Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Quiet Spirit Talk...And What's Been Going On

Hello Internet of Long Lost Friends. I hope you have been well. Here's what's been going on...

~ We go to homeschool Co-op every Wednesday now. My four kids take 5 classes each (i.e. drama, choir, art, PE, Home Ec, Math is Fun, Creative Creations), while Chase (the 3-year-old boy I babysit) and me sit with other preschool moms and play and talk. I help in one class and will most likely be asked to teach something next semester. My kids are over the moon excited about Co-op, and Mary has made a precious friend already (a friend of every mother's dreams, literally. The young lady is a true treasure).

Most of the Co-Op families have 3 to 5 kids each, so it's quite a large group.

~ Yes, I still babysit. Chase will be four in November. We also had his 5-year-old sister until she started kindergarten last month. Things are a little easier around here with only one daycare child, but with Co-op and AWANA both on Wednesdays, the weeks can still feel like marathons.

~ I'm 50-and-a half-years old, and I hate being the oldest mom everywhere I go. Currently more women in their forties are having babies than women in their twenties, but that doesn't seem to be happening in my area.

Other yucky aging news...The hot flashes, which had only come and gone for short periods before, have now been with me about six weeks. Some days I'm intensely frustrated and I don't know how I'll handle the hotness for another day. I'm afraid winter won't make a difference with this kind of heat. About 85% of women get hot flashes in the year or so after menopause; only about 45% of women get them prior to menopause, in the period called perimenopause. I'm one of the lucky 45% getting them in perimenopause. Does this mean I'll have fewer of them later? Here's hoping.

I take two showers a day now, but the relief they provide is short-lived. Another hot flash (intense heat, not just a little warmth) inevitably comes within an hour of my last shower. I have to stop whatever I'm doing and go stand in front of a large fan for 3 minutes, 10 to 15 times a day. Sometimes I sleep on the couch with the fan next to me, although I have fewer hot flashes at night.

This has changed my life enough that thinking about blogging usually seems like too much trouble, even though I miss the intellectual part of it and the interacting part. I'm kicking around the idea of a Twitter account, because you write in smaller chunks and you can have private conversations, versus interacting through blog comments which are public. Anyone on Twitter that reads here?

~ Mary still has her anxiety about the weather, and Peter still has fairly serious OCD--the weight of which also make blogging seem like too much trouble. I feel like I have nothing positive to share, so why burden people with my whining? Some stages of life you have something to share, and other stages are for hankering down and trying to run the race with as much grace as you can muster.

1 Peter 3:4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

Our pastor is doing a serious on marriage and went over this passage last weekend. He reminded us women that this doesn't mean we have to refrain from talking much. We don't need to change our personality to live up to this. It isn't about whether we're shy or gregarious, whether we're witty or the life of the party, or quiet and mousy.

Rather, it's about an inner stillness--a lack of inner turmoil. It's a gentleness, and a sureness that everything is going to be okay. It's a calmness, more than a quietness, though it's true that if your inner spirit isn't ruffled, you won't shout or argue or complain or speak harshly. So, yes, maybe you'll talk less as your inner spirit quiets.

Our Bible time and prayer can accomplish this calming of spirit, but we can't forget taking the time to just be quiet before the Lord also. A busy mom may carve out 30 minutes a day a few times a week for devotions, but she'll probably find it isn't enough. Try turning off the radio, the TV, the devices, and go to a quiet room to just sit and listen to anything the Holy Spirit sends your way.

He'll say things put that pressure on wasn't from Me...focus on the Kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you as well...give your children's futures over to me...give the health of your marriage over to me...come to me all you women who are heavy laden...I will quiet you with my Love.

So, what do you think? Is your spirit ruffled? What are you doing to quiet it? What is the source of the ruffling?

Often, it's Satan, you know. He is our accuser. He is the master of distraction and confusion. Most ruffling comes directly from his playbook.

I am learning. Live one day at a time. Hardest. Life. Lesson. Ever.

My gracious Lord holds it all, and he wants me to rejoice in the day he has made. Today. He gives me today, with no guarantee of tomorrow. Therefore, I offer Him my day, my hours, my minutes, holding the outcome loosely, not questioning Him about tomorrow.

When I regard each day as an offering back to Him, suddenly, the hot flashes and the kids' anxiety and the burden of having to babysit (though I love little Chase dearly) all become insignificant. They only carry the weight I assign them. They feel heavy only when I make them my focus. It's like Peter walking on water brilliantly, until he took his eyes off the Prize. I'm not supposed to focus on the details of my life, except when I'm expressing gratitude for them.

The gentle and quiet spirit? It comes from shifting your focus, your gaze, onto the person of Jesus Christ.

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