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Outsiders

May 15, 2012

God is so good. You wouldn’t think that between the kid’s pneumonia, my husband’s heart attack, Joy’s surgery and my neurology, I need anything else to do. Like release a book, launch the website, and try to answer the requests to please contribute to this-or-that-project this 150th commemoration year of the Dakota War of 1862 –and squeeze in a garage sale.

But God orchestrated it all to happen this way and here is some of the good in it.

I had so much fun visiting with Christian home schooling moms in my garage last week. I did not feel much guilt about letting the stuff go (and with it, the possibility of making and inexpensive decision to home school again) and actually had some time to reflect on why between visits. First, the last three months have been so crazy for our family on the medical front that I have had no time to miss home schooling. Second, it was so much fun to be able to support other home schoolers by blessing them with stuff and encouragement that I got to test my heart and see that we’ve not sold out on our kids by sending them out to school. Instead, we’re gratefully accepting the reality God has given us for now. I still, philosophically, love the idea of home schooling.

Not to mention how the garage sale freed me of stuff to manage. Not that you could tell from looking at my house right now :). But when I get things put back together I will appreciate it!

And as crazy as it sounds, while my calendar looks busier for all the book and history-related opportunities, I am actually feeling saner for being able to do something I feel both gifted and called to do. It’s hard to explain to people who don’t have special needs kids, but while I feel a crystal clear call to be my kids’ parents, I’ve never felt gifted at meeting their unique needs. I’m not thinking of “equipped” here; God has seen to it that in Him, I have everything I need to be their mom.

Rather, I’m thinking here on a more human level: how it feels good to do something you’re good at doing. It is a spiritual and emotional fight to battle the discouragement that can rise up parenting traumatized children, when sometimes there is little reward built into the here and now. I did not realize how drained I was until God imposed some space for filling –as Dorothy’s blog header so rightly says, to be poured out again.

It has also been a grace not to have time to research the laundry list of possibilities the neurologist is exploring. I’m just too busy. And I’m too confident that God has whatever it is covered to worry. I truly am not laying awake at night thinking about it, which is so unlike me that I must attribute it to God.

Here’s the thing about these stressful seasons. They trace back to my 6th grade year –the same age Faith is now –and I can see how God has used them, cumulatively to build an unshakable foundation for my faith –unshakable because he began teaching me a long time ago that the things of this world are temporary and often painful. But as stressful as they are to experience, they are never permanent. So the older I get, the easier it is to open my hands to the next thing God sends, and say, “Thank you.”

And as I (paradoxically for an introvert) recoup by getting outside my world, these are the verses that have been on my heart: ” Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving…. pray….that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ….that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you might know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:2-5

In fact maybe God is sending me out for a season because He knows I need to grow in this. As I learned today, writing graciously, and even speaking from notes graciously, are very different from ad-libbing graciously when asked a loaded question with a camera rolling.

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