Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dear Children....

I have tried before to write in my children's journals I have for them.  I actually need to buy THREE more considering I only have four of them, but until I start writing consistently in them, here's a letter to my seven babies.

Dear Big G, JT, Em, Gi, ME, Chi, & Lui (that's what Chi calls her..),

Hello my loves.  First of all, I want you all to know something.  I love each one of you very much.  People ask me all the time how I can love, and care for, all of you and I'm reminded of a cartoon my grandma Grace sent me many, many years ago.   It was the Circus cartoon and the mom was asked how she had enough love for each child she had (she only had four- can you imagine??) Her response was classic, "With each child, my love has been multiplied."

It's completely true.   With the birth of each one of you, somehow, probably through God's grace since we were being open to life, we found our love to just burst even more.  If people think my hands are full, they really truly should see my heart.  (remember, I had a tshirt with that on it!)  At times, I think my heart might burst it's so full of love.

That's not to say it's been an easy, fun-loving, journey with all of you.  

Life is hard.  Life is sometimes unfair.  And you'll find as you grow up, life is really, kind of , yucky.  There are things going on that go against every fiber of our being.  You'll find, as you grow up, your faith will be shaken.   Your heart challenged.  Your mind overwhelmed.  At times, you'll want to run away and hide from the crazy of the world.  You may even embrace it at times, but my prayer for you is that you will always turn back to God in all things.

Sometimes, when I think about the challenges you all will face when you grow up, it makes my heart, mind, and stomach hurt terribly.  I want to protect you.  I want to shelter you from all the yuck of the world.  I want to assure you there is something waiting for you on the other side.  I've seen tiny glimpses of it.

I want you to know that if you try with all your might to live a Godly and good life, that He will share those tiny glimpses.  

I want you to know that if you work hard at living "in" the world, but not succumbing "to" the world, that He will show you many things.  Not everyday.  And it certainly won't make living "in" the world any easier, but it will help.

My sweet babies.  You are the future of Catholic Church as well.  Your father and I have tried to always instill a love of God, our Faith, and one another in you since you were born.  We've tried to teach you JOY.  Jesus, Others, Yourself, so that growing up in this selfish world, you wouldn't be sucked into the "what's in it for me" mentality that seems to have gotten a hold of most of your generation and the one before it, and most probably, if your generation produces much offspring, that one as well.....

The Church needs a revolution.  She needs strong Catholics to go boldly teaching and proclaiming the faith like never before.  Your dad and I have been consistent with that.  And if we've taught you ANYTHING about Catholicism it's this.......

You will know the TRUTH about the Catholic Faith.  You will have all the tools you need to understand and learn what we believe, and WHY we believe it.  It won't be "just because."  It will be this is what we believe and this is why and here are scripture verses to back it up and the writings of early church fathers to prove we've done it for a long time.

You will need this armor as you grow up.  

People will tempt you to sway your beliefs.   Don't let them.

People will try to persecute you because of your beliefs.  Believe regardless.

People will abandon you because of your beliefs.  God will never, ever, EVER, and please understand I want to put 867 gazillion (yes, that is a word, even if your momma just made it up) EVER's in this letter, that GOD WILL NEVER ABANDON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have I ever lied to you?  

Ok, let's restate that, because seriously, the Easter bunny was never really promoted by me and you know that....  And I wouldn't think the tooth fairy was a "lie" per say, because really, it's like a fairy floating around trying to find teeth, coins and not wake you....

And we ALL know my rule about Santa........so keep that in mind....

So now that we've settled that- your father and I have never lied to you about matters of the faith.  We both want you all to learn exactly what the Catholic church teaches and why.  We both love the Eucharist SO MUCH, that we could NEVER fathom what God would do should we EVER, EVER try to water down our Catholic faith.  

