Pain and progress

While I'm held captive in the kitchen tending food on the stove, I have a few minutes for an update.  My poor blog(s) have been on the back burner (no pun intended).  My poor hubby's back has been the front-and-center issue in our family life the past couple of months, and continues to be that until we get the issue resolved.

Turns out he has a herniated disc, the culprit of his intense pain.  We have a couple of options before us now, including that of surgery, so we're seeking the Lord's wisdom what direction to go.  I'm thankful for the good help we've had with physical therapy, chiropractor, and the counsel of professionals--and the sustaining mercy of the Lord.  We're trusting Him for complete healing and restoration.  We'll all be glad when this is done!

SweetPea has managed to stay on track with school and make good progress through it all--and has had a special blessing sent her way in these recent weeks, ice-skating lessons.  It's really a dream-come-true for her.  She's not a sporty person but she seems to really have found her thing and is making rapid progress.  Couldn't be easier for Mom, too--an ice rink a mile from the house and early Saturday morning lessons (yawn!) that don't interfere with school and free time schedule.  God is good!

I'm in school, too--publishing school!  We're making progress on finalizing my mom's book manuscript for publication with a self-publisher, getting excited as we see the whole thing coming together.  I had a phone interview last week with the publisher, talking through the process and learning all that goes into both creating a book and marketing it.  I used to do this back in my single days, but the whole industry has changed dramatically with computers and internet.

Had to share some of our fall pretties, though after a heavy, wet snowstorm a couple of days ago, there's not much left of our autumn color.  Glad we've got pine trees to keep us company over the colorless winter!



I'm pleased with the steady progress SweetPea has been making in her schoolwork this year so far; partly due to our decision to keep a watchful eye on how many outside activities to participate in and partly due to her own commitment to 'stay the course.'  Last year's outside stuff piled up the second semester and pushed some of her studies way out into summer, so we don't want to do that again.

One of the lovely benefits of a more disciplined schedule is that we've had time for some really meaningful discussions.  I remember this age as being when I really began to take hold of my own accountability to the Lord and know that I wanted Him to be the defining presence in every part of my life.  What a privilege to be daily with my daughter, helping her work through her issues and seeing God grow not only our relationship, but hers with Him.

Several of her friends are seniors this year and having to grapple with the 'what am I going to do with my  life?' question, check out colleges, fill out paperwork and pursue scholarships...and I'm SO relieved we're not there yet.  Still a couple of years away, but it seems quite overwhelming right now.  Thank God He has a plan for my daughter and will show us what to do.  I'm not ready to let go of my little girl, to let the big world have her just yet.  Homeschooling an only child means that when she graduates, so do I, sort of. 

So I'm thankful for these quiet days together, for the joys and laughter we share, and for this learning journey we're both on. God is so incredibly good!


Whose side am I on?

I've been pondering in recent weeks about the subject of criticism/judgment/accusation.  Seems like there is so much of it out there, either flying at us from others or doling it out ourselves, whether overt or subconscious, just or unjust. 

If you are a recipient of this unlovely trio, you know how painful it it, how it can paralyze you with insecurity and hurt.  We feel misunderstood, our hearts race to our defense, and we might lash back, fight for justice and dig in to maintain our position.  Or we might simply cave in, believing that we are really that bad and buy the whole package of "I'm not worth much."  The net result is usually that we distance ourselves from the source and go into protectism mode, avoidance.

The other side of the coin is when we dish it out.  "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks," so whatever we've been secretly thinking about someone might come out in a 'justifiable' situation, usually when we've got a sympathetic audience or directly at the target when the moment is right. 

In one of those moments recently--when I was giving rein to my accusation of someone--the Lord spoke to my heart and in essence said, "Did you know that you're helping the devil do his work?"  Ouch!  The Word says that he is 'the accuser of the brethren," one of his main job descriptions.  He's busy all the time working to tear us down, render us useless from within because we have to agree that we're not...whatever.  So my critical and accusing words are working beautifully into his plan against that other person--and I feel right and righteous in my 'position.'  After all, isn't my judgment right?

I see another whole realm of reason that God calls us to LOVE others (the second commandment, remember?).  When we look past the sins and shortcomings of others, entrusting them to the Lord's (effective) working, we are participating in His work of healing, blessing, restoring--to His righteous standards.  We can look past their faults and see their need.  It cuts them the slack they need to continue on their own path of deliverance and healing.  Don't I want that kind of mercy from others?

Another perspective the Lord has reminded me of is that everyone thinks they're right.  If that weren't the case, they'd be doing it differently.  Either that or they just didn't think about it, think it through, in which case they'd probably change if they knew they were wrong and could change.  Seeing it that way diffuses the missiles I'm ready to hurl their way (which is because I think I'm right).  Track that whole process back to its root, and I see that it's pride at work, a desire to control.  It's really about me, not correcting the other person or helping them to grow.

Well, needless to say, I'm working on it!  Having seen a fresh perspective from the Lord on this, I'm asking His help daily both to see where I'm operating in the wrong camp and get back to the right one, from my heart.  I'm so glad for His mercy.