ok....so it has been almost a month since i have written anything. what is that about? i'll tell you. travel. busy. no time to sit and have cohesive thoughts. i love my kids. so very much actually. sometimes, too much. sometimes, i allow myself to put them and ryan waaay before myself and then don't let myself have time to do things like this that i want to do. plus, i have been waaaay tired lately, thanks to my not-friend (aka - steroids i am tapering off of) so when i do get time to sit and be with me...i sit in a semi-vegetative state in front of the tv watching my guilty pleasure - gilmore girls - and turn my brain completely off. yes, i am feeling convicted.
but this is not good. lately, i have really been missing out on my true, genuine QUALITY time with God. i'm still doing my morning devo...i'm still doing my homework for my Bible study on tuesday nights...but my heart is still missing something. interesting isn't it, that a person can be "doing" all that and still not "feel" like they are as close to God as they were a month ago. proof that it isn't about the "doing", huh? gee, i bet the pharisees would beg to differ. and i'm just being honest here...when left to myself, i tend to go back to "my old ways". don't know about you....but my "old ways" sound a little like this...WORRY, fear with a c-a-p-i-t-a-l "F", selfishness, pride, controlling nature, jealousy, judgmentalness....is that enough for now? unfortunately, i could go on. do you still like me? still think highly of me? ah yes...add people pleasing to the list. sigh.
so i've been thinking a lot lately about the most adorable story that happened on our recent marathon trip to florida. (i will get to the story in a minute) i know that i can't really complain about this "marathon" trip as i'm calling it. i mean, my dad and step-mom came with us to help with the kids, which in my current medical condition was a must. soooo thankful for that. and my sweet dad rented a 12 passenger van, which was an absolute LIFE-SAVER because i got to ride in the very back row and basically lie down the entire trip. that was HUGE! what a blessing!! i can't complain because now-a-days travel with kids is sooo easy thanks to portable dvd's, the silly games on ryan's iphone, numerous books and games that make noise to entertain baby abigail, coloring books, cd's with fun sing-a-long songs, ipods for mommy and daddy's sanity....who can complain about that? the days of license plate bingo and I-spy as the only games to play are long since over. but, with three children five and under in a van for hours and hours and hours....yes, the long and winding road can seem just that...looooong and winding.
but, back to the cute story.... we had prepared the kids for a while that we were going to see "maka", (ryan's adorable 93-year-old grandmother) in florida....and even though they had met her a few times, they are little and didn't remember her very well. so...we talked a big talk about this trip and did our best to get them hyped up. it worked, they were stoked! but, a few hours into the trip, we realized that we had accidentally misspoke because we were technically going to be stopping in mississippi to stay overnight and break the trip up into two days (oh, my oh my, what a wise move) so...we had to begin again with the pumping up...."hey guys...we forgot to tell you something fun....we are stopping in mississippi for tonight to stay in a hotel and then we will wake up tomorrow and see maka, ok?!!!" we talked about how cool a hotel is, since they really didn't know what that was - we don't travel much. and how nice mississippi was...and so on and so forth. it worked ok, no one was too sad about not seeing maka. whew.
this would be a good time to tell you that we require our kiddos to use "good manners" as often as humanly possible for three and five year olds. please and thank you, and yes and no ma'am. and of course, they call all adults by using mr. and ms. they are used to it and honestly do a great job!
but it still took us by surprise when our sweet benjamin said what he said on our road trip. we had been driving for most of the day (remember, looooong and winding) ....and then we switched gears on them and said we weren't heading to see maka after all, instead we were going to mississippi. so...sweet benjamin asked innocently and tiredly after being such a trooper the whole trip, "mama, are we almost to mississippi's house yet? can she throw me the ball real high?" sweet boy. he thought that we were going to see "ms. ississppi", some lady he didn't know, but who hopefully had a strong throwing arm. we all laughed at his innocence. his darling, but incredibly detail and factual-oriented big brother responded somewhat out of frustration, "no benjmain, mississippi is a state!" well, he might as well been trying to explain cold fusion to the kid, because at age three, benjamin has no concept of what a "state" is...which was obvious to his response "oh ok, well, can she throw the ball?" :)
they went back and forth a few times more, with jacob growing a bit more frustrated each time that benjamin still thought ms. ississippi was someone we were going to see...he really wanted his little brother to "get it" and benjamin just wanted to have someone throw him the ball. and in true benjamin fashion, his joyful ignorance just got better. as we got closer to our destination for the night (aka - heaven! :) benjamin asked again, "mama, how far are we?" i checked the gps device and told him "we are almost there...only 17 more miles, buddy" to which he joyfully told his brother (even though jacob heard me too :) but he just LOVES to share good news...
