Wednesday, January 20, 2010

godliness with contentment

the things one stumbles upon in muddled early morning hours when the mind is not yet functioning, but somehow is best able to receive those still words from the other world... can be so new and fascinating. a big step of understanding taken, when my eyes are yet bleary from sleep and my brain still covered with dream-webs. and when i unearth these things, it is not as if i've never known it, it is more a recognition; things my spirit has known but my mind and body blocked out in the concreteness and constant clamoring of the five senses. not to mention the constant winds of culture and society, even the society of the church... the struggle now is to grasp it while it is at the surface, and keep it there to inform my LIFE, not merely my intellect. and my key word that morning was: contentment.

1 timothy 6:6 "but godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment."

it wasn't just that morning. God has really been bringing me on a journey of knowing contentment for several years. i suppose if i were He, i would have thought to do it by giving me my heart's desires: steady income, plenty of new clothes to wear, and a place to grow a garden. but He hasn't gone about it that way; on the contrary, He has been taking the hope of these things away more and more, little by little. and little by little i am learning to trust Him, and getting happier. what a lesson for parenting: fostering contentment not by coddling, or the giving in to desires, but by persistent love and communication, and by making things more minimal.

but what struck me about this verse was the way that contentment seemed to be presented as a prerequisite to godliness, or if not a prerequisite, the key to unlocking the treasures of godliness. if godliness is a means of gain to a person when accompanied by contentment, can it be concluded that godliness without contentment is of little gain? i looked around me and saw a generation of Christians, dedicated to seeking godliness yet without peace. committed to church, having fun in fellowship, serving in projects, but tossed to and fro yet by the world's lusts, the world's entertainment, and the world's attitudes. by their feelings and desires. WHY does a Christian look no different? WHERE are the soldiers for God's end-time army? why is all this godliness of such little gain? contentment, He whispered. the key is contentment. and how does one become content? how did i? by surrender. a giving up of dreams, of self, time, energy, future, desires, and demands. if you sink into the ocean, the waters are peaceful below. the world is clamoring so loudly that the message of self-sacrifice is harder and harder to translate. people tell you not to lose yourself, to take time for yourself, do something you want to do. but Jesus said that in losing your life you will find it. for me that means being ok with being frumpy sometimes. not keeping up with fashion as i would like. not watching movies i would like to. biting my tongue when i am tired and feel overburdened and snappy. even biting my tongue when i know i am justified, logical, or righteous.

for me, this surrender did have a lot to do with discovering the ancient paths, "returning" to a new culture unlocked in the Word. Jeremiah 6:16 says, "Thus says the LORD,'Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,where the good way is, and walk in it;And you will find rest for your souls.But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' " how peaceful i have felt this past year as i have begun to learn to walk in it, to surrender to how the Lord made me; He has taught me to love and embrace motherhood, not just love my children while holding motherhood itself at arms' length. He has taught me the importance of my womb in my identity as a woman, also the preciousness of my words. my circumstances are no better than the ones i was clamoring to get out of and complaining about a year and two ago, but my heart is content. and i am confident that will unlock more and more of this kind of gain; heart and marrow, eternal vision, peace and freedom to live.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

golden's words

golden is acquiring words at the pace of at least one per day now, and i am not too surprised that most of them are english. (today she kept saying "the butt! the butt!" after her bath.) but she has some good german ones going as well. she also does car sounds, airplanes, trains, animals, etc. on dec. 1st we were all amused before our naptime to observe her all alone in her crib doing a train sound to herself over and over: "tg-tg-tg-tg-tg hoo, hoo!" sparrow told me even today (jan. 3rd): "golden is really good at playing." yep! another thing i find so hilarious about her is that she says "the" (or "da") in front of many of her words. here is a list of as many words as i can remember that she can currently say.