God loves us, but be very clear, He loves us like a father.  Now, do you remember all that happened to you when you disobeyed YOUR father here on earth?   Your dad loves you very much, but did you not get in trouble when you disobeyed him?   NO.  And God your Heavenly Father, is no different.  He loves you even more than your earthly father, but that doesn't mean He will let you just "do whatever" and not have consequences for your actions.  

If we don't teach you the truth of the faith, that will be something WE have to account for when we are judged by Him.  By your baptism, we promised to raise you in the Catholic Church.  

That's not the "Catholicmomma and her rockin' superman husband" Catholic church.  That's THE Roman Catholic Church.

That's quite a responsibility.  

I'm guessing if people really sat down and thought about that, they might reconsider Baptism.  Or, hopefully, would consider getting themselves re-catechized.  Because we are making a PROMISE to God. 

God takes promises very seriously.  They are just like covenants He made with Adam, Moses, Noah, Daniel, etc. etc.  You get what I'm saying, right?

God is very clear in many ways about bringing up children in the faith.  

Your dad and I take that very seriously as well.  For many reasons, but two specifically.

1.  We've rediscovered our Catholic Faith these last 18 years.  And the true beauty of Catholicism isn't what you see on TV, or hear nominal Catholics talk about, or even, sadly, sometimes hear at Church.  (depending on where you go, you'll find, even shockingly, priests, redefining the Catholic faith....)  The real faith is hidden in the bible, in great books written by great historians, in books written by current, amazing, apologists, who have spent their lives reading and studying the bible and the Catholic church.  Your dad and I?  We can't go back.  We can never, EVER, go back to what our lives were before this rediscovery.  And that is the first reason. 

2.  I can't speak for your dad specifically with this one, although I know he's had experiences like it as well, but Heaven is real.   Heaven is so real, that even though we tell you that you can catch a glimpse at Mass of Heaven, during the consecration of the Eucharist, you probably still can't quite grasp the idea like I can.  Like your dad can.

Heaven is real, because we've lost some very important people in our lives and we've tasted a glimpse we can't explain in words.  

We can try, but honestly, until you taste that experience yourself, and to taste it would be to open your heart and eyes to God's daily graces He sends, you won't have that firm grasp.  Some of you do.  Some of you still have fears, tho.  Fears are ok, if you pray to God about them.  Fearing the unknown can be very normal. But fearing Heaven, just because you don't want to leave this world?  That means this world has too strong a hold on you.  

John Matthew, Gemma Rose, Michael and Maria are all four in Heaven.  

Don't you want to see them one day?   Don't you want to meet them and meet all the people we've prayed and asked them to greet in Heaven?  

I do.

I want to see them, and hold them, and stand there before them and tell them I love them so much.  I know they know I love them.  But I want my babies in Heaven to see how hard I'm working to get to Heaven.  I want to live my life to make them proud of me.  I want you to get to Heaven as well.  

Despite what the world will try and teach you, attaining Heaven is not a walk in the park.  

If you attain Heaven simply by proclaiming God as your Lord and Savior, than why on earth did he leave us so much to read in the bible that would contradict that?  If it were that simple, wouldn't the bible be much smaller?  Less parables by him?   Maybe just a shout out- Hey??  Just tell me I'm your Savior and it's done.

No.  It's more complicated than that.  Yes, Jesus Christ IS our Savior.  ALL of us.  Not just those who proclaim it.  

Sorry.  

No.  I'm not sorry.

My sweet babies, I spent my entire young life being told that unless I "proclaim" Christ as my Savior,  I was not going to Heaven.  

It wasn't said out of malice.  It was well intended people trying to save the lowly Catholic girl who lived in the Bible Belt of Tennessee, but the older I became and the more I studied my own faith, I started to realize something.

First, I'm no theologian.  So PLEASE understand, I'm blogging you this letter.  Not sitting with my bible, or catechism, or early church fathers (which I have all of them) books confirming my words.

Jesus came to "SAVE" us all.  

Savior is something who saves.  

