Monday, December 6, 2010

Sanctuary is in the Valley

I wrote this entire blog post in my head last night at about 3 am.  (umm . . . about 3 weeks ago now).  However, like remembering a dream, writing down my thoughts over 12 hours later is slightly impossible – I’m not Joseph.  The words no longer exist in the same eloquence and passion

After reading Mama Jenn’s blog post, I wanted to shout AMEN! I hear you sister.  I can totally relate.

What can I relate to?  Being reduced to tears by my offspring.

Imagine (some of you don’t have to) being home alone, surrounded by people shorter than you who can yell louder than you.  Incredibly smart humans who know just the right buttons to push to send their sibling into a meltdown and a mom into a puddle of tears. 

It doesn’t help that I am sleep deprived.  Or that I just had a baby.  Or that I desperately want to get things done, but feel like I am walking around in circles instead – never quite getting around to what I had intended.  And forgetting what I was doing in the first place.


There are four of them and one of me.  It is no wonder they want Daddy to stay home.  Putting on coats and shoes goes faster.

I am amazed that my offspring act their age.  Somehow, despite their sheltered life from the television, they can do things that highly irritate me. 

But their actions often aren’t wrong or sinful.

Just age-appropriate.

Unlike my response.

My children suck their thumb, thunder around the imaginary racetrack that exists on the main level, pile on top of their brother, slap a pillow on top of someone's head, and throw Matchbox cars down onto the hardwood floor, rip toys out of busy hands, and roll their eyes quite effectively. 

And {gasp} they hit.

How do they know to do these things when I haven’t modeled it for them (or have I?)

Sometimes I wonder . . . what did I do wrong?  Why can’t they just get along?  Why is it so hard to obey right away, all the way, with a happy heart?  It’s so easy. 

Through a special time in the Word with my girlfriends last week, I had a huge revelation.  I always tell my children they need to obey me. 

But I don’t want obedience.  

What I really want is submission. 

There is a difference. 

submit (v): to give over or yield to the power or authority of another;  to present for the approval, consideration, or decision of another or others: to submit a plan; to submit an application;

obey (v): to comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of; to comply with or follow (a command, restriction, wish, instruction, etc.).

As you can see, by definition, submission is a far greater thing than obedience.

Submission requires love, respect and a wiling yield to another.

Obedience on the other hand doesn't require any personal relationship between the one giving the "command" and the one obeying the command.

The reality is that obedience isn’t always easy and I know that to expect my house to be perfect . . . quiet . . . even calm is a pipe dream.

I long for peace. 



A feeling of sanctuary.  An encounter with the Almighty that sustains me EVEN when my Quiet Time is cut short by a pajama clad boy who wakes up early because he is trying to stay clean and dry at night.    (Let me remind myself here, that I wanted a clean and dry little boy – just not at 6:30 AM when I forced myself out of bed at 5:45 AM despite my interrupted, vertical night.)

And though the sanctuary can’t happen in my home until it begins in my heart, I have to realize and deal with the facts:

  • I am not perfect.
  • I will NEVER be perfect.
  • My children will never be perfect.  They will simply act their age.
  • Just as I can be a constant and nagging drip on my husband’s head, so can I torture my children with constant correction regarding STUPID, small annoyances.
  • I can’t get IT all done. 
  • This is a season.
  • I will go out alone again someday.
  • And when I want to run and scream and hide, it is in these moments where I show restraint that the angels in heaven applaud for me – more than when I cook a good meal that EVERYONE likes. 
  • If life were perfect and rosy – what would I be learning?  I would be a pretty boring person.  As my pastor pointed out yesterday, the view from the top of a mountain (like Long’s Peak in Colorado) is beautiful; I’ve been there.  But there is nothing growing up there.  It is barren.  Where is the growth?  In the valley.  Trust me.  I have climbed up that beast . . . narrow ledges, jagged rocks, thin air.  I cried.  A lot.  But I learned more going up and down (through a hailstorm) the mountain than on top of that mountain.

So, give me the valley.  This is my humble refuge of a sanctuary.  It keeps me close to the Lord.  It keeps the phone line open . . .

I’m thankful that my God is a 24/7 God. 

My refuge.  My machaseh.

But Adonai is my defensible place, and my God is the rock of my place with protection. -Psalm 94:22

(How’s that for typing one-handed?)

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