the bite (when she's begging daddy for food)
the baby
cereal (unclearly, but i can still tell what she's saying)
hider (what they call the sun shades for the car window)
soup (pronounced "doup!")
chips (pronounced "dipsh")
the car
up-up-up (when she wants up)
all right! & let's go! & hey hey! (when we're singing the dora the explorer song)
let's go (when she wants to leave)
the bird
boots (as in, the monkey from d. the explorer)
knock knock (pronounced "na-nack.")
off (esp. when she wants me to take her shoes or socks off)

decke (blanket) (pronounced by golden "dagacka")
mehr (more)
baer (bear)
schuh (shoe)
baum (tree)
nass (wet)
nase (nose)
hase (rabbit)
brille (glasses)
tschuess (bye)
wasser (water)
tee (tea)
tuer (door)
laut (loud)
kacke (poop)
amen (amen)

golden also has several words that she consistently says in her very own way:
bambum (means "apple")
datadung (means "i want a drink of water")
gakung (means "uncle")
papo (means "opa," grandpa)

the other day i caught golden praying! she was looking at a little board book that has a song with written music on the last page. when she got to the last page, she leaned over the ottoman and the book, folded her hands, bowed her head, and did a little quiet mumbling to herself. then she straightened up and said "amen." i have no idea why that book compelled her to pray, but she seems to do it quite often when she looks at that one! maybe it's the music that reminds her of worship/devotion time? golden actually has been the one to remind us to pray at the table several times! suddenly she folds her hands or says "pray." so amazing how they can catch on so early!

december declarations

(looking out the car window)
"mom, maybe that bird gone astray." -dec. 2

"hey, look, there's a slave lion!" (it was a sphinx in a magazine. she didn't know what to call it, but made up the most logical name, from having seen 'the prince of egypt.')
"mom, stop pretending like you're the police." -dec. 6

(talking about going to see the snow)
"...and golden will hope that it's really warm, but it's COLD." -dec. 7

"i'll fought him!" (runs after Dad) -dec. 7

"you'll be dora and i'll be mary and golden will be ABC. but golden is already ABC." (don't ask me what she meant! -dec. 8

sp: "i'm squirting like a squirt-hog."
me: "what's a squirt-hog?"
sp: "it's a raccoon who squirts." -dec. 16

(singing to the tune of "o come let us adore Him")
"o come look at my paper, o come look at my paper!" -dec. 17

(singing her made-up christmas song)
"she held him close, she held him close, she held him close in her wraps...the song of a bird came to mary...and her tears came down and down and down..." -dec. 18

me: "where's the moon tonight?"
sp: "maybe it went out on a date. it's not in our country. maybe it went to school." -dec. 18

(building with blocks)
"look at these mistimulus buildings." (i think she meant 'mysterious' but she retained the word 'stimulus' from political radio from the car, no doubt!) -dec. 18

"let's hope the sun doesn't go down while we're taking a nap." -dec. 20

(telling a story)
"...and one day when he was going to the store, he realized that it was his birthday. and eyeore thought he was going to die when it was his birthday. but it wasn't a dying birthday, it was a happy christmas party birthday. 'happy christmas!' said everyone." -dec. 22

sp: "it's a digit in here!"
me: "what's a digit?"
sp: "a digit is a kind of place that we don't like." -dec. 26

me: "the pharaohs worshiped the sun, and the moon, water...things like that."
sp, mysteriously: "maybe they worshiped house." -dec. 30

"mom, some of the poop came out like frosting! wanna see?" (pointing excitedly behind her into the toilet) -dec. 30

Saturday, January 2, 2010

a new one

the christmas craziness is over, the much loved, but dead and crackly tree which barely hung on, reluctantly absconded with and ornaments mostly put away. and here we are, left not with melancholy, but with freshness, newness. new year and a new child on the way.

christmas day the queasy and tired feeling began after our porkulous breakfast of pancakes and bacon. i thought for several days that it was only the effects of all the bad food we had eaten. but when i didn't want my coffee on sunday morning, i knew something was up. i also began craving potatoes that night, and didn't stop eating them through monday. i held off taking the test til tuesday morning, but on the 29th it became official, and we are overjoyed.

this pregnancy feels different already because i am different. i am happy and contented. i embrace it all as part of the blessed joy of using my body the way God intended. He wants to create LIFE in me! it is becoming more and more foreign to me how i could ever have been of the mindset of saying "no" to what God created me for. well, i have a womb, and why would i say to Him, "why did you make me this way?" everything's peaceful here then. we can do with less. we are His soldiers and He makes us strong. but we also have great expectations. and waterfalls of grace are pouring down as we humbly accept God's highest calling: the working out of His father heart and mother heart in us.