No where, NO WHERE, in my bible does it say Jesus only came to save those who proclaimed Him as their Lord and Savior.  

He came to save us all.  Whether we believed in Him (which we do) or not.  (which there are LOTS of people who don't)

So, always, always, remember that.  

But also remember this.  

Jesus said it wouldn't be easy to follow Him.  

He says that.  

In the bible.  

People will hate you.  Family will abandon you.  

He said to remember something, though. 

They hated him and abandoned Him first.  

John Chapter 6 is my favorite (ok, ONE of my favorite) chapters in the bible.  I have a lot, but that one is the one that sealed the deal for me and the true presence of the Eucharist.  Jesus NEVER, EVER, repeated Himself unless He knew people didn't understand Him....

Four times He repeated Himself and people actually LEFT Him because the teaching was too hard.

Seriously?  Too hard?  If it were a mere symbol?  How could it be "too hard?"

Cause it wasn't a mere symbol.

They knew He meant to physically eat Him.

Weird....

But how else could we "have life within us?"  Unless we physically consumed something?

His body and blood.

I won't go on.  You know how I feel about the Eucharist.  You know stories I've shared with you about miracles in regards to the Eucharist.  And how many, MANY saints in our Church DIED trying to protect the Eucharist.

I'll end my letter now.  You know how long winded I can get.  Especially in regards to our beautiful faith.

I want to leave you with one thing, tho.  Well, maybe two.  Ok, maybe a dozen.....

Your dad and I love you all incredibly.  Madly.  Deeply.

But your Father in Heaven?  

Loves you even more.

Big G, JT, Em, Gi, ME, Chi, And Lui?

Heaven is real.  God is real.  Jesus is real.  It's all real.  It's all for us.  All of us.

Learn your faith.  Read all you can on it.

Defend your faith.  Stand tall and proud of it.

Be your faith.  It isn't something you leave inside the four walls of Church.  Take it with you.  Become one with it.

Learn it.  Love it.  Live it.

I love you all.

Love,

Mom

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ant Invasion...and other scary stuff....

I am on a roll today...Literally.

I'm going to start a new trend.  You know, something similar to 'Throwback Thursday?'  Only, my new trend will be called, "Throw up Thursday..."  Cause, most of my "followers" are moms, with kids, and kids, well, puke.  But I won't post puke pictures.  I promise.  I am an empathy puker.  Do you know what that is?  It's someone who can literally puke at the sound, site, or SMELL of puke.  I have never actually done it, but let me tell you, I've come dangerously close.  DANGEROUSLY, close, I say....

So here's to a new, catchy, trend.  May it bring all who read it, great pleasure and nausea....



I was up with my husband this morning.  Which, if you know how EARLY he gets up, you'll KNOW I was up WAAAAY before the roosters crow....

But my older four have lessons today before band, so they had to be dropped off early (8 AM!!) and my husband and my oldest daughter are going on a high school youth group retreat to Franciscan University this weekend, so I had to stop by our parish and drop off some paper work....

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Let's go back a few months....to, right around the start of spring...which for many is in March, but for snowland, it's more like end of May, first of June....

Ants....Ants started coming in this spring.

It's not the first time ants have invaded my home.  But every year they came, I managed to curb them quickly before it escalated to anything shocking...

You know, like this....




Oh Lord, that picture makes me want to hurl....

So here's your "Throw up Thursday" report....

My ants are taking over the house.

Ok, maybe not the entire house.  But the first floor.

Ok, maybe not the entire first floor, but I swear and promise they're taking over my kitchen AND my living room.   And quite frankly, it's unacceptable.  I hate ants.  I don't toss that word around too lightly, mainly in regards to spiders, snakes, and other non-human critters who try to invade my home.  Today?  Ants.  I hate them.  Why on God's green earth are they here?  And don't tell me I've invaded their environment because let me tell you, there are enough ants living under my house to supply THE ENTIRE FREAKIN UNIVERSE with enough ants that each of the 10 BILLION humans on this great earth, can have their own set of 1 million, with plenty to spare for the galaxy....  PLENTY...

