across the street.  And, he knocks my two year old flat on concrete floor.  And, my ears are full of screaming child, cries of hungry baby, squeals of little boy laughter, and loud barks of large angry territorial dog.  And, it is at these times that I remind myself, once again, that it is not about me, and I must bloom where I am planted ~ even in this. Some days I love the chaos, I embrace it.  Other days, it is an act of will.  God has called me here, to this place, and so it is here that I am living, fully.

Can God be glorified through the changing of dirty diapers, the filling of hungry bellies, the cleaning of spills, the walking of an old dog, the laundering of a family of 7, the teaching of math and science and history, the training and correction of disciplining boys, the cheering on of small victories, the knowing smiles of mother and child, the hugs, the lullabies, the books read, the holding of little hands, the peacemaking, the night waking, the daily grind?

I suppose He can, but the real (honest) question my heart asks is. . .

Can He be glorified when tired mother loses her temper?  When I am selfish, and try to smile at sweet boys, but really I just want to lock myself in closet with a cup of Bifferdoodle and a good book?  What about when I expect too much from them, and I am angry that they can't remember certain historical dates or math facts quickly enough?  When I snap at them rudely?  Judge them unfairly?  When I complain and nag and allow my heart to be full of negative thoughts?

Can He be glorified then?

I'm not so sure, but I know one thing.  I never knew how sinful my heart was until I started having little ones.  And, the selfishness deep within my heart was pulled to the surface.  And, He is using these sweet little ones to sharpen and chisel away at their mother.  And, I can honestly say that I am different.  I am not the same as I was last year or the year before, and I am thankful.  And, so as I walk, day in and day out, some days soaring and some days failing miserably, my prayer remains that I would be who He called me to be, that my life would in some way glorify Him.

"Glory to God, glory to God, Fullness of wisdom, 
He writes my story into His song, 
My life for the glory of God."
How Emptiness Sings ~ Christa Wells


Bill said...

You are such a blessing, Erin. Even when life is tough for you, you reach out to make a difference in the lives of others. I am one who has been so enriched by knowing you through your precious in-laws. Retia would be all smiles!

Allison said...

Thank you for writing this today! Just so you know I have read a long time and you ARE a blessing and you have bloomed. I read and read and read some more because I see something in you that I am grasping for myself. No, I am not putting you an a pedestal. The Bible says, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." I read because I sense an overwhelming peace with you. Thank you again!

Tony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

Thank you for writing this! I struggle the same, embracing the life at one time, and being negative about it the next. It is very encouraging that you, whom I've read for a couple years now, experience this too. Praise God that he will finish the work he began in us!

Sarah said...

Your beautiful video made me cry Erin! I love you so much sweet friend, and those boys of yours have such a gift in you :)

p.s. Caiden just found out that the baby is a boy, and he asked if you had any girls besides the 5 boys, and when I said "No, they're all boys," he said, 'Oooh, that's good! All boys is SO good!" :)

Hang in there, dear one. When the noise and messes are gone, those boys will be too, and that's going to be hard. I'm already dreading those days--you and Jen and I will need to go on an empty nesters retreat together someday!!

Amy said...

I suspect that during your college years, you drank from a Mary Englebreight coffee cup with the phrase, "Bloom Where Your Planted." Am I right?? (I did)
Always a good thing to remember.

Ami said...

Another thought-provoking post, pointing me back to the Lord. Thank you, Erin! Bless you.

Monkey Momma said...

Wow. I've been a long time reader. But this one is getting printed out. I only have two tiny men (3.5 years and 21 months), but I SOOO connect with the chaos and NOISE. It makes my spirit wilt. Thank you for this. I needed to hear it, more than you realize!

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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.


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