I’d like to begin this post by admitting that I’ve currently got a Barry Manilow Christmas album blasting in the background. The big boys are all at basketball, from which me and the littles have taken the night off. Yesterday, we had four (FOUR) basketball games. The nice thing was that the games (two middle school, two high school) were at one huge complex in two gyms across from each other. The uncool (or “complicated”) aspect was that two of the games were simultaneous. So the minute Charlie came out of his game, I would run across the hallway to Ethan’s game (being coached by Paul) and hang out there until either halftime or a text from my friend Colleen telling me “Charlie is back in the game!!!” It was a lot of fun actually but man I’m wiped out today.
So! Barry is blasting, I’m eating a bagel (my default meal when no other full-sized humans are on the premises in need of food. Do you have one of those meals?) and basically watching the clock until a suitable hour for tucking in Henry and Isabel. They are so tired from getting back to life post-Christmas break. We all are, of course, but they make their fatigue especially hard to ignore. So, 6:30 bedtime? I’m thinking so.
Since I don’t have time for the posts I’m planning (in my mind) just yet, I want to add one other thought from yesterday’s sort of random post which hopefully doesn’t freak you out. Barnyard animals gifting Jesus? I kind of thought about that for a few minutes last night when I woke up to take one of the littles potty and you know how that middle-of-the-night haze is always so clear and confirming — “oh my gosh, the fine readers of the Internet are going to think you are a nutjob.”
But here’s the thing, I felt so much better after writing all that, well I wasn’t even too worried. God really did something for me in that moment of showing me this small gift I could give him with my desire to do good, to love his people (in some smalllll way, don’t get me wrong I know I’m not out founding an orphanage or anything).
I was talking about all this with Paul, who was traveling back from being out-of-town this morning. It’s always fun to have the time for nice chats like this. We talked about carrying crosses, our burdens, and how frustrating it can be to struggle with the things we do — but thank the Lord that He, Jesus, allows good to come from all of our “suffering”.
Paul talked about Frances de Sales and his extensive writings on crosses and bearing our burdens — and how many of us actually enjoy all that? Probably none. Because they are crosses and burdens for a reason. If any of this was easy, it wouldn’t be a burden. For me, I do get especially frustrated because the thing I struggle with is something a lot of people wouldn’t give a rip about. That’s my little suffering — that I wish it didn’t bother me the way it does.
But as Mark was so kind to point out (thanks Mark!), we shouldn’t allow these struggles to make us feel bad about ourselves. We recognize our shortcomings, give it all back to Jesus and move on. Don’t get caught up in feeling like a loser.
As my spiritual director pointed out when I was lamenting one episode of frustrating struggle, “God must be using this situation to deal with some things in your life.” Amen! We look at it all as an opportunity for growth. Growth can sometimes be painful, but it is always good.