So starting back in May up until now, I have steadily been noticing an increase of the creepy little *******s.  Sorry, I've been hanging around a few New Yorkers that like to drop all kinds of colorful language.

I tried everything.  Borax, soaked in sugar water, left on cotton balls.  Check.  Fail.

Baking soda, lining the entryways of all the doors.  Supposedly the little turds eat and blow up.  Check.  Fail.

Vinager and water, sprayed around the doorways.  Same concept.  Check. Fail.

Pickle juice.  Same concept as vinegar, only smells like I need to eat pickles.  Check. Fail.

Chalk, drawn on the floor.  Perhaps a primitive attempt at Jesus' instructions for the first sinless person to cross to cast the first stone...... Check.  Didn't catch on.  They just found another route.  Fail.

I'm now on the second to last attempt before I call in the big guns.

I bought that stupid Terro ant bait.

I know, I know, I know....  It's basically the same little 'trick' as my borax and sugar water, cotton ball trick.  But for some reason,these nasty little beasts are sending in the first of the lower level of non-essential ants to drink it up.  And drink it up they are.  By the droves.  It's not even putting a dent in my problem.  I'm guessing it will perhaps kill 1/2 a million.  But when you have 365 bazillion (which is the largest number in the universe according to crazymomma dictionary) it really won't do anything to curtail the growing problem.

Here is a better assessment of my ants right now.....

Still makes you wanna barf, doesn't it?
Throw in my Terro ant bait, and you're looking at a pretty nasty little amount of those beasts.

My next attack will be something I've heard called "Ant Dust."  It almost sounds illegal.  But I'm holding out hope that they drink enough of the 'Necter of the Ant Gods' to make them disappear at least until next spring.  

But I was sending my husband a text about our ant invasion and suddenly it occurred to me what could possibly be happening.  He works with bad guys.  Ok, not with them, but trying to help catch them...

I'm always looking for ways to help him.  (side note here, he doesn't look at my "help" as actual help.  He made some comment once about how 'people like you give us way too much work to do when you spot Osama Bin Ladin shopping at Wegmans....' )  I know.  So ungrateful.

But it did occur to me.  What if? 
What if ants are what terrorists are using to infuse fear in people?  Then that got me thinking about other things (when I see squirrels, I find it best to sit back, hold on, and wait for it to end....)

What if, we as a people, culture, society, have decided that not much other than a house full of ants creeps us out?  

Ok, I'm stretching it a bit.  But today I watched a seriously disturbing video online.  I'm talking about something that made me SERIOUSLY want to throw up.  

I'll post the link....


It's only an 8:51 segment, but it's well worth watching.  A senior medical director (who performs abortions herself) is casually talking about procuring baby parts.  So casually that she says there are "ways to procure the parts without crushing." 

The most disgusting part of it all, is that she uses scientific words for every.single.baby.term. From the baby's head, to the bottom, to his/her neck, to the organs.  I presume it's to make it seem as though it's not what it really is.  Chopping up baby parts to exhume from the woman's body.  

Now, what I find MOST fascinating, if that's even an appropriate word for it, is the matter of fact way the two people under disguise can talk so freely about it.  I could never do this.  I could never sit there and listen to this woman talk about a human being and dissecting it so casually without tossing all of my cookies...Talk about throw up Thursday....

I know the abortion debate is still (for now) a hot topic.  I know there are people out there who still claim it's not a baby even though science has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the baby has it's very own DNA from conception.  I know that even now, those who willingly admit that it IS a baby, have still decided it's a 'woman's body and her choice.'  Even though, technically speaking, there have been women killed who were pregnant and the person responsible had been charged with a double homicide.  

But if this doesn't get even the most staunchly pro-death person up in arms, well, then we really have de-synthesized ourselves from reality.  

