Happy Pink Saturday!
Rachael has been wanting a pair of rain boots for quite some time now. Me being me (read: broke), I had a hard time parting with some of Gene's hard-earned money for a pair of shoes with only one specific purpose...especially considering that she very rarely asks to go outside when it's raining anyway. But then it snowed, and she wanted to play in it, and last year's boots didn't fit any more, and blah blah blah new boots.
Which promptly got kicked off at the door after playing in the snow (good thing) and left lying there for the next person to trip over (not such a good thing.)
Anyway, shoes in the middle of the floor don't bother me as much these days as it used to. Not even Gene's giant size-12 gunboats. I still trip over them (frequently), and it still irritates me that I am clearly the only person in this house capable of picking up shoes and putting them where they actually belong. But now, I pause to apply a slightly different filter to the situation.
Last fall, I attended a wonderful Wednesday night class at church that was based on the the Lysa TerKeurst book My Bathtub Is Overflowing, But I Feel Drained. Although the entire book is wonderful, and I've read it at least a dozen times already, chapter ten is by far my favorite - that chapter being titled "I Love Smelly Shoes."
Smelly shoes?! Yep. The explanation began with a sentiment that mothers everywhere can relate to:
"In my motherhood journey, how many shoes will I pick up and put back, only to pick them up and put them back again...and again...and again? I was quite frustrated that these shoes weren't where they were supposed to be. Visions of chore charts and consequences for leaving things out and about started dancing in my mind. I even went so far as to think that this was yet more evidence that my kids are not as thankful as they should be. Kids who were truly thankful for their shoes would care enough to tuck them into their closet shoe racks."
I could sing her the chorus to that one. Pick up (insert most anything here), repeat, repeat, repeat. This is my life. The ungrateful little things don't care about any of their belongings, they just leave them lying around everywhere, sure that Maid Mommy will be along to pick them up shortly. Hmph. But then she continued...
"But as I mentally chided my children for their ungratefulness, I felt God gently give me a piece of my own reprimand... How I chose to look at those shoes would determine whether I felt drained and frustrated or filled up and thankful. I stopped and thanked God for this evidence of life. Some had grass and dirt on them as proof that our kids are healthy and strong enough to run and play. Some had scuff marks from one too many dances on the concrete outside... All were well worn, broken in, and definitely used. Funny how these shoes tell stories of life, if only I make the choice to listen."
"How I look at things makes a world of difference. If my approach is one that living life simply drains me, then I'll constantly feel drained. But if I can pull back the veil and peek behind the messes, chores, and faults of others, I'll see the treasure of what these things represent. I'm a wife! I'm a mom! I have the privilege to fulfill these eternally significant roles for some pretty amazing people...my family!"
I am so guilty of this one. I tend to roll out of the bed in the morning, usually to the sounds of bickering children, and think (quite sarcastically) "ugh, this day is off to a lovely start already." And then throughout the day, it's an internal chorus of "these children are driving me crazy" and "I would have more peace sitting in a cubicle all day" and "isn't it bedtime yet?!", all while grumbling over the detritus lying around the house waiting to be picked up.
Gene reminds me from time to time that this is the path I chose. Me. My idea. I was nearing the end of my six weeks of maternity leave when Rachael was just a tiny bundle of precious, and I knew that I needed to go back to work. I knew that it took more money than Gene made on his own to adequately support a family of three. Kids are expensive, darnit! But I couldn't handle the thought of leaving her every day...to waking her up too early, dragging her out in the cold/rain/hot/what-have-you to hand her over to a woman who was clearly unable to care for as well as I would. Of sitting at a desk all day desperately wanting to be with my baby. I couldn't do it, and he recognized that...and thankfully, God gave me a husband that respected my wishes (even though he likely attributed most of it to postpartum lunacy) and assured me that we would make it work, somehow. Then we decided to homeschool, and had another baby, and he knew that this was no short-term arrangement. But still, we'll make it work. Somehow.
This was my decision, and I am blessed to be a full-time wife and mother. Blessed to have a home to clean and children to care for and a husband who takes good care of us all, and so what if I have to pick up a stinky sock once in a while? My problem is not with a lack of blessings, but with my attitude toward them.
My very favorite part of the chapter comes at the end, with this challenge from the author:
"I want to urge you to do something that might feel silly. Pray over your children's shoes. The next time you trip over a stray tennis shoe, pray for the little foot that belongs in it. The next time you notice a wayward flip-flop outside, pray for the little pink-painted toes that left it behind. The next time you find a large pair of men's loafers kicked off by the door, pray for the large responsibility that rests on those feet. The next time you fold laundry and find socks that are missing their mates, thank God for blessing you with loved ones to fold laundry for. And if you find an actual matched pair, it's time to praise Him!"
Now I love those little pink rain boots in my floor. The even smaller pink and gray tennis shoes that are Milly's favorites. Gene's big, black boots that I trip over at least 4357349857349865 times per day...as long as he doesn't track mud through my house with them. I still haven't found a way to be thankful for mud. But I'm thinking.
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Did you come here from Pink Saturday? I got something in the mail today that I can't wait to post for Pink Saturday next week - and I'm going to be giving away one just like it. Hope you'll come back to visit then!
Speaking of which...I discovered the cutest blog through last week's Pink Saturday and thought I'd share it with you - I seriously want to be next door neighbors with The Stone Rabbit and his devoted biographer. (I'd like to have a little bit of her snow too!)
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And now for the Saturday 9!
1. Have you ever been to Japan? If not would you like to travel there? I haven't, but I would love to go someday...after mega research, of course, or else I have a feeling I'd be pretty lost there.
2. Have you ever played a game that required removal of clothing? Not unless you count Twister, which is hard to do in socks.
3. Have you ever dated one of your best friends? Yes.
4. Have you ever kissed someone you didn't know? No. (Ew!)
5. What is your secret guaranteed weeping movie? Dumbo. That's right, Dumbo. When the mama elephant is in jail and hangs her trunk through the bars to rock her baby to sleep while "Baby Mine" plays in the background...yeah. I can't handle that.
6. What feature are you most insecure about? The freckle on the inside of my ring finger on my right hand.
7. What do you miss most about being young? The lack of (important) things to worry about!
8. Who is the most annoying musical artist EVER? Britney Spears, especially when she does that nasty croaking-from-the-back-of-the-throat thing. Never mind the plethora of ways she's publicly ridiculed herself - her singing is bad enough for me.
9. Have you ever applied for a job that was an internet hoax, asking for credit history and your social security number? No.