Saturday, November 12, 2016

Embrace His Grace

Since September, I am no longer a home school mom. Before now, my time was filled with being behind on this and being behind on that. It was a constant toss up of priorities. Are we nearly out of underwear yet? If not, laundry can wait. Does someone need something from me to meet a personal deadline? If so, top of the list. Do we have bread for lunch and a plan for supper? Check. During my prayer time, did God prompt me with someone in particular to reach out to? Again, top of the list. Do we still have cups to drink out of and plates to eat off of? Do the dishes later. Oh, wait! Is school ready and planned for the day? Check. It was a constant balancing act in which no job ever seemed 'done.' Gone were the days of scrap-booking, reading a leisure book or simple relaxation. I never felt like I was done enough to ever truly enjoy things like that for myself. The only relaxation time was in the evening with whatever the family decided to do. Time with friends was reduced mostly to those whom God had put on my heart for the day or week. Instead, I was simply Mom, Wife, Secretary/Treasurer for Global Outreach, Home school Teacher, Taxi Driver, etc. It is amazing how removing just 'one' of those titles freed up some of my time. That having been said, I am still in this transitionary state. I have committed to not say 'yes' to anything new until I have my long to do list reduced, at least some. Many things have been neglected, at home especially, for far too long. To be honest, operating in this mode for literally years now has taken its toll on me. Slowing down recently has become my life-line. I just didn't realize it until God dumped it in my lap, so to speak, when He provided for our youngest child to attend a local expat school this year, along with the other two boys in boarding school and our daughter in college. When we went to some training for counseling and member care recently, it became very apparent my own lack of self-care. Here I was concerned for how to help everyone else care well for themselves, but I had neglected my own. Then this week I got sick, some kind of stomach bug. It slowed me down even further. As we are anticipating a trip to South Africa in just about a week's time, my thoughts began to shift to what needs to be done for that. But suddenly I no longer 'felt' like doing anything. With Bob not feeling up to par (having side effects from the high medication dosage he is on for anti-arrhythmia), that left no one but me to do things around the house or even run errands and do taxi rides for Josiah. I believe God is trying to get my attention and perhaps has been for some time now. How do I prioritize my time? Is it by the tyranny of the urgent? Is it merely by what I 'feel' like doing? Is it actually other people's priorities apart from my own? Or is it His priorities that He is calling me to? The last few years, I have asked God to give me a catch phrase to hang onto for the year, a sort of theme, if you will. This year's theme has been "Extend Grace." In extending grace, I thought He wanted me to concentrate on others. And I believe He did, but now I also see Him calling me to extend grace to myself. That isn't as easy as it might seem. For if you are like me, you are hardest on yourself. Extend grace. Yes. Receive His grace fully. Wow. Extend, receive, and absorb. I believe this is His answer for me. How can I make it through this new transition of no longer being a home school mom and reforming my schedule/priorities? Embrace His grace. Absorb it. I see that now. By embracing His grace fully I will finally be able to find His priorities and move forward well enough to extend grace to others ... just as I should have been doing all along.