If this doesn't make you cry in outrage (cause the media is avoiding it like the PLAGUE) than you need to sell your violent video games, cancel your TV subscription, and start watching Lassie and Little House on the Prairie again.  Cause it's wrong no matter how you argue it. 

I could go on.  I could go on and tell you that no one, NO ONE, wants to have an abortion.  I could tell you that no one, NO ONE, comes away from an abortion, feeling good about it.  I have lost four babies to miscarriage and even had to have a D&C (dilation and curratage) which is what a woman has during first term abortions-early on, which is similar to D&E  (dilation evacuation) which generally occurred when the baby was too large to just "scrape from the uterine wall."  When I woke from both of my D&C's, I was so overwhelmed with grief I couldn't stop crying.  I didn't know why I was so upset.  It wasn't until I was talking to a priest about it and he simply said, "you were upset because you're a mom.  The minute you conceive a child, you become a mom forever and there was no way for you to save your baby and it broke your heart."  Literally, it broke my heart because my physical body understood there was a loss within me.  

Women who go through abortions may not feel that intense emotion at first, but they feel different.  All the interviews I've ever read, or watched, all the women said the same thing.  There was an empty feeling in their hearts they could not explain.  

Their bodies knew something was wrong.  Even if their hearts and minds didn't. These women, suffer.  Sometimes for a very long time.  They need our prayers and support and love.  And we need to pray for our country.  In a lot of ways, but that we will start to look at things that are wrong and immoral as what they are.  Wrong and immoral.  If we don't stand up for these injustices, who will?  

I didn't mean to get off on my squirrel tangent today.  I really meant to keep the topic on my ant invasion.  But I suppose it was just the hand of the Holy Spirit that I pray for guidance when I blog who put the whole Planned Parenthood debacle in my heart.  I had watched it earlier, but decided it was probably best for another blog on another day....

Clearly, God had other plans....  

Enjoy your throw up Thursday.  And until next Thursday.  Well, if I remember to blog next Thursday....may you know the peace only Christ can give you....and may the ants of the Universe, stay far, far, away....




  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My God Box

I have a confession.  It really hasn't been three weeks since I blogged.  It actually was only about a week, but every.single.time I sat down to blog, something came up.  I know that sounds unheard of with seven kids, but for some reason, this summer break has flown by like a raging river and it's taking every last brain cell I had left in this feeble head of mine.  It's actually kind of depressing.  I can only take comfort that in eight extremely short weeks, the older five minions will go back to school and a few of my brain cells can be salvaged.....

So I had been batting around some ideas in my empty head and had found one I really wanted to talk about.  The problem with me and my blog is that sometimes, I have some amazing ideas swirling around up there, but I'm so darn tired after battling seven little people and one big dude I call hubs, that I haven't the energy to muster any strength to collect my thoughts.

Throw in a month of continuous company each weekend and you're looking at a natural disaster waiting to occur.

But blogging isn't a job for me.  It's a way of organizing my thoughts and typing out what is going on inside my heart.  I don't blog to change the world, I blog to inspire myself.  Cause it's all about me.  No, really, it isn't.  I blog to see that just like my motto says, the grass really IS greener right where we water it!  Even a crazy Catholic momma like me who apparently gives the incredible false sense to others that I have it all together.....which is sooooooo not true....at.all.

So back to my blog topic.  My God Box.

I will show you what my God box looks like and perhaps you have one similar.

My God Box
Isn't it pretty?  I chose this particular box because it's very simple.  It also has music notes on it and I'm very into music.  Mostly Christian and classical these days, but it's my passion to get good music out there in the hands of our young people.  But, simple in the fact that I'm about as fancy as a used cleaning rag left at the bottom of a rag box.  I always tell my adorable husband that I'm that simple girl who dreams of being fancy.  You know the one, who longs for her house to look like the houses in the Southern Living magazines?  (does anyone up here even read Southern Living?  Is that magazine even still in  existence?)