benjamin: "jacob, we are only 17 miles away (no, he doesn't know really what that meant either), we are almost there, to see....wait...what is the name of the lady at the hotel, mama??"
me:"what lady at at the hotel, buddy?"
benjamin: "the lady at the hotel"
me: "we're not going to see maka tonight buddy, remember?"
benjamin: "nooo, mama, the lady at the hotel"
me: remembering which "lady" he was talking about..."you mean, ms. ississippi?"
benjamin: " YA! jacob, we are almost there to see ms. ississippi at the hotel, jacob!!!"
jacob: rolls his eyes again and replies "b-e-n-j-a-m-i-n mississippi is a STATE!"
benjamin just smiles and ignores that last comment. unaware that he is wrong. unaware that he has annoyed his brother. unaware that he is completely misinterpreting what is going on, "who" we are going to see and where we are headed.
and as we pull into the hotel, he unbuckles his carseat and shouts joyfully, "oh, i can't wait to see what she looks like!!"
"she" of course, is ms. ississippi.
fortunately benjamin has a fairly short attention span and is somewhat easily distracted, so a large fountain in the foyer of the hotel, coupled with the "cool" hotel key cards distracted him from the fact that ms. ississippi wasn't actually there. :) not only is this story just precious because of the way that his sweet little mind works. but i love that it shows how different my two boys are. how God took two boys from the same two parents and made them so very, very different. but as i sat and stared at the back of his sweet little dusty blonde head for those last 17 miles, i thought a lot about God. and it has been something i have been throwing around in my fake highlighted blonde head for weeks now.
i am benjamin. or at least i should be. so often i am not. so very often. what do i mean? let me see if i can explain.....because it hit me so hard all at once.
i have such a tendency to worry. it is not something i am proud of at all. really, i'm not. ashamed actually. i should be over this stupid thing by now. but i'm not. God is still working this out in me. so thankful He hasn't given up on me. and it is times like this one that i THANK HIM for showing me how i should be. i sat there, like i said and stared at benjamin....happily strapped in his carseat for this trip. safe. secure. protected in so many ways. his loving and strong daddy behind the wheel, in complete control of where we are going. benjamin has NO CLUE where we are going. he isn't even sure that the "where" we are going isn't a "she" instead. we have gone to great lengths to ensure that this trip for him would not only be safe and secure...but, because we love him sooooo much....we wanted it to be comfortable and enjoyable...we planned and planned ahead of time to make it fun as well. he is surrounded by those he loves and who love him. and he just sits there...all strapped in...just happy to be along for the ride. he doesn't fully understand what is going on...in fact, he is dead wrong about ms. isissippi, but boy he can't wait to see what she looks like. :) such pure joy! and ya know what else??? not once, did he ask to drive. he never looked up at ryan and said, "dad, i know i am too small to drive this thing, too unwise to operate this van, too immature to handle it, but i want to anyway, i think i can do a better job than you!!" not once did benjamin ask if the route we were taking was the best route, or did he offer a different route that HE thought was best. he just sat there.....the whole ride. happy to be there. COMPLETELY TRUSTING THAT HIS DADDY WOULD GET HIM WHEREVER HE WAS SUPPOSED TO GO.
oh, if i could just be like that. if i could just trust that well.
God, you have loved me and known me before the foundation of the world. you know exactly what time i will go to bed tonight. you know the number of hairs on my head. you know the names of my great-grandparents and the names of my great grandchildren. you were. you are. you will be. why, oh why do i act like such a fool sometimes??? why can't i just sit back in my perfectly safe carseat and enjoy the scenery? the multiple things you have provided for me to enjoy on this ride? the loved ones you have placed on this ride with me? i cannot even fathom all you have going on right now. in my life. in my kiddos' lives. in ryan's life. in everyone's lives around me and not around me. why must i worry about the future? worry is sin. and i am sorry Lord, for you are good and perfect and i love you and desire to please you. i thank you that you never tire of me and that you have a plan for me. your plan is best. your plan for me, and my family. help me God, as ONLY you can, to enjoy this wonderful ride i am on with you. may i shine YOUR joy so that others' lives may be touched by YOUR joy. may i bear MUCH fruit and may you receive the glory. no matter how i'm "feeling" that day. no matter if i get well when i want to. no matter what. because you God and i am not. whew. sooo glad about that one. thank you for your grace. it is unending and i am so undeserving. i love you. amen.
just so you know....we had a wonderful trip in florida. and our sweet benjamin...on the way home...once again through mississippi touched my heart again when he said with joyful expectation, "maybe this time we will see Mr. sippi, mama?!!" so sweet. just so sweet.