It’s Tough Being a Woman

 

thumb_FullSizeRender-5_1024Thought I’d share this just for fun.

In clearing out some old files, I came across this poem I wrote back when my youngest girls were toddlers. It’s a true account of a pitifully chaotic day that we all lived to tell about. I hope it makes you smile and reminds you that sometimes the demands of our lives are often proof of our blessings. And despite how tough it is at times, it really is great to be a woman…and wife…and mother…and cook…and chauffeur…and teacher…and referee…and nurse…and, okay you get it. You’re there.

It’s Tough Being a Woman

Ah a moment to sit

On the couch for a bit

With a cup of hot tea in hand.

Wee ones down for a nap,

A good book on my lap

And dinner simmering in a pan.

 

Then my reverie is broken

As harsh words are spoken

From behind a bedroom door.

“Mommy, she hit me!”

“That’s cause she bit me!”

A wail and then a small roar.

 

So I drag myself up

And put down my cup,

Too tired to even mention.

Would either one care

That all this gray hair’s

‘Cause it’s tough being a woman?

 

I’m now in a hurry

To step in as referee

And get back to my tea while it’s hot.

But halfway to the stairs,

Teflon-laden air

Reminds me of an unwatched pot.

 

So I race to the stove,

But the ring of the phone

Quickly stops me in my tracks.

Now children are crying,

And dinner is frying,

And mama is stressed to the max.

 

My son bursts through the door,

Traipsing mud on the floor;

Kind words I just can not summon.

The answering machine blares;

It’s the school, but who cares?

It’s too tough being a woman!

 

Then my two little fighters—

One hitter, one biter

Run by, each wielding a stick.

So I call to my daughter,

“Please go get your father!

And tell him I need him quick!”

 

Next I rant and I fuss,

But, thank God, didn’t cuss

And reveal the heart of this sinner.

I intercept the two

On their way back through

And finally turn off that dinner.

 

Then my husband strolls in

With a bit of a grin

And a little sideways glance.

And says, “Honey, you know

You have quite a glow,

And you’re lookin’ real good in those pants.”

 

It was all I could take;

I let it escape,

And I ended up being the villain.

But why couldn’t they see

There’s only one of me

And, MAN! It’s tough being a woman!

 

Then with all his charm

He reached out his arms

And said, “Why don’t you have a seat?”

“But I’m too far behind…”

He said, “It’ll be fine,

And we can just go out to eat.”

 

Later, the kids in bed,

My hand on their heads,

I thank God for all I’ve been given.

What He gives is enough.

The rest is just stuff,

And MAN! It’s great being a woman.

Choosing Contentment–What My Daughter Has Taught Me

thumb_FullSizeRender-6_1024I’ve had a rather grumbly morning. Nothing has changed since yesterday except my perspective, and I’m finding it more difficult than usual “to be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil 4:11).

My daughter Kaila is halfway around the world on a 6-week trip to Australia, and in her absence I’ve realized how much impact she has on my level of contentment. You see, I’m not naturally content. Instead, I lean toward restlessness and have to choose to quiet my heart and be content.

Kaila, on the other hand, at 17, is a picture of a heart at rest, and I have much to learn from her. She has an innate sense of what matters most—God and people—and she is content with knowing that God controls her life and the people in it for her good. At any moment, she’s perfectly happy with what she’s doing, whom she’s with, and where she is.

Watching her over the years, I’ve learned much about how to quiet my soul and be content, but days like today remind me I am still on a journey.

If you also struggle with contentment in your life, I hope you’ll appreciate these lessons I’ve learned from Kaila. I know what it produces because I’ve witnessed it. It produces a contented spirit that is peace to the struggler, rest for the tired, and a source of quiet strength to those who know her.

I am blessed to be my daughter’s student and to learn:

1—To enjoy the moment instead of yearning for the next adventure. Kaila lives completely in the moment. It’s not that she doesn’t dream, but her focus is always on living in every moment and engaging every person in that moment with her.

2—To enjoy what I have instead of longing for something more or better. Whether it’s stuff or station, I have never known Kaila to look around and want for anything that isn’t hers. As a matter of fact, she is constantly sacrificing in order to give and yet feels no lack because of it.

One of this girl's many talents--YES those are her arms :-)!

One of this girl’s many talents–YES those are her arms :-)!

3—To appreciate my talents and accept my weaknesses as part of God’s divine purpose for my life. Kaila knows that she knows that she knows that her talents are God-given, and conversely, so are her weaknesses. She is a gifted singer, talented musician, and craft-sy artist among other things, but she is also disorganized, a slightly clumsy athlete, and a lousy joke-teller. She neither shows off her gifts nor hides her weaknesses. She is who she is and she is perfectly okay with it.

4—To enjoy a job well done, instead of focusing on all that’s left to do. While Kaila is constantly honing her skills, she is always content with where she has come instead of frustrated by how far she has to go. She is motivated by the joy of learning, not by a standard of perfectionism.

5—To celebrate the accomplishments of others without a single moment of insecurity or jealousy. People matter to Kaila. She loves to do a good job, but she loves it just as much when others do. If given the chance to shine or let another shine instead, Kaila will always choose the latter. She may not win the prize or the glory doing so, but she always wins our respect and admiration.

Nearly 18 years ago, I started this journey feeling the weight of responsibility to lead and teach this precious gift of a daughter. Little did I know that in so many ways, she would do the same for me.thumb_IMG_2277_1024How about you? Could you use some lessons in contentment today? I know I’m sure missing my little girl who keeps her heart–and mine–so content.