But I'm a simple gal and this is my simple God Box. 

What's a God Box you ask?  

If you were to open my God Box you would see a few things in it.  Sit back and relax and think about your God Box and let's see if we have the same things.....We might be surprised, maybe even shocked, how we pack our God Box up....so neat and tidy, and just the way WE want it....

I've talked about my struggles with bargaining with God before.  It's no secret I didn't plan to have such a large family.  Well, super large by the worlds standards.  I always wanted five children.  In fact, when we moved to the great white north, we had our "completed" family.  My youngest was 17 months and I was looking forward to the day when all my babies would be in school and I could FINALLY, after 13 years, do something for ME.  (cause frankly, it's all about me....as I have stated before.)

God and I had a plan and I couldn't WAIT to get started.  Hence, the first object in my box...my desires.

But then it happened.  

He started to soften my heart about babies.  

I've always had a soft spot for babies since first seeing my FIRST baby on an ultrasound at just eight weeks.  There was an amazing heart beat and limbs, and a body, and well, I suppose I just was clueless up to that point just how amazing life, and ALIVE life was at such a young bean sprout age!  Not to mention, it took us almost two years to even GET pregnant with our first, so to finally see this little, bitty, adorable peanut on the ultrasound was overwhelmingly amazing to say the least.  

So my heart had been soft for a while, but after the birth of nutty number 5- I was content.  Not overwhelmed.  Content.  

Then the softening came.  I began to long for another baby.  For reasons I'll never understand, not until I meet with my Maker at the end, I had probably the roughest two years when it comes to child bearing.  Three miscarriages in a row.  One that was so gruesome, I had to be rushed to the hospital.  Finding out my hip has a tear in the joint.  Pending surgery.  Surgery cancelled because I tested positive for carrying the double stranded DNA which could indicate the arthritis in my hip could be RA.  (rheumatoid arthritis).  

What exactly was God wanting from me?  Didn't we have a deal?  Didn't I package that deal in a nice, neat, box with a pretty bow on top?  Wasn't I willing to have another baby despite what the world was yelling in my ear?  Why was it becoming so hard?  Was it simply because I was "old" by OBGYN standards?  I was 37...that's about like comparing me to the dinosaur age.....

My box I had created for God wasn't working.  I couldn't figure out why He wasn't allowing us to have any more children.  Or allowing us to have a child, only to find the child had passed....

It was painful to say the least. 

But my God Box wouldn't fail me.  We wound up pregnant with baby #10 and had one of the funniest, spunkiest, independent little toots we could have ever imagined.  

God is good.

But would He not be good had she not been born?

Than my box was filled again.  This time with dreams and schemes of where God wanted us.  I just KNEW He was ready for us to move back south.  We had put our time in up north.  We had tasted what it was like to pretend we were Yankees (ok, that is not meant to be offensive, but my husband to this DAY says he wishes he had put some southern dirt under the delivery bed of our last two babies...)

"GOD!  When are we moving?"  I would pray....  

But it didn't happen (and don't think for a minute that it's been removed from my box...).  And I put my second item in the box- my plan.  If you think for a minute that God doesn't have a sense of humor, think again.  My husband's favorite thing to say is that God has an INCREDIBLE sense of humor.  And that excites me to some extent, because I LOVE to laugh.  Although, the humor my husband speaks of is of course the fact that God blessed him with SIX DAUGHTERS....and if you knew my "Rico Suave" back in the day, you would giggle uncontrollably as well if you heard he was blessed with SIX DAUGHTERS.....  God does have a sense of humor.

But my plan, and my desires are all in my box.

There's also something else in my box I'm sure you'll find fascinating.

What I know, God wants from me.

Yes.  That bears repeating.

What I KNOW, God wants from ME.

Not the other way around.  I know exactly what God wants from me.  Cause, you know, He speaks to me in an audible voice that kinda sounds like James Earl Jones (AKA- Darth Vader.)

NOT.

I know for a definite fact, God wants me to be totally happy, rarely sad, and not worry one iota about my salvation.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that He wants me to be completely happy and at no matter the cost, strive to find that happiness in this life because He doesn't want me to ever be sad, alone, without, lonely, sick, to suffer, to be anxious, or anything.

NOT.

I've been trying to study my bible more and more and I have come across something fascinating.  There are not many times when the word "happy" is actually mentioned.  Matter of fact, I find that words like, delight, joy, pure, blessed, faith are more commonplace through out the bible.  The funny thing is, if you google how many times does happy appear in the bible, you'll find a serious discrepancy because of just how many translations there are of the bible itself.  It can range from less than 15 in the New Testament, to 33,000 in the Old Testament!  I searched through my bible and really, when I read scripture verses about happiness?  None of them actually meant what we'd like to wrap up and stick in our bibles....

When you read where "happiness" or blessed, or delight are written about, it actually is quite the opposite of what we would expect.  The beatitudes are a great example.

THE BEATITUDES*

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit,*
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.a
4* Blessed are they who mourn,b
for they will be comforted.
5* Blessed are the meek,c
for they will inherit the land.
6Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,*
for they will be satisfied.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.d
8* Blessed are the clean of heart,e
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,*
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.f
11Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.g12* Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.h Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I mean, I don't know about you, but does that sound like the kind of "happiness" I put in my God Box?  Or better yet, what about this verse?

Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth. But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me7because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated,* a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.b8Three times* I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,c9* but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,* in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.d10Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ;e for when I am weak, then I am strong.*

That was 2 Corinthians 12:6-11.  I don't know about you, but it sounds like to me, if we really believe God wants us walking around demanding happiness and everything awesome, He'd like us to take a piece of humble pie instead...

But that's how we operate.  Who actually walks around praying for pain and suffering?  Ok, yes, we have had some powerful saints who have, but I can find plenty of saints who have not begged for pain, sorrow, or unhappiness.  It's actually supposed to be a lot like fasting. Which, by the way, I put into my box ever so neatly as well- God really doesn't want me to fast because, well, I have low blood sugar and who wants a cranky, starving, mother of seven children walking around waiting to pound on the first person who walks by her smelling like a Krispy Kreme donut????

God does want me to fast.  Maybe not from food altogether, but maybe from dessert.  Or that second helping.  Or that portion that would feed a small family in Africa.... He does want me to be joyful and blessed, but maybe not necessarily happy, because happiness is temporary, fleeting, but joy is forever and blessings, when truly seen for blessings, are eternal.  God does want me to pray and ask Him where we should move to, but He also wants me to listen when He says, "not yet, crazy momma...."

God does want me to be open to life, and maybe it won't happen the way I want it to, and maybe we won't be blessed with or without more children, but what He wants is our total surrender to His will, not ours.  He wants to know we love Him and trust Him so much that we're willing to let go and just trust.

My God Box is constantly changing.  Just when I think I've "let go" of my own desires and wants, I realize once again, I have started putting Him back inside that box of mine.  I want to conform God to my beliefs, when instead, I should conform myself to God's beliefs.

I say this all the time.  God makes no mistakes.  He is a loving God, but He created us for good.  He gave us such amazing abilities and I find that as I grow older I see just how well we can work for the greater glory of Him.  I can also see how amazingly easy it is, to flip it around and have it appear we know amazingly better what is good for us and give God very little attention.

We are very good at cruising along when life is going swell and basically forgetting that just like in times of crisis, God wants to hear from us during times of joy and blessings....  I could stand to add that to my God Box.

So this is what I'm working on this week.  Changing up what my "box" looks like.  Perhaps even, taking God out of the box and letting Him just wreak havoc on my silly little "perfect" life.  He knows I could stand to have a little make over in that department!

I'll leave you with a little bit of funny in my world just to show you how crazy momma and a few of her crazy kiddos spend their free time....

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