 

 

When It’s Difficult To Be Thankful

In less than two weeks, most of us will be sitting around a table full of food, surrounded by those we love, counting all the reasons we are thankful.

But maybe some of you are in a hard place this season. Maybe you’re finding it difficult to give thanks in the midst of a marriage that’s falling apart or a child that won’t stop breaking your heart. Maybe as you face overwhelming circumstances, you can’t find that place of gratitude. Take heart in the fact that this too is a season.

Today my mind goes back to a book I read years ago, and a story that changed my perspective (and my life) forever. In The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, Corrie’s life teaches that nothing is in vain, and because God has a purpose and a plan for my life, I can trust Him to use even the worst of times, for my good.

I’m sharing an excerpt with you today hoping that no matter what hard place you might find yourself in, and what “fleas” you are dealing with, you are also able to find joy in the midst of it. It is possible, and it is so worth it.

From The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom:Hidinh_place_book

[Corrie and her sister Betsie have just moved into permanent quarters in Ravensbruck concentration camp.]

“The deck above us was too close to let us sit up. We lay back, struggling against the nausea that swept over us from the reeking straw…Suddenly I sat up, striking my head on the cross-slats above. Something had pinched my leg.

 “‘Fleas!’ I cried. ‘Betsie, the place is swarming with them!’

 “We scrambled across the intervening platforms, heads low to avoid another bump, dropped down to the aisle and hedged our way to a patch of light.

 “‘Here! And here another one!’ I wailed. ‘Betsie, how can we live in such a place!’

 “‘Show us. Show us how.’ It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie.

 “‘Corrie!’ she said excitedly. ‘He’s given us the answer! Before we asked, as He always does! In the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!’

 “I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. ‘It was in First Thessalonians,’ I said. We were on our third complete reading of the New Testament since leaving Scheveningen.

 “In the feeble light I turned the pages. ‘Here it is: “Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all…'” It seemed written expressly to Ravensbruck.

 “‘Go on,’ said Betsie. ‘That wasn’t all.’

 “‘Oh yes:’…”Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.'” 

 “‘That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. “Give thanks in all circumstances!” That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!’ I stared at her; then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.

 “‘Such as?’ I said.

 “‘Such as being assigned here together.’

 “I bit my lip. ‘Oh yes, Lord Jesus!’

 “‘Such as what you’re holding in your hands.’ I looked down at the Bible.

 “‘Yes! Thank You, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank You for all these women, here in this room, who will meet You in these pages.’

 “‘Yes,’ said Betsie, ‘Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we’re packed so close, that many more will hear!’ She looked at me expectantly. ‘Corrie!’ she prodded.

 “‘Oh, all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed suffocating crowds.’

 “‘Thank You,’ Betsie went on serenely, ‘for the fleas and for–‘

 “The fleas! This was too much. ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’

“‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ she quoted. It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.

 “And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.”thumb_IMG_4038_1024

[Some time later, Corrie discovered Betsie was indeed right.]

 “‘You’re looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself,’ I told her.

 “‘You know, we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,’ she said. ‘Well–I’ve found out.’

 “That afternoon, she said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it.

 “But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?”

 “Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: ‘Because of the fleas! That’s what she said, “That place is crawling with fleas!'”

 “My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie’s bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for.

I don’t know what “fleas” you are facing as you head into this season of thanks, but I do hope you know that your situation, however impossible it may seem, is not hopeless.

I want to challenge you today to believe that you will not only get through it, but you can even learn to be grateful for it as you ask God to work in it. Thanksgiving is a powerful force, and it has a way of working miracles, especially in our own hearts.

Do you believe it?

He Just Doesn’t Love Me Like I Deserve To Be Loved

Shortly after I was married, I felt the first claws of resentment reaching into my heart because my husband just didn’t love me like I deserved to be loved. I decided that in order to move forward, we should air our frustrations. We sat together with our own notebooks and wrote out each grievance line by line. Jon began to write…and write…and write…and with each stroke of his pen, I became more and more irritated and began to write just as furiously.

ID-100186774He filled a page, and I filled a page. He filled another and I kept in step. Finally out of things to complain about, I put down my pen and he did the same. We traded notebooks and to my horror, I read several pages of “I love you. I love you. I love you.” And to my shame, he read a barrage of accusations against him.

My husband may not have loved me liked I deserved to be loved, but then I didn’t love him like he deserved to be loved either. And most of the time, I still don’t. Next month, Jon and I will celebrate 26 years of marriage. Some of those years have been full of fun and movie-screen romance and some have been filled with hurt, disappointment, and the sheer determination to make it through no matter what.

Through it all, I’ve learned that the greatest destroyer of genuine love in my marriage is a spirit of entitlement rather than a spirit of gratitude. Yes, I have inestimable value. Yes, I am worthy of love. But entitlement to anything makes me a taker, while gratitude makes me a giver. Focusing on what I deserve leaves me wanting, while focusing on what I can offer satisfies me.

I don’t know how it works, but gratitude somehow multiplies my blessings and shrinks my longings. I’m also still learning that the more I appreciate and love Jon, the more easily he can reciprocate that.

I wish I could say I have perfected gratitude. Unfortunately, there are still days I grumble and think he just doesn’t love me like I deserve to be loved, but then I remember this: Love is a choice and, each day, Jon still chooses me. He has done so for 9,449 days and I know he will continue to do so until the day he dies. That alone is reason enough to be incredibly grateful.

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